Although reports yesterday suggested that GCap had decided to keep the provincial Xfm stations in its portfolio, apparently that's not the long term plan: we understand on Thursday management at the non-London branches of Xfm were told they were being kept for four months - through the festival season - before being auctioned off to the highest bidder come the autumn.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Continuing our weekend with Blood Red Shoes, here they are doing I Wish I Was Someone Better at a Tokyo UK rock event:
[Part of the Blood Red Shoes weekend]
It's hard to judge how Terra Firma's makeover of EMI is going looking from the music end, so it's helpful we get a little peek round the back today. But the financial state of the company isn't much clearer - and that's causing problems of its own.
Citigroup, the bank who put up most of the cash for the buyout, is having trouble selling the loans on:
The bank tried to include those loans in a $12bn portfolio that it plans to sell at a discount to private equity firms. However, Citigroup was forced to remove the EMI loans from the package after it was unable to provide adequate financial information to potential buyers, people familiar with the matter say.
The assumption watching Guy Hands hacking away at the company has been that he might not know anything about music, but he's good with the finances. It looks a bit like the banks have been watching him doing the finances and assumed everything will be alright because he understands the business.
Trotting down the busy carriageway to reunion now: Jet Bronx and the New Forbidden.
Yes, Jet Bronx - or Loyd Grossman as he's known when he's making those cook-in sauces - has got his old punk band back together. It's unknown how long Grossman deliberated, cogitated and digested before getting the boys back together.
We're not sure how punk a band can be when the news of their reunion is broken by the Financial Times.
Yesterday, both Gordon and the 3AMies carried the 'Lily Allen/Noel Fielding/Johnny Borrell in a toilet' story with vague hints about drug taking. Only the 3AM Girls got a call from Allen explaining that there were no hi-jinks, only straining bladders:
"Yes, I was in the men's toilets, but I always go to the men's toilets when there's a huge queue in the ladies."
Lily then insisted she never even got as far as finding a cubicle.
She trilled: "I did go in there and ask the attendant if I could go, and he said, 'No, you can't' and I walked out."
It was all a terrible coincidence then.
Nobody at the Mirror asks her how she was out having all these japes while, erm, being too unwell to judge the Orange Book Prize.
Reuters reports today on the figures for Glastonbury tickets this year:
After tickets went public April 6, only 100,000 were snapped up, prompting Eavis to reopen registration two days later. Last year, the entire allocation of 137,500 tickets sold out in about two hours.
Blimey - somewhere between a quarter and a third of tickets left on the shelves, and nearly a fifty per cent drop in registrations.
Michael Eavis is puzzled:
The something he points his finger at is the weather, of course - conveniently, something out of his control. The simple, obvious fact - that people will preregister to keep their options open - doesn't seem to have occurred to him; nor that the real worry - for a man who told the Guardian the other week that he's got about £1.3million in debt hanging on the festival site - is not that a few people register and not buy, but that so few people bothered to register in the first place.
Eavis' dream for years was to find a way of making Glastonbury impenetrable to people without tickets - it looks like he's got his wish. But at a hell of a cost.
Everyone - by which we mean "nobody at all" - took Mariah Carey's decision to title her new album E=MC2 to demonstrate that she has a deep interest in physics.
Surprisingly - by which we mean unsurprisingly - this turns out not to be the case:
Even though it's only Mariah Carey, how heartbreaking is it to see someone parading and celebrating her ignorance?
So, what does the album title mean, then? Mariah explains:
But... E=MC2 doesn't have any relation to that, does it? Unless 'E' is actually the name of the album, but then why would "MC" stand for the "Emancipation of Mimi"? And, after all, MC2 is (M times C) squared, so shouldn't the title mean to refer to something like, say, Mariah combined with cheese raised to a higher power?
CSS bassist Ira is off, as she can't square the carbon-footprint of the band with her conscience:
“I am also a bit worried about climate change. People should care more and do something about it. I decided to fly less.
“CSS will always be in my heart. They said goodbye to their bass player, but they won a new life time fan. In health and sickness, in happiness and so forth. Blah blah blah, so help us God.”
Okay, it looks like the desire to do other things than tour with CSS - and, god knows, she must have bassed her way through Lets Make Love a thousand times a thousand times by now, at every festival on the planet - but the green angle makes for a more interesting story.
Continuing our celebration of Blood Red Shoes, here's the promo for It's Getting Boring By The Sea:
[Part of the Blood Red Shoes weekend]
As the ringtone market gravytrain starts to disappear, mobile and the music companies are hoping that the next cash cow will be ringback tones.
This is what the person who rings you hears while they're waiting for you to answer - the hope is that you'll pay two bucks a go for music that you'll never hear and that will probably drive the person calling you batty. Will your gran know that she's actually waiting for you to pick up if she hears WASP blaring out her telephone?
The trouble (or possibly lucky thing) is, though, that any hopes of growing this market is falling apart as the record companies and mobile operators in the US have spats over money.
The product is a confusing sell, but neither side is that keen to underwrite the marketing; meanwhile, the record companies are grumpy because they only make money on the music part of the deal, not on the network charges. The mobile companies aren't keen to share revenue from the money made delivering the tones, on the grounds that the copyright holders don't actually do anything connected to the delivery. It's part of the new music industry that they seem to think they have a right to cash not just for signing over copyrights, but also for anything that's done with the music - like a tomato farmer turning up and demanding cash from Pizza Hut as they've used his tomatoes in their sauce.
Then there's the problem of, even if you do try to market the concept, no two operators use the same branding:
For a moment, you almost wonder if RCA Records is suggesting that their mobile marketing department has its own fanbase, until you realise that anyone who uses the phrase "how do we message this" instead of "how do we tell people" is unlikely to be using English in any way recognisable to normal people.
The story of ringback tones is instructive, demonstrating the problems of the music industry in getting to grips with new markets. It's going to be similar in all the areas of handset based sales. Of course, in time, these problems will be sorted out - but since "mobile" as a distinct, wall-gardened concept is already a market for which time is running out, by the time the majors work out they shouldn't kill it through greed, everyone will have proper full internet anyway, and be enjoying bitorrent on the streets.
With Blood Red Shoes' new album Box Of Secrets due on Monday, what better time than to spend some time looking at the band playing their instruments and singing and stuff?
