The Life and Times of Bitsy Ramone

I want to tell you a story. I want to tell you about my life or at least the soundtrack to it. Music is the largest part of my life. It's all about discovering and re-discovering music and perhaps a little bit of myself on the way. This will be done through words and videos and reminisces from the past and present. Along with the usual gig reviews and pictures, we shall be interviewing people about their influences too.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Morning Wake Up Call

I couldn't resist this with Christmas Day falling on a Monday, so here's two for you...

"Oi to the World" The Vandals

“Let it Snow” Luscious Jackson

Friday, December 22, 2006

Soundtrack to my Life: "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

Artist: The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
Track: Fairytale of New York/Label: Pogue Mahone NY7/Album: If I Should Fall From Grace With God/Release: /Highest Chart Position: 2

Christmas Music. It’s all meant to be a bit crap and something to laugh at on the Christmas Day Top of the Pops, isn’t it?

It’s designed to be annoying, catchy but more importantly leave an imprint, in hope that you will rush down to your local Our Price and buy a copy in a vein attempt purchasing the record and cancelling out the monotonous and constant melody banging away in your head. This is usually acheived by taking whatever repetitive dirge in its purest of singular forms and over producing it within a hair’s breath of banality. This will make me sound like a very old man indeed but they don’t even attempt to be festive nowadays, not like the 70’s and 80’s when they at least shook some jingle bells or got some flamboyant, overset guy from Birmingham to shout “It’s Christmas!” at the end, not to mention having the word Christmas in the actual title.

In a world where the music industry and the charts in particular are controlled by people like Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh, who turn average Janes and Joe’s into popstars with an annual goal that is their new Patsy becoming the Christmas number one. For the last two years, they have succeeded with their request newest acts Shayne Ward and Leona Lewis. Both songs are ballads but are in no way festive. They lack a certain warmth and quality the Christmas charts used to bring along with the novelty. The X Factor show also took the top spot in 2002 with the even more non-festive and watered down Prodigy effort, Sound of the Underground, complete with its video shot in a disused warehouse.

Ballads are good and definately sell records at Christmas but the people who make an effort and do a novelty Christmas number get nudged to one side these days by some reality contestant with the shelf life of a couple of years. The Spice Girls scored three Chistmas number ones in a row, during the mid 90’s, again not festive ballads but at least one of them was accompanied by a suitably shot video of the girls... wrapped up... in the SNOW.
Yes, Goodbye wasn’t festive, it was a bitter sweet about losing a member of their band, but at least we got snow. So saying this, I am under the firm belief that the last festive number one this country had was in 1994 and as it pains me to say, Stay Another Day by East 17. It was a great song and had bells chiming along with the backing singers. It was heartfelt, it was poignant, chavs all over the country fell in love with band who secured themselves a nice little earner from future seasonal compilations and festive airplay. Yes, there was a Band Aid a couple of years ago and also one in 1989 but neither of them were very festive, just taking off the original and not very well. Just a load of minor chart acts looking for exposure rather than signing for the cause.

Christmas time for me as a teenager was always a time for broken promises and disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t lose out in terms of love or affection or support or new shiny things that played music very loudly, but I was bereft for most of my teenage years of my absconded male parental unit. My father, Pedro or Kenneth (his real name), once my hero and jack boot wearing compadre and then, after one night’s edition of Top of the Pop’s and one too many arguements, he who became forever absent.

The last Christmas in Redcar was pretty awful. My parents put up with each other long enough for the charade that was the family Christmas morning, if not for anyone but my youngest sister and her large plastic sack of presents.
I wasn’t in the mood at all and the oldest of my two sisters complained that I was making it a crappy Christmas for her. I was confused and frightened about my father who had continued to take the strap to me “for being naughty” where I was just frustrated and angry myself at living in the shitty atmosphere. My parents bickered throughout the dinner and what was Christmas lunch, which he never attended choosing to spend it with someone else. The same someone else that he had spent the majority of his time with that year no doubt. I was under no delusion that he was cheating on my mother on a regular occasion. I even visited her to when he had no choice but to take me. She lived in a flat above the chippy in the square and gave me fizzy green pop to drink.

