Saturday, January 21, 2012

Biohazard involved in sickness

Scott Roberts out of Biohazard has fallen unwell. The band shouted a statement:

"After spending the whole day getting tests done to no avail, he checks himself out of the hospital to make the show just in time to KICK FUCKING ASS and help us blow the roof off of Deinze! That's the crazy vegetarian hardcore dude he is! After the show, he's rushed back to the hospital! Anyone else would had canceled the tour! SCOTT ROCKS!" The band adds, "Scott is still in the hospital, but judging by his hardcore spirit and having BIOHAZARD blood in his veins, he'll beat this shit! Get ready, Oberhausen!!"
Surely if he's got Biohazard blood in his veins, that's the most likely cause of the illness, right?

Right Said what now?

There is a serious point in the Evening Argus piece about going deaf at gigs, but there's also something a bit puzzling about it:

A music fan has warned fellow rockers too many concerts could make them deaf like her.

Sue Burgess said years of going to performances by the likes of Right Said Fred had contributed to the severe hearing problems she and husband Tony have both developed.
Now, it's true that the Burgesses have seen Right Said Fred, but later on there's a bit more depth to their musical tastes:
Mr and Mrs Burgess have been to see everyone from Metallica to Madonna.

They have seen Cilla Black twice, Lionel Richie, The Spice Girls and Bruce Springsteen.

They have also watched Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead, The Rolling Stones, The Who and many more.

She was also at the Brighton Dome gig 40 years ago when Pink Floyd previewed The Dark Side of the Moon.

She added: “My favourites are Metallica, Black Sabbath plus Iron Maiden. But I have a soft spot for Will Young.”
Why with that range of mainly-rockist acts would you describe the gigs as being by the "likes of Right Said Fred"? It's like writing about an Olympic athlete, noticing something he did during his schooldays and describing him as competing in contests like the egg-and-spoon race.

By the way - putting on a serious face - one of my favourite charities, Denver's CHSL, does a lot of good work with people who experience hearing loss. If you've got a little to spare, you could help their work.

Glitter on Twitter wasn't Gary Glitter

Get ready for a shock: the Gary Glitter twitter account wasn't actually Gary Glitter at all.

I know, I know. You'll need a moment or two to process this SHOCKING NEWS.

So, what was the motivation behind pretending to be a paedophile on the internet?

To, erm, prove that the internet is full of paedophiles pretending not to be.

@OfficialGlitter was a fake account. But imagine if it hadn’t have been. I’ve got almost 20,000 followers now. That’s 20,000 people I can send private and direct messages to. That’s hundreds of thousands of photos I can view. Imagine for a second, I set up a profile saying I was a “Justin Bieber Fan Club”. How many young girls would follow me? I hazard a guess at a few thousand. The scary thing is that most parents wouldn’t bat an eye-lid at their child following a profile that seems to promote their favourite singer.
I can't help thinking that if you really don't want paedophiles lurking about misleading children, offering online advice about the best way to do it might be a little self-defeating.

The person who pretended to be Glitter - "Ben" - also fumed that his eye-catching social experiment, erm, caught people's eyes:
Another interesting point that shocked me, was how very little effort it took to get the UK Media to freely promote this fictional “comeback tour”. Supposedly trusted and reliable media sources were providing me with free publicity and promoting awareness of the fictional Glitter tour/album/book.

The following sites brought in a massive increase in followers to the page within the first 24 hours by featuring a story/article on the Twitter page:

NME Magazine, Huffington Post, The Daily Sun, The Metro, ITN, Music,,, and

How low do the media have to sink to sell newspapers or boost ratings? Do they actually have to lower themselves to promoting a convicted paedophile’s twitter page which could have potentially brought sales for Glitter’s (fictional) books or music? They would be responsible for putting money into Glitter’s pocket.
Ben seems a bit confused here. His 20,000 followers somehow proves something, he admits that a lot of those came about because of media coverage, and says that's bad, but at the same time:
I’d like to thank everyone who knew about this experiment and the people who helped me bring this matter to the public.
Didn't the main way this 'experiment' worked was by the media bringing the Glitter account to the public's attention?

