Saturday, July 10, 2004

A NICE SIT DOWN AND A CUP OF T: A while back, the fate of the Festivals beyond Glastonbuury was pretty grim in terms of a starring role on TV: the best they could hope for was a slot six months down the line, tucked away in the gap between Nightscreen and the late-night rerun of Trisha in ITV Goes To The Festivals. This year, however, T in The Park has hit the big time, commandeering virtually all of BBC Three for the weekend, and scoring the new Queen of our hearts, Gill Mills, to anchor the festivalfest. And, without the sheer band cram of Glastonbury, the coverage seems to be a lot less rushed and desperate to please than the TV pumped out of Somerset a couple of weeks ago. That could also be because this is probably the festival that's most attuned to music fans, rather than braying public school kids desperate to see how far out into the countryside they can go and still get reception for their 3 network videophone, so there's less distractions in the form of jugglers, Kate Moss and people rolling about in the mud to confuse the production team.

So, who have we had so far? Starsailor kicked it off for the telly crowd. The coming of radio to variety theatres killed many acts stone dead, you know; they simply didn't realise that their jokes would sound dated the moment they used them on air. Material which once would have stood a commedian in good stead for an entire eighteen month tour of the nation was burned through in the course of a single five minute slot on the Home Service; to their surprise, jokes which they expected to last them for years were rendered denatured simply because they'd done them once on air. Something for Starsailor to ponder before they try pulling the U2 bit in Silence Is Easy again. (We're not entirely convinced, either, its in any young, slightly pompy band's interests to point out they're in danger of turning into Bono in a few years time, anyway).

Charlotte from Ash is wearing a spangly, sparkly top - it's a step away from saying "If the solo stuff takes off, I'm off to do a headline tour of places not full of mud and beer fumes, boys"; Tim Wheeler's hips are more snakey than ever; Ash have rushed straight from the airport to the stage, and they sound so wonderful you know Mark Thompson will probably forgive them for swearing on BBC Three (and BBC Two Scotland) at tea-time. They do Kung-Fu, as well, which is a treat. It's interesting to compare Ash with Supergrass, both kicking off their careers at roughly the same time, both being marked out for playing truant from school to make their debuts; both never quite cracking it onto the Radiohead/Oasis scale of success; both weathering well. And yet, while Supergrass are still pushing the bright young thing angle, looking more and more like the cast of Please, Sir crammed behind school desks and into blazers long after they should be hitting mid-life crises and buying Honda Civics, Ash have managed to effortlessly grow old without actually growing-up: they don't have the desperation to look young of a CBBC presenter in their fourth season, but they haven't turned into a dull Coldplay musowank. Britney Spears might want to ask them how they managed that.

Much as we're delighted by barefooted women playing the saxophones, we always feel like The Zutons are something that Charlie Gillet has grown in his backyard for either a joke, a bet or revenge, so we flip over to watch Natasha Kaplinsky dancing to the Grandstand theme on Sport Relief, returning to BBC Three in time to see Karen McDonald playing the main stage. (The back announcement claims it was Pink, but we know what we saw.)

At Glasto, Gill was forced to fill for ages and ages when nothing was happening on the new stage, and we loved it. Disappointingly, haituses at T are used as an excuse to dump recordings of Rodrigo Y Gabriella onto the air instead - lots of bad tempered gesturing during tuning-up prior to some pleasant but indistinguished winebar guitar work.

Tom Chaplin from Keane really has trouble standing still - he's cnstantly moving; not dancing, more a kind of jiggle like a nervous child hoping the queue for the toilet will go down quickly. Which is distracting enough to begin with; but the bouncing just draws ever more attention to the contents of his loose jeans - slappity, slappity, it goes. He's packing more snake than a tin of bouncy adders. And once you've noticed, you can't help but stare. No Rock still receives a healthy level of traffic thanks to a mention we made of Ronan Keating's penis a while back - if anyone turning up through that link happens across this section... there's a new king in town, boys.

They then cut to Gill Mills waggling her eyebrows. This show is just total filth, you know.

We yield to nobody in our admiration of the Charlatans, but it's fair to say this isn't a golden night for them. Tim Burgess - the sexiest man ever to dance on a stage - is wearing a rubbish scarf and an even more rubbish hat, which makes him look like Ranger Smith from Yogi Bear auditioning for the role of Grandad in Only Fools and Horses. The sound is awful; Just When You're Thinking Things Over sounds as if it's being knocked out in the middle of Paris by a blind tinker with a tin mug and a dancing monkey on a lead. And Tim keeps forgetting this isn't his solo side project and keeps wandering off into his fake American accent. Their first telly song is Watch You In Disbelief. Indeed.

Quick, BBC, tick those public service boxes, and rush on one of the bands who did the unsigned band competition. A Certain Death. Nice louds, rubbish shouting metal. It's all cut mercifully short to make room for Ash, who've popped up for a chat and, according to Gill, to make moon eyes at hapless co-presenter Duggie someoneorother. There's a third co-presenter, too, who seems to be a gay Alan McGee with no knowledge of modern music at all [actually, that could be Alan McGee, come to think of it].

Faithless are dull to a degree where we wonder if there should be some sort of museum raised to make sure we never forget. They sound like we imagine Goldfrapp's older brothers would do. And stood next to Michael Franti and Spearhead, rapping, hippinh, hopping and riffing off Seven Nation Army, they sound even more stale.

More public service: Eric and the Bunny Boilers. They sound a bit like Sleeper if Louise Wener had been a girl instead of a determined fox-stamper, but they do manage to say all the wrong things:
[UPDATE: Or rather they don't, as we though something Gill had said had come from one of the band.

Watching them live, it's suddenly clear that Dogs Die In Hot Cars have been created to fill the space left vacant when Space went off to count the money the Merseyside Music Development Agency had hilariously given them to develop studio facilities.

There's a flashback to Starsailor doing Four to the Floor, James Walsh getting pulled up short trying to get the audience clapping, looking embarrassed and abandoning it.

The Wu Tang Clan don't really seem to have their hearts in this; it's a bit of a comeback thing and, frankly, they don't really seem to have realised they're back. They do Gravel Pit, but it sounds more sandpit. Or possibly paddling pool.

Like a curse, Ocean Colour Scene are back to play T a-bloody-gain. Perhaps they figure that a nation which kept Andy Stewart going for years wopn't have realised how badly out of date their music would sound even if it was done well.

OH, GOOD, ANOTHER ACTOR-TURNED-SINGER: Okay, she might be another Minnie Driver, but we're pulling a convince-us face at the news that Lindsay Lohan has singed a deal with - lord help us - Tommy Motola's Casablanca label to make records.

We're not enitrely sure what happened to her 2002 five-album deal with Emilio Estefan Jr - we're guessing she's not recorded them incredibly quietly and has thus freed herself from that contract, which could prove interesting.

Mottola's believed to have spent several months trying to sign up Jamie Lee Curtis before his staff managed to get him to understand the plot of Freaky Friday.

CLEARLY, FRIDAYS ARE SET ASIDE IN AMERICAN COURTS FOR DEALING WITH THE FAMOUS: After a busy week for the Michael Jackson case, which is proceeding under a veil of secrecy only challenged by that couple fucking on stage in Norway for its sense of privacy, Jacko has been slapped down by the judge for yakking away about the case where he didn't touch the kid but gave him millions anyway. Judge Rodney Melville conceeded that the earlier case might be on the edges of his ban on participants talking about the case in public, but warned Jackson not to do it again. He was probably just thankful that this time the defence team had done its work in public rather than leaking stuff to Fox News Channel.

TURN YOURSELF IN, BOBBY BROWN, BOBBY BROWN: Presumably because he's been to jail so often now he's trusted to be able to find his own way there, a judge has told Bobby Brown to turn himself into jail in Atlanta for fingerprinting. It's all related to the claims that Brown slapped Whitney Houston last December. If he doesn't go willingly, it'll be another warrant out in his name. He knows how that goes.

SHE'S NOT BEING DISOBEDIENT, SHE'S ILL: Earlier this week we read someone online banging on about how Britney's current behaviour is following Courtney Love's route to a worrying degree. It's a rubbish comparison, like suggesting that someone trying to slip an Australian five cent piece into the money they give to their newsagent is following in Al Capone's shoes. As if to prove our point, Courtney was due in court on Friday for a hearing related to - give us a moment as we shuffle through a large pile of papers - attacking a woman during the beef she had with her ex boyfriend and manager. She didn't turn up, surfacing instead in hospital with some gynacology crisis. Now, it could be the case that Courtney's got some problem down there - it wouldn't be that unlikely, more people have passed through that entrance than the gateway to Disneyland - but we can't help feel the timing is a little lucky for her. During the court case her lawyer had attempted to explain her non-appearance away as being due to confusion over if she was meant to be there or not; the judge gave that claim the contempt you'd expect. It'll be interesting to see if the hospitalisation is either genuine or enough to get her off the hook.

SOMETHING MORE TO BLEEP ABOUT: Warp Record's much admired digital download shop - you buy the music, it's yours - has expanded to offer stuff from a range of other labels as well - Skam, Lex, Domino, Ninja, and lots of others. All available from

WE KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN... BUT: Did anyone read through the latest Girls Aloud mail-out before sending it on?:

Congratulations to Girls Aloud, as their fantastic new single, The Show deservedly scooped the number 2 spot in the UK charts this weekend!

So... it deserved to be judged as a second place single, then? Although even that would seem to be a little generous...

PJ IN IRELAND: Polly Jean Harvey has announced a couple of dates either side of the Irish border: Olympia Theatre, Dublin on September 1st; the next night, it's Belfast Waterfront Hall. Dublin tix go on sale Monday; Belfast tickets next Friday.

