Just seen the Massive Attack video
...holy shit, it's good. The song's back in Protection territory
and the video (a Jonathan Glazer special) is beautiful in its shocking
simplicity. See it. Love it. Buy the single in March, and maybe we can
get something decent up the Top 10.
Now, about that album...
Long time, no see
Just haven't been blogging all that much lately, or seen the need to
blog. But now I'm back in business, at least in a part-time sort of way.
So, how has life gone since I went away?
Movies: There are a few movie-watching controversies right now
that I'm going to have to give my position on: I'm pro-King Kong (I
even liked the first section) and pro-Jarhead. Didn't much take
to Narnia (the use of the "something's bad there... wait, no,
it's good" cliché over and over again really didn't appeal to my sense
of true movie-making, or to even the book, although I accept that they
did a pretty good job with what material they had). Missed The
Producers due to not being anywhere near a decent cinema over
Christmas and so will have to wait for a video rental. Saw Bittersweet
Life at EIFF last year; if you're anywhere near a cinema showing
it, please do, it's no Oldboy but it's still a worthwhile
watch. March of the Penguins is out on Region 1, so anyone who
wants to see it can. Must see Cock and Bull Story, which for
some reason is only at the Cameo (Cineworld are still showing Cheaper
by the Dozen 2, however.) I have no position on Brokeback
Mountain, because I haven't seen it.
Music: I've been listening to a lot of Kraftwerk lately, having
got the Minimum-Maximum DVD (lovely DTS track, by the way) and
an epiphany came to me: Electric Café isn't actually all
that bad, is it? Sure, it's no Man-Machine, but it's got a sort
of rhythmic undertone that propels the whole thing along in a very
listenable, almost dancey way; and "The Telephone Call" is
eight minutes of phone-sampling techno brilliance. Anyway, besides The
Mix it looks like an absolute masterpiece.
Blogging: I really need to get a better blogging system, but I
don't want to pay. Decisions, decisions...
is really depressing. As is George Galloway going on Celebrity
Big Brother. What the hell was he thinking? Obviously not about
So far, the best musical thing to happen this year should hopefully be
Shayne Ward getting kicked off the #1 position; which will probably
happen this week (to the Arctic Monkeys, dear God), at least according
to Popbitch. Else, I'm looking forward to the Belle and Sebastian album.
Doherty again, and the ISX 2005 List
BBC - Drugs
arrest for 'singer' Doherty. Drug driving. How stupid can one
guy get without actually hurting other people, and how long will it take
for him to drive into a tree?
Anyway, it's time for my list of the best albums I've heard that were
released this year, to counteract the NME's boringly rigged (Bloc
Party?) and Q's completely wrong (Coldplay!!!!???) lists. At
least for me. In alphabetical order only -
AFX - Hangable Auto Bulb (CD reissue) - Just because you
need to have something Aphex in here and he hasn't been releasing a
lot lately; this is really rather good stuff and it's a mystery that
it hasn't been released on CD until now.
Belle & Sebastian - Push Barman To Open Old Wounds
(CD compilation) - The classic EPs, all on one nice two-disc set for
those who don't want to spend too much collecting them. Brilliant!
Depeche Mode - Playing The Angel (DVD/CD album) - OK, so
the CD mix is clipped and compressed and sounds horrible, but you can
tell the songs are great even from that; the best DM have managed
since Songs of Faith and Devotion. And the surround mix on the
DVD is outstanding; it isn't as compressed as the CD mix, it doesn't
clip and it sounds absolutely fantastic in surround.
Fischerspooner - Odyssey (CD album) - See
my review. Suffice to say, I'm not sorry.
Garbage - Bleed Like Me (CD album) - Another fantastic
album with horrible compression, it contains some truly excellent
songs; truly a massive improvement over Beautiful Garbage. If
only studio masterers would learn that compressed volumes sound worse
the better the hi-fi you own...
Goldfrapp - Supernature (DVD/CD album) - It's not as
good as Black Cherry. Come to think of it, it's not as good as Felt
Mountain either. Despite that, it's still a decent album and very
Gorillaz - Demon Days (CD album) - I'm not sorry either.
It's a bloody good pop album and Albarn and DM should be praised to
the skies. Besides, they have Dennis Hopper on there...
Kate Bush - Aerial (CD album) - There's not much that
can be said about this, other than... WE'RE NOT WORTHY! WE'RE NOT
Ladytron - Witching Hour (CD album) - This really is a
sumptuous album. Of course, very few of you bought it, so they're
probably going to get dumped by Island. Shame on you.
M83 - Before The Dawn Heals Us (CD album) - If you buy
one string-heavy electronic post-rock album this year, make it this
New Order - Waiting For The Siren's Call (CD album) -
OK, so it's not their finest hour, although at least it's a very
consistent album. I still love them. Call it my weakness.
