Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

10 Things We State About... 

First Lady of pop and a woman so posh she pays someone else to go to the toilet for her, Sophie Ellis-Bextor is back with Catch You, the sort of pop fabulous tune which we felt sure existed only in our dreams. It's ace, as is she, so to celebrate here are ten entirely true and in no way made-up facts about the rightful heir to the British throne:-
  1. It's well known that Sophie's Mum is Janet Ellis, from out of Blue Peter, but what is less well known is that her dad is Bextor, a hyper-intelligent feline alien from the planet Extron. This explains her slightly unusual features and fondness for burying her feces in a secluded corner of the garden.
  2. Sophie longs for the day that a long running series of shootings takes place in the nightclubs of the United Kingdom so that she can sit back and relax as the royalties role in as Murder on the Dancefloor soundtracks every news bulletin on the event.
  3. She first found fame in indie types Theaudience, a band who avoided spaces between words almost as resolutely as they avoided chart success and a place in the nation's hearts.
  4. Her first track on which she sang solo was Spiller's Groovejet. Call us old fashioned, but we'd prefer any jet that we were flying on not to be piloted by someone who's up to their eyeballs in mindbending, blood boiling drugs. We're not even comfortable about them drinking coffee, frankly.
  5. Catch You was inspired by the time Sophie finally managed to eat a power-pill while playing Pac Man, thus finally allowing her to turn the tables on those pesky ghosts.
  6. The Music Gets the Best of Me. This was not, perhaps, the wisest record deal The Music could have struck, particularly as she hasn't even released a best of yet.
  7. After Theaudience split up, Sophie turned to modelling to help make ends meet. Her most lucrative role was that of "Rhombus" in a secondary school maths textbook.
  8. Ellis Island in New York is no longer a major tourist attraction because of the former immigration centre there, but for the Sophie Theme Park which now takes up most of the space. The Mixed Up World hall of mirrors comes highly recommended.
  9. Sophie owns more dresses than she's had hot dinners. Mind you, she's not had a lot of hot dinners, thus allowing her to fit into all those dresses.
  10. And she's a lot prettier in real life than she looks in photos. Sigh, etc.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Something Kinda Ach-Ooooh 

Here are Girls Aloud doing their 'thing' for Comic Relief.

Unless you're trying to appeal to a group of clown fetishists it's hard to make a red nose look sexy but Girls Aloud... well, they fail just like everyone else who's ever attempted it, thigh skimming dresses or not. Still, at least Nicola gets a prominent shot, even if her elfin features are largely obscured by her crimson conk. Her look is more what you'd expect from an old Ashlee Simpson publicity shot, really, isn't it?

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Mon! Ta! Gue-gue-gue! 

10 years ago the world was a very different place. It was still the 20th century, We didn't travel via monorail and silver had a less prominent role in our collective wardrobes. It was a time of hopes and ambition, a time of innocence, a time when Des'Ree, a woman who, lest we forget, would not like to meet a ghost, it is the thing she'd fear the most, she'd rather have a piece of toast, I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am, do the love theme for a major motion picture. It was, of course, Baz Lurhmann's reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet which had this dubious honour, and to celebrate it's ten year anniversary, they're reissuing the soundtrack with five bonus tracks and are doing their best to make up for that particular oversight by including a version of said track without Des'Ree mewling over the top of it. It is, much like any track which doesn't feature Des'ree, markedly improved.

Many of you may remember the release of this film, which made a star out of the genetically modified bulldog that is Leonardo de Caprio and a trivia quiz answer out of Claire Danes, but for those who are annoyingly too young to be able to remember it, not only do we hate you all, but to bring it up to date, Baz decided to retell the story of the warring Montague and Capulet families and the ultimately doomed young love between Romeo and Juliet - two people from entirely different worlds who should never have fallen for each other... it's a bit like the Chantelle and Preston story, really. Only without the suicides. Yet - via the means of gang warfare and a high octane visual styling. If anyone were to attempt to bring it to the screen nowadays then the story would mainly involve people from rival Myspace groups dissing each other on their comments page while Romeo and Juliet's ill-fated romance would largely be carried out via the use of smileys in MSN, but we digress.

The soundtrack itself managed to make stars from The Cardigans, with the not actually as annoying as you remember it Lovefool and Radiohead, with the actually as whiny as you remember it Talk Show Host, but don't let that put you off buying it as it also features Kym Mazelle, an ace cover of When Doves Cry by Quindon Tarver and the infamous and spawner of a million unfunny parodies, Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), albeit in an '07 mix which appears to have no differences whatsoever from the original other than the fact the introduction references the class of 07 instead. It may be worth pondering for a second on the fact that somebody got paid for that.

