Saturday, October 23, 2010

Joe Jackson explains his half billion claim... or tries to

Joe Jackson is bringing a half a billion dollars lawsuit against Michael Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray - presumably angry that if he managed to not kill Jackson, he doesn't see why Conrad did.

How did he come up with the half a billion figure?

His theory -- "The more you go, the less you get ... so I went high."
That doesn't really make any sense - if you think you get less if you ask for more, then wouldn't asking for an absurd amount be the wrong thing to do? Shouldn't Jackson be looking for $20, in order to get 100% of his demand?

In fact, given that the death of Jackson junior has allowed Joe to develop a lucrative Dead Michael business, shouldn't Murray be suing him for a share of the proceeds?

Gordon in the morning: The royals are well-briefed

Buckingham Palace held an event for young people earlier in the week, where Prince Harry was given the role of the closest the Royals can do to 'youth'. Gordon Smart has decided that this proves that Harry is a Magnetic Man fan:

"While we were there, we met Prince Harry. He was well excited when he was introduced to Skream - he put his hand out and said 'Hello Skream, nice one!'

"Harry obviously knew who he was before he met him."
Well, yes. That's because he's surrounded by people whispering in his ear. Generally, royals don't approach people unless they know what's on the end of the hand they're about to shake. When Charles mutters "nice to meet you, Mr Badgerson, I hope things are fine at Mole Valley Valve", it doesn't mean that Charles is a Valve freak.

Really, this story is 'Harry is polite', however much a "royal aide" might be wheeled in to try and fatten the tale up:
A Royal aide confirmed Artwork's assumption, telling me: "It's no secret that Prince Harry loves his music. He goes to quite a few festivals and gigs, so it's not surprising that he recognised them."
Yes, after you've been to seven gigs your brain is upgraded so that you can instantly recognise anyone who is vaguely musical.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Punkobit: Ari Up

Ari Up, one of the great European punks, has died, according to a website posting by her stepfather John Lydon:

"John and Nora have asked us to let everyone know that Nora's daughter Arianna (aka Ari-Up) died today (Wednesday, October 20th) after a serious illness," he wrote. "She will be sadly missed. Everyone at and PiLofficial.Com would like to pass on their heartfelt condolences to John, Nora and family. Rest in Peace."
Born Arianna Forster, Up formed the Slits when she was just 14, embarking on a couple years of astonishing dubbed-punk until they split in 1981. And sounding like this:

Roaming the world after the band broke up, Ari continued to make music - she was part of On-U Sound's New Age Steppers in the 1980s, and worked as a solo artist under the labels Baby Ari, Madussa, and Ari Up.

The Slits reformed in what felt like it might have been an ill-advised move in 2005, but you know what?

They still worked.

Ari Up was 48.

And while we're talking of Music Of Black Origin...

The other day, behind The Times' paywall, there was more attention given than strictly necessary to Keith Richard's memoirs, including a chance for other stars to say how great Keith is as a musician. (Why this was felt strictly required for a book that is mainly about how tiny Mick Jagger's penis is isn't clear.)

Amongst those lining up with opinions was Serge out of Kasabian:

"You play in open G tuning and it's instant Keith. and then of course you can't play it. For someone to own that sound is The holy Land as far as being a guitarist is concerned. And he always knows where to put the riff, where to put the note. He plays like a black man, with a machine gun rhythm, but he's white so it sounds different"
Black people play the guitar differently from white people, and even if white people do play in the same way as black people, they can't because of their skin pigmentation.

At best, Serge has created a modern version of "did you ever notice black people drive their cars like this... and white people drive like this" routines; at worst, it's right up there with "black people have natural rhythm" as lazy, quasi-racist gibberish.

As Michael M, who pointed me in the direction of Pizzorno's pensées says:
These is no essential difference to the musical abilities of white or black musicians, it's all cultural. Given that for the last 4 or 5 decades black and white musical culture has become increasingly merged his statement is at best an outdated nonsense.
Although, really, the idea of someone from Kasabian producing "outdated nonsense" shouldn't really be that surprising.

