Saturday, April 05, 2003

CAN THEY DO THAT?: Thanks to a reader, we've got hold of a copy of the confirmatory email that lucky purchasers of Glastonbury tickets get sent to them. There’s a nice little bit about not pissing in the wrong places and not doing graffiti, but the only legal is the reference "This order is subject to terms and conditions which can be viewed here", and the crucial bit on that page would be "By ordering you agree that the tickets are for the personal use of you and your party only, and will not be resold or transferred."
Now, we're curious about the extent to which that rule can be imposed - seriously, let's assume that two people - we'll call them Jude and Sadie - plan to go to Glastonbury. Jude buys the tickets on his credit card. Before the event, however, Jude and Sadie fall out. Strictly speaking, under this condition of purchase, Jude would be barred from giving Sadie’s ticket to anybody else, and even more of saying to Sadie "here, take Kate with my ticket, I’m not going."
That that is clearly unworkable puts the whole of that under a bit of a question. It would also be unfair to say that Jude couldn’t ask Kate to give him the cost of the ticket. Now, if the sentence was phrased a little more firmly - “that at time of purchase you intend to use the tickets and that you do not resell them for more than the face value” - they'd have a stick with which to beat the touts. Whether the actual weak wording is enough is questionable.
And then, what could Aloud or Glastonbury do? They could only withhold tickets from people they knew were selling them on - and surely any tout with half a ounce of sense would have ordered his tickets in a way that wouldn’t be matchable with an Ebay account?
Now, in the past Ebay have been quite happy to cooperate with requests to take down auctions - they operate on a 'line of least resistance' basis, but there’s a difference between taking down a sale and passing details of the seller to Aloud or Glastonbury. If you check the Ebay privacy policy, they say "Legal Requests. eBay cooperates with law enforcement inquiries, as well as other third parties to enforce laws, such as: intellectual property rights, fraud and other rights. We can (and you authorize us to) disclose any information about you to law enforcement or other government officials as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate, in connection with an investigation of fraud, intellectual property infringements, or other activity that is illegal or may expose us or you to legal liability." Now, it’s not really clear if selling tickets on breaks any laws; but its not beyond the possible that Glastonbury could try and request details - perhaps through a legal route - of ticket sellers. But it's hard to imagine such strong arm tactics fitting in well with the image of the festival.
So: can they twart the touts by getting the details from ebay, and then stopping Aloud from sending tickets to people who've offered the tickets for sale online? Possibly they could, but it'd be questionable, could lead them open to a legal challenge and certainly would blow any residual image of Glastonbury as being a liberal-leaning organisation as they strongarm personal details out of Ebay.
There's also a slightly bigger question here: if people do sell tickets on, so what? They're not printing fake tickets to sell, so it's not like they're undermining safety at the festival. The festival set a price, which presumably they're happy with; if other people want to pay more then where's the problem in someone who's been fast enough to buy tickets selling them on? It's not even like the touts are pricing fans of a band out of the event, as with the Radiohead touts; here, the price is for a weekend in the country rather than to see a specific band. People buy limited edition records in the hope they can resell them later at a profit, some even will take a risk that a second copy of the NME will appreciate in value at the same time. And let's not forget that after last year's festival, Michael Eavis told the BBC he thought that the high prices the festival had set had contributed to the peacefulness inside the event, as it had closed out a lot of the younger sorts. Surely they should welcome the role of ebay making it unlikely anyone with just the one home going anyway. Glastonbury has embraced many of the trappings of capitalism: sponsorship from large corporations, for example. Why bleat when capitalism embraces the festival?