Ben wanted to create a public outcry over the presence of Glitter on Twitter to make his point. Without the media covering the account, there would have been no outcry; no 'proof'. He's suggesting that the press should have ignored the Glitter account, but at the same time says it's great that there was an anti-Glitter furore. It's a bit like this hadn't really been thought through, isn't it?

And surely the notoriety of Glitter meant "his" account got attention in the way a common-or-garden paediophile (even one being Justin Beiber's fan club) would never have picked up? Doesn't that undermine the claims?

More to the point, most of the positive followers appear to be older people with a nostalgic connection to Glitter. However much you might worry about their taste and ethics, this account wasn't proving to be a massive lure to children. What exactly did Ben think he's proved here?

Ben rails at the media promoting the tour and book and music of his made-up Gadd. But didn't his account also promote Glitter's music? Won't he have sparked a few sales and put a few quid in the old man's pockets just by his work alone?

More worryingly for Ben, he also revealed there's a lot of people in the UK who feel excited at the idea of a Glitter tour. He might have thought he was making a point about creeps online. Instead, he's done some valuable market research to help prep a Glitter comeback. Good work, Ben.

Beyonce gets an honour

Grammys are fine, Brits are like Grammys but not quite as good, but surely no honour can be higher than that gifted to Beyonce: Having a horsefly named after her.

The fly probably drinks blood and so survives by sucking off horses. However, it has two similarities with Beyonce: it was discovered the year she was born, and... what was it, Bryan Lessard, that led you to the name?

He says he wanted to pay respect to the insect’s beauty by naming it Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae.

Lessard said Beyonce would be “in the nature history books forever” and that the fly now bearing her name is “pretty bootylicious” with its golden backside.
Hang about - an Australian fly with a distinctive golden arse?
Someone's going to be angry as hell...

Big Chill: Olympics ruins it for music fans

The Olympics - apparently some sort of superannuated sports day - was already a major part of the decision for Glastonbury to take a year off; Now it's claimed the Big Chill as well:

The Big Chill festival's Melvin Benn, Managing Director Festival Republic, said he considered changing the date of the festival but admitted he also faced problems of artist availability: “It is with a considerable amount of regret that I have decided not to go ahead with The Big Chill in 2012.

“I looked long and hard late last year at moving the date so it didn’t clash with the Olympics but with the mix of the festival fans desire to keep the date and an inability to find an alternative date that works, I plumped for maintaining the existing weekend. Sadly, the artist availability and confirmations we were achieving led me to conclude that I couldn’t risk going ahead with the event as an outdoor event this year.”
Never mind, eh, we can all watch the running and the jumping and the egg-and-spoon. That'll make up for it, right?

Gordon in the morning: White Stripes

Someone off the X Factor is going to release a cover of Seven Nation Army. In the real world, this need bother nobody save for those who read the singles charts down past position 148; in Gordon's mind, though, it is the latest stage in some sort of fundamentalist conflict:

X FACTOR finalists always find a way to annoy indie fans – and now Marcus Collins is having a go.
They always do? I suppose by releasing poor quality records and hanging around on television for years, they annoy everyone, but that's not specifically targeting indie fans, is it?
The singer will cover The White Stripes' classic Seven Nation Army for his first single — after getting the nod from Jack White.

It's bound to have White's fans burning their black jeans and red T-shirts in horror.
I know, I know: "black jeans". You have to wonder about all those factcheckers Smart told Leveson he had when he can't even get someone to google a picture of the White Stripes to see what colour their trousers are.

It doesn't make sense anyway: why would you burn your clothes because someone did a cover of the song? Wouldn't you burn something related to the person who made the new version?

