And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #166: Week Of The Beef

By | Published on Friday 19 July 2013

Thom Yorke & Nigel Godrich

Well, it’s been quite a week, hasn’t it? I know you’re all expecting me to pick the most interesting, funny or ridiculous music-based tête-à-tête of the last seven days, but how do you choose in a week when amazing disputes just keep pouring out into the world?

The most obvious choice, and one that was suggested as BOTW by one of our Twitter followers almost as soon as it started, is of course Nigel Godrich and Thom Yorke’s stand against streaming services. In a flash, their side project Atoms For Peace, along with Yorke’s solo album and Godrich’s other band Ultraísta, were off streaming platforms. This, said Godrich, was a protest against the fact that new artists aren’t earning what they deserve from these services, Spotify bearing the brunt of the vitriol.

Cue an entire week of every newspaper, website and blog publishing articles from every side of the debate. And while it’s not a debate that shouldn’t be had, there were a lot of people shouting at once, and some of them were waving around some pretty ropey maths to back up their stances.

But while it may have been the loudest dispute, is this the best beef of the week? No, not really. It’s a debate that has been raging for a while, and will continue to do so for a long time to come. It used to be that artists complained that piracy was the reason they weren’t living in gold houses (and before that it was because MTV and HMV wouldn’t play/sell their records), now it’s streaming. But there are many reasons why an artist might not be living the high life off the back of their recordings alone, not least because it’s never ever worked like that.

So, the streaming debate might be what this week is remembered for, but there are lots of weeks that are remembered for sparking a debate over streaming. And let’s face it: no one wrote a song about any of it, so it can’t have been that important. Come on, where is the anti-streaming protest song? No one seems to write those anymore.

Amanda Palmer would write that song, I reckon. If she was actually anti-streaming, which I don’t believe she is. She’s pretty anti-Daily Mail though, and on that subject she did write a new track.

She penned the ditty, which she performed live in London last week, after the newspaper wrote a report on the fact that she has a nipple. Possibly two, but definitely one. The Mail knows this because a photographer took a picture of the nipple when it briefly left Palmer’s bra during her performance at Glastonbury.

Keen to let its readers know about the discovery of the Palmer Nipple (and, for most them presumably, the existence of Palmer at all), the Mail provided photographic evidence of it. It also noted, with that disapproving-yet-all-kinds-of-excited-about-seeing-some-flesh tone the Mail specialises in, that Palmer is known for wearing slightly revealing outfits. Though in her song Palmer pointed out that she’s actually quite well known for wearing nothing at all, illustrating this by performing half of her response song completely nude. The Mail didn’t report on that.

So well done Palmer for responding to the Mail-monkeys with such panache. Though that wasn’t the only gig-based beef this week. In fact, there were at least two more of note. One saw Beyonce joining an increasing number of artists who would prefer it if people enjoyed the show, rather than videoing it for later viewing on their mobile phones.

While getting fans in the front row to sing the “to the left, to the left” line in ‘Irreplaceable’, she confronted one who was filming her as she approached them, saying: “You can’t even sing because you’re too busy taping. I’m right in your face, baby. You gotta seize this moment. Put that damn camera down!”

Of course the reason we know this happened is because someone further back – who was not only filming it, but had turned away from the stage in order to record a video screen, the big idiot – uploaded it to YouTube. Seems Beyonce may be able to sell fizzy syrup and Swedish clothing to her fans, but she can’t instil any gig-going etiquette in them. Stop filming live shows, idiots. They’re live shows. LIVE. The clue is in the name.

Still, if it wasn’t for the gig-filming idiots, we probably wouldn’t have even heard about this next BOTW contender: Rihanna’s beef with Manchester. Or one person in Manchester, at least. One person who clearly felt that the singer looked a bit hungry and so threw a packet of crisps onto her stage.

“There’s a good crazy and there’s a bad crazy”, she informed the audience, as the packet landed. “When you throw shit up here, that’s an epic fail. I swear to god, cut that shit out. Really, chips? Chips though?!”

I’m not sure how “crazy” throwing crisps is, but I guess it’s annoying. It would definitely be both crazier and funnier if it had been a half-eaten portion of chips. I should have feigned ignorance of the different definition of ‘chips’ in the US and told you that Rihanna receive a half-eaten portion of cold chips and ketchup to the face. But she didn’t. Oh well, hopefully they were at least beef flavoured crisps.

But the lack of ketchup does deprive Rihanna the overall Beef Of The Week crown. While the other three lose out because hating streaming, phone-filming and the Daily Mail has all been done before (even if Palmer’s version of the latter was better than most). And so to my personal favourite beef of this week – in fact my favourite news story of this week. It all happened at a new independent record shop in Derry/Londonderry, set up to replace the recently departed HMV.

Launched by a former employee of HMV’s Derry store, Tony Cregan, the new shop is similar to the old HMV outlet in many ways. It sells the same products. Its colour scheme is very similar. Oh, and it’s name is almost exactly the same. Yes, when naming his shop, Cregan went with HVM. What does HVM stand for? Who knows. He’s Vast and Moist was what I came up with when trying to think of something that sounded a bit like His Master’s Voice. Then I was a little bit sick.

Anyway, upon learning of the new shop, HMV’s lawyers got in touch to tell Cregan that the existence of a store called HVM would cause “substantial damage to their client’s reputation and goodwill”. That’s the reputation and goodwill of HMV there. Being damaged. Lawyers are funny.

But what can you do in a situation like that? Well, Cregan once again showed his knack for taking a simple idea and putting it into action. Did he shut the shop down? No, he did not. Did he plead for forgiveness? No he did not. He just went outside with a screwdriver.

“We just turned the sign upside down”, he told “Now it’s called WAH”.

What a genius. Now his shop is gaining lots of support from local people, and has apparently managed to pull off that thing that had long eluded HMV: it’s become a nice place to hang out and shop. Not that this was something Cregan specifically set out to achieve.

“People are saying the vibe here is great, it’s really friendly”, he explained. “I’d love to say that was our intention all along and we’re really smart, but that wasn’t the plan at all”.

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