Friday, July 03, 2009

Brian May upset by something or other to do with Michael Jackson

I'm not entirely clear why Brian May has got such a hump on by the Jackson-Mercury tracks popping up on the web:

May revealed the existence of the songs earlier this week (begs29Jun09), saying, “He (Jackson) used to come and see us when we were on tour in the States. He and Freddie became close friends, close enough to record a couple of tracks together at Michael’s house, tracks which have never seen the light of day.”

But the rocker has been left incensed after two tunes by the pair, State Of Shock and There Must Be More To Life Than This, ended up on video sharing website YouTube.com.
He fumes, "The music thieves at work as usual."

I love the way ContactMusic explain what YouTube is, just in case you don't know.

Is May's hump as "music thieves" (who has actually stolen anything?) down to that now, when he goes "ha ha, there was a secret session no common folk have ever heard" people will go "actually, yeah, we have."


Soulja Boy: He's the rap Courtney Love

Soulja Boy has crashed onto his Twitter account in order to flirt with the idea that he might give up rapping:

The say Soulja Boy u changed. Soulja Boy u hollywood I aint ask for this SHIT!!!!!! I want to go back to how it was before i was signed

Give it eighteen months, chuckles. Give it eighteen months.

Soulja Boy later came to his senses (by which, I suspect, we mean "his manager intervened") and the long stream of pained tweets vanished, to be replaced with some sort of bot which goes "pow" at you if you follow him. For no good reason.


Gordon in the morning: Boosting brand Beckham

Ah, the decline of the brand, as Mr and Mrs Beckham are forced to do a crossover picture of themselves in their pants in the hope that the two of them will still have some novelty value.

Gordon Smart tries to make it seem exciting:

In one shot David - wearing just his Armani pants - lies under his wife as she seductively rests her hand on his bare chest.

But even Gordon knows that the photos are sexy only if you're turned on by the idea of two dead dollies lying on top of one another.

Even the link from the front of Bizarre tries to stifle a yawn:
Couple get their kit off AGAIN

Although, oddly, it's still Gordon's main story.


Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - George Lamb

Swineshead at Watch With Mothers observes as George Lamb attempts to make the leap from radio to making TV documentaries. Lamb stood between the cameras and the horizon for the clumsily titled Can I Get High Legally?:

He meets a 19 year old clubber called Tom and buys some ‘legals’ from a handful of shops in Camden. He then, sitting in a trendy Camden bar with Tom, expresses amazement that they were so easy to purchase. ‘It’s as simple as buying a bag of sweets’ he gasps, despite the fact that they’re called ‘legal highs’.

The clue, Mr Lamb, is in the fucking title.

But nobody in the shops wants to talk to the camera. Possibly because they hadn’t been asked in advance. Undeterred and hell-bent on fulfilling his contract lest he doesn’t get paid, Lamb logs on and checks a number of websites that sell the Legals. Quelle surprise! They’re proper websites! Lamb seems amazed that there are functioning areas of the internet selling this stuff - despite the fact that they’re FUCKING LEGAL!


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Taxpayers Alliance reckon that you could do Glastonbury with three blokes and a steadicam

There's been some rumbling that the BBC somehow sent too many people to cover Glastonbury, because, well, 400 people sounds like a large number of people, doesn't it?

The Telegraph had fun with the story, but it seems to have first surfaced in the Standard last Friday when someone called Ben Bailey pretended that he didn't work in the media, and thus couldn't be expected to understand how many people you'd need to feed three separate TV networks, press red, and various TV channels large numbers of hours of coverage from a number of stages in a site the size of a small town.

Indeed, rather than go "they're taking 400 people for audio, video, production, lighting, rigging, running, liaison, production, generating power, playing out, transmission, editorial oversight on a massively complicated live event - wow, what a bloody brilliant feat of organisation" he got someone from the Taxpayer's Alliance to think about the number.

The Taxpayer's Alliance - whose only media experience seems to be from turning up in parts of it with space to fill - well, the reckon that 400 seems a lot, right:

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "I think the number of staff sent to Glastonbury does smack of it being more of a junket for BBC staff and presenters rather than a serious exercise. There's no way they would need 400 people to record and broadcast an event like Glastonbury.

"I'm afraid we've seen it in the past. At the Olympics there were more BBC staff than British athletes.

"We are seeing a trend here of BBC over-manning. When people combine that with the revelations of expenses last week, it shows the BBC is ready for some cuts."

"There's no way they would need 400 people" - how many, then, Matthew? Six? Two? Thirteen? Forty-seventy-twelve? If those 400 people were there on a junket, who was putting out the hours of broadcasting? Did Elliott even realise the event was being broadcast live?

Bailey decides to chip in, even if it risks making him look a bit of an idiot:
The broadcasts from the festival included Gabby Logan's show on BBC Radio 5 Live - a station known for its focus on news and sport rather than music.

This, presumably, in much the same way that the Standard is known for the desperate men stood outside tube stations trying to give the bloody things away at ten at night rather than the quality of its reporting.

Bailey, presumably, doesn't think that a major cultural event magicking the biggest town in the South West aside from Bristol from thin air isn't a news story; nor, indeed, can he ever have heard Five Live - a station whose news remit includes entertainment stories and whose film reviews are its most popular podcast.

James P - to whom thanks for the story - reckons there might be a need for more BBC staff:
If anything they should've employed more people, specifically someone to sit next to Jo Whiley in the six months before and after the event, poking her in the ribs and saying "Shhh - It's not *that* interesting" every tenth Glastonbury mention.

Personally, I think the Taxpayer's Alliance is overstaffed. They surely don't need any people at all to do what they do; all you need is a bran tub and a box of cut-up Daily Mail editorials and journalists could assemble their responses on the TA's behalf.


U2 waving into space

More coverage of the start of the U2 tour, with the Guardian reading the Spanish press, who seem bedazzled by Bono's wiles:

Spanish reviewers were overwhelmed by the "rock power" display and struggled desperately to interpret the message in a show that featured astronauts, a video of Desmond Tutu, football, and, significantly, a Michael Jackson tribute, with Bono dedicating Angel of Harlem to the King of Pop, before playing Man In the Mirror and Don't Stop Till You Get Enough.

"This is rock designed to move both mountains and consciousnesses," concluded El Periódico newspaper.

The conversation between Bono and the space station commander was perhaps the most bizarre element of the evening. "Commander, can you see Barcelona?" Bono asked the man floating near the microphone. "Right now, the most beautiful sight in our cosmos is the blue planet earth," came the answer.

"We must look very insignificant from up there," noted the critic for El País newspaper.

It's unclear if he means from space, or from whatever ego-cloud Bono is sitting on.

Trouble is, with all this guff - designed to showcase how powerful Bono is and what his connections can do - they seem to overlooked one key aspect of a gig: being any good at music:
Most disappointing for El Pais readers was Bono fluffing two classics, One and With or Without You.

