Saturday, August 08, 2015

Backing up is now illegal

The decision of the High Court to make it illegal again to rip a CD you've purchased for money to play on a device of your choosing we've covered before. There's another sting to the judgement, though, as Consequence Of Sound have discovered. If you store your legally purchased music on your computer, and you back up your hard drive, you're a criminal, chummy:

the Government spokesperson went on to add that, “… It includes creating back-ups without permission from the copyright holder as this necessarily involves an act of copying.” In other words, if you legally purchase digital media online, you are now not legally allowed to back up that information on an external hard drive of any sort. In the long run, that means if your computer were to crash or get stolen, your only allowable course of action would be to re-purchase all your music and movies.
(I'm sure Apple and Amazon would both point out that if you buy through them, your purchase is recorded and free to download again at any time.)

Backing up your computer is now illegal. Good work, everybody.

Lenny Kravitz attempts to claim human rights for his penis

You'll have heard about Lenny Kravitz trousers ripping "unexpectedly" while onstage in Sweden. Suddenly, in Stockholm, his stock was no longer homed. Delighted fans snapped away. They only snapped with cameras - if they'd been snapping with shearing tools, Kravitz would have something to complain about.

But he's nonetheless upset that his trouser disintegration has exposed his penis to a mixture of acclaim, derision and lack of interest. And, to be fair, he has a right to be upset. Providing he doesn't overplay his hand.

He's overplaying his hand. And also overplaying his cock:

Today, The Metro reports that Kravitz's legal team have warned about the images, stating that they breach their "clients' copyright, human rights, right-of-publicity and performer's rights".
It's not clear if Kravitz's penis has a separate legal team, or, indeed if it is considered a performer in its own right.

Of course Kravitz has the right to ask people not to gawp around after his accident; but does he have to be such a cock about it?

Bookmarks: Cilla Black

Andy Medhurst's piece on Cilla Black concedes she was square, but suggests that was her superpower:

In many ways, her achievements were most notable for establishing continuities between different eras. Despite being vaulted into prominence by the earthquake of Merseybeat, which shook a nation out of post-war deference by insisting on the new, the now and the young, she was within a few years drawing on entertainment codes honed in earlier decades. This led some to lament her supposed co-option by conservatism but the shift now looks more shrewd: a fusion of novelty and tradition that fashioned her into the unlikeliest of hybrids, a pop art Gracie Fields.

Ryan Adams has a plan

It's been a while since Ryan Adams recorded something memorable. I'm sure there's been something this century, but nothing springs to m... actually, that means it wasn't memorable, doesn't it?

Still, all that's about to change as about to release an album full of top quality material.

One hitch, though. Not his songs:

Adams is covering a singer with a country past of her own: Taylor Swift. Today Adams announced on Twitter and Instagram that he’s recording a cover of her hit 2014 album 1989. The 28-second clip of “Welcome to New York” that Adams shared sounds like a big improvement over the original: With heavy guitar backing and Springsteenian vocal harmonies, Adams makes 1989’s weakest track sound like a bona-fide rock anthem.
It's not actually better, but it's better than anything else Adams has done recently.

How famous is Sam Smith? Not that famous, it turns out

I don't think I'm the only person who sees Sam Smith as a placeholder pop star - filling the space on bills; turning up; doing the job; but not an actual supernova pop star. You couldn't imagine a That'll Be The Day style movie being made about him; the biography isn't going to be a Hammer Of The Gods affair. More a Paintbrush Cheap From Homebase tale.

This impression doesn't go away with the discovery that people who had gone to see him at Red Rocks actually recognised him while he was mucking about before the show.

That's all a bit awkward, but at least we know the answer to the philosophical conundrum 'if Sam Smith is not on stage with a light shining on him, does he even exist?'

Friday, August 07, 2015

Chris versus Christ

It turns out that it's not just any old fight that Chris Brown has picked in The Philippines - oh, no, he's taking on Jesus himself:

Brown has become embroiled in a disagreement with Church of Christ following a gig which was meant to take place on New Year's Eve 2014. Brown pulled out of the gig but, according to the church who helped fund the gig, he was paid $1m (£645,000) for his time.
I know what you're thinking: what the hell is a church doing paying Chris Brown anything at all for a gig, never mind a million dollars. Perhaps Brown kept the money to teach the church not to get involved in this sort of the deal. They do say the Lord moves in mysterious ways...

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Pharrell Williams Woolworths deal attracts crowds

Pharrell is off to play South Africa. A few years back, choosing to play South Africa would have brought out massive crowds demanding the event be boycotted.

And, actually, that's what's happening this time, as Pharrell has done a deal with Woolworths. Because the South African retailer sources some of its stock from Israel, Woolworths has been a target for protests from Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Against Israel. And because Pharrell is co-promoting a thing with Woolworths, he's now become part of the target:

“He is about to face the biggest backlash any artist has faced in South Africa in over 30 years, since the days of apartheid,” said Braam Hanekom, a BDS South Africa board member.

“He is walking into a very angry, unhappy environment because he has chosen to walk with Woolworths,” Hanekom told Reuters after the City of Cape Town denied an application by thousands to protest at Pharrell's first concert on September 21.
The rejection of the protest request won't stop the protests; it just means they're going to take a different form.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Legendobit: Cilla Black

It's been announced this morning that Cilla Black has died. It feels weird that this time yesterday I was writing about her being on the NME cover in 1986.

She had an astonishing career - not the only person who had the good fortune to be born in Liverpool at just the right time to catch a rising tide, but with the personality to take that advantage and turn it into whatever was needed to work.

Singer; presenter; presenter who sang her own theme tune. There were many Cillas. But my Cilla - and I say this without any side - is this my Cilla, the Cilla I first encountered. Advertising Cilla:

(Actually, the one that has been banging round my head for nearly 40 years was 'I know it's not just me/ all my friends agree', but that doesn't seem to be online.)

There's not many current pop stars who could convincingly push a slightly nasty chocolate cube into a stranger's mouth and not come across as creepy; and much as I love Charli XCX, I couldn't really picture her working a sofa with Bob Carolgees on one side and a pair of twins who hadn't seen each other in twenty years on the other.

Bear Grylls might think he knows something about survival, but Cilla's career shows what survival really looks like.

This week just gone

Ten years old: The most popular stories from August 2010:

1. The AC Chart and the Fresh 40 Chart will save music
2. Louise Who Used To Be In Eternal now advertising bread
3. Melissa Etheridge now cancer-free
4. Tatu announce plans to work with Sting, Dave Stewart, Richard Carpenter
5. Marilyn Manson asks 'what about Harry Potter?'
6. Jon Brookes reveals new Charlatans album will sound like The Charlatans
7. Nico movie cast
8. Liam Gallagher marries well
9. Portugal give U2 a massive award
10. The odd world of Avril Lavigne dress-up dolls

These came out over a week ago now:

Gwenno - Y Dydd Olaf

Download Y Dydd Olaf

Hannah Peel - Rebox 2

Download Rebox 2

Ducktails - Saint Catherine

Download St Catherine