Saturday, July 03, 2004

SISTERS IN THE ROUND: We're hugely taken with idea of the Scissor Sisters playing the Royal Albert Hall. The Albert Hall full of ridiculously dressed people squealing and celebrating in an over the top manner? Just like Last Night of the Proms, then.

Those dates in full:

12th August The Dome, Brighton
21st V2004 Festival (NME stage), Stafford
22nd V2004 Festival (NME stage), Chelmsford
28th Creamfields, Liverpool
17th October Royal Albert Hall, London

Brighton Dome used to be the prince regent's stables, you know.

BEN NOT FOLDING FOR 05: The astonishing dance between Michael Eavis and the Mean Fidler group for the soul of the Glastonbury Festival continues; Melvin Benn has attempted to elbow Eavis out of the way for the post-festival thumbs up press; probably a further bid to try and keep control of the event. We're surprised a little by some of his claims to drowned in sound:

“It’s no different, just a little wetter. In fact, it’s better,” commented Melvin Benn, MF's Festival Director. “People came earlier, the fact that it was going to be wet didn’t put people off. Structurally, infrastructurally and enjoyment wise, it’s very similar.”

"People who have spent GBP120 on tickets, plus probably somewhere in the region of another hundred quid in travel and other expenses decide not to write off investment in face of rain" shock. What puzzles us is that all the reports we read from the site during Thursday were of worries that nowhere near as many people had turned up at that point, so we guess "early" is an elastic term here.

And what of the ID checking?

“To be fair, the ticket ID-ing has been a phenomenal success. I was hoping to ID around 50 per cent of people at least, I think I’m probably closer to 75 if not 80 per cent.”

By "phenomenal success", of course, he means the actual checking of tickets - Drowned In Sound suggest their asking around found probably 30% checking, and the mere fact that there weren't backlogs of people at the gates suggests that "checking" consisted of little more than people being waved through. Apparently, some 500 people were sent home having been caught out on the ID checking, which if Benn's figures are true means that only 700 tickets were in different hands from the original purchasers. Which we just don't believe. Sorry.

"Everybody was receptive to it, everybody knew that they had to show it. It significantly helped with the touts and didn’t cause any significant problems with the queuing."

By "receptive", of course, he means that basically it didn't piss off too many people - i've yet to come across anyone saying 'what a good idea it is to make us prove who we are before we can give the organisers of a festival cold hard cash', but the comments box down there is waiting to prove me wrong.

I'VE NOT HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE: We're indebted to Rock & Rap for bringing this to our attention:

"I've won two Grammys and my songs have won three Oscars; I've released nine solo albums....My recordings, both old and new, are played often on the radio, and my CDs continue to sell worldwide.
Despite these successes, and while I've worked consistently as a singer for over thirty years, I've found it consistently difficult, and almost impossible, to make a living as a recording artist....Because recording contracts are complex and involve the indecipherable process of recoupment, artists are forced to rely on the record labels' accounting statements as truth, when we know they are routinely inaccurate, or to conduct an audit, which few can afford. The result--artists rarely receive any royalties and remain unsure whether we were due a payment. Therefore, most artists go into debt to make solo albums and can barely live on advances given them."

Jennifer Warnes, testifying before the California State Senate Judiciary Committee

LOOK AWAY FROM THE MOSS STORY: We bring the news of Kate Moss snogging someone from Jackass not for its own sake - we don't think that kate has bad taste in men; we think she has no taste at all, seemingly content to just check they have a pulse - but because of where the Johnny Knoxville-Kate Moss kiss-up came: a "secret gig" with Nick Cave and Shane McGowan. See, 'Kate Moss kisses icky bloke' really isn't the aspect that demands reportage here, is it?

IT'S BORING, IT'S DULL, IT'S TAX: But the next time the RIAA wants to start lecturing us about pinching a download of an old copy of the Mop and Smiff theme tune, you might want to cough politely and ask them how they square that with one of their big members, Vivendi Universal, trying to wriggle out of its tax commitments.

THE PHEONIX AND THE GUITARPETS: Of course, without some people in a field to stare at this weekend, your ears might be feeling a bit empty. We would suggest you try directing your attention towards Pheonix FM who were recently visited by two stout experts from TV Cream for a musical version of their Best of Britpop mailout from a few weeks ago. It's listenable in mp3, as well, which is good news for everyone except people with those new Sony Walkmans. Phoenix FM have yet to tell us when they'll be inviting MHP to present an hour of ITV regional start-up themes.

Friday, July 02, 2004

TONIGHT, I'M A POP AND ROLL STAR: In one of those odd moments of someone complaining about something that doesn't happen, Liam Gallagher has decided he's sick of oasis being called "indie" and has said he wants to be known as a pop band instead. Not that anyone has called Oasis indie since about 1956 - probably, mainly, because they've been signed to Sony since then; but "pop"? In what way are Oasis a pop act? Not that Liam is actually making any sense:

"I love pop music. That's what we do. We're not an indie band. What's an indie band? To me that's the Inspiral Carpets or Echobelly. Forget that.
"What's the point of not putting out a great single every few months? That's what The Smiths used to do and it was an event."

We really, genuinely, don't get what he means by the second sentence - what's the point of not putting out a great single every few months? Is he suggesting that's what oasis do? But they've not put out a single since... 2002, is it? Oh, and Liam: The reason why Smiths singles were an event was less to do with the release schedule, more to do with a genuinely interesting songwriter and a fantastically talented musician stretching themselves to do something that repaid their audience's devotion. If you want Let The Bells Ring release to be an "event", you're going to have to release it at the same time as five thousand turtle doves, with a man in a flying car distributing toffees to children, and a funfair and a parade of elephants in every town centre in England, coupled with a celebrity edition of Mastermind featuring Catherine Zeta Jones, David Attenborough, all three of the Goodies and Big Bird from Sesame Street. Then there might be a sense of event around it. Otherwise: Gallagher brothers stick out another half-assed song is never going to be an event.

UPON THE FELL, SHE FELL: The multiskilling Kim Wilde has added conservationist to her portfolio of good works, helping launch Fix the Fells , a scheme designed to try and repair the footpaths in the Lake District. To help, she's conjuring images for us:

"I love the Lakes, I had my honeymoon and conceived my first child here! My parents-in-law live near Derwent Water so we get up as often as we can."

We think when she says "we get up as often as we can" she means to visit the in-laws, not in the sense of conceiving children. It's probably Harry, her eldest, is six and as such probably not yet aware that his mother has provided information that one day his schoolfriends will stumble across via the magic of Google. Let's hope he enjoys the innocence while he can. Meanwhile: Yes, give some money to the Fells. It's a lovely place.

LANGUAGE IS A VIRUS... BEING SENT BACK TO OUTERSPACE: Laurie Anderson apparently couldn't believe it when she was approached and asked to become Nasa's artist in residence. Frankly, we're not quite sure we can believe it, either.

She intends to produce a range of works from her two-year NASA commission, including a film on the moons of the solar system that will debut at the 2005 World Exposition in Japan.
Anderson said her affiliation with the space agency has sustained her spiritually, especially as the war in Iraq has dragged on and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal has unfolded.
"Frankly, I find living in American culture at the moment really problematic," she said. "But then when I think of NASA, it's the one thing that feels future-oriented in a way that's inspiring. The greening of Mars or building a stairway to Mars, these are unbelievable aspirations."
Her voice ignites with wonder as she describes glimpsing the nebula for the first time, "like watching stars being born in outer space."

Hmmm. We're not sure working so closely with NASA would be the way we'd choose to try and escape from the horrors of the US Military-Industrial complex - it seems like joining in a fox hunt to try and get over the death of your pet dog to us - but we take her point.

RIGHT. BECAUSE YOU ARE SUCH EYECANDY: The Kings of Leon - who are, lets be honest, too homely to get cast in a gangster movie - aren't very impressed with English women. Or Scottish women, or Welsh women, come to that.

The King's Jared Followill reckons:

"The girls in the UK are rough, not like LA girls.
If you go to parties there and you look like you have money you are guaranteed to get laid. The quality is so much better and there is far greater choice.
You go to a party wearing a DOLCE + GABBANA jacket and you know you are going to get some hot girl taking you home. We have a wild time."

We're loosely translating this as "Oddly enough, the women who were at Glastonbury had less than no interest in dating a bunch of men who look like they've not changed their clothes since C&A closed down."

We're a little surprised that KofL seem to have such vapid taste in women, though.

GET INTO AGUILERA'S KNICKERS: Because, for some reason, there seems to be a connection between being well-known and the assumption that this must make you a designer, Christina is going to be given the chance to design her own range of panties. We're picturing Mike Baldwin opening an envelope one morning, sliding out a sheet of paper, and discovering the words "Crotchless Thongs" crayoned thereupon.

Why is it that pop stars set their sights so low, designing clothes and the odd handbag? Why doesn't someone get Kim Deal to design a diving bell, or approach Britney Spear to rustle up some plans for a prefab school that could be used in Africa? After all, if singing suddenly endows Gwen Steffani with the skills of a clothes designer - something that most people have to spend three or four years studying to develop the skills for - why not see what other magic design skills are endowed upon people with pretty faces and voices?

