Monday, November 13, 2006

Live - Unholy Alliance

Unholy Alliance #2 – Palais Omnisports de Bercy, Paris 7th November 2006

The idea behind touring multi-band packages like this is that fans get the chance to witness several different acts within the same genre without having to attend several different gigs in order to do so – the obvious drawback is that if there’s a band on the bill that you’re not interested in, you’ve still got to shell out for their set whilst you stand in the bar. No such danger exists with this year’s leg of the Unholy Alliance though, with the enticing prospect of six quality purveyors of the fine art of heavy metal making sure that the floor stays full while the beer and T-shirt stalls find themselves relatively unsolicited for most of the night. We’re also faced with a more cosmopolitan line-up than last time, with bands from Finland, Sweden, Canada, France and the US making up the tour’s roster, so clearly a most enriching evening is in store for all.

Upon entering the venue around half five in the afternoon, a suspicious rumbling from the main arena suggests that Canada’s Thine Eyes Bleed have already begun practicing their art. Sure enough, they are ploughing headfirst into a potent thrash/death attack by the time I get in there, and the appreciative crowds down at the front prove that it’s not too early in the day for a pit. Whilst their muscular riffery and guttural vocal onslaught does little to distinguish them from thousands of other North American acts on a similar ilk, it has to be said that these guys have their act wound tight enough to turn heads even when placed alongside their peers – they could have easily slacked off as the opening act playing to a half-empty venue, but once they hit their stride they appear comfortable enough playing this arena stage that you could almost believe they’re headlining the night. A delightful splattering of guts to start the proceedings.

A late addition to the bill due to their status as homecoming heroes (though when you’re talking about a band from the Basque country playing a gig in Paris, it’s hardly on their doorstep), France’s Gojira slot in nicely alongside the other acts to provide a hearty dose of bowel-quaking death metal. Their chosen genre often proves way too constrictive for most bands, but Gojira’s success stems from their choice to forge their own identity as laidback, eco-friendly headbangers with a potent death metal delivery that quakes the very foundations of the venue. I rejoin the assembled masses on the floor for the first time to experience all this, and once you’re down there it’s positively overwhelming to feel their earthquake death metal rumble out across the crowd like giant, tumbling waves of noise. DM bands often place all-out hair flailing enthusiasm over any kind of personality that might set themselves apart from the rest of the scene, but the nice thing about Gojira is that it’s precisely their status as outsiders which has seen them develop such a following, and tonight the crowd accords them a warm, grateful reception as the sole Gallic influence on this most international of events in the metal calendar. As the final vibrations fade from Bercy after their exit, the French can feel well-represented in tonight’s encounter.

We go back across the Atlantic now as Maryland’s Lamb of God hit the stage with their stadium-friendly mosh metal to an enthusiastic crowd - indeed, expectations are high for this relatively rare chance to witness the band on European soil, compounded by a series of essential releases and a sterling reputation as one of modern metal’s best live draws. However, with the bar set so high it was always going to be a case of do or die, and as the set progresses you start to feel the initial burst of energy generated by their arrival on stage gradually dissipate as they fail to pull the crowd into their slipstream. As natural inheritors to Pantera’s crown as kings of rootsy, black-hearted American metal, you expect the band to flatten the place with a relentless barrage of bovine brutality, but despite the odd moment of hair-flailing abandon from the guitar players you get the impression that the band are running on slightly low batteries. Whilst their records seem to be tailor made to soundtrack sweaty moshpit bedlam, tonight most of the material just disappears into the atmosphere without ever fully connecting – once or twice they hit the mark, most notably with ‘Now you’ve got something to die for’, but even a closing ‘Black Label’ (minus the fabled wall of death, tellingly) can’t stop this from ending in stalemate. Were they on too early? Were they all knackered? Did they get a couple of dodgy croissants on the rider? Whatever the reason behind tonight’s luke-warm showing, let’s hope they can come back another time and pave over the cracks like we were all expecting them to.

After an introduction to the soundtrack of background lounge music, Children of Bodom rip into ‘Silent Night, Bodom Night’ and it rapidly becomes apparent that they are in safer territory. The Finns’ brand of Euro-friendly melodic thrash sprinkled with various Nintendo synth noises proves an immediate hit amongst those who don’t know them already, whilst seasoned fans lap up the chance to go seriously bonkers down the front. Whilst other bands in their genre can come across as achingly morose, COB make it clear that they’re in this for a laugh with the OTT sparkle of their keyboard driven metal assault proving difficult to resist, and even those who find the whole thing a bit corny end up banging their heads by the end. The setlist covers their various studio albums evenly (although let’s face it, said records are all pretty interchangeable) and the overall vibe is one of over-bearing festivity. The only downside is frontman Alexi Laiho’s moronic stage banter – you get the impression that when this fellow was learning English, he opened the dictionary at ‘F’ and pretty much stopped there….

The competition for best entrance of the night has been in full sway since we began, and I think we can safely say when the ‘Night Rider’ theme music jack-knifes into In Flames’ frontal assault over a background of blue neon grid lighting, the race for the title has been comfortably won. What’s more, their set proves to be the night’s most entertaining and well-handled of the evening – being only vaguely familiar with their material, I chose to hang back for this one but soon wished I was on the floor hanging on every note like their considerable following front of stage. The Swedes are a classic example of what makes their countrymen so annoying – they manage to deliver the most potent, thrill-packed set of the evening without looking like they’re even going out of their way to do so. Frontman Anders Friden makes a refreshing change to his predecessors tonight, resisting the urge to pour forth obscenities and desperate requests for the crowd to shout louder or mosh more vigorously, and he cuts a fine figure as an amiable master of ceremonies in between bouts of screaming his dreadlocks off. The band crank out extracts from their considerable back catalogue (which I shall now be checking out more thoroughly) and the lighting rigs which they appear to have nicked from some Scandinavian gameshow only add to this wholly pleasant battering of the senses. If there’s any fault to their showing tonight, it’s that it’s TOO flawless – the poppy likes of ‘Cloud Connected’ lack the vitriol and violence of some of tonight’s other contenders, but it’s small beef in the face of what is otherwise tonight’s undisputed highlight.

Which of course means that leading lights Slayer are…..well, a little average to be perfectly honest. Of course, the metal overlords on average form are still a lot better than most of their peers firing on all cylinders, but once the standard ‘Disciple/War Ensemble’ opening couplet is dispatched to bouts of Tazmanian Devil style pit mayhem, we find ourselves like hungry beasts waiting for the next chunk of meat to be thrown in. Trouble is, instead of picking from the massive stockpile of choice cuts from their back catalogue, they choose to fling out nut cutlets in the shape of four tracks from average newie ‘Christ Illusion’ and the slower, creepier numbers from their standard setlist. OK, we would have felt a bit cheated without ‘South of Heaven’, but would anyone seriously complain if they didn’t trot out ‘Dead Skin Mask’ or ‘Mandatory Suicide’ for the nth time? Where’s all the fast shit? Granted, ‘Chemical Warfare’, ‘Raining Blood’ and the devilish boogie of ‘Die by the Sword’ give the assembled throng plenty to fling themselves around to, but overall you can’t help feeling that longtime fans are probably counting the number of favourites they didn’t hear tonight rather than the show’s highlights. The band’s decision to spend ages getting ready for the next song while Tom Araya grins at the crowd doesn’t do anything to add to the momentum, and you start to wonder what has happened to the relentless energy these guys produced when they graced the same stage two years ago. This writer witnessed perhaps the best gig of his miserable little life that night, and so perhaps tonight was always going to pale in comparison but you can’t help but think of the wasted potential from a band with the power to turn groups of civilised human beings into flailing masses of drooling lunatics with the drop of a powerchord. I remember getting spun 360° across a strobe-flickered slampit to ‘Angel of Death’ back in 2004 and feeling like the roof might cave in at any moment – tonight, Slayer would do well to spill people’s drinks halfway back in the crowd. It’s not a total letdown, but as we file out into the November evening air there’s a pervasive feeling that tonight’s final feast of metal was ever so slightly undercooked.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

Hope you all had a lovely Halloween.
xxx John

Friday, August 11, 2006

Stuff that sucks about France

Things about France that suck

Yeah, you read that correctly. But let me point out first of all that this isn't another 'Year in the Merde' style compilation of why it's OK to hate France and the French. I actually like France a lot (otherwise I wouldn't have lived here for so long) and I am simultaneously putting together a list of stuff about France that I really like. But for some reason, it's just a lot easier to write about stuff that I really hate. I wonder why that is? This would be the poisonous cynicism that Tony Blair is always banging on about in election speeches. The French suffer from this too of course, and there have been various studies recently on why the frogs are so bummed out at the moment (or why they think everyone else hates them). So basically, we all like complaining. The French certainly set themselves up for criticism of many aspects of their culture, seeing as they're so fucking rah-rah about how great France is most of the time (except when you're talking about the government, whose every move gets ripped apart by pretty much everyone within reach of an internet talkboard. Mind you, that's probably the same everywhere). So I have decided to cast my own stone and list up a few things that I don't like about France. But let's say this is just the rough part of a fairly good deal - I like it here, France is great and I ain't moving back to the UK anytime soon.

