Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Upd8 Upd8 

Right, we've got a lot to get through here, so let's keep this intro short. Here are, as we understand it, the latest additions to the line ups for all the Live 8 concerts around the world on Saturday. This should be considered in no way accurate or definitive, as not only is trying to find out who's playing where something of a thankless task, but there's likely to be a lot of shuffling around and special guests announced before the main event. Already a number of acts have been moved from London's bill to play at the Paris event and, slightly more interestingly, the success of Italy's gig seems to be hanging in the balance after the headliner, Vasco Rossi pulled out citing a clash with another gig which he'd somehow forgotten he was doing and a general lack of interest in the gig from the locals.

Anyway, barring any major incidents, cancellations or dental appointments, here are the latest additions to the line-up and you can also find our full look at the artists involved here.
We've still got Russia, Edinburgh, Japan and Canada to update, and with good luck, and a following wind, we'll get them done tomorrow. If we don't get round to it which, let's face it, is quite likely, then you'll just have to imagine what hilarious comments we might have made. Which might be for the best, as they'll likely be funnier than what we do come up with.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Attention Indie 

If you're in a band who plays their own instruments and just do what they do and if anyone else likes it, that's a bonus, and you feel like dragging Kylie Minogue down to your level by 'indie-fying' one of her songs, can you show a bit of imagination for once in your godforsaken lives and realise that her back catalogue doesn't begin and end with Can't Get You Out Of My Head. Thanks!

10 Things We State About... 

Yup, you've guessed it, our Live 8 build up continues with ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the world's biggest opportunity for Nokia and AOL to ply their wares. Oh and maybe save some people's lives while they're at it:-
  1. Absolutely no-one will rush to the toilet during the inevitable film inserts reminding people why they're here watching Coldplay run through Clocks for the umpteenth time.
  2. Whoever opens the gig will do a cover of Status Quo's Rockin' All Over the World.
  3. And it will be shit.
  4. Especially if it's Robbie Williams.
  5. The big news story afterwards won't involve the sudden eradication of world poverty, but will be about the traffic chaos afterwards.
  6. Chumbawamba will be surprise guests and will perform a selection tracks from their Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records album. And Tubthumping.
  7. At least once technical cock-up will happen during the live broadcast. With any luck it'll be during Annie Lennox's set.
  8. Angered at not being on the bill, Phil Collins will be found outside the grounds, touting tickets for vastly inflated prices.
  9. Bob Geldof has given the security guards orders to shoot Midge Ure if it looks like he might make it anywhere near the stage this time around.
  10. Still, it would be nice if it did make a difference.


Who'd have guessed, but Live 8 might actually be quite good after all. The Pet Shop Boys have just been announced as the headline act for the Moscow gig. Hooray, etc!

Join us tomorrow for a full update on the line-up for all the gigs. Promise.

5 Songs That Changed The World 

Bob Geldof reckons that music has the power to change the world. Mind you, he also reckons that not having the Spice Girls on the Live 8 bill is a good idea, so what does he know? Still, who knows? He might just be right and, as part of our build up to the Live 8 'extravaganza', we're suspending our cynicism and proudly present our look at the five songs that actually did manage to change the world. Today, Atomic Kitten and Cradle.

At the start of 2005, blindness caused by treatable illnesses blighted many African countries, poverty was rife across the world, many of those hit by the Asian tsunami were still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the disaster and no song called Cradle had ever charted in the UK top 10. Atomic Kitten realised that this was their big chance to make the world a better place and so, on February 14th, they released Cradle and donated all profits to the charity World Vision. Since this release, however, things have changed. Now a single called Cradle has reached the top ten. Just.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how Atomic Kitten's Cradle managed to change the world. A bit.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

5 Songs That Changed The World 

Bob Geldof reckons that music has the power to change the world. Mind you, he also reckons that sending loads of untrained and underexperienced sailors to cross the channel and ferry across a handful of uninterested Frenchmen is a good idea, so what does he know? Still, who knows? He might just be right and, as part of our build up to the Live 8 'extravaganza', we're suspending our cynicism and proudly present our look at the five songs that actually did manage to change the world. Today, Benny Hill and Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)

It was 1936, and lawlessness ruled the land. Well, in as much as lawlessness can really rule anything, that is, but certainly fear, recklessness and a vague concern as to what that Mr Hitler was getting up to were the mainstays of public opinion. It was against this backdrop that the initial part of our tale takes place. A tale of rivalry, a tale of love, but above all a tale of milk.