Rachel Stevens says "It's odd, until my first solo record I had no idea what sort of steel was best used in load-bearing lintels; one trot out on Top of the Pops and I suddenly realised exactly how to design a house to maximise light and space while minimising the demand for fuels."

BRANCH MARRIES BASSIST: Aww, don't you love a happy ending? Michelle Branch and her bass player Teddy Landau have got married. To each other.

Apparently Branch is desperate to, well, branch out into other fields, dipping her toes into acting and "designing" nailpolish for Flirt. (Why would anyone want Michelle Branch cosmetics? It's like buying Alanis pyjamas - who'd want comforts named after professional miseries?)

STERN RESPONSE: Now things have gone flip-flop in the Howard Stern case - Stern is suing Clear Channel for ten million bucks claiming breach of several contracts when Clear dropped his show in the post-Jackson Nipple moral panic that gripped America earlier this year. Stern's convinced that Clear's sudden discovery that his show was a little bit sweary was less about public morals, more about Bush's re-election.

I AM OVER-SERVED, YOU ARE LOOSENED, HE IS A ROARING DRUNK: What really confuses about Glen Campbell's claims that he wasn't driving drunk, he was just driving "over-served" - because we could have sworn last November he was saying it was the medication that he was on that had lead to the erratic driving and cop-bashing. So does he mean that his local pharmacist had given him more pills than he was expecting? Or is he just trying on new stories like a big ole' stetson to see if any fit well?

SEALING THE PAPERS: We're a little puzzled that the Judge's main reason for sealing the papers in the Michael Jackson child abuse case is that, erm, people are interested in them. We tend to agree with his judgement that releasing the papers now would perhaps hobble a fair trial for Jacko, which is grounds enough, but to imply that the papers would have been made public if it wasn't for the intense interest in the case seems to create a wonky legal precedent, along the lines of 'the public can only be shown things it doesn't want to look at'.

BUSH SUPPORTERS: THERE ARE SOME IN MUSIC: Never let it be said that Bush supporters are in any way uncomfortable with the concept of Freedom of Speech. Ex-Iron Maiden hired help Blaze Bailey was allowed to complete his set, which includes a spot of Bush-baiting sing-along fun, before Cage's Sean Peck pummelled the shit out of him for daring to suggest the pretzel-choking President might be less than wonderful. Nice. [Via Blogcritics, whose Marty Dodge seems incapable of grasping that criticising the President is not the same thing as bashing the nation.]

NOT THAT ALEX: We've just discovered "Alex Kapranos"'s livejournal, which seems to be something akin to real-time autoerotic slash fiction, or something. We suspect it may also be not entirely unique in this respect.

FRED DURST'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Presumably relieved by the court decision that he's not responsible for the injuries at the Limp Bizkit gig, Fred Durst has returned with his thinking:

who knows why i am talking about this. come to think of it i could care less who knows why i do and say what i do because i am excepting the fact that an interpretation of what is going on inside of me will only scratch the surface of how real and intimate it is experiencing it first hand. we all hold that advantage when it comes to our own lives

Yes, and we are excepting of you, too, Fred.

He's also contributed a playlist to iTunes, which he seems to think is some sort of secret:

A New Level-Pantera
Blue Monday-Flunk
Card Tricks-Seaweed
Closedown-The Cure
Coming Down-dig
Cursed Male-Porno for Pyros
Dissident-Pearl Jam
Feels Like the First Time-Foreigner
Give It-Helmet
Good Lookin' Out-Sick of It All
Los Angeles Is Burning-Bad Religion
Low-Foo Fighters
Obstacle 1-Interpol
She Sells Sanctuary-The Cult
Something in the Way-Nirvana
Undercovers On-Rival Schools

Fischerspooner? What are you, Fred, some kind of faggot?

More seriously, we're somewhat shocked at the decision of the Michigan Court of Appeal that Fred and the band weren't responsible for injuries at a Bizkit gig following Fred's onstage encouragement of people to storm from the seats onto the main floor of the venue. We can only wonder if they read Fred's writing and assumed he must be a legal minor and thus not responsible for his actions. In effect, the Michigan Court of Appeal seem to have overthrown that old chestnut about Freedom of Speech: now, it seems, you can shout 'fire' in a crowded theatre.

I (DON'T) WANNA BE AROUND: Some poor sap paid USD15,000 for the chance - he thought - to get to eat dinner with Tony Bennett. It turned out the prize in the charity auction was to eat dinner at the same time as Tony Bennett. Not unsurpisingly, the man demanded his money back, although he then turned round and gave the money straight back as a (tax-deductable) donation to the hospital anyway. So, all's well that ends well. Especially since Bennett eats with his mouth open sometimes. You don't want to pay to see that.

THE RULE OF LAW: Mixed fortunes for Ja Rule, pulled over for changing lanes without indicating. The cops found some dope in the car, but because Rule - who lives in Saddle River in New Jersey - coughed to the driving with suspended licence, it looks like the drugs charge was allowed to blow. Unfortunately, they also turned up a warrant for resisting arrest from eight years ago, so now he's got that to deal with as well. You see why its best to stick to even the smallest rules of the road?

US ALBUM SALES CLIMB AGAIN: Not quite sure how the RIAA is going to spin this one - album sales in the first half of 2004 are seven percent up on the same period last year. Now, they'll probably try and suggest that this is because their legal actions have choked off the illegal downloads - but why wouldn't the graph-busting 54 million legal downloads have had a negative impact on sales? And, besides, even the most optimistic data on the drop in illegal downloads suggests there's been a shaving off rather than a massive cut in the number of people on the Kazaagoogoo. It seems the real reason for the rise in sales is because they've released some albums that people want to buy - notably, but confusingly, the Usher one. Who knew that having a product people wanted was the best way to grow sales?

U2 HEADLINING 2005? ONLY IF THERE IS A 2005: With everyone keen to assume that Bono and his Amazing Venture Capital Company will be headling next year's Glastonbury, nobody seems to have noticed a very real threat to the whole festival: Local residents have indicated they're far from happy:

"Parish council chairman Robin Clark said: "I thought the music would finish at midnight but it went on through Wednesday and Thursday to 4.15am and, with the atmospheric conditions, the sound carried. It is something we will have to address with Mendip District Council.
A lot of people here think we need to look at having a year off. I am sure they find it a bit of a strain every year. We work with Glastonbury Festival Ltd and Mendip District Council to minimise the effect of the festival and we will be taking up the noise issue with them."

Other Pilton residents are suggesting that they might only be able to tolerate a festival every couple of years. We're sure this is all down to the noise carrying through the night, and not just the fear of meeting Bono in a country lane next summer.

THE MAGIC DISAPPEARING VOICE PROBLEMS OF CHRISTINA AGUILERA: She can't sing at gigs where she's headlining, but she can record two albums, special songs for Mercedes and open Harrods sale (and isn't that a perfect union of celeb and store: both well past their best, tacky, showy, and willing to slap their name on anything that might open a pocketboook). We're not sure what Christina's vocal problem actually is, but it seems to improve whenever there's a guaranteed payday in the offing.

STRIPES AND FRANZ BANISHED FROM TOTP?: In a canny piece, icWales has cut to the heart of the current AIM/iTunes stand off - with iTunes the dominant music store online, and the BPI about to launch a download chart and fold downloads into the mainstream singles charts, if the indies don't come to a settlement really soon, it's going to harm the chart positions of some quite major acts. And poor chart positions can affect airplay and access to shows like Top of the Pops. It would seem Apple might have a whip hand on this one.

ROMAN RECOVERY: There's good news and bad news for Roman Tucker, singer of Rocket Science; he's recovered from his coma, and is well enough to go out on the road with the band in support of the album he helped record before his accident. The problem? He's totally blotted the new album from his mind and can't remember any of it (something that we feel Noel Gallagher would probably like to do). [Thanks to Nick at LetsAllTurnOn for the update]

UNSURPRISINGLY UNPOPULAR: The RIAA legal action is winning them no friends - only thirty seven per cent of Americans support suing people for file downloading; this from a survey commissioned by a bunch of lawyers keen to lecture about what an excellent idea it is for an industry supposedly losing money hand over fist to employ expensive lawyers in nice suits to sue single mothers, teenagers and grandparents. A Professor Sharon Sandeen suggests "I suspect that many people, when educated about the purpose of copyright law, support the law. Public opposition to the lawsuits may be due, in part, to what some people consider hard-handed tactics by the RIAA." And when people are educated about the "purpose" of copyright law, what are they taught? The usual fib that it's about making sure artists get paid, or the actual truth, that it's a tool designed to allow multinational companies to extract cash from intellectual property that a generation ago would have been available for much more free use?

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Muse pick up the beat again after the death of Dominic's Dad at Glastonbury, picking up their scheduled festival appearances in Switzerland, Belguim and Denmark this weekend.

