Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Sunday, September 30, 2007

10 40 Things We State About... 

Radio 1 celebrates its fortieth birthday today, although we are somewhat dubious about a station that should be all about the Now getting all nostalgic about the Then. Not that that sort of thinking has ever stopped us to be honest, so we’re joining in by presenting forty - forty! - entirely true and in no way made up facts about the nation’s favourite… well, just the nation’s favourite, really:-
  1. Radio 1 was set up as a response to the pirate stations which had sprung up in the waters around the country. The establishment felt that a more controlled way of getting pop music to the kids was required, mainly because they felt most of the pirate DJ’s were a bunch of Arrrrr-seholes.
  2. The first record played on the station was The Prodigy‘s Smack My Bitch Up.
  3. Zoe Ball was drafted in to present the Breakfast Show after the government felt that the country was becoming far too unproductive with the nation’s youth spending many morings just lazing around in bed instead of going to work. Zoe’s unique blend of irritating voice, annoying fake enthusiasm for every record played and inability to indulge in any between song banter of any interest whatsoever was felt to be the perfect way of getting people out the house as soon as possible.
  4. Dave Lee Travis, the Hairy Twat, famously quit his show live on air in anger at the fact that the Radio One bosses were trying to destroy the soul of the station, by which he meant “Make it half way listenable”. He was also really pissed off that his access to the station’s free prostitutes had been curtailed under the “Fair usage” part of the terms and conditions within his contract.
  5. Many Radio 1 DJ’s eventually move onto the world of Radio 2 where they no longer have to pretend to care about the new McFly single after they’re deemed to be too old for the station. This will remain the case until euthanasia is legalised.
  6. Tony Blackburn was the first DJ on the station. Given such a start it’s a miracle they managed to stay on air for more than a week.
  7. Jo Whiley doesn’t wear shoes when she’s broadcasting. This is the only thing interesting about her. And even then we’re using ‘interesting’ in the loosest possible sense of the word.
  8. After his death, John Peel has haunted the studios of Radio 1, his ghostly presence making itself known by tutting exasperatedly with a tinge of sadness and frustration every time Colin Murray takes to the airwaves.
  9. Colin Murray and Edith Bowman used to work together, unfortunately the management’s belief that, much like in mathematics, the two negatives would come together to make a positive, proved to be sadly unfounded and the dual irritation caused many listeners to throw their radios into the bath in frustration, electrocuting themselves, with a most of them having to actually run a bath first, just so they could do so.
  10. During the late eighties and early nineties, Radio One went up and down the country, switching on FM transmitters and rebranding themselves as One FM, as the nation enjoyed the stereo sound of the station for the first time. Except, of course, for their trip to Somerset, where they first had to turn on electricity full stop, before explaining the concept of radio to the bewildered locals who felt sure it was some kind of witchcraft which they wanted no truck with. Or at least no horse drawn cart with.
  11. Records banned by the station include Sex Pistol‘s God Save the Queen, Frankie Goes to Hollywood‘s Relax and Rhianna‘s Umbrella, the latter being banned after the controller of Radio One got poked in the eye by an umbrella on Oxford Street, an incident he blamed entirely on the song’s prevalence.
  12. Despite what they claimed, however, Status Quo weren’t banned by the station. They were just unbelievably shit.
  13. Since the Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley‘s partnership on the Evening Session came to an end they have reunited for “Back Together For the First Time Since the Evening Session” style specials at least twice a year and, indeed, have now hosted more shows together now than when they were a double act.
  14. Having a ‘Breakfast Crew’ is currently the only socially acceptable time to pay people to pretend to be your friends.
  15. The Roadshows were invented when Simon Bates wanted to go to Brighton for his holidays but really couldn’t be arsed driving their himself.
  16. “Smiley Miley” got his nickname for both his sunny disposition, cheerful outlook in the face of all difficulties and the fact he spent the entire roadshow season monged out of his face on Ecstacy.
  17. Radio One is fond of slots such as Our Tune and Changing Tracks, features which allow the most mawkish of listeners to demonstrate to the nation exactly how awful their taste in music is.
  18. The advent of the internet and podcasting has caused a revolution in the way people listen to the station, allowing listeners to ignore JK and Joel’s show at any time of the day or night they like.
  19. Radio One takes its reach and influence amongst the younger population seriously, which is why during times of war they broadcast subliminal messages suggesting that able bodied, fit young men should sign up to fight immediately immediately.
  20. Five people have died as a result of competitions on the station. Most notably in the Russian Roulette game on the Scott Mills show, something which he now admits was a mistake and that he should have probably dropped the feature after the first death.
  21. Despite not hosting the official show any more, Bruno Brookes still reads out the Top 40 every Sunday afternoon, to an audience of largely disinterested passers by outside his local supermarket, pausing only to sell the occasional copy of the Big Issue and wet himself.
  22. Without the support of Radio One, bands like Oasis, The Verve and Arctic Monkeys would likely still be playing in their garages, dreaming of success. Despite this, the station has had some success in breaking new music to be proud of.
  23. Chris Moyles is actually just DLT after a shave.
  24. 1Xtra is definitely not a tokenistic gesture designed to ghettoise urban music in the slightest. Oh no.
  25. After each broadcast, Zane Lowe is returned to London Zoo where he whiles away the hours until he’s next on air swinging on his rubber tyre, munching on bananas and throwing faeces at curious visitors.
  26. Tim Westwood is not only old enough to be your dad, he’s old enough to be your dad’s dad.
  27. Pete Tong’s name has entered the dictionary as rhyming slang for the word ‘wrong’. Chris Moyles’ name has also entered the dictionary as slang for the word ‘cunt’. Not because it rhymes, simply because it’s true.
  28. Gary Davis was once a household name. No, really.
  29. If every record ever played on Radio One was played back to back, it still wouldn’t come anywhere near to the amount of time spent on irritating DJ banter.
  30. When Princess Diana died, Lisa I’Anson was censured for opening her show by playing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead. She later explained “I wasn’t thinking. I just really love Munchkins”.
  31. Radio One is now older than the combined age of the entire listenership of Fearne and Reggie’s weekend show. Their listener is aged 51 and is Fearne’s mum. Reggie’s mum doesn’t much care for the show.
  32. As a result of an administrative mix-up, Today’s John Humphrys once found himself presenting the Radio One breakfast show, but his floundering was nothing compared to Sara Cox who suddenly found herself having to interview the Home Secretary live on Radio 4. Fortunately as her interviewing style consists of droning on and on without allowing the interviewee to answer any of the questions, no-one noticed the difference.
  33. If Radio One didn’t exist, the numbering system for Radio’s Two to Seven would seem remarkably confusing.
  34. The longest track ever played on Radio One was a session track by post-rock types Mogwai. Coincidentally this was also the period when they had their lowest ever audience figures.
  35. The only thing more lazy than the covers bands turn in for the Live Lounge slot on Jo Whiley’s show is a sloth having a lie-in after a hard night watching DVD’s and eating popcorn.
  36. For many band’s the highlight of their career is getting their first play on Radio One, but this joy is often shortlived if said first play is on Edith Bowman’s show and she then goes on to enthuse copiously about the track afterwards.
  37. The Sunday Surgery is the perfect place to go if you have a problem you’re too embarrassed to tell a doctor or similar professional about, but are more than happy to tell it to millions of people, all around the country.
  38. The last thing ever broadcast on Radio One will be the sound of Chris Moyles screaming in agony. Or at least it will if we have anything to do with it.
  39. Simon Mayo is the heir to the Heinz millions, after his great grandad invented salad dressing.
  40. Despite its many failings, its faults, its seeming inability to go for longer than an hour without playing that bloody Pigeon Detectives song and its continued belief that employing Colin Murray, Edith Bowman, Chris Moyles and Sara Cox, the sort of person who not only thinks her own surname is funny but assumes everyone else will share in the hilarity, is a good idea, Radio 1 is still a million times better than most commercial operations. Happy Birthday.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Avril Lavigne: A Life in Videos 

