Wednesday, August 31, 2005

lend me some money?

gigs at the Brighton Concorde 2 in the next couple of months...

1. Roll Deep (16/9)
2. Pere Ubu (17/9)
3. Art Brut (22/9)
4. The Rakes (26/9)
5. The FALL!!!! (30/10)
6. Sleater-Kinney (8/11)

Ok, I think I can afford to go to two, maybe three. Suggestions please?

I'm thinking Art Brut and The Fall, and possibly Sleater-Kinney as well...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

the aftermath of katrina

As is so often the way, when it's information you're after, you can't do much better than going to Wikipedia, even if it's information on something as current and changeable as Katrina, the storm which has ripped through New Orleans and Mississipi. The ever evolving entry there is a work of wonder; this kind of information is priceless.

The web is, of course, heaving with information on the events; it's all fairly overwhelming stuff; water, bodies, chunks of broken concrete, oil rigs sent along with the tide as if they were dingies. In one apartment block alone in Biloxi over 30 people died. New Orleans seemed at first to have been afforded a last minute reprieve as the storm veered south, but the damage done was horrifying enough, and things have worsened since; three of the levees protecting the city from the rising floodwaters have been breached. At the moment The Guardian is quoting over 80 dead. It will clearly be significantly more than that. I just read another report attributing 80 dead to Biloxi alone.

In New Orleans looting, predictably, has broken out and martial law has been declared. I don't find this at all surprising - a city with as much poverty as New Orleans will inevitably encounter looting at a time like this. I've read several blogs which express bewilderment that as many as 300,000 people failed to evacuate, but a few acknowledged that many of New Orleans poorest citizens had no transport; it seems that little public provision for evacuation was made. It was faintly chilling seeing footage of the Superdrome, which had been opened for those who could not leave, full of shivering, terrified people. Chilling too that so many with no provision to leave were black.

More pressing is the clear up operation; god knows how complicated and lengthy a process it will be, nor what dangers the rapidly stagnating flood water will pose. Reports suggest that one possible solution is dropping 3,000lb sandbags from above to try to plug the gaps in the levees. Meanwhile, Bush has cut short his 45 day holiday to 'help out'. That's all they need.

Meanwhile, Mike the admin is OK, and so are his wife and 3 cats, so that's good. And apparently "a 3-foot (0.9-metre) shark had been spotted cruising the flooded streets"...

only the beans know the truth

Great stuff, as ever, from James over at James and the Blue Cat:

"There's that thing in films, although they don't do it so much now, where the camera sort of focuses in on the person (often a screaming woman, or a Hero going 'what the'), whilst at the same time the background zooms out. I think they do it in the first LOTR movie, when that bloke from Lost is wittering about carrots, and Frodo gets an inkling that the Black Riders might be coming, so everything goes whooshy (my professional script directions are better than this).

Anyway, this morning, I tipped a small tin of baked beans into a white bowl and opened the microwave door... to find a white bowl with exactly a small tin's worth of baked beans already sitting there.

So everything went all out of focus and strange and a bit whooshy, and for a moment I genuinely thought I had transcended the boundaries of space and time, and was just starting to wish it had involved something more exciting than legumes**, when suddenly I a) realised that these beans were cold, and b) remembered I had put some beans in the microwave on Sunday morning, where I had clearly forgotten to pay them any more heed.

So, I got it all sorted out in the end, although at one point I had a white bowl of baked beans in each hand and was having some difficulty picking out which ones I should heat and eat and which ones I should throw away. I think I made the right choice, but I'm still not sure."

art brut - bang bang rock and roll

The first 30 seconds of Art Brut's wonderful debut album are slightly hysterical; a wall of guitars and some joyous shoutin': "Formed a band! We formed a band! Look at us! We formed a band!", they cry. That done, the band showcase the two things they do very well – the heavy guitars suddenly shift into a keen, spidery riff, showcasing an innate melody and wilful subversiveness, and moments later, they're telling us that they're "going to be the band that writes the song / that makes Israel and Palestine get along".

There are countless examples of singer Eddie's bright, showy wit, and mini-tunes galore on an album which clocks in at a pleasing forty minutes or so. My Little Brother, the second track, exemplifies Art Brut's celebration of the ordinary. Having just discovered rock and roll ("he's only twenty two and he's out of control"), the narrator's brother, currently "living with all that unforgiving", has to "make his own mistakes". Seeing as the worst he seems to manage is a bit of frugging on the dancefloor, it doesn't sound too problematic. Although a note of caution is voiced:

He no longer listens to a-sides
He made me a tape of bootlegs and b-sides
And every song, every single song on that tape said exactly the same thing:
"Why don't our parents worry about us?"
"WHY don't our parents worry about us???"