"The truth is that it was disappointing, especially compared to previous tours, full of mistakes and bad songs (from the last album)," said Alex, a reader-reviewer for El País. "To say that Bono wrecked two major songs like One and With or Without You tells you more than enough."

But who cares, eh? Look! Look! It's a spaceman on a telephone!

[Thanks to James M for the story]


BBC News defends Jackson coverage

As with any major news story, there are questions over how much coverage the news organisations should give to it, and there have been grumblings that the BBC did too much about Michael Jackson's death.

Mary Hockaday has blogged a response on the BBC Editor's site:

Some stories divide audiences, and clearly there are those who aren't interested in Michael Jackson. But we have to try to serve a whole range of readers, listeners and viewers - and undoubtedly a great many of you were extremely interested.

The audiences to our main television bulletins were a little higher than average for a Friday evening and the statistics for our online content broke records: more than 8.2m global unique users, the second highest since Obama's election. The BBC News mobile site had its biggest-ever figures on Friday.

Hockaday, though, seems to be answering a different charge - should the BBC have covered the story at all - to the one she sets out to deal with - should the BBC have done as much.

I doubt if there's anyone who would argue that Jackson's death should not have been on the news, and very few would be able to suggest that the story shouldn't have been a lead. And, unquestionably, there was a desire to know from the public.

The question is if the 'desire to know' was in balance with the 'amount to tell' - given that BBC News Channel astons were still trying to portray 'Jackson dead' as breaking news during elevenses on Friday, it might be fair to suggest that there was, by then, a shortage of actual information to impart might mean a slightly less steely gaze should have been fixed on the expired man.


EMI reject new PRS streaming rate

Uh-oh - more trouble as the music industry tries to pretend that infinite supply won't drive down prices. EMI publishing have refused to accept the hard-won new PRS rate for online streaming, and so henceforward will opt out of having PRS collect their royalty earnings for them.

"We are not currently satisfied that the new rates - in particular the minima - proposed by PRS for Music for streaming services are appropriate", said EMI Music Publishing's general counsel for Europe Antony Bebawi.

Quite how EMI hopes to get any value from collecting its own royalties isn't clear - even at the old rate of 0.22p a stream, without the bulk processing power of a central clearing house it's arguable that EMI will wind up with even less than at the new PRS minimum rate of 0.085p by the time they've added on their administration costs.

It's also absurd because EMI are behaving as if the PRS organisation are the sort to have accepted a crappy deal. Given that at the start of negotiations the PRS were every bit as gung-ho and unrealistic as EMI are being now, you might think that someone might have worked out that 0.085p is all there is on the table.


Jammie Thomas fights on

Presumably she's aware that she's not going to get the guilty verdict changed, but Jammie Thomas Rasset is going to appeal the judgement against her in the recent RIAA court case. The focus is going to be on the size of the damages.

The RIAA is making 'well, if you wish...' noises:

"The defendant can of course exercise her legal rights," said Jonathan Lamy, an RIAA spokesman. "But what's increasingly clear, now more than ever, is that she is the one responsible for needlessly prolonging this case and refusing to accept any responsibility for the illegal activity that two juries decisively found her liable for. From day one, we've been fair and reasonable in exercising our rights and attempting to resolve this case."

... of course, the last thing the RIAA wants is the punitive damages being declared unconstitutional; that could unpick what remains of their legal attacks on their customers. If they could only expect reasonable damages, the legal threat would become a lot less scary.


One of the Jonas Brothers engaged, it says here

Haircut Jonas, the most eyebrowed of The Jonas Brothers, has arranged to a special souvenir edition of Us Weekly.

Haircut told reporters "It's going to be hard deciding if my brother SlightlyWacky Jonas or my other brother Booklearning Jonas will get to stand on my left in the photos. I figure the one who doesn't stand on my left could stand on the other side... the... uh... unleft side."

Haircut has been dating his fiancee since a Disney executive told him "we want to stop those 'Haircut is gay' rumours before they start".

It's hoped that Haircut Jonas' godfather, restaurateur Chuck E. Chesse, will be present at the ceremony.


Gordon in the morning: A beautiful day

You know what Gordon loves? Writing lots and lots and lots about Michael Jackson?

You know what else Gordon loves? Fawning over Bono.

With the first night of U2's world tour, Gordon gets to do both:

And they used the occasion to pay a surprise tribute to King Of Pop MICHAEL JACKSON.

Singer Bono dedicated Angel Of Harlem, originally written about BILLIE HOLIDAY, to Jacko, saying: "We met Michael Jackson many times over the years and he was an unspeakable talent."

Personally, I'd have tried to come up with a form of words which didn't leave it open to the interpretation that I thought he was unspeakably bad, but I guess it's the thought that counts.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fall Out Boy need space

I know, you've been worried - all those rumours Fall Out Boy were about to split. It's disturbing. What if you had a product you needed to sell to preteen boys? How would you launch it without a Fall Out Boy video to place your goods into?

Relax, though, they're not splitting up:

"I think I fueled that [rumor] accidentally," Wentz said. "I think that when someone asked me if we were working on any new Fall Out Boy songs, I said, 'No, not right now.'

Wentz said doesn't think that there's an endless demand for FOB. "I don't know that the world has to be all Fall Out Boy, all the time. When I see stuff like that with other bands, it sort of drives me crazy."

Instead, the band is taking the time "to breathe" between albums, though they continue to tour together and work on other projects.

Ah, yes. Leave a space between albums. Relese them too closely together, and people might start to notice they're all much of a muchness.


US turn off TV

TV Smith was meant to be playing the US with Jay Reatard from tonight. But US immgration gas thwarted him - and not because they don't want an old punk in their nation; it's just a paperwork snafu, he says:

I'm sorry to have to report that due to problems with US immigration I'm unable to come over for the tour with Jay Reatard due to start today. Despite having my visa approved, delays at the US embassy in London mean it couldn't be ratified in time. I've had quite a lot of feedback from people looking forward to seeing me, so I'm bitterly disappointed to miss the gigs in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and my first ever Canadian gigs in Toronto and Montreal. I hope to come back soon and play for you. The good new is, the way things are looking I'll be seeing the embassy next week and hope to rejoin the tour in Brooklyn on the 2nd July. Keep your fingers crossed...!
Best wishes,
TV

Not quite sure why a US paperwork problem is keeping him out of the Canadian dates, mind.


We name the spam bands: The Used

Blimey, it's been a while since this category was opened up. And, you know, one over-excited irrelevant posting about how the great new The Used single was great, and new, and oh, here's the URL for it - one, we'd overlook. But two comment-spams pushing the same band? That's just taking the piss.


MTV has a new look for the few people still looking

There's been an overhaul done of the MTV onscreen look, which Creative Review covers extensively.

