Saturday, February 04, 2012

Adam Lambert not even worth a 'you're no Mercury' gag

I'm struggling to think of under what circumstances 'giving his job to Adam Lambert' could be considered a tribute to Freddie Mercury.

The Decemberists: Heroes of recent wars

It's good that - in the face of the sort of bad publicity even Mel Gibson couldn't generate - the Susan G Komen Foundation have reversed their original decision to punish Planned Parenthood for helping people in difficult situations.

Amongst those who sounded their outrage at a cancer charity behaving like right-wing politicians were The Decemberists:

The Decemberists are deeply troubled by Komen for the Cure's recent decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, a vital resource in the battle against breast cancer. Providing cancer screenings to low income women is integral to the prevention and defeat of breast cancer and it is unconscionable that Komen should politicize this very important issue by bowing to the fear campaign being waged against PP by the right. We've decided to redirect the proceeds of the Team Jenny t-shirts and buttons away from Komen for the Cure. 100% of the net profits of these items will be instead donated to Planned Parenthood's Breast Health Emergency Fund.

Please help to support this essential institution. And, if you've supported the Team Jenny effort in the past, please write to Komen for the Cure via their site or via twitter (@komenforthecure) and let them know that undermining women's health for political reasons is unacceptable.

Update: The Decemberists are pleased that Komen For The Cure reversed their decision.
Reversed for now. The Komen Foundation should be watched, closely.

Bookmarks: Canada

Something for datalovers: a list of every Canadian music act to appear on Saturday Night Live, produced by CBC.

The main lessons? They should have done this list before December, so it didn't end with Michael Buble.

And there have been many more Canadians making the trip to New York in recent years.

Spector settles

A small punctuation point in a long, sad story: Phil Spector has settled a wrongful death suit brought against him by the mother of Lana Clarkson.

Hotpants Romance: Back, back, back

Hotpants Romance - who have been on maternity hiatus - are back. They're returning on Valentine's Day at Salford University. (Sorry - that should be 'Salford University: Manchester', shouldn't it?)

This is what we've been missing:

Mick... Off... Gone

Some sad news from Liverpool: after 27 years, Mick Ord is leaving Radio Merseyside.

He's risen up to the top of the station; it's now the most-listened-to local station outside of London, which is quite an achievement in a pretty competitive market.

He's off to edit the religion and ethics website, reports the Echo. Yes, that's what I thought, but it really would be a spectacular misprint.

Gordon in the morning: Chipper Williams

The only thing more crushing than Robbie Williams launching a Robbie Williams themed poker site is the amount of over-excitement it has created in Tessa Munt:

Ms Munt said: "I am absolutely outraged by this. I think it is deplorable.

"Robbie Williams of all people should be sensitive to the problem of addiction.

"I don't believe there is anything harmless about gambling in this way. The problem is escalation, and he must know what this is like.

"There's no excuse for doing this. Young people are hugely susceptible to this sort of advertising and I am totally opposed to it. It directly targets his fans, including a new generation of children."
I'm not sure it entirely does - it's more a playing-for-matchsticks type gambling, where you can win Williams tat; there's an element of paying for some virtual chips, which is tacky but hardly justifies the reaction of Munt:
She said: "If he wanted to be generous with his time and merchandise surely, with all his enormous wealth, he could visit his fans in his home town and sign posters for them?

"I hope he puts every single penny he makes from it into addiction charities or to help victims over this kind of problem.

"I'm very surprised he is doing this. I think it is awful."
It's tawdry, but is it worse than any other site which offers free games that you then find you have to pay for. I'm all for attacking Robbie Williams, but it hardly seems fair to pick on him for what is a fairly common practice. That much, anyway.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Ice shards

Last week, Gordon Smart was treating Hulk Hogan like he was still an important cultural force. Turns out Gordon's still trapped in 1986 as today it's Vanilla Ice.