Special Love - I Want To Touch You (CD-R EP) - You
probably won't ever get to hear this, since this local band have now
split up and this debut effort wasn't distributed very widely. Shame.
It's lo-fi electronica, a sort of mix between Vince Clarke-era Depeche
Mode, Suicide and industrial noise with distorted lyrics about
stalking layered on top. Surprisingly good tunes, too, and an
outstanding live show.
Vitalic - OK Cowboy (CD album) - It's what Human
After All would have been like if it had more than two decent
tracks and had flow; mostly instrumental electronica with a
tune-centred sensibility and welcome playfulness. Absolutely fantastic
cover art, too.
You really won't go wrong with any of these albums. If I had to pick one
as #1, however, it would, of course be Kate Bush. And why shouldn't it?
It's a brilliant album that never fails to surprise and has amazing
charm; only Kate could get away with "Mrs. Bartolozzi", or Rolf Harris's
vocal appearance on Disc 2, and make them both wonderful. Best since Hounds
of Love? Oh yes.
(My favourite Kate album is The Dreaming, by the way.)
To go with this list, disappointments of the year:
NME completely losing its credibility
Pete Doherty going into rehab, again
Michael Jackson trial
Live 8 (with the exception, of course, of Pink Floyd)
Human After All
You Could Have It So Much Better... (with a totally uneven
Kylie getting cancer
Madonna, after all that Kaballah stuff and falling off a horse,
actually somehow producing a decent album
And, totally subjectively, a list containing absolute 'musical' crap:
The Q Top 100 Albums list: Coldplay at #1, for f..
Pete Doherty, and all fawning pop-magazine coverage of Pete Doherty
X&Y, and all media coverage of X&Y
Futureheads (wrecking "Hounds Of Love")
Bloc Party (they're dull, dull, dull)
X Factor, and Cowell/Walsh/etc
Sharon Osbourne (just for what she did to Iron Maiden)
C**** F*** getting to number one
That pretty much says it all, I feel. Similar lists for movies coming
Bad Lyrics Corner, late 2005 edition
entry posted by Inquisitor at 21:44
edited on: 04/11/2005 21:52.
"I don't like cities, but I like New York
Other places make me
feel like a dork"
-- Madonna, "I
Love New York"
Still, it's not as bad as James Blunt, so we can at least be thankful
Oh, and finally fixed the CSS for the permalinks, so they look pretty.
Return of the Jedi in 211K: <http://www.b3ta.com/board/5280332>
Further on unexpected MP3 releases: Madonna's Confessions on a
Dancefloor (release date: 14 November) has now leaked, in
crap-o-rama if-that-was-originally-192-I'd-be-very-surprised quality,
despite apparently not even having been sent out as a promo yet. Isn't
it time for the record companies to admit that they can't win?
Now got my Cineworld branded Unlimited Card, funnily enough with the old
Cineworld logo on it and not the one they've repainted all the doors
at my local with. Hmm.
Polanski's Oliver Twist is sadly underwhelming, especially
after The Pianist. V. nice set design, though.
Batman Begins is still the second best comic book movie of the
year (after Sin City).
Depeche Mode's Playing the Angel CD (haven't tried the DVD yet) has
the worst mastering I've ever heard on an electronic album - someone's
pushed the knobs way too high at mastering stage and the obviously
unintentional clipping sounds truly dire on my separates hi-fi. Even
with this taken into consideration, it is still the best thing they've
done since Songs of Faith and Devotion, because it has
something that Ultra and Exciter don't: actual tunes.
I still haven't listened to Aerial yet, except for "How To Be
Invisible" and the single. Yes, I am going to buy it...
EMI screw up again
The Kate Bush album, now titled "Aerial", has been awaited for ten
years. It is the most eagerly anticipated album in the history of recent
music. It has been kept in sheer secrecy by EMI, its distributor; music
journos have had to listen to it behind closed doors on EMI's equipment,
or on sealed tapes, or only hear single tracks and so on. It is meant to
be secret until the 7th of November, when its glorious release will
eventually make tonnes of cash for EMI; coincidentally, this is also
according to Popjustice the day on which they "Copy Control" all UK
product. I refuse to buy CC product (read problems on my separates
system, complete failure on my portable CD or on my DVD player, and it
still doesn't stop you from ripping it if you own the right CD-ROM
drive), so if they "protect" Aerial, it's not getting bought.
Yip, you guessed it; it's leaked, a week before release, in a nice high
quality LAME VBR rip. (Apparently the unprotected Canadian release, from
the artwork inside.) Nice advertisement for Copy Control - doesn't
actually stop piracy, just screws you and the artist over! Nice
(Although if the final album isn't CC, there will at least be
some hope for the future.)