I was too naive to protest, I didn’t know what was going on. I withdrew into myself and stayed in my room for the most, coming out for meals or to go to school. I took the scissors to the old Argos catalogues and cut out the pictures of the Transformers and the He-Man toys and tried to make like they were as good as the real thing which we couldn’t afford. I used to spend hours with my little paper figures in my own little world. I used to list them all and write fictitious stories about them and designed movie posters featuring me and my friends. When I wasn’t writing lists about things to avoid all the other things on my mind, I would ferociously type out basic game programming on a beat up computer my father had acquired. There was this book that came with it that listed computer coding that you could copy out and create the most simple of games onto your computer. I used to type out my feelings on that computer too but in those days there was no way of saving what you created and at the end of the day, I just turned it off and destoyed it.

The soundtrack of that final Christmas of 1987 and the following troublesome few months was a poignant and melodic Irish folk ballad about a bickering couple on Christmas Eve, Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. In the lyrics, he’s been released from the cells after a drunken night out after winning money on a horse and she’s giving a hard time for it despite being a drug addict who’s been laid up in hospital. They both seem down on their luck and just about surviving each day and you wonder whether they will stay together despite feeling a sense that deep down they love each other. It really is a beautiful song with a great melody that I never really appreciated at the time, despite the sombre tone resonating with our family atmosphere which was very tense and violent.

I remember one particular time after taking me along to The Pig and Whistle in town whilst he was left to watch me (something he had been told countless times not to do) and we both returned to my angry, frustrated mother. She shouted the same things at him that Kirsty MacColl would accuse Shane McGowan of and they would both push each other around the kitchen for a bit until he got pissed off enough and left again. I tried to get between them many times and find myself pushed to one side and tried to reason with her that I was fine. I was with my dad and there was no way that I would come to harm but my mother (and rightly so at the time) took a different position. I was too young to be going to pubs.

In the mean time though and despite my mother’s objections, I loved going down to The Pig and Whistle with him and my dad liked taking me there, first through necessity but then more often after he discovered he could make money out of me. I was a pretty good pool player. This wasn’t through his wise teachings or paid classes or anything, I just had a natural ability at a young age and my dad soon discovered that as I started beating all of his friends and the other passing locals who thought nothing of going up against some kid only to be beaten instead, that perhaps there was some angle here he could take advantage of. The pub was a real characters place and had that worn in sense of tradition and respect and some of these characters didn’t take to kindly being beaten at their precious pub game by a pre-teen but they were hardly going to complain with my dad there and if they did, he always had a fair few people to back him up when some local skin got upset when he was humiliated by an opponent who was smaller than the queue he was carrying.

Despite this new found income, he was always a careful betting man around me. We went through a period when he would let me pick the horses to place money on in Ladbrokes when most of his other tote reading methods had failed and through sheer boredom while I was kicking my heels in the smoky office with the TVs playing live racing from Doncaster and Loughborough, I took his newspaper and one of those little red pens with the white ends and ticked a horse in each of the five races I liked the sound of. As each of his came in third and fourth and he cursed to himself when each of my horses romped in with three lengths of the rest of the field. He took me down the next day and got me to do the same but I didn’t have as much luck and lost him even more money than he had the day before so because of this he was never quite sure how long my lucky streak was going to last. He would always wait until I had warmed up after a few games, but to be honest, by the time we got down there on a Sunday afternoon, most of them already had a good skinful inside them so it wasn’t hard beating the seasoned drinkers in The Pig and Whistle, the only skill I had on my side was the fact that I hadn’t drank eight pints.
The guy from next door was there and figured out quite early on that he wasn’t coming near the table when I was there, because he and most of the others in the bar, were ever in any fit state to play. It wasn’t just the pool table either. I was their secret weapon during the pub quiz and like the pool, I had an advantage over them too. The quiz was always simple (because so were the people) and about the news during the week before, news that they all more or less missed because they were here and I always watched sat at home. If it wasn’t covered in The Sun, which more or less just hounded paedophiles next to pictures of naked ladies back then too, it was a guaranteed point for our team, which consisted of me, my dad, the guy next door and Mickey, the dole cheating painter.

