Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Monday, April 30, 2007


So! Hands up who would ever have expected that one of the Sugababes would be arrested on suspicion of assault?

Oh. Quite a few of you, then.

Of course, what's most surprising about Amelle Berrabah spending a night in the cells following, to quote the police's own rather coy description of the events, "An incident in a bar", is the fact that the incident didn't involve another Sugababe. The girls - other than happy, smiley, oblivious to all the bitching and back-biting, Heidi, of course - aren't exactly famed for their friendly, welcoming stance and aren't exactly the best at keeping their, ahem, disagreements under wraps, but it remains to be seen exactly what the details are regarding this particular event. We do, however, feel that Amelle should perhaps have listened to the lyrics of Ugly a little bit more closely as the message has possibly passed her by.

In other Girl Band/Emergency Service news, Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding spent some time in hospital yesterday, complaining of stomach pains and has been warned to cut down on her partying. Which is a polite medical way of saying "You've just got a touch of wind, stop bothering us and, geez, have a mint, your breath stinks of booze". We're not being entirely dismissive of her claims, however, as we recently rewatched Alien and it's had a profound effect on us.

In a bid to complete the set we're hoping to bring you a story later this week about Natasha Bedingfield and a fireman. Failing that we've definitely got a tale about All Saints making nuisance calls to the lifeboat association. It's just a boaty call, apparently.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Chart Attack 

Some people are getting quite excited by the prospect of chart history being made this afternoon. Although given that chart history seems to be made on a pretty much daily basis these days it's hard to get too worked up about it. This time it's those lovable, happy go lucky, in no way completely dull and derivative dullsmiths the Arctic Monkeys who are getting people all worked up, which is, at least, something that they pretty much fail to do with their music. This time it's the fact that, when it's all announced later on today, they're likely to have 18 songs in the charts, which does sound quite an impressive feat and, indeed, would be if it wasn't for the fact that "The charts" doesn't, as you might expect, mean the top 40. In fact it refers to the Top 200 which, given that you only need to sell roughly seven copies to make it into the arse end of the chart, makes it somewhat less of a feat that they're claiming it to be.

It's all down to the fact that download sales of any track, whether an official single or not, are now considered chart eligible, so it's likely that this sort of thing will happen on a regular basis now around the big releases, which means that in time this kind of chart event will amazingly be even less interesting than it is now, if such a thing is possible, even if it does seem rather unlikely that bands will ever get more than a couple of songs in the actual top forty at any one time. Some people reckon that, if The Beatles and Apple ever bury their differences and allow Beatles songs to become available on iTunes, then they'll take up pretty much every position in the charts, although quite where this apparently massive group of people who like the Beatles enough to download their entire back catalogue the minute it gets released, but not enough to bother ripping the CDs themselves is going to come from hasn't yet been made clear, but we're sure they're out there somewhere. Probably hiding in cave near a Wifi hotspot.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

SexyBack. And SexyFront and SexySides As Well 

It's that time of year again. The time when FHM's ever so slightly hormonal readership take hold of a suitable implement and put a lot of thought and effort into deciding who exactly is the sexiest woman in the world. And, once they've dealt with that sticky problem, they pick up a pen and let FHM know what they've decided. As always there's quite a few pop stars in the list so here, once again, is FHM's Sexiest Women in Pop, 2007 Edition:

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Life's a Beach 

Global warming might be a big concern for one of this year's big concerts, but as the forthcoming T4 on the Beach concert will not exactly be seen as a huge success if the heavens open and rain pours in like J-List celebrities at an album launch it seems pretty much a given that Channel 4 staff are currently leaving all their TV's on stand-by, their phone chargers permanently plugged in, and are generally encouraging their viewers to buy products with as much excess packaging as they possibly can, just in case it makes a difference. It certainly explains why they decided to broadcast The Great Global Warming Swindle a month or so ago.

The drip drip of rain might be something they want to avoid, but the drip drip of information is something they're warmly embracing, announcing only three of the quite literally some acts that will be appearing at Weston-Super-Mare on Sunday, 22nd July. So far, Akon, Just Jack and, slightly more excitingly, Natasha Bedingfield have packed their bucket and spade in readiness. Before we go on, here is a picture of Natasha looking pretty:

Sigh, etc.

Anyway, there's still loads to be announced, so we're sure that Akon won't be Lonely - arf! - for long, that Just Jack is thinking excitable thoughts about who else might be on the bill and so has Stars in his Eyes - Arf! - and that Natasha, umm, wants to have their babies? No, how about "Is sure that the rest of the bill won't remain Unwritten for long? Something about being single? Oh, think of your own bad pun. We can't do everything for you. Here's another 'Arf', though. Arf.

The event's sure to be a good laugh, and has the advantage of only giving bands enough time to perform a couple of songs - i.e. the 'hit' - before buggering off. More gigs should be like that, really. There's also the bonus that Vernon Kaye doesn't 'do' T4 any more, preferring instead to ironically appreciate the past like a bad Peter Kay - Or like Peter Kay, to save using an unnecessary word - so you won't have to put up with his gormless grin and inane banter between acts, but you should probably be aware that June Sarpong seems unable to escape to the world of proper TV so will be shouldering some of the hosting duties. Perhaps you could use the sand as some sort of rudimentary earplugs during her sections.

