Saturday, May 29, 2010

Liveblog: Eurovision 2010

"With strobing", apparently.

"There goes a moment, joining millions of other moments" explains Graham Norton, narrating a crash-through-Eurovision history which is focusing more on the Abbas than the Bing-Bip-De-Bop- bits. Although they haven't airbrushed Johnny Logan yet.

"Moscow - scene of last year's Moscow... erm, Eurovision..."

And we arrive in Oslo. The Eurovision moments look like minor Doctor Who threats floating in through the audience's head.

Oh, Lord. They've got someone who looks like Al Murray bellowing "good luck, UK" into a webcam. It's like he's in the room with us. And the room has dropped a dozen degrees.

Last year's winner is on, doing the song which won last year. The one we'd forgotten before he reached the end of his victory performance. I think he's there now as a warning to Europe to do better this time.

The webcam idea is horrible. It's like the BNP invented chatroulette.

To be fair, last year's winner did have nice eyes. It's a pity it wasn't an eye contest.

Three hosts, in varying sizes, and one wearing a horrible beige dress that looks like it was made from an antimacassar which had failed to stop macassar gathering.

One of the hosts - the normal looking one - has left the stage already. The bloke looks like an air-dried Nicky Campbell.

In real news, David Laws has gone. Has a minister ever quit this early into a government before?

Since the phonelines are already open, shall we just vote, and go straight to the results? It's not like the songs really influence matters much.

8.10 Azerbaijan - Safura: Drip Drop
I suspect at rehearsals she wasn't using the bloke to help her down the stairs - that looks like a health and safety imposition.

Why would you give your song a name which sounds like a nose fighting the effects of a heavy cold? Although, given the song, maybe it's apt.

I do like the little lights under her dress though. Wonder where she puts the batteries?

8.13 Spain - Daniel Diges: Algo Pequeñito
The videos before the bands this year are quite short. Like they couldn't really be arsed. They might even be stock footage. Wonder which country gets the train going into the tunnel?

Daniel appears to be being attacked by the characters from the top of a tin of Quality Street.

As a general rule of thumb, any track which sounds like it's loosely based on fairground music should be treated as one might an unexplained lump under the skin. Get it cut out, throw it away, and try and stop whatever caused it in the first place.

Twitter seems convinced that Daniel Diges might be Leo Sayer with a false passport.

8.17 Norway - Didrik Solli-Tangen "My Heart Is Yours"
Can they make it two in a row? Imagine the pressure of defending the honour of a nation, in front of that nation, wearing a cheap suit with only one button on the jacket.

Ow. And an inability to hit any of the notes.

The song sounded for a moment there like it was going to crank itself up from a slushy march to something more up-tempo. But it was just a false pause before revealing more closely how much of a rip-off of You'll Never Walk Alone this is.

There's some sweet-sounding female backing singers. He might have thought about getting them on the stage to help. As it is, all they can think to do to make 'bloke stood on his own' look interesting is to keep swinging the camera round and round him. Like he was on a wall of death.

8.21 Moldova SunStroke Project and Olia Tira "Run Away"
The SunStroke Project? Really?

The light forming giant clouds is pretty nice. Well done to Norway for that, at least.

Oh, lord. A spinning fiddler. That'd be the sunstroke kicking in, then.

Olia is trying to be Pink. Albeit a Pink pretending that she's not surrounded by a band made entirely of the wacky ones from John Hughes imperial-phase movies.

The song is Eurovision-goes-Ibiza. Nobody does well out of that mix.

@laverneshow Before we all tweet about this, let's remember how bad the British entry is this year... #eurovision

Cyprus Jon Lilygreen and The Islanders "Life Looks Better in Spring"
This is the Welsh bloke, of course. Who... has just walked on stage and shown us his appendix op scar.

Did that just start Love Changes Everything? Lloyd-Webber will be on to his lawyers.

Hmm. I had been going to do a 'you can see why nobody from Cyprus would sing this and they had to get a ringer in' joke here, but it's not that bad. In a sort-of-song-a-character-in-Neighbours-would-write way.

@danofthewibble - I like that Moldova had Timmy Mallett on sax. Nice to see he's still in the music game after the Bombalurina split.

Back in Cyprus, the song is still going on. On and on and on.

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Vukašin Brajić "Thunder and Lightning"
"A big rocky number" warns Graham Norton. Did anyone tell the backing group, who have come dressed for a Regional Development Agency launch party.

Vukasin looks like a man going to a Cosplay event as a homemade Chris Martin, though. And has one of those quiffs left looking lost on the front of the head as the hairline recedes away, like Morrissey has.

The song has failed to live up to its "big, rocky" billing. Perhaps Norton said "bit ropey" and I misheard?

Belguim: Tom Dice "Me and My Guitar"
Tom Dice? Looks like he's yet to throw a six to start.

Oh, Tom's got a whiny little voice, like Jack Johnson protesting that it's too early for bed. No wonder he's reduced to his guitar for company.

@hungryhatter If Bosnia's effort is a rock song then A-ha's Manhattan Skyline is a metal anthem. Best one so far, mind you.

Don't quite understand why Tom Dice has dressed down without a tie, but is still wearing a waistcoat. It's like taking your socks off before sex, but slipping your Hush Puppies back on.

Serbia: Milan Stanković "Ovo je Balkan" (Oво je Балкан)
It says a lot about how far people drop their national pride that it's rare to see anyone sing a song in their country's language, much less pitch a song that uses a totally different alphabet.

Well... he's blonde, isn't he?

Obviously not really, not at the roots. The dancing girls pretending to be clocks in the background is a nice touch, too.

Is "come on" Serbian, then? Serbian for "come on"?

Frightening and parping, but somehow the best so far.

Apparently Spain are going to have another chance to do their song for reasons I didn't catch. That's just what we need, for this to all drag on even longer.

Belarus: 3+2 feat Robert Wells "Butterflies"
The theme from Carla Lane's sitcom. Hopefully.

Oh, Robert Wells is staring into the camera like a man who is hoping the police don't look in the spare room.

Justin Lee Collins on piano - perhaps his tiresome efforts to get involved on that Channel Five programme paid off at the very end. Did anyone see the end of that? No?

For a song named after a brightly-coloured, light, fluttery creature, they sure have created something dull and plodding.

So the women's dressed had butterfly wings which opened out as they got to the end of the song.

Ireland Niamh Kavanagh "It's for You"
Apparently Niamh has won this before - either I'm going to be unable to recognise my own feet by the time I'm 45, or else Eurovision winners are getting more and more forgettable.

If it's the latter, Niamh has gone for another forgettable song this time round. Why mess with the winning formula, eh?

They're playing flutes this year. I don't think they're really ready to win again yet, are they? Maybe if the Euro hadn't tanked, they'd have tried a bit harder this year.

Actually, someone should pull together a graph showing 'quality of song' against 'exposure to collapsing Euro'. We could all vote Greece to win, just to see the look of horror on their faces when they realise they're going to have to find the money to host next year.

Talking of whom...

Greece Giorgos Alkaios and Friends "OPA" (ΟΠΑ)

Four male dancers, shirts split to the waist, and a singer who looks like he's trying to pretend he's ten years younger than he actually is. A lot of whooping of "OPA!" though.

