Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tatu still managing to upset gay people in 2014

For a very long time, one of the most-read pieces on No Rock And Roll Fun has been the one where Tatu broke off from filming videos of themselves snogging in the pouring rain to ask why everyone thought they were gay.

I think, nine years down the line, it's still puzzling Yulia, as she's now going to extraordinary lengths to distance herself a bit further from That Sort Of Thing, mainly by coming out as a flaming bigot:

Volkova has now revealed that her support for gay rights have since waned and says she would not accept her son if her were gay.

"Yes, I would condemn him, because I believe that a real man must be a real man," she said. "God created man for procreation, it is the nature. The man for me is the support, the strength of... I won't accept a gay son."
The idea of not accepting a gay son, in the way one might refuse to sign for a delivery of chipboard.

Obviously, we don't need to waste much time engaging with the substance of Yulia's homophobia, or her theology. Or her, much.

But you might be wondering 'hey, didn't Tatu at least try and salvage their image the last time round by making some token support for LGBT issues? Isn't this making her look not only like a terrible, terrible person, but one who is perhaps suggesting that was all less than genuine?'

And you'd be right.

But Yulia has a workaround. Let's hear it, Yulia:
She was quick to add that her views aren’t at odds with her previous work; lesbians are a more acceptable form of sexuality than gay men, she claims, because women are "aesthetically nicer".
Okay, when I said we don't need to spend much time engaging with Yulia's substance, I might have been wrong.

Because she seems to be implying that lesbianism is absolutely fine, because women are nice to look at, the logic appears to suggest that she's looked at some cocks and decided they're pretty poorly designed.

From this, she's rationalised that since nobody would want to engage with something so ridgy, and thrusting, and dribbly-when-enraged, and coloured with a purple that Dulux has never tried to recreate, the only possible reason you'd want to go near one would be, reluctantly, to make a baby. And if there's not going to be a baby coming out of the encounter, why would you bother?

Winningly, Yulia has managed to invert one of the stock pieces of lazy gay stereotyping - that they're all aesthetes - and turned it on its head to suggest that for two men to enjoy their company when they're naked, those men would have to have no sense of style or taste at all.

So is Yulia right that acts of same-sex activity can pervert society? Actually, yes, in one very specific way.

Because, although All The Things She Said was a cracking pop song, without the video it would probably have been overlooked, and by now Tatu would, as a band, be too obscure a reference for Pointless and probably only deployed during the latter stages of Only Connect, if at all. Ironically, we could all probably be moving on without having to worry about what a spiteful Russian woman thought about men who have sex with men if that woman hadn't spent time snogging another woman in the rain, in front of a camera, a decade ago.

That might be, uniquely, the one piece of same-sex activity we'd all have been better off without.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Formatwatch: Bono busy inventing something else nobody wants

You've got to hand it to Bono - just days after not realising nobody wanted his rump-reeking new record, even for free, he's coming up with another thing that people are neither seeking, nor requiring:

In a new Time magazine article, the singer has detailed the group's plans to help combat the illegal downloading of artists' music by creating a new file format which cannot be copied.
Unless there's some magic way it doesn't need to pass audio to an output, let me stop you right there Bono and say it doesn't work.

But do carry on.
The aim of the top secret project is to tempt fans to purchase full albums, not just individual tracks, once more so new material will once again become profitable for artists who aren't big on touring.
The problem here, Bono, is that 'bundling stuff into albums' is a thing that was convenient for labels and artists. It wasn't, ever, a thing that happened because music fans went to bed wishing that when they bought six songs they liked, they could get another four tracks they didn't like, and would never play.

Apple have already tried to resurrect the album format once - with the iTunesLP. That was meant to be an "immersive experience" with all sorts of extras which would make buying a bundle attractive again.

Nobody seems to have released one since last November's Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience.

But, still, good luck, Bono.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Conor Maynard gets a glimpse of the future

Conor Maynard is one of the "stars" doing that Channel 4 "Stars At Your Service" thing. They've made the poor guy go and work at a chip shop, which, given he's still described as a YouTube sensation is a bit like being made to confront your older self.

Saffron Stevens, 17, of Sneinton, said it was “crazy” to see a celebrity with 17 million Youtube hits turn up to batter and flog cod.
Yes, it's absolutely ridiculous that he's selling cod, which is a species under threat, he should be serving pollock or something a bit more responsible.

Oh, you think it's odd that he's doing that job with his 17 million YouTube hits. You know who else has 17 million YouTube hits?

These guys. Admittedly, it'd be surprising if box kitten turned up to work in a chip shop, but not because of the number of YouTube views.

Still, the people of Sneinton know what the real story is here:
Jodie Jarecki, 16, who also lives nearby, said she was excited to see her neighbourhood on the TV.

“I’m glad he came here because it’s the best chip shop in the area. given he’s a celebrity he had to come to a the premier chip shop around here.”

