Saturday, July 12, 2014

Punkobit: Tommy Ramone

The last original Ramone, Tommy Ramone, has died at the age of 65.

Born in Budapest under the less t-shirt friendly name of Erdélyi Tamás, he was only meant to be the band's manager but had to become the drummer when he couldn't find anyone able to keep up with the band's pace. In fact, as he explained to Pitchfork in 2005, there probably wouldn't have been a band at all without him:

I had seen the New York Dolls, and the idea was just to get a charismatic, sort of quirky band together. But then when we got together, they were coming up with really great songs, which I hadn't even thought about. Once I saw that, I said, "Wow, they could be more, they could be a real band." Basically from what they were coming up with musically, once I became the drummer I harnessed it and arranged it, and we turned it into what became the Ramones sound.
And, probably, there wouldn't have been any records without him, either:
I was pretty much on my own. They [the other Ramones] would come in and do the basic tracks, and Joey would do the vocals, and then I wouldn't see them for about a month or two. I was just left alone to work on the album.
His last public appearance as a Ramone was in 2004, at the Ramones Beat Down On Cancer gig.

Tommy Ramone was 62; he died from bile duct cancer in New York on July 11th.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The J-Pop recruits

How do you boost the number of soldiers at your disposal? Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the natural choice is to, erm, recruit a J-Pop star:

"Working for the Self-Defence Forces presents boundless dreams - like the earth, ocean and the sea," says Haruka Shimazaki of the all-girl group AKB48 in a new 30-second commercial distributed by the Defence Ministry.

"There's work that you can only do here," she says with a smile. A pink heart-shaped cherry petal spins as she points to the English phrase "You AND PEACE."
Ah, peace. Of course peace. Because of Japan's pacifist constitution, right? It's all about the peacekeeping.
It was just a coincidence that the ad, part of a broader recruitment drive, came out just when Abe's Cabinet was reinterpreting the pacifist, post-World War Two constitution to allow Japan's 224,526-strong military to defend friendly nations under attack, said a Defence Ministry spokesman.
Japan very much moving from 'pacifist' to a 'they started it, what am I going to do, just walk away' constitution then. Japan wouldn't need to be pulling quite so many people into the forces if they weren't expecting to be having more fights in the future.

At least the Japanese Defence department admit they're being cynical:
"We want to give a friendly image and make it easier for youth to apply to the Self-Defence Forces," said the spokesman, who asked not to be named, citing ministry policy. "We chose a member of AKB48 because the group is popular and well-known among high school students, the main target of our recruitment."
And, given there's been 140 members of AKB48 over the last decade, they also know something about recruiting people to high-turnover positions.

It's surely only a matter of time before Perrie Edwards is popping up trying to coax people into the SAS.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

In Pieces: The Garth Brooks Dublin gig debacle

Garth Brooks had been supposed to play Dublin as his big European comeback moment.

That's all gone to shit incredibly quickly.

The original plan was for three nights at Croke Park Stadium, which sold out fantastically quickly. Two more dates were added, and they sold out rapidly, too.

Trouble is, under the agreement with local people when the Croke Park Stadium was opened, the venue is only allowed to hold three gigs a year.

A petition was created, locals objected. Dublin City Council listened, and refused a licence for the two extra nights.

Whereupon, a hissy fit was thrown and all five gigs were pulled and some country-and-western heartstring pulling ensued:

In response to the decision, Brooks had said he would play five concerts or none.
“To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another. However this plays out, Ireland has my heart and always will” ,” he said.
To a casual observer, this seems to be ten gallon hat wearing hogwash: nobody's asking Brooks to choose which gigs to play, just saying the two extra gigs can't take place. Given they were to be the same set each night, it's less about choosing children and more about accepting that a couple fewer tins of beans will fit in your shopping trolley.

Except there's a strange twist here: The Irish Independent's Denise Calnan points out that Brooks is now distancing himself from the cancellation decision:
Garth writes that he ‘heard yesterday that the shows were cancelled’. Did he not cancel them? Aiken Promotions’ announcement yesterday simply read, ‘It is with great regret that Aiken Promotions today announce that the 5 concert Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event at Croke Park has been cancelled. No concerts will take place’.

