Saturday, July 28, 2007

MediaBistro has trouble adding up

American democracy has more than enough problems without people joining in to suggest the P Diddy is more interesting than politics by massaging the figures:

Diddy Got More Responses For Personal Assistant On YouTube Than CNN Debate Questions

But let's put the numbers in perspective (i.e. help CNN safely come down from its post-debate high) with a fun, if tangentially relevant, YouTube fact:

# No. of questions submitted for CNN's YouTube Debate: 2,989
# No. of responses to Diddy's YouTube call for an assistant: 10,000

Despressing stuff. Although, not strictly true stuff. There were, indeed, 2,989 questions posted for the CNN Democrat debate, but the vague "10,000 responses" seems to be an estimate of the total number of videos posted in response to the Diddy competition - and something of an overestimate. Since Mediabistro haven't mbothered to count the numerous additional videos that responded to the CNN debates which weren't direct questions, it seems only fair to exclude responses to Diddy that weren't actual entries. The outcome, then, is slightly different:

Number of questions submitted for CNN's YouTube debate: 2,989
Number of entries for Diddy's YouTube call for an assistant: 627, many of which were multiple posts by the same entrants.

Not, of course, that this means anything anyway - it's like those articles which count up the relative number of words in Wikipedia articles on, say, Star Wars action figures and Abraham Lincoln and conclude that Wikipedia users are stunted thought-wasters rather than that there are many, many thousands of more authoritative articles on mainstream subjects already published online and all those topics really need is a few links.

But let's not feed Diddy's myth that he's bigger than democracy, eh?

Natasha nixes 'no knickers' nonsense

Natashas Bedingfield has denied the story about her going on stage knickerless for the Diana concert without underwear. Not even practical, she claims:

"Anyone who believed that rumour needs to look up the meaning of the word gullible and apply it to themselves. Think about it, I wore a mini dress, the cameras and audience were directly below and it was windy... I'm not about to expose myself to millions of viewers and Princes."

Millions of Princes, of course, would be very disappointed. This, of course, is not simply an attempt to try and keep the story alive by referring to it again to keep it stoked up, of course.

We also love the slightly outraged tone of her post. "It was windy and I was wearing a short skirt and above everybody...." - which seems to suggest she was happy enough to flash her knickers in front of the millions of Princes, allowing us to carefully calibrate that she's not that sort of girl, but she is the other sort of girl.

This, presumably, will eat into the profit margin somewhat

Blackpool Pier has got a little bit over-excited at the prospect of a visit from Elton John. He's going to see Richard Shelton doing something on the end of it, and the Pier have got giddy and spent thousands on red carpets and champagne.

Pier spokeswoman Pearl Mina said: “We’re pulling out all the stops. It will be the most flamboyant night Blackpool has seen for years.”

Certainly the most flamboyant night since the 2004 finals of the Best British Donkey contest.

If we could be serious for a moment

It's now a month since the Keystone Terrorists attempted an attack on Glasgow Airport. And in that month: not a word from Omarion about how he is.

Omarion, are you alright, son?

Akon: sorry not the hardest word, just confusing

Akon, the man who dry humps underage girls, has got a bit of a problem understanding the concept of "I'm sorry." He's written a song to "apologise to Gwen Stefani" for costing her thousands of dollars in tour sponsorship. He's called it 'Sorry, Blame It One Me'.

Only, in the lyrics, rather than accepting the blame, Akon doesn't:

"I'm sorry for the hand that she was dealt
And for the embarrassment that she felt
She's just a little young girl trying to have fun
But daddy should of never let her out that young"

So, in the song "blame it on me" he blames fate and her dad. Rather than himself. And seems to think the problem is that the underage girl he simulated sex with was "embarrassed" rather than the whole him looking a little bit Gary Glitter.

The worst aspect of this affair is that by turning it into a song, we're all now going to have to suffer. And Akon is no Union Gap.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Kelly Clarkson abandons 'artistic integrity' for 'cosy life'

After having a taste of the life beyond the confines of top 40 pop, Kelly Clarkson has followed up her grovelling retraction of anything bad she might have said about Clive Davis with a promise to record whatever he sees fit. Which will be formula-fixed, tightly-targeted top 40 pop, of course. It'll be ready next year.

Now that her heart isn't in it, though, you might wonder what the point of it all is.

Apparently, the Police are a "new band"

You might think the Police are currently in the middle of a midlife reunion tour.

Oh no, says Andy Summers:

"It just all sounds non-creative to me," Summers said. "The kind of chemistry in our band, there's no reunion. It's like, 'OK, we're back together, how do we make this work on all levels?'

"In a sense, it feels more like a new band. It doesn't feel like some old band and we're just going to kind of try to remember the way the old songs went and do them just like that. That wasn't the spirit that made The Police what it was."

Ah. Yes, people are forking out for tickets on the basis this is a bunch of middle-aged guys just jamming together, and not because it's a reunion of The Police. Oddly, though, tickets are priced as if it was a reunion of The Police. Funny that.

Murphy goes free

The lovely Roisin Murphy is offering something of a sweet deal: you give her details about your life, contact details and so on, and she'll come round and give you a great big kiss. Or, at the very least, a free mp3.

It's like they're in cahoots

Before lunch, it was Babyshambles' second album appearing in the distance; now, it's the Dirty Pretty Things who are readying their second collection:

Anthony Rossomando told Spinner: "Carl and me, we've been to some cemeteries recently to do some writing. We go in the afternoon and hang out, drink a couple cans and wander around and bump back into each other and go 'What have you got? What have you got?' kind of thing."

We're slightly alarmed at the idea of the album being written while drinking cider in a graveyard, which makes us fear the main focuses of the lyrics are going to be how far you can get with an upper sixth girl and how parents, right, just don't get it, but it's surely got to be better than having the album knocked together during the downtim,e between court appearances and digging escape tunnels out of rehab.

Release is expected during a vague "Spring 2008".

Why the Towers fell

The Rev, who attempted to leave The Towers of London with whatever dignity he could muster, has revealed exclusively to the NME why he had to go:

"I felt the integrity of the band had gone since Donny's appearance on 'Celebrity Big Brother'. Donny and Dirk [Tourette] became all about the partying and the music suffered. It had become the Donny Tourette show. I left the band on my own terms."

The integrity had gone from The Towers of London. It's a bit like suggesting the fun had gone out of the mortuary business. And we love the idea that the music had suffered - to be honest, we'd not realised that they actually made music; we'd thought they just came on stage and stood around doing lines from Bad News as blank verse.

Mel B continues to demonstrate how over Eddie Murphy she is

We're glad that Mel B has managed to put the unpleasantness with Eddie Murphy behind her - why, she barely mentions it these days. The latest barely mentioning it comes in the form of a in-depth interview about her relationship with him. It seems she was somewhat surprised to hear she was no longer his girlfriend, as she believed she was his fiance:

hey were apparently going to buy a house in Malibu together, although they'd disagreed over their differing lifestyles - something the singer had planned to iron out with Eddie but never had the chance to do after he started dating Tracey Edmonds. "When I left for London I thought I would return and we'd finish our discussion. Instead, I returned to: 'It's over and I'm with somebody else.' For me that was confusing. I still haven't received closure."

The whole going-on-the-tv-and-calling-your-partner-the-sort-of-skanky-ho-whose-child-might-have-any-number -of-fathers thing would probably have been enough closure for most people.

But it's surprisingly trusting of her to have a row and then fly away half-way through. My old gran used to say "never let the sun go down on an argument, especially if you have a taxi waiting to whisk you five thousand miles away.

Back down in Albion

Plans are apparently well-advanced for a second Babyshambles album. According to Adam Fieck - and why would we disbelieve a drummer? - the thing's coming out on September 16th.

Oddly, the first report of it has turned up on Alla Jone's Uncut blog - Jones is very positive about the album, and has always been one of the more positive critics of the curate eggy last one, but he seems to have nabbed the exclusive first review through careful reading of the heavy-handed legalese on the advance copies.

The tracklisting, though, does sound like a parody of Pete Doherty songtitles:
Carry On Up The Morning
You talk
Side Of the Road
Crumb Begging
French Dog Blues
There She Goes
Baddies Boogie
Deft Left Hand
The Lost Art Of Murder

Carry On Up The Morning? Jesus.

Buried in the review is an interesting note. That track is:

a radio-friendly glare replacing the wracked static of DIA

So, it sounds like Stephen Street has guided them towards being listenable. Or, as Jones admits, pretty much like any other band:
Street’s more generic production means that there’s an extent to which the band on their own could be just about anyone – until, that is, Pete comes in and then they just couldn’t be anyone else.

It's always been hard for the rest of Babyshambles to get people to remember they're there. Now, it sounds like they've been Sleeperbloked totally into the background.

Bono's big night out

Victoria Newton had a tricky job this morning, trying to put some meat on a story about Bono and Penelope Cruz going to a nightclub. She has got (what sounds like a suspiciously made-up quote) from Cruz:

“He’s changing the world — I totally admire him.”

