Saturday, May 14, 2011

Eurovision 2011: Liveblog

Bloody hell, one of The Corrs has turned up on Lottery doing a Simple Minds cover. That's not a good omen of anything.

It's an Andrea Corr. She says she's supporting Jedward which, judging by her career trajectory might be a gig billing rather than a tip for tonight.

I guess there's an outside chance that Blue could do well tonight, given that the sort of people who don't like Blue's sort of thing will probably be out.

A couple of moments in and I'm already on the corrections:

Simple Minds? It's Blue Nile's Tinseltown In The Rain she's done!
Thanks, @sweepingnation

"Every camp moment" promises the continuity announcement, like a flier for an event which promises "fun for all the family".

Graham Norton announces the theme this year is "feel your heart sink". He might have said beat rather than sink, but having seen the trio of hosts on stage, I think "sink" might be it.

Graham Norton says the bloke is Germany's Simon Cowell. Looks more like Germany's Rufus Hound, actually.

Stefan frightens me a little.

Ooh! Last year's winner is doing a new song tonight, so she's not doing a reprise of the 2010 winner, but instead our hosts are going to do the song.

Anyone who has seen German light entertainment on a Saturday will know this is actually quite high-end for them.

Katie Boyle, it's safe to say, would never have got involved in business like this.

The whole thing is, in short, Germany saying "DO NOT VOTE FOR US TO WIN THIS YEAR. IN GOD'S NAME DO NOT MAKE US DO THIS AGAIN". Duly noted, Dusseldorf.

If they're running late by the end of the show, this will be the five minutes they could have jettisoned. Think on that.

The song has now gone into what's like a sequence from a Persil executive's wet dream.

Bringing on Lene lookalikes is a bit of a duff idea as I don't think any of us remember what she looks like.

Oh, that's what she looks like. Like Natalie Imbruglia's understudy.

Was this song this long last year?

I'm watching this on iPlayer this year. The BBC Parliament button is starting to look tempting already.

The two women presenters don't like each other, do they?

Their stadium has been turned into a Eurovision temple. You know, temples. Where people with misplaced faith have their hearts ripped out to appease the Gods.

Graham Norton running through the headlines - Dana International couldn't complete her semi and has been knocked out; Jedward, of course, did. Jesus, how bad must Dana's have been?

This year, you can vote as soon as the show starts. Why even go through the pretense of pretending to be voting based on the songs, eh?

The UK voting system is the sort of sophisticated affair used to elect David Cameron - i.e. there's a bunch of experts who will decide who wins but we can pretend we're taking part.

The phonelines are open. Do we really need to hear the songs, then?

Finland - Da Da Dum - Paradise Oskar
"I'm going out into the world to save our planet" simpers a boy from the Lower Sixth, singing a song that was clearly the hit of an assembly his school did about ecology.

Paradise has Jedward's hair, and the social conscience of a girl of fourteen. It's like having George Mobiot's child assault you with an acoustic guitar.

He's going to go out and save our planet, which is a big claim from someone who has trouble holding a note.

In an exciting bit of news, it looks like the official Eurovision server has fallen over

Bosnia & Herzegovnia - Dino Merlin - Love In rewind
Blimey, it's Jasper Carrot and Nadia Swalaha.

The lone trumpeter has clearly decided he's a "character" and is running about the stage like he's actually Gonzo.

This is Opus's Live Is Life played at half speed.

Denmark - A Friend In London - A New Tomorrow
That's a band name which is a desperate bid to try and swing a few northern European votes, isn't it.

Oh, I see, they're faux cockneys. It's like Danny Dyer bought some hairgel and brought A-Ha in as a backing band.

This song is the sort of thing - down to the title - which would be used in the 80s to advertise Telford New Town. I bet there's a verse about the great travel connections to Europe, and the new leisure centre.

The official Eurovision site says that when Bosnia's Dino played his semi final, he felt "frightened" by just how enthusiastic the crowd were. Really, Dino? Really?

Lithuania - Evalina Sašenko - C'est Ma Vie
"Straight out of musical theatre" promises Graham. Hurrah!

Oh, that's as in "the sort of song which would make you get up and walk... straight out of musical theatre".

Don't get me wrong, I like a little Elaine Paige.

Oh, hang about, this has taken a 'theme from Falcon Crest' direction.

What sign language is she doing? Is she signing in Lithuanian sign language, or British?

Graham's promising a spot of pop now. Duncan from Blue's favourite song is up next, he says.

Hungary - Kati Wolf - What About My Dreams?
Ooh, she's wearing the sort dress that Rachel Riley wears sometimes on Countdown. The sort where she looks really uncomfortable by the first numbers round.

There is a beat to this one. There, damned with faint praise.

Hang about... that colour, in silk, and the way it falls... she's trying to channel this-era Madonna, isn't she?

Ireland - Jedward - Lipstick
Or that joke really, really isn't funny any more.

The last time a fairly well-known duo did Eurovision, it was Tatu. They pretend to be lesbians.

Oh, God. It's a Pet Shop Boys tribute act doing Doctorin' The Tardis.

The song actually could be alright in the hands of an act who were in on the joke. Oh, god, can you imagine how long they're going to milk their career if they actually win this?

Get the phone number off the screen, BBC, it'll only encourage people.

Given that Ireland usually try to lose, this could really backfire on them.

Sweden - Eric Saade - Popular
That song name is a hostage to fortune, isn't it?

Nice to see German TV has found some Swedes who dress up as vikings for the intro film.

Eric is in a box. And in a fetishy t-shirt. And, apparently, in a high school popularity clique.

He's quite pretty. He's not Jedward. Yes, his song is dreadful - it's crawled from the corpse of a Boney M session - but HE'S NOT JEDWARD. Let's throw our weight behind Eric, and his light gay S&M fantasy set.

Over on Twitter, "Terry Wogan" is trending. Sorry, Graham.

Also, over on Twitter: @louisebolotin:
You people voted for that Jedward crap for weeks. Shame on you, fucktards #eurovision

Estonia - Getter Jaani - Rockerfeller Street
The song name isn't all that encouraging, is it?

And Getter is dressed like one of those sad-faced clown dolls you'd see in frustrated twentysomething women's bedrooms in the 1980s.

Is she actually singing "murder in the first degree"?

Her dancers are hiding behind the building sets. Obviously inspired by Stewart Lee as Godzilla from the other week.

She's got the London Eye in her video back projection. Is everyone desperate for our votes tonight?

Sideways dance up the stairs a la the Stutz Bear Cats there. Always a job open for Getter plugging the Esso Collection.

Greece - Loucas Yiorkas & Stereo Mike - Watch My Dance
Stereo Mike? Why does that fill me full of fear?

This, of course, is a country that George Osborne believes he stopped us being like, so let's look closely, shall we?

Ooh, the opening is doomy.

Mike is doing the world's most gravelly rap ever.

And now Loucas has come on, with something a bit operatic.

See, this is all you can afford when you've got austerity going on. You have to fashion a song out of whatever bits and pieces you've got left. Greece had a cracking Abba-style song ready to go, but the IMF took it. So, this, instead.

