Category Archives: music

X-Factor 6:2

The new blog may have started, but it won’t contain material like this. In the spirit of silly fun, I’ll again be liveblogging tonight’s second episode of series 6 of X-Factor. Will anyone be able to stop the Danyl Johnson juggernaut? At 7pm BST:

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[NOW CLOSED but still viewable]

X-Factor 6:1

This year I’m not going to tweet my comments about the new series of X-Factor, I’m going to liveblog them. You’re welcome to add your comments as well (and by Twitter, if you let me know in advance that you’d like to). It’ll kick off at 7pm BST and that’s when you:

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[NOW CLOSED but still viewable]

a-ha: Analogue (Video)

Because I’m in the mood for it, and hey, why not a gratuitous music video? Enjoy…

Michael Jackson NewsFAIL

Charlie Brooker:

I switched on the TV. Jackson was still alive on BBC News 24, where they seemed to be reporting he was in hospital following a heart attack. That wasn’t good enough, so I flicked over to Sky News, which tends to blab stuff out while the Beeb drags its feet tediously checking the facts. He was bound to be dead on Sky. But he wasn’t; he was possibly in a coma. In desperation, I turned to Fox. They would already be attempting to communicate with him via the spirit realm, surely. But they weren’t. If anything, they were being more cautious than the Beeb. Boo.

Back to Sky, which was now reporting that a website was announcing his death. That’d do for now. I beamed a few texts out: “Michael Jackson apparently dead”. “Piss off” came the reply. It was my own fault. I’d texted a few weeks earlier to say Huw Edwards had just vomited live on the news.

Confirmation of his death gradually spread across the news networks, but the main terrestrial channels were still obliviously broadcasting their scheduled programmes. ITV won the newsflash race, diving straight in after Trial and Retribution. Alastair Stewart abruptly shouted “MICHAEL JACKSON HAS DIED” down the lens like a man standing on the shoreline trying to get the attention of someone on the deck of a passing ferry during gale-force winds. Fair enough. Whenever I hear the phrase, “And now a special news report”, I automatically start scanning the room for blunt objects to club myself to death with in case they’re about to announce nuclear war. Since this wasn’t the apocalypse, but an unexpected celebrity death – sad, but not worth killing yourself with a paperweight over – Stewart was right to blurt it out as fast as he could.

I have no further comment to make. I ♥ Charlie Brooker.

A Quick Word About Michael Jackson

I wasn’t going to say anything about this, because I’ve been quite irritated by the general level of hysteria (and news service obsession) with Michael Jackson’s death. But Tomasky has a good take on the phenomenon:

even pop icons who did not turn out to be geniuses usually had some cool about them. At least, they weren’t circuses sideshows. I look at the Jonas Brothers, and I think, well, they’re kinda cool-looking young guys, I can see how a 12-year-old girl would want to scream at that.

But the sustained Jackson adoration – and I understand that he lost some fans, but it seems he retained most – was able to overlook completely his deranged personal life. This remains a deep mystery to me.

It must have something to do with the media culture and with more profound things like the atomization of society and how people grapple with their own frustrations and inadequacy and alienation. If I’d read some Adorno more recently than I in fact have, I’m sure I’d find a zinger of a quote. Anyway I never understood it.

I can’t (and won’t knock) Michael Jackson for his music. He was indeed one of the most influential pop musicians of all time, ‘Thriller’ remains a masterpiece – both the album and the video, and his showmanship was really unlike any other in half a century. What has surprised me about the hysteria after what was to me an unsurprising death was that his bizarre personal life and the court case had no noticeable effect on his popularity. That’s quite remarkable.

From what I remember of my Adorno, I think he’d pick up on the way in which the papers, TV and radio networks have manipulated this out of all proportion to indeed distract the people. They were actually being forced to report news, in the aftermath of the Iranian presidential election, and the mainstream media simply wasn’t up to providing a genuine, unspun, unbiased account of what was going on in that country, despite being put under monumental pressure to do so. So we have this largely meaningless frenzy now (he died on Friday, yet is still ‘breaking news’), and who’s paying attention to torture in Tehran?

I’ll leave you now with the tribute performance by the inmates of the CPDRC prison in the Philippines, who so memorably performed ‘Thriller’ two years ago to worldwide fascination:

Post-AF 447 I’m Scared. I’m Sorry!

I know how safe air travel is. But after the Qantas incident, the Air France 447 crash and now this, I’m just not happy at the thought of flying by Airbus anymore:

Last night the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that within the last five weeks two Airbus A330 airliners have had critical episodes involving speed sensors – the same kind of emergency that is at the heart of the investigation into the loss of Air France Flight 447.

The first episode involved a TAM airlines flight from Miami to Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 21. The language of the NTSB notice describing this is unusually stark: [The airplane] “experienced a loss of primary speed and altitude information while in cruise flight. Initial reports indicate that the flight crew noted an abrupt drop in indicated outside air temperature, followed by the loss of the Air Data Reference System and disconnections of the autopilot and autothrust, along with the loss of speed and altitude information. The flight crew used backup instruments and primary data was restored in about 5 minutes. The flight landed with no further incident and there were no injuries or damage.”

The common factor remains pitot tube faults, causing the fly-by-wire computer to disengage the autopilot and give up flying the plane. Under calm flying conditions it seems pilots can regain control of the aircraft (albeit with difficulty) – in the middle of a storm the fault appears to lead to catastrophe.

Someone convince me I’m worrying over nothing, please.

Teitur: Louis Louis (Video)

Teitur is a new find for me, and quite a delightful one so far:

Freemasons ft Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Heartbreak (Make Me a Dancer) (Video)

I have long adored the divine Sophie. Murder on the Dancefloor? Seminal. Groovejet? Can’t top it. Sure she releases the odd clunker, but now she’s back with the Freemasons and on top form. Enjoy.

Paloma Faith: Stone Cold Sober (Video)

Nope, I’ve never heard of her before either, but I found her this morning on Magic’s music TV channel. The single’s released on 14th June, and I’m sure going to buy it. Enjoy!

Intermission: Patrick Wolf