Thursday, December 13, 2012

HMV edges closer to the abyss

Despite all the brave talk when new boss Trevor Moore joined the company a few months ago, things haven't got better for HMV. In fact, they've got quite a bit worse:

[T]he terms of its bank loans were not likely to be met in January and April, placing the future of the 238-strong chain under threat.

HMV said like-for-like sales fell 10.2% in the 26 weeks to 27 October as its pre-tax loss narrowed to £36.1m, compared with £50.1m the previous year. The dismal results come despite reports that HMV has received £40m in financial support from its suppliers in a bid to keep it going over the festive period.

HMV shares crashed more than 40% in early trading on Thursday morning, to just 2.375p, giving the retailer a market value of just £10m.
Last year, it got a lifeline from record labels who feared a world without a music store. Now that stores like Primark and BHS are offering a rack of top 40 CDs in most branches, you might wonder if that was the best use of (apparently) 40 million quid.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Arthur life

Whatever happened to James Arthur, eh? The X Factor winner's single is out now, and Gordon is excited:

JAMES ARTHUR’s Impossible had sold a whopping 187,000 copies by midnight on Monday after just 24 hours on sale.
That sounds interesting, except when you compare it with how earlier winners did.

Leona Lewis sold 50,000 downloads of A Moment Like This in the first half hour. And even Shayne Ward managed over 300,000 copies in the first two days and nearly three quarters of a million in the first five.

It all makes Arthur's sales look a little underpowered. But he's got a few more days to make the numbers up.

We are the robots.txt

All you need to know:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bunton to breakfasts

You know what George Osborne hates? Besides kittens, love, fun, poor people, tax for rich people, biscuits, people mentioning that whole thing with the prostitute and the drugs, people snickering at him, rainbows, kettles, sunsets, Nadine Dorries, wellington boots, your family and especially your grandmother, Essex, The Only Way Is Essex, Yazz doing The Only Way Is Up, D:Ream, space travel, combination padlocks, bicycles, the noise cars make when you lock them with a remote control, Keith Lemon, bitter lemon, Lemony Snicket, children, mittens, The Sound Of Music, creme brule, Delia Smith, southern Austria, that strange slurping noise Iain Duncan-Smith makes when he drinks tea, the M6, pay and display parking meters, rubber-soled shoes on polished floors, floor polish, floors, flaws, whores, s'mores, horses, men called Kevin, women called Kevin, cross-dressers, Welsh dressers, old maids, liebfraumilch, the way cows' eyes just stare at you, people who won't let him forget the time he got on a train and sat in first class without the proper ticket, eggs, dinosaurs, dinosaur eggs, Nick Clegg, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, the other Roger Taylor, The Tailor Of Gloucester, Gloucester, Doctor Foster, Steve Foster, foster parents, Meet The Parents, Meet The Press, napkins, Nat "King" Cole, coal, Coal Miner's Daughter (the song AND the film), the Song And The Story with Isla StClair, Isla StClair, Linda Blair, Tony Blair, Lionel Blair, Give Us A Clue, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, Sorry I'm A Stranger Here Myself, There's A Ghost In My House, ghosts, toasts, celebrity roasts, Julian Huppert's beard, the face Vince Cable pulls when he's thinking, Dele Fadele, cartoons, the back seat of Volvos, Bogshed for changing their name from The Amazing Roy North Penis Band, shops that sell artisan bread, artisans, breads, shops, Tony Benn, Big Ben, Ben Dover, Long Dong Silver, Nate Silver, maths, calculators and more kittens?

Besides that, George Osborne hates shirkers. Especially people who lay abed of a morning, with the curtains pulled. He'll be delighted to hear, then, that Emma Bunton won't be one of them, as she'll be getting up early to co-host Heart's breakfast show with Jamie Theakston in the new year.

UPDATE: We've just been told George Osborne hates Emma Bunton.

Gordon in the morning: Estate agency

Harry Styles is thinking of buying a house. Oh, but there's a worry:

The ONE DIRECTION star is having second thoughts about moving to a £3million north London mansion said to be haunted by the ghost of Dick Turpin.

Harry’s not fussed about the ghostly presence inside – just the boozy punters making their way home from the pub next door.

A source said: “Harry loves the area and the house but is a bit unsure about the pub.

“He’s been advised that it could affect the sell-on value as potential buyers may be put off by having a boozer so close.

“He’s very business-minded and appreciates it could be a bad move long-term.”
He's very business-minded, and yet doesn't seem able to work out that if there's a pub there now, it's reflected in the price, which would cancel out the effect of there being a pub there when he comes to re-sell. It would only be a problem if the pub opened up after he bought it.