Looking back, I realise that it was wrong that he was taking me to pubs and associating me with foul mouthed, violent drunks, especially to make money for him. I was ten years old and not setting a very good example or contributing to a good relationship with my mother but I was a kid and I was spending time with my father and having fun with it and my house wasn’t fun around this time. All the guys in the pub thought their mate Ken had a pool shark/boy genius on their hands (hardly) and more to the point, it made my father proud of me knowing that Pedro Delgado won the Tour de France in 1988 and won our team a couple of rounds of drinks and all the pork scratchings I could eat until I was sick.

But the Kirsty MacColl in my mother back home saw it different and the whole ‘taking the son to the pub to fleece the men of Redcar out of their pensions’ plan gave the couple yet another to call each other the names they had called each other in the song or similar in my case. Although it was fair to describe my father as a “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot”, my mother was never an “a slut on junk” or any of the horrible names he called her in that last year, to be fair.

Surprisingly to all at the time, Fairytale of New York didn’t quite capture the mood and the awful music taste of the general public that Christmas enough as Always on my Mind by The Pet Shop Boys who prevented them the Top Spot, forcing them to peak at number two, making Shane McGowan to comment that they were beaten by “two queens and a drum machine” and VH1 voted the song the best Christmas song ever recently in a poll, even beating Band Aid’s epic charity single Do They Know it’s Christmas?, the best-selling Christmas single of all time.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Monday Morning Wake Up Call

Stabbing Westward “Nothing”

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Courtney takes over 6Music

Last week, Courtney Love took over BBC 6music for the day.

She was let loose on the BBC archives (lucky cow) and was allowed to pick and introduce tracks to play throughout the day. It was a great selection and mainly 70's and alternative 80's tracks. In the absence of being able to record from digital radio and only being able to listen to the tracks for a week until they disappear from the 6music site, I have been really geeky and transcribed her introductions and put the odd Youtube link to some of the music she played (where I could find the songs she chose, in other places I have taken the liberty of choosing another track by the artist in its place):

First of all, Courtney's Album of the Day was REM's Reckoning and from that they played a number of tracks:

7 Chinese Brothers
"I chose REM's Reckoning as Album of the Day because I don't know, for me it captures a moment in time in my life when I had just returned from Liverpool, I'd lived in Liverpool and had been exposed to The Bunneymen, been around all of the great Mancunian bands and seen like New Order's second show at the Hacienda and was completely Anglophiled out and I came back to Portland, Oregon and I saw REM's Chronic Town in a window and was so happy there was an American band that I could like and Reckoning is really symbolic of the time that I lived in San Francisco and first met this girl named Kat that went on to form a band called Babes in Toyland and I started Hole and we were just listening to Reckoning the whole time and we went to Fairfax High for a little while with Flea and Anthony from the Chili Peppers and Lenny Kravitz, whose name at the time was Remeo Blue so I just kinda lost the REM record. The first track I chose is 7 Chinese Brothers and I like it cos its like Michael Stipe's mumbling period when nobody (including him) knew what he was singing, nobody knew except for the part where he sings "7 Chinese Brothers swallowing the ocean" and the rest of it is just mumbling, it's great."

So Central Rain
"This song is err... So Central Rain. It's the famous 'I'm Sorry' song, its so wonderful, its such a great song. I love the refrain of the chorus. It's one of my favourite REM songs in the world. I love this song."