We'll kick off with ADHD, live from the Artrocker bit of the Camden Crawl last year:
More videos from Blood Red Shoes to come
It's Getting Boring By The Sea - promo
I Wish I Was Someone Better - live in Tokyo
Getting excited by "the latest internet craze" for expressing lyrics as graphics, the Mail sets its readers a challenge:
This is the general standard of difficulty - basically, it's reading the name of the song from a picture. And, yes, they really do provide a clue for people finding it difficult.
Although the clue is an uncaptioned picture of Rod Stewart - so, a great help to people who are unable to read "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" off a screen but are able to recognise Rod Stewart.
But then perhaps the Mail has good reason to think that its readers couldn't spot the obvious in front of their noses. On the same page, there's a link to Jon Snow's amusing 'Jonrolling' take on RickRolling from Channel 4 news:
The newsreader gives an hilarious rendition of 80s hit Never Gonna Give You Up
So, is it cringeworthy or hilarious? It can't be both, can it?
Gordon's readers might have assumed, from all his talk a couple of weeks ago about "listen to Amy's new songs" that there might have been a new album on the horizon. Anyone with half a mind would have realised the chances of a new record this year - with the artist incapacitated and the old one still selling strongly in the US off the back of the Grammys - was unlikely.
But Gordon's still surprised, reporting there's not going to be an album made from scratch this year.
Madonna's purchase of a new flat gets a Bizarre treatment, with Emily Smith trumpeting this as:
But then, as the piece concedes:
So, if she was at breaking point, it's not as if she didn't have anywhere to go before this. And, we suspect, if she needed to book into a Travelodge for a couple of nights, it wouldn't exactly break the bank, would it?
Meanwhile, Gordon has short shrift for the Kooks, as he reads on a website Luke Pritchard's explanation of why Max Rafferty quit:
I was beginning to enjoy Luke’s honesty until he said that. Don’t give me that “it’s difficult being in a band” crap.
Millions of people would love to swap places with them.
Well... yes, they might, Gordon, but that doesn't make it any easier having an addictive personality being in one.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Aah, the generosity of the rich. How moved Britney Spears was, seeing children in need on American Idol Give Back. She rang in an offer of about thirteen grand to the pledge line, with no thought other than doing some good. We're sure the "leaking" of the donation to InStyle magazine wasn't part of the original plan.
Thirteen thousand quid might seem awfully small for a woman of Britney's means, but then again, we thought she wasn't actually in charge of her own financial affairs at the moment. Let's hope her people don't have to make one of those phonecalls telling the poor kiddies that the pledge of cash came from a woman who has had her chequebook taken off her.
Electrogoth seniority alert: Meat Beat Manifesto have just shot out a new album, Autoimmune. It's their first since 2005 - although I'd have put money on them having been away for much longer than that - and supplies seem a little, um, sticky, shall we say?
Kraftwerk's carefully nurtured reputation is looking slightly shabbier today: they're suing Kling Klang, seeing a band named after their studio named after an onomatopoeia as some sort of risk to their business. No, really:
“And they way they have notified the claim was even funny… We received the letter in the form of a fax from some random promoter and the notice had all our addresses on it, kinda ‘we know where you live’ style.”
Kraftwerk have registered klingklang as a trademark, although - the sharper eyed amongst you will spot - that's not quite the same as the unregisterable kling klang.
Streaming off a server in a bid to tempt you into purchasing a 7" version: The Constantines and Feist doing Islands In The Stream.
To be fair, it doesn't quite work - the song is desperate to break out from the slower pacing, which makes it a bit like watching a greyhound on a leash and Leslie sounds a little bit too peaky set against the Constantine's mumbling delivery. But, hey, it's certainly no Ebony and Ivory.
The long-contentious status of the promo CD - seen by record labels as a way of spreading knowledge of bands amongst tastemakers and by journalists and DJs as their beer fund - has come to court. Universal Music Group is suing Troy Augusto, who sells on unwanted promo records through eBay.
Universal contends that the little label "this disc remains the property of Universal" is enough to make selling the records on illegal; the counterview is that if you send out thousands of discs, without keeping records of where they go, and without any expectation of return, you can't complain if the recipients sell them on. Wonderfully, Universal even claims that throwing the disc away is a breach of the rules - presumably, burying the discs in a wooden chest on a desert island, in the style of a pirate, would constitute, well, piracy.
The George Lamb show has been much better this week, although that's mainly because he's not been on it. Sure, Pete Mitchell isn't the greatest dj, but it's nice to hear an interview with a Hub band that doesn't consist of Lamb repeating everything his interviewee has just said.
Still, George Lamb isn't universally despised - there's actually a petition calling for Lamb to remain on the network, with over 2000 signatures already gathered. They're about 800 shy of the number gathered calling for him to be kicked out.
Not that they haven't got a bloody clue what they're doing, but having put the non-London Xfm stations up for sale in February, GCap have now decided not to flog them off after all.
It's probably not actually that good news for music fans, as having seen the plans for making Galaxy a quasi-networked mush laid by GCap's new owners, it's likely that Xfm will be in for similar treatment. They'll probably be back on the market by Christmas. Or closed. Or rebranded and formatted.
Despite his showing on Celebrity Big Brother - where he came across as having rather more dimensions than you might have thought - it's a bit of a surprise to discover H 'H from Steps' from Steps leading calls to unseat a JP.
Ian Watkins - presumably he wasn't known as "I" when he was in Steps because it might have confused the others, who sometimes call themselves I - was making a documentary about growing up gay and alone in a Welsh village. It's called... oh, you know what it's going to be called, don't you? During the course of filming, he voxpopped what he took to be a twinkling old man, who shared his broad views on homosexuality:
“That is the danger. Paedophiles, not necessarily but they do, don’t they, that’s the reality.”
The twinkly old homophobe turned out to be magistrate Byron Butler - the Western Mail describes him as "married", in case you couldn't guess - and H isn't pleased:
“There is no way I believe he can be fair and impartial with people when he makes comments about gay people being paedophiles. It is just so outrageous. There is absolutely no evidence to back up what he says and it is very offensive. The world has changed and Wales has changed so much.”
The Office of Judicial Complaints is now looking into Butler's position, during which Butler has stepped down. Whoever would have thought a programme named after a comedy catchphrase, presented by a song-and-dance man, would actually improve the quality of a nation's justice?
Those of you who are excited about the return of Curve's Toni Halliday with her Chatelaine project are just about to get even more excited: Auralgasms internet radio has her on live this Sunday at 10pm EST (four in the morning in London). It says "talking" rather than "playing", but who knows?
Toni Braxton - who has had heart problems in the past - has been cancelling gigs this week after she was hospitalised with chest pains. Her people are hoping she'll be well enough to pick up the tour next week.
