Live Blogging Live 8: Have Nothing Better To Do

Starting off with highlights from Live Aid: Message from the BBC: It’s not going to be half as good, suckers!

Boo! I was expecting U2 and Thumbs Aloft Macca (doing my bit to relive old Smash Hits catchphrases) to be dressed up as the Lonely Hearts Band…a few instrument players don’t count!

BRING BACK THE QUO!

“The sun always sshinnnneees on TV!” It’s a good thing A-Ha are playing in a different venue, Bono…

And now…for a very special message…

Warren Ellis is offering cash money for an air strike.

Sting’s wife sounds like Paula Yates…which gave old flashbacks when not paying attention to the TV.

OOoh. Time for Coldplay. Hold me. Yawning for Africa, with After Effects fractal lines in the background. Chris tries to bring the Quo, but the crowd either doesn’t recognise it, or are getting ready to bottle him off…

OH FOR A GUN. YOU ARE NOT FREDDIE MERCURY.

The best song in the world has a Rolling Stones sample? Who knew? (But at least the presence of Ashcroft means that Chris Martin is thrown in the background for a while)

The greatest thing ever organised ever apparently. The UN, the invasion of Normandy, the eradication of polio, the Magna Carta, all pale into comparison when set against a rock concert (honest, I’m not this cynical normally, but I resent being called stupid because I don’t buy into something without question). And Kenickie’s “I Would Fix You” is approximately 12,345 times better than “Fix You”.

HAHAHAHA. I love the BBC. I hope the engineers cut away from that on purpose; just to dent Chris Martin’s insufferable “If the BBC switch this off, they’re not doing their jobs properly” speech

Andrew Marr for the new TOTP! Or at least a duet with Snoop Dogg!

My sister: “Philadelphia gets Brad Pitt and Will Smith, and we get Little Britain???”

Elton John looking fairly reserved, which is a shame. We could really do with a silly wig or two to liven things up. But don’t worry! Keane are on later!

Marchers in London’s Gay Pride asked to think of Africa by Bob Geldof. He won’t be happy until he’s overshadowed every political event in the next two weeks, will he?

OH GOD, Pete Doherty has made it on time! And not looking like he applied his make-up while out of his mind on heroin. No, not at all. Good God, he looks absolutely terrible. Back on the drugs again, it seems.

YAY BJÖRK! BOO! NO MORE BJÖRK!

We were hoping for Bruce Springsteen, but all we get is Bob.

BILL SODDING GATES? BILL —— I…I

oh sure, a convicted monopolist! That’s a good spokesman! In charge of a company that imposes heavy trade restrictions on companies shipping its products, that campaigns for absurdly restrictive copyright laws, and does its utmost to undermine free alternatives to its expensive products. Just wonderful…coming up next, Pope Benedict XIV on birth control! Although the payback is that he has to introduce Dido. Which is a fairly worthy punishment for restricting us to 8.3 filenames for fifteen years.

Luckily, Dido is drawing all the rage out of me. She’s a great soporific…

Youssou N’Dour is designated Official African Music Talent of Live 8, it seems, and he, one of the biggest selling African artists ever…is doing backing vocals for Dido. Nice one! Aha, 7 Seconds now, so he gets a bigger part.

And now we’re going across the world! Zucchero! Katherine Jenkins in Berlin (crowd wanting her to do 99 Red Balloons), Thomas Mapfumo in Eden (which doesn’t sound bad, actually), Duran Durah living it up in Rome (Spandau forever!), and that’s it.

Either the G8 drops the debt or Stereophonics play FOREVER! At this point, we’re making an executive decision to watch the Women’s Final at Wimbeldon, as Kelly Jones is not welcome in this house. Why couldn’t they get the Manics? I’m sure Nicky Wire would have enlivened the event somewhat.

Oh look! Celebs didn’t have to go through a text-message lottery!

Back to the tennis because Ricky Gervias isn’t funny, and Lindsay Davenport is fighting with an umpire! Much more exciting!

Michael Stipe is auditioning for the Blue Man Group! I think he’s going to win today’s make-up prize, doing an impression of Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in a rather low-key version of Imitation of Life (lots of stray feedback and mic pops).

