Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Monday, July 30, 2007


So, clearly we've been rubbish when it comes to updating the site for the last week, for which we can only apologise, but we reasoned most people would be too engrossed in reading the new Harry Potter book to bother with the hilarious pop satire that we do so well. Well, 'do' at any rate. And who'd have thought that Harry would turn out to be a cyborg? We never saw that twist coming, that's for sure. Anyway, at this point we should really be writing something really top notch and brilliant to make up for our week of laziness, so it's a bit of a bugger, then, that this post is our now traditional pre-August "We're going to be too busy with the Fringe to write anything" post. So, umm, we're going to be too busy with the Fringe to write anything for the next month. Sorry. See you in September!

Friday, July 20, 2007

First Impressions of the New Girls Aloud Single 


We'll have more to say on this tomorrow once we've gotten both our breath and our big book of hyperbole back. Oh, and once we've checked to see if there's any superlatives we haven't yet used when it comes to describing Things Done By Girls Aloud.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007


We get a lot of MySpace friend requests.

Yes, we know that as boasts go this is up there with "Did you know I have a really massive arse?" or "Hey everybody! Have I ever told you about my body odour problem", but, please, bear with us here.

Most of the requests we get are from shockingly bad indie rock four pieces who would see being described as "a bit Stereophonicsy" as a good thing and seemingly spend every waking moment sending out wildly optimistic friend requests; or from semi-clothed women who are so desperate to make our acquaintance that they're prepared to only charge us £5 to see their live cam show, featuring someone who bears no resemblance whatsoever to their profile pic - ummm, we'd imagine - but occasionally a diamond can be found in the coal face. One of these gems is Fabs.

Fabs have a quite impressive 60,308 friends, which must make keeping track of birthdays a bit of a headache, a number which is no doubt helped by their not exactly unattractive lead singer's, the Uruguayan Fabiola Gatti - please let this be her real name - lack of shyness when it comes to posing for photos in nawt but her bikini - and given that they're based in Scottish this is a more impressive feat than you might think, but what she might lack in clothes the band more than make up for in tunes, effortlessly powering their way through shouty-girl-indie-pop classics, the sort of thing Shampoo might have done if they had spent their time surfing instead of shoplifting make-up from Boots.

They're about to do a short tour of Scotland - see their MySpace for details - and will be releasing their new single I Lost My Virginity at the end of August, which, frankly, is everything you want a song called I Lost My Virginity to sound like. Unless you're of the more sweaty palmed heavy breathing variety in which case you'd probably be better off investing your pennies in a premium rate phone line as this substitutes explicit detail for thrashy bouncy aceness. And the solo is introduced with the phrase "Solo!", which is always a good thing. See Denim for proof.

Oh, and she has a fantastic guitar.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Liquid Gold? 

...because Mercury is the only metal that's a liquid at room temperature. No? Please yourselves, then. Anyway, here's this year's shortlist:-

The GoodThe Bad
The Bad And The UglyThe Inevitable Amy Winehouse NominationThe Stuff we Haven't Gotten Round To Properly Having an Opinion on YetThe No, Us Neither EntriesWe'd stick a tenner on New Young Pony Club if we were you.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Prince Among Middle Aged, Middle Class Men 

Prince's new album, Planet Earth is out today! And not only does it come in a crappy card sleeve which doesn't even have a tracklisting on it, but buying it also means you have to take home the embarrassing free gift of a copy of the Mail on Sunday. We haven't been this ashamed buying a CD since that time we bought a Shed Seven live album. Anyway, most of you who've taken advantage of the unexpected generosity of Associated Newspapers - and who'dve thought they'd be excited about the latest release of a black artist? Normally they call for them to be locked up - will now doubt have instantly thrown the newspaper which came attached to the CD into the bin for fear of being poisoned by the depressingly bigoted and regressive views contained therein. But fear not! We've braved what lies inside, risked the very foundations of our moral code and and snuck a look inside the pages. Here's what you're missing out on:-To summarise, then, it's the paper that likes to party like it's 1899. Arf.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Actual Worst Recorcs in the World... Ever 

Untouchable. Not just the name of an ace single by late nineties widescreen lovelorn pop types Rialto, but also the apparent status of bulging faced thumbs aloft granddad type, Paul McCartney. And not, as you might suspect, because he's a weeping sore on the face of the music industry but instead because he was once in a successful band who last released a record over thirty five sodding years ago and people in this country have no imagination whatsoever. But because of this respect given to a man whose last release featuring any real imagination was The Frog Chorus, any vaguely musical farts that he might, for reasons best known to himself, decide to stick on a CD aren't treated with the sort of disdain that you'd normally give to self-indulgent barely literate tripe but are instead released, given an expensive promotional budget and turn up, unwanted and unrequested on radio and TV stations up and down the land. So it is with Dance Tonight, Paul's latest release, a song so bad that you genuinely begin to wonder if Paul's has some sort of grudge against the entire world as there's not really any other explanation for his insatiable desire to punish us all.

Dance Tonight is the sort of song that, if a twelve year old came up with it in a music class at school, you'd seriously wonder whether they needed to join a remedial set. It's so basic and simplistic that it barely even counts as a sketch of a song, although it does put you in mind of the sort of thing that someone who hadn't actually heard music before, but had been told what it's like, might come up with if they tried to write a tune. Although even then they'd have to be completely soulless and lacking in any sort of creative impulse whatsoever to come up with something so entirely devoid of worth as this. If this is the sound in Paul's head then he really should keep it there.