MOBOs proceed with minimum fuss

Perhaps it was a gesture to the state of the economy that nobody made any real fuss about the Mobos this year. Perhaps it was because it was off in Liverpool, and just as the winter kicked in. The other possibility - that these awards just roll on under their own sweet impetus whether anyone cares or not.

And JLS won best UK act; and Eminem, so many years after his saucepan finally boiled through. But it doesn't really matter, because the awards themselves only exist so that the prize ceremony can happen. The winners in full:

* Best Newcomer: Tinie Tempah
* Best U.K. R&B/Soul Act: Plan B
* Best U.K. Hip-Hop/Grime Act: Professor Green
* Best International Act: Eminem
* Best Reggae Act: Gyptian
* Best Album: "JLS" - JLS
* Best Video: "Frisky" - Tinie Tempah ft. Labrinth
* Best U.K. Act: JLS
* Best Song: "Playing with Fire" - N-Dubz ft. Mr. Hudson
* Best African Act: K'Naan
* Best Jazz Act: Empirical
* Best Gospel Act: Guvna B
* Lifetime Achievement: Billy Ocean
* BeMOBO: Merseyside Dance Initiative
N-Dubz. JLS. Tinie Tempah.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Commercial radio doesn't like the BBC

It's not just Nadine Dorries ('we don't need a national broadcaster because ITV have made a period drama') doing cartwheels this morning over the defenestration of the BBC; just yesterday commercial radio was blaming BBC Radio for being too good.

Every few weeks, someone from commercial radio says that Radios 1 and 2 should be made substantially poorer to encourage people to listen to them, instead. This time round, it's Ashley Tabor, who is head of Global, who is saying it's just not fair:

"These two powerhouse radio stations should do what they were set up to do — provide that which cannot be provided commercially, that's where the value is. Good-quality content which is not commercially viable."
Tabor, presumably, isn't so ignorant of radio history that he's really proposing the stations be run along the lines they were established on in 1967, when there was no commercial radio at all broadcasting from the UK.

I'm not sure Radio 1 and 2 have even been told their role is only to broadcast non-commercially viable stuff, but given that commercial radio is apparently incapable of producing programmes of the quality of the two BBC networks, that would appear to be what happens more-or-less by accident.
The Global boss said Radio 1 was not doing enough to support new British music, adding that he wanted it to break at least 10 new UK bands next year — and described its playlist as "very, very mainstream".
But if Radio 1 doesn't mix Top 40 music with new bands and acts, how is it going to "break" (by which I guess Tabor means 'help towards the mainstream') anything?

And if a band is broken by Radio 1, does that mean they're then mainstream and should be dropped from the radio station straight away? Is Tabor suggesting the Sunday night Top 40 rundown should only be allowed to play the new entries?

To be frank, I'd be very surprised if setting some sort of confused 'break bands' target to 10 wouldn't mark a major reduction in the number of acts given support by the BBC in their early years. And would a band that finds a small audience who follows them for years, but doesn't have a top ten hit, be considered a mark for this mysterious target or not?

Tabor likes strange maths, though:
He claimed the two stations were delivering on only 30% of their public service commitments.
I'd love to see his working on that. Does the announced Panorama-style programme on Radio 1 bring us up to 32%?

Paul Keenan - head of Bauer's radio things - has another cunning plan:
Paul Keenan, chief executive of Kiss and Magic parent Bauer Radio, said the two BBC stations could be used as a key driver in encouraging digital take-up by removing them from analogue and making them digital-only, including digital audio broadcasting (DAB).

"If you moved Radio 1 and Radio 2 that would show us the way [on digital]," Keenan told the BBC's director of audio and music, Tim Davie, at the Radio Festival in Salford.
Paul Keenan, I hope you never play poker, as it's probable you'd hold your cards the wrong way round.

You're really suggesting that commercial radio would invest in DAB if Radio 1 and 2 went DAB-only?


Because given that commercial radio spends every minute of every day whining about how it can't compete with Radio 1 and 2, why would you then rush to join them on a largely unadopted platform? If you really thought there was a future in DAB, you'd be investing in it and campaigning for Radio 1 and 2 to be kept off it.