IF MUSIC BE THE RUDE OF LOVE: It's not merely the desperate lack of a subtle touch in the range of shag to Classical Music CDs - though 'shacking up with chopin' does perhaps suck any of the natural sexiness of classical music out and replace it with the sort of fake-sexiness you'd find on a Sky One late night fly on the wall series - but they've got James Galway on them. Who the hell could get it on with James Galway on the stereo?
[Thanks to Martin Wheatley]

Friday, April 04, 2003

IT WAS LIKE A DECAPITATION, APPARENTLY: You have to wonder at someone who (i) goes to see Pearl Jam but is also so outraged by Eddie Vedder smashing an effigy of Bush that they feel the need to walk out of the gig, as happened at Denver. Apparently, all the while Ed was stressing that Pearl Jam loved the troops (mmmm, those uniforms) it was fine, but once he started smashing stuff, well, babysitters suddenly found their services were being no longer required. Mind you, the walkout doesn't seem to have been that huge - the same guy is quoted in both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, and the estimate of the size of the walkout is put at "dozens", which in a huge venue like the Pepsi Center wouldn't even be differentiated from the usual number of people popping to the bar. Sounds more like a case of 'one man walks out, calls papers" to us.

NME - ABOUT SEVENTEENTH WITH THE NEWS: The BBC website had the announcement of the Tatu UK gigs up on Monday morning. has just heard.

MORE RIAA CLUSTERBOMBING: Seemingly desperate to make themselves look like the world's worst corporate body, the RIAA has launched legal action against four students for running what the Record Industry body claims are 'Napster-like' networks in a college. We really hope this doesn't blow up in the RIAA's face - okay, we do: it looks like there could be a pretty strong defence that the students invovled aren't actually allowing or encouraging file sharing, but merely providing an indexing system; in addition, while the systems could be used to share MP3s, it doesn't take a genius hotshot lawyer to suppose that there may be reasons totally unrelated with bootleg Bob Marley album tracks that such a service could be put to. And even if the RIAA manage to fund an expensive legal team to crush the bright eyed youngsters like bugs, they're not going to come out of that looking very good or cool, are they? "We have destroyed the lives of young people so that Madonna can keep hold of a few extra cents."
Hilary Rosen has not appeared live on television for some days.

WHAT SOLO CAREER IS THAT, EXACTLY: Emma Bunton is relaunching her solo career, with a record funded by Simon Fuller because no proper label would have her - we're assumng this is the music biz equivalent of a sympathy shag for old time's sake.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

DOUBLE WOOMBLE: Becky Bamboo is our witness to Roddy Woomble's knickers:

so despite being totally exhaused and wearing uncomfortable shoes [we should point out becky has something like sixteen thousand pairs of shoes - XRRF] I went up to san francisco yesterday to see idlewild not once, but twice. how could I pass that up?

first up was an acoustic performance at the mother of all indie music stores: Amoeba Records. the parkinggods were smiling favorable on me as I managed to score a spot right around the corner. woohoo! I had just enough time for a quick visit to Booksmith and to grab a slice of pizza for dinner before I took up my place in the rockabilly section in front of the Hasil Adkins classic album of ruminations on... chicken. I nearly bought it just so I could hear the song "Chicken Twist".

anyway. Idlewild came out (well, 3 of them anyway) and started right up with a song off the new album. I must say Roddy is just adorable. the gap in the teeth, the dimple in the left cheek when he smiled, the tousled hair... you know. he was wearing a skinny brown jacket buttoned all the way up with a white t-shirt underneath and low slung jeans that revealed a good 2 inches of blue boxer shorts. yes, I took a picture. no, it's not developed yet. he was accompanied by Rod Jones and Allen Stewart, both on acoustic guitar. they did 6 songs, keeping things mostly low-key. no requests or anything - it seemed like a pre-determined set.

I'd brought along my two albums in hopes there would be a signing afterwards and that was indeed the case. they handed out album posters to the first people in line so I got that signed in addition to my cds. I didn't talk to them at all. I've found that when I do actually attempt anything other than a smile and a "thank you" when I meet someone even remotely famous that I venture scarily close to Chris Farley "And then that one time? When you did that thing with the mic stand? That was awesome!" territory. so not cool. they are wee little men though. I just wanted to pop them all in my pocket.