Friday, July 09, 2004

AS YOU'LL HAVE SEEN ON POPBITCH: Wendy James is back. For some reason, she's working under the name Racine. Why? Erm...

She needed a name … Racine. The drag in Chicago where Al Capone had run his prohibition business from … Wendy had walked down Racine on her first trip to Chicago … mmm.
A few days later at Notting Hill Gate she was window gazing in a second hand bookstore and one of her favourite authors’ books was on display... ‘The Racing World of Damon Runyon’… she got the book. At home a few days later, she misread the sleeve as ‘The Racine World’ and there it was … Racine … firmly in the front of her mind … the name for all of it … the sound, the style, the look. … all of it. Then a friend told her in the French it meant ‘roots’… fabulous.

So, because she had trouble reading the name of a book about Damon Runyon, it seems. And she's putting the record out on her own label? Why? Not because everyone has purchased long bargepoles and so she can't get a foot in a proper record company office, oh no:

"If you want to make the music you believe in and not have to go through twenty phone calls’ to get one thing done … you start your own label. So Pia-K recordings began … as an idea."

We know what you're wondering: does she wear clothes nowadays. See for yourself:

We don't know what look she's going for there, but the cattaract glasses and the cardie suggests its 'Debbie Harry goes to the bingo.'

Actually, we're quite pleased to see her back - we'll always join in victory dances as, once again, experience is trounced by hope, and you can't fault her way her with a catchphrase. As for the music, though... it sounds exactly like Transvision Vamp would have done if they'd spent a few years yellowing on the back shelf of a Mini Metro parked in St Albans town centre. You can still make out what used to be there, but you have to strain a lot.

EAMON TO FANS: FUCK YOU!: In other words, Eamon has pulled his planned tour dates in the UK; suggestions are that there are plans to reschedule for later this year but even so, they're returning ticket holder's cash; clearly, nothing definite about the re-arrangement, then.

THE DRUGS DON'T WORK: Interesting that in the radio reports about the jail sentences for the drug gang handed out today they mention that amongst the clients of the coke sellers were "several music industry figures." Now, 'music industry people take drugs' is hardly surprising, but it;s a timely reminder of the way the music industry only cares about the law when it suits it. Yesterday, music execs wwew dancing round with joy as a bloke who sold bootlegs was "taken off the streets". But unauthroised concert bootlegs don't have the same ability to ruin people's lives as cocaine addiction does; the sale of bootleg records isn't even indirectly linked to murderous, anti-democratic Colmobian paramilitaries. Isn't it a bit sickening to be lectured on the dangers of a CD of a 1985 Cure gig, or the evils of downloading a long-deleted MP3 of a Shop Assistants single by someone from an industry where everyone, at best turns a blind eye to the coke shoved up many of its nostrils?

MANSUN FAMILY REUNITED: We never could quite figure out the attraction of Mansun. A very, very ordinary band, and yet with such fiercely protective fans. We tended to assume they had just enough of an air of being slightly kinky, while clearly being as dull as lightly toasted muffin, that people could pretend to themselves that owning a Mansun t-shirt marked them out as someone a little 'out-there', while not harming their chances of getting a job at Kleinwort Benson when they graduated. (See also: people who dress up to go and see the Rocky Horror Show. Because it's not transvestitism if you're doing it in a theatre, is it?)

look at them; it's like the ramones on half rations

Anyway, it seems the Mansun fans are still working hard in the background, having successfully managed to get Mansun's lost final album, Kleptomania, released, along with a collection of rare stuff and bsides and the usual gull-feed you get a couple of years after a band goes down but is still saleable. Paul Draper, meanwhile, is threatening a solo album sometime soon.

PLUG TO BE PULLED ON THE AMP?: News of a new shuffling of managers at BSykB throws a gloomy shadow over the future of The Amp, Flaunt and Scuzz. Julie Wallace, who had been in charge of the three music stations, has been reassigned to head of original programming for Sky One (we guess they mean 'Sky-made' shows, since the mixture of 'celebs with their cocks out' and 'people having sex on CCTV' which makes up the bulk of Sky One's UK shows would never pass an identity parade for originality.) BSkyB says it's business as usual for the moment, but every media commentator in the Kingdom seems to be donning the black cap for the channels in their present form.

CARRY ON CRAMPING: News reaches us of plans by the Cramps to release some very, very old but tantalising stuff:

Displaying their disdain for the myth of musical progress, The CRAMPS reach back into the clammy womb of their prehistoric past to release HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER, a 2- disc 143 minute frightfest of previously unreleased rare tracks. Thrill to 1st ever rehearsals featuring Bryan Gregory's sister on drums and Lux Interior ripping out a guitar solo! Wonder what substance they abused during a 1982 rehearsal as they stumble through "Rumble Blues" and add an apocalyptic twist to "Lonesome Town". You'll actually hear a dope deal going on in the background during their 3rd ever live gig at Max's Kansas City! All this and more! Stupefying! Includes book with extensive liner notes by Lux and Ivy, themselves, and rare and unseen photos and flyers from their personal collection

[Rufus gets the wink and a promise in return for bringing this to our attention]

AN ALBUM TO UNSEAT GEORGE: We're not entirely sure the news that a bunch of left-leaning indie acts have put together an album against him is going to cause too much in the way of upset at the White House, but every small shove helps. And, what's more, it's a pretty good album, too; it includes the first track from the posthumous Elliot Smith album, as well:

1. OK GO: This Will Be Our Year
2. David Byrne: Aint Got So Far To Go
3. Jimmy Eat World: Game Of Pricks (BBC evening
4. Death Cab for Cutie: This Temporary Life
5. Blink-182: I Miss You (James Guthrie Mix)
6. Mike Doughty: Move On
7. Ben Kweller: Jerry Falwell Destroyed The Earth
8. Sleater-Kinney: Off With Your Head
9. R.E.M.: Final Straw (MoveOn Mix)
10. Bright Eyes: Going For The Gold (Live)
11. The Long Winters: The Commander Thinks Aloud
(future mix)
12. of The Black Eyed Peas: Money
13. They Might Be Giants: Tippecanoe and Tyler Too
14. Clem Snide: The Ballad of David Icke
15. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Date With The Night (Live)
16. Fountains of Wayne: Everythings Ruined (Acoustic)
17. Nada Surf: Your Legs Grow
18. The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
(live on the BBC)
19. Old 97s: Northern Line
20. Laura Cantrell: Sam Stone
21. Tom Waits: Day After Tomorrow
22. Elliott Smith: A Distorted Reality is now
Necessary to be Free

I'm sure it won't escape the sharp eyed boys down at Fox News that there's a couple tracks originally recorded by the BBC on there - damnit, you just knew they were pinkos, didn't you. The CD is called Future Soundtrack of America, and has been put together to raise cash for progressive groups by McSweeneys, and Barsuk Records. There's also a book, The Future Dictionary of America, which does a similar thing but with words.

[For this, we owe Sarah the granting of a wish]

SAVE THE PEEL!: We were delighted to get an email from Gemma, of the Edinburgh Uni Indie Society, who are organising a bid to save John Peel from late nights in the new Radio One schedule. We've stuck the letter they're inviting everyone to send to Radio One in protest over on the bsn website in case you're tempted to add your voice. We're not entirely sure how flattered John would be at the implication that a man of his age really shouldn't be up after midnight, but it's well meant.

MESSING WITH THE CLASSICS: We were flicking through the music channels last night when we happened upon The Box playing Lou Reed. Which would normally be a little like finding your grandfather co-presenting with Johnny Vaughan, but as we listened, it became clear that something was very, very wrong. Apparently, in a bid to interest the young people with their Bratz Dolls and Wayne Rooney haircuts in the grumpiest man in rock, they've decided to remixc Satellite of Love. Although "remix" is being somewhat over generous - added some dicky late 80s dance toss over the top, so that the original is ruined and the "new" version never actually makes any sense - it's like putting uPVC windows into a Charles Rennie Mackintosh house. It doesn't create a new house, just makes the old one look rubbish. Kneecapping is too good for some people.

AS EVER: WE THINK SHE KNEW WHAT SHE WAS DOING: And we have to admit, if we saw Beyonce walking down the street, we'd probably pretend we thought she was J-Lo, too.

"I'M SORRY, MADAM, THE PERSON IN THIS PHOTO IS WEARING CLOTHES...": We're a little bit disturbed by one aspect of the whole Christina loses her passport story, in the quote from her representative:

"There was some confusion as to whether she'd misplaced it in the UK, or whether it was never brought from the US. In the end Christina had to go to the US Embassy and sort out a replacement."

Surely you'd know if your passport was left in the US, as when you came to the gate, they'd ask to see your passport, and you'd go "Oh, I don't actually have it...", and they'd say "I'm terribly sorry, madam, but what with all the terrorism and stuff, we really can't take the risk of letting in you without seeing your passport, otherwise people might think that there's one rule for ordinary plebs and a totally different one for half-undressed celebrities, and that would be terrible, wouldn't it?" and you wouldn't have got into the country?

SO, IT'S NOT ABOUT FLOGGING EXTRA RECORDS, THEN?: Chinese Pop singer Sonya has signed up to do a set of naked photos for a mobile phone download service. But it's not a quick attempt to make some cash, you understand.

"The fact is that most multiracial people can already feel the stereotypes and curiosity all around them, so I worried a lot that this nude project might work against multiracial people. But as I will not be able to lose this 'multiracial singer' tag that I've always been stuck with, I acceded to this nude project thinking I would try to sublimate those problems with my charm and attraction."

If only Christina had thought of claiming she was sublimating some sort of social problem with her charm and attraction, she might have got an award rather than just a cold midriff.

