Feeding The Commons

I know I’ve talked about it before, but they brought it up again, so some more thoughts, this time concerning the BPI’s latest press release.

Firstly, this is curious:

The British record industry – which invests more in new British musical talent than any other

Now I suppose what they mean here is that they invest in music talent more than another country's industry does in their talent. At least, that's what I hope they mean, because otherwise you do have to wonder about what they're going on about (damn those French labels for not investing in Glaswegian bands!).

I've already mentioned about how the BPI has woken up to this fact rather late (they didn't care when Jimmy Young's songs went public domain, did they?), but the important point, one that is obvious but that I 've never really thought about before, is this: on January 1st 2005, all BMG copies of Elvis Presley's That's All Right will not spontaneously combust. BMG can sell the song for the rest of time, and all others recorded before 31st December 1954. The only thing that will change is that now other people will also be able to sell copies of the same songs. Some will be the usual large labels, but new, smaller labels might spring up, using this cheap product to build up capital so they can invest money back into the industry, helping to reinvigorate today's rather bleak independent label situation. There will be competition. But hey, isn't that what capitalism is all about? There's so many ways to add value to a public domain product, as shown by the continued strong sales for books like Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre, despite the fact that anybody can download them for free. This can be done in many ways, from the simple idea of reducing the price, to including special features with the public domain release (liner notes, extra tracks, videos, etc) thus making the item more attractive, even if it does have a higher price.

Raising the spectre of The Beatles's work going into the public domain is a cheap shot, but — well, all I can say is that I can't wait. The Beatles's back catalogue is a reflection of all that's wrong with the British music industry at the moment; high-priced, awfully-packaged, and woefully produced. Take Abbey Road — the last record made by the band! So much that could be said! And what do you get? A flimsy piece of paper with the titles and copyright information on it. Tremendous. Apart from Let It Bleed…Naked and the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, all of the original albums haven't changed since their original 1987 pressing, a pressing well-known to be inferior to the vinyl recordings. So, I can't wait for a Beatles fan to make his or her own version of Please Please Me, creating a superior pressing and writing obsessive liner notes that are infused with a blinding love of I Saw Her Standing There and Love Me Do.

I'm looking forward to posting That's All Right here on January 1st 2005. An important piece of music history will be released freely into our culture, and hopefully more will follow as the years go by.

currently playing: Saturday Looks Good To Me — When You Got To New York

The Truth At Last!

(apologies for the bad voice-acting)

currently playing: ESG — You’re No Good

A Love Hangover

Independent Love Song single coverIndependent Love Song Scarlet WEA Released: January 1995 Highest UK Chart Position: 12 Available on: Naked

"Hi, Kevin."

"Hullo Bill."

"What are you doing?"

"Not much. Just sitting around, listening to this record."

"Oh. Sounds Good. What's it about?"

"It's one of those power ballads —"

"What, like Meatloaf?"

"Yeah, except, y'know, good. Soaring female vocals, big pianos and the like."

"Hmm. A little too earnest for me. What is she singing about?"

"It's an independent love song."

"What the hell does that mean? Independent from what exactly?"

"Well, if you listen, Bill, you might understand. It's one of the early signs of the ladette in British culture, this is. Now it's fine that many men will look my way / And I'll let them take me home and let them show me the way / And sure I'll like a few but I'll leave the rest to play. See?"

"I see. And the chorus I'm gonna show you how to take me / Go down go down / And I'll show you how to turn me / Right on right on is her directing her lover in a not-very-veiled fashion."

"Right! You see, it's the woman telling the man that she's in charge of the relationship, that she might play around, but she'll always come back to him."



"Y'know, Kevin, why does it have to be a man? Perhaps it's really a song about bisexuality. She's currently in a relationship with a woman. Perhaps it's her partner's first relationship, hence the guidance, and the warning that men will still be interested in the singer. And her in them. But for now, all she wants is her."


"You don't agree?"

"Just hadn't thought about it like that before."

"Well, it's just what I took from it. Anyway, Mike's waiting for us down the pub. We should get moving."


Laugh or Cry? LAUGH OR CRY?

Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! A Small Lesson in Conservatism is a wonderful way to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. In simple text, parents and children follow Tommy and Lou on their quest to earn money for a swing set their parents cannot afford. As their dream gets stuck in Liberaland, Tommy and Lou’s lemonade stand is hit with many obstacles.