Gordon nods as Ice talks about his comeback tour:

The rapper is gearing up for his comeback tour and says: "I want to hit arenas and really put on a big show. I want lasers, pyros and all that stuff, a huge production."
I suspect this hasn't been run past Ice's accountant. I say "accountant", I mean his nephew who's got Excel on his computer.
"There are a few acts I like that would be great to support me – Tinie Tempah, he would be cool.

"A lot of people don't know who he is in the States, they don't play Tinie on the radio over there."
That's the big difference between Ice and Tempah - Ice is transatlantic, and isn't played on the radio either side of the ocean.

But Ice isn't a deluded fantasist - he knows that he might not get Tempah. Don't worry, though, he has a plan b. It isn't Plan B:
"I like Dizzee Rascal too. We hung out at Glastonbury and some of the other festivals so if Tinie can't do it maybe he will."
Yes. Let's hope that that mobile number Rascal gave to Ice doesn't turn out to be the number of a mincab firm in Hounslow, shall we?

Even Gordon struggles with this:
Chesney Hawkes might be keen.
Which does undercut Ice nicely. Unfortunately, it does come at the end of a big splash piece and enormous photo. If Smart believes Ice is a fantasist, why give him so much space in the first place?

With a ladder and some glasses, you could see to Hackney marshes, if there wasn't Tinie Tempah in-between

What's that, Radio One? Your big weekend in going to be in East London this summer?

Yes, that's a brilliant idea. It's not like every bloody thing else is happening in East London this summer, is it?

I'm still at a loss as to how it makes everyone feel like the Olympics is a nation event when it's acting like a giant magnet that just sucks everything, inexorably, back into the capital.

Anyway, line-up: Plan B. Jessie J. Andy C. And some people with full surnames.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

John Humphrys snapping at Chris Moyles

Here, perhaps, is a sign that it might be time for Radio One to review their breakfast show: the battle between Chris Evans and Chris Moyles for morning crown is now well over; instead, Chris Moyles is struggling to avoid being beaten by Today. MediaGuardian does the RAJARs:

BBC Radio 4's Today programme had an average weekly audience of 7.15 million in the last three months of 2011, a whisker away from its biggest ever listenership and just 90,000 behind Moyles on Radio 1, who had an audience of 7.24 million.
In other good news, 6Music again reported a record audience. If Mark Thompson had had his way, the station would have been off the air by now.

Madonna remains an educator

The first school Madonna planned to bring Kabbalah to Malawi didn't end well. In fact, it didn't start well, with £2.4million being somehow consumed without a single child being taught about magic water or magic string.

Still, when life gives Madonna lemons, Madonna puts a biopic of a lemon farmer into planning, and so she's trying again.

This time, though, she's giving some money to people who actually know what they're doing, BuildOn.

Madonna seems to think of this as her charity building schools rather than just giving a charitable donation; hopefully the work being done by BuildOn will mean the schools don't have to pretend that New York Kabbalah is an actual thing.

Madonna remains aloof

Madonna has absolutely no idea what people are making of her new film, WE:

She said: "It's been at many festivals now - Venice, Toronto, London and I had a screening at the Museum of Modern Art, and I know a lot of people have seen it and written about it, though I have not read anything anyone's written about it. I think people will like it or not like it."
People will like it or not like it. Well, that's half right.

It's hard to see how Madonna could remain totally aloof from the reviews - surely she must have noticed the planks being hammered across cinema doors, the red crosses daubed on the walls? The report from the screening in Belguim where the entire audience put their own eyes out with spoons?

Still, when Madonna is given lemons, she has her people investigate why she wasn't presented with higher quality lemons. Turns out The Kings Speech was actually just a prequel for her film:
She added to "While I'm happy about 'The King's Speech' because it does set up my movie in so many ways, and it gives people a reference point, the one thing besides the fact I didn't like was how Wallis Simpson was portrayed, they didn't show how close the brothers were."
That's what happens with films, Madge. Things get left out - you know, like the way your film doesn't dwell on the whole 'fawning over Hitler' bit.