I went straight from Amoeba to Slims, and was there before the doors opened. I staked out my traditional front row, slightly off center spot and immediately began wishing I had a chair. or different shoes. anyway. first band up was the Natural History who sounded like Spoon, but without Spoon's beautiful spareness and, you know, great songs. they were decent, but nothing special. I actually didn't mind them because the drummer was freakishly good looking. he had the total Clark Kent thing going, with the black rimmed glasses and dorky haircut. but you could totally tell that he had this fantastic bone structure - cheekbones, strong jaw, broad shoulders. very nice.

not so nice was the second band, the French Kicks. they were upbeat and had lots of energy but I was not convinced they had the tunes to back up the attitude. it could be because the vocals were buried so far back in the mix that it just sounded like 40 minutes of the backing band, but what I did manage to pick out didn't impress me. also, their drummer? not as good looking. he looked like a cross between Henry Winkler and Ryan Merriman. so, lousy tunes and no eye candy... where did I put my book again?

luckily Idlewild came out to redeem the show. Roddy had changed into black pants (pulled up this time), a white tshirt that said "MASTER" across the chest (I was totally hoping for a Buffy shout out with a "BATOR" across the back, but no dice), and a black coat that came off after the first couple of songs. they ripped into the songs hard and fast, mixing early stuff with the new, heavier and rawer than the album tracks. Roddy became sexy rather than cute and I didn't even mind when he totally almost stepped on my hand. he alternated dancing with and strangling the mic stand, while Rod performed some energetic vertical frog jumps on the other half of the stage. I can't tell you exactly what they played because despite having my hands on a set list the desperate ho next to me ripped it out of my hands. bitch. I nearly yelled at her, but decided to console myself with my signed cds and poster instead. ah, the high ground. it's so much more fun when you can also cruelly taunt those below.

HEAVY METAL THUNDER, HEAVY METAL THUNDER, SOFT ROCK BALLAD FOR THE LADIES: Evangalista claim to be the Great Lost Cult Band of the 90's, and now they're bowing to a small but vociferous (we're guessing more small than vociferous) demand to release their recordings. So far, so humdrum. What makes this noteworthy, though, is that in the band's ranks are Al "the pub "shows you why British sitcoms generally only have a run of six episodes" landlord" Murray and a former deputy editor of rhythm magazine. We're aware, thank you, that we're stretching the definition of 'noteworthy' here.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: It was suggested a while back this was going to happen, but finally it has: in the US, AOL Time Warner has taken its magazine portfolio into an AOL subscribers-only area. As we pointed out when they mooted doing this, if they brought the same policy in for the UK, then we'd lose to those people who have a Connie Connection - we'd imagine they'd think long and hard before doing that, mind. Although perhaps they wouldn't bother and just do it anyway.
We do like the official line AOL are spinning: "We are making the move from the content being available for free, and (instead are) making it so you have to have a relationship with us" 'Have a relationship with us' being a polite way of saying 'give some more of your money to us', of course.

MORE BAD NEWS FOR THE RIAA: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir have followed Mick Hucknall's lead and announced they're going to put out their own records in future. They may be the most indie Indie label in history - yeah, Creation might have had the Primals and the Mary Chain, but the Mormons have got their own church. It'll at least spare them the fate of Kittie who are having to sue their US label for about a million bucks claiming they've been diddled.