It's the sort of song which seems expressly designed to annoy, there's no effort to engage on any level other than irritation. It's the sort of thing that might be described as an earworm, in that it's catchy enough to burrow it's way into your brain, eating out the inside and leaving you with a hollow skull, which you instantly turn into a beehive, reasoning that the constant buzzing would be a much more pleasurable experience than having that bloody mandolin riff bouncing around your head like a tennis ball in an empty room. There is no point for this record to exist, other than to suck up money from deluded people who can't move on from the sixties. The Beatles were good for their time, sure, but if they're your favourite band today then, frankly, you've really not heard enough music.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Lazy YouTube Pick of the Week 

This year's Big Brother is getting remarkably poptastic, with Northern Line's Zach now being joined in the house by Thalia Zucchi, formerly of underrated S Club knock-offs, allSTARS*. And, much like Ziggy, who entered the house as a non-entity because, well, he had to, really. Thalia won't be entering the house as pop's Thalia, but as, umm, Australia's Pauline, as she spends a week as a fake housemate for no other reason than that Big Brother is rapidly running out of ideas. Of course, given that she was barely convincing playing herself in Star Street it remains to be seen exactly how well she's going to pull off actual acting but it'll no doubt be entertaining at any rate.

To celebrate this, here's the video for allSTARS* finest moment, their cover of Bucks Fizz's Land of Make Believe. Thalia is the one being unconvincingly chopped in half. It's worth pointing out that the song would be a million times better if it stopped twenty seconds before the end, cutting off the horribly accented spoken word part, but never mind. Becki was always our favourite, anyway.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Live Earth: Live - Hour Nine: 22:33PM 

It's All My Life and the Foo Fighters as we hit the penultimate act on the days long, long trek through the somewhat random world of globally aware acts. We're not quite sure when they achieved 'national treasure' status, but when even our parents are going to see them live they must be doing something to get mainstream acceptance with out actually sounding like a mainstream band. Although certainly Dave Grohl's reluctance to go for more than a month without dressing up in women's clothes would undoubtedly endear him to the lazy comedy section of British society - Little Britain, we're looking at you here - but while you could almost expect the BBC to have cut Metallica's set short, it seems unthinkable that they'd do the same to the Foos, even though they don't exactly have many more tunes than the hairy ones - well, hairier - and so it was. From All my Life they launch straight into My Hero - perhaps this was the point that the Brits took them to their hurt, their theme song for the 'hilarious' Ardal O'Hanlon sitcom - before Times Like These gets dedicated to Al Gore, with Dave reading out the lyrics like they're a work of great poetry, rather than a slightly banal collection of cliches which really don't work without the music. Best of You and Everlong close the set, along with a bit of spitting from Dave. "Should we just play all night??", asks Dave. The crowd roar their approval and you almost begin to think it might be a good idea.

And so, like Planet Earth itself, this whole thing must eventually come to an end, but not before Terence Stamp makes one of the the more awkward on stage appearances we've ever had the misfortune to witness. There to introduce Madonna, he also attempts to get across a number of environmental messages, but for an actor he's remarkably uncomfortable with the act of public speaking, coming across embarrassingly stilted and awkward. Eventually he gets to the point of his appearance, introducing the big switch off, where Wembley turns off all of its non-essential lights as a symbolic gesture, although given that all these lights had been burning solidly for the last ten hours a thirty second switch off couldn't have been anything but. Interestingly, along with emergency lighting, fire exit signs and similar, Terence's spotlight counted as essential lighting. Whodve thought? But with all that out of the way, it's time for the headline act, Madonna.

She opens with Hey You, her song written especially for the event and dear god, it was bad. We'd heard all the rumours but even they hadn't prepared us for exactly how awful it was going to be, she even roped in a school choir to provide backing vocals FFS. The lyrics to the song flashed up behind her, with all the S's replaced by dollar signs. She thinks she's being subversive, bless. Although frankly, if we'd written those lyrics we'd be doing our best to distract attention from them, rather than highlight them.

Still, with that out of her system, Madonna can now actually entertain. "Motherfuckers", she declares, somewhat rudely, "I want the whole place bouncing". Despite her lack of manners the crowd complies as she launches into a guitarry, thrashy, really rather ace version of Ray of Light, about a million times better than the original, which about as bouncy as a gravel pit. Her dancers are also dancing like we tend to do in clubs, only they actually look good doing it. This is probably because, unlike us, they're actually doing it in time.

Her "Romany friends", Gogol Bordello to the rest of us, are roped in for La Isla Bonita, but while Ray of Light's reworking was ace, La Isla Bonita ends up sounding more like a holiday band attempting a not very good Madonna cover. This segues into Hung Up for which a now skirtless Madonna, looking like the mum of the slutty Sandy in Grease, dances inside a disco cake stand, humps a boombox and does some bad breakdancing before her set and, indeed, the show itself comes to an end. She thanks London, hands over to New York and buggers off, leaving Wembley to try and work out exactly whether what they've just seen was actually worth splashing out on.