Pretty Persuasion
"The third track I'm picking is Pretty Persuasion because a) its one of my favourite REM songs ever and b) when I asked Michael about this he told me that when he and Peter Buck were living in this church in Athens, Georgia he had a dream that he had this early Stones album, it was called Pretty Persuasion, he could see the album cover they were on the dock in front of the Thames and it was this great Stones album and he woke up and had to write this song and I thought it was even more genius because of that. Sometimes whenever I hang out or are even around him, this song will start going through my head and I go, "Oh my god, I know the guy who wrote Pretty Persuasion. He's my friend."

Don't go back to Rockville
"Mike Mills wrote this song... err... Mike Mills is the bass player in REM, he's a great guy... I made out with him once. It's like kiss and tell... No, I wanted to play it cos it's such a good song and its really in the err... context of this record there's a lot of non-linear songs and Don't go back to Rockville is a really linear pop song and that's why I like it."

The Beatles - Cry Baby Cry
"This is my favourite Beatles song, it's a John Lennon Song it's called Cry Baby Cry, it's off The White Album. I don't know why, I can't play this song for the life of me, there's too many B's and F's and dropped chords, it's just a gorgeous song." (Video)

Nirvana - Been A Son (Evening Session, September 1991)
"The first time that I saw a Nirvana record was a single of Lovebuzz and Kurt was wearing a Harley Davidson T-shirt and I thought he was a total tosser and from that I thought what is this long haired, icky guy doing in a Harley Davidson shirt and I saw him, no, I saw him first and he was really cute and kinda clever and I i'd met him and the single and I had a choice between a Nirvana record or a Cat Butt album. No one remembers Cat Butt, but I bought the Cat Butt album but it was around the time that Sliver was recorded and it had a b-side called Dive that I was like, "Who was that cute guy that can write songs? Oh my god. I think I wanna go on tour with him." So, I really, really chanced to get a Nirvana tour and then I just ended up going out with the guy err this is one of Kurt's really good songs, it's called Been a Son and was recorded for The Evening Session in September 1991 and I was around..." (Video)

Robots in Disguise - Hot Gossip
"I met this girl one night, I was in London, I meet a lot of people who give me lots of records and erm I met this girl named Dean she was very funny and she hangs out with Noel Fielding from The Mighty Boosh and she's really a force of nature in her own self and she's got a band called Robots in Disguise and erm it was just a bunch of people and I'm not gonna name drop, oh I can't tell the whole story cos there's drugs involved... erm anyway, what ended up happening is it was about 3 in the morning and we were at Claridges and my record was just not working with the mood of the room, we had my record, a rough mix of my record which is much much more mellow but put on the Robots in Disguise record and the whole mood and this song Hot Gossip is the second single off their record." (Video)

Joy Division - Love will tear us apart (Peel Session 1979)
"This next track is a session version of probaby one of my favourite song in the whole world, which is Love Will Tear Us Apart by the great Joy Division erm it was recorded in 1979 for John Peel which makes it all the more great, I think. I never saw Joy Division, I'm old but I'm not that old. I've been figuring out a way to cover this song for years and years and recently I had Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins living in my house and we worked on an arrangement for it y'know because this is like remaking All About Eve or Gone with the Wind, you shouldn't touch the damn song unless you really really know what you are doing and to cover it would be sacriledge.. y'know we thought if we could get Peter Hook to play bass and we could re-arrange it... y'know we might be able to do something with it... it's sort of a work in progress. I... it's one of my Top 5 songs of all time." (Video)

