Sunday, April 24, 2016

Science explains Freddie Mercury

Science doesn't just listen to old Queen records. Science tries to understand old Queen records.

Science has decided that Freddie Mercury was basically like those Tuvan throat singers:

Those guys are so flamboyant.

Science doesn't say that Fred ever quite matched them for subharmonics, but science says he came close:

Subharmonics help "in creating the impression of a sound production system driven to its limits, even while used with great finesse," write the Austrian, Czech, and Swedish researchers in the Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology journal. "These traits, in combination with the fast and irregular vibrato, might have helped create Freddie Mercury's eccentric and flamboyant stage persona."
I think the outfits might have helped a little.

Science is now working on trying to fathom out Brian May.

This week just gone

The most popular Prince posts of all time:

1. That time Prince played KoKo in 2007
2. That time in 2010 when he said the internet was pretty much over
3. That time he released a record as a Mail covermount
4. That time he told Sinead O'Connor to not swear
5. That time he took on the apparently huge Prince handbag counterfeiting industry
6. That time Prince closed down his ahead-of-its-time online music service
7. That time the now-defunct News Of The World stopped hacking dead children's phones long enough to try and spoil to Mail On Sunday Prince giveaway
8. That time Prince reinvented himself as Willy Wonka
9. That time he won a Webby
10. That time the Mail found a Prince giveaway was almost as good a circulation boost as a Princess' funeral

These were last week's interesting releases:

Cate LeBon - Crab Day

Download Crab Day

Sam Beam & Jessca Hoop - Love Letter For Fire

Download Love Letter For Fire

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project

Download Hope Six

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bookmarks: After Prince

The Open University's OpenLearn Live service has pulled together a collection of some of the more thoughtful responses to the sudden death of Prince.

Also worth your time: New York Mag on how Prince helped editors when he changed his name to the symbol:

Prince did the only thing you could do in that situation: He had a custom-designed font distributed to news outlets on a floppy disk.

The Prince font substituted his symbol for what would otherwise be a capital P. In addition, the font was also made available for download on CompuServe. It was accompanied by a stern letter featuring both usage and installation instructions.
You may have heard a lot of the tribute radio programmes that were broadcast on Friday night. But if you haven't caught Radio 4's The World Tonight, it's worth it for the interview with sound engineer Susan Rogers. You can listen to that here.

On the other hand... not everyone covered themselves in glory.

The Daily Mirror should be ashamed of its "Prince found dead in party mansion" headline on Thursday night online - nothing factually incorrect, but the inference was clear and unwelcome. Not as bad as Fox News, though, which spoke loudly about how the mansion was being treated "as a crime scene". The story, surely, was big enough to not need extra nudges and winks.

Hey, want to know how to destroy festival experiences a little bit more?

A PR message aimed at festival goers arrives digitally.

There is no doubt that experiencing the Stagecoach Country Music Festival is an extraordinary and memorable experience
The Turnpike Troubadours are on the bill, which - to be honest - gives me doubts. But do go on.
But, the driving and traffic can turn an amazing experience into an unforgettable hassle.
This is a California festival, so maybe they've got a point. Perhaps we should think about getting public transport? Are you a bus company?
Freeways getting out of LA and San Diego will always be congested on Friday afternoon and getting out of the festival area on Monday can back up the 10 Freeway for hours.
You're not going to suggest a bus, are you? Perhaps this will be about not being a twit and turning up just before the thing starts and leaving as soon as it's over?
The best option to ensure an overall amazing weekend is to...
book a private jet to Stagecoach Festival.
Yeah, as if festival costs haven't already run out of control enough, you can burn through cash and the planet by chartering a plane to fly.

To a country music festival.

It's what Loretta would have wanted.

But hold on a minute... the festival doesn't take place at an airport, does it?
When you fly with Pacific Coast Jet, we land at Bermuda Dunes Airport, just minutes from Stagecoach Festival grounds.
Fifteen minutes. When there's no traffic.
We can also arrange ground transportation to conveniently deliver you right to your hotel or other accommodations.
Ground transportation. That kind of sounds like you'll be going on roads.
On Monday morning, we'll arrange pick up on your schedule and you'll fly right over the massive traffic jam on the freeway below.
The massive traffic jam which, somehow, you will have magically been able to get through in order to get to the airport.

Still, it's a useful warning: if you go to the Stagecoach Festival, you'll be rubbing shoulders with the sort of entitled dicks who try to buy their way out of traffic jams.