So, we've just spent nine hours of our life watching the Live Earth concert and, on first impressions at any rate, the world does not appear to be saved. We're beginning to think we might have wasted our time...

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: Unicorn, the giant planet eating robot from Transformers: The Movie, possibly the finest ninety minute commercial ever to grace cinema screens..

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Live Earth: Live - Hour Eight: 21:20PM 

It's the Beastie Boys, fighting for our right to recyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyycle! Or something. Dressed in matching green suits as they kick off with Sure Shot the Beasties are definitely beginning to wear the 'Boys' tag somewhat loosely. They're beginning to resemble the scene in a bodyswap comedy where the teenage son, now in his dad's body, attempts to do a bit of hip-hop. Fortunately looks aren't everything and they still have 'it', something more than evidenced as they give us Intergalactic, and the rest of their set might have been equally ace, but we don't know as the BBC once again cut away from it - during the false ending as well - to show us something else! Now, they were showing us Shakira in Hamburg and we rarely moan about the appearance of Shakira, but still! Does the BBc really feel that anything outside the narrow remit of standard indie rock and self-obsessed acoustica is going to immediately turn off the audience? No matter, Shakira was doing Hips Don't Lie and, frankly, it doesn't take a working knowledge of the highway code to read the signs of her body.

Keeping the body count high, next up is Pussycat Dolls, doing their bit for global warming by writhing around in their pants, doing their best to get everyone in the room all het up as they exhort us to loosen their and, indeed, our own Buttons. Good advice as global temperatures rise. They follow this with the dull, whiny and insipid Stickwitu, a song which doesn't really tie in with the feisty, empowered, man-eating image they like to get across. And it's hard to look convincingly soppy and romantic when you've got a camel toe. They end with Don't Cha and, as we've said before, when they ask if they wish our girlfriend was hot like them, the answer is invariably a definite No! They're a bit too skanky, a bit too try hard and a lot too desperate to really be girlfriend material. And the whole desperate to break up a relationship thing doesn't really bode too well for the whole long term thing. But a good one night stand though. Both that performance and in general.

A trip to Sydney to see Toni Collette and the Finish doing a cover of Children of the Revolution. She's got a decent voice and it's a good enough cover, but it's not really much better than what you'd expect to see in the early rounds of the X Factor.

Live to Rio to see Xuxa in action, who not only is surrounded by a million drummers, but also gets one hell of a score in Scrabble. Children are throwing some street moves behind her, there's a rainbow bridge, majorettes, someone swinging on a trapeze and it all looks a bit like watching a foreign kids TV programme. Certainly it looks like a lot more fun than anything else we've seen so far.

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: That odd four toed statue from Lost, clomping around the Island, frightening polar bears and crushing mysterious hatches..

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Live Earth: Live - Hour Seven: 20:28PM 

Ricky Gervais is on stage to introduce Rob Reiner - in his Marti DiBerg guise - who is there to introduce Spinal Tap who are there to, well, we're not quite sure really. Spinal Tap is genuinely an ace movie, but it works because it's played entirely straight. In a live environment, however, there's a tendency towards painting with broad strokes, to signpost the jokes and generally miss the point of what made the whole thing successful in the first place, and so it was with the Tap's reunion. Opening with Stonehenge, along with a rehash of the Stonehenge joke from the film which didn't really work, although it's always nice to see dwarves dancing, we then got a new song, Warmer Than Hell, written specially for the show, which didn't really work, before then, presumably, going on to Big Bottom, with virtually all the bass players who could be found backstage. This may or may not have worked, we may never know as the BBC decided to cut away at this point to show Rhianna in Tokyo not, as you might expect, doing Umbrella, promoting the de rigour tool should the weather continue to go tits up , but doing SOS which does, at least, fit in with the slogan. Now, much as we love Rhianna, and we do, we don't quite see the point in cutting from something live to something which was recorded hours ago and could be shown at any point in the evening. But what do we know? We don't work in television, something which is surely television's loss. Or is it their gain? Probably the latter, come to think of it.

And so, because they've asked him and he's got to appear somewhere and all the jobs selling t-shirts have already been taken, James Blunt is, alas, next, although we do have one - one! - good thing to say about his set. It's been a while, thankfully, since we've seen him, but he's been spending his time constructively, stockpiling enough testosterone to grow a halfway passable beard. Bless. He opens with Wise Men while owls appear on the backdrop - do you see what they've done there? - followed by Wild World. This was a somewhat odd choice of song for him to cover, given that even going to a Spongebob Squarepants theme park would be putting him outside his comfort zone. Wild for James is putting in the milk before the water. He does look absolutely terrified as he performs this song, perhaps because he's aware that every minute he spends in the public eye puts him one step closer to that beating he fully deserves. He closes with Same Mistake, but given that his mistake is 'being' James Blunt, it's one he can't help but keep making. And the good thing? He didn't do You're Beautiful, so we guess we should be vaguely grateful.

KT Tunstall turns up doing The Other Side of the World which, coincidentally enough, is exactly where we want her to be. Preferably in the watery part. She's also wearing a gold catsuit under her shorts and t-shirt, a bit like CSS' Lovefoxxx. Only rubbish. And entirely lacking sex appeal.

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: Godzilla angrily stomping down on his foot after the humans foolish attempt to bring an end to his reign of terror using nothing more than conventional weapons..