R.E.M. at Live 8

I really don’t like Everybody Hurts. But everybody else seems to be having a good sway, so I can deal with it. Plus it’s the first time today that the crowd sounds excited.

WHAT? Cut back TO R.E.M., I don’t want to see Razorlight! WHO PUT COLIN AND EDITH IN CHARGE OF THE VIDEO AGAIN!?? R.E.M. are doing Man in The Moon for crying out loud!

Ah, that’s better. anger levels subside

Meanwhile, in Japan, Björk begins to devour Tokyo:

bjork.jpg

KOFI! KOFI! ANNAN!

Ms. Dynamite is suffering from more sound problems. And the crowd not joining in.

(erm, what happened to Kofi Annan? Bob Geldof all but goes down on his knees for Bill Gates, but the leader of the UN just gets to shuffle on and off? Nice!)

Graham Norton tells us that the Kaiser Chiefs are amazingly calm. Well, a world breathes easier with that knowledge…

Meanwhile, Jonathan Ross and Ricky Gervais make condescending comments about acts all over the world, while Hyde Park gets ready for Keane. Ah, Keane. A band that makes you yearn for the hard-edge and dangerous sound of Sarah Records.

Venus Williams v. Lindsay Davenport is 2-3 in the final set, by the way.

Oh look, it’s Bob. And WILL SMITH! Yay! Working all the crowds. Because he can. DUDE! HE’S GOT THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE ONSTAGE! Best Prop Ever!

Do we have to go back to London? Philadelphia looks quite fun! But no, Travis is doing their “We were like Coldplay first, dammit!” act, comprising of Sing, Side, and Why Does It Always On Me. Oh, for the halcyon days of U16 Girls.

Fran, you can’t sing Staying Alive. You let us down, you’ve let Britain down, but most of all, you’ve let yourselves down. And nice juxtaposition with African desert scenes during Rain on me!

Oho. “Only The Biggest Acts Can Apply!” That would be Bob Geldof onstage, then. Where are the rest of the Boomtown Rats, Bob? And not a shameful attempt to recreate the 1985 performance, oh no…and back to Midge Ure. Who seems a little annoyed, but then recovers when talking to Fearne Cotton, although somewhere Annabel Giles is warming up her boxing gloves.

Oh, Brad Pitt is in London! Could he possibly mention pharmaceutical companies and generic drugs? Probably not.

It’s Brits’ Best Female Artist Annie Lennox! Yawwwwn.8-7 Venus in final set, Or. Venus wins!

Going to take a little break for dinner. Back soon.

I was a bit mean to Annie Lennox; she turned in an impressive performance. But the highlight of the whole concert so far has got to be Snoop Dogg showing how cool it is to go on BBC1 at 18:30 and spend fifteen minutes going through all the swear words in his little rhyming dictionary. Top class entertainment! Plus, the sight of Paul McCartney getting down to Drop It Like It’s Hot was wonderful.

Meanwhile, Will Smith is performing with DJ Jazzy Jeff in Philly! We laugh at the Americans, but their line-up seems much more diverse, plus they’ve got over 1.5m people there, which is a damn site more than the 200,000 or so in Hyde Park…(warning, I have a huge soft spot for Will Smith, so I loved the whole Switch / Fresh Prince / Summertime triptych)

Natalie Portman still has no hair! Evey Evey Evey! And the ‘Drive’ video that I mentioned a few days ago. And then, the girl in the video on stage, all grown up and looking well. An example of what Live Aid did. Of course, as Bob continues to point out, Live Aid was a completely different affair to this one.

MADONNA IS GOING TO EAT HER SOUL!

Okay, the girl has her translator with her now; she looked a little lost while Madonna was calling for a revolution.

MORE SWEARING! That quiet sobbing is the poor sap who is manning the BBC Duty Log tonight…

(I hope this continues to the point where Sir Macca decides to cover an NWA song by the end of the night)

A fairly average (although Ray of Light was nice and fast) set by Madonna, although she’s now get a cast of about forty on stage to liven things up a little. Oh, Jacques Lu Cont!

Boo! More Pet Shop Boys! Come back!

An interesting running order at London. No harm to Snow Patrol, obviously, but above Madonna? Arg. Forgetting the words to your song to an audience of 5 billion is probably a little embarrassing.