Tickets, and full details, are available from http://www.channel4.com/t4onthebeach and went on sale at 9AM this morning, so we should really have mentioned this earlier. Still, we don't think it'll have sold out that quickly. It's a beach for God's sake! There'll be plenty of space! Especially if you don't mind getting your feet wet or are fortunate enough to have begun evolving into a fish.

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Bang Bang Rock & Roll 

We've been quiet for the past couple of days as we've been out gigging it - That's right, we live the dream, though only as long as your dreams are pretty mundane and average - so haven't had the time to spend 'entertaining' you lot with our musings. On Wednesday we saw CSS. Acres and acres of text have already been devoted to explaining exactly how ace they are so we don't think we really need to add anything to what must surely be received wisdom by now, instead we're going to tell you about their support band. This is Ratatat:

Two things:
  1. Yes, they do need an extra 'tat' on the end of their name. And
  2. They're a somewhat hairy band, aren't they?
Don't judge them on that last point though! Many hairy bands have overcome their hirsute disability and come up with some amazing music. We're struggling to think of any at the moment, mind, but we're sure there must be some. And we do realise that if we were to follow the 'hairiness=bad' theory down to it's logical conclusion, the greatest music in the world would be made by Right Said Fred, so it's an argument we'll leave for another day, but Ratatat, razorphobic or not, do make one hell of an exciting racket. They sound like you wanted The Klaxons to when you first read about them; a thrilling, dancey, poptastic noise which does, admittedly, occasionally veer off into Mike Oldfield-esque territory, but such fools errands are generally shortlived and they soon get back to the main job in hand of making us dance like a ragdoll in a washing machine, a sight which is as impressive in description as it is dangerous to behold.

Their MySpace is here, so why not have a look and get fired up by them yourself. (Fire? Ratatat? Gunfire? No? Oh well, please yourself, then).

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Actual Worst Records... Ever 

Thankfully, she did

Hepburn. It's a name that brings to mind glamour. It brings to mind style. And above all it brings to mind class. It may also bring to mind this, but if that's the case then you've only got yourself to blame. But with all these good, positive attributes which the name brings to mind, why on earth did a bunch of clod-footed, hammer faced cockneys, who made a collective sound like a cat falling down a set of stairs made entirely from the same material as blackboards and for whom "elocution" is what happens when you put a fork into a plug socket think that this would be a good name for their band?

I Quit, their debut, and pretty much only, single was released in the spring of 1999. We were all pre-millennial back then, our thoughts and dreams still full of optimistic thoughts of the future, not yet tainted by the terrifying horrors of 9/11, Iraq and the Arctic Monkeys still to come. It was a time when anything seemed possible and the holy grail of a perfect pop record was surely within our grasp, so it's baffling why they felt convinced that what the public was desperately wanting to hear was a bit of half arsed indie-pop with a barely thought out lyrical metaphor about a failing love affair being a bit like having a job you don't like. Though frankly if you were the guy in that situation you'd probably be desperately attempting to engineer a poor workplace environment so that she quit off her own back, thus avoiding the need for you to sack her and pay a hefty severance fee.

As songs go, it's very much by the numbers, the guitars get loud exactly where you expect them to, the chorus kicks in exactly when you expect and the irritation factor kicks in exactly when you'd expect it to too. The only real novelty in the track comes with singer girl's accent, whose cockney enunciation of the phrase "Kings Road, Monday Morning", is likely to have you wishing death on all those who idolise the idea of Pearly Kings and Queens. Either that or have you pray to any God who might be listening that you too were born within the sound of the bow bells. So close to the sound, in fact, that it had rendered you deaf, leaving you blissfully unaware of this track's entire existence.

Maybe she really did want to quit, but judging by this the songwriting part of her brain had given up long before she did.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

We Heart The Pipettes 

So, how ace were The Pipettes on Friday night?! It's a good question and one which we texted, with exactly that over-excitable punctuation, to the gurus at 82ASK as we travelled home from the gig. Their reply: "Those girls from The Pipettes rocked the Garage in Glasgow tonight, they made the journey all the way from Brighton, good effort, great band!". Not only do the 82ASK fact monkeys have good taste in music, they seem to place undue emphasis on the girls' ability to get into a van and travel in the right direction along a motorway. Still, unwarranted obsession with their travel arrangements aside, they do have a point as Rosay, Gwenno and RiotBecki - and those other blokes who do some sort of stuff in the background, but they're not that important - really do put on the most exciting pop experience this side of a Girls Aloud concert.

They danced, they sung, they - obviously - pulled some shapes and, in a move, the importance of which is akin to the moment Elvis turned up at Sun Studios to record a record for his mother, the moment Dylan went electric, or the moment the Spice Girls released Wannabe, the girls have - insert a dramatic musical sting here - New Dresses. Oh, and they had some new songs, but let's focus on the most important thing, the dresses. Rather than black and white, they're now white and black, apart from RiotBecki, who has eschewed the whole dress concept all together, and wore a spotty waistcoat with black hotpants, which did, if nothing else, finally end the debate we'd been having ever since the first time we saw them live, i.e. Is RiotBecki pregnant? Admittedly the fact that the only real evidence in favour of this theory was the fact that Becki didn't wear a belt with her dress should really have meant it was dismissed out of hand instantly, and the fact it's been longer than 9 months since we first saw them should also have been a clue, but we feel glad to have finally got to the bottom of the matter, and the bottom of the matter was, of course, abundantly clear thanks to RiotBecki's overly tight hotpants. Arf! Or, indeed, arse. Arf.