THATS NO DEAL: While ticket holders for T in the Park might be feeling a bit pissed off that, rather than replace Bowie, the organisers have just shuffled the bill up and now The Darkness - this time last week a warm up act - have been deemed headlines, people going to Rosklide have it worse. They'd been expecting the thin white duke; now his trapped nerve has kept him in the sanatorium with Matron, Slipknot are being served up instead.

SCREENED OUT: So, then, what's The White Stripe's problem with Nobody Knows How To Talk To Children? They've slapped a cease and desist order on George Roca's movie, claiming they never cleared the music or images in the film, which suggests they're pissed off about it. Of course, Roca's probably lucky they didn't just send in RoboJack to punch the crap out of him - maybe finding a legal solution is something White's picked up in the anger management classes?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

FREE YOUR POD: Apple are doing a bit more than coughing politely and presenting their 100,000,000th download from iTunes with a sash and some flowers: make the one hundredth million click, and you'll get a free 40gig iPod, a voucher to fill it for free, and a 17 inch Power Book. MyCokeMusic, presumably, will give you some cans of Coke and a beach towel if they ever make it to 100,000,000.

WE HAVE LIFT-OFF: You can't knock the sweet, sweet joy of a free legal download from a truly great band, can you? Which is why we're dleighted to report that those awfully nice Clinic boys have got a copy of Vertical Take Off For Egypt as yours, for the asking, in MP3 at the moment. It's a taster for the forthcoming album, Winchester Cathedral, and world tour. We can't help recalling that fellow under-rated Merseysiders Barbel used to do a cover of Winchester Cathedral in their live set; we hope the same song turns up on the album. That's all we're saying. If it doesn't, we may be forced to go and shout at any or all of these fine venues:

07-20 Brighton, England - Komedia
07-21 Nottingham, England - Rescue Rooms
07-22 Bristol, England - Fleece
07-23 Oxford, England - Zodiac
07-24 Manchester, England - University
07-27 Aberdeen, Scotland - Lemon Tree
07-28 Newcastle, England - Cluny
10-13 Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of Living
10-14 New York, NY - Irving Plaze
10-16 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
10-17 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
10-21 Phoenix, AZ - Old Brickhouse Grill
10-22 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
10-23 San Francisco, CA - Slim's
10-24 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
10-29 Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line Music Café
10-30 Chicago, IL - Abbey Pub
10-31 Chicago, IL - Abbey Pub
11-03 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
11-05 Toronto, Ontario - Lee's Palace
11-07 Northampton, MA - Pearl Street
11-09 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club

WELL, THAT'LL TEACH HIM: Those people who raised an eyebrow when The Observer Food Monthly sat down to interview young boy's bum admirer Jonathan King about his daily diet might find their heads rolling back under the weight of eyebrow-raising with the news that Mystikal is working on getting out a greatest hits album, despite being incarcerated for sexual battery. You'll remember that Al and two of his hired thugs forced a woman to give him head. Of course, we shouldn't be surprised that he's got the 'best of' coming out - he's got a third of a million bucks to pay back to the record label, who wrote the cheque to pay off the woman who'd had to wrap her mouth around it...

THE HALF A MILLION DOLLAR NIPPLE: Janet Jackson may yet turn out to have the most expensive breasts in history, as it's being muttered the FCC are going to fine, and fine again, CBS for her "unexpected" breast peek-a-bo at the Superbowl. In what seems to be stretching a point, the FCC is going to impose the maximum US27,500 fine on any CBS affiliate which is also owned by the CBS parent Viacom - there's twenty of those, and that will come to just over half a million. It's not really clear what the logic is for this: if CBS affiliates owned by other companies are judged to not be responsible for the tiny little bit of flesh poked out, what makes the Viacom-owned ones different? Unless this is merely an attempt by the FCC to evade the law's upper limit on fines by coming up with a cunning scheme, which would seem to be slightly unfair.

Of course, massive fines for local TV stations: Good news for Bush - less money for local news programming.

MATHER'S MISSUS TO ROT IN CHOKEY: Kim Mathers, the former wife of Eminememen, has been sent down.

Mathers had left a court-ordered drug treatment programme without permission (Briefing note to Courtney Love: they don't like that sort of thing); as a result, she's got a year-long sentence. After 140 days she'll be released for another go. This is the second time she's been sent to prison for failing to complete a drug programme.

THEY'VE GOT AN AWFUL LOT OF COPY IN BRAZIL: The Congressional Investigatory Commission on Piracy has unleashed its report on music piracy in Brazil. And it's shocked and quaking - it's all about organised crime and the market for fake CDs is worth GBP91 million a year. Some of the money, it's claimed, was offered to the chairman of the investigating committee in a bid to try and get them to tweak their findings a little; Law Kin Chong, the man who coughed politely and suggested the deal, is currently in prison awaiting trial.

We're not sure the report bothered to question why so many people are happy to buy fake CDs, but we suspect this might all be about overpricing in the Brazilian market: generally, for a fake product to shift, it has to be offering something desirable that would otherwise be unaffordable. We'd recommend dropping the price on Cds to end the illegal activity and make it less attractive. Oddly, the report doesn't.

THE PORTABLE MUSIC PLAYER MARKET TAKES ANOTHER ODD TURN: The VIC-20 is reborn as an MP3 device - or, rather, Commodore enters the player market with a twenty gig machine named after its old entry-level home computer. The PET name is being revived, too, for some other players. It's all very curious. (In case you're curious, yes: there will be a commodore 64 as well, a joystick you plug into your TV with c64 games built into it.) Two questions: Why? and why?

AN EPIC ADVENTURE: A "seven figure deal" has brought Franz Ferdinand to Epic for their American release. The figures on the contract are being guestimated at bewteen USD1 and 1.5million, which isn't bad for a bunch of Glaswegian art rockers, is it?

SONY LAUNCH SERIOUS iPOD RIVAL: The points where it wins: It's a bit larger, it's a bit cheaper. The point where it loses: it still can't play mp3s. Or, indeed, wma files. Now, since, if you're paying four hundred bucks for a music player, paying a few more won't matter much, and since very, very few people are going to need the space for 10,000 songs anyway, so 13,000 is better in a not-really-valuable sense, the whole Walkman Digital proposition is going to come down to what feels sexier. The looks of the Walkman don't really compete with the iPod, and we wonder if keeping the Walkman name is such a smart move: it just cries out "tapes", possibly "tapes being chewed up."

DONNAS RETURN: Here come the Donnas again...

They're back in the studio working on a new album. Apparently they've been a success "at both Active and Mainstream Rock radio outfits", which is nice for them.

ALL YOU DO WITH ME IS MAWK MAWK: Together at last: Celine Dion, the horse-headed New Testament Whitney and Anne Geddes, possibly the most frightening photographer in the world, known solely for pictures of babies in hats and/or shopping baskets. They've come together to punish all of mankind for our wicked ways, by collaborating on the "Miracle" project. (Apart from anything, you have to roll your eyes whenever anyone describes childbirth as a "miracle" - it's a by-product of sex; it's in no way unpleasant but it's not all that astonishing. Besides, if it was a miracle Jesus would have done it.) Here comes Dion - prepare for some gush:

"I've always been a huge fan of Anne Geddes. Long before I became a mother, I admired and appreciated the beautiful way she photographs babies. It's wonderful to be able to work with her on this very special project which celebrates children."

"celebrates children" as in "attempts to screw some extra cash out of people by using mawkish good taste music and pictures of babies in outsized hats", of course.

EVEN EAVIS HAS HIS DOUBTS: The enthusiastic review in the NME not withstanding, we believe we've uncovered evidence that suggests that Oasis at Glastonbury was officially dreadful: Michael Eavis dissed them:

"I'm an Oasis fan. I thought it was a good set but the two of them looked a bit grumpy and didn't talk to the audience at all. In that sense I was a bit disappointed."

For a man who is perpetually sunny and positive (except when he's talking about Vince Power), that's tantamount to a "You have been here too long for any good that you are doing. Go, in the name of God, go."

JOURNALISTS FIGHT BACK. IN RUSSIA, AT LEAST: Russian pop star Filip Kirkorov is locked in a legal battle with regional TV news reporter Irina Aroyan. Aroyan asked Kirkorov a question about his large number of covers, which prompted Kirkorov to go into one, firing off a large number of rudes and filthies. Now, most journalists would take that on the chin and head off to write about the bloke's incredibly small penis.

Nor Irina. She decided that this was a violation of the Russian Criminal Code, which prescribes twelve months of corrective works for anyone who humiliates human dignity.

Kirkorov, of course, is launching a counter-claim, suggesting that the scandal has given him hypertensions. Goodness - reporters unable to take an attack on their dignity and pop stars with fits of the vapours. It's a different world, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

NO ROCK AND ROLL FUN: Glastonbury edition
One of the joys of co-sponsoring the festival, The Guardian's G2 got to take a bus to Glastonbury, and filled pretty much the whole of its Monday issue with Glasto stuff.

