The Snow In The Summer or So-So

07/31/2006 - 08/06/2006

Mon 31 Jul 2006

Two Songs a Week 17 - Chiswick Reach

1989 was a fantastic year for 20 year old Cathy Dennis. Unknown in her home country the Norwich born singer/songwriter recorded and scored a No. 1 hit single in the States. With dance collective D-Mob, C'mon And Get My Love soon became one of the dance anthems of the year, crossing back over the Atlantic and reaching the top 20 in the UK. The track set the pace for Cathy's third single, Touch Me (All Night Long), going to 5.

The debut album, Move To This, went on to yield four international hits selling over 2 million singles and 1 million albums. In America, Cathy was voted "Best New Female Artist of 1991" by Billboard magazine and became the first British female to achieve four top ten singles from one album.

The second album quickly followed in 1992. Into The Skyline mimicked it's predecessor's success, debuting at No. 8 in the UK and producing 3 hit singles - Cathy's record now standing at 10 consecutive Top 40 records.

So this brings us to summer 1996. Since her last album, Cathy has been involved in varied projects including a cameo appearance in Beverly Hills 90210, singing on the PM Dawn track Looking Through Patient Eyes and of course recording The Cradle, her third album scheduled for release August 1996.

Cathy has co-written and co-produced the entire album, encompassing the writing skills of Andy Partridge (XTC) on the title track, Guy Chambers (World Party) on 4 tracks and Ray Davies (The Kinks) on The Date, as well as Cathy's rendition of Waterloo Sunset. Co-production credits go to Mark Saunders (Neneh Cherry, Tricky) who also co-wrote several tracks.

Describing the album as a "more honest representation of myself" and "semi autobiographical", The Cradle is a celebration of Cathy's creative freedom and an album which should re-establish her as one of Britain's most exciting female solo artists.

Press release shamelessly lifted from Stephen Moore's website.

After a delay caused by the very moderate success of the lead single, the album eventually emerged as Am I the Kinda Girl? Since the promotional tour for her third album, Cathy Dennis has retreated into the realm of songwriting. Indeed, when West end pad limped to number 25 ten years ago this week, Cathy Dennis was already raking in the cash from Bumper to bumper, the B-side to some single called Wannabe. She'd go on to greater success in the next decade, writing million-sellers Can't get you out of my head (the na na song) for Kylie Minogue, Anything is possible for Will Young, and the not-quite-million-seller Toxic for Britney Spears.

In forty years time, when whoever follows Russell Davies is presenting a show about the art and craft of the popular song at the turn of the century, I'm convinced that Cathy Dennis will appear in the list of the twenty greatest songwriters. This featured track was written with Mark Saunders from Stock-Aitken-Waterman protogés BND. They came to nothing, which was a bit of a waste, and the song itself has rather slipped down the memory hole. Until now.

West End Pad - lyrics and music, Cathy Dennis and Mark Saunders; performance, Cathy Dennis.

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posted 31 Jul 2006, 19.06 +0100

Two Songs a Week
A pox on you!

In which Mat GB reviews the new Shite Aparte product. Does it live up down to its name?


Fearne Cotton is to take over Radio 1 Listener's week-end breakfast programme. Insert the usual joke about waking up with attractive person here...


The Wealth of Nations. Or, why it's a scandal that so little's been made of the collapse of the Doh'a round of world trade talks.


We've heard of global warming, but this is ridiculous: Mediterranean Cod Bake, made from the finest Icelandic cod.


From an email we've received...

Blither blather blither waffle verbiage. Suze.
All New Yahoo! Mail - Tired of Vi@gr@! come-ons? Let our SpamGuard protect you.

Now, can anyone think why might this be trapped by any half-way decent spam prevention software?

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posted 31 Jul 2006, 19.27 +0100


Tue 01 Aug 2006

To-day in the middle east

Ben Metcalfe writes with passion about the Levant. Antonia Zerbisias talks of the blog propaganda campaign being waged by one side in the battle. She's also printing significant extracts of an examination into a central tenet: do the Hezbollah-ites hide amongst regular citizens? (Short answer: No.)

Elsewhere, George Monbiot on the utter weakness of the Yankees... and John Williams on why the UK should take the lead.

