Saturday, July 11, 2009

Teenage Fanclub weekend: Reading 1991

One of the joys of YouTube is the transfer of old VHS tapes to digital, bringing with it crystal clear clarity of how ropey the original recording was. This, squirreled away in the analogue past, is a three chunk piece of TFC's 1991 Reading set, starting with the mighty God Knows It's True, then The Concept (again) and Satan:



[Part of Teenage Fanclub weekend]


Teenage Fanclub weekend: What You Do To Me

More from the Fanclub - this is 1981's What You Do To Me:



[Part of the Teenage Fanclub weekend]


Gordon in the morning: Cheque-mate

It's one of those mornings when Gordon has a good story. Faced with the potential loss of thousands of pounds in refunds from the bollocksed-up Heaton Park gig, Oasis have a plan:

Now Oasis are issuing refunds on cheques signed by LIAM and NOEL GALLAGHER and bearing a “Bank of Burnage” stamp, after the Manchester area where the brothers grew up.

This is reminiscent of that urban myth about the company which took payments for dildos, and instead of sending the product, sent out cheques for marked "Dildo refund". The hope being that people would be too ashamed to pay such a cheque into their banks.

I'm not saying that an Oasis gig is like a dildo, of course. A dildo can bring great pleasure, for a start, and can offer a number of surprising experiences.

The only problem with the plan, though, is that clearly Noel and Liam haven't actually signed 20,000 cheques. So they're hoping that people cheeky enough to demand a refund are going to want to keep a facsimile signature forever.


Alison Mosshart nudie jeans and diesel jacket up for grabs

Sure, they're blood-soaked. But I'm pretty certain it's fake blood. And they have been worn by Alison Mosshart. VenusZine are giving away her outfit from the Dead Weather's Treat Me Like Your Mother video to one lucky winner.

They've so far only released a trailer - a trailer for the video, but at least it's enough for us to have a go at working out if we could fit into her jeans:


Why we love Cornershop

Cornershop turn up in The Guardian Guide today and pretty much manage to wrap up everything we say in No Rock and everything we say on our Twitterstream in about three-quarters of a paragraph:

Cornershop remain a profoundly British creation, still infused by British politics, the serenely sardonic Tjinder regarding David Cameron today as "a tosser". The Labour party fares even worse. "It's full of bastards, [David] Milliband is an idiot and Andy Burnham [health secretary] is a dick; he spoke at Digital Britain and knew nothing about it and to have Feargal Sharkey [also at Digital Britain, the former Undertones yodeller now being chief executive of UK Music] representing the government's view on how music should be, is ridiculous."

Tjinder is surprisingly, though thoughtfully, generous to Gordon Brown:
"I think Gordon Brown is a great man," he declares. "I think he handled the financial thing very well. He is an awkward chap. I'm an awkward chap. And if I had one eye I'd be a damn sight more awkward. But to come across as that strong after all that shit has hit you, I think we've got steel in that man. But I'd vote for the Greens, if only they had more presence than window stickers about recycled tea bags."


Embed and breakfast man: Teenage Fanclub

It's possible to spend too much time with your head in your hands at the thought of late-period Creation Records, dominated by the supermarket white bread of Oasis. It's worth remembering, though, that the label also found space for a lot of artisan loaves in its oven. Not least with the lifelines thrown to The Boo Radleys and Teenage Fanclub, which extended the lives of interesting bands and gave them the space to create some interesting, memorable stuff.

Kurt Cobain once called them the best band in the world - and although, to be fair, that was a plaudit he handed out the way Jim Jones distributed poisoned squash, he was usually quite wise in where he bestowed it.

This weekend, let's pay tribute to the Fanclub. Still a going concern after two decades, there's to be a new album this year.

First up, this is The Concept. A concept single, from the non-concept album Bandwagonesque:



A Teenage Fanclub education
Teenage Fanclub play the Sundae On The Common in Clapham on the 25th July.
Official site
Teenage Fanclub on MySpace
Teenage Fanclub on LastFM
Teenage Fanclub on Spotify
Teenage Fanclub on Wikipedia

Buy Teenage Fanclub
Songs From Northern Britain | Download Songs From Northern Britain
Bandwagonesque | Download Bandwagonesque
Thirteen | Download Thirteen

More videos across the weekend
What You Do To Me
Live: Reading 1991
Don't Look Back live at All Tomorrow's Parties


Friday, July 10, 2009

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - Michael Jackson

Every Day Is Like Wednesday considers the theological implications of the editorial cartoons on the death of Michael Jackson:

When we go to heaven, will we look like we did at the point we died, or will we look like we did at an earlier point in our life?


Charles Moore is the last person in the world still banging on about Jonathan Ross

For some reason, Charles Moore has decided that he doesn't need a TV licence because Jonathan Ross is still on the BBC.

If this really just sounds like a petty man too tight to pay a few quid for his television licence, desperately trying to find some sort of justification for his meanness, Moore is quick to defend himself:

I am not seeking to profit from my refusal, so I have today sent a cheque for £142.50 (the current rate) to Help the Aged. I have chosen this charity because part of Jonathan Ross’s offence was his insult to the old.