Now, you probably know the tale we're about to recount as it was, famously, described by Benny Hill in the song of which we speak, but it wasn't until 1971 when Benny took the brave step to speak out about the events that the true history of the heinous crime was known. The story runs pretty much as follows: Ernie was the local milkman who had both a disregard for the speed limit and the moral obligations of his role in the community. However, he was loved by the customers on his round and they did enjoy his sexually suggestive banter, this being a somewhat morally repressed time. Also, they were quite fond of the extra special cream that he would give to some of his more favoured customers. Though the less said about his gold top, the better.

Now, while Ernie had a fondness for all his customers, his favourite was undoubtedly a lady called Sue, who lived by herself in Linley Lane (Number 22 if you're interested). While his intentions towards her weren't exactly pure, they were honest, as she was a widow. Although this doesn't necessarily mean that he's not a cad - how long her husbands corpse had been cold for isn't made clear, and we'd be very surprised if it would have been able to keep Ernie's dairy products at a suitably chilly temperature - he was very much in love with the woman and would have done anything for her, even if it meant taking his hat off.

Unfortunately for Ernie, Sue was a very fickle lady, who loved not for the joy of love itself, but for what freebies she could get from the tradesmen who would pass through her door. Some would say this made her no better than a common prostitute or OK Journalist, but not Ernie, if only because OK Magazine didn't yet exist, though if he did hear someone saying that about the lady of his dreams he would no doubt have gotten very angry indeed. What did make him angry, however, was Ted who, in a somewhat unlikely fashion, came from Teddington, and drove the bakers van. With his promises of foot long baguettes and hot dough balls, it was clear that, in the long term, Ernie didn't stand a chance against the bakers man and all he had to offer, but in the short term, Sue was quite happy to drop her knickers for the promise of a free yoghurt so he was still happily making his deliveries there, even if all the while he was seething at Ted who was regularly popping round to drop off a cream eclair.

Things eventually came to a head when Ted drove past Sue's house one lunchtime, only to discover Ernie's horse and cart still parked outside. Naturally angered by this state of affairs, particularly as this was far too late to be delivering milk in time for a breakfast cuppa, Ted ran over and kicked Ernie's horse. Ernie was angered by this and rushed out of the house to confront the equine injurer. Rather than agreeing that, at best, Sue was a lady of dubious repute and that she really wasn't worth getting all hot and bothered about, at least not in the fisticuffs sense of the word, they instead decided to act like schoolkids and have a fight over her. While Ernie may have been fast on his milkcart, he was less fast when it came to avoiding rock cakes, and a swift bash to his noggin quickly put him out for the count.

Ernie died. And, due to the lawlessness of the times, Ted escaped from justice and got the girl. Naturally Ernie's family were angered by this and campaigned long and hard for Ted to stand trial for the murder of an honest, if adulterous, milkman. Unfortunately for them, the Government would hear nothing of it, pointing out that a) they didn't really care that much, b) whacking someone on the head with a rock cake isn't actually a crime and c) Ernie had been driving his milk floats at speeds far in excess of the legal limits, so they might want to keep quiet about all this going to court business unless they wanted to find their own family name blackened.

Still they struggled on, but without celebrity support,they found it hard to interest the media in their plight. It was only when, in 1971, one of Ernie's illegitimate grandchildren drunkenly accosted Benny Hill in a bar that wheels began to get in motion. After the grandson informed Benny that he was in possession of a number of compromising photos of the portly comedian - namely ones featuring him being chased around by a bevvy of fully dressed females - he leapt into action, recording Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West) in a bid to embarrass the Government into charging Ted's family for the crimes of their predecessor. It worked! The then Prime Minister, being as much of a sucker for a novelty single about warring tradesmen as the rest of us, soon had every single person in the UK whose lineage could be traced back to the bed hopping bakersman handed down a life sentence and locked up for the murder of Ernie and, just to even things up, everyone with even a vague connection to the moribund milkman found themselves with 3 points on their license and a £50 speeding fine. Then, to prevent such a heinous act happening in the future, murdering people with rock cakes was officially declared to be "Naughty" and thus, the loophole was closed, all thanks to Benny Hill. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen is the true story of how Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West) changed the world. Or at least the part of it related to killing people with flour and currant based concoctions.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Talent in a Previous Live 8 