Most of us assumed Garth was behind the final decision after his ‘Five shows or nothing’ proclamation.
Now, it appears, Garth isn't aware he was being forced to play a supersized version of Sophie's Choice at all. Curious. It's almost as if someone's playing games.

If the behaviour in the Brooks camp is raising eyebrows, the residents around the venue don't seem to be entirely straight, either. The police are investigating the petition after some people say their appearance on the list is as unlikely as Brooks' appearance at Croke Park:
Yvonne Corbet Bryan (41), who lives just off Clonliffe Road close to Croke Park, says she was shocked to receive a letter two weeks ago from Dublin City Council which acknowledged receipt of her submission against the concerts.

“Two weeks ago I received a letter which had my address on it, but the name of a woman down the road. I passed it down to her because I thought it was hers. And she said she never made any submission either.”

“She rang Dublin City Council to tell them that she never made a complaint. And detectives arrived last Monday to see if I wanted to sign a statement.”

“They asked me to sign a statement that my neighbour never lived at this address and that no complaint was made by either her or me from this address.”

“I am disgusted by this. I don’t think it’s one person doing this. I think it’s a group of people.”
There was also a counter petition, supporting the idea of five gigs:
And resident Susan Mangan, who helped organise a petition of 900 signatures in favour of all five Brooks gigs, said: “A lot of the community want these concerts to go ahead. We got 900 signatures.”
What a murky business. All that's missing for a full Hollywood movie is a sobbing child.

Hang on, there's a sobbing child:
Cameron Cloke – who became a viral hit after his parents pretended they were unable to get Garth tickets and put a video of his reaction online – burst into tears as he found out that the Oklahoma singer would not take to the Dublin stage after all.

The schoolboy had been due to attend on the Sunday night, and had his special T-shirt and cowboy hat at the ready. His father Michael, who was due to attend two of the concerts, said that his 10-year-old son was "very upset" last night.

"Since we told him he has just been crying," he explained.
The gigs weren't meant to be for another three weeks, which suggests that Cameron had got his special T-shirt ready a little early (how does one get a t-shirt ready, exactly? It's not exactly a rubber corset which requires reboning and polish before wearing). Also, you might be upset but still crying? Really? If you can't cope with a little misery you probably shouldn't be listening to country music.

There's still hope that the gigs could be saved, although given the nightmare the event has already turned into, you'd wonder why anyone would want that to happen.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Twittergem: The One Show

It's true: Manics and Major are both on The One Show this evening.

I suppose Wire and Major have more in common than you'd think: both found themselves having to keep things going after a popular and charismatic leader unexpectedly vanished in the 1990s.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Oh, Mo, you didn't

Lil' Mo went to see Prince, but needed a pee. "No problem", she thought, "I have a VIP pass - a VIPee pass, if you will. I shall just nip backstage and use the facilities there."

Oh, but it wasn't to be:

According to reports, the "Superwoman" singer had a VIP pass to the festival but apparently was stopped backstage when she tried to go use the bathroom because Prince was making his entrance to the show.
"Oh, never mind", thought Mo, "I can either hold it for a couple of minutes until Prince has passed through, or else use one of the other toilets out in the main area of the venue."

Hang on. No she didn't.

She moaned. On Instagram:
Lil Mo wasn't happy about it, and she made her opinion known on Instagram soon after, though her post has since been deleted.

It read:

"The muthaFCUKIN [sic] NOLA police just tried me and @dynamiteKO we had VIP passes to meander the whole superdome dude talmbout 'we gotta hold the walk through cuz PRINCE coming through the back' bitch wtf. I don't want to see him. I had to PEE. This industry shit is CRAZY. Erbody think they not human!!

Mannnnn.... I'm GONE."
Instagram? Why would you post that to Instagram? I mean, why would you post that anywhere, but especially Instagram?

Now, it's possible to have some sympathy with Mo - all she wanted was a wee, and she was blocked from doing so by Prince behaving like a prima donna.