Emily Kane is better still; a warm tribute to first love, it gets romantic nostalgia dead on, even down to remembering – to the second – the last time the narrator saw his first girlfriend. "Every girl I've seen since, looks like just like you - when I squint". I hope Emily Kane is real, and that Art Brut get what they want. "I hope this song will find you fame", Eddie sings, "I want schoolkids on buses singing your name".

Throughout, the Brut kick up an adrenelising Television Personalities / Fall stew. Eddie's lyrics frequently slip off key, or run every so slightly counter to the melody, but the limitations of his voice and charming hesitancy is a big plus. At times he sounds a bit like Mike Skinner, which has been picked up on before, but his voice is more expressive, and his lyrics just as entertaining. Rusted Guns Of Milan, in particular is hilarious, a throbbing account of sexual failure which culminates in "I know I can, I know I can, I’m always fine with my own hand"...

Like a lot of newish British bands, Art Brut draw fairly heavily on garage rock and late 70s punk, but they’re wise enough to raise an eyebrow at the boundless r' and r' cliches every now and again. Far better a band who declaim not only that "Modern art makes me want to rock out" but also "I can’t stand the sound of the Velvet Underground. I can't stand the sound the second time around". How serious Eddie is is uncertain, obviously, but I've been waiting all my life for a band to sniff "No more songs about sex and drugs and rock and roll. It's boooooooring!". Thinking back, several tracks merge effortlessly in my mind but, as with the Fall, Art Brut's limited palate is not a problem when they're this interesting.

The album's two best songs, Good Weekend and Bad Weekend demonstrate Art Brut's conflicting sensibility. Essentially a band who find real life a bit more interesting than rock music, the former is an ecstatic ode to a new girlfriend, culminating in the album's finest moment, where Eddie, in conversational mode, and having played it pretty cool so far, finally announces "I've seen her naked, TWICE! I'VE SEEN HER NAKED TWICE!!!!".

But Rock and Roll, for all it's limitations (Razorlight, basically) is a more reliable mistress than any girlfriend, and Art Brut can never resist turning back to it, although Bad Weekend finds them somewhat out of touch. "Haven't read the NME in so long! Dunno what genre we belong", they cry. Indeed, "Popular culture no longer applies to me" is a gloriously pretentious and fun motto to adopt. But the way Eddie sings "Top Of The Pops", his voice all crazed excitement, belies any notion that they don't care.

The most fun pop record I’ve heard all year.

Monday, August 22, 2005

brighton resident up to no good. again.

I really love how, over the course of the day, the news headline on the yahoo frontpage has transformed from 'Courtney Love pregnant with Coogan's baby' to the far catchier 'Courtney pregnant with Alan Partridge's baby'. Great stuff. And also, eewww.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

the britpop years (reprise)

I watched the britpop programming on BBC4 last night and thought it was fairly uneven stuff; as is often the way with themed evenings and documentaries, much was left out, much was skewed, and much required further embellishment. It wasn't devoid of merit, however, and was an enjoyable evening of nostalgia.

Looking for angles, they picked out the three most obvious ones; Nirvana, Thatcher, and class. I was thinking hard about how I felt about Nirvana last night, and to what extent britpop blew away those cobwebs. I suppose, looking back, that I was pleased that the likes of Brett Anderson and Damon Albarn were talking about reacting against grunge, although I think that it's a mistake to assume that anti-Americanism lay at the heart of that.

For me, at least, I was excited because I found American fashion and rock culture uninteresting, and the fact that Blur were talking about Meantime, Reginald Perrin and Martin Amis was hugely exciting in comparison to the cultural emptiness of grunge, which only referenced dissatisfaction and abandonment. Of course 'Modern Life Is Rubbish' was no great philosophical statement, but in harking back to the music of the Kinks and XTC (or Bowie, in Suede's case) Blur seemed to be arguing for music which was part of some exciting lineage. If it was parochial it was also comforting, and it evoked feelings of familiarity in recalling bands whom, in truth, I'd never really cared for, but yet whom seemed to matter in this new context.

Of course, I didn't stop listening to American music, but it was true that, after grunge, this new literate, articulate and understandable music was welcome. That said, it only took last night's viewing to make it horribly clear that none of the bands involved in britpop came close to Nirvana at their best.