And besides, there are worse things you can buy that feature Montagues and Capulets. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor springs immediately to mind.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Her Prerogative 

They asked her to go to rehab and she said, "Yeah, you know what? That's probably a good idea". Yup, it's Britney Spears, who has rounded up her 'troubled' weeks by checking into rehab after her somewhat erratic behaviour of late culminated in her shaving her head, seemingly her most controversial look since she first entered the public consciousness dressed as a schoolgirl and dancing in a less than innocent manner. But what on earth possessed her to try and find out if she could pull of such a look? We have a few suggestions:

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Brits: Happening All Over Again 

We didn't feel that we should be the only ones to suffer by sitting through the entirety of the Brit Awards, so we got Laura, our Fashion Correspondent to do the same. Well, we've never claimed to be nice, have we? Anyway, she decided that the only way to get through it was via the crutch of alcohol, and who can blame her? Here's what she had to say on the whole affair:

Well, I'm going to have to start this halfway through the first award, because believe it or not, I was washing my hair. I timed it well though as Muse (the best band in the history of the world) have just won an award for Best Live Act. Dom is wearing one of the two jackets which he owns. Matt really needs to buy Dom a new one, and prise the GHDs out of his hands. Poor Chris is ignored. Again.

The dreary and as inspiring as Saddam Hussein Snow Patrol are on to sing Chasing Cars to us. Again. Just in case we had been living, oh I don't know, on Saturn for the past year and have missed its totally undeserved chart run. Thanks Snow Patrol, you thoughtful cunts! You'd have thought with all the royalties they had earned from their SMASH HIT (yet not Brit Award winning) SINGLE, they'd be able to afford clothes which were not purchased from Primark, wouldn't you? It makes you wonder if they'll be joining Robbie any time soon?

I also have to ask why Fearne Cotton, the definition of all that is wrong with showbiz today (We adore Fearne Cotton, personally. she's like an employable Chantelle - Flum), saw fit to wear a dead leopard dress tonight. Not only was animal print fashionable LAST YEAR, but even then it screamed Kat Slater which, if you ask ME, is not the look you want to be going for at an internationally respected awards show. So respected indeed, that awards are only handed out to people who can be fucked to turn up. Unless you're Justin Timberlake, but who would say no to him?

Other highlights from the night included the lead "singer" of Orson donning a baseball cap and sunglasses, lest he should be recognised on stage, accepting an award (To be fair, if he hadn't worn the baseball cap then everyone else would have needed sunglasses as the powerful stage lights reflected off of his entirely hairless forehead - Flum); The Fratellis for being so god damn rock and roll that they had, not cocaine, not moet, but IRN BRU. You know when you've made it when you can drink that one out of the bottle then pour it on your bandmates, eh kids?! It's also worth adding this comment from my jumbled, drunken notes - "They're thanking people. I think. I cannae oonersten' thaieyr wee scottee accents."

The Killers perfomed. Brandon made it very clear that he had somewhere better to be on Valentines night by donning a very smart tux. His bandmates had less of this sort of class, with the guitarist and bassist both appearing to have refused any contact whatsoever with a hairdresser for the past 15 years, and the drummer turning up in what looked like his pyjamas. (If we had to go to the Brit Awards we'd make sure we'd be prepared for sleep as well - Flum) Amy Winehouse also performed tonight and, aside from the beehive on her head, she really was fabulous. Girls Aloud - watch and learn. (Tsk! - Flum)

The Arctic Cunteries tried to show how 'crazy' and 'eclectic' they REALLY ARE tonight, by dressing up as characters from both the Wizard of Oz and the Village People for their thank you speeches. If it wasn't for the totally emotional thank yous we got from them - "This. Is. Much. Appreciated. By. Us. All." - I'd be led to think that they couldn't actually be fucked to turn up because they are 'too important' for all this awards show nonsense now. Let us not forget that just a year ago, they were unknown scraggy haired twats from Sheffield. Now they're arrogant scraggy haired twats from Sheffield. (And despite their unfatomable success the bloke from the cover of their album is still more recoginsable than they are. They could walk around singing "Hey, Hey We're the Arctic Monkeys" (Do you see what we did there?) and most people would still be none the wiser, thus missing out on an exciting chance to throw things at the talent free tossers - Flum)

Corinne Bailey-Rae was also doing a turn, and her performance was so interesting that it pushed me to more drink. The best part of her song - aside from the ending - was the bit when there was so much glitter in the air, that she was LITERALLY obscured from view. Sadly, they'd cleared it all up by the time we got to see the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, so their awful 'stuck in the 70s' outfits were there for all the world to laugh at. Well, Britain, anyway.