We had been going to work up some London Marathon related "hitting the wall" joke for this, but then decided not to: a taste of Tilly And The Wall's new album, O, in the shape of an mp3 of Cacophony.
This should be interesting: Robbie Williams and Jon Ronson have teamed up to make a programme about UFOs for Radio 4. Robbie Williams is known for a long-standing interest in extra-terrestrial life; Jon Ronson has carved a niche of making programmes about eccentric obsessives, gently unpicking their fascinations. There's a preview in this week's Guardian Weekend - because Ronson knows how to use his material to best effect. Or maximum earning potential, anyway.
The new Deus single - we could tell you about it, how it's called Architect and a return to a more industrial sound and all that - but instead, we'll show you:
New album Vantage Point is out on the 28th.
Whatever happened to that solo Shirley Manson album, you might be wondering? It turns out that the label aren't letting it out dressed like that:
"I played some of the stuff to them not long ago and they described it as being very noir. At the time, I took the comment as being a huge compliment. That they liked the intensity of my material. But then I realised it wasn't intended as a compliment.
"But I'm 41 - I'm a woman not a kid. I have no interest in making silly pop music and I don't want to wear a silly sexy outfit and sell myself short.
"I'm sure it will all get sorted out in the end. But I do think record companies, in general, have different ideas about how they promote women.
"In the end, it is down to each and every woman to fight to be treated as an individual. I just want to be who I am."
These things are so much easier if you just put on a bloody catsuit and do the duet with Justin Timberlake, Shirely.
Bravely, Warners refused to comment on the story to the Daily Record.
The 3AM Girls also have the story about Noel, Borrell and Allen in the toilets, but they're even more nervous about the heavy-handed drug hints. At least Gordon put his nudge-nudge wink-wink in his own mouth; the 3AMies make the "drugs" allusion come from the mouth of "one partygoer":
If you have toes, prepare to curl them now. Underneath perhaps one of the least interesting headlines ever committed to print:
the 3AM Girls report that iD threw a party for her "with a northern theme."
As if the thought of braying metropolitan fashionistas dressing up as "northerners" wasn't bad enough, the Daily Mirror finds a way to add insult to injury:
It's not recorded if the ate coal during the party.
We know Gordon's sometimes struggling to fill his pages, but today he's got a story so thin it could fall down a cattlegrid. It's a picture of JK Rowling and her publicist which, at the angle and moment it's taken, makes it look the publicist might have his hand on her breast. Until you look for more than two seconds and can see from the shadow that the hand is nowhere near the bosom of the wizard-writer.
Of course, you don't have to accept our word for it. Even Gordon's attempt to talk up the paper acknowledges that he's running an optical illusion under the cover of a story:
Shame it looked so like a grope.
Shame it didn't, actually. Well, in the sense that if you're going to run a picture of someone supposedly looking like they're groping someone, it would be better if they did look like they were.
Gordon's big story is the aftermath of Noel Fielding's Teenage Cancer Charity trust gig, which saw Lily Allen, Noel and Johnny Borrell being evicted from toilets, supposedly. Gordon taps his nose:
Lily claims she was dodging the queue in the ladies. I’ll take her word for it.
Smart also returns to the subject of Calum Best's black eye, as some of his readers have done his job for him and filled in the backstory:
No, you haven't "solved" anything, Gordon. You asked if anyone knew what had happened, and apparently a large number of people told you. That's not "solving", that's "being told". Sherlock Holmes didn't solve crimes by asking Watson if he knew what had happened, waiting until Watson told him and then saying "ah, yes. I've solved that one, then."
What's more interesting is that Gordon seems to have forgotten about the whole "not condoning violence" bit as he seems quite thrilled telling the tale of a bloke punching Best when he found him talking to his wife.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Elton John has been busily raising funds for the Hilary Clinton campaign, while apparently trying to campaign on behalf of Jimmy Carter, too. He took time off to, erm, complain about the Reagan administration's inaction on AIDS which, while admittedly important, is hardly a hot-button issue in the 2008 election.
The store - it calls itself a "boutique", which is French for "overpriced clothes shop" - that has taken over the address of CBGBs has opened. A small protest gathered outside, with placards:
Or possibly a step for large pants. The pants are not pictured.
Hadouken aren't that impressed by Glastonbury:
So, you'd knock back Emily 'festival guru' Eavis if she came at your with a contract and a cheque?
Aha. It also seems that - despite writing it off as a sea of Mossalikes in Uggs, Hadouken don't actually know much about the festival. Suggesting reasons for the lack of sell-out:
They do realise that you don't actually have to watch all the pyramid stage headliners, don't they?
It's been confirmed that Pete Wentz, advertising shill from Fall Out Boy and Ashlee Simpson, off of Saturday Night Live's sketch about someone's sister accidentally being booked as a musical guest, are to be married:
"We know there has been a lot of speculation recently about Pete and I and we wanted our fans to be the first to know because you guys are the best."
Presumably, though, Simpson and Wentz's families knew beforehand? So who, exactly, are "the fans" finding out ahead of? "We want the fans to know before we sail off to the Andes to tell the indigent population of our plans - it's only right."
And while we're sure that Wentz's fans are "the best" in many ways, we suspect that what Simpson really means it "we wanted to tell the fans as you guys will have to tune in to watch the series about the wedding on MTV this fall."
It's a survey, and it's American, but even so: Radio and Internet Newsletter is running a report which says that the main reason people choose to listen to music on the wireless is because it's convenient. As the newsletter asks: with wi-fi in-car online hook-ups becoming more and more plausible, where will that leave radio, then? Global GCap are trying to shape the future of their stations by cutting costs - they might be better off thinking about ways to make it compelling.
Why you should never regift: Gwen Stefani apparently loves Suggs, and sent him a pair of tickets for her London show last year:
Trouble is, he wasn't: he'd just passed the tickets on to his daughters. He was probably off making fish finger adverts or something.
You might recall last month Simon Cowell was telling everyone how it was a good thing Leona Lewis didn't win a Brit:
Only now, it turns out, he thinks it was a bad thing:
Although not doing so was supposedly the best thing that could have happened.
What's really going on here is nothing to do with Leona Lewis, and everything to do with Simon Cowell's feeling that he's the victim of some establishment conspiracy:
The Brits are too sarcastic? This from a man whose main schtick is delivering pre-written 'witticisms' of a "My Way? You should try it any other way" nature?
And as for "not expressing what's right in Britain" - if that actually means anything - if he's suggesting that the Brits should just give prizes on sales, wouldn't that make them the charts?
