Saturday, July 31, 2010

Throwing Muses weekend: Counting Backwards

It'd be lovely to have something like The Late Show back on TV, wouldn't it? This is The Muses doing Counting Backwards on the programme:

And, since that ends somewhat suddenly, here's a fuller version of the same song:\

[Buy: Counting Backwards download ep]
[Part of Throwing Muses weekend]

Do you ever wonder if you're the only human and everyone else is an alien robot?

Katie Melua doesn't. She thinks she's actually an alien or something or other or something:

She said: "I don't even know if I'm human sometimes. I know that sounds mental, but I do believe we are all a bit like aliens."
But if we're all a bit like aliens, then aren't all humans a bit like alien, and so feeling like that is human?

The United Nations have issued a statement in the last ten minutes, stressing that if it can be proven that Katie Melua has been sent to this planet by an alien intelligence, that will be viewed as a declaration of galactic war. "Unless they take her back, and James Blunt and Duffy as well as reparations" concluded the UN.

Throwing Muses weekend: Dizzy

This would be the big hit, probably. Caught during the first run of Channel 4's never-much-loved Big World Cafe:

[Buy: Dizzy EP download]
[Part of Throwing Muses weekend]

Target spends customer's cash on Republican who gives money to hate-filled Christian band

One of the nice things about shopping at Target is their pledge to donate a healthy chunk of their take to local charities. Every five per cent you spend on guacamole-style dip and hammers goes to do something good.


It turns out, though, in Minnesota Target are making donations to a group called Minnesota Forward. Minnesota Forward, in turn, spend their money trying to get Tom Emmer elected governor.

If you're not entirely up to speed on your State-level Republicans, Emmer is something of a charmer. Amongst his glowing record as a state representative you can find an attempt to close down HIV education because it was "salacious" and he's the only candidate for governor to not support gay marriage.

But there's more, and nastier, stuff here: when he was running for the Minnesota house, Tom Emmer's campaign gave money in turn to You Can Run But You Cannot Hide Intl., Inc. That charming group is Bradlee Dean's "church". Dean leads a Christian punk band, and hosts a radio show on which Emmer has happily guested:

Emmer has appeared on Bradlee Dean’s radio show — the same program on which Dean said, “Muslims are calling for the executions of homosexuals in America. This just shows you they themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian God, but they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination.”
So, Target are giving money to ForwardMinnesota. FM give money to Emmer. Emmer gives money to a man who believes gay people should be killed.

And what happens when Gay organisations call on Target to perhaps think a bit more deeply about where their money is going?

Emmer wails that it's an attack on his right to free speech. Perhaps he's being satirical - after all, telling people not to talk about your dirty secrets because it goes against your rights to say what you believe could only be a joke. After all, he respects Dean's rights to say what he wants:
“My understanding is that it’s a Christian-based ministry that’s about family, that is about respect for yourself….I know that they’re a pro-marriage, pro-traditional marriage group,” Emmer told the Strib.

“These are nice people. Are we going to agree on everything? No….I really appreciate their passion and you know what I respect their point of view,” he said. “I respect their right to have whatever view. That’s what makes it a great country. You don’t have to agree with it.”
That doesn't work, though, if what someone is saying is that Emmer shouldn't be supporting such groups. Then suddenly there's a view which isn't somehow part of what makes America a great country.

Emmer's campaign apparently feels this is "distancing" itself from Dean:
Emmer’s campaign distanced itself from Dean’s statements on Monday: “Tom’s position on social issues has been very clear and consistent. He is a supporter of traditional marriage, and he strongly opposes any kind of violence or unfair discrimination against any group.”
Although he is quite happy to give money to people to help them advocate murdering gays.

Target - and Best Buy, who also support Forward Minnesota - aren't actually that bothered by the whole chain of connections. Their real motivation in supporting Emmer is to try and get tax breaks, and if that means turning a blind eye to this sort of shit, then they happily will.

The only way to get them to change their mind is to make it less lucrative for them to be supporting this candidate than it is for them to support him. Be careful where you buy your CDs and guacamole, America. And in the UK, steer clear of Best Buy in Thurrock - and perhaps ask Carphone Warehouse about their partner's atttitudes.

There's no way this will be rubbish

Coming soon: an album cobbled together from Michael Jackson cast-offs:

According to CNN, the record will feature tracks that were left off of the late popstar’s previous LPs and recordings he kept behind on computer drives.
Given the rotten stench that rolled off the tracks he released in his later years, who can start to imagine how bad the chunks that even Jackson didn't think would fly will be?