But that's not enough, so Victoria has to come up with a U2-related pun to round off the piece.

What have you got, Victoria?
I admire him too. Getting in that late, he must’ve been Staring At The Sun.

Yes, because... erm, if you go home after dawn, you do try to burn your own retinas out... or... um... how's that again?

Geldof gashes man with his car

Despite some attempts to suggest that there was something more to it than a terrible accident, it's clear that Bob Geldof knocking a bloke off his motorbike while pulling a U-turn was just an accident. Bob is quick to stress it really was just an accident:

“It was shocking. It was about 7pm, full-on traffic and the road was quite blocked. I indicated to pull out and a woman waved me out.

“I came out very slowly and was turning around to head in the opposite direction, which is perfectly legal — I checked with the police afterwards.

“As I edged around at a very low speed the bike came from pretty much nowhere and hit my car. There was a hell of a bang.The bike spun round and he flew off and was over the other side of the road. I was horrified, but relieved that he was moving.

“I told him to stay still and to keep his helmet on in case his neck was injured. Thankfully, it wasn’t. This is my first accident but it was fucking awful.

“A nurse was passing and said he’d be OK. The paramedics and ambulance staff said he just had bruises and I was very relieved.

“I tried calling him a few times on his mobile yesterday. The cops gave me the number, but it just rang out. I called the hospital too, but he was having tests.

“I’m shocked that his injuries are a lot worse than I was first told. It was just an accident — I’m loathe to blame anybody.

“I hope he’s well cared for and out soon. I regret it happened and I feel very sorry for him and I commiserate with him because of his injuries. If he thinks it’s appropriate, I’d like to drop over and see how he’s doing.”

That must have been a great call to the hospital:

- Could you tell me how Andrew Quinn is, please?
- Are you family, sir?
- No, this is Bob Geldof
- I'm hanging the phone up now, sir

Andrew Quinn - who is now looking at the early onset of arthritis, and has a ripped groin - isn't quite ready to let Bob off the hook:
“I didn’t stand a chance.

“I’m now facing surgery and injuries that may be with me the rest of my life. And it’s all because he didn’t pay enough attention when he pulled out.”

So, it was all a terrible accident, although apparently one which could have been avoided.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Leno blasted for Lohan jokes

What would be the least of Lindsay Lohan's problems right now? If you thought 'being the punchline of Jay Leno's jokes', you're actually wrong. Old mother Lohan has taken time out of her busy schedule of baking cakes with files in and filling tennis balls with neat vodka in order to issue a statement about a skit on Leno:

"We have a great respect for Jay Leno but we are disappointed in the path he chose to allow a guest to make light of a very serious situation concerning Lindsay. This is a very personal and private matter and our only concern is to get Lindsay the help that she needs."

So personal and private, indeed, that Dina Lohan issued this statement to Access Hollywood.

Ditto gets down with Hilton

In the continuing downward spiral of Beth Ditto's life, she's now doing photo sessions with Perez Hilton. Well, it worked for Victoria Beckham. Oh, hang on, it didn't, did it?

Dave Matthews enters into a firesale

You might remember there was a lot of excitement a couple of weeks ago when a series of high-end gigs in The Hamptons were touted at three grand a piece. It was effectively justified at the time along the lines of 'if touts can charge crazy prives, we can, too' and Don Passman was on hand to suggest there was no longer a stigma about asking absurd prices for tickets.

This morning, Bob Lefsetz got an email which suggested that, while there may not be any stigma about demanding stupid money, it doesn't mean you'll get the cash back:

Greetings from the Warehouse [Dave Matthews fanclub]:

We are pleased to invite you to join Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds for a once-in-a-lifetime concert experience this Saturday evening, July 28 in East Hampton, NY. As many of you may have heard, Dave and Tim are performing a semi-private benefit for the Ross School in East Hampton. We have just been offered a limited number of specially priced tickets for the benefit concert which we are offering to Warehouse members that have purchased Randall’s Island VIP tickets. The all-inclusive ticket includes luxurious seating, world class food featuring the BBQ stylings of executive chef Adam Perry Lang, a top shelf open bar, plus pre and post show entertainment. The tickets are extremely limited and will be sold first come-first serve at $250 per ticket/$500 per pair. All proceeds from this special ticket sale will benefit charity with half of the proceeds to benefit Dave Matthews’ Horton Foundation and the other half to benefit Ross School. Dave and Tim tickets may be purchased by calling (800) 803-6644 and mentioning the access code "Trax". For more information about the concert, please visit"

That's not half price, then, or even quarter price. One twelfth of the original price - so the question is, how manyt of the 1000 tickets must have they have left over if they're that keen to try and flog the remainder at what surely has to be a loss?

Loads, we bet.

Falling off a blog: Courtney hits 'post' again

Yes, it turns out the petitions to her ISP begging them to save Courtney from herself have come to nothing, and posted to her MySpace again. She comes across somewhere between Lillian Bellamy and a cat which has somehow managed to get onto a keyboard. We think her tiresome faghaggery might have shaded into the patronisingly offensive if she'd been able to make herself understood:

it took me til NYC to accept the factthat there are no dudes in the demo and you know what? FUCKING EXCELLENT! i embrace this! id rather have homos any fucking day being that i am a gay mn trannie any fucking waay. just read your comments cos i dodnt know how to my blogs. swhats a kudos? im talking to the head of my sp[ace and im afraid to frickin ask, but im sooooo over the dudes, like i isaid having opend for metallica ive hjad the dudes and i prefer my frmale sof all ages and my young homos, colopur my ass liza im thrilled! move teh fuck ohvah scissor sistahs, im thrilled on the site you donthavr ot so much desrcibe yoru stykle as maybe your philophy opr jiust something about you what brands you like i dont give a fuck. but the home thing really got me as ove said sinc emy gen of homos allliked dance music and i fel alientated from my peeps as they went off vogueing, it was nnoying at best, by yall have grown up in lt rock nd ahhhhm fucking thrillllllled, never expected it for a sec , but here i coem Logo Advocte Gyuardian, baby!!!!! fey gay an dnot in my way.

All gay people like dance music, of course.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Whatever happened to Rosie Ribbons? PopUnlimited tells the sorry tale:

The follow-up "A Little Bit", a Jessica Simpson cover, wasn't going to be playlisted by The Box at all as they thought it was a bit cheap of them to film it in the exact same studio as the previous one "she's sitting in the same bloody corner!" they said... and she did look like she'd been having a fight with a make-up artist... but with a bit of nagging it eventually got on, though they probably shouldn't have bothered as it only made it to #19.

Emily Haines recalls her father Paul's work and influence for the Toronto Star:
Even now, many years later, no matter where I am when I put on one of his tapes, I am transported back to being very young, crouched beside the stereo speakers constructing fantastic houses out of clear plastic cassette cases, quivering towers of windows overlooking the floor below. Maybe under different circumstances I could have become an architect, but something I heard in those early days got me started as a musician and I haven't been able to stop.

Troubled Diva meets Hannah and Brace from The Gossip:
Mike: And then you have that whole thing where Beth is developing almost as a parallel media figure in her own right; she's even an agony aunt now. Does that co-exist quite happily with everything else that you do?

Hannah: Yes, I think so. My main concern is just that people just see us as a group.

Mike: Rather than 'The Beth Show'�

Hannah: Yeah, totally. Because it just has been that, for so long.

Brace: As long as they're still good records and good music, that's the most important thing. Interest in media figures fade quickly; they can go 'in' and 'out' so fast.

Anthony Thornton posts what could have been an NME Classic Albums piece (if the feature was in the new look magazine) on Dog Man Star:
The whole thing felt like a revolutionary act: Brett said he wanted it to be a rallying cry for the outsiders and the dispossessed. And it was. However that group, though vocal, was tiny.

I used to support you

Barry S emails us in response to Patrick Wolf's drubbing of Mika to raise a salient point:

um, this wouldn't be the same patrick wolf who supported mika during his
tour, at least at the dublin date i was at, earlier this year, would it?
because he seemed so /nice/ and complimentary at the time.

Funny how you can put up with anything when someone's giving you a leg-up, eh?

Beckhams burn through police budget

It's funny, we could have sworn that Victoria Beckham was just banging on about how she's ordinary - and yet, it seems, she can't go shopping without the LA police investing time and effort to ensure that only a very few pap pictures get taken. Obviously, you wouldn't want the police to stop all the pictures, because if you go shopping and nobody hears a shutter click, can you really say you've been out?

Mindy in the slammer

TMZ is reporting that Mindy McCready has been arrested after Tennessee cops issued a warrant for her arrest. They were investigating stories of her arrest in Florida, which appears to have violated the terms of her probation.

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated again?

