The Snow In The Summer or So-So

10/30/2006 - 11/05/2006

Mon 30 Oct 2006

Election season!

It's the most wonderful time of the year for this particular icon, for it is election season. In Bulgaria, Georgi Parvanov won his presidential ballot, beating far-right candidate Volen Siderov by a 3:1 margin. The centre-left Mr Parvanov will continue to gently push the government - that's all he can do - towards raising the standard of living for all Bulgarians, and away from the corruption endemic in Russia.

In Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been re-elected, securing more than 60% of the poll in a run-off election. Sr Lula says that he will boost growth and reduce inequality. His campaign commercials included photographs of the candidate with such world luminaries as Bill Clinton (Presidente, EAU), Kofi Annan (Secretario, EN), and Bono Vox (chantor populare).

In Democratic Republic of Congo, second-round voting took place yesterday in the country's presidential election. Joseph Kabila faces a challenge from Jean-Pierre Bemba. The UN hopes that this election will bring some stability to the vast country, stemming the flow of refugees, and in turn helping to calm down the neighbouring countries. Full results are expected in one to two weeks.

One to two weeks is roughly the length of time it takes the people of the Failed American Republic Colonial Experiment to miscount their votes. If we wanted to, we could put together one of our famous wallcharts showing all the possible gains, losses, swings, and roundabouts. We could give it away free with one of the national newspapers; instead, we just give it away, and if you want it to become a wallchart, print it out and stick it up on your wall.

If I were Peter Snow, this would inevitably get very silly indeed, with a high concept of a child on a slide that currently lands safely in a sandpit, but with an end that goes up and down depending on how well the other party does. Will Fuzzy Lumpkin have a nice soft landing, or will he fall off the slide, crack his head open, and perhaps knock some sense in to it? Look, this nonsense is no more daft than William Hague's Steps To Downing Street (2001) or The Golden-Blue Shot (1983) - the latter was utterly incomprehensible at the time, and even more so now.

After electing an imbecile as provincial governor, the people of Texas now want to elect someone named Kinky? The mind boggles, but not so much as it does when considering the shape of some of the ridings there...

permanent link
posted 30 Oct 2006, 19.09 +0000

News

Tue 31 Oct 2006

How far has Livejournal fallen?

First run through what I hope will become a regular feature, chronicling the decline and fall of Six Apart's advertisement vehicle.

The headlines

size	accounts	11499439
size	accounts_active_1	539595
size	accounts_active_30	1875016
size	accounts_active_7	1200055
statbox	postyester	187644
statbox	totusers	2901464
usercluster	active	483304
usercluster	total	10818562
userinfo	allow_getljnews	439141
userinfo	randomcount	5000
userinfo	total	11485718
userinfo	updated	7537541
userinfo	updated_last1	213069
userinfo	updated_last30	1126003
userinfo	updated_last7	664145

Note that Size: Accounts > Userinfo: Total > Usercluster: Total. Would it be reasonable to assume that there have been 700,000 journals deleted off the system, either through renames or through purges?

The Updated figures would, I assume, be those people who updated their account in the given interval. The Active figures, I guess, are those who are posting or commenting. Would it include logging on? Don't know. I'd need Six Apart to be honest with an ex-customer, and there's a far greater chance of hell freezing over, or Portugal winning Eurovision.

The equivalent Updating figures for this date in 2004, with changes against present, are:

updating in last 30 days:  1350624 (+16.6%)
updating in last 7 days: 861910 (+23.0%)
updating in past 24 hours: 249836 (+14.8%)

Can we get a handle on the number of actual people, as opposed to communities and syndicated feeds there are? I propose the Userinfo: Updated figure as a lower bound - there will be people who created their account to read, and I would expect that deleted journals would still count to this total. The actual figure will be higher than 7.5 million; I would be surprised if it were much higher.

Gender

F	3151353
M	1514624
U	1810116

Total gender declared: 6,476,093 (56% of Accounts, 86% of Updated)

Would leaving this box blank from the start cause one not to appear in any category?

Ages

Look, ma, a chark!