COUNTALONGAKYLIE: Kylie Minogue has got herself muddled up with an NSPCC initiative to get schools to do some sponsored maths on Numbers Day, which apparently happens again (yes, again) this November. Apparently, Kylie is an NSPCC ambassador, which may or may not mean she can get her bags through customs unopened, and its in this role that she's backing the big sponsored maths day. Apparently, it's all being supported by Capita, which is an interesting choice of company to support a maths initiative, after all the trouble they had with adding up the Lambeth housing benefit. And the Individual learning Account business. And that million quid fine for their dogs breakfast of handling the London Congestion Charge. And... but you get the picture. Let's just hope that Capita don't get asked to count the funds raised for the NSPCC...

A GOOGLER IS NEVER DISAPPOINTED: Judging by the referrer logs, for some reason everyone in the entire world wants to see Cameron Diaz leading a bloke round on a dog leash with her breasts out - people who know about these things tell me the "Cameron Diaz S&M video" is BitTorrent available [ ], although people who really know about these things tell me that the Loaded pictures of her in the swimming pool which caused the mass panic at IPC when they had to round up work experience donkeys to put little stickers over her visible front page nipple are more erotic.

The other thing that seems to have got people all hot and bothered is the news that two young people have had sex on stage at the Quart Music Festival. Apparently, they did it for the rain forest (they're from an organisation called Fuck for Forest). Ananova had an image of Tommy Hol Ellingsen and Leona Johansson, tastefully cleaned up:

But there's also a less safe for office viewing version floating about.
The pair were arrested and fined GBP850, which they're refusing to pay - we're not sure if disrupting a performance by Kristopher Schau and the Cumshots is a specific crime, so it must be a public decency thing. And if you're not sure quite how having sex on stage at a rock festival is going to help save the rain forests, you're not alone:

"I can not see that this helps the work for the rainforest," said Lars Løvold, head of the Rainforest Foundation Norway.

WEILAND INTO REHAB: Unlikely that Velvet Revolver will be touring anytime soon, as the drug-addled rock head has been given a six month rehab program to work through, after his DUI car-smashing screw-up.

THE HEART'S FILTHY LESSON: So, it turns out when David Bowie said he was cancelling his dates because of a trapped nerve, things were a lot more serious than that - in fact, he's having to have emergency angioplasty.

They probably had to keep explaining that having your heart chopped about by angioplasty is a lot less unpleasant experience than having your heart mucked about with by Angiebowie. He's had the op, is back in New York and already joking about his near-Jack-Duckworth experience, saying he won't write a song about it.

The official statement, for those of you who like to print such things out and tie to your garden gate, reads:

"British pop legend David Bowie underwent heart surgery in Germany last month prompting him to cancel his European tour. Bowie sought medical treatment after performing at a festival in the north-western German town of Scheesel (June 25) reportedly for a pinched nerve in his shoulder. It was discovered that the 57-year old rocker had an acutely blocked artery requiring emergency surgery (the procedure is known as an angioplasty)."

Thursday, July 08, 2004

NO THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC: We're pretty sorry to hear about Mark Purseglove, sentenced to three and a half years for... selling concert recordings. Obviously, what he did was, strictly speaking, outside the law, but we're not entirely sure who the victim was here. In fact, Aaron S emailed us to make pretty much the same point:

Please, please tell me your going to write something about how utterly wrong the prison sentence for that bootlegger is. It's been filling me with rage all day. When I was younger my friends and I would be overjoyed if we found a bootleg of a gig we went to - it's not like the record industry makes these things available. For the judge to say "Very large numbers of illicit CDs were produced and sold over the years with significant potential loss, not only to recording companies but also to performers and composers" just beggars belief - I don't believe any one in the world has ever bought a bootleg CD instead of a 'proper' album.

This guy may not be the most wholesome of individuals, but that someone can go to jail for selling recordings that aren't even commercially available astounds me. This country....

It does seem extraordinary that the record industry has got so upset about this - apparently, McCartney, Ringo and Jimmy Page were standing by to give evidence if Purseglove hadn't pleaded guilty - and what chance would he have had then, with McCartney stood in his rags, eyes red from having to tell Heather that, no, there was no Tofu for tea tonight, telling the court of how Purseglove had diddled him out... what, exactly? The loss to the music industry is claimed to be "incalculable", although someone seems to have managed to come up with a figure that said Purseglove had benefitted by some fifteen million quid. However, this might be the same person who's decided that 28,000 fake CDs found at his storage units were "worth GBP2 million" - in other words, that he'd be flogging them for seventy one quid each. Even BMG hasn't dreamed of charging that for a record yet.

Of course the loss to the music industry is incalculable, because it's impossible to have a loss from the sale of something that doesn't have a legitimate equivalent. Purseglove wasn't selling fake CDs, and if anyone can provide evidence of anyone saying "Well, I had been going to HMV to buy a copy of This Is Hardcore, but instead I shall troop off to a car boot sale to see if I can get a murky recording of Pulp playing a gig in Blackpool instead" then we'll accept that music industry lost out in some way.

YOKO ANNOUNCES ATTEMPT TO GET EVERYONE TO LOOK AT HER, PRAISE HER FOR BEING WONDERFUL: Jesus, there's jumping on a bandwagon, and there's chartering an entire bloody Royal Train. Yoko Ono - she was married to John Lennon, you know - has rerecorded the song Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him as Every Man Has A Man Who Loves Him. Which she thinks makes it a gay anthem, although since there's nowhere near as many men who find men sexually attractive as there men in the world, would actually imply that gay men are really, really promiscuous in their affections.

NO PAROLE: The parole officers who were found acting as bodyguards to Snoop Doggy Dogg have been fired. The LA corrections department decided guarding Snoop was "incompatible" with being a parole officer, so they had to go. Last year a school board also got rid of eight part-time school cops for exactly the same reason (what the hell? they have special cops for schools in America? Jesus, they should just send over Mr. Packham, who once clobbered a kid round the head with a desk. They wouldn't need cops.) We're assuming there's going to be some fireman, ambulancemen, two coastguards and a mountain rescue chap double checking their contracts before going on their foreigner tonight.

RUBBISH ON THE RADIO SHOCK: David Ferguson, chairman of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, has shaken the Music Tank forum to its very core by suggesting that commercial radio is absolutely shit at supporting new music. He's expected to follow up by announcing that McDonalds is primarily concerned about selling as many burgers as it can and that Christina Aguielra is no better than she ought to be. His point is that British commercial radio has been consolidating and narrowing the range of songs on offer; which is all well and good but we don't recall having heard the BACS piping up as the radio Authority allowed station after station to be bought up and turned from vaguely alternative or dancey formats into yet another Top 40 variant (if they did, and they just didn't pipe up loud enough to hear, we apologise.)

Ferguson tells BBC News: "The programming on many commercial stations is so clearly designed just to persuade people not to switch it off or change channels, rather than present them with something new and interesting."

If you can just stop wondering when exactly Ferguson's organisation realised that "Commercial" meant, well, commercial, you might also want to spend a little time ruminating on how the man who heads up the Ivor Novello Awards people squares his complaints about Capital et al playing safe with his organisation's own behaviour. This year, the Novellos took a break from giving everything to Robbie Williams to present prizes to the cutting edge of Dido, Will Young and a twenty year old Tears For Fears song.

Of course, the radio stations are having none of this anyway: Matt Deegan, who is the Head Of Fucking Great Music at the GWR group (okay, he's really Group Corporate Development Executive - and we're sure the Hard Group Corporare Development Executive Cafe will be bidding for one of his in-trays when he retires) denies that his stations don't play unsigned stuff:

"We engage with unsigned music in a slightly different way."

Erm... okay, then. Tell us how you exactly engage with unsigned bands in a way different to, you know, playing it.

He said that while the GWR group had a common playlist for all its local FM stations, individual stations could programme their own music.
We do music research, speaking to 1,000 people a week about the kinds of music they like, and for popular music there is not much difference around the country," he said.
At the moment, what is coming out of research is that people are bored of new music.
We, and a lot of our competitors, seem now to be playing a lot more classic tracks.
As a rule, our stations do not play unsigned bands."

Someone should be checking that quote with BBC News Online - "People are bored of new music." Maybe their writer misheard? Perhaps he said "people are born in New Malden"? We know it's easy to stereotype people who have jobs in the carpeted areas of the music industries as out-of-touch doublespeakers, but even the BPI would have trouble keeping a straight face saying "Yeah, you actually find if you ask people that they say they'd rather keep their interest fresh by hearing songs they've heard thousands of times before rather than the familiarity of stuff they've not heard before." And surely Deegan deserves some sort of accolade for the astonishing u-turn there: "We engage with unsigned music in a different way... as a rule our stations do not play unsigned bands."

Hang about, though, he's about to do another 180 degree flip - having said that people are just fed up with new music, he announces that they play loads of the stuff on their digital station:

"We'd love to do that on FM radio and will be applying for licenses across the country."

So GWR are actively trying to obtain FM licences in order to play music they claim their research nobody wants to hear? We'd love to see one of their licence applications.

[A glance at The Core's playlist may make things clearer - they've got two tracks from Will Young, the - admittedly - debut single from Shaznay Lewis, D12, Avril Lavinge...]

BAD RELIGION, GOOD POLITICS: As the musicians choose sides for the 2004 US Election, Jay Bentley of Bad Religion has suggested voters think twice before voting for Nader. He's even done the math:

"George W. Bush won the 2000 election via the electoral college (271), attributed to 1703 votes in the state of Florida. The reason this is important, is because while Gore won the popular vote, and Bush won the electoral vote, a third party candidate may have actually influenced the final result. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader received 2.78 million votes in 2000. In the state of Florida, Nader took 93,000 votes, votes that many believe would have gone to Democratic candidate Gore."

Which isn't anything nobody's said before, but it always bears repeating. Even Ralph Nader might twig on eventually.