The Sex Pistols have announced plans to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of punk - which coincidently occurs on the 30th anniversary of Never Mind The Bollocks - by rereleasing a bunch of old stuff. There's going to be a new pressing of the album, and four singles throughout the month of October, in sleeves designed to make them look like punk records rather than EMI having a little birthday cash-in.

A 30th anniversary de luxe edition of a punk album. It not only records the failure, it is a record of own failure in the form of its own defeat.

Amy Winehouse turns up for a gig

We're a little surprised at the tone of the report on the (admittedly surprising) completion of a gig by Amy Winehouse last night. It reads more like a tabloid report written while Winehouse's management dangles exclusive access rights, from the headline down:

Amy Winehouse silences critics with London gig
Diva shines at iTunes festival show

Playing one gig is hardly going to "silence the critics", is it? "Oh, I thought her repeatedly cancelling shows pledging ill-health only to be photographed propping up the bar on the other side of the country was a sign of someone with some sort of problem, but now she's actually turned up and done the job she's paid for once, I've completely changed my mind."

What's odder, though, is that the report doesn't even seem to notice that, in a lot of ways, she was proving the critics right:
Playing as part of the iTunes Festival at the ICA, Winehouse left the crowd waiting for over an hour after the allotted start time, but few were disappointed once she appeared.

So, she wound up turning up an hour late - which would seem to be the sort of unreliability that she's getting a name for - but, hey, who cares?

Shrigley's friends make time for music

The lyrics-without-music book Worried Noodles is set to get some music after all, as a stellar team of pop people provide musical settings for David Shrigley's words:

Christopher Francis - ‘One’
Grizzly Bear – ‘Blackcurant Jam’
R. Stevie Moore – ‘Live In Fear’
Phil Elvrum & Nick Krgovich - ‘Watcha Doin’'
Scarlett’s Well - ‘Maybe’
Psapp – ‘Sad Song’
Aidan Moffat & The Best Of’s - ‘Your Hands Are Cold’
Yacht – ‘I Saw You’
Simon Bookish – ‘Prince Of Wales’
Deerhoof – ‘You, Dog’
Hank – ‘Baby’s Bible’
Marriot 1262 (TV On The Radio Portland Chapter) - ‘Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Potato’
David Byrne – ‘For You’
James Chadwick – The Wooden Floor’
Islands - ‘Joy’
Cotton Candy – ‘A Sentimental Song’
Franz Ferdinand - ‘No’
Alig Fodder – ‘The Hole’
Cibelle – ‘Elaine’
Dirty Projectors – ‘Come Forward’
The Curtains - ‘Show Me The Way Things Work’
Max Tundra – ‘A Truce’
Munch Munch – ‘A Squirrel’
Liars – ‘Panic Button’
Tussle (ft. David Shrigley) - ‘A Clash Of Heads’
Trans Am – ‘The Film’
John Shankie – ‘A Song’
Scout Niblett – ‘The Bell’
Final Fantasy - ‘Joys’
Mt. Eerie – ‘A Sentimental Song’
The Dead Science - ‘Once I Found A Diamond’
Lord Cut Glass - ‘Maybe’
Per Francine – ‘Another Song’
Hot Chip - ‘No’
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - ‘The Pretty Girl’
Mitch Friedman - ‘Awesome’
Pyrolator & Stoya - ‘Elaine’
Les Georges Leningrad - ‘Manager And Coordinater Of Prostitutes’

Robbie Williams is not open on Sundays

We know he was probably attempting a clodden joke, but we still think there's something telling in Robbie Williams asking his "friends" to call him Nash. "As in national treasure."

Akon goes on

Akon, who of course, can't be held responsible for dry-humping an underage girl on stage, got into more trouble at the weekend when his "after-show partying" ran on until 6.30 in the morning. The Metropolitan Police were called - apparently by other guests at London's K-West hotel.

Obviously, Akon isn't contrite:

"All my parties are wild."

Presumably, it's the fault of the hotel for allowing it to happen, or the clocks for being pointing at first thing in the morning.

Britney pulls a Winona

Aha! We knew she couldn't have been that sick. Could it be that Britney's vomiting was merely a distraction to allow her to nip out the photoshoot with about ten grands worth of stuff? She apparently "forgot to return" jewelery and clothes worth hundreds and hundreds of pounds in "all the confusion".

Moss on wood

The news that Kate Moss has gone to find shelter from Pete Doherty by moving in with Ronnie Wood is considered so important, while it appears under Newton's photo byline, it's accompanied by a separate writer's credit. It's Gordon Smart we have to thank for this glittering paragraph:

Recovering alcoholic Ron — who once drank eight pints of Guinness and two bottles of vodka a DAY — is raising her spirits as she gets over her bitter break-up with Pete.

Spirits! Bitter! Alcoholism can be fun!

So, what are they getting up to?
A source said: “Ronnie and Kate have a history of hellraising together so it’s unusual that they are having a quiet time together.

“Kate is washing her hair of Pete, and Ronnie and his wife Jo have been taking her mind off things.

“She has been friends with Ronnie for years. He is on the wagon and is great for her.”

So, Gordon doesn't really know, then. If ever we heard a desperate guess - "they'll be taking her mind off things"? At least he didn't add "they're probably watching television, or maybe DVDs."

Newton turns yellow

The answers to our spot the difference competition is one is yellow, two dimensional and would be incapable of writing a newspaper column of any consequence; the other one isn't yellow. Mr. Murdoch's tabloid comes out in support of Mr. Murdoch's film of Mr. Murdoch's television channel's programme The Simpsons.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Indie fights the elements

Amongst the effects of the flooding, the loss of Truck Fest has left the organisers facing a loss and unable to make their usual donation to charity. The festival itself has been rescheduled to the weekend of the 23rd of September; before that, there's to be a benefit gig in Hoxton, including Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and a surprise superact.

Akon: The parents virtually forced me to dry-hump underage girl

Clearly, Akon has tired of people mentioning that time he dry-humped the underage girl onstage at one of his gigs, and has started looking round for someone else to blame.

He could have gone with his penis, of course, but he's got a soft spot for that, so instead, he's chosen to blame the parents of the underage girl he dry-humped:

"It was an unfortunate situation, more of a misunderstanding more than anything. "You can't blame me for a young girl sneaking into the club. Why is her dad letting her out at that time of the night? That's not my responsibility, so I didn't really let it affect the way I was moving around."

Aha. That's alright then. He can't be expected to know he's dry-humping an underage girl, can he? Just because the girl is in front of him, and clearly underage, he can't be expected to realise the girl he's dry-humping is underage, can he? It's not like he's sentinent or anything. Indeed, it's clearly the fault of the underage girl he was dry-humping for not having been born earlier.

It's not like you can expect Akon to take responsibility for his actions, is it?

US government tell universities: Crack down on filesharing, or else

While most of the world is turning its face against the RIAA, at least they can rely on their stooges ("friends") in Congress. Harry Reid has just managed to sneak a new law onto the books which will force the 25 "worst offending" colleges (from a filesharing on campus point of view) to demonstrate their steps taken to crackdown - or lose their funding. How do you determine the worst offenders? By counting RIAA enforcement notices.

That's right - the education of hundreds of people will hang on the whims of the RIAA. Since they can choose to focus their notices where they choose, the RIAA has effectively been given the power to launch attacks on schools they dislike. Suddenly, buying EMI comes with an extra inducement - you'll have a chance to run universities out of business.

Foxton and Daltrey suggest musicians incapable of managing money

Obviously skirting round the awkward fact that the copyright in most recordings is owned by corporations rather than the original musicians, Roger Daltrey and Bruce Foxton have complained that government plans to leave copyright terms untouched will condemn them to penury:

Daltrey told BBC News that musicians rely on royalties as many don't have pensions.

"They are not looking for a handout," he said, "just fair reward for their creative endeavours."

Bruce Foxton, who used to play bass guitar in The Jam, has also spoken on the issue.

"I've played bass on all The Jam tracks, and all we've been asking is that we can earn royalties from those recordings, assuming people keep buying them," he said. "Now I will be faced with losing all that when the time comes, and at a point when age will seriously limit my other earning opportunities."

We reckon Bruce has got another twenty-odd years of earnings which he could, as other people have to with their earnings, sort out his pension scheme in; Daltrey, meanwhile, might be able to squeeze by using his American Express card and income from his trout farm. Of course, if they're really worried about the plight of pensioners, they could try campaigning for a rise in tax rates for top earners so that everyone can look forward to a comfortable old age, rather than making a few musicians rely on there being an audience for work six decades old to be able to live.

Franz tours their homeland (and Iceland)

Franz Ferdinand have put together a tour of (mainly) Scotland for September:

09 Stirling, Scotland - Fubar
10 Inverness, Scotland - Raigmore
11 Fort William, Scotland - BA Club
14 Reykjavik, Iceland - NASA Club
18 Dundee, Scotland - Fat Sam's
19 Aberdeen, Scotland - Moshulu
20 Portree, Scotland - Prtotree Community Centre
24 Shetland, Scotland - Whiteness & Wisedale Hall

Universal go crazy

How charming. An eighteen month old boy so liked Prince's Superbowl performance that she started tootling about during Let's Go Crazy. The proud mother grabbed a video camera, and filmed a thirty-second snatch of him dancing, and - as proud mothers tend to - posted it to YouTube.