With regard to Thatcher, I didn't really get what they were trying to say. The centrepiece documentary opened with some weird chronology, trying to argue that the seeds of britpop were born in rave culture and Spike Island in 89, which is so arbitrary it's untrue. Moving through the Bristol scene in a matter of moments, and completely ignoring Jungle, the Scene That Celebrated Itself and the early nineties pop of Ride, The Charlatans and James, the programme leapt forward to 1995, completely missing Modern Life is Rubbish, glossing over Suede, and suggesting that the excitement surrounding Blur and Oasis had it's roots in post-Thatcher ennui.

There's some justification for this; pop music and popular culture was overwhelmingly left-leaning in the mid-nineties, and the political beliefs (or party loyalties) of the Gallaghers or Jarvis Cocker are not to be doubted. Certainly the poverty of expectation which was a legacy of more than a decade of tory rule had played some part in Oasis's hedonistic impulses (just as it did with the Happy Mondays - inexplicably not mentioned - nearly a decade earlier).

But the hatred of the Conservative party permeated everything in the mid nineties, and was no more vividly displayed in Britpop than it was in TV, fashion and literature. The programme entered a kind of social whirl in the middle, where the term britpop became interchangable with cool britannia (which was, perhaps, what they should have been talking about in the first place; not a musical scene at all but a cultural mood, which is quite different), but stil excluded plenty from it's coverage. Either way, by the time May 1997 came round, I was desperate - like everyone else - for a Labour win. But I never once connected that, beyond what was clearly a marketing ploy by New Labour to involve the likes of Albarn and Gallagher in their campaign, with the music made in the Britpop years.

And as Noel Gallagher made pretty clear - incidentally, he was infuriatingly intelligent and witty throughout, making even more of a mystery than ever of his moronic, tedious music and cack-handed lyrics - if hatred of Thatcher's legacy fuelled Oasis's sense of recklessness, their class identity was piqued by Albarn (sad to say, acting like a spoilt child throughout). But beyond the Gallaghers and perhaps Jarvis Cocker, that sense of class (and geographical pride) was not much apparent in britpop. It really just gave the programme makers license to do what they were there to do, which is talk up the battle of the bands.

Clearly, with Damon acting brattishly and the Gallaghers on fine form, it was easy for the programme makers to belittle Blur's part in the britpop debacle. What was disappointing was that, picking out only two Blur happenings to focus on ('Girls and Boys', dismissed as irony, and 'Country House', just dismissed) the programme makers missed why people actually went in for Blur in such a big way. Footage from Ally Pally or their utterly triumphant Glastonbury set from '94 would have been much appreciated. Damon Albarn closing the night with 'This Is A Low' was the moment when it hit home that Blur were going to be absolutely massive - it remains their finest moment. Instead we saw them at the video shoot for Country House. I can see why the footage was included, but little attempt was made to paint Blur as anything other than show-offs and - ultimately - losers. Well, that's my predictable bugbear. Sadly, Damon makes kicking Damon very easy to do.

Of the music featured in the evening, it was much as expected. Powder, Marion, Menswear and Echobelly sounded really terrible. Supergrass and Sleeper were thin-sounding but just about interesting. Gene and PJ Harvey sounded out of place, although the latter played the best song of the night by several country miles. Pulp donated a thrilling rendition of Common People, and Blur a terrible take on Country House. Brief clips on two of Oasis's three decent songs (Supersonic and D'you Know What I Mean) hinted at what the hype was all about; turgid fare like Live Forever and Wonderwall elsewhere abounded. There was, thankfully, no sign of the execrable Don't look Back In Anger). Suede were unfairly glossed over, and Radiohead didn't get a mention, unless I was out of the room at the time.

Looking back on britpop, which meant so much to me when I was a teenager, is a weird process. I was disappointed that practically no mention was made of what drove the musical instincts of those involved, and there was a predictable section where all they talked about was who was shagging who.

For all the fun I had at the time, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that, of all that music, the only records from the genre I'd bother getting hold of now are the three Blur albums, the first record by Suede and possibly the Elastica album - not really such a rich picking after all. Oddly, that doesn't diminish it for me - I think the reason that Britpop really meant something to people is that the bands involved - Blur, Pulp and Oasis - were all reachable. You didn't have to visualise the grey streets of Seattle or the sun-drenched hills of California. You could reach out and touch them. We all went out, we drank too much, we became grown ups in the evenings, and we thought Steve Marriott had a good haircut.

If only I could figure out exactly why we thought that last bit...

