Saturday, June 13, 2009

Warners staffer dumps stock

Hypebot suggests that those who know most about Warner Music Group aren't seeing stock as an investment:

But according to respected investment trade publication Barron's, insiders are "hearing a different tune" and last week unloaded $3 million in stock.

Barron's points specifically to Vice Chairman of Strategy and Operations Michael Fleisher who on June 2nd sold 400,000 shares for $3 million, an average of $7.41 a share. Fleisher, who joined the company as CFO in 2005 still owns 766,207 shares.

Now, it could just be that Fleisher needed some ready cash. We're all a little short right now, aren't we? It doesn't have to mean any sort of inside knowledge of the way the wind is blowing.

Cooper, bags reunited

Alice Cooper had lost his traveling collection of rare DVD horror movies, but BAA have found them, somewhere in the corner of Heathrow.

Cooper had offered front-row and backstage passes for his gigs to anyone returning the films, which while a nice offer seemed to overestimate how attractive the idea of watching Alice Cooper on stage might be to the average person. Sure, if the movies had got lost at one of his dates, free tickets might tempt the likely finder. But the chances of a random person in Heathrow Airport being more excited by a night watching an old man in tight trousers than the prospect of thirty quid at a car boot sale seems slim.

Happily, the DVDs were unsaleable, and so they were returned to their rightful owner with nobody forced to attend an evening at the theatre.

Hannah Montana scandala

ContactMusic announces the end of innocence; indeed, what might be mankind's second fall:

Teen sensation MILEY CYRUS has shattered her clean-cut image by...

Any guesses, anyone? Not you, Mike Skinner.
... by having her nose pierced.

A nose piercing? Don't even the Girl Scouts do a badge in nose piercing these days? Is that really so shocking for a sixteen year-old girl?

I mean, unless she paid for it in kind, or something.

And she didn't. Because Billy Ray took her to the piercers:
He tells talk show host Larry King, "Her daddy took her (to the piercing studio). She said, 'Daddy, would you take me to get my nose pierced?' I said, 'Did you ask your momma?' And she said, 'Yes. Mama said I could do it if you would take me.' I thought kind of it was one of those bizarre moments. But honestly, my life and what we're going through and the things that we've been through, it's like being in The Twilight Zone. So I just kind of roll with the punches."

Starting from the way Cyrus calls himself "her daddy", this whole explanation of what is "teenage girl does teenage girl thing" sound curiously as if Cyrus was a captured war criminal trying to explain a carboot full of skulls.

Rock Ness: Police adopt fish-in-barrel approach

Actually, by the standard measure of 'boosting clean-up rates by nabbing kids with bags of blow', the police operation at Rock Ness has been a bit of a flop, with only eight collars. But Northern Constabulary seem happy enough:

Chief Superintendent Andy Cowie said: "We are very happy with how the event is going so far with the crowd in good humour and engaging well with our officers on the ground.

"Our intelligence led, proactive approach to drug dealing at the festival has already led to eight people being intercepted both enroute to the festival and within the event, and they have been reported to the procurator fiscal."

"Intelligence-led"? Presumably someone going "hey, I bet some people will turn up at a rock festival with a bit more than personal use levels of drucks" now constitutes a major piece of intelligence.

Isle Of Wight: Hide! Hide!

Last year, we reckon, was the peak oil year for festivals.

Now, then, we're in the long, slow, steady decline. As if the prospect of Status Quo AND Tom Jones at Glastonbury didn't prove it, here's a headline from the Daily Mail's RSS feed which, I think, shows just how broken festivals have become:

Time to go back to gigs with two, maybe three acts, and no jugglers or felafel stands in a two-mile radius.

Polka News Network: Heartlands polka

Despite the claims of the Grammy organisers, for Americans, polka continues to be a force to be - well, if not quite reckoned with, then at least not quite ignored.

Downtown Port Clinton is preparing itself for the Perch, Peach, Pierogi, and Polka Festival in September, for example:

Port Clinton’s Perch, Peach, Pierogi and Polka Festival came as a tribute to the forefathers. The perch is to salute commercial fisherman. The peach is in tribute to farmers. The polka and pierogi are in honor to the Eastern European settlers. Without any of these people, we would not have the rich history and colorful tales to pass on to future generations. It was their hard work and belief in community that made the Port Clinton area prosper for so many years.

They're going to be doing free polka lessons as part of it.

3AM Girls: Let's all get together and have a laugh about domestic violence

In a piece that's dimwitted even by the low bar set for the modern Daily Mirror, the 3AM Girls enjoy a quick giggle about a victim of domestic violence meeting her abuser:

Know that awful moment when you realise you're trapped in the same place as your ex for a few hours? Rihanna certainly does by the Disturbia look on her face.

The look on her face? You mean the face that Brown punched and punched, do you?

Oh, yes, that's one of those awful moments like turning up in the same dress as someone else is wearing, isn't it? Did Rihanna see the funny side?
Rihanna, 21, looked anxious and was seen whispering to a pal.

Still, don't let that stop you turning it into a frothy piece for your gossip column, eh?

Madonna gets what she wants

So, Mercy has got family who don't want her adopted. The African Union code on overseas adoption makes it clear Mercy should stay in Malawi unless absolutely necessary. Malawian law insists that prospective adoptive parents must spend 18 months in the country prior to any adoption.

So, why exactly is Madonna being given the child?

But the appeals court said the star's commitment to helping disadvantaged children had not been considered.

Now, it's true that Madonna does do a fair bit for Malawian children - admittedly, much related to trying to push the Kabbalahistic SFK programme, but a fair bit none the less. But unless I'm missing something about basic principles of justice, shouldn't charitable donations and such like be left unconsidered? It might be of value when deciding on somebody's character, but why does having the money to give large charitable donations have any bearing at all on if the basic rules on adoption should be set aside?

Jacques Peritti had an interesting and balanced piece in yesterday's Guardian on the story underneath the adoption, although it was so balanced it did end up suggesting that, you know, colonialism and indoctrination isn't such a bad thing:
I leave the orphanage thinking that if Madonna could roll this out across Africa, even if it involved lots of people signing up to Kabbalah, how could that not be a good thing? David Livingstone came to this country with a Bible in his hand; Madonna comes wearing Kabbalah wristbands. What is for sure is that colonialism is not a thing of the past. In Malawi, it's still alive and well, and it's just got a whole lot more showbiz.