Another defeat for John "Oh Fuck" Reid, as the Appeal Court throws out the interior ministry's control orders. In full fairness, this isn't a problem that Mr Reid's invented, but one he inherited from his incompetent predecessor the Elephino.

And, for light entertainment, Metafilter discusses why Wal-mart had to leave Germany.

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posted 01 Aug 2006, 19.29 +0100

I don't want my tv empty

Apparently, the replacement for Star Academy US is going to be an Inside Edition special on the dangers of paper shredders. Yes, if you're trying to shred a load of paper while wearing a tie, there's just a change that you could end up with a shredded tie. It could be a potential death trap! (cheesy grin, whacky thumbs aloft.) On Daily Mail TV CBC Newsworld, Everything You Wanted To Know About Teenage Sexuality But Were Afraid To Ask. On TV5, Dancing Show, which won't need subtitles on p891. And on CLT, Building the St Lawrence Seaway.

Not that we've got much going for us in the UK. How To Look Good Naked, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Sex in the 70s, and that's just from the Channel 4 channels, and Sex Under The Sea (Animal Planet). There's Britain's Next Top Model (UK Living), the not-scaremongering-at-all Killer Rain (Discovery), and coverage of the Reducing Carbon Emissions Conference (The Parliament Channel). You can Build Your Own Campavan (Discovery Home and Leisure), and find the Lost Buildings of England (Discovery Behind the Sofa). And, for those viewers who are sticklers for punishment, Who Framed Kate Moss, all about the low-rent knock-off of Fearne Cotton.


MTV's hit

MTV marks its 25th anniversary to-day. To celebrate, it's closed down the rather successful VH-2 channel, and replaced it with MTV Flux, which - allegedly - is to be entirely controlled by its viewers. Just like M2, the alternative music station, when it launched in autumn 1998. When it launched, that channel was also proudly commercial-free. Now, of course, M2's playlist is a microcosm of the corporate behemoth, and it stops every twenty minutes for the same pointless commercials as the rest of the MTV brand.

There was a time, just a few years ago, when M2 and VH-1 were sufficiently varied to be background music for a whole day. Now, I can't go more than five minutes without shouting those hallowed words, "I'm an intelligent viewer, let me find something decent to watch!" MTV is past it, as exemplified by the way it runs the same adverts on all the channels. Why should the male audience of VH-2 suffer through adverts for ladyshavers? A properly-run channel wouldn't inflict such utterly inappropriate adverts on its viewers.

Just to add insult to injury, the new MTV Flux channel (last seen playing some ponce dancing on his head to a percussive beat while shaking faux-gold jewellery around) is a rather rubbish social networking clone. The registration terms and conditions are reprinted in full below:


That's it. The complete terms and conditions for those who wish to register for MTV Fux is the digit two. Does this, perchance, indicate the number of brain cells possessed by the entire staff and presentation team of MTV networks across the globe? Remember, these people still employ Russell Brand, Zane Lowe, and Richard Blackwood, three of the most talent-free imbeciles never let loose on network television. And for that, we can all give thanks.

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posted 01 Aug 2006, 19.38 +0100


Wed 02 Aug 2006

So, where next?

The question one needs to ask when the paid account is about to expire: what is the unique selling point about Livejournal? What does the particular site offer that is absent from its competitors? And is the advantage gained from the unique selling points worth the negative karma accrued from supporting a bunch of flash-spewing lie-talking brain-rotting punch-monkeying dosh-grubbing yankees?

The core functions, including the filtering and privacy, are available on any number of clone sites. Enhanced functions, such as polls, pictures, and RSS feeds, are supported to a greater-or-lesser degree by each clone.

The one part that is very difficult to replicate is the community aspect. None of the clones have anything like the depth and breadth of Livejournal, so there is less chance for serendipity to strike.

The current owners like Livejournal purely because it gives them a moderately reliable revenue stream, and because it gives them a captive audience to flog their whizz-bang better better newer shinier toys. Like Immobile Type 3.2, or Pox. (See posts passim.)

The cynical approach would be to let the paid account expire (and write an appropriately snotty letter explaining why), and bag a name on a clone site that offers image-hosting and unlimited RSS feeds.