Shame of the nation
So I finally get the time to go out and look through this week's new
music releases. Witching Hour by Ladytron has finally been
released (you may have seen my
review of the MP3 leak back in mid-August, and it's just as good as
it was then), so I pick up the copy with the free live DVD - £12.99 from
Fopp or Avalanche - and a second-hand PWEI CD.
However, I also went out to buy the New Order DVD releases, and came
back empty handed. This despite the fact that the releases are both
desirable and well-specified, especially for a fan like me who's been
unable to see this material before.
The problem is the way Warner Europe are ripping off the European
consumer. In the USA, the two releases (a videos DVD and the documentary New
Order Story, the latter released on VHS and laserdisc in 1994 and
promptly becoming rare soon afterwards) are a single Item, priced
at around $24.98 - £14.21 according to the Google converter. In the UK,
they're two separate discs, retailing at £13.99 each; the dual pack is a
HMV exclusive priced at £24.99. Ripoff Britain or what?
Now, there's usually a disadvantage of buying US discs of UK bands. Many
of the music videos will almost certainly have been made on the cheap on
PAL video, so there'll have to be a standards conversion to get them
onto a US NTSC disc. The same applies to New Order Story. Even
those videos that were made on film have probably been converted from a
video source rather than going back to the original reels of 16mm,
because it's cheaper. This can lead to picture quality problems, and
should be avoided at all costs - you should always buy video-sourced
material at the frame-rate and resolution it was intended for. This
doesn't apply to films, as generally two transfers are made at the
different frame rates - so avoiding conversion artifacts, which are much
much more annoying than PAL speedup and thus no reason to avoid buying
R2 films. But for video, you should always buy from the native source.
You would expect this would be the UK; they are, after all, a British
band making videos in Britain and, throughout the 80s, on a very British
record label (Factory). The only problem is that Warner aren't playing
ball - the only difference between the UK and US discs of the New Order
material is that the US one is region code 1 while the UK one is region
code 2. That's it. We get the inferior standards-converted videos (and
apparently VHS-quality New Order Story) despite the fact we
shouldn't. And, to add insult to injury, we're made to pay £10 more for
a different region code.
This piece of institutional cheapness is amazing. On Universal
Interscope, Marilyn Manson (not my favourite either) released their
complete video collection on the bonus DVD with the best-of, not
charging all that more for it either. I want to see artists I actually
want to buy doing that - the video collection and NOS should have
been in the wasted-opportunity Retro box set (which, needless to
say, I own). This sort of flagrant disregard of the fans is the main
reason why no-one's buying CDs anymore, except schmucks like me.
Anyway, I have a multi-region player and a TV that can cope with raw
NTSC, so Warner UK can get stuffed. I'm buying from the States. The band
will get their royalty and Warner UK won't, so that's just fine by me.
Ladytron - Witching Hour (early preview)
Let's play a game: you are a huge Big Four record label; let's call you
"Universal Island". You sign up an excellent British electro band, which
we'll call "Ladytron", and
pay for the recording of their new album with DJ Shadow's engineer
(Kasabian's too, but we won't mention that); then you release their
single, "Sugar", with absolutely zero promotion, without iTunes Music
Store and so despite being "Single Of The Week" all over the place the
band fails to get in the Top 40. Now you're coming up to release a new
single, "Destroy Everything You Touch", which was fantastic as a cut-off
speeded-up demo MP3 capped off a mix show on Radio 1 and is even better
in the flesh, and... there's no out-and-out promotion for that, either,
right now, no Radio 1 C-listings or anything. Then you move the date of
the album so that not even the band's webmaster knows when it's coming
out; currently, they're saying "October", and it was originally set for
later this month.
And then you send out promos of the album before the tracklist's even
been announced on the official website, without even the slightest
attempt to keep them secure, and thus the album thus turns up at the
"usual places" in luscious VBR quality. On one torrent site, it's got
over a hundred seeders, which indicates somewhat demand for the
material... Does Universal want to kill the band or what?
You can, of course, save them by simply buying the album when it comes
out, because it's really very good; at least on second listening. It's a
more varied album stylistically than Light & Magic, and I
think that helps it; it's different, and yet it's still recognisably the
same band. It's slower, which I'm not entirely sure is a good
thing; but on the other hand it is wide ranging and keeps the very
commendable aspects-of-dark seen on the previous albums. Also, you'll be
able to buy this album, whereas 604 and Light & Magic
are missing in action (courtesy of both their previous British and
American record labels going under).
Or maybe, just maybe, the only reason the album is everywhere right now
is clever peer-to-peer promotion; it's unlikely, but practically my
entire CD collection has been built up from previewing albums on P2P
services, liking them and buying them, and I'm sure there's others like
me out there. What say you, Universal? More thoughts on this and other
matters as I listen to the album more.
This new last.fm/Audioscrobbler site is rather good...
