Saturday, September 03, 2011

Mary Margaret O'Hara weekend: You Will Be Loved Again

From the Miss America album:

[Part of Mary Margaret O'Hara weekend]

Darkness at 3AM: Billie Joe shows his pants

There's been a lot of stories amongst travellers recently of airlines suddenly imposing dress codes on top of the extra fees and crammed misery they already inflict on their passengers.

And now, suddenly, the fight against low-slung pants on tightly-loaded planes has pulled in a famous name.

Well, semi-famous. The 3AM Girls report Billie Joe-Armstrong has been kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight after refusing to pull his trousers up:
An ABC7 news producer who was on the same flight told the station that a flight attendant approached Armstrong as the plane was getting ready to take off and asked him to hike his trousers higher. The producer, Cindy Qiu, says Armstrong initially responded by asking the attendant if there weren't "better things to do than worry about that?"
But the attendant persisted and told Armstrong he could be ejected for his refusal to comply. When Armstrong insisted he was just trying to get to his seat, he and a travelling companion were taken off the plane.
I'm assuming that the Southwest staff had merely been suspicious why a thirty nine year-old man was dressed up like a fifteen year-old. Who wouldn't be?

Mary Margaret O'Hara weekend: Dark Dear Heart

Backed by The Henrys, Mary makes the Holly Cole song her own:

[Part of the Mary Margaret O'Hara weekend]

Gordon in the morning: Like a Numan

Carl Stroud, who pops up from time to time as "Bizarre digital editor", is on duty today talking to Gary Numan. Numan has a sad:

If I meet anyone below 25 who knows who I am, there's a 50 per cent chance they only know me through The Mighty Boosh. I'm very aware of that.
For people who are actually under 25, I should probably explain that The Mighty Boosh was a TV programme back in the middle of the last decade.

It's unclear if the sample size of 'people younger than 25 who know of Numan' is large enough to give any statistical significance to this finding; it's interesting that Numan doesn't say what the other 50% know him for.

Numan has just recorded with Battles, which he says was difficult to decide to do:

He explains: "I felt badly out of my comfort zone. I've never worked with bands. I've always worked on my own.

"The idea of collaborating with anyone else was quite daunting. If Battles had any trepidation in asking me I can assure you I had more after agreeing to do it."
Always worked on his own. Never collaborated.

Then what was he actually promoting when he went on Number 73 with Bill Sharpe out of Shakatak, exactly?

You could also mention the Little Boots thing he did for 6Music last year, or his work with Nine Inch Nails, I suppose. It's great that Numan and Battles have come together, and they're making a wonderful sound, but why must Gary constantly pitch everything as if it is larded in significance?

Embed and breakfast man: Mary Margaret O'Hara

Towards the end of the 1980s, towards the end of a day, suddenly this most amazing sound started to come out of Radio One.

A singer-songwriter, yes, but also an apparent self-exorcism.

She's not exactly prolific - two albums and an ep in thirteen years - but she's still a going concern, so there's always hope. Her debut, Miss America, took four years to complete. So, patience is importance. 

And what she sounds like when she does get to release is this:

That's the official video for Body's In Trouble, from a time when it looks like Virgin Records were hoping she'd have a slightly more conventional career.

Buy Miss America
Apartment Hunting soundtrack

Unofficial but comprehensive fan site
Mary Margaret O'Hara on Spotify

More to come across the weekend
Dark Dear Heart
You Will Be Loved Again
November Spawned A Monster

IPCC gently tuts at Met over Smiley Culture death

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, the body set up to pretend to investigate complaints against the police, has announced its decision on the death of Smiley Culture. The Guardian reports:

In a confidential letter to the singer's family, Mike Franklin, commissioner of the IPCC, said: "The [IPCC] investigation has identified aspects of the operation which were not satisfactory, and criticisms have been made of some of the officer's actions. However, these do not meet the threshold for misconduct under the police misconduct system."
But, hey, the Met really feels the sting of that slightly disappointed tone of voice. Smiley's daughter, Shanice McConnachie, is only seventeen years old, but can see that there's a few gaping holes in the IPCC decision:
"Whatever went wrong and led to my dad's death, it's the officers's fault for not doing their job properly. My dad was in their care. "Their story just doesn't add up and until it does, I can't believe that my dad killed himself, " she added. 
"My dad was under arrest and had an officer specifically allocated to his care. How could he walk around the kitchen and grab hold of a knife, without that officer seeing? And why would he? Even the police who were there admit he had been completely calm and cooperative up until that point." 
"After he was stabbed, why did they police handcuff him? Our pathologist's report says he would have died almost instantly," she asked. "The police should have been focused on keeping his bleeding to a minimum and calling an ambulance. The IPCC and police don't seem to care about helping us get to the truth of what really went on."
None of the survivors of what happened in the kitchen that day - all of whom are police - have been formally interviewed. As a result, the IPCC admits that it doesn't really have a clue about what happened:
The four officers have given voluntary accounts of what happened, but Franklin admitted these did little to clear up the mystery.
It's looking increasingly like we're going to need an independent body to investigate how the IPCC carries out its investigations.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Gordon in the morning: The Leona Lewis log-roll

What's that, Gordon? Leona Lewis is performing her new single on Red Or Black this Saturday? Remind me, who is the force behind this latest revival of You Bet?

Simon Cowell's new ITV1 gameshow Red Or Black
Ah yes. Simon Cowell. And who is funding the performance?
Leona has hired Kylie's creative director William Baker to mastermind the performance after being given a £100,000 budget by her label bosses.
Her label bosses. And, remind me again: what label is she on?
Ah, yes. ITV used to be a public service broadcaster; nowadays it seems to be little more than a sandbox for Simon Cowell.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Magazineobit: Tom "Tom" Hibbert

Terribly sad to read the obituary of Tom Hibbert, Smash Hits and Q writer from both magazines' Imperial Phases. You wonder what the home improvement magazines he wrote for before moving, first to New Music News, and then onto Smash Hits, made of his dry wit. At the Hits, and then in Q's Who The Hell... column, Hibbert softly punctured the pompous and puffed-up by gently measuring out the rope they'd need, and effortlessly passing it over. Besides helping with shaping the voice of the two magazines, Hibbert also had a hand in creating the quiet, raised-eyebrow style of journalism today performed by the likes of Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux. On a personal note, he gave me many happy mealtimes - on Q day, tea would always be scoffed with that opening interview propped against the sauce bottles. He'd been unable to work through illness for the last fourteen years, a terrible loss to the world of writing; his death on Sunday an even crueller loss to the world. [Thanks to HungryHatter]

Dire Straits: Canada okay with faggots after all

If you were planning to move to Canada on the basis of the ban on Money For Nothing, bad news. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council have thought again, and will now allow Knopfler's tale of white-good-shifting to pump from the Canadian radio once again:

The new decision was based on what CBSC calls "considerable additional information" – such as learning that alternative versions of "Money For Nothing" have existed since 1985, proving "the band and the composer considered that there was a less offensive way of presenting the song to the public long ago" and the context in which the word is used demonstrates that "the composer's language appears not to have had an iota of malevolent or insulting intention."
Maybe I'm missing something, but if there's a version without faggot in, doesn't that sort-of suggest even Dire Straits feel uncomfortable with a song using the word, rather than making it alright?

Another album? You spoil us

As if one Beady Eye record isn't riches enough, a mere thing like popular disgust won't stop another:

Asked when Beady Eye would be in the studio, [Liam Gallagher] told BBC 6Music: February or the end of January we will be in (the studio) doing our album. We've got enough material for another record and that is what we shall do, whether people like it or not.
It's surprising to hear they think they've got the makings of a decent album sitting around waiting to be used - couldn't they have used that stuff for the first one instead of the shod-and-plod they went with? [Thanks to Michael M]

Gordon in the morning: Kasabian have some thinkings about 9/11

I suppose a band who cheerily use a killer's name as their brand will always have a different approach to death than other people, but Kasabian's use of September 11th as a promotional tool is a bit sickening, even by their standards. To be fair, the link is as much down to Gordon Smart as the band, as their Sun interview hammers home some sort of link to explain why the band might be playing a rooftop gig in New York on September 11th this year:

KASABIAN will play a poignant gig in New York — on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. And the timing of the show has made the Leicester lads think about how their lives have changed since that horrendous day in 2001.
Yes, Gordon and the boys are really just using the murder of 3,000 people as a staging post on their journey from unknown plod-rockers to fairly well known plod-rockers:
At the time the Twin Towers came down Tom and chief songwriter Serge Pizzorno were "grafting" for a living in Leicester. Serge helped out in his dad's garage and Tom drilled holes at a metalwork factory. Guitarist Serge says: "I was just helping out my old man, collecting parts and doing MOTs. Tom was working in fabrications, drilling. He used to come home black, man. He was so dirty. It used to take him 20 minutes to have a wash. blahblahblah hard work blahblahblah sweat of honest toil blahblah
Ah, yes. Tom was doing manual labour at the time. That kind of puts the collapse of the Twin Towers into some sort of perspective, right. But what about the attacks themselves? Surely the band must have something to say about those? If only to justify Gordon using them as background colour for yet another Kasabian interview?
Tom Meighan says: "It will be strange for us playing in the city on such a big weekend for New York people. It will be emotional. "I was at work and remember hearing 9/11 unfold on the radio. I remember going home and being in absolute shock. My mum had it on the news. It was f***ing awful."
"My mum had it on the news" doesn't really suggest much of an interest from Tom, does it? Still, "fucking awful" at least comes closer to capturing the horror than his colleague's reaction:
Serge adds: "Looking back to 9/11, I was at work. I went round Tom's on my way home. I'd always go in for a tea and I was sat watching it with his mum when Tom came home from work. "We were watching it in his front room. We were like everyone, thinking it was just mental."
"It was just mental". Why isn't this man regularly invited onto Newsnight to share his insights? "We watched it on the news. I remember, because the news was on and we looked at the pictures and listened to the words and that was what was happening", the pair continued. "Ten years on, it certainly remains something we saw happen on the news.

Embed and breakfast man: Thurston Moore

A morning delight from late-night: Thurston Moore on Letterman, doing Benediction: [Buy: Demolished Thoughts] [via The Audio Perv]

Gordon in the morning: Commercial break

For some reason, Gordon has an item today which is purely 'footballer watches Sky Sports'. How sweet to do something to cheer James Murdoch up a little.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Those Dancing Days are over

There's still a single to come - but, to all intents and purposes, Those Dancing Days are calling it a day. Their statement:

We have decided that we will be putting Those Dancing Days to bed for a while. We have been together as a band for almost six years now and have had such an amazing time - we have grown up together, created together, seen the world together. We have been so incredibly lucky and feel so honoured that so many have appreciated our music. As a young band we have had the pleasure of being role models for other young musicians - something we have found incredibly fulfilling and important - and especially to young female musicians like ourselves. Go girls - never doubt yourselves and never stop dreaming! After we played the Popaganda festival this last weekend we felt it was the perfect ending to the summer and a good time for us to say good bye for a while. We want to explore things on our own for a change; some of us will go back to school, some of us will be taking jobs - and without a doubt all of us will explore new musical settings. To all our fans - thank you for being wonderful! We hope to see you again in the future and until we do - live and love!
This is what we're going to lose: Fuckarias: [Buy: Daydreams And Nightmares]

Gordon in the morning: Saturdays off

It doesn't take much to upset Gordon, as he prints a photo of The Saturdays and then writes what is, in effect, a long caption for the photo:

WAYNE BRIDGE would get a few odd looks if he stuck this snap on his dressing-room locker.
Really? What's strange about it?
It's not your usual girlband shot
Blimey. Let's take a look at this genre-defying, odd-look garnering photo (which Gordon has lifted from Look magazine):
That doesn't really look that usual, Gordon. What has worried you about it?
Two of The Saturdays are even wearing trousers.
Women. Wearing trousers. In 2011, for all the world like the 1960s actually happened. Whatever next, eh?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reading and Leeds 2011: Watch it now

Did you, like much of the world, not get much chance over the bank holiday weekend to watch Reading Or Leeds?