Embed and breakfast man: Throwing Muses

With Kristin Hersh just having released her book-album combo Crooked, what better time for a look back at the genuinely-manic-driven Throwing Muses?

Probably the greatest band ever to come from Rhode Island, they were the first Americans to sign to 4AD and - for those of us to whom these things matter - much more of a Melody Maker band than an NME one. And they were awesome.

Look, this is how awesome they were: Red Shoes, live on stage at Glastonbury:

The Real Ramona
In A Doghouse

More Throwing Muses online
Throwing Muses on 4AD
Throwing Muses on Spotify

More Muses across the weekend
Dizzy live on Big World Cafe
Counting Backwards live on The Late Show
Hate My Way live at The Town & Country club
Downtown live on Snub TV
Shimmer live on The Jon Stewart show

Gordon in the morning: Joe comes out

Just a few short days after Gordon Smart's snurkling at a gay man and casual tossing about of "bender", Joe McElderly chooses Gordon's column to come out. With an "exclusive".

The title bar on the page insists:

Joe McElderry admits that he is gay | The Sun | Showbiz | Bizarre
Why would you come out to a column that feels saying you're gay is something you admit to, like a murder or liking Dominic Mohan?

In fact, why is this splashed all over Gordon's page, larded with "exclusive" labels?
JOE McELDERRY told last night how gossip on the social networking website Twitter persuaded him to come out as gay.

The X Factor champ, who hit No1 with his single The Climb, was targeted by hackers who broke into his account and "outed" him for a joke.
That's a change. Usually it's tabloid journalists getting in touch, threatening to run a story unless the celebrity - or, in this case, Joe - co-operates with the outing. That hasn't happened here, then. Obviously.

So, "hackers" posted made-up stories to Joe's Twitter saying he was coming out. What then?
But as the shock subsided, proud Joe admitted the message made him realise his true feelings.
Eh? You're telling us, Gordon, that Joe didn't know he was gay until someone posted a fake message saying he was gay?
"I think the Twitter thing was the point when I realised I was gay. I just looked at it and thought, 'Should I be more bothered about this'?

"Because I wasn't, that's when it clicked and I thought maybe I was. It was a turning point, definitely."
I know some people believe everything that they read on the internet, and are incapable of filtering out made-up Tweets from genuine ones, but this surely must be the first time somebody has ever consulted their own stream and gone "oh, it turns out I'm not straight. Better open up a Gaydar account."

Still, let's pretend that's exactly the way it happened.

There is one honest detail tucked in the long interview where Joe runs through a story of his sudden gay awareness:
"I am a really private person and I want to continue like that.
A really private person, and yet one who supposedly happily handed his coming out to a gossipy rag.

Naturally, being something to do with The X Factor, Simon Cowell has to telephone in an appearance:
"He said, 'Hi, it's Simon. You know, I 100 per cent agree with what you are doing. It's fantastic. I am here at the end of the phone if you need any support and we are thrilled for what you're doing'.

"It's great. It would have been a bit of a nightmare had they said they didn't want this to happen, but they've been totally fine."
It's not like the revelation is going to hurt his sales, is it?

Alongside Gordon's interview, there's a horribly patronising piece by The Sun's agony aunt Deirdre Saunders:
EVEN these days coming out takes a lot of courage.

In theory gay people aren't supposed to suffer from any prejudice in this country but, as I hear from readers every week, many do.
Yes, Deirdre. The paper you write for thinks it's alright to use the word "bender" in headlines. You don't appear to have noticed that you are very much part of the prejudice.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Liam Gallagher sets bar incredibly high

Of course, little Liam, now you're head of the gang, you're going to be very excited about things. But are you sure about this?

“I’m doing the next record you’ll hear for the next 50 years,” Gallagher said.

“It's not gonna be out until next year. We'll probably get a single out October or November, and there's no point in doing gigs if people haven't heard the music."
Actually, sweetheart, you might want to think about doing the gigs before people hear the music. Just to maximise the chances of people turning up.

Still, there you have it: after Beady Eye release their debut, there won't be a better record made until 2061.

I know we're all trying to stifle giggles, but it could happen. Say, for example, the record becomes available at 9am on Monday 5th May 2011, and five seconds later North Korea launch a full-out nuclear assault on Western nations, sending commerce and industry into a fifty year spiral of disaster which sees the next half-century entirely free of records being put out. Under those circumstances, Gallagher's prediction would be true. And nobody would be laughing.