It's because the music industry doesn't like us show people, cries Cowell:
"This is the problem. People say, 'Leona can't be serious because she entered X Factor.' They sneer. But shows like X Factor are there because doors have been closed. You have to start changing your attitude - give her one award for God's sake!"
This does miss the somewhat key fact that Lewis was invited to perform in front of the watching many, which hardly suggests the Brits organisers were sneering at her (unless we missed something - was ITV2 simultaneously showing people pointing and laughing?) and, indeed, shortlisted her for a number of awards.
And is it really true to say that X Factor exists to open doors which have otherwise been closed to potential artists? Isn't the ability of labels to generate easy sales off the short-lived backs of Chicos and Gareths doing more harm to the ability of young, talented pop musicians than it does good? Surely part of the reason EMI's regime feels confident about downsizing A&R is because they can just wait until a reality TV star turns up with a camera crew and a lopsided demo of them doing a cover of Christina Aguilera's Beautiful from Granada Reports?
The beeping you can hear? That's the temperature being taken of celebrity: With Pete Doherty inside, Liam Gallagher has been drafted in as a replacement for the charity soccer six tournament.
Oh, Liam. Do you remember when you didn't have to wait for someone to miss a probation meeting before you'd be called into a celebrity charity event?
The family who were suing Michael Jackson, claiming that their relative died after she was moved from critical care to make way for Jacko, have had their case dismissed.
Glastonbury are clearly heavily-humped with The Sun; they've given the Mirror an exclusive interview knocking down Smart's 'Jay-Z no show' scoops.
The Mirror aren't that bothered, though: there's a small piece in 3AM:
She said: "Who wouldn't want the greatest living hip hop artist playing? If we had Coldplay again we'd be criticised."
Blimey, they've got Afrika Bambaataa playing as well, have they?
We love the idea that Emily Eavis is a "festival guru"
Actually, having read the full interview, which the Mirror shovels off as web-only, it's possible the paper thought that was the only usable bit:
“We’re just so excited that we’re having a legend on the farm and the overwhelming reaction we’ve had has been really positive, there’s a real buzz.
So, it's a gung-ho buzz despite hoo-ha; a positve response to an upbeat decision which has been incredible.
While Eavis senior was fairly blunt about pointing the finger of blame for the story at the Millennium Dome, Emily's not quite so keen to name names:
If Emily ever follows her Dad into politics, she's never going to be accused of dealing in soundbites.
She then tries to spin 'Glastonbury tickets left unsold' as somehow being down to people's perceptions:
Well, yes, the demand was overwhelming, taking down websites, so in that sense it's true. Underwhelming, though, when compared with responses in previous years.
But what of the explanation about registration causing low sales? Is it really likely that fewer people would have known about registration in the second year of operation? Admittedly, we've all forgotten about that big battle of cybermen and daleks over Canary Wharf; perhaps as a nation we've forgotten that, too.
Then, we're expected to believe that people went to all the trouble of registering - photos, passwords, account creation - but then, when the tickets went on sale, decided "oh, there's no chance to getting a ticket" and didn't bother to log on. In large numbers.
Catching up after Pete Samson had taken care of the actual business yesterday, Gordon finally gives his attention to Pete Doherty's imprisonment this morning. Smart tries to suggest that he's been "abandoned" by his friends.
It's not quite clear how this is supposed to be true - what with, for example, Babyshamble's other blokes telling the NME how, you know, it's a tragedy and everything, but Gordon has a good shot at trying to paint a picture of a man cut off and cast out:
Irina — Kate’s pal who Pete recently rekindled a fling with — and her mates left messages to break the news to the supermodel, but she didn’t reply.
They then tried to contact her through a friend, and were told: “She knows. She’s seen it on TV.
“She doesn’t care.”
I don't know if Gordon has somehow missed it, but Kate and Pete have long-since had a nasty split-up. It was in the papers, Gordon. Do you think that it might not be that surprising that she's not interested?
But that's not all Gordon's got:
A pal revealed: “Amy’s first reaction when she heard was to laugh.
“Pete had told everyone he was just going to court for a quick appearance and had no idea he was going to jail.
“She just laughed and kept saying, ‘I can’t believe it’. Pete’s just a comedy character to Amy. She thinks he’s a bit of a clown.”
Now, if this is true - and, you know, it's not like there's any reason to believe it is - but laughing and going "I don't believe it" when you hear surprising news isn't quite the same thing as thinking something is funny, is it? And if Amy Winehouse believes Pete Doherty is a clown, why did she a marry a Pete Doherty tribute act?
But not so. They are furious Pete’s jail term means he has cancelled the biggest gig of his life, at the Royal Albert Hall on April 26.
One wrote on a fan site: “How could Pete be so selfish as to let down hundreds of people? F***ing fuming. Pete Doherty is a ....” — you get the picture.
Yes, Gordon Smart - Showbiz editor of the UK's biggest-selling daily paper - is filling his column by reprinting random messages from internet messageboards. And without even crediting the board.
Wonder if anyone would notice if he just cuts and pastes the whole of Popbitch into the page tomorrow?
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Scott Weiland, he doesn't trust the music industry much, does he?
"You definitely have to watch your back and you have to be smart in order to not get taken advantage of. So I think we've all learned from those experiences."
Actually, if they're cut-throats, you'd have to watch your front, wouldn't you? And we're not quite sure why the music business has managed to shrink and eat itself.
The BBC coverage of Live Earth - and in particular, the 23 uses of "fucking" and "motherfucking" - has earned the Corporation a very strict and very cross dressing down from Ofcom - although they won't be fined.
The swearing - mostly down to Chris Rock and Snoop Dogg - poured out of screens during Al Gore's attempt to save the planet by flying pop stars round and round it in aeroplanes. The BBC hadn't broadcast the event of time delay, despite the exact same thing having happened on Live 8. Gamely, they did try to suggest this wasn't a bad move:
In addition, the BBC said that it had identified the artists whom it regarded as
potentially problematic, and had taken steps, for example by briefing artists and
monitoring the live output, to avoid the broadcast of inappropriate material before the watershed.
Mmm. A signed piece of paper from Snoop Dogg saying he won't swear. Neville Chamberlain would understand.
The BBC's justification for not running with a time delay is a little odd, too:
A seven-second delay would have made it not-live? Because someone else might be listening to it on the radio and it wouldn't quite sync up?