This caught my eye, though:

We use the word refresh rather than rebrand as the MTV logo is still recognisable - the new logo (above) is, in fact, the old logo - but in MTV's new look, the logo remains black on a white ground - no colour, pattern or texture will ever adorn it - which is a change from MTV of old where the idents were based on the logo being played around with.

"Now the logo is sacred," says Roberto Bagatti, Vice President of Creative for MTV Networks International and Creative Director of MTV's World Design Studio in Milan, who oversaw the project.

This is probably more significant than even Bagatti realises. The days when the MTV logo might suddenly pulse, or turn into a plasticine replica of itself, or start writhing with snakes were days when MTV was surprising, and fresh, and experimented.

Now, it's got a fixed logo. Nobody is allowed to play with it. As visual refreshes go, has there ever been one that so succinctly summed up what's wrong with a channel?


Thinking thins over

According to Sky News, the world has spoken of little lately, save for Courtney Love's weight:

Courtney Love's weight loss has recently provoked headlines.

Recent pics of the gaunt star shocked fans the world over.

Betserai Gonorashe, chair of the Zimbabwean chapter of the Courtney Love fanclub, confirms that the shock was felt "the world over". "Yes, it's true - we were shocked. It might be thought that the only real reaction to the photos was felt in newspaper and magazine offices in London and New York, and that the reaction was 'oh, good, that's the pages where we hector women about being totally the wrong weight filled for this week, then', but no. Like our sister chapters in Santiago, Manilla and Chepstow. They were equally shocked. The guys in Vladivostok said they saw it coming, but they're full of it."

Anyway, Courtney has now joined in:
Now Courtney herself has spoken out about her weight.

Has she "spoken out"? Or has she merely spoken about it?
"I know I've got too skinny.

"I know those pictures of me are going everywhere. I know I need to sort it out."

It turns that her doctor has suggested she's malnourished - I'm expecting a blog post accusing Ryan Adams of stealing her yoghurts from the fridge by sundown.


Downloadable: Eagle And Talon

To celebrate Canada Day - good morning, Canadians - Eagle And Talon are offering a free download of their new album. There's also an opportunity to pay what you feel is right.


Wearing it well

A PR email drifts gently through the ether offering a chance to:

... become part of rock history!

How, though? How?

Tell me, for I must know:
[The company] celebrates Debbie Harry's birthday and offers 10% off all her T-shirts throughout the first two weeks of July. The talented and beautiful Debbie Harry celebrates her birthday today and [the company] is the perfect way to become part of rock history!

So... I'm going to become part of rock history, am I? By wearing a tshirt?

I'm wearing denim jeans this morning, by which reckoning I'm actually French.


Gordon in the morning: Guys and roles

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World:

I’m your guy for Guys, Guy

Gordon announces that Justin Timberlake is going to star in a movie film:
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE has given GUY RITCHIE his word that he will star in one of the Lock Stock director’s next big film projects.

The pair shook hands over a whisky at the Punch Bowl pub in Mayfair on Monday night after discussing the blockbusters Guy has on the horizon.

The idea of Guy Ritchie having a blockbuster on the horizon is one of those concepts - like Gordon Brown looking forward to a landslide election victory - that can only exist if there really are parallel universes. But do carry on, Gordon - what role is Justin being lined up for?
The list includes a big-screen version of musical Guys And Dolls which would suit Justin perfectly as well as a huge remake of the classic war film Wild Geese.

So it's just a case he's going to be in Guys and Dolls. It could just as easily be I'm your guy for Geese, guys, then?

Incidentally: Guys and Dolls and Wild Geese? Ritchie really doesn't have an original thought left, does he? Has he now taken to careering round Blockbuster grabbing DVDs at random to come up with his next projects? Is there a chance he's pitching a remake of Vicky Entwistle's WOW workout?

Gordon - who is perhaps the last person in the world who is interested in Ritchie's work - is throbbing with excitement:
I have no doubt big studios like Warner Bros, who work closely with Guy, would be more than happy to sign a fat cheque for Justin’s services.

Oh, yes. Making a film nobody wants to see even more expensive. Who could turn down such a compelling offer?
He would be a nailed-on box office hit if he had the chance.

You're nailing what on the where, Gordon?

It turns out that Gordon is an equally big fan of Justin's movie work. He was in Alpha Dog, you know. And... well, surely he's done something else, hasn't he, Gordon?
his comedy role as Jacques “Le Coq” Grande in Love Guru was pretty impressive too.

Meanwhile, Gordon gets Tim Nixon to write up the Madonna nudes, with the pair excited that "we;ve got the snaps."

Yes, Gordon. The Sun has run these before, though, hasn't it? So long ago, it was when I was doing a paper round. I know Smart often runs stories that are out of date - but surely he's never repeated 25 year old stuff before, has he?


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I can't believe it's what he wanted

Hey, you know what: when the Iowa State Fair are done with its butter statue tribute to Michael Jackson, they could let AEG have it. After all, if people really think punters might be happy with Randy, Tito and a projection of the late Michael, surely a giant dairy effigy would convince the last few stragglers that they're getting their money's worth?


Sugar Ray's thesingerfromSugarRay offers some advice to Obama

CNN's iReport finds space for Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath to offer some advice to Barack Obama on, erm, stopping smoking - although, frankly, the very thought of getting advice from Sugar Ray about anything is enough to make strong men think about taking up heroin.

McGrath offers to quit alcohol if Barack gives up smoking. Oh, yes, because if he won't do it for his health, or his kids - or to avoid the shame of having to stand outside the next G8 meeting in a converted bus shelter to grab a puff - surely the thought of taking a challenge from the singerfromSugarRay out of Sugar Ray will be the clinching reason?


Folding magazines: Vibe

It's been struggling for a while, but now the struggle is at an end: Vibe magazine is closing with immediate effect:

In a memo to staff members announcing the closure, Steve Aaron, chief of the Vibe Media Group, wrote that for months, the company tried in vain to either find new investors or “to restructure the huge debt on our small company.”

“The print advertising collapse hit Vibe hard, especially as key ad categories like automotive and fashion, which represented the bulk of our top 10 advertisers, have stopped advertising or gone out of business,” he wrote.

The most frustrating thing for the magazine is that its circulation wasn't too bad for the time; it's just there wasn't anything to sell to them.


Pirate Bay flogs itself off

The music industry has finally had its victory over Pirate Bay - its owners have concluded its value is in the brand and not the service, and flogged it all off to a software company:

Following the completion of the acquisitions, GGF intends to launch new business models that allow compensation to the content providers and copyright owners. The responsibility for, and operation of the site will be taken over by GGF in connection with closing of the transaction, which is scheduled for August 2009.

"We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site" said Hans Pandeya, CEO GGF.

"The Pirate Bay is a site that is among the top 100 most visited Internet sites in the world. However, in order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary. Content creators and providers need to control their content and get paid for it. File sharers' need faster downloads and better quality" continues Hans Pandeya.