Well, last week was a bit of a wash out as far as the site was concerned, wasn't it? We did miss the chance to comment on Will Young's new hair - it makes him look like he has ringworm - and Michelle McManus's appearance on You Are What You Eat - was quite a big girl, still quite a big girl - but never mind. Don't worry though, we're going to more than make up for it - though by "more than make up for it" we do mean little more than "actually post something" - as we are going to be going Live 8 crazy, with a week of special Live 8 related articles and whatnots, all leading up to Saturday, which will find us blogging 'live' throughout the day, giving you a blow by blow, artist by artist, song by song and ill thought out opinion by ill thought out opinion guide to every single little thing that happens, or at least every single little thing that's televised by the BBC. This will be big, if only in a literal sense as the piece will likely end up being ridiculously, but it should be an interesting experiment at any rate. Although we should point out that it won't happen if we either a) have a bad hangover on Saturday, or b) fail to do what, for us at any rate, is the rather complicated task of setting up a portable telly next to our computer. More details about this on Friday.

Later this week we'll be giving you ten things we state about Live 8 and a final update on the line-up, plus anything else that comes to mind, but starting today is the first in a five part series looking at times when music has - like Bob Geldof hopes will happen on Saturday - changed the world. Though when we say "five", we might not have time on Friday, and Wednesday'll be a bit tight as well, so it might well be a 3 part series. Oh well. The first part, however, can definitely be found below. Enjoy.

5 Songs That Changed the World. 

Bob Geldof reckons that music has the power to change the world. Mind you, he also reckons that being all straggly and unkempt is a good fashion idea, so what does he know? Still, who knows, he might just be right and, as part of our build up to the Live 8 'extravaganza', we're suspending our cynicism and proudly present our look at the five songs that actually did manage to change the world. First up, Sultans of Ping FC and Where's Me Jumper?

It's January 1992 and the Surprisingly Hot Winter is in full swing. All around the country, rather than the chilled winds and icy rain which is normally expected for this time of year, a heatwave is in progress. The sun beats down on the ground like an angry mob beats down upon the Noise Next Door, and the only thing soaring higher than the temperature is the sales figures of the TastiCool Ice Lolly company. Suddenly all the people yabbering on about how global warming was a bad thing seemed like fools and idiots, and the only thing which stopped the general population rising up to beat them with big sticks was the fact that it was far too hot to, you know, actually do stuff. In fact, the country was pretty much grinding to a halt as everywhere people refused to do any more than lie in their garden, occasionally reaching out for a cold beer or a quick suck on a TastiCool Ice Lolly. Indeed, you might think that the government would be quick to clamp down on all this laziness and inaction for fear of what it might do to the economy, but they weren't too fussed as a) they were as keen on the rest of the population to spend the hot days sunbathing in the garden and enjoying TastiCool Ice Lollies and b) the massive sales of the TastiCool Ice Lolly Company were more than shoring up the economy by themselves and, thanks to their unethical employment policies and use of cheap immigrant labour, they were continuing to churn out the goods while the rest of the population happily lay sizzling in disgusting pools made up largely of their own sweat and melted TastiCool Ice Lollies.

For the proud, yet lazy and smelly Brits, it seemed like all their dreams had come true and that, quite literally, all their summers had come at once. "We don't need these winter clothes!" came the cry from every home around the land, and soon the rubbish tips were filled with wooly hats, mittens, scarves and jumpers. Soon long johns and thermal underwear joined the piles and eventually the only thing that could be found by scavengers looking for scraps amongst the discarded debris that wasn't designed to keep the wearer warm was empty TastiCool Ice Lolly wrappers.

The sun blazed, the people toasted, and the TastiCool Ice Lolly Company kept churning out TastiCool Ice Lollies. It seemed like the summer would never end and each night everyone would go to bed, windows flung open and fans-a-whirring, all keen to wake up early to enjoy yet another day of doing sod all in your swimwear. However, despite the promises of the weathermen, the summer wasn't going to last forever. One morning they were going to wake up and discover that everything had changed.