The best moment of the night HAS to go to Sophie Ellis-Bextor - and, by extension, Steve Tyler I suppose - after she pointedly remarked that not all of the international acts were American and followed it up with a so-cold-it-could-freeze-your-blood glare. Sophie - I salute you. And the fact that they played the original of that Girls Aloud/Sugababes catastrophe does not bode well for Comic Relief does it? (But not playing their cover of it does bode well for the two bands' careers, as the less that particular mess is associated with the various girls, the better - Flum)

Honorable mention goes to Joss Stone tonight. You have to respect someone who struts on stage, as pissed as she was, with hair like THAT. Not to mention a dress which looks like something Britney Spears vomited on, and lest we FORGET her drunken ramblings and the most embarassing moment of the show tonight, which will follow her for YEARS to come. (But it does have the effect of dissuading those who would have otherwise spent many years following her around like a lovesick puppy. Um, not like us, of course. Poor Joss :( - Flum)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Brits Happen 

Last night was a thrilling event, the sort of hit packed show we all dream of, filled with the excitement and energy that only comes from being live. It celebrated all that was good and fantastic about modern British music while fronted by someone who's pure sex, dressed in the sort of stylishly fabulous wardrobe that very few people can actually get away with. But that's enough about the Long Blondes gig that we were at, we've got the Brit Awards to write about instead, so how did that compare? Let's have a look, shall we?

Opening the show were the Scissor Sisters and I Don't Feel Like Dancing. Last time they played they roped in Jim Henson's Creature Workshop to provide them with a dancing farmhouse and a selection of singing watermelons and were all kinds of aceness, so they really had to go some to beat that. We'd suggest that basing your style on the Thunderbirds, having dancing legs with no apparent upper bodies - except when the camera got too close and spoiled the black on black illusion - having a motion blur effect on Del's guitar and having your own legs warp around like there's no tomorrow is probably covering a lot of your bases. Being the drummer, all Paddy got to contribute to the performance was being a bit higher up than normal.

Hosting this year's event is Russell Brand, a man who seems to spend any time he's not on the airwaves being dragged backwards through any form of greenery he can find. He stands proudly in front of a padlocked heart, presumably to represent how safe the Brit Awards are, although Russell will refer to this as being Robbie Williams' medicine cabinet. Here Russell is being controversial. He will be controversial at various points throughout the night and we'll do our best to keep track of them, though this will be hard as not only will we be shocked to our very core, but there'll be so many of them that we run a very real risk of running out of ink. Indeed, Russell is quick to play up the controversy prospects of the night: "With some of the characters here there could be chaos!", before going on to reel off the names of Liam Gallagher and Amy Winehouse, who are less likely to cause chaos, more an impromptu caterwauling of any of the various songs favoured by the drunk and imbecilic. Russell also introduced the concept of the "Love and Hate stages", a concept which was entirely ignored throughout the night and given that the watching public is largely able to understand that logistics require the need for two stage set-ups without the need for pointless attempts to legitimise it, was completely unnecessary.

The first award for the night was Best Live Act and was presented by Keith Allen, who now seems to see "Being Lily's Dad" as his official job title, even 'hilariously' reading out Lily's name instead of the actual winner. Fighting it out were Guillemotts, George Michael, Robbie Williams, Muse and Kasabian, with the honours going to Muse, who are currently planning to do a gig on the moon as not only does it seem well within the realms of possibility that they could easily sell out the orbiting mass twice over, it's also the only place that Matt reckons they would be able to perform without having their brains scanned by the CIA.

"They are human beings with actual feelings!", lied Russell, as he introduced Snow Patrol, and it's a testament to how low they set their sights that their idea of an exciting, eye catching and thrilling light show was to dangle some 40W bulbs over the stage for their sleep inducing performance of Crashing Cars, a song which, lest we forget, was recently voted the greatest song of all time by Virgin Radio listeners, a subset of people also known as "People who hate music".