It's possibly the best use
of CSS I've ever seen. It's fluid, it works in IE and Firefox,
it uses tables only for what tables should be used for (lists of
items), and it looks rather good. So much so that I'm going to use their
journal system for specific music-blogging (articles mirrored on here,
Go on, join up. You know you
want to share your music taste with the world...
Apparently listeners to Planet Rock have better taste than I'd think they would...
...since, in a poll to vote for their ideal supergroup (with separate
polls for singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer), they
ended up voting for Led Zeppelin. Now, ain't that the truth!
I'm going to London on Thursday, by the way, and needless to say I will
be going by public transport. There's no reason not to, as far as I can
see it, and it's all been booked for weeks. So I'll be writing up my
experiences on Tuesday when I get back; needless to say, I won't have
access to blueyonder between Thursday and Monday, so only the haloscan
comments (if anything at all) will get updated. (Think I should switch
to enetation? Vote now!)
Live 8 blogging #8: No postmortem yet
That'll wait until the end of the G8 conference. There is really nothing
more you can say about it until we see whether or not it'll have any
effect whatsoever. Apart from saying, of course, that Pink Floyd should
tour as a matter of urgency...
The Americans, whose only TV source of Live 8 was MTV (get off the
air!) are somewhat
annoyed because they went straight to a commercial break in the
middle of "Comfortably Numb". I don't blame them at all. Quite, quite
It is also notable that the US and Canadian legs were the only legs with
less watchable (but much more popular) bands than at Hyde Park, although
that's soon to be topped by the Murrayfield leg - the best we've got is
the Proclaimers, and that really does say it all. Worse, we've got a
Bedingfield; even worse, it's Natasha. A disaster in the making?
Live 8 blogging #7: I'm speechless...
THEY STILL HAVE IT.
They're practically pensioners, they haven't played together since 1981,
the non-Roger section hasn't played the songs since 1994, and THEY STILL
And Roger and Dave hugged at the end; which, considering their history,
is really quite something.
Well, Paul McCartney was and always will be a Beatle, but he's going to
have to try really really hard to top that... why couldn't they have had
an hour, Bob?
Thankfully, VHS will preserve this moment at least for a few years. I
may be remembering it for a lot longer. Please, God, let them tour...
Live 8 blogging #6: FLOYD ARE NEXT!!! NEXT!!! NEXT!!!!!!
And the Who were surprisingly OK.
Don't look away...
Live 8 blogging #5: Added a white band now
entry posted by Inquisitor at 21:19
edited on: 02/07/2005 21:23.
Somewhat late in doing it, but...
Velvet Revolver. Umm. Not nearly as bad as they could have been,
but just so unmemorable.
Next up: Sting. Followed by Mariah, doing various awful recent tracks,
and then the unassailable Robbie (no matter how much you try).
Post-Robbie, the fun begins: Who, Floyd, and McCartney...
...and ooh, Message in a Bottle sounds really good, actually. How
odd. If he keeps playing Police songs, we'll be fine...
Live 8 blogging #4: Nice stunt, Bob.
Also, it gave you a good excuse to wheel out the Cars video again, even
if it was just to end up as a link into Madonna.
We can go on all day about the morality of Live 8, but I won't; I'll
leave that up to the rest of you (it's notable that this is splitting
the UK lefty blogosphere down the middle). All I can say is that I hope
it'll do some good, which is all that can be done; cynicism or no, you
have to have some hope.
And coming up: Snow Patrol, the Killers, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters and
(barf) Velvet Revolver. By 9pm, I might well be well enough to start
blogging again, unless something else catches my eye.
Live 8 blogging #3: You knew it was going to happen...
I'm pretty sure I just heard Snoop Dogg let off the F-bomb at 6:30pm in
the evening on national TV. Worse for him, it was a MF-bomb, accompanied
by multiple other words that Ofcom don't take too much of a shine to.
The BBC really should have got in a ten-second delay and a beeper, for
his set if nothing else - especially since the Floyd are
definitely not going to replace the shit in "Money" for love nor.
6:40: And there's two definite MFs now! Wonder what Geldof's
going to have to say to Ofcom...
Live 8 blogging #2: Bollocks...
...Venus Williams won. I thought Lindsey Davenport deserved it for her
first two sets, and the way she was handling that all-out assault in the
third... Still, it's not that bad, at least Venus was playing extremely
well (from the second set tie-break onwards), so congratulations to her.
The problem with Live 8, musically, is that all the interesting acts
aren't doing the British concert. Pet Shop Boys are in Russia, Bjork was
in Japan, the Cure and Muse are in Paris, Brian Wilson and Roxy Music (avec
Eno) are in Berlin. There is good news, though; Duran Duran are in
Italy. The London gig has Paul McCartney and the Floyd, but
that's about it. It may make for good ratings to have several hundred
Coldplays and Robbies, but it turns me off and I'm sure it turns others
And I mean, come on, UB40? For crying out loud. (I didn't even
know they were still going...)