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Live Earth: Live - Hour Six: 19.36PM 

And from the sublime to the ridiculous. Or Corrine Bailey Rae, as she's otherwise known, who opens with I'd Like To. Well, it is nearly tea time and the burger van operators were no doubt informed well in advance of her stage times so that they could prepare for the rush. As she performed the Live Earth pledges were scrolling along the screen behind her and it's a testament to how boring she is that we were actually trying to read them. Next up is a cover of Marvin Gaye's Mercy Mercy Me, for which she is joined by John Legend. Have we not suffered enough? Unsurprisingly, with the two of them involved the song because aural wallpaper, or a typical Corrine Bailey Rae song to put it another way. "Here's a song which hopefully you'll all know", is her somewhat threatening introduction to her last song, Put Your Records On and yes, we do all know it. Given it was played in every single shop we went into last summer we'd be hard pushed not to. But just remember there's a huge difference between knowing a song and liking it, Miss Rae. We'd rather have seen Linkin Park in Tokyo again, to be honest, that's how bad this was.

Terra Naomi doing Don't Say it's Possible is up next. We don't want to go all Nikki on you, but Who is she? Who is she?!? Is this really the best place to be breaking the new KT Tunstall/Melua hybrid who has all the presence of an unloved orphan at Christmas time? Apparently Al Gore booked her. Perhaps he's trying to get into her pants.

"We need your help for the next song", cried out the blokey, looking slightly sweaty in a manner reminiscent of withdrawal symptoms, "I don't care if you don't know the words, or the song, or you can't sing. I just want to fill this stadium with the sound of people singing as loud as they can". A dangerous proposition, asking the audience to sing any song they like, even more so if you happen to be Keane, but that's what Tom did as they opened with Somewhere Only We Know, the song that made us briefly think the band might actually be quite good,before bitter, bitter experience taught us otherwise. He stayed true to his word though, optimistically thrusting his microphone towards various sections of the crowd, each time being met with a deathly silence. "One more time!" he cried at the end. Just once would surely have been enough for him.

The keyboard blokey threw some rock shapes as they started up Is It Any Wonder, and they closed with Bedshaped, but as our Chinese turned up at this point we weren't paying much attention so we've got no idea what it was like. Alright, probably.

In Hamburg, Enrqiue Iglesias has been doing Bailamos, much to the delight of the crowd, who aren't even phased by the fact he's only wearing a hoodie and jeans and hasn't even made even the merest hint of effort for such a big event. He takes photos of himself using fans cameras, although it's not immediately obvious whether he actually gives them back.

The BBC aren't too sure about broadcasting Metallica, so we join them part of the way through Sad But True as the hairy rockers, sporting facial hair that would shame even the most ardent of their teenage fans, do 'heavy' for the crowd. If Bloc Party seemed out of place then these guys are like waking up to find penguins in Hull. The do Nothing Else Matters, AKA the one that your average punter might actually have heard of which even sparks a sing-a-long, but the BBC decide that that's more than enough metal for one night and shows us Crowded House in Sydney and Katie Melua in Hamburg. We think we'd have preferred Metallica.

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: An elephant lumbering despondently towards the elephant's graveyard. It's gait weighed down by the knowledge this is the last trip it'll ever make.

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Live Earth: Live - Hour Five: 18.22PM 

Chris Rock is given the task of both filling, then introducing the Red Hot Chili Peppers as they try and sort out some sound difficulties. Unfortunately the first thing he does, after telling the audience a lame Paris Hilton joke which the crowd doesn't react to quite as enthusiastically as he might have liked is to call them all "motherfuckers", which leads to the BBC quickly cutting back to Jonathan, who is now joined in his studio by Russell Brand and Alan Carr. Not that Ross is too bothered by the swearing, seemingly unaware that it happened and even asking his producer exactly what it was he said. The producer, perhaps wisely, doesn't enlighten him. Either way, the Beeb don't cut back to the stage until RHCP are safely ensconced upon it.

Opening with the sort of thing you'll love if you're a fan of instrumental masturbation and hate if you're actually, y'know, normal, Anthony eventually bounces on after the rest of the band have already been in a holding pattern for the last few minutes, looking a bit like a boxer in a hooded top with a picture of a pair of breasts on it - what a tit, etc - and some neon fingerless gloves, possibly in a nod to The Klaxons, or perhaps just a desperate attempt to appear interesting. They start with Don't Stop, before going into Dani California, and we've never been more thankful that the BBC are putting captions up naming the songs as all Red Hot Chili Pepper songs sound the same to us, which might be because we're getting old, but is probably more down to the fact that they're a band who've had one idea in their entire career which they've hammered into the ground at every occasion, refusing to vary their palette for anyone. After Flea speaks in tongues, and he's a man who still refuses to wear a shirt, protesting against something he no longer remembers - Possibly cotton - So Much I is next, a song which we've never heard before and we've never realised how truly blessed we must have been up until now. They close with By The Way. We actually like that one! Who'da thought!