Moving on... support for the night came from Stefy, who at their best sound like a growly, angry, guitarry Rachel Stevens and at their worst come across more like Speedway on a particularly uninspired day. Fortunately they tend more towards the former and, on current single Chelsea, fire off a whole box of Sweet Dreams-y electro-pop fireworks in one go. And Stefy herself has a fantastic fringe, which more than makes up for the fact the blokes in the band are clearly all a bunch of irritating twats who make the bloke from Orson look like palatable company in comparison.

We never know how to conclude these sorts of things in a quick, concise and witty manner. Oh well.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fashion, Don't You Know 

Avril Lavigne's new album is out now, and it really is all kinds of aceness with, a few entirely unnecessary ballads aside, a "Hey Hey!" on every track and enough bubblegum fantasticness running through it to permanently put the Hubba Bubba corporation out of business. Naturally with Avril's star riding high at this moment in time, and with Avril, as she herself somewhat egotistically puts it, being "The best damn thing your eyes have ever seen", many of you will be wanting to ape her new found feminine look, so it's a good thing that we sent our Fashion Correspondent Laura out to persuade theSk8r Girl herself to pen a few words on just how to achieve her own unique style:-

Avril Lavigne's Guide To Not Letting Married Life Ruin Your Flair For Fashion.

Hello! It's Mrs Avril Whibley here, here to give you some friendly advice on how to stay down with the "kidz" in this hip-hop-happening world, along with some fashion tips from someone who is so in the know with the music world today that she's releasing a Rob Cavallo produced pop punk record literally years after Green Day milked the whole darn genre to death so now you're all sick and tired of it! MARKETING GENIUS!

You may have heard my new single which I released earlier this month called Girlfriend on your local wireless pod casting thing. This was the first step in a cunning strategy that I planned all by myself to try and convince the public that I'm not a boring old stay-at-home housewife, and I'm still down with it... whatever "it" may be.

I took my inspiration for this outfit from various sources - a quick trip down to a 'Fall Down Boys' concert this week let me mingle with some of these hip-kids of today. Ah, to be 18 again! I noted that many of the young girls on this 'scene' had an eccentric taste in what was considered sensible going-out wear. But nonetheless, I realised that children are the future, and I need to push aside my concerns that they all looked like they couldn't decide which outfit to wear and simply wore one item from each, and start working this style within my own wardrobe.

I started the outfit with a white t shirt, and a royal blue tartan skirt, which frankly looked hideous, but as I overhead one excitable young teen telling her friend that she "looked the shit", I could only assume that 'looking shit' is exactly how to get forward in the cut throat world of fashion!

Its absurdly short length meant that tights were an essential to this outfit, as obviously I don't want to 'do a Lisa Lohans' and let the world see an area that is just for my husband, and possibly Playboy if they offer me enough money, so I gave my good friend Paris Hilton a call. Paris gave me a recommendation, and although personally I'm more comfortable with the pairs of American Tan that I buy in bulk from Costco, Paris insisted that what they're calling 'fished nets' are all the rage. Immediately I went down to the docks to get myself some fished nets, and the fisherman that I spoke to said that I'd have to wait until he'd finished trawling for haddock. I can only assume that he was dealing drugs and preying on young children so I maced him and called the police once I'd escaped to a secure location.

Despite all this, I was concerned my outfit was still too conventional and I needed an 'edge' to really make it. Ideally, I was after some sort of suit of armour to really crank up the kooky side, but unfortunately Primark didn't seem to stock any. I briefly considered trying to whip up my own with some plastic shopping bags I saw by the door, but I was all out of sellotape, so that had to stay a dream. One day, though... One day...

I was really looking for the piéce de résistance to make my outfit truly look like a fancy dress shop had vomited on me, but I was having little success in my search. Inspiration, as it often does, failed to hit me, so I decided to go home and have a think about it while I did my husband's laundry. Short of doing a Superman and wearing my underwear over my clothes, I was somewhat restricted with what I could do.

As I pondered this thought, suddenly it hit me! It was so foolishly obvious, I laughed at myself for not thinking of it before! I decided to borrow my husband's rugby socks and put these on over my tights! GENIUS!

They smelt a little bit so I soaked them for a while in some Dettol and then advised my darling beloved to next time sprinkle the insides of his socks with talcum powder as this absorbs any perspiration and keeps your shoes powder fresh. Top tip folks, if you want to go get a pen and paper to write that down, I'll wait for you to get back.

The look was nearly complete, I just needed one last touch to finish it off. I decided to go decorate our marital home in my new album's colour scheme while hoping that the muse would strike again, but just I was getting started on this really Complicated - ha ha! - task I slipped over in my silly stilettos, and knocked paint all over myself. See, told you it was complicated!