More blogging for the Floyd. And maybe even before.
Live 8 blogging #1: Pete Doherty wrecks T-Rex shock
[Inquisitor is blogging Live 8 from the perspective of an Edinburgh
citizen watching TV, unable to post important letters because the Post
Office has blocked up his nearest post box and is closing for a local
holiday on Monday. So sit back and enjoy!]
Elton John just described Pete Doherty as a "young talent". One of these
words is wrong, and if you know who Pete Doherty is it's not too hard to
work out which one.
Pete Doherty really does look rather ill, doesn't he? And his stage
antics are somewhat... stale. Has he gone back on the drugs again? It's
a surprise he's even managed to turn up on time...
Anyway, back to Wimbledon: it's
all shit for the next hour, until REM come on (and even then, that's
only because they're doing The One I Love). After that, it's all
shit until Travis come on, and that's only because they're apparently
going to do a version of I Don't Like Mondays with the
Bob-meister himself - this could be the funniest thing since their cover
of Baby One More Time, and I've got the VCR ready for it.
Other highlights: Snoop Dogg (dear God, I hope he swears profusely, it
wouldn't be a live concert event without it), Sting doing Every
Breath You Take for the first time in several years, Paul McCartney,
and the Floyd.Oh, yes, the Floyd. There is no way in hell
I am missing the Floyd, and neither should you. (Besides, the
two-person Who before it could be... interesting.) See you later...
Campaign: Buy The Coldplay Single. Now.
Not because it's any good, but because you can prevent C**** F*** from
getting to Number One by doing so. Having Chris Martin on Top of the
Pops instead of the marketing-led horror of galactic proportions that is
the C**** F*** single would restore some of my faith in the people of
Britain that has been so, so hit lately.
C**** F*** 'heading for top spot'
Do it now. Before it's too late. And if you do it, please post here!
And to the HMV guy in the article: I'm a student, and I want that frog
boiled now. There's your kitsch appeal.
On the occasion of seeing several hundred too many Jamster adverts on TV...
Once a day is too much. Twice every ad break on every single commercial
channel is taking the piss. I watch TV with sound piped through my
hi-fi, and it doesn't have a remote control; as a result, and also
because I don't own a PVR yet, I have to rapid-switch the channel when
the frog and friends come on. Unfortunately my TV provider is Telewest
Broadband so it takes about five seconds to get to a safe haven like,
say, News 24. Five seconds of frog to suffer through is five seconds too
much, and with the BBC strike on Monday almost certain to trigger a N24
shutdown I have a feeling I may well be about to go insane.
ITV have had 600 complaints since they started striprunning Crazy Frog
every...single...ad-break...twice, but they won't willingly give up a
source of revenue just because real viewers are pissed off about it
(only the BARB raters count, although at least they're not watching Celebrity
Wrestling either). And the ASA, which has real power, won't listen
to Crazy Frog complaints about their frequency, which is supposedly up
to the broadcaster; and they rejected these months before they
did the ITV deal and started pushing it harder than an American crack
dealer. So complain, complain, complain to OFCOM, with a quickie dropped
into the ASA about the outrageous £3-a-month small-print scam they're
pulling (earning them millions.)
And if you want to hurt them financially, don't buy a tone from them,
complain at every opportunity, switch your domains away from Network
Solutions (Jamster is part of the Verisign
family), and don't buy your digital certificates from
Verisign/Thawte (two sides of the same coin). Make sure to let them
Fischerspooner - Odyssey
By rights, you should hate them and everything they stand for - a couple
of New York art prats glad to define themselves under the 'electroclash'
term discredited by almost everyone else on the scene, who almost
bankrupted a record label with their completely silly first-album
recording costs (although it was Ministry of Sound, which redeems
them a bit), who have once on the album given Linda Perry a songwriting
credit, with self-indulgent
bullshit on the inlay card, and who admitted in an interview that
Casey Spooner is such a puss that he couldn't sing the word "war"
without much persuasion...
And yet I can't help but like the album, Linda Perry, warts and all.
It's just too good to hate. Quandary, isn't it? Fischerspooner have,
against the odds, managed to make a coherent and surprisingly
wide-ranging electropop album that's actually worth buying; something
they were threatening to do with Emerge and Turn On but
didn't quite manage to do elsewhere. It sounds like they've used more
instruments on the album, which helps it a lot; in fact, even the
variation in lyrical style (from Spooner's own compositions to David
Byrne) helps the project; Mirwais, miracle-worker on Madonna's Music
and American Life (rescuing awful, awful songs and making
them sound interesting), does additional production on most of the
tracks; and at least it doesn't have the arrogance surrounding it that #1
had (from the title on).