Can you sing? No? Then just RAP ANGRIER!

Russia - Alexey Vorobyov - Get You
Changing his name to Alex Sparrow after this "for the international market", which is a bit like me buying a pair of football boots for when I get signed by Manchester United.

So, it looks like Fonzie is still the absolute primo male archetype in Russia.

Isn't that the rat-faced one from The Apprentice doing backing dancing?

"Come on" pleads Alexey. "I'm coming to get you" he sings, like the sort of stalker who really enjoys the sending of the letters but doesn't really have the energy to go round the stalkee's house.

France - Amaury Vassili - Sognu
He's singing in Corsican, which at least marks him out as doing something a bit different. And he has a lot of hair. Much, much hair.

The entire continent is now going "isn't this from an actual opera? Does anyone know anybody who knows any actual operas? Is this really a new song" as one.

And the rest of the continent has that puzzled look you see on University Challenge contestants when there's an opera question: the "I think I sort of recognise this, but it might be anything. Carmen? Figaro? Is there an opera called Bidet?"

The French language is a thing of beauty. Corsica, it seems, got a slightly shitty stick.

Italy - Raphael Gulazzi - Madness Of Love
Italy haven't taken part in Eurovision for 14 years. Did anyone notice that?

A minor Eastender actor - one of the less popular Moons, or someone who isn't a Mitchell, perhaps - sitting at a piano, singing a slight song as if he was passing a particularly troublesome turd.

Perhaps they needed another year to come up with something.

It does have a bit of a jazzy ending, though, like the That's Life closing theme.

It seems like they've gone to adverts. If the Tories have their way, and the BBC is brought to its knees, we'd never get to see these interviews from the green room as we'd be having adverts, too.

Okay, so that's one good thing you can say for Tory broadcasting policy.

Switzerland - Anna Rossinelli - In Love For A While
Apparently, the songwriter found Anna in the streets. Not like that.

The glitteriest dress so far this evening.

It's all a bit 'hello, trees, isn't love wonderful' but, ironically, lacks any heart at all. It's also gone a bit na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na.


No time to finish the song, then.

Actually, this is probably the closest we've ever come to a Frente song appearing in Eurovision.

UK - Blue - I Can
Sending Blue to Eurovision is like turning up on Masterchef with an M&S Meal Deal.

They're all pointing. And have pictures of themselves without shirts on behind them. This is all a bit "yeah... we're Blue. Have you heard of us?"

To which Europe will reply, as one, "did you do that Christmas one with the bells? Stay, or whatever? That was better than this one. Oh, that wasn't you, either?"

Jesus, the large back projections just look so conceited. Not as conceited as the lowness of the crotches in their trousers.

Why is Duncan James wearing a tiny scarf?

"Surely Blue will do better" says Graham. Not if they can't do better than that.

Moldova - Zdob şi Zdub - So Lucky

It's like somebody got their grans to knit them Devo hats.

And unicyclists!

This is the sort of wacky that Jedward were straining for, but couldn't, because they were trying to be wacky. Zdob ar ebeing deathly serious, aren't they? Like an Eastern European King Kurt kind of serious.

I hope they wipe the floor with Blue, and then steal their hotel keys.

The trouble with having a unicyclist on stage is that they can only go round and round. It's quite limited as schtick goes.

Germany - Lena - Taken By A Stranger
Home team. Defending champion. Another stalky-song.

Those skintight catsuits are making me a bit nervous. It's like she's being supported by the people from that grape juice advert.

This song, clearly, got through on the "well, it does nothing for me but she won last year so she must know what she's doing" vote.

@stebax just suggested 'Tainted Love without the good bits'.

Romania - Hotel FM - Change
Hotel FM? "You're listening to Hotel FM, broadcasting to Travelodges throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland..."

The lead singer is English, but sounds like he's trying to disguise his accent. Presumably because he knows how the Eurovision voters turn on the English.

He looks like someone who might get work as a David Tennant lookalike, on an afternoon when there's a lot of demand for David Tennant lookalikes.

This is the second sub-Disney "let's change the world and make difference" song of the night.

Austria - Nadine Beller - The Secret Is Love
Song eighteen. There are a lot of empty boxes on the scoresheet to come.

Rainbows in the sky. Your big opening has a line about rainbows in the sky.

Ah, I see. Because you think Mariah Carey is some sort of role model.

Still, fair play to her, she's on her own belting it out.

Oh, as I type that, more people rush on to help her.

Nadine's backdrop has floating diamonds. It's like she thinks she Snoop Dogg.

Azerbaijan - Ell/Nikki - Running Scared
Sadly, the slash doesn't mean we're getting one person with two personalities. I suspect we're not getting two people with one personality between them.

The oh-oh-oh entry bit is quite nice, in a like Enya never happened way.

There's literally nothing to this song, but it's a nice, slight beast. And you've got to love a song with virtually no lyrical content that still doesn't scan properly.

Just realised what this song is - it's The Lover Speaks, but a diet version of it.

Slovenia - Maja Keuc - No One
By law one intro film every Eurovision has to feature wind turbines. Slovenia has filled the slot this year. Is Slovenia a particularly windy nation?

Maja's dress appears to be made from the remnants of the gun metal used to forge the ships of Slovenia's brave navy. Unfortunately, the song has been made from the leftover bits of Slovenian army's training manual.

Oh, bugger. Unless something amazing happens in the next five songs, I'm going to vote for men in knitted conical hats with a unicyclist. How on earth did anyone construct an event where that's even a plausible, never mind a desirable, outcome?

While the rest of Europe gets adverts, we get a host flogging the DVD and CD of the event. Because you can't advertise on the BBC.

Iceland - Sjonni's Friends - Coming Home
Apparently the guy who wrote this died, and so these are his real friends, doing it as a tribute.

You'd have to be a terrible person to hate that, wouldn't you.

Well, it turns out I'm going to hell.

This is what Sjonni would have wanted. Just keep telling yourself that. (Actually, he would rather than had someone put a bench in his favourite park, and some money donated to the local cat's home. He wrote that down on the back of the bit of paper he wrote that song on.)

Spain - Lucía Pérez - Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao
Spain last won Eurovision in the year I was born. And I'm bloody elderly.

Three notes in, and their drought isn't going to end.

I don't know what the lyrics are saying, but this sort of tune suggests it should be along the lines of "a square is a shape with four sides/all the sides are the same/if two get longer/then you're meeting an oblong"

Ukraine - Mika Newton - Angels
With added sand painting. This is where the UK goes wrong - we should have sent Tony Hart along when we had the chance. Even Scooch could have won if they'd had Tony using a line-painting machine to do a giant elephant for the big screen.

Well, the sand painting is alright. But Mika sounds like she's trying to warn ships off the rocks.

"We are angels fearing pleasure" she screeches. Clearly Angel Delight never made it to Ukraine.

Serbia - Nina - Čaroban
Yes, yes, we get it. You're classic Eurovision. You didn't have to wear the Ready Steady Go earrings, Nina.

Actually, I really like this one.

