Saturday, November 12, 2011


How to mark this, the 30,000th post on No Rock And Roll Fun?

With a song with an appropriate title - Wilco's My Thirty Thousand - and a song which captures how music can be hugely important, and make a difference, and be a focus and a rallying point for good:

Thanks for reading, commenting and suggesting stuff.

Listen with No Rock: Little Boots

The vocals are rather Bjorky; there's something like an attempt to build the Propellerheads using 1980s technology going on; and I'm not entirely sure it quite works... but for now, welcome back, Little Boots:
Little Boots - SHAKE by LittleBoots

Gordon in the morning: Gallagher's gob

Liam Gallagher. You forget, between word-splurges, how tiresome he is, don't you?

Gallagher told NME: "Adam and the Ants? No. Not into a geezer who wears make-up. Especially f***ing nutty ones. And tell him 'You're not the only **** who's off his t*ts.'"
MIND and others have sighed, and pointed out to him that throwing words like "nutty" around about people with mental health problems is a cruel. So let's just look at the other half of his statement - that he ignores Adam Ant because he wears make-up.

Apart from being the sort of thing you don't much hear outside of 1970s sitcom fathers, it's such a musically ignorant statement you'd expect it to be coming from someone who... well, makes records like Beady Eye do.

On the other hand, there might be an argument for avoiding inept wearers of make-up:
Liam Gallagher has taken to dyeing his hair and wearing eyeliner, according to brother Noel. "I think he's trying to head off old age but it'll catch him," explained the guitarist.
Old age might catch him; it's unlikely to bring its usual wisdom, though.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Feargal Sharkey quits UK Music

Feargal Sharkey, who has been so much the public face of shadowy lobbying organisation UK Music that we were starting to think it might have consisted entirely of him and a collection of hats and false moustaches, is moving on:

Feargal Sharkey commented, “UK Music has been one of the greatest adventures of my life and I leave now so I might continue on other journeys.

“While there will be many memories above all I shall never forget what a honour and a privilege it has been to have worked with such a dedicated, creative and professional team of staff, without whom, so much simply would not have been possible. Their friendship, support and guidance has been an inspiration and they will always have my overwhelming admiration and respect. Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of that.

“To Andy, I salute you. The industry is indeed fortunate to have you.

“What is now most important is that we can all look forward to the future successes I know that UK Music, can, and will, achieve.”
Jo Dipple is taking up the slack from the loss of Sharkey, and here's a file photo of Jo released by UKM today:
Seriously, Jo Dipple was a strategic advisor to Gordon Brown prior to joining UK Music when the organisation launched. Specifically, she advised Gordon Brown on communications, and we all know just how successful Brown was at getting his point across, don't we?

What's worth the more than EMI?

Here's a surprise: as All Things D points out, a Gartner report puts the value of the ringtone market at about £1.3bn.

Ringtones. In 2011.

Worth one hundred million quid more than the whole of the EMI records business.

Now, that's a stylishly declining industry.

Thank you kindly, and goodnight, EMI

After decades of swimming through the sea swallowing smaller labels, EMI has now, definitively, been swallowed itself. BBC News reports:

UK music firm EMI has said it will sell its recorded music unit for £1.2bn ($1.9bn) to Universal Music.

Reports have suggested that the other half of EMI's business - the lucrative music publishing unit - will go to a Sony-led consortium for more than $2bn.
Universal buying EMI is a bit like a bloke with lung disease buying an organ from a heavy smoker with a bad cough, and should probably be viewed as a nice rationalisation to make it easier for whoever ends up buying Universal.

Some artists, at least, welcome their new corporate overlords:
"I particularly welcome the fact that EMI will once again be owned by people who really do have music in their blood," said Rolling Stones singer Sir Mick Jagger.

The manager of Coldplay also welcomed Universal.

"They have assembled the most talented group of executives in the industry today and their success speaks for itself," Dave Holmes said.
This should not be seen as fawning over the new bosses in a desperate bid to keep in with them as there becomes less competition to sign clapped-out behemoths to record labels.

Downloadable: Holy Ghost

Here's something you might never have expected to live long enough to see: a cover of early-era Ministry's I Wanted To Tell Her. Dome by Holy Ghost, and yours for nothing more than a quick interact with a widget:

Gordon in the morning: No son of mine

Is it just me, or is the headline on story about Bizarre alum Piers Morgan a little... distancing?