Good news, if you have a television - you can still suck down highlights on BBC Red Button:

Here's when and where:

Available on all platforms

Sky/Freesat/Virgin Media:

Tue 30th August, 6:00am-6:00am
Wed 31st August, 6:00am-6:00am
Thu 1st September, 6:00am-6:00am
Fri 2nd September, 6:00am-4:00am

Mon 29th August, 6:00am-6:20pm & 7:40pm-10:45pm
Tue 30th August, 6:00am-7:45pm & 9:00pm-06:00am
Wed 31st August, 6:00am-9:45pm & 11:00pm-06:00am
Thu 1st September, 6:00am-10:00am & 12:40pm-06:00am
Fri 2nd September, 6:00am-9:20am, 12:55pm-4:50pm & 9:10pm-04:00am

Sony Distribution fire not actually part of the riots

Shortly after the Sony Warehouse went up in flames, I said it seemed unlike the other riot-related incidents, being away from the High Streets and a well-defended space.

This morning, the Telegraph reports that, indeed, it wasn't a rioter target; rather, a professional raid making using of the riots as a distraction:

[E]vidence has now emerged suggesting that the well-guarded Sony DADC distribution centre was deliberately targeted by a professional gang, in a carefully planned raid, using the riots as a distraction.

Sources in the security industry disclosed that intruders first arrived wielding specialist cutting equipment and spent up to two hours dismantling a high security fence before breaking in.

It is claimed that they then summoned a fleet of vans and drove inside the premises, which are set back from the main focus of rioting in the area, before beginning to load up stock.

According to one source, security guards on site were effectively overwhelmed and unable to fend
off the intruders, knowing that police were already stretched as anarchy gripped the capital.
After loading up with stolen goods, the robbers are then said to have invited other gangs in to continue the looting in an attempt to cover their tracks.
Now, that sounds much more plausible than the idea of marauding kids making a detour onto an industrial estate.

Kasabian: We're not lads, honest

You know what annoys lad rockers Kasabian? It's when people call them lad rock:

Guitarist Serge Pizzorno said: "In some ways it's helped because people put you in a box and then when you don't fit in that box anymore it confuses the hell out of them.

"If you do go wild, people say 'Wow, I wasn't expecting those boys to do anything like that'.

What's great about the last record was that all the people that said it was lad rock looked silly.
"And I think finally people are going, 'OK, I got it wrong.'"
Oh, yes...
I can't think why anyone would confuse Kasabian with a boorish bunch of blonging lads.

Gordon in the morning: The exciting Olly Murs

Clearly the X Factor team are annoyed at Gordon running stories claiming that Olly Murs is boring, as today, Gordon tries to reverse ferret:

JLS might think he's boring, but Olly Murs still insists he likes a night out.
That's as far as it goes with trying to beat down the 'boring' claim:
Essex boy Olly stays well clear of the drugs, though.

Now that he's famous they would be easy to come by, he admits, but he finds that worrying.

The X Factor runner-up said: "I don't take drugs but I get offered them a lot in clubs.

"If you are addicted to drugs and you are getting given them for free, then it makes it even worse."
Now, I've a lot of time for anyone who is able to resist the temptation of free drugs, and you've got to respect a person who takes the decision to try and stay clean. But, oh, could he sound any more like the soundtrack to a flickering super-8 1970s 'don't do drucks' film?

Monday, August 29, 2011

There is nothing funny about Bieber being pushed off YouTube

That, at the behest of record companies, things have been set up so anybody can claim to 'own' Justi Bieber videos, and have them all instantly purged from YouTube, is in no way funny. There is no sense in which this is poetic justice.

We should all be appalled, and certainly not applauding.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Talking up the DVD

With so much of HMV's business turning to sludge, it's not surprising to discover Gennaro Castaldo over on Sky News, trying to talk up one part of their offering:

Research suggests that spending habits have changed, but Gennaro Castaldo, from HMV, insists there is still a market for the DVD.

"People still buy - often for other people - and particularly at Christmas time when nearly 40-50% of our sales are generated.

"And more often than not they want to get something physical and tangible as well, so we shouldn't write traditional media off for many years to come," he said.
Well, it's great that there's still some sort of market. But - like advocaat, wrapping paper and sprigs of plastic holly, if most of the trade is done one month a year, is there much of a business trying to sell the same product the other eleven months?

Fazer misguided

The Daily Mail has a big, splashy, flashy piece today about Tulisa out of N-Dubz and her relationship with Fazer out of N-Dubz:

Notoriously private about her personal life, new X Factor judge Tulisa Constavlos rarely opens up about any love interests.