It’s Avril Lavigne‘s birthday today! Or so VH1 reckons and we have no reason to doubt them, even if their judgement can be considered to be somewhat skewiff as they do insist on employing Jo Whiley and treating her as if she actually knows what she’s talking about. But either way Avril’s continued aging proves once again what does not need to be proved. Namely that there is Nothing Wrong with us having a crush on her. OK? Good.

Anyway, to celebrate here is a very brief look at Avril Lavigne: A Life in Videos:-

Complicated - In which Avril, along with her ‘punk’ band, who have clearly been supplied by Central Casting, run around a shopping centre, or ‘Mall’, causing havoc, shoplifting and generally acts like a brat whose parents didn’t instill into her the proper respect for authority and public decency that might be expected of a Canadian citizen., or at the very least someone who thinks that jumping into a fountain is the very height of rebellion and wildness. It does however reveal that Avril does use deodorant, which shows she is prepared to Not Smell, even if she’s not actually prepared to pay for the privilege.

Sk8r Boi - In which Avril puts on a guerrilla gig along with the help of her street team, who happily ignore all the rules that normally comes with being on a street team by graffitiing the venue all over town, using their flyers to indulge in what can only be called littering and causing a public obstruction by performing in the middle of a busy intersection, performing on top of some parked cars, so we can add criminal damage to the list too. Tsk! She then trashes said car with her guitar as a police helicopter hovers overhead. Perhaps now she will appreciate the gravity of what she’s done.

I’m With You - One thing that can be said about Avril’s videos is that if they have a chance to offer a literal interpretation of the song’s lyrics then they grab hold firmly of that chance with both hands, never losing grip - arf. Here, for example, Avril sings about it being a damp cold night while walking along a street on a damp cold night, at one point with snow behind her, lest the big thick jacket she’s wearing not be clue enough that it’s a bit chilly out. We should probably consider herself lucky that the vid for Complicated didn’t consist solely of her attempting to do a sudoku. As she walks we see her band, no longer the punky types of Complicated, have now been replaced by some more mature looking muso types as befit’s the more ‘serious’ nature of the song. Of course, we say band, as they mainly seem to be hanging around the street corners as Avril walks past they could well be just some hobos that the director thought would add some colour to proceedings. The rest of the vid shows Avril being a bit moody at a party because she doesn’t know anyone there. Then she leaves and meets her friends and is happy again. Tolstoy this ain’t. It’s not even up to Katie Price level.

Losing Grip - A ‘live’ video of her doing the song. But just when you think it’s going to be as unimaginative as this all the way through, you’re, umm, right. The nearest the director gets to inspiration is having another Avril in the crowd who gets a bit pushed around by some other people in the crowd. And that’s it. She does wear a nice green camo t-shirt in it, however. Which is nice.

Knocking on Heavens Door - This is a Serious Video about a Serious Subject - this is from the War Child album - and as befits all Serious Videos about Serious Subjects the video consists of nothing more than shots of the Serious Subject intercut with shots of Avril in the studio, looking thoughtful and emotional as she sings with one hand on her headphones, pondering on how totally amazing it is that she’s like totally saving the world.