MOTOWNOBIT: Syreeta Wright, who recorded six albums for Motown, has died at the age of 58. Probably most familiar to a pop audience for her 1979 duet With You I'm Born Again, recorded with Billy Preston, Wright had started with Motown as a secretary. First pressganged into singing back-up vocals, she was then signed for a solo career by Berry Gordy and set to work with Ashford and Simpson as producers. Changing her name from Rita Wright en route, she was Stevie Wonder's wife for two years, during which she and Little Stevie wrote a slew of classic songs including Signed, Sealed, Delivered and It's A Shame. Although the marriage didn't last, the friendship and collaboration did, resulting in her 1974 album Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta. (Syreeta had a pretty single-minded approach to naming albums, using 'Syreeta' twice as well.) She released her final solo work in 1983, although she remained working: in 1990 with a role as Mary Magdalene in a touring production of Jesus Christ, Superstar; and continuing to provide backing vocals for Wonder.

She died on Tuesday night following a long battle against cancer.

ROBERT REDFORD - A TRUE GENTLEMAN: We can only presume its his breeding and innate politeness that leads him to gush over the acting talents of Jennifer Lopez - although, as we typed the word "gush" there, a second plausible explanation did pop into our minds:

"She's a very good actress. What, are they going to blame her for that film [Gigli]? I didn't pay any attention to that. All I know is what I saw when I worked with her. She's a natural talent. Fortunately, that's what I connected with."

We haven't seen Gigli - in common with nearly the entire population of the planet, oddly enough - but we have seen Lopez attempts to act in various pop videos, Maid in Manhattan and all those films which Channel 4 tries to sneak out when it thinks nobody's watching, in which she usually plays a beautiful cop. And we wouldn't say she absolutely stinks - she can deliver a line, she knows how to move on camera - but she never comes over as anything other than Jennifer Lopez. Which is a major hurdle for any actor, surely? Unless in the bits we miss flicking channels idly to see if Darren Betts is doing his scary weatherman bit, each film has some complex explication of exactly why an internationally famous diva has come to be working as a beautiful cop/ beautiful maid/beautiful consort of Robert Redford.

IT'S FOR YOU-HOO: Frankly scary predictions from Baskerville/Informa Media suggest that by 2008, one in every eight pounds spent on music will be tossed away on ringtones. We can see what they're basing this on: we've only ever heard that Marion Winans song on the advert for the ringtone version of, and it's suggested that Round Round by the Sugababes made more in its Nokia version than as a proper single. However, what they don't seem to take into account is at the moment people download ringtones on their mobiles because there isn't much else to do with them, once the novelty of SMSing a badly created picture of some breasts to mates has worn off. When the technology catches up and allows people to download full tracks to their phones in large numbers, and to choose to use those when people call, it's almost certain the ringtone market will collapse.

Even if the techonology doesn't kill the ringtone, Baskerville warn that greed could do it. They warn that record labels seeking maximise their profits could push prices up, creating a vacuum in which pirates would sweep in and mop up the market meaning their payday never quite arrives. It's interesting to note that companies are starting to market cheaper tones - still a hefty quid a throw - and creating the impression that the general market price is way too high. Indeed, as more people notice that a full song, even on the pricey MyCokeMusic site, is 99p, they might start to question why a snatch comes in at GBP1.50.

AT THE THIRD STROKE: Things seem to be shaping up and around for the third Strokes album to arrive to general disappointment in Spring 2005. They're promising a "radically different sound", which, on third albums, usually means a smattering of half-arsed experimentation which pisses off all but the hardest core of fans and fails to satisfy the wider music realm. The disappointing album is expected to be supported by a tour of three-quarters full venues and the cancellation of several European festival appearances in Summer 2005, with an album promising to strip things down and get back to the core sound sometime around Valentine's Day 2006.

YES, IT MUST BE HARD BEING AT THE CENTRE OF THINGS... WHAT'S YOUR NAME AGAIN?: Mel C is quitting London because she's sick of being just outside ("in") the limelight. Sporty Spice and her boyfriend Thomas Starr are off to the Wye Valley because, says Now magazine, she's fed up with all the parties and premieres and showbiz dos in London. Mel, we know it's hurtfull all those things going on under your nose and not being even innvited to be civillian side of the purple rope, but you just have to try and put it behind you.

Incidently, we're not sure who this Thomas Starr actually is - we tried googling for a picture and this was all we found:

Well, dating him would certainly stop rumours.

DON'T IT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD?: And here we were, hoping for a revival in Stefan Dennis' music career, but it looks like he's turning his back on music once and for all, instead choosing to revive his Paul Robinson character on Neighbours. We always hated Paul Robinson - not because of his supposed nasty character, but more because every single storyline (apart from the time he brought a hooker to breakfast at the Robinson's) he was involved in was deathly dull. Still, Mr. Odagawa, the only businessman in Japan, will be pleased his old contact is back in business.

MORE NIPPLE SLIP FALL OUT: Although we can't quite believe that American broadcasters don't have to keep recordings of their output already. It would seem to be a rather basic thing to expect them to do - in the UK, even the lowliest short-term licence station has to keep records of all its broadcasts.

HOW MANY MUDDAFACKIN TIMES?: Look, we don't know how we can we make this any clearer. If you're driving round with a car stacked up with guns and drugs, it's probably best not to do stuff to draw attention to yourself. Isn't that simple? And yet, time and time again you get people ignoring what should be a very basic rule: Jadakiss, for example, goes driving with guns and drugs in the glove compartment. But rather than following the rules of the road, being polite and not hogging his lane, the shuntlobe decides to start flinging firecrackers from his window. The inevitable happens - "would you mind opening your door for me, sir... is this your weapon, sir..." yadda yadda... court appearance.

WET WET WET - THROWN BACK TOGETHER: We're sure there's nothing whatsoever like unpaid gas bills under the mantlepiece clock which is leading to the Wet Wet Wet reunion tour, but the band who couldn't stand each other when they split are now locked in to doing a greatest hits set on an eleven date UK tour. You just hope like hell someone's going to be filming backstage.

CRAZY IN FILMS: Beyonce has just been asked by BBC Breakfast what she thought of the original Pink Panther movies (she's appearing in the remake, of course): "Well... I've seen the cartoons..." She's probably be expecting them to overlay a Crazylegs Crane with CGI.

JOHN, JOHN... AND TIM: With a keen eye on the Korean vote, John Kerry has become, (as far as we know) the first ever Presidential candidate to fly a top-level Korean popstar in to play a national convention. The JoongAng Daily is reporting the Democrats' presidential candidate approached Tim (apparently just Tim) directly following a chance meeting with his brother, the American-based songwriter Hwang Yu-min. Damn, talk about connections. Jennifer Ellison is reportedly desperately seeking evidence of large numbers of scouse voters living in swing states.

OKAY, KAYO: Last time Kayo - part machine, part woman from Japan (we suspect, to be honest, that she's mainly woman with a couple of synths) was in the UK, she had Nick Beggs of KajaGooGoo and James Dean Bradfield pushing their way backstage to sing her praises. Despite that, she's coming back.

This time, she's bringing the rest of her main band, Polysics, with her, to play a full UK tour:

Jul 16- Liverpool Barfly
17- London FROG @ The Mean Fiddler
19- London ICA
20- Nottingham The Social
21- Brighton Concorde
22- London On The Rocks
23- Glasgow King Tuts
24- Manchester Bierkeller
25- Birmingham Academy

WE HEAR ROLAND RAT AND BARRY FROM EASTENDERS ARE STILL AVAILABLE: Poor, sweet Mariah Carey. She's plotting her London Stage debut (apparently at a West End Theatre, although even the notoriously open-minded Drill Hall might draw the line at Mariah) and she's worried about finding a leading man to be opposite her for The Princess and the Showgirl:

"I need a strong Englishman, someone who can hold his own when next to me on stage and of course someone who is drop dead sexy."

Someone who can hold his lunch when next to you would be more apt, surely? We love the idea that the woman whose acting talents seem to extend no further than wearing a bikini and bouncing around a bit, waving - the woman who made Glitter - thinks that it might be a bit of a challenge to share a stage with her. She's got her eyes set on Ralph Fiennes; we'd suggest she scales her sights back and gets her agents to see if the "little white sticks you put in your mouth" man from the smoking ads is available this autumn.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Still finding mud from Glastonbury edition
Top of the Pops magazine comes this month with an excellent desk set - tiny little stapler, tiny hole punch, tiny scissors and a tiny roll of sticky tape with pop star faces on. It would be perfect for a studious mouse. There's also a free McFly poster magazine, which is styled as a parody of School of Rock's graphics. They were, of course, a parody of Rolling Stone's graphics, which leaves us looking at a something that feels a little like a cross between an Argos catalogue and Rolling Stone, only with McFly on it. Tom reveals he went to school in a church with only 100 people on the roll, which we calculate means either he's even three times more posh than we thought, or else he had, you know, needs. It's hard to tell the difference between the two quite a lot of the time.

TOTP proper has got Girls Aloud on the cover, looking not a little like the staff from the local Harvester have spent too long standing by the chicken spit. Inside, Natasha Bedingfield wears a moustache to make it easy to remember how to pronounce her name; Kev from V frets that his teeth are rotting away because he's drunk too much pop - don't worry, Kev, your career will be gone long before your teeth, mate; and Dane from D-Side shares his recipe for Tacos - "I've never been obsessed with tacos" he reveals, "but... I have them every now and then."

We can't help but wonder if the people who came up with the Olsen Twins advert strapline - "So little time - so much Mary-Kate and Ashley" - thought about perhaps rewriting it in light of one them being raddled with anorexia.