On the other hand, everyone else's predictions - that the record will sound like a three-legged horse attempting to play through Band On The Run - are much sounder, I suspect.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Everyone's welcome, except if you like music, live in Portsmouth and use a wheelchair

Disability Discrimination Act grief for HMV in Portsmouth, where a move to hide all the CDs and DVDs upstairs is causing would-be customers problems:

Mr Long, 44, who is a retired health and safety inspector and is now chairman of the Portsmouth and District Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Association, said: 'I'm an avid music collector and there is no reason why HMV need to discriminate in this way.'

'By putting the majority of their stock upstairs they are preventing anyone who is in a wheelchair, is less able, or has a pushchair from browsing their shop.'
That's both unfair and, more importantly, potentially illegal. Gennaro Castaldo - who, you'll recall, was yesterday telling Marketing Week about how you can protect your brand with a spot of good PR - can you make things better?
Spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: 'We do our best to look after all our customers' needs, and our store-team is always happy to help provide a service by alternative means, such as bringing a selection of products downstairs for a customer.
Right, Gennaro. If Mr Long wants to browse through the three for £20 offer, your staff will carry everything downstairs, will they? It's a nice idea if Martin knew what he wanted to buy - 'bring me a copy of Meat Is Murder' - but isn't HMV keen for customers to spend time browsing, discovering stuff they didn't know they wanted. That's the point of a record shop having a shop, isn't it? If Martin knew what he wanted to buy, and could just get someone to bring it to him, he could use Amazon, right?

Can't you find some way to let Martin get to the records?
In the case of our store in Commercial Road we carried out a feasibility study in line with DDA compliance requirements and were advised that installing a passenger lift would not be viable given the nature and construction of the building.
Ah - so there's no way to put a lift in the building, Gennaro?

Hang on, though - there is a lift, isn't there? Martin?
Mr Long, of Shakespeare Road, Fratton, said: 'I asked a shop assistant if there was a lift but he said it was only for staff use. I don't think they're trying to make it easy for people in my position at all.'
It might be they're talking at cross-purposes. Perhaps the lift is a paternoster or just more of a dumb waiter. After all, Gennaro wouldn't be in the papers telling everyone putting in a passenger lift was impossible if there was a passenger lift out the back and it was just staff didn't want to share, right?

Sure, there might be a security problem with having a customer go round the back of the counter to get upstairs - but the staff who Gennaro was going to have scamper up and down carrying discs could surely accompany a person who needed to use a lift instead?

Still, Gennaro, you have something to add?
We also responded to customer feedback by moving the children's section downstairs to the ground floor to give improved access for parents with pushchairs and buggies.
Oh, yes, that helps: "what are you complaining about? We've put the Fimbles downstairs." If Gennaro ever moves to whatever it is Osborne puts in place of the NHS, I look forward to dementia care patients being told their complaints are invalid because they've done something in the orthodontic department.

Still, it's not like Gennaro just shrugged and said "go to another store", is it?
He added that the company owns another shop in Portsmouth's Gunwharf Quays which does have wheelchair access.
That's something like a 25 minute walk away from the other store. You're not prepared to find a way to let customers use a lift, but think they should start a half-hour haul across the town instead. Classy.

Kerrang Awards: The winners in full

Sorry, did I just call them the Kerrang Awards? I forgot the sponsor's name, didn't I? Let's try that again...

The Horrible Energy Drink Kerrang Awards winners in full are:

Best British Newcomer: Rise To Remain
Nominees: Deaf Havana, General Fiasco, Out Of Sight, Rise To Remain, and Throats.

Best International Newcomer: Trash Talk
Nominees: Dommin, Framing Hanley, Halestorm, The Swellers, and Trash Talk.

Best Single (Presented By Red Stripe): You Me At Six - Liquid Conference
Nominees: Avenged Sevenfold - Nightmare, The Blackout - Save Ourselves (The Warning), Four Year Strong - Wasting Time (Eternal Summer), Slipknot - Snuff, and You Me At Six - Liquid Confidence.

Best Video (Presented By Young Minds): Biffy Clyro - The Captain
Nominees: 30 Seconds To Mars - Kings And Queens, Biffy Clyro - The Captain, Cancer Bats - Sabotage, Lostprophets - It's Not The End Of The World (But I Can See It From Here), and Paramore - Brick By Boring Brick.

Best Album: Paramore - Brand New Eyes
Nominees: 30 Seconds To Mars - This Is War, Biffy Clyro - Only Revolutions, Bullet For My Valentine - Fever, Paramore - Brand New Eyes, and You Me At Six - Hold Me Down.

Best Live Band: Bullet For My Valentine
Nominees: 30 Seconds To Mars, Bullet For My Valentine, Green Day, Paramore, and Skindred.