Still, maybe Marcus' version will add something, not destroy it:
The song has been reworked into a pop track which will sound more Bruno Mars than Jack and Meg.
Oh, sweet Jesus. I'm going off to burn all jeans, of all colours.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Legendobit: Etta James

Just heard the not entirely unexpected news that Etta James has died. A fuller obituary will follow.

Update: As befits a legend, there are numerous detailed obituaries available - as ever, The New York Times is a good place to start:

Ms. James was not easy to pigeonhole. She is most often referred to as a rhythm and blues singer, and that is how she made her name in the 1950s with records like “Good Rockin’ Daddy.” She is in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame.

She was also comfortable, and convincing, singing pop standards, as she did in 1961 with “At Last,” which was written in 1941 and originally recorded by Glenn Miller’s orchestra. And among her four Grammy Awards (including a lifetime-achievement honor in 2003) was one for best jazz vocal performance, which she won in 1995 for the album “Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday.”
The Guardian might not have thought through every claim:
The 1974 album Come a Little Closer, recorded while she was in rehab at a psychiatric hospital, features James at her best.
Artistically, perhaps. But being in a psych ward is hardly likely to be anyone's personal best.
The BBC coughs gently to remind people that while she might have owned At Last, she didn't originate it:
The title track, a cover of a 1941 number first performed by Glen Miller, was to become her signature tune, much played at weddings because of the sweet orchestral arrangement.
But for all the words and the warmth, the best way to remember James is the music.

Just like the old days

I suspect the RIAA will be secretly delighted at having been included on Anonymous' attacks on various copyright industry sites; they've been so long eclipsed by the MPAA in the 'trying to shore up a business model that no longer exists' lobbying that they'll just be delighted anyone bothered to take them down.

I'm picturing the RIAA trying to look cross while thinking "oh, this is like the good old days when our site was booted offline every three or four days. We've still got it..."

On a more serious note, the loss of Megaupload is a shame; it was one of the most usable of the filesharing sites. What the US government has done, at the behest of the people who pay for the comfy seats in their offices, will take no unlicensed content off the internet. It simply removes a useful tool for the rest of us.

Gordon in the morning: It's complicated

Really, Gordon? 2012, and you still think there's mileage in giggling about Facebook's use of 'poke'?

Your chance to poke Wayne Rooney’s face
Elsewhere in The Sun, a large swathe of the paper is handed over to Simon Cowell to try and relaunch his leaky World Of New Faces.

It has all the grace and attraction of those panicked Tesco full-page adverts that popped up in the press this week - and has the same sense of an organisation that never expected to fail flapping about trying to cope with suddenly slamming into reverse.
Speaking to The Sun prior to today's start of BGT auditions in Manchester, Cowell also confessed he had poached Alesha Dixon to join BGT from Strictly Come Dancing to wound the hit BBC1 show.
Given that Strictly doesn't go head-to-head with X Factor, never mind Britain's Got Talent, it's hard to see why Cowell needs to bother about wounding Strictly.

In effect, he's saying he took Dixon on not because he thought he she'd be great at telling people doing dog-and-pony-ventriloquism how great they were, but simply because he thought it'd make a different programme less watchable. It's like those slimy blokes who break up relationships not because they're in love with someone else, but just for the joy of ruining lives.

Dixon must be thrilled to discover that what attracted Cowell to her judging was, erm, the thought of an empty seat next to Len Goodman.

The trouble is, it suggests that Cowell is even further out of things than 2011 showed. Nobody comes away from Strictly talking about Alesha's judging; she's pretty much always been panel-paddage. Perhaps Cowell should concentrate more on trying to raise the standards of his clapped-out shows rather than trying to spoil something everyone else quite enjoys.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tom Dickins takes on SOPA

As part of the internet sort of went dark yesterday ("I can turn something called javascript off to see Wikipedia. What's javescript, thought? I know, I'll check Wikipe... nooooo...") Tom Dickins made his own protest, sending an open letter to remind Congress that the copyright industry doesn't actually speak for everyone who makes things:

This is the economic reality of being a musician in the 21st century. The people who can and want to spend money on your music, will. The people who either can’t or won’t spend the cash will ALSO support you! They will rock up to your gigs, spread the word to their 100 friends and it will ripple outwards and reach unfathomable distances. The possibilities are so much greater now compared to the days when it took being signed to a big label to get you on Video Hits.
To underline the point, he also made his music available for free as well.

