Saturday, June 11, 2005


Talking of twilight of careers, for about six minutes in 2000, nobody was bigger than Sonique - she did It Feels So Good, you'll remember. Now, though, she's reduced to making a guest appearance on Fame Academy. The Bulgarian version of Fame Academy.


What happens to those who miss out on a chance to become a member of G4, or one of the other artists on the X Factor finals? Well, like G4 and everybody else, they're quickly forgotten by the public. But for some it can be hard to adjust to discovering that you're not actually even going to be recognised in the streets: X-Factor near miss Shianade Gallagher has been given community service as she returns to Wrexham to pick up the long-running feud her family were apparently involved in:

The 24-year-old, who now lives in the Telford area, admitted a public order offence when she appeared at Mold Crown Court yesterday. She denied exposing her body, carrying a knife with her and threatening to burn a house down.

A charge of affray against her was dropped when she admitted a lesser public order offence following what was said to be a long-standing feud between her family and another family in Wrexham.

We're not sure what sort of feud it would be where you flash bits of yourself at your enemy - there was nobody so totally unattractive anyone on the X-Factor where this would be bad, was there? (Sharon and Louis aside, of course.)

Judge Phillip Hughes, sitting at Mold Crown Court, ordered her to carry out 100 hours unpaid work under a community punishment order, ordered her to pay £75 costs, saying it was silly and pathetic behaviour.

... although facing a proper, balanced judge after having Simon Cowell judge you surely can't be that bad, can it?


While the press corps wait for the Jackson verdict - a wait made worse by the constant appearances of Jesse Jackson - attention is turned elsewhere: someone has spotted Jackson prosecution team out on the town:

"... including DA Tom Sneddon, Ron Zonen, Gordon Auchincloss, their wives and families, all celebrated a case they apparently feel they've won at the Hitching Post restaurant in Casmalia. "This group was happy," an observer remarked. "There was definitely a celebratory mood."

We're not an expert on California restuarants, but we don't think eating at The Hitching Post sounds like a major celebration - sure, it's not a Chuck E Cheese, but it doesn't really have the air of a Ritz, does it? That sounds more like a cautious end-of-term meal to us.


Actually, you know, if we were Kabbalah leaders, we might pause sipping the champagne awhile to worry if Madonna is turning into the Robert Kilroy-Silk of their cult; in much the same way Kilroy turned up, took over, and splintered the UKIP, Madonna seems to be exerting more and more control over the doings of the overpriced water and string "religion" - now she's apparently bankingrolling a hotel in Regent's Park where Kabballists can visit to have the everyday stresses and strains of life, and a hefty chunk of cash, lifted from their shoulders.

It's interesting that Madonna has found time to get quite advanced with these plans, and yet still appears to be a little too busy to issue a statement about the Kabbalah chief's claims that the Jews who died in the holocaust did so because they hadn't embraced kabbalah. We're sure she's getting round to dealing with that, though.

ESTABLISHMENT SIGN-UP SHEET FULL OF GLITZ - and a quick look at this morning's front pages

Shut the fuck up, Queen - you've made Terry Wogan a knight? The question, of course, is what djs who used to describe him as "Sir Terence of Wogan" anyway will now call him - presumably his official cheesey dj title will be "Sir Sir Terence of Wogan Wogan"; or something.

For Terry, it'll make up for being edged out as most important man in radio this week; not only was that just a Radio Times quiet-week space filler, but the man who beat him to the coveted number one spot, Jonathan Ross, has only been given an OBE. The Times takes the opportunity to, um, mock his speech impediment:

It's interesting that the Times chooses to lead with Ross, actually - most of the other papers are much more thrilled by the knighthood for David Jason (the Queen apparently insists "it's for his work on A Sharp Intake of Breath and nothing more, right?") - and, more surprisingly, only the Mirror pulls off the Wogan/Jason rhyme:

It's Sir Del and Sir Tel

Also getting a trip to London, a warm handshake and a small box with a medal in is Midge Ure, who's been told that his prize is as much for his music as for his charity work - but then he's also told that his charity work is helping the people of Africa, where actually his real role is ensuring Bob Geldof doesn't sink the entire boat, and he seems happy enough with that. And Brian May gets a CBE, which is because the Queen wants to see what his hair looks like close-up.

Friday, June 10, 2005


The Darkness have chuckled and gone "no, actually" in response to Frankie Poullain's claims that he co-wrote and recorded chunks of the second album before he was sacked. Not so, says the band:

Now the band have issued a statement pointing out that the bass on the new record will be played by guitarist Dan Hawkins, as Poullain “had yet to participate in the recording of the album when his exit from the band was announced, so no re-recording of bass parts will be necessary”.

The statement on the band’s official website added, “We are sorry to see him (Frankie) go but musical differences are musical differences. The mood in the camp is optimistic. We are coming to terms with the fact that Frankie is no longer in the band.”

Musical differences are musical differences, sure: and there's clearly a desire for the music to be very different indeed.


Chris Martin has apparently - oh god, let him be joking - revealed that Yellow was called Yellow because he wrote the song without a keyword, and was inspired by the "nearest book to him" - which was a Yellow Pages.

Now, while we can believe that the song was inspired by a telephone directory - although obviously you'd never expect the adaptation of a book to be quite as thrilling the original, he's surely got to be joking, hasn't he?


More criticism of the ill-considered Live 8 arrives today in the form of Damon Albarn, who suggests that there should be voluntary tax on the sales increases participating artists will experience:

"All the artists that play there will enjoy increased record sales - if they play a good gig, they will benefit from it," the singer said. Artists should put pressure on their record labels to "genuinely show this is an altruistic act and that there is no self-gain in it".

"Because surely that negates... the message if there is," he said.

He's got a point.

Interestingly: Albarn wasn't approached to take part in the event.


After three minutes, Tim Simenon was cleared of rape charges by a jury:

Mr Simenon of Belsize Park, north London, maintained the pair had had consensual sex in March 2004.

The woman, who admitted taking cocaine while drunk, alleged she woke to find him groping her before being raped.


Taking time off from trying to make Windows Longhorn able to withstand robust comparison to the Mac OS 8, Microsoft is rumoured to be readying a music subscription service. Asked where the idea came from, a Microsoft employee quickly closed the browser window he had Yahoo's recently launched sub service displayed in, shrugged and said that he thinks some guy in a bar suggested it.

Meanwhile, Nestle in the US is supposedly giving away unlimited downloads to people who buychocolate bars with a winning message inside. (Their website helpfully points out "Hint: Winning wrappers can only be found in specially marked NESTLÉ CRUNCH®, BUTTERFINGER®, BABY RUTH® and 100 GRAND® bars.") What the promotion doesn't tell you, though, is you're not actually being given anything, as all you'll get is a Napster To Go subsxiption - which means after those 12 months are up, you have to pump Napster with cash or your music will evaporate. In other words, the great competition prize is basically on a par with being allowed to listen to the radio for a year.


This is a bit unexpected: Leonard Cohen is being sued for extortion. A case was filed in Boulder, Colorado by an investment company:

The lawsuit filed in Boulder on Monday alleges that Cohen and his business associate Robert Kory, "have threatened to irreparably damage Agile's reputation in order to extort millions of dollars from Agile and its insurer".

"Agile states that Cohen and Kory falsely claim that Agile bears responsibility for the alleged misappropriation of Cohen's invested funds by Cohen's former manager. The Complaint also states that Cohen and Kory attempted to (and in some instances did) recruit third parties in their conspiracy and procure false testimony".

The most notable thing about this, of course, is the appearance of the words "Leonard Cohen" and "agile" in the same news story.