Presumably Bauer's radio networks have got so used to assuming its audience is a bit dull that they've forgotten we're not all idiots.

The Daily Telegraph: a refined newspaper

Was it really necessary, Daily Telegraph, to accompany the report of Stuart Cable's inquest with a boxout of 'other rock stars who choked on their own vomit'?

And was it really appropriate to start that boxout with a giggling reference to how it was parodied in Spinal Tap? An inquest into the death of a real person who, clearly, was loved by a lot of people, isn't really the place to start laughing 'hee-hee, it's just like that funny movie', is it?

Gordon in the morning: You would see Jedward coming

Jedward have more money than sense. To be honest, if they were overdrawn and owing on a suite of credit cards, they'd still have more money than sense.

But there's some sort of evidence now as they've managed to blow twenty grand on tat:

X Factor stars Jedward, real names JOHN and EDWARD GRIMES, went with no sleep for two nights while bidding on China-based icons auction Legends.
There's two of you. One of you could have slept while the other one did the bidding.
Edward said: "It's really good stuff - nobody else in the world has it."
Nobody else in the world has sheep AIDS, but that doesn't actually make it desirable.
"We bought a BRITNEY SPEARS suit she wore in a Pepsi commercial.

"We've got a signed, limited-edition Michael Jackson doll and a signed bedsheet of his also signed by MACAULAY CULKIN. We also bought some outfits from Batman, like The Riddler's, and some clown thing."
By a strange coincidence, over at the Legends auction HQ, as they look through their records, "some clown thing" was the answer to the question "what's this Jedward that's buying all our crap?"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chelsea for sale

The Chelsea Hotel is up for sale. How can you put a price on a place where, according to Wikipedia, The Fuse (UK) once stayed?

Simply Thrilled, Honey

If this blog wasn't called No Rock & Roll Fun, it would be called something else, and there'd be a good chance it might have wound up as Simply Thrilled Honey. Which is, by a happy coincidence, one of the tracks on the Orange Juice box set Coals To Newcastle.

That comes out on November 8th, but there's a widgety thing with five tracks barking up some extra interest:

The English patient

Q has appeared to have sliced up parts of its big Take That interview and given them to various newspapers - presumably allowing Fleet Street to read the scoop so you don't have to, not that you would anyway.

The Mail gets a bit which claims the band nearly changed their name when Williams came back. To The English.

The English.

I think that one nugget tells us just how much creativity there is left in this particular bucket - and if you're still in any doubt:

The album, out on November 22, is said to mark a radical change in style, with less emphasis on ballads and more experimentation with electronic pop.
Now, I could be wrong, and it might turn out to be like a latterday Kraftwerk, but this has all the hallmarks of someone bored with spaghetti bolognaise thinking that putting a splash of Worcestershire Sauce in might take it in a whole new direction.

Q, meanwhile, appears to have done such a good job of splitting the interview up that even as the Mail is happily regurgitating one part of it...
As well as new single The Flood, which is out next month, other tracks include Kidz, Pretty Things and Underground Machine, as well as an intensely personal song by Mark Owen called What Do You Want From Me?
... without apparently being told that another part explicitly says that the song isn't by Mark Owen at all.

Rihanna goes for a salt and shake

I can see that in these difficult times for the music industry, you might need to explore every avenue to make a few extra quid.

But did nobody at team Rihanna think through the message this sends out?

She's already got the red-hot hair - and now Rihanna has revealed her sizzling figure in her latest racy video.

The 22-year-old Bajan beauty donned shocking pink PVC stockings and an electric blue frilled body for her new collaboration with David Guetta.

There's a spicy twist to the song too - only people who munch Doritos get to feast their eyes on the promo.
"My biggest fans will have gorged themselves on snacks." Hmmm.

Is it a good idea to get your fans to gobble packet after packet of fatty food and then writhe around in skintight PVC? There's going to be lawsuits.

Omarion, where is thy bling?

You will have been wondering how the inquest into the London Tube suicide attacks has managed to progress so far without calling Omarion. After all, Omarion was just dozens of miles away at the time, and thus his testimony could be vital.