“I’m just here for the chips,” said friend Aaliyah Raffell.
They seem convinced the celebrity is the chips, and the task that's been set the chips is working with this guy off the internet.

I don't think they're wrong.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Robin Thicke out of it while Blurred Lines was created

Apparently Robin Thicke was on drugs while Blurred Lines was being made:

R&B singer Robin Thicke said he was high on painkillers and alcohol in 2013 when "Blurred Lines" became a hit, and he exaggerated his contribution to writing the song, according to court papers filed on Monday.

Thicke, 37, said in a deposition in April that he had been largely absent during the composition of "Blurred Lines," due to being under the influence of opioid painkiller Vicodin mixed with alcohol.
I can see why you might want to claim that you were too drunk to remember writing the rape song; what's questionable is just how off his face he must have been to think it was alright in the first place.

Related: Pharrell Williams, now being given more of the 'credit' for the song, doesn't have the excuse of being too drunk to know what he was doing.

You have to feel sorry for Kerry Katona

She can't even get married without being upstaged by one of the others from Atomic Kitten:

FORMER Atomic Kitten pop star Natasha Hamilton has thanked Bristol’s Southmead Hospital after she went into suspected labour at bandmate Kerry Katona’s wedding.
That's a way to upstage the bride.
Her baby’s dad is Ritchie Neville, 35, from boyband 5ive, so the baby, who they have already decided to call Ella, will be 90s pop royalty.
90s pop royalty being approximately equal to a pre-unification Germanic duchy, really, and even on that scale the baby is one of those royals a long way from the throne. Kind of King Ralph distance.
“It was a late wedding, so the speeches were going on at 9pm when Natasha started feeling a bit sick."
We can only imagine.

Everyone ended up alright, thanks to the NHS. Although Katona might be slightly less than thrilled at the stealing of thunder.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

U2 apparently on a mission to turn cold reception of new album into full-on pitchfork rage

Guy Oseary, current U2 manager, isn't brooking any criticism of the flopped U2 album stunt. He tells Mashabale:

"It’s a gift from Apple," Oseary said. "If someone doesn’t like the gift, they should delete it. ... There are people who are going to be thrilled to get a gift. There are people who are not going to care to have this gift. We knew all of that going in. No surprises here. If someone doesn’t like it, then great, that’s OK, delete it. ... We just want to share it with as many people as possible. If you don’t want it and you don’t need it, delete it."
If it was just as simple as deleting it, this would still grate - because why should it be incumbent upon a person to have to clean up the firm turd left on their living room carpet? True, you can just pick it up and throw it away, but it might have been nicer to be asked in the first place - 'Do you want a free U2 album' - so we could all say 'is it one from the early 80s?' before going 'no'.

But it's not just a case of simply deleting it. Because it's not a firm turd; it's a runny one, and you either can at best "hide" the thing, or have to go to Apple and use a special tool to get all the dribble off your carpet.

A gift you can refuse is one thing. A gift that you have to invest time and effort into just pushing out of sight is another.

Something else interesting from the Mashable Q&A. When asked about how the release had been received, Oseary has a bright side:
A lot of people, from the look of the iTunes chart, are clearly rediscovering the band’s catalog or discovering it for the first time.
But then, asked about if it was disappointing that the record wasn't yet eligible for Billboard:
It doesn’t bother me because I haven’t even wrapped my head around it yet. I’m not looking at the charts as high on my list of concerns.
I mean, who cares about charts, right, unless the information they're giving us is useful for the purposes of spinning the biggest backsplash PR disaster since someone wrote 'New' on a flipchart at the Coca-Cola Company?

What does SXSW do for Austin?

According to the organisers, this year's SXSW festival brought in USD315 million to the Austin economy - although that figure excludes things that take place outside the official banner of the festival. (I don't think they're just talking about the dealers here.)

It also generates getting on for USD80million worth of positive coverage about Austin:

In addition to injecting hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy, SXSW 2014 also provided Austin with extraordinarily valuable media coverage. Since its inception, SXSW has played a critical role in helping position Austin as a place where creativity and commerce are mutually valued, nurtured, and networked.
In other words, SXSW is pretty much responsible for the "well, except for Austin, I guess" rider people will add when they talk, shuddering, about What Texas Is Like.

U2: All that you can't leave behind

The triumphalist parping as U2 "made history" by foisting an unwanted record on people now has a historic counterblast: Songs Of Innocence is now the first record in history to have a special tool dedicated to its removal:

"Some customers asked for the ability to delete 'Songs of Innocence' from their library, so we set up to let them easily do so. Any customer that needs additional help should contact AppleCare," spokesman Adam Howorth told the BBC.
Yeah. Apple didn't even stop to think before the release that some people might not want the bloody thing.

Apple did change things last week. Up until last Tuesday, someone in front of you tapping the front of their watch impatiently used to be a sign they wanted you to hurry up. Now, that gesture just means they're trying to wipe U2 off their devices.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hold on, Bono's found a way to make that unwanted album even worse

As if the whole distribution of the lumpen U2 album wasn't enough to make it as attractive as an open sore while swimming in the waters of Fukushima, Bono's found a way to make it even less attractive.