Besides, "Just Let Go" is one of my electronic singles of
the year so far, although I haven't heard the new single mix of
Ladytron's "Sugar" yet - I did hear the Thinking XXX
version, but apparently it's very different; and from my impressions of
the demo if they release "Destroy Everything You Touch"
it'll steamroller everything else out there. Besides, it's a step up
from a fucking awful remix of "Axel F" featuring C****
F***, isn't it?
It's embarrassing to say this, I know, but this album's actually worth
buying. Besides, at least I still hate the Libertines...
Other albums that aren't as bad as Pitchfork Media says they are:
Garbage, Bleed Like Me (actually a fantastic album). Funny world,
"Making Your Mind Up"
I'm watching BBC's reality-TV style Eurovision candidate show, Making
Your Mind Up, named after by far Britain's least subtle entry
to the ESC. Good things: Terry Wogan (you've got to love Wogan) and
Jonathan Ross, who is slagging off almost everything without care for
the consequences. Bad things: everything else, especially Gina
G (who was crap the first time) and Jordan/Katie Price, who really
shouldn't be doing this.
Song 1: Javine, ex out of Pop Rivals (kicked out of Girls
Aloud, controversially, in the knockout stages). Sounds like last year's
Eurovision winner, so quite frankly I'm all for it; Britain needs a
chance. Popjustice are gunning
for Javine and I may well end up going with them; you can vote online
(from 6:35pm), tee hee.
Song 2: Tricolore's "Brand New Day" (a G4-ish 'popera' hybrid)
has almost certainly the worst Eurovision candidate lyric for years:
If we could see the world through the eyes of a child
> We'd see
the dawn of a brand new day
Jonathan Ross is right about this one - as a ripoff of the Lion King
music - so of course is getting pasted by the audience. Hmm.
Song 3: Gina G. Flashback to the music. Rewind to 1996. Generic
Pop Song with nothing adventurous going on at all. So of course it will
Now they're going around Britain a la the real ESC to show
televote verdicts. I like Eurovision. I'm not sure I like this, though...
Song 4: Another ex-reality TV 'star', Andy Scott-Lee, relative
to Z-list celebrity Lisa. The problem with this song is basically that
it's a Westlife song, and there's nothing I hate more. It's a truly
horrible one too.
Song 5: "Jordan, aka Katie Price, or the other way round." Why
exactly is a six months pregnant, ex-Page 3 model, I'm A Non-Entity,
Get Me Into Here! 'star' doing entering a contest which she
probably won't be able to fly to? Surely she wouldn't be sick enough to
get an early Caesarean in order to go out there? Worse, the song's awful
- it comes from the same Generic Pop Song place as the Gina G song,
although is slightly catchier and much worse produced. Jonathan Ross is
claiming it's the best song, but this may be just because her dancers
rip off Fischerspooner's one-step clothes removal technique (she
To vote, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading and text
reading 'SONG 1', 'SONG 2' etc. I recommend SONG
1, if only as the least worst option (why is it that no-one decent
ever tries entering?) Vote closes at 7:30pm, so get going.
Um... kinda late here, but... Roundup time!
entry posted by Inquisitor at 20:30
edited on: 08/05/2005 18:55.
Yes, there has been yet another long break in transmission, mostly due
to my laziness. Also, I only just installed Dreamweaver on my new PC -
there were much more important things to do with a system with a
powerful graphics card, like Doom III - so have finally got around to
So it's time for a Culture Roundup. New Order's new album, Waiting For
The Sirens' Call, has what looks like Peter Saville's worst cover ever,
and it's a shame since from the unmastered MP3 leak I've heard it's
really a rather good album. Who knows, maybe there's something special
on the actual packaging; I wouldn't put that past Saville and Associates
(the people that brought us the Blue Monday sleeve that cost more to
manufacture than the price of the record) at all. Bloc Party are being
called the new Franz Ferdinand by people who haven't heard the Bloc
Party record, and by NME critics with nothing better to do. Michael
Jackson is 'ill'. And Pete Docherty's out on bail. Again.
What is it with Pete Docherty? How many different times has he been in
rehab? How many times has he been in jail? How many of Sanctuary's
millions has he blown on speed, coke, smack, crack, media publicity,
Kate Moss, and drugs rehabilitation he hasn't got the slightest want to
do? And how many really shitty songs does it take for Q and the NME to
stop comparing him to Kurt Cobain? The answers, as Dylan put it once,
are blowing in the wind.
And when he does kill himself, as he inevitably will (the only other
option is turning into a Shaun Ryder/Shane McGowan figure, since he
doesn't have the talent or the luck to be a Keith Richards, and I can't
see him doing that somehow), what's going to happen? Are we going to
have a black-bordered NME? They did it for John Peel, which was rather a
surprise since the modern NME doesn't give a toss about the real
alternative scene that John championed throughout his DJing life, so
Pete Docherty definitely doesn't deserve one. He'll get one, though. And
someone will refer to it as 'The Day The Music Died', probably a Q
writer. Damn, I'm getting depressed already.
