Saturday, January 07, 2012

Those So Solid Crew members in full

In case you missed it because of the working week, and because of Wikipedia suddenly getting all up in your face about "accuracy", Enemies Of Reason and Profanity Swan both captured the full list of So Solid Crew members that appeared earlier this week.

Gordon in the morning: A wing of ITV PR

There's not really much in the Bizarre pages today, which makes it all the more obvious just how badly Gordon relies on the ITV press office feeding him filler is - there's three non-stories about Dancing On Ice, and an awful bit on the launch of a post-show programme for Take Me Out. Yes, Take Me Out:

ESSEX lothario Mark Wright is on a self-imposed dating ban to keep him out of the grasp of girls on his new Take Me Out show.
This is listed as a "TV exclusive by Lucy Connolly" - I suppose it's exclusive on the basis that nobody else would touch it with a long pole:
He said: "Take Me Out girls may be looking for Mr Right — but it's not Mark Wright.

"I'm single but there is no way I am dating anyone from the show. I'm working and I am too professional. It's not happening."
Man who struggles to deliver a line in the trail for a programme on ITV2 spun off a programme on ITV which nobody watches says that he won't be dating people who haven't even shown any interest in him. That's quite an exclusive.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Sarah Harding returns from hell

Gordon Smart pulls a concerned face as Sarah Harding gives him an exclusive interview about her addiction to pills and booze.

If there's any doubt that this is an interview dictated by a flipchart with the words "Comeback: Media management" at the top, you just have to count off the clichés as they roll by:

She said: "I've been to hell and back.[...] My drinking was out of control [...] I was drinking to deal with my emotions after the split."
and so on and so on. You could probably write most of her quotes yourself.

How awkward for Gordon, though. The split which sent her over the edge was from Tom Crane. And what did Gordon say back when she broke-up in September?
By GORDON SMART, Showbiz Editor

Published: 28th September 2011

SARAH HARDING isn't moping about after her split from Tom Crane.The Girls Aloud star is keen to start a new chapter of her life after calling off her engagement to the DJ earlier this month.

The singer said: "I'm ready to take another leap. Hopefully the best is yet to come.

"I feel a little more at ease with what's going on in my life.

"I know where my career's at. I know what I want out of life."

Hopefully Bizarre's former Caner Of The Year will soon be back doing what she does best ... drinking bars dry.
Oddly, Gordon seems to miss the opportunity to apologise for not only adding to the pressure on Sarah by banging on about her love life in a national newspaper, but also wishing that she'd be out on the streets getting pissed.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Back to Paris

Gordon brings news of an attempt by Paris Hilton to relaunch her music career with a house album.

House, Paris?

She said: "I have a huge passion for house music. It always has been my passion. I just haven't been able to focus on it, because I have been doing reality TV for so long now.
Yeah, I could see how you'd have to do a bit of TV, in order to get a few quid behind you before launching your house career.

Oddly, though, IMDB suggests she made eight episodes of something called The World According To Paris last year, and nothing else since the BFF thing spluttered to an unwatched halt in 2009. Not exactly the most demanding of schedules.

Still, when it comes to house, Hilton is something of an expert:
"There are just so many great DJs right now. And I should know – I've been to over 100 raves in the past year, so I've heard every type of music."
Really? You've been to raves where pubrock, shoegaze, lion rock and raggle-taggle have been played? I guess that would command some sort of respect.

But why is Gordon even wasting his time regurgitating this FHM interview?
Topless Paris Hilton is in the house
Ah, that would be it. I know for a fact Judge Jules got his big DJing break by pulling his bodystocking down for FHM.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Sugar Hill Gang seeking unpaid cash

RIAA stalwart company Universal has apparently been so busy lecturing the world about how taking things without paying is wrong that it appears to have forgotten to pay any royalties to any Sugar Hill label artists for years and years.

The Sugar Hill Gang and other acts are now suing.

[Related: Sylvia Robinson obituary]

Beyond Oblivion lives up to its name

Fair enough, QTrax. You're no longer the least together of the high-profile music streaming services. There's a new kid in town, tripping over its own feet. Or rather, there isn't, as Beyond Oblivion has folded before launching.

It managed to burn through over fifty million quid, including some from News Corporation. But didn't stream a single track to a single consumer.

Kidron said in a statement to the Daily Telegraph: "Beyond was always a tremendously grand ambition as the advances required by the record labels and music publishers were substantial, reflecting the breadth of the rights required to create a true digital music one-stop."
Well, it certainly did the stopping bit.

BPI almost sound upbeat; fall back on to wailing about piracy

Half a point for making the effort to the BPI for trying to make their New Year press release about 2011 sales sound slightly upbeat:

In the past, that headline would have been written the other way round, splattering the silver lining with the mud of despondency.

