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...)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Week in pop May 7th 2006

A man has been given an Asbo and told he cannot listen to music at home until 2009, after upsetting neighbours by playing David Gray records too loud.
Mark Burt, from Newport, Isle Of Wight, is reported to have been sentenced by magistrates last week.
He was given the anti-social behaviour order after being found guilty of listening to Gray's "White Ladder" album at high volume in the early hours.
Burt, who compared the confiscation of his music collection to the loss of a baby, is now banned from using stereo equipment capable of playing vinyl, CDs or MP3s until 2009.
Alongside the Asbo, Burt was given an 18 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £150 in costs.

- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOOOO!!!!! I'm surprised my own neighbours didn't lodge a complaint about the noise of me rolling around on the floor laughing my arsehole off when I read about this dork!! I would have found this all a bit harsh if the music that caused such offense to the neighbours had been something like hardcore drum 'n' bass or death metal or something like that, but with the case in point I can only applaud the authorities for their intervention sorting out this most serious of social nuisances. And not only did they ban him from playing music, they confiscated his entire music collection as well!!!!!! BWAAAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Nice to know that the local cop shop will have a room full of contraband where class A drugs and firearms are stacked up next to a crate full of Dido and Jamie Cullum CDs! Seriously, what do I have to do to apply for a job with the Isle of Wight police? I think I've just found my true calling in life!

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are set to challenge Snow Patrol's position at the top of the album charts as their new album is released.
Snow Patrol fended off the new offering from grunge giants Pearl Jam, whose eponymous album only made it to number five, but could face a sterner test against the Peppers' eagerly-anticipated new album Stadium Arcadium. Snow Patrol are currently top of the album charts with their album Eyes Open, which claimed the top spot in its first week of release.

- Well what a monumental clash of the titans this is going to be. OK, it would be easy to lay into Snow Patrol's cack-arsed Match of the Day plodrock so I'm not going to even bother, but on the other hand how many of you can't guess what the new Chilis LP is going to sound like? I think I ended up hating this band over the course of several years since 'Californication' came out when their music always ended up on the stereo by default because nobody strongly objected to it. Around the same time, I saw them play Reading touring the aforementioned record, which everyone was playing at their campsite in the build up to their headline slot. And.....they were crap. Not astonishingly bad, just plain....dull. Their old shit is just about listenable but even that sounds naff these days, forever shackled to the era when whiteboy funk metal and day glo bermuda shorts were all the rage. The Chilis only survived the 90's by turning into the kind of lame, drivetime rock band that they would have hated back in the 'Mother's Milk' days - I admit that you can still liven up any party with 'Give it Away' or 'Power of Equality', but the new stuff just feels like they've taken the edge off. Same with Green Day (and I never liked them in the first place) - granted they are more popular now than when they first hit the bigtime in the mid 90's, but the music just lacks a bit of a kick, y'know? Play this stuff at international student parties or tourist fun pubs and everyone whoops and hollers, but for me it ain't got no balls. I haven't heard the new one yet, but I can predict more lazy, radio-friendly beach rock, with added man-boobs and the occasional slapping of the bass. YAWN.
If that all seems a bit harsh, compare it to the fate of the new Pearl Jam record which only hits number five - whilst the Chilis were chasing MTV's attention, PJ were already retreating into the wilderness and making weirder, more diverse records every time. The new one sounds like it might be a more commercial offering, so you could probably call me a hypocrite for slating the Chilis and getting excited about the new PJ record. Whatever, my brother is a major PJ nerd and is going to see them twice on the upcoming tour. Ain't no way the new Chilis record is going to get anyone THAT excited.

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Furious pop icon Michael Jackson demanded that top US magazine GQ apologize for publishing a spoof photo of a lookalike wearing Bedouin garb and also withdraw the issue from newsstands.
Jackson's spokeswoman Raymone Bain issued a statement saying that the exiled singer was outraged over the photos in the May issue of the monthly which she insisted were not "authentic."

- Oh right, so most of the publicity photos that Jackson has used over the past few years have been 'authentic' then? What about the one on the cover of his last album? It looks like some fresh-faced cherub straight out of boy-scout camp, but the actual resemblance to the person singing on it is pretty slim - without all the photoshop tweaking, MJ looks like Mr Potato Head left out in the sun for too long! The c*nt barely qualifies as human!! He should be grateful when the press decide against using real photos of him - otherwise they'd have to sell their magazine in a black plastic bag to avoid old ladies fainting in the newsagent!!
And whle I'm at it, anyone noticed what a roaring success the current wave of MJ reissues are having? If you're unaware of said marketing campaign, basically MJ's record company have decided to re-release a bunch of his 'classic tracks' on dual-disc CDs with the video for the single, in an attempt to ape the success of the Elvis re-issue campaign last year. The thing is, whilst the Elvis reissues all charted within the top 5 (three of 'em hit number one for the second time each), all the MJ releases so far have floundered round the arse end of the top twenty. Why? Because, basically, his music isn't as immortal as all that. Granted, the videos were often pretty cool but once you remove the character from the mainstream for a few years, the music starts to stink. MJ looked the business back in the late 80's and he could dance like a bastard, but when I listen to 'Bad' these days it just sounds shit. The production is horrible and the tunes don't have anything behind them, it's just tinny 2-D pop music with no soul to it. Elvis' stuff is immortal because the guy was a born perfomer and his style transcends generations (OK, the 60's film soundtrack stuff is mainly shite but the rest is cool), whereas MJ was a sterilised MTV phenomenon without any real backbone. Madonna and Prince's 80's output still stands up to repeated listening, but you wanna try explaining to a 13 year old exactly what was so cool about MJ back in the day? Good luck...