Wasn't tying relief and charity and help and hope to an enforced conversion the problem with Mother Teresa's 'get baptised, then you can eat' style of selective assistance?

Gordon in the morning: Meeting of minds

Exciting times for Gordon as Kasabian turn up to offer an interview. A long, long interview.

In which Serge makes a serious face and compares himself and his friends to Heath Ledger:

He explained: “I was writing Vlad and heath’s death just struck a chord.

“There are so many people out there who’ve got to a point when they need a bit of help to get to sleep.

“It could have been any number of people that I know. It was really sad. He was 28, just had this huge film where he stole the show, had his career ahead and life ahead of him and I just felt, I’ll see you on the other side, mate. He seemed a sweet guy.”

Kasabian, of course, are self-made men:
Tom explained: “Brits love an underdog. Critics sneered at us in the beginning but we did it all by ourselves.

“We toured so hard and worked our ar*es off. We got the following we deserved because of hard work."

I think you'll find the critics are still "sneering", Tom. If by sneering you mean "pointing out that Kasabian aren't very good".

You're on a major label, Tom. It's not like you're part of the DIY underground. To be fair, you did do a lot of work to get the deal, but since then, the large glossy adverts and the placing of your tunes on Top Gear and TV campaigns and big support slots don't suggest a campaign being run from a kitchen table in Leicestershire.

But it turns out that when he means by this is that 'Kasabian aren't famous because they went on TV':
"It’s not like Britain’s Got Talent. It’s a horrible show. SIMON COWELL’s all right, though — he just needs to get a better haircut!”

With Serge and Tom straining to puff themselves, Gordon has a hard time trying to keep up with the over-the-top praise. But he manages it:
Serge now has his career-defining collection of songs — all at the age of 28.
it hasn’t stopped Pizzorno penning an album that would grace any era in rock ’n’ roll...

I did wonder if this was Gordon slyly digging that the record sounds like it could be forty years old for all the invention and inspiration it shows, but... no, I guess he thinks that's a compliment.

Smart does take the chance for a little BPI style railing at the modern world:
A week before the album launched, a pal of Serge’s turned up at a gig and told him track two was his favourite.

It turned out the CD had been leaked and thousands of copies were turning up in schools and offices around the country, robbing Kasabian of cash.

The modern economics of the music industry don’t favour talented musicians.

"Robbing Kasabian of cash"? Really? And what do you mean by the "modern economics of the music industry don't favour talented musicians"? Are you suggesting they favour crappy musicians? Which is rather an odd way to conclude a piece about how successful Kasabian are and how well they're doing.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Gordon in the morning: You could have just said sorry

Yesterday, Gordon used time and money to snicker at how camp it was for Ronaldo to wear a cap.

I think even Gordon must have realised that he'd crossed a line, as today Bizarre suddenly lurches in the opposite direction, as Gordon's former deputy files Pete Samson a slightly different story:

CHAMPAGNE-swilling RONALDO celebrates his £80million transfer by sharing a raunchy night with PARIS HILTON.

The winking winger, 24, kissed and cuddled the 28- year-old socialite in a Hollywood club before they headed to her sister's home.

The scoring machine and Paris got down and dirty as they teamed up to celebrate the soccer ace's £80million transfer.

"I think we've gone a bit far with the suggestions that Ronaldo is gay, boss"
"Okay, let's run a piece that suggests he's having sex with a lady. Balance, innit."

Oddly, Gordon's gay-tent-o-meter or whatever it was meant to be seems to be out of action for this story.

Meanwhile, Gordon applauds Lily Allen for condemning the BNP:
Lil's album, It's Not Me, It's You, has a track called Fuck You which attacks racists, BNP politicians and homophobics.

People like Lily are role models. It's good to see her speaking out against these mugs.

Yes, it is brilliant. Although is Gordon entirely sure - as he waits for that Ronaldo piece to fall off the front of Bizarre - that he might not be one of the "mugs"?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mojo woo-hoos Yoko Ono

The Mojo awards for 2009 or whenever have rolled around again, building the publicity on a lifetime achievement award for Yoko Ono:

Mojo chief editor Phil Alexander, who hosted the event, praised Ono, 76, as "a huge influence on modern music".

"She may have been married to one of the most famous men in the world, but she also helped change music as we know it in her own right," he added.

"First, by introducing avant-garde sensibilities to her husband but, just as significantly, by continuing to push the boundaries of what was deemed the norm way after that."

And she broke up The Beatles. Don't forget she broke up The Beatles.

Actually, she probably deserves an award for having had to put up with people blaming her for breaking up The Beatles for the last four decades. Especially since people make it sound like that would have been a bad thing to do.

Sorry, did I say "award"? I meant honour, of course. These are the Mojo Honours, which - according to the magazine - "salutes the timeless, the ineffable". Duffy did well last year. So unutterable as well, then.

This year's other winn... sorry, honorees:
The Les Paul Trophy: Billy Gibbons
Classic songwriter: Johnny Marr
Best live band: Fleet Foxes
Some sort of medal in honour of his label having lasted fifty years, despite having put out Cranberries records: Chris Blackwell
Inspiration: Blur
Best album: Paul Weller - 22 Dreams
Song Of The Year: Elbow - A Day Like This
Hall Of Fame: Mott The Hoople
Breakthrough act: White Lies
Compilation Of The Year - Take Me To The River: A Southern Soul Story
Vision Award - Joy Division
Catalogue Award - Miles Davis (Kind Of Blue 50th Anniversary Edition)
Classic Album Award - The Zombies (Odessey And Oracle)
Maverick Award - Manic Street Preachers
Hero Award - The Pretty Things
Outstanding Contribution To Music - Joe Brown
Roots Awards - Topic Records
Icon Award - Phil Lynott

It's probably fair to say that this is the most eclectic set of award winners - and probably the most interesting Mojo prizewinners list, but it still doesn't really feel like anything beyond an attempt to remind the world that Mojo is still publishing.