Thursday, April 21, 2016



Bugger that, and bugger this year.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Let's not inflict Wireless on Finsbury Park

Last year's Wireless Festival was a bit of a nightmare. For two weeks, a huge chunk of Finsbury Park was put behind a massive fence. Ironically, this meant local people couldn't use their park, but didn't mean that Festival goers couldn't use the local area.

And use it they did:

The fence of a local school playground had to be wrapped in protective plastic as festival goers were urinating through it while children were in school.
The Friends Of Finsbury Park don't mind the idea of a festival taking place in the park, they just don't want such a huge festival.

They're trying to raise money to bring legal action against their local council:
We want to stop Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park. We understand that council budgets have been slashed so there is less money to spend, but the Park already makes income for the council from smaller events such as the circus and funfairs, and location filming. We’d like Haringey Council to be open and transparent about how much the park costs to run and maintain, what income it generates without large scale events, and work with us to find alternative, more imaginative, streams of income which are more appropriate in type and scale for our wonderful Park, and inclusive of the local community.
You'd have to wish them luck. And maybe throw them a quid or two.

Is there any way Ticketmaster could become any more Monopolyesque?

Yes, yes there is.

As if the Ticketmaster behemoth hadn't rolled over enough of the music industry, they're teaming up with similar monolithic control block Facebook:

“At Ticketmaster, we’re continuing to build our platforms to make it easier to get tickets into the hands of fans. Ticketmaster integrates with key partners that make the buying experience simpler for fans and are complimentary to our artist and venue clients,” said the Live Nation-owned company.

“We recognise that Facebook delivers on scale and discovery. At Ticketmaster, we have the security and convenience of mobile verified ticket transaction technology. Together we are able to provide a seamless experience allowing the fan to purchase at the point of event discovery.

“Fans can discover an event and purchase a ticket within one experience.”
In future iterations, Facebook will just bill you and deliver the tickets without waiting for any interaction because IT KNOWS BETTER THAN YOU WHAT YOU WILL LIKE.

By 2019, Facebook/Ticketmaster will have the process down to a point where it will remove money from your bank account in return for automatically posting a message about how much you would have enjoyed the concert, without the need for you to be involved. A ten per cent fee will be levied on top for this service.

The police don't listen to Lily Allen

Lily Allen's story about being stalked is enough to make anyone sit up and take notice:

“This guy came steaming in and I didn’t know who he was. I recoiled and he ripped the duvet off, calling me a ‘fucking bitch’ and yelling about where his dad is.”

The man had an object stuffed inside his jacket that Allen is convinced was a knife. She believes he was caught off-guard when he found she was not alone, and her friend was able to shove the man out of the house as she ran to check her children were safe. “There was this second outside my kids’ room when I was terrified to go in, in case of what I might find.”
I say make anyone sit up. The police - who were already aware that Allen was being stalked - were surprisingly relaxed:
The police told Allen the intruder was probably someone who had stumbled into the wrong flat after too much to drink. “For me, it was too much of a coincidence that the only night I had left the shutters up, this man came in. I believe he had been spending a lot of time out there in my garden, watching.”

Calling the police back the next day, Allen told them she thought the intruder could be the same man who had been threatening her. “But they were uncomfortable with the idea. Then I realised my handbag was missing and the change in atmosphere was palpable, it was like a sigh of relief: ‘now it’s burglary – we understand that’.”
Yeah. "The shutters". Lily Allen was living a life where she was having to lock herself in her own home behind metal shutters.

She'd had a bunch of letters that she'd previously passed to the police, which you might think would be useful evidence when prosecuting this sort of crime:
“I wrote to the police and asked why they weren’t using these letters going back to 2009, and then I got a short note saying they had been destroyed ‘according to police protocol’. No apology, no explanation.”
Allen - as she points out - is neither low-profile, not backwards at coming forwards. And she knows the man who tormented her needed help, not punishment. Eventually, the stalker was brought to trial. The uncomfortable question is: what would have happened if it hadn't been Lily Allen? Someone without the strength to push through a system which appears to just be confused by the nature of the crime it's being asked to investigate.

This week just gone

The releases from the Friday before last:

Future Of The Left - The Peace And Truce Of...

Download The Peace And Truce...