1. The Countryside

Aaaaaah the country! The joy of getting back to nature, breathing the fresh air and enjoying life's simple pleasures! What more could one want? EH??? I have had my fill of hearing people witter on about how totally bitchin' the French countryside is - you'd think they were talking about Mount fucking Olympus or something. Every time I travel outside of Paris for a bit, I have to sit through a lecture on how great everything is out in the sticks and how I must be really bummed out that I have to go back to the big smoke at the end of the weekend.
Well OK, there are many very beautiful regions of France and much for the eyes to feast upon by way of rustic, timeless Gallic charm. BUT, as nice as it might be for the weekend, I certainly wouldn't want to live there - once the novelty has worn off, you realise that most of the French countryside is full of shifty, inbred wurzels who spend 3% of their time doing anything that could vaguely be described as hard work, and the other 97% lounging around in the sun scratching their arses and refusing to wash. This might sound like fun, but after a while you start to realise that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING EVER HAPPENS round here and all these yokels can do to kill their boredom is meet up in the village and then drive off to some shitty nightclub in the middle of nowhere, where they proceed to get properly c*nted on J&B whisky mixed with flat coke, try to pull their six-fingered cousin and then jump back into their cars and speed off at 5am to cause some 30 vehicle pile up on the local tractor path. Whoop de doo!!! What idyllic rural customs! It doesn't help that most of these hayseed bastards greet any visiting outsiders in their community with about the same conviviality as Donald Sutherland at the end of 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' - they don't take kindly to hoity-toity city folk coming in and disturbing them while they cream off massive EU farming subsidies, drink shitloads of prune vodka and beat their wives or go out canvassing for the Front National!!! Welcome to the 21st century you bumpkin fuckwits! You can stick your country traditions up your arse for all I care! I don't care how polluted it is round here, I'm not moving!!

2. The Rando de Roller in Paris

I guess I should balance that last one out with some anti-Paris ranting, so I feel it's my duty to draw people's attention to this most goonish of city customs. Basically, someone obviously decided way back whenever that it would be cool to organise a massive rollerblade rally through the streets of the capital, so now once or twice a week the roads get sealed off by the cops so that several hundred lycra-clad yuppie tossers can whizz by on their fucking rollerblades whilst everyone else (be it cars, pedestrians or whatever) has to stand and wait for them to finish coming through which can often take upwards of 10 minutes. Obviously, whilst we're waiting for these dickheads to get out of the fucking way, we are secretly envious of their urban cool and clever choice of transport. Oh but if only I were as up to date as you!! For fuck's sake, this all might have been vaguely amusing the first time but all these fools do now is get up in my face and make me late for wherever I'm going. Plus, they automatically assume you'll halt your journey and let them through - woe betide anyone who might get in their way even in the slightest, for they will be sternly reprimanded by whichever blader's path they cross. Get this you muppets - it's the fucking street! If you want to go spin round in circles and practice your swerving, go find a fucking skatepark and leave the rest of us in peace! One of my mates used to work the late shift and would regularly get stuck behind these twats in a taxi, the meter running all the time. Just one of the many sacrifices us mere commoners have to make for you c*nts to have your little roller party every week. I always hope some fat guy's going to fall over one day and cause a massive pile-up with dozens of fatalities, but so far my dreams have yet to come to fruition.

3. The Telly

Do I really need to explain this? Granted, TV is often pretty shoddy whatever country you happen to be in, but French TV sucks so badly that I can't even sit through five minutes of it most of the time without wanting to chuck the bloody thing out the window. The thing is, whilst programmes are produced in certain places (notably in the UK) which aim to teach the viewer something useful and provide access to the wider cultural universe, French telly basically treats the viewer like the sort of drooling fuckwad who sits on the front row at Royal Variety Performances and claps at whatever is put in front of him no matter how blatantly crummy it is. Mind numbing talk shows, toe-curling music specials, 'comedy' programmes that are about as funny as finding out someone just ran over your Granny.....99% of all home-made French telly about as much fun to watch as a live testicle transplant. What makes things worse is that the rest of the airtime gets filled up with fuck-awful American series dubbed into French, which means that any slight trace of originality and character gets ironed out by the same bunch of voice actors yabbering over the footage so that the whole thing looks and sounds completely ridiculous. What's wrong with fucking subtitles eh??? How come everywhere else in Europe you get them on telly and in the cinema, but not round here?? (cancel that – I just went to Germany and it’s the same there). The only thing worth watching is the football coverage, and that's just because the French commentators sound like a bunch of granddads at the end of a wedding, grumbling about how they can't tell the difference between the Korean players cos 'they all look the same!'. Hwarf!

4. Nicolas Sarkozy

The worst thing about this bunghole is that he's probably the only serious bet for the presidentials next year as nobody else comes across as any kind of feasible choice for running the country. Sarko, for those of you who don't know, made his name in international politics last year when he described rioting ethnic minorities as 'scum' in the press - nice to see he's not bereft of a finely-honed sense of tact eh? This bloke is basically the teacher from school who nobody liked because he looked down his nose at everyone and was more interesting in maintaining his 'authorit-ay' than actually treating people like human beings. His personal style of 'plain-speaking politics' is pretty similar to that of Tabloid columnists in Britain who fire off at lefties, darkies, poofters the name of the man on the street, whose voice they are making heard because nobody else dares to. This is basically an excuse to spout the sort of illogical, bigoted bollocks that you would expect from taxi drivers on the graveyard shift, not from serious politicians. Alas, the word 'serious' is not likely to be applied to any of his opponents any time soon - Chirac has basically dropped any last veil to hide the fact that he's a corrupt, thieving git and the assorted Left Wing candidates spend more time stabbing each other in the back and bickering over fine print than they do forming any kind of real opposition. Unless they can dig up some vaguely serious-looking candidate to stand up to Sarkozy, the French Left are fucking DOOMED. Not that it would give me any pleasure to see that happen of course, but you can feel it coming already. Sarko meanwhile would do well to re-evaluate some of his more controversial views if he wants to avoid any more full-scale riots, but I seriously doubt that arrogant twat is planning to rethink his ideas in the near future. I would suggest a debate session with him and a live audience, filmed at the Quick restaurant on Place de Clichy at 4:30am on Saturday night - that should help clarify a few minor details.

5. Smoking

Granted, this is hardly a problem unique to France, but the main factor that makes it worse for the average non-smoker round these parts is that despite the mounting legislation against smoking anywhere public (ie : anywhere it’s likely to get in MY face) is that French smokers don’t give two short fucks about no-smoking rules and just light up wherever they bloody well feel like it. I might applaud this act of rebellion were it for something else, but when it comes to smoking I don’t feel all that inclined to just stand by and have some fucker light up whilst he’s standing on the metro platform next to me at eight in the morning. HEY PAL, WE’RE IN A FUCKING TUNNEL!!! That’s what you might call an enclosed space – you can’t fucking smoke here!! Why do you think they bother putting up no-smoking signs all over the place, just so clever c*nts like yee can ignore them?? Thing is, they all stub ‘em out before actually getting on the train, but for some reason it’s OK to do it in the station. Same goes for restaurants, the ‘no-smoking’ section is jacked right up next to the regular ‘smoke half a fucking packet if you feel like it and don’t forget to blow it all over my food while you’re at it’ section so you might as well just have one big room full of smoke and only serve food that taste of fags. Fuck your filthy fucking habit you evil polluters of the atmosphere!! Most European countries are cracking down hard on smoking areas and sticking the price up as far as possible, and I’m all for it! They should be handing out floggings at Place de la Concorde for repeat offenders!!

6. Holidays

Probably a strange thing to complain about I admit. Not that I have anything against the general concept of leisure time, nor do I disagree with the French system which focuses on allowing the average worker plenty of time off to drink Pastis and beat the wife a bit more often. It’s just that those of us with some sort of protestant work ethic kind of expect the world to keep turning even if some people are having the day off. But not round here. Oooh no. Aside from the ten or so public holidays (which, should they fall one day away from the weekend, mean that everyone just takes the remaining day off too), the have the 35 hour week which means most administration trails along at the speed of a sedated escargot. Plus, everyone takes the ENTIRE month of August off which means you can’t get anything done (should you buck the trend and decide to book your holidays at some other point in the year). Need a plumber? Tough shit. Want to buy even simple groceries? Good bloody luck. And should you suggest that any of the slack bastards work a single day of the month, they act like they’re Biblical slaves being forced to make bricks without straw!!! You people wouldn’t know hard work if it crawled up into your bed and stuck its cock in your ear!! And another thing – if you’re all going to go away for the same bank holiday weekend, don’t all try to drive home at the same time and then complain about the traffic jams!!! A bit of common fucking sense eh????

7. Hilarious jokes about England

OK. I know the food is crap in England. And the weather is generally not as good as it is over here. There, we have now established that both these things are common knowledge and I do not necessarily wish to talk about them every c*nting time I meet a new French person, who will routinely reel off the same list of excruciatingly unfunny jokes about English culture, or regale me with anecdotes about the one weekend he spent in London a while back. Oh what an acute grasp on a foreign culture! So what did you see of the country outside of the capital? Stonehenge and ‘Conterburry Cattydral’? Niiiiice. Didn’t think to venture anywhere further North then? I thought not. Too far of course. Although that never seems to stop you guys going all the way up to Scotland for your holidays though does it?

8. Dogshit

Goes without saying, but I had to put it in there all the same. What sort of civilised society puts up with people letting their dogs leave gigantic fucking scudders all over the pavement? There are other options y’know!! I actually saw some old lady pick up after her poodle one time in the street and I almost gave her a round of applause! But alas such common decency is fairly scarce in this great country, and most people seem happy to let their canine friends foul up the streets as much and as often as possible. Filthy fucking beasts! We ought to rub their noses in it to teach them a lesson!!! And when we’re done with the owners, I’ll be having stern words with that yappy dog too! What’s the point having a dog when you live in the city anyway? All the poor little fucker gets to do is scatter around your flat for 23 hours and 45 minutes every day, and then you take it out for a quarter of an hour just so it can shit in front of my flat!!!

9. French hippies

I hate hippies in general. But especially French ones. People talk about the side-effects of heavy cannabis use, and from present evidence round here it appears that it causes the user to listen to piss-poor Euro reggae, sprout grebby facial hair (in some cases this includes the ladies too), wear ill-fitting pseudo-African clothing and join up to some tinpot extreme-left political movement. These irritating fucking soap dodgers are out in force every Saturday at Place de la République, ranting about some new social injustice whilst leaving their fag packets and empty bottles of Despé all over the floor for some poor fucking immigrant to come by and clean up later. The worst thing is, these slack-arsed c*nts actually believe they are about to tip the capitalist balance in the modern world by smoking huge amount of ganky French hash, scribbling all over adverts in the metro and lazing around all day playing the fucking bongos!! They should bring back military service for these workshy fucking scroungers!! Teach ‘em some discipline I say!!