Making the streets of New York safe: swarms of police raid Kim's video in New York, arresting five staff and seizing as many as 500 copies of what's claimed to be pirated CDs:

"The New York City Police Department's steadfast commitment to the fight against piracy has stamped out yet another significant illegal operation," said Brad Buckles, executive vice president of anti-piracy for the RIAA. "With actions such as these, New York City law enforcement continues to send a strong message to music pirates that this behavior simply will not be tolerated. Retailers who are making money on the backs of musicians and record companies by selling pirated CDs should know that this is absolutely no way to conduct a business."

It's nice to know in a state that had nearly five murders for every 100,000 citizens in 2003 that the police are concentrating their resources on dodgy Jay-Z mixtapes.

Of course, the RIAA were involved (more and more they seem to see the cops as their own personal squad). This bit, from VH1's report, is interesting:

The raid is just the latest offensive in the RIAA's battle against the growing trend of pirated music sales through small, established businesses. While traditional physical goods or "commercial" piracy previously required large and expensive facilities to produce massive numbers of illegal tapes and CDs, some retailers now possess the potential to yield lucrative returns with only a minimal investment of space and capital, Buckles said.

But hang about... didn't the RIAA spend most of the last few years claiming that music piracy was part of organised crime, with links to money laundering, drugs, and so on? But now its a mom-and-pop operation, is it? That's quite confusing. But if it is indeed the case, then surely the idea of using a few CDs to keep something as valuable as an independent local shop going is one to be encouraged. Maybe some of those threatened Post Offices should think about buying a CD burner and an iTunes subscription...


Much as we'd like to just concentrate on the messages about out-of-control gun use and the danger of firearms, the news that Terry Kennedy has been shot twice in the face is most notworthy because his job is captain of Pharrell Williams' skateboarding team. Yes, he has his own skateboarding team. We're not sure why; or, indeed, if they travel round the US solving crimes. Although they might want to start now.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Robbie Williams has had sex with loads of blokes. That's what Star magazine claimed back last September, raising a curious eyebrow that while he'd gone on about all the times he'd shagged women, his autobiography Feel was very quiet about the times he'd enjoyed a spot of cock. Now, of course, Star has been forced to publish a clarification:

"The article suggested that while Mr Williams had told all about his female conquests in his autobiography, he was keeping his homosexual encounters secret," it says.

"We now accept that Mr Williams was never involved in any incidents of this kind and that these allegations are untrue."

Bloody hell... what sort of sheltered life has Williams had if he's never enjoyed a spot of man-man action? I mean, we know he's a bit icky and no self-respecting boy would really want to put up with his gurning, but you can imagine him with a gimp mask for a half hour or so, surely?

The interesting question about all this is why Williams and his people feel that rumours that he might be a bit bisexual are so terrible in 2005 that they pursue campaigns like this against fairly obscure magazines. There are, surely, far worse things to be called than having an open mind sexually?


It's about time - we lift our hats to the mysterious people (i.e. Popjustice) behind a petition calling Let's all get Coldplay on Radio One Petition. But why stop at a petition? Surely the fact there are whole programmes which haven't played a single Coldplay track is grounds for a Status Quo style push for a judicial review?


After a massive battle, what's already being called "the highly lucrative Manchester FM licence" has been given to XFM. The decision to give the licence to the network, owned by the recently-merged GCap, is the first time either side (Capital and GWR) has actually won a licence battle since they won their original franchises.

"If ever there was a radio station made for Manchester, Xfm is it," Xfm managing director Graham Bryce said.

Eh? Surely XFM was made for London; Piccadilly was made for Manchester, until it got watered down by an increasingly strained EMAP. Oh, yes, we know what he means, but even so... no, XFM Manchester is a station slightly reformatted for Manchester.

Reuters, however, knows exactly what he means, and explains the musical importance of Manchester:

In addition to being the home of numerous groundbreaking acts, Manchester is also well known for hosting a 1976 concert by punk rockers the Sex Pistols, a gig that became legendary for inspiring a number of people in the tiny audience to go on to become future stars.

That's what we always think of when we hear the word "Manchester", certainly.


There's no real surprise that Damon Albarn isn't ruling out doing a feature-length movie based around the Gorillaz; that the characters weren't strong enough to support much beyond the first couple of singles didn't dissuade him from pushing it onto a second album - why would he stop and decide to not batter any final interest out of the 'concept'?


It's bad enough having a career so dwindled that you're reduced to hoofing down to Asda - Asda - in Watford for your personal appearances in the first place. But imagine the pain of doing so only to discover that everyone was expecting Kylie Minogue instead of you. Mind you, the plight is not as bad as the poor sods hoping to see Kylie, who instead got... Geri Halliwell.


Poor Charlotte Church; now she's actually got a record to promote, she's missing having nothing to do all day but get over hangovers and flick herself off to Tots TV.

Don't worry, love; based on the quality of tissues and issues, it won't be long until you're back there...


If you tell 'em you expect to fall flat on your face, stumbling onto your ass looks like a breakthrough. So it is that Bob Geldof is now running round telling people he doesn't expect Live 8 to be anything other than a failure:

He told the AFP news agency he likes "no part" of organising the concerts and rallies to pressure G8 leaders to improve trade, aid and debt in Africa.

"Will that happen? Probably not. So will I have failed? Yes I guess."

But, you know, Bob doesn't relish this opportunity to become something more than a medium-difficult trivial pursuit question and try and put down that upstart Bono from getting the Official Rock Star Saint treatment:

The 53-year-old rock singer said his role was "very demanding".

"I really don't want to do it," he said. "There is no part of today that I have liked, not a single part."

But he had to try, he said. "For the rest of my life I would have thought 'I could have maybe done that, I could have maybe changed it and I bottled it for personal reasons'."

Meanwhile, Bono has popped up to honk on a bit, too:

"There will always be natural calamities, but there are 120,000 lost lives in Africa every month and this is avoidable," he said.

It's true - a load of them are very avoidable indeed, and all it would have taken would have been the Pope saying "actually, it's okay to use condoms." But, of course, the Pope did wear Bono's sunglasses, so it's not like he didn't do his bit, too.


We were astonished to learn that it was only as an afterthought that Gwen Steffani added Hollaback Girl to her solo album. Having heard it more often than we'd like, we still can't detect any evidence of any thoughts - after or otherwise - anywhere on the track.


Weddings - you plan them for ages, you control every detail you can, but there's always some things you can't ensure go to plan: the vicar might still be drunk; the rain might still fall as you're doing photos; Anastacia might turn up.

Actually, that was Colin and Nadia Weekes' own fault - for some reason they let MTV choose their reception band for a show that Anastacia is doing; thereby ensuring the one day in their life when everyone would be putting them centre-stage was, instead, about somebody else.


While we can understand why Shirley Manson suggested that the best thing Pete Doherty could do would be talk to Dave Grohl, surely the person who could get the most out of Grohl's advice would be Carl Barat? Dave's bag, after all, is building a distinct career away from the dark shadow of a drugged-to-death colleague. Anyway, Dave's got some advice for Pete:

"I mean, with someone like Pete from the Libertines, who I have never met, God, it's like a biography that you have read 10 times before. It doesn't have to be that way.

"I'm not one to preach to anybody. I've had my share of fun, too. But music is such a beautiful thing. I would hate to see it suffer to something like drugs. What a drag. What a waste. Such a bummer.

"In a way it is almost glorified, you know. 'Wow, he must be a bad a*s, he is living the life.' To me it just seems like, 'God, don't do it.' It's such a cliched dead end. But at the same time I don't mind drinking half a bottle of whiskey every now and then with some friends."

We don't know if the advice is any good - we were too busy going "heh... he said 'bummer'... heh heh..."


Perhaps the best way to enjot the news that Velvet Revolver have scrapped their European tour (they're still threatening to do Live 8, but we wouldn't text for a ticket on the basis of that) is through the work of Kristine Ashton-Magnuson, official strenuous denier:

"The band has not broken up."