LIKE A [PUBLIC SPEAKING] VIRGIN: Madonna gave an interview to Launch about the whole American Life video and record before she pulled it. We suspect you can see the realisation she's painted herself into a corner dawning across the meaningless babble Launch have struggled to turn into some sort of coherent sentences:
"Well, I think the war that's going on in Iraq right now is affecting everything. I think everyone is glued to their television, nobody knows what's going on, everybody's scared. I don't think that people are as concerned as they usually are consumed as they are being entertained or distracted, you know what I mean? And that's kind of what the video is about, 'cause it starts out with the ultimate distraction, a fashion show, catwalk, beautiful people, perfect male, female six-foot Amazon Uber people. As a society we've become obsessed with obtaining that image or aspiring to it. But I needed that as juxtaposition to what's really happening in the world... If it's not the war in Iraq, it's any number of wars that are going on at any given time. And that dichotomy the paradox that's going on in our lives right now, 'cause on the one hand life has become so convenient for everyone. The technological advances that we've made have made everything, time, space, and motion collapse and disappear. But on the other hand there's never been more chaos in the world, and the video is like, 'Oh, ok, this is happening, what are we going to do about it?' And the video is question that I pose to everyone. And, do I think, I think in a way everything is happening perfectly? And it's synonymous, there's a poetry to it, I mean I was planning this video and the concept last November and I didn't know we were going to where we are right now at the time of the release of my album."
Right... I mean, where do you start? Motion has disappeared forever? Time and space has collapsed? Surely that would have been on the news, wouldn't it? Although maybe it was on the Six O'clock and six just never arrived. And you have to feel sorry for poor ole Madge - who could have predicted back in November 2002 that we'd be at war with Iraq now? And we just don't know what "I don't think that people are as concerned as they usually are consumed as they are being entertained" means, much less how people can be simultaneously scared and affected and unconcerned, which is what she seems to be saying. And you could argue that a fashion catwalk isn't in any way an ironic juxtaposition with War in Iraq - both are about people putting on a front and having someone dictate what the ideal of beauty/government/democracy should be, usually a person who doesn't live up to those ideals themselves - but I think that would be to suggest that some thought may have been put into the idea rather than just "Wouldn't it be funny if..."
I suspect the video was withdrawn because Madonna feared she might be asked to explain what the thinking was behind it, and she doesn't actually have an answer.She's not worried about upsetting the troops; she's worried about exposing her lame creative impulse.

TICKET TOUTS, PAY ATTENTION: Here's a curious little maths problem for you all to ponder:
Glastonbury 'sells out' all 85,000 tickets - that's the figure that has been widely reported. Fair enough, that would be a sell out and lead to the prices rising swiftly on Ebay as there aren't meant to be any more.
Except... in the application for a licence the organisers said there would be 150,000 tickets made available in total; 34,000 accounted for by performers, locals, traders and so on; 3,500 Sunday day passes for local residents and the remainder - 112,500 - weekend tickets on sale to the general public. By my reckoning, the "sold out" festival has still got another thirty thousand odd tickets hidden up its sleeve. Something to think about when you're filling in the little bid box at Ebay.

THE JUKEBOX IN THEIR HEAD TURNS ME ON: Popbitch is having something of an Indian Summer since the revamp - a much higher Interest to Rah!Rah!Rah! ratio; perhaps in the week that it was closed some people realised it is possible to have a thought without the need to share it with Britain's Largest Source of Tabloid Filler Items(TM). It's pleasing to see, like an old friend who'd taken a bad turning; he might not be off the smack, but he's controlling his use, and has stopped pinching your CDs and the wife's Lilliput Lane cottages to flog while your back is turned. Anyway, right now, they're doing a 'best opening line' thread, and nearly ever regular has been outed as being in their early thirties - Cud, the opening gasp from Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft. Oh, and Propaganda. This is the voice of the British Music Industry at play, remember. So much nicer than the sound of their day jobs.

NOT H.A.P.P.Y. RADIO: Edwin Starr's died of an apparent heart attack, oddly at home in the Midlands. We feel kind of guilty that it might have been our overuse of 'War! Urgh! What is it good for' headlines and subject lines that added to the strain.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: The Bistro edition, II
We love nothing more than a bitter man in the music industry - or so we thought. Then we read Mark Goodier’s interview in the FT Creative Business, and decided that better was a bitter man trying to be ever so ‘umble. Goodier - who somehow managed to fuck-up a multi-million pound radio production company - is especially good with the faint praise damnation stick he waggles at the man who followed him at the helm of Radio One - as the FT pointed out, he implies that if Wes Butters tries hard, he might get up to being quite good one day.