I'm assuming this is an attempt at classic Eurovision. For Serbia, though, this might just be a 90s revival.

This can't really be the first song of the night to have come with a middle eight, can it?

Georgia - Eldrine - One More Day
Eldrine sounds like an attempt to create a faux-mythology for a Lord Of The Rings knock-off. Both the name sounds like that, and they sound like that.

It was going well for Eldrine, and then, for some reason, they decided to add the rap bit from 3am Eternal.

Still, kudos to her hairdresser; she's been pouncing around stage like a Evanescence hunting a cat and not a hair out of place.

And that's it. And the voting lines are open. Erm, still.

The cats have just been fed. Foil-tray Felix this evening; they're enjoying it more than they enjoyed Blue's entry, I'll tell you that.

Oh, so we're not getting a midway act, just the videos that introduced the bands again? Surely not.

Over on Twitter:
Face it, Twitter, you're no Terry Wogan.

Ok so based on these clips and my own judging criteria Germany win hands down

Not just no midway act, but Graham Norton reading emails over the videos. Blimey.

"You can still vote" says Stefan Hound. Well, it's not like you could be arsed to put on a big dance number like last year's hosts did, is it? What else are we going to do?

Presumably Germany feels that having propped up Europe's banking system for so long, it's not going to spring for any more goodies.

Simon LeBon's come out for Moldova.

And I know you'll be worrying, so here's Ed Balls top three:
My top three: Hungary (9/10); Serbia (8.5/10); then tie - Denmark (8/10) & Switzerland (8/10)... Go Hungary...
No word yet on George Osborne's opinion on the evening, although I think he did just say "pretty sure I can hit Honkers with a bread roll, and I jolly well if he serves any more non-vintage champagne".

They're counting down to the end of voting.

The lines are closed. There is nothing we can do.

Oh, finally, with the interval act. Graham Norton is basically telling us it's going to be shit before he comes on. What's he called? Anderly? Time Delay?

Apparently he's someone famous in Germany who's just been chosen because he's had a few chart hits. Ridiculous. On that basis, we'd have sent someone like Blue to compete in the... oh, hang on...

Whoops! He seems to have accidentally come on to do Get Yr Freak On. And come dressed as an on-course bookmaker.

Terry Wogan is now trending worldwide. As is Serbia, which might be a result of their position in the running order, or is it TWITTERWISDOMPREDICTINGTHEWINNER?

You've delighted us long enough, sir. Please go back and take some last minute bets on who will win.

There's a new executive supervisor of Eurovision. Presumably after that comedy business the last one did at the 2010 contest.

They're doing a bit of comedy business. Graham Norton is making "Blue - none" jokes over the top of it. It says something that that feels like a kindness.

We're about to go into the green room. Oh, they're doing a Berlin Wall reference. That's not getting things out of proportion.

I'd quite like a sandwich now. But the votes are about to come in. It's like, referendum levels of excitement.

Oh, those poor German dancers are still clad in their condoms.

Voting first, Russia: Represented by Peter Andre in a white hat. Blue get four points, which suggests a so-so performance this year.

Russia's 12 goes to Azerbaijan.

10.27 Bulgaria - It's a Cher tribute act. Blimey, they've given 12 points to the UK. And Lee Ryan kisses the camera.

Oh lord.

Netherlands have a botoxed mermaid doing their scores. Not a thing for the UK.

Italy, represented by the only person never goosed by Burlosconi.

The German TV people have overdubbed a beating heart on the scores.

And jesus, Blue are in the lead.

Cyprus, represented by Eammon Holmes.

The one piece of soothing balm about the strong showing from Blue is that Jedward are sinking like a one-armed goose in an oil tank.

Cyprus give their 12 to Greece, which even Greece might say was over generous.

Ukraine have got actual Ruslana doing scores. I like Ruslana.

Finland have got a woman with Marge Simpson's hair - obviously a blonde version. They've given ten to Ireland. Blue get bugger all.

Norway introduce themselves with "Hubba Hubba Europe", which makes me feel violated. One point for Blue.

Armenia's hostess is Angelina Jolie on a tight budget; again Blue get a small pointage which won't help. But so far the voting is all over the place - still wide open right now.

Macedonia's woman has got a massive corsage. Oh, stop making your own jokes up. They gave 12 points to Bosnia, which resulted in booing.

Icleand is wearing flowers round their head. They gave double the points to Jedward that they gave to Blue. All still quite close at the top.

Slovakia's host is wearing what appears to be a metallic nude dress. They give 8 to Ireland, which surprised Graham Norton. Nothing for Blue here.

Our local team now, with Alex off The One Show, padding her part, and cheering on Blue. That ship's sailed, Alex.

Jesus, people: you voted for Jedward? Ironically, that puts them close to overtaking Blue.

Denmark have got a governess calling from Copenhagen. Three for Blue, 12 to Ireland.

Austria's premier Celine Dion impersonator is giving out the scores. Nothing for Blue again. Blue are starting to slide...

I won't hear a thing against Poland's presenter, even if she has come direct from a toga party. To-Ga-T-Ga. Jedward get one point, and are sneaking up the board as Blue are creeping downwards.

A man! A man! Sweden have sent a man to tell us their scores. Bosnia leap over the UK thanks to their scoring and Ireland get 12. If Jedward rise any higher, I might have to switch my head off.

San Marino greet all their fans. The German host looks like she just wishes he'd get a move on. Azerbaijan are back in the lead; Italy get twelve, and Blue sink another place in the order.

A build your own Gwen Steffani kit gives Germany's scores - 8 to Jedward, bugger all to Blue. Mid-table is grim for Blue, but coming so far behind Jedward is going to sting.

Azerbaijan's contestant from last year is here with scores - 5 to the UK, 12 to Ukraine.

A restuarant in Slovenia has a waiter take some time off. God, he's singing. And robot-dancing. He's doing a bit of Paul The Octopus business. A joke only twelve months out of date.

The German hostess looks like her teeth are going to grind down to their stumps by the time the various small European principalities and republics have milked their moments on international TV.

Turkey, with an airline pilot (or someone who would play one in a Just For Men advert) doing the numbers - 6 to Blue, 12 to Azerbaijan who retake the lead.

"Hello, I'm in the middle of a bitter divorce" screams the eyes of the Swiss presenter. Not a sausage to either the UK or Ireland. I think we can relax our faces now.

Madonna has arrived doing the Greek results. They could have sold their votes, we'd have understood. Hang on, they gave 12 to France. Perhaps they did.

"It was really amazing" says Ms Georgia, with all the conviction of a Lib Dem minister endorsing Andrew Lansley. Their dozen goes to Lithuania. The rest of Europe had forgotten they had even turned up.

The largest hair on a male head ever seen is perched atop the French man. One to Blue; they gave 12 to Spain, which doubled their score.

The Serbian presenter could kick my ass without damaging her cantilevered hair, and I think I'd enjoy it. 12 to Bosnia.

Maddi Hayes from Moonlighting is telling us how the Croatians voted. I think we've stopped accepting votes for the UK or Ireland, now. 12 to Slovenia.