Hmm. Without wanting to defend Ross and Brand, has it really occurred to Moore what would happen to the Aged, with or without his money, should the BBC be destroyed by petty actions like his? There aren't many broadcasters who carry programming aimed at older viewers; there's no other broadcaster who would create a season like Grey Expectations; take the time to make programmes that address getting older. If we destroy the BBC, when broadcasters are busily chasing the younger, more affluent audiences, what will the lonely, the old and the housebound watch and listen to, Moore?

Jonathan Ross did some stupid things - for which he has apologised, and for which a lot of people have lost their jobs. Is that really worth destroying one of the nation's cultural institutions over?

I note that Moore doesn't say he intends to stop watching BBC News, or reading the website, or checking travel information on the local radio network while he is withholding his cash. In which case: is it morally OK for all of us to steal copies of the Daily Telegraph until Moore apologises for confusing an error of judgement with a moral vacuum?


Paul Oakenfold: Unstoppable PR

A press release slips into the inbox:

Paul Oakenfold Beats Michael Jackson to the #1 Spot on itunes This Week.

Bloody hell - that's quite good. I mean, Oakenfold at number one iTunes at all is amazing, never mind beating Jackson to it.

That's pretty impressive. I mean, it's almost unbelievable.
Amazingly enough, pre-digital sales of the album beat the late and legendary Michael Jackson to the #1 spot on iTunes’ dance chart.

Oh. That would be slightly different, then, wouldn't it?


Darkness at 3AM: We answer their question

The 3AM Girls are even more puzzled than usual:

Why is it when we return from holiday, we emerge lobster red, dishevelled and two stone heavier? When Posh and Becks land, they look stylish, immaculate, tanned, honed and healthy?

Erm... because they fly first class and you don't?


Gordon in the morning: Gordo and GaGa

The faint suspicion that Lady GaGa has already run out of shtick is, bravely, ignored by Gordon Smart as he runs an interview which, shall we say, doesn't really surprise very much:

She said: “I’m inspired by the moonlight, sex, slasher films and pornography.”

Yes. We know.

She's going to work with Kanye West soon, and while her outfits might be "outrageous" (or supposed to be thought such), her showbiz gush is as conventional as a Powerpoint sales presentation:
She added: “I truthfully adore Kanye. I always poke fun at him and joke around. We have a lovely creative relationship. He’s so sweet. I can’t say enough good things. He’s undeniably brilliant.”

Rapidly, clearly, nowhere near as interesting as we hoped she might be.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Indie distro closes: Lumberjack-axed

Lumberjack Mordam Music Group, a large US indie distributor, is closing its doors and, by the sound of things, isn't going to be able to pay all it owes to the labels:

I want to give everyone an idea of where things stand with LMMG as of now and where things will be in the future. At this point LMMG will not be able to continue to provide distribution services for labels. We had hopes for the last several months that we'd be able to find a way to move forward but the triple hits of an expensive merger, a dying business and a bad economy have made it impossible. We are hoping to be able to get some money to labels, but I'm not sure how much or when as we have to try and collect money from customers. If you have not yet moved your distribution to another company, please make arrangements to do so as soon as possible.

Hmm. "An expensive merger" is hardly the sort of thing that accidentally happens to you, though, is it?


Nancy Pelsosi finds nice way to tell House to not be so bloody stupid

The desperate attempts by US politicians to seem young and hip by beating their breasts in grief at the death of a bloke who was at his peak a quarter of a century ago have stalled.

Nancy Pelosi has told the house it's probably not a good idea to have a resolution on How Brilliant Michael Jackson was:

"A resolution, I think, would open up to contrary views to — that are not necessary at this time to be expressed in association with a resolution whose purpose is quite different," Pelosi said at a Capitol Hill news conference where she discussed various legislative matters.

Blimey, Pelosi must have really hated Captain Eo. She could also have used the argument that there are better things for US lawmakers to be doing now than burning through cash and time doing a showboating equivalent of writing "I heart MJ" on the nation's pencil cases.


Mariah Carey explains why she was a bit ropey

Mariah Carey has felt the need to apologise for her performance at the Michael Jackson On Ice Memorial Show:

"Trying to sing today was basically impossible for me," writes Carey. "I could barely keep myself from crying. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to pull it together and really do it right, but I was literally choked up when I saw him there in front of me."

Well, that's Tuesday explained. Has she been crying solidly for the two decades prior to that?


It's not Hole, says Erlandson

Melissa Auf Der Maur is on the new Hole record, and she says it's not a Hole record.

Now, Eric Erlandson says it isn't a Hole record, either. Not just because he isn't on it, but he's got paperwork which proves it can't be:

"We have a contract," Erlandson said in an interview with Spin. "She signed a contract with me when we decided to break up the band, which was like 2002 or something, so I really don't have comment on it except that I know my part in that band. The way I look at it, there is no Hole without me. To put it blunt. Just on a business level."