Bookmarks: Lawrence

How great is it that after all these years, Lawrence from Go Cart Mozart/Denim/Felt is finally getting the love and attention that he's always deserved? Okay, we're still some way from seeing Cowell choosing We Are The Supermodels as this year's song for the winners of X factor to destroy, but the Met Police have confirmed that unlike in the past, Lawrence could manage to get himself arrested. The Quietus celebrates with an interview:

When Paul said to me, 'My next film is going to be about you', I said, 'OK then', but I said, 'I don't want to make an ordinary film, I don't want any talking heads, I don't want you to go to any people who know me and get a critique or anything like that, what I don't want to see in a documentary is someone who's been in a band years ago and then you see them and the other band members fat and old with grey hair sitting in a pub reminiscing. I hate that, it's just such a boring technique. Paul said exactly the same, he didn't want to make that sort of film in any case.

Gordon in the morning: An exotic world

There's some tatty pap snaps of Florence out of the machine in Brazil on Gordon's pages today, which means Gordon has to do one of his say-what-you-see bits of text underneath to try and explain why what might look to the outside world of a seedy invasion of the privacy of a woman in a bikini is actually a proper news story:

She took a right soaking playing underneath this waterfall in Brazil.

It's such an exotic setting you're half expecting[...]
Yes? What, Gordon, is the acme of exoticism? What is the most exotic thing that you can think of? Choose well, my son, for the photo you have is of a woman dancing in a waterfall in South America, which sets the exoticism level quite high. Obviously, you'll have to come up with something more exotic than that. Go on, Gordon, tell us how exotic the photo is:
It's such an exotic setting you're half expecting the Timotei shampoo model to appear and join in the fun.
I'm... I'm not even sure "the Timotei shampoo model" is even a category of thing, you know. It's not like, say, an American Apparel model which has crossed into being the sort of person who you can picture even if you don't know who they are or what they're modelling.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Embed and breakfast man: St Vincent

Back in 1977, Saturday Night Live had a contest to allow a viewer to become a host for the night. It was won by Miskel Spillman, an 80 year-old, who found herself hosting the Christmas show for that season. Her record as the oldest person to present the collection of overlong sketches and overused characters would stand until the beatification of Betty White; her record as the only non-showbiz presenter stands.

Her programme also holds a footnote in musical history.

Originally, the musical guests were supposed to be the Sex Pistols. Their criminal records made getting them to the studios something of a challenge, and instead Elvis Costello was parachuted into the show. He was under orders to play Less Than Zero - already well-known in America - but a short way in, Costello stopped the song and with the words "I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, there's no reason to do this song here", the band launched into Radio Radio.

I know, you're yelling "I know all this - what has this to do with now?" at your internet-connected device. But the backstory makes St Vincent's appearance on Conan last night all the more enjoyable:

Gordon in the morning: Bitch this, bitch that was the flavor of the month

Another one of those days when Gordon's lead story is, erm, transcribing Jay-Z lyrics. Apparently Mr Z has realised that throwing the word "bitch" around isn't on:

The ode, which is doing the rounds in the US, includes the lines: "Before I got in the game, made a change and got rich/I didn't think hard about using the word bitch/I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it/Now with my daughter in this world I curse those that give it."

It continues: "I never realised while on the fast track that I'd give riddance to the word bitch/To leave her innocence intact/No man will degrade her, or call her name/Forever young you may pass/Blue Ivy Carter, my angel."
Gordon, of course, stands up every single story he runs, ever - he told the Leveson enquiry so much while under oath. It makes it a little strange, then, that he adds this:
Last night some Jay-Z fans were questioning whether the poem was legit after refusing to believe he'd go that far.
Actually, more or less as soon the poem appeared people questioned if it was genuine. Which means that not only is Smart leading his column transcribing a poem, it's a poem that even he admits he has no idea if it's a real one or not.