Bono is to takeover the editorship of "The Independent" for one day this month, to raise awareness of Aids in Africa.
The U2 frontman will helm the paper on May 16 for a special edition, with half the money from the day's sales going to his Product Red charity initiative.
Bono is understood to have already begun planning the day's "Independent", after the paper became a partner with Product Red.
His spokesman said: "He is tickled to be let loose on such a great paper. He's enjoying using the talents of its journalists to explore issues that are vital to him."
Present "Independent" editor Simon Kelner has promised Bono's edition will be "challenging and innovative."

- 'Challenging and innovative'? I would go for 'anally retentive and unspeakably pretentious' myself. Fuck it, I can't be bothered going over why I hate Bono so much one more time - if you really wanna know, check out my 'Bono Must Die' post which should offer a more detailed explanation.

The Killers are working on "one of the best albums in the past 20 years", according to Brandon Flowers.
The frontman with the Las Vegas rockers made the brave pronouncement as the group continue to put together the follow-up to their 2004 debut "Hot Fuss".
He told MTV: "We just have to make the best album that we can. And we're doing it. This album is one of the best albums in the past 20 years.
"There's nothing that touches this album. And that sounds like I'm being cocky, but I'm just so excited."
The record, which is apparently inspired by the pursuit of the American dream, is scheduled for release in September.

- Pffff. Allow me to offer a wee bit of cynicism on that one. Anyway, if you're going to offer completely ridiculous hype then why limit it to 'the past 20 years'? Does this mean that anything released prior to 1986 is still going to by loads better than the bunch of cheesy Hollyoaks-Indie that you're going to put out in a couple of months? I love it when bands feel so sure that their next release is going to figure amongst those 'best album ever' polls several years later, as they so perfectly captured the essence of the time. Do you think Q will be running special edition features on 'The Killers - band of the century' in twenty years time?? These clowns will be lucky if anyone even remembers them in about 18 months! As for the subject matter, exactly how many THOUSANDS of artists have dealt with 'the pursuit of the American dream' already?? I can't wait to hear what Brandon comes up with by way of analysis on this one! Let me guess, the record will be called something like 'American tragedy' or 'American nightmare' (whatever, it'll have the word 'American' in there) and will reveal over the course of the different tracks that the American dream isn't all it's cracked up to be. Springsteen should come round and knock some fucking respect into these white-suited lounge rock chancers.

Red Hot Chili Peppers have reacted angrily to the news that their new album has been leaked online, claiming it has broken the band's hearts.
Bass player Flea has posted a lengthy posting on the group's official website in the aftermath of the leak, which comes a week before the official release.

- Alright, I already had a crack at them a few minutes back but have you read this posting? It certainly shows that if Flea hadn't chosen a career prancing around in a pair of leather underpants with dyed-blue hair and waving his bass around like a giant 4-stringed todger, he certainly wouldn't have been hired for any job where reading and writing were considered useful skills! How about a few capital letters and some punctuation in there eh??? Or are you Californians too laidback to learn how to write coherent English??? I fucking hate these sun-tanned beach slackers, what with their stupid bloody accents and their casual assumption that EVERYONE else in the world wants to come and live next door to them. And if you're going to wear a suit, DO NOT wear fucking white trainers with it, OK!!! I didn't hear this lot crow about how great California was when they democratically elected that pea-brained Austrian knucklehead as governer of their great State! Maybe if you learnt basic literacy and read the newspapers you'd have seen that one coming, Mister fucking Flea. Put some clothes on and go sign up to night school, you're 40 years old son!!!!

Jack White has become a father, according to reports.
The White Stripes and Raconteurs star and his wife, British model Karen Elson, are understood to have had a baby daughter.
The girl was born on Tuesday in Tennessee, where the couple recently bought a home, and has been named Scarlett.

- Well I thought he looked pregnant!! I guess 'Scarlett White' was named in keeping with his band's colour scheme. What's the next one going to be called, 'Cerise' or something?? Twat.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Week in pop May 3rd 2006

Singer Engelbert Humperdinck has flown back to his home city of Leicester to celebrate his 70th birthday.
The British crooner left behind the bright lights of Las Vegas, where he was performing at the weekend, to mark the milestone with friends and family in the East Midlands.

- OK, I'm no big fan but respect to grandpa for still touring when most people that age would be propped up by the fireside, watching Noel's House Party and telling you about how they had to eat powdered bananas and have baths in the kitchen sink when they were your age. What makes this even more impressive is that he's even accepted to high tail it back from Vegas to spend his birthday in some faceless carpark shithole in the Midlands!! Bet he had the plane all to himself on the way over!

Singer Will Young has beaten a host of British acts to be voted the most popular UK artist of all time in a poll of radio listeners.
The 27-year-old, who was catapulted to fame in 2002 after winning the inaugural Pop Idol contest, fought off competition from the likes of Robbie Williams and Sir Paul McCartney to top the Music Week May Day chart.

- This just strengthens my theory that all of these 'best whatever of all time' surveys are a load of old shite and totally easy to rig. Otherwise, how does this dork come out on top of ALL British artists? I had already moved out of the UK by the time the Simon Cowell empire had started putting these naff TV talent shows on all the time so I missed Willy Boy's initial rush to stardom, but even if I had been around at the time I don't think it would have made it any easier to understand what exactly is so great about this flowery fucking chancer. His records all suck, but not even in the way that say Robbie Williams sucks - Robbie gets right up in your face with his suckiness, whereas Will manifests a kind-of anaemic, spineless crapness that you're hard pressed to feel ANYTHING about. This guy makes Ronan Keating look like Iggy fucking Pop by comparison. The only people who could conceivably be voting for this winky are either geriatric old ladies who are half deaf anyway, or the kind of pasty-faced virgins who work on the front desk at Travelodge (hired for their 'excellent presentation and manners'). Someone needs to step in and tear up this guy's record contract and get him pushing a drinks trolley up the aisle of some cheapo airline plane wearing a pink shirt, where he truly belongs.