U2 - I will follow (BBC Session 1980)
"I had this very small trust fund, enough to get through college and I lied and said I'd been accepted into Trinity College, in Dublin. Boy had already come out in America and I lived for a very brief period of time in a town called Drada, in County Meath. I then went into Dublin and got a shamrock tatooed on my ankle which has then been expanded into a bracelet of shamrocks and those guys from U2, whenever I see them I like raise my leg and show them and they're like "Yeah, we know you have a shamrock. We've seen it Courtney, a million times." But I think I liked U2 first before anybody else in my circle and I was so excited to be living in Dublin because The Boomtown Rats and U2 were from there, I really liked the Boomtown Rats too and it's really weird, my book came out last week in America and U2's book came out and my book sold more than U2's and like the idea that I could sell more of anything than U2 freaks me out so much, I can't even believe it. This is I Will Follow and its taken from a session that they recorded." (Video)

Boomtown Rats Video (Just for the hell of it)

Peter and Gordon - World Without Love
"I'm managed by the great, legendary Peter Asher who was, at one point, Paul McCartney's very best friend and Paul McCartney lived with his family and dated his sister, Jane and err.. Peter also managed James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt in the '70s. I think he's the only manager thats been on the cover of Rolling Stone. He was in a band called Peter and Gordon and this is called World Without Love." (Video)

The Germs - Forming
"This is the seminal Germs, there were The Weirdos and The Germs and they were the first two punk bands in LA, followed by Black Flag, DOA, erm TSOL. This song is called Forming. Pat Smear, who was later in Nirvana, was later in Foo Fighters was an old friend of mine, in fact my first friend in LA was in The Germs and err... was just really good LA punk rock. It's what LA could do with english punk rock." (Video)

Rolling Stones - The Last Time (BBC Session 1965)
"I've chosen something from The Rolling Stones 'cos I never really made up my mind whether I'm a Beatles person or a Rolling Stones person, y'know that Album of the Day was almost Exile on Main Street, we've all heard Exile on Main Street. If you haven't heard Exile on Main Street, you need to go out and get it right now. But I really wanted something by The Stones, speaking of The Stones, a little bit of rock n'roll, instead of recording this at the BBC, we're recording this in a pub because I smoke like a chimney and we can't record it at the BBC because of my imparement of smoking. So, this is the classic, The Last Time and it was recorded in session with the BBC in 1965. I wanted stuff that was later on but The Stones got so huge so fast they didn't have to record for the BBC anymore so they didn't and so I love The Last Time, it's a great song and erm... I love The Stones." (Video)

The Runaways - Hollywood Cruisin'
"The Runaways were the first all girl or all female oriented, other than Janis Joplin band that I have ever heard of and I saw this Runaways record and went ga ga, I went crazy. It was the coolest thing in the world, an all girl band believe it and err y'know the record at the time was considered a joke and I couldn't believe that because I thought they were really serious, really serious until I got to this one track thats on Queens of Noise, their second or third record and its like, it made me wanna be a rock star, its like its Lita Ford and Joan Jett and they're having slurpies in a parking lot in a 7-11, sometimes in the 70s and they're talking about erm what they're doing tommorrow and Joan says to Lita "What are you doing tommorrow?" and Lita says, "I'm having a photo session!" and Joan says "Photo sessions, God, I hate em." and I thought... I was like... 11 or 10 at the time, that one day I was going to say "Photo sessions, God, I hate em" so I still like them but anyway this is The Runaways." (Video)

Psychedelic Furs - Imitation of Christ (John Peel Session 1979)
"I wanted to choose something from The Psychedelic Furs because I don't think they ever really got their dues in Britain. They're kinda like the Bush of neo-psychadelic, early 80's era where no-one in the UK seemed to like them, not like the americans for lots of reasons, Pretty in Pink, y'know my daughter loves Pretty in Pink so The Psychedelic Furs are in our collective psyche, y'know we love them. This is Imitation of Christ and it was recorded for the great John Peel, '79." (Video)

The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset - (Peel Session 1968)
"This was recorded for John Peel's show in 1968. This is probably my second favourite song. It's just one of the great 60s pop songs, completely definitive and wonderful and if you don't like this song then you just don't like music." (Video)