10. Nightclubs

OK, so you’re probably less likely to get stabbed, glassed or puked upon in nightclubs round here compared to the UK, but in return we have to put up with a fair amount of shite on an average night out all the same. Extortionate drinks prices – who’d have thought I might want to get pissed in a club eh? Best shell out 70€ for a bottle of manky vodka and sit around with your mates acting like you’re king of the club. Stupid door policies – whaddya mean I can’t come in without a girl? How am I supposed to even try it on with the ladies if I can’t even get in the front door without an escort? Doing the Jitterbug in the middle of a crowded dancefloor and spilling everyone else’s drinks when you crash into them – oh you comedy fucking students! And then they can’t get through one night without pumping out at least one U2 song either – are you trying to ruin my fucking night? ARE YOU??? Come here Mister DJ. I would like a word….

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Week in pop (or not again) June 21st 2006

Richard Ashcroft was arrested this week after apparently bursting into a youth club and drunkenly demanding he be allowed to work with the children.
The former Verve star is reported to have been "close to tears" and in a dishevelled state when he entered The Bridge club in Chippenham, Wiltshire on Monday evening.
Ashcroft is reported to have offered his services to the children, before swearing and refusing to leave, prompting staff to call the police.
He was taken into custody by local officers and given an £80 fixed penalty fine for disorderly behaviour, reports The Sun.
An 'eyewitness' told the UK tabloid: "He was very strung out and close to tears at one point. He kept saying he wanted to work with kids, that he wanted to do 'good things'.
"He wasn't aggressive, in fact he was quite charming and friendly. He kept hugging some staff and kids.
"But when the police arrived he was almost begging to be arrested. They told him to go quietly but he wouldn't."

- Not much news in the world of pop at the minute, or more importantly I have been spending a lot more time watching the footy than browsing the music pages to write this column. Nevertheless, I had to pull this one up for sheer comedy value. I guess Ashcroft has grown a bit restless now that the British press have stopped proclaiming him as some kind of post-Oasis messiah figure, so he had to get himself in the papers again. But surely there was a better way of doing it than getting shitface drunk and clattering into some social group, proposing his services as some kind of saviour to today's lost youth! Silly fucking bastard! Do you think he's feeling guilty after finally realising that all the bog-tedious campfire Britpop that he's put out since 'A Northern Soul' is totally devoid of any meaning beyond 'let's get mashed and fall in love'??? Rich, if you want to do the youth of today a favour (as well as the rest of us) then pack up your acoustic guitar and go live under a rock somewhere, you greasy malnourished twat!

Boy George has criticised his community service punishment of sweeping leaves in a New York park, saying a charity concert would have been more worthwhile.
The former Culture Club frontman, whose real name is George O'Dowd, had wanted to put on a show to raise money for an Aids organisation as part of his sentence for wasting police time.
But an angry judge at Manhattan Criminal Court ruled earlier this month that he should do the same sort of task as everybody else. And he warned O'Dowd that if he did not complete his five days' raking duty by the end of August, he would be jailed.
"It would have been more useful to make 30 grand with a concert, rather than be prancing around in a park. I could have raised some money, could have done something that would have helped," O'Dowd told the Press Association.
O'Dowd said of the leaf raking, which he will do in August at an unspecified park in the city: "I don't care about doing cleaning up. My mum was a cleaner. I've always been a scrubber."

- Of all the fucking cheek!! So this flabby old has-been gets caught wasting the police's time, dodges his court hearing and then refuses to comply with his sentence because the judge had the temerity to ask him to do something other than put on a pink wig and prance around on stage one more time??? That's supposed to be your JOB you c*nt!!! What sort of punishment would that be??? Why don't you just ask them to send you on holiday to the Bahamas and have done with it?? And besides, how exactly is one Boy George concert going to raise 'thirty grand'?? Do you seriously think punters are actually going to part with their hard earned cash to watch you ponce around in an ill-fitting kimono performing tenth-grade reggae covers, spin woefully outdated techno or waddle around lip-synching to that fuck awful pop music you used to churn out with Culture Club??? Get this fatso - the 80's revival has been and gone, you aren't going to make thirty fucking pence off a reunion show, let alone thirty grand!! The Culture Club reunion didn't work back when you tried it in the late 90's and it certainly ain't going to work now! Shut up and knuckle down to some hard work for the first time in your life you hapless fucking queen! And quit trying to flash your working class credentials too - your mum may have been a 'scrubber' but if you've been one all your life then how did you finance that smack habit back in the 80's??? Cleaning fucking drainpipes??? Face it George, you're spoilt showbiz brat who's never got his fingers dirty (apart from when you had them shoved up your drummer's arse) so shut your yap and rake some fucking leaves already!! What fucking sauce!!! They should have stuck this bald c*nt up a chimney, except they probably couldn't find one that he would fit into!

LONDON (Reuters) - More than 40 years after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones featured on the first edition, the BBC is to scrap the country's longest-running music television show, "Top of the Pops".
From its 1964 launch at the height of Beatlemania, the weekly countdown of top-selling singles has tracked the ever-changing musical tastes of the younger generation.
The rise of 24-hour music TV channels such as MTV and Internet downloads sounded the death knell for the show.
At its peak, it attracted audiences of tens of millions in Britain and nearly 100 other countries.
But the BBC said the show could not compete with rivals which let viewers "consume music of their choice any time night or day".

- Too fucking right. I mean, I used to love TOTP back in the day but looking back, the only reason so many people tuned in for it was because there was literally nothing else to watch in the way of music on TV. Apart, that is, from the infinitely superior ITV Chart Show on Saturday lunchtimes. They dispensed with so-called 'live performances' entirely and just showed the videos, which were always tons more interesting to watch that some bunch of muppets jiggling about miming to a backing track. Plus, they had the Rock/Indie/Dance chart which could throw up some seriously underground stuff whilst you were still in your pyjamas. I remember seeing the video for Sepultura's 'Under Siege' on that show at about midday when I was eleven. Hardcore!! TOTP had some good moments, but it was becoming one of those things that people were hanging on to out of nostalgia rather than it being genuinely any good. And when they started trying to mix in interviews, special features and all that it just got even worse. The thing these days is, as the BBC rightly admits, anyone can look up any live performance or music video they want on the net these days, without having to wait for some programmer to decide to show it on Thursday teatime. Fair play for lying down in the face of progress though - I remember when they flushed out all the old fogies from Radio 1 in the 90's and some of them put up a proper fight about it, which just made it all the more hilarious.

There hasn't been much else going on in showbiz, apart from Nicole Kidman getting married and I don't want to talk about that. BUT there has been plenty of exciting football to watch, and seeing as I've been off work recently I have far much to say about that, so here we go :

England - I'm not going to throw in my ten cents' worth on how crap/great England are, I'm just glad they're still in the competition as I write this (just before France vs Spain in the second round). The British press reaction seems to be either puff-chested pride and blind allegiance to the team's capacity to 'do it again' (The Sun) or self-flagellating criticism of the team, its fans, its manager, British culture in general and how there's really nothing to get excited about when there's war and famine and all that going on everywhere (The Guardian). I went back to Leeds for my brother's birthday this weekend and it was weird to see how many people have got their flags out - those fucking things are EVERYWHERE. You'd think we'd already won the bloody thing. And if that weren't enough, there seems to be ten million times as many shite football theme records as last time we played in a major tournament. Still, I think we've not been all that bad so far and as long as we go further than the French, I'm happy with whatever.

Argentina - Everybody's been practically soiling their draws at how great these guys are, and they are indeed godlike in their wonderfulness. If you didn't see Esteban Cambiasso's goal against Serbia & Montenegro, go look it up and check it out (along with the twenty odd passes that preceded it). However, Mexico gave 'em a good run for their money and I bet the Germans will too. Having said that, I'd love to see the Argies win it, they have the team with the most real champions in it and they look like they can take it all the way this time.

Brazil - Fuck Brazil. Ronaldo is one fat knacker these days, Ronaldinho is blatantly over-rated and the rest of them are no better than a million other players currently in the tournament. And what's with all this backheel bullshit? Just cos Ronaldinho can run over the ball and ping it back to someone between his feet, it means every other flash bastard in the tournament has to try it too - and half the time it just ends up going straight to the opponents anyway. Bloody show offs. Shevchenko and Drogba are blatantly better than anyone on the Brazilian team, yet they're never given the same amount of respect and that chews complete arse. The only good thing about Brazil is that they have a player called Kaka which never ceases to amuse me.

Germany - I didn't complete this entry when I first started it and so I had time to watch the Germans knock out Argentina on fucking penalties last night before getting back on the job. What a swizz. I appreciate that the Germans are all about efficiency but they're no way as interesting to watch as half the other teams. Plus, they blatantly play to the ref and try to get the opposition carded for nowt. Obviously the Klinsmann influence there. OK, they're a good side but does anyone apart from the Germans themselves actually want to see these guys win?

Italy - What can you say about this bunch of greasy fucking drama queens that hasn't been said before? Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of time for the Italian people and their culture, but their football team are a bunch of twats. When they're not goalhanging and diving in the box, they're sticking in the most devious fouls on the opposition (y'all see that elbow on Brian McKnight?) or bitching about how it's all a conspiracy against them when they lose. I don't wanna see the Germans win the competition, but when it comes down to a choice between them and this bunch of wankers I know who I'm going for.

