Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reading Button, Leeds Button

In a rare foray into providing news you can use, here's the times when Reading & Leeds coverage will be on the BBC Red Button this weekend, and then highlights through the week:

Freesat/Sky/Virgin Media:
Sat 25th August, 7:00pm-2:00am
Sun 26th August, 4:00pm-2:00am
Mon 27th August, 6:00am-Saturday 1st September, 4:00am

Sat 25th August, 9:30pm-2:00am
Sun 26th August, 4:00pm-2:00am
Mon 27th August, 6:00am-9:50pm
Tue 28th August, 4:10am-10:20am
Wed 29th August, 4:10am-2:50pm & 6:10pm-7:20pm
Thu 30th August, 4:10am-9:50pm
Fri 31st August, 4:10am-6:50am & 11:40pm-4:00am

Listen with No Rock: The Blue Aeroplanes

In case you missed it: The Blue Aeroplanes did a live session for Marc Riley earlier this week. You've got 26 days left in which to hear it.

And, yes, they started with ... And Stones.

Gordon in the morning: The stink eye from Ol' Blue Eyes

Frank Sinatra might have been a better judge of character than we thought. Gordon says he had no time for Bono:

BONO admits he annoyed Frank Sinatra so much on a video shoot for their 1993 cover of I’ve Got You Under My Skin that the crooner stormed out.
Not, unfortunately, to put in a call to his friends in legitimate business.

As ever, though, this story turns out to be not quite what Gordon sets up:
The U2 frontman said: “We turned up at a bar to do the shoot but our cameras didn’t work – twice.

Frank was known as ‘One Take Frank’ so when we asked him to do it again he bellowed: ‘What’s going on?!’

He said we were amateurs – and disappeared.”
So rather than Bono annoying Frank, it was a failure of technology.

Still, I like to think that Sinatra was annoyed by Bono as well. Because, after all, who wouldn't be?

Friday, August 24, 2012

It was all about voices, not personalities. Or names.

You'd have to have sympathy for Mark Linsey. The BBC's Executive Editor for entertainment commissioning couldn't remember the name of the winner of The Voice when asked at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Leanne Mitchell, apparently.

That's showbusiness. (I bet nobody can remember anyone who won episodes of that, either.)

Ironically, Newt Gingrich chooses to not face up to the challenge of his rivals

Newt Gingrich has thrown in the legal towel following his unapproved use of Eye Of The Tiger at pep rallies. The Hollywood Reporter, erm, reports:

Sullivan sued Gingrich in January for using his co-written Grammy-winning song as entrance music at various conferences and campaign rallies.

In March and April, when Gingrich's campaign still had some life, the Republican fought back with tough-talking motions in court. Gingrich questioned the jurisdiction, brought up the statute of limitations, pointed to the First Amendment, nodded to the song's other co-writer who stated he was "not on board" the lawsuit, and most importantly, spoke about the blanket license he had gotten from ASCAP that purportedly covered public performance uses associated with political campaigns.
As ever, though, Gringrich blew hard and then caved. Terms haven't yet been made public.

Gordon in the morning: Red fawn

Gordon knows the action is elsewhere in The Sun this morning, with the paper running the Harry butt photos on the grounds that its readers "have the right" to see them.

It seems incapable of explaining why, though - there's nothing illegal happening in the photos; that young men party and sometimes remove their clothes is hardly a matter of public concern; there's no evidence of a security breach. Even the fact that the pictures have been seen elsewhere is a weak point - given the only news value is that there are photos of a naked prince in circulation, the very fact that all the readers will have seen them strips them of any news value.

Still, it leaves Gordon with nowhere to go; he's dragged out a photo of Tom Cruise's son djing, and gives it a bit of a fawning:

Teenager Connor jetted in from America to play a set at Chinawhite last night.
Usually a nightclub appearance on the decks is how Z-listers end up scraping a living.
And how Djs earn a living, too. Don't forget that.
So it’s a curious choice for Connor who has starred in big-budget Hollywood flicks including Seven Pounds, alongside Will Smith, and as a rebel warrior in Red Dawn.
Actually - as Gordon will be well aware, as he clearly did what I've just done and lobbed the name into IMDB - that isn't an extract of a blockbuster CV; it is his CV.
Be interesting to know if he opened his set with the Top Gun theme tune.
He didn't.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gordon in the morning: The Zayn vanishes

Not entirely sure why this story falls under the remit of Colin Robertson, TV editor, rather than Gordon himself, but - brace yourself - Zayn Malik has quit Twitter.

Apparently he was upset that he was being given grief because he's in some sort of relationship with Perrie Edwards out of Little Mix - I imagine tweets along the lines of 'What, won't Cowell let you date outside the church' were being fired in his direction.