"In fact, they're coming back to the U.S. early to start the next record."

"family obligations"

[album] "pre-production work"

"Scott is not back on drugs."


We knew they were planning some sort of world domination; we tried to warn people but nobody would listen. Now that Screaming Tarts have released their first compilation album (Rachel Stamp, Locus of Control, Kinesis, Scarlet Soho, Drugdealer Cheerleader and many more), it's only a matter of time before we're all going to have to worship them and they have control of our shoe shops and village schools.


Of course, the Radio Times might have decided that Jonathan Ross is the most important man in radio, but he has suddenly got a challenger: Anton Alfred Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre has launched his own show. Available online, of course, as these things are.


It's the question exercising great minds on both sides of the Atlantic:

Chris Martin peers out of the Chicago Red Eye and asks, tremulously, "do you hate me?"

(If you keep banging on about how Coldplay are hated, it's going to be getting easier and easier to, Chris.)

And it's the same question here, being asked by the Daily Telegraph...

... although 'Do you hate Coldplay' sounds a little more like a rallying call to us: Do you hate Coldplay? Are you convinced that bit from Clocks is as irritating and as overused as the Crazy Frog is? Can you use a nightstick? Join us!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


There's more to the legal battle between Bertelsmann and EMI & Universal over the former's investment in Napster when it was useful ("illegal") than merely watching three-quarters of the RIAA/BPI fight themselves over the very file sharing issues they're meant to be united on, but don't let that spoil your enjoyment of the struggling.

There is something quite crucial bubbling out amongst the name-calling, though: Judge Patel of the US District Court of San Francisco has ruled as part of the case that "placing a song on a central index was not a crime and that the plaintiffs would have to prove specific cases of illegal downloads."

Now, is it just us, or has Judge Patel basically also ruled that the movie and record industry attacks on Bittorrent search engines don't actually have any legal basis - those services which are being raided and closed down, surely, are just providing a central index. Interesting.


Amongst a growing sense of unease over the Live 8 plans, the National Secular Society have called on Bob Geldof to withdraw an invitation to the Pope:

NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood said Geldof should not have written to the Pope about attending the Hyde Park event.

He said: "Inviting the Pope to Live 8 would be a slap in the face for all those currently working to stem the spread of Aids in Africa.

"Aids is destroying lives, communities and, ultimately, will destroy whole nations for generations to come unless greater efforts are made to check it.

"To invite the Pope, who has supported and reinforced this inhumane policy, to an event aimed at combating poverty through protest, verges on an obscenity. The invitation must be withdrawn immediately."

But, of course, Geldof would rather rub shoulders with the Pope than with Keith Porteous Wood - and for all his posturing as a blunt talker, Geldof actually doesn't seem to want to make any difficult demands.


A big plus for Michael Jackson's defence team was the appearance by Macaulay Culkin denying that Jackop had ever touched him. But now that Culkin has pleaded guilty to xanax and dope possession, it's questionable if Culkin could be expected to remember anything clearly at all.


Something Corporate, the shout-pianist band, have pulled their touring on the Warped Tour following the discovery that their singer Andrew McMahon has acute lymphatic leukemia. He's expected to make a full recovery after treatment.


Stevie Wonder has become a dad again; the fifty-five year old has six girls and now also has a son. The boy will be called Mandla, the Swahili for 'Born From God'; apparently the second option, 'blimey - seven kids and him pushing sixty' doesn't translate quite so prettily.


The people over at Gizmodo have had word of a CD tasting table, which allows your friends to taste the music on a CD simply by dropping it onto a table.

No, we don't really understand it, but we do notice it's being tested with a copy of a Cardigans album.

There is no word on what Nina tastes like.


There's a certain part of us which accepts Bob Geldof's decision to not invite the Spice Girls to play Live8 on the grounds that they're not "popular" enough:

"I can't afford to have bands who won't pull the crowds. This is a political event, not a cultural one.

"If I get people who are currently selling 15 million albums, then there's an audience of at least 15 million people for the concert. It's a question of who is popular right now; that's the way it is.

"The whole thing with the Spice Girls isn't about my personal taste - my kids sing their stuff. But there just aren't enough people out there who would want to watch them."

But... hang about... what did Midge Ure tell Channel 4 News last week? "[Live 8 is about] entertainment, fun; it's a social gathering." So is it a political event, or a cultural event?

More to the point: So, you've got to be selling fifteen million albums to qualify for a slot, have you? Much as we love The Cure, we're not entirely sure they quite have that weight behind them; nor have Duran Duran sold large piles of records recently - certainly not as recently as the Spice Girls have. Velvet Revolver? Annie Lennox? And, perhaps the biggest question of all: when did you, Sir Bob, sell fifteen million albums? Wouldn't it make more sense to offer your slot to someone who has - if it really is a question about who is popular now, of course?


Well, obviously, he'll be counting money and deciding what to spend all his new money on - can you buy a display cabinet for sanctimony? - but he's also fretting about old and new Coldplay fans:

"Our ambition is to have all those 15-year-old people, who got beaten up for liking us two years ago, is for them to have all the people that beat them up come over to them this year and say, 'We've just heard Coldplay's third album and you were right. We're sorry about that.'"

Wrong way round, surely? Martin seems to think that those people who snorted when their first album came out that they weren't a "proper" band will be forced to eat their words now that X&Y has been released.

But surely, it's the people who used to insist that Coldplay were a really worthwhile band with a great, creative future in front of them should be going round talking about taking space in The Times personals column to make public their acceptance that time has proven them wrong?


It seems that on her forthcoming album, Hilary Duff is doing some work with the twins from Good Charlotte. You'd wonder if there'd be a fear of pissing away that hard-won credibility, but Hilary seems happy to take that on the chin, and besides, Joel and Benji are only going to be on a couple of tracks.


Ozzy Osbourne - because we're sure he takes all the decisions about Ozzfest, because that would be the perfect way to ensure a smoothly run event - has been defending "his" decision to put on Wicked Wisdom for this year's Ozzfest

Wicked Wisdom is Jada Pinkett-Smith's band, who have been given the slot by Sharon Osbourne. The band's biggest gig to date has been opening for Britney Spears, which should quieten down anyone who would question her rock credentials.

Mind you, with bands like Velvet Revolver, Soilwork and Killswitch Engage also on the bill, and sponsorship from Hot Topic, it's not like credibility is really a pre-requisite for the festival anyway.


After more than fifteen years of solidly supporting its work, Brian May has closed the British Bone Marrow Donor Appeal; not because he's tired of it all, but because its functions have been transferred to the NHS. The charity had a surplus of getting on for three million quid, which will be given to the blood services in the UK.

No longer will people needing a bone marrow donation have to hum their way through Everything I Do Is Driven By You before they qualify for an operation.


The appearance of the Coldplay album in the States has prompted the New York Times to think about the problems of the record industry, such as they are. It's worth taking a close look at the NYT's opinion:

Today new albums from Coldplay, the Black Eyed Peas and the White Stripes hit the stores. If you needed to be told that, then you are probably not part of the target audiences for these very popular bands. Just how big those audiences are is a matter of some concern in the music industry, which is showing unmistakable signs of languishing. Some sources report a drop of 15 percent of total sales since 2000; others say it is a 7 percent drop over the past year alone.

Record companies and retailers alike are hoping that today's sales are a blowout for all three albums - Norah Jones times three. That would be good for the weekly figures and the bottom line, but it would really do nothing to change the feeling that something is terribly wrong in the music business. The unease was palpable a month ago when the Warner Music Group went public, to a lukewarm response from Wall Street. Perhaps there was something about seeing Jimmy Page, guitar in hand, in the gallery above the trading floor that made even hardened traders queasy. But it was probably the performance of Warner Music - and the sector as a whole - that gave investors second thoughts.