Talking about it in a self-satisfied manner:

"We wanted to make a very personal album," Bono told Rolling Stone's Gus Wenner the day before the press conference in an exclusive interview. "Let's try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys — first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually. And that's hard. But we went there."
Oh, that's so hard, going "there", to a place that has only ever been visited by almost every single writer, poet, songwriter, mime artist, penis puppeteers, copywriters, silver-sprayed statue people and rodeo clown that has ever existed.

Legendobit: Peter Gutteridge

Peter Gutteridge, a legend in New Zealand's underground music scene, has died.

Gutteridge was a founding member of The Clean, The Chills and Snapper, and also had a solo career.

Last year, Gutteridge spoke at length with Mess And Noise's Wes Holland:

Peter was in the kitchen. I could see him wiping out a mug and diluting a soup.

He walked into the lounge, sat down and asked, “So, do you make music?”

“I play in a couple of bands, one’s called The Sand Pebbles…”

“And what sort of music do The Sand Pebbles make?”

Anxious, I uttered a line I thought would get him on-side.

“I guess you could describe it as sounding like the trippiness of psychedelia and the…”

He interrupted. He didn’t like me saying that. “There’s that word! If I had a dollar for every band that I’ve heard in the last couple of years call themselves ‘psychedelic’. Bands think that using a bit of feedback and an effect pedal somehow makes them psychedelic. It’s bullshit.”
Flying Nun have issued a statement:
We are greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Peter Gutteridge today.

Peter was a Flying Nun original, a founding member of The Clean, The Chills and of course his own brilliant band Snapper. A great talent, he was also member of the Great Unwashed, involved in many Dunedin bands and went on to release beautiful solo material across the years.

All of us, and so many people around the world, have been touched and affected by his music, whether it be the swirling fuzz of the guitar or haunting piano melodies, Peter was a true hero of New Zealand music, and will be deeply missed.

Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends at this very sad time.

Thank you Peter for all the music, may you rest in peace.
Still very much an active musician, earlier this month, Pete had played his first ever show in the US.

The cause of death, and even his exact age, is currently unknown. He died earlier on September 15th.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nicki Minaj and her old school: There's a twist

In the comments area on yesterday's post about Nicki Minaj's old school turning her down, Curious Iguana pointed out there's a statement from the school.

No television crews in school. That seems fair enough, right? A clear policy. Can't argue with a clear policy.

The idea of turning down a visit from a camera crew to a school of performing arts sounds a bit like telling Stephen Hawking to keep away from a science academy so as to not distract the pupils. But it's a rule.

Although, oddly, there's a lot of footage of things shot inside the school knocking about the web.

Another quick shake, and the New York schools administration admits it's not so much TV itself, but the type of TV:
“We do not allow reality TV to be filmed on school property,” Feinberg wrote in a statement. “For documentaries, any visit to a public school must be educational in nature and cannot intrude on instruction, and the decision about whether we can accommodate visits from celebrities is entirely up to the principal who manages the property.”
Reality TV. Not TV. Which, again, is fair enough - any sort of rule which stops the idea 'why don't we get the Duck Dynasty guys to deliver commencement' is a good thing. But you wonder if there's a clear definition of what the Department of Education considers reality, and if there's a subsection rule on what counts as scripted reality. Or if all these policies are just being thrown together on the fly.

But you know what? What we really need is something inarguable to explain what's gone on here.

Given this is America, perhaps we could find someone to deliver a 'because of terrorism' explanation, with which nobody can argue. Then we can all go home.

Mom quoted in the New York Daily News, can you rise to the occasion?
One mom said it was a particularly bad week.

“The school would definitely want her, but it was very last-minute, and protocol in public schools is no joke, especially with the Sept. 11 anniversary,” mom Ilene Sofferman told The News.
Of course. If Nicki Minaj had spoken to some kids about working in the entertainment industry, then the terrorists would have won.

This week just gone

The most-read stories this week:

1. Why is there a U2 record in my collection, Apple?
2. RIP: Throb
3. Paloma Faith slightly misses the point of the naked photo theft
4. Watch: The New Pornographers at Letterman
5. Neil McCormick who knows Bono says stop whinging about the U2 album
6. Kate Bush is doing a video
7. Tom Clarke insists he isn't a hobbit
8. Simon Bates eased out by Smooth
9. RIP: Kwon Ri-Sae
10. Nicki Minaj can't go back to school

These were interesting, and released:

Karen O - Crush Songs

Download Crush Songs

Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World

Download The Physical World

Simian Mobile Disco - Whorl

Download Whorl

Mazes - Wooden Aquarium

Download Wooden Aquarium

Interpol - El Pintor

Download El Pintor

Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

Download Ryan Adams