Piers Morgan’s out of Talent

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gordon in the morning: Pursuing the bosses' feud

James Murdoch is in the Commons today, hoping his "I was too busy counting my money to notice" line of defence doesn't crumble like a knackered empire.

Never mind, James: Gordon's got your back, desperately trying to tarnish the reputation of Hugh Grant. Although the world has gone 'oh, he's become a daddy and is doing his bit? That's nice', Smart ploughs on trying to spark up some sort of scandal:

HUGH Grant faces a fine after failing to register the birth of his daughter.
A fine, eh? So are local council Westminster threatening to drag Grant to court?
The floppy-haired actor, famed for playing upper-class bumblers, has already gone three days over the 42-day deadline.
But a member of staff there said: "Sometimes we wait up to three months.

"It's not like we are going to turn up on his doorstep with the police and chase them up."
So, Westminster seemingly quite relaxed about things.

What makes Smart's story even more pathetic is that, erm, Grant isn't actually legally responsible for registering the birth. Perhaps someone at The Sun should have looked at Westminster's website:
However, if the parents are not married to each other the father cannot register the birth unless the mother attends the office with him and they both sign the register or she makes a legal declaration naming him as the father.

The mother can register the birth on her own but the father's details will not be recorded in the register.
Still, why let the facts get in the way of a tiresome attempt to fling dirt at your current bosses' nemesis, eh?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Cowell turns happy ending into horrible hanging threat

Remember Rhythmix, the charity whose name Simon Cowell tried to bully-off them? Cowell was attempting to use the name for one of the bands on The X Factor and tried to steal the trademark.

But the band "decided" to change their name, right? So everything turned out okay?

Not quite, for as Cowell perseveres with the Pop Idol format long after the market has been saturated, so he pursues his vendettas. Rhytmix are still in trouble:

Unfortunately, whilst your company Simco and your programme The X Factor have managed to stage a PR event publicly changing the name of your contestants, actually the legal position hasn't changed at all, and neither has the outcome for the Charity.
Cowell's team aren't responding to any letters:
Why won't they respond? Because the legal advice is that the Charity cannot afford to pursue Simco through the courts, so the best way to "win" this matter is to not deal with it and wait for the Charity's money to run out.

Bluntly, that legal advice is correct. This Charity isn't prepared to spend thousands of pounds forcing Simco to "do the right thing". We won't be sending you any more legal letters. We won't be asking Simco any more times not to take our identity. We won't write any more letters to you or to Simco asking that you or they cover the unjustified legal costs they have forced upon the Charity.
They've already had to spend £8000 on legal fees so far; to Cowell that's - what? - a pair of laces for one of his shoes' to Rhythmix, it's "120 hours of music making and social interaction for vulnerable young people that benefit from the Charity's work."

You can help: Rhythmix are trying to raise some money, and you might want to have a word with X-Factor sponsors TalkTalk and ask them what they think of it. TalkTalk are also on Twitter, so you might try there, too.

Rhythmix work with young people in the South-East who find themselves in trouble. It's unlikely they'd have turned their backs on Brighton's Frankie Cocozza.

Gordon in the morning: A quiet night in with a DVD

Even Gordon Smart struggles to find anything of interest on the Take That DVD:

YOU can tell Take That are producers on their Progress tour DVD – the most controversial moment is when Mark Owen admits to nicking Howard's chocolate eclairs.
Doesn't stop him filing a few hundred words on it, though.

Hiphopobit: Heavy D

Heavy D, actor and musician, has died in Beverley Hills.

Born Dwight Arrington Myers, as leader of Heavy D & The Boyz he was the 90s go-to guy at the poppier end of hip-hop for those times when you couldn't afford Will Smith. The Boyz were the anchor group for Uptown Records, finding success almost immediately with the album Living Large and the platinum follow-up Big Tyme. D landed a number of lucrative collaborations - rapping on Michael Jackson's Jam and working with BB King, but a cooler reaction to third album Blue Funk saw him turn more and more to TV and film work.

Initially, his interest was in theme tunes - Mad TV and In Living Color both used him to top and tail their antics - but he swiftly moved in front of the camera. An episode of Cosby spin-off A Different World was built around him; he landed regular roles in The Tracy Morgan Show and Boston Public.