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin wants to study classical music when he gets "too old" to be in a band.
The 29-year-old singer, whose wife Gwyneth Paltrow recently gave birth to the couple's second child, is already renowned for his clean-living lifestyle and bookishness.
"When I'm 40, and too old to be a rock star, I plan to go back to college to study classical music," he told the New York Post at a New York Philharmonic concert.

- Lord have mercy. The thing is, this guy was pretty much 'too old' to be in rock 'n' roll when his band weren't even signed and were rocking out in their home counties bedrooms to 'Ten Summoners Tales' by Sting - age has nothing to do with it. I saw Slayer last time they came through Europe and they all must be about 45 on average, but they still tore it up something chronic. Coldplay gigs would only be considered 'wild and unhinged' if they suddently ran out of Quorn sandwiches backstage and had to improvise with some cream chesse and crisprolls! Oooh the depravity!! If Chris decides to jack in his career as a musician then I for one will not be mourning for long - he'll probably be happy enough writing some column for the Guardian and raising his ethno-yuppie kiddies in a 'safe and protected environment', where they're not allowed to watch ITV or eat anything with E-numbers in. Did you ever see the 'Monkey Phonics' episode of South Park where the home school kids turn up at the spelling contest? THAT'S what Apple and Bathsheba (or whatever the fuck his new kid is called) are going to be like when they're school age! What a fucking ponce. Engelbert's jetting back and forth between Leicester and Vegas to rock out on his 70th birthday and you're talking about retiring before you even hit 30???? PUSSY!

Singer Katie Melua has come into bloom after being presented with a Dutch tulip named Tulipa Katie Melua in her honour.
The special pink, white edged Tulipa Crispa Roze took 15 years of cultivation but will now take on the name of the best-selling artist.
Melua, who sold more than a million albums in Britain last year, is also a huge hit in Holland where her record Piece By Piece has gone triple platinum.

- Why her??? What has this pristine, sexless android done to deserve getting a flower named after her? And why not honour Holland's own queen of pop, Anita Deth from 2 Unlimited? C'mon guys, have some pride in your own culture! Surely that would attract a few customers. Failing that, how about getting that bloke who goes 'Techno Techno Techno Techno' to present the news or something? Katie Melua is musical equivalent of eating at Little Chef (not that the Dutch would see a problem with that I reckon) - there's nothing to celebrate apart from how bland and totally forgettable her music is. And if I hear that fucking 'Nine Million Bicycles' song one more time, I am going lose my mind.

A British music producer's Spanish language version of the American national anthem has come under fire from President George Bush.
Adam Kidron says his take on The Star-Spangled Banner, called Nuestro Himno or Our Anthem, is intended to honour immigrants seeking a better life in the US.
But Mr Bush insisted the anthem should only be in English.

- What's the big deal here? There seem to be plenty of people living in the States perfectly legally who speak Spanish as a first language, and they seem perfectly happy to play sports, work in the emergency services and get blown up in wars all under a big fat American flag. Why not give 'em their own translation of the anthem? I would have thought Georgey W, who claims to 'speak Spanish' as part of his clever ploy to curry favour with Latino Republicans, would be all for the idea. I reckon it would make for interesting viewing having Nascar rallies and shoulderpad rugby games kick off with someone running through the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish, whilst crowds of fat rednecks choke on their cheeseburgers in sheer disgust. Obviously, they'd have to change the first line to 'José can you see, by the dawn's early light.....'.

Pop songstress Shakira won six awards at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.
Shakira's album Fijacion Oral Vol. 1 (Oral Fixation Vol. 1), which was released in both Spanish and English, won female Latin pop album of the year on Thursday night.
The album's top song, a sexy duet with Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz called La Tortura (The Torture), won four other awards, including hot Latin song of the year.

- And speaking of Spanish language music, I have to give it up for Shakira on this one. Her English language stuff is not a patch on the original Spanish versions, which are still pop music but they just sound a lot better in Spanish. Her English accent when she sings is pretty weird and the lyrics all sound a bit garbled, whereas the Spanish stuff....I don't know, it just fits better. Plus her videos are pure ART. And she's no dumb bimbo either. I really have to sing the lady's praises. She rules. Oh, and did I mention that I wouldn't mind slipping her a length?

Jack White's long-awaited Coca-Cola advert will be premiered on UK TV this weekend, it has emerged.
Apparently the controversial film, which prompted accusations that The White Stripes star had 'sold-out', will be screened in the early hours of Sunday morning.

- I haven't seen this commercial so I won't comment on what might of course be a particularly witty piece of modern advertising. However, I have to call out Jack for sucking on the corporate hooter, whatever the results are - did he just decide to endorse Coke because it's red and white? Or maybe it's because he currently looks like the kind of porker who drinks the stuff with every meal including breakfast? Either way, I'm sick of how acceptable it's getting to sell your arse to international brands these days - anyone else getting really fed up of seeing Elijah Wood on that Intel advert? 'Can we get some popcorn?? She needs popcorn!!!' You sell-out hobbit fuckstain! Makes you want him to get eaten by that massive spider from Mount Doom. Same goes for Lucy Liu, Seal (who, I repeat WHO gives a flying one about that bald c*nt these days?) and anyone else who has to parade across the screen wearing company colours every time I go to the cinema. Haven't you people got proper jobs???

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Satan's Pukebox

Tunes for the innermost circle of hell.

If God is a DJ, then Satan is the kind of Chris Moyles-esque hospital radio gonk who plays excruciatingly crappy music whilst you're stuck in bed for two weeks getting your tonsils out or something like that. Anyway, if the Prince of Darkness was on the radio then these are the tunes he'd be spinning, forever and ever and ever....