Get Up and go

Just before Christmas, The Get Up kids announced a reunion. Presumably, the time since then has been spent on the phone as they've booked a massive, two-continent comeback tour. Buzzgrinder has the dates:
08/16 | The Peel | Kingston Upon Thames
08/17 | Academy 2 | Birmingham
08/18 | Academy 2 | Manchester
08/19 | Electric Ballroom | London
08/20 | Batschkapp | Frankfurt
08/21 | Pukkelpop Festival | Kiewit
08/22 | Area 4 Festival | Lüdinghausen
08/23 | Uebel & Gefaehrlich | Hamburg
08/25 | Postbahnhof | Berlin
08/26 | E-Werk | Erlangen
08/27 | Backstage | Munich
08/28 | Abart | Zurich
08/29 | Eastpak Etnika | Ceccano
08/30 | Estragon | Bologna
09/11 | Harrah’s | Kansas City, Missouri
09/15 | Marquis Theater | Denver, Colorado
09/16 | In the Venue | Salt Lake City, Utah
09/18 | Neumo’s | Seattle, Washington
09/19 | Music Fest NW | Portland, Oregon
09/21 | The Fillmore | San Francisco, California
09/23 | The Glasshouse | Pomona, California
09/24 | Avalon | Hollywood, California
09/25 | House Of Blues | San Diego, California
09/26 | House Of Blues | Las Vegas, Nevada
09/27 | Clubhouse | Tempe, Arizona
09/29 | White Rabbit | San Antonio, Texas
09/30 | Granada | Houston, Texas
10/01 | Diamond Ballroom | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
10/02 | Slowdown | Omaha, Nebraska
10/03 | Picador | Iowa City, Iowa

Pirate Bay judge in no way biased

Attempts to get the judgement against the Pirate Bay set aside have come to nothing, as a higher court has ruled that the judge wasn't biased:

A Swedish court ruled that judge Tomas Norstrom was not biased against the Pirate Bay despite being a member of several groups that lobby for the rights of copyright holders

How so?

Surprisingly, the opinion isn't that Norstrom could, as a professional, set aside his membership and bring an impartial view. Oh, no: the court seems to have concluded that the judge wasn't actually really a member so much as an observer:
The court said Norstrom joined the associations to keep abreast of copyright issues and that it found no evidence of bias.

He was only there for research? Isn't that the defence in a different sort of computer crime?

Curiously, Nosrtrom doesn't appear to have done any of this "research" in groups that don't lobby on behalf of copyright holders, so even if he was "researching", it looks oddly like research done without an entirely open mind.

Still, lets hope he never finds himself hearing a case where he has to offer a judgement on a murderous cabal. If he has to join in to discover what he's thinking about, it could get messy.

Doherty behind the wheel, off the wagon?

The recent Geneva arrest of Pete Doherty for jacking up on a plane had the air of a story which would not live for long in isolation.

And so it proves to be: Last night, he was arrested on suspicion of drink driving, possession of drugs and failure to stop for police. Although if he won't stop for Carl, it's hugely unlikely the police could make him stop.

Oasis versus the local press

It's probably quite heartening for the Manchester Evening News to discover that Oasis care quite so much about their columnists.

Not even the music columnists. Oh, no. Oasis are obsessed with Angela Epstein, who suggested that Heaton Park might not be the best place for 70,000 music fans. Liam responded by dedicating a song to her.

And the only people who like a bit of attention more than rock stars are local paper journalists, so Epstein used her column to mention the tribute.

And the only person who likes attention more than local paper journalism are the Gallaghers, so of course, Noel couldn't let it lie:

I feel though that I must just give one final little bit of "kudos" (her word, not mine) to Angela Bernstein (sic) – a ginger whinger from the MEN who has written a couple of sh***y little pieces over the last few days.

"In them she claimed that we – and by that I mean YOU – had no 'right' to 'come up here' from London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Tokyo, LA, Milan, all over the world in fact, to 'her' wonderful piece of England and enjoy ourselves and leave a little bit of mud.

"What a joyless old husk!!"

A joyless old husk? I suppose it does raise the question of why Oasis do their homecoming gigs so far from where they've made their home, but the big question is will Epstein respond? Will there be more about this in the papers? Must check the papers... read the papers...

[via @bridetorr]

Gordon in the morning: A row of tents

Ronaldo - a footballer - went out wearing a pink baseball cap yesterday. And why not? After all, it's 2009.

Oh. It turns out it's not 2009 in The Sun and Bizarre. It's still 1973. And around eight in the evening on midweek ITV style 1973 at that:

TODAY I unveil Bizarre’s How Camp Is CRISTIANO RONALDO Guy-ger Counter.

The level of campness is represented by pink tents – five being screaming DANNY LA RUE levels of flamboyance and one being your common-or-guyliner type effeminacy.

sjfgjdsg`yg - sorry, I'm finding it difficult to type with my face buried in my hands.

Guy-ger counter? Pink tents? Danny LaRue?

Oh, and if you miss the bubbling homophobia that is subtly bubbling away in the background on this one, the "pink tents" on the illustration of Gordon's Guy-ger counter actually just look like pink triangles.

I guess we should applaud Gordon's restraint at not calling it the gay-ger counter.

Still, at least we can be sure that Gordon isn't gay, what with the way he enjoys looking at a photo where you can make out the outline of Victoria Beckham's nipples. That's the polar opposite of wearing a pink cap.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Reznor's edge: Trent quits

Just as Tim Westwood tweets that "I'm feelin bad", Trent Reznor decides it's time to wind up the Twitterage:

I approached that as a place to be less formal and more off-the-cuff, honest and "human". I was not expecting to broadcast details of my love life there, but it happened because I'm in love and it's all I think about and that's that. If this has bummed you out or destroyed what you've projected on me, fair enough - it's probably time for you to leave. You are right, I'm not the same person I was in 1994 (and I'm happy about that). Are you?

So, for a while, Twitter was like this kind of Eden-y place. So what was the serpent?