One idea was just to let people walk up and speak their brains. Jake from Scissor Sisters observed that "British people respect their music and their artists more [than in the US]"; Jamie Cullum stated that he's "not pretending to be anything that I'm not" - which is a shame for him; at one point, Billy Bragg, Michael Franti and Alex Kapranos are all on the bus at the same time. Franti was fresh back from Iraq. He must have felt at home in Glastonbury.

Also taking the Badgerline from downtown Baghdad to Pilton was Ghaith Abdul Ahad, the Guardian's Iraqi columnist, who suggests that taking the festival to the banks of the Euphrates might be the way to restire some of its sheen. It's an interesting idea, if only because we'd love to see Melvin Benn and Vince Power having to do their work with security down there.

The reviews are artist-on-artist:
Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol on Bright Eyes: "One of the lyrics from the songs was 'why do you say you hate wine when you drink it till you are blind?' That made perfect sense today. I wish I could have thought of it last night."

Elbow's Guy Garvey on Franz Ferdinand: "Just blinding. They turned the other stage into the main stage for the duration. They're annoyingly thin."

Badly Drawn Boy on PJ Harvey: "A supremely talented individual. PJ Harvey falls into the genius bracket for me." (Interesting to have a solo artist with a band's name review a band with a solo artist's name).

Tim Rice-Oxley of Keane on The Von Bondies: "it's great to see a band and be really blown away."

The Von Bondies' Jason Stollsteimer on Paul McCartney: "It wasn't The Beatles, but it was as close as this young boy will get to seeing them."

Del Marquis of the Scissor Sisters on Oasis: "I really wanted to like the show, but was turned off by their attitude."

The NME, too, of course, is fresh back from Somerset. When was the last time Paul McCartney was on the cover, eh? Well, yes, last week, but we mean properly, like this week?

There's non-Glastonbury stuff, of course: New Oasis song A Bell Will Ring, heard at Poole (and, apparently, culled after its very next outing) is judged to be "simple with deceptively complex hooks" - which we've read and re-read four times and still don't quite understand. Are the hooks actually complex, in which case it's not simple?

The Thrills announce they're living Andy Warhol's wet dream - which we suspect means that they're being fucked by someone who looks a bit like Andy Warhol, who's paying them for the pleasure, and taking oped pieces in the New York Times to say how great Andy Warhol is.

There's another feature on music downloads, this one a bit more balanced than the last few weeks of Napster, Napster, Rah Rah Rah. Although they don't mention that Napster tracks expire when you stop subscribing, which makes them something less attractive than they'd seem at first. Oxfam's also gets criticised for looking like a website. Erm...

Peter Robinson takes on Ian Astbury. Astbury, poor cock, tries to talk football, moaning about Beckham missing the penalty and saying "Rooney should have taken it." Yeah, the bloke who'd been so badly injured they'd pulled him off the pitch would have been the perfect choice to take an important spot kick. We're more interested in Strictly Come Dancing and even we know that.

Radar band is Sons and Daughters: they've been given a Franz Ferdinand seal of approval, see. As have The Fiery Furnaces. One of whom - Eleanor - may or may not be Alex Karpanos' girlfriend.

The Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser has very simple hopes for the new album: "I'd very much like some cash. I could definitely use some."

non-Avalon reviews
radio 4 - 93 feet east london - "a revival that couldn't be more timely"
the zutons - rome - "the worst you can say is they have an over-fondness for puns"
modest mouse - shepherds bush empire - "these mice are about to roar"

the ordinary boys - over the counter culture - "consider this record the user's manual to the world you're living in right now", 7
the open - the silent hours - "essentially, it's Bayley's twelve step programme", 8
division of laura lee - does not compute - "a clash of jesus and mary chain moodiness and deus dirtiness", 7

sotw - the hives - walk idiot walk - "they write catchy tunes"
q and not u - x-polynation - "middle ground between... Fugazi... and Prince"
modest mouse - float on - "a college rock 'You Can Call Me Al'"

So, the 24 pages of Glastonbury: Oasis gets four out of five (apparently Liam proves he's a force of nature - yeah, but so is drizzle); Franz Ferdinand are "superfantastich"; Kings of Leon "have not backed down from a challenge the way The Strokes did"; The Subways hold out the prospect of "incestuous three way love triangles" (the nme seem to have spent most of three days obsessed with incest); Scissor Sisters are "the best band on the planet"; the Killers are "the hottest band of the festival"; Hope of the States' Black Dollar Bills "feels startlingly like a manifesto"; Paul McCartney is "wonderfully, emotionally fab"' Razorlight are "like a two year old on a tartrazine bender"; Morrissey "rehabiltated, appreciated", Muse have rock songs so Gigantic, they could "sing in the Pixies" and Orbital only get three thumbs up, for some reason.

Oh, and of course, there's a little signed introduction from Conor, and a picture of Michael Eavis, and a poster of the campsite from the air. There are many traditions.

NURSED BACK TO THE ROAD: Picking themselves up, dusting themselves down, and starting all over again, Sonic Youth have arranged a tour to replace Lollapalooza. Look, here they are in full:

07-13 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom
07-14 Seattle, WA - Showbox
07-15 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom
07-17 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
07-20 San Diego, CA - SOMA
07-21 Phoenix, AZ - Marquee Theatre
07-23 Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
07-25 Salt Lake City, UT - In The Venue
07-28 Minneapolis, MN - The Quest
07-29 Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
07-30 Milwaukee, WI - The Rave
07-31 Columbia, MO - The Blue Note
08-02 Detroit, MI - Marquee
08-04 Montreal, Quebec - Metropolis
08-05 Toronto, Ontario - Koolhaus
08-06 Ottawa, Ontario - Capital Hall
08-11 Washington, D.C. - 9:30 Club
08-14 Boston, MA - Avalon
08-15 Portland, ME - State Theater
08-19 Raleigh, NC - Cat's Cradle
08-20 Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
08-27 Paris, France - Rock En Seine
08-28 Oudenaarde, Belgium - Feest in Het Park
08-30 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
09-01 Glasgow, Scotland - Barrowland
09-02 London, England - Brixton Academy
09-04 Bologna, Italy - Independent Days Festival

THE MUSIC INDUSTRY NOT IN CRISIS AT ALL, PART 37,994: HMV reports profits, music sales up, up, up. Despite all the downloading. Curious. Would anyone from the BPI care to comment?

OH... THAT WOULD BE WHY SHE'S NOT BOTHERED ABOUT A STEPS REUNION: We'd quite like to apologise for giving the impression that Lisa Scott-Lee might have been knocking back a Steps reuinion because she cared about quality and value and such.

Actually, it turns out that she doesn't at all - she's flogged her wedding and first year of married life to MTV for what's claimed to be quarter of a million pounds - yeah, right - to make a UK version of Newlyweds. In America, they got Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. In the UK, we're going to have the brillo pads of truth scrub our eyeballs as Lisa marries Johnny Shentall, the ringer brought into Hear'Say towards the end - the musical equivalent of giving a donkey's lung to an already dead man. Even if they were filming the wedding night, you wouldn't be interested, would you?

THIS IS ONE FOR THE GOOGLERS, WE SUSPECT: Jamelia "popped out" while filming Top of the Pops last week - and got all huffy when told to cover herself up.

She says of the nipslip: "The other day I was on Top of the Pops and I popped out on stage. They were like, 'No! Stop!' and I yelled, 'It's only a breast!'"

Mmm. Yeah, only a breast. I'm surprised that a programme aimed at a young audience airing well before the watershed would have been at all bothered in the current climate by the appearance of a slice of tit topped with a nipple jiggling about on camera. Just goes to show, eh?

[We bet Tim Kash was frightened half to death].

BRANDY DOUSES SPEARS: We're sure that Britney - who is, we calculate, going to be spending today trying wedding cakes, practiscing signing her new name and barking at her lawyers "Call that a prenup?" - will be delighted to get advice from Brandy about married life and all its commitments:

"Britney, chill. Find yourself and then go down the road.
Your mind has to be in a certain place in order to get married and you have to understand that this is a forever type of thing and you're making a decision to do something really big, so, if you're not ready for that, don't do it. I wasn't ready for it.
My advice to anybody out there is if you're getting married because you're secure and comfortable and you're really just cool with this person that's not what's gonna sustain a marriage. You have to have the foundation of love."

Ah, the foundation of love, the load bearing wall of affection, the airbrick of shared humour... Britney will, of course, be heeding especially Brandy's words that "this ia forever type of thing" - in Brandy's case, "forever" was less than two years. Probably not especially effective to emerge from the back door saying "there's absolutely no way out of there."

THEY DON'T SMOKE MARIJUANA IN MUSKOGIE: And yet, it seems, they're still quite happy to embrace the idea that little green men crashed into Roswell in 1947. As a result, Merle Haggard is planning on making his July Roswell gig an annual event to mark an event which he says would be comprabale to the coming of Jesus, if it had happened. Oh, Merle: the kids may still respect the college dean down your way, but does the dean return the respect?

