Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stevie Nicks has a competition

I suspect 'Design a shawl for Stevie Nicks' might be the first ever rock/shawl crossover competition. It's not just designing a shawl; it's claiming a place in history.

It turns out the Sachsgate swings backwards, too

So, Jonathan Ross is going to do shows on Radio 2 again. I wonder how long it'll take the Mail to ring up Andrew Sachs asking him to be outr... oh, hang on, they've already done it, of course. What's that? He wasn't in? Never mind, his wife will do. Providing she's upset. Is she upset? Is she upset enough?

Melody Sachs said it was a ‘slap in the face’ to give the disgraced presenter a job on the same station on which he insulted her husband six years ago.
Oh, yes. There's some froth there.

The Mail isn't just outraged that Ross is intending to slap Andrew Sachs repeatedly in the face, live on air, as he sits in for Steve Wright for a few sessions. But this man - this monster - is going to be paid for doing so:
He will be paid an estimated £4,000 to host four three-hour programmes between August 26 and 29.
Obviously, though, that will double with every national treasure he can make cry.

The Mail offers no explanation for how they have arrived at this estimate of £4,000; perhaps they got a builder in to tell them how much he'd charge for a similar job.

But, sorry, Mrs Sachs: you were telling us how it's awful.
Mrs Sachs added: ‘I’m so surprised that the BBC has welcomed him back. I’m amazed that they could do such a thing. It’s like a slap in the face for us, especially after Andrew spent so much of his working life with the BBC writing, acting and directing. It’s very sad and thoughtless and disrespectful.’
She continued "it's like they don't care about the time he spent pretending to be Spanish to make people laugh at how stupid foreigners are for not being able to speak English. Did that two years of borderline xenophobia count for nothing?"

You know, Mrs Sachs' outrage is fine, but she's not an elected representative. It's not like the Mail is going to be able to find an MP willing to dredge up... oh, hang on, they have?
Last night Tory MP Philip Davies also criticised the decision to allow Ross back on the airwaves. He said: ‘My view is that what he did was completely and utterly unacceptable. He doesn’t appear to have accepted that, and until he does I don’t think the BBC should employ him.’
You might be having trouble placing Davies. He's the charmer who suggested that disabled people should earn less than other people, and that society was "standing in the way" of "less productive" people with learning disabilities by insisting they earn the minimum wage.

Winningly, when people pointed out that he sounded like an amoral asshat for even thinking this was a positive thought to share, Davies dismissed it as "leftwing hysteria". Which makes it all the more surprising that he should want to fan the flames of this empty hysteria.

Alright, I'm not surprised.

Anyway, back to the Sachs and their grim determination to not move on, not in the slightest:
Although Ross, 53, has said he feels ‘immense regret’, the Sachs family have refused to forgive him and claimed he used the publicity to advance his career.
Given at the time, Ross had the key BBC chatshow, his own radio programme and was regularly invited to MC high-profile events like the BAFTAs and the British Comedy Awards, and now I think he might be doing a chatshow on ITV and does holiday cover for Steve Wright, I'm not entirely sure how they think that works.

Given that it allowed Sachs to sell his memoirs to the Mail for serialisation - and guess which bit they extracted - you might suspect that the Sachs family are doing quite well out of the mini-outrage industry that the Mail has built around the incident.

The pranks were cruel, and unfunny, and childish; yes. But perhaps it wouldn't be so raw, so ever present in your thoughts if you didn't keep talking to newspapers about it every time Jonathan Ross steps outdoors.

Manics grounded

The Manic Street Preachers won't be at V in Chelmsford; their plane refused to leave Budapest. They still hope to be at the Staffordshire leg tomorrow. If they can find the Ted Danson plane.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bunch of arse

I'm sure Idolator would defend themselves against claims that their lazy collection of pop star's arses isn't sexist because there's a couple of male bottoms in there.

I'm sure they would. Of course they would. It's probably the first time Olly Mur's butt has ever been deployed as cover.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

*insert usual disappointing NME sales headline here*

More gloom for the NME in the latest ABC figures, as sales of the print edition slide below 15,000. MediaGuardian reports:

Music magazine New Musical Express has suffered another slump in its print sales, falling more than a quarter to fewer than 15,000 in the first half of this year.