More controversy from Russell as he introduced the Best British Breakthrough Artist by using a sex analogy. Will society be able to stand the pressure? This was presented by Jarvis Cocker, who as far as we could tell was doing an impersonation of Jimmy Saville for no apparent reason. The nominees were Corinne Bailey Rae, The Kooks, James Morrison, Lily Allen and The Fratellis. Could there be a more soul destroying set of nominations? It went to the Fratellis, presumably because they have two good songs in their armoury, a whole two more than anyone else on the shortlist, and they celebrated by spraying Irn Bru around with wild abandon. This is because they are Scottish, and it's impossible for anyone Scottish to head south without instantly becoming an embarassing stereotype, which they later cemented by thanking their ma, their da and all their pals.

A controversial, but actually quite funny, reference to friendly fire incidents in Iraq led us to the award for Best International Breakthrough award, presented by Toni Collette who was in Muriel's Wedding which was 13 years ago and so not hugely relevant for tonight's event. Gnarls Barkley, The Raconteurs, Wolfmother, Ray Lamontagne and Orson were up for this, with Orson taking the prize, presumably because the prize had been misannounced and what they were actually rewarding was the Most Irritating One Hit Wonder of the Year. Singer blokey, tonight hiding his baldness under a baseball cap, certainly played up the irritating card, running around the stage like a twat, declaring it to be "awesome" and thanking "all the Orson fans out there". If we had the power, as he presumably does, to influence Orson fans, we wouldn't be thanking them, we'd be telling them to take their own lives, preferablly in an uncomfortable, painful way.

Amy Winehouse was next to perform, telling us that she's not going to go to Rehab. Which, given that her current success, popualrity and ubiquity is largely related to her alcoholism, is hardly surprising. Killing the goose that lays the golden egg is rarely a good idea. Big massive arrows pointed towards where she stood, presumably so that even she, no matter how inebriated she might be, would be able to stand in the right spot, while she messed around with her hair, piled up on her head like a haystack, and played with her dress like a nervous child.

Controversy alert! Russell has now mentioned the Queen's genitalia. By jove, the country wil soon fall into the sea if this manner of thing continues to go on. He mentions this as an aside during his introduction of the Best British Male, presented by Joss Stone. We have a lot of time for Joss, mainly because she has lovely hair, is fond of wearing nice dresses and has a cute Devonshire accent. The Joss who turned up on stage tonight, however, had purple hair, was wearing a dress that had apparently been designed by a hyperactive, colourblind 3 year old and seemed to be labouring under the delusion that rather than being from Devon, she was, in fact, from the Bronx. The nominees were Lemar, Paolo Nutini, James Morrison, Thom Yorke and Jarvis Cocker, with James Morrison taking the prize. "I really did not expect this", he exclaimed, "I really can't believe I'm here". No, nor can anyone else who's brain works properly and finds your unlistenable mewlings to be anethema to their very being. "This is for every singer songwriter who's still playing in pubs", he concluded. Yeah, there's a reason why they're still there, and a reason why you should be too.

Some Fashion Designer and Erin O'Conner, who they claimed was a model, but seemed to be an unadventurous drag queen attempting to look like the girl from Everything But the Girl were up next to give the prize for Best International Male. Justin Timberlake, Jack Johnson, Damien Rice, Beck and Bob Dylan were in the running for this, which we believe is officially known as "Struggling to make up the numbers". Unsurprisingly, Justin took this prize via the medium of the recorded message, wherein he demanded the real trophy and told the audience to stop drinking as they'd get sloppy. Not only is he bringing sexy back, but he's bringing responsible drinking back too.

Next to perform with - yes! - a curtain drop are The Killers, stood in a massive gold box to perform When You Were Young. We were never a massive fan of this song when it came out, but live they really managed to pull it off, turning it into an exciting, powerful and emotional number that almost managed to distract from the awfulness of Brandon's facial hair. It's still no Mr Brightside, though. Mind you, few things are.

Presenting the prize for Best British Female is Jo Whiley, a person for whom only the middle word in that title applies. Amy Winehouse, Corrine Bailey Rae, Nerina Pallot, Lily Allen and Jamelia and bouyed on a wave of hype keeping her going when mere talent alone would already have left her in an awkward sandy mess back on the beach of mediocrity, the prize goes to Amy Winehouse. "Way more rock'n'roll than Liam Gallagher", opines Jo as she hands out the prize, which may well be true, but so's a pebble. And we know which one we'd rather have around. Amy's speech in brief: "Hello? Hello, hello! Thank you, erm, yeah. And, er, erm, yeah".