Lightning Seeds / Baddiel & Skinner - Three Lions

It gets on my nerves how Scottish and Welsh guys always support the team playing against England during the World Cup/Euro Championship, but one listen to this is enough for me to understand why. Remember back in the pre-Oasis days when music and football were never mentioned in the same magazines? Well maybe that was because pretty much all music connected with football SUCKS TOTAL HOSE!!! OK, we can leave 'World in Motion' out of that bracket but that's pretty much it, and even that was an example of a halfway decent band doing a football song. Even before Lightning Seeds penned this particular musical pukestain, they were already putting out the sort of dreary old bollocks that got played over goal of the month compilations and described as 'uplifting' by the sort of bloke who puts on U2 when he REALLY wants to rock out. Let me be clear about this - music and sport in general (but especially footy) go together about as well as chronic flatulism and long car journeys. Put 'em together at your own risk! Thanks to these guys, we had to deal with fat, red-faced England fans bellowing out this unlistenable shite for years to come - the sonic equivalent of rainy afternoons drinking watery lager and watching England get dicked out on penalties one more time. Ian Broudie should be executed for crimes against music for this, and Baddiel and Skinner should go back to writing shit novels and telling jokes about disabled people respectively.

The French re-working of 'I Will Survive', circa 1998

As above, but substitute England fans for red-faced French blokes pissed up on Kronenburg (which, by the way, is not considered a quality beer over here) and dancing in a circle 'New York New York' style at the end of the night.

Geri Halliwell - Look at me

My gay flatmate was way into this back in university. Geri actually performed it twice on Top of the Pops prior to its official release, which was pretty much a first at the time, but it still didn't go to number one like pretty much all the other Spice Girls' solo stuff (apart from Posh - I might put that one in later). Fair enough, ALL their music sucked but this one gets special mention just because it's trying to come off like some kind of clever comment on media depiction of Geri's life - basically, we're missing out on the 'real her' by listening to all these reports on how so was some kind of rabid Tory/ex-stripper/school bully etc....Oh the tabloids can be so horrible. Some music directly marketed towards gay guys can be halfway decent (I'm down with Kylie) but this was sheer fucking torture. Then she covered 'It's Raining Men' (didn't see that one coming), lost too much weight and then wrote a bunch of books on how slimming makes you a more valuable human being. This talentless fucking hag is a prime example of what's wrong with Britain and the Brits, and they go and name her 'peacekeeping ambassador' or something stupid like that.

Steps - Tragedy

And while we're on the subject, what the fuck was going through everyone's minds a few years back when this bunch of Butlins rejects were everywhere you looked? I can take 14-year old girls getting into this shit, but in university every fucker seemed to be learning the dance moves to this crap, like it was suddenly all witty and post-modern to do so. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! I categorically refused to dance to this bleepy bullshit and was called out for being miserable and humourless, but I maintain my stance to this day. And that blond bloke must rank as one of the most punchable personalities in music EVER. I got drunk at a house party one time and spread Shipham's meat paste over Adam's copy of this, and then he chased me round the house in a big hissy fit.

Dodgy - Good Enough

That just reminded me, my other flatmate that year was so keen on Dodgy.....I can't even put into words how much I hate this fucking song, and I ripped on it in another post already so I'll just say that it sucks and I never want to hear it again in my entire life.

Korn - Daddy

Remember how millions of dippy teenage chicks suddenly thought Jonathan Davies was 'rilly rilly DEEP' when he wrote this whiny piece of rubbish? As with my resistance to Steps, I had to deal with loads of people bigging up the first Korn record a few years back, but stood by my view that it was a load of cack. If you've never heard this song, try to imagine about 8 minutes of some 6th form skate band re-tuning their instruments while some big wussy cries all over it about being abused by his dad. They then proceeded to churn out album after album of this dogtoss and everyone credited them with 'reinventing metal'.....Bollocks bollocks and further bollocks!! Everytime I see pictures of these guys, one thought springs to mind : FAT PEOPLE SHOULD NOT WEAR SHORTS.

Billy Ray Cyrus - Achy Breaky Heart

I can actually laugh at how fucking terrible this shit is now, but it's been a while since I heard it and so I guess that softens the blow a little. But back when it came out, this used to be the sort of crap that would make me turn my radio off. Plus, this bloke looked like some kind of redneck bricklayer but apparently the ladies loved him all the same. I think the fact that he plays a guest role in 'Mulholland Drive' supports the idea that this is the sort of song that belongs in bad dreams.

Motley Crue - Brandon

After I read 'The Dirt', like many others I fell victim to the Crue's charms and bought loads of their stuff. The 80's records are still ace (apart from 'Theatre of Pain', which I could probably justifying sticking in here too were it not for the singles off it) but then they lost their marbles completely and stuck out 'Generation Swine', the most schizophrenic load of bollocks imaginable. There are a couple of decent songs on that record but I have to stick this song on the list all the same - basically, it's Tommy Lee playing a piano ballad about his newborn son, which apparently 'just poured out of him' after the kid's birth. You can probably imagine the results. I reckon he should have written a song about kicking Pamela Anderson up the arse instead, it would have sounded better.

Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers - Swing the Mood

The late 80's were responible for some of the shittiest music in history, and this is a prime example of the sort of shitty shit that was being shat out by record companies at the time. This reminds me of being at some 'kid's party' on holiday one time and drinking blue pop whilst some dude with a Costa del Sol suntan and a white shirt/gold chain combo played 'party songs for the young lads and lasses'. I would be willing to bet that the Chuckle Brothers stick this on during their weekly paedo romps with the kiddies they catch in nets after their live shows.

Dream Theater - Scenes from a Memory

Not only do these muso c*ntwarts play some of the most pretentious, unlistenable bollocks in existence, they apparently play through their latest opus from beginning to end in concert, just so the spotty virgins down the front can cream themselves over how complicated the fucking bass solos are. Listen, if you're going to play this sort of crap then keep it within the confines of the kind of DVDs they sell in music shops where some old fart with a mullet and a silk shirt teaches you how to do really hard stuff on the guitar. And that goes for Toto too. I'd rather listen to nothing but 2 Unlimited for a month than have to be subjected to this bollock-twistingly tedious drivel. And learn to spell properly too you clueless fucking Yanks!