In fact, it's pretty much all whooping "OPA!"

This could scoop it. Will next year's Eurovision be the first ever austerity song contest? Will Germany demand automatic qualification as part of the bail-out deal?

UK Josh Dubovie "That Sounds Good to Me"
... and shit to everyone else.

True, Waterman and Stock have written some great pop songs. But they also wrote an awful lot of b-sides for Sonia too.


Oh. He's got out. That's our chances cut by about 50%, then.

Presumably, Waterman and Stock's main contribution was digging out the drumbeat from an old floppy disc. Maybe both thought the other was going to finish off the song at some point.

@thoroughlygood: Next year, the #uk should just have someone stand on stage in silence for 3 minutes.

Not being allowed to vote for the UK removes our ability to punish him by withholding our votes.

Graham Norton is now commentating over footage of him sucking up to the taller of the two hosts. In a very, very long feature.

Georgia Sopho Nizharadze "Shine"
I am eating my George Cross Mars, that the confectioner produced to support this entry.

Two blokes are making a rubbish job of trying to carry Sopho onto the stage. "When it's cold, you're on your own - but you're never alone" she observes. Well, she isn't, as she's unable to shake off the blokes in white or the scary lookalike women rubbing their arses on the floor and looking slightly-stalkery at her.

I'm not a fan of the big empty ballad, which is quite lucky, as if I was, this would be like seeing my family getting tortured.

Turkey maNga "We Could Be the Same"
MTV Europe award winning band, so serial awards show tarts, then.

They're a Hollywood version of what a High School rock band look like. Down to the flying V guitars and jumping at the loud bits.

There's a lot of flashing lights.

Singer fits a lot of words into his lines; he could have a future as some sort of livestock auctioneer if the music doesn't work out.

(Hint: He should probably be on the phone to Hotten Market in the morning.)

Some woman doing a bit of angle-grinding on stage. Why do rock bands think that's some sort of extreme entertainment? It's DIY. You might as well bring on Billy from DIY SOS to wire up a ceiling rose.

@CathElliott: "Clap your hands!" Hubbie, deadpan: "No." Good start.

Juliana Pasha "It's All About You"
More unnecessary, histrionic violinage. Perhaps Lattitude were onto something booking Nigel Kennedy after all.

Juliana is doing that dance where you pretend you're being swept about like really strongly-rooted pondweed in a river at full flood. Her backing singers all have buns twice the size of their natural heads balanced on their skulls.

The song seems to be all the bits Waterman left out of the UK entry. I wouldn't say it's a full Pasha, but it's a notunpleasanta.

Icleand: Hera Björk "Je ne sais quoi"
Hera is Icelandic for "Please vote for me as I'm from the same country as".

Unlike Bjork Bjork, Hera unlikely to be mistaken for a pop elf any time soon. Or a pop genius. She can belt out a tune, though. Pity this isn't a tune.

Ukraine Alyosha "Sweet People"
The audience appears to be leaving in droves. Perhaps they were confusing Alyosha with the Grim Reaper, as they dress in a very similar way.

Alyosha singing each word as if it has. a. full. stop. after. it. Which is never a good sign - suggests she can't work out where the heart of the words are, so she's giving each word equal vote.

The wind machine has been switched on. She'll regret having tossed that hoodie aside so casually.

@gibbzer: Fuck, this is cheery. The hood was clearly a signifier.

France Jessy Matador "Allez Ola Olé"
They've entered their World Cup song, which is quite a nifty move from a budgetary point of view. This would mean we'd end up sending Keith Allen to Eurovision every four years.

It sounds like a football song. That is never a compliment.

Amusingly, one of them is wearing those hopped shirts which are usually only worn by English actors pretending to be French people.

Have we really had eighteen songs already? Blimey.

Romania Paula Seling and Ovi "Playing with Fire"
Wasn't Ovi Nokia's short-lived entertainment project?

They're sat at a see-through, double-headed piano, singing what seems to be 'clang, clang, clang goes the trolley"

@justinecaul : #eurovision looks like the two pairs of white trousers I bought are going to be a great investment for the summer. : )

Sadly, Paula and Ovi have decided against the literal interpretation of their song title, and aren't hurling burning chunks of tar at each other. It might have helped lift the first subpar Lyndsey DePaul effort seen at Eurovision since Lyndsey DePaul took part.

Russia Peter Nalitch and Friends "Lost and Forgotten"
Graham Norton has said this is the sort of song a friendly drunk might warm too. Pity Wogan's not doing Eurovision any more; it would have been nice for an Eastern European entry he could throw his weight behind.

Whose idea was it to have bright white lights shining so often into the camera tonight?

Peter is singing to a photograph - perhaps of a lost love; perhaps it's Putin. Maybe it's off the child that he'll never see again if he doesn't return to Moscow carrying a Eurovision trophy.

Perhaps Norton thinks this is a song for drunks because it feels like it fell asleep halfway through?

They've gone backstage. Which can only mean the rest of Europe is enjoying commercials right now.

Iceland have got a volcano backstage with them. It's a bit like Spain taking along a Franco lookalike for a laugh.

Ah, Spain are getting a second go because someone ran on stage during their song. Is that fair? Couldn't you just hide a couple of people in the audience to run on if you're doing badly for another go?

Armenia: Eva Rivas "Apricot Stone"
All hail an artist with a rhyming name! And a guy sat on a stone playing a traditional instrument.

This sounds like it might be an advert for an Apricot Stone Marketing Board. Have Armenia done a crafty doubling-up like France did? Or is Apricot Stone some sort of euphemism in Armenia? Is every teenage Armenian boy sniggering into his sleeve right now? "She said 'apricot stone', dude... she said it again. And again."

Germany: Lena "Satellite"
Lena. Not Nena. She looks like the sort of girl who does quite well on Top Model until three from the end when they kick her out for being too quirky.

And she's Lily Allen goes Cabaret, it turns out.

@dillpickle: I like Armenia quite a lot but could she not have found a sexier dude to dance with the jug? #eurovision

A question we've all asked ourselves at some point.

Back to Lena: who knew you could hear the Bow Bells in Berlin? Surely Lena is the first pearly queen of Leipzig?

You can see why the bookies might have made this a favourite.

Portugal: Filipa Azevedo "Há dias assim"
Singing in Portuguese, which at least means the lucrative Brazilian market might be interested if it flops here. If Brazil ever tires of songs with a samba beat. Or any sort of beat to them. Or life to them. Or...

Look, let's put it like this: we're not going to be seeing the cream of Portuguese Camera and Production work in 2011, right?

Israel: Harel Skaat "Milim"
Harel won a Pop Idol style competition to be here tonight. I wonder if he gets let off military service as well? Or only if he wins?

Oh, he's a Middle Eastern Jacques Brel.

Meanwhile, Jeff Jarvis cuts to the most important question of all:
@jeffjarvis: Just curious: Can you watch #esc #eurovision on your new iPads, Europe? Or is this bad Flash called Octoshape verboten?

I think Apple have actually just rejected half the songs from being allowed to appear on the iPad platform.

Actually, if the iPad blocked Harel, you'd see a queue forming outside the Apple Store again tomorrow.

