Saturday, January 02, 2016

Jazzobit: Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole, who even in death never quite escaped being "the daughter of", has died.

I never understood why she didn't bill herself as Natalie Princess Cole. At least for a bit. You would, wouldn't you?

Her life had been pitted with ill-health and addictions, but she carried on performing through them all.

Natalie Cole died on New Years' Eve. She was 65.

Hiphopobit: Mark B

Mark Barnes, known professionally as Mark B, has died.

One half of Mark B and Blade, Barnes also worked as part of The Great Ones and, widely, in his own right.

In 2002, he presented a Radio One documentary on hip-hop record collecting, which is available online.

He built his own label, K-Boro Records, named after his home turf of The Royal Borough Of Kensington And Chelsea. (You can see why he shortened it.)

He'd not been especially active musically since the early years of the century; he explained to UK Hip Hop why in a 2006 interview:

Reason why is I've just not been too inspired to make any new music ‘cos I just feel like music on a whole right now is going through a very drastic, no quality control change because of the whole internet downloading, sharing thing. All of a sudden everyone who was once a music fan is now either a rapper or producer on myspace & its at a point that because of this everyone expects to get your music for free & it confuses people to whom are actually releasing music & why should they go purchase your single or LP when they can get another artists music for free. Independent record shops such as Mr.Bongo and Headnod have sadly shut down ‘cos music fans have forgotten, or maybe don’t even know what its like to go buy a 12" vinyl record or LP & be a fan of another "artist" ‘cos they think that they are somehow the next big thing ‘cos their best mate & girlfriend told them so.

No word on the cause of death.

Watch with No Rock: Shirley Manson

Shirley Manson talks to CBC about how failure can kick you up the arse and get you moving, and 20 years of Garbage:

Bookmarks: David Bowie

A brief and entertaining guide to David Bowie's adventures in gender transgression:

Alienation and gender fluidity also play out in Bowie’s music videos. A particularly enduring gestural act is performed in the music video for Boys Keep Swinging (1979), directed by David Mallet.

In the midst of his drag of Hollywood starlets, Bowie aggressively pulls his wig off and throws it off stage, then with the back of his hand, defiantly smears his lipstick across his face. Reappearing moments later as another drag persona, he repeats those gestures, as if to reinforce the gender subversion.

Friday, January 01, 2016

James Blunt tries to say the right thing, misses badly

What's really a pity about James Blunt's terrible comments about gayness is that he clearly meant well. It's just he has such a cloth ear.


"But to call me gay is a compliment."
This sounds quite positive, doesn't it?

Except it followed this:
Singer-songwriter James Blunt isn't fazed by fans and critics who mistake him for gay. In fact, the five-time Grammy nominee considers it a great honor.

"I sing songs that aren’t very macho, and so people will say, ‘Oh you’re effeminate,’ or ‘gay,’ as if calling me gay were an insult," Blunt, 41, told the BBC.
Oh James. Oh James. Being "macho" isn't the opposite of being gay.

If someone listens to one of your reedy songs and says "it's a watery nothingness and sounds gay", you shouldn't be saying "yes, it's a pissweak emoticon of a song, and I am proud to have written something that sounds gay", you should be staring at them and asking why they think that gay is a synonym for feminine.
He went on to joke that he'd like to be considered "an honorary gay man," primarily because "I’m totally at ease with myself."
Oh James. Oh James. Oh, James. Apart from just how offensive the idea that you should be allowed to identify with an identity you don't identify with, you're again assuming that there's a type of person who is gay, with whom you share those attributes.

That's not how it works. The only attribute gay people have in common is being gay people.

And if you think "being at ease with" yourself is the thing that makes the difference between straight and not-straight people, you might want to ponder the mental health crises some of us experience.

Justin Bieber faces spray-can backlash

Just when Justin Bieber was in the throes of reinvention as a sort-of-sensitive artist, his past catches up with him.

Admittedly, it's only his past from the end of October, so it didn't have very far to travel to catch up with him.