Pet Shop Boys an BBCi allows us to escape Jimmy Carr. We turn over at the exact point where their set ends. Wonderful.

Meanwhile, in other wonderful feats! My favourite part is that he lost his place three hours in, and had to start all over again. That man has stamina.

The Killers! For one song! Somebody got a raw deal…but they’re making the best of it. Although, if Bob Geldof hadn’t done I Don’t Like Mondays, they could have done two! Boo to Bob!

Or…we could have skipped Joss Stone’s set. We’re switching over to Alicia Keys, perhaps you might join us…although she’s not too interesting either.

Wow, the Philly concert looks like bunches of fun; poets, beach balls, pyro, and sun!

Erm, Peter Kay is either drunk, or incredibly pissed-off with Jonathan Ross. The look he gave Ross when he mentioned Amarillo was deathly.

Boo! Jake is dressed! But a stylish cowboy outfit nonetheless. And Ana Matronic’s microphone isn’t working. Grrr. Oooh! New song! I do think we should adopt the Sisters as artists in residence, especially since the Americans aren’t that interested. They’d make the VJ-Day celebrations more enjoyable, for a start.

Peter Kay is drunk. Highlight: “You will burn!” to Joss Stone, after accusing her of selling her soul to the Devil. It’s all coming apart.

Velvet Revolver - doing the camp Nazi thing?

Kieron should have started a campaign to get Daphne & Celeste to reform…

Slash never gets older. He’s like Cousin It; there’s too much hair to determine even an approximate age.

Scott Weiland is shirtless. We wanted Jake topless! Not you!

DJ in Philly: “Put your hands in the air for Michael Jackson!” Response: Silence.

John McEnroe on stage! Put us out of our misery, John!

Hyde Park Must Die For Halifax Dropping.

Sting on next. There is no way this is going to end by ten. Especially since we’ve got Pink Floyd AND The Who still to come.

The background video effects are very Peter Saville-y tonight, aren’t they?

Sting is worryingly becoming a Jeffery Archer lookalike. But thank goodness that the Spitting Image puppets rumour seems to have been just a gag (the world leaders during Every Breath You Take are on video screens instead)

He’s the M-A DOUBLE R! Andrew Marr! Talking sense.

Mariah Carey, going back to her first album, of all things for tonight. Meanwhile, in Philly, Sarah McLachlan is bringing everybody down. CHOIR ALERT BACK IN LONDON! Mariah is also looking quite uncomfortable in those shoes. Oh dear. Oh dear. Embarrassing Mariah speech about THE CHILDREN. Watch those notes, Mariah!

John McEnroe is STREET.

David Beckham has THE FEAR in his eyes. And now, Robin Williams. With Queen. Oh how we laughed. If he was going to do a cover, then why not “Could It Be Magic”, eh? (And notice how he’s not actually singing half of his songs?). I’m conflicted over Robbie; I want to like him, but his performances make it very hard (plus, the whole swing era made me want to beat him to death with a microphone stand). And attempting to be 1984’s Bono doesn’t win any points either. But at least he mentioned Midge Ure!

Oh dear. Peter Kay is walking. Just. And now for an a cappella version of Amarillo. And no, we don’t want to see the Hairy-Toed She-Beast interviewing George Michael.

And now, the MOR part of the evening! The Who look better preserved than The Roling Stones, but, ah, they’re showing their age a little (but still, who’s hoping for a CSI medley?).Won’t Get Fooled Again isn’t bad, though. Time for a quick drink during the instrumental, Pete!

The Cure are on in Paris. Boy, Robert Smith has filled out a little!

And now! Appropriately in the dark! It’s Da Floyd! With The Scissor Sisters! (a-ha!) Pig sighting! And we still have a Beatle to go, remember! Okay, I promise to refrain from using exclamation marks for about ten minutes. Not too much to say really; I can’t claim to being a big Pink Floyd fan. But they’re not doing anything wrong here. Aho, I have heard Wish You Were Here though, and that was quite good. BIG HUG AT THE END!

Only Sir Paul to go now - looks like they’re going to overstep their licence by two hours, although I doubt that Westminster Council will complain too much. Sucks if you had to make the last train!