LIBERTINES TO STOP WAITING, CARRY ON: It turns out that Pete Doherty wasn't wrong about The Libertines picking back up some of their summer festival dates - they're just not doing it with him on board. It seems they've got sick of waiting. They've done a statement:

"It is with regret that The Libertines announce they are to continue without singer and guitarist Peter Doherty due to his well-known addiction problems, specifically with crack cocaine and heroin.
Peter is and always will be a Libertine and when he cleans up from his addictions he will be immediately welcomed back into the band.
This decision is made with love and with no disregard to Peter and his problems. The other members of the band - Gary, John and myself - have come to this conclusion after three recent failed rehab attempts, all of which The Libertines have funded.
Peter’s erratic mental state worries us greatly and having him on tour would only compound his problems. We aim to complete all existing tour commitments without him."

Even your best mates can't put their lives on hold forever.

YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME AGAIN: It's probably not that surprising that Rick James lamented the loss of the old days when he picked up the lifetime achievement award at the Rhythm & Soul Awards on Monday. After all, a choice between being as sky-high as a kite on the Space Shuttle or having a stroke, being tossed in chokey, having a wonky hip... who wouldn't choose snorting enough drugs to lull a kraken back to sleep?

50 Cent won songwriter of the year, informing the audience that his drug of choice was "success" - we hear one underworld Mr Big has spent the last forty-eight hours beating the crap out of his sales team wanting to know who's supplying 50 Cent with this "success" and how soon they can cut him out the market. Jay-Z also picked an award up, which he did in the name of Hip-Hop.

Jay-Z also felt the full force of accoladation at the BET awards, being named top male hip-hop artist. Beyonce Wig was top female R&B artist, and they shared an award for working together on Crazy in Love. Outkast took best video and best group; Usher picked up male R&B artist and Kayne West won best new artist.

"THE MOST ROCK AND ROLL R&B ALBUM EVER": That's how Har Mar Superstar is describing The Handler, his whole new album crammed to the guest-list rafters with Karen O, Nick Zinner, Northern State. Mar's excitement echoes that of William Shatner's, on completion of The Transformed Man:

"My goal was to make a more human record that hits everywhere from the joys of being on top to the harrowing loneliness of the same place. Just as importantly, I think the album is a whole lot of fun which is something a lot of musicians seem to be having a lot of trouble with lately. Some people wait their whole lives to feel this good about something. I'm lucky it happened by the age of 26."

MUD, MUD, GLORIOUS MUD: We've got nothing against mud - throw in Edward Norton and Eliza Dushku wrassling in it, and we'd be happy for hours. We doubt, though, that we'll be building on our enthusiasm by bidding for the two Ebay lots of Glasto mud. Apparently there's a load of boots - as in CDs, not muddy footwear - up for grabs at the moment, too, but be quick before the copyright squad turn up and have them taken down.

IT'S MADE FROM PONY SHAVINGS, TOO: So, Beyonce, who pops up on television to push L'oreal shampoos and hairdyes, erm, actually wears a wig on stage a lot of the time.

DAVE LEE ROTH: HE'S FOURTH EMERGENCY SERVICE: We're not sure if we'd had a bad accident and were lying in pieces at the side of the road we'd feel entirely encouraged if Dave Lee Roth turned up as the emergency technician, but you've got to hand it to him for giving something back to the community. It's going to lead to all sorts of confusion:

- Dave, can you find a vein for me?
- Hey, doctor dude, there's no time for that, we gotta help this guy who's unconscious...

I MUST REST MY VOICE: It's interesting that Christina Aguilera's ropey voice can't be trusted to sing on any of the dates of her own tour, but it'll be fine for singing at a six-day Pittsburgh event where her payday isn't reliant on how many tickets she can sell for herself; or for recording songs for movie soundtracks.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

NOT I: On his appearance in court to enter a plea on the possession of an offensive weapon charge, Pete Doherty said "not guilty". The Libertines (or ex-Libertines?) front man will return on August 10th for a preliminary hearing on the charge.

HARVEY AND MAJ: Lucky the people holding tickets to go see PJ Harvey in Paris at the Zenith tomorrow night, as it's "strongly rumoured" (i.e. the record label have sent out a mail-out trying to pretend it doesn't know for certain) that Marianne Faithfull will be popping up to run through some of the songs she and Polly have co-written.

RADIO TWO TO OFFER "SHOWTUNES, SHOWTUNES, NOTHING BUT SHOWTUNES": We're sure that Radio2 controller's Lesley Douglas' announcement of more musical theatre and 70s music on the network has Absolutely Nothing To Do with the Charter Renewal process. We're certain it's just based on need.

She also said "I would like to do more of [Steve Harley] and more of Suzi Quatro." We're halfway there with you, lesley.

APPARENTLY THE MILAN FASHION ELITE ARE VERY EASY TO SHOCK: That's what we tend to assume by the news that someone as dull as Keith Flint has shocked them. Oh, he pretended he was doing mouthy sex with a man. Yes, that's something that people who go to fashion won't have come across before, isn't it. Maybe if he'd eaten a proper meal, or said "You don't need to fuck me, you can have the job anyway" he might really have surprised the couture crowd.

DOUBLE PNEUMONIA, TRIPLE CANCELLATION: Loretta Lynn is recovering from a bout of double pneumonia and has had to pull three gigs, although at one she's being replaced by The Coal Miners, which features her daughters (geddit?) Peggy and Patsy. She intends to return to the road once she's stopped coughing.

HIGHER LOVE!: Steve Winwood has realised that, you know, those peer to peer networks packed full of people who love music with an unstoppable passion might be an opportunity rather than a threat. Winwood has let loose a special live recording of Dear Mr Fantasy onto the p2p networks, along with a similar video file. There's a five second commercial included, which Winwood hopes will lead people to click through to the Access Hollywood website and a place selling the album. Clever Stevie is using the networks to carry the cost of promotion for his new record, see?

In a similar example of being smarter, the Fuse TV network is broadcasting a password in its music programmes which will allow viewers to go and download a free mp3. The idea is to use the mp3 as a hook for the Daily Download programme

THE THIRD RULE IS YOU DON'T SHAG THE CHORUS LINE: We're fascinated by the news, cited in Rake's Progress, that there's to be a musical of Fight Club. Possibly. We think this might all be Chuck Palahniuk's flight of fancy, although we'd love it if it's true. Especially if they can work in 'I Don't Want To Talk About It' - or maybe an adaptation of Altered Images to 'Don't Talk To Me About Fight Club.'

Mind you, we're not sure that with all the current stand-offs between casts and producers on Broadway that anyone is going to volunteer to underwrite a musical which means your salary negotiations will be held with men who spend their evening stripped to the waist beating the crap out of each other. Might be a better time to suggest 'Uriah Heep - the musical'.

ESTEFAN ELECTS TO GET OFF HER FEET: It seems the hard slog of live music is a bit much for Gloria Estefan. She's announced she intends to retire from live performance at the end of her next tour. It's understandable, you know: this is the second time in a decade she's been forced to slog round a few venues, knocking out a couple of tunes. Who'd begrudge the lady some bedrest?

OFF TO A GREAT START: It's almost as if Courtney wants to go to jail, as Ms Love turns up late for another court hearing. This time, there's no claims about men with guns by way of excuse; perhaps she's just getting tired of the whole appearing-in-court thing? Turning up at 3pm was just a few minutes shy of another arrest warrant.

Still, there is some good news for Courtney: wellwishers are apparently pouring in the bucks to keep her message board on the web after she had trouble paying the bills. Rumours that most of the three grand donated so far has come from operators of other internet message boards afraid she'll turn up rambling all over their sites unless they get her own server back up can't be confirmed at this stage.

CH-CH-CHECK IT OUT: The Beastie Boys at least deserve respect for taking the issue of DRM seriously, even if their statement on the subject on their website is slightly flawed:

1. There is NO copy controlled software on US or UK releases of Beastie Boys' "To the 5 Boroughs."

Big wow. This, of course, is like saying "Well, we don't torture prisoners at home."

2. The disk *IS* copy controlled in Europe - which is standard policy for all Capitol/EMI titles (and a policy used by ALL major labels in Europe).

Let's leave aside that, actually, the UK is in Europe - in what way is this meant to make us feel better? If it's a good policy, why is it not in place in the US and the UK; if it's a bad policy, why is it being inflicted on Europeans? And why is it so important that other major labels do it? Are we now in kindergarten - "Michael, why did you break Thomas's computer?" "Well, Vivendi did it first..."? And if following other label's leads is such a fine thing to do, why not follow Universal's lead in Germany and abandon copy protection for the wrong answer to the wrong problem it is?

3. The copy protection system used for all EMI/Capitol releases including "To the 5 Boroughs" is Macrovision's CDS-200, which sets up an audio player into the users RAM (not hard drive) to playback the RED book audio on the disk. It does absolutely NOT install any kind of spyware, shareware, silverware, or ladies wear onto the users system.

Tee-hee... most droll, Mr. D. Interesting that, once again, the denial is of something that there was never initially an accusation of; like EMI, the Beasties are looking sheepish and saying "We never did anything with spyware", when in fact the question was over if anything at all is installed on the user's computer without their knowledge or permission. Even more interesting: the Beastie Boy's claim that everything is held in RAM is in direct contradiction of EMI's statement that "It also temporarily installs a graphic "skin" for the player."