My Happy Ending - Avril here plays the piano, smiles and wears a skirt. Three things that were previously thought to be so unlikely for Avril to do that Turning into a Rabbit Before Exploding into a Shower of Glitter would get you shorter odds at the bookmakers. This follows the ultra literal tradition of Avril vids by taking the lyrical tale of a relationship that Avril thought was going grand but turns out to be less than perfect by visually showing a tale of a relationship that Avril thought was going grand but turns out to be less than perfect, with a few shots of Miss Lavigne running down a street for no apparent reason, but appear to be from the same shoot as I’m With You so it’s probably to do with cost.

He Wasn’t - More tutu action from Avril as she dresses up in both devilish and angelic guises, and there’s also more literal interpretation action from the director here as the “He wouldn’t even open up the door” line is illustrated by someone closing a door in the Lavigne’s face and the “This is where I bite my nails” line shows our heroine biting nails, although in a crazy twist it’s someone else’s nails she’s biting! Our mind is bending under such bizarre trickery. The also trash the set of the video, perhaps in anger at the directors lack of imagination or perhaps because they’ve been to told to do so by the director in an attempt to give off a spirit of faux rebellion. Which can also be blamed on the director’s lack of imagination.

Girlfriend Three Avrils for the price of one! Be still our beating heart. Here Avril plays both herself, a goody-two-shoes character and an emo girl who reckons that she would be a better girlfriend to the goody’s boyfriend. You know, just like it says in the song, for those who are imbecilic enough to be unable to understand lyrics without being visually prompted. This she mainly does by bullying the goody and dressing the same as the object of her desire, which doesn’t strike us as good girlfriend material. Not, of course, that we’d turn her down. More importantly Avril finally does a proper dance routine. About bloody time.

When You’re Gone - In which Avril wears a nice dress and we have a “boyfriend going to fight in Iraq” subplot, proving if nothing else that it’s better when the directors take approach of translating the lyrics literally to screen as otherwise they just offer rehashes of the video for Green Day‘s Wake Me Up When September Ends which is nigh on the same as this. Although we don’t think Billy wore a nice dress for his vid.

So after all that what have we learnt? Only that Avril seriously needs to be given an Asbo. Oh well.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Garden Savaged? 

We went to see Darren Hayes on the first night of his tour yesterday. Here’s a pic:-

We are, of course, joking, although the potentially racist pop star probably genuinely is regretting his decision to have “fascist uniforms as designed by Mondrian” as the costumes for this tour. Mind you, the “When I say ‘heil’ you see ‘Hitler’” call and response section was probably a little misjudged, and the less said about the duet with Jo O’Meara, the better.

Potentially libellous jokes aside, it was, all things considered - and we include the fact that we were seemingly never more than two songs away from another ballad - a pretty good gig. Darren has a fair set of pipes on him and his newer, more electro poppy stuff is really rather ace and most of the Savage Garden stuff hasn’t dated too badly. Certainly age hasn’t dimmed the passion of much of the audience for him, many of whom took every opportunity possible to declare their love for the man by the not exactly verbose form of unintelligible screaming. This was probably for the best though, as when it did become intelligible, well, ‘intelligible’ doesn’t really cover it. One girl seemed convinced that by informing Darren that “I want to have your babies”, he would readily acquiesce. Perhaps she never got the memo.

Despite being a relatively small scale tour, the stage show was quite impressive, although in most arena settings there aren’t usually problems where the set gets snagged awkwardly as the roadies attempt to move it by hand, but there were lots of pseudo deep images flashing behind him, including a bookcase - we looked but couldn’t see if a copy of Mein Kampf was lurking there - and lots of images of origami birds, which were presumably there to represent, childhood, innocence and the simple desire to fly away from the stresses and strains of modern life. Either that or he just really likes folding paper. Most of these stemmed from the ‘theme’ of the show, the Time Machine tour, although theme is perhaps putting it a bit strongly, as it mainly consisted of two brief speeches to the audience, one where Darren told us that he’d quite like to have a time machine so he could sort out all the mistakes in his life, and the other where he told us “The thing they don’t tell you about time travel, is that it’s all the mistakes you make that make you who you are, and if you undo them you unravel your self”. Darren has clearly never ever seen a single film about time travel as everyone knows that by changing the past you screw up your present. It’s the only plot time travel films have! Someone going back to the past, having a pleasant time and then going back to an undisturbed present doesn’t really provide a lot of dramatic tension and ticking plot style plot driving.

Anyway, it was all good fun and, after a storming discofied version of Pop!ular - the lyrics of which may or may not have been changed to “My friends are all Caucasian”, we could be wrong, we could be right. Arf - the whole thing came to an end and the audience all goose-stepped out. In summary then, electropopness good, ballady nonsense bad. And all Animal Songs are equal, although some are more equal than others.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