Ricky Wilson, from out of the Kaiser Chiefs, is a man of few words, and is quick to get on with his job of presenting Best International Female. Christina Aguilera, Nelly Furtado, Pink, Cat Power and Beyonce are fighting for this one, though not cat fighting, she never really stood a chance anyway. In the end it went to Nelly Furtado, who went on stage and declared "Yeah! Got a Brit Award! This is so exciting!". She may well have been being sarcastic.

With a sparkly blue backdrop behind them, it's Take That! Performing Patience! Again! For the umpteenth time! Even the lads are looking a bit bored with it now, with Mark seemingly more distracted by the chandelier hanging above the stage than actually performing. Gary was looking like the sort of person you wouldn't leave your kids with, white Howard was looking more like one of the PG chimps. Jason was just, well, there.

Presenting the prize for Best British Group is Anthony Head from both Buffy and Jade Goody's favourite comedy series, the racist Little Britain. Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Snow Patrol, Muse and Razorlight are all up for this and it's hardly an awe inspiring line up, is it? We'd back Muse for this, if only because Laura, our Fashion Correspondent, would kill us if we didn't. The Brit organisers, who don't have this threat hanging over them, decided instead to give it to Arctic Monkeys, who appeared via video link dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz to collect it. Why, those crazy guys, it's almost enough to make you forget the crushing predictability of their music and irritatingly boring lyrics.

It's controversy-a-go-go here as not only does Russell make a drugs reference as he introduces the Best International Album, but Simon Pegg, presenting this prize alongside Nick Frost, manages to swear twice! That'll really get the Daily Mail going. Bob Dylan, Gnarls Barkley, Justin Timberlake, Scissor Sisters and The Killers are up for this, with the latter's Sam's Town taking the trophy. We've not heard it so we have no idea whether they deserve it or not, but Brandon seemed to think they did. Mind you, he may be biased.

For no reason whatsoever, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers came on and did Dani California. Were they really that desperate to fill up the performance slots?

The extremely lovely and the extremely hideous came together as Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Steven Tyler arrived on stage to present the prize for Best International Group. Steven claimed that meeting Russell was "Vuja De" and that he needed to get a haircut, which is a bit rich coming from, well, Steven Tyler a man for whom style is merely something to get him over a fence in a field. Up for the prize were Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Killers, Scissor Sisters< Gnarls Barkley and The Flaming Lips, with The Killers once again having to make the journey from the table to the stage, leaving their drinks unattended, going in direct defiance of government advice to avoid date rape. Now that laisez faire attitude towards their own personal safety is true rock and roll behaviour.

Giving the audience a toilet break, it's Corrine Bailey Rae doing Put Your Records On, and she's surrounded by a tableau of people acting out various things, skipping, blowing a kiss, just chatting. Well, you've got to do something to keep yourself amused when she's performing. As the song reached, for want of a better word, it's climax, those same performers appeared behind her to indulge in some incredibly bad dancing. Obviously they were chosen not for their rhythmic ability but their willingness to share the same stage as Corrine Bailey Rae, a very rare talent.

Best British Single was presented by Alan Carr, who we saw doing stand up years ago and cannot fathom his current rise to fame given that a) he was entirely unfunny and b) is still entirely unfunny. Facing the live pubic vote for this were Will Young's All Time Love, Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars, Take That's Patience, The Feeling's Fill My Little World and Razorlight's America. Proving conclusively that their fan's have the most credit left on their mobiles where Take That whose speech was pretty much as you would expect.

Best British Album was the final 'proper' prize of the night and here to present it for no other reason than he's from Sheffield, as are the eventual winners, is Sean Bean, who makes some sort of football reference which he seems to think is hilarious. Snow Patrol, Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse and Muse were all up for this, but in the end the Arctic Monkeys took the prize, mainly because the Brits desperately want to be seen as cool and cutting edge and like to believe that giving the prize to an act like this gives them this outsider, rebel status, rather than the reality which is just that they're desperately chasing trends, months and months after they happen, always managing to avoid anything truly interesting that's going on. But they didn't give anything to Lily Allen, so they're not all bad. The Arctics accepted this prize dressed as the Village People. Oh nurse, our sides, etc.

And so we come finally to the Not Yet Dead award, or Outstanding Contribution to Music prize, which this year has gone to Oasis, who really have made an outstanding contribution in the field of having remarkable success despite not having the talent, tunes, or charisma to deserve it. "Football fans love 'em", said Russell, in his introductory piece, which perhaps says it all. We've heard the sort of things football fans like to sing at games up and down the country, it's not quite the pinnacle of musical excellence, is it, not unless you consider boorish, atonal grunting to be pleasant to listen to. And if you do then you're probably already in Oasis.