Robbie Williams - Rock DJ

I could have put pretty much anything by this talentless cockweasel on here, but this song has to take the prize as his most irritating contribution to popular culture. 'Angels' was bad enough, and that George Michael cover he put out when he'd just left Take That was even worse (funny how you never see the video for that one now - maybe cos he was a FAT BASTARD back then), but this is just plain horrible. I was working a summer in a clothes factory one year when this was in the charts, and the local radio DJ thought it was the coolest thing ever. The same DJ regularly staged 'comedy phone-ins' where he would ring up to order a taxi and pretend to be foreign. Seeing as we had to endure local radio every other day, the staff of the factory put together a sizeable petition to get the guy kicked off the air cos he was such an insufferable fuckwit, but alas it was not taken into consideration by the powers that be.

Jennifer Lopez - Jenny from the Block

Exactly how much time do you spend hanging around 'the block' these days you fat arsed old bitch??? Lopez (and I refuse to refer to her as J-Lo) is a prime example of the sort of bird who treats everyone like shit and then when confronted with any criticism, claims that people are only ripping on her because they're jealous. And then she hangs out with the sort of rappers who spent all their time flexing their muscles and threatening to kill each other, just so nobody dares say anything back to her. I fucking hate you Lopez. I hope someone drops a fucking piano on your empty fucking head so I never have to listen to any of your fucking music ever again in my whole fucking life you talentless fucking cretin.

Ben Harper - Diamonds on the inside

Basically take Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix etc...and remove all the individuality, sex appeal and musical depth. What are you left with? Ben fucking Harper. This shithead is massive amongst the whiteboy reggae brigade on the continent, and so far Britain has remained immune to his charms. Let's keep it that way guys.

Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away

Same goes for Lenny. How did this vacuous arsewit get to boff so many fine ladies? How big must his dick be???

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Can't Stop

I somehow remember that the Chilis used to be good, but maybe that was just before I had to listen to daytime radio play the fuck out of all their worst songs (how come you never hear 'Suck my Kiss' or 'Sir Psycho Sexy' on the radio? Eh???). They should have jacked it in years ago instead of just watering down the formula, but no - we have to endure this kind of goofy bollocks while the singer takes his shirt off. THIS ISN'T THE FUCKING CHIMP TANK AT THE ZOO YOU C*NT!! PUT YOUR FUCKING SHIRT BACK ON!!!!

Alanis Morrissette - Ironic

Wouldn't it be REALLY ironic if, when I break into Alanis' house in the middle of the night to stab her in the fucking neck for creating this infuriating piece of coffee shop cack, all I can find in my jacket are ten thousand spoons??? DONTCHA THINK??

Reef - Place your hands

This song = It's your letters = Chris Evans = how much did you want to smack that singer of theirs?

Dodgy - Good Enough

I know I put it in here already but I just remembered the video - that drummer!! With his stupid fucking hat!!! AAARRGHH!!

Four Non Blondes - What's Up

I'll tell you what's up you hideously ugly big-mouthed fucking troll. Your music is crap.

S Club 7 - Reach

Bloody kids. The kind of person who slaps on a shit-eating grin and dances to this in clubs should be savagely beaten by the taste police.

John Travolta / Olivia Newton John - Grease Megamix

I can maybe widen this entry to ANY SONG FROM A MUSICAL EVER (which the exception of stuff from the Wizard of Oz, but in my opinion that's not even a musical. And Cabaret, cos its about Nazis). But anything from this hideous sixth-form drama production bunch of arse would definitely be on my list for things t be chemically destroyed when I rule the world. I don't care if hen night groups of pissed up ladies like it, THEY ARE WRONG.

Britney Spears - Baby One More Time

Let's face it, once you'd worn out the video we all had to admit that this was a shit song.

Vanilla - No Way No Way


Florent Pagny - Ma Liberté de Penser

I haven't even put that much French stuff on here, but it goes without saying that the vast majority of French pop music is utter, utter MERDE and best avoided. This fool gets a special mention for writing this crap song about how he was getting ripped off by the taxman. How much sympathy do you think I have for rich rock stars bitching about how much they have to give up in tax??? NORRA BLOODY LOT I can tell you. Fortunately, he got collared for tax evasion and had to stump up bigtime. The taste police seem to have let him off for the time being, but I wouldn't be so lenient if I were running things.

Manic Street Preachers - A Design for Life

Or, as some of us like to refer to it, WHERE THEY WENT SHIT. Granted, old school Manics fans were annoying, pretentious little pricks (myself included) but the new batch who came in circa 'Everything Must Go' were even worse - fat, sweaty, lagered up yahoos who only got into music two weeks earlier after reading the CD reviews in Loaded. The band should have jacked it in there and then, but no - they decided to make a quick buck and played right into the hands of these baboons, releasing album after album of bog-tedious trad rock and getting into Welsh nationalism. Niiiiiice move guys.

Richard Ashcroft - A song for the lovers

Can we just straighten things out for this guy?? The Verve were great up until roughly halfway through 'Northern Soul' where they got way too tied up in overblown sentimentality and then it all went tits up. Fortunately, they split but then unfortunately they decided to come back with another dull, pedestrian rock record marketed towards ugly fucking chimps like that guy from Shed Seven. That was bad enough but Richard's solo stuff has been just as turd, if not even worse. This guy thinks he's some kind of cosmic poet but all he does it repeat the same clichés ad nauseum and wank around on the acoustic guitar.

Artful Dodger / Craig David - Rewind

Basically where all that crap shoe shop dance music that we liked to call 'UK Garage' started. This reminds me of bars full of shiny shoed townies drinking overpriced lager out of straight glasses. Fucking freaks.

