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


Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop

currently playing: Lansing-Dreiden - A Line You Can Cross

It's On and Offable, But Mostly Off

Last month, I crowed about my shiny new MacBook. Somehow, I managed to avoid the excessive whining, the warping of the case, and the rather nasty-discolouration problem that plagued the first ones off the production line.

I thought that I had escaped the Revision A Curse.

I was wrong. Obviously.

When my machine switched itself off when ripping a CD at the start of the week, I was a little concerned, but thought it was just a kernel panic rather than a hardware problem. As the week progressed, though, it kept on turning itself off, leading up to a fun evening where it would start booting and then switch off repeatedly during the boot sequence. This was fixed by zapping the Power Management Unit, fixing the problem for a few hours, or until the morning.

Somewhat worried, I had a look at the Apple Discussion Forums to see if anybody had been experiencing similar problems. And it seems to be plaguing a lot of people. Even more worryingly, Apple don’t really have a fix yet. Still, I called AppleCare, spent an hour on an 0870 number, and eventually managed to get them to admit that they’ll need to take it in for repair.

It’s back to the G4 for the next couple of weeks, while they replace the logic board or the entire machine. sigh I had quite settled into Tiger and Intel…

currently playing: Basement Jaxx – Hey You

For Lorelai...

Let the anvils ring!

currently playing: Modern English – I’ll Melt With You

The Rapture Smiley!

Rapture smiley

Yes, I’m scared.

currently playing: Johnny Boy – 15 Minutes

Limited Service

We’re redecorating. No internet for the next 24 hours.

But! A promotional video for Opera DS (out in Japan on Monday; my copy is ordered)

currently playing: Rachel Kiel — Lights On