Livejournal users by age, October 2006

Modal age is 18, with 501,505 users. Quartiles come at 18.2, 20.8, 24.5.

Total declaring an age: 4,931,429 (76% of Gender, 65% of Updated). Is there any reason to suspect that older users would be less likely to declare their age? Anecdotally, yes; a large number of my acquaintances removed their birthday information entirely over the summer, when Six Apart tried an utterly stupid method of changing personal infomation. Whether this was by accident or design is not clear, but this will have primarily affected account holders pre-2006, who will skew older.

Top 20 Countries

US	3169661
RU	369794
CA	264459
UK	224143
AU	106115
UA	42386
PH	40399
DE	37430
SG	33604
FI	30129
JP	25300
NL	21478
IL	15507
NZ	15214
BR	14206
ES	14054
BY	13686
FR	13370
SE	10027
IE	9705

224 other countries: 229,611

Total countries declared: 4,700,278 (72% of those declaring a gender, 62% of Active, 95% of those declaring a country). Is there a reason why non-native English speakers might not list their country?

Signups

The historic growth between 2001 and 2004 is well documented. What's not quite so obvious is the slow fall-off since - 2006 beat the corresponding date in 2005 on just five days, and neither year ever beat 2004.

Livejournal users signing up, October 2001-6

Total signups:
2001 - 23,537
2002 - 36,244
2003 - 68,158
2004 - 307,746
2005 - 255,848
2006 - 233,334

Question for the panel: how many of these 233,334 accounts would be taking advertisements? The most credible independent survey suggests around 75% of new users take commercials after one week, falling to 60% after a month. These figures are disputed by Six Apart; the company consistently refuses to publish its in-house measurements, asking us to trust its claims that there are blogposts of mass destruction. Er...

Top 20 interests:

music	1501978
movies	975892
reading	661214
writing	622965
friends	608856
art	465838
computers	455829
dancing	428436
photography	416082
books	383849
shopping	346373
singing	339576
love	337737
poetry	318397
anime	309343
drawing	301912
sleeping	298431
swimming	290037
sex	257890
boys	241037

Also targetted for advertisements:

food, harry potter, video games, cats, laughing, dvds, chocolate, tattoos, guitar, rain
coffee, animals, concerts, stars, internet, guys, cheese, painting, cooking, soccer
piercings, girls, acting, talking, dogs, basketball, snowboarding, traveling, taking back sunday, women
family, manga, kissing, biking, lord of the rings, nirvana, rock, history, punk, running
tv, fashion, fantasy, philosophy, pictures, football, summer, shoes, green day, johnny depp
dreams, the beatles, clothes, cars, radiohead, hugs, driving, the used, eating, музыка
sleep, family guy, candles, psychology, drinking, snow, the cure, brand new, camping, pink
vampires, emo, dashboard confessional, parties, afi, aim, hiking, linkin park, cuddling, incubus

Next 25:

mp3s, water, sports, ice cream, politics, my chemical romance, bright eyes, life, travel, money
literature, men, black, weezer, thursday, piano, star wars, skateboarding, blink 182, pizza
skiing, romance, yellowcard, coldplay, guitars

Syndicated feeds

Top 10
Blogthings	33212
PostSecret	23110
Dictionary Word of the Day	16372
Neil Gaiman	15008
Astronomy Picture of the Day	10463
Penny-Arcade	8677
Sinfest	8424
VG Cats	8278
Dan Savage	7685
Overheard in New York	7621

Readership of feed ranked:
50	1250
100	627
200	292
500	117
1000	53

The Zipf distribution allows us to approximate n = (1/k^s)*a
where n = number of readers
k = rank
s = exponent (experimentally, 1.07)
a = scalar multiple (experimentally, 85,800)

We might extend the table:

2500	20
5000	9
10000	5
25000	2
50000	1

This suggests somewhere around 80,000 feeds have at least one reader. This distribution provides no information regarding feeds with 0 readers; it is known that these feeds are not deleted.

