Saturday, September 05, 2015

Bruce Dickinson one of those old guys who thinks being disconnected is charming

Don't you hate those people who take some sort of pride in their distance from the modern world? Like hugely-specific unabombers who draw the line at technological developments after an arbitrary point. Amongst their number is Bruce Dickinson:

"I understand that in this day and age everybody has to have a big social media presence, and you have to look after your social media, and blah blah blah — okay, that's great," he said. "We've got a great team and they just look after the social media. I just completely ignore it. It's as if I live in another world, devoid of Twitter, devoid of Facebook, devoid of all the bullshit that gets talked about by all of these people. I just live in my own little head world. That's what makes the records. So I have no idea what's going on on Twitter, and I couldn't care less."

Asked if there is anything in particular about social media that bothers him, he said: "No, because I don't let myself get bothered. I pay no attention to it. I don't even know how to access Twitter. I mean, my mobile phone is a Nokia that I can't even take a picture on. It's held together with tape. That is my mobile phone, and people look at it with horror. People say, 'Well, why don't you have an iPhone?' Because it gets polluted by shit."
Ooh, you've got a Nokia, have you, Bruce? What are you, some kind of teenager with your trendy mobile walkabout everywhere phone? What's wrong with a traditional landline? Obviously not one with a dial, with all that 'having to look numbers up in a phonebook' shit, you just want to blow in a tube and get a telephonist to look after the connections, right?

It's worth remembering that when he's not being Grandpa Simpson or in Iron Maiden, Dickinson flies planes and runs an airline. With a taped-up Nokia which presumably connects through GPRS. He's a pilot.

"This is your captain speaking. Not though the intercom, which is just showy, I'm shouting through a rolled-up in flight magazine. Just so you know,I don't have time for all these bullshit dials and screens in the cockpit. I'm just using a barometer and a map in the back of an encyclopedia. Now, please pay attention to the talk about safety features on this plane, and be assured we haven't been polluted by shit like safety masks or whatnot. I don't even know how to use the switch for the landing gear, by the way."

Temple cast out: Eddy Temple Morris quits XFM

As XFM continues its dwindling days while Capital preps Radio X, station stalwart Eddy Temple Morris has quit and taken his Remix show elsewhere.

His farewell comes via Facebook:

For reasons that are personal, and shall remain private, I've made a very hard decision to resign from the radio station I love.

The Remix has been on Xfm for over 15 years and while I look for a new and more appropriate spiritual home for the show, Soho Radio - the excellent London based internet radio station - have very kindly offered to host the show in the meantime.
You might want to read between the lines:
Right now I'd say to all the doom and gloom brigade that new music and the way it's consumed is at such an interesting and exciting place now. It's a time for positivity and forward thinking, not fear and regret. The landscape is changing so fast. I can see a new level playing field emerging, where record labels aren't beholden to FM radio any more.

The last Remix show on Xfm, show number 797, will be a pre-recorded Best Remixes of The Millennium special broadcast tonight, September 4th. Show 798 will be broadcast live on Soho Radio next week in exactly the same slot. Friday 10pm till midnight on

TwoToneObit: Rico Rodriguez

Rico Rodriguez, who worked with The Specials and led Rico And The Rudies, has died.

Born in Cuba in 1934, raised in Jamaica and settling in Britain, Rodriguez had developed his style working with Oswald 'Count Ossie' Williams, taking part in jam sessions as part of the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari in the 1950s, and living with the musicians in the hills. He would later cite this as his formative experience:

"They're more developed, mentally and musically, than the average musician. When you play with them you can really explore. Most of what I know I learned from playing with them."
In the 1960s, Rico relocated to London and continued to play. There, he came to the attention of Chris Blackwell, landing a contract with Island in 1976. This allowed him his first trip back to Jamaica since leaving for Britain, and the resulting recordings sessions - released as Man From Wareika - set a template for the ska revival which combined the reggae-in-exile developments from the UK with the more traditional take from the Caribbean.

Having helped kick-start a ska comeback, it was appropriate that he would be in demand from the second revival wave acts - most notably joining The Specials on A Message To You, Rudy. He earned a namecheck in Reasons To Be Cheerful Part III; toured with The Police and seemed to be at last on the edge of a breakthrough.