I spent the best part of the afternoon washing my hair with white spirit in an effort to get it all out but, as hard as I tried to remove it, some neon pink still remained in my hair. In the end I gave up and went off to my photoshoot with my new fantastic outfit. As I walked in, the stylist winked at me and said 'Pink hair! I love it Avril, it's totally showing off your rebellious side, the kids are going to love it!' I didn't want to tell him it was a fortunate mistake, so I glared at him and told him to shut the fuck up.

I may be a housewife, but I'm still a miserable old bitch after all.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Inside Skinny 

We're too lazy to write anything properly today, but here are a couple of music stories which caught our eyes recently:-

First up is a tale which we read in the Metro. OK, given that it was in the Metro, 'read' is probably a bit strong, but we certainly saw it there. It involves a Scottish girl who travelled all the way to New York, went to a Snow Patrol gig and, because she was holding up a banner professing her love for the world's favourite purveyors of sub-Coldplay snoozic, got invited up on stage to sing a song with them. Now, this could easily be put down to the mind-addling effects of jetlag, in which case she could easily be forgiven for what would be seen as nothing more than a moment of madness that she would later laugh and joke about and would, at the very least, give her a quick and easy answer to the question "What was your most embarrassing moment?". Alas, however, this isn't the case, as she made the trip to New York specifically to see the yawnsome wonders in concert. Quite why the experience of seeing them send an audience of people with American accents to sleep differs from seeing them send an audience of people with Scottish accents to sleep is beyond us - perhaps the timbre of the snoring is better over the pond - but we can think of a hell of a lot better things to do in NYC than go to a Snow Patrol concert. Not go to a Snow Patrol concert for one.

Secondly, Girls Aloud have once again been causing controversy, as according to BEAT, an eating disorders' help group, their new advertising campaign for Sunsilk - a haircare product that offers users glossy hair, an end to tangles along with a waggily tail and a stronger bark - makes the girls look unnaturally thin, "Like Barbie dolls", to use their own analogy, and they fear it could encourage their fans to try and copy the super skinny look. Here's a picture from the shoot:

They kinda have a point, don't they? And this is with Nicola wearing horizontal stripes as well, which tend to make you look bigger, so we dread to think what her actual waist measurement is, although it no doubt comes in millimetres, rather than inches. Still, with all this going on, it's a good thing they're not going to cause further public outrage by once again sexualising schoolgirls and dressing up in somewhat skimpy versions of St. Trinian's uniforms, isn't it?


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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

10 Things We State About... 

Former Sugababe, current ginger and generally ace person, Siobhan Donaghy is back! And new single Don't Give it Up, from the forthcoming album Ghosts, is really rather brilliant, not that you'd know though, given the reluctance of radio to play it or, indeed, people to actually go out and buy it. This is a shame, and it's hardly Siobhan's fault as not only has she released said amazing tune, but she's also been turning up pretty much everywhere doing interviews which largely seem to revolve around her being forced to point out how unbothered she is by the Sugababes's success and how glad she is to be out of it. To celebrate, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up examples of the sort of things she definitely doesn't do because her former bandmates' gold disc based lifestyle in no way bothers her:-
  1. Goes into record shops and moves all the Sugababe CDs bar One Touch to the back of the racks.
  2. Regularly posts on Sugababes messageboards under the username SugaBitchesSuck
  3. Defaces posters of the band around London town, with particular attention being paid to Heidi's image.
  4. Hangs around outside trendy London bars, loudly dissing the girls whenever someone who looks vaguely influential walks past.
  5. Switches the radio off whenever Red Dress comes on.
  6. Refuses MySpace Friend Requests from anyone who has the Sugababes in their Top 8.
  7. Sworn never again to eat anything containing either sugar or babies.
  8. Laughed for a solid hour when she heard the news that Mutya had been pushed out of the band as well.
  9. Books up the entire front row of Sugababe gigs so that she and her friends can sit there and boo solidly for the entire ninety minutes.
  10. Phones Keisha on a daily basis laughing and saying "You'll be next... you'll be next!".

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In Da (Golf) Club 

So! Here's the latest picture of Justin Timberlake:

Oh, OK, this is really it:

Yup, that's right. As you can see, the man who is widely considered to be so cool that he's the most likely successful solution to the whole global warming 'thing' sees nothing wrong with spending his free time playing golf, a pastime whose only real rival in the "middle aged" stakes is "getting pleasure from listening to Virgin Radio". It seems not only does he bring sexy back, but also forward in a perfect arc, connecting powerfully with the ball which heads off straight down the fairway, cleverly avoiding any sandtraps which may be laying in wait. Or paparazzi, as they're otherwise known.

This pic was taken at Carnoustie Golf Course in Scotland, where Justin is currently enjoying a family holiday - although given that golf is involved, we use the word 'enjoying' loosely - and as he's a top hyper celebrity popstar, this isn't the only activity he has planned for his Scottish trip. Oh no! He's a trendy man about town with a reputation to keep up, so with that in mind he's going to be visiting the Isle of Mull as Balamory, his favourite TV programme ever - in a recent video he cited PC Plum as the true inspiration for Rock Your Body - is filmed there. He's also planning on trying to spot the Loch Ness Monster, or Michelle McManus as she's otherwise known, getting his picture taken next to a bagpiper and he's also hoping to pick up a copy of the new CD by The MacDonald Brothers, as he's been led to believe, by the same people that told him to take up golf, that they're a hip young combo with an exciting new sound that's just waiting to take the world by storm.

