Saturday, October 25, 2014

Photographerobit: Alfred Wertheimer

Photographer Alfred Wertheimer has died, says his niece.

Wertheimer had a small but notable part in rock history - he spent six days with a young Elvis Presley, taking over 2,500 photos of the singer on- and off-stage. What's even more remarkable is that the photos were largely overlooked until the 1990s - nearly two decades into the Dead Elvis Industry.

Wertheimer also worked on the Woodstock movie, but it's the closeness to Elvis that made his career (and, indeed, paid off handsomely as the photos toured in later years.)

Bookmarks: Rush

Perhaps you life would be better off not knowing there's a Tumblr dedicated to Rush making cumfaces. Perhaps we should say nothing about it.

Cookachoobit: Alvin Stardust

There's been a lot written about Alvin Stardust, who has died at the age of 72. Most of the obituaries called him a "glam rocker", which is only sort of true. Perhaps nobody wanted to be too blunt about how he was a rocker who uncomfortably glammed up for money.

Anyway, this week cannot be allowed to conclude without reminding ourselves of Stardust's greatest moment - stopping kids from becoming roadkill:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

6Music nears 2 million

There's a new set of Rajar radio audience figures this morning, and they're lovely for 6Music. A weekly audience nudging two million, and - says MediaGuardian:

Laverne, the station’s mid-morning DJ, presented its most popular show with 868,000 listeners.

In a sign of the changing way people are listening to the radio, a record 27% of listening for 6 Music was online or via smartphone and tablet apps, the most of any station and more than four times the industry average of 6.4%.
A number of its presenters all had record audiences in the last quarter, including Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie’s afternoon programme, Marc Riley, Huey Morgan and Mary Anne Hobbs.
Elsewhere, the Nick Grimshaw figures have been spun so much it's hard to tell if either nobody or everybody is listening; Ben Cooper has made a stab at putting a candle on some lukewarm Radio 1 figures:
Cooper, who also oversees digital sibling station 1Xtra, said Radio 1 was “leading the industry in becoming a multiplatform youth brand”, including a YouTube channel with more than 1.6 million subscribers and plans for a Radio 1 channel on the BBC’s iPlayer.

Cooper said the Rajar figures “only tell part of the story. I’m very pleased that in the traditionally difficult summer quarter, the Radio 1 Breakfast Show has 240,000 new listeners in the year."
If you're pointing to your YouTube subscribers as a metric on the day actual listening figures come out, it's pretty clear you're disappointed by your listening figures.

But at least Cooper wasn't reduced to mentioning the number of retweets Zane Lowe gets. That's when you know you're nearing the endgame.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The UKIP calypso continues to demonstrate the unelectability of UKIP

Mike Read has withdrawn his UKIP Calypso song, after it occurred to him that, maybe, singing about "illegal immigrants" in a funny-black-person voice might be racist after all.

The Red Cross were apparently offered some of the proceeds of the song, but they said no, on the grounds that they couldn't accept funds linked to a political party. And that they work with asylum seekers, so the song didn't really fit with their values, either.

Rather than accept this, UKIP decided to be arseholes about it:

A Ukip spokesman said "synthetic outrage" produced by "right-on" social media users and the media caused the removal of the track, claiming that less money would go to causes such as the British Red Cross from its sale.
But the principle that the Red Cross can't accept party political donations is a solid one - they can't be seen as being connected to a government, or a ruling class, or an ideology. A proper political organisation would understand and respect that.

More to the point: where did the idea that this was raising money for the Red Cross come from?

Here's the UKIP Facebook page announcing that "their celebrity member" had made the track:
Our celebrity member Mike Read, the former Radio 1 DJ, has written a brand new single especially for UKIP and we need your help to get it to the top of the pop charts.

It costs just 79p to download, 20p of which will go to UKIP.
Odd, if you're keen to raise funds for the Red Cross, that you wouldn't think to mention it.

And on Monday, when Read was defending his racist song as not being racist at all, he didn't mention that there were funds being raised for the Red Cross.

The Amazon download page for the song - is still live, incidentally, so Read and UKIP can't even manage to withdraw a song from distribution, never mind pull a nation out of Union. But that page doesn't mention the Red Cross, either.