Teleman - Brilliant Sanity

Download Brilliant Sanity

Ben Watt - Fever Dream

Download Fever Dream

Misty Miller - The Whole Family Is Worried

Download The Whole Family Is Worried

The Associates - The Very Best Of The Associates

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Rock sick list: Prince

Prince had to get his private jet to make an unscheduled stopover in Illinois after he felt ill onboard.

He'd apparently been ill before getting on the plane, which kind of makes me feel glad he flies on private jets and doesn't wind up disrupting lots of people.

It's exciting for the people of Moline - the airport where he touched down - as it's the most exciting thing to have happened there for... well, possibly forever. It used to have a slogan "Joined together, as the boroughs of New York City", and when your region's motto references a more exciting place elsewhere, you know you're in a quiet town. ("Tamworth - where people bleed, just like they do in London"; that sort of thing.

Sadly, though, the local hospital wasn't planning on becoming a sideshow:

The TMZ report said a private plane carrying Prince landed at Quad-City International Airport in Moline early Friday, and the performer was taken to a hospital.

But Blake Long, marketing manager for UnityPoint Health's Illinois region, would not confirm that late Friday afternoon.

"Prince is not currently listed as a patient," Long said, adding the hospital system had no other comment.
You have to respect a place where the marketing manager for a hospital, handed his biggest opportunity, declines to get involved.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Friday night that two sources close to Prince told the paper that he was at home in Chanhassen, Minn., on Friday evening. One said he had been suffering from “bad dehydration” but that “all’s good.”
Well, which is it? Is everything good, or is the dehydration bad? Which is it?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

This week just gone

The most read 2016 (& NYE 2015) stories so far:

1. Jedward take on ISIS
2. Avalanche to close
3. Liveblog: The Brits
4. First homophobe of Eurovision 2016
5. James Blunt's heart is in the right place… but...
6. Beyonce confuses the right wing
7. Cameron gets a briefing on Rita Ora
8. Radio X listeners really love Oasis
9. RIP Vi Subversa
10. RIP: Mark B

Last week's interesting releases:

Laura Gibson - Empire Builder

Download Empire Builder

Trembling Bells - Wide Majestic Aire

Download Wide Majestic Aire

The Burning Hell - Public Library

Download Public Library

Mogwai - Atomic

Download Atomic

Bleached - Welcome The Worms

Download Welcomes The Worms

Explosions In The Sky - The Wilderness

Download The Wilderness

Yeasayer - Amen & Goodbye

Download Amen & Goodbye

Melanie Martinez - Cry Baby

Download Cry Baby

Shonen Knife - Adventure

Download Adventure

Saturday, April 09, 2016

The Spectator listens to Lily Allen

The Spectator, trying to make things easier for the Establishment, isn't going to let Lily Allen try and land a blow on David Cameron:

Making clear her opposition to Cameron, Allen claimed on Twitter that he has been ‘stealing’ from the public and needs to resign:

Our Prime Minister has been stealing from us. It's very important that he resigns.

Alas Allen has failed to offer up any evidence to back up her claim. Given that offshore does not automatically equal tax avoidance, Blairmore itself does not appear to have been used specifically to reduce Cameron’s tax bill. In fact, when he sold his shares, he paid income tax on the dividends.
Except the prospectus for Blairmore did explicitly state it was being set up in such a way to minimise tax payments for the company in the UK; and obviously, if a company sits out of the country to avoid paying tax in the UK, it means that the Camerons are cashing in from profits inflated at the expense of UK taxpayers. All legal, of course, but the very fact that Dave has struggled to keep the pile of cash out of sight suggests that even he knows it's not entirely moral.

The Spectator thinks it has a winning argument, though:
Still, given that Allen is taking such an avid interest in Cameron’s family’s tax affairs, perhaps it’s worth reminding readers of some her father Keith Allen’s comments on tax avoidance. In 2011, the comedian came to U2’s defence after the Irish band were accused of tax evasion over their offshore affairs:

‘That whole thing about getting U2 to pay their tax and whatever… I don’t actually hold with the argument.’

What ever would Lily say?
Ah, yes. You should be judged based on the standards of your fathers' behaviour. Although, oddly, when people try to suggest that Cameron senior's tax avoidance somehow throws his shade on Dave's behaviour, that's wrong.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Rolling Stone decides its not Miller time

Back, then, to last night's inductions to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Over at Rolling Stone, you can read dispatches from the night.

You can read, for example, Deep Purple's acceptance speeches.

You can luxuriate in every detail of how Lars Ulrich introduced them.