Does this mean the BPI is slowly coming to terms with the new world; accepting that they're lucky to have emerged out of the last ten years with any sort of business at all?

Nope. Much of the press release is given to the usual wailing about the nasty pirates. Chief Executive Geoff Taylor starts it off:
“British artists continue to produce incredible music that resonates at home and around the world. But while other countries take positive steps to protect their creative sector, our Government is taking too long to act on piracy, while weakening copyright to the benefit of US tech giants. The UK has already fallen behind Germany as a music market. Unless decisive action is taken in 2012, investment in music could fall again – a creative crunch that will destroy jobs and mean the next Adele may not get her chance to shine on the world stage.
Yes, god forbid that the government doesn't do as the BPI orders, lest the music industry lose out to American owned tech companies. Which would be a tragedy for the Japanese and American owned music industry, of course.

Taylor isn't an idiot, and he knows that it's probable that Germany's music industry has benefited not from any magic measures against piracy - "ooh, those umlauts are too hard to force through a torrent filter" - but from having had (for much of 2011) a stronger economy. Germany is a larger economy; it's got lower unemployment and lower inflation and the average German earns more than the average Brit - surely its surprising that it took so long for the UK to fall behind Germany in terms of music purchases? Taylor isn't an idiot. So why does he allow a news release to be circulated that makes him sound like one?

Tony Wadsworth, who chairs the BPI, also has something to say. The second paragraph of his thoughts at this magic time of year focuses on piracy:
“Led by Adele, Jessie J, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and others, records by British artists in 2011 achieved both critical and commercial success both at home and around the world. But the challenge of sustaining this performance against a backdrop of chronic piracy means that Government action remains absolutely crucial for British artists and their labels.”
Adele again. In fact, Adele had the whole of Tony's first paragraph just dedicated to her success:
“The spine-tingling performance by Adele at The BRIT Awards 2011 fired the starting gun on her incredible and well-deserved year of success. Her achievements are phenomenal – the biggest-selling album this century, the best seller of 2011 by miles, her debut album also making the year-end top five, not to mention her fantastic success overseas
As the press release points out, Adele's sales aren't just the impressive for this one-eighth of a century; they're just impressive, full stop:
Adele’s 21 reaches 3.8m sales – the biggest-ever selling album in a single year.
Unfortunately, this does tend to fire a big hole in the heart of Geoff and Tony's demand that something must be done about piracy to save the music industry. Despite all this "chronic" piracy going on, Adele's album has sold more copies in a year than any album has ever sold. More than a Michael Jackson album managed in a year, even the good one. More than a Beatles album ever managed to whisk out the shops in twelve months. More, even, than the third Charlatans album sold in a year.

So, how come Adele's album was not only immune to the chronic piracy, but thrived in a world so stricken? Had there been secret umlauts sewn into the hemlines of the choruses, rendering it impossible to torrent?

Were any of the many pirate-busting measures deployed? Did the pre-release circulate solely on a tape glued into a Walkman? Was every copy watermarked? Did a fleet of fake files get launched onto the internet to foil downloaders? Did Derren Brown hypnotise the world so that if they typed 'Adele 21 free' into Google they'd die?

Nope. The success of Adele's album seems to be nothing to do with avoiding piracy, and more to do with sticking out an album that people liked and wanted to buy.

Now, it's possible that in a world without torrentsearch, Adele might have sold more copies still of her record. But even so, she has sold more copies of 21 than any album has ever sold, even before home-taping killed music.

The conclusion has to be that if we don't see other records selling in large numbers, it's not because of chronic piracy, but chronic releases.

Look at the other names Wadsworth throws around - Jessie J, who is alright in a Nookie Bear Sings The Black Eyed Peas way; Coldplay, an act who can't even hide their own boredom with their music most days; Ed Sheeran, a singer so devoid of charisma promoters regularly close down his live act mid-set because they simply don't notice he's on stage. And these are the acts that Wadsworth picks out as the marshmallows in the box of Lucky Charms.

Since they're bobbing about on a sea of singing squadie spouses and ten year's worth of build-up of Cowell dung, you can see why Wadsworth felt that was the best he could do. There's people who will always be excited by music, but for big sales you need to get that ripple of connection, of interest, beyond those people and out into the wider public. The people who will buy an album from time-to-time, if it's a better way of spending their money than a computer game, or a bottle of wine, or a chip supper. With the best will in the world, Olly Murs is never going to win a struggle with a pickled egg and a can of Irn Bru.

It's not piracy. There's no need for the government to legislate. Unless the action they take is to pass a law forcing major labels to introduce quality control.

Gordon in the morning: Aah, aah, aah, aah

Let's leave Gordon's desk for a while, and look instead over at the Sun's health pages. They have news about a public education campaign:

THE Bee Gees hit Stayin' Alive is at the heart of a new campaign launched today — to save the lives of cardiac arrest victims.
It says that pumping the chest at between 110 and 120 beats per minute — the same rate as the 1978 hit — is more effective than a poor breath resuscitation attempt.