Bang has yet to turn up in Liverpool, so all we have to go on is the review on PlayLouder. PlayLouder hate it, with what could be described as passion. In fact, their contempt for the title makes us want to see if Bang really could be that bad.

Counting down slowly, Careless Talk Costs Lives is now at number five, with supposedly just four more until they’ll take stock and either fold and walk away, or decide they’ve changed the face of music journalism. Luckily, they may not be toiling in vain - this issue is not only the best yet, it’s the first that really feels like a coherent project. And the paper it’s printed on smells delicious. Or maybe its the ink. Whatever, as well as looking lovely, and reading well, it smells gorgeous. When did you last sniff the NME? In his editorial, Everett True rails against a company which re-runs a ten year old article you’d had a gentleman’s agreement would never appear again - I’m assuming we’re talking about the Christmas ‘Kurt’s last christmas’ article from the nme here. Daniel Johnston is now in his forties, you know. Scary, innit? Twink are interviewed about their concept-album-for-kids about a rabbit - Hoppity Jones - who falls asleep in the woods and wakes up to find the forest a stranger place after night. John Robb meets Crass who know what to value from the past, and why “What the Beatles did was confirm the political element [to rock music]” - and are amusing about the attempts of perpetual Tory fall Guy Tim Eggar’s attempts to prosecute the band during their anti-Falklands War campaign era. Karen O is interviewed while monumentally stoned; the oddest point is when Nick yeah yeah yeah says “the hissy fits are the only band I’d slag off” but “hissy fits” are blacked out. Curious. A brief taste of this issue can’t do it justice: buy. You must.

“What’s wrong with cannibalism?” ask the Murderdolls in a desperate attempt to shock us until our hair falls out. Well, for a start, cultures where the eating of human flesh is common experience a high rate of a disease somewhat akin to mad cow disease. Kerrang territory we’re in here, of course - a world where Cradle of Filth still gets talked about the way Transdifffusion talk about the BBC-1 globe. But this week, it’s worth the swallowing to get hold of this week. Well, if you like Placebo. Brian on the cover, and four pages of Molko inside, talking about the way the band is seen and his reputation for being an awkward bastard. “I suppose our fans are a lot more interesting than Sting fans. Or Gareth Gates.” There’s also speculation they pissed Fred Durst off by being “a bit more faggy” when they met him. Curious. Equally curious, by the way, is the tortuous attempt to review The Donnas live - “they’re in their pyjamas on the cover of the album! but they rock hard!” - suggesting that the common assumption metal writers work from is that it is impossible to hold more than one idea at once; but it’s odd that even so they haven’t realised you can want to rock out and get laid at the same time. Even if you’re a GIRL.

The NME comes with Bring It On - The Faint (Omaha’s Placebo, apparently); The Rogers Sisters; Rocket Science; Northern State; The Icarus Line; The Warlocks and the 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster. Once again, the small freebie punches above its weight in terms of new thrills. Its churlish to complain that these bands should really be getting weighed in the main paper, not stuck out in some sort of side-saddle potting shed. But it won’t stop us.

The paper proper has got the White Stripes on the cover, and comes with FREE POSTERS. A pin-up of Avril Lavigne - she’s giving us the finger; oh, isn’t she real; then Jeff Buckley; him out of Coldplay still doing the killer’s writing on his hands; the Datsuns - probably in response to the demands of their ker-azy Street team; the Yeah yeah yeahs and Craig Vines (a CTCL hate figure, but we’d do him) and, erm, The Beatles and... a poster for Donnie Darko.