Ofcom, though, takes into account that the BBC does admit it ballsed up, which is why they're going to make them say "sorry" on BBC 1 and BBC 2. Management will probably just be relieved there's no big cash fine to pay.
Once again proving that the music industry's fear of the full stream is misplaced, Last FM have released figures showing their sales are up since they introduced free, full-track streaming:
And this isn't just down to the new users the streams have brought into the site - pre-existing members are buying 66% more, too.
What is it with Mancunian popstars and animal cruelty? After Shaun Ryder's war on pigeons, we've now got Mark E Smith claiming to kill squirrels:
"Squirrels mean nothing to me. I killed a couple last weekend actually. They were eating my garden fence.
"My sisters are animal lovers and they had been leaving food out for these squirrels. They've got rats in the bloody house now. Serves 'em right."
To make matters worse, the maverick frontman went on to add that he 'wouldn't have a problem' with running over seagulls for fun.
Although unsavory, we somehow can't picture Mark E Smith using hedge clippers at all, much less being nifty enough on his pins to start chopping animals up.
It's the Daily Mail who bring this story to our attention - of course, they're struggling to explain Mark E Smith to a readership who, frankly, probably don't recognise their own carers, never mind pop stars. First of all, as is the Mail's way, they try to subtly link him to the BBC:
We love that "said to be", as if there is any room for any doubt whatsoever that Peel loved the Fall.
They then try to place him in some sort of musical context. Maybe he writes songs about being cruel to animals, perhaps?
Well, they're sort of cruel about animals, a bit.
Then they get the RSPCA in to comment:
"To suggest in a magazine read by youngsters that it is a good idea to harm wildlife is both extremely stupid and highly irresponsible."
This was Uncut, so the RSPCA needn't worry about impressionable young people being corrupted.
It's not funny, and it's disheartening, but it's equally tiring to see the Mail getting exercised about a Fall interview in Uncut. It's hardly porn-heroin in our classrooms, is it?
It's not even Hamlet without the Prince. It's more like Punch and Judy without the bloke who holds up the puppets. Babyshambles are heading on with talking about their new album despite Pete Doherty being inside.
As if it wasn't bad enough trying to work out who's who on B-Wing, Doherty is now going to have to worry about returning to find the Sleeperblokes have taken over the band.
For reasons we can't quite place - although we suspect it might have something to do with Murdoch's craven courting of the Chinese government - the business of Bizarre, along with all other business of The Sun, is taking place under a Sun masthead featuring an animated gif of an "olympic" flame. Presumably it's only a matter of time before the paper's website completes its rewind to 1996 and features dripping blood and dancing babies all over the shop.
Gordon's main business this morning is claims sourced from a "senior police source" that Naomi Campbell suggests she was only arrested and cautioned "because she was black", but:
“The WPC said she was called a white this and a white that.
“She has been away from work since the incident.”
Gordon pulls, well, most of his punches detailing what Campbell supposedly said:
The police source said Naomi continued, screaming: “****ing white honkeys” at the officer and her colleagues.
So, "slag" loses its middle letters - presumably lest readers assume Campbell said "shit", but the first word is lost in its entirety. Presumably "cunt"? So Gordon's readership would blanch at looking at his page to see some good old-fashioned shots down women's shirts and talk about breasts, only to come across foul language. And the fit of vapours would be so bad, they can't even have a hint of what one word is - but, equally, "slag" would be unacceptable for them, but enough clues can point to the word without spelling it out, so they'll know its meant to be slag anyway.
Also, while none of Campbell's alleged behaviour is pleasant, is being called a "s**g" or a "****" really so bad member of the police force would have to take time off work to recover?
Gordon mentions that Naomi has been banned from BA flights in future; he doesn't offer any explanation as to why not being allowed on the fall-apart flag carrier is considered to be a punishment. "Go on, go and see if American can lose your suitcases."
More airport fun: Geri Halliwell passes through security at LAX; her kid gets a bit grumpy. An everyday event, you might think. Not so Gordo:
SINGER GERI HALLIWELL grabs daughter Bluebell Madonna by her hoodie — as the tot has a tantrum at an airport.
Seriously, Gordon, if you think having a pop at a toddler for not enjoying waiting in a hot airport to be checked for explosives is the stuff of journalism, you might want to step aside.
Pushing Gordon out the way, Pete Samson delivers an opinion piece on Pete Doherty's incarceration. It's headlined:
- we suspect that refers to his elevation to official voice of the Bizarre column rather than Pete's imprisonment, but maybe not.
... although, we're pretty certain, just liking someone's music doesn't yet constitute a criminal offence, is it?
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
We knew we'd forget the second half of the Junos. This is the revised list of winners, including part two of the prizegiving:
ABORIGINAL RECORDING OF THE YEAR - Derek Miller THE DIRTY LOOKS
ADULT ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Blue Rodeo SMALL MIRACLES
ALBUM OF THE YEA) - Feist THE REMINDER
ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Arcade Fire NEON BIBLE
ARTIST OF THE YEAR - Feist
BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR - FATHEAD BUILDING FULL OF BLUES
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: VOCAL OR CHORAL PERFORMANCE - Measha Brueggergosman
COUNTRY RECORDING OF THE YEAR - Paul Brandt RISK
FRANCOPHONE ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Daniel Bélanger L'ÉCHEC DU MATÉRIEL
GROUP OF THE YEAR - Blue Rodeo
ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Finger Eleven THEM VS. YOU VS. ME
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR - Feist
JUNO FAN CHOICE AWARD - Michael Bublé
POP ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Feist THE REMINDER
By cutting costs, of course: Heart and Galaxy are going to "network" much of their programming. James P emails with this:
The Global chief executive has an interesting reason for this disposal of local shows; "People assume networking is about big name DJs. It's not, it's about quality presenters. If you take 50 different radio stations there cannot possibly be 50 good presenters at every station in a particular slot. Why not take the two or three quality class players and put them across the network".
The sad part is that he doesn't seem to question why there aren't '50 good presenters at every station in a particular slot', or wonder if it's maybe because the increase in networking across commercial stations means a reduction in the hours for those slots where 'good presenters' got their first break. In the past, off-peak slots could be used to try out new talent. Now they're filled across the country with the same presenter who's, you know, adequate.
Still, when the 'quality class players' decide to take that better job at the BBC or a bingo channel and Global realise there are no experienced presenters to take their place, I suppose there's always ex-Big Brother contestants...
It also misses the things that local radio do really strongly - or did, to be honest, before cost-cutting set in - which is to be local. It's like saying "what's the point of gossiping with people in your street, who might not be very good at it? We'll have one, giant gossip, covering your entire region - you won't actually hear any gossip about people you know, but it will be delivered in an expert fashion.