Denmark: Chanée and N'evergreen "In a Moment Like This"
This would be the end of the first stage, were we not getting a second go at Spain. I suppose ending on John Oates dressed as Barry Manilow singing John Waites might be a fitting end.

Hang on, Carole Malone's joined him on stage, turning the song from Missing You to a divorce-era Abba album track.

The guy who ran on stage during Spain's first go has been arrested. Organisers are saying it was "a well-organised stunt", although they're hardly going to say that they were so lax any ill-prepared drunk could get on stage.

So Spain's getting a second go at the Quality Street tin song. Let's hope the singer didn't sneak a look at Twitter and realise all of Europe believes he's Leo Sayer in disguise. That'd ruin your confidence more than being rushed at by a Eurovision stage-invader.

And the newsroom will now be calling the cab company asking if they could come a bit later tonight.

@charltonbrooker: Oh good. This again. We're stuck in a looping nightmare, folks. It will last 97 years.

The presenter's hair appears to have been made by Chanel, judging by the logo stuck in there. Or maybe it was taken there by a jackdaw which is nesting somewhere within.

Bit of business with some pizza and popcorn from NickyCampbellJunior.

And now we're getting the reminder run-through. As if we could forget.

@goodoldMJ: that was the worst Top of the Pops I've ever seen, I hope Tomorrow's World is better #eurovision

They've got about an hour to churn through the incoming numbers.

Well, I was able to pee and feed the cats in the time it took for them to run through the entries. If the reminder of the songs lasts so long you've forgotten the first one again by the time they reach the end, is it worth doing?

Now there's some business on tape at the Oslo town hall. The one good thing to come out of the BBC being privatised would be we'd get adverts instead of these filmed bits.

NickyCampbite saying "it looks like it's going to be one of the most exciting Eurovisions in a long time". Looks like? Isn't it nearly over?

Oh. Another run through all twenty-five songs. Again.

Then 39 countries to vote. And then we can find out what damage has been done to the government.

Ellie Gellard's just tweeted that she's voted for France and Greece. Let's hope that doesn't have the same effect on them as her endorsement did on Gordon Brown.

And the lines are closed. If you haven't rigged your nation's vote, it's too late.

They're now doing a filler piece where the audience are being asked to be part of the performance. One guy tried to be part of the performance during Spain's bit, and he ended up in prison for his efforts. Make your mind up, Oslo.

People all over Europe are dancing half-heartedly to some mid-paced Europop.

The British bit looks like they got swamped by a pub letting out while they were trying to film it.

It's a nice idea. Like it's like the Look East 'people where you are' ethos suddenly weaponised.

Let the results start to pour. Please.

Bugger, I've got the it's not a Flashmob it's just a lot of people dancing they never called it flashmobs when Record Breakers did that sort of thing song stuck in my brain now.

Romania are first to give their votes. If Nadia ever stops explaining the bloody rules.

The woman from Bucharest sounds slightly patronising-cum-sarcastic: "what an amazing show..."

Denmark get the early lead. Didn't see that coming.

Ireland. Will they throw the UK a bone? Four points.

God, that's tantamount to Ireland cutting our face with a knife. Pete Waterman might want to book a long holiday.

The German guy is wearing a rosette with Lena on it. It looks a little creepy. Oh, and he's calling out her name. Can we dock points for this sort of thing?

Serbia's votes next.

Very mixed results so far - some people loved Denmark, some loved Belguim. And Serbia apparently loved Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Did Graham Norton just tell someone to fuck off?

Albania have given the UK a single point. And tickled Greece into the lead. OPA!

The Turkish presenter appears to have been on her way home before she popped back to give out the votes.

12 points to Azerjaiban.

Croatia wheeled on next - very no-nosense they are in Zagreb. Apart from in their necklaces. Twelve points to Manga, and then a terse goodbye before Poland come on.

"The votes from the Polish people from Poland" she explains, helpfully. Someone's told her to make sure she shows her good side to the camera, although without telling her which side that might be. I think she's guessed wrongly. 12 points to Denmark.

A budget Shirley Manson next, with the Bosnia votes.

The UK is stuck on five at the moment, and we're not getting any here, either.

Bosnia's 12 goes to Serbia. Probably on a promise of getting their hair straighteners back.

The woman from Finland is delivering their results like she's declaring war. 12 to Germany.

Onto Slovenia, where the presenter is experimenting with his sexuality.

Lena's in the lead at the moment; Spain has only managed 18 points - which is nine per performance. Still more than the UK if you do that, too.

The Estonia guy is singing his results. And wearing a jacket that makes him look like he's misunderstood leather is meant to be treated before you wear it.

Germany have broken into three figures. They've almost got as many figures as the UK has actual points.

Moscow just been on with their votes, and Portugal is doing their thing now. The most normal looking presenter so far. It's looking like we'll be in Berlin next year.

Azerbaijan have got fireworks in the background of their result-giving. That seems a bit extreme. I hate to think what their election programmes look like.

Germany are 25 points ahead, with less than half countries declaring.

Greece have shoved on the same guy who they keep at the state broadcasters' in case they need a 'imposition of martial law' newsflash. He looks like he hasn't slept in a week.

And now Iceland. Ten to Belgium who, after a good start, had failed to get much traction. Their 12 to Denmark appears to have generated some boos in the Oslo audience.

Denmark have - genuinely - got their runner-up from the heats to do the results stage. Is that a not-much-of-a-consolation-Prize? Their 12 goes to Germany. I think Lena have won it.

Is the French presenter wearing a rubber dress? I hope she's only just put that on. If she's been wearing it since the start of the show, her ankles must be sloshing around in a sea of sweat by now. 12 to Turkey's school band rockers.

And we're on to Spain, who gave 12 to Germany.

"Anything can still happen" says the presenter, although it looks a lot like 'anything' here means 'Germany will win'.

They're doing a bit with Lena backstage. She's come over a bit Cameron-like, forgetting to pretend she doesn't think it's in the bag.

Rest of Europe back from the adverts. 19 nations have yet to speak. Germany-Turkey-Belgium are 1-2-3. The UK is pretending we didn't take part.

Slovakia have stood their man in front of a beautifully-lit bridge of some sort. He;s given twelve to Germany.

Carol Decker has pulled a shift doing the Bulgaria results. Armenia overhaul Georgia somewhere in the middle of the table after she does her thing. Azerbaijan get twelve from Bulgaria. "A few more like that and Germnay can be caught" says Graham, hoping we'll keep interested.

It looks like wonderbra technology has finally arrived in Ukraine. Another 12 to Azerbaijan from them.

Latvia's presenter seems to be about to try and sell us some genuine goods from a suitcase.

Ooh, everytime Russia get points, the room boos. Not very Eurovision.

Latvia's 12 goes to Germany. Backstage, Lena orders for a swan to be killed in her honour.

Malta's presenter looks like the woman who performed for Iceland. The UK gets bugger-all from Malta. Empire is dead.

The home votes now, from Norway. Their 12 goes to Germany.

In case you're wondering, the UK hasn't been disqualified, and we're still beating Ireland. And Belarus.

Cyprus votes give their 12 to Greece. OPA! It must have been nice for them to have a song people actually like to give the 12 to this year.