10 Things We State About... 

Some people, although not anyone you’d actually want to spend any time with, are getting quite excited about the fact that Led Zeppelin are about to make a big wodge of cash for putting in the minimum of effort to a bunch of uncritical dinosaurs who would applaud even Jimmy Page walking on, shitting in the centre of the stage and walking off again with so much unbridled enthusiasm as to generate enough heat to speed up the onset global warming by sixty years, ironically enough, a time scale equivalent to the average age of people in the arena. Or ‘reform’, as the organisers are spinning this particular moneymaking extravaganza. If you’re lucky enough to have never heard the band, you may be unaware as to why people are getting hot under the collar about this - although if you’ve heard the band you’re likely to be equally clueless - then here are ten entirely true and in no way made up facts about the band which may clear things up:-
  1. Robert Plant once owned a dove farm, but gave up on the business after a particularly, umm, ‘loving’ year betwixt his birds caused him to have more baby animals than he was able to cope with. This incident was immortalised in the song Whole Lotta Dove
  2. Page and Plant sounds more like a firm of solicitors than a rock duo. In every sense of the word ‘sounds’.
  3. Led Zeppelin fans like to claim that the band wrote the book on rock and roll behaviour, meaning that between them they’re written one more book than they’ve actually read.
  4. Jimmy Page was really into Satanism, making him just as cool and individual as a socially awkward, overweight, Dungeons and Dragons playing student.
  5. Famously the band didn’t ‘do’ singles. Unfortunately they did ‘do’ albums. And overlong, bloated, solo packed, godawful albums at that.
  6. A lead zeppelin is something which logically cannot exist. See also A Good Led Zeppelin Song.
  7. Even in the seventies their hair was considered laughable.
  8. Robert Plant’s face is often used as a practice surface by trainee geologists. They’re often amazed at what turns up in the cracks.
  9. The drummer died. He was the lucky one.
  10. Rolf Harris‘ cover of Stairway to Heaven shits on the original.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Monkey See, Monkey Do Do 

Ian Brown is a man who spends a lot of his time thinking. Most of this thinking time is generally spent in trying to remember how to get his limbs and lips to move in a sequence that allows him to create the illusion of being able to walk and talk just like a human, but occasionally his thoughts turn to other things, which is a shame as people in Ian’s inner circle would have liked to use this time to turn his attention to the surprisingly complicated art of toilet training. Recently his thoughts have turned towards the war in Iraq, a war which, to all intents and purposes, started on March 20th 2003, so it’s only taken him four and a half years to come to a conclusion on this - even a dinosaur would react sooner if you tweaked his tail - and what monumental conclusion has all this thought and intellectual power housing led him to? That war is bad. Mmm-kay.

For pretty much everyone in the world this was either a given from the get go, or an opinion held only by bleeding heart liberal commies who should go and live in Iraq if they loved Saddam that much, it was pretty much as close as you could get to a black and white issue without getting into a discussion about Spy vs. Spy, but whichever side of the fence you fell on, you had already fallen on to your particular patch of grass about a year before the war actually kicked off, but for Ian, a man whose thought processes make glacial erosion look like Formula 1 racing, he’s taken a long time to weigh up the issues and, labouring under the delusion that the rest of the country is as slow as he is, has decided to set his thoughts to music and release it as single, presumably believing that Illegal Attacks, as his single is ‘controversially’ - in much the same way that Dave Benson Phillips could be considered controversial - titled, will bring the establishment to its knees, as opposed to the half hearted shrug it’s going to be greeted with by anyone with half a brain, or the look of disgust that will be the natural expression of anyone with even a vague love for music.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if Ian had released this when the war originally kicked off then, despite its clumsy, sub sixth form lyrics and clichéd, almost self-parodic musical stylings, it might have had some value politically, even though the anti-war movement wasn’t exactly an underground organisation with even the Daily Mirror jumping onto the bandwagon in a desperate attempt to sell a few more papers, but to release it now, with even the war’s most enthusiastic cheerleaders admitting that, with a bit of hindsight, maybe going in there with all guns blazing and not much of a real idea what to do once it was all over might not have been the best idea in the world, is the sort of lazy half-assed thinking that you’d expect from a fresher whose desperately trying to fit in with the perceived conventional wisdom of his or her new found friends. It’s like turning up to a party when not only has all the vodka long gone, but there’s not even any kettle chips left. But despite the clear pointlessness of the track, Ian genuinely believes that he’s doing something important and is pushing at the boundaries of mainstream convention. He needs to get a sense of perspective; he’s not a poet, he’s not the voice of the people, he’s not some great philosopher, and he couldn’t even hold a tune in a specially designed tune holding bucket. He was in an overrated band who did little you would actually want to listen to if your record collection extends beyond the mid early nineties and is nothing more than an aggressive thug who reckons that “I’ll chop your fucking hands off” is one of the greatest bon mots of modern times. Someone give him a reality check. Or at least a banana.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Waxing Lyrical 

For reasons we entirely fail to understand, Kate Nash appears to be remarkably popular. We never realised that the market for an even more irritating Lily Allen would be so large, but as we could be here all day listing acts who in our view seem to be unaccountably successful, it’s probably best not to go down that route. Instead we’ll follow the route taken by that bandwagon and instead offer you, our dear readers, the opportunity to both appreciate Kate’s famed down to earth wit and sing along to Kate’s latest hit single by giving you the lyrics to Mouthwash. Aren’t we good to you?

Kate Nash - Mouthwash

This is my face. I look like Noel Fielding, only not even half as pretty.
This is my body, covered in skin, and unflattering vintage dresses.
And, this, is my mind, it’s put five seconds thought into these dull lines
And, this, is my song, its torturous, annoying melody will drive you insane

And I use mouthwash
Sometimes I floss
I got nothing to say
But say it anyway

I’m as exciting as pavement
I’ve got the same stench as faeces
I’ve got just two chords in memory
But I still get tabloid pieces.

And of course I’m at home on a Friday night (2x)
And of course I’m at home on a Friday night cos who‘d want to be with me in a club at night?(2x)

This is my face, I’ve got my banal opinions and all the time to explain
And this is my body, and though you might want to throw bricks at it, I’ll still be here
And, this, is my mind, and as its got all the substance of gas, you cannot confine
And, this, is my naval, and even though it’s full of fluff my gaze rests there again and again

Because I use mouthwash
Sometimes I floss
I got a family
And I churn out this toss.