The 62-year-old IPC Media title had an average weekly sale of 14,312 in the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures published on Thursday, down 28.5% on the same period in 2013. Including digital sales, its circulation rose to 15,830.
The figure of just over 1,500 digital sales is probably the one piece of joy - fairly pitiful, but a massive improvement on the three figures they were reporting last time round.

But something has changed. The usual positive talk from the publishers has shifted direction:
Jo Smalley, publishing director of IPC’s music brands, said NME’s total reach across all platforms was now 3.6 million, “bigger than it has ever been” despite its decline in print. In its print heyday, the magazine sold more than 300,000.

Traffic on the NME mobile website grew 85% year on year, with nearly 40% of its total online audience now reading on mobile.

Smalley said: “We are also continuing to explore how NME can further expand its international footprint. This builds upon the launch of in India and Club NME in Brazil.

“These are just a few of many examples revealing how the NME business model is changing to pursue new opportunities and grow new revenues.”
Now, maybe MediaGuardian just chose to not report it, but it does sound somewhat like IPC is describing a world in which NME is not more than a magazine, but post-magazine. With the news today that Company is abandoning its print edition from next month, who would bet on a weekly, paper NME having that much of a future?

In other sales news, Q is down to just over 46,000; Kerrang also slumped by still manages over 33,000 copies a week (a resilience NME can only dream of); Uncut is down to 50,000; Mojo to 70,000.

We're putting our plans to run a kickstarter to buy and relaunch Sounds on permanent hiatus.

Bobi Wine put back in the bottle

Ugandan pop star Bobi Wine has been refused a visa to play the UK because he's a homophobe.

Of course, he's one of those homophobes who even lack the courage to own their hate, explaining in a tortuous Daily Monitor op-ed why he was actually on the side of the angels:

I am personally not out to threaten the life of any individual based on their sexual Orientation, I just DO NOT agree with them.
See? He's got this image of being intolerant, but he doesn't want anyone to be killed for having a relationship; he just doesn't "agree" with them.

I'm not quite sure the queer community anywhere is looking for people to "agree" with them, as if your sexuality is a suggestion.
This is my opinion and happens to be that of 99 per cent Ugandans/Africans basing on our culture, religion and Constitution.
Yes, he did say that 99% per cent of African's opinion is that they don't agree with homosexuals.

Why, Bobi straightsplains, its not even that the (then yet to be struck down) Ugandan anti-gay laws are looking to kill gay people:
It's a misinterpretation to say that Uganda wants to kill homosexuals because the biggest section for the offenders (aggravated homosexuality with a minor where the offender is HIV positive) is life imprisonment and not death.

The intention of the Act is to stop promotion and exhibition of homosexual practices. In fact, degenerate passions can be regulated by discipline and the benefit of the law is to create standard behaviour for us Ugandans.
You see? What could be more reasonable than a piece of legislation which only calls for death for some people who have same-sex relationships? If anything, Wine's crime is being too liberal.

Oh, hang about a moment, Bobi doesn't want this generous not-killing-ALL-the-gays to make him look like he might, god forbid, in any way agrees with them:
Homosexuality may be a phenomenal that has lived in the nooks of society and as humanity requires, I sympathise with the victim, in the confines of the word victim and most definitely sympathy should not be misinterpreted as endorsement.
The Phenomenal Homosexual Nook is, of course, Barnes & Noble's best selling e-reader.

I love the idea that as he was pounding his keyboard, Wine read back the first three-quarter of his rant and worried "ooh, don't want anyone to think that I'm promoting homosexuality here. Better make it clear that 'I don't want you to be killed' isn't a marketing slogan."
How be it, I completely fail to understand the pride and why the gays are so happy about it. If my opinion makes me third world, then I am happy to be.
"You know, if the gays think that this whole gay thing makes them happy, they should try chuntering on with inane, hateful viewpoints. Then they'd know what happy is."
As a role model in this dear country, on matters of public interest, I'm expected to air out an opinion that is not manipulated by sycophancy, fear or favour. And as far as this is concerned, I hope that the proponents of homosexuality who pride themselves in their liberalism and support for human rights, will allow me my right of expression much as they may not be comfortable with my opinion.
Absolutely, Bobi Wine. You are allowed your opinion - and an opinion, unlike a sexual orientation, is a thing which other people are invited to agree or disagree with. Nobody is trying to shut you up. They just wish you would.
The bottom line is that we should struggle to better our selves and it's not fair when one tries to "arm-twist" society to legalise bad habits just because they have a sponsor.
Homosexuality is brought to you by Vauxhall - driving your bad habits all the way home, and Nike - sponsoring homosexuality to stop Adidas from doing it.
We just can't compromise our Values and Dignity.
Your values and dubious, and you have no dignity. Enjoy your staycation, Bobi.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This is not what he would have wanted