Best International Band: 30 Seconds To Mars
Nominees: 30 Seconds To Mars, Avenged Sevenfold, Green Day, Metallica, and Paramore.

Best British Band (Presented By Fender): Bullet For My Valentine
Nominees: Bullet For My Valentine, Enter Shikari, The King Blues, Lostprophets, and You Me At Six.

The No Half Measures Award (Presented By Relentless Energy Drink): Frank Turner

The Classic Songwriter Award: Lostprophets

The Kerrang! Inspiration Award (Presented By HMV): Rammstein

The Kerrang! Services To Metal Award: Paul Gray

The Kerrang! Icon Award (Presented By Orange Amplification): Ronnie James Dio

The Kerrang! Hall Of Fame Award: Motley Crue
The best single prize was sponsored by Red Stripe, which makes me wonder if they've ever tried mixing the Relentless Energy Drink with Red Stripe. Just to see what would happen.

Perhaps the idea behind getting an energy drink as a sponsor was a subtle jibe at a scene that is in desperate need of a pick-me-up. The police are now using the phrase "and the prize goes to 30 Seconds To Mars" instead of "move along now, nothing to see", as it's far more effective at breaking up a crowd.

Gordon in the morning: Morrisey says no

It's not often Gordon Smart brings news of Morrisey to his readers, but today there's news of the man:

But RUSSELL BRAND and KATY PERRY have asked the miserable Manc to do the honours - even though he's told them not to tie the knot.
He was meeting Katy Perry for the first time. Mozzer went to tea with her, which is hardly on-brand for him, with his disdain for fluff pop, but he's mates with Russell Brand, apparently:
"He's Russell's mate and he is fascinating but he was giving us a hard time about getting married.

"He swooned and sighed, 'Oh, left hand third finger, don't do it.' It was just so eloquent and poetic and like one of his songs."
Clearly, Perry doesn't meet literate people very often.

However, eloquent though the advice was, it will go unheeded. And Morrisey will still be invited, but must consider himself warned:
I told him, 'We can't have a Mr Misery like you messing things up.'
Childish, treating the listener like they have no cortex and embarrassingly clunky. Just like one of her songs.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: He's the anti-Tony Hayward

Marketing Week takes Tony Hayward and BP to task - not, of course, for letting acres of oil swoosh into the oceans and killing birds and fish and people, but for the far worse crime of not being that good at handling the PR.

Where, though, will Marketing Week turn for an example of how it should be done? Who is the king of the well-managed PR campaign?

Step forward Gennaro Castaldo, HMV's head of on-off record briefings:

The challenges facing PR are increasing for brands across all sectors, says Gennaro Castaldo, head of press and PR at HMV. “There are so many channels now, particularly online and via social media, beyond the control of companies or their marketers.”
Oh, yes. People actually having conversations about companies without the company controlling them. Horrific, isn't it?

Gennaro turns his sad emoticon upside-down, though:
PR executed well can result in positive branded conversations on news, blogs and social media sites, adds Castaldo. “Just as new channels present new challenges, the accompanying opportunities are also getting bigger.”
You'll have noticed that Gennaro has seized this opportunity by - despite not actually saying anything at all - getting his company mentioned in Marketing Week with the impression that they're good at new media.

Mind you, HMV is quite good at old media - witness a just-this-side-of-fawning full page on HMV's Simon Fox, filling an entire page of this week's MediaGuardian.

How did HMV get a sledge of prime coverage about a shopkeeper in a media supplement? Great PR people, pure and simple. Nothing to do with Fox being a non-executive director of The Guardian, that's for sure.

(To be fair to MediaGuardian, they do refer to his job with them in the piece. But it'll be interesting to see how many other entertainment stores - the ones without shared executives - get to enthuse over their digital strategies at length in their pages in the coming weeks.)

Someone Still Loves You want some wheels

Yesterday, we heard about Emmy The Great raising funds to make a new album; today, something new from the world of fan-funded projects: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have asked people to chip in for a new van.

32 days left; they've already got over USD3,000 towards their USD3,800 target. Impressive.

Gordon in the morning: Nadine Coyle is the new Robbie Williams

The really strange thing about the coverage of the decision of Nadine Coyle to quit Girls Aloud (or, rather, the rest to quit Nadine) is the way it's being pitched.

Gordon, having already restored Cheryl's married name, seems to be running some sort of party line. This isn't a split in the band, it's merely a reunion to which one person is not going to turn up:

GIRLS ALOUD are definitely getting back together next year - but not all of them.

The fantastic five will be slimmed down to a fabulous four as NADINE COYLE will have no part in the reunion.