I’ve got a massive advance
I’ve got no real talent
But I have one real skill
And that’s being a bit like Lily Allen

And I’m sitting at home on a Friday night (2x)
And I’m sitting at home on a Friday night and I hope no-one notices my songs are shite (2x)

Will this do?

©Kate Nash. Aged 20. And not 12 as you might think.

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Monday, September 10, 2007


9.00: Hello and welcome to our almost live coverage of the MTV VMAs, live from Las Vegas. And tonight's ceremony certainly promises to be a unique experience. If only because this the first time in living memory that MTV has broadcast a programme that actually involves music.
9.02: Opening the show is Britney Spears. Except rather than actually getting Britney they've got a poor quality waxwork which lip synchs about as well as a dog eating toffee.
9.03: She's dressed in a sparkly bikini which serves mainly to make her look like she works at a cheap brothel which is trying to look a bit higher class.
9.04: "I just want some more", she ends. Unlike the rest of the audience who look like they would rather see anything but.
9.05: Host for the evening is Sarah Silverman. No, us neither.
9.06: She appears to be a rubbish stand-up comedian who's trying desperately to be controversial. We thought that Britney was going to be the biggest embarrassment of the night, but it turns out we were wrong.
9.08: It's like watching someone who's read about comedy in a book, didn't really understand it, but liked the idea of it and thought she'd give it a shot anyway.
9.12: Adverts. From this we can surmise that MTV's target audience is thirsty, spotty and doesn't have the brain power to realise that paying £4.50 a week for a ringtone service is the act of only the truly moronic.
9.14: Alesha Keys, who some people may remember from her ridiculously successful yet charmisa free albums is doing some hosting duties. She's equally lacking in the ability to connect with the audience when speaking.
9.15: Kanye West and Justin Timberlake are hosting various parties that are going on at the same time as the award. Quite why they're showing this given that they look a lot more fun and entertaining than what we're having to watch is unclear.
9.16:: Nicole Pussycat Doll and Eve are presenting the Monster Single of the Year award. Our money's on Mothra. Or Mika, who's pretty monstrous.
9.18:: It's Rihanna for Umbrella! And it looks like she's been poured into her dress. Arf?
9.19:: She thanks a lot of people, none of whom we actually care about.
9.20: Kanye is still partying away, with all the joy and enthusiasm of someone who hasn't had to sit through Sarah Silverman's soul sapping attempt at comedy.
9.21: There's a lot of filler in this show, isn't there?
9.22: And a lot of non-entities as well. Who the hell are these people presenting the Quadruple Threat Award.
9.22: This award goes to people who have more than one string to their bow, but given the constant use of 'Clothing Line' as examples, we're not entirely convinced of the veracity of this prize.
9.23: It goes to Justin Timberlake, who takes advantage of the opportunity to challenge MTV to play for videos. He has a point.
9.23: There's a Fall Out Boy party as well, so it's not all goodness outside of the main awards arena.
9.24: They sound even more awful than normal, more like a bunch of enthusiastic yet talentless twelve year old FOB fans - is there any other kind? - rather than the actual band.
9.25: The Foo Fighters are having a party as well. With all this constant cutting and flipping between various things, we're beginning to understand what it must be like to have ADHD.
9.27: The award for Earth Shattering Collaboration is being presented by 50 Cent and someone we don't recognise, but is apparently an earth shattering collaboration itself, according to the announcer anyway, and we're sure she wouldn't lie to us. They stared at each other for a bit, that was it. The earth doesn't feel particularly shattered from our point of view.
9.28: It goes to Beyonce and Shakira for Beautiful Lie, a song whihc only sounds good in its remixed form.
9.29: Shakira's not there, but Beyonce thanks her for doing the song with her. She'd been waiting for that day, apparently, which seems unlikely.
9.30: Mark Ronson is the house band for the night, so far he's had Akon and Maroon 5 Blokey singing with him. Working with even Lily Allen must seem like a more glittering and fulfilling experience in comparison.
9.32: More adverts. Jamster seems to consider the prospect of having the full version of Sean Kingston's Beautiful Girls on your mobile as an enticement, rather than another one of the many good reasons to avoid the service like the plague.
9.35: Justin's party features a lot of gyrating girls and not much else. Who says feminism is dead?
9.37: Chris Brown. He appears to be auditioning for a role in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
9.38: More miming. The dance routine involves a lot of leaping between tables, this is presumably supposed to look edgy, but more has the air of a hyperactive child who's had too much cake at his birthday party.
9.40: And here's Rihanna, who spent so long getting the seams on her tights straight that she didn't have time to actually put her skirt on.
9.41: And now Chris is aping Michael Jackson's Billie Jean moves. Does no-one have an original idea any more? Even Jackson himself wouldn't do those moves, if only because he's worried parts of his body would fall off.
9.43:: And yes we are aware of the irony of moaning about unoriginality while doing Michael Jackson plastic surgery jokes, thank you very much.
9.44:: "The most talked about women on TV, the stars of The Hills". We've never heard of the Hills, let alone talked about it.
9.45: Best Male, although they never indicate exactly how they demonstrate their masculinity. Do they put up shelves really quickly, or have to talk in the lowest register possible?
9.45: As the winner is Justin Timberlake, clearly not.
9.46: Justin is worried about getting older. His aging is evident in the fact that he's almost ready to start shaving. Bless.
9.47: The camera follows him backstage for no apparent reason and we go back to the Foo Fighters party, for equally unapparent reasons. Cee-Lo is now singing with them though.
9.48: Fiddy is now singing at Justin's party, to which Justin has now returned and is further cementing the view that he's getting older by dancing like your dad.
