Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bookmarks: David Attenborough

As a tease for the soon-coming Bjork Meets Attenborough programme, they've released a bit of the pair's chat where David explains why pop is about sex*:

When asked by Bjork how music works in the modern day, Sir David said: “Well, one is absolutely clear, and that is the sexuality.

“And as it were classical times, troubadours singing up to their lady loves up on the balcony come and join me or let me come in.

“But in our own culture now, I mean pop music is hugely sexual, there can’t be any doubt about that. And that is why it is so popular amongst people between 15 and 30. That’s the peak of sexuality and it’s the peak of the passion about music.”
* - This claim, explicitly, takes no account of the Johnny Borrell solo album

Medics suggest Yasiin Bey video inaccurate

The supposed medics of Guantanamo Bay have taken time out of their busy schedule of force-feeding people to complain that Yasiin Bey's depicition of their work is wrong. Yahoo News listens politely:

In reality, the medics said, detainees are strapped down at the legs, waist and hands by guards, but their heads are not restrained. The slender, flexible feeding tubes are lubricated with olive oil or a pain-numbing lidocaine gel and some of the prisoners help out by swallowing them down into place. None has vomited or cried, the medics said.

Army Sergeant 1st Class Vernon Branson, a watch commander at one of the prisons, said one of his fellow guards underwent a tube-feeding to see what it was like.

"My soldier took it like a champ. He was laughing and talking the whole time," Branson said.

Branson said he used to be a Mos Def fan but the video changed that. "I deleted his music off my iPod. I was a little upset about it," he said.
That's curious, isn't it? A mindset that giggles as a tube coated in lindocaine is shoved into your gullet, but gets so wounded by someone criticising you that you rush away and wipe all traces of them from your iPod.

It's difficult to see how a process which requires pain-numbing gel to be involved doesn't actually hurt, but the army guys seem to imply the people they're pumping nutrients into actually enjoy the process:
Navy doctors, nurses and hospital corpsmen said most of the 44 hunger strikers they tube-feed are calm, accepting and eager to get on with what has become a daily routine.

"Most are asking us to hurry up, make it go faster," said Lieutenant Junior Grade "Lucentio," a Navy nurse.
Oh, yes. Encouraging the violation of your body to be done quickly really does show an embrace of the process.

American Idol is so very racist, claim booted contestants

American Idol producers are currently being deluged by a class-action lawsuit from disqualified contestants, who are claiming they were kicked out because the programme is racist.

On The Daily Beast, Kevin Fallon puts up a strong defence on behalf of the programme.

How can the show be racist, he asks, when so many winners are African-American? And, sure, 10 of the 12 contestants who have been canned for not having revealed the truth about their arrest histories are non-white, but other contestants have also been dropped for not being open and honest about, for example, having record deals in the past. It's a rule thing, not a race thing.

Fallon ends by calling an expert witness, Nigel Lythgoe:

Back, in January, Nigel Lythgoe, former executive producer of the show, said he was “shocked” by the charges, saying, “We treat everyone the same no matter the race, religion, or sex. I think we’ve always had a fantastic share of talent from contestants both black and white. I don’t think I’ve ever seen racism at the show.”

As someone who will now sheepishly admit that he has, in fact, seen every episode of American Idol — and don’t you dare calculate how much time of my life that amounts to — I can unequivocally agree with Lythgoe. I haven’t seen any, either.
And all that is quite compelling, but... it doesn't really get to the heart of the allegation in the lawsuit. Entertainment Weekly reports:
Furthermore, Freeman wrote, the show illegally dug up arrest histories for those 10 men, using them to humiliate the singers — but never attempted to dig up similar dirt about white contestants. Allegedly, only black contestants were questioned about their criminal histories.

Freeman called these actions “cruel and inhumane,” accusing Idol of exploiting black contestants, perpetuating “destructive stereotypes,” and making them appear to be “violent criminals, liars, and sexual deviants” — though none of the 10 men he represents had been convicted of charges stemming from their arrests.
(It's worth pointing out the Idol producers claim they obtained all their information through legal methods.)

That claim - that some black contestants were effectively brought onto the show and then beaten down - is one that you can't wave away by saying 'but black contestants won'. You can see, at least, the possibility that Idol has constructed a way of having an inclusive storyline while still pandering to prejudice.

There's a couple of questions that need to be answered: does Idol only investigate its black contestants in this way? How is it obtaining the information? And why isn't this done before putting a camera into people's faces?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Westwood off

After twenty years doing a thing that was very much his thing, Tim Westwood is off, leaving both Radio One and 1Xtra.

Noticeably, while Radio one's Ben Cooper and Charlie Sloth, who is taking over the shows, are warm and effusive in their statements, there's no standard 'it was great to be offered the chance to be part of this for twenty years' twinkling from Westwood.

It's being reported that Radio 2 is currently not answering its doorbell, and sending all messages to answerphone.

Gordon in the morning: Muse play with fire

Gordon seems to have missed his own story this morning, deciding to portray Muse's admission they bribe officials as a bit of a lark:

But the size of their productions have been causing them problems of late, with the band having to resort to backhanders to get shows on.
Frontman MATT BELLAMY said: “Everywhere you go there are problems. We have accountants and lawyers arguing with all sorts of local councils and police and promoters.