Too soon? The Barron Knights' not-quite-a-cash-in (it was a b-side) take on Mork & Mindy which shows, if anything, that what appeared to be a simple character to write for was pretty difficult to write well:

Don't let them get me

Strange times in Suffolk County, New York, where drumming attorney Charles Bonfante III is suing Collette McLafferty for doing a Pink cover act that he wasn't drumming for:

McLafferty is named in the suit, filed in Suffolk County, N.Y., along with bandmates Rik Nevone and John Rodriguez, for performing with their band, Funhouse (named for Pink's fifth album). The suit was filed by drummer/attorney Charles Bonfante III. In the suit, Bonfante, who did not return a request for comment, goes after McLafferty's looks, saying in the suit, "She didn't look the part, or at least contribute to the overall aesthetics of the band," an angle played up by the New York Post in their coverage.

"The Post and everyone is playing the angle that she's too old and ugly to sing, but it's really about stealing [Bonfante's] idea. But he has no right to his idea. Only Pink does," said Martin Kera, McLafferty's attorney, calling Bonfante "insane." ("Who writes a 112-page complaint?")
You'd also suggest that "being in a lookalikey covers band" isn't an original idea; and that, given Faux Pink were going in 2009, even being a Pink tribute act isn't much of an original idea.

Oh, and the lawsuit?

He's looking for ten million dollars. There's barely that much cash in being actual Pink.

The Vogue is over

Slate points out that, with the death of Lauren Bacall, all the icons namedropped in Vogue have now passed.

(Unless you count the first person personal pronoun as including Madonna in the list of icons. It's probable Madonna does.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Morrissey 'parts company' with his label

It's been a great summer for Morrissey, right? The new album was given massive support, and garnered a lot of applause (although the record itself wasn't really a leap forward). Even the NME, forever outside the circle now, had to swallow it and produce an entire issue inspired by the release, in a "lots of interviews with people who were involved apart from Morrissey" style.

He must be thrilled.

His label must be delighted.

Oh... hang on:

Three weeks after the release of Morrissey's World Peace Is None Of Your Business (#2 UK, #14 US), Capitol Records/Harvest have ended their relationship with Morrissey, as directed by label boss Steve Barnett.

Morrissey is once again in search of a record label.
Got to love that line; painting Morrissey as very much the Littlest Hobo of indie pop.

It seems there's been a falling out. Morrissey appears to believe that the label hadn't made enough of a splash:
I am indebted to three sources that have placed their own well-crafted videos on You Tube for the song World peace is none of your business. The three individual sources are named as Sharon Jheeta, Héctor González and wpeace123456. These videos fully understand the intent of the song, and I am relieved that these films exist. Yes, a similar document ought to have been harvested by the record label, but please understand that the pop or rock industry can be as dedicated to perpetuating public deception as the world of politics itself. God bless social media!

Liberty, equality and fraternity are the essence of the song; no monarchic rule, no political hierarchies, no bought-and-paid-for government thugs, security forces no longer beyond prosecution, and an end to megalomania, repression and corruption. Meat consumption is climate change, and if ever there were a self-evident lost cause it is the British so-called "royal family". Societies have never been so nervous; Pan Am Flight 103 differs not a jot from Malaysian Flight 17. The United Nations failure to imprison Tony Blair and George W. Bush for war crimes against Iraq has told us all that there can never be enough bloodshed, and the world is suffering its worst nervous breakdown. Do not feel powerless!

Many apparently powerless causes have succeeded in shifting political stupidity and greed. You are intellectual sanity. It is possible for nonviolent change; there are more people than there are aging despots; there are more people than there are world leaders. In truth, the world is leaderless. Please stop watching Fox News; anti-monarchial Britain has given up on the BBC – we know that every slot is paid for. We know that the number 1 position on the pop charts is "bought"; this is not 1955.