This is, of course, a paper from the same stable that ran The Hitler Diaries with a little story going 'ooh, actually these might be made up'.

It is an interesting story if it is true, although the poem could be real without the emotions being genuine - unless Jay-Z intends to remove all the songs that use "bitch" and "woman" as synonym from his back catalogue, there's a big 'so what?'

More interesting still to see Smart try to explain why the story is worth our attention even if it isn't a real one:
Whether it is or not, Beyonce will be all for Jay cleaning up his language.
'It doesn't matter if this is a story based on a falsehood, as I suspect someone I don't know would want it to be true'. Classic.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Vinyl returns

The 405 doesn't name the spokesperson, but surely in these hard times HMV can't have many spokestypes hanging about to offer this view on the expansion of vinyl:

A spokesperson for HMV said "A lot of customers have been asking us to increase the amount of racking we dedicate to music in store and we're pleased to say we'll be doing a lot more of that soon - in fact we're also planning to significantly increase our range of vinyl in quite a few locations as well."
The slow spread of vinyl back into "quite a few locations" is a great idea. Let's hope it can outrun the creeping collapse of the chain.

Madonna wins a Golden Globe for her Masterpiece

Ooh, naughty Foreign Press Association. Could there be any more backhanded gesture than giving a prize to Madonna's movie WE - but for one of Madge's songs that sits on the soundtrack.

What makes it even worse - by which I mean delicious - is that Madonna is on record as having felt the music work was a distraction from her main role on the movie. She grumbled that doing the song took her focus on crushing the life out of the story:

"[Guy Oseary] harangued me for the entire time I was filming and editing my movie to write a song. And I said, 'Please, Guy, I'm trying to focus on being a director and I want people to pay attention to the film and I don't have time.'"
And here comes the Golden Globes, effectively handing Madonna a prize marked "don't give up the day job".

Kid Rock says sorry

Who knew that Kid Rock would apologise for something after all?

Admittedly, he's said sorry for smoking in a no-smoking venue, but it's still the first step in turning over a new leaf.

At this rate, we might get a 'sorry' for Rock & Roll Jesus by Christmas.

Gordon in the morning: Wanted on voyage

There's no explanation in Gordon Smart's story about why Mike Tyson is supposedly going to take The Wanted on a tour round Las Vegas. Beyond this:

After hearing that the band were stopping off at Sin City during their trip to the States, the ex-heavyweight boxing champion got in touch with their management and asked if he could be the one to show them around.
That clearly isn't true, is it? I struggle to believe that Tyson flicks through We [heart] Pop to find out which third-string boybands are going to be in town in order to drive them to Denny's.

What is surprising, though, is that The Wanted's puppetmasters think that having their band link up with the violent, convicted rapist works for their brand in the first place.
Tom said: "I can't believe Mike Tyson wants to take us out in Las Vegas. All I keep thinking about is his part in The Hangover — it'll be The Hangover Part 3 with The Wanted boys.

"He wants to show us all the bars, clubs and hotels, it will be sick."
Well, incredibly inappropriate, at the very least. Do the kids still say that?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This week just gone

Geeky stats this week - these are the most-popular No Rock years, in terms of numbers of stories from that year read so far in 2012:

1. 2012
2. 2011
3. 2005
4. 2006
5. 2008
6. 2010
7. 2009
8. 2004
9. 2003
10. 2002

These were the more interesting releases of the week:

Laura Gibson - La Grande

Download La Grande

Wedding Present - Live 1990

Download Live 1990

Terry Hall - Best Of

Download Colourfield - Deception

Rend Collective Experiment - Homemade Worship By Handmade People

Download Homemade Worship...