On the other hand, it's Prince. Going to Prince gig and complaining that he's behaving like a 17th Century Laird is a bit like ordering a blue cheese sandwich and complaining the filling is mouldy. Given everything we know about Prince, would you really expect him to greet you, guide you to the dressing room toilets and rummage in his fannypack to share his Andrex wet wipes with you?

More to the point, if you're going to launch a stinging, if poorly spelled, attack on the self-obsessed, entitled nature of the music industry, "my VIP pass wasn't honoured" might be starting you off on shaky ground.

Still, Little Mo does have form for over-reacting when it comes to revenge:

Monday, July 07, 2014

Harry Styles likes porn

What's probably most interesting about the 'Harry Styles twitter account has a favourite on a porn picture' is this bit:

The singer first favourited the image back on May 22, but followers have only just noticed and began reacting on the microblogging site.
It took over a month for someone, anyone to notice? What sort of shabby obsessives are One Direction fans, exactly? Back when I was a nipper, if Simon LeBon changed his Sunday paper from the Times to the Telegraph, Duranies would have had a pile of Sunday Telegraph magazines burning by sunset, and that was without the internet.

Yet one of One Direction can put a star on a vagina, and the hundreds of thousands who claim to be obsessed don't even notice for over a month?

Unless, of course, the favouriting only just happened, but on an old picture, but that would mean DigitalSpy don't understand how Twitter works and that's unpossible, right?

So, DS, what happened?
Harry Styles appears to have publicly favourited a pornographic image on Twitter, unaware that fans can see it.

It is not clear whether the One Direction star intended to favourite the picture believing it would be hidden or whether he was hacked.
There is a third possibility that doesn't seem to have occurred to DS, which is that Harry favourited the photo knowing it would be public. Or the fourth, more likely possibility, that whoever is "Harry Styles" for the purposes of Twitter wanted to favourite the photo on their personal account, but were logged into their work account.
Fans have now managed to get the hashtag #HarryDontLickAnything into Twitter's worldwide Trending chart.
You're telling him to not lick anything? WHAT SORT OF FANS ARE YOU?

Rock sick list: Lorde

Pretty horrible for Lorde to fall ill and throw up on stage, but at least the ghoul who shoved video of it happening onto YouTube appears to have had a change of heart and taken it down.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Glastonbury 2014: James Arthur was absent

A bit from last week's Glastonbury to mop up - you've doubtless spent the last seven days ploughing through the BBC coverage trying to find out a set by James Arthur. But there doesn't seem to be one.

It's almost as if he wasn't there.

Hang on, he wasn't.

How can this be?

James has his theory. It's that Glastonbury us wrong:

Arthur tweeted yesterday, saying:

Its sad that I'll probably never play Glastonbury because of the format I was discovered.. Has anyone from xfactor ever played it?

He then tweeted: "Especially sad when you see how mediocre some of these acts are live!! #verybitter," but deleted the tweet shortly after.
I'm pretty sure Bad Lashes headlined the Pyramid Stage Saturday last year, didn't they?

Perhaps James should have a word with his record label and see if they... oh, hang on, he doesn't have a label, does he?

It's sweet though that he thinks it's his having been on the X Factor which makes him a pariah, rather than it's only that he's been on telly that sustains him at all.

Still, James: try sending a tape to BBC Introducing. You might be able to make it in music after all.

This week just gone

Popular on Facebook: These are the most-interesting stories this year as far as Facebook is concerned:

1. Armenia's homophobic Eurovision entry
2. MTV sees women at gigs, decides you need a 'how to pull women at gigs' guide
3. Jessie J resigns her bisexuality
4. Alfie Boe is a bit of an asshat
5. Terry Christian has some strange views
6. Liveblog: Brits 2014
7. Lorde provides location for first Phelps counter-protest
8. Panic at the Disco destroy a venue
9. The tiny royalty cheques of 21st century music
10. The magical world of Chris Moyles' taxes

The music industry managed these:

Cambodian Space Project - Whisky Cambodia

Download Whisky Cambodia

Phantogram - Voices

Download Phantogram

Brontide - Artery