February came. And with it came not only an ill wind but also, and more worrying for the Brits, it was a chill wind as well. They woke up feeling something they'd almost forgotten how to feel: cold. Uncomfortable and confused they quickly slammed shut their windows and ran to their freezers to grab a couple of TastiCool Ice Lollies in the hope that they'd make them feel better, but even these provided cold comfort (arf!), tasting bitter and icy to the tongue. What had once provided relief, now provided only discomfort and pain. Unsure of what to do next, they pulled on their swimwear - the only clothes that remained for the vast majority of the population - and turned on their TV sets, sat down and hoped for some news, a sign for what they should do next or, at the very least, some inspiration for something that would encourage them to switch off their TV sets and do something less boring instead. They didn't have long to wait.

"Hello people of Great Britain. Uh, hi. Yeah", said the Prime Minister, looking slightly foolish in a pair of garishly coloured Bermuda shorts, "Look, as you can see it's got a mite chilly out, so we've decided to put a stop to all this doing bugger all on the patio nonsense and reckon that you should all go back to work, pronto. Now, get to it! Oh, and if you're looking for something different to do in your free time, why not try Go Karting."

The people listened and the people were divided. Some went back to work, still in their bikinis and trunks. Others gave it up as a bad job and went back to bed, vaguely optimistic that the weather might take a turn for the better tomorrow. Some even went go karting, a somewhat precarious proposition when dressed in nothing more than a few bits of lycra or some dubious looking shorts, but for the most part people got angry. They gesticulated wildly at the television, they shouted obscenities and then, once they'd calm down a bit and were able to concentrate their rage into coherent thought they refused to go back to work, telling all who would listen - and given their disinclination to leave the house, that wasn't a lot of people - that "I'm not going out of the house dressed like this! I'll catch my death!".

The Government refused to listen to the public's demands at first. The public wanted warm clothes instead of their now somewhat soiled and distressed swimwear. The Government, on the other hand, politely suggested that it was their own bloody fault for chucking out all their clothes in the first place like a bunch of heat crazed morons. At this point the public equally politely started throwing things at the Houses of Parliament and getting out the big sticks which had been underused when the environmentalists were talking their twaddle, so the Government slightly less politely and rather hurriedly locked themselves away in a top secret bunker and waited for the fuss to die down.

Despite the widespread public support for a winter clothes distribution policy, the Government seemed set to ignore the consensus, presuming that it would all blow over by the time summer came round again and people began to steel themselves for a few months of freezing. That was until someone had the bright idea of releasing a fun-tastic, dancey glam pop punk protest single. Step forward, Sultans of Ping FC.

Realising that what would make the Government sit up and listen would be a novelty single that would get to at least number 67 in the charts - any lower and they'd have no mandate to force the Government to do anything - Niall O'Flaherty, Paddy O'Connell, Alan McFealy and Morty McCarthy soon set to work. Within seconds they'd quickly bashed out their protest anthem, naming it "Where's Me Jumper?" after the beleaguered cry of the woolens dispossessed. Once it was in the shops, a blue and chilly parade of people began to queue round the block to get their copy. Unfortunately a few days spent wearing little more than their smalls and months spent living off of nothing but TastiCool Ice Lollies had done little to strengthen their immune systems and so most of them swiftly died of hypothermia. Fortunately enough people managed to hold on to the land of the living long enough to get a copy, even if they didn't have quite enough left in them to get home and play it to discover exactly how shonky the sound of their potential saviour was, to get the coveted number 67 position in the charts. They'd done it! And now the government would have to listen, and listen they did. Though only once, as they really weren't keen to hear the track again after that.

Soon afterwards, and after soliciting an agreement for the song to never ever be played again, the Government backed down and agreed to use the cheap labour from the TastiCool Ice Lolly factory, now closed down, and put most of them to work in the woolen mills, using the remainder to clear up all the dead bodies which were lining the streets in the vicinity of the nations record shops. Soon everyone in the country was issued with a jumper, a pair of leg warmers and a slightly scratchy pair of woolen underpants and everything quickly went back to normal and everyone was happy.

Apart from all the frozen dead of course.

And the owner of the TastiCool Ice Lolly Company, who committed suicide shortly after his livelihood lay in ruins around him.