France - Let me just point out that nobody in Paris dared walk the streets in a France shirt until they beat Spain - everyone was keeping a low profile and pretending like they didn't care about les Bleus anymore after the first match against Switzerland, yet when they knocked out Spain suddenly they all got the shirts out of the wardrobe and honked their car horns all night. OK, I suppose I was glad to see them back in the competition cos the frogs had been acting so fed up for ages about how their team was under-acheiving, so it's good to give 'em something to cheer about. I hope they tonk Brazil so England can play them in the semis.

Portugal - OK, it's no foregone conclusion that England will beat this lot later today as I write this, but with two players suspended and Cristiano Ronaldo with a fucked leg, I reckon we have a decent chance. That game against Holland was pretty terrible, but I admit I enjoyed watching it all kick off - the World Cup isn't complete without a proper ruck between two teams that really hate each other, and the Dutch always seem to be involved somewhere along the line. But the Portugese gave as good as they got in that last match - Figo should have got a red card for that headbutt, or a second yellow for simulation when he got Boulharouz sent off for an inexistant clonk in the face. Shame Deco won't be playing today as he's a cracking player, but you see the way he and his team-mates behaved in the Holland game and you understand why they're suspended. Scolari even had the cojones to ask that Fifa cancel out his first yellow for that slice on Jonny Heitinga cos the Dutch weren't playing nice. Big Phil, I hope we do you good and proper today dude.

Holland - If Portugal were bad in that last game, these guys were worse - when they weren't hacking the fuck out of the Portugese (thanks for Ronaldo though), they were diving every chance they got and if things turned out nasty, I reckon the Dutch started it. Shame we didn't get to see some Ruud or it might have turned out differently. I reckon Holland are always destined to blow their wad before they get to the end of the tournament just cos they're so used to it - they're always going to underacheive and they probably prefer it that way. I still hold a grudge against them for knocking out Ivory Coast too.

Ukraine - Not only did these guys play some blinding football (they had some super chances and there were touches in their passing and dribbling that were streets ahead of anyone else), they also look like a bunch of Def Leppard roadies and have the most horrible looking kit ever - fluorescent yellow?? Looks like the sort of stuff you could pick up for three quid at Poundstretcher!! But all this adds up to these guys looking like the hardest, most streetwise bunch of oiks in the competition (even if Shevchenko looks a bit like Justin Timberlake) and you naturally want them to beat all the pretty boy teams just to level things out. Bummer that they lost against Italy but I think these guys gave a really good showing;

Spain - Talk about pissing on your chips! Why start so magnificently if you're going to fuck up in the second round against the French of all people! Again, this is a case of dropping your wad WAY too early in the competition. Shame though, cos these guys had some killer moves and they look cool too. Maybe next time, but then again probably not.

Ghana - They played pretty well in the first round and it was cool to see them go through above the Czechs. Still, you gotta be able to finish if you're going to knock anyone else out. I would have liked to see what it was like in the streets of Accra when they beat the USA to go through. Must have been one wild mother of a night.

Ivory Coast - Total total bummer to have these guys lined up against Argentina in their first match - we should have seen that one in the quarters instead. They rocked but they went out too early.

Mexixo - These guys look like they'd rip your head off if you crossed them pendejo! Shame they had to go out too. Heinze should have got a red card against them in the second round, and then they might have come through (but that would have taken out the Argies even earlier so I'm glad they didn't).

Australia - They weren't THAT good but I still thought they got dicked out against Italy on that penalty. Should have squashed them when they had the chance cobbers.

And with that, I'm gonna take in some more quarter final action. Fingers crossed for England France in the semis , ça serait un match d'enfer mon grand!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Week in pop (or not) June 9th 2006

I would normally be waxing lyrical about the ins and outs on showbiz in the week in pop, but the sun's come out and the World Cup kicks off in a few hours, so quite frankly my mind is on other things. Let's take a quick break from the norm and delve into both those subjects for a change :

The Sun

It might be running a good 27° outside as I type this, and I went out to Decathlon this morning under a beautiful blue sky dressed like the man from Del Monté (but minus the hat). I fucking love summer me. What makes it even more enjoyable is that we had the crappiest May weather I can remember for a while - it seemed like we had one big wall of dust, pollen and potential rainfall hanging over Paris for the whole bloody month. Even on the days where it looked quite clear when you got up, it would still end up clouding over and getting all windy and rainy by about three in the afternoon. Hence, you walk to work without a coat on and then end up freezing 'em off on the way home. Rrrrrrrrubbish!!! I mean, I was already bummed out for most of the month due to various matters (no cash, impending birthday, romantic wrangles etc) but this spate of shite weather nearly fucking did me in. I'm serious. I turned into Oscar the fucking Grouch for pretty much the entire month. Every time it looked like it was going to end, the clouds came back and the wind picked up just to blow loads of shit in your eyes and mess up your hair. In my best Alan Hansen accent, it was 'ABSERLUTERLEY TEHRRRIBBLE'.
So when the proper sunshine started this week, it was like coming up for air after a month locked in some kind of sweaty bedroom. I got so excited that I did the typically English thing of getting sunburnt on the first day of nice weather! But I don't care - I'm happy for it to stay like this for ages now. I am creaming myself up properly before going out, but I don't mind cos I want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The best thing about this sort of weather in Paris is that the ladies actually start to dress correctly for once - it's not myth that French ladies have splendid figures and a very chic way of carrying themselves, but they cunningly counterbalance this by wearing too many clothes for most of the year and scowling all the fucking time. The first week or so of good weather, they drop the scarves and skirt/trouser combos and start to dress nice, and they even look like they're enjoying themselves. This never lasts though, cos a couple of weeks of hot weather is enough to turn them all grumpy again and make every conversation you have with them about how bloody hot it is and how much they'd prefer to be in the countryside. You can't win.

The World Cup

If looking at stunning French ladies strutting around the capital isn't enough, the casual observer can also get his thrills watching a bunch of blokes from countries he's never even heard thrash it out against each other in Germany for the best part of a month. It doesn't get much better than this! I am off to watch the Mannschaft play their opening game against Costa Rica with some German buddies later today, and from then on I plan to position myself in front of a sports screen for the next few weeks solid. I'm normally no massive footy fan, but the World Cup is different - as much as you might want to poo-poo football, it is still the world's first sport and you can bet a fair portion of the population of Europe, Latin America, Africa and a good few other spots around the world will be tuning in for this if they happen to be anywhere near a TV. At work, all our Brazilian students have high-tailed it over the border to watch the matches in Germany, and everyone seems to be expecting great things from this tournament. True, it might turn out to be a load of old wank once again, but there are gonna be some cracking moments all the same. Some of my earliest memories are of watching pop videos and the World Cup on telly back in the day, and I can still remember most of Italia '90 despite it being a fair while ago. As I'm no football pundit, I will refrain from making any rash predictions on who is going to win, but I quite fancy Argentina or Spain myself. The British press has been getting itself into fits of feverish anticipation over the last week, so let's hope we don't piss on our chips and go out in the first round. My adoptive home country also seem to be capable of doing great things if they can play as a team again, so hopefully we'll both make it into the later stages. The clash I've been looking forward to the most is tomorrow, not England vs Paraguay but Ivory Coast vs Argentina - Paris has a fairy large Ivorian population and even a few of them can create enough noise to make you think that they're about to storm the Bastille, so that should be pretty good. The Argies are also my personal Gods of football - don't talk to me about Brazil, the guys in blue and white have tons more style and they NEED to win more than anyone. Best combination of European flair and South American passion, they will always be my number one (unless they're playing England that is). I visited Buenos Aires last year and Maradonna is pretty much on a par with Jesus Christ over there (plus, he's come back from the dead already and now has his own talk show). Should be a total carnival.
Music wise, I haven't heard the majority of football theme records that have been released for this year's tournament and quite frankly I would rather keep it that way - as I have previously opined on this blog, any reproduction between football and music often produces some seriously ugly kiddies. I have heard Embrace's attempt at a WC anthem, which is dreary enough to make an appropriate soundtrack to us scoring early and then defending like a big bunch of babbies for the rest of the match. Pfff. Indie rock is only ever linked to sport when it's played over shots of players walking forlornly off the pitch/track after gallantly fucking it all up, à la 'Walkaway' by Cast. Having said that, it's probably still a lot better than the shedload of xenophobic bollocks coming out that plays cleverly on the fact that the WC is taking place in Germany, who (in case you didn't know) have admitted defeat in not only two World Wars, but also one World Cup. Oh har de fucking har. Despite various anti-hooligan measures and celebrity campaigns to 'not mention the war', we still can't outgrow this playground bullshit once and for all can we? Apparently one of the biggest musical projects of the tournament is a re-working of the Dad's Army theme tune with the title of 'Who do you think you are kidding Jurgen Klinsmann?'. Great, so the best we can do in 2006 is a re-hash of some crap old Britcom with lyrics that some fat old Fleet Street hack could have thought up on his lunch break. Worse still (and unsurprisingly championed by the fucking S*n) is Stan Boardman's 'Aye Aye Ippy the Germans bombed our chippy' - Lord have mercy. It's enough to make you want to move to Scotland. Also, isn't it strange how the S*n are so keen to lay into old stereotypes on the Germans and then dismiss it as 'just a bit of a laugh', yet they got into such a flap about that new Ken Loach film being 'Anti-British'. Now who can't take a joke eh? (Incidentally, I'm not bigging up Ken Loach - his films are a load of cliché-riddled socialist bollocks most of the time. I haven't seen the new one but I'd be surprised if it breaks the mould. But if he wants to make films about brutal British foreign policy in Ireland, fair play on that one. The S*n should learn to shut the fuck up).

There have been a few half decent football records in the past, so here's a list of the ones I can actually listen to without wanting to smash the radio with a large rock :

EnglandNewOrder - World in Motion
Goes without saying I know, but this is one of the only examples of a band who were already making half-decent records going out and writing a half decent record for a half decent England team. Everyone of my generation knows the words to the John Barnes rap on this (and if they don't, David Blunkett should have their unpatriotic arse kicked into the Channel) and coincidentally it came out the last time we put in any sort of decent showing in the World Cup.