Monday, August 15, 2005

new track by the streets

I know some people find Mike Skinner's rapping irritating, particularly the extra-clear intonation and rhyme scheme observant syllable-count in every line (even if means including superfluous words to make the line scan), but it's hard to deny that he's made a style his own and, like Eminem or Snoop, you only have to read his lyrics to know intuitively exactly how he'll make them sound. I'm a big fan of that moment in The Mitchell Brothers' Harvey Nicks when Sway points out that "When I shop in Harvey Nicks / the security guards keep giving me grief / they must think I'm a thief", and here he drops into a Skinner impression, "'cuz I don't sound ... like ... The Streets".

A far cry from the technical - if not verbal - dexterity of some of his peers, then, but there's pleasure to be had in reading the lyrics to one of his new tracks, reproduced on the NME website, which finds him rapping over Bloc Party's Banquet and recalling the time he stole Jo Whiley's microphone:

"I did something bad but always vowed to my soul
That if my next record increased the amount of albums I sold,
enough for Mike not to end up back out on the dole,
I promised I'd promptly send you back what I stole."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

frost off to sunnier climes?

So Al-Jazeera are in talks to sign David Frost to their TV station, eh? That'll be the weirdest thing I've heard today, then.

free music and it's not illegal. *gasp*

Another great blog uneathed by the link-tastic Gromblog. This one is entitled Free Albums Galore and, while I can't vouch for the quality of the content (no broadband yet, sigh), it looks really promising. The author only posts complete albums, not individual or scattered tracks, and only albums with permanent off-site hosting. He posts one complete album a day and only makes available "legally free albums, instead of blindly hoping copyright owners won’t mind me distributing their music", which is what everyone else does (incidentally, a new podcast to come from me very soon, I promise).

Some of the stuff on the blog looks very interesting; Leif Inge's 9 Beet Stretch takes Beethoven's 9th Symphony and slows it down so that it lasts 24 hours. The result, according to Luke (who runs Free Albums Galore is "closer to ambient than classical, ... both soothing and revealing". Mohammed El Bakkar's work, meanwhile, looks both colourful and intriguing, and if - like me - you're annoyed at missing 'Dig' at the cinema recently (the documentary which follows the contrasting fortunes and wavering friendships of The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre), you might be interested to note the links to 9 complete BJM albums. There's even some Tuvan throat singing (via California) and some Songs of the Russian Proleteriat up for grabs.

Go see!

freddie kanoute to leave?

A remarkably mild-mannered post from Spurs striker Freddi Kanoute on his online diary (registration required, unfortunately), considering that - for reasons I can't quite fathom - his club are trying hard to offload him before the start of the season next week. Kanoute is not the most direct or consistent of strikers, but he has enormous qualities; his first touch, his ability to bring players into the game, and his unpredictability.

He made waves by declining to go on Tottenham's tour of Mauritious in pre-season, which was unfortunate, but he's played well ever since and, although Spurs now have 4 quality forwards, he's surely worth keeping, especially as Mido, our only other target man, has an even more tainted history of frustrating his colleagues and managers, and has yet to prove himself at White Hart Lane. Tottenham are, for the first time in many years, finally able to boast a squad which gives us options, and which is not crying out for a new player.

I understand that the club want to sign Jenas from Newcastle (who is over-rated but a still a decent signing), but sacrificing a good striker for a midfielder who won't walk into the team makes very little sense to me. And probably even less to Kanoute.

Yet Freddie writes,

"The truth is, I think that Tottenham are definitely willing to sell me. It's clear that they are prepared to let me go if they receive a good price. Last season I wouldn't have expected that to be the case because the coach praised my performances quite a lot, but in football you can never take anything for granted. You just never know what people are really thinking.

From my point of view, I won't be rushed into making a move. I don't want to leave in a hurry and end up having regrets, so I have a lot to think about. At the end of the day I will only choose to do something I want to do, and that means taking up a challenge that I will like. My attitude is clear. If I go, I go; if not, I'm more than happy to stay.

Nothing has changed as far my commitment to Spurs is concerned. I have a contract here that I would be more than pleased to honour. I am happy to stay here and fight for my place in the Spurs attack, even though I accept the situation regarding player rotation. I'm not unhappy."

I am. I hope he stays.

ken will stand, apparently.