But other than that everyone was happy, and it was all thanks to the Sultans of Ping FC. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the true story of how Where's Me Jumper? managed to change the world.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

10 Things We State About... 

Blimey, what a quiet week in pop this is turning out to be. Should you find yourself in a record shop in the next few days, your CD player will love you if you buy a copy of the really rather fab MIA track, Bucky Done Gun, which is basically what the Grandstand theme would sound like if we lived in a perfect world. Of course, if we did live in a perfect world, the Noise Next Door wouldn't exist, Chewing Gum wouldn't litter the streets, but would have held firm to the number one spot for a ridiculous length of time and the Crazy Frog would be nothing but one man?s unpleasant nightmarebut at least MIA is at least trying to make the world a much better place by releasing top pop gems like this, and we can only salute her for her efforts. Also to be found in the record shops this week is Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel's Make Me Smile (Come up and See Me) which, if you don't already own a copy - which is pretty unlikely given that this is the fourth time it's been issued and it's hardly a stranger to the world of compilations - you should really rush out and buy. It may be thirty years old, but it's still a perfect piece of pop and manages to sound a lot fresher than most of this week's releases, though given that this week includes new tracks by Stereophonics, Bobby Valentino and a couple of incredibly dated dance numbers by Armand van Helden and Judge Jules, this isn't really that impressive a boast.

But anyway, while the pop scene may be a bit quiet, the Indie scene is all agog with the prospect of catching Legionaires disease, paying over the odds for slightly dirty Tesco brand mushrooms in the mistaken belief that you'll have the trip of a lifetime and actually seeing a cow, what with Glastonbury being 'go' this weekend, so we, as always, are proud to present ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nation's favourite farm based festival run by a man who's hair is on upside down:-
  1. Glastonbury is a festival famed for it's freedom, spirituality and it's hippies. Indeed, many people go to Glastonbury for the vibes alone which are so strong that to keep all that freedom in one place a big fuck off fence has had to be built to keep them in and anyone without a ticket out.
  2. Bez, from Celebrity Big Brother, is the only person who has ever taken drugs on the site.
  3. Glastonbury isn't just about the music, and never has this been more true than this year, what with Keane, Coldplay, Doves, Ian Brown, Primal Scream and KT Tunstall all turning up to send the public scattering to all corners of the site, fingers in ears.
  4. If you do find yourself bored of the line-up, you can spend time in the Circus Field, Healing Field, Green Futures field or the site encompassing Fucking Hippies field.
  5. Cows have really sharp teeth and will bite you if you get too close.
  6. People who seem like fantastic company when you meet them at 3AM in the morning on your first night on site will rarely seem quite so interesting when they spend the rest of the weekend tagging along with you. They will seem like positively sparkling company, however, compared to the person who sits next to you for the entire bus journey back, telling you in mind numbing detail exactly how high he got over the weekend.
  7. Jo Whiley really is a natural and talented TV presenter.
  8. Every 50th person you meet will be Keith Allen.
  9. Many people will tell you that the bestest Glastonbury moment ever was when Radiohead played in 1997 and asked for the lights to be shone on the audience. The only reason they say this, is because the majority of the audience thought that this meant the gig was over and were quite chuffed that their whiney racket had been cut short.
  10. All bongo players are cunts.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Friday! And yes, we did fuck up somewhat in yesterday's Live 8 piece when we referenced Road to Hell for a joke about Chris de Burgh. Still, nobody's perfect - least of all Chris de Burgh - and you can rest assured that should Chris Rea turn up on the bill, we'll take advantage of the opportunity to make a joke about a Lady in Red. Anyway here, hopefully mistake free, is what we learnt from this week's Top of the Pops:-

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Upd 8 

More news from the Live 8 front, as Bob Geldof changes the mission statement from "Raising the profile of African poverty" to "Getting every city in the world to simultaneously put on a bill consisting of largely mediocre acts, just for the hell of it.". In addition to the five gigs already announced, 4 more will now be carried out in Johannesburg, Tokyo, Toronto and The Eden Project in Cornwall. The line-ups for these have yet to be announced - although we'll put good money on both Alanis Morrisette and Avril Lavigne taking the call for the Toronto gig - but the Eden gig is being organised by Peter Gabriel and his WOMAD organisation and seems to be a sop to those who've been moaning, with some justification, that there's a distinct lack of African and, indeed, black artists in general amongst the line-up. Of course, quite how ghettoising them in a gig which will undoubtedly get little more than token nods throughout the coverage, rather than allowing them to be on the main stage where all the focus is, can be seen as a good thing is a question which will no doubt be ignored for the most part, but they're seen to be giving a shit, and that seems to be the overriding factor in everyone's involvement in this event.