You can spend some time with the text of Kendrick Lamar's introduction of NWA.

You can read NWA's acceptance speeches.

You can pore over every detail of Dan Auerbach's introduction to Steve Miller's induction.

And of course, you can read Miller's acc... oh, hang on. No, you can't. The Steve Miller acceptance speech, which - as we heard earlier was the only interesting thing of the evening.

Why, you wonder, would Rolling Stone neglect to run a speech which attacked the very idea of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and called out its management? I wonder if Wikipedia might have a hint?

Jann Simon Wenner (born January 7, 1946) is the co-founder and publisher of the popular culture biweekly Rolling Stone, as well as the current owner of Men's Journal and Us Weekly magazines.
Wenner, who was made a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in 1983, has endured controversy during his career as it relates to his involvement in the organization.
That noise? That's the sound of Wenner's part in the Berkely Free Speech Movement being erased from history.

I think we need to send someone to go round and check on the BPI

The BPI is involved in a scheme called Get It Right From A Genuine Site. It's well meaning, kind of like a Sunday School teacher getting you to colour in pictures of Jesus holding a lamb and believing that this will stop you from becoming a bad person when you grow up. It's not that there's anything wrong with it, it's just it's so disconnected from how the world works.

Reg sits in front of his computer, about to torrent a dodgy Taylor Swift album.

"Hold on" thinks Reg, "before I do that, I should check the BPI's Get It Right From A Genuine Site site, just to check it is okay."

He checks the site.

He realises he is doing wrong.

He goes to Spotify.

He can't find 1989, so he sighs and goes back to the torrents.

There's a site to promote the campaign at - snappy, eh? - but this is where the BPI suddenly froze in panic.

What if someone started a site at And they could fill that site up with things that aren't genuine at all. And the people of the UK, who have come to trust wouldn't realise, and MUSIC AS WE KNOW IT WOULD CEASE TO EXIST.

TorrentFreak has discovered that the BPI has binge bought all the domains it could find:

UK music group BPI owns the domain but to be doubly sure there are no imposters the group has also bagged at least 17 others, including the .audio, .band, .biz, .com, .digital, .email, .foundation and .net variants.
But what, worried the BPI, if people decided to try and parody our lovely campaign? What then?

And so, they fired up the registration site again:
TF discovered these domains while trawling through WHOIS records this week but it was more of a surprise to see that the BPI had also grabbed a bunch of ‘pirate’ versions too. As can be seen below, the BPI has secured the opportunity for people to GetitRightFromaPirateSite too.
Now, you could say there's wisdom in buying up a domain name that could work against you, but this is a pretty specific wording.

At time of writing, these domains are still available: (and all other variants) (and all other variants) (and all other variants)

You get the idea.

What makes this slightly less funny is that you're paying for this - despite the BPI being a cartel run by some of the largest businesses on the planet, the getitrightfromagenuinesite cybersplurge and the related activity is being paid for by the government.

Additional fun fact - you can still register a domain under the name BritishPornographicIndustry.

Steve Miller less than impressed with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Steve Miller has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He's not entirely thrilled by it all:

Asked to expand on his criticisms of the organization, which was founded by industry heavyweights like Jann S. Wenner of Rolling Stone and has its museum in Cleveland, Mr. Miller said, “The whole process is unpleasant,” suggesting that it be “changed from the top to the bottom.”

“They need to respect the artists they say they’re honoring, which they don’t,” the singer continued, making references to issues like licensing agreements between the show and its honorees. (Friday’s ceremony will be broadcast by HBO on April 30.)

Mr. Miller, 72, then turned to the ceremony itself. “When they told me I was inducted they said, ‘You have two tickets — one for your wife and one for yourself. Want another one? It’s $10,000. Sorry, that’s the way it goes,’ ” he said, adding, “What about my band? What about their wives?”

When a publicist for the Rock Hall tried to interrupt him, Mr. Miller persisted. “No, we’re not going to wrap this up — I’m going to wrap you up,” he said. “You go sit down over there and learn something.”
The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame organisation tried to put a brave face on it by pretending that being condemned by the people they seek to celebrate is somehow very on brand:
“Rock ’n’ roll can ignite many opinions,” the hall responded in a statement. “It’s what makes it so great. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was honored to induct Steve Miller tonight and congratulates him.”
Not so honoured they didn't try to shake him down for asking for three tickets.