And, sadly, we live in times where pubs are more likely to close down than open up.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Duff doesn't want your money

Money? Duff McKagan doesn't care about your money:

Duff McKagan isn't in rock 'n' roll for money.

The legendary former Guns N' Roses bass player - who is also a member of Loaded - says nobody who gets into music for the wrong reasons will succeed and all his riches mean nothing compared to the buzz he gets from playing.
Oddly, he doesn't appear to be playing for free anywhere at any time.
He told Classic Rock magazine: ''Rock 'n' roll, for me, was never a money making endeavour it was pure passion. And just because you've been successful, money has nothing to do with it. Okay, it's great that I don't have to worry about paying the goddamn gas bill, but this is still motivated by passion. Money hasn't changed my sensibility about rock 'n' roll.''
He also doesn't have to fret about the sodding electricity bill, the shitting water rates or the the buggering life insurance payments.

It's an interesting claim, and he may well believe it, but it's clearly bollocks. Of course being paid large sums of money to play changes your relationship with music.

Right, he might play just for the 'buzz' if there was no paycheque lined up - but wouldn't the very nature of the buzz be different if he was thinking about having to be up at eight the next morning to prepare a Powerpoint about the Schmidt order?

How is it possible that all you have to do is rock could not change the way you think about music, and create music?

Unless you're made out of squidgy potato paste, I suppose.

Gordon in the morning: Singing from the same sheet

Girls Aloud can't remember their own songs, apparently:

GIRLS ALOUD were never going to be candidates for Mensa – and they proved that again at yesterday’s Jingle Bell Ball.

CHERYL, KIMBERLEY, NICOLA, SARAH and NADINE needed lyric sheets to remember their tunes and what parts they each sing.
If you're going to start accusing people of being a bit thick, you might want to not be confusing membership of Mensa - which is obsessed IQ - with being able to remember things, a different mental discipline altogether.

More curiously, this introduction suggests that the group were reading the lyrics while they were playing the Jingle Bell Ball. But read the quotes the story is built upon:
Cheryl, who also sang solo at the ball with WILL.I.AM on Saturday, admitted: “In rehearsals I was singing Kimberley’s lines and she was like, ‘Cheryl, you don’t sing that’ and I was like, ‘I’m sorry.’ ”

Kimberley added: “We needed lyric sheets for every single song — it was so funny.”
That makes it sound like they needed lyric sheets in rehearsal. Which, while surprising, is surely the sort of problem that groups hold rehearsals to deal with?

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Meg White showed "no interest"

Remember back when Jack White was interesting, rather than just some sort of authenticity franchisee? When he was in the White Stripes?

Apparently those were the bad times:

In The White Stripes, it was impossible to share the good moments with Meg because she was very uninterested. If something nice happened, it wasn't like we would hug or have a drink. That wasn't what went on.

"We would record a White Stripes song in the studio and it would be me, Meg and an engineer," he added. "So we would finish a mix of a song and I'd say, 'Wow! That's pretty good!' I'd look around and Meg would just be sitting there, and the engineer would just be sitting there."

He continued: "So it'd be sorta like, 'OK... Let's just move on to the next one.' It was just me by myself. But it was the best thing for me. It taught me a lot about trusting my gut."
Oh, poor Jack, being deprived of hugs. What a terror Meg sounds like, refusing to give you a high-five everytime you got the balance right on the left guitar channel.

You wonder if there's a counterside to this story - that, perhaps, by the time Jack had spent three damn weeks on the mix of a single track, that the joy had completely been sucked out the endeavour and maybe Meg and the engineer were just numbly waiting until they could go home. Just possible, isn't it?

This week just gone

Most-read stories from last week:

1. Chart music dies screaming
2. Rita Ora's nipslip that isn't
3. Spotify thinks you need help discovering music
4. The blokiest Grammys in years
5. RIP: Dave Brubeck
6. UK ISPs blocking legal content
7. Menswear platinum prank backfires
8. Can you believe there was no Bieber in the Grammys? Yes? Oh.
9. Birmingham Hare And Hounds under threat
10. Newsnight investigates Mark Blanco death

This was some interesting new release stuff:

Scott Walker - Bish Bosch

Download Bish Bosh

Seth Lakeman - Live With The BBC Concert Orchestra

Download Live With The BBC...

Mark Stewart - Exorcism Of Envy

Front Line Assembly - Airmech

Download Airmech