Libertines - Up the bracket (Evening Session 2002)
"I was living in London when The Libertines moment happened, I was living here for about four months and I was doing a lot a lot a lot of drinking and drugging and y'know just being generally an asshole and a rock star and there was a cocktail bar at The Lanesborough and one night The Libertines were there and Anita Pallenberg was there and we could just drop names for a while: Kate Moss was there, y'know they were all there so they just had this moment and I'd been around a few moments, I was around Seattle during grunge, I was in Liverpool during that Bunnymen moment, I was in Manchester during the New Order moment so i've seen like big epicentres and moments happen and to this Libertines moment I don't know, I wouldn't say they were the greatest band ever but they had a great moment, when that was going on. I just remember seeing them, this girl Pearl was running this club and it was very rock, so this is Up the Bracket by The Libertines." (Video)

New Order - Temptation (Saturday Live Session 1984)
"This session was recorded in 1984 for Radio 1's Saturday Live show and that's funny because I was running around... yeah... I was running around Manchester in 1984... erm it's New Order with Temptation... the great oh, you've got great eyes, oh you've got green eyes or blue eyes. I wanted to play it because this was the song that went along with the time I lost my virginity and erm... the boy had kinda green/grey eyes and y'know it was when you are a teenager and you get off with someone and you ignore each other at the club the next night and erm pretend it didn't happen... and I just remember this song playing and you looking longingly at him and him pretending I didn't exist and him looking at me and pretending he didn't exist with this song playing. This is in my Top 10 favourite songs of all time. I just love this song so much." (Video)

The Bangles - Going down to Liverpool
"This is not actually a Bangles song, it's a Katrina and the Waves song. I just love it, its a good pop song err as rendered by The Bangles called Going Down to Liverpool." (Video)

Nirvana - Something in the way (Evening Session, November 1991)
"Ok, so y'know obviously I wanted to play some Nirvana erm.. everyone's heard Nirvana and this is Something in the Way recorded for The Evening Session September 1991 and this is a beautiful song, a beautiful song.." (Video)

Hole - Drown Soda (John Peel Session, November 1991)
"Ok, so I was in this band called Hole in the 90s and err y'know, we didn't stick together. People always think we're gonna get back together... (sighs) The drummer hasn't practised in a million years and the guitar player, Eric... he went and married some buddhist in Cambodia and I don't even know where he is now err... so it's not gonna happen but we had fun while it lasted and err y'know... we had some tragedies and y'know we had a member die and we went through a couple of bass players, a couple of drummers, all the usual band stuff but in the very very beginning it was really fun, the drummer... she was pretty crappy, she could handle kinda droney songs like this. This song, I really like this song, it really captures what I was doing in 1991, which wasn't grungy at all. I wasn't doing what Nirvana was doing. I wasn't doing what Mudhoney was doing. I wasn't doing what Soundgarden was doing. I was kinda doing my own thing and erm it's called Drown Soda. I made it up that night on the spot at the BBC and err I was really proud of it. I think we re-recorded at some place else but erm this is the best version of it, cos it was just written on the spot there." (Video)

The Beatles and Siouxsie and the Banshees - Dear Prudence
"If you're gonna cover a Beatles song, you better be good at it and Siouxsie and the Banshees actually did it, Dear Prudence being one of the best Beatles songs. Siouxsie and the Banshees rendering of Dear Prudence, this is both of them, back to back." (Video1) (Video2)

