Friday, August 30, 2013

Gordon in the morning: Young man uses technology to keep in touch with girlfriend

Behind Gordon Smart's unreakabale paywall today, there's the story that Zayn Malik is using Skype to talk to his girlfriend. Coming tomorrow: Harry Styles uses water to feel less thirsty.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Daily Star has something to say about Lily Allen

POP star Lily Allen says she could not work with Damon Albarn because she found him “too irritating”.

The 28-year-old singer spilled the beans on the pair’s doomed collaboration attempt in 2008.

Damon, 45, had said at the time: “She’s a talented kid but it was just a bad idea.”
Given that that's the entire Daily Star story, is it fair to describe two words as "spilling the beans"?

Also: if you're not expecting 2008-period Damon Albarn to be irritating, you've not really prepared, have you?

Gordon in the morning: GaGa's had her chips

Behind Gordon's dog-patrolled paywall today, he's got the story of Lady GaGa turning up in the UK. She headed, with grim determination, to the nearest cameras ("the nearest chip shop"):

The queen of quirk popped to a chippy in latex waders, pink bra and killer heels with shells and a starfish in her hair. Lady Gaga.
Did she? How refreshingly eccentric she is, right? And in no way desperately screaming "look at me" to try and stop everyone talking about Miley Cyrus' younger and more newsworthy bottom.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I have a dream

You know what might be a nice gesture on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream speech?

How about if EMI - which holds the copyright on the recording - released it into the public domain?

Turns out there's still more coverage to be squeezed out of Miley Cyrus

The beauty of The Onion piece about CNN leading its website on Miley Cyrus's VMA appearance is in the link at the very end, which managed to twerk the news network not just publicly, but privately, in its web stats, as well.

But there's still more depth to dig with this overbaked 'woman goes to event known for desperate attempts to grab headlines; desperately tries to grab headlines; wins' story. Because up until now, nobody had thought to ask what a woman who once pretended to be Cyrus' mother thought.

Until now:

Miley Cyrus' former TV mum Brooke Shields has taken aim at the pop star for her provocative performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night, insisting the grown-up Hannah Montana star looked "desperate" onstage.
I'm not sure if that's any more or less desperate than the desperation to get some press coverage out of having once been in a TV show with the original desperado.
She joked, "I don't approve. What did I do wrong?" Shields then got serious, adding, "I just want to know who is advising her and why it's necessary (to do that). My six-year-old and my 10-year-old, they can't watch that.

"She can sing beautifully, and I feel like if she lets that lead, rather than let her bottom lead … I feel it's a bit desperate - you're trying to be (Lady) Gaga ... but it's different ... She's trying so, so hard."
Brooke, if your six year-old was watching the MTV VMAs at all - not just the moment when Cyrus ground her ass - you've got a problem.

What makes this outrage all the stranger is that this is Brooke Shields. Brooke Shields, who was in The Blue Lagoon. You think she'd have a slightly more informed view of the mediashitstorm than just crying "won't someone please think of the children"?

How is Julian Assange coping holed up in the embassy?

It depends, I guess, on whether you see "doing an Australian election video by dressing up as John Farnham" as coping or not, really:

Two parts "cry for help" to one part "too much time on your hands", I'd suggest.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gordon in the morning: Pants

Behind Gordon's impregnable paywall this morning comes the news that One Direction are going to appear at some sort of Victoria's Secret event. Or, in other words, all lingerie models ever can expect to start receiving evil tweets from One Direction fans warning them not to push their busts up in Harry's general direction.

Monday, August 26, 2013

What the pop papers say: Stoked on Trent

The NME this week has done something extraordinary: it's produced a Reading/Leeds preview issue - traditionally the most 'will this do' edition of the year - which is actually of interest if you weren't planning to spend a weekend in a tent.

Surprisingly, it's the first time ever Trent Reznor has appeared on the NME cover. In fact, it's the first time anyone called Trent has been on the front page since Terence Trent D'Arby, inexplicably, got four covers between 1987 & 1989.

(Worth recalling the month's-worth of TTDA issues when trying to create an argument about a golden age.)

And it's a pretty good interview, too. There's been - not that you'd know by looking at the outside - some strong articles on pop music around the world (death metal in northern Europe; protest music in Southern Europe) for example. And there's only been one spurious list issue so far in 2013.

Whereas Krissi Murison's editorship started off strongly and then collapsed, Greg CochraneMike Williams didn't seem especially promising when he first sat down but is doing some interesting things, quietly, inside the magazine.

VMAs 2013: The year Miley Cyrus waved her arse about a bit

Seriously, who cares about the VMAs any more? MTV doesn't even show music videos, unless they happen to be being shot by someone in their never ending poor/rich/Amish/drunk constructed reality shows. I mean, thinking that the VMAs in 2013 are somehow culturally relevant is to show you don't really understand the modern world at all, right?

Yes, that's the Daily Mail not only getting excited by the VMAs, but giving it the sort of "clear the homepage" treatment it normally takes a former PM dying or an election to swing.