With his usual grace and wit, Liam bounded on stage and declared "Seeing as we don't get nominated for this shit anymore, this'll have to do". before the band buggered off to play Cigarettes and Alcohol, Some Song We Didn't Recgonise and What's the Story (Morning Glory), with Liam descending more and more into self parody and Noel showing a worrying amount of concentration for a man who must have played these songs a million times before. They go through there set with the workmanlike air of a band who have a greatest hits album to promote which even they're not hugely fussed about. As they played they cut to an audience shot which included a Fratelli, standing with a glass of champagne in hand, looking entirely uninvolved as he watched the performance. This, perhaps, says it all.

And that, is pretty much that. As always the whole affair was pretty pointless, but it has used up a couple of hours of our life which we'd otherwise have wasted in some even more futile way, hard though that may be to imagine. Civilisation hasn't crumbled, despite Russell Brand making some innuendo in the middle of the evening, music will still be fantastic, despite the celebration of the mediocre that's been displaye tonight, and Lily Allen will probably still release records, despite being suitably snubbed tonight. Oh well.

More Brits! Join us tomorrow for our Fashion Correspondent Laura's view on the whole affair! How exciting!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Music Week 

It's The Brits on Wednesday! And they're going out live! Something which the organisers seems to beleive will add a frisson of danger and exictement to proceedings, although in reality all this is likely to mean is that the programme which follows it may well start a few minutes later than scheduled and that someone may well say something which will offend many of those viewing - "And the winner of the award for best British male is James Morrison!" springs immediately to mind. They're going to be hosted by Russell Brand who, indicating somewhat the sort of world in which the Brits organisers live in, they firmly believe to be the most dangerous man in broadcasting today. Russell, it may be worth remembering, does earn his pennies with a show on Radio 2. They've probably got Donny Tourette lined up to present an award as well.

Anyway, we were going to get into the 'spirit' of things by doing a live blog of the whole affair but, in a bid to actually enjoy the evening, we're going out to see The Long Blondes play instead, so you'll have to wait until Thursday for our traditional post-mortem on the whole affair. But until then you may well be wondering how some of the Brits nominees will be spending the days leading up to and after the awards ceremony. Well worry not! We're here to enlighten you:-


With the Brits only two days away it's time to prepare for the glamourous walk down the red carpet. It's important to get it right as not only do you not get a second chance to make a first impression, you only get one chance to turn up on the front page of the Daily Star wearing nothing but some dental floss and a trio of carefully positioned CD's covering your essentials. Multiple nominee Lily Allen will today be commencing a 48 hour visit to the hairdressers, where the cream of the profession will be attempting exactly how to style her fringe so that it will both hide and distract attention from her oversized forehead. Best Male nominee Jarvis Cocker will be visiting his local charity shop in the hope they have a suit which is almost his size and doesn't smell too badly of wee.


One day to go and the nerves are starting to bite. The stars are frantically phoning round the management, asking what their chances are, all except those who's prizes come via the public vote, who are frantically phoning up the voting lines until their credit expires. Best British Male nominee Lemar will be frantically phoning up his manager asking "Are you sure it's not a misprint? I'm really up for a prize and it's not just a joke?", while Girls Aloud will be phoning up their management to ask what the fuck they have to actually do to get some sort of nod from the judging panel as releasing some of the most exciting and fantastic pop music of the 21st Century clearly isn't enough.


The ceremony itself! Things get off to a bad start when the security guards refuse to let Lemar into the ceremony as they politely explain to the voice of coffee table urban that his inclusion on the shortlist was nothing more than an elaborate prank for Channel 4's Balls of Steel show. Lemar accepts his humiliation with good grace and politeness, a position it's easy to take when, like him, you're posessed of no emotion whatsoever. AS for the other artists, some win, some lose, some are forced on stage to perform an embarassing duet with the aim not of providing the audience with the entertainment of watching a unique and unexpected yet utterly thrilling collaboration, but providing a backscratching boost to each of their back catalogues, but most will drink, take copious amounts of drugs, dance with wild abandon before copping off with a succession of beautiful people. The bastards.