Stereophonics - Mr Writer

Or : 'If you can't say anything positive about our music, don't say anything at all'. Yeah right Kelly, as if we'd pass up such an easy oppurtunity to slag off something painfully mediocre. Fair enough, 'Montana' or whatever it was called was quite good but this sucks.

Bono & Frank Sinatra - I've got you under my skin

I almost finished this list without including either of these bastards - one pretentious Irish fuckwit and one greaseball mate of the mafia. We're getting an alarmingly high reading on the c*ntometer here.

Dodgy - Good Enough

I can't get that fucking drummer out of my head. I'm going to track him down and make him pay for the pain he has caused me. Dodgy!!! They don't make 'em like that anymore!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

2006 NME awards

Standard butt-kissing and trend-obsessed back slapping at the NME awards

Pete Doherty, the Babyshambles singer and heroin addict, was named Sexiest Man at the ShockWaves NME Awards.
Madonna was named Sexiest Woman.

- Can we get into a bit of sexual politics here? These sort of 'sexiest human' polls are often much derided as a sort of playground popularity contest based on who looks best in their airbrushed, computer tweaked video clips, instead of an actual evaluation of how much lasting sex appeal each nominated artist might have (in that you might actually hang around for breakfast with them afterwards).
So what do we get then? The blokes vote for a 47-year old icon of feminine self expression, capable of re-inventing herself every album and remaining on magazine covers and higher up the charts than the legions of younger pretenders to the throne as 'queen of pop'. Don't get me wrong, I'm no massive Madonna fan (I still think her best period was the mid-90's lull circa 'You'll see' and 'Take a bow', the latter being possibly her best track but the first in years to miss the top ten in the UK, possibly due to a crybaby backlash to the video which featured bullfighters. The Yanks got it right and put that one to number one), but you have to give props to the lady for keeping her shit together for so long and still today being able to pump around in a pink leotard, top the charts with Abba rip-offs and still find time of boff a string of blokes some twenty years her junior. I say respect to lady Ciccone, and hats of to those who voted for her (though a lot of them were probably reader's girlfriends voting for their blokes who would have probably voted for Kylie if it were up to them but got pussywhipped into voting more tactfully).
So who do the ladies' pick? Some talentless famous for being famous drizzlehead mockney smack addict whose only strongpoint seems to be the ability to kick his junk habit for long enough to record an album of slack-arsed cliché-riddled 'cockney punk' every year or so.....Ooooh but he's so mysterious and sexy!! One never knows what he'll get up to next! Well I can give you an idea - as soon as PD's brand of Tony Hancock indie goes out of fashion, this talentless twat is going to find himself serving bacon sandwiches in a transport café cos he doesn't know how to do anything else! And this is the ideal father for your kids??? PD is the sort of loser who five seconds after he's blown his wad will have already forgotten your name and will be snaking off to the bogs to whack his veins with the cash you lent him to 'go straight' - nice choice ladies! Mind you, at least it wasn't Chris Martin - I'd still rather take a length off Pete than from some dork who gives his daughter a 'vegan birthday cake'. That kid's not gonna last five minutes in the school playground you great big soft shite!

James Blunt's Back To Bedlam was named Worst Album and Bob Geldof was named Hero of the Year.

- Jimmy fucking B. That's only because he sold more records than everyone else. I don't disagree, but how many frighteningly similar acts (Coldplay, Keane etc...) has the NME championed in the past only to rip on JB when he just commercialises the formula even further? Does that sound a little slating the American remake of 'Ring' just cos you got into the Japanese original before everyone else? It's the same fucking thing!! One's just trendier than the other, and plays a bit more into the hands of the marketing guys because it already has an established audience - why is 'X&Y' so different to 'Back to Bedlam'??? How many people do you think bought both?
As for Bob, fairplay if you wanna vote a foul-mouthed Irish dosser as Hero of the Year. At least it wasn't Bono - if I hear one more awards speech from that self-obsessed dickweed where he lectures us all on world poverty after flying to the ceremony in a private jet wearing 400 quid sunglasses, I'm gonna save up for a Colombian hit squad to spray his Dublin mansion Scarface-style. The Q awards were practically invented to caress this guy's bloated ego, so he certainly doesn't need anyone else helping out.

The awards, always a more rock'n'roll affair than the well-behaved Brits, were held at the Hammersmith Palais.

- Perhaps amend that to 'EXACTLY the same awards ceremony minus Sting and with a larger contingent of coked-up London art school ponces out to try and snag themselves a job in music journalism so that they can pay their hairdresser's tab by pumping out endless articles about how some bunch of sixth-form scruffs are the best thing since Nirvana'. The only advantage with the NME awards is that all the whiny little fucks that make up the bands and staff will get so ripped on free booze that it'll be easier to go round nicking their wallets and maxing out their parents' credit cards.

Other winners included Kanye West (Best Solo Artist), The Strokes (Best International Band) and Gorillaz (John Peel Music Innovation Award).

- Ha! You can picture the scene in the NME office beforehand - Oh hold on Julian! We seem to have filled the ceremony with white-boy trainer indie bands on their first record....But with the media present, shouldn't we chuck in a couple of darkies just to balance things out? OK yah! We'll give Kanye West an award - how about that? Kanye who? Y'knowww! That American black person who makes hip-hop that it's OK for us pansy-ass whiteboy journalists to pretend to like because he doesn't talk about fags or hos and bitches! Aaaah riiiight! I think I have some of his shit in my MP3 player in the 'Music that guilty journalists afraid that people are going to accuse them of ignorance of black culture can pretend that they play all the time cos they 'dig on the production''. I have loads of Missy Elliot and Dizzee Rascal in there already....
As for the Strokes, NME must seem to them like the kind of dumbass ex-girlfriend that you can hook up with every two years despite not keeping in touch or anything, but still certain that she'll suck you off and let you eat all her food cos you're so damn KEWL!
Gorillaz are fine by me cos they're cartoon characters and don't really exist. And it's hard to hate stuff when it's not even real. Peel would have probably been happy that they were in the charts so much, but I somehow doubt that the windows of Peel Acres would have been blown out by 'Demon Days' all year long - JP would have been too busy listening to Melt Banana and Prosthetic Cunt. Like he ever read the NME anyway! Why not call it 'The Jo Whiley wow isn't this AMAZING!' award and have done with it?