“In Rome, we had to bribe people with thousands of euros just to be allowed to blast our fire effects. We had to phone the British Embassy in Rome and argue with some official.

“If you want to do things like this on the move, it’s quite a big deal. It’s pretty bloody expensive, though. It’s mind-boggling how much, actually.”
You'd have thought that someone working for The Sun, where so many of the staff are being investigated for allegedly dropping money into the pockets of public officials might spot that Bellamy is admitting to a crime.

More importantly, with the long history of fire-related disasters at music events, from Santika to the Station Nightclub to the Beverley Hills Supper Club to Cromañón, the very idea that you'd short-circuit local fire regulations by paying off an official is a disgraceful thing to do.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gordon in the morning: Struggling to understand a joke

So, Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine (a wolf who was bitten by a radioactive nectarine) and his wife Deborra Lee-Furness did an interview where they goofed around about what it'd be like if he had those claws on when he went home from work:

Asked what it’s like to live with Hugh in full Wolverine mode, Deborra-Lee said: “Oh my God, it’s dreadful! Always with the claws. I’m like, ‘Mix the salad. Put them to use, come on!’”

Hugh interrupted: “The sheets we go through...” Let’s hope he pops the props in the dishwasher between jobs.
That's amusing, right? A throwaway joke.

Um... what are you typing there, Gordon?
WITHOUT wanting to sound too camp, HUGH JACKMAN doesn’t struggle in the looks or body department.

But the Aussie actor still keeps his missus interested in the sack — by wearing his full Wolverine outfit, including the blades.

A dangerous business when it comes to tuning the radio upstairs, and I won’t even go downstairs.

And it’s just as well he has a few sheckles in his bank account, because their antics cost a fortune in ripped bed sheets.
Gordon, you do realise that it was a gag, don't you?

(Actually, more to the point, you do realise that a man saying another man is attractive is in no way "camp" at all, don't you? Did you originally write "gay" there and then try to row back, perhaps?)

Still, it's a joke. They haven't actually spent anything on ripped sheets, because they're not actually going upstairs with him wearing wolf claws.

Phew. Thank god we were able to get that clear before, say, you went on and built a massive claim a bit like a man who thinks Fawlty Towers is a fly-on-the-wall documentary.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jon Secada feels unexploited, sues

Most people, hearing that a company had failed to make any money out of turning Jon Secada into a brand might shrug, perhaps pull a 'the name rings a dull bell' face and move on.

Not Jon Secada, though. He's suing Hans Reinisch, and a company called Secada Worldwide Licensing LLC because they've failed to make money from the myriad opportunities offered by the Jon Secada name. The Palm Beach Post captures the flavour of betrayal:

Secada alleges breach of contract against SWL “for failing to undertake any, let alone, reasonable efforts” to exploit Secada’s name or develop any products or business opportunities for him.

“He made a whole bunch of promises and has done nothing,” said Secada lawyer Richard Wolfe of Miami.
If Jon Secada is going round suing things for having taking early promises and turning them into nothing, it's likely he'll become the first man to sue his own career.

Gordon in the morning: Daft

Niles Rodgers is what now, Gordon?

He's the "Daft Punk star" is he? It's a bit like describing Paul McCartney as one of The Firemen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mozzer cancels rest of South American tour; possibly rest of career

I wonder if Morrissey ever expects to be playing the gigs he announces these days? He's just pulled the South American dates that hadn't already been hit by his most recent illness. He sounds kind of, well, retirey:

I am informed today that the projected tour of South America is snuffed out, thus euthanized - due, I'm reliably advised, to lack of funding. It's quite easy to sell tickets, yet impossible to transport band and crew from F to G.

In a year when far too many disappointments have been buried this really is the last of many final straws, and I am not alone in feeling this.

The future is suddenly absent, and my apologies are now so frequent as to be somewhat ridiculous, and it is I who apologize because no one else would bother. It is agonizing to be responsible for imparting such news - especially when it springs upon me unexpectedly and inexplicably.

But the collapse of South America rings the curtain down with a colossal thud, and the major problems remain as insoluble now as they were in 2009. The obvious conclusion stares back at me from the mirror, and the wheels are finally off the covered wagon.

Cancellations and illness have sucked the life out of all of us, and the only sensible solution seems to be the art of doing nothing.

As always I ask your pardon, and I offer pangs of overwhelming love and gratitude to the band and the crew, whose loyalty stretched above and beyond.
I'm sure it's all just overwrought and written in passion - it's always passion with him - but that statement does come across as bit "oh, what's the bloody point".

Sunday, July 21, 2013

This week just gone

The location of people reading this stuff, so far the year, in descending order:

1. UK (2012 position for same time period - 1)
2. US (2)
3. South Korea (3)
4. Germany (5)
5. Australia (6)
6. Canada (4)
7. France (8)
8. Ireland (7)
9. Japan (10)
10. Spain (13)

This bunch of releases were interesting enough...

Sara Bareilles - Blessed Unrest

Download The Blessed Unrest

Andy Kaufman - Andy & His Grandmother

David Lynch - The Big Dream

Download The Big Dream

Pet Shop Boys - Electric

Download Pet Shop Boys