Or, dare I suggest it, where it is necessary to create new RSS feeds, do so in a dedicated RSS reader. What, there's no reader that's as sensibly put together as the Livejournal model? Very good point; let me do some research. This may tide readers over in the interim.

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posted 02 Aug 2006, 19.46 +0100

Six Apart Is Useless
Stick to what you know

UN tells Tony Blair to stick to what he's good at. Toothpaste manufacturers open up a bidding war to prevent him from advertising their products, and someone called Simon Reade says the arts are backing Cameron.

While leafing through some old papers last night, I came across a January 2005 review of Beyond Thatcher, a book exploring the future of the Conservative party. The reviewer? D. Cameron.

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posted 02 Aug 2006, 19.56 +0100


Thu 03 Aug 2006

It's all for you

Mystic Mug writes: Hullo, radio fans. The first Thursday in August is time for the quarterly RAJAR radio listening figures. The twerp who writes most of the stuff here will, I'm sure, be running down stations from the top of the dial over the week-end. But I, Mystic Mug, can exclusively reveal the number one station. It's still Radio 2.

Last year, I challenged you to predict how many listeners the station would average in the second quarter. By a freaky chance, part of the station's telephone number is contained in the listening figure: 13,288,000. Let me reach into the pile of small change left on Sally Saucer and hand out money and points.

Cheekbones - 11.7
O'Mel - 9.4
Quirks - 8.3
Weaver - 7.8
Jiggers - 7.0
Chickenfeet - 5.5
Brig - 0.5

But wait, there's more! I'm going to hand out some points for the Top Temperature Trick, on the hope that we'll not suffer through a day of more than 35°C, as we did on day 200. Points there are:

Weaver - 6.6
O'Mel - 6.2
Brig - 3.3
Quirks - 3.2
Jiggers - 2.5
Chickenfeet, Cheekbones - 0

So, between them, that's 73 new pence in the kitty. But where's it going? You'll have to look at the prediction page to find out. Glenn learned all his evil tricks from me...

Mystic Mug will return when England have finished trouncing Pakistan in the cricket, towards the end of the month.

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posted 03 Aug 2006, 19.16 +0100

Two Songs A Week 18 - Hello!

If you were listening to the Promenade concerts last night, you'll have heard the world premiere of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March Number 6, in a version completed by Anthony Payne. Contrary to the BBC's pre-publicity, this wasn't the most important premiere of the season. PC6 isn't going to be played twice a day for the next few years, as the finale from Prom 12 will be. The sound file begins with a short spoken introduction.

The New Blue Peter Theme, Ashworth-Hope, arr Murray Gold, perf The Music Makers

(Readers of a nervous disposition will be pleased to hear that the sound of popping balloons, and other irritants, have been digitally excised.)

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posted 03 Aug 2006, 19.29 +0100

Two Songs a Week
Don't mess with the flow

Former diplomats say that soon to be former British prime minister Mister Tony Blair is guilty of an oversimplification to the point where it interferes with the facts. Backbench Labour MPs are describing him as morally indefensible and stupid, and even Mister Blair has had to admit the cabinet is divided. The European Union and United Nations are both advising Mister Blair to butt out. Since Mister Blair declined to call for an immediate cease-fire in the Levant crisis, over 400 people have died. And, just for good measure, Mister Blair has single-handedly made Britain more vulnerable to terrorist attack.

(Confidential for the terrorists reading: don't come after us, we want him out even more than you do, we'd just rather do it in our way and not make such a gory mess. Peace be upon us all.)

Here's a measure of the success of the invasion of Iraq. Civil war is almost inevitable, says British ambassador. So, let's get this straight, it is better to have partition - after a bloody civil war - than it is to allow a moderately repressive dictatorship to remain?

It appears that Mister Blair no longer enjoys the confidence of most of his MPs. By perpetually siding with the unelectable oil hucksters who have hi-jacked the failed colonies, and by appointing a grade I ninny to the foreign secretary (international) post, he has lost the credibility he once enjoyed as an international statesman. Mister Blair now appears to be running down his cultural credibility, the inheritance that would have allowed him a career talking to people of the world about his uniquely ineffective brand of politics.