9.50: It's the bloke from Transformers! It'd be better if it was Optimus Prime though. He apprently reveals the title of the new Indiana Jones movie. No-one particularly cares.
9.51: Best female. Again, is this decided by giving the prize to someone who can demonstrate that they are the ultimate in femininity?
9.52: It goes to Fergie, so again, clearly not.
9.52: Ludacris is supposed to be picking up her award as she's not here, but no-one seems to have told him and he stays rooted to his seat. We can understand his reluctance to be associated with the Big Girls singer. Although people standing up when Fergie is mentioned is not an unusual occurrence. Although this is normally so they can scan the room, looking for exits.
9.55: Adverts. We're eating cookies.
9.57: Pamela Anderson. She's being wolf whistled at by Tommy Lee. This is presumably before he got into the fight.
9.58: Back to Kanye's party, and what is with those glasses he insists on wearing these days. It makes him look like the hip-hop Timmy Mallet.
10.01: More from the Fall Out Boy party, apparently the worst place in the world to be. It's not so much a party, more a recruiting video for the War Against Emo.
10.02: And now it's the girl from Transformers! Where's Megatron?
10.03: "Warning: This performance contains flashing images which may trigger photosensitive seizures." We wish we had epilepsy, it'd give us an excuse to switch off.
10.04: Linkin Park. Whose new single's chorus is annoying catchy, but we refuse to actually like it on a point of principle. They are Linkin Park, after all.
10.06: Chester is remarkably enthusiastic for a man who is not only in Linkin Park, but whose job description simply reads "Shouting".
10.07: Some people from Entourage are presenting the award for Best Group. They reference groupies, apparently under the impression that they're in Almost Famous.
10.08: The list of nominations for Best Group is the most soul destroying we've seen in a long time. Gym Class Heroes!?
10.09: The prize goes to Fall Out Boy, which at least has the benefit of stopping them playing at their party for a bit.
10.09: They dedicate to all the real fans of music, who they describe as "the kids picking up guitars". The cocks.
10.14: More ads. We've moved on from cookies to eating Frosties straight out the packet. We are nothing if not classy.
10.15: Rihanna has now put a dress on. Unfortunately she spoils this by performing with Fall Out Boy. Their's is not an umbrella you want to be under.
10.16: Wow, Nelly is still around. He's introducing Alicia Keys, with far more enthusiasm than you'd expect from someone who has, to all intents and purposes, just announced a toilet break for the entire auditorium.
10.21: She segues into a cover of George Michael's Freedom, demonstrating that even a upbeat song becomes soporific in her hands.
10.22: Kanye's still performing. Although for all we know he stops the minute the camera's off of him.
10.23: And just when you thought it couldn't get worse at the FOB party, they've now been joined by Gym Class Heroes. See, two wrongs don't make a right.
10.23: Jamie Foxx wants us to make some noise. He also wants to know who won the Kid Rock/Tommy Lee fight, but did anyone really win in such an ugly situation. Apart from the MTV PR department, that is.
10.24: And the Best New Artist is... Gym Class Heroes? We'd even be dubious about using the word 'New' to describe them, let alone the other two words in that title.
10.27: Fiddy is partying like it's his birthday. Again.
10.28: Mark's still up on his podium, but he's cut short for Mary J Blige, who seems to command a remarkable amount of respect for someone of such dullness.
10.29: She's introducing Dre. Fortunately the organisers remembered to put him on the bill this time around. Last year they forgot about Dre. Arf!
10.30: Dre is wearing a blue jumper and sweat pants. You'd think he'd have got a bit dressed up, this is on telly after all.
10.31: He's announcing the award for best video, we don't think you need us to point out the irony of MTV having this award. It goes to Rihanna, who's back in her pink part dress/part scaffolding outfit.
10.33: P Diddy is worryied about the problem of rock 'n' roll violence. We're more worried about P Diddy to be honest.
10.36: Even more ads. Although as this is the best chance to see music on MTV, albeit in snippets, we probably shouldn't complain.
10.39: "The biggest performance of the night", it's Timbaland, Timberlake and, umm, Timbertardo.
10.41: It probably is the best performance of the night. But bearing in mind what's gone before, this doesn't necessamean it's actually any good.
10.42: Although once we get onto The Way I Are it all improves dramatically, which is often the case in real life as well.
10.44: And here's Justin, flirting with the audience and doing the jumpy footwork thing which has seen him acclaimed as a great dancer, rather than someone who suffers from restless legs syndrome as is clearly the case.
10.45: He's doing something with hankies, so if this pop lark dries up for him then he'll be able to work as a children's entertainer, which is something at least.
10.46: Nelly Furtardo songs are always a lot better on record than in the flesh, mainly because you don't see how awkward and uncomfortable she looks with her new, focus group enforced image.
10.47: And, umm, that appears to be it. That really was the big finish. Even the Brits manages to have more of a climax than this. Hell, even the TV Quick awards end with a better sense of closure.
10.48: And what have we learnt? As usual nothing that we couldn't have gleaned by watching the highlights on YouTube instead. Oh well.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Negative Attraction 

Yes, yes, yes! The new Girls Aloud single is out this week and, as is pretty much a given with new Girls Aloud singles, it has Number One written all over it. Unfortunately, though, what is graffitied all over the soul of the track bares little relation to actual chart performance, and given that past experience has proven that the only Girls Aloud tracks which get to number one are those which have Rubbish Cover of a Ballad stamped all over them, we’re not holding out too much hope for them hitting the top spot with this but we are being half-heartedly optimistic, even if they’re encouraging this sort of pessimistic thinking in their absurdly negative song title.