The hangover kicks in and many of the great good of British music will be waking up with one hell of a headache. And those who got nominated for a Brit Award probably won't be in much of a state either. Both the winners and losers will be searching the morning press, looking for a mention of their name, all angered by the fact that coverage of the ceremony itself has been overshadowed by the artist who chose to turn up in nothing but some dental floss and a trio of carefully positioned CD's covering their essentials. All except the wearer, Paolo Nuitini, who will be wondering whether it's hygenic to reuse the dental floss as he nurses the initial stages of hypothermia.


And as quickly as the excitement of Brits Week began, it's over. Admittedly it was over roughly five minutes into Monday, but this doesn't stop the organisers taking time out to reminisce as they clear the mess of the arena where the ceremony took place, being careful not to wake Lily Allen, who has spent the days since the ceremony collapsed drunkenly on to a pile of rubbish which, at the time, she firmly believed was her dad, but upon her eventual return to consciousness she'll realise that not only is it far too clean to be Keith, it also posesses a lot more acting talent. Once the arena is tidied, they'll then return to their boardroom where they'll look at a series of images which help remind them why they go through such heartache and hassle each year: graphs showing projected sales figures for the next month for the nominated artists all shooting through the roof as they head firmly towards the bland plateau which the public seems to love so much. God help us.

Monday, February 12, 2007

For Romantics Everywhere (But US ones, mainly) 

Those who like their pop to be overwrought, guitarry, emotional, theatrical, overblown, but with just enough self-awareness to avoid falling face first into the pit of ridiculousness might like to know that My Chemical Romance, Meatloaf for the 21st Century, essentially, have just announced the second leg of their US arena tour, which kicks off in Houston, Texas on the 14th of April and will be visiting all manner of enormodomes, most of which appear to be named after types of cars. It winds up in Portland, Oregon after about a month and a half of rocking out in an emotional style and cleaning out every city they pass through of hair bleach. Full details are on their website and tickets are availiable through ticketmaster right now, so you may want to rush their as fast as your misery and sense of overwhelming despair at the futility of the world will let you.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

10 Things We State About... 

After 19 years in business of selling records to middle aged couples who don't really like music, The Beautiful South finally split up last week - with jokes about The Byrds yesterday and now this does anyone think we might be losing our 'edge'? - blaming 'musical similarities', the similarity in question presumbably being that between pretty much every single they've released for the last five years. To commemmorate this event, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts up about the nation's favourite grumpy northeners:-
  1. Frontman Paul Heaton is genetically 78.3% anorak. The remaining 21.7% is comprised of melancholy, bitterness and general, non-specific jadedness.
  2. The album version of Don't Marry Her contains markedly different lyrics to the radio edit. Similarly the band had to make a number of changes to the content to allow them to release "Fuck My Brains Out" as a single. It eventually surfaced disguised as a cover of Everybody's Talkin'
  3. The band appeared on Watchdog in the mid-nineties after their business offering day trips to Rotterdam turned out to be dumping it's customers in Liverpool instead. Their feeble defence that "Rotterdam is anywhere! Anywhere alone!" did not go down well with Anne Robinson.
  4. They only had one number one, and that was with their tribute to Delia Smith, A Little Thyme.
  5. Perfect 10 is a not exactly vieled reference to Paul Heaton's penis size. Similarly, I'll Sail This Ship Alone is a not exactly veiled reference to the less than impressive size of their eventual fanbase.
  6. Some of the band used to be Housemartins but formed The Beautiful South after the band split up due to internal bickering and the entire rhythym section being eaten by the neighbourhood cat.
  7. There are many beautiful things to be found in the south, mainly those which remind you of the north.
  8. The Beautiful South changed their female singers as often as Paul changed his underpants. A whole three times!
  9. According to statistics, either one in four, six, or seven homes in the UK owns a copy of Carry on Up The Charts, their greatest hits. This proves that a) people who calculate statistics really don't have a clue what they're doing and b) that there are at least 15% of the country who don't have a clue what they're doing either.
  10. Good as Gold is really rather ace, mind.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

School of Pop 

As it's currently the search that's bringing most people to our website, here is that picture of Girls Aloud in school uniform.

Given that this is now the third time they've donned blazers and unflattering skirts it seems like they're spending more time wearing school uniform in their adult life than they ever did in their actual schooldays.

Incidentally, this picture is promoting something to do with Comic Relief, for which they've teamed up with the Sugababes to release a cover of Walk This Way. We're currently withholding judgement on the track as it is, of course, for charity. Not, frankly, that that's any excuse.