Belarus have beaten some scores out of an audience, and a woman standing in a wind tunnel is sharing them with us now. Jedward have been so left behind, they're dripping near to Blue on the scoreboard.

Romania have chosen a motivational speaker to emote the scores. 10 to Azerbaijan, who are still leading, but not comfortably. 12 to Moldova, in their pointy hats.

Albania's one coloured shirt has been provided to the geography teacher doing the scores; 6 to Blue; 12 to Italy. "Thank you, Leon" says the German woman, as if he'd given her something to think about.

The Maltese judges gave 7 to the Blue and 8 to Jedward; but it was the 12 to Azerbaijan that are significant. That's a fair gap opening up now.

I know times are hard in Portugal, but their presenter appears to be doing it in her underwear. Piddly points to Blue & Jedward; 12 to Spain.

Hungary looks like they've had a refreshing cold drink, but I suppose it's quite late there. Graham Norton has long since given up showing any interest in how Blue are doing.

Next up, Lithuania in a truly horrible shirt. He looks a bit like Nicky Campbell. Their big 12 goes to Georgia.

Haven't Bosnia already given their scores once? Apparently not. Jedward pick up 2; Azerbaijan get enough to firm their lead - just shy of 200; Slovenia get the 12 and Blue drop to 13th.

Who's doing Ireland? Derek Mooney, is it? Oh, he's put some Jedward hair on. Even Ireland went 'meh' at Blue, giving six points. Denmark got 12.

Graham Norton says Ireland were our last big hope. Only if they'd had 120 points to hand out.

Spain's lady-with-a-bun gives 12 to Italy. They're now in second place, which is fine for a country who've not been near here for years. And who entered a rotten song.

The Israeli host bloke is midway through a wedding, but breaks off to give 12 to Sweden.

The Estonian woman probably has the longest blonde hair of any score-giver in a crowded field. Sweden get 12, and go second.

The woman from Moldova has made her dress from velour. I don;t think the German directors quite understood who she was giving her 12 to, as it took a while for it move across. Romania, it turned out.

Belguim giggles as they give Greece 8. 12 to France.

Latvia, stop shouting. Stop shouting. It doesn't matter who she gives her points to, Azerbaijan win. The five votes for Blue just help them scrape 100. And ten to Ireland.

So, Azerbaijan win. Blue languish in the middle of the table, and Jedward will have discovered that their brand of "funny" doesn't travel well.

Graham Norton says its not a humiliation for Blue - really? They're not even in the top 10. That's going to smart a bit, surely. Especially after Lee Ryan kissed a camera.

They're already five minutes late for the news. Poor Lena has had to come out to give the Azerbaijani team flowers. Ell has, somewhat unwisely, started doing the encore carrying the Eurovision Prize.

Somewhat oddly, the Germans are raining toilet roll down from the ceiling.

Now, someone is going to have to explain to Jedward what's happened. They're going to be all cranky tomorrow.

BBC manages to make itself look silly, this time over Palestine

Claims of censorship and pro-Israeli bias are being dumped by the shedload outside Broadcasting House after 1Xtra cut a reference to Palestine in a Mic Righteous freestyle. MediaGuardian reports:

Mic Righteous, who was raised in Margate, was recorded saying: "I can still scream 'Free Palestine' for my pride, still pray for peace, still burn the Fed for the brutality they spread over the world. Pakistan's a[sic] ocean of bodies in the brown water still nobody helps."
The song was recorded for Charlie Sloth's late night hip-hop show on 4 December, but protests have been mounting since the performance was rebroadcast as part of a "best of" from the show on 30 April.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Wednesday posted a statement on its website urging listeners to write to the BBC and the Radio Times to complain, and to post their views on Sloth's 1Xtra home page.

Describing the edit as an "extraordinary act of censorship", the campaign asked why the BBC did not ban the song "Free Nelson Mandela" when it was released in 1984. At the time, Mandela was still considered a terrorist by many western governments.
Writing letters to Radio Times and muttering that they happily played Free Nelson Mandela when it was out? Is there anyone under 70 at the Palestine Solidarity Campaign? What will they do if this fails to get a reaction - a mass call-up to the Points Of View answerphone?

The BBC, of course, responded with a statement:
Sorry, everyone - yes, this is a bit silly; clearly what's happened her is that in the risk-averse environment at the BBC, someone has decided to err on the side of caution with the end result that a well-meaning attempt to not appear to be endorsing a political position has wound up making us look like we're taking sides. Sorry, we'll try to be a bit more analytical in future.
Sadly, that wasn't their statement. This was:
A BBC spokesperson said a late night music show was not considered an appropriate forum for political controversy.

The corporation explained its decision in a statement: "All BBC programmes have a responsibility to be impartial when dealing with controversial subjects and an edit was made to Mic Righteous' freestyle to ensure that impartiality was maintained."
A late night music show not an appropriate forum for political controversy? Isn't that the best place for airing music that deals with difficult subjects in difficult ways?

French anti-filesharing company hacked wide open

Torrent Freak is reporting that Trident Media Guard, the company employed by the French copyright industry to spy on peer-to-peer networks, has been hacked:

“A virtual machine leaked a lot of information like scripts, p2p clients to generate fake peers, local physical addresses in the datacenter and even a password that could lead to a major global TMG security breach,” French security researcher Olivier Laurelli, aka Bluetouff, just informed TorrentFreak.
You'd think that a company which sells its services protecting other online would be a bit better with its own digital security; it's a bit like discovering the front door of the Yale factory blowing open in the wind.

Eurovision 2011: A sneak hint of what we won't see

The man who holds joint responsibility for writing this year's UK entry to Eurovision hasn't watched the show in years but has broken all sorts of embargoes by revealing something about Blue's act tonight:

[Ciaron] Bell went on to say "I haven't watched the show since I was a child but maybe this will change my mind.

"My favourite moment was Buckz Fizz performing when they ripped the skirts off - but I don't think Blue are planning to do that."
I'm taking this to mean that Blue will be keeping skirts on during the whole length of their song.

That's potentially added a smattering of interest to their act, then.

The song wasn't written with the intention of coming third-from-bottom on a chilly Spring night in Dusseldorf, though:
"It was utter fluke on my part. We weren't trying to write a Eurovision song. We were just writing a good bit of honest pop.

"A couple of the lads [Lee Ryan and Duncan James] wrote the track with us, they are bona fide songwriters."

"Blue were aware that it was a big risk taking part in the competition but as a writer I don't have that much to lose."
Fascinating. They were setting out to write a decent pop song, not a Eurovision entry, and ended up with exact opposite. Funny thing, life, isn't it?

[Assuming Blogger is able to keep it together, and there's not a long queue at Sainsburys, there's going to be a Eurovision Liveblog here tonight.]

Tegan And Sara point out that critical opinion is giving rape gags and homophobia an easy ride

While the NME was comfortable having Tyler The Creator on the cover a couple of weeks back, the stench of Odd Future's dependence on misogyny and homophobia is starting to rankle with people who thought we'd somehow got further than this. That we were all somehow better than this.