Mano Negra - Santa Maradonna
One of the coolest things about this tune is that the band singing it aren't even from the same country as the guy they're singing about. This is a lethal cocktail of punk rock, latin music, football and a big fat party vibe. If you don't know la Mano, check 'em out right now. If you haven't read El Diego's autobiography, check it out right now. You got that?

Dario G - Carnival de Paris
Aside from being a rare example of decent football themed music, this was also an even rarer example of a Europop act putting out more than one single that you can actually remember. Following the unfeasibly brilliant 'Sunchyme', which just missed number one in the week I headed off to Manchester to start university, Dario G brought this one out for the '98 World Cup and it kicked arse.

Fat Les - Vindaloo
From the same tournament, this perfectly captures the image of flabby, red-faced England fans dancing the conga around the stadium when they beat someone really crap in the first round. A national treasure.

That brass band tune they play at all the Holland games
I need help with a name on this one. But it rocks.

Pavarotti - Nessum Dorma
Italia '90 again. The Italians do great football, great food and fucking appalling music most of the time. But this is classy stuff.

The anti-Bertie Vogts song from USA '94
I was in Germany for the '94 finals and I remember there being a record high in the charts which basically slagged off the new German coach, who they all hated because he wasn't Franz Beckenbauer. The lyrics (from what I could make out in schoolboy German) were all unflattering comparisons between Bertie and Franz, ripping on him for being short and ugly and stuff like that. Harsh but fair - they got knocked out by Bulgaria in the quarters, which I certainly enjoyed watching after they had all been crowing about how they were going to slay then five-nil.

That's about all for the moment - nothing much happened in the world of pop this week anyway, apart from that Gnarls Arsehole record giving up the number one position for the first time in about three months. Haven't heard the new top seller yet so I will wait before slagging it off. The only other noteworthy incident in music took place on my 27th birthday :

A group of nihilists are being blamed for the desecration of a Catholic church in New York this week, on National Day of Slayer.
The day of 'celebration' to commemorate the metal overlords is understood to have inspired carnage at a seminary in Yonkers on Tuesday.
Workers at St. Jospeh's, who asked not to be named, were met with blasphemous scenes on arriving at work on June 7, the day after the anniversary.
The building was defiled with spray-painted pentagrams, upside-down crosses, while a statue of Jesus was daubed with pentagrams.
A series of Slayer-inspired graffiti was also left at the scene, including "Reign In Blood", the title of group's seminal 1986 album, reports MTV.
Apparently the National Day of Slayer was promoted this year by a website affiliated with the American Nihilist Underground Society, who called on fans to listen to the band's music on June 6.
They also advised fans kill a "neighbor's dog" and spray-paint "Slayer logos on churches, synagogues or cemeteries."

- Ho ho!! Of course I don't condone this sort of juvenile vandalism, but how many other groups make music that inspire people to 'kill their neighbour's dog'??? Slayer fucking RULE!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Week in pop May 31st 2006

Beyonce Knowles has announced details of her solo comeback album, which is to be called "B'Day".

- Called what??? Is this some feeble attempt at humour all of a sudden? I can't wait to see the videos off this one! Beyoncé is OK with me - if anything, she a little too perfect. Apparently she's putting this album out on the day of her 25th birthday, as if to rub in the fact that she's clocked up a zillion hit singles before most aspiring pop stars have even got a record deal. Not afraid to brag about success then? To make things worse, she's probably going to bag a few more hits, star in a bunch of Hollywood society films and then retire at 30 to do 'charity work'. Doesn't it make you sick? I don't normally go for her sort of music but if you want to shake that ass a little, Beyoncé has everything taken care of. In order : 'Bills Bills Bills', 'Bug-A-Boo', 'Bootylicious', 'Crazy in Love', 'Lose my Breath'.....I even liked that 'Soldier' song despite the underlying message of 'we only go for serious beefcake'. I can't explain it. But Beyoncé rocks.

Radiohead have dismissed claims they played a song for David Cameron at a recent Friends Of The Earth concert.
The Conservative Party leader attended the band's show at Koko in Camden and later went on to reveal he'd written to Radiohead and asked them to play a song for him.

- This guy is putting in some serious work trying to make himself look hip and happening in the media right now, and some of it seems to be taking root. Whilst John Prescott gets photographed playing croquet like a ponce, David Cameron is raving on about how much he digs on Morrissey and Radiohead. What the bloody hell is going on??? Attention folks - this is just a sneaky trap lying in wait for you so that you end up thinking the Tories are cool. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that they finally recruited a leader who could do interviews without coming across as some pre-historic pinstriped prick who is so out of touch with modern culture that he might as well have just stepped off a fucking spacecraft. Listen Cameron, you might have a slightly cooler record collection that Michael Portillo but that doesn't mean I trust you to run the country. I mean, Tony Blair used to play in a 'punk' band and that didn't stop him turning into some swivel-eyed warmonger twenty five years down the line! BEWARE OF THESE GUYS, THEY ARE ALL FULL OF SHIT.
But incidentally, who gives a toss whether or not Prescott decides to play a bit of croquet during the afternoon? Tubby could use some exercise - what's the big fucking deal??? I get it - croquet is a sport for poshos, so that makes Prescott a sell-out does it? For fucks sake - why are we Brits so concerned about politicians living the high life, when most of us are too fucking lazy to react in any way to the decisions they make for the future of our country??? I couldn't give two short tosses whether Prescott drives a Jaguar, eats lobster or plays c*nting croquet - do you think he'd be less crap at running the country if he was sat drinking brown ale and playing dominoes in some smelly working men's club like the old school Labour dorks back in the day?

Paris Hilton says her upcoming album will be a mix of reggae, pop and hip-hop, with the first single being a reggae song called Stars Are Blind.
Hilton will also do a remake of the Rod Stewart song Do You Think I'm Sexy, she was quoted as saying in the June issue of Hong Kong magazine Prestige.
"The whole album has so much different music on it. I like all music. It's not like I only like pop or only rock. I want to have something for everybody," Hilton said.
Hilton said she wrote the lyrics to seven of her songs. The article didn't say how many songs are on the album.

- It hardly seems worth having a crack at this tinpot, shit for brains, famous for being famous, bottle blonde waste of fucking space but then again, why deprive myself of the pleasure of such an open goal? I suppose it was only a matter of time before some marketing genius came up with the wizard idea of giving this talentless tart a record deal - after all, we've already been subjected to hours of this giddy rich brat making a complete arse of herself on reality TV shows, clattering about completely c*nted at showbiz parties or getting shafted by some mystery beefcake on sex tapes 'accidentally' leaked over the net.....all that's left for her to do is squeeze out what will doubtless be one of the biggest musical turds of the year. Anyone remember Naomi Campbell's solo album back in the 90's? I should bloody well hope not - you could fit all the sad bastards who actually bought it into the boot of a fucking mini! Still, I'm sure it seemed a good idea at the time - just like Paris doing a 'risqué' cover of 'Da ya think I'm sexy?', the one song that instantly conjures up images of Rod Stewart (complete with gold chains and roast chicken suntan) drooling over ladies half his age. EEEEUUGH! And just to save you asking Paris, no I don't. This spoilt fucking bitch makes Jessica Simpson look like Albert Einstein by comparison.

James Blunt has come out fighting against the critics who continue to dismiss his music, labelling them "bastards".
He ranted: "To all those bastards who don't like my music - you're all adults, you can switch your radio off.
"I don't have to listen to it, I'm the one who sings it…and it's continued to get me laid," said Blunt.

- I beg your pardon??? I had the impression that Master Blunt was a public-school educated army officer and all round gentleman! And here he is calling his critics 'Baaahstards' and claiming his music 'gets him laid'!! I hope you didn't learn to talk like that at hymn practice back in Harrow, Blunt Minor!! Listen you uncouth c*nt, only Yanks talk about 'getting laid' - the sort of bud-chugging, thick-necked frat house date rapists who would probably make a point of stomping your pasty Limey ass into the ground for being such a pussweed! Quit posing off like some sort of hard man! And if you're going to give it out....

LONDON (AFP) - An English radio station said it has banned songs by British crooner James Blunt from its airwaves after listeners said they were fed up with hearing "You're Beautiful" and "Goodbye My Lover".
Chris Cotton, programme controller of local radio Essex FM in southern England, said: "We don't have anything against James Blunt and we're pleased he has been so successful, but we really need a break."

- See? Picking fights with your critics is not a good idea! To be fair though, if you're going to ban one guy's songs for being insanely irritating then why stop there? I've been campaigning for local radio stations to stop playing 'Over my Shoulder' by Mike and the Mechanics for about ten years and nobody's heeded the call!! If I hear that fucking whistling break one more time I am going to track down 'Mike' and tapdance of his fucking face.

Courtney Love will make a series of intimate revelations about the last days of Kurt Cobain's life in her upcoming memoirs, it has been revealed.
A four-page preview of the 288-page book, which is entitled "Dirty Blonde: The Diaries Of Courtney Love", has been released.
The diaries, which were researched and edited by Ava Stander, will contain extensive copy about her rock'n'roll life and loves as well as a host of previously unreleased material.

- Courtney rocks. I'm sick of hearing 14 year olds wittering on about how cool Kurt Cobain was when they were only about three when Nirvana were actually famous. Courtney may have put out some crap along the way, not to mention having an ego the size of Switzerland, but she is still the only lady for that era of music who has remained cool along the way, throughout drug addiction, press smear campaigns and courts trying to take her kids off her. I'm not massive fan of her music (though most of 'Live Through This' and 'Celebrity Skin' was pretty fucking cool) but I think Courtney deserves a lot more respect than she gets from the press, who seem all too keen to shoot down any chick in rock music who has the nerve to open her mouth and actually have a few opinions. Most of the groups of the whole Grunge era were completely crap unless they had a least one chick in them (Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, L7, Pixies etc...) and they nearly always get overlooked when people talk about that period. Hats off to Lady Love, and I for one will be buying her book when it comes out - there should be some pretty interesting stuff in there.