The Lithuanian presenter proves that heavy heroin use is no bar to a television career. 12 to Georgia, but by now Germnay is nearly 70 ahead.

Results now from a frightened man in Belarus. Perhaps he was scared because he knew how people would boo when he gave 12 to the Russians.

Switzerland's 6 for Ireland has knocked us to ''just one above Belarus'.

Belgium have given their 12 to OPA! but it has come too late.

Who let Scott Mills do our presenting? Is he the face we want to show Europe? The people of the UK turn out to have loved Greece. OPA! OPA!

The Dutch woman has said "let's find out who has the X Factor..." Wrong show. Cowell will sue, you know.

Nearly there now. Israel's Max Headroom on Slimfast is "privileged" to share this moment. "Ten points to the big mother of Russia". There's no need to be so rude, man. Nothing for Germany.

The Macedonian seems to be implying they had a thing with one of the Oslo based presenters. That must have been a drunken night. By now, of course, Germany have clearly won and the UK have not a hope of making double figures. If only someone had sat Pete Waterman in front of a camera for this.

The Moldovan woman is indoors. Apparently outside a washroom. Three nations to go.

Georgia is wishing "good luck to everybody". That might be a bit late. Bloody hell, three for the UK - double figures! In your face, Scooch. Oh, but we're also now last.

Hey, guy from Sweden, this isn't a Gillette advert. Twelve from him goes to Germany after he pretends to not remember - what a card, eh?

And finally, Armenia. Who have a real princess to do their business.Unless she's got 80 points hidden in her handbag, Germany have won.

So, Stock and Waterman are a bust. Maybe we need to take Thom Yorke's offer seriously.

Blimey, though, they're more-or-less on time, which is quite good considering Spain had to go twice.

Ah. Trying to get a young drunk German woman to sing is causing the last few minutes to fall over.

Onto Germany next year, then...

One last question: was it just coincidence the only large, live crowd linked-up to Oslo came from Germany? Because it's really lucky they had a winning audience to show during the reprise, isn't it?

And one last tweet, from Sarah Cawood: Josh's family are inconsolable. I would ask you respectfully 2 be kind to him. He's a very talented boy who had to work with a 2nd rate song.

Team Josh already turning on Stock & Waterman, then?

Last year: 2009

Trouser quake

The idea of Liam Gallagher designing clothes was preposterous on its own. Now, Paul Weller's got involved with Pretty Green.

Paul Weller has done many things for which we should be prepared to cut him a lot of slack. But not even Going Underground buys him the licence to be fannying about pretending to design trousers.

Arab Strap weekend: Dream Sequence

The idea of Arab Strap making pop videos seems wrong, like Jamie Oliver making cheese whizz sandwiches. But they did:

[Part of The Arab Strap weekend]

Gordon in the morning: What rhymes with "biological clock"?

I understand that Information Is Beautiful is currently preparing a graph showing the diminishing marginal joy in everything Lily Allen does, and in the Bridget Jones franchise. And at the point where the two graphs cross will sit Lily Allen writing the Bridget Jones musical.

The idea is so horrible, you can't even blame Gordon Smart for this:

With about 11 more to write, she'd better get a wriggle on - surely there will be one about massive pants?

When even Gordon is pre-processing the clunkingly inevitable with a grim look on his face, surely the idea should be being booked its one-way ticket to Switzerland?

The Faces choose a new Face

The Faces have decided to get back together for the Vintage Festival at Goodwood. Trouble is, Rod Stewart is too busy/too lazy/too afraid of the tax implications to get involved.

Never mind, because they've got a plan b.

Send for Mick Hucknall.

And you thought nothing would ever top Edward Scissorhand's secateurs-for-fingers as the most ill-conceived replacement operation in history, didn't you?

Speaking to the Guardian, Ronnie Wood, who went on to join the Rolling Stones, insisted that Hucknall was rock'n'roll enough to step into Rod Stewart's tartan stack heels. "His band aren't but he is. Mick's a big Faces fan and it comes out when he sings, it's a kind of relief for him because he can let loose. Mick's range is like Rod's vocal range was in the seventies."

It's interesting that Hucknall feels so trapped in his Simply Red day job. Since money isn't really a problem for him, why doesn't he just break free and do it?

Embed and breakfast man: Arab Strap

Is there anything more appropriate for what-I-still-doggedly-call-the-Whitsun-bank-holiday than spending some time in the company of Arab Strap?

"Arab Strap are often criticized for being in an artistic rut, playing out the same tired, slo-fi depressing tunes ad nauseum" says one of their fans on Amazon, admittedly before going on to explain why that's missing the point. It's fair to say if you're not fond of mordant wit, you might struggle a bit to warm to the Strap. But then they never pretended to be Gina G.

Let's start at, erm, the end: New Birds, live in Tokyo on the farewell tour:

Scenes Of A Sexual Nature: The vinyl Box Set
The Week Never Starts Around Here

More Arab Strap online
Arab Strap on Chemikal Underground site
Arab Strap on Matador Records site

More to come across the weekend
Dream Sequence
First Big Weekend live

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Heavenly & The Hold Steady

Craig Finn wrote a beautiful piece about the death of Matthew Fletcher in yesterday's Guardian Film & Music. It's about Matthew, and it's about music and being connected, and... well, you should read it all. Here's a taste:

I still spend time thinking about Mathew Fletcher, his sister, and their other bandmates spending time in a rehearsal space somewhere. My version goes like this: Someone came up with the chords to Space Manatee. Someone added the lyrics. They probably took a break for a beer or cigarette break. They made inside jokes with each other. They came back and played the song even better. They added it to their live set.

At some point, they recorded the song and pressed up a single. It made its way to KUOM in Minneapolis and got played on the radio. I was driving. I heard the song. It felt great. I bought the single. It's a simple story, but a moving story as well. Mathew Fletcher and his band mates put their time, energy, and love into their art. A distant world away, this effort brought me a small bit of euphoria. This is the beauty of the relationship we have with music, the way it can bring small doses of joy into our lives.

Subject lines on PR emails that translate as 'please delete me unread'

Number one in a series:

Latitude Festival - Nigel Kennedy!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

EMI gives Bertrand Bodson, tells him to ignore the blood and the screaming

EMI has filled the hole at the top by taking on Bertrand Bodson as SVP, global digital marketing.

Bodson used to look after DVD rentals business in Europe (no, apparently they have one) before moving on to co-found Bragster. Yes, yes you do. You can dare your friends on it and everything. It's like YouTube, but with everything but the show-offs removed.

It's Bodson's skill at making Bragster such a household name that has brought him to EMI, to do for old EMI songs what he did for people wanting to dare other people to see who has the cutest pet.

Good luck in your new job, Mr. Bodson. You might want to check your contract to see what happens to your remuneration package should the business be passed over to a bank in a few months' times.

Interpol collateral damage as Bono's back snaps

With U2's tour in tatters, Interpol have not only had their plum opening gig vanish, but have had to dump most of the their headlining tour. The original idea had been to cross-subsidise the headline dates with the cash from the U2 ones.


I know we're living in an all-interactive, 360-degree feedback world, but still can't shake the sense that for MIA to tweet a New York Times journalist's number and suggest her fans call her to rail against an article smacks more than a little of a bully's tactics.