I'm not suggesting that UKIP have made up this donation in a desperate bid to try and salvage an embarrassment and try a 'you're upset about racism but you're making Africans die of ebola' argument, or that they're lying... oh, hang on. I am. UKIP are lying. Of course they're lying.

Sports people are odd people

Having discovered that the inspiration for Royals was a 1976 photo of Kansas City Royals' George Brett, two radio stations in San Francisco have dropped Lorde from their playlist because Kansas City and San Francisco are playing each other at rounders.

Countering this - and presumably to ensure that Lorde doesn't lose out - a Kansas City station is playing Lorde a lot more:

“I respect the work of Mr. Brian Figula, 96.5 KOIT program director, and his team of broadcast professionals, but we won’t let their anti-Royals spirit ruin this moment,” KZPT general manager Tony Lorino said in a statement. “A few angry San Franciscans who don’t have a song called ‘Giants’ won’t rain on our parade.”
Oh, if only it were true that there was no song called Giants. Someone has done this:

The World Series is played over what feels like 2,000 games of about forty hours each. There's time for a lot more of this sort of thing to happen.

Crabwalk... hang on, that's not a crab

It's not uncommon for parents of sixteen year-old girls to discover a shady creature in their bedroom who shouldn't be there.

It's not always a scorpion.

But Ben Watt found one of them in his daughter's room. London Zoo sent round an expert who collected - ahem - everything but the girl. And the man. And the fu... oh, alright, they only collected the scorpion. They're now trying to work out what nature of scorpion it is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stacy Lattishaw has gone from Jump To The Beat to praise to the heavens

Ever wondered what happened to Stacy Lattishaw?

Oh. Not even a little bit?

Go on, pretend you do.

Brilliant. Glad you asked, as she's resurfaced in Texas as a church minister:

Lattisaw, a minister in the Christian denomination known as “Spirit-Filled” spoke to a crowded convention hall in Humble Saturday morning. She was the guest speaker at the Unveiled Hope-Dream Again conference during the morning service at the Humble Civic Center on Oct. 18.
I know what you're thinking. Okay, I know what I'm pretending you're thinking - how did she go from this:

... to standing in Texas saying "praise is my weapon"?

Like most of the great Christian martyrs, she was called through the medium of an infected scalp:
A particularly bad scalp infection was one of the factors that made Lattisaw refocus her energy in a religious direction.

After she developed a fungal infection on the top of her scalp, she awoke every day and held mirrors up to “look at it.” Lattisaw became even more concerned after a visit to her doctor where he said he had not seen an infection quite that bad and urged her to get an AIDS test.

At the height of her anxiety, “God sent me a prophet who told me to begin praise and worship.”
Ringworm, then. It suggests that God might have spoken to Stacy by getting her to swap to a cheaper shampoo at some point.

I do wonder if at some point she had a conversation with a friend:
- You're giving up the entertainment industry to become a minister? You should have your head examined.
- I've just had my head examined, that's why I'm going to become a minister

Medical note: It's also possible to treat ringworm using medication and medicated shampoo.

Sleater-Kinney: So this happened yesterday

Yes. That's a new Sleater-Kinney single. And, yes, there's a new album, No Cities To Love, right at the start of next year.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mike Read defends racist UKIP song as you can't do a racist routine without being racist

Poor Godfrey Bloom. There he was, storming out of UKIP because the party was too politically correct, only to discover that Mike Read is doing a cod-Jamaican accent on their behalf.

Speaking to BBC Radio Berkshire, Read said: "If anyone has taken it the wrong way, many apologies. But it was never meant to be remotely racist."

He said he found accusations of racism "extraordinary", adding: "It's an old-fashioned political satire... you can't sing a calypso with a Surrey accent."
Older readers might recall Mike Read's 'All In The Morning Papers' feature on his breakfast show, where he sang weak satire in a calypso style. But not in a cod Jamaican accent. Funny that.

Still, it's not just the accent that's racist; even in a Surrey accent, this would be a bit grim:
Our leaders committed a cardinal sin
Open the borders let them all come in
Illegal immigrants in every town
Stand up and be counted Blair and Brown
Oh, Mike.