This is where the story gets less charming. Universal somehow came across the clip and - presumably worried that nobody would want to buy a Prince album if they could download a thirty second bit of one of his songs, muffled in the background of a video of a dancing child - made YouTube take it down.

This, of course, is a nonsense - clearly, the Prince track was merely an incidental copying and not part of an attempt to duplicate his work. The clip is now back on YouTube, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a lawsuit on the mother's behalf:

"Copyright abuse can shut down online artists, political analysts, or -- as in this case -- ordinary families who simply want to share snippets of their day-to-day lives," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "Universal must stop making groundless infringement claims that trample on fair use and free speech."

Exactly so. It's unlikely even this lawsuit will bring back a sense of perspective to the major labels, but it might slow them down a little.

Cribs decry lack of 'ethics'

The Cribs are worried that the UK music scene is about to go the way of Britpop - although without the huge-selling acts and Louise Wener, obviously. It's all gone to pot, they wail:

"I think there's a couple of good bands. But I mean just that; a couple of good bands. I'm not gonna mention any names - in a good or bad way - and I'm not going to call anyone out by name. But music is rubbish right now.”

"There aren't any bands with ethics. Things have got how Britpop was a few years ago, with people identifying something that is popular, and just doing the same and jumping on the bandwagon."

We're not sure it's entirely unethical to play music that sound slike other people's music - after all, The Cribs wouldn't last long in a moot court if that was the charge against them - but we know what he means.

Coldplay start work runing second country

The next Coldplay album is, we're promised, going to have a 'Hispanic theme'. Or, rather, the band have decamped to Barcelona to do some recording. We can't say for certain, but we bet if Ryanair had already been flying those new routes to Poland, we'd be in for an 'Eastern European theme' to the album.

Of course, we all know they're going to sound no more Hispanic than a Newcastle builder who's retired to the Costa Del Sol to run a union-jack bedecked bar called Blighty's. And they know it, too, really:

“We’ve been travelling light on acoustic guitar, a couple of mics, a laptop and some headphones. We’re recording in Barcelona – moving from church to church, setting up where we can: in front of the altar, under the pulpit. We’ve been playing at the feet of archangels.”

The congregations must really love that. Naturally, they'll take the stuff back to the studio and stick a bloody great production job over the top of it.
[The band added they would use no] "maracas or castanets, but a vibrancy of colourfulness that owes much to the atmosphere of Buenos Aires and Barcelona. The affect is subtle but important.”

Because, of course, Buenos Aires and Barcelona are virtually the same place, aren't they?

Any bets that by the time the strings have been added and the video shot, the one remaining piece of this "subtle but important" influence will be the line "track 9 recorded in Barcelona" in small print on the CD inlay card?

The Champions of Breakfast

Lightspeed Champion have just unfolded a napkin with a mini-UK tour for October:

Birmingham Academy – 1
London 100 Club – 2
Bristol Fleece – 3
Manchester Roadhouse – 5
Glasgow King Tuts – 6
Leeds Cockpit – 7
Nottingham The Social - 8

If you haven't yet, you really should.

Britney's vomit - 25p a heave

It's one thing to debase yourself so badly even a publication which would fawn over Pol Pot (in return for an exclusive) describes you a bit of a mess; how much worse that the record of your public meltdown is being sold at a loss-leading 25p. Truly, Britney Spears has hit the bottom.

Wolf doesn't like Mika much

Patrick Wolf (the indie Mika) doesn't have much time for Mika (the mainstream Patrick Wolf). It's like Esau and Jacob. Wolf blogs:

"Mika is a twat
"and what I meant was

Please lets put an end to

over marketed, expensive heartless

tacky rubbish, autotune, airbrush

should i market myself to look OUTRAGEOUS and kooky or would
it be easier if I sold records by playing safe and serene
and for the family

to save more record sales. Cliff richard. enrique iglesias.
mutton dressed as lamb."

Harsh words, and no the less stinging just because they're delivered by the bloke in the Burberry advert.

Madonna overreacts

This morning's 3AM Girls column holds... well, not the front page, but certainly a space near the top of the column:

So when Madonna overheard someone taking a pop at her baby boy - there was only going to be one winner.

We can reveal that Madge was devastated when a female crew member bitched about her adopted son on the set of her husband Guy Ritchie's new film, RocknRolla.

Really? Someone picking on a two year-old? That is a bit nasty.
It's no surprise that the culprit is no longer working on the film - written and directed by Ritchie and about London's criminal underworld - which stars Thandie Newton and Gerard Butler.

Goodness. It must have been something terrible to justify taking away someone's livelihood.
[T]hings turned sour after Madonna overheard a conversation between two crew members.

One of them asked the other what the baby's name was. It is then claimed that one of the girls replied: "Lucky Bastard."

Oh. Is that it? It might have been a bit dodgy to say that within earshot of the family, but it's not even that bitchy - indeed, isn't Madonna's justification for bypassing the usual adoption rules in Malawi effectively the same sentiment, albeit better drafted?

It's almost as if Madonna is acting completely out of proportion. You can happily make entertainment out of murderers and heroes out of criminals, it seems, but slightly catty gags? That's just going too far.

The Kaiser Chiefs are cartoon characters

The Kaiser Chiefs are now able to look people in the eye when they're accused of being little more than a poorly-drawn cartoon band. They're actually a very well drawn cartoon band, with their new single coming in a Beano-style poster sleeve. Complete with Dennis the Menace. It's not known who spanks who with a slipper in the final frame.

Britney Spears: career fears

We're not entirely sure when people say "this whole puking over herself during a photoshoot could harm Britney's career" what they actually mean - surely the real problem for Britney's career is that she's not actually managed to release a proper album for nearly four years. Indeed, it's actually arguable that she doesn't have a career at the moment, and if she does, it would probably be "being photographed in a messed-up state".

This is, of course, the OK magazine shoot. Someone who was either there, or is a composite of people who were, tells The Sun, or a website they've read:

Britney appeared to be out of her mind. She went to the toilet and when she came back she couldn’t continue with the interview.

“Her eyes were rolling back, she was talking nonsense. She ate some food and vomited over her Gucci dress. She was a mess.

Still, pictures of Britney Spears being sick will be good news for aficionados of vomit fetish photos. But how screwed up would you have to be that even OK would notice you're talking useless rubbish?
“They paint a frightening picture and could kill her career. She looked like a young COURTNEY LOVE.”

Now, we don't think this could be right - the young Courtney Love was a brilliant force of nature; just ask Julian Cope. We think they mean she looks like an old Courtney Love.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Planet implodes

It used to take a couple of months for copies to make it to the UK, so it's probably not surprising that we've only just heard that Punk Planet has been dragged under. There's an open letter from the magazine:

As much as it breaks our hearts to write these words, the final issue of Punk Planet is in the post, possibly heading toward you right now. Over the last 80 issues and 13 years, we've covered every aspect of the financially independent, emotionally autonomous, free culture we refer to as "the underground." In that time we've sounded many alarms from our editorial offices: about threats of co-optation, big-media emulation, and unseen corporate sponsorship. We've also done everything in our power to create a support network for independent media, experiment with revenue streams, and correct the distribution issues that have increasingly plagued independent magazines. But now we've come to the impossible decision to stop printing, having sounded all the alarms and reenvisioned all the systems we can. Benefit shows are no longer enough to make up for bad distribution deals, disappearing advertisers, and a decreasing audience of subscribers.

As to the latter two points, we could blame the Internet. It makes editorial content—and bands—easy to find, for free. (We're sure our fellow indie labels, those still standing, can attest to the difficulties created in the last few years). We can blame educational and media systems that value magazines focused on consumerism over engaged dissent. And we can blame the popular but mistaken belief that punk died several years ago.

But it is also true that great things end, and the best things end far too quickly.

As to bad distribution deals, we must acknowledge that the financial hit we took in October of 2005, when our newsstand distributor announced that it was in dire straits, was worse than we originally thought. As the dust began to clear from their January bankruptcy announcement, we began to realize that the magazine was left in significantly worse shape, distribution-wise, than they let on.

Add to that the stagnation that the independent record world is suffering under and the effect that has had on our ad sales, not to mention the loss of independent bookstores with a vested interest in selling our publication, and it all adds up to a desperate situation. This has been made far worse by the exhaustion felt from a year and a half of fighting our own distributor. It was a situation that didn't have an exit strategy other then, well, exiting.