The article, it's true, doesn't exactly smother MIA in lovey-kiss-kisses:

While Hirschberg's research poses some important questions, particularly with regard to MIA's wealth, her politics, and her relationship with her father, it is the 34-year-old singer who does herself a disservice, admitting to being "tone deaf" and "not very musical". Elsewhere, she shows a childish desire for controversy: "'I kind of want to be an outsider,' [MIA] said, eating a truffle-flavored French fry. 'I don't want to make the same music, sing about the same stuff, talk about the same things. If that makes me a terrorist, then I'm a terrorist.'"

Well, no, it doesn't make you a terrorist. Nor does the tweet-bomb. It does make you look petulant, though, and quite disappointingly thin-skinned for someone who claims to desire to be an outsider. Isn't being knocked by the New York Times meant to be what happens to you if you're beyond the mainsteam?

Axl Rose instructs his lawyers

Axl Rose has launched a lawsuit which, besides much else, seems to construct a conspiracy theory claiming his ex-manager has tried to force Guns N Roses to reunite. How would that work?

What [Irving] Azoff wanted, the rocker says, was the reunion of Guns N' Roses. To execute this, he would sabotage Rose and his new band so that Rose would have no option but to reunite.

According to the filing, "Upon realizing that he couldn't bully Rose and accomplish his scheme, Azoff resigned and abandoned Guns N' Roses on the eve of a major tour, filing suit for commissions he didn't earn and had no right to receive."

Further, Axl says the botched tour cost him money in production startup and rehearsal expenses. Claiming breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud and breach of contract, the singer wants at least $5 million in damages.

The Rose lawsuit is a riposte to Irving's good-luck-with-that attempt to claim a large slice of the earnings from a tour - Irving claims Axl violated an oral agreement to shovel over 15% of the take from it.

You'd have to wonder at the business skillz of a man who hangs his potential two million dollar payday on an oral agreement, wouldn't you?

Rose brings the Ticketmaster merger into the expensively-staffed row as well:
Azoff, is CEO, director and majority shareholder of Front Line, whose roster of artists include the Eagles, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Buffett, Christina Aguilera and John Mayer. In 2008, Front Line was acquired by Ticketmaster.

You've got to love the way people will now throw Ticketmaster into the mix as there's just an aura of evil clinging to them.

The good news for lawyers is that both sides have so much money they can probably keep this battle going for years.

[Thanks to Mike E for the story]

Ozzy: Former dark rock lords do the funniest things

If you're wondering what happened to Jeremy Beadle's soul, it appears that it jumped into Ozzy Osbourne:

Well, it's more amusing than those adverts he did with John Culshaw, I suppose.

Having seen the real Ozzy in the wax museum, tourists still complained that he didn't really look that lifelike.

[Thanks to Michael M]

Here come the Dum Dum Girls

Coming in July, to the UK, the Dum Dum Girls:

24th Jul London The 1234 Festival
25 Sheffield Tramlines Festival Drowned In Sound present
26 Newcastle The Cluny
27 Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire
29 Manchester SOUND CONTROL

This sort of thing, then, but maybe with less sunshine:

If the YouTube page is to be believed, that was the first time the band ever played live. So imagine what they're like now with practice...

[Buy I Will Be]

Who wants to fetch coffee for Kathleen Hanna?

Okay, okay, form an orderly queue, then.

Le Tigre are looking for someone to do stuff for them while they prepare a DVD.

Is having an intern entirely The Right Thing? I mean, I'd probably pay good money to hang out with Le Tigre and do their filing, but getting people to work for nothing on commercial projects doesn't really resonate with the equality and fairness doctrine you'd normally associate with the band.

Downloadable: Jonneine Zapata

He might be irritating beyond belief, but you can't really fault Jack White's ears. He got Jonneine Zapata along to warm up audiences for The Raconteurs a short while back, and you can see why. She's heading off to the studio with Steve Albini next, which is another good sign.

Meanwhile, she's got an album to promote, Cast The Demons Out, and this is, in part, what it sounds like: Good Looking.

There's something about being crunchy and ethereal at the same time that can be very different to pull off without turning into pomp-period The Cult, but I think she nails it.

Gordon in the morning: Sex And The City was a newspaper column once

To be fair, it's not Gordon's handiwork, but it's leading Bizarre this morning: Coverage of the Sex And The City 2 premiere. The headline?

Sex 'n the totty

Totty? Are you serious? Are we only minutes away from 'bint' turning up in headlines?

Gordon, meanwhile, is suffering from a shock:
KASABIAN'S SERGE PIZZORNO has followed in the footsteps of bandmate TOM MEIGHAN and chopped off his locks.

The crop-topped guitarist showed off his new style at last night's Black Ball, thrown by ALICIA KEYS, to raise funds for her HIV children's charity.

The new hairdo is a shock, but I'm sure we'll get used to it.

What a pity the SATC premiere clashed with the 'man gets haircut' - a busy news day indeed.
Serge and the lads did a cracking set with Alicia after a fancy beef dinner.

"A fancy beef dinner"? What? "Oooh, look, horseradish sauce."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Which? asks Where? are the indie record shops

Which? experts have counted the decline of independent record shops; their sad report isn't surprising, but that doesn't make the detail any more upsetting:

In 2000 there were 700 independent record shops across the country but by the end of 2009 the total had fallen to 296.

Only 13 per cent of people buy CDs from independent outlets, according to a survey by Which? the consumer watchdog.

This is, of course, a Bad Thing:
Music experts warned that the rejection of independent stores could mean that record labels are less likely to take risks on new artists.

An HMV spokesman said: "Record labels are not making the kind of viable return they need, taking fewer risks with their artist investments. consumer choice and product diversity could diminish."

An HMV spokesperson? Could that be Gennaro missing out on getting his name in the paper? And whoever it is, did the Telegraph tell him he was being set up as part of the problem?

The positive part of the story - that what major labels may or may not do is becoming less and less important as the music industry changes beyond recognition. It's not just the independent record shops which are trying to adapt...

The book what Lauren wrote

Lauren Laverne's Candypop book is out today. And there's a big, bold (1) in the title - if you can be bold in brackets - which suggests there are more to come.

This, people, is our generation's The Old Man of Lochnagar. Only not rubbish or inspired by The Goons.

Gordon in the morning: Soothsayerage

Readers of Bizarre had no reason to doubt who was going to fill the U2-sized gap at the top of the Glastonbury bill - yesterday, Gordon was confidently predicting that Led Zeppelin could do it, but there was a much more likely outcome:

Eavis is also talking to CHRIS MARTIN about COLDPLAY filling U2's boots, and I reckon they will accept. They are big fans of Glasto.

So they might be a bit surprised this morning:
GORILLAZ have ridden to Glastonbury's rescue and are to fill U2's vacant headline slot.

To be fair, Gordon doesn't completely disown yesterday's piece, retelling it, but without mentioning his prediction:
COLDPLAY were in the frame, LED ZEP wouldn't rule themselves out and even DIZZEE RASCAL was on standby to step up.

Still, he'll have learned his lesson not to make dangerous and unlikely predictions, right?
The core live band features former CLASH guitarist MICK JONES and bassist PAUL SIMONON.