The question to be asked is not whether Mister Blair will go; by his own admission, he will go before the next general election. The question is not whether he will go soon. No, the question is: How quickly can the Labour party move to oust Mister Blair? Seventy members of the parliamentary Labour party need to send letters to force a leadership election. Readers will recall the speed with which the Conservatives collected 25 signatures in 2003 to start removing their then-leader Tony Hawkes.

Another approach is for the party's ruling Politbureau national executive to vote for a special conference that, in turn, votes for a leadership election. This is somewhat less likely to happen; in spite of four gains for the Grassroots Alliance in this year's voting, the executive remains a hell of a lot more pro-Blair than the backbench party.

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posted 03 Aug 2006, 20.13 +0100


Sat 05 Aug 2006

What is the point of Tony Blair?

The Morning Star is being threatened with eviction, because its printing plant is going to be knocked down. Why is the printworks going? So that some crass spectacle can take place on the site six years hence. If you value freedom of the press, even if you can't stand the paper's reporting, lob the publishers a fiver. A thousand people doing just that will ensure there's no interruption to service.


The interior ministry's plans for the identity register are inconsistent and lacking in clarity, says a committee of MPs. The information commission has rejected the government's refusal to reveal key financial information about the project. And soon to be former British prime minister Mister Tony Blair has attempted to bind the hands of his successor, by claiming that the identity register would be a key plank of the next Labour manifesto. As if we needed another reason to mobilise against them... but isn't this a plank he'll be walking before then?


More depressing news: Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, faced down by an opposition majority in parliament, on Thursday proposed the man he defeated in the 2004 revolution Viktor Yanukovich as prime minister. Ruslana evidently has other things on her agenda.


In the latest libel trial where someone had to win, Tommy Sheridan of the Scottish Socialist party has beaten News International in a libel case. Rupert Murdoch's organ had falsely accused Mr Sheridan of knocking back champagne before having a ten-in-a-bed romp (or some such patent nonsense.) The News of the Screws has been ordered to pay £200,000 (€300,000) compensation, and faces a costs bill running into millions. Mr Sheridan said that the result was the equivalent of Gretna beating Real Madrid away on penalties, so we know where he'll be in the UEFA Cup quarter-final next April. We're going to embarrass the losers further by pointing to Mr Sheridan's remarkable victory speech on one of their servers.


Andrew Rilstone on the maddening of Mister Blair.

In Blairspeak 'modern' means good and 'traditional' means bad, so to say that 'traditional' people support the Closed position is simply to say that the Closed position is wrong. Closed people are against education, science and technology; they don't want to sort out the world's problems; they don't like new ideas... It's an argument between nice and nasty, sensible and silly, modern and old fashioned - which, by a staggering coincidence, turns out to mean 'between those who agree with Tony Blair, and everyone else.'

I'm reminded of those nominal followers of Marx who believe that everyone else - but not them - is suffering from false consciousness. It's profoundly depressing, and the satire on Time Trumpet that Mister Blair believes he can see angels may be closer to the truth than Armando Iannucci cares to admit.

It is worth mentioning (well, shoe-horning in) that Canada's new prime minister is deeply unpopular. Stephen Harperseal now commands the support of 32% of the national electorate. More alarmingly, the Liberals lead 42-33 in Ontario, and the Liberals also have the lead in Quebec, both provinces where the Canadian Reform-Alliance Party needs to make gains in order to come close to an overall majority. We stand by our original prediction of an election around Thanksgiving next year.

But finally, a piece of good news. John Prescott is not running the country. Instead, soon to be former British prime minister Mister Tony Blair is devoting 100% of his time to a resolution of the crisis in the Levant, meaning that absolutely no-one is in charge of the UK.

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posted 05 Aug 2006, 11.43 +0100


Sun 06 Aug 2006

A better poker pay-out

Have you seen the confusing and arbitrary schedule of prizes for the No-Limit Texas Hold Them Championship Event currently being played in The Meadows, Nevadashire? Where's the logic in that, eh? There's a leap in prize at position 504, then not another until you reach number 441. Barking.