Looks like Ken Clarke is finally about to commit to entering the Tory leadership race. Is this good news? I dunno. It's slightly disappointing that Cameron hasn't made up more ground on David Davis, and certainly true that Clarke remains the one Tory with the authority to lead the party (if not the membership). But will he just split the moderniser vote and let Davis through? Surely it's time that Clarke and Cameron joined forces with Clarke the leader in opposition and (optimistically) as PM for the first term, with Cameron the deputy and heir apparent. Otherwise they really run the risk of getting stuck with Davis - which would be good news for Labour but not very good news for the Conservative Party...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

magic numbers

There's an interesting post over on one of the Guardian's many blogs, I forget which (it's a little known fact that the Guardian's weblog system actually accounts for 35% of the blogosphere, the remaining 65% being evenly split between the pro-war left and kids on livejournal), about The Magic Number's non-appearence on Top of The Pops this week.

Richard Bacon, presenting the show, introduced them by making a rather tired and unfunny reference to their weight (they were, he alleged, put in a "fat melting pot of talent" during rehearsals), and they took offence and declined to play. Suprisingly, most people are quite hostile to their decision, accusing them of being over-sensitive rather than appreciating the innapropriateness of Bacon's comment. The general thesis appears to be 'oh, it wasn't that offensive', which surely misses the point that the comment was as offensive as the band found it - in this instance they were upset and disillusioned by the comment, and understandably decided not to proceed.

Equally, I suspect that most of the people who choose to laugh at the event rather than sympathise with the band think fat people are pretty ridiculous anyway - sadly a viewpoint that it's still considered acceptable to express (I know, because in my less funny moments I do it myself, and people tend to smile or laugh politely, rather than tell me I'm a twat). Incidentally, another reaction notable in the Guardian comments box is "ha ha, so Richard Bacon was mortified, yeah right". I wonder if I'm on another planet altogether because it strikes me that, on realising that he had caused serious offence to the band on their debut performance on TOTP, he probably was mortifed - I certainly would be. P'raps I'm naive.

Coming soon, Ferne Cotton introducing Oasis (whose new single I, erm, quite like - *the shame*) as 'thick northeners'.

a bit more on the fall

Actually, there's quite a lot of interesting Fall stuff up on their official website, while I'm on the subject - some interviews with Mark E Smith, new and old, which I've not seen before, and more info on Fall-related stuff. I'm up in Edinburgh for a few days shortly, although sadly just after the festival ends, but note that Stewart Lee is there a few days earlier, taking part in the "guest micro-celeb DJ" programme. He's at the Cafe Royal from 11.30pm - 3am on Thursday 25th August and intends to play, apparently, three and a half hours of "The Fall and only The Fall", which is just as it should be.

The site also reproduces a short interview with MES from The Metro. He's always good value; excerpts follow. The whole thing is here (but scroll down a bit).

The Fall operate regardless of trends. Do you listen to what's happening in new music today?

The group members are all a good ten years younger than me and they keep me informed on Green Day and all that. That Party Bloc, or Bloc Party - whatever they're called - they're not bad. I'm also using that thing on TV where you can get subtitles so you can read the band's lyrics. That's always a good laugh. Some of the lyrics they come out with are quite absurd. You get this really heavy guitar music, the band going DA-DA-DA, really loud and the words are just like, 'You passed me in the street. You said hello. I said no. We went up the hill. Then we went down the hill.' You would think from the music that they're saying something really profound.

Do The Fall have anything left to achieve?

We haven't done a really personal record yet and I think that'll happen in the next year or two. There's still a lot to do. All the time, I think I'm only halfway there.

When you appeared on Later With Jools Holland recently, is it true you had an agreement that Jools wasn't allowed to do any 'boogie-woogie piano' on any of your songs?

Yes, we told the producers that. They were cool with it. I wouldn't have anybody messing about with The Fall's stuff, not just Jools.

There's a brief interview with Kitchen Sink Magazine there, too, which isn't very interesting 'til you note that they provide the full transcript as well as the polished version. It's much more entertaining.

new fall album

Thank you, NME, for allowing me to copy and paste the following directly into my blog.

"THE FALL are set to release their first album of new material since 2003 on October 3.

‘Fall Heads Roll’, the follow-up to ‘The Real New Fall LP’, will be released on CD and limited edition vinyl (1,000 copies).

A double A-Side single, ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow/Clasp Hands’, is set to precede the album release."

And thank you, The Fall, for releasing a new album on my birthday. That's a nice touch.

Oh, and thank you, Andrew, for helping me get my blog template sorted out.

things I've done since I became single...

Well, I've been staying in and watching DVDs. Crazy.