All this upset and confusion and looking like tossers; and it all could have been avoided so easily. It's lucky the Beastie Boys have never espoused sampling or anything, isn't it? Just think how stupid they'd be looking right now.

THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING IS YOU ONLY GET A BIT OF THE: Tmobile has announced its plans to get into the music download business, but there's something fundamentally wrong with. It's not just that they plan to charge GBP1.50 for. Or that the special phone you'll need to access the service is only capable of holding just three. But the whole service is made up of clips of. Double the price of iTunes and you don't even get the full.

A TERRIBLE TWIST OF FATE: All our sympathy to Dominic Howard of Muse, whose father died at Glastonbury shortly after the band came off stage from what they described as "the best gig of their lives."

THE LONG GOODBYE: It seems Cher is having some trouble coming to terms with that final bow: she's added more and more dates to her farewell tour; another twelve last week, eighteen the week before that - she's already done 200 dates on this goodbye circuit already; if she's not careful, she's going to still be on the Farewell Tour as she's starting the Comeback Tour.

THE ONWARD MARCH OF THE "NEW BRITNEY SPEARS": Arriving now on the seemingly endless trail of vapid young girls convinced that they have what it takes to be the next Britney: Brooke Hogan - or Brooke Bollea - girlfriend of Aaron Carter and daughter, oh yes, of Hulk Hogan. (You might notice how she's decided to adopt his stage name, although not the Hulk part yet.) If she deserves any credit, it's for not taking "You're not very good" as an answer:

"Brooke had tried out for both "Star Search" and "American Idol" though didn't get picked, even with her name and father Hulk's connections. Brooke said that she realized her father could open some doors for her, but she has to have enough talent to get through those doors. There will be a Brooke Hogan special on MTV next month. In the article, Brooke also made the comment that she has the potential to be ten times bigger than Britney Spears."

We're sure that's just an unflattering photo.

Monday, June 28, 2004

GLASTONBURY MINI-INDEX: There were a lot of Glastonbury related posts here over the last four days, so here's a quick overview of all our Glasto stuff from the weekend:

Thursday entry:
- First arrivals at the site

Friday entries:
- Rumours: Cullum has had sex
- Redundant BBC online schedule
- Review: First impressions of the TV coverage, Goldfrapp, Colin and Edith

Saturday entries:
- Review of reviews: Oasis
- Death at the festival
- Review: Hope of the States
- Reviews: Starsailor, Jamie Cullum
- Reviews: McCartney, Gill Mills, Basement Jaxx

Sunday entries:
- Review of Reviews: including 6Music and BBC News on McCartney; on incest
- Rumours: Oasis rip up album and start again
- Reviews: Supergrass, Joss Stone
- Reviews: Morrissey, James Brown, Amy Winehouse
- What is happening with Morrissey's chin?
- Review: Stellastar*, plus Eavis versus Power
- Review-of-reviews, including The Guardian on Joss Stone and the NME on vegetarian food

Monday entries:
- Reviews: Orbital
- A glimpse of Goldfrapp's tail - some onstage pictures
- Technology: Robert Price shoots the festival in glorious MMS
- As bloggers return from Somerset, the first blog reviews are starting to come in.

What The Pop Papers Say: Glastonbury reviews edition.

And don't forget the Glastocam - a short Flash video of the first couple of days of the festival, made by sticking together the BBC webcam images with some glue. Unfortunately, the cam didn't make it all the way through the festival, so it peters out on Saturday night.
click here for glastocam

A FURTHER BUNCH OF GLASTONBURY COVERAGE: Like No Rock, The Joint took its Glastonbury through the television; they managed to see Basement Jaxx doing Where's Your Head At, which we missed, dammit. The Joint has done its time at Glastonbury - it went in 2000, the last year before something was done about the overcrowding. Free Market Fairy Tales opens its glastonbury entry with the words "I love this time of year – you know the summer solstice, Glastonbury music festival, beautiful English countryside overrun with hippies, new agers & other assorted weridos…oh, sorry according to the Guardianistas some of them are druids & pagan worshippers – a bunch of soap dodging dole moles more likely." I'm sure you can imagine where it goes from there - why don't they get jobs, yadda yadda. (In the good old days, it would have ended "Why don't you go and live in Russia?", a refrain the right have never been able to replace since Ronald Reagan single-handedly (apparently) dismantled communism one afternoon in 1987.) The confusion of genuine leftfielders with people who go to Glastonbury could, of course, have been easily corrected by a quick glance at Mark's Mobile News, exploring the joy brought to the festival by don't-call-them-sponsors Orange: "It has an illuminating tent, which can be located by text message, and has also unveiled a ringtone 'mix' service."

There's still not much hit the screens from people actually at Glastonbury - probably because One Day At A Time they're too busy catching up on sleep and wondering if they'll ever be able to clear the mud out of the plughole ever again; although Glastoblog of course managed to keep it going live: interesting perspective from them on the police presence: "The only time I have felt imtimidated by the police was on Thursday during the England v Portugal football match. We were watching from the back of a packed Pyramid field and a row of police on horseback loomed up at the rear during extra time. The atmosphere became heavy immediately but luckily for everyone, they soon moved on. On the whole this year, the police were a lot of fun, posing for muddy pictures with punters. They were taking photos on their own phones of themselves with punters too!" It seems police just can't help but view football supporters as a problem, no matter what context they're in - although, having said that, some of the coverage did report there were knuckleheads chanting "No surrender to the IRA" and other such "ooh, look at me with my shaven head and BNP vote", so maybe it wasn't so odd that the police were at their most tense during the ground caving in under Beckham's feet.

The big story at Glasto for the S-Spot wasn't Macca or Mozzer or even the weather: It was women pissing standing up. Our understanding is these toilets blew up a little in everyone's faces - not like that; what we mean is they completely underestimated demand and ran out of the cups very early on; tried to close down the service only for angry women to force their way into the loos.

And, talking of piss: Miss Muse demonstrates that our too-easy belief that anyone who likes Oasis now has been liking them since the start and just doesn't know how to stop isn't entirely true.

AT LAST, SOMEONE STANDS UP TO THE CLOWNS: We can't really pretend to understand all the cultural nuances at play here, but we do understand that Nebraksan Country singer Michael Martin Murphey is taking a stand against clowns, and therefore deserves all our support. He's sadly not launching his campaign on the grounds that they're rubbish and creepy, but during his acceptance of the Buffalo Bill Award at the Nebraskaland Days festival he attacked the clown's bawdy humour. The North Platte Telegraph, who know news when they smell it, gave the opportunity for him to expand on his theme, and:

"Murphey sent a letter stating that he was "disappointed, dismayed, shocked and sickened to hear the extremely dirty, smutty, below-the-belt 'humor' of the rodeo clowns."
Audience member Sue Elmshaeuser said the clowns dumped out a suitcase of women's underwear and bras and then dragged them around the arena. Another clown who was dressed as a woman used large balloons for breasts, she said.

Well, you can see how that would upset a man. Let's hope he never finds himself in Dublin when the stags and hens are out.

MORE GLASTO SHOTS: Robert Price's blog has got some shots taken with, and posted by, mobile camera phone from this year's festival. I think Robert would be the first to admit that they're not likely to be snapped up for the cover of this week's OK, but it gives you prickles just to see what technology can do these days. (Muttering "when I went to Glasotnbury the first time, you couldn't even get the daily papers, never mind post to the internet from the fields...")

THE PEOPLE iSPEAK: Want iTunes to include indies? A bunch of spannerjocks and mischief cybermonkeys have come up with a way to use the iMix function on iTunes to work like a petition.

"HE LOOKS LIKE HE MIGHT BE YOUR CADDY": We've been wondering how Mike Skinner would travel, as The Streets seem to be one of those peculiarly English acts that might make little sense beyond the M6 slip road and the WKD bottle strewn bus shelter of modern British life. We certainly didn't guess that the Chicago Daily Herald would think he looks like a bloke you'd employ at your local golf course. They seemed more concerned about the problems of translating from vinyl to stage, rather than across the Atlantic:

The songs were designed to show the sensitivity of a slacker. But onstage, Skinner played up his inner Beastie Boy. A contraption holding ready-to-pour vodka and brandy bottles was on hand so he could dispense drinks for the audience. He also readily handed out backstage passes to front row ladies who caught his eye. And when he struck thug poses and faux break danced, it was intentionally comic.
He was a clown who realized the joke wasn't on him but on the rigid expectations of his genre. The complexity of his narratives may have been too dense to translate very well onstage, but even when he blew off steam, it felt like a blast of fresh air.

We guess that Skinner's also locked into doing the Grand Won't Come For Free stuff in the proper order now, otherwise it'd fuck with the narrative - which might be a bit of a mixed blessing for an artist.