In constructing a more sensible schedule of prizes, I've taken a few axioms of the game into account:

1) There shall be prizes for 10% of the players - in this case, down to position 873.

2) The tournament structure has natural breaks when there are 600, 300, 150, 60, 27, and 9 players remaining. A sensible prize schedule will reflect each of these.

3) The winner shall be awarded USD 12 million (€8.55).

4) The total prize shall be USD 82,466,200. (€ 58.76)

5) Those who win a prize must win a minimum of USD 10,000 (ah, you do the maths. Let's just denominate everything in dollars, and let people manage their own conversions.)

From these axioms, I started by grouping positions to reflect the structure of the tournament. Places 1-9 will be determined individually; then down in threes to position 27. The remaining stages I've split into three equal groups, except for the day from 150 to 60, which I've split into 20-20-20-30. Finally, those finishers between 601 and 873 are entitled to a prize, so they'll all get the same prize. Finally, axiom 5 means it's easiest to remove 8,730,000 from the pot, and add on 10 grand to each prize at the end of the day.

By looking at the golf circuit prizes, it appears that the prize money decreases by about 30% at each stage down the ladder, but the runner-up gets only 55% of the winner's prize. I'll fix those figures in for the top nine, subject to later revision. Remember, at the moment, all prizes exclude a refund of the original 10,000 stake.

Band   Wins  Prize
1        1   11,990,000
2        1    6,594,500
3        1    4,616,150
4        1    3,231,305
5        1    2,261,914
6        1    1,583,339
7        1    1,108,338
8        1      775,836
9        1      543,085

10-12    3
13-15    3
16-18    3
19-21    3
22-24    3
25-27    3

28-38    11
39-49    11
50-60    11

61-80    20
81-100   20
101-120  20
121-150  30

151-200  50
201-250  50
251-300  50

301-400  100
401-500  100
501-600  100

601-873  273

Now share out the prize fund according to the height up the tree each winner has finished. The entire bottom category gets one share of the pot, the entire second category - those in the five hundreds - get two shares between them, and so on up. When we reach the 15th tier (positions 25-27), there has to be an adjustment, otherwise there will be a massive leap in prizes. Similarly, when working with the individual payments, reduce again. For the bottom of the final day, take the higher of the 70% rule and this share-out. Adding the 10,000 we first thought of gives a structure like this:

Band   Wins  Shrs Totprze  Prize
1        1                 12,000,000
2        1                  6,604,500
3        1                  4,626,150
4        1                  3,241,305
5        1                  2,271,914
6        1    6.5 1,692,342 1,702,342
7        1    6   1,562,162 1,572,162
8        1    5.5 1,431,982 1,441,982
9        1    5   1,301,801 1,311,801

10-12    3    10  2,603,603   877,868
13-15    3    9   2,343,243   791,081
16-18    3    8   2,082,882   704,294
19-21    3    7   1,822,522   617,507
22-24    3    6   1,562,162   530,721
25-27    3    5   1,301,801   443,934

28-38    11   14  3,645,044   341,368
39-49    11   13  3,384,684   317,699
50-60    11   12  3,124,324   294,029

61-80    20   11  2,863,963   153,198
81-100   20   10  2,603,603   140,180
101-120  20   9   2,343,243   127,162
121-150  30   8   2,082,882    79,429

151-200  50   7   1,822,522    46,450
201-250  50   6   1,562,162    41,243
251-300  50   5   1,301,801    36,036

301-400  100  4   1,041,441    20,414
401-500  100  3     781,081    17,811
501-600  100  2     520,720    15,207

601-873  273  1     260,360    10,953

That's a total of 172.5 shares in the remaining pot, and they're split equally within each category.

The net effect is to make it very profitable to survive just into the next day - the first person out in the morning will win two to three times the prize of the last person who left the night before. There are small increases within each day, and they might be increased by altering the size of the categories slightly - for instance, if the 150-to-60 day was split 30-25-20-15, the prizes would ramp up 70-90-130-190 (and that's in thousands of dollars.) There is tinker room, but I'm sure that this is a more elegant - and more easily scalable - solution than the official one.