That this is something of a non-story is more or less proven by one of the reactive tweets that Robertson has diligently harvested and reproduced:

Shocked supporter VaynZayn wrote on Twitter: “I feel like Zayn’s just broken up with me. Our non-existent twitter relationship is over."
Shocked? Really, Colin? You can't hear a rather sharp eyeroll and a 'nothing to see' when you come across it?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Consumed by a Jaguar

Lan Del Ray is being paid to promote the new Jaguar F-Class (I think that must clear up any lingering confusion about what market segment she's been targeted at). It's not clear what Gordon is getting out of handing over a swathe of space for marketing blurb:

IF you had to choose a singer to be the face of a fancy new sports car, Lana Del Rey would definitely be up there.

The gorgeous, pouting star has signed a six-figure deal with Jaguar to launch their amazing new F-Type. At the very least she’s getting one for her garage too.
Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s global brand director, said: “Jaguar’s allure is in large part due to its unique blend of authenticity and modernity, two values we believe are shared with Lana in her professional achievements.”
Whatever you might think about Del Ray, would you really think of her as the go-to guy for authenticity? Did Jaguar do a quick google before drawing up the contract?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An appeal to Todd Akin

Maureen Herman was the bassist with Babes In Toyland. She's lived through a lot since then; today, she's written an open letter to Todd 'legitimate rape' Akin explaining why his remarks are dangerous, and how they disrespect her, and her daughter, a child of rape. If you read only one thing on Akin's crass ignorance - hell, if you read only one thing, period, you should make it this.

Gordon in the morning: Won't someone think of the children, again?

As he brings news that they're going to clamber onto the showbiz wagon (weren't they already there?) Gordon Smart quotes an "insider" on the progress of the Jackson children:

["T"]hey find school tough.

“Kids can be really cruel."
Yes, it's the kids. Not the tabloids who keep dragging the Jackson brood into the spotlight, running their text messages and laundering their family troubles in plain sight. It's the school kids who might mention this who are really cruel.

Monday, August 20, 2012

This isn't news, Matt Bellamy

Matt Bellamy has revealed that a big influence on the new Muse album is U2. Whoever would have thought?

Frontman Matt Bellamy told Classic Rock magazine: ''We toured with U2 last year in South America. And there's definitely a little bit of influence come on to this album, a little bit of [1991 album] 'Achtung Baby' here and there.''
Muse have been pushing stadium-shaped vacant bombast for years; surely the U2 influence has always been obvious?

Gordon in the morning: Diplocarpon rosae

So far, the Stone Roses reunion has benefited from attendees having turned up convinced they'd be seeing something historic and important. How did it go when they moved into the festival circuit, where the audience are coming in treating them as just one band amongst many?

Didn't go that well:

THE Stone Roses’ incredible run of amazing live shows hit some dodgy ground at V Stafford.

Ian Brown was getting all Bruce Lee with the crowd after a pint of lager clocked him early on.

Then they started Love Spreads four times before they got it right.

John Squire broke a string during a guitar solo and Ian started moaning about the sound.
It's a lot harder when you're not being kept aloft on a sea of goodwill, isn't it?

In other news:
I suspect we're only a couple of years away from the OED adding "not now in polite use" into the entry for boffin. There are many ways you can describe a pretty good mathematician; telling the Sun chose two words which sound - at best - double-edged.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Coleman returns

So, the missing Jaz Coleman has returned, apparently unaware that his 'working retreat' to the Sahara had led to reports of his disappearance.

He also claims that he knows nothing about the slagging of the Mission and Cult:

Yet mystery still surrounds the message on Facebook regarding The Cult and The Mission Shows of which Coleman claims no knowledge. 'Looks like this has caused a right ding dong and feel its impossible to continue this tour under the circumstances'. His comments were to wish both The Cult and The Mission the best of luck on the tour, and to find out who has been impersonating him.
A right old ding dong? Was Coleman spending time in the desert or the 19th Century? My guess is that the person who "impersonated" him will turn out to be the same person who hacked Grant Shapps' YouTube account that time. Or at least have a similar relationship to the "victim".

Peter Gabriel on Pussy Riot

There's been a lot written about Pussy Riot; one of the best pieces came from Peter Gabriel in yesterday's Times. Unfortunately, of course, The Times is locked behind a paywall so, ironically, it's difficult to share Gabriel's words on freedom of speech. I hope he'll not mind if I share his words here:

OK, here we go again — another cause celeb with a bunch of overpaid, underinformed musicians banging on about a part of the world they don’t really understand. A punk group playing rude, subversive music in a cathedral — it has outrage, blasphemy and sacrilege all wrapped up in one fell swoop.