News: Apparently people bothered to email the NME to complain about radiohead’s decision to call their new album Lesbians Against Bush or whatever they’re going wit. Seriously, the nme want us to believe that calling the album ‘Hail to the thief’ is the “biggest anti-war statement yet” - yeah, really knocks the three million people marching in London into the shade, doesn’t it? The paper redeems itself by printing some of the emails, mind - “Remember, Thom, if it wasn’t for us Americans and our ‘corrupt’ government, you’d be speaking German right now” - erm, what part did George W play in the fight against Hitler? Must have missed that; The Strokes are at work on their follow-up album - Albert hammond reports “It’s magical, rocking and interesting - everything is new”; The Libertines played a gig in their front room, in an odd life imitates lame Doritios advert

The Raveonettes are CD making - Gram Parsons, Suicide, The Kills, Richie Valens, Buddy Holly. Do *you* think about death much?

The Applicators say you can date them if you buy them shoes and there’s a brief chat with Hot Hot Heat as their fame start to spiral.

The Rapture admit to having been big fans of Duran Duran back in fourth grade - Nick Rhodes really is the name to drop this year, isn’t he?

Jack and Meg are a bit frustrating, actually: there’s a brown-nose to Ms Kidmann - “to be so popular and beautiful at the same time must pose so many challenges for her” and then, asked about the war, Jack cops out “we’re musicians and songwriters and I’d rather not even bother with having an opinion about it.” Knob.

athlete = vehicles and animals - “Toploader fans - you might have found your new favourite band”, 4
mew - frengers - “glorious”, 8
they came from the stars, I saw them - what are we doing here? - “screaming for a song that takes itself seriously”, 5

sotw - the faint - against suicide - “the place where duran meet marilyn manson” (see?)
qotsa - go with the flow - “satanic chanting”

interpol - london astoria - “they create a whole world”
harry - manchester night and day - “the no-cock revolution found its ringleader”
ladytron -camden electric ballroom - “the girls are cranking up the dial”

and finally: the new NME originals is Madchester. God, Ian Brown always was an ugly figurehead, wasn’t he?

YOUR NAME'S NOT DOWN... OH, BUGGER, NEITHER IS MINE: We're half-pleased that there's going to be some sort of control over who can do door control (or whatever the PC term for 'be a bouncer' is these days) - obviously there's been local schemes running for a while now but travelling to gigs out of town you'd still be running the risk of having your skull's future as a single continuous entity decided on the whim of someone who might be very nasty indeed. We're just not sure the rules - or rather, rule - governing who can get a licence is anything like enough. It seems to be "Not been convicted of a criminal offence recently." While that can be handy - you can at least be sure that the man in the tux hasn't just got out of the Scrubs - it doesn't really go far enough. For a start, it doesn't apply to 'in house' security; and while 'not a recent criminal' is good, the opportunity could be taken to actually make the posession of a licence a positive - it could signify completition of, say, a first aid course and that the holder has the ability to sort out a problem without merely throwing their weight around. Instead, they've gone with the option of filtering out the bad rather than promoting the good.
The words of the chair of the body overseeing the law, Molly Meacher, suggests that she'd rather go further in the opposite direction, whimsically noting "There are downsides to people having rights - although those rights are very important. We can't afford to lose a human rights challenge on the basis that we have not allowed people to have a fair trial (for a licence)." You'd hope she'd want people to have be treated fairly because that would be the right thing to do, rather than because it would be a bugger to be taken to the European Court, wouldn't you?

GOING RATE: At the moment, Glastonbury tickets on Ebay seem to have reached roughly two hundred quid each - a few brave (foolish?) souls are offering three hundred, and grumpy touts are having to refuse bids from the likes of 'damntouts' for squillions of pounds - they're just bringing the whole process of fleecing into disrepute, of course. What's especially amusing is the way that people are trying to illustrate a bid for an item they have yet to touch - pictures of some mud, hopeless mock-ups of How Tickets Might Look and even the 2002 Festival Logo. (Ah, they can right-click on a website - it must be genuine). Eavis' ploy of not sending out tickets until much later hasn't had much effect - the sellers have merely added "you might not get your tickets till the week before; we'll send them registered/overnight" - because an extra couple of quid postage on £600-worth of tickets isn't much, is it? We wonder what the confirmatory email ticket holders got actually said - if it wasn't legally watertight, then it would be hard to see how Glasto could refuse to send out tickets to people on that basis.
Of course, if you don't fancy blowing a couple of hundred on seeing Moby, there is still a way you could get in - assuming Osfam run the Stewards scheme again this year. Why hand your cash over to a tout when you could work your passage, get a more secure sleeping area and get in for free?