Boing Boing's thoughts on this are pretty much what ours were when we heard about the deal - isn't this the selfsame idea that drove the sale of the Napster brand? And how did that turn out, exactly?

Brokep has also issued a statement:
TPB is being sold for a great bit underneath it's value if the money would be the interesting part. It's not. The interesting thing is that the right people with the right attitude and possibilities keep running the site. As all of you know, there's not been much news on the site for the past two-three years. It's the same site essentially. On the internets, stuff dies if it doesn't evolve. We don't want that to happen.

We've been working on this project for many years. It's time to invite more people into the project, in a way that is secure and safe for everybody. We need that, or the site will die. And letting TPB die is the last thing that is allowed to happen!

If the new owners will screw around with the site, nobody will keep using it. That's the biggest insurance one can have that the site will be run in the way that we all want to. And - you can now not only share files but shares with people. Everybody can indeed be the owner of The Pirate Bay now. That's awesome and will take the heat of us.

It's not clear from this if the new owners are also buying the liabilities of the site - which could weigh down any plans to go legitimate.

Trouble is, if the current Pirate Bay team think "the new owners won't wreck the site, because they'll lose the visitors", that is at best naive - clearly, the new owners think "people will keep coming because of the name." It's all going to end in bitter tears and painful recriminations, isn't it?

[Thanks to Michael M]


"Or maybe LaToya... and... perhaps Liz Taylor?"

The Daily Telegraph uses the comfort blanket of "it has been reported" to try and distance itself from running this piece of speculation:

Janet Jackson could take her brother Michael Jackson's place for some of the concerts he was due to perform at London's O2 Arena, it has been reported.

The four remaining members of the Jackson 5 may also appear as a backing band if some of the 50 scheduled shows go ahead despite the 50year-old's death.

Promoters are said to be in talks with Michael Jackson's siblings about filling in at some of the concerts, and may also be considering honouring all the dates by projecting a digital image of Jackson onto the stage.

Ah, yes. I paid seventy five quid to see the King Of Pop (TM) and instead see someone projecting a slide of a dead guy onto the stage alongside Randy Jackson. I'm not going to feel cheated, am I?


Jackson: Luckily saved for posterity

Now, here's a funny thing, as Karl T points out:

Fear not, MJ fans! Despite the singer's death, AEG aren't going to deprive you of new product!

Now, obviously, there are reasons to have cameras at a dress rehersal (performer feedback, making of.. documentary, blocking of shots for the actual performance etc etc), but to have captured Jackson's final performance in "multi-camera high-definition video and multi-track surround-sound audio" is fortuitous indeed.

If only the guys involved in formulating digital strategy for the major labels had had that kind of foresight.

It's popularly believed that AEG didn't have an insurance policy for the fifty nights... it turns out that maybe they did after all.


AEG come up with a cunning plan

There's a number of stories swirling about at the moment that the death of Michael Jackson is possibly going to pull AEG down with it - the weekend papers reported that the company had been unable to insure the entire run of O2 gigs as the insurers didn't believe Jacko would manage them all; AEG could be millions in the hole by the time it refunds all the ticket holders.

Its plan B? To try and tell punters to forgo their refunds and see the tickets as 'collector's items' instead:

Company president Randy Phillips said of Jackson: "The world lost a kind soul who just happened to be the greatest entertainer the world has ever known.

"Since he loved his fans in life, it is incumbent upon us to treat them with the same reverence and respect after his death."

The company will not be printing more of the tickets and it anticipates the originals will become collectors' items."

You know... collectors' items. Probably should hold on to them, then, right? We'll keep your... sorry, curate your money, you keep the ticket. Who wouldn't swap £75 for a collector's item, right?


The Kooks don't feel the love

Luke Pritchard thinks he detected some cooling towards The Kooks:

"We've been working solid, been playing a lot in Europe and in the rest of the world because we've done alright in America and in Europe so we have things over there.

"But I think it's a good thing because for us, although I think our second album, 'Konk', I'm really pleased with it, there was definitely a sort of backlash to it or felt like maybe a good time to go away and also leave a bit of space.

"You need to leave a bit of space between you and people and then when we come back, because we've been working on a third record and when we come back we really want it to be fresh."

I'm not sure it was a backlash, Luke. I think people really did dislike your band. But not as a backlash, as nobody was really that keen on you in the first place.


Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - the Zombieconomy

Umair Haque considers the numbers being thrown about right now:

Let's use MJ's tragic death as a mini case-study. $300 million over, for example, 25 years? That's $12 million a year.

I'm deliberately leaving out ads, endorsements, concerts, etc., to focus on the the structural problems in one industry: music.

If the world's biggest pop star only made $12 million a year from his recordings, why would anyone make serious music? Where did the rest of the money go? Why, straight into record labels' pockets. Did they make better music with it? Nope — they made Britney and Lady GaGa. And that's how they killed themselves: by underinvesting in quality, to rake in the take.


[via Hypebot]


Gordon in the morning: Yup, still dead

A sign that your Michael Jackson coverage is starting to wear a little thin: Gordon Smart is running a testimony about how normal MiJa was.

The testimony comes from David Gest, which makes the word "normal" somewhat relative.

He first got to know Michael Jackson when he called at the house to take the Thriller star’s sister, La Toya, on a date.

David said: “It was just puppy love, nothing serious. La Toya had the flu so Michael — who was nearly 12 at the time — asked me to drive him to a memorabilia sale. I had no clue what memorabilia even was at that time.”

Judging by Gest's subsequent story-arc, he was a quick study on that one.

The Sun has one of those moments today where it suddenly forgets its usual honking agenda. Because at the heart of The Sun's worldview is that freeloaders are bad, right? Like the posh squatters:
The freeloaders were chased out of the property in the exclusive Clarges Mews by bailiffs and sniffer dogs.

Yes! Well done the bailiffs, kicking out those freeloaders who don't pay their way. Boo! Freeloaders!

It turns out, though, that if you've pissed away a multi-million fortune on drugs and wigs, then not settling those debts is absolutely fine:
Clan strip digs and foil bailiffs

Hurrah! For the... um, freeloading... boo... the bailiffs now...?


Monday, June 29, 2009

Gamekeeper turns poacher

How seriously those music executives take their jobs fighting against peer-to-peer networks.

About as seriously as they need to to get by, it turns out. Because when it comes down to their own careers, they can cut a deal. Take Jason Herskowitz.

Herskowitz was an executive at Total Music, Sony & Universal's lamentable attempt to create a Hulu For Music, and as such was part of the vanguard against unlicensed listening.

Now that Total Music has gone souffle-in-the-oven, though, Herskowitz has taken a job with LimeWire instead.


Embed and breakfast man: Ash

As if setting up the challenge of a run of 26 records wasn't enough work, Ash have done a limbering-up freebie to get going.

This is Return Of White Rabbit:



An mp3 version can be snaffled for free from the Ash website.


And the best Oscar goes. Just goes.