Tens of thousands of Finns were expected to pack Helsinki's central market square to greet their new national heroes, monster hard-rockers Lordi, as they perform for the first time in public since a stunning victory at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Lordi's winning piece Hard Rock Hallelujah has blared endlessly on Finnish radio stations and the group has become a colossal source of pride for the small nation, which was accustomed to losing the competition.

- I normally make a point of watching Eurovision, even if it is just to marvel at how fucking dreadful most of the music is. And let's not forget, whilst we may have a fairly diverse range of music in the British mainstream (and to a lesser extent in France, Spain etc...), there are some countries in Europe where everything you hear on the radio is the sort of anaemic balladry or fuck awful Eurodisco rubbish that regularly gets hauled out once a year at Eurovision. So it's all the more amusing to see a bunch of Finns decked out like extras from the battle of Helms Deep win the fucking thing, even more so as they actually beat the record for highest score ever! Admittedly, the song is pretty lame (Terrorizer accurately described the band's music as 'KISS with a frontal lobotomy') but I'm not going to complain given the circumstances. I hope they can sell a few records off the back of this, as it is most amusing watching these guys do press conferences with their zombie costumes on. Even the UK gave them full points on the night, so we may well see another wave of London hipsters getting into this sort of music with an ironic smirk, so very pleased with themselves for having caught on to the latest postmodern craze for big dumb rock music (à la The Darkness a couple of years back). Of course, 18 months later they'll have all moved on to something else but if I were in a ten-rate Gwar rip-off from Lapland, I wouldn't be complaining.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Burdens of the Single Bloke

We all know that being single sucks bigtime. I don't need to tell you that. Indeed, they only people who ever make out that being single isn't the most miserable, blighted state of existence are those who are in the death throes of a relationship or have just come out of one and are enjoying their newfound 'freedom'. Well let me tell you something - the novelty of THAT wears off pretty fucking quickly. Won't take too long for you to get back to pining for that special person and writing gaylord poetry about it.

But the purpose of this post is not to point out the blatantly obvious - that being single is rubbish because your life is devoid of romance and magic (not to mention you know what). No, I shall be aiming to point out the everyday drawbacks in the single life. Don't worry this isn't just going to be one long gripe about not getting any. Ohhh no! We all know you don't want to hear about that. I should just deal with it and not complain right???

1. Your mates include you in plans for stuff where they are all going to be there with their birds.

C'mon lads, you know what I'm talking about here. I might get on fine with your girlfriends (hey, for all you know I might NOT) but when I ring you to arrange for us all to hang out, this means NO FUCKING CHICKS PRESENT alright??? How come everyone's joined at the fucking hip all of a sudden?? I never had to put in a special request for you all not to bring the fucking coat rack out every time we went for a drink a few years ago - now I have to practically debate over it for ages beforehand just to get you into the pub without the ball and chain dragging behind. Even if your girlfriends are nice, relaxed and not hysterically possessive tryants who want you to chuck out all your heavy metal records and give up red meat, I don't wanna sit around in the fucking pub and chat to them EVERY time we hang out. Fucking write that down somewhere OK?

And if you do insist on bringing them all out, you know what happens - I end up getting all pissed up and miserable about being the only one there on his own. The standard evening in the pub will run along such lines :

After 1 drink
Mates : Aaah, it's great to all get together again and have a drink - just us and the girls. And John.
John : Yes. You and your girlfriends. And me. Brilliant.

After 2 drinks
Mates : ....Ooooh Katie's always playing that Jamie Cullum CD on Sunday mornings.....NO I DON'T!!!!!....Ha! That reminds me of the time me and Lucy went on holiday to Cyprus together.....OOOH it was sooooooo lovely wasn't it babe.....Yes, it WAS nice......I mean, Kerry's REALLY into Thai food so we eat it all the time......Yeah, I know EXACTLY what you mean.....
John : Humph! (opens bag of crisps loudly just to remind everyone he's still there)

After 4 drinks
John : I guys are all so great just makes me think y'know....
Mates : We know John! Don't worry, you'll meet that special person sometime!! After all, it always happens when you're not looking for it etc etc etc
John : Doh! You guys are so right! Sorry for being such a misery guts! Let's have another drink...

After 6 drinks
John : I'm never going to meet anyone. It's all a load of fucking wank. I might as well top myself right now. Moan whinge weeble....
Mates : Oh for fucks sake. You do this every time. Someone call him a taxi.

2. Couples get up in your face at the cinema

Listen, the cinematic experience is one to be partaken on one's own, OK? We can talk about it all afterwards if you want, but for the duration of the film I am in the arms of the director and under his/her control, nobody else needs to come into it. Hence I generally go to the pictures on my own. Just for simplicity's sake - not everyone is going to want to see the same films as me, I appreciate that. It's a single person activity and so much the better.
But no - you couples have to come in a fucking disturb me while I'm indulging my senses in the delights of the silver screen. If you're not asking me to move up so you can sit together (to do WHAT??? I hope you're not going to be TALKING during the film!!! This is a public cinema y'know!! If you need the plot explaining, rent the fucker when it comes out on DVD), you're down in front chewing each other's faces off and giggling during the serious parts of the film. For fucks sake. This may just be another 'date' for you two to find some excuse to spend time together, but it you want to come to watch a film in the same room as me then sit down, shut the fuck up and try to keep your hands out of each other's underwear for an hour and a half. THINK YOU CAN MANAGE THAT???? If you wanna do cute couple things, go see the latest Ben Affleck flick on Saturday matinee and finger each other in the back row or something - at least I won't be there to get distracted from the film.

3. You are now part of a lucrative target market

As if it weren't bad enough sitting around all the time feeling like a complete loser, now some bastard in the marketing department is after your money!! How else do you explain all the dating services, self help books, airport literature about urban singletons etc....? These guys aren't trying to help you, they just want to take advantage of your miserable situation to cream off as much cash as possible! Thieving fucking vultures!! Get away from me!! I don't want your books about 'How to meet the woman of your dreams' or your on-line dating sites to find my 'soulmate' - what do you think I'm desperate or something???? EH??
And that's without mentioning all the 'single person music' that seems to be so popular at the minute - first we got 'Everybody Hurts' by REM, then Dido, and now James fucking c*nting Blunt. GRRRRRR!!!! Obviously this whiny little cockweasel wasn't getting his kicks stomping around a muddy field taking pot shots at innocent civilians, he had to take out his negative vibes on the general public with his piss-weak, Blue Peter indie musical afterbirth of an album. There scarcely seems to be any point having a go at Jimmy, seeing as pretty much every stand up comedian has taken to slating him and making the amusing observation that his last name rhymes with something rude. Ho c*nting ho. This sort of shit would not be half as popular were it not marketed to wimpy freaks with no fucking backbone who can't take getting dumped and have to listen to some crybaby bullshit in order to get over it. Listen, if you're going to get all suicidal about some bird fucking you over then go straight to the Morrissey or Spiritualized, but give this clown a wide birth OK? James Blunt indeed!! My mum rightly pointed out that the video for 'You're Beautiful' is a blatant invitation to young men to top themselves, unable to find their place in the world and cruelly rejected by womankind. Right on - I almost started liking the song just for that (but then I find out Jimmy didn't actually die at the end of the video). Still, how come Ozzy Osborne gets lawsuits for inciting teenagers to blow their heads off with 'Suicide Solution' and Jimmy gets off scot free??? Where's the justice in that???

4. Nobody is nice to you when you have to go to the dentist

We all know that blokes get into long-term relationships because they need someone to replace their mothers, right? I mean, your girlfriend doesn't replace your mum in EVERY way....but she still is expected to fulfil most of the roles played by the latter, including making you feel better when you have to do stuff that sucks. Every time I had to go to the dentist when I was a kid, if I didn't scream the fucking place down then my mum would take me to the toyshop afterwards and buy be a Garfield stuffed toy. So now when I go, someone else should be on hand to cheer me up in a different way (and I'm not just talking about sucking my chopper or anything, they could just do something sweet to make me feel better). But no. I have to go all on my own and then pay some c*nt to drill holes in my teeth. RUBBISH!

5. Your female friends start dating Chris Martin

One of the only consolations in being single is when your female friends are too (male friends don't count, that's competition). However, this rarely lasts and all too often they end up dating some toothy bastard from the home counties who looks, sounds and acts like that bloke from Coldplay. He will have a warm, self-depreciating style of humour, be able to play several musical instruments and will spend a lot of time riding his mountain bike. He can cook 'ethnic' foods. He spends most of his Sunday reading the Observer. He never swears in the presence of ladies. He is unfeasibly pleasant to everyone introduced to him, many of whom would gladly steal him from his bird given half the chance.
What the fuck is it with these guys?? They look like they should be working at your local healthfood shop and cultivating cress on their windowsill! How did this mung bean chomping wussie suddenly become your ideal boyfriend?? The worst thing about guys like this is that they don't even provide you with a decent reason to hate them - but you do anyway. These nimrods seem to have a massive neon sign flashing over their heads saying 'great father for your kids' - and they probably would be as well. But c'mon ladies, wouldn't you prefer to be with someone a bit more human? Like me, for instance?

6. Or they all start getting married

So you've already won over my affections and then callously pushed me aside, professing that you'd rather 'just stay friends'? Then paired up with someone else I know and become the couple of the century. Great! Anything else you can do to make me feel like a worthless piece of worm shite? I know! Why don't we get married!!! That'd be great! Oh but John, you should come to the wedding and watch as that path of oppurtunity is sealed off FOREVER. Yeah great guys, I'll just iron my suit. Thanks a fucking bunch.