Liverpool: The New Wave Documentary
"I chose this documentary because I lived in Liverpool for two years and when I was there there was a real moment. There was Echo and the Bunneymen, there was Teardrop Explodes, there was our own Tony Wilson, which was Bill Drummond and I remember meeting him and thinking he was absolutely fabulous, he ran a label called Zoo. There was even Dead or Alive with Pete Burns. I have a really funny Pete Burns story if you wanna hear it. So, they used to have this thing on VH1 in the states called The VH1 Fashion Awards, right? One year they they called me and said y'know "You won Most Fashionable Female of the Year" so I go up there and get my err my award and I get offstage to this crazy faced person who says to me in this total scouser accent, "Yr living the dream, Courtney, yr living the dream" and I turn around and it's Pete Burns. Pete Burns used to bully me like crazy in Liverpool. He used to work in a place called Probe Records and he would stand in the doorway in a big brown diaper, with platform shoes with those contact lenses that Manson wears now, that make your entire eyes look black. I mean, Pete Burns was the original Manson, like he was like crazy cuckoo bananas, he had a guy in his band called Wayne Hussey who one time when I had no place to stay, he let me stay in his house and use his shower, he was really nice to me and he started a band called The Mission and I remember being really tense, the whole city being really tense one week because U2's October came out, Siouxsie and the Banshees came out, Heaven up Here came out and Simple Minds came out and you had to get above 20 to get on Top of the Pops and who was gonna get on that slot and you know who got it? Simple Minds... we were all very upset and I remember watching Top of the Pops that week and seeing that guy from Simple Minds in his white leather coat going, "Bummer" anyway, I lived there for nearly two years and most of the time, I lived across the street from Sefton Park at a place called Toxteth in Liverpool 8 and I got thrown out of that house for being nosey err basically I was going through all of Julian's letters and I got caught, then I was sent to Coventry and no-one would talk to me, so anyway this is Part 1 of a six part documentary series that looks at the new wave seen in Liverpool and how it inspired bands..."

Simple Minds
The Mission
Dead of Alive
Echo and the Bunnymen

She also got to choose two live sets to play late at night:

Elastica - 1995 Glastonbury - Line up, Car song, Stutter, SoFT, Connection

PJ Harvey - 1995 - Meet Ze Monsta, C'Mon Billy, Long Snake Moan. 50 Ft Queenie, Water

The King of Flop

I only just got around looking into this because I knew what a fiasco it would be, which is why I politely told my girlfriend, "No..." to her pleas to my musical obsessiveness to part with 2 times £200 to go and see the great Michael Jackson play her precious "Thriller" one more time. To those silly fucks who paid more and upwards of that to see your precious King of Pop the one last time, here's a little reminder of why his career is now over, though it actually pains me to say it because he made some really great records. Painful.

PS.. Beyonce, Girlfriend... God didn't buy one of your Tina Turner Rip Off records, not one...

From the equally great Wikipedia:

On November 15, 2006, Michael Jackson received the Diamond Award, for selling over 100 million albums, at the World Music Awards. This was his second public appearance at an awards show since the trial of 2005. Despite substantial publicity prior to the event, he did not perform "Thriller", limiting his performance to "one verse and one chorus" of "We are the World". Coverage of the event noted that Jackson "looked uncomfortable at times" and called the appearance "an unhappy return to the London stage."

According to the head of public relations for the World Music Awards (Julius Just), the sound was cut due to a noise curfew. Officials at Earl's Court, the arena where the event was held, have said that this was not the case and that they had "accommodated the show and the show's organisers by obtaining an extension to our licence in order to allow the show to run to eleven o'clock."[

Why You Might See Courtney in Celebrity Big Brother in the New Year

She's promoting not only her book but a forthcoming make or break album.

She's just stepped out at The British Comedy Awards. Her first non-work related type appearence.

She loves Britain and continues to want to succeed here.

It would set her up for whatever summer festival she plays to support her album.

She was with Russell Brand and his show for a whole hour this month. Brand is a Big Brother presenter and Endemol's current patsy.

It would actually be good for her recovery.