Anyway, it is, as you’re no doubt aware unless you live under a rock, are stupid, or are deaf or, indeed, Death, all kinds of aceness; a lightning blast of electro pop fireyness, writhing around like a bag filled with angry robots made entirely of legs and lacerating any person or thing that comes into it’s general vicinity. In it they deny their sexyness. Other things that Girls Aloud have recently denied include:Unfortunately they have also chosen to deny Nicola’s natural gingerness and she has once again gone looking for happiness at the bottom of a bottle of hair dye, turning blonde for the latest video. We will give her the benefit of the doubt for now and assume that the decision was made to avoid clashing with the red based theme of the somewhat bizarre promo. They have also chosen not to have a proper ending for the song, which is really frustrating as there’s nothing more annoying than something that just fades out rather than coming to a proper…

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mercury Music Live 

8.59: Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Mercury Music Prize! Exciting stuff we're sure you'll agree. The bookies certainly do, although their interest has shifted from taking bets on whose going to win the prize to exactly how sozzled Amy Winehouse will be and exactly how many wineglasses she'll smash when she collapses in a spectacular heap over her table.
9.01: Jamie T reckons that "Everyone's a winner". Jamie obviously went to one of those special schools that don't believe in competition and gave everyone a prize for competing in the egg and spoon race, no matter whether their egg ended up smashed into the ground or not.
9.02: Jools Holland and Jo Whiley are hosting. It might only be ninety minutes but it's going to be a long night.
9.03: Opening the show are "The truly fabulous View", according to the lying Jo Whiley. If their album wins then you might as well give the prize to an indie anthems compilation album, such is the nature of their work. Even calling it derivative would be kind given that they so blatantly rip off the work of other bands, but without even managing to give their hooks the justice they deserve.
9.07: "A fantastic start to the evening, we've just enjoyed The View", announced Jools, from atop the stage, proving that lying isn't confined to Jo.
9.08: A run down of the nominated albums, along with some spectacularly trite observations from Jo follows. The audience, consisting mainly of record industry types who have an eye on the bottom line and little else, are encouraged to make some noise where they deem it necessary. If this has any baring on the result, Amy Winehouse or Jamie T are likely to claim the prize.
9.11: Maps doing It Will Find You. We have yet to investigate Maps properly yet, which may explain why we spend a large part of our life getting lost. Arf, etc. We like what we've heard, but there's about as much chance of this winning as there is of Maps blokey turning up in the Heat Spotted section.
9.15: They have let him come up on stage, however, to get his award for his nomination. Bless.
9.16: It's Jamie T. Lahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhn-daaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhn!
9.17: Oh well, he's not doing that one, plumpuing for Salvador instead. Which is perhaps just as well, given his current fondness for ruining Sheila whenever he performs it live these days. Jamie's probably in with a shout, and we should consider ourselves thankful that the shortlist came out when it did. Had they waited a month or so later then his slot would likely have been taken by Kate Nash. Shudder.
9.19: Jamie gives a speech when he receives his nomination award. Thanking the fans who had no input in his nomination whatsoever.
9.20: It's New Young Pony Club, who are still our tip for the prize, despite the bookies and, indeed, the public's lack of enthusiasm for them. And their belief that they can carve out a career simply by releasing Ice Cream over and over again. Here they show a bit of variety by doing The Bomb instead, with some slightly poor vocals. Presumably they think this is going out on a commercial network and Ice Cream'll turn up soundtracking half the adverts in the break anyway.
9.22: But she does have good hair. Not that the watching industry types look too impressed. The main thought thst appears to be crossing their minds is "Hmm, I wonder what's for desert?"
9.23: Ice Cream? No, please yourselves then.
9.24: Jo is joined by Charles Hazlewood, who does conducting, apparently, and is one of the judges, and Adrian Edmondson, who is there for no reason whatsoever, particularly as his appearance on Celebrity Fame Academy clearly makes him ineligible to have any opinion on music whatsoever.
9.26: Fortunately he doesn't get to say a lot as Jo is more interested in getting the inside skinny from the judge. "We haven't made any decisions yet". Hooray for insightful journalism!
9.27: Just like this. Ahem.
9.28: Ade wants to perform with either Young Knives or Bat for Lashes. We are finding out these exciting nuggets of information as Jo desperately fills by asking the first questions that come into her head, no matter how inane or dull.
9.29: The new Young Knives single sounds like Carter: The Unstoppable Sex Machine, the one they're performing her, The Decision, sounds like British Sea Power performed by people who don't really like British Sea Power that much.
9.31: If the judges have a desperate urge to appear quirky they might go for this, but it seems more likely they'll want the watching world to consider them a group of people who can actually get girl/boyfriends.
9.33: Bat for Lashes, who is lazily described by journalists as a cross between Kate Bush and Bjork, mainly because she sounds like a cross between Kate Bush and Bjork, is the sort of artist it's easier to admire than love. We saw her do a gig earlier this year and, while we appreciated it, we're not sure we actually enjoyed it that much.
9.35: She's dressed like a peacock. It's hard to know how such a blatant display of tail prowess will affect the judges decisions.
9.36: She's probably got a good chance, as it is a good album. Just not one that you'd actually want to listen to very often.