What's lovely is the way they try to suggest that Miller is angry at rock and roll - "yeah, people get so animated about rock and roll" - rather than the museum they've built around it.

Countryobit: Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard has died at the age of 79. There are, of course, any number of obituaries online already.

Perhaps the best story about Haggard is that his musical career had its inspiration in one of Johnny Cash's prisons gigs. It's a great story because it shows what treating prisoners like people can do, but it's also great because that whole 'here is a man playing guitar, I can do that too' storyline in effect makes Haggard a punk hero as well as a country one.

I first came across Merle Haggard thanks to the NME - younger readers might need to be told there used to be a music magazine with that name. Back in 1988, the paper produced an album of Vietnam related pop, rock and soul called Feels Like I'm Fixin To Die. It's pretty good, and on it was this:

He came to regard the song as a bit of an albatross:

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t written Okie. Not that I’m ashamed of it. I’m not sure but what bothers me most is the people that identify with it. There is the extremity out there. I don’t know. It made people forget that I might be a much more musical artist than they give me credit for. I was indelibly stamped with this political image—this political, musical spokesman, or whatever.
And although it's a great song, based on the lyrics I might have not bothered digging much further into Haggard's back catalogue when I was 18. But this song made me give him a second look:

There's a moon across the border in the Louisiana sky
I smell the Pontchartrain,
I hear Silver Wings
Then, away Merle Haggard flies
If Nanci Griffith was giving him a verse in a song, equal billing with Loretta Lynn - well, he had to be worth a second look, right?

Sunday, April 03, 2016

This week just gone

The most-read March stories:

1. Avalanche closes, and how Record Store Day played a part
2. Daily Star misreports Viola Beach crash
3. Cameron gets Rita Ora briefings
4. Radio X listeners really love Rita Ora
5. Fan "humiliated" by Madonna refuses to be humiliated
6. RIP: George Martin
7. RIP: Keith Emerson
8. Paul Van Dyk falls off the stage
9. Cornwall: home of rock
10. Somebody wrote on Bryan Adam's guitar

These were last week's interesting releases:

The Joy Formidable - Hitch

Download Hitch

Kiran Leonard - Grapefruit

Download Grapefruit

K Michelle - More Issues Than Vogue

Download More Issues Than Vogue

Johnny Moped - It's A Real Cool Baby

Download It's A Real Cool Baby

Bob Mould - Patch The Sky

Download Patch The Sky

Friday, April 01, 2016

Beatlesobit: Fred Arnold

Really, this is just a plug for an article over at The Arkansas Times, recording the death of Fred Arnold. The story starts as an everyday tragedy - homeless man becomes the 467th person to die in a car accident in the state in 2015 - but becomes much more:

[His friend Walter Durst] said that Arnold, who often went by the nickname Billy, had once owned a set of iconic record stores in Charleston, S.C., where he had also been a radio show host and an active promoter of punk bands in the 1980s. He said he'd visited London, Cuba and Russia (that his politics "bordered on Communist") and had also briefly lived in Colorado, as he preferred a colder climate. He said that Arnold had suffered a number of strokes in recent years, exacerbating many of his other problems. The letter, though, grew stranger as it went on. Durst claimed, for instance, that Arnold had known all the members of The Beatles, and had been particularly good friends with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. That after Lennon's death, Arnold and Ono had continued to correspond and had remained close friends. "It was one of the hardest things I have ever done," he wrote, "when I had to write to Yoko to tell her of Fred's death."

The tide wasn't as strong as Jay-Z was told

Oh, poor Jay-Z. He's currently threatening to sue the people who sold him Tidal, as it turns out that he might not have been buying quite what he expected:

"It became clear after taking control of TIDAL and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the prior owners," Tidal said in a statement sent to Variety. "As a result, we have now served legal notice to parties involved in the sale."

Norwegian press reports relayed by Music Business Worldwide estimate that Tidal wants about $15 million back; the company declined to comment on these specifics.
There may be, at the heart of this, an attempt to make the weak figures they've managed so far (about three million subscribers) seem a little better if it's coming from a lower starting point.

Just a little better, though.

Bieberwatch (or, rather, Bieberlisten)

As promoted by Popbitch, there's a handy new site which keeps track of whether Capital FM is playing Justin Bieber:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mariah Carey marks a new point

Today, we put down our small-dog-in-a-handbag and call on our hat attendant to raise our bejewelled hat to Mariah Carey, who has managed to reach a point where she's so overpriced and showy even Harrods think she's a bit much.

