Yike!

Live 8’s response to recent criticism: Stereophonics drafted in to play London. And if you don’t pipe down, they’ll do a Phil Collins with them…

Oh, goodness, and the zombified remains of Queen as well!

If we have a Spice Girls reunion, Geri is non-negotiable. All five, throwing evil glances at each other, and an evil Simon Fuller laughing maniacally in the background. We might as well get some entertainment from the night…because it’s not going to come from Sting and Madonna’s duet of Imagine (which may be the moment where the G8 will finally cave, if only to end the hideous nightmare).

currently playing: Saint Etienne — Side Streets

Fold Your Links Child, And Walk Like A Peasant

Sasha Frere-Jones (a critic for the New Yorker) announces that he will no longer review music that is only available through listening sessions, and EMI announces that their secrecy protocols for the new Coldplay album have been so successful that X&Y only leaked a week before the UK release date. Before going on to say that they don’t think pre-release leaking harms music sales, but they’ll spend all the money on trying to prevent it anyway.

(Incidentally, how did EMI get to be so dependent on Coldplay, anyway? I remember buying Shiver five (six?) years ago, and thinking that it was okay for a Jeff Buckley impression, but nothing all that special. And now they’re the biggest band in Britain. Yes, my music prediction skills are almost as good as my political ones)

Everybody needs one of these! Secure that ice-cream, soldier!

I want this t-shirt.

The Japanese show, once again, that they are strange, freaky, and capable of making the most wonderful of toys.

The secret themes within Revenge of The Sith (warning: is completely nuts).

And finally, Jamie Hewlett’s comic adaptation of Pulp’s Common People!

currently playing: Nouvelle Vague – I Just Can’t Get Enough

Not Getting Off To A Good Start

I promise to be positive about something this week. But before that:

Live 8 Press Conference

Live 8. Sure, Bob, it has nothing to do with Live Aid. Completely different logos, for a start.

Live Aid logo

Oops.

So, then, the lineup. The French are punished for voting “no” on Sunday by having to face the twin evils of both Craig David and Jamiroquai (which seems harsh any way you look at it), and the rest of the line-up around the world looks just as uninspiring (Coldplay and Snow Patrol at the same venue? Aha, a game of spot the difference played before millions!). Anybody want to take bets on Sir Fabba Macca Thumbs Aloft McCartney performing a sing-a-long version of Let It Be? And what about people who don’t have a mobile phone? I realise that there’s only about five of us left in the country, but still, it hurts to be left out of the ticket lottery!

Ehh, maybe I’m being too hard. My original thought when hearing about this was that it was an obvious spoiler for the G8 protests in Scotland; keep the kiddies occupied while the leaders talk. But it’s clear that Ure and Geldof want Scotland protests. And in a big way. It just feels wrong, really, that here we are, twenty years later, and it’s the same names, trying to replicate an almost unique event. As if they’re trying to make up for the failures of Band Aid and Live Aid. And as if the leaders will listen. You can really see George Bush thinking “Muse are against poverty? Well, damn it, they’re my favourite neo-prog-rock-Britpop band! Dick, get me the Treasury on the phone, I’m gonna make a phone call…”

currently playing: ABC — All of My Heart

A Diversion

When you’ve finished laughing at Daniel Beddingfield’s inability to break the Top 40 (Bonnie and I have been chuckling about it all day, apart from when I’ve been saying “Are you my mummy?” in childlike tones to freak her out), here’s a little quiz.

First person to identify the comic that goes with each balloon (you don’t have to do the NEVER!!! one) wins a prize!

currently playing: Kenickie — In Your Car

Yay Summer!

Thermometer outside reads 32˚C. Hurrah!

(stays inside all day to celebrate)

currently playing: Velocette – Bitterscene

Moaning Ian

It seems all this week, I’ve been moaning and groaning. Sorry about that. One last moan though:

Huh? Considering how I was walking around Chapel Hill in September 2003 with a copy of Final Straw, how on earth is it eligible for this year’s Novellos?

Also: KEANE? A nation weeps, as the doom-laden sound of a frog can be heard on the horizon…

currently playing: Mint Royale — Don’t Falter

And Bill Nighy's Not That Great Either…

Someone! Please! Tell Richard Curtis TO STOP! Enough with the “See! Politics! Feel! DAMN YOU! Now, a shy Englishman joke!” sledgehammer. It stopped being amusing a long time ago, and now it’s just embarrassing…

currently playing: The Psychedelic Furs — Love My Way

Let's Do This Dance Again…Again!

A new Parliamentary session, and yes! Another lame bundle of cobbled-together reasons from Labour about why we should all have identity cards. This time? Well, the Prime Minister says we need ID cards to “stop the soaring costs of identity theft”. Wow, that’s a new one. Not quite sure how it’s going to stop people from rifling through bins, finding credit card and banking statements and using that information to sign up to new credit cards, gamble on the Internet, and generally spend money. Perhaps our new ID cards will include sentry guns. They’d better, considering they’re going to cost the Government at least £5bn in creating the world’s most complex biometric database, using all kinds of unproven technology. Oh, and they’re going to cost us roughly £100 on top of that as well. Oh, and has the Government mentioned that you’re going to have to fork out that sum every five years? No? Fancy that.

I spent far too much time last year talking about this, so go have a look if you want to hear my arguments against the scheme (and while I am a lefty ‘identity cards will insidiously change the relationship between the state and individual much for the worse’, most of my arguments are on practical grounds). There’s also the No2ID site, which has a very comprehensive FAQ on the matter, along with all sorts of ideas about how to protest to Parliament about this Bill. Hopefully, with the help of a few Labour rebels, the Home Office can be sent packing once again…

Oh, and there’s a report from one of the biometric trials at the Home Office’s site. Iris scanning seems to be the most effective, but look at the shocking verification rates for facial and finger prints: 69% and 81%. Wonderful, a £5.5bn system that might have a 1 in 5 chance of making a verification error? round of applause

Also: there are around 70 proposed passport centres to be setup. Everybody needs to be scanned…it’s going to take quite a while, isn’t it?

currently playing: The Go! Team — Bottle Rocket

Midweek

01 (NE) Crazy Frog - Axel F 02 (NE) Coldplay - Speed of Sound 03 (01) Oasis - Lyla 04 (02) Akon - Lonely 05 (04) Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc 06 (03) Black Eyed Peas - Don’t Phunk With My Heart 07 (NE) Amerie - 1 Thing 08 (NE) Audio Bully’s ft. Nancy Sinatra - Shot Me Down 09 (NE) Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl 10 (05) Tony Christie ft. Peter Kay - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo?

(it’s a week for music heartbreaking, it seems; Mark Radcliffe crossed the BBC picket line yesterday)

EDIT: From Simon Tyers’s spanking new blog with a snappy title: 40,000 copies.

Not. Enough. Gun.

currently playing: ABC – Tears Are Not Enough

A Broadcast To The Nation

People of the UK! This week sees a great turning point in our nation. A week where a decision will be taken that will decide our country’s destiny.

You have a choice. You can either buy Amerie’s One Thing, or you can contribute to the infection that is spreading through the internet and all over our TV stations by purchasing the Crazy Frog. shudder.

You have a choice. A vote for Amerie means summer, sun, and fun. A vote for the Frog pushes Britain over the brink. This will be our future: a naked blue frog stamping on our face for all eternity.

Don’t let it happen. Vote bing-bong-bing-bong.

currently playing: Saint Etienne — Nothing Can Stop Us