He may also return with a tartan Tam O'Shanter hat with tufts of ginger hair sticking out of the side. It's nice to know he still cares enough about Britney to bring her a present back, isn't it?

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Girls Asunder 

If today's News of the World is to be believed - and frankly we even double check the date in that paper, but never mind - the Girls Aloud are planning on splitting up in September after they fulfill all their touring and festival commitments. Of course, these days split rumours start to flow pretty much five minutes after a pop band releases their first single, but in this case, and it does pain us to say so, it probably is true. All good things must eventually come to an end and, as the girls are heading closer and closer to the age were they can't legitimately be described as girls any more, it's no real surprise that they're beginning to think about their futures, but what do they have in mind for when they hang up their tambourines? Five solo careers? Five modelling contracts? Or five presenting jobs on some obscure cable station, way off the beaten track on the digiguide? Um, well, this, apparently:

Sarah Harding sees being a Bond Girl as her future role. Presumably she sees her current sideline in standing around in her pants to promote Debenhams as part of her audition piece, easing into the job before moving onto the slightly more taxing position of standing around in her bikini instead.

Nadine Coyle also fancies the acting lark, although we don't think she's got much experience in the field. Unless you count pretending to look surprised when a photographer takes yet another embarrassing snap as she goes out once again in a ridiculously short skirt, of course. It seems that her acting ambitions may stem more from her desire to head LA-wards to be close to former/current (Please delete according to the current state of play between them as you read this. They seem to break up more often than a cheap cracker) boyfriend Jesse Metcalfe, rather than any deeply held thespian ambitions, and we get the feeling that his Desperate Housewives pay packet will be more than enough to keep her in the manner to which she's become accustomed without needing to actually work herself.

Cheryl Tweedy - Or Cole, if you prefer. Which she seems to. Mind you, as the Tweedy name does have a criminal record attached to it we can see why she might want to distance herself from it - is the only one who seems to be eyeing up a solo career, which surprises us as we felt pretty sure that she'd be the first one to find herself trying to find an onstage look which combines the sexiness we've come to expect along with the comfortableness and practicality of maternity wear, but never mind. Given the success of other former girlband members who've tried to make it on their own terms we can only wish her success with this endeavour and hope like hell that she's got a plan B as a back up.

And finally, both Kimberley Walsh and the always lovely Nicola Roberts both have the same ambition, which is to be "high flying business women". Now, we don't claim to possess any sort of understanding of the world which high-flying executive types live in. Hell, we've only just about managed to grasp the concept of "Buy low, sell high", but even so, we feel that their stated business plan is ever so slightly vague and could do with being fleshed out just a tad. After all currently it barely even counts as an ambition, let alone a project that could in any way be described as, well, a project full stop. Still, they'll be auditioning for the next series of The Apprentice in September and, with her success on the show, we're sure Cheryl could put in a good word for them.

In short, then: Oh dear. Let's enjoy it while it lasts.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Di: Another Day 

The Princess Diana Memorial Concert was presumably intended as being this year's 'big' concert, but it's kinda had it's thunder stolen by Al Gore's Live Earth event. Mind you, any event is likely to come up wanting against something whose stated aim is to save the world - as yet it's unclear whether they also intend on saving the cheerleader - but one whose sole purpose is to glorify the life of a disgustingly rich and supremely self-centred woman is really going to be pushing it in the 'worthy' stakes. As with Live 8, our coverage of the whole Live Earth event will be nothing if not comprehensive - although it's worth noting 'comprehensive' is not the same thing as 'funny' - but before we dip our toes into that particular pool of melted icecap water, here's a look at the artists lined up to perform at what is possibly the year's least essential musical event:-

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

10 Things We State About... 

Pink has a new single coming out soon - no, you probably don't need us to tell you what it sounds like, you can probably guess - and she's also about to release a DVD called U + Ur Hand which features, from Wembley, live versions of all your favourite Pink tracks. And Trouble's probably on there as well. To celebrate, here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the world's favourite pseudo lesbian:-
  1. Don't Let Me Get ME was written about her all consuming fear of catching the so called 'Yuppie flu'.
  2. Shirley Bassey's cover of Get The Party Started is the first time an A-List diva has covered a song proclaiming the virtues of mind bending blood boiling rave drug Ecstasy. Apart from Vera Lynn's cover of The Shamen's Ebeneezer Goode, of course.
  3. Pink's name comes from the person whose personality most matches her own; a sort of washed out Red from The Fraggles.
  4. It's still the most feminine thing about her, mind.
  5. Shakin' Stevens once covered Trouble for the rubbish ITV reality show, Hit Me Baby One More Time. Amazingly, he managed to make it sound better than the original.
  6. Actually, given the poor quality of the original, that's really not that amazing after all, is it?
  7. God is a DJ declared Pink in her number 11 hit of the same name. If this is the case then why are so many city centre nightclubs the exact definition of hell?
  8. Feel Good Time was the lead song from the Charlies Angels 2 soundtrack. Being chosen to write the theme song for such an epoch defining movie is an honour akin to being asked to do the theme to Porky's 2: The Next Day.
  9. She's worth 6 points in a game of snooker.
  10. Pink Sunshine by We've Got a Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It is the best Pink song.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Actual Worst Records... Ever 

Stereo-phonic, Mono-tonous

Why are the Stereophonics so unbelievably awful?