Gordon in the morning: TOWIE infection jumps to movies

Mark Wright, the face drawn on a piece of wood from The Only Way Is Essex is going to be in a movie, reports Gordon.

A movie? What sort of movie would a producer think "you know what we need for this? George Michael's death mask"?

He's going to feature alongside Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer in a new British gangster movie.
Ah, that would make sense. (Did you know they still make British gangster movies? I suppose it keeps Danny Dyer off the streets.)

It's hard to imagine how the inept stunt casting could be any worse. Hang on, what's that, Gordon?
[Mark is] playing Kelly Brook's love interest.
I'm sure the queue for tickets is already forming.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Madonna tries to rake up interest in WE

Having got the hint that nobody cares much about WE, Madonna is trying to shake some life into the thing by trying to reverse an autobiographical theme out of it:

Madonna, who split from Ritchie in 2008 after eight years of marriage, tells Newsweek magazine, "I'd been married 10 years (sic) when I started writing it. And I was certainly asking a kind of existential question that I think people ask when they've been married that long: 'What is the perfect love?'
So, yeah, it's not just a film about a girl called Wally and Wallis Simpson, it's kind of about Madonna, yeah? Right?

But there's a happy ending:
But the Material Girl refused to let her own failed marriage change her views about true love as she worked on her movie W.E.: "When you get to the end of the movie, I think it's very clear they (Edward and Simpson) really loved each other... I am a romantic and I do believe in true love."
And Naziism. True love and Nazis.

TVobit: Don Cornelius

Don Cornelius, who created Soul Train and hosted it for decades, has died.

Cornelius created Soul Train as a black answer to American Bandstand in 1970; within a year it had outgrown its Chicago audience and went into national syndication. It remained syndicated for 35 years, which is a record.

Don remained as host until 1993; the programme continued with out him until 2006.

Given that Soul Train was, perhaps, the highest-profile regular slot for African Americans to appear on prime time television, who better to illustrate it than, erm, David Bowie?

Here's Cornelius interviewing Janet Jackson - he owned the interview. Or at least Soul Train Holdings did:

And here, with Korean subtitles, is Don introducing Betty Wright:

Don Cornelius, who was 75, was taken to hospital with head wounds. Unconfirmed reports in the LA Times suggest these may have been self-inflicted.

MIDEM 2012: What does 'sharing' actually mean

Facebook trumpet round the MIDEM conference with a huge number:

The 2012 Midem Music Conference has brought new data to light about the Facebook Music experience which launched last Fall: over 5 billion songs have been shared via Facebook as a total count since they launched the Facebook Music thing last year at the f8 conference.
Five Billion is certainly a number with a lot of zeroes. But what does this "sharing" actually constitute?

Sharing used to mean making a song available - borrowing (or, if you were an executive stealing) an actual track.

This five billion might include some people clicking on links to hear a song, but mostly just means billions of little blips of data floating up the side of the screen, mostly ignored.

Spacelab is starry-eyed:
What's more, the Facebook music sharing data shows a wholly different group of songs than what you'll find on the Top 40.
Really? Wholly different?
"When we looked at the top 100 songs shared on Facebook, it was a lot of the same songs you would discover if you looked on a Billboard chart. Some artists aren't as famous globally but have local artists with pockets of fans. One example is Skrillex. [He's] not necessarily a top 10 artist, but two of [his] songs [were on our chart.] So that's one of the really powerful things about this. It's not just reinforcing the same songs everybody's listening to, but enabling artists to be discovered in ways that were never possible before at scale," said Facebook's VP of partnerships Dan Rose to Billboard editorial director Bill Werde in a keynote Q&A Monday.
So that's "wholly different" in the sense of "mostly identical, except for a few cases.

(And don't you love the idea that Skrillex is some sort of out-there act who you wouldn't come across without Facebook?)