The big deal between MySpace and the majors, much ballyhooed last week, has unsettled a lot of indie musicians and operators, not least digital distro The Orchard who want to know why Bono gets cash when the current set-up cuts out the hundreds of thousands of artists who made MySpace what it is:
"... Digital retail is fairer than physical brick-and-mortar retail ever was. iTunes ...helped to shift music industry dynamics towards a more level playing field...In that light, if reports are true, the apparent MySpace licensing approach is troubling. It hearkens back to a time none of us wants to revisit ... Where independent artists and labels were third-class citizens in the global music economy..."
This is a step beyond Billy Bragg's claims that Bebo should share some of its cash with musicians just because; MySpace's deal with the majors has offered some artists some revenue. There is no reason we can think of that smaller artists shouldn't have a share if the existence of a shareable revenue stream has been established.
Chanelle Hayes. Reach back into your mind, and you might remember her from last year's Big Brother. Now, she's capitalising on that fame (alright, capitalising on that slight flicker of recognition) by launching a career as a pop singer. Or, rather, launching a reality show about her launching a career as a pop singer. She wants us to know that, despite having made money as a Victoria Beckham lookalike, and following Victoria Beckham about, and copying Victoria Beckham's hairstyle, that there's more to her than a Posh wannabe:
Dismissing claims that she is attempting to copy her idol's music style, she said: "Yeah, we wear similar clothes because I choose to but she sings one way and I sing another. I don't sound like her when I speak and I'm not trying to sound like her when I sing."
Aha. It's similar clothes, as in "I came out and would you believe it, to my surprise Victoria Beckham was wearing the very same dress yesterday".
Still, at least she's not copying Beckham's music - she's not that stupid.
Yes. You have a CD with your name on. Money can't buy that. Well, actually, it can, but you know what we mean.
There's more, much more to Chanelle:
Mmm. Good luck with winning the Regis Chair Of Being On A VH1 Programme At Oxford, Chanelle.
Life: Funny, isn't it? Last year, you couldn't go through a week without Pete Doherty going to court, everyone expecting him to be locked up, only for him to trot out again promising to be good.
Now, though, he's managed to get himself sent down without anyone expecting it.
He's been sent to prison for 14 weeks for violating the terms of his probation order; apparently this included missing one appointment with his probation officer and being late for another.
It's screwed up his Royal Albert Hall gig; if he doesn't get early release, he'll be an absentee from Glastonbury as well.
Gordon Smart has run two days running with pieces claiming Jay-Z is going to pull out of Glastonbury; today, Glastonbury has responded. Michael Eavis isn't happy:
"The Sun was carrying a story that he was pulling out,” Eavis said.
“I'm not sure where they got from, probably from the people that were doing a show in London the following week [Wireless festival] because they were tying to sell tickets for their show.”
Of course, this whole story is helping take the focus off the broader question of how Glastonbury has managed to turn itself from a sell-out event to one desperately offering second chances to register. It's funny how everyone is blaming Jay-Z and nobody is pointing the finger at the Kings Of Bloody Leon, isn't it?
We hope that someone develops a system soon so that we can easily recall the difference between Katie Meluah and Norah Jones: surely there should be a mnemonic.
Things aren't helped by Jones launching a new identity, which makes... well, one and-a-bit identities, if we're being generous.
She's going indie.
If by "indie" you mean "has a shorter haircut and a side-project doing much the same stuff under a silly name." She's adopted the name Maddie for the band, El Madmo ("You don't have to be el Madmo to work here, but...") and - ooh - has written a song called Rock Your Balls Off.
Twenty years ago, this would have been a silly artistic project. Now, it looks more like an attempt to create a secondary brand without hurting the core product.
In other Beatles' news, the hedge-effigies of the band which greet the very, very few passengers who use the Liverpool South Parkway interchange have been vandalised. Or possibly gardened: Ringo has had his head chopped off.
Given that he was so central to guiding their business for so many years, how touching that, erm, neither Ringo nor Macca appear to have gone to Neil Aspinall's funeral.
Yoko and, erm, Stella McCartney managed to make it to Twickenham.
Terrible news for Glastonbury - much worse that Smart's flapping about the Jay-Z story. The take-up of tickets has fallen so short of expectations that they're being forced to reopen the registration process.
Yes, the registration process, not merely sales:
She said: "We're having a massive influx of people saying they didn't register.
"So what we're going to reopen registration and allow the extra people who want to come to do so."
Emily tries to suggest there isn't a massive over-supply of tickets:
"To be honest, there aren't that many tickets left to sell. They'll probably trickle along I imagine over the next few weeks. There won't be a massive surge."
But for a festival that is used to selling out in hours, having to basically run after people in the streets yelling "come back, please... we'll make it easier for you" isn't a good sign.
There she was, winning Eurovision and taking the crown for Ukraine, back in 2004:
But what has Ruslana been up to since? It turns out that, while she still does the semi-naked dancey shout ostpop, she's now doing it with a political message, campaigning to reduce Ukraine's dependence on natural gas. It's not so much a carbon footprint issue as worries about Putin's control of the gas pipe, naturally.
So far, though, she's doing it all metaphorically:
It triumphs over a synthetic world, dependent on synthetic energy. In the video version, that world is represented by a pale, metallic-looking woman who gets her strength from a giant machine. She's transformed, though, into a kind of Wild Energy woman, reminiscent of Xena the warrior princess.
There's a worry that the issue isn't stimulating enough for young Ukranians; perhaps something a bit more direct might be helpful?
The Times has had a first listen to Hard Candy, the new Timbaland and Pharrell Williams collaboration featuring Madonna on vocals. Pete(r) Paphides isn't entirely convinced:
By this late stage, you rather feel like you’re in your fifth hour at the Ambassador’s famous party. Great, but is there anything else on offer other than Ferrero sodding Rochers?
Fourth hand? If she's doing twenty-year old Prince style "2"s instead of "to"s, that might be over generous.
What appears to have happened is - as one of pop's foremost brands - Madonna has followed the logic of turning herself into a corporation to the ultimate conclusion. She's outsourced the album.
Gordon returns to the possible pull-out of Jay-Z from Glastonbury this morning, with a grim headline:
Smart is trying to work up the possiblity of a Jay-Z pullout, and the question of if and when organisers knew, into some sort of sub-Watchdog outrage:
“If they were aware Jay-Z might not be playing they should have said something before I bought my ticket.