He also is shaky on facts:
The EU live in wonderland
Tried to ban bent bananas and British jam
Bent bananas? That old lie was disproved when Mike Read was still famous:
European Union officials acknowledged that a regulation had just been promulgated setting standards for bananas, including the size requirements reported in The Sun. But the standards were set as a result of "pressure from the trade," applied to growers and packers and not retailers, and would change nothing since virtually all bananas sold in Britain already conformed, a spokesman said.

"It doesn't affect Mrs. Jones going into a greengrocer," insisted the spokesman, Peter Dixon. Asked about the issue of the banana's shape, he said: "The regulation says a banana should not have an abnormal shape. In no sense does it ban curved bananas because a curve is a normal shape for a banana."
That was twenty years ago.

The jam thing is less of a fib - there is an EU rule that says jam can only be called jam if it contains 60% sugar; trouble is, a lot of shitty British jam has less sugar in it than that.

The problem with Mike's claim, though, is that the UK government has already exercised subsidiarity in this matter, which undermines the idea there's some sort of foreign jam tsar undermining our ability to flog shitty jam.

Still, it's nice that Mike Read is keeping himself busy. Time must have weighed heavily on his hands since that time he was passed over as Tory mayoral candidate. Not that everyone in UKIP is a frustrated Tory, of course.

Mary Lou Lord: Salem's plot

Mary Lou Lord was born in Salem - yes, that Salem - and used to play on the streets.

For the best part of a decade, though, she hasn't because of a city ordinance banning amplification. She explained this on Facebook earlier this month:

For many years I used to play music (busking) in my home town of Salem ma but then as Salem grew, someone came up with a street performers ordinance of rules with states that they are NOT allowed to use AMPLIFICATION.

Without my little amp, my small voice could not compete with the ambient noise going around the town so, I was forced to discontinue. For many years now I have not played in Salem because of this permit's language.
However, she discovered this year that there was an exception to that hard-and-fast rule:
But there is a loophole that I have recently found that makes it perfectly legal to use AMPLIFICATION if you are proselytising.
Soliciting is still forbidden - hey, it's not a free-for-all - but providing you're proselytising, you're good.

On Saturday, Mary put the loophole to the test. How did it go?:
After 7 years of abstaining from playing with an amp (always quietly, and always on the outskirts in non residential areas), I finally played in Salem with an amp through the Proselytizing loophole I discovered recently.

Right to the minute, the woman named Ellen (the lady who goes around checking on things and her cohorts arrived (a minute before I played), By the way, she was NOT in attendance at the City Hall meeting on the new ordinance rules, nor did she have a clue about the legal doc I presented her with (she even went out of her way to take a picture of it with her phone-um, Ellen, it is ONLINE) and I presented her with the printed out ordinance (legal doc) of the outlines.

For the first time in 7 years, she walked away, unable to say a word. It was a great feeling, and a great night. A very small victory, but one that mattered to me.
Let's hope that Salem's response is to redraft the law more sensibly, rather than just plug up the loophole.

After all, it's not like Salem would want its city name to become a byword for misacarriage of justice, would it?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bono's eyes

Obviously, nobody would wish eye problems on anyone; not even upon Bono. But why are news outlets reporting his eye problems like it's news?

Didn't he "reveal" that he wore sunglasses because of eye problems back in 2005 in a Rolling Stone interview with Jann Wenner? (This is a rhetorical question to which the answer is yes.)

Yes; it must be terrible to have those eye problems, and who wouldn't be sympathetic. But you can't keep "revealing" you have them.

This week just gone

What people read in largest numbers this week:

1. Video: Le Prince Miiaou
2. Simon Bates: Smoothed away
3. Tony Hadley's 2006 medical emergency
4. Tom Watson wants 6Music on FM
5. Bono says sorry in a way that suggests he's not sorry at all
6. Noel Galagher's secret gay past
7. Douglas Carswell sees the Tories as HMV
8. Bono's low tax will save us all
9. The original Arctic Monkeys singer is lovely
10. Man buys McDonalds burger; makes newspapers

These were this week's interesting releases:

The Fall - Creative Distortion

Download Creative Distortion

The Primitives - Spinorama

Lamb - Backspace Unwind

Foxygen - … And Star Power

Download And Star Power