It's clear Facebook haven't really thought through their pitch - if it's not about reinforcing the same songs everyone listens to, then what's the point of a top 100 listing?

As with most things it touches, Facebook don't offer anything particularly valuable or inventive, and rely just on scale.

Still, five billion has a lot of noughts in it.

Gordon in the morning: One could get a concussion from such a bimp

As we prepare for James Corden's contractually unavoidable Brits hosting, Gordon has bought a magazine which has a photo of him in.

In it, Corden is attempting to be Peter Sellars. Smart's verdict?

It’s Clouse-au but no cigar, James Corden
Oh, yes. Clouseau's famous cigar. How could anyone forget... eh?

Oh, it's just a joke that doesn't quite work - although, to be fair, Gordon isn't the first to make it.
JAMES Corden does his best impression of Inspector Clouseau star Peter Sellers — but it looks like he could do with a few clues himself.
Isn't looking like you need a clue a pretty good impersonation of Clouseau?

James isn't alone in the frame.
The 33-year-old comic donned thick-rimmed specs for the 1960s look — as Georgia May Jagger draped herself across his shoulders.
Well done, Gordon. You didn't describe her as someone's daughter.
The daughter of Rolling Stones star Mick took on the role of Sellers' wife, Swedish film beauty Britt Ekland.
Well, not straight away.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Steve Jones' American adventure comes to a halt

Whoever would have thought that Steve Jones wasn't the right person to host a high-profile primetime US TV series?

He won't be doing The X Factor USA next year.

Never mind, Simon Cowell. That bloke who used to be in The Only Way Is Essex who does the Take Me Out aftershow on ITV2 - you know, Mark something; looks like a man wearing a paper mask of his own face - he's got some time free later this year. Give him a call.

Gordon in the morning: Someone's daughter

How long do you suppose Georgia Jagger's career will have run before Gordon stops headlining pieces about her like this:

Mick Jagger’s daughter Georgia looks ore-some
Presumably the only way for her to stop being someone else's daughter is if she gets married, right, Gordon?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Whatever happened to...?

I'm assuming, by the way, that since there hasn't been a ceremony since 2008, the NME Awards USA has quietly died a death?

NME Awards 2012: The shortlist

Okay, haven't actually looked at these yet, but I'm going to guess that the key theme of this year's NME shortlist will be 'please like us, Lana Del Ray's people'.

Here's the shortlist in full:

Best British Band (supported by Sonos)
Arctic Monkeys
Bombay Bicycle Club
The Horrors

Best International Band (supported by T4)
Arcade Fire
Foo Fighters
Odd Future
The Strokes

Best Solo Artist (supported by Rekorderlig)
Florence + The Machine
Frank Turner
Laura Marling
Miles Kane
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Best New Band (supported by Boxfresh)
Foster The People
Lana Del Rey
The Vaccines
Wu Lyf

Best Live Band (supported by Carling)
Arctic Monkeys
Two Door Cinema Club

Best Album (supported by HMV)
Arctic Monkeys - 'Suck It And See'
The Horrors - 'Skying'
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - 'Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds'
PJ Harvey - 'Let England Shake'
The Vaccines - 'What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?'

Best Track (supported by Fender)
Arctic Monkeys - 'The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala'
Bombay Bicycle Club - 'Shuffle'
Florence + The Machine - 'Shake It Out'
Hurts – 'Sunday'
Lana Del Rey - 'Video Games'

Dancefloor Anthem (supported by NME Radio)
Azealia Banks - '212'
Foster The People - 'Pumped Up Kicks'
Justice - 'Civilization'
Katy B - 'Broken Record'
Metronomy - 'The Bay'

Best Video (supported by
Arctic Monkeys - 'Suck It And See'
Beyonce - 'Countdown'
Hurts - 'Sunday'
Lana Del Rey - 'Video Games'
Tyler, The Creator - 'Yonkers'