“I’m going to see Jay-Z. I wouldn’t have bothered buying tickets to this year’s Glastonbury otherwise.”
Another said: “Jay-Z is the world’s greatest rapper. I was only going to see him.”
Hang on a minute: These angry ticket holders who, supposedly, "only" wanted to see Jay-Z, don't have any names. Why is that, Gordon?
When you're "reporting" on rumours from "friends" of celebrities and "sources" within stars' organisations, there's some sort of justification for keeping anonymity. But why are these people so angry about their tickets but not revealing their names? Are they afraid that Emily Eavis might turn up at their houses and start putting the windows out?
Come to that, why are they so angry before Jay-Z has actually cancelled, and, consequently, before organisers have even had a chance to say 'if you want a refund, then you can have one'? It's a little early to be making up angry punters, isn't it?
Meanwhile, in a triumph for 'here's something I read in a magazine' journalism, today;s column features adverts for Closer Magazine (Coleen McLoughlin dressed - hilariously - as Audrey Hepburn) and Shape Magazine (Denise Richards). If Gordon keeps padding his pieces out with this sort of stuff, they could just cut a hole in his page and invite readers to peer through at the magazine rack when they pick up their paper.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Travelodge are a rotten hotel chain. Even by budget standards, they're especially mean-spirited: not only paring the cheese, but proudly flaunt their penny-pinching:
Providing a concierge-style service requires additional staff which means additional cost. And we reckon that for the sake of a short walk to the reception desk, customers would rather enjoy our great-value low room rates.
But since the person on the desk has to answer the questions anyway, how does it save money to make people trump along the halls and down the lifts to do it in person? And what do you do in an emergency?
In other words, if you accidentally slash your wrists or crack your head open while in the room, you can't ask for help from the person "the short walk" down the hall, you have to ring up the police and wait for them to arrive.
However, despite this Spartan approach to keeping costs down, the company does seem to have an enormous pile of money to waste on pointless surveys. The latest has 'discovered' that British people fall asleep to Coldplay, and unveils this astonishing gem:
Really? That's a surprise. You mean people don't tend to put on salsa tunes and start to snort coke when they want to go to bed?
A business that won't provide a biscuit to its guests because that would push up prices, but will commission a survey to discover that, when you're going to bed, you listen to quiet music.
Clearly, though, the very thought of Coldplay in an unlovely hotel room sent someone off a little early at the NME.
Get well soon, Bebban Stenborg: she fell ill during last night's Shout Out Louds gig in Leeds causing the show to be abandoned.
Bebban says she's sorry:
The band hope to pick up the tour tomorrow in Dublin. Meanwhile, you can enjoy Bebban reading a ghost story from Daytrotter.
Kelly Clarkson is really upset that tracks from her new album have found their way onto the internet - somehow, oh, who can know who?
In fact, she's been talking about how sucky it is:
It must suck, and it's in no way a carefully orchestrated release of work-in-progress in an attempt to try and stop people talking about, you know, the whole last album.
George Michael and Kenny Goss are showing Texas a huge chunk of their private art collection, funded by George Michael's muscial career and Kenny Gosses' ... well, his income.
The Goss-Michael Foundation is displaying the works; Goss has been elected to discuss them with the media:
The works which Texans unable to travel have potentially never seen before (although, who knows, they might have) include Damien Hirst's Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain.
Goss explains what the cow-and-arrow work means:
Or potentially ever seen.
At other times, let's face it, art is about pictures of red-jacketed huntsmen chasing foxes and dogs playing pool.
Goss is excited by exposing young people to art:
Thinking about thoughts, eh? No wonder they need to sit down when their minds are working on such an elevated plane.
Seriously, it's a lovely, generous gesture to share art with the world; it's just a pity that Kenny was left to try and put the unsayable into words.
Here's something that, we suspect, hasn't been factored into the NKOTB or Boyzone comebacks: The Specials won't play together if they're no bloody good any more.
Neville Staple explains:
“So the musicians done that first, then Terry went down. So we’ve had two rehearsals. One where they're on their own, and then the last one where me and Terry went in.
“We’re just seeing how it goes. If it gels, it gels. If it doesn’t, you don’t wanna go out there as some old geriatrics – not me. What we've got to do is make sure the music at least is right.
“We’re feeling it out now. It sounded alright actually but it’s gonna take more than one rehearsal.
“So if it works, we’ll do it. If not, well. I’m sorry lads and girls. But we’re trying.”
The Sex Pistols do something similar, although it's more about checking the cash amounts offered sound right rather than the band.
Thurston Moore has made clear that Sonic Youth won't change their name to refelect their entry into the time of life when you start to wonder what it feels like to ride a chairlift:
"(But) I think it's a good thing as far as a state of grace, state of mind. It's actually more fun playing the older we get."
We're a little at a loss as to why anyone would have thought they'd change anyway: surely 'Sonic Youth' is an ideal rather than a description; thinking it should change as the band age suggests its being interpreted as 'we are young people with guitars', but it's really like insisting that the Foo Fighters change their name as the USAF knows exactly what they are these days.
It would be one thing if Madonna had simply used her Vanity Fair interview to suggest that there was some sort of parity between Britney Spears' personal life and the lives of Africans.
Instead, Madonna also gave us a glimpse of how she views the continent:
Madonna, did you just say that "people treat each other in Africa" with "witchcraft" and "inflict[ing] pain on each other"? Do you really picture the continent in those terms?
A continent of withcraft and cruelty. It makes you a little nervous that someone who can paint such a view of a place is involved in trying to push her religion into one of the nations there.
Did the rest of the media miss something? The 3AM Girls are breathless with excitement:
Guns drama at Bey's wedding
A guns drama? Did someone shoot somebody?
So, the "drama" was people were asked not bring guns, and so three guests (or one guest with issues) left their guns in an amnesty box as requested.
You know what else? There were no dirty bombs exploded anywhere near the wedding. Where's the "Beyonce 'dirty bomb drama' at wedding" headline?
Dean Wareham's book, A Rock & Roll Romance, reviewed for the New York Times by Liz Phair:
Gordon rushes through the newsroom, hollering "Hold the front page!":
Goodness. This actually is news, although perhaps not quite as serious as Smart would hope to have us believe:
Really? "Many"? "Some" might be a stretch, but many?
Mr. Z is supposedly upset by, well, everything:
He was also angered by suggestions his signing caused fewer ticket registrations than last year and the reaction to his appearance on some festival message boards.