[the link did come for free, via Largehearted Boy]

LIVERPOOL LOOKS FOR FEMALE BOUNCERS: People operating bars and clubs across Merseyside are desperate for femal bouncers because they're less likely to be part of the knuckle-headed groups treating security work like a chance to play at being the Sopranos (sorry, "have a more gentle touch"), reports the Liverpool Echo. The oddest quote in the piece comes from a spokesperson from the Security Industry Authority:

"It is a very positive thing for us because we do want to clean up the image of the profession, and women reflect that well."

Hmm. If they're really serious about clearing up the image of the profession, they might want to do something about the people running some of the companies rather than the gender of the people in the shiny bomber jackets on the street fronts.

OKAY, OKAY, MAYBE ROBERT KILROY-SILK HAS A POINT: We've always attempted to be good Europeans at No Rock, but the news that the people of Europe have voted Bohemian Rhapsody the best song ever has shaken our beliefs to the core. We were delighted to see that Germans - asked for the best song ever - voted in large numbers for Usher's most recent and Eamon's Fuck It. Who needs the test of time to prove what's valuable?

PIXIES FILL SCHEDULE FREED UP BY LOLLOP CANCELLATION: According to the newly redesigned Pitchfork [Turn it back! Turn it back!], The Pixies are adding even more dates to their North American tour. We're not sure if they're just attempting to wring every last piece of goodwill out of the world before returning to the darkness, or if they simply intend to spend the rest of their lives on the road, like a cross between Mad Max, Jerry Garcia and Kim Gordon.

PERHAPS, PERHAPS, PERHAPS: Doris Day lectures George Bush - "you'll not win if you keep hunting animals" she tells him, as he rings up to tell her well done of getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Yeah, because if Bush just stopped shooting deer, he really would be the greatest living humanitarian on the planet, wouldn't he?

DOWNLOAD CHART IS RIGHT CLICKED, HOVERING OVER 'SAVE AS...': Or, in other words, it looks likely to get its official launch in a couple of month's time (Hey, who said the music industry is totally incapable of reacting with any degree of speed to a change in technology?) Of course, the September 1st launch date allows the chart people time to fine tune the charts, and gives record companies ample time to put together their teams to distort the data and render the listing little more than an indication of how much money labels are prepared to invest in getting students to spend their days happily right-clicking on their product.

SO, FOR THE PEOPLE SEEKING PHOTOS: Although we're frankly surprised by the number of people googling on 'Alison Goldfrapp +cellulite' - seriously - we know you're looking for visuals...

Polly Harvey wearing a Spice Girls dress - not, as we'd been lead to believe, a Spice Girl's dress; for some reason we'd thought she'd pinched something from Emma Bunton's wardrobe.

Morrissey comes over all Elvis. The BBC are being kind, and not showing off his big sweat patches when he took the jacket off.

I love horses... best of all the animals... I love horses... Alison Goldfrapp's my friend...

James Brown. Rare shot of him facing the crowd, although still not looking at them you'll note.

A WORLD TOUR OF PAIN: Bowie's wonky shoulder has gotten worse, and now the pinched nerve has forced him into hospital, cancelling gigs in Vienna and Salzburg this week. The pain - from a trapped nerve - also led him to miss the Southside Festival at the weekend.

FLIPPING HIS HATCH: How much money is the RIAA paying Senator Orrin Hatch? Or, if its not money, what the hell is he doing in the photos they must have of him? He's proposing a tightening of copyright laws in the US - because, you know, they're so loose right now - which would make it a crime to manufacture or sell a device which "intentionally induces copyright infringement" - in other words, if you sell an MP3 player, you're a criminal, pal, because it might tempt people to play uncleared mp3s on them. Hatch seems convinced that people buy PCs and are unaware what they, or P2P software might do - it's all about protecting the users from their machines. Maybe someone ought to slip round and suggest Mr. Hatch stop watching Demon Seed every weekend.

TIME TO PUT COWS BACK ON THE SOFA: So, the last knockings of Glastonbury: of course, it was all very sad that Orbital were calling it a day, but... they've never been very televisual, have they? Once you've gone "oh, yeah... lights on his glasses", there's nothing to see. And raving at home only has limited appeal, so while we're sure being there was great; as a small-screen spectacle (even one with lights strapped to the side) there wasn't much going for it.

And viewers who stuck with it seem a mite pissed off that they swapped them across channels just as they were about to play Chime and end their career forever. Oops.

Now, though... the clean-up begins. Which is going to take some people:

...longer than others.

THE OLD MAN AND THE PARSONS: We know Keith Richards was mates with Gram Parsons, but surely making the half man, half cheshire cheese Rolling Stone main draw at a Parsons memorial concert is a little bit like rubbing it in? Why not just go the whole hog and call it 'Gram Parsons: Lightweight.' We're also more than a little amused at Keef playing for a charity gig that's going to help fund assistance for musicians who are dependent on drugs and alcohol. Not that Keef was ever dependent on pills and booze, of course: he could go days sometimes with just one or the other. Also down for the tribute: Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Dwight Yokham, John Doe (assuming he shakes off the hundreds of the lawsuits the RIAA keeps throwing at him), Kathleen Edwards and eastmountainsouth.

THEO - QUEEN OF THE MER-PEOPLE: Conagratulations to Moby and Theo Logan of the Lunachicks, who have been crowned King Neptune and Queen Mermaid at Coney Island's Mermaid Parade.

They were joined in the parade by walking cans of tuna and someone in a gorilla costume. And yet still they couldn't do better than Moby.

B52s BOMB: Hey, we love the B52s, don't get us wrong, but we have to say we have some sympathy with the Brockton Cultural Affairs Director who seems to have got really pissed off that the band had been booked for the third year running to play The City of Champions. She fired the producer of the annual show, railing that the B52s were "washed up, over the hill and only performed at corporate functions." Now, that's a little harsh, perhaps, but we do agree: they're not the sort of band who we could picture being a regular annual date.

They were due to get USD60,000 for their performance, were the B52s. Nearly half the show's budget.

OVERSUPPLY?: It's not just Lollapalooza which has been stung by falling ticket sales in the US, as Pollstar's Gary Bongiovanni predicts a "lacklustre" summer for concert sales in the US: Jessica Simspon, Kiss, Norah Jones, even Madonna are all suffering from poor sales; it's widely accepted that Christina Aguilera's cancellation was less about her throat, more about the lack of people interested. And yet twelve months ago, everyone was getting very excited, suggesting big shows were the future of the music industry.

What happened?

Typically, the US music industry has blown it by getting greedy: there's a massive over-supply of big tours, they're charging too much and trying to stretch to bigger venues that they strictly need.

Bongiovanni has an interesting twist on the reason for the 'looza collapse, by the way: it's not that Sonic Youth, Pixies and Mozzer fans are too old to consider going to gigs at all, just that they don't relish eight to ten hours stood outside waiting for the heroes of their youth to show up.

HERE COMES RUFUS: More or less confirming the position of iTunes as the only real game in town right now, they're following up their Pixies exclusive with a Rufus Wainwright exclusive downloady thing - Waiting for Want ep will include Gay Messiah, The Love Affair, The Art Teacher and Waiting for a Dream; CD artwork will be available to make it almost like the real thing as well.

He's also going to be touring about the UK, like some sort of strolling minstrel:

27th October - Edinburgh Usher Hall
29th London - Barbican Centre
30th Brighton - The Dome
31st Sheffield - Octagon
2nd November - Liverpool Philharmonic
4th Warwick - Arts Centre
5th Cambridge - Corn Exchange
7th Southampton - Guild Hall.

Support comes from his sister, Martha Wainwright. Yes, the one in "Five Years Old."

Sunday, June 27, 2004

A FURTHER ROUND-UP: Dorian Lynskey has singled out Joss Stone as being the least unacceptable of that "NewBritishJazzTalent" cerebus: "neither as smug as Jamie Cullum nor as obnoxious as Amy Winehouse. She has a remarkable voice, and the presence to match. Seeing her dressed in a pink, midriff-baring top and trousers while hearing her sing is like watching Britney Spears come on and start belting it out like Aretha Franklin." Hmmm. Lolita does a passable recreation of Brigette Bardot's pop career, perhaps, or "the young Patsy Kensit" as its known round here.

A model of restraint, her Guardian colleague Betty Clarke describes the Ordinary Boy's obsessions: "Loud, proud and defiantly mod, they wear their love of Paul Weller on their short sleeves." And, let's not forget, the practically wear Paul Weller's love juice down their cocktail dresses.

The Guardian/Strongbow reviews have just about caught up with Paul McCartney - although we have to take issue with Tim Jonze when he suggests that the popular view of Macca is of someone guzzling Quorn: Linda's products are all TVP, the sworn enemy of Quorn in the veggie counter.

Playlouder's Andy Barding seems to be the only person so far who bothered with Christy Moore - Moore just does himself no favours by refusing to wear a really short skirt - and he thinks that this might be the old fire that this year's festival is lacking: "Not that the man's a walking deity or anything - heaven knows there are enough artists doing this sort of "protest" song around - just that, this Glasto at least, Christy seems to be the ONLY one doing it.
Why this should be, I don't know. Maybe we don't want to think about such things when we're on holiday any more. Maybe we only want to bop about to Muse.