Next up are the worthy, though still pretty entertaining Bloc Party, who open with Banquet with Kele in a Save the World t-shirt. That should make a difference. They seem slightly out of place on the bill, perhaps because they do actually appear to have a political conscience and are there before they believe in the message, rather than just seeing it as an advertising window. "The power is in our hands", he declares, talking about change, rather than a recent purchase of Duracell batteries. He looks very chuffed with himself as they launch into So Here We Are, a song whose entire existence is justified by the euphoric, life-affirming "I figured it out!" declaration at the end of the song. Despite them clearly being A Good Thing, the BBC promptly decides to cut away from them to show us Linkin Park doing What I've Done in Tokyo. No, we don't understand why, either.

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: A big cat. A tiger, perhaps, or possibly a puma, running through the wilderness as it chases after a gazelle, leaving a frightened selection of jungle creatures in its wake.

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Live Earth: Live - Hour Four: 17.27PM 

It's Fergie and The Others, or The Black Eyed Peas as they're otherwise known and, like Pink, they're determined to get the party started, launching into Pump It and acting like the own the stage which, given that they're the first act to demonstrate even a vague bit of life so far, and that Fergie seems to be on speed dial for these sorts of events, they might as well do. Will I Am demands that the crowd say "What's Up" to a variety of countries hosting Live Earth gigs, happily ignoring the fact that this is the sort of crowd who is more likely to say "What ho" than "What's up", he later attempts to get various parts of the crowd to "Make some noise", but given that he only holds out the microphone to them for a nanosecond you can tell he's not really too interested in what they've got to say. Fergie is wearing hotpants, both stylish and practical, particularly in a potential flood situation. Will steals a Brazilian flag from some in the crowd and wraps it around himself. He then says "motherfucking" during their performance of Let's Get It Started, although we imagine more people will complain about their demands to "Get retarded" in the same song. Oh well!

Fergie takes centre stage for a performance of Big Girls Don't Cry, which is a blatant lie. They do. Especially if you make fun of their weight. Not to be outdone, Will takes over to perform his own solo effort, a brand new song - possibly called Help us Out - which he's written about global warming. It is, to be blunt, no Where is the Love. Fortunately the next song is, and there's a hell of a lot of it pointing in the general direction of the band. The first highlight of the day.

John Legend turns up to perform Ordinary People on the piano. It's not immediately obvious why, it's hard to think of anything that people would want less. We can only assume asking the audience a badly worded question has caused this.

Duran Duran, also a regular at these sorts of gigs, are introduced by Geri Halliwell, who manages to shoehorn in a reference to the Spice Girls reunion. They open, unsurprisingly, with Planet Earth, after asking everyone in the crowd who didn't arrive by private jet to put their hands in the air. Fortunately all other forms of travel are entirely carbon neutral so everyone else is justified by feeling smug. Ahem. The sound, however, is terrible and ruins the start of Ordinary World, a song which we still think is rather heart-achingly lovely. The crowd at the arena may or may not agree, but they do wave their arms in the air, vaguely aware that this is the sort of thing you're supposed to do at gigs. Notorious is next, one of the more embarrassing selections from their back catalogue, even more so now that they're a bit, well, paunchy. It's hard to be notorious when you look like you'd rather be hanging around the garden centre at B & Q, and the fact they look like they're going through the motions isn't really helped by the knowledge that they were here doing much the same thing less than a week ago. They close with Girls on Film - we prefer the Girls Aloud version - and a vague exhortation to the crowd to make a difference. They tried, we guess, which is something.

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: A St Bernard, plodding dutifully through the snow covered mountain landscape, searching obediently, though not hopefully, for a stranded mountain climber.

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Live Earth: Live - Hour Three: 16.30PM 

Thandie Newton is wheeled on to introduce Al Gore, who's going to be speaking to us live from Washington - What? Is it really that much hassle for him to get a transatlantic flight to say a quick hello - and bigs him up in the sort of manner which would make even a professional lickspittle feel might be going a bit too far. Unfortunately for Thandie, however, she gets to the end of her spiel only to discover that Al's not actually ready yet and she is forced to fill. "I have nothing whatsoever to say", she informs the crowd, before going on to prove this by going on to some ill thought out tangent about how everyone who's at the concerts or is vaguely environmental in some way is 200% more attractive than anyone else in the world. She namedrops George Clooney and eventually resorts to telling Knock Knock jokes before some kind soul takes pity on her and decides to show a film instead.

Al himself eventually gets onto the Washington stage and reads out the Live Earth pledge and encourages us all to sign up for it. We'd tell you what it was, but it's seven points of worthy yet unwieldy rhetoric and we lost interest after point one. Make Poverty History may have been a simplistic and poorly thought out campaign, but at least it's slogan and concept was easy to remember. Al then introduces Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks, before Jonathan rescues us. "I don't think we need to see that", he suggests, rightly, before going on to introduce Paolo Nutini on the Wembley stage instead. Out of the fire...

At least, we assume it's Paolo, it could quite easily be a drunken tramp from King's Cross Station who has somehow managed to wangle his way on stage. He opens with Allouway Grove, holding on to the mic stand for dear life and generally looking like he should be standing outside your local newsagents, fighting with the bins. He's not much of a chatter, his between song banter being limited to thanks, naming the songs and inquiring whether anyone in the audience might have 10p so he could have a cup of tea.