The music industry loves to blame its problems on digital piracy, a case that has yet to be fully proved. The real problem is an addiction to blockbusters, and that is what today is all about - feeding the monster this industry has become. These days there are more musicians and bands than there have ever been, and there are still plenty of music-buying fans. Together, they are discovering alternative means of connecting with each other.

The big record companies continue to insist that the only route to profitability is blockbuster sales of a few titles, and the result is all too predictable - music that matters more for how it sells than how it sounds.

It's nice to see at least one mainstream media outlet accepting that the problems of the record industry might be down to mismanagement rather than being their customers' fault.


Liam Gallagher from Oasisband has launched an astonishing/ shocking/ thought-provoking/ predictable/ attack on another band - U2, this time. And, just as a randomly shooting dalek will accidently dispense justice, he does have a point this time:

Gallagher’s wrath has extended to the old guard, with him lashing out via the Sydney Evening Telegraph after hearing that the U2 study video footage of themselves after gigs.

He raged: “Wankers. Haven’t they got fuck-all better to do? I’d rather be out there getting pissed. I certainly wouldn’t go back after a gig and analyse it. No wonder they’re the biggest band in the world: ‘Oh Edge, the fourth guitar solo wasn’t right tonight’. ‘Oh sorry, Bono’. If that’s what people think rock’n’roll is…”

You'd have to say he's got a point.


Naturally, the BPI are frothing like horses' hooves at the launch of an international campaign to "alert" parents to the dangers of filesharing, because it gives them something else to do to justify their existence. This time, it's printing up leaflets as its contribution to the international re-education campaign.

BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said, "We are committed to working with parents to make them aware of the dangers of illegal downloading. There has already been huge publicity about this issue, but we are committed to doing even more to get the message across: unauthorised filesharing is illegal and could land you or your child in court."

But could it? Is it actually possible for the BPI to take a minor to court for filesharing? And would the CPS bring a prosecution against a kid for filesharing? It seems unlikely; it's equally debatable as to if a parent can be held responsible for their children's downloading - but, of course, the major labels put so much pressure on their marks none of this has ever come to court to actually be tested.

There's something a bit distasteful about the implications of much of the campaign, too:

Emma Pike, Director General of British Music Rights said: “It is fantastic that children are learning to access music in so many new and diverse ways. We are keen for young people to be creative and enterprising with the music they love and the music they create, but it is vital that they do this in a safe and legitimate environment. Parents have a role to play in helping their children to use the internet safely and we would urge them to ensure they understand what their children are doing. We welcome the Childnet leaflet which we hope will highlight any negative pitfalls which might arise through internet use".

Is it just us being over-senstive, or does this whole campaign seem to be trying to marry the moral panic over internet chatrooms and boogermen kidnapping children via their hard drive to illegal downloading? "Negative pitfalls" (as opposed, of course, to those well-know positive pitfalls), lots of talk of being safe, lots of warnings of dangers - and maybe they're right - download a copy of the Tots TV theme tune, and your kid could find themselves being held hostage by sweaty blokes from the BPI demanding hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Of course, it's not enough to warn about the dangers - where would we be if all we did was stop people downloading? No, this is all about making good little consumers:

Virgin Megastores’ Dennis Henderson said: "We believe that is as vitally important to positively inform parents and children how to download legally, as it is to avoid the dangers of illegal filesharing."

This campaign is being supported by a charity - Childnet. Is it really part of their remit to be creating customers for international companies?


"To me, they're like Mount Everest or the Taj Mahal or the Sears Tower. They're a great, great thing. And if you're going to do something, you may as well aim to do something great. I'm not saying we're better than them. I'm just saying if you're going to aim for anything, you might as well aim for the best."

- Chris Martin sets out exactly how dull Coldplay's horizons are - they're not trying to make life-changing music; they're just in a sales battle with old men.


Bob Mould is scheduled to play Clear Channel's Mean Fiddler in London on Septemeber 6th; it's in support of Body of Song, the new album which "drops" as young people say, next month.


The possibly-murky end to Frankie Poullain's period as bassist for guitarist has become the fourth hottest topic in current affairs with Poullain announcing to that he was sacked:

"Against my wishes I have been forced out of the group,” he explained. “At Darkness HQ, where Justin and his partner (Darkness manager, Sue Whitehouse) reside, I have gradually been frozen out over a long period of time. The reason for this is not yet clear - certainly nothing to do with Justin's solo album which I think is a great idea. In any case it's inevitable the truth will come out in the end.”

Frankie thanked the fans for all the support, and ended by pledging that he'd be back. It's not recorded if he then badgered the team for the Scissor Sisters' mobile number.


... at least, if the mess your life is in is not having Glastonbury tickets: Britain's long-haul coach people are running a Glasto ticket competition - they seem to only have one set of four tickets to offer, but it's better than nothing. There's also supposed to be a competition in the Guardian on Saturday.

NO'GWAI: Rock sick list

Mogwai's plans to be the first band to play the new ABC venue in Glasgow have been trashed by tendonitis. Martin Bulloch has got it, and so the band have had to pull out. Mysteriously, tonight's event is going ahead billed as "the closest thing to a Mogwai gig without them actually being there." But - besides tonight's doing (Trout and Errors both playing livel and djing from NOJ and Twitch and Wilkes) the tickets will also get you into the Mogwai gig which will take place when Bulloch's wrists allow it.


With signs of age finally catching up on Cliff Richard, the papers are desperate to find a new Peter Pan of Pop, and the Express seems to think it has a candidate:

Yes... David Bowie (and Iman); the new Cliff Richard(s). Have they discovered the secret of eternal youth? asks the Express. No, they haven't, replies everyone else.

Meanwhile, uh, the Mirror has some pictures of "laydees" - but hang about...

... that's no lady, that's Geri Halliwell...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Possibly the shrewdest Live 8 response so far: Radiohead have muttered about how they'd love to be part of it, but, you know, they're all over the place and so on...

Radiohead spokesman Murray Chalmers said: "They were asked but they can't do it.

"Jonny is out of action because he and his wife have just had a baby and the rest of the band are spread out all over the place at that time."

The spokesman added he did not know whether the band endorsed Live 8 and its aims.

... with or without a shitty stick.

Still, they've got Annie Lennox.


It's only made the streets of the capital so far, but the Mirror has already got hold of this week's NME and is running with the shock revelation that Pete Doherty is "back" on crack - although, to be honest, he's as good as admitted that weeks ago. Of course, the 3am girls present this not as a once-talented bloke pissing away what's left of his future, but as something to do with Kate Moss.


Cast your mind back a while to the Ashley Simpson football debacle: it did seem that almost the whole world was laughing at her. Well, not quite: she wasn't without her online supporters. And you can't buy that kind of support. Oh, actually, it seems you can - ProHipHop seems to have unconvered convincing evidence that her 'support' was all paid for; or, at least, a large chunk of it was: Google shows you just how much support a few bucks can buy you.


That'll cheer Coldplay up a little (or maybe not): X&Y is on course to be the biggest selling disappointing album in its first week since Be Here Now. We were delighted, by the way, to see suggesting that the battle for number one album this week was a three-cornered competition between the White Stripes, Coldplay and the Tears - as much as we love Bernard and Brett, somehow we couldn't see them beating the Martin Machine. Even if they added their sales to the White Stripes'. (In fact, Coldplay were outselling the rest of the top 20 combined yesterday.)

It's worth remembering that this album was leaked online. Doesn't seem to have harmed the sales any.


We almost wish they had started to give people doing community service bright orange overalls, as So Soild Crew's Harvey has been given 150 hours of service to make ammends for attacking a policeman who tried to stop him driving while using his mobile phone. (Harvey was, of course, all driving without a licence and without insurance).