It's possible that Courtney doesn't remember that contract. Or she found it, and decided Ryan Adams had forged her signature on it. Or, perhaps, she figures that it's a contract which nobody would ever waste their time trying to enforce on the grounds of what restitution would you seek? For Love to have to go and alter the name of the band on everybody's iTunes?


GaGa explains her mask. It wasn't a mask.

Sure, it looked like a knock-off gimp mask, but it wasn't:

"It's not just a mask, it's a contemporary art piece," Gaga told reporters in Malta, adding that it was made by a designer friend of hers.

Perhaps. A gimp contemporary art piece.


Downloadable: MSTRKRFT

Hmm. Amongst RCRD LBL's delights today, is a free MSTRKRFT download. Before you rush to click, it does include the words "featuring John Legend" in the credits.

Which might put you off. If not, it's a Wolfgang Gartner remix of Heartbreaker.


Metalobit: Midnight

John Patrick McDonald Jr, lead singer with Crimson Glory, has died.

Crimson Glory had originally traded under the name Beowulf, forming in Florida in 1982. Their debut album - also called Crimson Glory - saw the light in 1986, although it didn't find a wider audience until it was rereleased as part of the band's deal with Roadrunner Records.

Leaning towards the Kiss-ier side of metal, Crimson Glory wore masks in order to make themselves instantly distinguishable from each other - a move that a few indie bands might want to consider, when you think about it. Midnight, alone, had a mask which left his mouth uncovered. So that people could actually hear him sing.

The band moved to Atlantic at the end of the 1980s. Between the recording of their first record for Atlantic, Strange And Beautiful, and the tour to support it, Midnight quit.

After a long period away from music, Midnight returned with a solo career and - briefly - was reunited with the still-churning Crimson Glory. That rapprochment didn't last long, and "difficulties" led to him leaving the band for a second time.

Midnight released three solo albums. He died yesterday, apparently from liver and kidney failure.


People of LA less than thrilled at paying for Jackson DVD shoot

I'm sure that when the Jackson memorial winds up on sell-through DVD, it'll be through "public demand" and not, in any way, part of a long-term plan on anyone's part to turn a profit from the event.

Meanwhile, the people of Los Angeles are starting to ask why their cash-strapped city underwrote a large chunk of the costs of staging the event:

“I admit I shed a tear with Mariah, Queen and Paris,” said Jody Greenblatt, a pharmaceutical executive who lives in Los Angeles. “But I cry more at the thought of teachers’ pink slips, forced furloughed days, unemployment rates sky high and a state bankrupt.”

And it's not just voters:
On Tuesday, the city attorney, Carmen Trutanich, took the highly unusual step of appearing during the public comment period of a City Council hearing to announce that his office was investigating how Los Angeles taxpayers came to foot a bill for police protection and other city functions at the service, at a time when the city and state are running out of money.

To make matters worse, it turns out the money that was spent wasn't actually used all that wisely:
On Wednesday, the city controller, Wendy Greuel, sent a stern letter to the Los Angeles emergency management department demanding to know why it had spent $48,826 on sandwiches from a deli 80 miles from Los Angeles to feed police officers. (Sandwiches from Subway would have cost $17,491.25, she pointed out.)

I know "busing-in officers" isn't unheard of; but busing-in sandwiches?


Gordon in the morning: Women have nipples

There's no danger that this morning's Bizarre stories have been achieved through illegal phone tapping. Indeed, there's precious little sign of any sort of intelligence at work.

Look! You can make out the shape of Britney Spears' nipple under a shirt

Look! You can kind of see the side of Emma Watson's breast

Look! Lady GaGa has her photo taken in an "outrageous" outfit.

The big story this morning is, erm, that Sarah Harding went on holiday and had fun.

Perhaps Rebekah Wade was busily escorting everyone into the Panic Room and the pages had to write themselves today?


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

France tries three strikes again

Having been told that, actually, throwing people off the internet on the say-so of a bunch of record company executives isn't the way democracies should be treating its public, the Sarkozy government is trying again with a modified version:

Defended before the Senate by Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, the new bill shifts the final decision on cutting off web users from the state agency to the courts.

On the third strike, the agency would report offenders to a judge, who would hand down either an Internet ban, a fine of up to 300,000 euros (415,000 dollars) or a two-year jail sentence, under a fast-track ruling system.

I'm not entirely clear how passing the plug-pulling from a state agency acting at the behest of EMI and friends, to the courts is going to make a difference to the fundamental problem that its unconstitutional to remove people's ability to communicate; perhaps we'll find out if the law ever gets used in anger.


Jackson: There's a pleasing image to carry with you

You remember yesterday? That big funeral? You know the casket? The guy in it? He didn't have his brains with him.

Not, apparently, in case a bunch of Zombie tribute acts tried to eat them, but because the LA coroner is keeping it in a glass jar for the time being. Apparently there won't be any funeral until Jackson gets his brains back.


Downloadable: Tiny Vipers

Thanks to Faronheit for introducing us to Tiny Vipers. Or Jesy Fortino as the police would call her if they ever needed to, say, pursue her for an unpaid parking ticket or something.