Tegan And Sara have had enough. Sara wrote this:

When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry? When will they be treated with the same seriousness as racist and anti-Semitic offenses?

While an artist who can barely get a sentence fragment out without using homophobic slurs is celebrated on the cover of every magazine, blog and newspaper, I’m disheartened that any self-respecting human being could stand in support with a message so vile.

As journalists and colleagues defend, excuse and congratulate ‘Tyler, the Creator,’ I find it impossible not to comment. In any other industry would I be expected to tolerate, overlook and find deeper meaning in this kid’s sickening rhetoric?

Why should I care about this music or its “brilliance” when the message is so repulsive and irresponsible? There is much that upsets me in this world, and this certainly isn’t the first time I’ve drafted an open letter or complaint, but in the past I’ve found an opinion – some like-minded commentary – that let me rest assured that my outrage, my voice, had been accounted for. Not this time.

If any of the bands whose records are held in similar esteem as Goblin had lyrics littered with rape fantasies and slurs, would they be labeled hate mongers? I realize I could ask that question of DOZENS of other artists, but is Tyler exempt because people are afraid of the backlash?

The inevitable claim that detractors are being racist, or the brush-off that not “getting it” would indicate that you’re “old” (or a faggot)? Because, the more I think about it, the more I think people don’t actually want to go up against this particular bully because he’s popular.

Who sticks up for women and gay people now? It seems entirely uncool to do so in the indie rock world, and I’ll argue that point with ANYONE.

No genre is without its controversial and offensive characters- I’m not naive. I’ve asked myself a thousand times why this is pushing me over the edge.

Maybe it’s the access to him (his grotesque twitter, etc). Maybe it’s because I’m a human being, both a girl and a lesbian.

Maybe it’s because my mom has spent her whole adult life working with teenage girls who were victims of sexual assault.

Maybe it’s because in this case I don’t think race or class actually has anything to do with his hateful message but has EVERYTHING to do with why everyone refuses to admonish him for that message.

It is not without great hesitation and hand wringing that I enter into the discourse about Tyler, the media who glorifies and excuses misogyny and homophobia, and the community of artists that doesn’t seem remotely bothered by it. I can only hope that someone reading this might be inspired to speak out. At the very least, I will know that my voice is on record.
She's right, you know.

Bob Dylan is cross with us for confusing 'pre-approval' with 'censorship'

Funny, while he was in China Bob Dylan was quiet as a mouse; now the gig has happened, he's suddenly found his voice:

"As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing," Dylan wrote on his website. "There's no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous three months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play."
There is a logical answer, in that you might say "why do you want the list?" or "you do know you don't get any pre-approval, don't you?" but perhaps Bob gets his set list signed off by all governing territories at each venue he plays.

Dylan doesn't bother to engage with the question of why he was so happy to indulge the Chinese government while Ai WeiWei was being held somewhere unknown, but I'm sure he has a great explanation for that one, too. My guess is he's just waiting for it to clear.

Gordon in the morning: He said, she said

The little spat between Noel Gallagher and some footballer or other has draggged on, to Gordon's delight:

After Noel's insult in Bizarre earlier this week, Gary [Neville] responded: "Shouldn't you be writing a new album or has your pen run out of ink?" Man City fan Noel replied: "My pen runs on pure gold. Ink's for your daft mates' tattoos."

GNev answered: "Gold? If you take any longer you'll be on UK Gold."

But the final word went to Mr Big: "The thought of you humming my new tunes while combing your 'tache in the mirror makes me want to take another year off. But if you promise not to buy a copy when it comes out I'll get a move on."
What Gordon doesn't seem to have noticed is that, while neither of them are particularly great, Gary Neville at least shows a bit of wit.

Noel Gallagher: less sharp than a football pundit. Will Gordon now stop treating him like the love child of Wilde and Parker?

Friday, May 13, 2011

The billion-pound download

Music downloads are now, officially, a billion pound industry - whatever that really means - in the UK, as the BPI releases the latest bunch of sales figures, and tots up the figures since 2004:

The BPI said that spending on digital albums grew 23% to £146m, more than 56.5m digital albums sold since the format launched in 2006.
A total of £132m was spent on digital singles, a 12% year-on-year increase, with almost 600m sold since 2004.
That might be pretty encouraging for those in the music industry who cling, doggedly, to the album format as - as far as my maths goes at this time in the morning - it looks like revenue from albums has overtaken singles this year. The smart money, though, is surely still in making songs rather than forcing people to buy multipacks.

Gordon in the "morning": Tickets at all prices

There's a little curiosity as Gordon Smart writes a football story involving Noel Gallagher:

IT looks like NOEL GALLAGHER will miss his beloved Manchester City play Stoke in the FA Cup final tomorrow - he's stuck recording his new tunes in LA.
So far, so normal. But - having established that Noel Gallagher won't be going to the FA Cup, Gordon then adds this surprising thought:
But I know a bloke called Jonathan at will pay £200 a pop for tickets.
Or £1,000 cash for the Champions League final.
The fact that some random bloke is trying to buy tickets on a website doesn't actually relate to Noel Gallagher not going to the Cup Final. It's almost as if Gordon was trying to use his column to advertise a slightly odd-looking secondary ticket buyer and seller.

Even more curiously, says on its front page that it's looking to buy and sell tickets for "Olympics London 2012" - something which is illegal under the insanely-heavy laws the UK government passed to please the IOC.

Bit rum for The Sun to be busily promoting a website which is encouraging users to break the law, isn't it?

INSTANT UPDATE: Because Blogger's been down, I posted this on a floating ghost ship page earlier today, and @readyartbrut responded with a tweet: Section 166, illegal to resell football match tickets.
So even the story itself seems to be be directly encouraging illegal activity.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gordon in the morning: Not o-Kai revisited

You'll recall the brief moment when The Sun had a brief stirring of conscience, leading it to pixelate out the face of Kai Ronney? I say conscience, I mean "decided to pretend it was outraged at the idea of criminals trying to make money from invading the privacy of a toddler and briefly removed anything that might make it look hypocritical", of course.

Today, Gordon runs a long-lens photo of a one year-old and, for good measure, details the family's holiday plans as well.

Lady Buscombe of the Pointless Press Complaints Commission was on the radio earlier in the week, joyfully trilling about how effective her ineffective organisation is, telling us we wouldn't believe what they keep out the press. Given how often Gordon Smart runs stuff like this, it makes you shudder imagining how bad the stuff they do intervene against must be.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MTV gets cold feet over womb police adverts

MTV has been quick to quick to rubbish claims from Heroic Media that they were going to have ads running on the network.

Heroic Media are the group who ran the billboard claiming that the "most dangerous place for an African-American", trying to turn the already tinder-dry abortion debate in the US into a race issue as well.

It's good to see MTV taking a stand against the assault on women's health - "Heroic" are mainly dedicated to destroying Planned Parenthood, a group whose main work is around providing health care for uninsured American women.

The only trouble is that they're only dropping the ads now. MTV were happily running spots for Heroic throughout much of last year, and only the stink about the race billboards have caused them to change their mind.