Metal Sludge. Who they, Trent?
Metal Sludge is the home of the absolutely worst people I've ever come across. It's populated mainly by unattractive plump females who publicly fantasize about having sex with guys in bands. Kind of like a role-playing game where people NOBODY will fuck make up stories about their incredible sexual encounters with people they WISH they could fuck. It would be kind of funny in a sad and pathetic way except the fun doesn't stop there - hate and good old-fashioned outright blatant racism are also encouraged to spice things up and remind you how truly ugly these scourges are. TRULY ugly on the inside (the outside is obvious).

The throwing of "plump" onto that list of failings jars somewhat.

Anyway, Metal Sludgers are now popping up on Twitter, and so Trent is sloping off elsewhere:
I will be tuning out of the social networking sites because at the end of the day it's now doing more harm than good in the bigger picture and the experiment seems to have yielded a result. Idiots rule.

Does Reznor have an answer?
I had thought a while ago about attempting to start a mainstream public forum that required real verification of it's participants for purposes of context. The idea was to have a place where you can actually discuss whatever and have some idea of who you're conversing with. For example, if we were discussing drumming techniques and you can see that someone participating in the discussion is a drum instructor vs. a 13 year old kid Googling answers, you'd have the proper context in which to have a potentially valid discussion. If we were discussing EDLC's heart condition and a real cardiologist speaks up, I'd value his opinion over, say FredFuckFaceWhateverHisLastFuckingNameIs's "opinion". Know what I mean? Anyway, we're in a world where the mainstream social networks want any and all people to boost user numbers for the big selloff and are not concerned with the quality of experience.

The question, I suppose, is how do you 'prove' your experience? And the knock-on one of how do you help others to weigh the value of that experience - sure, the examples Reznor offers are pretty clear-cut. But if, say, you're looking for a steer on the tube strike, how would you know if should give more weight to a Tweet from someone in the Mayor's office against a member of the RMT negotiating team? It might have been nice had Trent kept some of his energies for working on an answer to that sort of question, rather than just withdrawing.

But then he has other things to focus on:
With all of that said, I have business in the real world to attend to including wrapping up the live version of NIN, DOING some cool new shit and spending as much time as possible with the most amazing woman in the world.

Web 2.0's loss is music and romance's gain.

Just one question, though: could he not have just blocked people on Twitter who he felt were Sludge? You don't have to follow everyone back, after all - isn't it your choice how many signal follows to noise follows you have?

Actual digital music crime

The Met Police have arrested a group of djs who allegedly were using stolen credit cards to buy their own music off Amazon and iTunes.

Yes, yes, it's criminal, but at least they weren't unlicensed downloads.

DCI Terry Wilson, from the Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit, said: "This has been a complex investigation to establish what we believe to be an international conspiracy to defraud Apple and Amazon."

I'm sure Terry knows what he's talking about, but I'm not sure defrauding Apple and Amazon was quite the idea - after all, if you've stolen a credit card you can buy anything you like with it. Isn't it more that the alleged criminals were using Apple and Amazon as unwitting money launderers, rather than scamming royalties?

Dowloadable: Alun Woodward ascends to peerage, release album

Whatever happened to Alun Woodward after The Delgados? It turns out he changed into Lord Cut-Glass, and is about to release an album.

And what an album it sounds:

It is an album comprising one man’s refined grasp of the musical form, an idiosyncratic pursuit that’s unmistakably in the lineage of independent Scottish music. With its beguiling application of eclectic even anachronistic styles, sharply recalled sense and scene, it is the product of a febrile mind… “At the start of recording I got Scarlet Fever and stayed in bed for ages, reading my girlfriends books.” Explains Woodward of Lord Cut-Glass’ creation, “I read Under Milk Wood in a feverish state and decided I would call myself after one of the characters”.

That's from the press release, but the record is on Chemikal Underground and thus, I think, their press blurbs can be given a little more credence than, say, something promoting a new Mariah Carey record.

The album is self-titled, as indeed is Lord Cut-Glass.

And if you'd like a hint of how it might sound - well, why not download Even Jesus Couldn't Love You?

Downloadable: Violens remixed by MGMT

A busy time for Violens. Well, not that busy yet, as they've announced they're to be the support on the White Lies UK tour this November. Actually, that'll make 'em quite busy, because they'll need to sort out visas and tickets and things.

In the meanwhile, you can download MGMT's remix of Doomed.

Listen here: Enter Shikari

Thanks to the hosting skillz of We7, this would be the new Enter Shikari album, Common Dreads. To listen to, and to enjoy:

Is Bono being blocked?

Some unnamed artist is claiming that their most recent records have been blocked from US airplay after he called for radio stations to pay royalties - which, if true, is pretty shabby.

No one involved will name the recording artist, but his no-play treatment by several radio stations is alleged in a complaint filed with the Federal Communications Commission and obtained by The Associated Press. It claims recording artists are being threatened and intimidated.

In the filing, the musicFIRST Coalition says the top-selling artist — there are hints it could be U2 frontman Bono — recently released a new album and spoke during April in support of an effort to require radio stations to pay musicians royalties similar to those paid to songwriters.

On the other hand: if it is Bono, can he be sure the more recent, dreadful U2 stuff was being blackballed and merely not getting airplay because nobody wanted to hear it?

French three strikes law ruled pre-revolutionary

Ah, here come the tumbrels for the music industry. It turns out that three strikes rule, which the RIAA-IFPI loves so much, had actually been outlawed by the French Revolutionary Government.

Yes, the idea of throwing people off the internet was actually considered to be a bit too much back in 1789, making John Kennedy the Marie Antoinette of our age:

The [French constitutional] Court found several parts of Hadopi unconstitutional, violating the citizen's right to free speech, and the presumption of innocence. The Hadopi authority also failed to possess sufficient legal status to carry out its job, Judges concluded.

"Freedom of expression and communication is all the more valuable that its exercise is a prerequisite for democracy and one of the guarantees of respect for other rights and freedoms and that attacks on the exercise of this freedom must be necessary, appropriate and proportionate to the aim pursued," they wrote.

That's quite something - I've been banging on for the best part of a decade that the music industry is desperately trying to cling on to the past, but I'd never realised until now quite how far back they're looking.