Oddly, though, despite his success, Island lost interest and - besides a half-hearted attempt at recording a live cover of Guns Of Navarone with The Sprcials - the label first withdrew support, and then dropped him. He signed with Two Tone for the That Man Is Forward album, but, tiring of the music industry, in the early 80s, he retired back to the Wareika Hills.

His return to Europe, and European music, was down to the Swizz Heart Beat Band, who - unwilling to accept that such a brilliant musician was no longer working - sought him out, and persuaded him to pick up his career.

He was kept busy - between 1996 and 2012 he was a regular with Jools Holland's Rhythm And Blues Orchestra; he made his own records; and worked with second and third wave ska acts. He was made an MBE in 2007; in 2012, his contribution to Jamaican culture was recognised by a Silver Musgrave Medal.

Rico Rodriguez died on September 4th, in London. He was 80.

Emily Ratajkowski's blurred lines

Emily Ratajkowski, who was one of the models roped in to Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines project, has been doing a bit of an "I don't see what the fuss about" interview.

She was talking while promoting the Zac Effron film We Are Your Friends at the time, so it's almost as if she's drawn to career-limiting moments.

On Blurred Lines, she called it the "bane of her existence":

"Now, it’s the bane of my existence. When anyone comes up to me about 'Blurred Lines', I'm like, are we seriously talking about a video from three years ago?"
Which is ironic, because whenever anyone spots him at his current job at the Chick-fil-a, Robin Thicke hopes someone will ask him about Blurred Lines.
Ratajkowski also spoken about the amount of nudity in the clip, saying, "It's weird to me that the reaction to a woman’s naked body is so controversial in our culture."

"My mum taught me to never apologise for my sexuality. My dad never made me feel embarrassed. I also don’t think I’ve ever had an awareness of my own body as being super-sexual. It was always just my body."
Obviously, yes, being naked isn't a bad thing and being ashamed of your body is terrible. But Emily's being a bit disingenuous here - it's hard to see how she could have been so surprised that the level of nudity was a problem when they had her film a completely separate version with her clothes on.

More importantly, it's the context of the nudity and the way that the women had no clothes on, and the men did. And the way the men interacted with the women. It's such a blatant piece of sexist crap that it could almost have been designed as a starting point for GCSE essays on the male gaze. So clunky and easy to grasp are the problems with Blurred Lines video that it could have been made by Fisher Price as My First Sexist Problems.

It's not that there was a problem with your body, Emily. It's the way it was used. And that's why you're probably going to find people asking you about it for years to come.

Hannah Montana to South Mendips: Check

Now, it's possible that Miley Cyrus is going to play next year's Glastonbury.

On the other hand, this rumour coming a couple of days after the announcement of when the tickets will go on sale makes me wonder if it's not a cunning scheme:

- I'd love to go to Glastonbury next year.
- Yeah, but we can never get tickets. The demand is way too high.
- If only there was some way we could kill demand before people are thinking about booking.
- You mean we need some sort of wrecking ball?
- Yes! Yes, that's exactly what we need.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The VMAs happened, and we'd be better off if we try and pretend it didn't

The VMAs - the bit on the calendar when everyone remembers MTV still broadcast - happened yesterday, in a series of events in which pop music finally broke.

Miley Cyrus was on hosting duties, and couldn't decide what to wear. So in the end she wore everything:

Seven outfits. Seven outfits, and not one of them worked. The one with the giant Smarties on, clearly, was sold to her by a designer trying to keep a straight face while insisting that he had GaGa on the other line putting in a bid for it. But that was just the worst of a very, very bad bunch.

Somewhere this morning Billy Ray Cyrus is saying "when I said there's no way you're going on stage dressed like that", I wasn't being an overprotective father; I was talking on behalf of Vogue."

It's not just Miley's dresses which had most of America thinking it was time for an intervention, though. She's now got dreads.

Of course, there's no reason why Miley Cyrus can't have dreads - even ones that are so obviously fake that they look like they've recently been used to stop trawlers drifting off to sea - but it came across as a somewhat insensitive thing to do after her recent dis on Nicki:

It shows something of a deaf ear, or poor advice, to spend a chunk of the week telling a black woman she doesn't know how to campaign on behalf of under-represented black women, only to turn up with a head full of shoddy cultural appropriation. It's fair to say it didn't go down well.

And that wasn't the end of the racial insensitivity for the night:

In case you're not sure that having someone introduce the hip hop awards dressed as a cop making jokes about "injustice" is that much of a dick move, even the Daily Mail noticed.