Thank you to all of my friends in Israel, Chile, Sweden, Poland, Argentina, Hungary, Romania, Finland and Italy who bought World peace is none of your business. It is 30 years on since The Smiths album entered the UK chart at number 2 with zero airplay and zero promotion, and the struggle for the airwaves remains difficult. Yet, I am writing this to you now, and you are reading it.

In answer to many people who have asked, I should like to finally make it clear that I have not received any television invitations – worldwide! – to either discuss World peace is none of your business, or even to sing any songs from the album.

Thank you for reading this. We have our first World peace is none of your business concert booked in Lisbon (Portugal) on October 6th.

All we have is each other.

for the animals, for intellectual sanity ...
Pssst, Mozzer. If you're going to point to the number two position for your album as a good thing in one part of True To You, you might not want to insist that every position in the charts on the charts is bought.

But then, there's no coherent logic to this post at all - indeed, had Courtney Love published it, the internet would be rolling round snurkling at the crazy rant. But because Mozzer is a bloke, it even gets a respectful write-up on the BBC, despite how Britain (or maybe just the anti-Monarchial bit of Britain) has given up on them.

Where do you even start? The suggestion that The Smiths got zero promotion - true, if you ignore night-time Radio One, and the four music weeklies (still a big deal at the time); the offensive attempt to try and draw a line from 'not having a video made for me' with the murders of Lockerbie and Ukraine. The almost touching belief that he and Fox News would share an audience.

Maybe the standout moment is the 'it's not 1955' bit - it's not, Morrissey, which is why nobody much cares what the number one (or number two) album record is in the charts; much less how the piddly sales figure was arrived at.

And, oh, the Partridgesque "I wanna be on the telly" cry at the end - having suggested that television is just death-wank designed to keep the supine in their place, how painful to then complain that you don't get asked on. (The tendency of Morrissey to speechify along these lines might be the reason interns are not often sent to dig out his phone number; a history of saying awkward things, and then complaining when those things included are in the interview might also be an explanation.)

Perhaps all these things will be ironed out in the next episode. Until then, though...

How can you fund your pop career?

For artists unsupported by a label, the costs of starting up your pop music career can be prohibitive. Is there a different way you can cover those expenses?

If you're Sun Ho, you could just get your husband to fund it from church expenses. That might sound kinda embezzley, but it's fine, honest:

Embattled pastor Kong Hee of City Harvest Church in Singapore has insisted before court that the millions spent on his wife Sun Ho's pop star career were necessary for the growth and expansion of the megachurch, explaining that his role evolved from that of a "shepherd" to being a "rancher."

"If not for the Crossover, we would be just another neighborhood church. The Crossover Project doubled, tripled our congregation size," he told the court, according to Channel News Asia.
Prosecutors in Singapore take a contrary view; which is why Kong is in court explaining the transaction.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Who's the worst pop star?

We've got something of an asshole-off this morning.

In one corner, Justin Bieber, insulting the entire disabled community, according to Tom Turner:

I want to share my disappointment and utter disgust at pop star Justin Bieber for his lack of judgment when he was caught using a wheelchair to get past the crowds at Disneyland last month.

The disabled community recently celebrated the 24th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and his actions where a blatant slap in the face to the disabled community.
That is pretty bad sounding, although something should have alerted Tom that maybe there's more to this story than it seemed on original reports.

Because, first, it's Justin Bieber. Generally, in the fawning Kingdom of Disney, if you have that sort of name recognition, you don't find yourself standing at the back of a two-hour queue at Splash Mountain.

Secondly, as everyone knows, when Bieber wants to cut a queue at Disneyland, he pulls the old 'dressing up as Goofy' ruse.

It's possible that Bieber had a genuine injury. Or, equally, that he was insulting the entire disabled community by using a wheelchair because he's an entitled tit who's too grand to walk around a theme park. We may never know.

But in the battle for worst pop star, there comes a challenge from beyond the grave. It turns out the the corpse of Michael Jackson has more stories to share, as the New York Post has been talking to his former maids:
“Michael sometimes ran around where the animals were, and he’d track . . . poop throughout the house and think nothing of it,” Maid No. 1 recalled. “Then, if you said something, he’d threaten to make doo-doo snowballs and throw it at you.”
The doo-doo snowball, by the way, is the third most popular cocktail at Wetherspoons right now.