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posted 06 Aug 2006, 11.00 +0100

Sports desk

Floyd Landis's B-sample has proven positive, and he'll almost certainly be stripped of his Tour de France title. If there's one silver lining to this dark cloud, it's that cycling is being honest, and not brushing its problems under the carpet.

With temperatures in the nineties, the new football season began. Accrington Stanley lost, which is a shame, and Rangers were held by Dundee Utd. Gretna warmed up for their UEFA Cup debut with a 6(SIX):0 trouncing of Hamilton Academicals Nil.

In the cricket, England are on the verge of drawing a test they should win - after making 515 in the first innings, and reducing Pakistan to 78/2, the follow-on should be a formality. But no, the over-night total was 202/2.

Better news in the tennis, where Andy Murray is in the final of the tournament in the Chesapeke Drainage Basin after beating Dmitri Toursanov in straight sets.

The European Athletics Championships begin in Gothenborg to-morrow, and continues until next Sunday. Coverage on Eurosport, Radio 5, and BBC-tv

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posted 06 Aug 2006, 11.42 +0100

Bored or No Bored

Norman Lebrecht is bored. He's been listening to Classic FM's latest star promotion, The Boring Room. (Blimey, first mention, and we're already changing the name for minor comedy effect.) And, well... After six tracks you lose the will to live.


Maybe Mr Lebrecht might broaden his horizons. Good Maths Bad Maths has been looking at some interesting numbers - after 0 and i comes e. Is this man going to discuss each of my lottery numbers in turn? Will we get articles on π, φ, and ℵ? And, almost as importantly, will those innumerate numpties at Camelot ever move away from their obsession with the natural numbers and allow us to enter a mixture of real and surreal lottery tickets? Hang on, no, that means the match-4 prize would be £22.13 and a bucket of custard.


For the 47% of my readers who like the act: Dresden Dolls in concert. Real audio file, ~25 minutes, includes interview.


For entertainment purposes: Dice Wars. Like Risk, only not as complex. It's a Flash game, don't say you weren't warned...

Margaret Beckett (Lab, Foreign Affairs Excluding Europe) claims that her critics are only carping because she's a woman. Nonsense; we object to her occupying a senior position because she's completely useless.

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posted 06 Aug 2006, 16.09 +0100

Music in week 31

The artist airplay list, then.

1. 1 lily allen       8
2. 4 automatic        7
3. 7 muse             5
4. 6 nelly furtardo   4
5. - feeling          4
6. - pipettes         4
7. - lostprophets     3
8. - kooks            3
9. - bruce cockburn   2
10 9 shakira          2

What's that? Music videos as art? So thinks one respected commentator.

Christophe Willem, yet another Star Academy graduate, lands at number 3 in France with Sunny, a cover of the Boney M classic. In the loosest sense of the word, natch. Sergio Mendes takes over the top spot in the Netherlands, while the greatest hits of Roxette are in the Rox medley, new in Norway this week. Sweden falls in line with the rest of Scandinavia, giving Boten Anna the top position.

North Europe's Top Twenty

 20 14 Annoying Thing - We are the champions
*19 NE Sergio Mendez - Mas que nada
 18  8 Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
 17 15 Sportfreunde Stiller - 54 70 90 2006
*16 NE Paris Hilton - Stars are blind
*15 re Depeche Mode - John the revelator
 14 16 Infernal - From Paris to Berlin
 13 12 Basshunter - Boten Anna
 12 13 Lordi - Hard rock hallelujah
*11 11 Lostprophets - Rooftops
*10 NE Plage - Coup de boule
  9  7 Pink - Who knew?
  8 19 Feeling - Fill my little world
  7 10 Kooks - She moves in her own way
* 6  6 Muse - Supermassive black hole
  5  4 Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
* 4  5 Automatic - Monster
* 3  3 Lily Allen - Smile
  2  2 Shakira - Hips don't lie
* 1  1 Nelly Furtado - Maneater

Sergio Mendez's record is with the Black Eyed Peas, so is rubbish, but not as rubbish as Paris Hilton's tuneless dirge. Plage have the best-seller in France, their record treads remarkably similar ground to Cauet, both being fast-moving rap nonsense about Zidane (who, we're assured, can't be marked).