It turns out that Omarion - along with Now, Fonzie, the only pop stars to be named after Howard Cunnigham's exasperation - is too busy struggling with other problems. He's up to his expensively-shaded eyes in tax debt. Still, the good news is that he might be able to finally file bankruptcy; he tried and failed that earlier this year. Not even being able to do bankruptcy properly? That's quite a talent.

Gordon in the morning: This isn't about Mark Owen

According to, erm, something Gordon read in Q, Mark Owen is worried that people might think one of the new Take That songs is about the time he cheated on his wife. But it isn't.

It was written before Owen went gardening on a neighbouring allotment square, and has a full band credit.

So it clearly isn't.

Things have got so bad, then, that The Sun is lifting other publications' not-actually-stories.

For Gordon, this is a point where

Mark wrestles his conscience
It might have been a bit better if Mark Owen had thought before doing backflips for other people 'this might look bad', but I guess we should be thankful that his conscience has finally flipped on, albeit rather late.

In other news - or non-news - heartbreaking reports of trouble at the Brand-Perry wedding planners:
A source close to the pair said: "They had been trying to arrange a 3D tiger safari for guests as an extra-special treat, but it looks like this won't happen now."
I know, I know. It's hard to carry on knowing the extra-special 3D tiger treat won't happen, but we must somehow steel ourselves and try.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The French government will buy your next tune

With Hadopi already unraveling, beaten down by ISPs refusing to take part and the sheer impossibility of the numbers, the unpopular French government have come up with a new idea to "defeat" "piracy" in some way:

Under the scheme, French residents who purchase a card - the Carte musique - to download music from subscription-based website platforms, will only pay half the cost of a €50 ($70) credit included in the card, with the French government paying the rest.
It must delight the workers currently striking because Sarkozy has told them that there's no money for pensions that there is, apparently, cash to pop into the coffers of EMI and Universal.

They're expecting to sell a million of the cards - that's €25million a year effectively being handed to the record labels. The hope is that it'll get young people used to the idea of paying for music - as if that's what the problem has been for the last few years.

It's not clear why someone who doesn't currently pay for music would suddenly be interested in doing so because they government's paying half; the most likely effect is that people who do currently buy downloads or subscribe will chuckle with delight that they're only forking out half as much.

Let's hope they don't get used to the idea that half their music collection should be free. That'd be the last thing they want to happen.

Glastonbury 2012: There is no Glastonbury 2012

Odd. Not that Michael Eavis told the Mail On Sunday there would be no Glastonbury in 2012, but the reason he gave:

Michael Eavis told the Mail on Sunday that both issues were a concern. On the subject of hygiene, he said, "We realised early on that it was going to be a big problem. We have our own stock of portable toilets but we always need more. We shop around with four companies to get the best price, but we are not bothering for 2012.

"There will be a huge demand for Portaloo toilets in London, so every­one will push up their prices and I can see it getting very expensive."
But the Eavises had already announced that there would be no Glastonbury in 2012, shifting the usual fallow year back one; at the time they said it was to avoid a busy summer.

But the cost of portaloos is suddenly the reason? Seriously? Why would an event a month later push up prices for Glastonbury? Isn't the whole point of a portaloo that you take them where you need them, when you need them?

And will there really be a huge demand for portable toilets anyway? I know we're a bit rubbish in this country, but we're surely able to build stadia that have actual plumbed toilets in them?

But let's assume there is going to be some sort of manic peak in the price of portaloos a month before the Olympics, given that Glastonbury hires tonnes of the things year-in, year-out, couldn't Eavis just do a deal for five years with a locked in price? Isn't regular demand a pretty strong bargaining chip?

You could respect the idea to give Worthy Farm a rest from the churn and chunder of thousand upon a thousand wellies; why start embellishing the decision with bizarre toilet claim?

Avril Lavigne notices some pop stars are making a bit of an effort

Hey, you know what? Avril Lavigne has spotted a trend:

"It’s an interesting period in music right now," she told Maxim.

"A lot of girls are really into their image and costumes and going over the top."
I guess if you had been told that putting on a tie was in some way outrageous, you might find the age of the meat dress something of a revelation.