The books line will continue to publish, and the website will continue to be a social networking site for independently minded folk; Dan will be staying with both, but Anne will be moving on, only blogging occasionally at while she pursues other interests. All further inquiries about the magazine should be addressed to

There probably isn't much else to say that we haven't already said in PP80—in articles about new activist projects, SXSW, the demise of the IPA, and transgender media, and in interviews with the G7 Welcoming Committee, Andre Schiffrin, and The Steinways. Read it, enjoy it, and find in it enough inspiration to last until we come back in some other form, at some other time, renewed and ready to make another outstanding mark on the world.

And at the same time, More is able to increase its frequency to weekly. Sometimes, it seems there isn't any justice.

What does George Bush know about music?

It seems like a great idea - the music industry sends a stooge down to Nashville to ask George W Bush a loaded question (in effect, 'should we be nice to music industry companies or should we be like the Axis of Evil?'). Bush, of course, would give a deft, RIAA-friendly response, press releases could be published, everyone happy.

Trouble is, they forgot that George W Bush isn't the swiftest thinker to have held the highest office in the US, and couldn't understand the question:

QUESTION: Mr. President, music is one of our largest exports the country has. Currently, every country in the world -- except China, Iran, North Korea, Rwanda and the United States -- pay a statutory royalty to the performing artists for radio and television air play. Would your administration consider changing our laws to align it with the rest of the world?

THE PRESIDENT: Help. (Laughter.) Maybe you've never had a President say this -- I have, like, no earthly idea what you're talking about. (Laughter and applause.) Sounds like we're keeping interesting company, you know? (Laughter.)

Look, I'll give you the old classic: contact my office, will you? (Laughter.) I really don't -- I'm totally out of my lane. I like listening to country music, if that helps.

Perhaps they'll have better luck with Dick Cheney. If they can think of a way of working "shooting" into the question.

Mayer speaks to his banged-up fans

On Saturday, police went round with a massive arrest hoover, sucking up 63 John Mayer fans during his Hershey, Pennsylvania gig.

Mayer has turned to his blog to address the arrested:

First, to the 46 people accused of underage drinking; what were you thinking? You have your whole life to engage in underage drinking. What's the hurry? I didn't start underage drinking until I was 26. Underage drinking is not an function of age, but of style. And you kids are way too young to truly appreciate the nuances of true underage drinking.

And to those reading who believe that 63 arrests is on the high side, it actually doesn't even make this tour's top ten. Night two of Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Colorado saw more than half that capacity crowd placed under arrest, and in Houston, Texas two weeks ago, I myself was ensnared by the long arm of the law when I was cited for illegally soliciting an undercover canine cop. (My apologies to Champ II.)

In looking to the future, I hope that this will serve as a wake-up call to young fans who may be thinking about engaging in illegal activity at one of my concerts. If I happen to be walking backstage and I see any of you young men passed out drunk on a stretcher, make no mistake about it, you will come-to in front of your disappointed parents with a face full of Sharpie and the sneaking suspicion that you've been teabagged by one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people of 2007.

Probably more entertaining than the concert, to be honest.

Do you want fries to go with that gig?

Obviously, any attempt to make money out of a musical career involves a certain amount of compromise; even Chumbawamba had to sell songs to arms manufacturers once in a while. But surely playing gigs in McDonalds car parks is a bit of a comedown for NeYo and Twista?

This is the first time McDonalds have put on a tour on their own; they seem to be trying to talk around the gaps in their schedule:

As for the rest of the tour's as-yet-unannounced lineup, [Douglas] Freeland [director of U.S. marketing at McDonald's] says, "We want to make sure we catch artists who are starting to break loose and getting spins at radio. If we lock down and commit with an artist too far in advance, you can't be 100% sure what's going to happen."

Ah... yes. That'll be it. Mind you, as they're starting to push the dates in store the week after next, you might think it'd be fairly safe to have inked in all the names.

Courtney has a message for you

We're not sure what it is though... something about Gwyneth Paltrow, YouTube and cleft palates in France:

i put up z demo of demo iof demo of carcrash we habve about 4 other songs too, and id like to get opinions on them sopme of them. i need to write another dylanney one rexcept i just found otu my fat fighters mafrtin got stolen on the chunneltrain and thats why i got that new gibson for my bday but i need it nd its nowehr eint hehosue the only guitar is kurts ild one with strings i havent changed in teh 12 years sinc ehes passsed, and its hrd to play too.

and unlessyou have a boot of the roxy shosw the lyrics are all wrong, i wrote the proper lyrics on the site i lik ehpow pleasant yall re but its so much easier to answer you indivually at my site n dthis willconnect tp ,my site wiuthin a month or so, were also piuttin up about 60 polroids me n the kids took around the house, my mouth still looks wonky, i think i gott go back to paris tot he dr, hes nit a cosmetic surgeon he just fixes bad surgery and also cleft palates and serious shit its nbot really vanity hes conservtive, wich we like, and this really isnt znyones business but im hating that id di that to my mouth back in the day and he didnt really take out enough the first time around i just wnt the mouth god gave me back, it was perfectly cute.

and i had nice big lips as Gwyneth says when i was "Out Sick" ( genius phrase) of my dark years id id some damage and i have to restore myself to not looking ridiculous, idont care if im prettty or ugly or jo de lie wich is what i apretty much am ( french for ugly pretty- theres no english word fo rit and im sure im nots pelling it right) anyway so imay dissapear for a minute here, i know iknow i tell on myself, im either stuck wearing nude lipstick forever or i can wear my 70 dollar Kevyn Red, wich is sold harldy anywhere and i stillcant believe the lovely mr Aucoin passed away actually, he was so full of life and i still remember everything about him , Ted Demme is another one it make sno fucking sense and listening to me an dKurt on You Tube last night we sound so young and dumb and cool, iwish i had been willing to do mor ewith him but udidnt wan na get tarred w the yoko brush al,though he always though t Yoko was cool ( an Olympia thing) and liked her wierd music, its a real loss, we had friend named Jessica Hopper and she lived with us when she was a kid and she has a tape somewher eof us fighting in the bathtub an dthen playinga 10 minute version of in the pines, iwish i could hear it. Amyway i think illtk ethat offa you tube and put it on the skin after carcrash jusr a dammed demo needs a riff a bassline real; drums the real lyrics the brideg to start with c not f, ventur eto my site an dtell me what you thinbk i wish i had time ot get back to you and to read allyour comments, but in my site teh way its set up i do n d i can answer you and also hear your opinions more clearl;y thansk fo rth epostive nic ethings youve allsaid now get your asses off my space for a sec an d go to my site!

The constant, repetitive (sic)s have been excised; this is as it was on Courtney's MySpace. Good god, how long must it have taken her to just log-in if her typing's that bad?

RIAA: Lawsuits don't work well

It might have come about five years too late, but it looks like the RIAA has finally realised that suing alleged filesharers isn't quite as good an idea as it once thought it was. TGDaily reports:

In a recent conversation with TG Daily, the RIAA acknowledged that suing potential customers “was not the answer,” while adding that the lawsuits were “a necessary part of a larger equation.”

“Litigation tends to generate more heat, friction, and headlines,” Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the RIAA told us. “What is the most important anti-piracy strategy is aggressive licensing and offering great legal alternatives. That is what our member companies obviously do and our job is to complement that, which is the most important thing to do to win over fans.”

Obviously, this still doesn't make sense - in what way were lawsuits ever "necessary"? True, they did generate press coverage, but it came in spikes and much of it was rather unflattering. Perhaps the RIAA was attempting to become disliked.

Norman Cook welcomes Falmer decision

The long-awaited (second) official go-ahead for Brighton and Hove Albion to build a new stadium next to a University campus and a main road (after someone realised that it wasn't actually download) has been given a cheer by Norman Cook:

What a relief. I am glad common sense has prevailed.

"The team have a real chance of success and it is a real plus for the city."

That's probably over stating the case, the success bit, but at least watching the team crash and burn will be slightly more comfortable.

Britney "has bought some doughnuts"

According to the Daily Mail, which read it in a fairly obscure Australian magazine, NW, unto which a friend had unburdened themselves, Britney Spears might be pregnant again. And isn't sure who the proud papa will be.

Of course, you might wonder which of Britney's friends first thoughts upon being told of her EastEnders-esque situation would think "I know... I'll ring up New Weekly in Australia and tell them first."

We're not believing it until we see some evidence of her buying doughnuts.

By the way, yes, the Mail did go with an 'Oops I Did It Again' type headline.

Government to Cliff: Let your records be free

Music Week is reporting that the government has decided to back the findings of the Gowers report and, in particular, its recommendation that the current fifty-year copyright period for sound recordings be allowed to stand:

[T]he DCMS says it backs that Review and states that, "It does not seem appropriate for the Government to press the EC for action at this stage."

In its formal response the Government said it “appreciates the work” of the select committee, but backed the Gowers Review, which had recommended the 50 year protection should be retained.

In discussing the various reports debating term, the 12-page response noted: "Taking account of the findings of these reports, which carefully considered the impact on the economy as a whole, and without further substantive evidence to the contrary, it does not seem appropriate for the Government to press the Commission for action at this stage."