Also announced is Edinburgh 50,000, which will take place on June 6th and will be the reward for the "million" people that Geldof genuinely expects will march on Scotland's capital. Some people have expressed concern that, with all the people arriving on mass in a city ill-equipped to cope with it, riots are pretty much an inevitability. With the shower of shit that consists of the line-up for the gig, we can only concur. If we'd traveled hundreds of miles only to be confronted with a Travis performance, we'd be rioting too. We'll have an in-depth look at the line-up for that as it currently stands in a moment, but first, let's have a look at a few additions to the other line-ups which have occurred since our original piece. We'll be adding these to the main article as well, but we figured we'd publish them separately so you don't have to rescour the article to find them, mainly because we don't reckon our jokes will stand up to a second reading. Hell, some of them didn't even stand-up to a first perusal. Anyway, here's what's new:-

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Umm, Mel B 

(You know, like Bumble Bee. No? Bloody sod ya then.)

Anyway, with the odds of the Spice Girls reforming for the Live 8 gig now roughly akin to that of everyone accepting the court's judgement in the Michael Jackson case and no longer thinking he's a disturbing paedophile, our attention turns to their solo careers and once more we must lament the absolute shit show that they've turned out to be.

It's a such a shame, but if ever there was a band that was greater than the sum of its parts, it was the Spice Girls. Together they were a five headed pop hydra, taking on all comers and seeing them off with a quick flick of their hips and a melody to die for. Once they separated, however, it seemed their talent was torn apart along with the internal bonds of the group and since then it's just been disappointment after disappointment, with them becoming little more than cheap fodder for sarky pieces in the tabloid gossip columns. It's not to say, however, that the post Spice period hasn't been without it's charms. While Victoria seems happy to allow herself to become a caricature of herself, and Mel C is happier to pretend that her time in the Spice Girls never really happened - seemingly unaware that if it wasn't for that no-one would pay any attention to her by the numbers - the other three have all come up with a few moments that remind you just why they were integral parts of the Spice machine.

First up is Geri who was the first out of the traps and, like any greyhound we've ever bet on, sprinted into the lead before promptly losing it after the first bend, limping half heartedly around the track and finally collapsing in an undignified heap five metres before the finish line. And, if you wish to extend the already tortured metaphor even further, she's not exactly averse to spending the night sniffing round other people's bins, either. But while nowadays Geri may be little more than a joke - certainly her current chart positions are - her first solo record, Look At Me was a triumph. A horn driven, witty slab of pop which managed to be very Geri (Isn't that a disease) without slipping down into the murky waters of self parody. It was so good, in fact, that it almost managed to make you forget that it was a complete rip off of The Propellerheads' History Repeating. It's just a shame that everything since, from Mi Chico Latino all the way to Desire was so poor. Ride It had it's moments, though.

Also managing to fire off one torpedo of pop power in a career otherwise characterised by tedium was Emma, whose Maybe was sixties-esque girl group jangliness in exelcius, and it was a much better fit for her than doing vocals on laid back dance tracks, telling an already snickering world that she wasn't aware of too many things. But it was Mel B who initially showed the most promise when she released, and this might sound wack, I Want You Back, easily the best of the Girls' solo singles. Slinky, sexy and featuring Missy Elliot, it was pretty much everything you could have hoped a solo Spice would release, which is why it's so disappointing that her latest single Today, which has come pretty much out of nowhere, is just so unappealing.

While I want You Back shone with the light of invention and energy, Today shines with nothing more than the dull sheen of someone releasing a record for no other reason than they feel that it's the sort of thing that they should still be doing. It comes across more as the sort of track that would previously have turned up midway through a filler episode of the S Club 7 TV series. And, judging by the lack of imagination and excitement on offer, an episode of the previously unaired Skegness 7 series.

Poor Mel. We expected so much more from her and, indeed, from all the girls. Anyone whose only knowledge of the girls comes from the post split world would no doubt wonder why anyone's getting excited about the girls reforming, but when it comes right down to it, the girls are a bit like the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers - you may need to bear with us here. You see, separate they're still half decent, and can prance around in tight lycra to their hearts content, but ultimately they're not going to get anywhere. Together, however, they can form into one big fuck off robot that can take on anything that might get thrown at them. And they can fire lasers, which is always something worth seeing. Unfortunately, if Live 8 doesn't want them, it's hard to imagine that there'll be a big enough reason for them to put aside their differences and get together for one last blast through Wannabe. Shame. Still, if the single flops, Mel has other plans, one of which involves writing and starring in her own sitcom. We can only hope and pray that she has no Dennis Waterman style plans to write the theme tune and sing the theme tune.