Best TV Show
'Dr Who'
'Fresh Meat'
'Never Mind The Buzzcocks'
'This Is England '88'

Best Festival
Reading & Leeds
T In The Park
V Festival

Best Film
'Black Swan'
'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2'
'The Inbetweeners Movie'

Best Music Film
'Back And Forth' - Foo Fighters
'Living In The Material World' - George Harrison
'Talihina Sky' - Kings Of Leon
'There Are No Innocent Bystanders' - The Libertines
'Upside Down - The Creation Records Story'

Greatest Music Moment Of The Year
Brian May joins My Chemical Romance onstage at Reading Festival
Kasabian see in 2012 with their epic London O2 Arena show
Noel Gallagher launches his solo career with press conference
Pulp steal the show at Glastonbury with secret set
The Stone Roses reunite

Best Re-issue
Manic Street Preachers - 'National Treasures'
Nirvana - 'Nevermind'
Primal Scream - 'Screamadelica'
The Rolling Stones - 'Some Girls'
The Smiths - 'Complete Re-issues'
(New award)

Best Book
Jared Leto - 'Notes From The Outernet'
Jarvis Cocker - 'Mother, Brother, Lover: Selected Lyrics'
Malcolm X - 'A Life Of Reinvention'
Noel Fielding - 'The Scribblings Of A Madcap Shambleton'
Shaun Ryder - 'Twisting My Melon'

Hero Of The Year
Alex Turner
Dave Grohl
Matt Bellamy
Noel Fielding
Noel Gallagher

Villain Of The Year
David Cameron
Justin Bieber
Lady Gaga
Liam Gallagher
Nick Clegg

Worst Album
Coldplay - 'Mylo Xyloto'
Justin Bieber - 'Under The Mistletoe'
Lady Gaga - 'Born This Way'
One Direction - 'Up All Night'
Viva Brother - 'Famous First Words'

Worst Band
Beady Eye
One Direction
Viva Brother

Best Album Artwork
Arctic Monkeys - 'Suck It And See'
Bombay Bicycle Club - 'A Different Kind Of Fix'
Bjork - 'Biophilia'
Friendly Fires - 'Pala'
Jay-Z and Kanye West - 'Watch The Throne'

Best Band Blog Or Twitter

Best Small Festival
Field Day
Hop Farm
Kendal Calling

Most Dedicated Fans
30 Seconds To Mars
Arctic Monkeys
My Chemical Romance

Hottest Male
Andy Biersack, Black Veil Brides
Dominic Howard, Muse
Gerard Way, My Chemical Romance
Jared Leto, 30 Seconds To Mars
Matt Bellamy, Muse

Hottest Female
Amy Lee, Evanescence
Florence Welch, Florence + The Machine
Hayley Williams, Paramore
Katy Perry
Marina Diamandis, Marina And The Diamonds
Jared Leto's written a book? Bless.

Well, here's a thing; not a heavy stuffing of nominations for Lana Del Ray; just the one, for the fairly meaningless pop video prize. But that's enough for her to be popped into the headline on the noms page:
Arctic Monkeys, Noel Gallagher, The Vaccines, Lana Del Rey nominated for NME Awards 2012
But I think the shortlisting of Brian May getting on stage with My Chemical Romance as being "the greatest music moment of the year" is the thing that screams out of this list as marking their loss of way.

That and Noel Gallagher. I mean, I'm not fond of Liam - you might have noticed - but to pillory his band while the equally inept Half Hearted Birds leader is in with a shout of hero of the year.

And what's the point of the "most dedicated fans" section? Isn't that implied by the level of support for otherwise clapped-out warhorses?

Gordon in the morning: Oi, stop talking and look at my wad

I'm delighted to see the pretence that the Stone Roses reunion is about anything other than the money has been formally dropped today, with Gordon running a story which is one stop short of a naked Ian Brown rolling in a vat of ten bob bits:

STONE ROSES bassist Mani was left speechless after visiting a cashpoint – he'd become £1.8million richer overnight.
Mani told pals back home in Stockport: "It's madness. I only went out to buy milk and things.

