Introducing Vista 2.0

Ouch!

Days Like Television

You should head over to Sweeping The Nation to get yourself some Life Without Buildings MP3s. One of my favourite bands of this decade, I had a scary infatuation with The Leanover throughout 2003…

currently playing: Oasis — Supersonic

DEATH TO IRONY.

Come on now. Aren’t we past this yet? Like it? Then don’t feel guilty. Unless it’s Ronan Keating. Then you should feel shame. Tremendous shame…

currently playing: Bob Dylan – Lay Lady Lay

Jelly Eggs!

Jelly Eggs!

Wibble, wobble!

Mel Gibson's Breakdowno!

One does not abruptly decide, between the first and second vodka, or the ticks of the indicator of velocity, that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion are valid after all.

If nothing else, Hitchens still has a deft turn of phrase once in a while…

currently playing: Brassy – Micstyle

Out With A 4m Whimper

If nothing else, the final edition of TOTP showed that even at the very end, the BBC didn’t have a clue what to do with the show. It was a very embarrassed affair, like the producers knew they should be doing something special, but all they had to offer was a selection of clips long worn-out by repeated showings on TOTP2 and the increasingly-scary sight of Jimmy Saville. To fill in the gaps, the horrors of the 1980s Radio 1 team were dug out of commercial radio hell, making inane and self-satisfied comments until you were begging for Matthew Bannister to make a surprise cameo and fire them all over again.

(some of the choices during the decade compilations were a little odd too - why would you stick Prince in the 90s? Where were The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays? The Reynolds Girls? Bis? etc.)

Could it have been better? Well, given ten minutes, anybody who’d watched the show at any point during the last forty years could have come up with somethign a little better than a documentary that ended with Jamie Theakston saying “and Top of The Pops is going from strength to strength”, followed by a 10-minute “oops” coda.

2006, then. The death of Smash Hits and TOTP. A nation weeps. Or shuffles its feet and gets on with things. But mourning for TOTP seems a bit pointless. The brand is still alive, shows with its name on are still being made, and I have no doubt that a BBC1 controller will bring it back within the next ten years. It’s just a little break sniffle.

And the less said about the final episode of The West Wing, the better, really…

currently playing: The Art of Noise - Close (To The Edit)

Too Ugly For BBC2!

No Mark & Lard! A nation weeps. Or shrugs its shoulders and moves on…

currently playing: Regina Spektor – On The Radio

Live From Opera DS!

First impressions are that it’s quite nifty!

London Calling…Speak The Slang Now

Given the 700-odd post thread currently active over at ILM, it appears that Lily Allen is this year’s M.I.A., albeit this time around, people are actually buying records. Which, if you know your British music press well enough, is exactly when the backlash kicks in. Take this Stylus review, for instance, a near non-stop mass of invective that starts out with the familiar tactic of calling her authenticity into question, hurling insults left and right, before finally ending by accusing everybody who likes the record as being fake. Well. Indeed.

I’ve made no secret of being annoyed by the MySpace PR push that Allen has got through the press. She signed to Regal last year, and that album had to be recorded sometime, so it’s obvious that her internet presence is only a little part of the story. Also, the MP3 blogger swipe is very misleading. MySpace seems to have a separate audience to the blogger crowd - ILM didn’t start its Allen thread until March, for example, long after Lilly had started her site. The usual suspects like Fluxblog et al didn’t pick up her like they did with Annie, Rachel Stevens and M.I.A. So why are we being accused of promoting her records because we fancy her?

The rather rockist cries of ‘she’s not REAL!’ sound hollow, as even the end of the review makes clear when it castigates listeners for listening to her because they appreciate the indie-cred she has. Really, we went through this last year, didn’t we? Does it matter if she eat spaghetti-on-toast in a council flat, got embarrassed at dinner parties, or that her father is a leader of the Tamil Tigers? Or responsible for Vindaloo, I forget which. Sure, she manipulates her image, sucking up to indie readers in the NME, and going for the pop angle elsewhere, but that’s a prerequisite for pop stars, isn’t it? Madonna, Boy George, The Sex Pistols, etc…all masters of manipulating the press to promote themselves. Is she real? Does it matter?

As for Alright, Still, it’s a little like Bernard’s summer girlfriends in Black Books. It’s the sound of being outside and playing tennis in barefeet, and you’ll stop listening to it in September. I don’t think Smile is all that great, but the rest of the album is a curious mix of happiness and loneliness, mixed with humour and a vicious, cynical streak a mile wide. A perfect reflection of British life in 2006. It’s not going to stand the test of time, she’s not going to have a long and successful career, but for the here and now, it’s a fine accompaniment to Rhianna, The Pipettes, and the new Xtina track.

currently playing: Nouvelle Vague – The Killing Moon

Oodles and oodles of cash

And to think, in another episode of this series, Hugh was lamenting his pull in Hollywood.

Tomorrow, hopefully: More Lily. And this review.

currently playing: Suede – Beautiful Ones