9.37: The Arctic Monkeys are speaking from Tokyo. They are being Northern. The crazy, one trick, pointless wags.
9.38: As they can't be there to perform, rather than blessing us with not seeing them do a track, we get Teddy Picker from their Glastonbury set. Apparently the sound was so awful at the festival that only those right down the front could actually hear them. We doubt the rest of the audience realised how lucky they were.
9.40: And surely any song that references Duran Duran's Save a Prayer which isn't actually Save a Prayer is awful by definition?
9.41: Ffion Regan is up next. Until now we thought he was a girl. This is why we should bother our arse and actually do some research.
9.42: It's pleasant enough. If you like being bored to tears by acoustic guitar dullness, that is.
9.43: His hair is providing some entertainment, looking much like the Winehouse's would if she was too lazy to actually put it up. A male version of Amy's do... Would that be a He-hive then?
9.45: Seriously! It's like he's got a loaf of bread on his head!
9.45: He thanked them for providing him with a drawbridge. The award is small, he must have a tiny moat.
9.46: Jo is with The Young Knives and Natasha Bat for Lashes. There's always a good reason why musicians sing and play rather than speak.
9.48: One of Young Knives is debunking the celebrity experience. This would be more interesting if it was coming from someone who had actually experienced the celebrity experience.
9.49: Nat reckons that Ffion was really brave for going on stage with just a guitar. She must have a high cowardness threshold.
9.50: Dizzee Rascal is doing Flex with a badly moustachioed horn section. Of course, calling it a badly moustachioed horn section implies there's such a thing as a well moustachioed horn section
9.51: There isn't, of course.
9.52: Could Dizzee do the double? Probably not, but the Mercury organisers do like to make a vague nod towards being street each year and the Lethal Bizzle album came out to late to be included. It's a shame that his inclusion does smack of tokenism, though, as the album is ace. Even the track with Lily Allen on. We know! What are the chances!
9.53: Although for some reason tracks that involve Lily Allen are always better than those by Lily Allen. Probably her lack of creative input.
9.54: But we digress, Lily wasn't nominated. Thankfully.
9.55: It's Amy! And she's actually performing! Or fiddling with her micstand at least.
9.55: And looking slightly terrified. Unsurprisingly.
9.56: Although it's hard to tell as she's so emaciated she's practically hidden by the stand.
9.57: But she's performing Love is a Losing Game with a delicate touch and a voice that reminds you why she sold records before she became a car-crash.
9.57: The room is so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Or a popstar collapse.
9.58: She did seem unsure what to do after she was given her award though.
9.59: Basquiat Strings. Jazz. Urgh. More impressive hair though. We thought these awards were sponspored by Nationwide these days, not V05.
10.01: It's still going on.
10.02: And on.
10.03: Finally!
10.04: We love the Klaxons more in principle than in practice, but Golden Skans is still all kinds of aceness. And you have to admire anyone who'll go on telly dressed like they're on their way to a Star Trek convention but who can't afford to buy official replica uniforms and have had to make their own versions using their mums' old dresses.
10.05: We bet they'll be hopping mad if they don't win though! Arf!
10.06: Because, umm, Jamie's broken his foot and is wearing a cast. Just in case you didn't know.
10.07: Jo is back with Ade and Neil McCormack who writes about music for the Telegraph and once attempted to release a single called People I Don't Know Are Trying To Kill Me shortly after the 7/7 attacks in London, thus making him even less qualified to discuss music than Ade.
10.08: And he's happily proving that point every time he opens his mouth.
10.09: Although, of course, as a Telegraph journalist he does represent the target audience of the prize a lot better than we do. Because we actually like music.
10.10: A look back at past winners of the prize. Yes, they did give it to M People one year. We'd skip over that particular decision if we were them.
10.11: We'd forgotten that Gomez won in 1998. Or, indeed, that they'd even existed.
10.13: We have more sympathy for Neil's song now. We don't know him but we'd really like to kill him, a feeling which grows more and more with each utterance that drops from his mouth.
10.15: Rupert, who knows the odds, looks exactly like you'd expect a Rupert to look like.
10.16: He claims that Bat for Lashes are the favourite, with Amy, Jamie and the Klaxons following closely behind.
10.17: And we're back with Jools, ready for the big announcement.
10.18: And we're reminded, again, of the nominated albums. Do they think we're goldfish?
10.19: Well, there always is something a bit fishy about these awards.
10.20: And the winner is... Klaxons!
10.20: Good thing we never actually put a bet on NYPC then.
10.21: "This really is too much!". They look extremely happy to have won the prize. How MDMA-zing.
10.22: One of them is wearing a phone on his head, and they've resorted to whooing into the microphone in lieu of making a speech.
10.22: Jo has just used the word 'fierce'. Oh dear.
10.23: They're cheering on the steps, successfully drowning out the nonsense spilling from Neil's mouth. Truly they deserve an award for that alone!
10.23: Judge Lauren Laverne attempts to explain why they won, but was disturbed by a Klaxon, who merrily pushed her out of the way, despite being a bit pregnant.
10.24: Lauren, that is, not the Klaxon.
10.25: They still seem overwhelmed by the whole thing, and are unable to hold a microphone properly, let alone string a coherent speech together.
10.26: And another chance to see them do Golden Skans. From earlier, it seems unlikely they could hold an instrument right now, let alone hold it together.
10.28: And apparently Amy Winehouse won the Popjustice Music Prize for Rehab. She'll probably pop down to their party later and put the twenty quid straight behind the bar. And why not.
10.29: And that's that. We're happy with their choice. Which is something of a first.

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