Or actually, more accurately, spending my time trawling through ebay and kelkoo looking for cheap DVD bargains, spotting good opportunities on ebay and then wandering absent-mindedly off at the crucial moment and missing the chance to make my devastating last minute bid. You can download sniper things can't you? That's way too complicated.

Anyway, one DVD I'm waiting to purchase is C4's Green Wing, which still hasn't appeared and which must surely be released before long, although there's no sign of it on Amazon's pre-release schedules. Although this site suggests mid-October or so.

Well, never mind, because the writers of the programme all seem to be very busy with a variety of projects, and there's always daily doses of James Henry's blog to keep me going - not least his brilliant Toy-Fu strip, which is fantastic stuff. In yesterday's entry James mentions that, with a Green Wing admiring executive appointed to BBC3, he's despatched his agent to the beeb with a script for (one of his several) mooted projects; a sitcom entitled Romey loves Jools - the outline of which follows...

"What if 'Romeo and Juliet' hadn't ended tragically? What if the whole 'oh no she's dead, I'll kill meself then, no she's not dead, too late, oh we're both dead' fiasco got sorted out properly and the young lovers had to cope with not just the dramatic fallout, but also the mundanity of being just another couple? In other words, shifting format from theatrical tragedy to televisual sitcom.

'Romey loves Jools' looks at that most underused comedy double act of all: the couple who love each other but have to cope with the spark of romance being nearly extinguished by the frustrations and inanities of everyday life. It is isn't a battle of the sexes, or a swearing competition, or a Shakespearean injoke-fest. All you have to know is that Romeo and Juliet were once the most famous lovers in the world, and now they have to sort out whose turn it is to do the washing-up."

No, I didn't think that was the greatest idea ever, either.

But if you take a look at an extract from the script....

Fantastic stuff!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


...yes, I know, the blog's page layout and colour scheme has gone all wrong. I don't know what happened. And my attempts to fix it have drawn a blank. Hmph. Like I said, normal service will be resumed...

simpsons: map of springfield

*waves sheepishly*

Normal service will be resumed shortly, I promise. My new flat will go broadband next Monday, which means I'll be posting regularly once again...

In the meantime; how cool is this? Dan Cameron has illustrated a complete map of Springfield...

Ace. And no need to squint; if you click here, you'll be able to look at the full size version.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

pops and spoffles

Just flicking through my drafts folder and don't think I ever got round to publishing this sweet little anecdote, garnered from Popbitch.

"Many moons ago, when Hugh Laurie and Sir Stephen of Fry were just becoming 'known', they were interviewed on a BBC radio show. Mr Fry asked what the foam covers on the end of the mics were called. To which Mr Laurie said, "They're called 'Spoffles' and they prevent what's known as 'Popping'". Mr Fry, the Host and the Engineer were all impressed by Mr Laurie's knowledge and the interview continued.

Years passed, and once again Fry and Laurie were in a radio studio. The Engineer said something like he'll just adjust the Spoffle. Mr Laurie says, "The what?" And the Engineer explains that this is what the foam things are called. "Good Lord," laughs Mr Laurie, "I made that word up on the spot years ago in a studio!"

lying about your age

An absolute gem of a story hidden away in today's Rumour Mill. One of Italian football's bright young hopes is the 20 year old prodigy Obafemi Martins, a young Nigerian striker who has scored some magnificent goals for Internazionale over the last couple of years and looks like storming world football. Except that evidence has come to light that Martins, who graduated from the Inter youth set up three years ago, was not born, as he informed his club, in 1984, but rather in 1978 - making him not 20 years of age, but a rather less sprightly 27; obliterating his market value and opening up his club to various legal ramifications, too. How fantastic! Assuming that, in a couple of years or so, Martins would have either secured a big money move to another elite club or a massive contract designed to secure his services through his 'peak years' in Milan, you have to wonder what he would have done when, "aged" 24 or 25, his pace suddenly began to wane. A really fascinating piece of duplicity.

lady sov / reggaeton

The Guardian's gone reggaeton crazy in recent weeks - although it's still, as evidenced by today's interview with Lady Sovereign, keeping up it's unusually high level of interest in grime, which all seems rather passe now - but I don't mind that, as I've gone reggaeton crazy too.

reggaeton top five:
1. Ivy Queen - Dile
2. Wisin and Yandel - Rakata
3. Daddy Yankee - Lo Que Paso
4. Johnny Prez - Tu Pum Pum
5. Daddy Yankee - Gasolina

Dom Phillips on reggaeton in G2
Kitty Empire's review of 100% Reggaeton in The Observer
John Robinson on reggaeton in The Guide