7. Everyone thinks you're gay

Do I dress like a puff or something? I mean, I don't wear football shirts and pump iron or anything, but you'd think that I was prancing around in a pink leotard and pinching blokes' arses for all the people who get blatantly the wrong impression about me. Listen, just because I'm not with a girl doesn't mean I'm playing for the other team OK? The worst thing was a couple of years back when most of my friends were female and so any potential conquests would just assume I was with one of them or a wuffter. You can't fucking win.

8. Food shopping is a pain

If you're going out with someone, chances are you will be eating together too - you might even be living together. So you can go food shopping together, buy twice as much stuff and get new, unusual ingredients without worrying about whether or not you're going to use all of them because you're making twice as much food. The scope for experimentation is just so much wider. As for us singletons, we can either splash out on loads of shit we won't end up using and will just leave to go off in the cupboard, or we buy saddo single person ready meals and get weird looks at the checkout. WHAT ARE YOU STARING AT EH??? JUST TILL UP THE FUCKING FOOD.

9. Nay bloody privacy

Let me put this one simply - if you're going out with someone and blatantly want some time 'to be alone with each other', people will take the hint and leave you to get on with it. However, if I'm at home and blatantly planning on cracking one off in the privacy of my bedroom, people just won't stop fucking bothering me. No I don't want to talk to you on the phone. No I don't want to watch a DVD. No I don't want to discuss current affairs or the meaning of life. I want you to bugger off and leave me in peace so I can have a wank. Is that so hard to understand?

10. You spend all your time complaining about being single

You don't look convinced.
Alright it sucks.
Can we talk about something else now?

Week in pop May 25th 2006

Embrace have vowed to get into the England World Cup games next month, despite apparently being snubbed for tickets even though they've recorded the official anthem.
The brothers McNamara are the brains behind the team's official anthem, "World At Your Feet", but appear to be struggling to get into the games despite recording the song.

- Oh I see! So your offer to record England's team anthem was just a cynical ploy to get into all the games for free then! Nice try lads - did you really think you'd be given the red carpet treatment just for trotting out one more drizzly indie tune to soundtrack us forcing a draw against Trinidad and Tobago?? You plebs will have to squeeze onto some cramped Easyjet flight out to Berlin with everyone else and watch the match in some sweaty tourist pub surrounded by red-faced wankers in England shirts singing 'Three Lions', completely oblivious to the fact that you dorks have recorded this year's 'official England song'!

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Veteran US protest singer Joan Baez moved into a tree in Los Angeles along with famed tree-sitter Julie "Butterfly" Hill to prevent a local garden from being sold and destroyed.
Baez, 65, doyenne of the 1960s folk music and protest movement, joined other protesters in hopes of saving the 14 acre (5.7 hectare) piece of land which has been tended as a community garden by about 350 urban farmers since the early 1990s.

- Fucking hippies!!! I hope they bulldoze the whole place and build a massive car plant! This kind of shit was OK back in the sixties but these days it's just not cool. Do we need some hairy armpit folk rock troll chaining herself to a tree and singing 'Big Yellow Taxi' in 2006??? No we fucking don't. Go back to your dope-fogged bedrooms and start a Myspace campagin against the takeover or something, but spare us the 'tree-sitting' for fucks sake - do you really think today's youth are going to take you seriously you smelly old bitch??? Oh hang on, I just looked up 'Big Yellow Taxi' and it was Joni Mitchell. Whatever. It's tree-hugging hippie crap and I don't like it.

The lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs escaped from a road accident with minor injuries after deploying his "trademark jump", according to the band's website.
Ricky Wilson was hit by a car on a Leeds city centre pedestrian crossing on Sunday, suffering a broken toe and bruising, the band said.
According to the official site: "He's the luckiest man alive because he is still alive. It sounds daft but a 'Ricky trademark jump' has probably saved his life."

- I was going to make a snide comment about how the driver should have aimed better, but then I though better of it. After all, Ricky (who, incidentally, I went to school with) is somewhat of a regional celebrity these days. His band have put Leeds on the map in rock music for the first time since the 80's when it was Goth city, and I for one feel the deserve some respect from us all back home. This guy was clearly some deranged maniac with no respect for human life (let alone artistic expression) who could have robbed us of one of this generation's greatest music talents.
Naaaaah! I'm joking of course!! Boris you useless bastard - I told you to make sure you hit him hard!! Why didn't you reverse over him to make sure????

50 Cent has been named Songwriter Of The Year in America by his peers in the music business.
The hip hop superstar took the big award from the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

- WHAT????? Would anyone mind explaining to me how this illiterate, empty-headed lunk got voted 'Songwriter of the Year'?? How many other competitors were up for this award then? Crazy Frog? Westlife? Smokey featuring Roy Chubby Brown??? All this c*nt does it plod around topless muttering about how expensive his car is and how many 'niggaz' he has 'fucked up' - I've heard banjo playing tramps in the metro with more songwriting talent that this twat!! Aside from the 13 year old kiddies who buy his records to piss their parents off, does anyone actually like 50 Cent?

A Catholic group has criticised Madonna after she performed on a mirrored cross during a concert.
The diva wore a crown of thorns and sang while hanging from a cross during the opener of her Confessions world tour at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
"Knock off the Christ-bashing," Catholic League president Bill Donohue said in a statement. "It's just pathetic."

- 'Pathetic'? Oh no!! This is a risqué, intellectual re-evaluation of Christian doctrine dontcha know! Where the fuck have you guys been for the last twenty years??? Madonna's been milking every Catholic cliché in the book ever since she started!! Abortion, S&M, Straddling a black Jesus in the video for 'Like a Prayer'....I mean, if I paid two hundred and fifty quid (or whatever the fuck it costs to go to see Madonna these days) on the door and then had to sit through two hours of Madge just trotting through her new album without any flaming crosses, dog-spanking or her frotting herself with a plastic jesus, I'd be asking for my money back!! You guys should be thanking her - Madonna's given the Catholic church enough publicity over the past two decades that an outdated, archaic institution like yours should be calling for her to be made a Saint or something!

Hillary Clinton has become the latest politician to reveal her iPod playlist, describing it as a "smorgasbord" on which the Beatles and the Rolling Stones feature heavily.
The senator and former first lady is also a big fan of U2's Beautiful Day, which she plays before getting on stage to deliver speeches, the New York Post reported.
Hey Jude is one of her favourite tracks from the Fab Four on the digital music player - a white one - that she got as a birthday present last October from husband Bill Clinton.
Aretha Franklin's Respect heads the 1,000-strong tracklist, which also includes plenty of other Motown hits, and a collection of classical masterpieces.
The Eagles' 1975 hit Take It to the Limit is another top pick.

- Oh so some old shit from the 60's, some bog standard petrol station rock, the Beatles' most irritating song EVER, some Ally McBeal soul rubbish and some coke-addled throwback from the 70's constitutes a 'smorgasbord' does it? I wonder if we could check that one in the dictionary? Seriously, if your music taste is so arse-achingly pedestrian then I'd keep your personal playlist to yourself if I were you. Still, at least it's probably a step up from George Bush - I doubt that clueless inbred cretin could even figure out how to switch on an I-Pod, let alone transfer his Kenny Rogers collection onto it....

Week in pop May 18th 2006

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Hollywood superstar Nicole Kidman told the US celebrity magazine People that she is engaged to marry country music singer Keith Urban.
The magazine reported on its website Tuesday that it spotted the Australian-born Oscar winner in New York along with Urban on Saturday hosting the 30th anniversary gala for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
"He's actually my fiance," Kidman told People magazine. "I wouldn't be bringing my boyfriend."

- I don't know who the bloody hell this cowboy hat wearing c*nt is but I have to say respect for the guy if he has bagged Nicole. I always thought she was wasted on Tom Cruise, that stumpy little kiddie fiddler. Nicole is the very essence of Hollywood beauty, the sort of sublime being you would like to feast upon all day and night in homage to her indescribable fuckableness. I would allow her to do whatever she liked with me, I would be her manservant of desire, she would want for nothing.....I can't believe how totally fucking beautiful this lady is. So cigars and pats on the back for Keith Urban, whoever he is. Keith, if you're listening, give her one for me. Tell her John sent you.

Izzy Stradlin was reunited with Guns N' Roses for the first time in 15 years at their show in New York last night.
The guitarist joined the band towards the close of their fourth and final gig at the city's Hammerstein Ballroom, after Axl Rose introduced him from the stage.

- Bring 'em all back!! C'mon Axl, it only took you about FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS to smooth things over with Izzy (who, incidentally, was always the coolest of the original GNR line-up) so why not bring the others back? Steven Adler is playing GNR covers in a tribute band, Duff decided to call it in on that lame Velvet Revolver project, and Slash probably hasn't taken a fucking bath since your last tour together.....Reform the old line-up and go out on tour! These guys probably all look like the crinkly toes of heavy metal these days, but that's just going to make them rock even MORE! Every other band from the 80's has reformed with their 'classic line-up' from 20 years back after they all ended up being chased up by the taxman, so you might as well get a band who were at least halfway decent to do the rounds one more time! Axl I'll pay your hairdressing bills, just get out there on stage in a kilt and do 'Back off Bitch' again! You owe it to us!!!

Pop star Pink has asked the Queen to withdraw the bearskin hats worn by her Palace guards.
The singer wrote a letter to the monarch at Buckingham Palace saying: "Sorry to be a royal pain, but my feelings reflect the sentiment of a new generation that respects animals."

- Oh mind your own business you whiny fucking Yank! The royal family are all about public shows of their superiority to everyone, be it humans, animals, whatever....The only reason they have palaces and guards and all that shit is to show us commoners that they are CONSIDERABLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOW!! Did you really think her Majesty gives a flying fart about what some fat arsed burger waitress turned pop star thinks about her guards' hats???? She probably has some palace urchin open her mail so that she doesn't have to touch the same piece of paper that you wrote this message on, for fear of catching some kind of pleb disease!!! And will you pop stars give it a rest with the fucking animal rights bullshit!! How many badgers bought your last album eh????