The network doesn't seem to have a problem with what Heroic are trying to do, it just doesn't want them to create a fuss while they do it.

The MTV message? If you're going to try and prevent poor women having access to ob-gyn services, please do it stealthily.

Lady GaGa: Wearing a virtual dress of virtual steak from virtual cows

I know that team GaGa just want us to talk about this, and so even snorting is playing into her hands, but what new bloody hell is this?:

Lady Gaga is set to debut songs from her new album, Born This Way, in Zynga's popular online social game FarmVille in the week leading up to the record's official release on May 23rd. The game, in which 46 million players around the world manage virtual farms, will feature a special GagaVille farm beginning on May 17th. In GagaVille, users will be able to execute Gaga-themed quests in order to gain access to Clear Channel's digital radio service I Heart Radio and stream new songs.
If you listen to all three songs, and complete a further task, you'll get a special code which you can type into YouTube to see a live stream of the marketing circlejerk from which this idea first spumed out.

Now, I'm all for an innovative bit of digital tie-in, but where is there any logic in Lady GaGa being a farm?

Sure, Farmville started off as a superficially interesting way of spending time, albeit one with rapidly diminishing returns and which now seems to be little more than a way of getting dupes to hand over hard cash for an experience that is, at best a simulacrum of the real thing. So I'm not saying there are no brand synergies with Lady GaGa, but this is just such a random 'this is popular, and this is popular, so let's bring them together' mismatch that you're wondering if the pairing was pulled at random from a black bag. Like a Manchester United v Rushden & Diamonds cup-tie, or a Coronation Street/The Only Way Is Essex crossover.

Gordon in the morning: The wit of Noel Gallagher

Gordon is besides himself with joy this morning, leading with a riposte from Noel Gallagher to a tweet by Gary Neville:

IT has been a while since NOEL GALLAGHER served up one of his razor-sharp verbal volleys.
Neville, it appears, tweeted a tweet that used an Oasis lyric.

So, let us share this "razor-sharp verbal volley" (which actually appears to have been written down):
"I feel violated. If Mr Neville continues to use the holy scriptures of Oasis to communicate with the Cockney massive, I shall be forced to come up to Cheshire in the middle of the night, break into his house, tie him to a chair, make him listen to the Best Of Simply d(Red)ful while I pull his tash out one grey hair at a time (with my teeth), liberate those Oasis CDs and s*** in his manbag. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED..."
If Smart thinks that's "razor sharp" he's going to have a beard by the end of the week.

In fact, all that tying him to a chair and thoughts of brushing each other while Noel's mouth moves over Neville's upper lip makes this read more like slashfic than Oscar Wilde. Transgressive love is powerful, isn't it, Gordon?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Andre dumps his Costa chums

Last year, Costa coffee spent a lot of money getting Peter Andre to promote its coffee, complete with the clause:

"3am online, under all circumstances, must accompany the photographs of Peter Andre with positive text/captions/headings"
That's CAN Associates, making sure that everyone gets value for money. That Peter Andre is promoting the brand shouldn't be used to mock the brand.

So, Peter Andre really likes Costa Coffee, right?

Actually, no: he's opening up his own coffee shop.

So newspapers can't print anything negative about Andre promoting Costa, but he's fine to nip off and open up his own competition, implying he believes that even he can do better. Isn't PR wonderful?

I wonder if Costa can get a refund?

Google to announce something

Is Google really going to call its music service Music Beta by Google, or is the service Music By Google and it's in beta?

I really hope it's the latter and the New York Times is just a bit confused. Although baking in the word "beta" to your service name would provide a perpetual get-out clause if anything ever goes wrong.

I suspect that it's the Times being confused, though, as the reporting is a bit off:

Since songs stored by Google will stream from the Web, they are not always as accessible as songs stored on iPods, because people can’t listen to them in places without data connections, like airplanes.
Like some airplanes, surely? In-flight wi-fi isn't that unusual in the US these days.

But this is what you want to know:
Users can store 20,000 songs free, as opposed to Amazon’s service, which stores up to 1,000 songs without charge.
That's, what, roughly forty days of music?

Gordon in the morning: If you have tears...

You'd have to be made of the coldest granite not to have a small pang of heartbreak at the desperation of poor Shayne Ward:

FORMER X Factor winner SHAYNE WARD hopes to profit from the show's US exposure by breaking into Hollywood.
A source said: "Shayne feels it's the time to strike. Being linked with X Factor might help him get noticed."
It might do; I'm sure that there's every chance Aaron Sorkin will be watching The X Factor this week and think "hey, I wonder if the British version of this ever churned out a winner a few years back who has decided to swap from singing to acting who would be perfect for the lead role in my new drama series.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Sony Awards 2011: The winners

Congratulations to Jeremy Vine, who adds 'interview of the year' from the Sony Awards to the distinction of being the only thing on Radio 2 ever to have been the inspiration for a joke on The Daily Show. That Gordon Brown interview was quite a thing.

(There's room to debate if the award was really for the interview of the work of the webcam, of course.)

Prizes tonight also to Danny Baker - let's hope people don't fall into the trap of thinking this is a sympathy vote for having had cancer, but truly a recognition that there's no finer broadcaster in the realm. He managed to make the slim conceit of a month of programmes from the roof of Broadcasting House work, dammit.

Ronnie Wood took the Music Radio Personality prize. Typical, huh, pop stars coming onto the radio and forcing out people like, erm, silver prize winner Jarvis Cocker.

These are the winners in full:

Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus)
Gold: 5 live Breakfast - BBC Radio 5 live
Silver: The Chris Evans Breakfast Show - BBC Radio 2
Bronze: The Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show - Absolute Radio

Breakfast Show of the Year (under 10 million)
Gold: The Graham Mack Breakfast Show - BBC Wiltshire
Silver: Juice FM Breakfast Show with Adam and Leanne -107.6 Juice FM
Bronze: Simon James and Hill - Kerrang! Radio

Best Music Programme
Gold: Simon Mayo Drivetime - BBC Radio 2
Silver: Geoff Lloyd's Hometime Show - Absolute Radio
Bronze: The Radcliffe and Maconie Show - Smooth Operations (Productions) Ltd for BBC Radio 2

Best Specialist Music Programme
Gold: Jazz on 3 - Somethin' Else for BBC Radio 3
Silver: MistaJam - BBC Radio 1Xtra
Bronze: Another Country - BBC Radio Scotland

Best Entertainment Programme
Gold: The Frank Skinner Show - Avalon for Absolute Radio
Silver: Westwood - BBC Radio 1Xtra
Bronze: Real Radio Breakfast with Ditchy & Salty - Real Radio Northwest

Best Speech Programme
Gold: The Infinite Monkey Cage - BBC Radio Science for BBC Radio 4
Silver: Victoria Derbyshire - BBC Radio 5 live
Bronze: A History Of The World In 100 Objects - BBC Radio Documentaries for BBC Radio 4

Best Sports Programme
Gold: Fighting Talk - Worlds End Television for BBC Radio 5 live
Silver: Sportsworld - BBC World Service Sport for BBC World Service
Bronze: BBC Radio Humberside Sport: Grimsby Town Relegation - BBC Radio Humberside