"There's plenty of death and sickness and ghosts that haunt this record" promises Faronheit. Which, cheerily, is a great way of introducing Dreamer, a free-to-you mp3. Enjoy, if that's the word.


Festival without fields

I'm not entirely convinced that the Eristoff Internative Festival is, as it claims, the first online music festival. It might be the first with a natty wolf loading screen.

It also appears to only have one band - Love Of Lesbian - which would make this more of a webcast than a festival proper.


Downloadable: Block Party

Alex Metric has got his hands on Bloc Party's One More Chance. And you can get your hands on the results, thanks to RCRD LBL - download the One More Chance remix for free.


Downloadable: Drummer

Patrick Carney, the drummer out the Black Keys, has launched his own band. And, laughing in the face of people who suggest drummers don't have much in the way of imagination by calling the band... erm, Drummer.

There's an album due towards the end of September; if you can't wait that long, the title track has been made officially available [via Medifire].


Back on the Pavement

Last weekend, it was the Des Moines IA Festival. Ashley from Tapes For Life takes up the story of what happened:

Hope you had a wonderful independence day. This weekend in Des Moines, IA the second annual 80/35 festival rocked the city streets with performances by Public Enemy, Ben Harper, Broken Social Scene, Man Man, the daddy of Indie rock.. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks! But the highlight for many was the performance at the Pre 80/35 party at the local venue the Vaudeville Mews on July 2nd where BOB NASTANOVICH of Pavement came out of retirement to rock with 80/35 mainstage act, Iowa's own The Poison Control Center! They played Pavement's classic "TWO STATES" off Slanted and Enchanted!


Tapes caught it on, well, tape:

Bob Nastanovich of Pavement w/ The Poison Control Center "TWO STATES" from TAPES FOR LIFE on Vimeo.


Death Cab attack cutie

You know that Jared Leto, right? Well, right, he's only playing at pop stars, say Death Cab For Cutie:

"He's a professional actor in music; so there's no way to feel any sincerity about his position as a musician... Because he makes a living playing characters — so why wouldn't he be able to take a step forward?" singer/guitarist Ben Gibbard chimed in during the interview. "Then you're also acting what you think a rock star should act like."

Harmer also said Leto only wears makeup because "Oh that's what rock stars do: they wear eyeliner."

Actually, while Gibbard might have a point about 30 Seconds To Mars, surely Leto wears eye make-up as part of a general being hotness? He had the rock star hair long before he had the pretend band, after all.


There is no way this is a made-up number

The First Post makes a bold claim for Michael Jackson's funeral audience:

Sixteen American TV networks carried the memorial live. In Britain BBC2 cleared its schedule to show the service in its entirety, and around the world it is estimated to have been watched by one billion TV viewers.

"Cleared its schedule" sounds so much more exciting than "held over an episode of Eggheads", doesn't it?

But what about the "billion" viewers? The First Post calls this an estimate, which is fine - but who has estimated it? On what basis?

Or is it merely a clicking of the tongue, extrapolating that it was shown in a few countries, and picking a large sounding number out of the air?


Darkness at 3AM: Madonna protects the kids

Madonna's kids - or a couple of them - were amongst the throng going to see the new Harry Potter film. (Incidentally, with the cast looking older and older, isn't the whole thing starting to look a little less Hogwarts, more Please Sir On A Broomstick?)

3AM are delighted:

So Lourdes, 12, and eight-year-old Rocco are hoping the schoolboy wizard's latest adventure will charm newly adopted sister Mercy, too. Our insider reveals: "Madonna is very strict over what her children are allowed to watch. But Harry Potter is one of the exceptions. Lourdes watches them over and over, so it's only a matter of time before Mercy and David are fans."

Hang about... Rocco? Went to the opening of the new Harry Potter? Which is a 12A? Good god, if that's Madonna being "very strict", you'd hate to think what the pair would be getting from Netflix if she was a bit lax.


Gordon in the morning: Speculation about next year's farm stars

Gordon seems to have noticed that next year's Glastonbury is the 40th anniversary, and - working with a "source" - has concluded that next year's festival will feature some big names:

Organisers EMILY and MICHAEL EAVIS want to celebrate the Worthy Farm event's 40th anniversary with a bill exclusively made up of the legendary acts that have played there over the last four decades.

That has the potential to be the greatest festival of all time.

THE KILLERS, RADIOHEAD, ARCTIC MONKEYS, NEW ORDER, VAN MORRISON, BOB DYLAN and many, many more have all trudged down to Somerset at the end of June over the past 40 years.

If you were going to start a list of the big names who have played Glastonbury, would you really kick off with The Killers? Would you even mention them, in fact?

Elsewhere, Madonna is apparently going to dress Mercy up like, erm, Madonna:
FIRST it was LOURDES, now MADONNA is dressing newly-adopted daughter MERCY JAMES to look like mum.

At least we're spared Gordon's "art department" mocking up a picture of Mercy in a conical bra.