SOFABURY EDGES TOWARDS CLOSURE: Ooh... now, there's a tricky choice - Stellastar or Muse? (See, they could have had Zero Seven headlining the new stage tonight and Stellastar could have done last nights, and everyone would be happy.) Stellastar's set is quite muted, but beautiful in a 'don't call it shoegazing' way - I'm going to say it, yes I am: sonic cathedrals. Over on the pyramid stage, Matt Bellamy is attempting to throw in more electorfeedback doodling into New Born than you could possibly imagine. He's adopted a white jacket for the occasion, although it looks like it could be a raincoat. Either he's adopted Columbo chic as his look for 04, or else he just read the weather forecast before he left home this morning.

Over on the 6Music glastonbury blog, Mark Sutherland wins the easiest bet of them all: "It took him [Michael Eavis] precisely 27 seconds to describe this year's Glasto as "the best ever". He also says his row is very much with Vince Power rather than Mean Fiddler per se and that one headliner for Glasto 2005 is already in place." He's not being drawn on the headliner, which everyone seems to have accepted is doomed to be U2 - after the Bishop of Bath and Wells this year, it's Bono as the holiest man on campsite in 2005. He's not much being drawn on the Power row, either, but he's meant to be livid at Vince Power's bragging in the Daily Telegraph that it was all down to Power that there's a Glastonbury at all. Power told the Telegraph about the financial breakdown - they take in GBP11.2million on tickets alone - and suggested "There was talk about the thing becoming corporate," he says, "but today, people feel safer. Melvin has managed to secure the site and operate it professionally and properly.". After this year, there's two more years of the contract between the Eavises and Mean Fiddler to go; many more public suggestions that Eavis wasn't running things "properly" for the couple of decades he managed to grow the event from Three Hippies and A Field to the foremost performing arts event in the country and we can't see that contract getting extended much further. If we were Michael Eavis, we'd just drop the question "Whatever happened to the Phoenix festival?" into any press discussion about MF; perhaps following up with "Oh, didn't they close it after all the riots? Or were they at Leeds?" And if MF are responsible for the "nuts and bolts" of the festival, does that mean they -and not Michael Eavis - were behind the ticketing fiasco? If so, and if they left Eavis to handle the flack - you can start to see why the farmer might be wishing he had a longer spoon with which to sup when Vince Power and Melvin Benn come to tea.

Latest: Colin Murray's eyes have totally disappeared from his head.

SOFABURY EDGES TOWARDS CLOSURE: Ooh... now, there's a tricky choice - Stellastar or Muse? (See, they could have had Zero Seven headlining the new stage tonight and Stellastar could have done last nights, and everyone would be happy.) Stellastar's set is quite muted, but beautiful in a 'don't call it shoegazing' way - I'm going to say it, yes I am: sonic cathedrals. Over on the pyramid stage, Matt Bellamy is attempting to throw in more electorfeedback doodling into New Born than you could possibly imagine. He's adopted a white jacket for the occasion, although it looks like it could be a raincoat. Either he's adopted Columbo chic as his look for 04, or else he just read the weather forecast before he left home this morning.

Over on the 6Music glastonbury blog, Mark Sutherland wins the easiest bet of them all: "It took him [Michael Eavis] precisely 27 seconds to describe this year's Glasto as "the best ever". He also says his row is very much with Vince Power rather than Mean Fiddler per se and that one headliner for Glasto 2005 is already in place." He's not being drawn on the headliner, which everyone seems to have accepted is doomed to be U2 - after the Bishop of Bath and Wells this year, it's Bono as the holiest man on campsite in 2005. He's not much being drawn on the Power row, either, but he's meant to be livid at Vince Power's bragging in the Daily Telegraph that it was all down to Power that there's a Glastonbury at all. Power told the Telegraph about the financial breakdown - they take in GBP11.2million on tickets alone - and suggested "There was talk about the thing becoming corporate," he says, "but today, people feel safer. Melvin has managed to secure the site and operate it professionally and properly.". After this year, there's two more years of the contract between the Eavises and Mean Fiddler to go; many more public suggestions that Eavis wasn't running things "properly" for the couple of decades he managed to grow the event from Three Hippies and A Field to the foremost performing arts event in the country and we can't see that contract getting extended much further. If we were Michael Eavis, we'd just drop the question "Whatever happened to the Phoenix festival?" into any press discussion about MF; perhaps following up with "Oh, didn't they close it after all the riots? Or were they at Leeds?" And if MF are responsible for the "nuts and bolts" of the festival, does that mean they -and not Michael Eavis - were behind the ticketing fiasco? If so, and if they left Eavis to handle the flack - you can start to see why the farmer might be wishing he had a longer spoon with which to sup when Vince Power and Melvin Benn come to tea.

WHAT'S WITH YOUR CHIN?: Why on earth does Morrissey keep scratching his chin? Is he trying to remind caricaturists how to draw him? Excellent set, mind. Oh, and he's sweating like Pee Wee Herman in a cinema queue.

MADONNA LOSES ONE: It looks like Britney's given up on the whole Kabbalah thing, because her mother doesn't like it. We're not sure what aspects of the cult Lynne Spears dislikes - although we suspect the "give all your money to leader" might be part of the problem - but Britney seems to have stopped wearing the friendship bracelet or whatever the bit of red string is meant to be. We don't blame Britney for backing down - her mother seems to be someone who won't take shit lying down, even running over paparazzi photographers who don't move their arses fast enough. The wrath of god versus the wrath of Brit's Mum? No contest.

SOFABURY: Oh, god almighty - would it have killed BBC Three to have held Bodies back a couple of minutes to let Morrissey get to the end of Shakespeare's Sister? If he'd have been taking a penalty kick, they'd have happily made the rest of the scheduling get into a queue, but for some reason - even although once the medical drama's out the way, all BBC Three has planned for the evening is more Glastonbury - they decided to cut away to the news. From what we've seen so far, mind, Mozzer is in fine form this evening. Some of you will remember The King, who would dress up as Elvis and do unlikely songs (all by dead artists, in his case). Morrissey seems to have decided to pick up his act, recreating The Smiths as Elvis. Even down to 'big fuck off name in red lightbulbs' backdrop. Not too sure where he's found the band, though: they seem to consist of Barry from Accounts and the nephew of the woman at the corner shop ("ooh, our bernie's boy plays a bit of guitar, Mr. Morrissey, would you give him a go at the festival?"). Sounds cracking, though - the best of the old guys so far this weekend.

They showed some more James Brown while they were waiting for Stephen to finish his preshow cordials, and it did seem to be a bit funkier - although Brown spent much of the time with his back to the audience, and someone else entirely was drafted in to do the bulk of Soul Man. When Brown ripped off his tie and threw it into the crowd, it wasn't clear at first if he was being moved by the spirit of funk or merely suffering excruciating chest pains. This was pretty much "I've seen James Brown" territory, like "I have seen the lions of Longleat." A car sticker to collect rather than a life changing experience.

Amy Winehouse: why? Colin Murray (who spent the whole of one link sidling up to edith and peering at her in a really, really disturbing fashion, like your unmarried uncle watching a ten year old in the swimming pool) suggsted that this had been a great weekend for "new british jazz talent" what with Cullum, Stone and Winehouse turning up; I suspect that anyone who actually likes jazz would rather he just went back to panting down Edith's shoulder. Winehouse has nothing to do with jazz; if anything, musically, she's like someone illustrating a list of all the notes that Whitney Houston has used in the past, mainly in alphabetical order. You know, here's something to ponder: if there was a plane about to crash with Cullum, Stone and Winehouse on it, and two parachutes on board, would you be able to sack whoever it was who forgot to take those last two parachutes off the plane?

SOFABURY RETURNS: Supergrass are currently on the Pyramid stage, a replacement for The Libertines, which seems somehow a fair summation of the band: Supergrass are reliable, a good, solid group you can fall back on. But probably not a band who'd you'd call first. Gaz is wearing the whitest outfit at glastonbury since Sarah Nixey; it's not clear if its sweat or rain that is slowly turning it see-through.

Earlier: James Brown. He'd obviously heard that Gaz Coombes was coming in white, as he'd turned up in red. From the little bit we've seen so far - a horrible rearrangement of I Feel Good, with way too much overegging of the female backing singer's role, and James forgetting the words - it wouldn't have been too much of a loss if he'd had his passport taken off him by the judge.

BBC Three also dug out a clip from Joss Stone - last night she was headlining the Jazz World stage; today she got a canter around the Pyramid Stage. She was making the crowd sing, which is a horrible thing to do: firstly, it's like pulling the wings off bugs; sure, it shows you are big and powerful, but it doesn't make your behaviour any more pleasant. Secondly: it means that instead of hearing the person you've been waiting to sing doing their stuff, all you get to hear is the mushroom head next to you bellowing the wrong words to the wrong tune. Nobody deserves to be defeaned by a beardie on a trip just so Joss Stone gets her little power kick. Stone, by the way, currently looks indistinguishable from Bille Piper.