And here he is - I take it that he’s not playing the Spector arrangements tonight, though? First special guest is George Michael on Baby, You Can Drive My Car. Well, I would tell you more, but it’s been switched over to Stevie Wonder. Apparently though, I missed him stealing Helter Skelter back from Bono. Anyway, back to The Long And Winding Road, always one of the lesser Beatles songs (and not improved by Paul junking Phil’s work, either). And hey! Hey Jude singalong! (just the end though, which is a bit of a cop-out)

(who knows what Paul whispered into Mariah’s ear. And Jake is gazing longingly at Fran Healy (Woo!))

Something of a damp squib ending, I thought. But don’t worry! Here come the Kaiser Chiefs! (secretly ironic, of course)

Just mopping up now. Best bits of the day? Probably R.E.M., Will Smith, and Snoop Dogg enlivening tea-times all over Britain. And that they didn’t show a new soundtracked video of Africa like ITN said they were. Hurrah!

Best So Far!

Shamelessly stolen from Sweeping The Nation!

They’re never going to make another Technique again. Once you’ve accepted that fact, all of New Order’s post-1988 output is more palatable, somehow. Waiting For The Sirens’ Call is a elegiac collection of songs that hits all of my New Order buttons. though I concede that they could sing out-of-tune with bad mikes while a pantomime horse dances on stage, and I’d be happy…

“What can I get for ten dollar?” I don’t care if she’s real, a fake art student who works with Justine Elastica, or a time-displaced Neneh Cherry; this album is fantastic. Wonderful beats, some fun and weird vocals, plus “I salt and pepper my mango”, which is my favourite lyric of the year so far (Apart from “bing-bong-bing-bong”, naturally).

Their first record on Sanctuary saw them crashing in at the charts at No. 72 (I mean, really, what with the charts the way they are, I don’t want to know how many albums you have to sell to reach those lofty heights). It’s a shame, as it’s the most accessible album they’ve made for years. I want to find the time to write a full post on it, to be honest, but highlights include: Sarah Cracknell’s almost perfect Kylie impression on Stars Above Us, the backing vocals that drench the album, the final minute of Milk Bottle Symphony, and all of Teenage Winter.

They were up in Manchester when I was there in April; I could have got my copy of the album signed, you know. Anyway, easily the best of the current post-punk revival bands, even if the BBC is trying to wear out So Here We Are by playing it all over their Wimbledon coverage.

Pips Sleater-Kinney’s The Woods to the list. Both have heavy Dave Fridmann production, but I think it works better in Low’s case than with S-K. You have to love an album that starts with “Tonight the monkey dies”…

currently playing: Saint Etienne – Let’s Build A Zoo

Not Exactly A Party Man, Then

Ah, I do love Mr. Tony Benn…

currently playing: Nena – 99 Luftballoons

POWER UP!

THE BEST THING EVER! EVER!

currently playing: The National – Mr. November

Live 8: No-one's Taking Me Home

I’ve found it hard to fully explain my uneasiness with the upcoming Live 8 concert. There’s just something that bugs me about it all, from the inept mobile phone ticket lottery (making lots of money for O2), the ever-changing reasons why certain acts weren’t invited to perform (and bands added to the bill without being informed), to Bob Geldof’s rather lunatic ideas like Sail 8. They seem wedded to the history of Live Aid, yet insist that the new concert has nothing to do with it (lots of the same acts, similar name, very similar logo belie this somewhat). And it just seems…less, somehow. Sure, it’ll will be the most-watched concert in history on Saturday. But that doesn’t mean much any more; back in 1985, it was something special to be taken to a Russian studio, to peer behind the Iron Curtain using cutting edge satellite technology. Now, Russia is just another country, and the transmission probably won’t trouble today’s broadcast technology.

But what sums up the whole event for me is a news report from last night, where Richard Curtis and a host of assistants are busy at work creating a video to be broadcast on the night. Now, I don’t now how much of the legend of the Drive video is true, but in that case, it seems that it was the work of a lone BBC engineer who stumbled upon the juxtaposition of The Cars and images from Africa. Sure, it was manipulative, but it was an amateur sort of manipulation; he overlaid the two, and that was it. Now, though, Curtis is going through music libraries to find the ‘perfect’ soundtrack (R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion’ played throughout last night’s report), in a calculated attempt to recreate the effect of Drive. It’s Live Aid, but polished, airbrushed, and shined.