Heavy was slowly returning to music - there was a reggae album, Vibes, in 2008, and earlier this year he performed at the BET Awards. That show was his first live show in fifteen years.

TMZ reports that D experienced breathing difficulties after arriving home yesterday afternoon. He was 44 .

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thom Yorke, at the moment

Thom Yorke is on the Rainbow Warrior, heading up the Thames. Keep an eye on @GreenpeaceUK to find out why.

Gordon in the morning: Where do you hide a Justin Bieber?

There's something quite canny about Justin Bieber choosing to spend the night after the EMAs in a gay club in Belfast. I'm not sure it's the last place anyone would look for him, but it's probably not the first.

Although, frankly, it's unlikely any of his fans would find him in any nightclub at all, given they'd all be about ten years too young to get in to one.

Gordon, though, thinks there's another motive:

WHAT'S the best way to knock back rumours you've fathered a love child?

Go for a night out on the shandy at "Europe's hottest gay venue".
I'm not sure that would entirely clear you from a paternity suit, Gordon.

By the way: this morning's Sun front page on Conrad Murray: Thriller Killer. Keeping it classy.

Conrad Murray guilty; everyone else breathes a sigh of relief

So, with Conrad Murray being convicted of the manslaughter of Michael Jackson, it looks like all the other people who had a hand in pushing Jackson toward the exit have managed to swerve responsibility.

I hope if I ever build a fanbase, and die in terrible circumstances, my supporters don't turn up at the courtroom and turn the trial of those responsible into a circus.

One fan - part of the chanting crowd who turned the court precinct into a tailgate party - told BBC News that "we've got justice for Michael", seemingly convinced that they had done something. Granted, the man they held responsible for the death of their idol had been found guilty, but given that idol was still dead, what was the cheering and partying about? To be a Jackson fan in the 21st Century had meant separation from the pain of hard facts for quite a while, but surely even from that position you'd be able to see there are some things that shouldn't be treated as part of a show?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Mathew Street festival target of cuts

Amongst the ideas being toyed with to satisfy Eric Pickle's cuts to the Liverpool council budget is the axing of the Mathew Street Festival. The festival which, in 2010, brought £20million into the local economy.


Trying to find a list of winners at last night's MTV EMAs in Belfast, I had trouble working out if I was reading results from last night or about five years ago. Eminem and Linkin Park? But there's Bieber and GaGa and Bruno Mars, so it must be for 2011. Or p... hang about: Bruno Mars? Two prizes for Bruno Mars?

Bruno Mars, a man so pointless you can't actually make an origami model of him because when you start with a flat sheet of paper it's already too complex a shape?

Bruno Mars, a man who milliners are offering money to stop wearing hats?

Bruno Mars, a man who would struggle to be picked out of a criminal line-up even if his victim had been his own mother?

Bruno Mars, a man who is so friction-free they rub his music onto slipways when they have trouble persuading liners to launch?

In a prize giving where 30 Seconds To Mars are judged to be the "best" alternative act (alternative to what?) and Bieber the best male artist, it's some going to pick a winner even more insulting to Euterpe, but giving a prize to Bruno Mars manages it.

Bruno Mars. A man so inert they pump him into mines during rescues to ensure there are no explosions.

Here's the winners in full:

Best Female: Lady GaGa
Best Male: Justin Bieber
Best Pop: Justin Bieber
Best Song: Lady GaGa - "Born This Way"
Best Rock: Linkin Park
Best Video: Lady GaGa - "Born This Way"
Biggest Fans: Lady GaGa
Best Alternative: 30 Seconds to Mars
Best Hip Hop Eminem
Best World Stage: 30 Seconds to Mars
Best Push: Bruno Mars
Best New: Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars. A man so devoid of charisma he makes Bruno Brookes ashamed of his given name.

Global Icon: Queen
Best North American Act: Britney Spears
Best Worldwide: Big Bang

It's been a shame that MTV has more-or-less given up on music programming in the last few years. Perhaps that explains why its prize-giving is so timid.

Radio 1 getting old again

GMG Radio has noticed that the average age of a Radio 1 listener is drifting upwards again, and aren't happy:

Stuart Taylor, chief executive of GMG Radio, said: "The trust has asked them to do something that they are patently not doing. The question is: what happens now?