The people who arrange the Oscars have come up with a startling idea: They're not going to give a prize for the best song any more, unless there's a pretty good song.

This does raise some problems, though, surely - if they do decide to give a prize one year because there is a good song, how do they do a shortlist? Will they have to grudgingly pretend songs that would normally be ignored are good enough to pretend it's a real competition? Or will they just give it the prize without any hoo-hah?

And since the title of the category is comparative, isn't it a bit of a problem to say there's no best song in a particular year? It might be philosophical, but even if every song on every film soundtrack was written by Fred Durst and performed by Coldplay, one of them still has to be better than the others - a best song, even if it's not very good.

Anyway, it's all part of a new drive to try and get rid of a lot of the flab in awards ceremonies. Like axing polka from the Grammys. And look where that got people.

[via @hjasnoch]


BoJo on Jacko: He's a bit like Diana, kind of

Who better to catch the national mood at a time like this than, erm, The Mayor Of London. Although, in his musings on Michael Jackson's death in the Telegraph, Boris is writing in the capacity of his second well-paid job, not the first. Or is writing oped pieces his main job and mayoring a hobby? It's hard to tell.

Anyway, Boris remembers where he was when he heard the news. He was listening to the news:

I happened to be driving late into the night, listening to the radio, on the day Michael Jackson died...

I'm having trouble picturing this - Boris was recreating Two Lane Black Top? Rare, surely, to find him not on his trademark pushbike or taking a taxi, but driving he was. When the news broke:
...and it was obvious that the disc jockey was completely out of touch with his audience.

Given that his audience included Boris, that might be a good thing.
The station repeatedly carried the news that the 50-year- old star was dead, and then the presenter would add that they did not usually play his records because – we gathered – they were much too hip to do so.

It's frustrating that Boris doesn't share the name of the station with us, as then we could at least conclude if that was fair. After all, if it was Radio One, then, yes, Jackson's stuff would fall out of its usual orbit. If it was Radio Two, it would seem unlikely that a presenter would say any such thing.

But I have a feeling Boris might have been listening to a commercial station, as had he been tuned to a BBC network, the Telegraph would gleefully have fallen upon it. And given how tightly focus-grouped all commercial stations tend to be in the UK, if the network doesn't usually play Mickey J, that would be because it was too in touch with its audience.

But what happened next, Boris?
The most he would offer, as a special favour to Michael Jackson fans, and in recognition of his "iconic" status, was to play one of his hits every hour. But as the night wore on it was clear that the position was untenable. The presenter plaintively reported that the station was being flooded with texts, emails and calls. The listeners wanted Jackson.

Maybe they did. But it's likely they weren't the station's usual audience, isn't it? Might they not have been Jackson fans who normally would be abed, asleep, dreaming of moonwalking, tuning in to a place they seldom visit and demanding Jackson action?
The snooty old code was bowing beneath the weight of popular demand.

Maybe. Although who knew we'd live so long we'd see a Bullingdon Club member damn a radio station for being too establishment by not playing thirty year old pop records?

But also maybe not - perhaps the presenter really did know his audience - the regular audience, the ones who tune in night after night; clearly, they wouldn't be doing so if they didn't like the music, and - he might have decided - if they weren't that arsed about hearing Man In The Mirror on Wednesday, why would they suddenly want to hear just because the man's obituary was going to be in the Mirror?

But let's think about Boris' claims that playing a few requests on the night of a celebrity death is a sign of the falling of an ancien regime. Does that remind you of something?

No?

Bugger.

How about if you squint a little, and push the image really, really firmly?

Are we getting there?
Like the courtiers of Buckingham Palace who eventually caved in and flew the flag at half-mast to mark the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the radio producers decided they could hold out no more. As I tapped the steering wheel to Thriller and Billie Jean...

... the taxi driver snapped "Look, Mr. Johnson, if you keep doing that you're going to have to sit in the back with your bicycle, dirty tyres or no dirty tyres.

Oh, hang on, no...
... it was clear that something was growing out there in the noosphere, and that the death of Michael Jackson was unleashing significant emotions in the popular consciousness.

Radio station realises it's audience has shifted because of events it couldn't have predicted; makes minor adjustments to playlist. Boy, I hope someone warns the head of programmes at the station to wear two shirts when he's heading out to the block.

By the way: yes, he did write the word "noosphere" - I can only assume he's trying to kill Simon Heffer by littering the Telegraph with witless neologisms.
In the intervening days it has become clear that the hysteria has not gone away.

Really? Only I thought it was pretty much the world getting on with its life, except for the handful of mega-fans and people with columns to fill and - ahem - music blogs to write. But do share the signs of hysteria with us.
In tribute to the rhinestone-studded uniform of the late performer, Lily Allen is apparently to be seen wearing a single white glove at the Glastonbury Festival.

Hysteria! Woman wears one glove (erm, apparently)! Hold on, we might have to shoot her if her lowkey tribute gets any closer to being out-of-control.
Candlelit vigils have begun at the hospital where they failed to revive him.

Not being able to say "where he died" is pretty hysterical, and, yes, a few people did make special trips to do so. But candleit vigils are not uncommon in America when people die suddenly and unexpectedly. Communities will do it for high school football stars.
More than 1,000 Filipino prisoners have filmed themselves miming one of his dance routines, and posted the results on YouTube to global acclaim.

In fact, so hysterical with grief were they, they even created a massive time machine in order to transport themselves back to July 2007 to do this.
The BBC has already flown Newsnight's Emily Maitlis and a vast taxpayer-funded retinue to the scene of the tragedy, and the ether is being churned with her heavyweight political and cultural apercus.

How dare the BBC! Taxpayer funded retinues! For a dead popstar? Who cares about a dead pop star, eh, Bo... oh, hang about - this article was supposed to be suggesting that the death of Jackson was a vitally important moment in our cultural lives, wasn't it?

Can we turn the taxi round, please?
And who can fault the BBC's news judgment?

Yes, those wasteful types at the BBC spending money on covering a news story in exactly the right way.
By the middle of this week, senior politicians will no doubt be chivvied in front of the camera to confirm that he was the prince of pop, or the people's prancer, and Gordon Brown will probably moonwalk into Prime Minister's questions.

Boris can't seem to decide if the death of Michael Jackson is a terrible event we should all take really seriously, or if you should take the piss out of someone who does take it seriously.

I mean, imagine, a senior politician spending time seeking for significance in the death of a musician. Why, that's the sort of thing that nobody more senior that, ooh, the mayor of the capital should be wasting their time on. Or possible not. Because it's the public mood.

Boris is quick to make clear, though, that - certainly with his writer's hat on - that he doesn't feel emotional himself:
Now you or I may not share these emotions. We may not be the kind of people who queue to place flowers at the Neverland ranch, or hurl ourselves sobbing at the foot of his catafalque.