Monday, June 13, 2005

What Will the Neighbours See? 

Available today from all good record shops - and that dodgy bloke in the pub who can always get you copies of the latest films, even before they're out in the cinema - is a Girls Aloud DVD. It's not, unfortunately, what we all want, i.e. a DVD of the tour - that, presumably, will be held back until the slightly more lucrative Christmas market - but as a bit of summer filler to both remind us that the Girls still exist and provide a bit of pocket money to get them enough fake tan to last the winter, it doesn't look too bad a package, even if it does seem to be more the sort of thing that should be given away for free with initial, 'limited edition' copies of their next album. It basically consists of all the videos, the MTV special from last year and a selection of telly performances or, to put it another way, all the stuff that you wished you'd taped off of the telly at the time or, indeed, all the stuff that you did tape off the telly, but without the irritation of having 3 seconds of Cat Deeley's annoying yapping before and afterwards.

We've not got our copy yet, but when we do we plan on using the frame advance button so that, in conjunction with our CD player, we can try and manually edit together a video which actually features at least 30 seconds worth of Nicola content, though we feel that this may be a largely fruitless task until we resort to the pause button for the entire 3 minutes thirty. Oh well.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Friday! And we're currently hoping that, against the odds, Lesley doesn't get evicted from the Big Brother house this evening. We're backing her mainly because we think she is quite Nicola-esque and is a bit more shy and vulnerable than her bolshy exterior makes out. Also, we've always had a 'thing' for the Yorkshire accent. Pathetic and shallow our support may be, but it is at least a step up from our original pick which was Sam, for no better reason than the fact that she was quite pretty and wore a nice dress when she entered the house. Yes, we know. But anyway, that's pop culture and this, as XTC once sang, is Pop, so here's what we learnt from this week's Top of the Pops:-

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

10 Things We State About... 

Coldplay have a new - that's new in the sense that the songs were recorded recently, rather than new in the sense of sounding any different to anything they've done before - album out this week and, barring an unexpected long player from the Crazy Frog, it seems set to take the number one spot with depressing ease. To celebrate the lack of taste of the vast majority of the album buying public, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nations favourite demonstration of mediocrity:-
  1. Chris Martin can't even go to the toilet without writing a song about how it's such a torturous experience for a man like him. Indeed, much of the new album was written upon such occasions.
  2. The other three members really do make a difference.
  3. Coldplay used to use the illuminated globe from the front cover of their Parachutes as stage dressing when they toured. This was dropped, however, when it was realised that a simple ball of plastic with a light inside had more stage presence than the lead singer.
  4. Chris is so in thrall to the capitalist multi-national corporate world, that he even accepted a 7 figure deal from a computing company to sponsor his own daughter.
  5. Anyone who publicly expresses excitement over the new Coldplay album is to be immediately furnished with a dictionary so they can learn the difference between "excitement" and "mindnumbing tedium".
  6. Chris' favourite radio station is Magic FM because it's "all mellow".
  7. Alan McGee once described Coldplay as "bedwetters", a remark which caused immediate uproar, and quite right too. It was very insulting to good, honest bedwetters all over the world.
  8. The cover art for X & Y, despite being one of the 63 dullest things in the world, is still more thrilling than actually listening to the album.
  9. Chris wrote Clocks after being inspired by a gang of youths as he and the other members of the group went for a walk after band practice. "We walked past them", he said later, "and they just started shouting 'Clocks! What a bunch of clocks!" at us. I realised then that they saw us as representing their future and that the essence of time itself was inside of us. I just had to write about it". Following that experience, Chris also wrote the as yet unreleased Tankers, Hunts and Useless Motherfuckers.
  10. Shiver was quite good, mind.