Liberals keep appearing from behind their lemon tree, taking half of their money in taxes, forbidding them to hang a picture of Jesus atop their stand, and making them give broccoli with each glass sold.

Law after law instituted by the press-hungry liberals finally results in the liberals taking over Tommy and Lou’s stand and offering sour lemonade at astronomical prices to the customers.

currently playing: The Postal Service — Clark Gable

More Depressing Things

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a regulation that would forbid the public release of some data relating to unsafe motor vehicles, saying that publicizing the information would cause “substantial competitive harm” to manufacturers.

Scott McClellan, the chief White House spokesman, said of the changes, "The president's common-sense policies reflect the values of America, whether it is cracking down on corporate wrongdoing or eliminating burdensome regulations to create jobs."

Well, I'm convinced? Are you? Government lawyers have not wavered in their argument: Once the FDA approves the product, they say, allowing injured consumers to sue manufacturers would sabotage the agency's authority.

Because the FDA can never be wrong. Ever. Trust The Administration. Have A Happy Day.

Oh, and we still suck too.

currently playing: The Go! Team — Bottle Rocket

Thanks To Brem X Jones

The greatest lyric in the history of Pop is "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah." All of Pop can be condensed into that one word, whether it's a transcendent cry of joy, or the downtrodden, sighing whisper of 'yeah.' It is Pop in diamond form. Johnny Boy understand this and take full advantage of it, leading to a magic point two minutes into You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve where the song lingers on "Yeah! Yeah!" just long enough for you to swoon.

It's the way the title makes the entire career of the Manic Street Preachers seem irrelevant; a gloriously pretentious slogan that eclipses anything that Nicky Wire could imagine (and James Dean Bradfield knows this, as he co-produces this single). It's the way that the song has a perfect structure: opening with the Be My Baby drum beat, a beat so Pop that it shimmers with the gleam of stolen jewels, so pure, so right. Then glockenspiels, a firework across the speaker channels, before Lolly sings the first verse and chorus in the sprit of a 1950s singer, gently introducing us to the Wall of Sound, and then singing the whole first verse again with the backing of the Wall. It's the way that the Wall is dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, given an injection of THX to create something more than just a Wall; this is a Tunnel. And yes, it's that point two minutes into the song where it decides it's through playing games and throws you at the walls of the Tunnel, into Sound Itself. It's reflecting back at you, refracting all around you, changing with each listen as "Yeah! Yeah!" and "oo baby" echo in your soul. This is Pop. This is Magic. Then, just as soon as you decide you want to stay there forever, the song pulls you back out, back onto the rails for the abrupt finale, leaving you thirsty for more. And then you play it again. And again.

Lyrics? Partly lost in the production, becoming signs on the Tunnel that you glimpse as you rush past, but when you catch one ("this frequency's my universe", or "sleek mystique reversed"), it is celestial ; a call to arms, against consumerism, to watch meteors streak across the night sky, for the end of the night, when even though the world is shot, you just can't help agreeing with the opening lyrics of "And I just can't help believing / though believing sees me cursed". And the choir of church bells, chimes, and the synth from Soft Cell's Tainted Love makes it shine even brighter. Indiepop for the masses; a mad mix of ideas, trampled jam tarts, razor-sharp nail polish and cherry lipstick, throwing the zombie corpse of Paul Weller into a Car Wash.

You need this record in your life. But I can't give it to you here. And there's only 3000 copies of the single. Email me.

currently playing: Johhny Boy — Crews Against Consumismo (Extended Mix)

And Yet More Politics

Read! As a TV personality attempts to debate an economist about the US economy! You’ll never guess who sounds more sensible…

Remember all those happy images from a few months ago? Well, they never happened. One step forward, two steps back.

Ongoing polls from Florida.

Bonnie is angry and she's heading your way…

David Blunkett continues on his quest to turn Britain into Singapore.

There is a reason why this post is being made today instead of tomorrow…

Why Europe should keep its 50-year copyright terms for recordings.

The US Government finally rights a thirty-year old disgrace.

currently playing: Saturday Looks Good To Me — Typing

My So-Called Lunchbox

Two years and $100 later, it’s finally mine! Bwahahahaha!

Ailish and Bonnie

Bonnie is pondering all the different ways she can steal Ailish’s dress.

Aaron With Transformers

He showed me his Bionicle toys, so it was only fair to repay the favour…