Guest vocalists at the London show included BOBBY WOMACK, MOS DEF and SHAUN RYDER.

I imagine they'll be pitching up in Pilton, and I wouldn't be surprised if DE LA SOUL and others also made an appearance.

And probably Coldplay, too, eh?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Downloadable: The Drums

You've got to love anyone who says that the only music they listen to is The Field Mice. And The Drums being remixed by Saint Etienne, the only band to have had a hit with a Field Mice song - well, that's a loop being closed, right? There's a download waiting for you at RCRDLBL.

Crystal Castles weekend: Trash Hologram

Some extra weekend-out-of-time goodness: Crystal Castles doing Trash Hologram:

[Part of Crystal Castles "weekend"]

Cartoon characters replace U2; not much change there, then

Surely Damon Albarn must be the first person to headline Glastonbury in consecutive years with different bands? This, as you'll have heard, is the news that Gorillaz have been called up to fill the gap left by U2 at the top of the Worthy Farm bill.

Michael Eavis didn't say, but should have, that it was all a fitting way to celebrate the 15th anniversary of John Squire falling off his bike and sparing The Stone Roses an awkward and embarrassing headline experience.

Embed and breakfast man: Ash

"Are you aware" asks @sweepingnation "that, eight years on, Ash are putting their much vaunted at the time horror film out?"

I wasn't. But I am now...

[Warning: contains traces of Coldplay]

Downloadable: Emily Jane White

Rolling Stone have called her a "Hot Chanteuse", which probably tells you more about Rolling Stone than it does about Emily Jane White. Download Red Serpent and listen to her SanFran coffeeshop goth and decide how hot she is for yourself. And if she deserves to have schoolboy French thrown about her.

Crystal Castles weekend: Xxzxcuzx Me

There is a reason, Ms Glass, why there's only one 'x' in the bag at the start of a game of Scrabble... oh, never mind...

[Part of Crystal Castles weekend]

Crystal Castles weekend: Exoskeleton

The Crystal Castles weekend was a bit short-changing, so here's a bonus weekend day, in mid-week. First up, Exoskeleton on-stage at the Melkweg:

[Part of Crystal Castles weekend]

Why Noel didn't let Liam Gallagher come up with the ideas

Liam Gallagher has announced the name for Oasis Without Noel. And it's not going to be called Oasis Without Noel. Oh no. He's gone with Beady Eye.

Beady Eye. As 'third on the bill at a High School battle of the bands' names go, it's perfectly serviceable - coming on straight after Brown Bag Lunch and just before Jimmy's Shoes. But for a grown-up man?

Gordon in the morning: Raking over the cold Coles

Gordon calls in Virginia Wheeler to help him with this morning's big story - a world exclusive, no less: Cheryl Cole is divorcing Ashley.

Yes, a world exclusive. I'll bet the New York Times and Liberation are kicking themselves they've missed out on this one.

Cheryl is portrayed throughout like someone The Sun desperately needs to keep sweet ("like some sort of saint"):

GENEROUS CHERYL COLE is not asking for one penny from cheating husband ASHLEY in the divorce action she launched yesterday.

Multi-millionaire with several lucrative jobs not needing support from other multi-millionaire, then.

But it's not just that she's not seeking money from the divorce. Oh no, Saint Cheryl is also timing the divorce so as not to ruin the World Cup:
And she has told lawyers to rush through a quickie divorce because she is determined the key England defender must go into the World Cup without being distracted by "emotional turmoil". An insider told The Sun last night:

"Cheryl made a swift decision to put England's World Cup dreams ahead of herself. The divorce should be finalised before England's first touch of the ball in South Africa on June 12."

A cynic might wonder if the timing is more about maximising the publicity impact of the divorce by timing it when it becomes a World Cup story. This is the marriage break-up equivalent of those Edam flavour crisps - there's not any real reason for them; they don't really have any connection to the World Cup; they smell a little odd and taste even ranker.

If Cole really was putting the World Cup ahead of her emotional wellbeing, wouldn't the timing of the divorce have been at a totally different time, rather than slap-bang in the days before kick-off?

The marriage always had the air of a business deal; the ending of it as The Official England Team Divorce (TM) doesn't really do anything to dispel that notion.

In other Gordon-flavoured news, the gap at the top of the Glastonbury bill is worrying him:
Zeppelin guitarist JIMMY PAGE immediately put his band in the frame to replace the Irish rockers. He said: "I refuse to rule anything out."

That's not really putting yourself in the frame, is it?

The band haven't played together since 2007; they haven't been preparing for this. Parachuting into a headline slot in a month's time sounds a bit of a stretch. And that would be if Robert Plant was interested. Which he isn't.

Mind you, things could be worst:
Eavis is also talking to CHRIS MARTIN about COLDPLAY filling U2's boots, and I reckon they will accept. They are big fans of Glasto.

Well, yes, they'd be worthy replacements, allowing most people to switch the TV off and yell "that sodbag" at exactly the point they would have done if Bono had come on.
As I revealed earlier this week, DIZZEE RASCAL, already on this year's Pyramid Stage bill, has been asked to prepare for the job too.

Really? No disrespect to Mr Rascal, but that's really like parachuting John Craven in to present Newsnight, isn't it?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Next time, baby, I'll be Lazerproof

Tomorrow, for 24 hours, Mad Decent will be flinging a mixtape at you. Not any old mixtape, either, but one lovingly prepared by Major Lazer and La Roux.

This is what they're saying about it:

Lazerproof plays on both groups' styles and the result is a project that is only vaguely recognizable as the sum of its parts- ska, dubstep, hip-hop and pop stars aligning to create a synth-Britania meets dubstep dancehall gem. Guest appearances from Gucci Mane, Drake, Gyptian, Rusko and Amanda Blank add the infamous Mad Decent touch.

Synth Britaina? Oh, dear. Still, I'm looking forward to it.

David Byrne sues Charlie Crist

At first, I thought the news alert said Byrne was suing Christ, but on closer inspection it was Crist - someone with a God complex, but not the family connections. Billboard reports:

The suit (Case Number 8:10-CV1187-T26 (MAP)) was filed early Monday afternoon in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa.

Byrne tells that he became aware of the Crist ad from a friend in New York, where the Talking Heads co-founder resides. "I was pretty upset by that," says Byrne, who had Warner Bros. Records contact the Crist campaign, which subsequently stopped using the ad. But, Byrne contends, "in my opinion the damage had already been done by it being out there. People that I knew had seen (the ad), so it had gotten around. The suit, he adds, "is not about politics...It's about copyright and about the fact that it does imply that I would have licensed it and endorsed him and whatever he stands for."

Crist is running as an independent for Senator; the Florida governor had used Road To Nowhere in an attack ad on a rival for the Republican nomination.

Byrne is asking for a million dollars. But it's not about the money, of course. It never is.


Christina Aguilera has pulled her US tour on the grounds that... well, she simply doesn't have the time:

Aguilera’s handlers cited timing issues related to the scheduled June 8 release of her album “Bionic” and the fall premiere of the feature film “Burlesque,” in which she co-stars with Cher.