And that dedication to privacy was stepped up yet further when she started dating N-Dubz band mate, Fazer (real name Richard Rawson).

But in an in-depth new interview, Tulisa has finally revealed her true feelings.
Wow. That's a pretty big scoop, Holly Thomas. They are very secretive, aren't they?
The pair have barely been apart since they formed N-Dubz with Tulisa's cousin (and Fazer's best friend) Dappy 12 years ago.

Yet their very secretive romance only began relatively recently.
How did Holly Thomas get this big scoop for the Mail?
Talking to The Sunday Mirror, Tulisa confessed: 'I'm really happy and have the best boyfriend- he's really supportive in what I'm doing with the show [X Factor]'
Oh. So you, erm, read it in the Sunday Mirror.

Still, never mind - this is clearly something your readers would want to know about. And you're sure what you read in the Mirror was right, yes?

Only... Tulisa spent a chunk of yesterday on Twitter pointing out that she'd never said who her boyfriend was:
What r all these tweets about fazer, I've spoke about my relationship, I neva said it was with him? Hmmm

Just as I suspected, I have never said I was in relationship with fazer, only said what my boyfriend meant 2 me, did not say who he was
So, it's a pity Holly Thomas read the Sunday Mirror, but didn't bother to read Tulisa's Twitterstream (or, even, make a phone call or two), because she could not only have saved herself from looking a bit stupid, but also actually had a bit of a story.

[Thanks to Michael M for the tip]

Argentina might have a Vice President with an axe

No, no, not like Dave and George's mighty axe for making poor people suffer, it's a guitar. Amado Boudou, running mate of incumbent Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, plays a Fender and sings at political meetings. The Guardian has seen it with its own eyes:

"Rock helps me communicate directly with the people because rock doesn't lie, and people are fed up with lying politicians," said Boudou, whose campaign trail with the famous Argentinian band Mancha de Rolando in tow resembles a rock tour more than election politics.
Nestor Kirchner rescued Argentina from its devastating 2002 financial crisis by boldly increasing spending while restructuring a gargantuan foreign debt without the help of the IMF. Boudou considers his 2005 break with the IMF as key to Argentina's consumption-based recovery, and he likes to accompany that message with crashing guitar chords on his current election tour.

"Mister banker, give me back my money!" he sings to the crowds who turn up at his political rallies.
To adapt Hank Hill on Christian rock: you're not making politics better, you're just making rock music worse.

Thank God Tony Blair only ever looked like someone who might do this sort of thing, rather than becoming someone who actually did.

MTV VMAs 2011: They've done them

The sudden takeover of MTV by an evening of awards themed around music videos must be something of a puzzle to the network's demographic.

First, the idea that "music videos" are a thing apart from just "music", like having an awards show for typography on a band website.

Secondly, that this arcane-themed prize giving is on MTV, a channel which mostly exists to divide the world into rich people with ugly houses and cars, and poor people with babies born to children. It must be like The History Channel suddenly deciding to host an evening presenting prizes to manufacturers of in-car audio systems.

Still, they've done one. You probably don't need a list of the winners, because you could guess, but just in case:

Best video - Katy Perry - Firework
Best female video: Lady GaGa - Little Monsters
Best male video: Justin Bieber - U Smile
Best new artist: Tyler The Creator
Best collaboration: Katy Perry & Kanye West - ET
Best hip-hop video: Nicky Minaj- Super Bass
Best rock video: Foo Fighters - Walk
Best pop video: Britney Spears - Til The World Ends
Best video with a message: Lady GaGa - Born This Way

Yes, that last category was "best video with a message". Thereby adding "misplaced worthiness" to the award's "thundering dullness".

Gordon in the morning: Ribbing Liam

If you needed further proof that in the split of the Gallaghers, Gordon is firmly wearing a Team Noel t-shirt, today he takes the piss out of Liam:

Speaking after the group's set at Reading on Friday, Liam said: "I was expecting it [the Beady Eye album] to go to No1 but it was released in the year of Adele. "Never mind, No3 will do. We were all happy with it."
And just as I was about to say it... in leaps Gordon:
Liam didn't mention that they also charted back in March behind Jessie J's debut album.
That, surely, is my line?