Q really has gone downhill, hasn't it? It's really been pronounced over
the last two years; from providing an entirely readable magazine, to
doing features on Christina Aguilera, to dumbing down the reviews
section to the point where Britney Spears got a four-star review, to
putting paparazzi photos in the news section (the point where I stopped
buying), to running incessantly similar top-100 lists in every single
issue, and most importantly where a staff top 100 list put 'Definitely
Maybe' as the best British album of all time when it isn't even the best
British album of 1994 (Blur Parklife, Pulp His 'N' Hers, Manics Holy
Bible, Massive Attack Protection, Portishead Dummy, Radiohead The Bends,
Aphex Twin Selected Ambient Works II, Prodigy Music For The Jilted
Generation, and Morrissey Vauxhall & I are just some I can name) and so
on. I'm terrified its stablemate, MOJO, will go the same way; it, UNCUT
and Observer Music Monthly are the only three decent remaining music
magazines, and one of them comes free with a newspaper. (Tomorrow, by
Unfortunately, commercial pressures mean it probably will, like it
killed off Select, Melody Maker and the non-awful NME; can't piss off
the Big Four, can you?
Idiots Of The Week #2: BBC Reporting Scotland, Luke Mitchell
(Yes, a running series! And why not? Gives me a reason to write.)
Those of you who don't live in Scotland may not be familiar with the
Jones murder case, not having had it hammered into their heads over
the last three months, so I'll refresh your memories. A couple of years
ago, the said Jodie Jones (a 14-year old teenager from the Easthouses
council estate, an area of Edinburgh I know fairly well) ended
up missing after going out to meet her boyfriend, a neddish
scumbag by the name of Luke Mitchell. Later on, the body ends up being
discovered just off her route to Mitchell's house, Mitchell made an
absolute ass of himself both at the funeral and on Sky News, and the
police process the information.
Of course, as it turns out, she did meet her boyfriend... (at least
according to majority verdict.)
The Scottish media
have not exactly been forward with their tact - all the
newspapers had a shot of somewhat childish glee at revealing that Mitchell
was the one charged with the murder pretty much the second he turned
16 - and they're even less likely to gain it now. It has been like
this throughout the long, sordid, endless trial - every single night
on Reporting Scotland we got a trial update, despite the fact that
the evidence was always the bloody same. Just think of what the
front pages are going to be like tomorrow...
And bad things are going to happen because of this; in fact, the trailer
for Up Next on Reporting Scotland is what triggered me
to write this. Because Jodie was one of the supposed subculture who
call themselves 'goths' and consider themselves to be 'individual',
and Mitchell claimed
to be too, the media has found a Blame Target. And it's the same blame
target as the US media found after Columbine - Marilyn Manson. As they
just said: "Did the music of the rock star Marilyn Manson really
influence the killer's actions?"
Well, let's see...
A) MM's painting of the Black Dahlia murders, shown on his website, isn't
exactly unique to the genre. No-one's even proved to me that Mitchell
even visited the website...
B) As the BBC Scotland article I linked to just above admits, but Reporting
Scotland doesn't seem to be, Mitchell bought the Golden
Age Of Grotesque album-with-free-DVD featuring images vaguely like said
murder two days after Jodie was murdered. Oops.
("This DVD may explain how he
became...a cold-blooded killer" says the idiot reporter, right now. DO
THESE PEOPLE ACTUALLY READ THEIR
C) As anyone who's actually listened to his music knows, Marilyn Manson
is taking the piss. If there is a message in his music, it's "don't
trust other people's bullshit", which is an excellent message and one
I approve of highly, especially in the case of Reporting Scotland.
The trappings around him? It's just theatrics. Look at his appearance
in Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine,
for instance - "I wouldn't say anything to them. I'd just listen... because no-one else
did." The guy understands. He's just the new Alice Cooper, designed to piss
off your parents, so lay off him.
D) There is much, much worse out there than Marilyn Manson - and I suspect
Luke Mitchell may in fact known about some of it, or at least read
about it. But of course, MM's name is recognisable while most of the really seamy
end of the music scale isn't, so that's what gets in the media.
E) It's quite possible that angry music like MM's might actually help people
get over their rage against the society they feel mistreats them -
the whole 'punch in the air' thing. Radiohead and New Order did it
for me, but hey, everybody's different.
So the answer to the question is, of course, no. MM
is merely a symptom, as is Mitchell's self-professed 'Satanism'. Mitchell
is clearly a screwed-up character; the Satanism crap and attachment
to the weird end of the Gothic bandwagon is obviously a cover for real
psychological problems, none of which will be solved by sending him
to jail forever.