The judge was incredibly kind to Harvey. Or else bitterly sarcastic, as sentencing Harvey District Judge Alistair Perkins said:

"You are clearly a very talented person with a bright future ahead of you."

Mind you, Harvey is going to get married to Alesha Dixon, once of Mis-Teeq, this coming Saturday. Unless the court instructs him to go and scrub graffiti off old people's houses that day.

Harvey doesn't seem to have got to grips with the whole concept of this crime and punishment business:

"I will get on with my community punishment and get back to reality.

"I have learned my lesson and it is a bad example to kids. You live and learn, everyone makes mistakes in life, I won't be the first celebrity to get into trouble.

"You can't make one rule for one and one for everyone else."

Actually, Harvoid, being found guilty and punished is yer actual reality, you know; and if you believe there can't be one rule for you and one for everyone else, then why did you think you were allowed to drive despite being disqualified in the first place?


We see that Live 8 has now passed the two million text mark, which seems to be a good point to ask what's actually happening with the money the phone companies are making? Our understanding was the mobile companies didn't want to be caught in the same position they were when they were found raking cash from the tsunami appeal at the start of the year, and so generously decided to waive the profits from the premium text service being used to run the lottery.

The Live 8 website makes that clear:

LIVE 8 London ticketing is being facilitated by O2, with all the UK's network operators getting behind the event and waiving their normal premium rate text charges

So, the mobile companies aren't making any cash out of Live 8 then, right?

Uh... not quite - while they're not raking off anything extra from the costs of the calls, they are going to be pocketing the usual fee for sending a text message:

Each entry costs £1.50* plus your operator's standard text charge.

So, while they're not making as much as they could, they'll still be making a profit on every text sent.

Two million extra texts. No wonder they can afford to waive their usual premium rate text charges.


Apparently James Purnell - the minister for Creative Industries, it says here - has got plans to extend the copyright period for ELECTRONIC recordings, possibly from the current fifty years to as much as one hundred years.

Yes, one hundred years.

What for? Because they're happy to bend over backwards to please the major labels, and the Americans are doing it, and there's nobody in parliament who can see that there's any value in allowing things to come into the public domain.

Oh, you mean, what's the justification.... here's James Purnell:

“The music industry is a risky business and finding talent and artists is expensive. There is a view that long-term earners are needed so that the record companies can plough money back into unearthing new talent.

“Bands like Coldplay will make enough money for their company to help them discover around 50 or 100 bands.”

Well, yes, that's sort of true - although, generally, the idea is for the companies to raise money and return it to their shareholders rather than invest in new bands - clearly, EMI haven't managed to turn their earnings from Coldplay into 100 news bands, or even 50 - or, actually, even three or four. And nobody objects to the principle that record companies can recoup a little on their investment to re-invest elsewhere (let's pretend the system works for now, shall we?), but does EMI really want us to believe that, having found Coldplay, it's going to be 2105 before they'll have a band to replace that particular revenue stream? Surely any label that hasn't extracted maximum value from a recording in fifty years is in serious, serious financial trouble and should be being investigated rather than thrown a lifeline?

And isn't there a counter argument here: once those recordings come into public domain - after the original recording companies have had a full half-century to make their investment back, and some more on top - they're able to inspire a whole bunch of other talents and creatives to come up with new ways to exploit them? Sure, give the original owners a fair crack, but lets not fetter the potential of other, equally creative companies to make stuff, too.

[Thanks to John R. for the link for this one]


Having heard that Richard Littlejohn has become so reactionary he's had to move to the Daily Mail, Dave Grohl seems to be angling to land a column in The Sun with his sideways look at life: he's started by condemning people who marry outside their own age range:

"Age matters, it really does. Eight years is the max. If it's any more than 10 years, then it's a generation."

Tomorrow: Are you thinking what Grohl's thinking?


The woman who told reporters that Mariah needed fashion guidance and that no designers wanted to lend her stuff to wear has denied that Carey fired her; instead, she's just insisted that she was responsible for the Emancipation of Mimi going to number one. Marvet Britto says:

"I put an amazing blueprint in place to take her album to No. 1. I never planned to stay past that."

Which makes sense - if you'd done something that antisocial, why would you want to hang around and get caught?


The poor sods in Brussels have had a buffering recently, what with Kilroy and No Votes, and now they're going to have to contend with Bono turning up. Of course, as we've seen, Bono is quite easily won over - make a muttering platitude about genocide, like Bush, or muck about with some sunglasses, like the pope, and Bono will chuckle and forget all about the things that he's meant to be angry and upset about. But even so: the European project reduced to being a photo-op for a stalled rock star. It's a pity.


Preparing well in advance for the cold blast of autumn, The Ordinary Boys have booked up dates for the arse-end of the year:

Manchester University -October 14;
Liverpool Academy -15;
Bristol Academy -16;
Cardiff University -17;
Southampton University -19;
Norwich Waterfront -20;
Hull University -21;
Lancaster Sugarhouse -25;
Leeds Metropolitan University -26;
Newcastle Northumbria University -28;
Birmingham Academy -29;
Sheffield The Foundry -30;
Eastbourne Winter Gardens -November 1;
London Shepherd’s Bush Empire -2

Apparently they'd have toured sooner but they have to wait for the Back To School stuff to go on sale for their stage costumes.


We know that the standards by which the wit and wisdom of US Presidents are lower than for other people - that would be how Reagan's bumbling "there you go again" came to be mistaken for something other than a confused man flailing for some sort of response - but even so, we were a little disappointed by Bono's revelation of why he thinks Bush is 'quick-witted':

"He was more amusing than I expected... quick-witted. I got quickly to the point and the point was an unarguable one - that 6,500 people dying every day of a preventable and treatable disease would not be acceptable anywhere else other than Africa, and that before God and history this was a kind of racism that was unacceptable.

"He said, 'In fact, it's a kind of genocide.' "

(We're hoping at some point this week Bono will reveal what kinds of racism are acceptable, of course).

The trouble is, of course, that it's not really genocide, and to suggest it is would imply either Bush doesn't really understand the term or was just flailing around to say something to try and make himself seem clever. The point about a genocide is that it has to be planned and systematic; the pisspoor response to the mounting AIDS crisis has been, if anything, the exact opposite of a genocide - it's precisely the lack of planning and systematic response that has let the situation get so bad. It's terrible, it's wrong, it's a shame that we should all feel as a scar on our lives, yes; but genocide?


Apparently, Charlotte Church has topped a 'gay icon' poll in Attitude magazine, showing that - like the rest of the world - the gay world has really dropped their standards of late.

Curiously, Charlotte Church was the only person Liam Gallagher had a good word for in last week's NME interview.

The one he was wearing a cap on the cover of.


With a quiet moment or two on our hands, we decided to send Asda an email asking if Sharon Osbourne, with her rehab kids, was the ideal person to front the "mum in a million" campaign. Nadine Farley from asda responds with a charming letter:

Thank you for your recent email regarding the appearance of Sharon Osbourne in our advertisements.

The great thing about being part of Wal-Mart is that they don't pretend to be experts on what will work in a particularly part of the world. They're happy to let us make our own decisions on things like this and are as delighted as we are about working with Sharon.

We weren't looking for a celebrity who shops every Saturday with ASDA to lead this campaign. This was much more about finding someone who summed up everything mums stand for. When we talked to our customers and Sharon was very much this, in fact 78% of customers said they thought Sharon understood what it was like to be a mum and 80% said they believed that she understood that mums were key to keeping the family going. This made her the perfect choice.

As Sharon has said very recently, she's worked extremely hard for everything she's got - no silver spoons in her family. Just like our customers she knows how hard it is to juggle a job, a husband, children as well as ambitions for herself and her family.

So, it's all been focused grouped then. We suppose that's what matters.

We do have to raise a quizzical eyebrow at the "no silver spoons in her family", though - is it just us, or does anyone else think that maybe Kelly and Jack have been born with a bit of a silver spoon in their gobs?