The government's decision goes against the recommendation of the DCMS select committee who found time between Brits and MTV awards trips to suggest that the music industry had a point.

Talking of whom, the music industry is not happy:
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor slammed the Government’s position. He says, “This was a test of Government support for British music which it has failed. Ministers appear to have selective hearing on this issue – they have ignored the views of artists and their union, managers, record labels and now even a Parliamentary Select Committee.

"Opposition MPs and many Labour backbenchers understand the value of fair copyright and support term extension. We will continue to put forward the strong case for fair copyright in Europe. It is profoundly disappointing that we are forced to do so without the backing of the British government.”"

Not that the BPI are bad losers or anything, but it's a little galling that they just assume the government has ignored all the pro-extenstion 'evidence', rather than being swayed by a stronger argument.
John Kennedy, IFPI chairman and CEO, says, "The UK is a world-beating source of great music, so it is frustrating that on the issue of copyright term the Government has shown scant respect for British artists and the UK recording industry. Some of the greatest works of British music will soon be taken away from the artists who performed them and the companies that invested in them.

"Extending copyright term would promote vital investment in young talent and new music, all of which will help to secure the UK’s future as an exciting music market.”"

Kennedy's reaction perhaps crystalises why the pro-extension lobbyists have lost the debate: they couldn't all be right. Cliff and his friends were stressing how extending copyright would give musicians a pension, but if the extended copyright funds were going to be reinvested in new artists by the music industry companies, how could that benefit individual pensioners?

And once stripped of the "starving pensioner" lie, the argument for copyright extension started to look as thin as Lionel Richie's daughter - after all, the "exciting music market" in the UK wasn't founded in the 1950s by flogging music from 1880, and even in the 1990s, catalogue sales of wartime recordings didn't prove to be essential to ensure that there was money in the pot to pay for EMF to make videos - so why would extending copyright make a difference?

Unless, of course, the labels have been having fewer and fewer successes in the last few years - but if that's true, then there isn't an "exciting music market" to protect. Either we've got a cultural powerhouse which is doing well - so doesn't need to scrabble around in granny's attic for a few extra quid; or we don't, and what would be the point in changing the law simply to shore up an industry already in decline?

Klaxons sound

It must have seemed like a spectacular idea - leaping from the stage into the audience. Unfortunately, Jamie Reynolds snapped his ankle and the band wound up having to cancel their Sunday night gig in France.

I blame Heroes myself. It's like when kids threw themselves off of roofs like lemmings during the heady days of the Six Million Dollar Man.

Mulled wine permitting

Amy Winehouse has announced a string of dates for the winter, some of which she will even turn up and play:

Manchester Apollo - November 12
Birmingham NIA - 14
Glasgow Barrowlands - 17
Newcastle Academy - 18
Blackpool Empress Ballroom - 20
London Brixton Academy - 22
Brighton Centre - 26
Bournemouth BIC - 27
Cardiff Arena - 28

Tickets are on sale from Thursday; refunds for the cancelled date will be arranged after they don't happen.

Rough Trade swerves out of Universal's clutches

Sanctury Records have flogged their 49% stake in Rough Trade ahead of being taken over by Universal. Beggars Banquet have snapped up the portion, bringing the group into a family already including some of the more prestigious indieish labels in the UK, including Too Pure, 4AD and Wiiija.

Elton: My silence wasn't golden

Elton John has decided he's going to be a bit more vocal about the whole gay thing from now on:

"I have to speak my mind because as a gay man now I have a responsibility to. I sat back too long. I mean when (AIDS charity) Act Up were going in and trying to change the face of AIDS awareness in America because nobody else was doing it, I sat back and did nothing.

"I don't know why I didn't do anything. I just look back and question myself. Well why didn't you do something more positive then?"

We wonder, too, Elton. Could it be because back then it still involved making a stand and risking your neck, whereas now it's not career-damaging?

Deryck Whibley defends the missus

How sweet and chivalrous of Deryck Whibley, who used to be a pop star himself, to defend his wife from her many detractors:

"It's a funny misconception with her.

"People always think she's really angry and she's really mad and she really hates everyone, and doesn't care about anything, when the thing she cares about most is her fans and her music."

Of course. When she almost wears a Hooters t-shirt, that's just for the fans, that is; and naked photo shoots for Blender? How could she be thinking any more about her music than posing for those?

The funny thing is, of course, people tend not to think of Avril Lavigne as angry. More sort of whiney, isn't it?

Dolls make dolls

Despite last year's The Search For The New Doll falling to pieces when winner Asia Nitollano decided that rather than taking the dubious prize of membership of the Pussycat Dolls, she could dance about in her undies on her own and not have to split the take eight ways, there's to be a second series.

This time round, "The Pussycat Dolls" (the management of the Pussycat Dolls) will be looking for not one woman, but several, to form a new band. Which means there will be lots and lots of winners, if that's the correct word.

Hey... the song's called Umbrella, right?

News of a slowing of sales for Umbrella, coupled with receding flood water, will probably only fuel The Sun's belief that Rhianna is responsible for the rain.

Meanwhile, after two and a half months, someone has come up with a mechandising tie-in: Yes, Rhianna Umbrella umbrellas, yours for a tenner. Or £25 if you want one which actually works. Hats off to whoever came up with that new revenue stream.

Word of warning: If you attempt to use a Rhianna CD to keep the rain off your head, the BPI will be down on you like a burst dam.

Pregnancy scares

The Daily Dish is now convinced Christina Aguilera is pregnant.

How can they be sure?

The singer, who is rumored to be expecting a baby with husband Jordan Bratman, arrived at Sydney airport on Sunday night from Brisbane, before ordering her limousine driver to make a brief stop at a local Krispy Kreme outlet.

Bratman is reported to have bought a large box of mixed donuts for the star, who was photographed with the snacks in the back of her luxury vehicle.

Bloody hell. I had two Krispy Kremes at the weekend. I thought what I was feeling was just trapped wind.

Mothercare by Akon

Akon - desperate to draw a line under his dry-humping underage girls and giving kids sex shop booty bags disasters - is launching a clothing line:

"I've got my new clothing line I'm promoting, taking after P Diddy and Justin Timberlake. It's part of the blueprint. It's incredible street apparel and I'm wearing it on-stage."

Let's hope he's keeping a close eye on it, otherwise, with his track record, we'll expect the crotchless school uniforms to be hitting the shops sometime soon.

"We're not copy-Editors"

Tom Smith doesn't like Editors being compared to Interpol. It makes him all sweary and everything:

"When people dismiss us as a second-rate whoever it pisses you off.

"Vocally there is a similarity with Interpol and that's fine but our first album The Back Room doesn't sound anything like them.

"What amazes me is we still get that on this record, An End Has A Start, which sounds nothing like Interpol or Joy Division. If you're a music journalist saying that then you're deaf and need a new job."

Tom, honey; the comparisons with Interpol and Joy Division should flatter you. It's the Coldplay references that you should be worried about.

Allen: It's not a love-in

Didn't Lily Allen say she was going to stop posting to MySpace as it always appeared in the papers the next day, all twisted?

Mind you, the post about Kurt Cobain's wife by Keith Allen's daughter seems pretty unequivocal:

“I am not bfs w/ C Love, one night with her made me realise why Kurt killed himself. I nearly checked into rehab.”

Yes, she really did say "bfs", like Courtney was in her homeroom or something. FFS.

The Kurt jibe, though, is a bit below the belt - while Courtney's robust enough to cope with anything up to and including an 18 wheeler, will Frances be chuckling at the thought her mum drove her Dad to suicide?

Oh, really?

Let's be charitable, and assume that the main story in Bizarre this morning - that Lindsay Lohan has got a £25,000 bet that she can fuck David Beckham before anyone else, like some skanky Phileas Fogg, was told to Victoria Newton by somebody reall, really plausible and that the paper-thing tale seemed a lot more likely before it was written down and published in one of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kelly Clarkson recants

Perhaps it must have been mouth herpes, but something made dumper-edge-dweller Kelly Clarkson suddenly feel the urge to clarify (i.e. withdraw completely and pretend she meant the opposite) remarks she made about label head (i.e. her boss) Clive Davis:

"I want to set the record straight on this by saying that I want my band, my advisors [sic], those close to me and my record label to be one big, tightly knit family. Like any family we will disagree and argue sometimes but, in the end, it's respect and admiration that will keep us together."

"Contrary to recent characterizations in the press, I'm well aware that Clive is one of the great record men of all time."

Respect and admiration will keep you together. And, of course, the creeping realisation that it's merely the support of the record label which is keeping you aloft.