Mark Kraft, the Tony Benn of Livejournal, holds that the site peaked in early 2005, coincident with the purchase by Six Apart. A causal relationship? Good question.

permanent link
posted 31 Oct 2006, 18.20 +0000

Six Apart Is Useless
Two Songs a Week 41 - They can come true

Remember Gabrielle? That's the British soul singer; for the friend of Xena, please see elsewhere.

I first heard of Gabrielle in summer 1993, with the release of her debut single Dreams. Originally based on a sample of Tracy Chapman's Fast car - though the sample was removed from the single release - Gabrielle made history as the first act to come straight into the singles charts at number 2 with her first single. With a distinctive eyepatch, and a soulful voice, Gabrielle projected a distinctive image. She won the poisoned chalice of Best British Newcomer at the B.P.I. awards for 1993, but was passed over for Female Solo in favour of Dina Carroll.

The second album was a very long time in coming, but finally arrived in 1996. The lead-off single, Give me a little more time spent three months in the singles chart, and was never off the radio in the early part of the year. By late 1996, Gabrielle was working with the established boy band East 17 on If you ever, a cover of a Shai record - it had been a very minor hit here in late 1992, but an a capella rendition had been massive in North America.

Gabrielle's most successful period was between 1999 and 2001, securing a number one single with the Dylan-sampling Rise, four other top ten hits, and some more radio staples. Since her greatest hits album came out in 2001, Gabrielle's rather faded away - 2004's Play to Win barely scraped the top 30 albums chart, and this year's Tracking Treasure Down was released on an independent label.

permanent link
posted 31 Oct 2006, 18.49 +0000

Two Songs a Week

Wed 01 Nov 2006

Meet the people

Mystic Mug writes:

Happy new year, everyone. The one question about Mr. Weaver's life has now finished. How many people would he meet in person after first conversing on the interweb. The answer you were all looking for: 3. Mr. Weaver has supplied full details - behind a security lock.

Unusually, the competitors have answered this one correctly. Here's the score:

O'mel 20
Brig 15
Cheekbones 12
Quirks 10
Les autres 0

Another 57 new pence comes crashing down into the kitty, which now stands at a rather healthy £3.68.

We can also give the final scores in the Other category:

O'mel 46
Weaver 27
Brig 18
Quirks 15
Cheekbones 12
Jiggers 2.7
Chickenfeet 0

Also, General Motors has not filed for bankruptcy protection, so prediction Chickenfeet2 has not happened. Half-points for O'mel, Weaver, Jiggers, and Brig.

As ever, full details on the prediction page. I shall be back once the tennis season has finished, for Henman's Height.

permanent link
posted 01 Nov 2006, 18.33 +0000

Entertainment
On the rails

With just 377 days to go, the tender documents for the Crosscountry and two Midlands rail franchises are out. The devil is in the detail:

4. Timetable changes - New Cross Country franchise. The following changes are planned:

* Cross Country services between Manchester and Scotland will stop in December 2007. Separately, TransPennine Express (TPE) will extend the existing Manchester Airport - Cumbria service to Scotland, offering comparable journey times to today.

* From no later than 2008 services between Birmingham and Scotland will be operated by Virgin West Coast.

* Penzance and destinations in the South West will continue to be served by the same number of Cross Country trains and a new contractual commitment to operate summer services between the North East and North West of England to Newquay.

5. Timetable changes - West Midlands franchise. The timetable operated until December 2008 will be similar to today. Bidders will be asked to price an option for the retention of the Walsall - Wolverhampton service from December 2007. The timetable alterations in 2008 will mean:

* A broadly hourly new London - Crewe semi-fast service, serving Trent Valley stations, Stone and Stoke on Trent.

* Two trains an hour between Birmingham and Liverpool, calling at the new Liverpool South Parkway station, and two trains per hour between Birmingham and Northampton.

* Curtailment of the current hourly Birmingham - Walsall - Cannock - Stafford service at Rugely Trent Valley, with a connection at Rugely Trent Valley with the London - Crewe semi-fast service. Bidders are also required to improve Rugely Trent Valley station.

* Operationally, it has not been possible to introduce an hourly Birmingham - Manchester semi-fast service.