Clearly, Pete Doherty's mind has been addled beyond the point of no return: he's now accusing Franz Ferdinand of ripping off Ringo Starr's solo material:

"’Take Me Out's’ Ringo Starr, isn't it? It's exactly the same riff [as Back off Boogaloo]. What was it Oscar Wilde said? Amateurs borrow but geniuses steal", said Doherty, borrowing a quote from Oscar Wilde.


If we were EMI shareholders, we'd be less worried about the length of time being spent by Coldplay recording their albums, more about decisions like signing Liberty X for a five album deal. Five more albums.

We're also really taken with this post from Jessica, which went to the official Liberty X forum - apparently all that reality TV show business was, um, all for the sport rather than any bid to try and spin out declining fame as thin as possible:

From reading many of your posts it is obvious that there are several matters causing concern, so I will try and address these issues as best I can. Firstly - you are absolutely right - this site should be updated regularly in order to keep you fully informed as to our whereabouts at gigs, appearances, TV and radio shows so that you are able to come along and support us whenever and wherever you can. Believe me, this has been a huge annoyance to us pretty much since day 1 of this website being set up and it is something which we have gone on and on about - as you know Kelli and I do come onto the site as often as we can to give you personal updates whenever possible. Unfortunately it is patently clear that our concerns have fallen on deaf ears up till now. I promise that I will make it my mission to ensure that wherever possible regular updates are given on this site so that in future you aren't in the dark as to what's happening with us.
As for the issue of us becoming reality TV stars rather than musicians - please trust me that is absolutely not our aim, have no fear. I took part in a one-off Strictly Ice Dancing show because I really wanted to learn how to skate properly, Kevin did The Games because it was a great opportunity to be taught by professionals at the top of their field and to massively increase his fitness - which I'm sure you'll agree he succeeded in, and Michelle took part in Celebrity Wrestling also to optimise her fitness and because it would be good fun. These are the only 'reality' TV shows we have done and I think you'll agree in a four year period that's hardly drastic! Our main objective has always been to make music - something we have been putting our hearts and souls, blood, sweat and tears into since day one of putting this band together.

Mainly sweat, with all that PVC, of course...


There's a massive, multiplayer Star Wars Galaxies game available online at the moment, with everything you'd find in a real world except the smell of sex and parking tickets. Oh, and music.. There are bands, and musicians playing the slitherhorn and the nalargon (it's Star Wars, remember), but they can't be used to play any recognisable tunes:

"If we allowed someone to play anything they want, they could play a song by Madonna and then we'd have licensing issues," said Julio Torres, a producer for Star Wars Galaxies at LucasArts. "We don't want to give them the option to try, because the bottom line is, if we open that gate, they will go through it," he said.

The heartbreaking truth, of course, is that he's right - the RIAA probably has its own clone army ready to search the star systems for people tootling Like A Virgin on their omnibox.

There is also meant to be a more honorable reason behind the ban on proper tunes:

Torres said the company also wants to keep the game consistent with the Star Wars environment. "To have a player in our game create a song that is Jon Bon Jovi or Metallica would throw people out of the fantasy," Torres said.

Yeah. Let's not even start to chat about the Very Star Wars Christmas, shall we?


Although it didn't actually have its desired effect of stopping Bush, last year's Future Soundtrack of America anti-Bush compilation is getting a UK release.

This is the line-up:

1. This Will Be Our Year - OK Go
2. Ain't Got So Far to Go - David Byrne
3. Game of Pricks [BBC Evening Session] - Jimmy Eat World
4. This Temporary Life - Death Cab for Cutie
5. I Miss You [Jame Guthrie Mix]
6. Move On - Mike Doughty
7. Jerry Falwell Destroyed Earth - Ben Kweller
8. Off With Your Head - Sleater-Kinney
9. Final Straw [MoveOn Mix] - R.E.M.
10. Going for the Gold [Live] - Bright Eyes
11. Commander Thinks Aloud [Future Mix]
12. Money - Will.I.Am
13. Tippecanoe and Tyler Too - They Might Be Giants
14. Ballad of David Icke - Clem Snide
15. Date With the Night [Live] - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
16. Everything's Ruined [Acoustic Version] - Fountains of Wayne
17. Your Legs Grow - Nada Surf
18. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots [Live] - The Flaming Lips
19. Northern Line
20. Sam Stone - Laura Cantrell
21. Day After Tomorrow - Tom Waits
22. Distorted Reality Is Now a Necessity to Be Free - Elliott Smith

The plan is, if they sell enough, to build a time machine and to go back and try and change the result of the 2004 US election. Failing that, they'll just go back in time and try and stop their past selves from putting Jimmy Eat World on the album.


A nice juxtaposition of picture and headline from today's Morning Star:

He's old, cold and broke... and apparently living in a bloody boat.

Meanwhile - because, of course, it's not racism if it's the French - The Sun somehow try and hook the Crazy Frog to the bid to host the massive debts and organisational nightmare of the Olympic Bid: "Don't let the Crazy Frogs win, win, win".

Apart from being a bit confused (isn't the Frog, like, so popular people will pay cash to have it on their telephones? Isn't suggesting that the Paris bid is the equivalent of this bemusingly well-loved character a bit on a par with saying 'don't vote for kittens'?), we're not sure the link between the Crazy Frog and the Paris bid makes enough sense to have been worth doing. It's not like there aren't a load of butt-headed national stereotypes for The Sun to choose from to kick the French, is it? But the fact it's done badly is no excuse - we imagine the Press Complaints Commission will be having a word, won't they? Won't they?

Monday, June 06, 2005


Looks like the premier indie label, Sanctuary, might be an indie for not much longer; it's been in takeover talks and, as well as a bunch of private equity firms, EMI and Warners have been sniffing about. There could be a delicious irony in the first of those winning, and in effect buying back Morrissey, but as Every Single Major Buyout has proven, nothing ruins a great label like being taken over by a bigger company. The only way the purchasers can bring in their economies of scale is by crushing out the individuality of the former indie; private equity partners are just as bad, but at least they don't pretend to be a force for good in the music industry at the same time.


There we were, worrying that Live 8 was little more than the stunt in the minds' eye of a multimillionaire medi baron, when Geldof pitches up to launch Sail 8. Yes, you heard; it's like the gig, only with Ellen MacArthur in the Dido role.

Look! Someone's pinched his oars

Now, we know "thou shalt not fanny about in yachts" never was a commandment in the end, because Moses argued God down to just the ten and the big fella was really keen to keep the one about no other gods but him, but even so, yachting surely is a fannying about pass-time and as disconnected from the real world as it can get. And while we don't want to reach for the phrase "all at sea"... well, what else do you say?

Bob has said that he wants to "recreate Dunkirk as part of a continental adventure." Righto, so... we're going to recreate the greatest military reverse the British have known in modern times, are we? The watersports leg of Live8 is going to be a tribute to the point where Europe was at the height of Nazi control? Well, there's a continental adventure. We wonder if Bob's got plans to try and meld together Diarmuid Gavin and the Somme, or perhaps Frankie Dettori and the Charge of the Light Brigade.

But let's just assume that Bob reached for the second piece of history he knew with boats in (probably after Midge had spent three hours trying to explain why calling for 'A Mary Rose for our times' wouldn't have worked) and that he's just thick rather than being deliberately offensive. So, what is the big idea here? Apparently, people are going to sail to France, have a go in the hypermarket, a few crepes and maybe a nice meal, and then sail back again - perhaps with some people wanting to show their anger against... whatever it is, one forgets after the second glass of something fruity and red, doesn't one?

Bob suggests this is like the march to Edinburgh (the one Midge Ure has asked everyone not to do):

"All those willing people from the southern ports of Britain, really the only thing they can do is hop on their boat and get over to France," he said.