In other words, if I'm following you, Boris, you're making it clear that you're completely out of touch with what you believe is the public mood?
We may not feel a sudden gap, a strange hollowness, in our lives. But some people do. Lots of people do.

It's like... well, imagine if one of the few deputy mayors you'd managed to hang on to suddenly vanished in a cloud of credit card receipts. It's that sort of sudden gap.
"I feel what I should have felt at the death of Diana," said one young man at a wedding party this weekend, while two women vigorously agreed. In the face of this kind of authentic feeling, we would be mad to sneer.

But is it authentic? Isn't using a phrase like "what I should have felt" already an indication of an artifice at work - this chap isn't feeling an emotion, he's comparing an experience.

And is Boris so sure that there is this massive, deep feeling of loss? What's he basing it on? An overheard conversation at a wedding party and some texts to a trucker's hour radio show? A two year-old video on YouTube?

Boris then sets out to explain why Jackson is a towering figure, by way a description of Thriller, and then comparing him first to Orpheus, and then to Diana. Not the classical Diana, the one off the souvenir mugs and teatowels:
He was a martyr, in the sense that Diana was a martyr. Her death evoked an astonishing response, partly because she spoke to every woman who has been let down by a man, every woman who has worried about her weight, every woman who feels the system is unfair to women. That is a lot of women.

The great pity, of course, is that we'd just about got to a point where everyone had agreed that the death of Diana sent some people a little bit crazy; where everyone had decided to claim that, yes, they'd gone to Kensington, but they were only there to look at the crowds. And now we're right back to square one.

Johnson's suggestion that there was something deeper than a mix of prurience and a desire to be in a soap opera driving the Diana crowds doesn't even stand up to a re-reading of his own column - wasn't he just painting a picture of three people at a wedding party admitting they didn't, actually, feel anything when Diana died?
Michael Jackson went one better. He spoke to the billions of people the world over who feel that they do not conform in some way to the Hollywood stereotype of good looks – either because they are too fat or thin or the wrong colour or have the wrong sort of eyes or nose. In a world dominated by a demoralising canon of physical perfection, he was the patron saint of dysmorphia.

Was he? If Jacko was the patron saint of those who didn't look like they fitted in, wasn't his behaviour somewhat akin to Francis of Assisi marketing bird scarers and rabbit traps?

Sure, he ended up looking a little odd, but that was driven purely by a desire for the very opposite. It might be cruel and ironic and sad that his desperate quest for perfection meant each step he took deposited him further from his goal - but let's not try and pretend that Jackson was a comfort for the odd-looking. His message was "fuck, I don't want to look like you lot".
And by his musical triumphs, he proved the essential point, that you can look weird, feel weird, be weird – and still be a genius. In one sense Michael Jackson was beaten by the star system, in that it made demands about how he should look and behave which he felt he could never satisfy. In another sense he beat the system. He beat it by writing Beat It.

If Jackson has defeated the system, Boris, victory looks less than life itself.


Glastonbury 2009: The traditional close

You know, you never can consider the Glastonbury festival closed until... ah yes, until this happens:

Glastonbury hailed as 'best ever' by Michael Eavis closes

Time to take down the tents, then.


Gordon in the morning: How did your chart tribute go, Gordon?

You'll recall, back on Saturday - having read everywhere that Jackson albums were selling like mawkish souvenirs - Gordon attempted to reverse-engineer a Bizarre campaign:

I’M urging all Jacko fans to get on t’internet, or go to a record shop and buy his Off The Wall album.

It would be a fitting tribute for the King of Pop to top the charts tomorrow and I am calling for Bizarre readers’ help.

Did people heed your call, Gordon?

Sort of:
[T]he British public who gave the most fitting tribute to the late great by firing his records back into the charts.

The moonwalking superstar has a posthumous chart-topper with album Number Ones.

Oh. So people bought the hits rather than the one you suggested. But was that their second choice?
And as his greatest hits sit at the top of the album pile, his 1982 masterpiece Thriller also hurtled into the Top Ten at No7.

Or third?
Collections King Of Pop ...

Fourth?
... and The Essential...

Hey, Sun readers... all Gordon asked you to do was buy a record...
as well as 1972 album Off The Wall also made the Top 20.

Oh. Let's hope Gordon never uses the sway he has over the population to persuade them to do evil, shall we?

Still, what of Gordon's other demand on Saturday morning?
[I]t’s our job to ensure he has as many songs as possible in the top ten singles and album charts.

Ah, yes. Smart had also tasked readers with putting "as many songs as possible" in the top ten singles charts - that would be ten, presumably? And how many songs did he manage to get into the top ten?
Man In The Mirror makes the biggest dent in the singles chart, just outside the Top Ten at No11.

You know, it's almost as if Gordon has lots of readers, but none of them take his orders seriously.


Glastonbury 2009: View from the sofa - The last night

I know it's churlish to complain about the BBC's coverage, when it offers up so many riches, but... lets complain anyway.

Every year, I'm left scratching my head wondering why the press red service on the last night is busily churning out Saturday and Friday sets when there's plenty happening on site; I could understand if there was one screen of all-weekend highlights, but at some points yesterday it was a choice of old, or older: Quo today, or Springsteen or Florence or Little Boots from before?

And why can't you bloody stick with a set? If you're going to put on the record label's knuckledusters and issue take-down notices to YouTube, can't you at least push back and not wait until Blur are really getting going before cutting back to Whiley and Lowe, sat around, enthusing over how this is the greatest thing that has ever happened on the pyramid stage since stages began - only to go off and show The Black Eyed Peas instead, while BBC Three - scheduled to show The Black Eyed Peas - slaps on Blur. But the bits that BBC Two had already shown.

The Sunday night coverage is always hyperbolic - it's always the biggest crowd ever seen in front of the stage, always the most extraordinary end to the most extraordinary Glastonbury, but this year it actually felt like it might be true. Apart from the most extraordinary Glastonbury bit - from the sofa it had all the thrill of a well-oiled machine.

But Blur were magnificent. Whoever thought that a bunch of aging indie-kids would outrun Bruce?

What was the name of that group from the North who was meant to be their competition?


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ambientobit: Andy Hughes

Just heard of the death of Andu Hughes, ambient pioneer and member of The Orb.

Before The Orb, he had helped build the Bunk Junk and Genius studios; after, he produced work in his own right for the likes of Basement Jaxx and Kovak.

Andy died on Jume 12th after a short illness. His funeral is taking place tomorrow; donations to the Kings College Hospital charity are encouraged.


It's not eulogy, it's me: Nadine Dorries

Whoever would have thought that Nadine Dorries would feel the need to share her views on the death of Michael Jackson? After all:

I wasn’t a Michael fan...

but?
... but for years I have been uncomfortable with the way he was torn apart by the media.

Ah, so this isn't really a memorial, but instead is a chance to bang on about how terrible the media is:
Why would any young person want to aspire to be anyone or anything, if arriving means having your creativity overlooked, in favour of every aspect of your life which has nothing to do with your work, becoming journalist fodder?