6. Timetable changes - East Midlands franchise

* A dedicated London and Kettering service will be introduced from December 2008, which will pave the way for the extension of London trains through to Corby if a new station is given the go-ahead.

* A new station, East Midlands Parkway, will be serviced by London - Nottingham services and will get at least 2 trains per hour.

* No changes to the current Liverpool - Norwich service, except a provision for the service to call at Liverpool South Parkway.

* DfT has not included all off-peak services between Market Harborough and London in the specification. More popular peak time services will remain and will become faster at the 2008 timetable change. Bidders are free to propose running off-peak services.

7. Smartcard Ticketing. In the East and West Midlands franchises, where operators will be responsible for stations, the franchisee will provide ITSO (Integrated Ticketing Smartcard Organisation) compliant ticketing by 2010. Where appropritate, franchisees will be required to accept Oyster smartcards by 2010. This will enable interoperability between different ticketing schemes nationally. There are a number of ITSO smartcard schemes currently under development in the UK. The winner of the New Cross Country franchise is required to accept interoperable smartcard ticketing where appropriate.

Does that mean my London Oystercard will be interoperable with my Centrocard? Hurrah!

permanent link
posted 01 Nov 2006, 18.45 +0000

Intellectual
Happy new year!

Goodness, yes. Many happy returns to everyone's favourite artist from Rovanemi.

permanent link
posted 01 Nov 2006, 19.21 +0000

Introspective

Thu 02 Nov 2006

Two Songs a Week 42 - Platinum Day

On this day in 1936, the British Broadcasting Corporation began an experimental television service from its studios in the Alexandra Palace. This service became permanent, and over the years has given us such fine fare as The Ascent of Man, Casanova, The Goodies, The Onedin Line, Look Around You, Z-Cars, and Waspan Bee. The BBC television service has also broadcast live events, including the coronation of Queen Brenda, the first and last flights of Concorde, the FA Cup Final, and that moment when Paddy O'Connell dropped his pen on air.

But there's more. The BBC has never been above a little self-promotional effort, particularly since the arrival of The Other Side in 1955. There are channel identifiers, there are live events up and down the country. And there are shamelessly self-indulgent celebrations of everything the BBC can do. The most famous is 1997's Perfect Day clip, featuring many of the world's greatest music stars performing a line from the Lou Reed song. (This is a Real Media file.)

All this is made possible by the unique way in which the BBC is funded, solely through a tax on households owning a television. This ensures that the corporation is free of political interference, and can do the things that commercially-funded broadcasters can't.

It would be nice if the BBC were marking the anniversary in some meaningful way - maybe not the week-long archive-fest on BBC-2 that marked the 50th anniversary, but something more meaningful than the Most Popular awards for the 60th. I hope the Beeb is keeping its powder dry for the 75th anniversary...

permanent link
posted 02 Nov 2006, 18.44 +0000

Television| Two Songs a Week
Tripping over yourself

For those who can't bear spoilers for programmes, here's how The Stage reported television's first broadcast.

So, Tripping Over, Channel 5's new drama. It's a Mike Bullen script, readers might remember him from turn-of-the-century comedy-drama Cold Feet, from the days when "hit ITV series" wasn't a synonym for "starring Antan Dec". We suffered a slow and moderately confusing opening, introducing the characters. Some - spoiled Tamsin, Aussies Nic and Ned - were well-drawn. Others were less cogent at this stage - I had to check the reviews to remember lead characters Callum and Lizzie.

Spoiler! Oh.

The central plot, such as it is, involves half-a-dozen people transiting through Bangkok, where a tourist boat suffers catastrophic engine failure. Fans of BBC-2's This Life will no doubt be pleased to learn that Ramon Brother-of-Tanita Tikaram was killed off half-an-hour in. The travellers continue their journey, the Aussies to London, the rich girl to Down Under, and the backpackers to wherever it is that their plot takes them, because they completely passed me by. What? The bloke has suddenly decided that, actually, after many years of dating a woman, he's actually gay? That never happens in real life.