"If Radio 1 was regulated by Ofcom and not the trust – if we were doing this – then it would be a breach of our licence and we would be taken off air."
Really, Stuart? Is that what would happen, or - as is more likely - would Radio 1 merely request a change of format, which Ofcom would be minded to approved. You know, like if a Jazz station suddenly started playing Smooth music, that sort of thing?

GMG claims that the average age of a Radio 1 listener has risen from 29 to 32 over the last three years. Spookily, in that time, a 29 year-old would have become 32.

It looks like the real problem - if you want to see it as a problem - is Chris Moyles, whose audience is larger than others, and also attracts a bunch of older listeners.

However, there is an aspect that Taylor seems to be missing: a lot of breakfast radio listening is done round toasters and on school runs; the price of producing a programme which attracts more teenagers might well be the collateral damage of their parents listening.

Gordon in the morning: Britain's Next Top Bad Idea

Ah, poor Gordon, pressed into duty to try and promote one of his guv'nors other properties. Today, he's struggling to spark interest in a judging change on Britain And Ireland's Next Top Model.

The last series was rotten - random prizes based on who'd pony up for product placement made the 'what you'll win' sequence look like a table at a well-resourced church tombola night; the addition of Fearne Cotton and endless episodes of casting dragged things down; and a production team blithely slapping whatever happened to be in the Top 10 six months ago over the top conspired to make this look like a franchise whose time is up.

But Sky Living doesn't have much local programming, so instead of quietly letting the beast die, it's going to have a revamp. A desperate revamp.

How desperate? Bizarre scribblebot Colin Robertson reveals the full horror:

WILD child Kelly Osbourne is bouncing back on to UK telly — as a judge on Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model.

A source "explains":
"The plan is for Kelly to come on board and shake things up. She is a massive fan of fashion and has good pedigree working on fashion shows."
That's true, if by "good pedigree" you mean "squeezed the air out of the British version of Project Runway so badly a can't-fail format stuttered out after two botched series".
"Crucially, she is also young and the whole point of the show is to find the next big thing."
Now, without wanting to sound cruel, this suggests the sole thing Kelly has going for her is being "young" - although one of the judges she's replacing, Charley Speed, is only five years older than Kelly, making her closer to the "old" being replaced than the would-be models she's judging.

But the idea that "Kelly Osborne", who has been cluttering up showbusiness looking for a role since 2002, somehow reflects "the next big thing" rather than "the last number in the contact book" is amusing. Perhaps the series is going to try and save itself through post-modernism?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Rockobit: Mark Farmiloe

Yesterday the St James Tavern in Columbus threw a benefit for Lady Loopus, whose husband Mark Farmiloe died last month.

Mark played in Ohio acts Pica Huss and the Econo Thugs:

Mark Farmiloe was 46. As his obituary put it:

He may have left us too soon but definitely not unsatisfied.

Glenn Danzig wants soup

You'd probably regret booking Glenn Danzig for anything, but even more so if he turned up and was a bit of a dick. Boy, was he a bit of a dick at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin:

arrived in Austin on Friday morning and said it was too cold, he had a cough and he wasn’t going to play. He then demanded vitamins, French onion soup and a Wendy’s chicken sandwich, keeping his intentions unclear as the temperature climbed to 71 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny, with a projected evening low of the mid- to high-50s.

After hours of negotiation with Danzig’s agents, including the provision of stage heaters and an on-site doctor, the promoters say they were assured that the show would go on – but as of the 8:15pm set time, Danzig still refused to play, citing the weather, his "deathbug" and his unhappiness with the stage specs, all of which had reportedly been approved months in advance and by his crew on Friday. He finally relented and took the stage at 9 p.m., now faced with a 10 p.m. curfew and a 45-minute set time reduction. He immediately declared to the crowd that he was "fucking freezing," and proceeded to play a set that, while full of energy and effort by his bandmates, elicited comments on Twitter that compared it to "Danzig karaoke."
Curiously, the Facebook post Rolling Stone links to as being the FFF organiser's side of events has been revised to read merely "kitty litter" - presumably a reference to pictures of Danzig buying cat-poo-materials earlier this year.

In other FFF news, Rakim had to pull out of the second day with a broken foot; he was replaced by Kool Keith.