SARAH HARDING, NICOLA ROBERTS, KIMBERLEY WALSH and CHERYL COLE have begun sketching ideas for their comeback - but their Northern Irish bandmate does not figure in their plans.
It's been something of a running joke how quickly bands reunite after their splits these days, but I think Girls Aloud might have the record for having the reunion before they've even split up.

Whoever has fed the story to The Sun is keen to rubbish Nadine:
A source said: "It's been a painful decision for Sarah, Nicola, Kimberley and Cheryl but they have decided that the future of Girls Aloud lies without Nadine.

"They've all been on a roller-coaster ride since 2002 and have just grown apart from Nadine.

"Relations with her had been strained within the camp for a while."
And if they weren't before, they will be now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guitarobit: Ben Keith

Ben Keith, for four decades a vital part of Neil Young's backing team, has died.

Born in Kansas, Keith once landed himself in hospital after too hard, too heavy practice on the steel guitar. The pain was worth it, though, as he quickly became a sought-after session player - that's him on Patsy Cline's I Fall To Pieces.

Working in Nashville paid off for Keith when Young arrived in town to record an album - a series of recommendations led to Keith being co-opted into a backing group, dubbed the Stray Gators. He didn't know who Neil Young was, and yet he was to help Young create Harvest. It was the start of a long association which took Ben through Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and then into a key role supporting Young's solo career.

He also made his own music - although it wasn't until 1984 that he released something under his own name. Keith also turned his hand to production - Jewel's first album was one of his - but never stopped playing live or working as a session player.

Recently, he had been supporting Pegi Young on tour. Neil Young dedicated Old Men - the track which started their association - to Keith during a Monday show in Winnipeg.

73 years old, it's believed Ben Keith suffered a fatal heart attack at Neil Young's ranch at the weekend.

Emmy The Great big pile of cash

Emmy The Great started asking for pledges towards making the next album. Yesterday.

Today, they're 75% of the way there, so if you want to be one of the angels, you might have to rush.

Amongst the packages you can sign up for is a trip shopping with Emmy in Tower Records, Hong Kong. Who knew they still even had Tower Records in Hong Kong? £500 will buy you a gig in your front room; if you're looking for something more in keeping with The New Austerity, you can simply chip in eight quid and get a download of the album when it's ready.

75% of the way there in less than 24 hours. A pretty swift riposte to those who would tell you that the only acts who can work outside the labels are those who have built a following with label's (i.e. their) money.

[Thanks to @danbutt]

Soulobit: Al Goodman

Al Goodman, the 'Goodman' in Ray, Goodman and Brown, has died.

Originally drafted in by the Stang label to replace the original Moments, the trio were a major soul act during the 1970s, best known for the crossover Love On A Two Way Street. A falling out towards the end of the decade saw The Moments leave the label, but - unable to use the name - they reinvented themselves as Ray, Goodman and Brown. "No-one can take our names from us" was the deep reason for the basic name.

Signing to Polydor, they crossed over again to the main charts with Special Lady. They were going against the grain of the market, though, as soul got slicker and slicker, and by the time of their third Polydor record, their style was left looking somewhat outdated.

The departure, and then death, of Ray didn't actually stop the band from touring, and the wheel of fashion turned enough for Goodman and Brown to get an invite to work with Alicia Keys in 2003.

At the time of Goodman's death, the band were piloting ideas for a radio show.

Al Goodman was 63. He died on Monday.

Gordon in the morning: I pity the fool who washes sheets at four in the morning

Gordon's been off the to the premiere of The A-Team, meeting the cast in London. He describes this as a "childhood dream come true". Despite, erm, these being totally different actors. Did Smart really spend his childhood going "cor, I hope one day these parts are all recast and I can get to meet people who spend an entire movie unsure if they're meant to be creating their own version of the characters or merely fumbling a catchphrase-strewn impersonation"?

Luckily, there is one constant from TV to multiplex:

IF you had told me in 1986 I'd get the chance to sit in the A-Team van, I'd have wet my Mr T bed sheets.
Wow. You must have been a nightmare, come birthdays and Christmas, if you literally pissed yourself when you were excited.

Still, it's charming to see someone so excited about sitting in a van.

How come the 'new' team have the same van, though? They've been rewritten as Iraq vets rather than Vietnam vets - saving the need for tiresome period details by fixing them firmly in the now. So how come they're using a van that's the best part of thirty years old?