Back then, his people sprayed teasers for his new album all over San Francisco. This sort of thing happens all the time, but unluckily for Biebs, this was the point where the people said that's enough:

The censure doesn't refer to the Nas song mural installed in NorCal, but rather to a slew of permanently stenciled sidewalk-graffiti ads that read "Justin Bieber Purpose #Nov 13." (The tags have survived rainstorms and persisted for nearly two months now, because they were applied with spray paint instead of sidewalk chalk.) "This prohibited marketing practice illegally exploits our City's walkable neighborhoods and robust tourism; intentionally creates visual distractions that pose risks to pedestrians on busy rights of way; and irresponsibly tells our youth that like-minded lawlessness and contempt for public property are condoned and encouraged by its beneficiaries," Dennis Herrera wrote, "including Mr. Bieber and the record labels that produce and promote him."
Bieber could be fined USD2500 for each stencilling, plus the cost of putting things right.

Amazon do a good thing

Let's start 2016 with a warm, amusing story.

Pegida, the German Nazis have released a pop song, and it's doing fairly well in terms of downloads.

That might not sound too amusing - and it isn't - but there is an upside.

Amazon, noting that they're raking in money off sales on this tatty piece of shit, came up with a fuck you Nazis plan. They're giving the money to help refugees.

Yep, they might struggle with paying their taxes, but at least Amazon have come up with a way to ensure that far-right propaganda helps fund the very people the nazis demonise.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jedward are taking on ISIS

The world is ending the year weary, as a tiny band of tiresome-but-weaponised dullards try to run a ruler of terror across the planet.

Listen up, ISIS: Sure, you're an over-rated prepubescent wet dream that's hung around way too long.

But we've got our own over-rated prepubescent wet dream that's hung around way too long, and they're taking you on.

Jedward are touring airports to somehow counteract terrorism:

The Irish twins will embark on a series of gigs across Europe to reassure their fans that "everything will be okay​".

However, those wanting a performance from the duo will be left disappointed, as the two will just be meeting fans.

"We're not performing but instead we plan on defying the current fears about terrorism by reassuring our fans that everything will be okay​," John told the Irish Sun.
I know what you're thinking - you wouldn't trust Jedward to accurately predict the weather if they were stood outside in a thunderstorm, so to what extent is their reassurance that there's nothing to be worried about actually reassuring?

On the other hand, what a superb riposte to ISIS. "Yeah, guys, look, we're so bothered by you, we've got Jedward on the case."

The Home Office said there are no plans to raise the threat level to Chico in the foreseeable future.

15 Step: Valete

Lynn Anderson, country singer
Yao Beina, singer
Miriam Bienstock, co-founder, Atlantic Records
Cilla Black, singer
Errol Brown, singer, Hot Chocolate
Billy Butler, soul singer
Brandon Carlisle, drummer, Teenager Bottlerocket
Lewis Chin, manager
Jim Diamond, singer, PhD
Alan Diaz, rapper Pumpkinhead
Little Jimmy Dickens, novelty country singer
Val Doonican, singer
Kim Fowley, manager
Andy Fraser, bassist, Free
Edgar Froese, founder, Tangerine Dream
Lesley Gore, teen pop star
William Guest, singer, Gladys Knight And The Pips
Chris Hardman, "Lil Chris"
Josie Jones, Liverpool legend
Johnny Kemp, new jack swinger
Ian Kilmister, Lemmy from Motorhead
B B King, singer
Ben E King, singer
Kelvin Knight, drummer, Delta 5
Andriy "Kuzma" Kuzmenko, leader, Skryabin
Carey Lander, keyboardist, Camera Obscura
Curtis Lee, singer
Jess Marquis, dj
Charmaybe Maxwell, singer, Brownstone
Jim McCann, singer, The Dubliners
Keith Mitchell, head beak, Captain Beaky
Joe Moss, manager, The Smiths
Rico Rodriguez, trombonist
Demis Roussos, singer
Ralph Sharon, keyboardist
Percy Sledge
Chris Squire, bassist, Yes
Steve Strange, singer, Visage
Jazz Summers, manager and label owner
Robbin Thompson, singer, Steel Mill
Jackie Trent, songwriter
Paul Walden, Guru Josh
Trevor ("Dozy") Ward-Davies, bassist, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Titch
Scott Weiland, Stone Temple Pilot

15 Step: Releases

Part of 15 Step