Tomorrow: "Let's throw sellers of pirate CDs into the Bastille, cries John Kennedy"

Polka News Network:

Proving that - despite what the Grammys might tell you - there's life in polka yet. For example: polka band The Polka Dots entertained a memorial fish fry in Rochester, Minnesota.

The event was the fourth annual Gary Vanselow Memorial Scholarship:

Gene [Gary's brother] added that Gary would be happy with the event, but probably not the menu.

"Gary loved to fish but didn't really like to eat fish," Gene Vanselow said.

Those attending the event did enjoy eating fish.

And the polka.

Raveonettes offer works-in-progress

The Raveonettes are off in the studio, working on a new album. Probably to head off them leaking anyway, they're going to be releasing demo versions of new tracks via the Vice website as they go along. You'll need to give a valid email address.

Politicians! You've killed Macca's faith

Oh, as if the total mess of British politics wasn't shameful enough, with all the MPs busily claiming for remembrance day wreaths and floating homes for ducks, things are now so bad that Paul McCartney has lost his faith. Yes, even Paul McCartney:

The former Beatle said Britain was in urgent need of an "Obama-like figure" to help interest and inspire people, but he could not see on the horizon.

Sir Paul, 67, who has previously claimed he turned the other members of his former band on to politics, said: "There was no one who inspired me or who I thought was worthy."

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he said: "There is not much idealism around these days. What with all these politicians fiddling their expenses, I think most people feel, like me, there is not a lot left to believe in."

The Telegraph is certain it was talking to Paul McCartney, but admits that after he'd said "all as bad as one another, ain't they?" he turned round, switched off the "For Hire" sign and drove them to Bermondsey, so they can't be completely sure.

Save the creative industries (as they are now) cry the creative industries

People with a vested interest have called on the government to try and stop 'illegal' downloading:

A coalition of creative industries organisations, including the UK's biggest trade union, Amicus/Unite, have increased the pressure on the government to act against illegal downloading in next week's final Digital Britain report, saying that there will otherwise be large job losses in TV, film and music across the UK.

Yes, the TUC have got involved. The TUC, you'll recall, tend to be depicted as a carthorse in classic political cartoons. Which is just silly, because carthorses are part of a bygone age, bypassed by the march of technology and... oh, hang on...
The letter argues that illegal filesharing is not a "victimless crime" but one that will result in revenue losses that will mean "fewer films, songs and TV programmes [will be] able to be commissioned".

"Job losses will be felt right across the chain, from production to distribution, from technicians to manufacturers and from logistics companies to staff in high street shops," states the co-signed letter.

Hang about a moment... won't jobs in shops and warehouses vanish if art gets distributed digitally anyway? Regardless of if you're downloading a licensed or unlicensed version of Terminator 6, there's not much call for a bloke with a van or forklift trucks wooshing crates of plastic all over the place, is there? More than ever, the sense hangs that the cries of "we must stop pirates" are actually "please make the future go away".

Let's distribute plastic records. We can get a carthorse to drag them to the shops.

Rachel Stevens: Victim support

The Telegraph describes the nasty incident where Rachel Stevens was relieved of her stuff by a gang as a "mugging", although, given she was followed into her home and menaced by three blokes, that seems a little mild.

Not like the Telegraph to miss an opportunity to talk up a crime, is it?

Whatever you call it, it's a horrible thing to have happened, and while it won't do much good, Ms Stevens has our sympathy.

Gordon in the morning: Chris Martin won't go it alone, unless he goes it alone

In the paper version of Bizarre, Gordon gets excited at the prospect of a Chris Martin divorce-driven solo record:

CHRIS MARTIN and GWYNETH PALTROW have a happy home life behind closed doors and here’s hoping it stays that way.

But if things did go pear-shaped for COLDPLAY frontman Chris and movie star Gwyn it could prove very interesting musically.

The thought of the words "Chris Martin" and "very interesting musically" appearing together is intriguing in itself. But what can it all mean?
Asked if he would release a solo album, Chris said: “It would probably mean I’ve been dumped by my wife and I desperately need the money.

“Hell would not only have to freeze over but be skated over and completely closed up.

“The Pope would have to declare it didn’t even exist. I cannot think of anything worse.”

So, what Chris was actually saying was he couldn't imagine any situation where he'd want to go solo, not, as Smart's headline puts it:
I’ll only go solo if Gwyn bins me

It's like, say, Noel Gallagher saying he'd only let Liam play polka music "over my dead body" and running that as "Liam will kill Noel to play polka".

Still, even if there's no prospect of Chris on his own, there's still the threat of more Coldplay stuff:
Chris has become hooked on hit American TV drama The Wire, which is even inspiring him to write Coldplay’s next album.

He said: “The main thing I do on tour is write, then go watch The Wire.”

How, Gordon, does this suggest that The Wire is "inspiring [Martin] to write Coldplay's next album"? If anything, isn't it stopping him? (And if it was, what a shame they're not making more and more series.)

It turns out this is little more than a slim set-up for Gordon to mention how he and Coldplay are big showbiz pals:
When I was on tour with the band last year, on board their private jet they were plugged into a laptop and gripped by the Baltimore-based cop show’s great fifth series.

The main character is drug dealer Stringer Bell and the British actor who plays him, IDRIS ELBA, is an aspiring musician so will love to know that he’s inspiring such a huge band.

Mos’ def.

Yes. Let's just look at that again:
Mos’ def.

Oh, dear.

Even Gordon realises that this story is too slight to lead the online version of Bizarre with, and so digitally, the big story is man trips on stage.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Twittergem: Hjasnoch

Bit like Suede and Richard Oakes isn't it? "Smashing Pumpkins to hire a 19-year-old drummer?" link

- @hjasnoch

The new justice, same as the old justice

While Sonia Sotomayor's proposed elevation to the US Supreme Court is refreshing for a few reasons, it's unlikely to herald much of a new attitude in copyright cases. Web Pro News' Jason Lee Miller points out what Ms Sotomayor's previous life included:

Those currently making, prosecuting, and interpreting intellectual property laws have a clear historical record of siding with Big Content. Sotomayor’s most notable decision as a judge regarding the digital copyright issue involved freelance writers versus Big Content publishers like the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Newsday. Freelance writers were peeved that their work, which was contracted for one-time print publishing, was being stored in online databases for use on publication websites.