Yes, every aspect of your life, which has nothing to do with your work. Like the fact you invite children to sleep in your bed when there are no other adults around, perhaps. Or maybe you're thinking of reports on how you only spend weekends and holidays in what you claim is your main home?

Still, Nadine isn't just banging on about this - she is something of an expert in matters Jackson:
For a generation, both broadcast and written media have failed to produce or say almost anything positive regarding Michael Jackson.

For years he has been written about as a child abuser, a recluse, a whacko and just about any other unpleasant adjective any journalist could muster up.

Yes, curse those journalists making up the court case which revealed ill-advised and unsettling relationships with children. That damn media inventing a massive mysterious payment which made another allegation go away. How dare the papers have made up with stories about him dangling a child over a balcony for no other reason than, erm, it happened in front of cameras? Or colluded with Jackson's deliberate projection of an eccentric personality, with the face-mask and oxygen tent stories? Or keeping of a monkey? Or building a fairground in his home, named after the place where Peter Pan played with fairies? How dare they, eh?

But what of Dorries' first claim, that the media have failed to "produce or say almost anything positive" for "a generation"?

Perhaps Mid-Bedfordshire doesn't get many newspapers or television channels, or maybe Dorries has had the misfortune to only catch the knocking copy. But just last year the 25th anniversary of Thriller saw journalists eager to join in with what was essentially a marketing campaign for a rereleased record, throwing around the title King Of Pop like it was a genuine honorific - you might have thought Dorries would at least have spotted that? Or the fawning coverage of his announcement of 50 nights at the O2?

Still, perhaps its better for us all if Dorries brings her, erm, knowledge and wisdom to bear on matters of pop culture rather than bungling about in politics.


Michael Jackson: Q sorry for suggesting he wouldn't make it through 50 O2 dates

James M emails with a query about Q editor-in-chief Paul Rees's apologia for the August edition of Q, which started to appear in shops yesterday:

I haven't read the Jackson piece in this month's edition of Q, but it seems strange that the editor should apologise in advance for publishing a piece which, according to the "Feral Beast" column in today's IoS, questioned Jackson's ability to play 50 nights at the O2. Before his death it was an entirely valid question to pose. Jackson's passing doesn't render it tasteless or offensive.

Exactly - indeed, suggesting that he might not be up to playing 50 nights in London seems prescient rather than offensive, especially since nobody is going to think that Q rushed to put together an issue which suggested he might not be up to it after Jackson died.

Here's what Rees has to say:
Michael Jackson’s record-breaking residency at London’s O2 Arena was always destined to be the year’s biggest music story, one way or another. As such, three months ago we decided to put Jackson on the cover of the issue of Q that will go on sale tomorrow and throughout the month of July, when the first batch of dates were due to take place.

Work on this issue was completed a fortnight ago and it was printed shortly thereafter. When news of Michael Jackson’s death broke in the early hours of Friday morning, it was already being distributed. As such, we have had no opportunity to change any of the editorial content within the issue. Such is the risk inherent in producing a monthly magazine – that events may overtake a story that you are committed to.

If you do take offence to any part of the issue in light of Michael Jackson’s tragic passing, I can only apologise on behalf of Q. Hopefully, you will understand that no offence was intended or meant.

I hope instead that Q’s salute to the Thriller album within the issue stands as our tribute to Michael Jackson. It remains a remarkable work by a truly remarkable pop star. We shall not see his like again.

I'm actually a little more offended at the mouthing of apologies for something simply because Jacko died while the issue was being zipped around the country. Either what you wrote was fair, or it wasn't, surely? Q isn't really scurrilous, and although your doubts about Jackson's fitness may have been proved right in a way you would not have wished, it's hardly as if you were wishing him ill. There's nothing to apologise for - except, perhaps, the apology itself.

UPDATE: Just noticed that Rees describes the death of Jackson as a story that broke "in the early hours of Friday morning". If Thursday evening is now part of Friday, perhaps.


Michael Jackson: A thing of beauty is a joy forever

Thanks to Karl T, who brings a story from the Mail On Sunday to my attention - indeed, the science section of the Mail:

Michael Jackson set to be embalmed at the O2 Centre after missing the deadline for cryogenic freezing

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this total bollocks is just credited to a "Daily Mail reporter" - nobody is going to want to have this one following them around for the rest of their lives:
Von Hagens said that he spoke with representatives of the Jackson family 'many months ago' and it was agreed that his body will be plastinated and placed next to Bubbles, his late pet monkey who was plastinated a number of years ago and is exhibited at The Body Worlds & Mirror Of Time exhibition at the O2 Centre in London.

Von Hagens also confirmed it was one of Michael's final requests to be reunited with Bubbles.

Ah. It's handy to know that the Jackson family were making plans for his corpse to be plasticated many months ago. And that Michael - apparently aware he was about to die - was busy making final requests. The Mail doesn't bother to undermine its own fantasy by trying to come up with a plausible explanation as to how Von Hagens is supposed to know what Jackson's final requests were.

As if this wasn't shameful enough tosh for the paper - which once used to at least pretend to be serious - to be slapping out, it then swerves into a discussion of cryogenics, which at least it has the sense to accept isn't happening. It includes this line:
No-one has ever been revived using this process although it is a popular subject in science fiction films such as Forever Young featuring Mel Gibson.

Presumably the Mail is suggesting that Forver Young featuring Mel Gibson is some sort of proof of concept? I'm looking forward to next week, when the paper informs its readers that nobody has yet lived forever, but if they did, it'd be a bit like Highlander III, the one with that Daniel Do in.
So with an autopsy on Michael Jackson expected 24 hours after his death, it's already too late for the Peter Pan of pop who never wanted to grow up.

Oh, lord. Even if you can't get the science right, you'd have at least thought the Mail would be able to tell the difference between Cliff Richard and Michael Jackson.

Karl's email:
Either the Sunday Mail has started channeling The Onion, or has given up any pretention to serious journalism.

Apparently, Gunther Von Hagens is going to plastinate Michael Jackson for display at the O2 Arena. Yo know, someone in the Jackson camp should really have checked the non-performance clause in the contract for the summer shows.

Disappointing headline too. I would've gone for 'World's creepiest human being to embalm world's second creepiest human being', or 'Human freakshow to appear in, er...'. That's probably why I'll never get to write for a wholesome family newspaper like the Mail


Glastonbury 2009: View from the sofa - Tom Jones

"That's a nice shiny shirt Tom Jones is wearing" I think to myself.

He then turns round. His tails, hanging out, are not shiny.

Oh, god. He has sweated his shirt into some sort of shiny fabric.

He then does a cover of Unbelievable. It is, of course, all too believable.


Glastonbury 2009: Bruce costs Eavis

6Music news has just reported that the over-run of the Springsteen set has landed Glastonbury with a £3000 fine, which Michael Eavis is going to pay out of his own farmer's pocket.