Think about it, it's not as easy a question as you might think. Not because it's in any way hard to think of reasons why they're so bad, there are thousands of them. So many, in fact, that we once toyed with the idea of starting up a blog called 1,000,001 Reasons Why the Stereophonics Suck which would, over time, contain exactly that, only giving up on it partly because we realised that having to deal with such a wealth of awfulness would slowly but surely drive us mad, but mainly because we felt that using the word 'suck' made us sound like a character in a pisspoor American teen sitcom, and we really didn't want that. But no, the reason it's not an easy question is because of the impossibility of pinpointing just one satisfying reason as to exactly why they're so soul destroying without exploding in a mess of anger, frustration and boredom. In desperation we turned to the 82ASK who are, frankly, the font of all knowledge who can dispense judgement with a Solomon like wisdom and asked them that very question. They answered: "Subjective whether they are awful or not, but many people agree, hence why they have only had 1 UK #1, Dakota. Some say every song sounds the same", which is a little unsatisfying. We can only assume that the writer managed to resist the urge to append the phrase "And they're clearly shit" to the end of the answer.

We're going to ignore the Dakota point. The only reason people took that particular track to their hearts was the fact that, compared to every other Stereophonics single thus far released, it sounded quite good. Compared to virtually every single other record ever released, it tends to come up wanting. Instead we're going to focus on what is undoubtedly the absolute nadir of their career: Mr Writer.

Written by lead singer Kelly Jones in a rage after the music press continued to deride his music for being turgid nonsense with all the excitement and thrills of meat and potatoes, only lacking both the meat and the potatoes which might make the experience of chowing down even vaguely pleasurable, he struck back and proved his critics wrong with a song that was, umm, turgid nonsense with all the excitement and thrills of meat and potatoes, only lacking both the meat and potatoes which might make the experience of chowing down even vaguely pleasurable. It was like Kelly had taken the gristle which makes up the back of his throat and spat it out on a plate, with a side serving of bile for good measure. "Why don't you tell it like it really is", he moaned, without even stopping for a minute to step outside his plodding, pointless, workaday existence to think, for even just a second, that, you know what, they might have a point.

It's like listening to the elongated moan of a hippo's yawn, the sound of someone slowly committing suicide by pinpricks, or the needless mewlings of a man on the bus, moaning because someone got the last Metro before him. It's the aural equivalent of a nine to five shift in an accountancy firm, but at least they get a lunch break halfway through, all we get is Kelly whining on and on, barely striking any emotional tone other than being mildly irked and coming across like a toddler who, even if you're entirely opposed to smacking, you would still think really needs a good slap.

Despite this, and, indeed, despite the rest of their back catalogue, the Stereophonics still sell in solid numbers, which is perhaps appropriate for a band who could best be described as solid - and something which they'd no doubt see as a compliment, which perhaps says it all - so much so that Kelly is now even able to enjoy the luxury of indulging in a side project. Called Only the Names Have Been Changed it's a solo album which he recorded in 36 hours, so it's nice to see he's put some effort into this and it's not a quickly tossed off vanity project with which he hopes to fleece his fans who have more money than sense. And given that they're fans of the Stereophonics, anyone who's got more than £2.37 in their wallet fits the bill. Now, we've not actually heard it yet - and nor do we have any plans to - so we may well be doing it a disservice and it could be the most exciting album released this year, full of imagination and excitement, thrills and novelty, packed to bursting with the most hook-laden hits the world has ever seen, but somehow we don't think we're going to be proved wrong if we suggest it's probably the most godawful, self indulgent load of irrelevance to hit the shops since the last Oasis album and, while it may only have taken 36 hours to record, listening to it is going to feel like one hell of a lot longer.

And he's got a girl's name. Ha.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

They Gave Us Such a Thrill 

So, we went to see B*Witched do a gig on Thursday.

We know! How ace!

Except it wasn't actually B*Witched as such, instead it was just Keavy and Edele, who are still trading off of the B*Witched name. And why not? The name clearly still has a lot of value, up there with other such contemporaries of the time as the Spice Girls, Steps and Mr Oizo. Perhaps we shouldn't have been too surprised that Lindsay and Sinead didn't make it. After all, Lindsay has no need to hawk her talents around some of this nation's less salubrious night spots as she can happily live off of her boyfriend's 911 millions, a band whose enduring popularity means that particular cash cow is never likely to run dry, while Sinead, of course, along with all the other residents, isn't allowed to leave St Mary's Home for the Elderly after 8 O'clock.

Mind you, it was, perhaps, appropriate that only 50% of the band was there, as, seeing as they didn't take to the stage til half midnight, we were half cut on cheap vodka and coke - we're nothing if not classy - by the time their performance came around, so we apologise in advance for the somewhat 'scrappy' nature of this review, but in essence, they were ace. Just like the old days, they were full of enthusiasm, energy and, if their vocals are anything to go by, helium. Keavy was also full of baby, being, as she is, pregnant. This didn't seem to be the case for Edele, but she did have a rather nice new fringey/wavey haircut, which more than makes up for her lack of fertility.