Last Request is next, apparently performed by Paolo in an offensive attempt at a stereotypical Indian accent, something which seems to amuse him no end, before he launches into a cover of It's a Wonderful Life. Impressively, and unlike most tramps who attempt this song, he knows all the words. Most don't even get beyond the first verse before they wet themselves and throw their empty cider cans at something. He closes with Jenny Don't be Hasty, for which he briefly lets go of the mic stand, the better to waggle his finger and admonish some unknown figure who only he can see. Finished, he quickly runs off. Possibly to be sick in a corner somewhere.

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: A small dog, the sort which is normally carried around by Paris Hilton, etc, who has been placed on the ground for the first time in its life and is unsure of how best to distribute its weight evenly.

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Live Earth: Live - Hour Two: 15.45PM 

Alan Carr is on stage not being very funny - just a normal gig for him, then - but the worst joke is yet to come as Snow Patrol are waiting in the wings. Singer Gary Lightbody is wearing a jumper. Well, he would, wouldn't he? They open with Open Your Eyes and Gary has his eyes closed for this, probably believing this to be showmanship. Despite it's clear awfulness, the audience are loving it while we start praying to a God we don't believe in for a flash flood to come and wipe them all off the face of the earth, live or otherwise.

Open Your Eyes is followed by Shut Your Eyes - Can't they make up their bloody minds - and Gary has his eyes closed for this one too. Clearly it's not a misguided attempt at stagecraft, merely Gary being, like most people in the world, unable to resist falling asleep while his own songs are being performed. We can sympathize. They round off their set with Crashing Cars - what a shame this isn't still the Diana Memorial Concert. Arf - to a backdrop of plants growing from seeds to full flowers. Not using a timelapse photography sense, but in real sodding time. Gary claimed they were "short and sweet". Never before has one man been so wrong in just three words.

We are 'treated' to Jack Johnson doing Good People in Sydney, although if people really were good we wouldn't be subjected to such unpleasantness.

And now, what fresh hell is this? Not one, not two, but three acoustic guitarists on stage! Ye gods, must we suffer so? It's Damien Rice, David Gray and Some Unknown Bloke at the Back, together at last. Quite why they're both on stage at the same time is beyond us, other than the possibility that they're trying to save a potential sniper a bullet, or that they realised the audience wouldn't want to sit through two sets of troubled acoustic troubadours so stuck them both on at the same time to stop the crowd getting restless. David does Babylon - seven years on and it's still the only song that people remember him for, bet that must be a pisser - while Damien leads the trip through Blower's Daughter, but his heart's not really in it. Mind you, he is doing Damien Rice songs, so this is only to be expected. They end with a cover of Que Sera Sera because, apparently, "It's three o'clock on a Saturday afternoon at Wembley". No, we have no idea why that's relevant, either. Nor why they felt that at a gig where the aim is to promote change and action against a climate of indifference, acceptance and ingrained attitudes performing a song whose chorus runs "Whatever will be, will be" was a good idea. "I'm kinda glad that's over", said Ross as we returned to the studio. He wasn't the only one.

Jonathan fills in a bit more time chatting to the slightly odd combination of Les Dennis and Jeremy Edwards, who are now presumably mates after appearing in a Fringe show together last year, during this probing interview we learnt that Jeremy wears a stupid hat and thinks that air miles should be used to offset the carbon costs of travelling and that Les Dennis has fed a baby rhino. Irrelevant as this was, it was still more entertaining than the next act on stage, Kasabian, one of the worst examples of the ladrock scene which refuses to die, despite the fact that it's main audience does eventually grow up. They opened with Empire, a word the band uses instead of 'brilliant', although you'd be hard pressed to work that out given the evidence presented there, they followed this with Clod Foot... Sorry, Club Foot. In the audience a young girl put her fingers in her ears, saying what we try and put into words far more succinctly than we ever could. They closed with LSF and Tom, to lazy to sing it himself, persuades the audience to take over the vocal run for the closing minutes, even splitting the crowd down the middle and generally acting like someone who's learnt the art of arena performances from a summer season at Butlins. Or Atomic Kitten.

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: An ant carrying an acorn back to it's home, trudging it's way through a muddy, boggy piece of track

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Live Earth: Live - Hour One: 14.35PM 

SO, live from a somewhat empty looking Wembley stadium is the Beeb's coverage, fronted by, as always, Jonathan Ross, along with his backstage pixies Graham Norton, who plans on getting drunk - we don't blame him - and Edith Bowman. Where on earth is Fearne? Backstage work on these gigs is her main source of income! There'll be a cat fight later on, you mark our words. As always with these things, there's a lot of filler before the main event, with Ross having a chat to Jimmy Carr - "I'm mainly here to see the bands" and Razorlight - "I phoned up Friends of the Earth and said 'Hi, I'm Jonny Borell from a band called Razorlight'". We can only assume their response was something unbroadcastable. A brief run through some of the highlights of the other gigs - Wolfmother in Sydney, who seem bizarrely popular there. It must be something to do with the sun addling their brains; Rize in Tokyo, and if they show that clip again we're so going to do a Public Image Ltd joke; and some girl in Shanghai who we didn't recognise. Either the BBC are assuming the audience for this is massively culturally aware and so doesn't need captions or they're just being lazy. We assume the latter.