Sotomayor sided with Big Content by interpreting the law in their favor. An appeals court would later overturn her decision, saying that the publications needed to negotiate for digital rights. The appellate decision was upheld by the Supreme Court. It might be unfair to say Sotomayor would bring a pro-Big Content viewpoint to the Supreme Court based on her anti-counterfeit work for Fendi, but her judicial history might suggest otherwise.

It's another sign that, while Obama and his campaign might have embraced the power of the internet to challenge the status quo, now he's in The White House, he's much more interested in shoring up that quo.

Rock sick list: Lissy Trullie

Lissy Trullie's Ian Fenger has been sent to a European hospital; the band have had to pull tonight's Urban Outfitters gig in London; the rest of their gigs this week hang in the balance.

This is what you'll be missing:

Songwriterobit: Kenny Rankin

Lung cancer has claimed the life of Kenny Rankin, songwriter and musician.

Signing to Decca records while still a teenager, Rankin's solo work (peaking on 1976's The Kenny Rankin Album) was perhaps outshone by his contributions to other's work. His guitar is on Bringing It All Back Home; his backing vocals are on the Beatles' Blackbird. He wrote the standards Peaceful, Haven't We Met and In The Name Of Love.

Having spent much of the 1980s concentrating on live music, Rankin returned to the recording studio for the mid-90s albums Professional Dreamer and Here In My Heart.

Kenny Rankin, who was 69, is survived by three children.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - sheet music

Fades In Slowly offers a brief history of sheet music:

The Comprehension of, for example, piano sheet music requires an extraordinary form of literacy: the ability to read musical notation. I'm in awe of anyone who can do this. On the other hand, the capability to read or write music is not a prerequisite to compose music. In fact, many composers, take Captain Beefheart and Mark Edward Smith as two prime examples, have been capable of producing music without the capacity themselves to interpret or inscribe in musical notation, so long as an amanuensis of some sort is available.

Car Button Cloth - but no cars

Given the scale of General Motors problems at the moment, being sued by Evan Dando probably feels like light relief.

Dando's dander is up over what he claims is unauthorised use of It's A Shame About Ray in a Chevrolet and Buick campaign:

Dando is seeking damages and a portion of profits from the 2008 TV campaign for Chevrolet and Buick models.

Evan, sweetness, given that GM is losing billions of dollars every month, you might want to think twice about demanding you get to share in the "profits".

Downloadable: Pet Ghost Project

If you like smartened-up lo-fi, you'll like the Pet Ghost Project. Oh, you will. Don't take our word for it, as they're giving away an album's worth of stuff for free, and if you want to be convinced before you make space on your hard drive, try They Built A City In My Country Mind mp3 first.

Polka News Network: Mad as Krall, and not taking it any more

The Grammy Committee's decision to deem polka a non-music enrages commentator Ken Krall:

Many stations do provide a polka show during a little-listened-to time slot, like Sunday morning. Oddly enough, the shows always draws listeners. I've had professional types come up to me in hushed tones to say "I listen to the polka show,” as in "don't tell anybody." I felt a little like a priest in the confessional, but it still is nice to have someone say they listen.

A guy wrote me an email awhile ago saying there's no polka music on the radio in Milwaukee. Milwaukee! I really believe that if some station in that market could bust out of the cookie-cutter radio thinking you would find an audience, and they would be surprised. And radio dudes, with audience comes advertising. It might not be in the younger demo, but do the kids even have the money these days?

Krall's suggestion? That polka fans set up their own awards ceremony.

They should. On the same night as the Grammys. I know which I'd choose. (Clue: not the one where Eminem collaborating with Jamie Cullum would be seen as cutting-edge.)

Gordon in the morning: Simon in the night

You know the trouble with rich men? It's not just that they have bad ideas, it's that they have the money to put those bad ideas into practice. So, having ruined Saturday night television, now Simon Cowell wants to ruin Saturday Night Fever:

The millionaire music boss knows a great investment when he sees one.

And by the sound of his plans for the remake he's landed yet another licence to print money.

He has been in negotiations for weeks with legendary film producer ROBERT STIGWOOD, who owns the rights to the screenplay.

I'm confused, Gordon: has he "landed" it, or is he in "negotiations" for it?

Still, given that this is a bad and pointless idea, does Cowell have any way of making it worse?
I've been given a nod that High School Musical star ZAC EFRON is in line for the lead role.

And hip-hop uber producer TIMBALAND is in the frame to rework one of the most famous movie soundtracks of all time - an album that topped the US charts for a massive 24 weeks.

This, I suspect, is little more than Gordon pulling names out the air, or his arse, or his arse up in the air.

Smart is delicately sitting on the fence:
I'm in two minds about this film.

I have no doubt it would be huge if Cowell landed Efron.

But the BEE GEES soundtrack should never be tampered with.

So, using an actor made out of Philadelphia cheese to lead the movie is fine, but don't mess with the brothers Gibb.
Also, the film might not work for a young audience.

It is pretty bleak in some places, with some incredibly dark scenes.

What is this supposed to mean, Gordon? Do you think only people in their forties saw it in 1977? You know people who went to the movies thirty years ago were thirty years younger back then? And while the likes of you and Heat and Cowell might have done a good job of rendering people's ability to engage emotionally with characters in pain as little more than going "aaah", there are still a few young people who can cope with genuine drama.

Anyway, can you wind this up on a gratuitous insult, Gordo?
I have no doubt Simon - who was on this year's rich list with a £120million fortune - will want to involve artists signed to his Syco label.

LEONA LEWIS or ALEXANDRA BURKE might just about get away with Stayin' Alive.

Or he could always ask SUSAN BOYLE to do More Than A Woman.

Well done.

Elsewhere, Mel B is offering some sex tips:
"My hubby and I have a great time together - I'm not sure if it's because we're the same age, but we both have very high libidos."

"I often have a candle-lit bath first and listen to some soothing music. Next, put on some gorgeous lingerie - I've got a big collection that's just for the bedroom.

"Make sure there are no distractions, then go for it!"