Setwise, they opened with C'est la Vie - no dad related ad libs, but the Irish dancing was still intact, which we're not sure was entirely wise given Keavy's condition - and alternated between new material and B*Witched classics, throwing Rollercoaster, To You I Belong and Don't Blame it on the Weatherman into the mix. We did the 'hands in the air' dance to Rollercoaster, though frankly with the state we were in by that point we'd have done the 'hands in the air' dance to pretty much anything. And, indeed, did. Their new material is of a more electro-poppy bent than the more full-on upbeat, happy-go-lucky sound of the original B*Witched. Indeed, it sounds like they're taking their cue from Rachel Stevens. Which, in terms of exciting, interesting and top notch pop music can only be a good thing, even if in terms of sales, success, and people generally giving much of a shit about it, it's probably not the best route to go down. Oh well, it's not like they need the money. After all, people prepared to sing, dance and bounce around in the early hours of the morning in front of a drunken audience who are largely there for the cheap drink and not the chance to see some genuine icons of nineties pop in the flesh are clearly doing it for the love of music and not the need to make some pennies. Ahem.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

10 Things We State About... 

Former Sk8r Girl Avril Lavigne is back! And, along with the tomboy look, she's also ditched the sulkpop of previous albums and has returned with a full on blast of bubblegum, shouty, Toni Basil-iant piece of pop genius - and the word 'genius' is certainly not one we bandy about so often that we've rendered it entirely meaningless - in the shape of Girlfriend How fantastic! To celebrate here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about pop's moodiest little madam:-
  1. Obsessed by tubers from a young age, Avril once spent an enjoyable summer carving a model man entirely from mashed tatties. This was immortalised in her early hit, Pot8er Boi.
  2. Like Alanis Morrisette, Mike Myers and an overwhelming sense of moral and social superiority over your neighbours, Avril Lavigne is Canadian.
  3. Despite her claims that her new found feminine image and current fondness for skirts is entirely down to her, in actual fact it's a result of Avril's mum finally putting her foot down and demanding that she start "dressing like a young lady" as she's "embarrassed being seen out with her dressed like that".
  4. Avril's hair is now so straight that she donates large chunks of it to impoverished schools in the third world so that, despite lacking many pieces of essential equipment, they do at least have access to a ruler substitute.
  5. Despite her fame, Avril found that her sulky teen image led people to treat her with a lack of respect and disdain, a treatment which was entirely out of sync with her celebrity and influence. Even doormen at top hotels would refuse to do their duty for her, happily letting the doors slam back and hit her on her arse. It was this experience that led her both to write He Wasn't and stop entering top hotels shouting the phrase "I can buy you, eh" at all members of staff while simultaneous giving them the finger.
  6. Avril's Happy Ending turned out to be getting married to Derek Whibley from out of Sum 41. Prior to this Fat Lip was the best thing that he'd ever done.
  7. It's not only her boyfriend that Avril considers to be Complicated, she also has problems with Rubik Cubes, translating the London Underground map into real world situations and doors marked with the legend 'Pull'.
  8. Dyslexic fans often find themselves disappointed when they turn up at Italian restaurants expecting to see a gig from their favourite popstar, only to find out that the only thing on offer is actually lasagne.
  9. She's so tiny that, rather than going to the expense of hiring a private jet, Avril flies to every gig on the back of a friendly bumble bee and her rider consists of nothing more than a thimblefull of milk and a handful of cake crumbs.
  10. Seriously, Girlfriend is all kinds of aceness. Go buy, go buy!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Next Factor 

After all the intrigue, backbiting, apologies, some more backbiting and a bit of hand wringing as they tried to ascertain whether anyone still even cares about what goes on in the programme, the makers of The X Factor, have finally revealed who'll be replacing the hapless Kate Thornton and Louis Walsh in their respective roles on the programme. Although given that the main 'innovation' for this year's series seems to be the reduction of the age limit down to 14, an age where, since we left Victorian times at any rates, society generally tends to expect you to be in school, getting an education and generally trying to make something of your life, rather than spending at best ten weeks on a pisspoor talent show where the only education you're likely to get is in the fields of failure and humiliation and the best your life will be able to offer you even if you do manage to win the whole sorry shebang is a few appearances on local radio and a "Where are They Now?" feature twenty years down the line, they may well be glad that they're no longer a part of the escapade.

Stepping into Kate's immaculate, if often ill-matching, heels is Dermot O'Leary, a man whose probably best known for his work hosting Big Brother's Little Brother, the magazine show which, if the last series was anything to go by, had the main job of awkwardly trying not to mention racism and instead search desperately for any sort of lighter moment, no matter how insignificant and irrelevant compared to what the rest of the country was talking about. Given his obvious uncomfortableness with the way Celebrity Big Brother turned out - and, as our CBB coverage should indicate, we know exactly how he feels, albeit we didn't have to do it in front of somewhat larger audience - it's no wonder that he's decided to jump ship. It seems unlikely that this year's edition of X Factor will have a race hate element to it, but even if it did we can't really see the judges getting too uptight about it, merely saying of a band that turns up in white hoods and performing against a backdrop of burning crosses: "Well, you attempted something bold and original there, but you didn't quite pull it off. Well done for trying, though!".