Smart applauds this idea, rather than finding it a little creepy:
I can’t criticise her. If I ever have wee boys, they will wear Scotland and Hibs strips every day, like their pops.

Although to judge by the gardening cardigan he wears in the Bizarre masthead, Gordon actually dresses like his father.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Michael Jackson remembered: That was easy

Well, the one inarguable thing about today's event was that Staples could never have imagined naming rights for that building was going to succeed in pulling down so much worldwide advertising.

I'll bet, though, there's someone in a Staples Marketing Office who's spent the week trying to get the name changed to something with even more of a sales message - The Five-For-Four Gel Pens At Staples Arena, perhaps.

If you set aside the creepy and pointless dragging out of some random kid from Britain's Got Talent to speak on behalf of "everybody" in the world - like Torchwood in reverse - and the actually quite affecting (and totally inappropriate) wheeling on of the kids to try and push a cynical marketing exercise beyond criticism, what this memorial really did was to ease a world's tight shoes. For the last week and a half, it's been trumpeted almost every time a newsreader sat down that Jackson was the greatest performer in the world. And most of us have sat there thinking "well... no, but..." desperately trying to recall a name that trumped him. One that everyone would agree on, obviously - I mean, Harvey from Another Sunny Day might be demonstrably better, but would not be a convincing answer for a pub debate.

Stevie Wonder. Smokey Robinson.

The tips of our tongue have been relieved of two unquestionable answers.

Interestingly, Stevie Wonder also was a child star who had to overcome enormous odds. And made some dreadful records, too, it's fair to say - especially when he rolled out his social conscience. Don't Drive Drunk, anyone? But Wonder has managed to not retreat into chimpanzee-befriending sideshow attention-seeking and has, with his campaigning on Aids and MLK Day, made a genuine and measurable difference to the world. Yet, despite all that, it's unlikely the BBC will clear a channel for live coverage of his send off.

Jermaine Jackson off Big Brother got to do a song, too; he wore a single glove, in a touching tribute to Lily Allen's Glastonbury outfit. It's always the single glove, isn't it? Wouldn't you have loved it if Usher had turned up made up like a zombie. As a tribute.

The speakers veered between the sort of anecdotes that would get jeered at a Fred Flinstone roast (Brooke Shields' memories of having laugh-offs are the sort of memories which are best enjoyed by those who were there) and the completely overstated. Al Sharpton can't help himself, I know, but you'd have hoped for better from the Luther King Kids. But no, they continued to add to the overwrought "he was the King Of Pop" gushing - proving, I suppose, that a pair of Kings can't beat a royal flush.

The oddest note was when some sportsbloke - Magic Johnson from basketball and sponsored shoes - proudly trilled that the Guinness Book Of Records had an entry for Jackson being the pop star who supported the most charities. Is that a real category? Is there a similar record for the basketball player who supports the most charities? Is there some sort of rule about how much they have to give, or could one of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs take the record by slipping ten cents in every collecting box in every newsagents in London?

The claims that he was a great, charitable man were somewhat undermined by the grandiose television special marking his passing; any last veracity in claims to put others before himself probably vanished when the gold-plated coffin came back in to shot.


Twittergem: Charlie Brooker

Much will be written about Jackson's funeral. But @charltonbrooker nails it in 140 characters or less:

This is what the televised coronation of God would look like.


Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - Amanda Palmer

Emily White talks to Hypebot about Amanda Palmer and her audience:

The attendance at those shows spiked in 2006 when a few Dolls songs were receiving airplay. Awesome, right? Well, now it's 2009 and we've returned to some of those markets. Many of those radio fans don't turn up anymore. Yet, the hardcores or "1000 true fans" are still there, just like they have been since they organically founded The Dresden Dolls back in the day. They still line up outside for hours, know every word of every song (whether or not it has been released), and wait around for Amanda's autograph. They don't need a top down marketing plan to tell them what to like. And who are the new hardcore Dolls/ Amanda fans? They are the younger siblings and friends of the original fans, who continue to spread the gospel about an artist who's work they love so much they can't not talk about.

I think major label marketing can be and is effective for the right kind of artist. But not with this fanbase, they are the definition of direct-to-fan. Of course expanding the audience is always a goal, but this is an artist whose fans don't need to see their hero in a magazine or hear a new song on the radio to keep them interested. Amanda will just email, tweet, or blog to them directly. And why not? The technology is there, so let's embrace it, not ignore it.


U2 push planet closer to the edge

Bono, we all know, loves for us all to know how much he loves the planet.

Except when he goes on tour, with the carbon footprint of the current tour massive enough to have got the band to Mars and back.

If it was just flying them to Mars, that might have been a effort worth expending. But, no, it could bring them back again.


City Talk not all about the talk

Sorry, I'm incredibly late with this story, but it's worth mentioning now anyway. Back on May 12th, Ofcom allowed Radio City's City Talk station abandon its all-talk format:

Station director, Richard Maddock said that the news was a relief:

“Ofcom’s decision is welcome news as it provides clarity. The team will now look at the business plan, review our current market situation and consider the implications of the Ofcom decision."