"I went to the cashpoint and someone has stuck nearly £2million in while I wasn't looking.

"The whole world's gone crazy. I could have fallen over backwards when I saw the balance."
Gordon - who, you'll recall, is really excited by the comeback - has run this story through his patented HURHURHURTHEYWEREALLONDRUGSatron:
So you can imagine Mani's disbelief when he tapped in his PIN and saw all that loot.

Back in the day, that would have been down to a really good trip.
Right, Gordon. You don't really get the whole drugs thing, do you?

- "I was so out of it on drugs last night, I thought I'd balanced my chequebook"
- "Me too, I was so off my stylus I was convinced I'd renegotiated my home insurance and got a tidy discount."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Getty takes steps towards becoming a music business, too

You'll be familiar with stock photo behemoth Getty Images, right?

[Insert picture of slightly unconvincing model looking convinced]

They're branching out. They've had a stock music business for a while, but now they're signing up ;name' artists (well, Joss Stone) to provide notes-for-notes. The Next Web explains:

Singing-songwriter Joss Stone was on hand to endorse the announcement. Her new independent label Stone’d Records has partnered with Getty to use the service as a revenue stream. Indeed, Getty is pitching this as a useful source of income for upcoming and established artists alike. The service is designed to simplify the process of gaining the rights to include music in a production, which can be difficult for content producers to navigate.
You could see this being quite attractive to larger media companies - background music which requires neither tortuous negotiations for overseas sales or online use, nor the shuffling down to the library of ominously-titled CDs for something royalty-free. May be a bit of a worry to both royalty collection agencies and library music companies.

Exciting news as the ones everyone has forgotten rejoin The Happy Mondays

I know, I know; we can hardly hear ourselves think above the noise of church bills ringing out for the reunion of The Happy Mondays.

Well, not actual reunion; it's just the continuation of the second reunion, only now with the all-important original line-up of Bez, Shaun Ryder and... erm... you know, the other... two? Three? Was one of them called Spanky?

There's something ironic in Rowetta making the announcement to the BBC that the original line-up of Mucka, Ducka, Trucka, Sucka and Bez; given that presumably she won't be involved.

Had the band that was playing as recently as 2010 been Beaky, Mick and Titch and this was the return of Winona Ryder and Bez, there might be something newsworthy about it. Instead, a band that have only had three years off in the last twelve playing some more dates might just look like it's hoping nobody noticed as it struggles to steal chips off the plate of the revived Stone Roses.

This week just gone

The most-read stories from this month:

1. Gary Glitter's Twitter wasn't Gary Glitter's
2. Why did Megaupload get taken down?
3. Those So Solid Crew Members in full
4. Gordon Smart knows a lot about Robin Gibb's medical status
5. Seal now selling his divorce
6. Michael Jackson Tribute style concert "planned" for Amy Winehouse
7. Hulk Hogan. Yes, it is 2012
8. BRMB dumps name after 40 years
9. BPI insist piracy a problem as Adele album outsells all records, ever
10. Universal somehow forgot to pay the Sugar Hill Gang

These were the interesting releases:

First Aid Kit - The Lion's Roar

Download The Lion's Roar

Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy

Download The Stars Are...

Laura J Martin - The Hangman Tree

Download The Hangman Tree

Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline

Download Dark Adrenaline

Chairlift - Something

Download Something

Brett Anderson - Live At Koko

Kathleen Edwards - Voyageur

Download Voyageur

Mull Historical Society - City Awakenings

Download City Awakenings

Francoise and The Atlas Mountains - E Volo Love

Download E Volo Love

Karen Dalton - 1966

Download Live In Boulder

The Skids - Singles Collection

Download Scared To Dance