Ah the judges, and while Dermot may have been an obvious choice for the role of host - although our hopes were resting firmly on the shoulders of the lovely Fearne Cotton - choosing who was to fill Louis' slightly stained and unpleasantly warm seat must have been a much harder choice. After all, who else will, with the worldly expertise of the Westlife manager, be able to sit there and describe every act on the show as "A young X", where X is generally the person whose song the act has just performed, unless said person is a black woman, in which case they well be described as "A young Diana Ross", no matter what their performance was like or, indeed, whether they bear any relation to Diana Ross, young or old, whatsoever? As it turns out, it's Sinitta, whose contribution to the world of music, GTO notwithstanding, is not exactly hugely impressive or indeed relevant. Which, frankly, pretty much makes her a perfect judge for the show.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Music Week 

Natasha Bedingfield is back! And hopefully her fondness for wearing floaty skirts has not been diminished during the time she's been locked away coming up with a brand new, exciting, innovative and millennium defining sound, even if said sound does sound remarkably similar to that which she was turning out last time she cropped up in the charts. Her new single, I Wanna Have Your Babies is out now, but how will the in no way broody popstrel be spending this week? Let's have a look:

Like most pop stars, Natasha will spend the first day of release hitting the promotional circuit hard, but, unlike most pop stars, rather than doing piss-poor ten minute long phone interviews with local radio stations up and down the land, Natasha plans on visiting maternity words all over the country, where she will sing her new single in a bid to entertain the new mothers. Unfortunately this plan gets cut short after the mums get uncomfortable with the hungry look in the Lady Bedingfield's eyes as she surveys the room full of new-borns and Natasha is ordered out of the hospital with immediate effect. Later many patients are witness to an embarrassing argument in the car park between Natasha and her publicist as he attempts to explain to her that, despite what she seems to believe, at no time was her fee for the short lived appearance to have been paid in children.

Natasha is unhappy that the events of yesterday made it into the gossip pages of the tabloid newspapers and that's she's now being caricatured as some sort of weird, baby obsessed, childcatcher style person. To this end she goes into damage limitation mode and, having fired her PR team in her anger, takes matters into her own hand. "The best way to convince the world that I'm not wanting to steal someone's baby", reasoned the hormonally charged singer, "is to have a press conference and show the world that I've no need to steal a baby as I've already got one of my own!". A perfect plan, with only one drawback; the Bedingfield doesn't have a baby. After dismissing the idea of getting her brother Daniel to dress up in a nappy - if only because he'd be a bit too hairy to perform the role convincingly - Natasha decides to borrow one for the day. Alas, she foolishly returns to the maternity ward she visited yesterday, whose security guards have been issued both with photographs of her and instructions to treat her as a serious threat to the ward's security, and she promptly finds herself being arrested and charged with the crime of baby theft.

Natasha wakes up this morning in a jail cell, which doesn't depress her as much as you might expect. Mainly because, by looking through the bars at the children playing in the park opposite, she's able to convince her motherhood addled mind that she's cooing at the kids through the bars of a cot. While she's letting the waves of madness wash over her, the police visit her flat and are shocked to discover a full size papier mache model of a child made entirely from back issues of Mother and Baby magazine, a cupboard filled entirely with hand knitted baby booties and Daniel Bedingfield, walking around in a nappy, sucking a dummy and clutching a box of baby wipes with a hopeful expression on his face.

The police continue their investigation into the time bomb that is Natasha's biological clock, but feel obliged to release her on bail, if only because the ticking is keeping the other prisoners awake and putting the duty sergeant's teeth on edge. Despite leaving with a court order banning her from maternity wards, nurseries, Spice Girl look-a-like conventions, or any other places likely to see a large gathering of babies, it's not long before Nat finds herself hanging around Mothercare, trying on smocks, test-driving buggies, and generally making a nuisance of herself. She is eventually asked to leave after she makes a spirited attempt to take brother Daniel into the baby changing room where, if horrified eye witnesses are to be believed, she began to nurse him.

After luring the now aggressive and dangerous Natasha back into captivity via the use of a carefully laid trail of Cabbage Patch Dolls, the police, fearing the worst, decide to take extreme measures which, despite their unpalatableness to the general public, have been scientifically proven to neutralise the nurturing instinct in any pop star, no matter how broody. They make a quick trip to the novelty canine emporium and purchase for Natasha one ridiculous looking tiny dog, along with a selection of supposedly cute outfits which, if the pet could speak, would have it barking for mercy. With Natasha's maternal urges thus sated, society can relax for the ten years which the dog is realistically likely to live, by which point she, like Madonna, will have earned enough money to buy a baby without the need to go through the whole messy pregnancy business.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Love Fool 

It's April Fools Day today! And, if we were a bit more imaginative and organised, we'd have come up with some sort of hilarious hoax to try and fool you, our dear reader(s), but umm, we haven't. Though frankly, given some of the stuff we tend to find ourselves imagining when we start thinking about popstars, it's perhaps best that we don't share them with you. Anyway, while we might be too lazy to come up with one, there's been plenty of other pop hoaxes throughout the years. Here's just a few of them:-