While Gordon is off creating worries about tomorrow's laundry, it's left to Carl Stroud to handle the big exclusive. Which is that Derek Hough - who seems to have been downgraded from boyfriend to "pal" - is going to help look after his, erm, "pal" Cheryl Tweedy. Oh... hang about a minute:
DANCER DEREK HOUGH is moving in with pal CHERYL COLE as she recovers from a bout of malaria.
Cheryl Cole? Hadn't The Sun been calling Cheryl Tweedy since the start of divorce proceedings? I suspect the story behind the downgrading of Hough and the reversion to the married name is more interesting than anything Gordon's team has published about Cheryl in months.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

C'est plainly moi: Bertrand denies claims

There's currently a legal tussle going on in Belgium over whether it's really Plastic Betrtand who sang on Ca Plane Pour Moi. The Guardian reports that a linguistic expert has told a court it can't be Plastic:

"With the endings of sentences on the tapes the voice can only belong to a Ch'ti or a Picard," read the judgment, implying the true singer must have originated from north-eastern France, an area which produced both the Picard dialect and the affectionately mocked Ch'ti patois.
The producer of the track - Lou Deprijck - has a Ch'ti twang, and, you won't be surprised to hear, is claiming that he was the singer. His claim is that the record label didn't think he had the charisma to carry off the song and so parachuted Bertrand in as a stylish front man.

This was 1970s Europe, and this, then, was what passed for stylish.

The case will grind on and on; Roger Jouret - no, it turns out he wasn't really called Plastic - insists that it is him, and he's not going to give away the piles of cash the song has made him without a fight.

Ex-Catatonia drummer replaces ex-Stereophonics drummer in Killing For Company

Aled Richards, who used to be doing the dubberdubberdubber behind Cerys Matthews, is going to fill the gap in Killing For Company left by the death of Stuart Cable, the band have confirmed.

Singer Greg Jones told Wales Online they were so all over the place, they nearly forgot they'd need a drummer:

"It may sound corny, but that’s how it feels to us because writing and playing these songs with Stuart is all we’ve really known for the last five years," said the 36-year-old, "replacing Stu was the last thing on our minds and, because we’d been ploughing all our time and energy into promoting the charity single in his memory, it hadn’t dawned on us that we’d need someone to drum for us if we got the call to go on TV and radio to promote it."
Richards had filled in for Cable in the past after a sports-related injury; since leaving Catatonia Richards had been working as a music lecturer.

Swans to land soon

I guess running round the house making vuvuzela noises is an inappropriate way to greet the news of a Swans European tour:

Oct 21- Cork, Ireland Cyprus Avenue
Oct 22 Dublin, Ireland Button Factory
Oct 23 tba
Oct 24- Birmingham, UK - Supersonic Festival
Oct 25 Glasgow, Scotland, Arches
Oct 26 off
Oct 27 Brighton, UK , Concorde 2
Oct 28 London, UK , Koko Theatre
Oct 29 Leeds, UK a, Uni Stylus
Oct 30 Manchester UK , Academy
Oct 21 thru Oct 30 support= James Blackshaw

Nov 23 Gronignen, Netherlands, VERA
Nov 24 Utrecht, Netherlands-, Le Guess Who Fest at Tivoli de Helling
Nov 25 Brussels, Belgium AB
Nov 26 Lille, France, Le Grande Mix
Nov 27, Rouen, France, 106 Club
Nov 28 Paris, France, BBMIX festival
Nov 29, off
Nov 30 Toulouse, France, Le Phare
Dec 01 Lyon, France, Epicerie Modern
Dec 02 Geneva, Switzerland L’Usine
Dec 03 Turin, Italy, Musica90 c/o Sala Espace
Dec 04, Bologna, Italy, Locomotive Club
Dec 05 Roma, Italy, Piper Club
Dec 06, off
Dec 07 Vienna, Austria, at Arena
Dec 08 Prague, Czech Akropolis
Dec 09, Wroclaw, Poland, Firlej
Dec 10, Warsaw, Poland, Palladium
Dec 11 off
Dec 12, Hamburg, Germany Kampnagel
Dec 13 Berlin, Germany, Volksbuehne
Nov 23 thru Dec 13 support= James Blackshaw
I do like the way they include their days off in the itinerary. "This day left intentionally blank".

They might not sound quite this decaying any more, but it'll give you an idea:

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Def Leppard

A shower of glorious love to David Hepworth and The Word for pointing the world in the direction of the New York Times wedding section. Always a haven for the unexpected - it should be subtitled "if I'm compromising, at least I'm going to do it as publicly and expensively as possible" - this week, they recorded the nuptials of Def Leppard's Phil Collen and Helen Simmons:

Ms. Simmons, too, felt a spark. “But emotionally, there were a lot of other things going on with us,” she said.