Best News & Current Affairs Programme
Gold: Victoria Derbyshire - BBC Radio 5 live
Silver: LBC Nightly News - LBC 97.3
Bronze: Newshour - BBC World Service News & Current Affairs for BBC World Service

Best Breaking News Coverage
Gold: 5 live Drive: Birth Of The Coalition - BBC Radio 5 live
Silver: West Cumbria Shootings - BBC Radio Cumbria
Bronze: The Last Days of Raoul Moat - Real Radio North East for Real Radio

Best Live Event Coverage
Gold: The Ryder Cup on 5 live - BBC Radio 5 live
Silver: Great North Run Coverage - Metro Radio
Bronze: 102.5 Clyde 1 at T In The Park 2010 - Radio Clyde for Clyde 1

Best Community Programming
Gold: Warning: May Contain Nuts - BBC Radio Berkshire
Silver: The Brixton Hour - Prison Radio Association for National Prison Radio
Bronze: Divided We Fall - Mannmade Productions for Preston FM

Best Internet Programme
Gold: Answer Me This! – Answer Me This
Silver: Night in Hackney - Hackney Podcast
Bronze: Flaps Podcast - Flaps

Music Radio Personality of the Year
Gold: Ronnie Wood - A Somethin' Else production for Absolute Radio and Absolute Classic Rock
Silver: Jarvis Cocker - BBC 6 Music
Bronze: Chris Moyles - BBC Radio 1

Music Broadcaster of the Year
Gold: Zane Lowe - BBC Radio 1
Silver: Mark Radcliffe - Smooth Operations (Productions) Ltd for BBC Radio 2
Bronze: MistaJam - BBC Radio 1Xtra

Speech Radio Personality of the Year
Gold: Danny Baker - Campbell Davison Media (for BBC Radio 5 live)/ BBC London 94.9
Silver: Nicky Campbell & Shelagh Fogarty - BBC Radio 5 live
Bronze: Stephen Nolan - BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Ulster

Speech Broadcaster of the Year
Gold: Jeremy Vine - BBC Radio 2
Silver: Victoria Derbyshire - BBC Radio 5 live
Bronze: Anne Diamond - BBC Radio Berkshire

News Journalist of the Year
Gold: Matthew Price - BBC Newsgathering for BBC Radio 4
Silver: Real Radio Yorkshire News Team - Real Radio Yorkshire News for Real Radio Yorkshire
Bronze: Norman Smith - BBC Political Programmes for BBC Radio 4

Best On-Air Contributor
Gold: Annabel Port - Absolute Radio
Silver: Ed Palmer & Simon Buschenfeld, Heart Network Comedy - Heart Network
Bronze: Steve Levine - Magnum Opus Broadcasting Ltd for BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music

Best Interview
Gold: Jeremy Vine interviews Gordon Brown - BBC Radio 2
Silver: John Humphrys interviews Julian Assange - Today for BBC Radio 4
Bronze: Neil Fox interviews Robbie Williams - Magic 105.4

Best Use of Branded Content
Gold: Alex Masterley on Classic FM with Towry - Classic FM
Silver: 95.8 Capital FM: Cadbury Spots v Stripes - Global Radio for 95.8 Capital FM
Bronze: XFM: Lost Takeover - Global Radio for XFM London and XFM Manchester

Best Single Promo/Commercial
Gold: Capital's Summertime Ball Mash-Up - 95.8 Capital FM
Silver: Eastenders - BBC Radio Cross Trails / Redbee Media for BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Local Radio and BBC Regional Radio
Bronze: MFR Christmas Toy Appeal 2010 - Moray Firth Radio (MFR)

Best Promotional/Advertising Campaign
Gold: The FIFA World Cup 2010, South Africa on talkSPORT - talkSPORT Creative for talkSPORT
Silver: Capital's Summertime Ball - I Can't Wait To See.... - 95.8 Capital FM
Bronze: The Winter Olympics on the BBC - Fresh Air Production for BBC Radio XTrails
on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Local Radio

Best Competition
Gold: Beat The Star - Heart West Midlands
Silver: Pink Custard Days - Wyvern
Bronze: Magic's Mystery Voices - Magic 105.4

Best Station Imaging
Gold: Kiss 100 - Kiss 100 & Pure Tonic Media for Kiss 100
Silver: The Absolute Radio Network
Bronze: talkSPORT - talkSPORT Creative for talkSPORT

Best Music Special
Gold: The John Bonham Story - TBI Media for BBC 6 Music
Silver: The Man Machine - USP Content for BBC Radio 2
Bronze: Lenny Henry's Musical Journey To South Africa - Just Radio Ltd for BBC Radio 4

Best News Special
Gold: Raoul Moat - The Final Hours - Real Radio North East for Real Radio
Silver: The Reunion: Hurricane Katrina - Whistledown Productions for BBC Radio 4
Bronze: World Stories: Afghanistan's Dancing Boys - BBC Audio & Music Factual/Uzbek Service for BBC World Service

Best Feature
Gold: Heel, Toe, Step Together - Falling Tree Productions for BBC Radio 4
Silver: Between The Ears: The Haunted Moustache - BBC Radio Documentaries for BBC Radio 3
Bronze: Wireless Kenny Everett - Howlett Media Productions for BBC Radio 2

Best Comedy
Gold: The Jason Byrne Show - BBC Radio Comedy for BBC Radio 2
Silver: Just A Minute - BBC Radio Comedy for BBC Radio 4
Bronze: Tom Wrigglesworth's Open Return Letter To Richard Branson - BBC Radio Comedy for BBC Radio 4

Best Drama
Gold: Every Child Matters - BBC Radio Drama Manchester for BBC Radio 4
Silver: Murder In Samarkand - Greenpoint Films for BBC Radio 4
Bronze: RIP Boy - Red Production Company for BBC Radio 4

Best Use of Multiplatform
Gold: BBC Introducing - BBC Audio & Music for BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music, BBC Asian Network, BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC Radio 3, BBC Local Radio and BBC Radio 2
Silver: Absolute Radio's Mobile Apps - Absolute Radio
Bronze: A History of the World In 100 Objects - BBC Radio 4 interactive for BBC Radio 4

Station Programmer Of The Year
Gold Moz Dee, talkSPORT

Station of the Year (Under 300,000)
Gold: Central FM (103.1 FM)

Station of the Year (300,000 - 1 million)
Gold: BBC Radio Derby

Station of the Year (1 Million plus)
Gold: 105.4 Real Radio North West

Digital Station of the Year
Gold: Fun Kids
UK Station of the Year
Gold: talkSPORT

The Special Award - Annie Nightingale

The Gold Award - Jenni Murray

Britain's Got Talent contestant merely plays some records & smiles, claims band management

It looks like a contestant on Britain's Got Talent has a nice little act worked up: she plays Bond records, and then stands in front and mimes playing violin. Norman Lebrecht has a statement from Bond's people claiming that she's just standing there, pretending:

Electric violinist, Alexandra Parker, chose to perform one of BOND’s tracks, Gypsy Rhapsody (, from the quartet’s best-selling album, Shine. Instead of ‘covering’ the track in the acceptable way (in this context, by creating and playing live over a backing track), Britain’s Got Talent simply broadcast BOND’s original album track whilst the BGT entrant seemed to “play along” on the clip aired to the public on Saturday’s show.