Limp Bizkit cancel gig, claim they didn't cancel a gig

What is it about Fred Durst? He can't do anything without making a (very poor, canceled-before-midseasons-sweeps) drama out of it.

The axing of a Limp Bizkit gig in Vegas, for example, generates a massive press release with Fred denying it was anything to do with him, in detail:

"LIMP BIZKIT did NOT, in any way, cancel the UFC 100 concert in Las Vegas. Truth is UFC and Interscope Records [LIMP BIZKIT's record label] could not come to an agreement on certain DVD rights. With all respect to Mandalay Bay, the UFC were also unhappy with LIMP BIZKIT's decision of wanting to switch the performance from the Beach at Mandalay Bay with its inappropriate layout for a heavy rock concert with LIMP BIZKIT, basically a stage in front of a pool, to a more standard concert venue also located at the Mandalay Bay, which was the House Of Blues. The UFC expressed they wanted a 'party vibe' for this event and would not settle for any venue besides the Beach for this and other reasons.

"First, LIMP BIZKIT would like to confirm we are HUGE UFC fans and will always be, but feel it is unfair for UFC to falsely confirm and advertise that LIMP BIZKIT will be performing to only change their minds after many people have rearranged their lives and bought tickets to be in Vegas for this special concert.

"On that note, we are proud to announce that we will still be performing on the same night out of respect for our fans. The details of when and where will follow shortly.

"Again, all respect to UFC for inviting us in the first place. We will continue to support the UFC because it is our favorite MMA event."

So in other words, something about who got to leech cash for a wobbly DVD of old men pretending to be teenagers, then, Fred?


Glastonbury 1999: Manics

At least the copyright creep hasn't travelled back in time to start removing 1999 performances by the handful, so the Manics doing My Little Empire is still there:



[Part of Glastonbury 1999]


Glastonbury 2009: King Charles

Bruce's people were fast, and every single instance of his Glastonbury performance that made it to YouTube in the last ten hours has already been taken down. Sheesh, Bruce, I know it was all a bit underpowered, but it wasn't so awful you need to hide all evidence from the public.

Oh, tell a lie - there's still a version of Born To Run up right now. Be quick.

All Regina Spektor's stuff seems to have been ceased and desisted from the net, too, which is a pity. And the Neil Young video has vanished, with a message saying that this was actually a BBC takedown request.

King Charles' performance is still up, though:



[Part of Glastonbury 2009 video, although since most of it is being taken, there's not much point in linking to it.]


Michael Jackson: Making the corpse sit up for the weekend

Obviously, it's not as inconvenient for the Sunday papers as the death of Diana, when she left the planet so late they barely had time to pull the knocking copy off their front pages, but how frustrating for the Sunday titles to have to wait two days before they get to cover the Jacko story.

The News of the World offers what it considers to be a special tribute issue, complete with some lines from a Jacko song on its masthead:

Before you judge me
Try hard to love me
Look within your heart then ask
Have you seen my childhood?

Touching. And so, in this vein, it's going to be Jackson as a man rather than as sideshow, is it, NOTW?

Erm... not quite:
Jordy Chandlor's secret diary of sex abuse; "Family members searched for money hours after his death, says nanny. Oh, and this:
TORMENTED Michael Jackson wrote a chilling horror story about a CHILD ABUSER and SERIAL KILLER starring HIS OWN KIDS.

The sickening tale - called Kids on Swings - is a nightmare vision of Prince Michael II and Jacko's daughter Paris falling into the clutches of a fiend who slaughters children with a 'sling blade'.

That's quite a tribute issue you've got there, Mr Murdoch. Clearly exactly what he would have wanted.

The Sunday People seems to have a problem understanding how people react to grief:
Less than 24 hours after Michael Jackson died, his father Joe LAUGHED and JOKED for the cameras.

Joe, 79, shocked onlookers as he clowned around outside the family home in Los Angeles.

They said he looked "almost ecstatic" and "totally relaxed" as he trotted down the drive to chat to family friend the Rev Jesse Jackson who was giving TV interviews outside the house.

One fan said: "Millions are mourning around the world and he's laughing his head off. It's absolutely sickening."

No it isn't. People laugh at funerals. People react to loss in different ways. Are the papers so desperate to try and cram this story into a Princess Of Diana framework that the People are preparing a "Show us you care, Ma'amPops" storyline?

And perhaps - just perhaps - you might feel relief that someone whose life has been a total misery isn't twisting and turning any more?

I'm sure the Sunday Mirror has got something about Jackson in its pages, but I've been waiting for it to load in for ten minutes and still haven't got past a blank page. Sly Bailey will probably blame that on Google, somehow, too.

If you're looking for an unlikely-sounding story, the best place to turn is the Sunday Express (whoever would have thought the Express would outlive Jacko?):


FANS have called for Michael Jackson’s O2 arena shows to be replaced with tribute concerts.

Hundreds of the 750,000 ticket holders have flooded organiser AEG Live with emails and calls for commemoration events in place of next month’s sold-out 50-date This Is It tour.

Fan Jahan As said on Facebook yesterday: “I really hope all the other artists come together for such an amazing show and help Michael finish his journey and send him off the way he would’ve wanted to be remembered.

“I also believe the fans who were meant to attend his concerts will finally say their goodbyes.”

Yes. It's not going to happen. Fifty nights of tributes?

True to form, the Mail On Sunday realises that this news story - like all news story - is really about the prices of property:
Family and friends believe he was acutely aware that, once ensconced in Foxbury Manor, he would have had no option but to submit himself to the gruelling series of 50 concerts.

The property’s owner, businessman Osman Ertosun, and his wife and two children moved out of £15million manor in Chislehurst, Kent, more than a week ago and were preparing to stay elsewhere for a year.

The Grade II-listed mansion is among the largest private properties in Greater London. Jackson paid about £1million to rent it until next February. His concert venue, the O2 Arena, is just ten miles away.


This week just gone

The most-read articles on Friday were:

1. The R Kelly sex video was admissable in court
2. Glastonbury review: Lady GaGa
3. Robbie Williams in no way associated with the theft of stuff from the people who took his phoot
4. Death of Michael Jackson: Menu
5. RIP: Sky Saxon
6. RIP: Steven Wells
7. Edith Bowman's breast support
8. Madonna sobs for Michael Jackson
9. Downloadable: Care Bears On Fire
10. Heather Mills plans calendar

The suggested releases worth investigating are:


God Help The Girl - God Help The Girl



download God Help The Girl



Future Of The Left - Travels With Myself And Another



download Travels With Myself And Another



Regina Spektor - Far



download Far



Dinosaur Jr - Farm



download Farm



The Mars Volta - Octahedron



download Octahedron



Alexisonfire - Old Crows / Young Cardinals



download Old Crows



Tortoise - Beacons Of Ancestorship