The charity is launching the TV campaign, backed by the UK Resuscitation Council, aiming to give people confidence to use the CPR technique.

Actor and former soccer ace Vinnie Jones will feature in the "Hard And Fast" ads showing people the proper way to do chest compressions in 40 seconds.

No word on what you should do when you reach the middle eight.

In other "news", Lee 'elpehants are dying' Ryan had been due to go into the Big Brother house but has apparently been dumped after asking for too much money.

It's a pity for Ryan - looking at the rest of the rumoured line-up (the other one from Pineapple Dance Studios; someone from The Only Way Is Essex; a couple of people who've actually appeared on terrestrial television some years back) it might have been the first time he'd have been the most famous person in a room.

He's going to be replaced by Romeo, who was one of the So Solid Crew but presumably has been selected on the strength of his more recent work, as a best man in Don't Tell The Bride.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

N'Dour announces run at presidency

Youssou N'Dour has confirmed he'll be standing as a candidate in the Senegalese election.

The BBC News report reminds everybody that he recorded Seven Seconds with Neneh Cherry, although surely in 2012 N'Dour must be better-known than either that single or Neneh Cherry?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Alan McGee accepts the blame

In Q Magazine's How To Buy Creation Records feature, Alan McGee issues an apology:

Ride were great from the first day I met them. They were shoegaze with tunes - a massive influence on bands like Coldplay. I hold myself responsible for fucking up their career by introducing them to The Byrds and The Beatles.
Actually, McGee is being uncharacteristically harsh on himself - certainly The Beatles were there from the get-go, as Tomorrow Never Knows shows.

Gordon in the morning: Inspector Madge

Gordon excitedly reports that Madonna is investigating who has been leaking her rotten new tunes early:

Madonna had her magnifying glass and notebook out too, conducting her own Sherlock Holmes-style investigation into a costly "leak" in her camp.
You might have thought the mention of Sherlock Holmes would have been to create some sort of link to her ex-husband's rotten new Sherlock movies, but instead it's just to allow this bit of Photoshop horror:
You'd have thought Marple would have been the more obvious reference point. Or, given that this is about detectives and people listening to things they shouldn't, maybe this?
Perhaps he couldn't find a decent picture of Glenn Mulcaire in a hurry. Or maybe, like everyone else at News International, he can't quite remember who Mulcaire is, or what he does, or anything.

As with all detective stories, there's a fall guy. In this case, a Spaniard who put a leaked track online:
A source said: "Her camp were aware of the Spanish character because he was an annoying super-fan.
Oh, yes. Fans are so very annoying, aren't they? How fortunate that with each passing day, Madge has fewer and fewer of those to worry about.

It seems the leaks originate with people close to Madonna:
It would have to be someone close to get access to that kind of material. It's clear a serious betrayal has been going on.
Gordon seems outraged at the idea of someone close to Madonna leaking stuff out. A couple of paragraphs after running an anonymous quote from a source which - if not a made-up quote - would, erm, have had to have come from someone close to Madonna.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Mani says goodbye to the Primals

In order to concentrate on counting the money from The Stone Roses' reunion, Mani has stepped down from Primal Scream after last night's Edinburgh New Year gig.

The NME reports on that set:

Bobby Gillespie and co played a career-spanning 12 song set, divided into two halves by the traditional new year bells and fireworks.
A career-spanning set, eh?
'Movin' On Up'
'Slip Inside This House'
'Don't Fight It, Feel It'
'Shoot Speed/Kill Light'
'Come Together'
'Swastika Eyes'
'Country Girl'
I hope the NME has its tongue in its cheek - Primal Scream might want to pretend that the first two albums never happened; you have to worry that the current NME hasn't even hearded of them.

Kelly Clarkson endorses, distances self from Ron Paul

Kelly Clarkson appears to have switched sides, announcing that she loves Ron Paul.

And then, after discovering that it wasn't a popular idea, trying to sort-of-half-endorse him:

"I do not support racism. I support gay rights, straight rights, women's rights, men's rights, white/black/purple/orange rights. I like Ron Paul because he believes in less government and letting the people (all of us) make the decisions and mold our country. That is all. Out of all of the Republican nominees, he's my favorite."
Aw, yes - who cares about the racism and the homophobia when he'll make government smaller?

In other words: Kelly Clarkson is happy to endorse anyone, regardless of how shady their character, providing she pays less tax as a result.

Happy New Year

If one thing was clear from the awful, bitty soundtrack of the Olympic year heralding fireworks in London at midnight, this is the year sport is going to try and destroy music forever.

Let's not let that happen.

Happy New Year, everybody. Let's see what 2012 has in store, shall we?