Skateboarding completely naked in paradise

Ben Lee had a lovely, lovely idea for the video for Love Me Like The World Is Ending. They were going to depict the end of the world, and what people would get up to if the game was finally up. One of the aspects of this tableau was to be naked skateboarding - but, being America, they were only going to get the skaties to wear nude-coloured bodysuits. Only something went wrong:

[S]omething must have gotten lost in the translation, a direction must have been misheard, because as we went for our first take of the day, the skateboarders evidently dropped their shorts and skated down Crosby St fully exposed! This would not have been a problem except that some of New York City's Finest saw the display, and pretty quickly stepped in to stop filming. Our shooting permit was then revoked, leaving us with an unusable half a take of a very expensive video shoot!

Naturally, YouTube already has the visuals.

Dude, you're getting a Devo

The first new Devo track in seventeen years is now out in the wild. Sadly, it's an advertising jingle. Even more sadly, it's for Dell Computers. Surely it's now only a matter of weeks before we get "are we not men? We are Tesco".

The Axl comes off the wheels

The 20th anniversary of Appetite For Destruction - you might have known friends who liked it - looks set to be marked with a Guns N Roses reunion. Only without Axl Rose. Arguably, that's closer to the original G'N'R than Axl's roving bunch of comedy bucket-heads. The birthday party is penciled for the Key Club in LA (of course) on the 28th; two Guns tribute acts will also be playing - although presumably they'll bring their faux Axl.

Rap sheet: two arrests in New York

Police-related problems for Lil Wayne and Ja Rule, both of whom were stopped by police while allegedly carrying guns at the weekend.

Wayne managed to draw attention to himself by smoking a joint in the street; Mr. Rule's car was pulled over for speeding. Both men were carrying handguns, according to the crimesheets.

Kelly Clarkson fears cold sores

Don't go expecting to get a snog and a feel-up from Kelly Clarkson. She doesn't do that:

"I just don't make out with people. That's a waste of my kisses and time.

"And it's so personal - it's, like, my face. I'm afraid of mouth herpes."

Leaving aside the mouth herpes bit - which sounds like someone who's been a victim of an over-enthusiastic personal skills teacher - surely it being your face, and close-up, is the whole point of making-out? It really is one of those jobs you can't palm off onto your personal assitant.

And "a waste of my kisses"? She has a limited supply?

The crushing shame is that Clarkson turns out to be so goal-oriented that, much as she clearly makes music to shift units and not express her personality, she doesn't see that sometimes just kissing with people - even people you might not be intending to spend the rest of your life with - can be fun in its own right.

Buju signs piece of paper

Buju Banton has made at least some gay rights campaigners happy by signing a pledge to stop peforming tracks which call for the murder of homosexuals.

Not everyone's delighted, though:

Vincent Nap, a British-based reggae artist, said there was a problem of homophobia in dancehall music, but attacking artists' commercial interests would not solve the issue. "If they keep attacking us, we will fight back," he said. "If they try to stop our music we are going to have to defend ourselves."

Presumably Nap didn't mean to make his comments sound quite so menacing, although when you're defending the right of people to sing about shooting gay men, it's probably hard not to sound a little aggressive.

Others suggest that this might be the least meaningful piece of paper since Munich:
Mark Richards, known as DJ Kemist from reggae label Xtremix records, said: "I can see why he's done it. He doesn't want to jeopardise his whole career over just a few songs. But it doesn't mean it's going to change any of his opinions."

Which is the problem - you want Banton to not perform hateful incitements to crime because it's wrong, not because he's signed some pledge to allow him to do tours of the UK.

It's hard to see why a man who performed a song about pouring acid on gay men last year would necessarily treat a career-salvaging contract with representatives of a gay pressure group as a binding agreement, anyway. What happens if he breaks his word?

Channel 4 thinks inside The Box

In a somewhat surprising move, Channel 4 has bought half of EMAP's music TV business for £28million. Proving that Channel 4 really, really needed that £14m from the licence fee for digital switchover - why, without that, it could only have afforded a quarter share of The Box and Smash Hits TV.

There had been talk back in February about a possible link between the public broadcaster and the magazine publisher, but it seemed that it was going nowhere, like the 4/5 merger.

EMAP, of course, are thrilled:

"It will benefit from the combination of Emap's TV brands and distribution and Channel 4's premium music-based content and expertise in digital channel and platform management, and there will be increased cross-promotional opportunities spanning both media companies' portfolios."

Of course, there was no mention of programmes, but then there never is.

Mindy returns

It's been a while since we heard from Mindy McCready, but she's managed to break her silence by getting herself arrested in Florida. She tried to not get arrested, so she's got a charge of resisting arrest sitting alongside the original battery-related misdemeanor charges. We've missed you, Mindy. Welcome back.


We'd wondered how the figures on the announced Spice Girls tour were going to stack up. Now it's slightly clearer - having got them to sign up, according to the Mirror, Simon Fuller is pushing them to double the number of dates. That'll be where the profit was in the business plan, then.

Robbie Williams is not going to be able to carry an album on his own

What do you do when your career has started to slow - creativity shot, an audience interested only in the big hits from your youth, catalogue outselling new releases?

Hey, how about a duets album? Get in some younger, more vibrant acts to carry the more difficult part of some songs, rely on a little sales jump from their fans. Sure, it's the musical equivalent of taking a small role in panto or a breakfast show on local radio, but it keeps the cash flowing.

Apparently, Robbie Williams is planning just such an album. Apparently Freebass - Rourke/Joyce/Hook/Mani - have "been approached". Let's hope they've got the sense to back away slowly.

By the way, let's give a tip of the hat to the terrible headline on Newton's piece:

LA Robbie's galaxy of stars

- for no reason, and quite unsuccessfully, working in a reference to the pub soccer team David Beckham is playing for now. Even though the album has nothing to do with Beckham, or football, and even LA is a stretch. And "Galaxy of stars" is a bit of a laugh, too - JJustin Timberlake, perhaps, but Mark Ronson?

Girls on film

In news to gladden the heart of tabloid editors everywhere, Kate Moss is (supposedly) in a flap: she wants to destroy the video diaries she made with Pete Doherty, but two tapes are missing.

We're not sure what could be on them that we haven't already seen (or at least imagined), but I suppose the very real fear is there more of him and her singing duets. Nobody wants to see that.

There's a source:

“In one of the clips they put online Kate is wearing just knickers and a see-through nightgown as Pete sings to her.

“If they made that public, just think what could be on the tapes they held back.”

Well, with their record of public exhibitionism, there's every chance that they would have put up the most eye-catching of the films.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The past's future: 1981

So, this weekend we've been reliving the 1981 Smash Hits Readers Poll "brightest hopes", with YouTube illustrations. The chart in full:

1. Altered Images
2. Soft Cell
3. Haircut 100
4. The Fun Boy Three
5. U2
6. Heaven 17
7. Modern Romance
8. 8. Bow Wow Wow
9. 9. ABC
10. 10. Orange Juice

The past's future: 1981 - 1. Altered Images

The brightest hope for 1982, accoridng to Smash Hits readers: Altered Images. Or the Bluebells and a woman who once had sex with Ian Beale.

Clare Grogan dragged herself off her sick bed to thank the readers:

It's great. I must congratulate Smash hits readers on their good taste. It's things like this that boost your ego and make you want to keep going.

She also revealed that America was going to get a version of Gregory's Girl with the voices redubbed "but Bill Forsyth says it's alright."

Dead Pop Stars, at the 1980 Futurama Festival:

[Buy: Pinky Blue+]
More Clare Grogan YouTube loveliness

Nash bashes hash

Who knew that putting a stop to drugs would only take senior politicians starting to talk about how they dabbled while they were at college? Now, everyone is rushing to disassociate themselves from drug culture faster than they fled bluejeans when Jeremy Clarkson started to be known for wearing them.

Kate Nash, for one, is clear that she doesn't like drugs:

"Drugs are ugly and scary, stuff like coke, I'd just hate to put something up my nose.

"And it just hits you there [top of the nose] and destroys part of your brain!

"I've been tempted. But I've got really heightened emotions anyway. I can get really over-excited about... a biscuit!"

So she spends her weekends getting Tuced up, then.

They're not much good at naming things, are they?

When Max and Igor Cavalera founded their first group, they were young, and calling it Sepultrua probably seemed like a good idea.

Now, they're older, wiser, and forming a new band. They're calling it Inflikted. They're surely way, way too old for that sort of thing.

The past's future: 1981 - 2. Soft Cell

"Just edged out" from the Top Spot, Soft Cell. It's kind of wonderful that Smash Hits was such a broad church, it's readers in 1981 were excited by the knitwear-clad Haircut 100s and the Fetish-strewn Soft Cell. And now, the kids are given McFly. And it were all fields round here.

To celebrate their victory from 25 years go, here's Soft Cell joined by Jim Foetus on a Suicide cover:

[Buy: The bedsit tapes, a glorious collection of early stuff put together in a studio at Leeds Poly]

Fiddy sticks one on game company

Apparently, 50 Cent's people were surfing MySpace when they saw an advert for a computer game featuring a bloke being shot.