"It's their commitment, it's their way of doing the long walk to justice. It will be many hours of sailing and it will be picking up some people they may not even be able to communicate with but the symbolism of that around the world will be one of great effort, great friendship, great solidarity."

Yes, a pleasant day sailing - that'll really show international solidarity, won't it? There was already some criticism of this whole endeavour that it suggested all you had to do to change the world was go to a gig; the claim that mucking about like this is going to have an effect rather strenghtens that belief. Why not go the whole hog and say that taking a spin on the rollercoasters at Alton Towers will really show the G8 we mean business, eh?

It's not even like there's any rallying point - they're not trying to get the Channel to be full of boats. In fact, they're barely that bothered about the boats going anywhere:

[A spokeswoman] added that showing support for Sail 8 was more important than finishing the crossing.

"We are asking people to come across the Channel and to set sail in such a way that it's showing some support. It may be they only get as far as Portsmouth," the spokeswoman said.

"Bob's always said this is about a global movement to get people to show their support, whether or not people go the full distance."

Clearly, this protest is going to be on a par with the People's Gathering About At The Start Of A March For Jobs And Then Deciding Actually That It Was Enough To Just Come This Far, and the great Intending To Write An Outraged Letter To The Papers But Not Having A Biro To Hand. We're sure those Africans living in abject Poverty will be delighted to hear of this call for, you know, whatever solidarity and that people here in the affluent West are prepared to start something to try and help even if, y'know, it doesn't come to much.

In other news, the Department of Transport has announced the road to hell will be closed for the next month as it is resurfaced with a fresh layer of good intentions.


Apple, in this context, being the fruit-themed offsprog of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, of course. Well, it turns out neither really thinks that much of Coldplay. Chris Martin reckons his kid prefers Sigur Ros to his own band - which is being taken by scientists as valuable evidence that bedwetting isn't a hereditry problem...

Meanwhile... The New York Times gives Martin and co the kicking they probably need:

Clearly, Coldplay is beloved: by moony high school girls and their solace-seeking parents, by hip-hop producers who sample its rich instrumental sounds and by emo rockers who admire Chris Martin's heart-on-sleeve lyrics. The band emanates good intentions, from Mr. Martin's political statements to lyrics insisting on its own benevolence. Coldplay is admired by everyone - everyone except me.
all that sonic splendor orchestrates Mr. Martin's voice and lyrics. He places his melodies near the top of his range to sound more fragile, so the tunes straddle the break between his radiant tenor voice and his falsetto. As he hops between them - in what may be Coldplay's most annoying tic - he makes a sound somewhere between a yodel and a hiccup. And the lyrics can make me wish I didn't understand English. Coldplay's countless fans seem to take comfort when Mr. Martin sings lines like, "Is there anybody out there who / Is lost and hurt and lonely too," while a strummed acoustic guitar telegraphs his aching sincerity. Me, I hear a passive-aggressive blowhard, immoderately proud as he flaunts humility. "I feel low," he announces in the chorus of "Low," belied by the peak of a crescendo that couldn't be more triumphant about it.
But Coldplay follow-throughs are redundant; from the beginning, Coldplay has verged on self-parody. When he moans his verses, Mr. Martin can sound so sorry for himself that there's hardly room to sympathize for him, and when he's not mixing metaphors, he fearlessly slings clichés. "Are you lost or incomplete," Mr. Martin sings in "Talk," which won't be cited in any rhyming dictionaries. "Do you feel like a puzzle / you can't find your missing piece."
On previous albums, Mr. Martin sang mostly in the first person, confessing to private vulnerabilities. This time, he sings a lot about "you": a lover, a brother, a random acquaintance. He has a lot of pronouncements and advice for all of them: "You just want somebody listening to what you say," and "Every step that you take could be your biggest mistake," and "Maybe you'll get what you wanted, maybe you'll stumble upon it" and "You don't have to be alone." It's supposed to be compassionate, empathetic, magnanimous, inspirational. But when the music swells up once more with tremolo guitars and chiming keyboards, and Mr. Martin's voice breaks for the umpteenth time, it sounds like hokum to me.

John Pareles then goes on to steal Martin's cashcard and PIN number, and pees into the petrol tank on his 4x4.


Now, we have a soft spot for Basement Jaxx, don't get us wrong, but to have them replacing Kylie for the Sunday night slot at Glastonbury is hardly a like-for-like swap, is it? Interestingly, they've been deemed not quite ballast enough, as Primal Scream have been added to the bill too, but even so... it's not quite the rousing crescendo that Glastonbury audiences have been getting used to over the last few years.

Music to clog the car park exits to, in other words.


The Rocky Mountain News ran a great piece yesterday to mark twenty-two years since U2 played Red Rocks, the point where U2 peaked. A band at a time when they still had something to say; a venue that might be the greatest in the world. And, erm, the influence of Jonathan King:

[Booker] Pam Moore: "I had mutual friends of Jonathan King, who was doing a show across America (for the BBC). He wanted to do a segment on Red Rocks and Denver and music in America. Barry was quoted on the BBC show saying, 'Yeah, U2 is going to be the next Who.' The band saw this show - they just happened to be watching this episode on TV in the U.K. somewhere. That's what really solidified the relationship with Fey Concerts and Barry Fey."

Fey: "(King) was in town and said, 'Have you seen any new bands?' I said, 'I've been through a couple, but the big one is going to be U2.' He put that on the show and they saw that.

The really astonishing thing is that it was only U2's fourth US gig. The weather looked like being against them; in the end, it was the good people of Colorado who came through for them:

[Writer G.] Brown: "I just remember having to motivate myself. I was going to school in Boulder - the make-up show was three blocks away - why drive to Red Rocks? But I was motivated to go because they were going to film it. The amazing thing was that 4,000 to 5,000 kids had the same thought. (The fans) were the stars. All props to the band for delivering the performance of a lifetime , but the kids were the heroes. If it had been 200 people, it just wouldn't have mattered."

The make-up show wasn't The Make-Up, it was the planned Boulder gig that was the fall back position if Red Rocks was a screw-up.

Of course, there has to be a healthy slice of overstatement - this is U2, after all:

[Photographer Greg Wigler]: "A number of people I talked to there felt like the Red Rocks show was a religious experience. Nobody was prepared for what the band did. It stunned everybody."

One curious footnote: U2 at Red Rocks wasn't the big ticket in Denver that night. Back in the city, Neil Diamond was playing the McNichols Arena.


The "multiple choice question" is which city is nearest to the G8 summit - a berlin, b, moscow or c, edinburgh; the number is 84599; lines close at midnight on 12th June. You have to be over 16, but then it's hard to think of a fifteen year old who'd want to see Dido and Lennox anyway.


Someobody - and who's to say if it's the brightly powered minds at the Mirror, the Star, or Casa Beckham - has a problem with the concept of "exclusivity", as Victoria Beckham talks to both the Star and the Mirror to deny that former footballer David Beckham isn't having an affair. This time at least:

Maybe the trouble has been caused by that simple lack of understanding - there's not very much between not realising what "exclusive interview" means and the "forsaking all others" bit, is there?

Victoria also tells the Mirror why she hates to see herself naked - presumably because she's so unhealthily thin she has to make herself go cross-eyed to try and spot herself in the mirror.

And is it just us, or does that Mirror flannel panel imply that all the Live8 tickets will be going to their readers?


As the jury deliberate:

US pop star Michael Jackson has been taken to hospital for treatment of a back problem that has troubled him during his trial, a spokeswoman said.
- BBC News Online

The most common reasons given for taking the day off is a bad back, which is amazingly hard to prove, and however much employers may suspect that these are not all genuine, there is little they can do about it.
- International Healthcare Journal, Issue 8, August 2004 [pdf file]

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Stand by your beds - at 8 am tomorrow, they'll reveal the number to text to "win" "free" tickets to Live 8 (although since it's also going to be in the papers being printed right now and available in a few minutes, it's not quite the revelation they'd hope for).