HA, HA, HA - I AM LAUGHING: So, the disappearance of the Macca/Pope page on suggests that it was an April Fool gag - so mildly amusing - but we're a little puzzled as to why they haven't got a page up saying "we were pulling your legs, folks" (well, maybe that phrase would be inappropriate for Mrs Macca, but you know what I mean...) - surely it wasn't the NME who were the butt of the joke, was it?
And apparently the Move Festival cancellation thing was a joke from the mind of a Manic Street Preachers fan. We did say it was unconfirmed, mind.
Isn't April 1st the greatest day of the year? Don't you wish everyone was so creative every day of the freakin' year?

'DID SOMEONE MENTION GUNS?': James Brown to perform for US troops - probably less 'Papa's Got A New Bag', more "I'll show you how shoot a damn gun..."

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

HE HAS A RUMSFELD PLAN: Michael Eavis skips to keep up with New technology - his big plan to thwart ramping up of prices on Ebay is to not send out the tickets until two weeks before Glastonbury. Right, that'll do it, then. Except... all the tickets are already sold, aren't they? So presumably while nobody actually has a ticket, they must have some sort of evidence of having purchased a ticket. So, erm, maybe people will sell that instead. What Eavis is doing is not making it tricky for the touts, but making it easier for people who don't have tickets to sell to pretend that they do, because it'll take weeks for people to realise they've been ripped off and there are no tickets.

MI'LORD HUCKNALL: Mick Hucknall has said that he quite fancies having a role in politics although he doesn't find the House of Commons appeals to him, he'd rather be in the Lords - fairly good call, Mick, as it's hugely unlikely that anything that called for a popular vote in your favour would be a little too much of a challenge, wouldn't it?

NOW THEY TELL US: Glastonbury wait until everyone of their hideously expensive tickets have been sold before announcing that Moby is one of the headliners. That's a cruel trick to play, removing the cash from the people, highlighting the 'No Returns' policy and then saying 'It's Moby's turn.' Mind you, now the festival is affordable only to people with Jeeps and a second house in the Med, having Moby there will actually restore the levels of impotent, ill-considered self-righteousness to those last seen at Pilton when the Travellers were allowed in for nothing.

POPE MUSIC: Yesterday, we were being assured Macca would have to drop Live and Let Die from his Rome set, in case he "woke up the pope." Before we move on, what sort of story is this anyway? Why would Live and Let Die disturb the pontiff's slumbers more than Band On The Run, say, or even Mull of Kintyre? And are we really supposed to believe there are music venues in the city which are so poorly soundproofed and so close to the Vatican? And even if there were, that the elderly Pope's bedroom would be right in the most noisy bit of the Vatican?
Now, is reporting that the Pope is going to join McCartney on stage. We suspect this is a pisspoor April Fool's Day jest on the part of the website - god, we hope it is; if we wanted to see grisly old men at a rock concert we'd buy a ticket for the Rolling Stones - but stranger things have happened...

IN THE CLEAR?: Clear Channel have hired a company to try and deflect the flack over the perception that it's throwing its mighty weight against anti-war protests. The Rocky Mountain News seems to have been convinced, anyway.

GOD HELP US, HE THINKS HE'S TED HAWKINS: Liam Gallagher writes a song about his time in prison (after the mafia-lite – who we still suspect were probably just a bunch of Italian sixth formers – beat the shite out of him). Maybe someone could do us all a favour and give him the material for a concept album. Or, better yet, a boxed set.