“On behalf of everyone at all the City stations, I’d like to thank Ofcom for their decision and also thank everyone that has supported our format change request through the 30 day public consultation period. Our commitment to quality, well-produced speech broadcasting at key parts of the day continues as before and we will continue to work hard to deliver the best talk-focused station.”

"Provides clarity"? As if the idea of an all-speech network wasn't, you know, quite clear in the first place?

The suspicion has to be that Bauer have pulled a fast one, pitching a format it knew wouldn't work (as it's already closed down City Talk once, when it was an AM station) in a bid to win the last licence; having closed down the prospect of serious competition for Radio City, it's now effectively watering down its talk station into a "speech-focused" product.

Part of the talk will be a nightly phone-in - which can be simulcast on Radio City. Two FM networks broadcasting the same thing in one city? Well done with the protecting media plurality, Ofcom.


Endless cycle

Oh, here's some good news:

Mark Lester - godparent to all three of the late singer's children, Prince Michael, 12, Paris, 11 and seven-year-old Prince Michael II, known as 'Blanket' - says Blanket has shown signs that he shares his dad's phenomenal talents.

Mark revealed: "Prince loved 'Thriller', Paris liked 'Smooth Criminal' best and Blanket adored them all. He could easily be the next Michael Jackson. He loved to dance with his dad and Michael taught him to do the moonwalk."

Ah, yes. What could be better than the godparent - whose child acting career led to a miserable era of addiction - suggesting that the kids of a bloke whose life was warped beyond belief by showbusiness be pushed into the same miserable cattle show?


1,000 songs everyone else says you should listen to

Have you ever wondered how someone goes about putting together something like 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die (which would be a bloody long last request in itself, wouldn't it?)

Phawker spoke to the author Tom Moon:

The beginning phase was just a lot of list making. I made lists of everything I could think of, I consulted a lot of different lists that were already out there — every Mojo Best-Of list that was ever done, Q, all the British magazines — they do so many of them.

Aha. Looking ay everyone else's lists of the best songs ever. Funny thing, though, you might think that would tend to lead to every one of these exercises churning out pretty much the same songs over and over and over and over again.


Gordon in the morning: Deyn works through more indish bands

It's worth noting this morning that they've left the Bruno's Bizarre masthead on the front page of the Bizarre website this morning, leaving poor Gordon as little more than a walk-on in his own page.

The main story this morning is about Agyness Deyn and her habit of dating minor members of sort of indie bands, doing nothing to dispel the feeling that she's some of Kate Moss Historic Re-enactment Society.

Currently, it's Miles Kane from The Rascals, but Gordon has a list:

It’s like a Who’s Who of top bands including THE STROKES guitarist ALBERT HAMMOND JR, THE PADDINGTONS’ JOSH HUBBARD and PHANTOM PLANET’s ALEX GREENWALD.

Well, it's like a who's who of top bands in the sense that one of those would be a list of names of people who play instruments, too.

Smart has also got some special insight into this latest 'relationship':
A pal of the couple told me: “Miles and Agy get on like a house on fire and have a proper laugh. Miles bowled her off her feet. His pals ask about her but all he says is things are ‘boss’.

"They have passed the three-week mark now. He lives in Liverpool but has been in the Big Smoke charming the pants off her. She’s very down to earth. That’s her appeal.”

The last person to use the phrase "the Big Smoke" seriously was probably Mike Baldwin back when he was dating Bet Lynch. And even he was just saying words that someone else had put in his mouth.

Elsewhere, Sarah Harding is confidently predicting her acting won't be all Mariah Carey:
She said: "I don't want to try too much, too soon. I'm taking baby steps.

"I'm working my way into acting gradually - I don't want people to think that I'm just swanning in there.

"There is a stigma attached to people who go from singing to acting."

Presumably, then, that KitKat advert was the first baby step on a route to being Dandini at the Scarborough Empire in a couple of Christmases' time.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Hope springs again

Some good news buried in Rolling Stone's website, tucked away behind the Jackson coverage:

Sandoval is back. With her band Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions (which features My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig), Sandoval is gearing up to release her second record since the act’s 2001 debut Bavarian Fruit Bread. The new disc Through the Devil Softly — out September 15th — is a lovely, 11-track collection of narcotic, folk tunes centered by Sandoval’s breathy, irresistible seductive croon. So what took so long? “I don’t really notice the time,” says Sandoval coyly. “We don’t keep track of the days and months. And the years.”

This is what they were like last time round:


Imbruglia campaigns against fistula

Natalie Imbruglia's call for the UN to do more about fistula is noteworthy in itself.

It's not enough for the Associated Press, though, which feels the need to somehow shunt one of her songs into the story:

In her most famous song, "Torn," Natalie Imbruglia sings of loneliness and shame.

They are feelings the Australian pop star is hoping to spare hundreds of thousands of women suffering with fistula.

If you had to make a weak link between a song and a medical condition, could there be any more ill-advised idea than to unite Torn and fistula?