At first glance the campaign to free Pussy Riot looks like another bandwagon for the Save the World gang to jump on. There’s a lot worse stuff to worry about than a Russian punk group when even President Putin, on his visit to the UK this month, called for the courts to be lenient in sentencing them. Although presumably he filed that under “notes to self”.

A number of musicians, myself included, have spoken out against the threat of many years in jail for these three young women. Pussy Riot have become a focal point for the protest movement and the campaign is warming up. By supporting Pussy Riot — and gay rights — Madonna found herself criticised by none other than Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister who, in an extraordinarily personal attack, accused her of being an old whore who should take her cross off or put her pants back on.

When it comes to religion, I do believe that we need to respect each other’s faiths and most musicians supporting Pussy Riot would not have chosen the cathedral as a place of protest. However there are certain fundamentals on which democracy and freedom have been built and one of those is the separation of Church and State. So when an archbishop, the head of your Church, publicly backs a very repressive head of state who so obviously now follows a doctrine very different from the Christian one, something is clearly amiss.

I am told by those who know Pussy Riot that the three girls on trial are all believers and quite serious about their faith. This might put their action in a different context, more similar perhaps to Martin Luther’s hammering protests against the sale of indulgences by the Pope on the door of his church, or Christ causing havoc by throwing over the tables of the moneylenders in the temple.

Going back to the days of Mikhail Gorbachev with all the hope for the reforms of perestroika and glasnost and then Boris Yeltsin leading the country to economic collapse, Russian morale had sunk very, very low. The West made the decision not to offer help or to get seriously involved, and perhaps we are now reaping the result of that decision.

When Vladimir Putin first came to power, he was a genuinely popular hero, bringing back services, prosperity and pride and many were willing to overlook the negatives. But each term of office has exposed more of what is rotten and seen the erosion of more and more human rights. The clampdown continues and so does the fall from grace. Recently we witnessed the previously unimaginable sight of Mr Putin being booed at a judo match.

But on the street, older Russians are saying that they have not seen such use of force — such brutality, bullying and threats of violence — since the bad days of Stalin. Russia is now regularly described as a gangster state: in which protesters are routinely imprisoned and beaten; in which investigative journalists are murdered; in which the tax authorities have been known to sell an individual’s tax returns to gangs so they can be a little more precise in their extortion demands; in which a young lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, hired to investigate corruption, is murdered.

It is a country that has continued to supply arms to the Assad regime while it slaughters its own citizens; where once again there are only two sides to choose from, with two shirts, one saying “Foreign Agent” the other saying “Agent of the State”.

And yet, as in many other parts of the world, there are very brave young people willing to risk their freedom, along with all the accompanying threats to family, for a better, freer and more open Russia.

The Russians are a very smart, able and independent people who will, for sure, determine who governs them and how they do it. We outsiders (and musicians) are now being asked to help them to throw off the heavy blanket of silence, to let a little light into Russia’s darkest corners.

Turning away doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.
[Thanks to Michael M]

X Factor scrapes into the next round

According to TV Scoops, the X Factor's return performed a bit like the average X Factor winner - did alright, can hold its head up, but doesn't really look to have much of a stellar future ahead of it:

The share was also the lowest since 2006, apparently, so it wasn't just that some of the audience stayed outdoors barbecuing their children; those people who were indoors were tempted away by Indiana Jones And The Destruction Of Franchise Goodwill on BBC One.

UPDATE: The MediaGuardian figures are little brighter for ITV:
The X Factor's peak of 9.9 million represented a 46% share of viewers, while the 8.7 million for the whole 75-minute show, 42% of viewers, gave it double the audience share of any other programme.

This week just gone

The most-read stories over the last seven days:

1. The Olympics - not so much closed, as buried
2. Madonna cares not for Elton John's opinions
3. No, seriously, why do people think Tatu are gay?
4. When John Lennon was imagining not having any possessions, how hard was he imagining?
5. Marilyn Manson tries to make people look at him by writing swears on his face
6. Nick Grimshaw: His name shall not be sung
7. In full: The last Mark & Lard show
8. Nick Mason defends Ed Sheeran's pisspoor Olympics peformance
9. Charlotte Church goes to GAY in latex
10. Hyde Park: Blur's gig largely unheard by the audience

These releases were worth having a look at:

Dead Can Dance - Anastasis

Download Anastasis

Edgar Summertyme - Sense Of Harmony

Download Just Tell Me That You Want Me

Various - Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac

Download Just Tell Me That You Want Me

Public Service Broadcasting - The War Room

Download The War Room

Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Live At Rockpalast 1978

Download Live At Rockpalast

Gentle Giant - I Lost My Head

Download Gentle Giant