Razorlight - wearing your own band tshirt on the cover of your live DVD

Bloody hell - almost as if summoned by 6Music playing Cud twice in a fortnight, there's now a Cud DVD

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Look, you have to wait for our old landlord to pop the NME through our new front door

There's been an element of "see?" about web reaction to Conor McNicholas' UK Press Gazette interview (marking his anointment as Editor of the Year), mainly focusing on his admission that his tenure in charge of the NME has been focused on bringing in a younger readership - and while we agree with DJ Martian that this does leave a bit of huge gap in the target market for IPC Ignite's music magazines, we're not entirely convinced that McNicholas was wrong in trying to get teenagers buying the NME again - after all, while old sods are great, the paper has survived for fifty years not by hanging on to the people who were reading it in 1952, but by regenerating itself time and time again. And while we wouldn't agree with everything he's done, there's no question that he's managed to stop the paper going the way of the Melody Maker: "Frankly, when I joined [as editor] about three years ago, there was a whole generation of 18 year-olds who didn't actually know who the fuck we were," he adds. "An absolute mainstay of popular culture and nobody knew who we were. I thought that was a travesty." Leaving aside the question of how you can have a generation of 18 year-olds, it's worth remembering it wasn't long ago that the NME had lost its crown as the world's biggest selling rock weekly to Kerrang. It's taken McNicholas' paper a long time to settle down - and it wasn't helped by following blind alleys like Andrew WK and hiring that woman from the Daily Star to edit the news pages, and it's clear he's listened to a lot of the criticism and done a lot to return a bit more bottom to the paper. That he's managed to reverse the aging of the readership, though, isn't a criticism. I started reading the pop papers when I was 12 (although my initial spiritual home was Record Mirror, which ran more topless pictures of Martin Gore) and it's surely more vital for the long term health of the magazine (and the UK music scene) for the NME to be tempting the smarter twelve year olds into its world than to keep the thirtysomethings. Frankly, if you think that the NME is getting too trivial for you, it's possibly as much because your musical tastes are starting to get a bit Dido at the edges as because the paper has dumbed down.

On the other hand, with Oasis on the cover this week, clearly McNicholas needs to make the paper even less relevant to grumpy old men who should know better. Frankly, we can't really describe quite what Liam Gallagher but if you remember the TV series Horace, he looks a bit like the lead character from that. Only more daft.

News focuses on the Stone Roses reunion rumours (it's not going to happen, unless the Inland Revenue demand a large slew of back taxes); Thom Yorke turning up at Parliament to demand something be done about global warming, and the Killers turning down the offer a headline slot at Glastonbury - even they thought that would be taking the piss.

Peter Robinson's face is at the top of his page, but his name has disappeared: in other words, it's Spooky Unnamed Hand versus Maxi Jazz from Faithless. Jazz is happy that having been banned from driving as he's saving a fortune in petrol. The rest of the world is happy that he's banned from driving as it's one less cunt who believes that it's okay to drive after a couple of pints providing you've had a snack on the road.

The letters page has a complaint from someone that there's never any news about Placebo. See, Record Mirror, if it was still going, would be finding two or three excuses a month for a near-naked Brian Molko to be spread across the cover.

Even if Johnny Borrell thinks you're a genius, if you were really smart you wouldn't go round telling people, would you? Ryan Needham doesn't seem to spot the problem - he's singer with Komakino (they take their name from a Joy Division b-side, which couldn't be any more modish if the were called Dutch Vote Nie) who get a nice write-up as a thank-you for leaping into the gap on the NME new music tour when Nine Black Alps remembered they'd left the iron on.

So, the big Oasis feature is based on questions from fans - by which they mean goading from readers. Liam's response to being asked how drunk he was when they played Wembley in 2000 is to suggest the questioner's name is "rubbish"; and he says he's glad that Bloc Party - "them cunts" - don't like Oasis. Noel starts to get a bit frothy when he's accused of being lazy: "I work 18 hours a day and ended up playing Knebworth..." (you try telling kids that today, they won't believe you... oh, hang on, he's not stopped yet) "... ask Kelle from Bloc Party how [calling Oasis unambitious] sits this time in two years when he's working in his Dad's garden centre while I'm playing Red Rocks..." Do you see what Noel has done there? He's confused pleasing the lowest common denominator with being ambitious - if ticket sales told us who was the most risk-taking artist, then Celine Dion must be shaking our world to its roots.

In a really nice piece, Jeff Maysh answers the Busted/McFly management ad from a couple of weeks ago and - although Maysh can't sing - gets given an option to try out for "another project." They should have sent Tim Jonze, of course, who would have been given some nice trousers and a contract on the spot.

boy kill boy - camden koko - "every song is an anthem"
m83 - kings cross scala - "your brain is being ejected into outerspace"
the bravery - leeds blank canvas - "you won't trust them - they look too good, sound too good"

foo fighters - in your honour - "your partner trying on costumes and gadgets [while you realise] they wouldn't have had to bother if you'd shown them more love in the first place", 7
the tears - here comes the tears - "an embarrassment of riches", 8
of montreal - the sunlandic twins - "a trip to Ikea with Kate Bush", 8

totw - kid carpet - £1,500 and a bus apology - "it wobbles but doesn't fall down"
neils children - always the same - "like syd barrett with 21st century bits"
keith - hold that gun - "nothing that sounds like it was made by a band called keith"

There's a Crazy frog interview, too. But it's a spoof. Now, this means either the answers are going to be (a) a stupid noise or (b) revealing that the Frog is actually erudite and witty and finds the concept of being famous for going"bing bing bing" a little embarrassing and that he really wants to be known for his songwriting. We won't spoil it for you and tell you which one they went with.

In The Guardian Guide, David Stubbs said out loud something which we'd felt for a long time - The Tube wasn't actually that good. "Paula Yates, draped sluttishly over Midge Ure, smugly asks him if he's embarrassed by old photos of himself. This from a woman in a pink puffball dress and mauve boots, interviewing a bloke with a pencil moustache and wearing enough Falcon hairspray to weld girders." Our main memories of The Tube are of Go West doing never-ending tracks, that bloke who used to blow up hot water bottles and the feeling that it was a very long time until Channel Four News would be on; even with enough airtime to allow three Shakespeare plays to be performed, when they did book a decent act, they'd fuck up the timings and run the credits and the Tyne Tees Television caption while the band would be half-way through their first song. Week in, week out, Whistle Test would out-perform them. The Tube would offer Paul Young, already with that "the game is up" rictus in his neck, while Whistle Test would have Sudden Sway; The Tube would make way for Ian Astbury to flounce about in a blouse three sizes too large, while Whistle Test would have the first live performance from the Pet Shop Boys. The Tube - by U2's own admission - would play a major part in creating the Bono-ego-machine (Malcolm Gerrie, the Tube producer, would routinely drop large chunks of U2 into the mix), while Whistle Test offered Ivor Cutler. The Whistle Test-Tube split is the same as the Swap Shop-Tiswas fracture, and just as the commercial kids show seemed to be brighter, busier and more fun, it was the BBC programme here, too, which actually offered something to watch. "Some of our audience might look bored" Muriel Gray once told Smash Hits, "but we wouldn't give them balloons and funny hats to try and disguise it." Nope, but then you wouldn't need to when there was the Paula Yates one-woman sideshow sucking down acres of camera-time to do that.

And finally: also for the Guide, Steve Lamacq offers a guide to making the perfect wooing mix tape. But... "before you get carried away and think that you can make a kiss-and-make-up compilation, trust me, it never works. By that point buy her something she really does want."