Man, I might need to buy a load of video tapes.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Championing... The Bastard Fairies

Take a couple of English guys and have them hook up with a fetish model in LA and you have The Bastard Fairies.
They caused uproar with conservatives in America recently when they posted a video on their website, through YouTube of an eight year old girl, waxing lyrically about war and religion and got themselves some airtime courtesy of Bill O'Reilly, AKA that that bloke who makes me want to wretch. Aside from whether it was right or wrong, their music is great and they got a foot on the ladder and created themselves some exposure.
The difference with this band is (like Mick Jones and Carbon/Silicon) they don't want you to buy their album, they want to give it to you and with a singer that looks like the above, who wouldn't not want to take it from them. They look and sound cute but if you look closely at their lyrics, who sometimes take a Tiger Lillies approach to their songwriting, there are deeper darker climbs hidden away to be discovered.
Visit their MySpace for videos and stuff but more importantly, go to their webbosite and download their album for FREE!
This is their video for their song, Apple Pie:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Monday Morning Wake Up Call

'Sweet 69' Babes in Toyland

The Bad and Not Very Good at all

I wasn't impressed at all with 'The Good, The Bad and The Queen' at all this week on Jools Holland. Oh, I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to call them that, apparently. Although they are calling their project that, they actually don't want to be billed as that at all, they simply want to be called by their names.

Their first song, "Kingdom of Doom" has the the same melody as "London Calling" and has been slowed down to a whiny drawl for Damon to wax lyrical about how much he hates fame. The second track "Three Changes" was a little better as the legendary rythmn section got to show off a little bit but it still never went anywhere.

But to be honest, this really should have been called (despite the impressive supergroup style lineup) "The Damon Albarn Band", because that's all that it was, a second rate Blur effort and not even the good songs, the ones with the Albarn sap crooning over an organ/relationships about strolling down Camden Market with his wife and spending his millions of Gorrilaz pounds. I'm not feeling it all, with such an impressive line up, what's essentially a backlist of great music and talent behind them, I was expectant for something mindblowing, incendiary, instead it was like watching a bunch of dads jamming.
The talent and presence of former Clash bassist Paul Simonon shouls have at least excited me but instead I was left unfulfilled and unimpressed with his accompanying half-ska/half trying to keep up beat. I mean, even the Scissor Sisters resonated more with me and why has nobody in the media said what everyone else in the music media is thinking about the legendary Afrobeat drummer, Tony Allen which was,

"Who the fuck is Tony Allen?"

People keep talking about this guy and writing in reviews about how much of a pioneer despite never having heard of him at all. This guy just tapped along to the band and not even in any coherent beat, I could have played it better with my dick. I wasn't anything particularily special, mesmerizing or deserving the Arctic Monkeys-like hype the NME have been giving the rehearsals and initial live shows. Luckily, I'm not pandering to an editor whose been bribed by a record company to support the vast budgets I am sure that they will put into this third rate Pier bands record, when it surfaces. No, I can be honest. I just wish they will stock fucking about and decide on a name so we can start talking about how bloody awful they are. Personally regarding their name, I think they should have gone down the Prince route and just were honest about what this was,

"The Unpronouncable/Un-named Damon Albarn Masturbation Project."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law...

In this week's pre-budget report, Gordon Brown relaxed the copyright laws enabling us to download our already purchased CDs into our ipods and similar media players, which is a very welcome move which I know was probably promoted after he bought a discounted Proclaimers Greatest Hits, but I think a lot of us with full Ipods of Cds we have already purchased were like,

"Huh, you mean all this time I was essentially breaking the law?"

I realise that this outdated principle has been changed because it's really a bit silly and its just really a matter of tying up loose ends of existing laws that need to also keep up with the times and technology but I couldn't help but wonder if Itunes were aware of this. There is quite clearly an "Import CD" button on your software that invites you to download your CDs onto your player, so assuming Apple are not retards, why is this company seemingly inviting us to break the law?

But this is not just a question of the reality of catching upto modern day life, for years the sales of blank tapes and CDs have been a bit sketchy, a bit of a grey area, they are there in the shops but surely what I do with them when I get home is (and I still assume still is) illegal. I don't get it.

Do they expect us to buy the tools to break the law and just sit at home and polish them? I mean, really... get a fucking grip and just make it clear...