Bird in the Band 

Bird flu has hit the country which, of course, means that We Are All Going To Die. We've spent a large part of our time since we heard the news panicking, and yes, we do realise that the official government advice is "Don't panic", but we've been reading between the lines.

It also means all manners of restrictions for the movement of poultry and, should the virus transfer to humans - which we firmly believe it will, and we're reasonably convinced that all the mutations will eventuall cause it to reanimate the dead, causing further problems and awkward social situations - chaos as burning bodies line the motorways, public gatherings are discouraged, the living envy the dead and getting a KFC proves to be virtually impossible.

But what, you are no doubt thinking, will all this mean for the music industry? Here's a rough guide to some of the changes you'll need to get used to:-

Monday, February 05, 2007

All Your Favourite Records 

We've been meaning to mention this for, oooh, ages now, but never got round to it, mainly thanks to the all consuming pressures of a) Christmas, b) Celebrity Big Brother, and c) our general rubbishness, laziness and motivational levels roughly on a par with a particularly sluggish sloth. But anyway! We don't know much about Australia, and what we do know is largely based on Neighbours, leading us to the conclusion that in a land down under, not only do women glow and men plunder, but also all problems can be solved via the medium of street cricket, no-one bothers locking their doors and, once people leave the family home, they rarely return unless they have major plastic surgery first. We also know that it's an upside down land were everything is back to front, something amply proven by a recent television poll to find Australia's favourite album which came to the conclusion that Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is the bestest album ever and, from looking down the list and reading between the lines, you can't make good music unless you're white, middle aged and male, a theory which is remarkably easy to disprove.

We weren't the only ones to be annoyed by this. Indeed, we wouldn't have even been aware of it to be annoyed by if hadn't been for those good people at I'm Always Right, who were so incensed by it that not only have they decided to carry out their own poll, but they were so blinded by rage that they felt that asking us - along with some other top pop bloggers - to join the judging panel was a good idea. Still, it's done now and while we're busy deciding exactly who should and shouldn't be on our top ten, you should really be doing the same. Closing date is the 1st of March and full details can be found here. We don't think Pink Floyd will do quite as well this time around.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Actual Worst Records... Ever 

His songwriting abilities are roughly on a par with his spelling

Now don't get us wrong here, we absolutely adore Chantelle Houghton and have no problems whatsoever with anyone writing a love song to her, but even if we were to attempt it, and bear in mind that we have all the musical ability of a tone-deaf lettuce leaf, we'd be able to come up with something with more passion, more soul, more excitement and more, well, love, affection and feeling than Preston, her own sodding husband, can manage in the latest single from The Ordinary Boys, I Luv U.

Even the name sums up where it's romantic intentions lie - just below the 'Pack of love hearts' level - and it's lyrics don't aim much higher. Opening with the line "I'm not gonna patronise you" - and who would ever want to patronise Chantelle? Not us, that's for sure. Oh, and if you're reading this Chantelle, 'patronise' means to talk down to someone - and it gets worse from then on in. Preston is attempting to give off clumsily awkward charm, talking about how he finds it hard to find the right words to truly some up his emotions and hoping that a simplistic "I love you" will be more than enough to express exactly how he feels, which wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that Preston has all the wit and self-awareness of a beetle with a mirror and so just comes across as an idiotic oaf who simply can't be bothered to express himself properly.

None of this would matter, of course, if the tune was any cop, and given that this is a band who've given us such, ahem, masterpieces as Boys Will Be Boys, Seaside and, umm, Boys Will Be Boys again, it wil come as no surprise whatsoever to learn that it's a clod-footed slice of leaden, hopeless despair with all the subtlety of a Daily Mail leader, and even less pleasant to listen to either. If this really is Preston summing up his relationship with Chantelle to the best of his abilities then we can only assume that their marriage is nothing more than a loveless sham, entered into solely for the purpose of prolonging their careers post Celebrity Big Brother and giving OK magazine an excuse to interview them, and that surely can't be the case. After all, didn't Preston recently storm off of Never Mind The Buzzcocks in a demonstration of love after Simon Amstell dared to make fun of his wife? Clearly this has nothing to do with the fact that such a petulant display of pointless chest puffery would make the papers and help promote the release of a single about how much he loves his wife and all to do with him wanting to defend her honour, something which, he might have been better able to do, had he actually, y'know, stayed there to defend it.

I Luv U is in shops now, just in time for Valentines Day. What a coincidence. If your loved one buys you this as a present then it's already over.