Girl band Sugababes even performed their own version of Arctic Monkeys' I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor.

- 'Push the Button' is ten times better than the fucking Monkeys. And yeah, the ladies do look good on the dancefloor. Excuse me while I go spank my arctic for a while...

NME editor Conor McNicholas said: "This time last year no-one had ever heard of them. To go from that to the biggest band in Britain and win three awards is pretty special.
"Everyone talks about them making it big because of the internet but there's a lot of fine music on the internet.
"The great thing about the Arctic Monkeys is they are doing something nobody else has done. They have a depth to their lyrics that no-one else has."

- Pheeeeeeeeew!! I'm sure pretty much constant cock-stroking from your rag didn't do them any harm either! Let's face it, the Monkeys are pretty cool but their whole Kes crossed with Paul Weller shtick is going to get pretty boring pretty quickly. Their album is pretty sound but this whole 'Wow they write about totally genuine British stuff!' novelty is going to wear off in, well maybe about as long as it took you to start hating the Kaiser Chiefs. And anyway, their success just comes off the back of the current wave of British bands trying to claim pop music as their own cos they were sick of weeny teenagers from Guildford pretending to the the Stooges and wanting something more 'real'. Nice idea, but the charm wore off back in the Britpop era cos people started to realise that British life is pretty fucking dull at the best of times, and we certainly don't need to be reminded of that everytime we turn on the radio....If I wanted to spend all my time wallowing in kitchen-sink, milky tea British mundaneness then I'd watch fucking Eastenders, not go out to a record shop to pay ten quid to hear some nineteen year old wank off about getting beaten up on the night bus over a bunch of recycled Jam riffs! I give 'em 18 months maximum, then back to cleaning chimneys.

He said of the Kaiser Chiefs' disappointing awards tally: "If it wasn't for the Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs would have done a lot better. Yes, Kaiser Chiefs did well at the Brits, but the NME Awards are always a year ahead of the Brits."

- OK, I just remembered the one reason why I like the Arctic Monkeys. The Kaiser Chiefs probably got so much groupie gash after the Brits that they were all stuck down the VD clinic and couldn't make it to Hammersmith for the awards ceremony anyway. The only award the Kaiser Chiefs should be given is a cheque from the city council in Leeds for bringing in even more thick southern students to hang around the new trendy areas of the city and spending all their cash on LS6 T-shirts and designer haircuts because 'Leeds is like the new London y'knowww!'. Thanks a fucking bunch guys.

Live - Dropkick Murphys

Dropkick Murphys / Less Than Jake - Paris Elysée Montmartre 28th April 2006

The best (and worst) thing about gigs in Paris is that most of them all take place along the same street - Boulevard de Rochechouart, one long channel of strip clubs, souvenir stalls and bars with Sky sports than runs from Place to Clichy in the West across to Barbès in the East. This means that one a nice evening, your courageous gig goer can walk along the boulevard decked out in their finest concert apparel and observe the different tribes on their way out. Depending on the night, you can bump into all sorts of oddballs waiting outside the various venues, and tonight is no exception - the cosmopolitan French mix waiting outside la Cigale, the grizzly metal hordes at la Loco (where the queue trails nicely in front of the Moulin Rouge as well-dressed city folk arrive for their date) and the abundance of mohawks, tartan and guinness swigging palefaces of all ages further down the road. Yup, tonight l'Elysée plays host to Boston's kings of 'shamrock 'n' roll', Dropkick Murphys.
It's been less than a year since the boys last played the French capital, although this time round they've moved into one of the city's bigger venues - later onstage, DKM's Ken Casey will look back fondly at their previous concert at la Maroquinerie, a venue he liked cos it was 'nice and small'. However, the assembled crowd manages to fill the space adequately (although this is helped by the fact that the pit spreads back halfway to the bar) and there's no sign of the lack of crowd connection that I moaned about last time I compared the two venues in a review (just thought I'd level that one out before going any further - it's not a shit venue, honest).
First up, apparently, are Far From Finished, but by the time I arrive they've either run through their set in the time it takes me to get frisked by the door staff and walk up the stairs, or the venue have put the wrong time on the tickets AGAIN. We will just have to hope they weren't very good then. Co-headlining the European leg of this tour are Less than Jake, who we would all probably have completely forgotten by now had they not persisted in coming back to festival stages to blast out their brassy ska-punk pretty much every bloody year. This has to be considered a smart move, as the sort of music they play just reminds me of the kind of toe-curlingly irritating day-glo punk that made up the soundtrack to American teen comedies back in the late 90's - if you're down on the current trend towards eyeliner and skintight black jeans, you might want to cast your mind back to the time when everyone was dressing in petrol pump shirts and bouncing around to crappy ska-punk revamps of 80's pop hits, then decide whether things have gotten better or worse. Anyway, I could pretty much justify ignoring LTJ just because they remind me of stuff that sucks, and after a couple of minutes watching this bunch of red-faced thirtysomethings flailing around in big shorts singing about girls ignoring them, I'm tempted to sack it all off and check out the T-shirt stall. However, a little patience pays off and the tide starts to turn when they throw in 'All my friends are metalheads' three songs in - from there on, even the most cynical skinheads lining the bar end up being won over and by the end they've got everyone on their side. LTJ are pretty much the equivalent of the fat bloke in your office who spends all his time trying to make everyone laugh - he may get right on your tits at first but ultimately, only the most miserable curmudgeon will remain totally immune to his charms over the passing of time.
DKM are a more serious prospect, if you will - the crowd is impressively diverse by gender, age, appearance and despite the fact that we are at a hardcore punk gig, there's still a lot of people here that you wouldn't catch at an Agnostic Front gig. Put that down to the subtle mix of DKM's setlist - their greatest strength is the accessible side to their Rancid-meets-Pogues thrashfest, mixing in union anthems and traditional Irish favourites without softening up the punch of their hardcore punk delivery. The front rows are getting pretty rowdy by the time the Chieftan's version of 'Foggy Dew' comes out over the speakers to herald the band's imminent entrance, so I remove my earring, insert my earplugs and step forward ready for combat. The intro to 'Your Spirit's Alive' ignites the fuse, and a few seconds later the whole place explodes into a 100mph bagpipe punk frenzy as the band tear off song after song without even pausing for breath - maybe it's just because I know the bands' back catalogue well, but this is the sort of gig where every song sounds great and the band seem unable to put a foot wrong. They pull out 'Boys on the Docks' early on, then a slew of tracks from last years' 'Warrior's Code' album (which I only bought two days earlier and have already played to death) as well as folky faves like 'Wild Rover', 'Fields of Athenry', 'Black Velvet Band' etc....This is maybe the key to the pace of the band's set - one minute you're slamming into your neighbour to ultra-fast punk rock, the next you've got your arm round his shoulders as you howl along to Irish funeral favourites. Granted, what the band do is hardly rocket science but it's fiendishly addictive and practically irresistable in a live setting - it's all killer, no filler from start to finish. The venue's female contingent gets hauled onstage for a closing 'Kiss me I'm Shitfaced', but then they're back for 'Worker's Song', 'Barroom Hero', 'Captain Kelly's Kitchen' and the inevitable 'Skinhead on the MBTA' coupled with the standard stage invasion to end the evening's festivities.
Walking back out onto the boulevard, I'm counting up the favourites that they didn't play, which is probably a good sign that this lot have more than the necessary arsenal of solid material to blow up venues for years to come. And seeing as they seem to be constantly on tour, there should be no shortage of oppurtunities to watch them do it - there aren't many bands who can play weddings, funerals, protest rallies and rock festivals without ever seeming out of place. Everyone else walking by the venue to survey the bruised, battered fans spill out onto the street might scratch their heads in bemusement, but we know better - hopefully it won't be too long before we all go through the motions together once more.