(My own suspicion? Jodie found about about his side
girlfriend, and he flipped out on her. Full
stop. And as Larkin said, 'they fuck
you up, your mum and dad', and Luke Mitchell's amoral, uncaring, truly
vile mother definitely fits the bill.)
The big problem is that this will cause a backlash, just like Columbine
caused a backlash, against anyone who doesn't fit in. Just when you
thought it couldn't get much worse for people who aren't 'normal' in
school, something like this happens and you know it's going to. Wear
black? Listen to Marilyn Manson? Use the Internet, not just for
MSN? Be a bit 'weird'? We'll keep an eye on
you! Never mind that you may have no intention of killing or hurting
anyone - like most fans, in fact, of Marilyn Manson, all of whom take
pride in being a 'rebel against conformity' by buying his albums en
masse - you're marked! Even those with problems (and most MM fans are
well adjusted members of society) only really need a little understanding;
but, by God, we'll give them punishment!
This is, of course, something that will create more problems than it solves
- because, of course, if the supposed 'goths' genuinely are persecuted,
they may develop complexes like Mitchell's about it and we'll get a
Scottish Columbine (with school layouts the way they are, it's very possible
- a big enough knife and/or the right bits of the Anarchist's Cookbook and
it'll take Armed Response to stop it), the media will blame it on Marilyn
Manson and/or the Internet and the entire thing will full circle again.
It's a horrifying prospect, and one that could very well be happening,
in Britain, right now. Isn't that scary?
[In fact, isn't the possibility of blaming it on the Net why the pigs scoured
the Mitchells' computers, discovering as a sideline that Luke's brother
was viewing porno at the time of the murder? I suppose when they found
that out at least some of the feeling was that of a missed opportunity...]
The best thing I can say is: the case is extremely abnormal, and can be
simply explained in two words. We shouldn't make it
normal, but our media looks like it's going to keep trying...
[I might as well, also, do this fine
Manic: we're all talking about the White House's
empty rhetoric. After
all, the ignorant bigots one was successful, so why not give this one a go? It's for a good cause.]
The ISX Position on: Band Aid 20
So, Band Aid 20. Um, it's not as bad as Band Aid II (the "Stock,
Aitken and Waterman use some oddly familiar keyboard settings"
It's for Sudan, and that area needs all the cash it can get (so sorry,
WDM, I'm not with you on this one). I've always been forgiving about
charity singles - even ones by S Club 7 - and it's that way with Band
Aid 20. I really can't find it in my heart to hate it, despite the fact
that it isn't anywhere close to being as good as the original.
Let's be fair, though - the original isn't a classic either, as I
realised when watching the two back to back. The lyrics sound like they
were written by Bob Geldof in ten minutes in the back of a taxi;
coincidentally, they were written by Bob Geldof in ten minutes in the
back of a taxi, and they haven't been changed since then ("And
there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas-time?" No shit, Bob.)
Even though Busted learnt about what really they were singing about from
a leaflet, and Joss Stone was 'persuaded' to go by her mother, that
doesn't compare in the slightest with some of the extreme ignorance from
the stars on the original; my own personal favourite being Spandau
Ballet promising to tour Ethiopia the next year. The prickness of Justin
Darkness all cock-rocking in the BA20 video is exactly like Duran Duran
doing the same thing in the original, except that Duran were (and still
are) even bigger pricks than the Darkness are now. Dizzee Rascal's rap
isn't that awful - at least the guy has heart - and it's no worse than
the Boy George section in the original. In fact, the main failings of
BA20 are musically - the original has atmosphere, almost certainly due
to Midge Ure (atmosphere was all Ultravox were ever capable of) and the
new version - produced by Nigel Godrich, who is capable of really good,
and indeed atmospheric rock production (Radiohead) but needs band
participation - does not. It's as simple as that.
And it could be worse - we haven't got USA for Africa II yet, and
hopefully won't, and "We Are The World" is an infinitely worse song than
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" ("We are the world/we
are the children"? Blecch.) So pray that won't happen. And at least
there's amusing moments in the video: Bono overacting, the Darkness
being pricks, Dizzee Rascal, and Charlie Busted wearing a Tool
sweatshirt, which pretty much makes the video. Obviously. Tool.
If you asked me to name two bands sounding less alike, Busted and Tool
would basically be those two (although I'd probably say 'Busted and
Bogdan Raczynski'.) If only Busted would try to sound like Tool, then I
might even download their albums...
(Oh, and if any of your kids want a Bastard [sic] album, give them the
Ramones Anthology instead. It's about as revolutionary, the songs are
just as catchy if not more, and at least they had a drummer.)
So pray nightly to the deity, or lack of same, of your choice that we
won't get a hip-hop "We Are The World" (featuring P Diddy, a message
from Tupac's answering machine, and R Kelly!), don't buy the BA20 single
if you don't want to, sit back and relax. It's the only way.