Says BOND’s manager, Terri Robson, “copyright, moral and legal issues aside, it is a questionable practice to mislead the public in this way. It could be compared to a violinist performing along to Nigel Kennedy’s recording of the Four Seasons and claiming it as their own interpretation or a singer singing along to a Girls Aloud track.”
Alexandra Parker hasn't respond to the claims yet, but it seems inexplicable that such an act would be put out by ITV in the first place. It seems quite duplicitous to have a talent show - where people's good money is being used to vote - if one contestant isn't actually demonstrating a talent at all.

Or maybe it's all a terrible misunderstanding, and I'll bet Michael McIntyre has got a hilarious routine worked out where he'll mime someome miming someone else's music.

Justin Bieber behaves like six year-old on CSI set; whines like six year-old when told off

Sounds like someone's a bit overtired after an exciting time and probably needs some sleepybyes, as Justin Bieber has a tiny tantrum.

CSI's Marg Helgenberger was asked what it was like having Justin Bieber acting on the show - in the sense of "appearing on the show to try and attract some publicity" sense of the word "acting". Her response?

"Justin Bieber wasn't bad. He had never acted before. I shouldn't be saying this, but he's kind of a brat. He was actually very nice to me, but he locked one of the producers in the closet. And he put his fist through a cake that was on the table."
And before you know it, JuJu's little lip was trembling, and he was all with the "waah waah not fairs":
While not denying the pranks, Bieber took issue on Twitter not with Helgenberger's remarks, but with the media for reporting them.

"Even last week they had me scolded on a plane in the news because I wasn't in my seat fast enough. She [the flight attendant] was right and I sat down. That's news?"
No, little munchkin, it's not news. But your entire existence relies on the existence of an entire network of people writing things that aren't news. "Canadian relative of Pilsbury Dough Boy makes YouTube video" isn't news, either, but you're still milking it, aren't you?

Playing Kathleen Hanna on a triple-word score

From today, Grrl has become a valid Scrabble word.

It's not quite the honour and indication of a permanent place in the pantheon it might seem, though: MySpace has somehow got in, too.

Brotherobit: John Walker

John Walker, one of the singers who made up the Walker Brothers, has died.

In a move which The Ramones would clone a decade later, the band weren't brothers and just pretended they were all called Walker. John Maus came together with Scott Engel and Gary Leeds, picking the name Walker. He sort-of explained the reason to Saga Magazine:

Ah well, no, we weren't really all brothers. No, that was the big lie, for some reason. I think Gary propagated that lie but anyway, what happened was, we got the job in Gazzari's and I wasn't actually old enough to play there, but we weren't going to lose the job, so I got a phoney ID. Don't ask me why I chose the name Walker, but I did. And we didn't have a name for the group. I don't know where the ‘brothers’ things came in, but we were trying to be a cool trio, so it was originally called the Walker Brothers Trio. For some reason we thought that sounded cool, and then of course the record companies shortened it to the Walker Brothers period, and there you go.
He'd known Scott since they were 13 when the pair were child actors appearing in commercials; the band formed when Scott asked John if he'd like to form a group to get out of the "terrible" surf band he, Scott, was in at the time.

Although forming in the shadow of Hollywood, it was a move to London which really helped the band breakthrough. A string of hits would follow through the 60s.

By 1968, though, it was falling apart - Scott's depression led him to split the band and seek solace in a monastery.

There was a reunion - with some success - in the mid-1970s, but for a band whose music and first split was so dramatic, their second coming fizzled out with the members just drifting apart. There was no formal ending of activities.

John Walker continued to make music, and resumed touring in 2004. He died yesterday, at the age of 67. He had been ill with lung cancer for some time.

Gordon in the morning: It's the annual Kate Moss wedding story

Gordon Smart seems to know an awful lot about Kate Moss' planned wedding to Jamie Hince.

The original plan was to have the ceremony in a church in nearby Burford, but it wasn't big enough to hold all their friends and family.

And the newlyweds won't be joining their loved ones for a sing-song on the coach. They will travel to the reception in an MG sports car with balloons tied to the back.
Clearly, The Sun's regular reporting of Moss wedding plans, whether genuine or made-up (didn't she marry Pete Doherty on a beach, Gordon?) has merely been a rehearsal for this moment.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Radiobit: 'Big' George Webley

George Webley - known as Big George - has died suddenly.

George had two long-running stints with BBC Radio London, in its GLR and 94.9 incarnations - he was currently presenting overnights on weekdays - and a spell at Three Counties Radio on breakfast. He was 2002's Sony Music Presenter of the Year.

His time on GLR had come to a dramatic halt when he had a heart attack during a programme - although he finished the show, he took a long break from radio to recover; he also became patron of the Milton Keynes Community Cardiac Group as a result of his experience.

His other career was as a producer, arranger and composer - he worked for EMI producing chart hits during his 30s; a move into television came as bandleader for Derek Jameson Tonight, the short-lived attempt to turn Derek Jameson into a new Michael Parkinson.

Webley would go on to become a go-to guy for programmes in search of a theme tune or arrangement; his work still graces Have I Got News For You and the residuals from having done the version of Handbags And Gladrags used by The Office must have been quite nice.

George Webley was 53; the cause of his death has not been announced.

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: The Beatles

If you don't read Passive Aggressive Notes regularly, you might want to drop by for a lovely, grumbling piece of graffiti found by Abbey Road.

Most of these men seem like Suggs

The BBC is excited for Suggs:

Madness frontman Suggs is to make his radio acting debut in a BBC Radio 4 drama, it has been announced.
You'd have thought that the BBC would know that Suggs actually made his radio acting debut in I Think I've Got A Problem a few years back. It's not that obscure, after all: It's going out on Radio 4 Extra this week.

This week just gone

To mark American mother's day, the most popular mother/mum/ma searches that brings people to No Rock:

1. I'm A Bitch, I'm A Mother lyrics
2. Bloody Motherfucking Arsehole lyrics
3. Mums gone to Iceland
4. Mother's day compilation CD
5. "I love my mother, I love my father" lyrics
6. mummys
7. dmx mother dies
8. johnny borrell's mum
9. photos of lula mae hardaway stevie wonders mother
10. "alan mcgee" "mothercare"

There were this week's interesting releases:

Agnes Obel - Philharmonics

Download Philharmonics

The Wave Pictures - Beer In The Breakers

Download Beer In The Breakers

The Leisure Society - Into The Murky Water

Download Into The Murky Water

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Download Helplessness Blues

Thea Gilmore - John Wesley Harding

Download John Wesley Harding

Loudon Wainwright III - 40 Odd Years

Download Career Moves

LCD Soundsystem, Debbie Harry, Peaches & Stephen Merritt - Franz Ferdinand Covers EP