After some environmental chat in which it's revealed that environmental peril or not Ross will not be getting rid of his plasma TV and some words with the audience filing into Wembley - never a good idea as they all rush to demonstrate their ignorance - we have to endure some banter between Graham and Alan, while Edith chats to a couple of PR girls from Three who are keen not only to promote their product on a non-commercial network, but also to demonstrate their idiocy by not only telling her how desperate they were to see Snow Patrol and Genesis, but not actually being able to name any of their songs. Unfortunately this proves to be more entertaining than the actual opening of the show, which is Queen's Roger Taylor, Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Chad Smith and the Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins on stage together. That's right, three sodding drummers, who join the SOS All Stars who are, you've guessed it, even more bloody drummers. Yes, what is apparently "The greatest show on the planet, for the planet" considers the best way of opening a global megagig to be with the sound of drums. And not the Rogue Traders version. The interminable tattoo goes on for what feels like hours, but must only be about five minutes. It metamorphoses into SOS in morse code, before turning into the drum riff from We Will Rock You before finally grinding to a halt just as it threatens to get interesting.

Before the first actual band takes to the stage, Ross and Carr fill for a bit with some awkward chat and another chance to see some of the other acts around the world - Shakira, looking remarkably unlike Shakira it has to be said, in Hamburg, fellating a microphone as she performs Don't Bother with a sparkly pink guitar and some some random types in Sydney wearing "Say no to Nuclear Power" t-shirts. We soon, however, cut to Chris Moyles who is introducing the first act, which is surely a bad idea. After all, if ever there was an argument for giving up, letting the icecaps melt, the flood waters rise and the drowning of all of humanity then Chris is clearly it. He makes way for Genesis, fronted by, of course, Phil Collins, more testicle than man and someone so obnoxious that the world invented the drum machine with the sole purpose of giving him no reason to exist. Now, Genesis do have some good intros in their back catalogue - well, one, Invisible Touch - but a five minute long meandering stroll into Turn It On Again certainly isn't it, although a lot of wrinkled fans down the front seem to be very happy. And surely "Turn It Off" is the message they should be trying to get across?

Turn It On Again is followed by Land of Confusion, "Mildly appropriate for today", suggests Phil. Although we weren't aware that the lyrics pertained to unit shifting and profile raising by already established artists, but what do we know. It just made us pine for Alcazar.

Finally, they give us Invisible Touch, with Phil declaring "She will fuck up your life" in the first sweary moment of the day. He's just like Snoop Dogg, only white, unpopular, and allowed into the country for some unknown reason. He takes a trip down the catwalk and people cheer, presumably because his proximity to them makes him easier to hit.

After some filler - we have no idea what, we were writing this. Well not actually this part, but an earlier piece - Razorlight arrive on stage and their involvement demonstrates why Wembley has been kept partially empty: a lot of space is required for Jonny's ego. He's not wearing his usual all white look - you can't clean white's at 30 degrees so it'd be very off message - and is instead in black, sporting a lowcut top to show off his man boobs which he's inordinately proud of. They run through In The Morning, America and Los Angeles Waltz, with the sound irritatingly slightly out of synch with the pictures, which we assume is a technical fault as otherwise Jonny is really bad at miming, even when talking. He also swears, aren't they rebellious?

Finally for this hour, Nanutek - we think? - were performing some derivative indie with violins in the cold in Antartica. The penguins looked pissed off, as you would.

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: An unladen ant skipping through a forest glade with carefree abandon.

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Live Earth: Live - Hour Zero: 12.13PM 

Except, of course, it's not Hour Zero as the Australian and Japanese legs of Live Earth have already been gone, but the BBC haven't shown them and, frankly, if it's not televised then as far as we're concerned it hasn't happened. But in just over an hour's time, the British leg of Live Earth will kick off at Wembley as part of an event which already has about as much buzz about it as a recently fumigated beehive. Even Live 8, which was clearly an even more pointless and irrelevant effort than this, managed to create a genuine feeling that something, just maybe, could actually happen and change could be achieved. This, however, is beginning to feel so much like a nonevent that we won't be hugely surprised if we tune in to discover the testcard being broadcast for 12 solid hours, something which would probably have more of an effect on the public consciousness than a selection of hardly relevant bands banging on about something they don't really have much interest in. Certainly it'd boost the take up of noughts and crosses which would, at least, be something.

Anyway, despite this we now, having covered all the line-ups - apart from the Washington DC gig which they snuck in at the last moment, although given that Garth Brooks is the main draw we can see why they weren't hugely keen to announce it in advance - feel committed to seeing this sorry event through to the end so why not keep visiting the site to follow our hour by hour coverage of the event. BBC coverage begins at 1, the show itself begins at 1.30 and our first update should appear at around about 2.30, depending on how the running order shapes up. If we're going to put ourselves through this torture then the least you lot can do is watch us suffer.

CURRENT CARBON FOOTPRINT: Amoeba floating through the air attached to a helium balloon

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Latest Show on Earth: China 

Right. Live Earth on Saturday and we've decided that while we're not going to offer minute by minute coverage, we are going to provide hour by hour commentary on all the exciting goings on of the day's events. And we'll also provide commentary on all the mundane, dull, predictable and uninspiring goings on as well. Somehow we feel there's going to be a lot more of the latter than the former but, with the recycling spirit of the event, we'll do our best to make a silk purse out of the undoubted sow's ear of the event. Or at least make some cheap jokes like we normally do. Bear in mind, however, that this plan is subject to change should we find ourselves hungover on Saturday, decide to go out and get drunk instead or make a spirited attempt to tackle the mountain of DVD's which we've had for ages but have still to get round of watching. For example, we have Lindsay Lohan's Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen to watch and we fully expect it to be an arthouse classic on a par with La Belle Noiseuse.