Chris Brown hasn't reminded us for a while how charming he is

Who knew it was possible to make a young woman's attempted suicide worse? Chris Brown has managed it, though:

Since Kehlani made the post, Chris Brown had his say on the matter after after saying that Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team was one of the ‘few good guys left’. He went on to condemn Kehlani in an extremely strong tweet which claimed that she was ‘doing shit for sympathy’.
Coming from a man literally as he was doing shit for attention, that's quite a claim.

I think we all decided long ago that Brown was the human embodiment of the noise made by a spoon caught in a waste disposal unit; his latest low need detain us no further than to ensure that anyone who continues to support him is also avoided.

Shirley Manson's starting point facing closure

After decades of neglect by the council, and (possibly made-up) figures of a million quids' worth of repairs, Inch Community Centre in Edinburgh is threatened with closure.

It's the place where a young Shirley Manson first learned to play.

And surprise, surprise - the building is being flogged off to a private developer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What do they know of Brit-pop, who only Britpop know?

Radio X - the radio station that used to be known as XFM - has polled its listeners to find the best song ever.

We wish they hadn't:

"Wonderwall" is the best British song of all time; at least, so say the listeners of Radio X.

More than 50,000 votes were cast for the music station's inaugural Best of British poll (via RadioToday); which saw Oasis utterly dominate the results, occupying all four of the top positions. "Don't Look Back in Anger" came in at number two, "Champagne Supernova" at three, and "Live Forever" at four.
Normally, this sort of thing pukes up a list of Beatles titles so I suppose there's some sort of progress that we've moved on to people pretending to be the Beatles.

Here's the full chart:
1. "Wonderwall", Oasis
2. "Don’t Look Back In Anger", Oasis
3. "Champagne Supernova", Oasis
4. "Live Forever", Oasis
5. "I Am The Resurrection", The Stone Roses
6. "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor", Arctic Monkeys
7. "Heroes", David Bowie
8. "Life On Mars?", David Bowie
9. "Bittersweet Symphony", The Verve
10. "Gimme Shelter", The Rolling Stones
11. "One Day Like This", Elbow
12. "Bohemian Rhapsody", Queen
13. "Hey Jude", The Beatles
14. "Common People", Pulp
15. "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out", The Smiths
16. "Slide Away", Oasis
17. "Fool’s Gold", The Stone Roses
18. "How Soon Is Now", The Smiths
19. "A Day In The Life", The Beatles
20. "Love Will Tear Us Apart", Joy Division
Hang on; don't sob yet. There's worse to come:
The poll also revealed how its presenters voted; DJ Chris Moyles plumping for Coldplay's "Viva La Vida", while Vernon Kay backed The Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK"
Vernon Kay. Anarchy In The UK. Obviously, this does make sense - The Sex Pistols and Vernon Kay are both about as threatening to the status quo as each other. But you know that Vernon and his agent probably had a ten minute conversation before deciding to go with such an edgy option.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Chvrches supporting Rape Crisis fundraising

Lauren Mayberry is supporting a fundraising campaign by Rape Crisis in Glasgow. It's worth your support - not because of the endorsement, but because of this:

Isobel Kerr, Rape Crisis Glasgow manager, said: “Over the past few years the number of women seeking help has gone up. For example, last year we processed about 5,500 calls through the centre and all these calls were support and advocacy related. This was an increase of 25 per cent on the year before. However, for the year that we are in at the moment, which doesn’t finish until the end of March, we have had 10,500 calls so we’ve had a 100 per cent increase on the previous year already.

“Our figures for this year are going to be just under 800 survivors who need medium- to long-term support – that’s individuals and that means that they have access to someone face-to-face and they can use the drop in and our group work programme.

“We support survivors but we also support their families and because we work with very young women, some as young as 13, it is not unusual for us to be supporting a young woman and her mum and dad.

“In order to meet the demand at the moment we need to raise another £50,000 because our waiting lists are getting longer.

“We have around 50 women sitting waiting to see a worker and they are probably going to wait a couple of months at least. It is just unacceptable and not fair.”
Here's how you can donate.

Ticket fraud is growing

Hey, guess what? As buying tickets for big events becomes ever more a process of sitting staring at the messages servers make when they're overloaded, ticket-related cons are on the rise. Whoeverwouldhavethought, eh?