There's nothing worse than an angry Seal

I don't know what it is that caused Seal to suddenly decide to kick the corpse of Amy Winehouse about, but, boy, is he angry:

"I used to get quite angry at Amy Winehouse because I love our industry, I think it has a lot of integrity and don't think it's a birthright to be part of it," he told the Daily Star.

"I have very little tolerance for people who don't respect it. If you're in the fortunate position of being able not only to operate in our industry but to be successful commercially, it's a privilege."
What? She didn't "respect" the music industry? Obviously, her recent death makes Seal's comments tasteless, but even if she was still alive, they'd be offensive. It's a privilege to be part of a cash-generating bunch of quasi-Cartelled multinational companies; to be made to sing and dance and sent out on overseas tours when you're clearly too ill to perform?

Surely the industry is lucky to have talented people willing to make its Faustian deals; and the respect should be flowing in the opposite direction?

In case you think Seal has inside knowledge the rest of us don't:
"When I heard she had died I was really sad because I wished I could have bumped into her somewhere. I was so excited by... her vocal performance. It was a breath of fresh air, that's why I would have made an attempt to give her my view.

"I don't know if anyone was around Amy who she respected enough to give her a mouthful and say, 'It doesn't last forever'. It was a crying shame."
He doesn't appear to have even met her. And yet he's convinced that hectoring her about how she was disrespecting the BPI by being quite seriously ill would have - what? made her pull herself together?

Perhaps rather than worrying about disrespect to "the industry", Seal should think a little bit about not disrespecting the dead.

Coughlan & Haines are coming together

There's going to be North Sea Scrolls dates in Ireland. This explains more:

The North Sea Scrolls have long been a bone of contention amongst historians, theologians and people shouting at bins in car parks. The Scrolls are believed, in certain quarters, to record a parallel, semi-hidden history of these islands. Now, a triumvirate of unlikely questers has at last pinned down the full story of these legendary documents. They are; Luke Haines, who has recorded as The Auteurs,
Baader Meinhof, Black Box Recorder and solo; Cathal Coughlan, who has recorded as Microdisney, Fatima Mansions, Bubonique and solo; Andrew Mueller, journalist and author.

This dauntless trio are now ready to share the terrible knowledge they have disinterred. In song. The parchments reached the hands of messrs Haines, Coughlan and Mueller by means which need not trouble us, and have been meticulously distilled and tactfully rewritten into fourteen new songs by Mr Haines and Mr Coughlan, to be performed on guitar and piano, and accompanied by the cello stylings of Audrey Riley. The songs will be linked by explanatory footnotes read by Mr Mueller.

The truths contained in the scrolls are at once profoundly disturbing and peculiarly reassuring. Certainly, they answer many long-pressing questions. How did a Dublin criminal overlord become an imperial
viceroy? Is England really just two counties – Northshire and Southshire? Could it be that the guttering violence of Northern Ireland is caused by terrorist tribute acts from Australia? Who is Tony Allen? How did Tim Hardin end up commanding a nationalist militia in Cornwall? Can it be true that Morris Men, far from the prancing buffoons of popular repute, are murderous vigilantes – a Cotswoldian thugee cult? Was Chris Evans really burnt at the stake? If not, why not? Is Jim Corr actually right about everything?
The places to be are:

Friday 2nd December, Triskel Christchurch, Cork
Saturday 3rd December, The Sugar Club, Dublin

Why would you be anywhere else?

This week just gone

The most-frequently asked 'what' questions this year:

1. What happened to Samantha Mumba?
2. What happened to Rik Waller?
3. What genre is Kasabian?
4. What if Jim Morrison had lived?
5. What did Pauly Walters die of?
6. Whatever happened to G4?
7. What happened to Ms Dynamite?
8. What does the former model?
9. In Japan what does the spelling of the word ekko mean?
10. What channel is the Brit Awards 2011 on?

These were the interesting releases:

Summer Camp - Welcome To Condale

Download Welcome To Condale

Babybird - The Pleasures Of Self-Destruction

Download The Pleasures Of Self Destruction

Manic Street Preachers - National Treasures

Download National Treasures

She & Him - A Very She & Him Christmas

Download A Very She & Him Christmas

The Decemberists - Long Live The King

Download Long Live The King

Throbbing Gristle - The Second Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle

Download Second Annual Report

Florence & The Machine - Ceremonials

Download Ceremonials

Placebo - We Come In Pieces Live DVD