Anyway, that's for Saturday, for now we have our final look at the Live Earth line-ups, as revealed to us by the terrible official website, which not only gives us that info, but also tells us that their on-line coverage is sponsored by car manufacturers Chevy. They may be missing the point somewhat. Anyway, last but not least, here's China's offering:-

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

10 Things We State About... 

We're keeping with the Live Earth theme this week by being green and, umm, recycling some old ideas. Some of you might be off to T in the Park this weekend, a festival that never seems to bother trying too hard with it's line up, assuming, and not entirely unreasonably, that the audience is far more interested in downing vast quantities of lager and chanting the "der-der-der" bit of Chelsea Dagger for the entire two days than actually seeing some bands, but if you do mange to avoid the temptations of overpriced unpleasant lager and actually try and catch some of the acts playing, here are ten who you might well be down the front for:-
  1. The Killers - Despite being the sort of band who you might go and see on a wet Thursday if there's no-one else interesting playing that night, the Killers are headlining on the Saturday night. This might lead you to believe that there's a paucity of talent booked for the event and, given that the Sunday headliners are excitement free yawnsmiths, Snow Patrol you'd be entirely right.
  2. Paolo Nutini - A few months ago Paolo was accused by an angry audience of being drunk on stage and not giving a good performance. Putting aside for the moment the question of "How on earth would you know?!", if we had to go on stage and sing Paolo Nutini songs we'd be getting absolutely hammered before we went on too in a vain attempt to dampen the shame.
  3. Lily Allen - She's going to be appearing on the special Friday night line-up, only available to those who are camping on the site. As if sleeping in a tent and not being able to wash properly wasn't unpleasant enough, they feel the need to make the whole experience even more miserable.
  4. Jamie T - As part of his deal, Jamie will be changing the words of his hit, Sheila to mention the festival's sponsor instead of Stella. He doesn't have a rhyme for Tennants yet, but this handicap has never stopped him in the past.
  5. CSS - Which stands for "Tired of Being Sexy", apparently. We mention this here as we've already used our "Brazil-iant" joke yesterday and we needed something to fill the space. They are ace, though.
  6. Ocean Colour Scene - And James, for that matter. Because apparently T in the Park has fallen through a wormhole and ended up in the mid nineties. Even the Goo Goo Dolls are playing FFS.
  7. Brian Wilson - Any vibrations he picks up will be caused by the pitter-patter-splosh of festival goers vomiting the days alcoholic intake at the side of the stage and so are unlikely to be good in any possible interpretation of the term.
  8. Mika - At the current rate, interest in Mika will vanish roughly halfway through his set, at exactly the point he strikes up his fifth song about how he just wants people to like him. How ironic. No, ironic's not the right word. Excellent, that's it. Excellent.
  9. The Editors - Apparently the most depressing thing they ever saw was smokers outside the hospital. If this really is the case then they either need to get out more and start seeing some genuinely depressing things or start writing happy-go-lucky songs about butterflies and pixies which would clearly be a bit more up their alley.
  10. Avril Lavigne - Have we mentioned recently how much we love Avril? We have? Oh...

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Latest Show On Earth: Brazil 

Live Earth takes place on Saturday, and while we haven't decided exactly what form our coverage will take, it seems unlikely that we're going to attempt something similar to our live, blow by blow look at the Live 8 extravaganza. Only because we're worried about the amount of environmental damage caused by having both our computer and television running at full pelt and not in any way because we're very, very lazy. Naturally. But before we need to worry about that, we've still got a couple more line-ups to look at and here's whose been signed up for the Brazilian leg in Rio de Janeiro. Our knowledge of the Brazilian music scene pretty much begins and ends with CSS - who are, of course, Brazil-iant. Arf. - so we apologise in advance:-

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Lazy YouTube Pick of the Week 

It's Canada Day today! A day when Canadians all around the world, but mainly in Canada, take time out to celebrate all that is good and ace and fantastic about the country. Some may wonder exactly why that needs a whole day, but they've got a lot to be proud of there's, umm, and, well there's, y'know, thingy and, yeah, like, other stuff. Definitely.

But one thing they can be proud of a certain lady by the name of Avril Lavigne, so to celebrate their special day, here's Avril performing Girlfriend at this year's MMVA's, Canada's big music award ceremony. It's worth pointing out that yes, that does seem to be less a microphone she's holding and more something that came free with a packet of cornflakes, but she does look amazing so that sort of criticism is, like, so whatever. It is, after all, what everybody's talking about.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

The A to Z of the Diana Memorial Concert 

The Princess Diana Memorial Concert takes place this afternoon, an event which is, to all intents and purposes, a celebration of one woman's entirely awful taste in music. We're not going to watch it ourselves as we have, frankly, a lot better things to be doing with our time - 'nothing', for example, springs instantly to mind - but we are lazy enough to use it as a launchpad for an article, so join us as we proudly present The A to Z of the Diana Memorial Concert:-

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