“The singer felt she needed more time to rehearse the show and with less than a month between the album release and tour date this wasn't possible,” read the statement.

I'm just going to give a moment for your blood to warm up again after hearing about a film called Burlesque involving Cher, before suggesting that Aguilera's main worry would have been learning how to sing to half-empty rooms.

The tour will now happen in 2011, claim LiveNation, although they can't stress enough that it's refunds, not rebookings.

U2: Glastonbury bill substantially improved

U2 have never played Glastonbury before. And, now, they won't be playing it this year, either - Bono's dodgy back has led to the band pulling their US and Glastonbury, BBC News has reported.

It's easy to smirk, but remember this news will disappoint loads of people - all those accountants who were looking forward to working out how to balance the tax demands, for a start.

[Thanks to @dillpickle for the alert]

BPI condemns 6Music closure

The BPI has joined the people who don't want to see 6Music shuttered - how strange to be on the same side as them, eh? They've issued a formal protest:

The BPI, which represents the UK's music companies, said the proposed shutdown "defies belief" in a draft submission to the BBC Trust.

It added that closing 6 Music goes against the central tenets of the BBC's Royal Charter, which requires it to "stimulate creativity and cultural excellence".

Of course, the BPI does have a financial interest in the BBC keeping a radio station which plays phonographs, but that doesn't make it wrong. In this case.

The Association of Independent Music has also submitted a statement of its concerns:
In a separate submission to the BBC Trust, the Association of Independent Music (Aim) says 6 Music plays a "pivotal" role developing new musical talent and says the arguments for closing it are "inherently perverse", according to Music Week.

Aim says 6 Music is better value for money than Radio 3, which serves a niche audience of classical music enthusiasts, claiming that it costs significantly less per listener than its BBC sister station.

That's not entirely helpful - comparing Radio 3 with 6Music is a bit like comparing the running costs of a symphony orchestra with those of a bar with a jukebox, and you don't really need to pull down Radio 3 to justify keeping 6Music. Late Junction is no less important, or over-resourced, than Lauren Laverne's show.

Embed and breakfast man: Bis

Oh, yes, Bis played Glasgow at the weekend. Look, there's evidence and everything:

[More, and via, Manda Rin's blog
Buy: Bis catalogue downloads]

Gordon in the morning: Ice ice baby

Surely even Gordon doesn't believe a single word of his massive Britney Spears plans to be cryogenically frozen when she dies story?

It's not even really a story, just an unsourced claim from a "pal" and some stuff cut-and-pasted from the internet about freezing nearly-dead people.

In fact, the whole thing seems little more than an excuse to run a large picture of Britney Spears with hard nipples poking through her shirt. I suppose you've got to offer some grudging respect for the attempt to try and make it look like there's more to it than the shadow of a nipple.

Rockobit: Paul Gray

Paul Gray, bassist with Slipknot, has been found dead in a hotel room in Des Moines.

Gray was a founder member of the masks-and-mumble-metal act, bringing the band together in 1995. At the outset, his 'mask' consisted of tape, but as the band sold more and more - gathering number one albums and Grammy awards - he moved on to more elaborate face-coverings.

For a man from a band who market nihilism, Gray's personal life was relatively quiet - a 2003 car crash led to a drugs conviction, but he hadn't appeared to be spiraling down Doherty-style.

He'd been working on a metal supergroup, Hail!, and had been about to head out on tour. Gray was taking over the bass from David Ellefson, who had been recalled to day job duties in Megadeath.

Hail! manager Mark Abbattista told Blabbermouth:

"I spoke to Paul over the weekend, and we had a great conversation. He was so upbeat and excited as we discussed all our final gear and travel details, went through our new setlist and joked about the most fun way to 'unmask' him onstage.

"We were so looking forward to playing with Paul on our upcoming tour and this is a complete tragedy.

"We are all in a state of shock and our heartfelt condolences go out to [Paul's wife] Brenna, his family, SLIPKNOT, their management and all his friends. This is a horrible loss and a very sad day."

Police aren't looking for anyone in connection with the death. An autopsy and toxicology reports are expected today.

Paul Gray leaves a wife, Brenna Paul. He was 38.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Noel Edmonds' dummy friend

Noel Edmonds drives round in a London taxi, but has had problems because people won't believe he isn't a taxi driver. So he came up with a cunning plan:

"Noel's wife Liz came up with the idea of putting a shop mannequin dressed in real clothes on the back seat so it looks like there is always a passenger on board.

'And to make it more realistic she gave the giant doll a mobile phone constantly held to her ear! Now Noel hardly ever gets bothered - and he's delighted.'"

It's quite inspired. Although you'd have thought having Noel Edmonds in the driving seat would have been more off-putting than having a rubber lady in the back.

Exile in mainstream: Stones top the charts

The re-appearance of Exile On Main Street at number one in the album charts isn't so very surprising - let's not forget Vera Lynn was number one last year, so that's actually something of a cultural leap forward.

The real surprise is this bit:

The Rolling Stones bag first Number One album since 1994

The Stones had a number one album in 1994? With Voodoo Lounge, apparently. The more you look back at the 90s, the more horrible they seem.

At last, evolution throws up something more irritating than a WASP

Oh, good. Chris Holmes, Randy Piper, Steve Unger, Rich Lewis and Stet Howland - you'll note three of them used to be in WASP - have come together to form a band which seems to be a tribute act to themselves:

[Howland says] "We will play all the hits, as well as ALL the dangerous music the current [lineup of] W.A.S.P. is skipping. 'Fuck Like A Beast'? 'Mean Man'? Huhh? HUH?"

But let's not run away with the idea that this is a bunch of dumped WASPs trying to cling to old glories. They've got a whole different name: Where Angels Suffer. Although, erm, they will be answering to WAS.

Bret Michaels: Ooh, spoilers

After all this time, we've finally found that Bret Michaels has won The Celebrity Apprentice, following in the footsteps of Piers Morgan.

It's now, then, been officially confirmed that having something seriously wrong with your brain will make you fit in better with Donald Trump's business style.

Downloadable: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

The first single from Let It Sway, the new SSLYBY album, is being made available as free download in return for an email address. Deal.

Gordon in the morning: Choices, choices

For Alexandra Burke the city was crowded, her friends were away, and she was on her own:

While other chart stars had headed off to Bangor in Wales to perform at Radio 1's Big Weekend, Alexandra chose to thrill the crowds in the capital.

She played GAY - which really has become just another tick box on the list now - rather than playing the big, high-profile Bangor event on the TV and the radio and the onlines. That much is true. I'm doubting there was very much "choice" involved, though.

Meanwhile, Cheryl Cole is burbling on about how GREAT it is to be thin:
The 5ft 3in X Factor judge, who weighs 7st, revealed a fan keeps her image on the fridge as motivation for gym sessions.

She said: "I like to think I can be inspiring someone like that."

Surely that would only work if you took your fridge to the gym? Wouldn't it be better to have the picture of Cole on your gym locker? Or does she just despise Cole so much, she can't stand to be in the house if there's a photo of her on the fridge?

I wonder which picture of Cole the fan has put on the fridge door? Perhaps this is the one she uses to "thinspire" her:

But it's not all great for Cheryl, you know:
But Cheryl, 26, finds being a beauty icon "cringeworthy".