Duncan from Blue is an Aries. No, of course it matters, dammit - that's the reason why, um, won't share his pillow with anyone. An Aries trait, apparently. Sheesh, and people say there's nothing in astronomy.

Cheryl from Girls Aloud remembers getting herself suspended from school because she had a massive row with a boy on a bus - thank god she learned to control her temper as she grew up; that sort of thing can so easily escalate to the point where you'd beat the crap out of someone in a toilet, say. They also ask Cheryl to review Candice's new single (aparently a "Blonde South African bombshell"). Cheryl's view? "It's nice but nothing new." It must really piss off members of a band like girls aloud who work so hard to ensure constant innovation - they've experimented with three sorts of footwear this month - when someone cookie-cutter comes along.

Plal' Num B from Blazin Squad boasts that "I've never had a girl with fake boobs." And, you know, we bet we know how he can be absolutely certain about that.

There's a bonus free sneak of Dare - we thank that's it, although it could be a free dare of Sneak - with little tastes of such features as "Flirting tips fropm the stars." Charlie Busted advises "Don't be shy about introducing yourself" while Nadine suggests you should let the guy do the chasing. Which doesn't really help very much at all. Luckily, they didn't ask Christina. We guess her flirting tip would be along the lines of "It's so warm in here, do you mind if I take what's left of my clothes off?"; There's also an interview with Jackie Bird, the girl whose mum has done, erm, bird twice because of her truancy. If nothing else, she proves beyond any doubt what missing your education does to your brain: "Mum had to go to court because me and my older sister kept missing school... they sentenced Mum to 60 days in prison. I felt guilty... after a while, I started skipping school again. But I never thought that would mean Mum would have to go back to prison. I was wrong." Uh... yeah. Just fancy that, eh?

Back in TOTP proper, and Javine's offering advice to people who find themselves growing up without their Dad around, which is her big trauma. Except, having got through a couple of columns of tragedy, she shrugs and admits that, you know, she was kind of happy that her Dad didn't live at home. So, um, that's alright then.

Finally from TOTP, James Busted doesn't like Dog Poo, mouldy milk or tight trousers. We're reading the last one as a phobia about penises. But enough of this, let us return to grown up music magazines.

Like the NME. Only - what's this on NME/O2 Music Guide? "The princess of skater pop gets ready to party!" Wowser! It's Avril Lavigne. Talk about the perils of your marketing tie-up; O2 are pushing Avril harder than a farmer with kidney stones, and so they're having to take her seriously. She seems to think that the 100,000 people going to Party in the Park are her fans, somewhat confusingly; she also says that "people have the wrong idea about" Marilyn Manson - which does surprise us - if we're 100% wrong about him, that would make him genuinely a talented Goth with an agenda designed to unsettle and shake up rather than a sharp businessman with a bowl of white face paint and an eye of the disaffected 16 year old make-up. Let's leave this and head for the proper paper.

It's the "Glastonbury Aftermath" issue, or "last of the summer wine", if you will; in fact, here's Rock's own Compo, Liam Gallagher, peering out the front page.

The Big Picture seems to have been abandoned - instead we just hit the news, with Razorlight having a well-earned gloat over their top ten album; there's coverage of the dumping of Pete from the Libertines, and the rather depressing news that Kurt Cobains guitar is going to be part of some sort of exhibition - it might be intended to celebrate the Reading Festival, but it still reeks of the Hard Rock Cafe from where we're standing.

The apparently now annual post-Glasot poll results are in. 44% of those attending were festival virgins, 37% spent most of their time in their tent when they weren't watching bands (hey, get that special festival vibe); 6% claim to have drunk more than ten pints every day. Curiously, 9% claim to have been a victim of a burglary and 3% of a mugging. 57% of festival shags were with people known to the shagger before the festival; 5% did it in the toilets.

Peter Robinson takes on DJ Shadow. Thom Yorke apparently laughed at him and James Lavelle . Blimey, wouldn't you get a complex if your behaviour was so odd it made Thom Yorke burst out in giggles?

Radar band are from Canada. They're called Death From Above and they're looking to come and play a gig in your living room - yes, yours. You have to explain why and send it in, and the best argument for having them come round (or, looking at them, more likely the weakest argument for keeping them away) gets the gig.

Dan Martin considers the plight of Oasis after their show, and poses the questions "are they in trouble? Have they run out of steam?" His conclusion is that they're in danger of becoming irrelevant. Which is almost true - really, though, they've been irrelevant for years. They've enjoyed a good four or five year run longer than even their kindest friends would say they deserve mainly because they've not really been replaced - like a badly beaten-up N-Reg Metro, they've been kept going because nobody's been able to replace them; nobody has offered to fill up the space they occupied doing stupid, dumb, rocky things. Now, though, there's The Libertines and Jack White and others doing stupid rock things, and making better records while doing it. More and more, it's looking like its time to trundle 'em off to the breakers yard.

Noel has written a letter to the paper, as well - we're guessing on current form he would also have insisted on delivering it and opening the envelope. He tries to explain away the dumping of the album as something they were always intending to do anyway (yeah? then why do two songs from it live at Glastonbury?) and then claims there was no 'separate dressing room'. Because the closeness of los bros gallagher can be seen in his pay-off: "Liam and his friends did [watch McCartney from the stage], me and my friends preferred the shared experience of the masses to the priviliged position of the few." So, absolutely no evidence of lip-curling contempt for Liam there, then.

Nathan from Snow Patrol reckons women love the band because they're boys admitting they're wrong. And apparently they're big favourites of Thierry Henry. They also seem to think they're the England team's favourite band, but the interviews a few weeks back suggest that they really don't have that good taste.

Amongst a second set of Glasotnbury posters is a pin-up of Michael and Emily Eavis. If this ever sees the right side of any wall, ever, I shall eat my poster pull-out. [Terms and conditions apply].

Paddy Scissor Sisters original plan was rather Manics-esque: get to the peak, and then quit. "but... for the first time in my life I have some semblance of a future."

streets - irving plaza, new york - "noe of Skinner's legitimate genius tranlsates well tonight"
the concretes - temple kings college london - "a little bit of restraint goes a long way"

the futureheads - the futureheads - "finally, British bands are exorcising the ghost of Britpop", 8
dios - dios - "too much past, not enough present", 6
campag velocet - it's beyond our control - "don't count them out yet", 8

sotw - radio 4 - party crashers - "their party's started"
morrissey - first of the gang to die - "winningly weepsome"

And, finally, Sam Herlihy from Hope of the States loves Wilco.

BEWARE THE iPODS OF MARCH: As if companies didn't have enough barked-up threats to waste their cash on ("to worry about"), security companies are now warning that iPods could be being used to smuggle secret information out of corporate intranets. Of course, we're sure the security companies will have an expensive solution prepared to counter this very, very real threat. Good news for industrial espionagers everywhere, though: ,a href="">Apple had announced a worldwide launch date for the mini - July 24th. So, if you only need to steal a few blueprints, or a couple of thousand customer's records, you can get an iPod for GBP179.

MORE DATES WITHER ON THE VINE: is reporting The Vines have pulled out of Reading and Leeds - presumably giving Craig more time to "pull himself together" and "snap out of it, man".

ROGER, WILCO AND OUT-OF-POCKET: Somehow, possibly because the source material scares us, the whole saga of Wilco and the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sample seems to have passed us by.

The title of the album refers to a sample taped off one of those really spooky shortwave radio stations which consist of nothing apart from people saying random words - sometimes numbers, sometimes callsigns. Sometimes, there's just odd bits of tone as well. They're possibly meant to be something to do with secret services, but we've never quite been able to convince ourselves of that - oh, we'd sleep better in our beds if we thought all it was were people playing at spies, but we don't really believe that when the US sneak someone behind enemy borders - Iraq, Afghanistan, Kerry's offices - they get them to feed back the secrets using a public radio frequency and a big radio transmitter. Anyway, regardless of what these scary, freaky things are, a tape of one of them turned up on Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and Wilco wound up paying Akin Fernandez for the uncleared use of the bit on the track Poor Places.

That, in itself, was kind of odd - although Fernandez had released a 4CD box set of tapes of these stations, he'd done little more than tape them off the radio in the first place. He's lucky Mossad and the Kremlin hadn't been suing him.

There's a further twist, however, in that it's now being claimed that Fernandez didn't even do the taping - another chap called Simon Mason has turned up saying he'd actually made the recordings and gave them to Fernandez to release for free, because he didn't really think anyone would ever be as daft as to want to buy the things in the first place.

THEY'RE TRYING TO HIDE THE MILKMAN OF HUMAN KINDNESS FROM YOU, YOU KNOW: We were slightly brought up short while reading The Register's analysis of why the CD isn't dead to see this really odd bit about the way Apple lets you choose which tracks you want:

"But music lovers have a relationship primarily with the artist - a very strong relationship - and sometimes with a record label, if it's seen to embody the values of the artistic community. Motown, Blue Note, Stax and Factory are all good examples of the latter. Fans loyalty to artist and label can survive those duff tracks and albums that they occasionally release - the ones Apple doesn't want you to hear. But certainly not the music store they got it from, or the machine that delivers it. (Apple fanatics and techno-utopians have deep and meaningful relationships with the machine in front of them, of course, but the figures we cite prove that these aren't enough, and they're certainly vastly out numbered by people with a cooler perspective). If in doubt, ask yourself how many people you see wearing a Virgin Megastore T-shirt in public."

First of all, yes, people do have very deep affections for labels, and it will lead them to forgive the odd rubbish track or the occasional poor album. But if you'd given even the most adrent Factory lover the chance to just have My Rising Star and leave the rest of Northside's Chicken Rhythms in the shop, they would have chewed your hand off. Likewise, just because people used to have a deep and abiding affection for Creation Records, that didn't mean they trooped down to the store whenever Ed Ball stuck a record out. It's not even as if Apple is trying to stop anyone from hearing Endless Road when they try to buy Ride's Carnival of Light - it's there, if anyone wants it; you don't get a little pop-up window saying "Sorry, this track is rubbish; pelase choose again."