Live - Hard Fi

Hard-Fi @ Elysée Montmartre 4th March 2006

The first thing you notice walking into the Elysée this evening is the abundance of distinctly British accents amongst the crowd - actually, make that distinctly West London accents....It seems that half of Staines has come over on the Eurostar for tonight's performance at the heart of Paris' equivalent of Soho. And indeed this is hardly surprising - with the rise of young British acts conquering the charts on the back of their first record, the temptation is high to sack off their British tour which will more than likely sell out in a matter of nanoseconds and high tail it over to the continent where the bands are playing more intimate venues to fans still coming to terms with their success. Hence, tonight's spectacle has been upgraded from the very intimate location of La Maroquinerie to the larger, draughtier confines of the EM. Whilst this makes for a more grandiose affair, it's not entirely clear whether the band are up to the challenge of mastering the larger, slightly unfriendlier venue they now find themselves in.
Let's face it, Hard-Fi make up the growing number of bands starting out in the pop charts and hitting the heights a little too soon - their debut disc is no slack affair and hits such a balance between radio rock and dancefloor friendly indie that you'd expect them to level this place without breaking into a sweat. Funny thing is, they don't. Things start well though, and the frontline of Richard Archer, Kai Thomson and wide-mouthed youngster Ross Philips on guitar have no trouble pulling the crowd into their slipstream once things get started. Their stuff sounds like the best of early 90's indie without the dodgy nostalgia of tie-dyed hoodies and smiley face bandanas, but with all the naive pop charm that would make them equally suited to Saturday morning kid's TV as it would to Saturday evening on the dancefloor. Let's face it, the likes of EMF and the Farm may not have aged magnificently but it still has a tune to it and despite the slight tinge of negativity that creeps into stuff like 'Feltham is singing out', this is the sort of stuff that you'll hear once and then hum on the bus, so by the time the band comes to town you know the whole album off by heart. So true to form, with the likes of 'Hard to Beat', current radio fave 'Cash Machine' and a thoroughly monstrous 'Tied up too tight' the boys drop enough bombs to leave your head ringing for the next week.
So why does it fall short? For once, let's call it the venue's fault - for their first headline gig in France, the band are lost in too big a space and Richard Archer's stage raps fizzle out like he's an irate teenager protesting at overcautious parents. The Staines massive down the front go bonkers all the way through, but more than a few rows back you're stuck still and counting off how much of the album they haven't played yet. The venue is maybe half full, and you can't help but think the extra few tickets they shifted for this gig might have been snapped up by passers by only halfway interested in the band. Compared to a dream vision of La Maroq crammed full of sweaty punters thrashing around on its tiny dancefloor bathed in pink strobes and smoke bombs, this all seems a bit.....well, like they're playing Blue Peter or something. The lack of material starts to show as well when they stick in a lengthy cover of 'Seven Nation Army' just to disguise the fact that they'd gone through the whole album already.
Small beef though, cos these lads certainly have the potential to trash larger venues than this once they're road weary enough to fill every gap in the air. Right now we can hear the wind blowing through the holes, and you get the impression that their real force will only be felt once they've built up enough confidence to blow this stuff out hard enough that the folks lining the bar spill their drinks in a bout of spontaneous Bez-like boogying. So a nil-nil draw away for the Staines squad, but once they've trained a bit more on home turf I think we can look forward to a more brutal foreign campaign from this lot.

9th March 2006