The other things included a wife from whom he was separated, a girlfriend from whom he wasn’t, and Ms. Simmons’s boyfriend.

Two days later, he asked her for seven minutes of her time.

Not 5 or 10? “I knew I needed more than 5 and I figured 10 would be too long,” Mr. Collen said matter-of-factly.
There's a lot of that sort of thing.

If one of Runrig can enter politics, why not Wyclef Jean?

Flags currently being run up various masts as Wyclef Jean tests the waters for a possible Haitian presidential bid:

In a statement, the family said, "Wyclef's commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless, and he will remain its greatest supporter regardless of whether he is part of the government moving forward ... If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately."
Immediately? Jesus, you'd have thought if you were making a big decision like that you'd at least want to have a cup of coffee and a biscuit to just get used to the idea before announcing it to the media. Just in case.

Gordon in the morning: Home o'intolerance, home o'phobia

This is tiresome:

Pineapple Dance Studios star Louie, or Louise as I like to call him
Do you see? Because he's gay, Gordon has given him a woman's name.

Yes, that's tiresome. But this is unacceptable:
Bender it like Beckham
You can't throw a word like "bender" into a headline about a gay man. Not in a newspaper that still pretends it has any sort of standards. Homophobic name-calling isn't the same as a witty headline.

The "story" - which is about Louie Spence being invited to spend the night with the Beckhams, apparently blissfully unaware he was being patronised - throws this up, though:
And the shenanigans left Posh with another howler of a hangover as she turned up yesterday morning for a session designing new Range Rovers.
I'd love to think they were making her come up with a more efficient crankshaft. Somehow, though, I suspect she'll just be pointing at a shade of paint.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tiffany pats Miley Cyrus on the head

The world is trying to cope with Miley Cyrus's new dressing-up-box sexuality. Can such a sudden shift of emphasis work for an artist - and I use that word ironically - actually work?

Good news, Miley: The voice of experience says yes.

The bad news is that the voice of experience here is Tiffany:

The 38-year-old told Us Weekly: "Miley Cyrus is on a great track. I know that there are a lot of people that say, well, when you are so young you shouldn't be sexy.

"I think that in today's world you kind of have to be [sexy] - to be competitive in the market. I think that she is doing it appropriately. And it's always a fine line there."

Tiffany added: "But I'm a huge fan of hers. I think she's gonna have a long career, praise to Cyrus's mum and dad, too. Her parents are guiding her right, and it really matters what base you have around you. Very much so."
It might be a little more convincing if Tiffany's career hadn't stalled when she was 16 and she wound up doing Playboy in 2002. Under the strapline "Teen Queen Tiffany", which was wrong both factually in two ways and morally in at least one. But still, I'm sure her praise will be great news for Team Cyrus.

Mr Music, will you play?

Anyone who heard the Jeeves And Wooster album knows that Hugh Laurie is actually pretty nifty behind the piano, so the prospect of a new record isn't too scary.

And he's not going to do it in character, although I bet Warners are hoping they can persuade him to call it House music.

Laurie is characteristically wry about deal:

"I am drunk with excitement at this opportunity," the 51-year-old said. "I know the history of actors making music is a chequered one, but I promise no one will get hurt.

"I am particularly thrilled to be working with Joe Henry, who has produced some of my favourite records of all time, and I can't wait to get started."
Obviously, for the fabulously wealthy and successful actor, he's working on a blues album. Which is a bit like Lindsay Lohan recording gospel.

Gordon in the morning: A half-cooked takeaway

We're firmly back in the era when anything Take That does is treated like it's part of the run-up to the That/Gurner redocking. Even when they've not really done anything, like Jason Orange's 40th birthday party.

Guy Patrick is dispatched from Team Gordon to cover the celebrations, which were fitting for a man entering middle-age. Actually, they were fitting for a man about to enter sheltered accommodation, but Patrick does his best:

Bandmate HOWARD DONALD, 42, arrived at around 6pm carrying a spare set of clothes - and the rest of the lads were due to arrive later.
Man staying overnight in hotel turns up with suitcase. Possibility of the ones that people care about turning up later on.
Last night a source close to the star said: "Jason and Justin are up for a mad one.

"Everybody's wondering whether there will be 40 or 80 candles!"
Why would there be 80 candles? Am I missing something? Does Orange age twice as fast as ordinary people? Has he been lying about his age? Or is the idea of twice-as-many-candles just an indication of how KER-AZZZY things might get?