More to the point: you might not see people wearing Virgin Megastore tshirts (apart, of course, from the store's staff), but it's plainly bollocks to suggest that people don't have a loyalty to their record shops. People who shop at Asda for Avril Lavigne CDs might not be bothered, but the sweet intesity with which people regularly queue up to be snorted at by the staff of Probe in Liverpool, the happy nostalgic pool of joy felt when you meet someone else who loved Whiplash in the same city, even the way I dragged my then fiancee up a backstreet to show her Brighton's Rounder records - all of that suggests the exact opposite to be the case.

MISSING THE POINT EVER SO SLIGHTLY: We wonder if someone should have a quick word with Britney Spears: she's saying she doesn't need a pre-nup for her wedding because she's marrying Kevin Federline for "love not money." Well, of course, you are, you daft boobie; he's not got any money, has he? Britney even had to spring for her own engagement ring, although we do picture Kevin saying "Hey, chicks, I'll pay you back just as soon as I win the pool tournament... could you lend me a ten for some beer?" Can you say Warning from history, Britney?

HE LEFT THIS MESSAGE FOR YOU...: Reports from the work on Elliott Smith's final album, Songs From A Basement on a Hill suggest everything's on track for the planned release this autumn. Producers Rob Schnapf and Joanna Bolme are working with the bits Smith left behind - songs, notes, and chats with people who were around while he was working - to make this probably more complete and in keeping with the original vision than some of the work made from the leftovers of dead artists (Free As A Bird, anyone? The last seventy-five Virginia Andrews novels?). It can surely only be a matter of time before Smith joins Buckley and Drake in having a emotomentary in perpetual rotation on BBC Four.

GOING STRAIGHT: Good news for fans of the TV Personalities: their lead singer Dan Treacy has just been released from prison, cleaned up from his drugs and demons, and with a while bunch of songs written and ready to go with.

THEY TOOK THE CHANCE TO MAKE THE SHOW A LITTLE MORE HIGHBROW: Looks like the desire to make Victoria and David big in the US has already been abandoned, with the pair knocking back a booking to do Leno. In a Roy Hattersley/Tub of Lard moment, the Leno producers replaced Posh and Becks with these:

We should point out the actual performing sealions aren't pictured, but you get the idea. Sealions traditional acts usually feature one with a horn making a discordant honking noise and one balancing a football. So, apart from the sharper punchlines, most viewers probably won't have noticed the difference.

I'LL SUE SUE, GRABBIT AND RUN, GRABBIT AND RUN: Phil Spector seems to have found a quiet moment in dealing with the whole dead-woman-in-the-hallway thing to launch a legal action against his former lawyer. Spector claims Robert L Shapiro should be handing back his million bucks retainer, on the grounds that he and his law firms "took advantage of [Spector] and used his legal plight to unabashedly line their own pockets." It goes on, suggesting that the legal firms screwed up and goofed by failing to examine evidence and witnesses properly. Shapiro is keeping quiet, just saying that her'll contest the allegations in court. Let's hope he's got a good lawy... oh, hang on.

PRIORY COMMITMENT: In a way, you could almost feel a small whelp of sympathy for Pete Doherty at his desire to flee the Priory, even more so when you've read Tanya Gold's account of what it's like in there. Basically, everything you've suspected about the place: a bit like Eton, and no place for the sick, especially at those prices.

DISNEY ATTEMPT TO PUT THE LION TO SLEEP: Disney, seemingly a little riled at being accused of pinching The Lion Sleeps Tonight, have issued a, yes, a statement:

"As a company built on the strength of its creative content, the Walt Disney Company takes all matters of copyright ownership seriously. To the extent that a copyright ownership issue exists in this case, it should be taken up with Abilene Music publishers, from which the rights to 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' were properly licensed."

Erm, up to a point, Lord Copper - under South African law, lawyers for the family of Solomon Linda, rights to the song should have reverted to them in 1987, which would make it impossible to licence anything from Abilene music. In the same way that a licence to make Mickey Mouse toilet paper would have no legal value unless it was actually issued by the copyright holder. We're certain Disney acted in good faith, but thats not quite the same thing as being in the right.

We also love the idea that Disney is built on the strength of its "creative content", when these days its reliant on bought-in brands like Winnie The Pooh and Nemo.

IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMETHING NICE, YOU WON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL: Shocked and horrified to discover that sometimes people on the internet can say nasty things about people and each other, George Michael has had a fit of the vapours and decided to close his official message boards.

He issued a statement about it, of course:

Hi everybody, this is George.
I'm afraid that, having visited the forums on a regular basis over the past few months, simply to see how you guys thought the album/ interviews/promotion were going, I have decided to close them down. As many of you will know, much of my reasoning for the future is to stay away from the negativity of the media, I think that it is bad for me and for music in general, so I find it really sad to see the forums so packed full of negative comment, and that so many genuinely positive fans find themselves defending me(or themselves) constantly against attack. How pointless. There are plenty of places to read people slagging each other off, but I wasn't trying to create one in opening the Forum. Those of you that want to carry on the media's work will have to do it somewhere else I suppose....
Things will stay the same for the next two weeks, so that those of you who have made friendships can decide which other sites to meet at, and then the rooms will close. I feel bad for those of you who have always been supportive, but I'm afraid I want nothing to do with the bitching that has evolved between some members, (many members), and perhaps unofficial sites will be a calmer affair.
Sorry guys, but that's the way it goes... Peace and Love...or nothing at all.

Ah, but you see... it's not actually people who dislike George, it's "people carrying on the media's work." We find it a bit disappointing that George can't accept that some people might not enjoy his later work (as in "everything since Wake Me Up Before You GoGo" later) and has decided to punish the entire class for the behaviour of a couple of naughty children. The decision to allow two weeks notice was probably a bit of a mistake: It's given room for it to not go down well in public. Not since the Ask The Family
board was axed, etc, etc...

ROGERS - IT'S TWINS: Twins? Twins? We bet Kenny Rogers is wondering what he's gotten himself into, but congratulations anyway to him on the birth of Justin Charles and Jordan Edwards.

UNHAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN: The Advertising Standards Authority have ticked off Outkast for an advert featuring Andre3000 holding a smoking gun - because "although [the ASA] considered that the advertisement was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, the Authority considered that the poster could be seen to glorify gun use and concluded that it was irresponsible. Another complaint about the same ad - that it "promoted racial stereotypes" was dismissed with a wave of the hand.

THE CONTINUED CLEARING OUT: As Warners continues to make busboys and waitresses out of singers and musicians, Tiffani Wood, one of Bardot, is on her way back to real life. Bardot were created by the Australian Popstars, and their career since has been pretty mucvh what you'd expect (on a par with the big faced one and Suzanne from Hear'Say, in other words.)

WARNING: Richard Marx is back.

BLACK AND BLUE AND BLACK AND WHITE: Jack White has returned to the time he beat the shit out of Jason Von Bondie in a fans Q and A. Here's his tale in full:

let me first say that the reason for me not giving out information about this incident was an attempt to keep from giving jason what he wanted: recognition and fame from negativity. and i still don't want to talk about this for fear of them getting more yardage from it, but i'll try to sort out some of the lies. the entire event was completely exploited by him, his band, and his managers and legal professionals. the two of us did have an argument. and i did spit at him. but what he doesn't say is how he then grabbed me to pull me down and pulled out a good deal of my hair. my retaliation was to hit him to get him off of me. then he landed on my hand, which became cut on the broken glass underneath it. the whole thing lasted less than ten seconds. the photo that jason insisted on having taken (BEFORE the ambulance he called came to get him to take him ONE BLOCK away to the hospital,) was sent to the nme magazine THE NEXT MORNING with the photo credit being that of the von bondies manager rick canni. jason would not allow the dried blood from his bloody nose washed from his face before taking the photo. take a look at it again. it's a black eye once you wash the dried blood off. his face isn't full of cuts. the "permanent damage" that he claims was done to his eye from this is also false. having toured extensively with the man i know that he would refuse to drive the touring van because as a teenager jason left a contact lens in his eye for over a year and then tried to pull it out! he tore his eye in doing so. so jason said he could never drive the van because of his eye! sounded more like laziness to the rest of us. it's the same eye he tried to blame me for permanently damaging. all lies. so ridiculous. the whole thing was this. in jason's mind if he made me out to look like i 'ATTACKED HIM BRUTALLY' and he played the victim the whole time, then his name would get well known and the name of his bands, while mine was "dragged through the mud". he had been doing it to me for almost two years at that point. spreading lies and gossip to friends and especially the press. all of the detroit music scene were laughing at the von bondies by this point. remember also that the band was just about to release their album. so it was perfect timing for them. it's so funny that when the aroma of money and fame is in the air old friends will quickly step on your face to get to it. i was so nice to jason and his band you wouldn't believe it. i let them rehearse in my house for free. i got them signed. i produced their album for free. i didn't credit myself on their album for singing, playing guitar, organ, piano, tambourine, etc. out of respect, we took them on sold out tours around the world where i paid for their plane tickets and food out of my own pocket. but none of that matters when fame and money come into the picture. i really tried to talk to jason, over and over again. i called him several times to ask why he was doing this to me and meg, i tried talking, arguing, ignoring, and forgiving. but nothing would stop him from using me like this. it was me trying to be rational with an irrational person. violence is a ridiculous notion. and i would never walk up to someone with the intent to inflict pain on them. but i'm not going to let someone do the same to me without protecting myself.
it really saddened my to see that a lot of people were believing his lies. but the more you repeat something the more people believe it. if you keep saying it, it becomes true. like how my car accident was in a porsche. that's funny because i remember it being in a ford!