Panic At The Disco split

Here's the thing: Panic At The Disco can split all they want:

We just wanted to let you know, that the news of Ryan and Jon leaving the band is unfortunately true. It’s been an amazing journey being in a band with them, but sometimes individual tastes take friends in different directions and you can’t ignore it. They are some of the most talented guys we know, and we’re sure that whatever they do next will be great. That said, Panic At The Disco is alive and very very well. We are working on new songs that we are excited for you to hear. Our dates
with Blink and Fall Out Boy start in a little less than a month, and we wouldn’t miss those for the world. We know everybody has a lot of questions at this point with everything being so out of the blue, most of those should be answered in the coming weeks. We appreciate every one of you, and hope you continue with us on this incredible ride.

Pay attention we have a surprise in store for you.

-Brendon and Spencer

PS we were cleaning out the practice space and you’ll never guess what we found!

But for all the talk of musical differences (presumably Ryan and Jon didn't want to be anywhere near Fall Out Boy) you just know that this merely means a special reunion tour in about three weeks or something similar.

In the meanwhile, I'll bet Brendon's delighted he gets to keep the drummer.


Republican Congressman calls for end to Jackson mourning

Worried that coverage of Michael Jackson's death is "too politically correct", , Republican Congressman Peter King has decided it's time to redress the balance:

Rep. Peter King, a Long Island Republican, said in the video posted Sunday that society is glorifying a "low-life" while hardworking teachers, police officers, firefighters and veterans don't get the credit they deserve.

"This guy was a pervert," King said in the video, shot Sunday by a staff member outside an American Legion hall. "He was a child molester. He was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country?"
[...]
But in a telephone interview Monday, King said that Jackson had "admitted to sleeping with young boys, traveling with young boys. ... That's the definition of pedophilia."

It's odd that King suddenly seems to have lost the courage of his convictions and has started to backtrack slightly from what he clearly meant, to what he can actually prove.

Still, it's amusing to think that somehow Al Sharpton can believe the media is being too harsh on Jackson, while King can equally stridently believe that it's giving him way too easy a ride.
King is considering seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, which is up in 2010.

He said he has posted other Internet videos on issues such as cap-and-trade legislation to control pollution, but those videos did not receive as much attention as the Michael Jackson comments have.

Whoever would have thought?


Also doing well from Jackson's death

Something called WONMP pushes a press release us at:

This last week www.wonmp.us set new all-time records for web traffic. Our article on What Really Killed Michael Jackson was picked-up by several major news stations, resulting in massive website visits. It is our hope that the article will help "steer" those that suffer from unmanaged stress to seek safe, natural help.

A massive website visit? Is that one where the screen resolution is 5000 x 5000? "Yeah, it did less well on the small mobile screens, but on massive website visits, it was brilliant."

Still, good of WONMP to pat themselves on the back for having jumped so quickly on the corpse.

By the way, WONMP have pre-empted your objection that they can't possibly know what really killed Michael Jackson by waving away such objections as unimportant:
The toxicology report is not yet in because Michael's autopsy is only now being scheduled, but that matters not. What matters is the knowledge that a human heart is designed to operate much longer than 50 years unless impeded in some way.

Yes, yes, let's not detain ourselves waiting for facts.

Also turning a few quid is Bauer Magazines, who are resurrecting Smash Hits. How better to homage a dead man than a dead magazine?

Normally, we'd be excited by the idea of a classic-era Smash Hits revival - even if it was only going to be about Michael Jackson, but as far as I can see there's nobody from the glory days of Smash Hits involved, so this is less a revival than some sort of freaky reanimation of a stolen corpse. And I bet it's not going to be sarky and fun and like Smash Hits was when Jackson was alive.

Update: Popjustice have more on the Smash Hits revival, and apparently Barry McIlheney is editing the Smash Hits. So it's decline-of-empire phase SH then. [Thanks to anonymous commenter for the tip]


Los Campesinos on tour

Yes, yes, LC! are heading off out. These are the dates:

Coventry Kasbah (October 21)
Southampton Joiners (22)
Exeter Phoenix (23)
Cardiff The Gate (24)
Manchester Deaf Institute (26)
Newcastle University (27)
London Garage (28)
Oxford Zodiac (29)
Leeds Cockpit (30)
Glasgow King Tut's Wah Wah Hut (31)

They really should give Manda Rin a support slot, don't you think?


Al Sharpton banging on about Jackson

It must be hard for Al Sharpton, watching the death of Michael Jackson. After all, Jacko's period of being any good is as firmly in the past as Sharpton's period of being taken seriously. So perhaps Sharpton sees his current round of honking stupidly into microphones as his farewell tour, too:

"I'm here because of the disgraceful and the despicable way [the media] is trying to destroy the legacy [of Jackson]," Sharpton said.

"You have had other entertainers that have had issues in their life; you [the media] did not degrade and denigrate them."

Sharpton called upon the media to show respect during the family's time of mourning. "Michael was no freak," he said. "He was a genius."