... trying, all the time, to clear the image of Mel B and her "hubby" and their libidos from your mind. Trying, trying, trying.

The more astute amongst you might have spotted that Mel B's sex advice is actually "have a bath, put on some nice pants, and then have sex."

Monday, June 08, 2009

Noel bashes the NME, not The Enemy

Given their habit of fawning over his band at a time when they've become little more than a nostalgic joke, you'd have thought that Noel Gallagher would see the NME as a branch of his marketing team.

Not so:

"If I personally see any weasel from the NME at these gigs (which is highly unlikely) they'll be getting escorted off site. In fact, you could do me a favour here. If you see an NME journalist at any of the gigs (and let's face it, they're pretty easy to spot; they don't stray far from hospitality, wear God-awful clothes - particularly the shoes - got dreadful hair and that kind of 'mug me' look about them), give 'em a clip round the ear-hole from me and tell 'em to behave."

Noel Gallagher having a laugh at someone's godawful clothes and dreadful hair, with his tousled Playmobil goes camping style?

But, you'll be wondering, what could have irked Gallagher so much?

Apparently, he's upset that the paper has been trying to create friction between Oasis and The Enemy:
"There's been an attempt by the NME to try and start some juvenile, pathetic feud between the bands in the run-up to these gigs. Can I assure everyone that there is not and never will be anything between the working classes and its heroes."

I don't know whether Gallagher is trying to claim that he is the working class, or if he's the hero of the working classes, or, indeed, which of those claims would be more absurd.

Still, it's good to see that Gallagher isn't the sort to let himself be drawn in to some sort of pointless, empty feud with a band turning out music for a similar sort of audience. That really isn't the Oasis way, is it? Saddle up your horse, Noel...
horse... horsey...
Lovely horse... look at the lovely horse.

Gordon in the morning: All the fun of the unfair

While, undoubtedly, Michael Jackson will have requested some home comforts at the house he's rented to stay in when he's busy canceling his O2 dates, is Gordon Smart sure about this?

The King Of Pop has ordered the promoters behind his record-breaking 50-night residency in London to turn his new UK abode into a replica of his former residence.

Jacko, who is battling skin cancer, has told firm AEG he wants a bowling alley built in the historic Foxbury Manor in Chislehurst, Kent, and a fully-functioning funfair installed in the grounds.

Skittles, maybe. But a full funfair?

Is anyone else imagining a call to the Bizarre desk that went like this:

Gordon: Hello?
Source: Hi, I've got some news about the crazy demands Jacko's making...
Gordon: Really?
Source: Yeah, he wants a bowling lane in the manor
Gordon: Oh.
Source: A full-size one.
Gordon: Oh.
Source: Erm... and... um, dodgems. He wants dodgems.
Gordon: Just dodgems?
Source: No... not just dodgems. Candy floss. And a big dipper.
Gordon: Ah... now this is sounding more interesting...
Source: A full funfair. He wants a full funfair.
Gordon: Brilliant. Where shall I send the cheque?
Source: Can you make sure you mention the bowling? That bit is true...

Gordon, of course, remembers Neverland:
But as debts mounted while he defended himself from child abuse allegations, he was forced to sell up four years ago.

Didn't the debts mount up as he spent more money than he had, regardless of child abuse allegations?

Meanwhile, Gordon is still excited about his showbiz chums Spandau and their big comeback:
SPANDAU BALLET’s album sales have soared 415 per cent since they announced their comeback tour.

TONY HADLEY’s group beat the 360 per cent boost for NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK when they returned last year.

Julian Monaghan, of, said: “Comebacks can have a hugely positive effect.”

What's missing from this is any indication of how many records we're actually talking about. What is 415% of hardly anything at all?

Venuewatch: Dirty Water Club winds up

After a hell of a run, The Dirty Water Club (based at The Boston Arms in London) is winding itself up. There's one last night, this Friday, which will feature The Priscillas, Lost Souls, Splinters and The November Fire.

The record label will continue; and there are plans for vague, ad hoc nights under the Dirty Water banner in the future. But the regular night? Catch it before it becomes history.

Enjoy Leisure at Stamner Park

Over the next hill from where I grew up, Willkommen Records are throwing a mini-festival. That'd be in Stamner Park, Brighton on July 5th; bands lined up include The Leisure Society, Peggy Sue (sans Pirates) and Alessi's Ark. Tickets are twelve quid.

Unfolding magazines: New Face?

Having put the pillow over its Face five years ago, Bauer (EMAP as was) is apparently thinking about some half-arsed revival of the title.

Yes, nothing says "cutting-edge" like a company resurrecting a brand that you'd deemed to be irrelevant half a decade ago.

Some people are excited at what is still just a rumour:

"The Face used to be the benchmark of cool in the days before the internet," says Rana Reeves, the founder of John Doe, PlayStation's PR agency. "If you could get your client in there, they had instant credibility. These days, youth culture is all online and all immediate. The Face is still a huge brand name, even globally, so it could become an authoritative site on what's cool in the UK."

Is it really a huge brand name? Especially globally? And should we listen to someone who uses the phrase "what's cool in the UK" in the year 2009?

People who used to work for the Face are less keen:
"The problem is there is nobody at Bauer who could steer that brand correctly - certainly not Noguera," says one former Face staffer. "Does anyone there know the difference between bassline and UK funky, or realise that the Enemy and Gallows are barely the tip of the iceberg for politicised rock bands? Like fuck do they."

The web has not led to a dilution of youth subcultures. He adds: "People still want to go out and associate with their own 'tribes' at the weekend, and music and fashion still represent that. But no Bauer magazine is ever going to be able to understand the way that this works."

You would think that, if Bauer did have confidence in their ability to produce an equivalent to The Face, they wouldn't be reviving an old title.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Polka News Network: King and queen crowned

Flying in the face of the Grammy committee's claims that polka isn't relevant, No Rock brings you the Polka News Network, stuffed with polka-hot news.

First up, Eddie's Polka Weekend have named their Polka King and Polka Queen:

Loretta Chmura, Nanticoke, and Walt Weidman, New Jersey, were crowned 2008 Eddie’s Polka Weekend Polka Queen and King at a recent polka weekend at the Villa Roma, Callicoon, N.Y

You've got to love the Times Leader's precise "recent polka weekend" reporting there.