Gnarls Barkley have announced details of their debut UK headlining show in July.
The band, who are set to claim an eighth straight week at Number One in the UK chart on Sunday with their first single, "Crazy", play Hammersmith Apollo in London on July 5.
Gnarls Barkley will become the first act to top the UK chart for eight consecutive weeks since Wet Wet Wet over ten years ago if they stay at Number One on Sunday.
If the duo go onto claim a ninth straight week, they'll enter the same territory as Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

- Am I the only one who is WHOLEHEARTEDLY C*NTING SICK of this record???? They seem to be piping this shit out pretty much everywhere, which kinda makes you think that people would have at least had their fill of it enough to not go out and pay for the single. But no! Seven weeks at number one! If they get one more, it'll be the longest runner at number one since Wet Wet Wet with 'Love is all around' in 1994 - those of you who can remember that far back might recall pub landlords barring people for putting that song on repeat on their jukeboxes.....So basically, Gnarls Barkley are heading straight towards a high placing on the 'most irritating record of all time polls'. Still, at least it shows the singles chart has been stabilised at long last - we've had years of random throwaway R'n'B shite and faceless DJ tossrag vs Fat Black Woman flying in at number one and then dropping out to number 27 the next week, so I for one am all for levelling it out a bit. But still, for one record to hang around at the top we have to be dealing with some serious rubbish further down the list (I just looked at this week's chart and lo and behold, Jennifer Lopez is at number two....I rest my case!).

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Week in pop May 13th 2006

LONDON (Reuters) - Julie Andrews wannabes queued on Friday to audition for a reality TV show with a new twist -- the winner gets the lead role in a new Andrew Lloyd Webber stage production of "The Sound of Music".The hopefuls came in all shapes, sizes and ages, limbering up with impromptu choruses of "Edelweiss" before trying to convince the judges they would make the perfect young nun.
A BBC spokeswoman for the "How Do I Solve A Problem Like Maria?" show said more than 1,000 hopefuls had applied for the London weekend of auditions at the Wembley conference centre.
They will be gradually whittled down to 10 finalists with television viewers voting for who should star in the London West End production due to open at the end of the year.

- Is there no limit to how far this reality TV thing can go? I mean, they were scraping the bottom of the barrel a couple of years back with season seventeen of Big Brother, whereas now we've gone straight through the barrel and several miles into the earth's crust! They'll be doing nationwide surveys on who gets to play the back end of the fucking pantomine donkey in the Xmas panto next!!! Isn't it funny how the great British public seem to have an insatiable appetite for these TV vote things, yet most of them can't be bothered to turn out to give their opinion in the case of....ooh I don't know, a general bloody election for example?? Lazy, servile, worthless fucking cretins! You deserve to be ruthlessly exploited if the lead role in some bollocks Lloyd Webber production is the most important thing you can think of to vote for! Incidentally, wasn't that slimy Tory tosspot one of the people who said they would leave the country if Labour got elected in '97? How come the c*nt is still here then? Fuck off and live in Zimbabwe or somewhere like that Andrew, and take your irritating fucking musicals with you!!!

Troubled rock star Pete Doherty failed to attend a court appearance to review his drug rehabilitation because he was playing with his band.
The musician has now missed two hearings in succession because they have clashed with tours with his group Babyshambles.

- Compare the press space accorded to Doherty's court-dodging antics and drug busts to the amount of attention given to his actual music....What does that tell you? Useless junkie slob! They should bring back military service especially for wasters like Pete Doherty, teach 'em some bloody discipline!! This tosswad should get five years hard labour to clean up his act a bit, but no - he'll get off with a fine and serve a couple of weeks in prison, then we'll get to hear all about it on his shitty records. YAWN YAWN YAWN ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Christina Aguilera has announced details of her comeback album, "Back To Basics".
The long-awaited LP, which is due to release in August, follows 2002's "Stripped" and is described by the star as a "concept album".
Confirming details of "Back To Basics" on her official website, Christina explained: "This is a concept album that follows a bold, set vision.
"The touchstones are Billie Holiday, Otis Redding, Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald...what I used to call my 'fun music' when I was a little girl."

- Anyone else notice a pattern in these album titles? 'Stripped', 'Back to Basics'.....I wonder what the next one will be called? 'Butt Naked and Covered in Treacle' for example? I can't wait to see Xtine perform this 'concept album' on stage in bra and panties whilst straddling some tattooed beefcake in front of thirty of his mates egging them on. The 'bold, set vision' will presumably run along the lines of 'song about shagging', 'song about being independant', 'song about how shagging makes you independant', 'song about God', 'song about racial equality', 'song about shagging God', 'song about taking your clothes off and getting taken roughly from behind by some rapper over a recycled Funkadelic sample' 'song about how if anyone doesn't like you then they're just JEALOUS' etc etc etc....
I actually have a bit of time for Xtina, certainly in comparison to Britney, and some of her stuff is pretty cool. But let's be clear about things - this new album is going to be all about fucking and that's that. Dress it up to be some kind of Pink Floyd-esque comment on modern living if you like, WE all know what you're singing about.

Mike Tyson has appealed to Westlife to record a duet with him.
The former world heavyweight boxing champion is understood to have suggested the unlikely collaboration after admitting to a fellow fighter he "melts to some of their songs."
Tyson, who is reported to have been serenaded by Pete Doherty in a hotel bar in Manchester earlier this year, apparently told Irish boxer Joe Egan of his plan.
Egan, a close friend of Tyson's, explained: "He loves their music so much he wants to be part of it. Mike said he would be honoured to be part of a Westlife recording.
"Mike can hold a tune well and he just loves Westlife music. He melts to some of their songs."

- The mind boggles. So Mike Tyson 'melts' to Westlife's brand of hen night Daniel O'Donnell ballad bullshit then? I certainly wouldn't have guessed that one, but I suppose someone has to like it if those singing potatoes are still selling records. So what's this duet going to be? The crystal ball shows Mike and the boys crooning together about how a man has to take his knocks in this life, but even when his back's on the ropes he can still come back and reclaim his former glory....(hang on, didn't R Kelly do that already for the Muhammed Ali film a couple of years ago?). These guys should be restricted to playing weddings, funerals and opening for Bernard Manning live gigs instead of making music for the pop charts - ever noticed how EVERY song they do ends with them singing the chorus a bit higher and standing up from their stools to embrace the front row whilst their fans piss their collective knickers?? Every time without fail!!! Thirteen number ones or something....I can't get my head round it. The only thing that would make this project interesting
would be if they locked the band in the studio with Mike after getting him loaded on coke and telling him that the band said rude things about his mother - I'd love to see the video for THAT.
And how did Pete Doherty get in there???? This git is everywhere these days - does he have a fucking identical twin brother or something? I'm starting to feel he's going to pop out of the toilet next time I go for a wee!

Kurt Cobain has been voted the greatest rock star of all-time in a new poll.
The Nirvana frontman came out ahead of Pete Doherty (NOT AGAIN! AARRGH!!!) and Morrissey in the survey, which appears in this week's NME.
Around 2,000 music fans are understood to have voted for their rock'n'roll idols, with the top five also featuring Liam Gallagher and Doherty's former Libertines band mate Carl Barat.

- Yeah......No.....Yeah.....Oh fuck it, it's the NME, of course I don't agree with them!!!! Kurt bloody Cobain. I mean, I like Nirvana as much as the next man but enough already with all this posthumous idol worship. Back when Kurt was still alive, Nirvana were the sort of music that giddy fucking schoolgirls listened to whilst dressing in black and moaning about how their parents were 'Fascist BASTARDS' because they wouldn't let them get their clitoris pierced - these people promptly grew up, threw out their grungewear and got jobs in advertising, and now they listen to Jamie fucking Cullum and ride around on those gaylord metal scooter things. Kurt Cobian has joined the league of celebrities that you will routinely find on posters in tourist souvenirs shops across the continent, along with Tupac, Bob Marley, Che Guevara etc....That doesn't mean his legacy is any less important, but the guy's a fucking brand name these days. Nirvana weren't THAT great back in the day anyway, there are plenty of other records that came out around the time of 'Nevermind' which were just as good ('Gish', 'Bricks are Heavy', 'Dirty', 'Ten' etc...) but they don't get half the attention that Nirvana still get because everyone makes out that Kurt was some kind of Jim Morrisson type that was just misunderstood by the public.....Pffff. If you want to do dumb surveys like this then fine, vote him 'best rock star ever', it doesn't mean anything. And if you think that's bad, check out the rest of the top ten :

01 Kurt Cobain
02 Pete Doherty - Remember this is the NME we're talking about. All this dweeb needs to do is fatally overdose and he'll probably end up number one.
03 Morrissey - Yeah OK, but if they'd have done this survey three years back he wouldn't even have made the top three hundred....
04 Liam Gallagher - Fair enough. But he's still a twat.
05 Carl Barat - Two guys from the same wanky band? Is their drummer in here too??
06 Thom Yorke - I don't think we can really call this bog-eyed librarian pussweed a 'rock star'....
07 Noel Gallagher - Again, we seem to be keeping this list a wee bit limited. Where are all the chicks in this list anyway? How about Janis Joplin or Courtney Love?
08 David Bowie - OK. He has put out some shite but I can respect him being in here.
09 Ian Brown - King Monkey has also put out some fairly naff solo stuff, but I guess I agree with him being in here too.
10 Ian Curtis - OK, we're being a little too pro-British bands here. And again, this guy's 'rock star rating' would doubtless be a lot lower were he still alive.

(And I suppose the list is accompanied by some self-congratulatory sidenote on how NME was the first paper to discover all these guys, so we should all pat them on the back blah blah blah....How about we do a survey on the top ten talentless London showboat one-hit wonders the NME tried to pass off as 'the next Nirvana'? Menswear....Plastic Fantastic...Lo-Fidelty Allstars??? That would make for an interesting read...)