Sure, I’ll probably be watching on Saturday. But with a sense of scepticism over the whole affair…

currently playing: Saint Etienne – Teenage Winter

I'll Take Disingenuous Quotes For $100

In this story about Peter Jackson suing New Line Cinema for underpaying him for his work on The Lord of The Rings trilogy (wherein the central part of the complaint is that New Line / Warner Brothers sold off rights to the spin-off materials to its subsidiary companies at lower-than-market value):

But Mr. Socarides said some lucrative rights did not go to Time Warner companies. The pay television deal went to Starz, not Time Warner’s HBO. He added that the “Rings” book trilogy remains with Houghton Mifflin, which is not a Time Warner subsidiary.

Because obviously, New Line had the right to sell those rights on…I’m sure the Tolkien estate might have had a few words about that…

currently playing: Roisin Murphy — Ruby Blue

Quality Service

Guess who’s rumoured to be the front-runner for the ID Card database contract? EDS! I will leave you to write your own jokes…

The summary of the LSE report is worth having a browse (the full report is even better, including pointing out that security services will be able to modify the database as they wish, creating new identities and being able to alter your details, which includes time / location of verification, so they can make you appear to be anywhere they want you to be…hurrah!)

Choice bits:

The technology envisioned for this scheme is, to a large extent, untested and unreliable. No scheme on this scale has been undertaken anywhere in the world. Smaller and less ambitious systems have encountered substantial technological and operational problems that are likely to be amplified in a large-scale, national system. The use of biometrics gives rise to particular concern because this technology has never been used at such a scale.

We also accept that the proposed scheme is likely to have an impact on false identity within the benefits sector. However, the government has already put in place vetting regimes that are rigorous and effective. Benefit fraud through false identity is relatively rare and we believe the cost of introducing an identity card in the benefits environment would far outweigh any savings that could be made.

The Government has consistently asserted that that biometrics proposals, both in the new UK passport format and in the identity cards legislation, is a harmonising measure required by international obligations, and is thus no different to the plans and intentions of the UK’s international partners. There is no evidence to support this assertion.

Identity Cards: Just Say No, MPs…(or more realistically, the House of Lords, which will throw it out again, thus raising the spectre of the Parliament Act once more)

currently playing: ABC – The Look of Love (Part One)

Ehh?

Who brings an inflatable doll to Glastonbury?

(Although bonus points to Shirley for making the best of it)

Incidentally: should I make an effort to distinguish between Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian, or, as evidenced by what I saw of them this weekend, is it not worth it?

currently playing: Garbage — Why Do You Love Me?

Day Two: Ow Ow Ow Ow

When I woke up on Thursday morning, my feet announced that I would not be doing quite as much walking. Ow. Blisters.

After breakfast, I hobbled along to the Speakers meeting, where we met the moderators and had a chance to make sure that our laptop would work with the conference centre’s projectors. Then a quick email check, a walk back to the train station to work out what train I should take to get back to Baden-Baden (I thought about going on the bus route again, but the timetable for that meant that if there were any problems, I’d miss the flight home, so I thought the train would be a little safer), and back to the hotel to checkout. A slight mix-up occurred, meaning that I had to pay for the room, but hopefully I’ll get that sorted out soon.

Then, more wandering! Ate half a Bratwurst before I started to gag on it. I was trying for the authentic experience, but I really don’t like sausage.

My talk suffered a little from me leaving my DV cable at home, so I couldn’t use the footage of the conference that I shot on Wednesday afternoon, but I think it went okay for the most part, although I probably talked far too fast. There were a few questions afterwards, but that was it; done with LinuxTag 2005. I said goodbye to Torsten, the moderator (and co-editor of the Video Book), headed off back to the train station, the teeny-tiny Baden Airpark airport, and then back into Stansted Airport.

Now only three weeks to go until America…

currently playing: Life Without Buildings – Juno

Another Triumph!

Yes, Coldplay can make Can’t Get You Out Of My Head boring. Congratulations!

bashes head against a wall

(can we have a temporary ban rock acts doing ironic pop covers? Please?)

currently playing: Glastonbury 2005