Really? Jay-Z is worried by things that people have posted on the internet? And is "upset" that he was used to attract his core audience? How does that actually make sense? Are we supposed to believe that Jay-Z thought he was being signed to disappoint the regular audience rather than attract a (slightly) different one?
Quick, Gordon, your story is melting faster than yesterday's snow:
Gordon reports of Myleene Klass' birthday party. He's not impressed:
Having spent a few paragraphs calling anyone who showed up so obscure as to be of no interest to the likes of his readers, Gordon then invites his readers to:
There is a fairly big story in The Sun, which gets pushed onto Gordon's page:
Sandip said: “We spoke about how there are so many children in India who need homes.”
A source said: “Madonna was very taken with Sandip. He told her there were orphans who would melt her heart. Guy was against the idea, but when she wants something, she gets it.”
So, then, there's no actual adoption process in place, just - perhaps - a vague idea. The piece, boiled down, says "it's too tricky to take an African child, let's see if the Indians are bit less worried about handing over their children", all, of course, hung on this "a source", a source so vague that they don't even indicate why they'd be in a position for us to take this seriously.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
It must be hard for the Junos, trying to attract attention to Canada's music scene while knowing they never quite pack the cultural punch of the Grammys. Given the hill they set themselves to climb, it's impressive they've decided to stack the odds even more against themselves by splitting the event across two nights. Perhaps the thinking is that it makes them harder to miss. "Surely they'll notice if there's two ceremonies?"
It doesn't work.
Anyway, last night, Feist won, and she's expected to tonight.
Blue Rodeo "Small Miracles" - adult alternative album of the year
Serena Ryder - new artist of the year
Arcade Fire "Neon Bible"- alternative album of the year
Feist - artist of the year
Feist - songwriter of the year.
Belly - best rap recording of the year.
Nathan "Key Principles" - roots and traditional album of the year.
Jully Black "Revival" - best soul and R&B recording.
Blue Rodeo "C'mon" - best video
Arcade Fire "Neon Bible" - best album artwork
Perhaps if they lost a few of the lamer categories, they could get it done in one night.
Culture sighs and breathes again: Citing "ill-health", Lily Allen has quit the Orange Prize judging panel. It's that ill-health that lets you present a TV show in front of dozens of viewers but stops you from reading books.
In the spirit of not speaking ill of the dead - even one whose love of guns made him the focus of the bloodthirsty, the paranoid and the reactionary who make up the NRA - let's remember Charlton Heston before he developed Alzheimer's and started to suggest that guns don't kill people, it's people making 'pickle, pickle' noises while pointing their fingers who do.
Here, by way of tribute for his paid work rather than political views, is Stump's Charlton Heston:
It suddenly hits you, a surprise, a bullet, a shock - you're falling in love with one of the New Kids on the Block
It's official - if, of course, there was ever any doubt - the original members of the New Kids On The Block have run out of money. Sorry, we mean are getting back together.
They confirmed it on Friday:
Santa and Jesus are currently in talks with legal representatives over whether to seek a formal apology for this apparent libel.
They weren't going to announce the reunion this soon, but they were worried about the rumours. Probably that there weren't any.
You can watch the big announcement from the NBC Today programme, assuming you don't mind losing ten minutes of your life to it.
11.45: Server is still too busy. And the internet is full of unhappy people.
CockMonster on Designerstalk is unhappy:
Been trying to get through all morning with fuck all luck.
There are, though, quite a few positive stories from people who've basically had a bunch of people, all throwing the kitchen sink at the refresh button on numerous machines. Irony, of course, is that the system is so bad because so few people trust it they feel the need to swamp the system with requests which brings the whole thing down.
There is, though, a slightly easier way: the more robust seetickets website has a page that works a bit better: although seetickets server keeps falling over as well; it just takes you a step closer.
Showbiz Zoe from Showbiz Zoe Column brings intelligence from the Kasabian album build - if that isn't an oxymoron. They're calling in some outside ears, says Chris Edwards:
He speaks his mind."
Well, yes he does. But so does that bloke outside Sainsburys who yells "Metal whores! You're all metal whores!" at passing cars. It doesn't mean you should listen to him, though.
After all, if Noel Gallagher knew how to make a good album... well, the recent Oasis back catalogue would be a little different, wouldn't it?
10.55: Things are getting better - the 'server is too busy' message has reappeared.
You'll recall last week Rav Singh ran a piece in the News of the World about a Hollywood star about to be outed:
This particular actor is known as a bit of a ladies man but in fact, he really has a secret eye for the fellas.
My man in LA told me: "This guy is not married. He's been out with many women but has been seeing men too.
"A US mag is revealing it next week which will send Hollywood into overdrive."
Now, you might be thinking "funny... I never heard anything about an a-list actor being outed last week. Rav must have been wrong."
Rav, though, revels in being right this morning:
LAST week I told you a male Hollywood star would be outed in the States as liking the fellas.
Turns out it was singer/ actor JOHN MAYER who has apparently been snogging my mate PEREZ HILTON in Los Angeles.
He even took a lie detector test on TV to prove his claims!
What we love about this is the way that Rav is not only pretending that Mayer is an a-lister, but, having last week claimed an actor was about to be outed, Singh now calls Mayer a "singer/actor" - but IMDB lists not a single acting credit for him.
And also - Perez Hilton taking a lie detector test saying that he'd kissed a bloke isn't really "outing" that bloke, is it?
Rav is really on the back foot this week - he's also reduced to running a story about Sarah Harding having a bad back, something over all the papers a couple of weeks ago; he's also got a story about Britney planning a world tour. Okay, that's interesting, but 'pop star plans to play gigs' is hardly that surprising, is it?
With almost perfect timing, a couple of days after Julie Bindel took a hard look at the naked-awareness raising photo campaigns (the nadir, of course, being Mel B stripping off to, erm, fight sex trafficking), the News of the World uncovers Heather Mills' photos for landline awareness that she, supposedly, shot in 1999 but which have - until now - been protected by the cloak of McCartney's lawyers.
The NOTW tries to suggest that there's something hypocritical about this shoot:
It seems stripping off entirely obviously did.
She clearly had no idea what she was doing, if she expected full-frontal, gynecological shots to be used generally, even in a good cause. And there is a big question over if stripping off clothes is always (or ever) the best way to draw attention to human suffering. But does the NOTW really think that a well-intentioned art shot by a professional model is analogous to the sort of work done to fill the DVDs and magazines sold in the classified sections of, erm, the News of the World?
The server is now not even managing to return a Server Is Too Busy message.