Hit, Miss, or Maybe? I'm firmly in the Maybe camp; it's not an obvious hit, but I'm sure that it took Cold Feet a couple of episodes to really get going. "Maybe" for the moment, but I'm leaning slightly more towards Hit than Miss. After one episode, we've an awful lot of plots, but I've faith that it'll sort itself out later on, and the first episode will make more sense on re-viewing in the inevitable repeat.

Add some more Emily Corrie (Sooz from the much-missed As If, who got a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in the opening minutes) and I'll be happy.

permanent link
posted 02 Nov 2006, 19.26 +0000

Television

Fri 03 Nov 2006

Look what's back!

This article is only available to those reading in a premium browser. Please upgrade

Dear diary,

Another Wednesday, another jaunt to Let's Vote, the place where we all go after lessons. As ever, school captain Blair was pontificating about how rosy the garden was, and how he has personally persuaded the school to take on a second Matron.

Now, a few weeks ago, I asked whether Blair stood by his remark from January, about wanting his miserly chum Gordy to be the new school captain when Blair steps down next year. And I still want to know. Only problem was, Micky M stopped me half-way through and said that he wanted to see questions about what the captain does, not who Blair wants to follow him.

MM is a wanker, of course; just 'coz Gordy's chums ganged up and made him leader doesn't mean that he's right about anything. I'm better than pushing a man on the way down while he's falling flat on his face. To be honest, diary, I'm a little glad that I've got a lot of people doing the punching for me - some spekky second former called Gimson, Treneman from Blair's in-house rag, and Hoggart, the lovable smart-arse from the lower Sixth.

Must dash, I've got to hug Anna Hoodie while quietly removing her badge from A.S.B. O'honour's shop. It's a dare from Bozza, when he was playing he managed to remove Anna's bra...

permanent link
posted 03 Nov 2006, 19.29 +0000

Entertainment| Politics

Sat 04 Nov 2006

Search here

Leading search terms last month:

why are rolling stones on my google toolbar Could it be because you've put them there?

banker formula deal or no deal Think of what you'd like to be offered, then generate a random number between 0.5 and 2. Multiply the two together, then multiply by 3, and divide by the number of the round. Then forget all the above and offer £50 and a half-eaten pork pie.

body shop organisation chart See "Nestlé".

european call centre awards jimmy carr So that's what he's doing now!

inland revenue tax tables turkey Yes, under Gordon Brown's latest stealth tax, each fowl and swine will be taxed, at 44p per bird. Bernard Matthews is leading the opposition to what he's describing as the Beak Tax.

knapsack blackbox yes no No.

m6 accidents 1983 The road was closed in various places during the year. Further details from the Friends of the M-6 in Macclesfield.

patrick stewart number of the beast iron maiden 86166 15. Oh, sorry, that's the number of the Lordi.

runaway train was a hit single in uk in which year 1993.

second world war and motty strategy in finland I leave this as a writing prompt for anyone who wants to pick it up.

which 1978 single is the biggest seller of all time in the uk None of them; it's that dirge from Dane Elton John.

For those who care about such things, the browser wars last month were:

IE 5944
MZ 5402
OP  309

Internet Deplorer and Mozilla have been neck-and-neck for the last four months, with Moz winning in September and June.

permanent link
posted 04 Nov 2006, 09.35 +0000

Blogging| Entertainment
This week in the Commons

Prime Minister: I have had no discussions on taxing aviation fuel.

Shaun Woodward: We haven't a clue how much money the B.B.C. puts in to the economy.

Tom Harris: We don't care if rail passengers are charged for toilet facilities. Go on, piss off.

Tom Harris: Nor do we care about Eurostar north of London. Indeed, we're going to pretend that this is entirely a matter for Eurostar, even though the main reason why it's not economic for them to go elsewhere is our paranoia about people sneaking into the country and our insistence on completely sterile platforms.

A good week for the Cheam Independence Movement, raising their desire to be separated from Suttonand.

Bad week for anti-abortion campaigners, whose attempt to reduce the time limit from 24 weeks to 21 has been declined at the first hurdle.

An adjournment debate on Neustraßebahnhof.