50 Cent is a bloke. And he's been shot. It's a clear case of passing off. Naturally, this can only mean lawsuits have to be launched:

His lawyer Peter Raymond said the advert does not use 50 Cent's name, but "the character is intended to be him".

Because, of course, no other black guy has ever been shot in America. Apart from Malcolm X, but he wore a suit, so the advert couldn't have been about him.

The price of this slight? Cent is looking for a million dollars to make good his hurt feelings.

The past's future: 1981 - 3. Haircut 100

Third most-promising act of 1981, according to Smash Hits readers, was Haircut 100. The magazine was surprised they'd managed to do so well despite "only starting to break as we published the forms" and were confident enough to predict:

Expect knitting to become very fashionable during 1982
That future turned out to mean a lot of work soundtracking fun on the inflatables during Cheggers Plays Pop, a comic strip in Look-In, a slow slide down the dumper and a not-entirely successful resurrection of Nick Heyward on Creation during their 'rich off Oasis' years.

But what remains, of course, is the knitwear:

[Buy: A mightily-expanded Pelican West]

The past's future: 1981 - 4. The Fun Boy Three

When Smash Hits readers described them as "promising", did any of them think that future might be getting wheeled on as trophy collaborators by the daughter of a light comedian? The magazine used their ennoblement to call for "another single". Jerry Dammers, meanwhile, sobbed slightly and wondered if anyone would ever listen to him again.

Their Top of the Pops performance of The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum marked some sort of high water mark for mainstream TV directors using technology in a desperate bid to inject teatime-friendly life into something a little difficult and downbeat - although you can see the same effect on ITV News these days:

[Buy: 1997's Fun Boy Three best of]

The chart rundown will conclude later today

50 Cent: Nas isn't thick enough

There is despair, and then there is the pit of despair, as 50 Cent pinpoints the reason for Nas' decline - he's too worried about all this booklearning:

“Nas is a really smart guy. He reads books constantly. We were around him on the Nastradamus tour. He was almost weirder than me 'cause we would go to breakfast and he'd be there reading a book."

A book? Can you even imagine such a weird thing to be doing?
"Conceptually, I think that's what made him drift away from what his initial audience enjoys from him and why he's not hot right now."

If having some interest in your world moves you "conceptually" away from your audience, that would seem to be an audience you're better without. Happily for 50 Cent, we can comfortably conclude he's not about to try and raise himself above whatever level of ignorance he has so far managed to achieve.

Winehouse plays gig. Perhaps she shouldn't.

Having managed to turn up to play a gig, Amy Winehouse was delighted to discover the lucky audience who were actually getting a performance in return for their ticket money included Tyler James, her ex-boyfriend. Consummate professional that she is, Amy decided the show had to go on, and so on it did go, as she went on and on at her ex. According to people who were there, who talk to the People (who weren't), it was like being caught in that MFI advert where people scream at each other as if they weren't in public. We don't understand why MFI think that's going to make people want to buy kitchens, and it clearly isn't going to make people want to buy records.

Winehouse had earlier suggested the audience should be thinking themselves lucky for getting a show:

"At least I turned up.

"I'm so unorganised I don't even know which side of the bed I'm waking up on most days."

Is it just us, or does that sentence not actually make any sense? Who organises what side of the bed they'll be lying on as the dawn arrives? And isn't the problem more that Winehouse doesn't know which barstool she'll be waking up on these days?

The past's future: 1981 - 5. U2

You can tell that Smash Hits were distinctly unimpressed with that bunch of mulletted punks turning up in the Brightest Hope again:

U2 occupy exactly the same position as they did last year; isn't it about time they came up with a really hot single and fulfilled some of that potential?

Yeah. Isn't it just? Sadly, though, it wasn't to be, and now Paul Hewson - who fronted the band - is something large in property and stocks.

U2 were actually quite good back then - but already slightly conceited - as their Pinkpop appearance shows:

[Buy: Achtung, Bono by Half Man Half Biscuit]

The Enemy's enemy is a straw man

The Enemy are quite self-assured for a band whose profile depends as much on one of them being linked to Peaches Geldof as any music they might have made, aren't they?

Today, they give Paul Potts a kicking for, erm, selling more records than them:

"I've just heard that we are about to be knocked off Number One by that fat bloke from Britain's Got Talent," Tom told [Zoe Showbiz]. "It's a fucking disgrace.

"Nobody will know who this bloke is this time next year. If he thinks he is going be making music in a year's time then he has another think coming.

"People who win talent shows have a habit of disappearing. They make one hit album, do a wave of promotion - and then it's on to the next big thing."

Yes, that's true, Tom. He might be a bit of national joke. But he is still selling more records than you, isn't he? And while people who win talent shows do have a bit of habit of getting some attention and then disappearing... you could say the same about bands-mainly-famous-for-hanging-out-with-Peaches-Geldof.

The reality TV gene pool

At last, 18th century farming villages can point to somewhere and say "you think we're incestuous". Reality TV is such a small pool, the News of the World is reporting this morning that Kerry 'I'm A Celebrity' Katona "romped" (their word) with Ziggy off Big Brother. What brought them together? Why, largely-forgotten ITV reality show Elimidate, of course.

Kerry really has had a tragic life, hasn't she?

The past's future: 1981 - 6. Heaven 17

Smash Hits were sure that H17 would thrive as

"their Human League connections can't have done them any harm at all."

Although, in retrospect, they probably did - cast by their spin-off status into a perpetual battle they could never win.

The band were together for the Billy MacKenzie Memorial in March, from which this Temptation is sourced:

[Buy: Last year's remasterage of Penthouse and Pavement]

This week just gone

Seven days on No Rock and Roll Fun

The ten most-read stories:
1. Lily Allen removes clothes. Replaces them
2. R Kelly's underage sex video will be court evidence - if it ever comes to court
3. Beth Ditto - nude, unleashed, airbrushed on NME cover
4. McFly are GAY naked stars
5. Heather Mills naked. There's a theme in what people like, isn't they?
6. The age-old KT Tunstall lesbian/straight debate
7. Victoria Newton fawns over James Blunt
8. Do you want to see Britney Spears naked in a movie? She hopes so
9. Akon distributes free dildo vouchers to kids
10. Nick Lachey hopes nobody wants to see his sex pictures. He's right

Also this week: New Order unsplit; Victoria Beckham met Victoria Newton for an encounter that was less an interview, more a colonoscopy; Band of Horses said 'enough with the YouTubing; Iggy apologised for his Glastonbury gaffe; Cold Case plans a 'tribute' to Nirvana; Annie Lennox pulls a Band Aid off; ITV are still having trouble with the simple did they keep the cash from the Challenge Anneka adverts; Dave Rowntree eyes up Bob Wareing's seat and the Mercury Music Prize shortlist was announced.

You can read the whole week on one page;
or surf last week in one post

Five years ago:
Virgin Radio came out a news bulletin on the Queen reading a eulogy for the Queen Mother with precisely the wrong Sex Pistols track; Liverpool got angry when the NME only praised some of its bands; John Entwistle didn't die of taking loads of coke, but his heart not being strong enough to cope with loads of coke; Ice T announced his Perverted Sex Cult rock side project (and how is that going, T?); in something of a No Rock exclusive, Jeremy Vine gave us his all-time top 10 singles; Beyonce settled with the ones she kicked out of Destiny's Child; Bobby Gillespie explained that he'd always say what he wanted, but he changed the title of Bomb The Pentagon because, erm, it wasn't about Bombing The Pentagon; EMAP produly announced Sneak, a junior Heat; the dance ended for Cream as it pulled its clubnights and Chumbawamba refused use of their music in an advert for X-Ray machines because the manufacturer had arms interests, but happily OKed its use in car ads despite GM, erm, also having arms interests.

The Tindersticks BBC complete collection, including the first and last nights of Mark Radcliffe's late night show

Welcome to the cheap seats: Wonderstuff's BBC session tracks

While Weller was in the Jam, Mick Talbot was in the Merton Parkas. NB: The claim that this "the complete" mod album might be over-selling the Parka's centrality to the movement

Long-awaited Smiths auto-videography. Well, Joyce and Rourke's perspectives, anyway

We've all lived so long, we're now seeing Grant Lee Buffalo's back catalogue get a remastering

We still can't decide if Poppy And The Jezebels is an industry joke or a bright spark in a wet summer

... you'd be better off with The Gore Gore Girl's Get The Gore

The Double Deckers - music from the TV series. One for nostaligics and Aswad completists

Patchy but lovely 1987 attempt to weld together gangland thriller and gay coming-of-age genres

Guided By Voices, live in Austin Texas, on your television

Aha, now we get why they're threatening us with a Steps reunion - 'buy this or else'. The slightly desperate sticky label on the front reads 'Former member of multi-million selling group STEPS & star of "Totally Scott-Lee" on MTV & the massive UK hit series "Dancing On Ice". Feat. the HITS Lately, Electric, Makes It LastForver & many more'. Many more?