Well, if by "being a beauty icon" she means "appearing in Nestle's L'Oreal adverts", yes, that is pretty cringeworthy.

Gordon rounds off his piece with this helpful background detail:
The GIRLS ALOUD star is rumoured to follow the blood group diet, which limits foods to a person's blood type.

That's unlike the rest of Girls Aloud, who enjoy all the blood groups in their diet.alex

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Liza Minelli: If you liked it, you should have put a cork in it

It's unfair to pick on Liza Minnelli - anyone who has been married to David Gest has suffered enough - but... oh, this is so ill-advised: Liza doing Single Ladies:

Arizona drains: Artists cancel, but slowly

With the new 'papers, please' law targeting people who don't look like the right sort of person in Arizona, there's a gentle cultural backlash starting to gather pace:

Hip-hop acts Pitbull and Cypress Hill have canceled upcoming shows in Arizona to protest the new law, which will take effect July 29. The legislation will require local authorities to determine a person's immigration status if he or she is suspected of being undocumented.

Banda star Jenni Rivera and reggaeton chart-toppers Wisin & Yandel are skipping the state on their AEG Live-promoted summer tours, while Mexican acts Conjunto Primavera and Espinoza Paz have canceled their previously announced concerts in Phoenix.

Amongst those seemingly quite happy to have their identities questioned by playing Arizona in the coming months are Tony Bennett, 50 Cent, She And Him, Iron Maiden, Athlete and Kings Of Leon. Imagine what sort of message that lot pulling out would make.

Limp Bizkit: 'Highway' loses out, 'my way' seems to be staying at home

Limp Bizkit have pulled their summer tour. I know, I know, you'll all be heartbroken. Fred Durst explained the reasons on Twitlonger:

Basically, Limp is not an ampitheatre band. We like to see less seats in front of the stage and more floor filled w fans going bananas. It's just more fun for all of us that way. Some bands are meant to be seen mainly sitting down, but definitely NOT Limp Bizkit. We want to give you the best experience possible so we will reroute to the venues we feel will work the best. High energy , good times. We want you to have the best.

Now, we could be generous and assume that Limp Bizkit thought "let's give back all the money people have been spending on tickets for gigs this summer in massive venues, and book into smaller venues in the Autumn for a better experience."

But it really does look more like pisspoor ticket sales forcing a humiliating paring back of venue size. I'm expecting Tweets in August going "you know what? Limp are a bar band. And out fans appreciate some other act coming on after we've played to do a set..."

Crystal Castles weekend: Crimewave

On the condemned Switch programming from the BBC, Crystal Castles' Crimewave:

[Buy: Crimewave ep]

[Part of Crystal Castles weekend]

Lilith Fair tickets about as popular as Lilith Crane

Lilith Fair is coming back this year, with The GoGos and The Bangles coming back as part of it. The only people not coming back, it turns out, are people willing to pay money to see it:

As Sarah McLachlan prepares to resurrect the Lilith Fair after an 11-year break, she acknowledges that ticket sales for the female-centered package are "pretty soft" right now.

It might be something to do with the decent seats being ridiculously expensive. McLachaln thinks not:
There has been some grumbling about ticket prices, which are more than $250 (before fees) in some markets.

"There's about 300 seats out of 16,000 or whatever that are $250," she says. "Then there's 9,000 that are 25 dollars, so come on. We're working our hardest to have reasonably priced tickets so it can be accessible for everyone and that people will want to come. We might get slaughtered, I don't know, but I kind of have blind faith in the fact we're putting on a really great show and we always have, and that will bring people in the end."

The trouble is that having any tickets offering some sort of ill-defined luxury package sits uncomfortably with the ideals of the Fair, surely? It's a celebration of the power of sisterhood and identity, but one where a huge proportion of the audience have paid considerably more to have a much better experience than the throng.

Rachel Stevens waves from the crowd

Rachel Stevens is further out than we thought, and not waving, but drowning:

Rachel Stevens has revealed that she would be interested in collaborating with Lady GaGa.

I'm sure GaGa will be delighted that Rachel Stevens is prepared to consider a collaboration with her.

But Stevens must make it clear she's prepared to spread the love:
"I also love Rihanna, Florence and the Machine and Marina & The Diamonds. I think they all have such strong identities and they're really stylish, strong women."

"... and Amy Winehouse. Susan Boyle. Kate Bush - she isn't dead, is she? I'd be happy to work with Vera Lynn. Or Saffron from Republica. Anyone. Anyone at all... well, not Lisa Scott-Lee, obviously, but anyone else."

Embed and breakfast man: Crystal Castles

Mascara-smeared electropop (not eyeliner-slathered electropop, an important distinction) from Ethan Kath and Alice Glass. There's a new album out tomorrow, so what better time than now to get a bit giddy with Crystal Castles excitement?

Not, of course, to be confused with Cloppa Castle:

Or The Crystal Maze:

Nope. It's this:


Crystal Castles
Download Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles II
Download Crystal Castles II

Crystal Castles online
The Official Website
Last FM

More across Sunday
Crimewave - Live on Switch
Exoskeleton - live at the Melkweg
Trash Hologram

The Save 6Music march was a success - sort of

It wasn't quite the way of saving 6Music people had in mind, but I think everyone will take this:

Sony Award Winning DJ George Lamb and co presenter Marc Hughes have taken the decision to move on from BBC 6 Music. George presented both the prime-time-mid-morning weekday show and the morning weekend show with Marc.

George has fashioned a statement. I suggest you read this with a loop of cackling in your head, breaking off every sixth word to let off a klaxon:
"This isn't a decision we've taken hastily. We've been reviewing our situation for some time and we've always looked for opportunities to maximise the shows potential. I leave 6music with fantastic memories, and will always look back at my three and a bit years with great joy.

Marc and I have been overwhelmed by the support we've had from the 6music management and our incredible listeners from day one.

We're super excited about developing our new show based on our tried and tested 3L's principle - Listening, Laughing and Learning. This wouldn't have been possible without 6music and I wish everyone at the station the best of luck in this transitional period and my support for the station will always remain“

Yes, there's the threat of a new radio show there - apparently due some time in 2011 - but it won't be taking up valuable time on 6.

Now all we need is for the BBC to keep 6Music on the air.

This week just gone

Blogs who have generously sent the most traffic here this year:

1. Enemies Of Reason
2. What's He On About Now?
3. Blah Blah Blah Science
4. The Sun Lies
5. Stereo Sanctity
6. Tabloid Watch
7. Abeano
8. Magiska
9. 1001 Fun Things to Do in Aberystwyth
10. British Blogs

This week's interesting releases:

Tracy Thorn - Love, And Its Opposite

Download Love, And Its Opposite

Band Of Horses - Infinite Arms

Download Infinite Arms

The Black Keys - Brothers

Download Brothers

80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster - Blood & Fire

Download Blood & Fire

LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

Download This Is Happening

Kelis - Flesh Tone

Download Flesh Tones

A request for a good deed: Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for CHSL's proposal in the Pepsi-cash-for-charity thing. It only takes a minute to click, and helping kids learn to read has to be a good thing, yes? Another vote would be a generous use of your time. Thank you.