Monday, June 06, 2005

They Came and 8 Us 

Wasn't the original Live Aid great? Well, we don't know ourselves, as at the time we would have been about 7 and our musical taste would likely have centered pretty firmly around the theme tunes to He-Man and Transformers, but History says it's great, so it must have been. After all, History is almost never wrong, so we will accept it's verdict, despite all the overwhelming evidence to the contrary from the line-up on the back of the 4 DVD box set. Anyway, as the event was so brilliant, Bob Geldof and The Other One have decided to stage another one, although this time it's not to raise money, but to raise awareness. Of course, the last time there was an awareness raising event on a similar scale, they called it Net Aid and, other than the inclusion of Catatonia it was an entirely rubbish event which only really drew attention to the fact that Gail Porter was a pretty rubbish TV presenter. Nowadays things are different, and people collect causes like The Noise Next Door collect bad reviews, so as a nation, we're a bit more susceptible to the ideas being raised, though quite whether all of our national media should be pulling together to promote an event whose awareness raising powers will be pretty much limited to letting people know that Coldplay have a new album out and that Annie Lennox still exists is a question that shall be left for another day. The fact remains that, like it or not - and for many possessing even a modicum of musical taste, the answer is not - the event will be taking place and will be impossible to escape from. Due to the enormous amount of tedium expectation for this event, the organisers have expanded the locations from the original London and Philadelphia to include Rome, Paris and Berlin, figuring not entirely unreasonably that if we're going to suffer, the rest of Europe might as well too. Anyway, as promised, here's our look at the full line-up - as it currently stands that is, if the list remains Spice Girl free, it'll be plumbing new depths of pointlessness:-

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Thoughts of the Pops 

It's Saturday! And our promised piece on the Band Aid is on it's way! But probably not til Monday now, as we're pissed off at having failed 3 times now to download a large zip file on our crappy dial-up connection. If anyone would like to pay for us to have broadband installed, we'd love you forever. Well, for a week or so, anyway. But while we steel ourselves for our fourth and final attempt to get the download to work, we've taken time out to see if we can learn any moral lessons from this week's Top of the Pops in the vain hope that it might improve our motivation for that thankless task. Here's what we learnt:-

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Born With Stylus 

So, Eurovision was over a week ago now which, in pop terms, means it's pretty much ancient history, but if you're still desirous of more coverage, you could do worse than check out Stylus Magazine's epic eye witness account of the whole shebang. We contributed a few bits and bobs to it, but despite that it really is a fab piece.

Also! And given that we've been doing it for about 3 months now we should really have mentioned it before now, we also regularly contribute to said site's weekly singles round up, where the great and good of the music blogging community - and us - come together and rate the week's new releases. This appears every Monday and, as with the rest of Stylus, is always worth a read. Of course, with our usual high quality timing, we've decided to draw attention to this in a week in which we didn't actually write anything for it, and our contributions for the previous week were less than impressive, mainly because we wrote them while nursing a hangover and so had to resist the temptation to describe every song as "Just horrible, horrible noise, it makes my head hurt, please god, let me get this over with so I can get back to bed and die [0]". Our dedication to duty is nothing less than non-existent.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

10 Things We State About... 

The line up for Live 8 has finally been announced! And what a stellar display of pop talent it is, as long as by "Stellar display of pop talent" you actually mean "A line-up so dull we'd rather pour cement into our ears and gouge out our own eyes than sit through". As always when confronted by a pop related list, we suffer a Pavlovian reaction and have an uncontrollable desire to go through it line by line, pointing out exactly why it's wrong. We hope to bring you the fruits of our labours by Thursday, but if it hasn't turned up by Sunday you can safely assume that we got bored of the idea shortly after Coldplay, much like anyone who ends up actually going to the concert. Until then, however, we're proud to present ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the first Live Aid and the world's favourite guilt tripping concert:-
  1. The concert was such a success that not only has world hunger been eradicated, but we now produce so much excess food that ten eclairs are blasted into space every minute.
  2. Even today there are still people who can't believe that the organisers managed to get such talent titans as Nik Kershaw, Kenny Loggins and Howard Jones on the same line-up.
  3. Bob Geldof had consumed 2 bottles of vodka and some cheap aftershave when he made the decision to have Status Quo opening the show.
  4. The Feed the World finale was hugely emotional and inspiring and definitely not a tuneless car crash of a performance.
  5. Phil Collins flew by Concorde to perform at both the London and Philadelphia gigs. This marks one of the few occasions that someone has managed to be a talentless twat on both sides of the Atlantic on the same day.
  6. Freddie Mercury was gay.
  7. If it wasn't for the fact that he's dead, Michael Hutchence would still be wondering how exactly INXS managed to get on the bill. Or, indeed, any bill, ever.
  8. Midge Ure is not bitter that everyone now believes it was all down to Sir Bob.
  9. Swearing is big and clever.
  10. Absolutely no-one was in it for both the promotional and the ego boost that such an event promised. Especially not Bono.