The VMAs, though, provide MTV and the Mail with the same thing, though: a little bit of content with women wearing push-up bras. Or no bras at all.

MTV is thrilled by it:
Miley Cyrus is queen of the twerk
The Mail, of course, is shocked:
I say "shocked". I mean "even more thrilled", of course. Seriously, the Daily Mail is so shocklighted that it takes two news stories to cover 'Miley Cyrus continues to do the sort of lungey-sexy thing she's been trying to do ever since she stopped being Hannah Montana'.

To get an idea of how terrible the VMAs are, you don't even have to worry about the winners: the categories themselves scream "executives who think they're still young". For what it's worth, here's the winners:
Video Of The Year: Justin Timberlake, Mirrors
Best Female Video: Taylor Swift, I Knew You Were Trouble
Best Male Video: Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven
Best Pop Video: Selena Gomez, Come & Get It
Best Hip-Hop Video: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton, Can't Hold Us
Best Rock Video: Thirty Seconds to Mars, Up In the Air
Best Collaboration: Pink and Nate Ruess of Fun., Just Give Me a Reason
Best Video With A Social Message: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert, Same Love
Best Song Of The Summer: One Direction, Best Song Ever
Artist To Watch: Austin Mahone, What About Love
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award: Justin Timberlake
Best Direction: David Fincher for Justin Timberlake's Suit & Tie
Best Visual Effects: Capital Cities, Safe and Sound
Best Choreography: Bruno Mars, Treasure
Best Art Direction: Janelle Monae featuring Erykah Badu, Q.U.E.E.N.
Best Cinematography: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton, Can't Hold Us
Best Editing: Justin Timberlake, Mirrors
Best Latino Artist: Tr3s
Justin Timberlake? Bruno Mars? Sheesh.

You might have spotted that 2012's awkwardly-named "most share-worthy artist" category has been quietly dropped; the suspicion was that was a made-up category to give One Direction a prize.

At least that hasn't happened this year, with the Direction getting, erm, "best song of the summer". Yes, it's a category that hasn't happened before, and will never happen again, but it's in no way a made-up thing to reward the band for turning up to the show. In no way at all.

One last footnote: the Mail lists all the winners of the awards. Except for the best Latino artist, with Tr3s' category mysteriously not making it onto the paper's list.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Brandy doesn't quite deny the empty stadium story

You'll recall the sad tale of how Brandy, coming on stage at a gig after a sporting event in honour of Nelson Mandela, discovered the 90,000 venue had just 40 people left in it.

Brandy is now frantically putting her side of the story:

Brandy’s representative released a statement to
“She was booked at the last minute to fly to South Africa to support a ’cause’–not a concert. It was a cause that honored ‘Mr. Nelson Mandela’ and there were other performers on the bill besides Brandy. She attended because she wanted to support the foundation and Mr. Mandela… a man who has changed history.

This whole story has been blown out of proportion and Brandy has sold-out shows across the world including South Africa before.”
Just before we weigh this up, let's not try to judge "Brandy's representative" for calling him Mr. Nelson Mandela, winding up making him sound like he was Mr. Peanut or Mr. Clutch.

I say "Brandy's representative"; I suspect what we're talking about here is Brandy using her other gmail address.

What's especially delicious about this response is that it doesn't, at any point, reject the central claims of the story, and actually just endorses all the details in it. It's kind of like being told you've got spaghetti sauce on your face, and countering that you ordered spaghetti from the a la carte menu, not the cheaper lunch menu, and have washed your face many times in the past.

Linda Rondstadt won't be singing any more

Linda Rondstadt has said she won't be singing again, as she's got Parkinson's Disease:

Ronstadt says she began to show symptoms as long as eight years ago, but attributed her inability to sing then to a tick disease. When her hands began to tremble, Ronstadt said she thought the shaking was the result of a shoulder operation.

She said she was “completely shocked” when she finally saw a neurologist and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “I wouldn’t have suspected that in a million, billion years.

“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” Ronstadt told AARP music writer Alanna Nash. “No matter how hard you try.”
It's a sad end to a career with a lot of high points, but few higher than this:

(Please, let's not ask what on earth would persuade someone to make a thirteen minute loop of the Plow King advert. Let's just not ask.)

This week just gone

Five-year look back - the most popular stories we originally published in August 2008:

1. Watch: Radiohead playing Nude at All Points West
2. RIP: Alex McCulloch
3. Download: School Of Seven Bells
4. RIP: Leroi Moore
5. Avril Lavigne's pledge to not wear revealing clothes: how is that going?
6. Placebo swap drummer Steve for drummer Steve
7. Popjustice make Pink song of the day
8. Watch: Echobelly weekend
9. John Lydon bangs on about how things aren't as good as when he was in charge
10. LA cops blame Britney, Lindsay for the people taking photographers of them

The interesting releases last week:

Laura Viers - Warp And Weft

Download Warp And Weft

Ty Segall - Sleeper

The Kissaway Trail - Breach

Download Breach

Superchunk - I Hate Music

Drenge - Drenge

Download Drenge