People in their twenties are most likely to be affected by buying tickets that don't exist:

Chris Greany, Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, added: “The fact that people in their twenties are most likely to fall victim to ticket fraud is concerning as this is the age-group who are known to be most ‘cyber-savvy’. If this group is falling victim it suggests that the fraudulent tickets sellers are very convincing and have the ability to exploit just about every type of internet user.”
It's perhaps a sign of the struggle we're up against that the man in charge of fighting ticket fraud seems surprised that the demographic most likely to be going to gigs is most likely to be hit by ticket fraud; although it seems in part that he's bought the 'digital native' bollocks which implies that somehow being able to use a touchscreen means you have magic powers allowing you to avoid negative experiences online.

Where is JB from JLS now?

You have to love Jonathan Benjamin Gill out of JLS. He's a huge traditionalist, it turns out, as - like so many pop stars of the 60s and 70s - he's bought a farm. He now pops up in the Daily Telegraph talking about deer farming:

He ‘definitely didn’t want to do music’ after JLS. When I ask why, he falls back on Zen media babble: ‘I value relationships probably more than anything else.’ He is married to the dancer Chloe Tangney. They have a one-year-old son called Ace. Instead he chose farming. His first pig was a rescue animal from the RSPCA called Ginger. (I didn’t know people abused pigs, but apparently they do.) Ginger is ‘cheeky… If she was a musician she would be the biggest diva ever.’ Now he has six breeding sows and two boars, one of which is ‘quite docile’, and some chickens. He sold 160 turkeys at Christmas; they were, he says, ‘brilliant’, with the kind of enthusiasm you do not expect to end with a decapitation.
Who would ever have imagined that being in JLS would make mucking out dozens upon dozens of turkeys seem like an attractive career choice?

It's a shit business, say Queensryche

Oh, you think you have it tough, in your job with no security and such a weak pension scheme you're still going to have to turn up to punch the clock when you're actually dead? Try being a rock star, mate. Listen to poor old Todd La Torre out of Queensryche complaining about his treadmill:

The glory days where you could take an entire year off and write and record, and you could earn a good, substantial living off of publishing, those days are gone. And so, you can still earn decent money… not like that. You're not selling millions of albums. Nobody's going gold unless you're a pop star. And so we have to try to find the writing and recording in between when we're touring. And, unfortunately, it becomes this cycle of… I think we'll probably do a record every two years, because by the time you try to promote and tour on it, there just isn't that ample time to take a year off and write and record. So it's kind of a two-year cycle, I think, for us, and for a lot of bands.
It's lovely that he assumes that the inability to Queensryche to make enough money to only tour every so often is because of shifts in the music industry, and not because Queensryche might no longer be quite the premium product. He's a bit like a shopkeeper trying to flog week-old milk blaming the state of the dairy industry in the UK for the need to mark down the price.

Mariah Carey stays solid. Just from a distance.

Mariah Carey was supposed to play Brussels last night. Faced with the opportunity to carry on as normal, she, erm, chose not to:

I love my fans in Brussels and at this time I am being advised to cancel my show for the safety of my fans, my band, crew and everyone involved with the tour. I hope to see you soon and send my prayers and eternal love, laughter and light to my Lambs.
Oddly, nobody seemed to be advising Jess Glynne or Johnny Hallyday to cancel. I wonder where the advice came from.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

This week just gone

Five years ago - what people put in their faces:

1. Billy Corgan tried a joke; people fact check joke
2. Tatu don't understand why people think they're gay
3. Armenian-British band Vox say they're not homophobic
4. RIP: Loletta Holloway
5. Phil Collins quits the drumming
6. Jon Bon Jovi says Steve Jobs killed music
7. Daily Mail prints pictures of 15 year old who looks older, while worrying about Rihanna and pornification
8. Maroon 5 to project fans into their studio
9. Ashley Judd once sent a necklace to KD Lang
10. Bob Dylan lets the Chinese government OK his set list

Last week's interesting releases:

The Magnetic Fields - Prospect Of Skelmersdale

Download Prospect Of Skelmersdale

Meilyr Jones - 2013

Download 2013

Bitchin Bajas and "Bonnie" "Pr'in'ce" "Billy" - Epic Jammers And Fortunate Little Ditties

Download Epic Jammers...

Primal Scream - Chaosmosis

Download Chaosmosis

James - Girl At The End Of The World

Download Girl At The End Of The World

Underworld - Barbara, Barbara, We Face A Shining Future

Download Barbara, Barbara...