We'll have more polka stories as they come in.

Grammys 2010: Polka poked

Oh, no. Having been the standard, lazy, No Rock Grammy joke-butt for, ooh, like, ever, they've decided to drop the polka category from the awards.

Happy Louie is, well, unhappy:

"I feel that the academy's decision to remove the polka category from their competition is discriminatory against a music genre that has been part of the American culture for more than a hundred years," he said in an e-mail. "Polka music has entertained hundreds of thousands of people over this period of time in dance halls all across the country.

"It has brought an enormous amount of joy and happiness to many families and will continue to do so. To say polka music is not relevant is just incorrect."

Louie doesn't seem to have considered that, if polka entertained "hundreds of thousands" of people in a period "more than a hundred year" that it really only managed to entertain thousands in any given year, which doesn't really suggest much general relevance.

Eminem reveals "it was all a joke"

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the intricately-planned and rehearsed stunt featuring Candid Camera's Sacha Baron Cohen and Eminem was an intricately-planned and rehearsed stunt:

“Sacha [Baron Cohen] called me when we were in Europe and he had an idea to do something outrageous at the Movie Awards. I’m a big fan of his work so I agreed to get involved with the gag,” [Eminem] told “I’m thrilled that we pulled this off better than we rehearsed it. It had so many people going ‘nuts,’ so to speak. Everyone was blowing me up about it.”

Whoever would have thought that an elaborate and potentially dangerous piece of work like that would have had to have everyone involved in on it, eh?

Even the People can't be arsed about Mel B story

A story about Mel B not being very good in the Sunday People is, admittedly, about as compelling as three day old guacamole, but even so... did nobody even glance at the copy the paper stuck up on its website?

Unlucky Mel B's 2 jobs have become 1 big P45, I hear. And it seems the reason is Vegas simply cannot afford her.

The ex-Spice Girl's decision to move to the States had seemed liked a wise disappointed when Mum-in striptease six nights She with BELAFONTE, But enough Planet The who her career choice after she landed a lead role in burlesque-themed musical Peepshow.

Mel was also about to launch her own range of clothing - just like former bandmate VICTORIA BECKHAM.


But in a devastating setback, the ago thrown nightclub former Scary Spice has been told her 12-weePeepshow contract in Vegas will not be renewed when it ends later this month. The star, 34, faced a second blow "been when her Catty Couture label was shelved after shops said they did not concerned, want to stock the threads.

A source close to Mel revealed: "She is gutted, she loved doing the show. Mel was pinning her hopes on it, believing it would help her crack America. She also hoped the clothing range would put her up there with Victoria so that has really hetoo. She was furious she heard the news."

of-two Mel has been performing extravaganza Peepshow a week since April.

hoped to clinch another contract film producer hubby STEPHEN 33, leading negotiations.

show insiders tell me there is not money to keep her at the plush Hollywood Resort and Casino.

bad news clearly riled Stephen, she married two years ago after split from EDDIE MURPHY.


He was in such a strop a few nights that he managed to get himself out of the exclusive Prive by bouncers. A source close to Mel confirmed: Mel's contract for Peepshow has not renewed.

"As far as her clothing line is she did launch it to a number of buyers in America earlier this year.

"But it has not developed as quickly as Mel would have wanted it to.

"She is still working on it and things are in the pipeline although it has not gone into production."

One big (sic), please.

Downloadable: Saint Etienne

For some reason, Amazon are offering Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Saint Etienne as a free mp3 download.

Boyle focuses on the money

Who has Susan Boyle put in charge of what's left of her career?

Britain’s Got Talent runner-up Susan and her family have appointed legendary showbiz accountant Ossie Kilkenny to mastermind her career and capitalise on her massive fame.

Yes, Ossie - described by the Sunday Mirror as "the financial wizard who turned U2 into multi-millionaires" - is going to manage Boyle.

Did Ossie make U2 multi-millionaires, though? There was some suggestion that he cost the band money during the spat between U2 manager Paul McGuinness, the man who manages U2 and Kilkenny which saw him eased out of his role. Mind you, that's not surprising - who would mix Guinness and Kilkenny?

Still, it's an interesting indication of what really matters to Boyle that she's chosen someone whose expertise is in money rather than music to guide her through the coming months.

Woot-ton: It takes a village

Despite the terribly thin nature of Dan Wootton's Celeb XS, it's now apparently got two other chaps helping Dan fill it out. Simon Freeman and Simon 'presumably not the Simon Ward' Ward are helping Dan come up with stuff like this, on Victoria Beckham's acting aspirations:

She's clearly a Shakespeare fan if the name of her six-year-old son Romeo is anything to go by.

Ye-e-es. I'm not sure that 'the name of a child' is going to be much of an indication that she's going to be hoping for a crack at The Tempest.

Still, Dan and Simon and Simon have excelled themselves at getting their "art guys" to mock up how Beckham might look at acting:

Rupert Murdoch desperately wants to put quality like this behind a paywall, you know.

This week just gone

The most popular May posts were:

1. Liveblog: Eurovision
2. RIP: Donald Ean Evans
3. Tescos bands the Manics, happy to stock bloody slaughter
4. 6Music can't cope with George Lamb complaints
5. Gordon Smart gives N-Dubz swine flu
6. Tornado at Peak District festival
7. Sony Radio awards - winners
8. ILX vanishes from web
9. Dave Gahan's cancerous tumour
10. Amy Winehouse wins photo ban

These have been the suggested interesting releases for the last few weeks:

Au Revoir Simone - Still Night Still Light

download Still Night Still Light

Jason Lyttle - Yours Truly, The Commuter

download Yours Truly

My Latest Novel - Deaths And Entrances

download Deaths And Entrances

Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers

download Journal For Plague Lovers

Steve Earle - Townes

Tori Amos - Abnormally Attracted To Sin

download Abnormally Attracted To Sin

Lightning Seeds - Four Winds

download Four Winds

Monoliths And Dimensions - Sunn O)))

download Monoliths And Dimensions

The Field - Yesterday And Today