"We want love. That's what Michael Jackson sang about," Sharpton said. "Let's talk about love. Let the media deal with the mess, while we deal with the message."

Is it just me, or did he say the media should leave Jackson alone, and then tell them to "deal with the mess"?

Still, Sharpton has a point, doesn't he? After all, it's not like the global media has been fawning over Jackson solidly for a week and a half now; and you certainly didn't see anyone mentioning the mafia business when Sinatra died, or repeatedly speculating over Presley's secret love for saturated fat within seconds of Elvis sliding the 'Engaged' sign for the very last time, is it?


The Feeling is slow

The Feeling are afraid they might lose some of their magic if, you know, they rush things. Oh, yes, it's slow building from The Feeling:

Dan Gillespie-Sells said: "We are really going to take our time with it. I don't want to put it out for a while. We should have it out by 2010, otherwise it will be too soon.

"Other countries are only just hearing our second album now. I don't think we should rush these things. I don't want to be one of those bands who are constantly releasing stuff all the time."

Dan, you do realise that 2010 is now only a handful of months away? (Seriously, the Speke Crowne Plaza has got its 'book now for Christmas' banners out.) But don't let us rush you. No, really, don't let us rush you. Are you sure 2010 isn't too soon? Maybe you should wait until every country has had a chance to hear your second album - you know, you wouldn't want to be in the studio until the Burmese and North Koreans have had a chance to walk past a display of your records and said "oh, did they make another one?"

Book some studio space towards the middle of the 2020s. Take it real slow. You owe it to us. Erm, to yourself.


Darkness at 3AM: Kelly Osbourne still waiting for sense of irony to arrive

The 3AM Girls don't seem to spot the mote and/or beam as Kelly Osbourne shares her insight into Lady GaGa:

"She's a Butter Face. She has everything But the face. She reminds me of Peaches Geldof.

"I love Lady GaGa's track's but I just wish she'd keep her mouth shut.

"She talks way too much and has too much attitude. It's starting to make me go off her."

In response to a follow-up question, Osbourne revealed "yes, all our mirrors have disappeared. How did you know?"


Gordon in the morning: Optimus Prime was busy

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha. This morning, Bizarre is guest-edited by Sacha Baron Cohen in his guise as Bruno. It's a crazy inversion of everything we've come to expect from Bizarre - a straight man pretending to be gay running articles that are intentionally trite and meaningless. A complete inversion.

Opinion is divided on Bruno, as to whether it's a comedy which satirizes homophobes and racists, or if it's actually a bunch of racist and homophobic stereotyping that is Making Some Sort Of Point. I wonder if this large advert for the film will clarify matters?

EMINEM pretended he'd never had a guy so close before at ze MTV Movie Awards.

But vhen I vas down zere soon ze real Slim Shady began to stand up.

Ich vould love to get zat vay mit BRYAN ADAMS.

Vould be real Summer Of 69.

Wow. This has got to be Baron Cohen's most searing satire since he dressed up in a shell suit and sunglasses to shock the world with the discovery that Sir Rhodes Byson didn't understand street slang. I mean, seriously:
"Paris Hilton is everything I despise in people. She dresses to get attention, she's a real name-dropper - Orlando Bloom told me zat. Und she is fame obsessed - she's alvays standing next to me on ze red carpet."

This is the sort of thing that Benny Hill was doing decades ago - although, to be fair, Hill would only have worn a neckerchief and a pastel shirt to be dressed up like a gay.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Doing well from Jackson's death

Obviously, people flogging off 'souvenir' issues of their magazines are doing nicely from the timely departure of Michael Jackson - in the sense of filling up the quiet summer lull. Leading the pack has been OK!, whose 'tribute' issue led with a photo of Jacko on a gurney, minutes from death, that Richard Desmond paid thousands and thousands for.

Scrabbling about throwing cash so you can reward photographers who imposed themselves on a dying man. That's quite a way of paying tribute, Desmond.

You'll recall that one of Desmond's other publications, the Daily Express, worked itself into quite a froth when Channel 4 ran a documentary which featured photographs taken during Diana's dying moments:

STOP THIS DISGUSTING INSULT TO DYING DIANA

Presumably it's somehow not disgusting when it's Jackson, for some reason.

Also doing rather nicely out of Jackson's death - British Airways. They're trilling delightedly to TMZ about how much cash they're making off the back of a dead man:
A rep from British Airways tells us there has been a "huge influx" of reservations in the last few days by people from England trying to make their way to the memorial. The rep says people are "flying as close to L.A. as they can and then taking connecting flights."

In addition to non-stop and direct flights to L.A., flights from Heathrow to San Francisco and from Heathrow to Denver are almost full.

The rep says they expect all flights -- direct and indirect -- to be sold out by the end of the day.

Not, of course, that they're rolling about in piles of cash and giggling, or anything.


Embed and breakfast man: MGMT

Back, then, from a weekend down memory lane - or down Lark Lane, certainly - and this catches my eye:



Yup, MGMT covering Til Tuesday. Whoever would have thought?

[Thanks to You Ain't No Picasso where I found this]