Kanye was also there. He made reference to that time he was on before and gatecrashed Taylor Swift picking up an award:
He spoke of the aftermath of interrupting Swift lo those many years ago. He bit the hand that was feeding him by saying, "You know how many times MTV ran that footage again, 'cause it got them more ratings?"
It must have been galling that when you tried to make a gallant gesture in order to put the focus firmly on yourself, only for the awards show you're at to make hay from it, eh.

West also used the occasion to announce his plans for the next decade:
"And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided, in 2020, to run for president."
Cyrus's reaction to this - which came after a break, which means not only did she have time to think of a response, but other people could have, too, was:
“Trump, you had my vote. But now? Kanye West for president!”
Even in jest, to tell Donald Trump you were going to vote for him is deadly. Perhaps there was some metajoke being made about how, if you're going to vote for some guy off a reality TV show, it doesn't matter which one you go for, but somehow, I doubt it.

In happier news, Nicki and Taylor made up their beef. But Nicki wasn't done with Miley:
Minaj thanked her pastor while taking the award for Anaconda, then turned to Cyrus, who was on a nearby stage. “And now back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press – Miley, what’s good?” said Minaj.
Miley was forced to go off script for a moment. Like a pro, she blamed the press:
Cyrus responded to the confrontation, with a brief comment about interview responses being twisted from their intended message. “We’re all in the industry, we all do interviews, and we all know how they manipulate shit,” Cyrus said, before continuing with her script for the night.
Or maybe she didn't, as obviously that was on The Guardian website and you know how the press manipulate shit.

You do wonder, though, why she didn't contact Minaj directly and explain what she really meant when the interview came out, don't you?

In case you've forgotten, there were awards being given out as well, and here's the closest thing to winners in full:
Best Rock Video: Fall Out Boy, "Uma Thurman"

Best Pop Video: Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

Best Male Video: Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk"

Best Hip-Hop Video: Nicki Minaj, "Anaconda"

Best Female Video: Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

Best Video With a Social Message: Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, "One Man Can Change the World"

Song of the Summer: 5 Seconds of Summer, "She's Kinda Hot"

Best Collaboration: Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar, "Bad Blood"

Best Direction: Kendrick Lamar, "Alright" (Colin Tilley & the Little Homies)

Best Choreography: OK Go, "I Won’t Let You Down" (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)

Best Cinematography: Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar, "Never Catch Me" (Larkin Sieple)

Best Art Direction: Snoop Dogg, "So Many Pros" (François Rousselet, Jason Fijal)

Best Editing: Beyoncé, "7/11" (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)

Best Visual Effects: Skrillex and Diplo feat. Justin Bieber, "Where Are U Now" (Brewer, Gloria FX, and Max Chyzhevskyy)

Artist to Watch: Fetty Wap

Video of the Year: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, "Bad Blood"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

X Factor not quite the ratings juggernaut it once was

Last night, the X Factor returned, with all the pomp that ITV could muster.

Although, to be fair to ITV, when you're marketing something that now features Nick Grimshaw and Olly Murs as part of the mix, you're going to be struggling a bit to begin with.

Even so, a drop of 20% of viewers compared with last year's launch isn't great.

ITV are muttering about how maybe everyone was out because it was Bank Holiday (or maybe the thought that it's still August and this is going to drag on until Christmas put everyone off?).

And it still managed over seven million, which is considered good for the nearly identical Britain's Got Talent.

And it's not like ITV's got an idea to replace it with - Celebrity Sheepdogs or whatever that thing was isn't going to be anchoring a Saturday night any time soon.

So, on it will limp. Maybe they'll bring Steve Brookstein back as a twist.

Google is just taking the piss here, isn't it?

This week just gone

1. That last ever NME
2. RIP: Cilla Black
3. Left out of Compton
4. Tom Jones dropped from The Voice
5. Backing up your CD collection is now illegal, again
6. Bookmarks: Andy Medhurst on Cilla Black
7. One Direction split, slowly
8. XFM to become Moyles, Kay's playground
9. The Nostalgia industry has just reached Jessica Simpson
10. NOFX try to pay hipster to go away

These were interesting:

Wilco - Star Wars

Download Star Wars

Natalie Imbruglia - Male

Download Male

The Three Johns - Volume