A SMALL COUNTRY WHERE NOTHING MUCH HAPPENS: The Bluetones have put together a new album - called Luxembourg - which they reckon is "unlike anything" they've done before. Yes, we're aware there are a lot of cruel punchlines available here, but we like to think we're above them. Yes, we do.

LIFE IS CHEAP: So, the cost of killing Kirsty MacColl has been put at about seventy one quid; that's the fine Cen Yam has been ordered to pay for the speedboat which smashed into her. Not even a Glastonbury ticket. Her family's attempts to get justice for her are draining their resources; they've set up a fund-raising campaign to continue the struggle.

LIKE MICHAEL MOORE, ONLY LESS SUBTLE: Prince is apparently working on a new album which will be a satire on the current state of rap music. This we're greatly looking forward to – not only because it's probably the first time in about fifteen years he's written anything that doesn't end being a hymn to his penis (we're guessing, anyway – surely he won't cast his member in the Snoop Dogg role?) but also because his deft gift for the quiet satirical statement – like scrawling slave on his face, and changing his name into a non-ASCII coded symbol – suggests we're in for a ridiculous, pompous treat.

PISSING IN THE WIND: We're not saying there's a link between these two stories:
Mick Hucknall has launched his own Italian red wine, with a distinctive label he designed himself.
Michael Eavis says urine will be the biggest problem at this year's Glastonbury festival.

RUMOUR: According to a bloke who claims to have heard it on Key 103 last night, Manchester's Move festival (Charlatans,. Manic Street Preachers) is in doubt due to licensing problems. We've not been able to confirm or deny this, mind...

Monday, March 31, 2003

BROUGHT TO BOOK: Curious advert in this week's Observer; Transworld Publishing had taken an eighth of a page and published a 'dear john' letter - that it was a poem to the vague tune of teenage kicks about their desire to publish a certain book and there was an excruciating 'apeeling' pun contained within makes the meaning pretty clear - there's a bidding war for john Peel's memoirs and they're desperate to win it. Today's Daily Mail is reckoning that it's worth half a million, and we'd reckon that to be a fair price - being at the post-Kennedy press conference, the laying in wait for Paul Burnett in a carpark, the vaguely Polanski-esque incident... it'll be quite a read, we're certain.

WHY SPONSOR THE CHART SHOW WHEN YOU CAN BE IN THE CHARTS?: The Lucian James chart may be something akin to No Rock's old 'Supermarket of Pop' which we used to do back on our heady days on incredibly local radio, and then revised for bsn, but the sheer number of songs being mentioned in top-selling tracks now suggests that maybe there is a spot of product placement going on now. Once, the BBC used to have a fit of the Vicks Vapours when songs came up with brand names in, fearing that maybe money had changed hands to get a product onto Radio One by stealth - hence The Kinks had to change Coca-Cola to Cherry Cola (C-O-L-A cola) and Dr Hook's the Cover of Rolling Stone had to have a bunch of A&R guys bellow 'Radio Times' over the offending name of the magazine (nowadays, they'd have to add "other listings magazines are available"). Now they're a bit more relaxed, but it seems that they should start worrying.
We wonder just how easy it would be to get, say, Lenny Kravitz to slip a reference to Tydeman's Carpets into one of his songs.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

I'M STILL JENNY FROM THE BLOCK... OR WAS IT THE BLOCK OVER THERE?: J-Lo turns out to not remember where she came from after all.

FRITWATCH: We're getting confused now about who's being scared in what direction - Roberto Alagna and Angea Gheorghiu pulled out of the Metropolitan Opera in New York to go to France, while the Belcea String Orchestra decided to not go to LA and stayed in London instead. Youssou N'Dour's pulled a thirty-eight date tour of the US, but that's a protest against the American policy, not because he's scared (we shan't mention how we're sure Bush will be sat, head in hands, knowing there's going to be a little less world music in the states as a result of his actions). But the extreme example of Not Frit has to go to The Wu-Tang clan who are heading off to Israel to show solidarity with the Israelis. They claim the country is full of hip-hoppers. We'll see...