So, not wiping his shoes at the door. That's bad. But, like in some sort of Blind Date - Blind Dirt, if you will - there's another maid who wants to share. Maid No. 2, how disgusting was Michael Jackson?
When Oprah Winfrey visited the Los Olivos, Calif., ranch for an interview in 1993, it was pristine. Floors were waxed, walls scrubbed and windows power-washed.

It was after she, guest Elizabeth Taylor and TV crews left the next morning that the real Jacko appeared.

“He literally peed on the floor of the entryway, right where you saw Oprah walk in. It was surreal. He just stood there, unzipped his trousers and watered the floor,” Maid No. 2 said.
That sounds bad, but to be fair, after Oprah has been on your territory, you do need to remark the boundaries. Maybe that's what Jackson was doing.

Maid No. 3 - do you have anything to... oh, you do:
“Any of the children he played with who hit the bull’s-eye would get extra ice cream or anything else they wanted,” said Maid No. 3, who worked from 1996 to 1999. “He hated those guys with a passion. He was surprisingly very anti-Semitic. He’d lead some of the kids in chants: ‘Kill the bastards,’ and ‘Kill the bloodsuckers.’ ”

The maid said Jacko watched in disgust as Spielberg got a Los Angeles Film Critics award in the 1990s.

“It was crazy. He turned into his favorite ‘Twilight Zone’ character, and his eyes kind of bugged out, and he went into this crazy trance, pointing his finger at the television screen and saying, ‘You’re a bad man, a very bad man,’ ” she said, referring to the famed TV series’ character of Anthony Fremont, a boy who “wishes away” anyone who displeases him.

“At first, I thought he’d bust out laughing or something or that he was playing around, but it changed his entire mood. He was dead serious.”

Instead of banishing his foe to a cornfield, as Anthony did, Jacko would wish Spielberg into “Jew hell,” the maid said.
That IS pretty awful, as everyone knows that Shatner's Bob Wilson is the best Twilight Zone character.

It's fair to say that, on the scale of assholery, 'encouraging kids to chant anti-Semitic rants' does knock 'cutting in line at Disneyland' very much into the second division.

Of course, had Bieber been ten years sooner, there's every chance that he would have got an invite to try the white-knuckle rides at Neverland. What a loss to humanity we never got such a crossover episode.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Michael Jackson loved Gloucestershire

I've read this story, about how a song Michael Jackson wrote about Gloucestershire has leaked onto the internet. I've read it twice. And I'm still not convinced it's anything other than a fantasy Points West item made real:

According to reports, Michael Jackson visited Gloucestershire while he was in The Jackson Five, and apparently said the time spent in the county was among his fondest memories.
Presumably, if the band spent time in Gloucestershire it would have been around the time of the 1972 UK tour?

Coming next week: Aaliyah's passionate love of Dawlish Warren; the Big Bopper's song about Little Rissington

Blur might not have a future

This may have been shocking news if it had come in 2001, but in 2014 it's not quite so jaw-dropping: Alex James doesn't know if Blur has a future:

He shared: ''To tell you anything other than 'I don't know' would be completely misleading.

''Getting back with the guys has been emotional each time because fundamentally we all really get on and there were never any major problems between us. I love them all like brothers. But our lives have moved on. We're all busy. That's the great thing, we all found new things to do. So to do it as and when works for us.''
It's not entirely clear what Alex James is busy doing, although it's possible that playing go-karts with Jeremy Clarkson eats into the day.

James was talking to Hello, by the way. Hello.

This week just gone

The most-read stuff from around the site over the last month:

1. RIP: Jon Fat Beast
2. The ever-popular last Mark & Lard show
3. KT Tunstall has a theory why people think she's gay
4. Simon Bates dropped by Smooth
5. Nivea: I was unsaleable, because I was unfuckable
6. Allan Jones leaves Uncut
7. RIP: James Govan
8. Manics versus Major
9. Beyonce crosses the Madonna horizon
10. Why it hurts more when the Monkeys swerve their taxes

This week's interesting releases:

Hyde & Beast - Keep Moving

Download Keep Moving

Nurse With Wound & Graham Bowers - ExcitoToxicity

Download ExcitoToxicity

A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Sea When Absent

Download Sea When Absent

Angus & Julia Stone - Angus & Julia Stone

Download Angus & Julia Stone

Adult Jazz - Gist Is

Puss N Boots - No Fools, No Fun

Download No Fools, No Fun