Cascada have the highest new entry with a rather dull trance-dance track, in at 4. Two upsides: it's by Yanou, behind the rather decent Heaven remake the other year, and it's one place higher than the piss-poor Paris Hilton. We would advise her to stick to what she does best, but there's no more room for clothes=horses, is there? Similou puts an adequate dance track - no more, no less - in at 20. Raconteurs may have done better with a cover of Jewel's minor hit of the same name than this re-make of What's the frequency Kenneth?. Captain would not have been out of place on late-90s rock radio, the stuff we Brits rather passed over in favour of Britpop. The Holloways are a sort of ska-country act, rather moreish in their way. Frank has one of those singers with a fantastic voice.

Entering in the lower places are a mash-up from Mousse T and the Dandy Warhols; Orson; Michael Gray (who?); and the View (who? squared). There's also a full release from Boy Kill Boy, which will annoy their friends at Kerrang. And that's A Good Thing.

Missing entirely from the top 75 this week is Nelly Furtado's Maneater, the latest single to fall foul of ROPRA's increasingly ludicrous rules on what does and doesn't count as a current hit. The song was deleted from physical sale two weeks ago, and becomes the second record this year to fall out of the chart from inside the top 10. It's number 34 on the sales-and-airplay Notwork Chart, some little way above the Raconteurs, suggesting it's sold enough to scrape the bottom of the top 20.

On the albums, James Morrison has the new number one, with the extremely rubbish Puppini Sisters at 17. This act is a female vocal group in the style of 40s singers, performing some modern tracks. Scala does it far, far better. Rapper DMX and rockers Stone Sour enter into the top 30, with alarming climbs for James Blunt and Primal Scream. Who is buying the Journey South album, a re-entry at number 53 ... unless it's being sold off at £1.97.

Here's the good stuff on the singles listing:

 1  1 Shakira - Hips don't lie
 7  4 Lily Allen - Smile
10  9 Kasabian - Empire
12  6 McFly - Please please
14 17 Kooks - She moves in her own way
22 21 Automatic - Monster
24 23 Zutons - Valerie
26 28 Pink - Who knew?
29 NE Raconteurs - Hands
30 73 Captain - Glorious
33 NE Holloways - Two left feet
34 32 Muse - Supermassive black hole
36 36 Feeling - Fill my little world
38 38 Kooks - Naive
40 NE Frank - I'm not shy
41 19 Pet Shop Boys - Minimal
42 ** Mousse T / Dandy Warhols
  - Horny as a dandy
43 37 Lostprophets - Rooftops
48 54 Keane - Is it any wonder?
50 47 Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
52 ** Orson - Happiness
55 63 Orson - Bright idea
63 64 Jose Gonzalez - Hand on your heart
65 48 Wolfmother - Woman
67 62 Primal Scream - Country girl
69 71 Raconteurs - Steady as she goes
71 56 Beatfreaks - Somebody's watching me

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posted 06 Aug 2006, 19.30 +0100

Weather in week 31

A far more unsettled week than we've been accustomed to. Showers were the order of the day on Monday and Tuesday, and cloud remained for much of the rest of the week. On Friday, a warm front pushed up, leaving some unusually sultry weather behind - after drizzle persisted into the afternoon on Saturday, Sunday was cloudy and humid.

31 Mo sun, showers        14/23, 3.0
01 Tu showers             14/20, 7.5
02 We cloud               13/18
03 Th sun                 14/24, 1.0
04 Fr cloud               14/22
05 Sa drizzle             15/24, 4.0
06 Su sun to cloud        14/27

Twenty more degree cooling days this week, the summer's total moves to 295, compared to 149/237 last year, 138/184 two summers ago, and 184/310 in 2003. Tuesday was the first 20°C day since 9 July (22 days), Wednesday the first day not to get that high since 27 June, a span of 36 days.

The forecast: The current humid conditions will be swept away overnight by a cold front, introducing winds from the north circulating around a large area of high pressure in the mid-Atlantic. A further front will cross from the west during Tuesday and Wednesday, and winds could become quite strong from the north-west quadrant towards the week-end. As ever, when dealing with westerly airflows, showers are possible, so do wrap up.

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posted 06 Aug 2006, 19.33 +0100


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