After all, it's not like Debbie Harry, or Cyndi Lauper, or Madonna, or Siouxsie ever made an effort, is it?

Rapobit: Michael Larsen

Michael Larsen, who rapped under the name Eyedea, has died. His mother broke the news on his Facebook page:

"It is with great pain and sadness that I tell you my son Mikey (Eyedea) has passed away ... At this time we kindly request your respect and our privacy as we process this devastating loss. We do, however, welcome your kind words, memories, and positive thoughts."
The 28 year-old had been part of a duo, Eyedea and Abilities, who released a run of albums on Rhymesayers during the first part of the 2000s. During a period when the duo were on a break, Larsen recorded a collection with a jazz backing. This material was released on Face Candy, his own label; apparently he had a new collection ready for release when he died.

No cause of death has yet been given. His mother told the Star Tribune that he'd appeared well and happy on Friday. He'd spent the evening watching DJ Abilities doing a gig with Pigeon John. His mother found him on Saturday morning, apparently having died in his sleep.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Googling Bing

It's an unlikely headline from the Telegraph:

Bing Crosby to challenge X Factor for Christmas number one

Bing Crosby is going to challenge the X Factor for the Christmas number one spot with a remake of his classic seasonal hit White Christmas.
Bing Crosby. Throwing down a challenge from beyond the grave, is he?
Despite selling millions of records, the late singer - who died 33 years ago - never released a number one single.
You don't actually release a number one single, do you? You have one; you release a single you might hope goes to number one. But still, carry on:
But his classic Christmas hit has been reworked into a duet with the opera star Bryn Terfel.
Ah, so when the Telegraph says "Bing is challenging", they mean that the moneygrubbers who own the copyright in his recording are besmirching the memory in a bid to make a few quid. Perhaps they couldn't fit that in the headline, though.

Who can make sense of this mushing together of variegated ingredients? Step forward HMV's Csarther Christmas, Gennaro Castaldo:
HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: ''Last year we saw how the internet and social media could be used to great effect to determine the Christmas number one.

''People might assume the same will happen again, but I think it's unlikely we'll see such a co-ordinated campaign for a while, so it's entirely possible that a more conventional song will top the charts this Christmas - and what could be more traditional that a wonderful cover of a festive classic."
Well, given that most years the number one at Christmas has nothing to do with Christmas, and - if you don't count Band Aid - the only real traditional Christmas song that has been number one at Christmas was Boney M's cover of Mary's Boy Child - probably anything might be more traditional. To be honest.

Something to remember about the Citi-Hands trial

It's worth remembering that Guy Hands insisted on the trial taking place in New York rather than the more appropriate London, because if he came to London it would wreck his tax dodging scheme. (I know that technically he is avoiding rather than dodging tax - he's behaving legally, if unethically, but let's not pretend that he's just really clever rather than a greedy man who wants to avoid paying his share to the nation that raised him.)

Gordon in the morning: A-ha, mm-hmm

Presumably in preparation for the soon-come Alan Partridge web series, Steve Coogan left a message on Tom Kasabian's answerphone. In the character, Coogan berated Kasabian for using a Manson Family name as branding of their pudgerock band.

It confuses Gordon, who rather than filing downpage decides this is the big story today and tries to write it up as if Alan Partridge was real - presumably he culdn't get a web boffin to create a photo of him wearing an "I am in on the joke" t-shirt:

The failed TV presenter was probably calling from the Linton Travel Tavern, but the Kasabian lads shouldn't be too offended - there's no way he hates them as much as he does the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre.
Ha ha ha, yes, and he probably had his hand in a turkey and had just shot someone because those are things he did on TV, too.

One other note: Smart attempts to defend Kasabian's choice of Linda Kasabian as a choice for a band name:
Linda Kasabian was an accomplice to Manson and his so-called "Manson Family" - a commune responsible for a string of murders in the late 1960s.

But she was also the key witness in a 1970 trial when Manson was convicted of killing nine people.
Well, yes. But she refused to say anything at all until she was given immunity from prosecution, so she literally got away with murder. Surprising to see The Sun treating her as if she was the good guy from the Manson family.