One odd thing, though - Patrick clearly is writing before much has happened - Barlow and Owen haven't turned up, the food is going to be this and that, people are up for it being 'mad'. And yet:
Even No Regrets by ROBBIE WILLIAMS was played - in a tribute to the singer who is rejoining the band for a tour and new album.
That's written in the past tense. Curious.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pizzicato Five Weekend: Medley

Something of a treat, now - Maki Nomiya from just last month, doing a medley of Pizzicato Five songs, live on stage in Ontario:

[Part of Pizzicato Five weekend]

The Rolling Stones call it day... in the future... perhaps

MTV trumpets the end of the uberdinosaurs:

Rolling Stones To Retire
Band set to announce last ever world tour...
And not a moment too soon, you might agree. Although it turns out this last ever tour is going to roll through the various tax regimes until 2012, so it's not like there's going to be anyone in to accept deliveries of frozen meals at home any time soon.

Still, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of the band forming - remember when fifty year-old rock stars were unusual, much less fifty year-old bands? - so there's something pleasing about choosing that date to retire.

Only it turns out that they're not actually saying they're going to retire at all:
"They're likely to perform in stadiums,” the insider said of the group. “It's almost certainly the last full-scale world tour. The band realise that age is creeping up on them. They want to bow out on top of their game, and not short-change their fans."
That "almost certainly" suggests its less about this being the planned farewell tour, more a 'chances are this'll be it as those hips won't last forever' tour.

Still, charming to think the band still believe they're at the top of their game. I'm not entirely sure they've actually recorded anything since Undercover that was worth the bother of magnetising the tape.

Bookmarks - internet stuff: Sissy bounce

The New York Times introduces its readers to sissy bounce (even dusting off the phrase "gender bending" in the process):

And then something remarkable happened. The crowd — just about evenly divided between men and women — instantly segregated itself: the men were propelled as if by a centrifuge toward the room’s perimeters, and the dance floor, a platform raised just a step off the ground, was taken over entirely by women surrounding Freedia. The women did not dance with, or for, one another — they danced for Freedia, and they did so in the most sexualized way imaginable, usually with their backs to her, bent over sharply at the waist, and bouncing their hips up and down as fast as humanly possible, if not slightly faster. Others assumed more of a push-up position, with their hands on the floor, in a signature dance whose name is sometimes helpfully shortened to “p-popping.”

Love Parade: After the deaths, the blame

It's way, way too soon to know for sure exactly what went so horrifically wrong at The Love Parade in Duisburg yesterday, but there seems to be an obvious consensus gathering around there only being one way in and out:

The founder of the Love Parade, who goes by the name of Dr Motte (Dr Moth), criticised the decision to have one entrace to the parade area.

"The organisers showed not the slightest responsibility for people. One single entrance through a tunnel lends itself to disaster. I am very sad," he said.
Currently, the sound is of people trying to pass the blame:
Duisburg Mayor Adolf Sauerland defended security measures for the festival and vowed to hold a full inquiry.

"In the run-up to the event, we worked out a solid security plan with the organisers and everyone involved," he said.
You'd have to wonder exactly how solid the security plan was given the outcome.

Pizzicato Five Weekend: Happy Sad

More from the Pizzicato Five. I used to have a bit of a mental block with this band, to be honest - during the 1990s, they felt just a little too over-sugared, but I suspect the problem might have been with me rather than them. I don't think I ever disliked their music, but just recoiled from the mention of them. Like lunch at a Pizza Hut, the difficulty is in getting through the door. Once you're in, it's alright.

[Part of Pizzicato Five weekend]

This week just gone

The ten-most read Bono-related stories on No Rock since 2007:

1. Bono edits The Independent
2. Bono explains why flogging expensive Nike and Gap stuff is the best way to end inequality
3. Bono decides he's God's spokesman
4. Bono embraces George W Bush
5. Geldof scolds Peaches for badmouthing Bono
6. Bono embraces George W Bush even more closely
7. Bono joins Roger Ailes at Fox News jolly
8. Charity hopes to eradicate Bono
9. Bono makes time for Jesse Helms
10. Bono delivers lecture with meter running

These were the interesting new releases:

Loudon Wainwright III - Songs For The New Depression

Download 10 Songs For The New Depression

Max Richter - Infra

Download Infra

Tokyo Police Club - Champ

Download Champ

Propaganda - A Secret Wish (25th anniversary edition)

Download A Secret Wish

Art Of Noise - Influence

Download And What Have You Done With My Body, God?

Tracie - Far From The Hurting Kind

Download Far From The Hurting Kind

Seth Lakeman - Hearts And Minds

Download Hearts And Minds

Department Of Eagles - Archive 2003-2006

Download Archive

A kilo of bananas