We really love the White Stripes, but why must Jack always try and prove he was in the right, all the time, everytime? Jesus, man, you pleaded guilty, because - presumably - you had no defence for beating him up; let it go now instead of moaning on. Can't you be a bit more secure in yourself than needing to whine that "Jason wouldn't drive the van when we were on tour, either." It's a little rich to now try and claim "well, he wasn't that badly injured anyway", as if that makes it somehow alright. Really, if White didn't want a photo of a man he'd punched to be in the NME "the NEXT MORNING" (take off the caps lock, Jack, there's a sweet) it would have been really simple not to actually punch him. "He pulled my hair." How old are you, Jack - about six? And as for Jason "exploiting" it all - clearly, Stollsteimer really doesn't want to talk about the incident (he nearly walked out of a Guardian Glastonbury Pop Quiz because a question about White came up.

What's clear from reading the whole interview is that jack's convinced that everyone is exploiting him to make their own names - he says the same thing about the guy who's made the movie that they've taken against:

i know for a fact that he's doing that. and i don't want to say his name because that's WHY he's doing all of this, to make a name for himself. seems to be a refrain for the white stripes lately. he's breaking the law, and worst of all he completely broke our trust and confidence in him.

The trouble is, when he's not moaning about how howwible the world is to him, he can actually be quite funny:

i've got a lot better things to do with my time then "write" songs for people. seriously, i would love to hear more from meg. i would love if there was more meg than me. or less me than meg. i would love for meg to call once in a while, or pop in for toast. i would love to have her phone number for instance. you will always see more and more of meg, with or without my help.

We did only say "quite" funny.

AND WELCOME TO THE INSTITUTE: We were more surprised by the existence of the Henry Mancini Institute than the news it was giving an honour to Burt Bacharach. We pictured a large laboratory with scientists dedicated to finding news ways to make life nice n'easy. It actually turns out to be an educational trust which helps provide musical training, which is probably more worthwhile but less exciting.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

KINGS UPDATE: Kings Of Leon will be playing T in the Park - a good opportunity to ask them exactly what they meant about British women, then.

YOU'RE A VERY NICE YOUNG MAN, YOUNG, MAN: Will 'I never set out to be a gay role model' Young is hoping that he might be able to help teenagers come out, as he figures that being fancied by the nation's mothers will make it easier - the mothers will think "well, maybe my gay son will bring Will back to tea", he believes.


One: Since when did all the nation's mothers fancy you, Will?
Two: It's hard enough for teenagers to accept their sexuality - rubbing it in that "apart from anything else, Will Young is gay" is just going to make it even worse. Dammit, I'd feel like topping myself if someone told me I used the same toothpaste as Will Young
Three: Mothers who would be otherwise horrified by the prospect of their son being gay may, indeed, daydream of him bringing Will Young back for tea. It's not going to stop them having a problem with you rimming him, is it?
Four: How gay are you anyway, Will? Victoria Beckham spent a couple of days in Peru, it doesn't make her Paddington Bear. You don't seem very comfortable with the actual mechanics of being gay; it's all "ooh, yes, I'm of the gay, since you ask" but your public personna is much, much more asexual. In that sense, you're a rubbish role model for gays; you're a bit like the fudge you get in the church, where you can be gay, providing you don't actually do any homosexuality, in the same way that I've got a membership card for Liverpool City Library but haven't taken any books out. You seem to suggest that it's fine, providing you keep you all quiet. That's not really going to be very much use for a young ald growing up in a hostile family, is it?

I GOT A FOLLOW-UP BLOCK: Apparently, Shaznay Lewis forced herself to have a writer's block after the split of the All Saints, in a bid to try and create a huge comfort blanket around herself and to protect herself from being sucked into the black hole created by Appleton.

That she's about to launch a solo career suggests she feels the risk of being tagged as "having been in a band with those awful Appletons" must have passed - so she's been using a writers block as a kind of decontamination unit, in effect.

WHAT ELSE IS IN THE TEACHES OF PEACHES? BE NICE TO THE BEASTIES: Peaches has interceeded on behalf of three elephants in Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. The eletants, called Peaches (aaah... you see?), Tatima, and, perhaps even more aptly, Wankie don't take well to the cold in the windy city and Peaches and PETA are hoping that Chicago will let the guys go and live in Tennessee, where they won't need to be kept indoors all through the winter. We don't know if she's issued a warning about what will happen if her requests are ignored, but we're picturing Peaches using a strap-on as some sort of weapon in a worldwide crusade for animal welfare.

LIPS BACK AFLAME: Having spent a couple of years dressing up as rabbits and touring the Yoshimi set all around the globe, the Flaming Lips are back in the studio working on a new album. This one is going to be tricky for them - Yoshimi bounced them up a league from 'toasts of the underground' to 'even Victoria Newton's heard of them', which means they're heading off heaped up with expectations. New song titles include 'Space Bible' and 'Mr. Ambulance Driver', which is what you'd expect them to be called, really. They're making good use of the time off they've got from the collapse of Lollapalloollappazi.

A FERRY SHORT OF THE FULL DECK: The new Phil Manzanera album is virtually a Roxy Music reunion; featuring, as it does, Brian Eno, Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson. Indeed, the album, 6PM, features as many Roxy Music members as 2001's Roxy reunion did - that time round it was Brian Eno who missed out. We think we might have found the source of tension in the band, then, using triangulation methods.

WRIST WIPES OUT KINGS OF LEON: More for the rock injury list, as Kings Of Leon drummer Nathan Fallowill slips and jars his hand so badly the Kings have had to pull a date in Serbia; it's still touch and go if he'll be fighting fit for the T in the Park and Oxegen dates coming up.

RECAPTURE THAT SPARK: An opportunity to muse on what might have been, as Oasis reformat Definitely Maybe as a DVD for the tenth anniversary reissue, complete with live footage of the band at a time when they weren't just bloody annoying:

'Rock 'N' Roll Star’ - 'Top Of The Pops', September 1994
‘Shakermaker’ - 'Naked City', June 1994
‘Live Forever’ - Glastonbury, June 1994
‘Up In The Sky’ - Chicago Metro, October 1994
‘Columbia’ - Hammersmith Palais, December 1994
‘Supersonic’ - 'The Word', March 1994
‘Bring It On Down’ - Gleneagles, February 1994
‘Cigarettes And Alcohol’ - Southampton Guildhall, November 1994
‘Digsy’s Dinner’ - Buckley Tivoli, August 1994
‘Slide Away’ - New York Wetlands, July 1994
‘Married With Children’ - Los Angeles Whiskey A Go Go, September 1994
‘Sad Song’ - 'Later With Jools Holland', December 1994

Especially cool is the inclusion of the Buckley Tivoli gig, which is a rare opportunity to peer at one of the finest quirky little venues of our time.

AND ALL MY CLOTHES FELL OFF: Alex Kapranos imitates PJ Proby - and he wasn't wearing no knickers when his trousers split, neither.

DEATH COMES TO THE FESTIVAL: A 20 year old Swede was found dead at the Danish Roskilde Festival, which took place this weekend. Cause of death isn't yet known.

MY EYES! MY EYES! MY BEAUTIFUL EYES!: We know it's really generous of Macy Gray to do something to raise money for Aids, but surely she'd be better off doing a sponsored clothes-wearing instead of performing naked for charity. We're not quite sure how not wearing clothes is going to be converted into money for charity (apparently, a photo will be auctioned for Elton John's Aids funder) but it has something to do with Jummy Choo shoes.

EVERYTHING CUT EXCEPT THE MARGINS: You've gotta love the record industry - people are turning their noses up at the thought of buying CDs from traditional stores because the mark-up is so huge. So, does the record industry decide to cut its margins? Nope, it invents a No Frills CD instead. We're not making this up, sadly:

"The no-frills version will look virtually identical to a pirate copy, with only the title printed directly on the disc. It will cost €9.99 - about £6.70. The regular version will cost €3 more. It will include a cover and lyrics. A "luxury" version with additional material and video clips will cost €17.99."

We wonder if the 'genuine' pirate will come complete with a hastily scrawled inlay card, written with a Sharpie and containing at least two basic mistakes. This isn't something we can see spreading beyond Germany, to be frank; apart from anything, creating an official version that looks like a pirate version is surely going to make it harder for people to tell the difference between legitimate and knock-off versions.

BUT DON'T GET THE IMPRESSION THAT THEIR HEARTS AREN'T IN IT ANYMORE: Hey, let's put an end to those 'Sugababes all over' stories once and for all - it's clear the band are dedicated to a whole new album and the acres of time that'll give them to spend together in small buses, planes and backstage areas, as Keisha demonstrates:

"We just don't come in if we've had a rough night, and that's what I think the great thing was. I wrote quite a few songs on the 'Three' album, and that wasn't because I'm probably their best writer, it was only because sometimes Mutya couldn't be arsed to come in because she had a hangover, and sometimes Heidi was ill, and vice versa.
That's what the group's about - pulling together. If one can't make it the other two will. Usually we are together but obviously when mishaps happen when you go out the night before or whatever, the show must go on!"

Yeah, there's a band with a rosy future. Nothing says 'dedication' like 'I'm not going to do anything as I've got a bit of a hangover.' Nice spot of positioning for the post-break career by Keisha there, too, you'll notice, making it clear it's the other two who are flakey, but it doesn't matter because she's the talented one...

YOU MEAN IT'S ACTUALLY COME OUT?: Peter Andre is not happy with his shite album sales (by which we mean the sales for his shite album, although the sales were pretty poor, too):

"Someone did a shit job on marketing - I don't care to say it!
Basically what happened was 'Mysterious Girl' came out, number one, 'Insania ' went in at number three, the same week the album comes out, we're doing a sell-out tour, but something happened on the marketing front and it didn't debut very high.
Now they've got to rectify the problem -which they will.
Cos we're doing sell out tours it says enough for me.The cologne 'Insania', which I got slated for, I found out yesterday is a best seller - how funny is that?!
So, they can go kiss my...."

This odd little bunch of confusion was spat at Radio One, and really demonstrates that even when you've plunged down the dumper once, you don't recognise when it's happening again. Peter, love, the problem is not a shit job of marketing, it's because everyone's bored with you now - certainly people might spend 99 pence on a single, but nobody wants an albums' worth of your stuff. We can't help wondering if the 'Jordan - impregnated by Andre's sperm' stories is the attempts to "rectify" the marketing - short of an honest 'Bloke on a game show a while ago has lots of albums left unsold - buy now and save landfill space' approach, that's surely all they've got?

We're not sure why he thinks Insania is a best seller, unless Poundland actually compile a chart of what's zipping through the 'two for a quid' checkout.

Monday, July 05, 2004

NOT THREATENED: Jamelia's label have denied she's cancelled a concert because of threatening phone calls; they say her non-appearance at the Birmingham Party in the Park is down to other touring commitments, and that no death threats have been made against her; not even by singers from Iron Maiden. Someone who has been getting the breathy-breathy calls, though, is Britney Spears - apparently a stalker had threatened to stab her. He's meant to have had her name tattooed all over his body, which should at least make him easy to spot in a crowd. It would be mean for everyone who goes to her next gig to write "BRITNEY" in biro on their foreheads, you know.

KORNPORN: Jonathan Davis of Korn is going to make a bid to be a rennaisance man by adding porn director to his list of credits. He's also going to write the soundtrack for the skin flick, the plot of which we're expecting to be about this kid who nobody understands and has, like, issues. Only in a hot-tub with some chicks. Then he wanders around a bit because, like, parents don't get it, only with some hot chicks who remove their hot pants and touch their pussies a bit. Of course, with a Korn soundtrack whichever hardbodies get to appear in the film are going to have their work cut out - no matter how sweet their pee-pees, boobies and fluffy bits, they're going to be preening and puffing against the most anerotic music known to man.

THAT WOULD BE THE SIGN OF A RELATIONSHIP IN TROUBLE, YES: The first of the many Mr. Lopezes, Ojani Noa, says he first realised that his marriage to J-Lo was in trouble when she'd go off and fake vomitting whenever he tried to get intimate. At least, he's probably hoping they were fake vomits - maybe he really did make her hurl. We're not sure quite how creepy he is, but popping up to flog details of 'my life with jLo gives us a bit of a hint.

OH, GOD, THE MUSIC JUST TURNS ME ON: It's worth spending a moment reading through the selections of Michael Howard, the man who pushed through the Poll Tax, consort of Thatcher, and who would be Prime Minister. He was on Desert Island Discs, and this is what he elected to take with him:

1. All You Need is Love
Performer Beatles
2. Cwm Rhondda
Performer Morriston Orpheus Choir
3. Long Tall Sally
Performer Little Richard
4. Blue Monk
Performer Thelonious Monk Quartet
5. You'll Never Walk Alone
Performer Gerry & the Pacemakers
6. 2nd movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No 21 in C
Performer Alfred Brendel with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields conducted by Sir Neville Marriner
7. A White Shade of Pale
Performer Procol Harum
8. (Everything I do) I Do It for You
Performer Bryan Adams

Now, if we can tear ourselves away from the happy image of a bearded Howard, cast adrift on a desert island with just these records for company - "musn't help myself to a coconut lest I be considered an economic migrant" - what do these records tell us about the man? There's something painfully grinning about the little hidden message - "look, we're with you, I'm a man of the pipple with my heart full of love" - which makes us suspect the whole thing was drawn up by that chap who does all the Tories' marketing for them now. But what's really scary is the bit where Sue Lawley says "and if you could only take one of those records?"

Because, Michael Howard, if he could have just one record to accompany him into the wilderness, would choose Everything I Do, I Do It For You.

Maybe he just thought because it had sold so many copies it had to be popular, and choosing it would make all the people who bought it feel a connection with him. Or maybe he knows that it's like the Major government - not only sharing an era, but it was a song, fronted up by a likeable but not especially inspiring fellow, which nobody admits actually having bought/voted for now. Seriously: Bryan Adams was at number one for thirteen years with that bloody record, and yet you never meet anyone who actually bought it. In the same way that Major won an election, and yet nobody appears to have cast a single vote for him. Or maybe Howard likes something else about the single: it did stick around for ages and ages after everyone said it was finished, and seemingly the bloody thing wouldn't go away. Kind of like Howard, really.

DAMN, AND WE DIDN'T SEND A CARD: Is it really fifty years of rock and roll today? Which means, far more importantly, that it's twenty-five years since Radio One's epochal-defining Twenty Five Years of Rock, a series which ran on Saturday afternoons forever and fucking ever a quarter century ago, breathlessly detailing every squeak and peek and thumbing of rock, untiltheygottopunkwhentheyjustcrashedallthewaythroughitasfastastheycould. It was, perhaps, the dullest thing we've ever heard on the radio and is the reason why we spasm whenever we hear the words "rock and roll" - an irony, of course, we're aware of. We don't believe that the Elvis record marked the moment rock and roll started, anyway, but we're happy to raise a glass and say "Happy Birthday, packaging of rebellion in a way appealing to manufacturers of jeans and chewing gum [with a white guy fronting it up, if we could find one]."

WE'LL HAVE WHAT HE'S HAVING: Hats ahoy to Perry Farrell - he might have grotesquely over-estimated Janes Addiction's contribution to the body of great art, and have a bit of a mushroom cock, but he really knows how to rail against former friends - the rest of JA and their "new" band:

"Perry Farrell says his band had been taken over by 'new owners' and 'went astray, falling into shallow holes'.[...] Music that was once relevant and graceful had become clumsy as a circus seal tooting his horns. I wish for Jane's Addiction to be remembered as one of the seminal bands of her era. She laid a foundation for unbridled underground music to rise up on."

Of course, Janes Addiction will actually be remembered as "the band who had that song with the barking dogs on it", which might not actually be the same as an entry in Groves but ensures a steady diet of pubquiz questions.

MOUSE AT RISK: So, it turns out that Disney haven't actually bothered to pay any royalties to Solomon Linda, who wrote Wimoweh. Also known as the Lion Sleeps Tonight, the song brightened the Lion King movies (anything that wasn't Elton John being especially welcome, of course.) The problem is, of course, copyright in the song had reverted to Solomon Linda in 1962 and yet Disney have somehow failed to stump up any cash. If Disney lose the case, they could have all their South African trademark earnings seized - so any sales of Mickey Mouse bubble bath, or Little Mermaid DVDs, would be helping out people who could really use the cash. And, you know, we're sure Disney - member of the MPAA, who are very, very razor sharp on copyright matters - would happily accept they've made a major error, and pay the Lindas the money they've been swindled out of.

THIS IS THE SOUND OF SOMEONE LOSING THE PLOT: We're keeping our eyes open for a dishevelled Pete Doherty, as he's clearly taken over the role of that anti-smoking bloke, hanging around outside the offices of tabloid newspapers holding a huge sign. Only instead of a big sign reading "ciggies kill", Pete's got a "will emote for cash" notice, and the papers - usually so firm in their condemnation of drug dealers - seem happy to hand him a few bob which he doubt he'll be heading off to use to settle his milk bill. The latest paper bidding cold hard cash for what it probably secretly hopes will be "The Libertines: The last interview" is The Sunday Mirror.

"I’ve got to start getting clean straight away. But I can’t do it in the Priory or places like that. I have to do it in the environment I live in because I am always going to be surrounded by drugs when I’m making music. I’ve just got to find the inner strength to control it."

While we wish him all the best, where, exactly, does he think this "inner strength" is going to come from? Jesus, if he can't find it in himself to go through the softly, softly approach of the Priory without running away, how does he expect to do it in an uncontrolled environment?

And then, of course, there was the Monastery experience:

"“I’d only come out of the Priory a couple of days earlier so I’d been through all the shakes, vomiting and (sleepless) nights with cold turkey. Foolishly I didn’t do any research about Thailand before I went, and it was hardcore. On the third day I left and went to Bangkok. I booked into a hotel where they offered room service of heroin with my bacon and eggs. I told them I didn’t have any money but they said I could have it on tab. I notched up a £280 bill in three days. If I’d done the same amount of brown in England it would have cost me thousands.”
So, the good news, then, is that he managed to save himself a few quid on getting his head screwed up worse, so Alan McGee's money and June Brown's charity funds were entirely wasted, then. You'll also notice that inner strength showing itself there, too, with a whole two nights' chance given to the Monks.
"There are three things that I know a bit about in my life and that’s QPR, my guitar and drugs. I know QPR are the best football team in the world, my guitar is the most beautiful thing I own and that I don’t take enough drugs to kill me. It isn’t drugs that I need to get rid of; it’s the demons that fill my head. Once I have come to terms with my demons, maybe I’ll be able to get clean."
Someone who clearly believes with all his heart that Queens Park Rangers are the best team in the world really needs to re-assess the way he relates to the world. We're afraid that there might be no way back for Pete - "it's not the drugs, it's the demons"? Come on, Pete, how many casualties have you heard say that? Are you really trying to suggest that if you cure these (oddly non-drug related) "demons", you'd be able to have a happy life, with a regular arm and a half-full of smack everyday a part of it? The world is sick of hearing excuses. Soon you're going to find the tabloids are sick of running them. You're way beyond running out of chances, mate.