Over at Lords', a good performance by Geoff Rooker on gum turds and old bags: My local butcher was a very good example of that: when I took my own bag, he said clearly, "I cannot possibly let my high-class meat go out in that bag."

permanent link
posted 04 Nov 2006, 09.41 +0000

Politics
Is the other director called Michael Hunt?

I was going to flag this up based purely on the interviewee's name, but there's actual content, too. So, here goes with an interview with (and let's be absolutely certain that we pronounce this correctly) Andrew Anker. He's a professional vulture capitalist, currently preying off the unsuspecting users of Six Apart.

Right, enough sniggering, to business. In his comments, Mr. Anker says, We don’t think [the social network market] is anywhere near close to saturated, which I think is mostly evidenced by the fact that all of the current services are growing quite nicely. For example, the remarkable -8% year-on-year growth of Mr. Anker's Livejournal property, a statistic that shows it'll become quieter than a Jeremy Hardy singing lesson by 2020.

We can't claim that Mr. Anker is unaware of Livejournal, because he goes on to cite The easiest example we have is our own Live Journal, which has 11 million registered users. Er, no it doesn't, it has 11.5 million registered accounts. According to the company's own figures, there are approximately 7.6 million actual personal accounts; the number of people participating will be smaller than that.

Our customers need to know that they can make something private if appropriate. Create first, decide who can see if after. This sorely fails to square with Six Apart's ostrich-like mentality over individual privacy, and insistence that all Livejournal users expose a public feed containing their post title.

We don't see making money and doing advertising right [sic] as two mutually exclusive concepts. Neither do we, and we look forward to Six Apart bothering to do advertising correctly, by rejecting it in its entirity. Prior to purchase by Six Apart, Livejournal was a profit-making business, using donations and fees. Now, it relies on commercials, and I strongly suspect that it is no longer turning a profit.

Thank you, Andrew Anker. Try not to be first against the wall when the revolution comes and your entire company falls off the interwebs because it still insists on centralising the whole operation in one building... oh.

permanent link
posted 04 Nov 2006, 11.51 +0000

Six Apart Is Useless
By-election watch

Enough information to update the projection from council by-elections to the next parliament.

This article is available to those using premium browsers only.

The current transfers, with changes against 12 October, are:

Lab --> Con: + 6.9% (- 0.5%)
LD  --> Con: + 0.4% (- 0.9%)
LD  --> Lab: - 6.5% (- 0.4%)

The trend for LD voters to move to the Conservatives seems to have stopped; in part, this is because the sample contains more by-elections in seats fought during 2006, when the C were doing well and the LD quite badly.

Feeding these into the computer models, we see the following spread of results:

Con 292-308
Lab 233-250
LD   77- 81

C largest party in
 hung parliament

Remember, 326 seats are required to take an overall majority. Once the new boundaries have come into effect, and constituency selections have mostly finished - so probably around Easter next year - I'll start looking at how these changes might affect members of the cabinet and other senior figures.

permanent link
posted 04 Nov 2006, 13.26 +0000

Politics

Sun 05 Nov 2006

Political news digest

Two of the people who were subjected to Charles Clarke's Control Commands have, er, vanished. Gone missing. Cannot be traced. Disappeared. Another triumph for interior minister John Reid, who if he had any scruples would have resigned over this mess. Unless, as the sober and rational D-squared suggests, the two have not merely disappeared, but have been disappeared. Wouldn't put it past the attack dog.

Two more of the people arrested in the attack dog's bite at power have been released, after a judge ruled there was no case to answer. The alleged plot to blow up an aeroplane using bottles of mineral water is looking more and more like an elaborate hoax designed to scare people.

The United Kingdom government has endorsed a report into global warming that recommended an increase in carbon pricing, enhanced energy efficiency, and technological advances. It's twenty years too late, and the chance to address global warming before it started to affect many people has gone, but it's better than the probable catastrophe. This is, I suspect, the beginning of the end of the mania for private transport, and it's another nail in the coffin of the low-fares airlines. The report in full - I'll be commenting further once I've had a chance to review each section of the report.

In the Commons, the Conservative backbenchers are threatening to do a Hezza if the Speaker tries to stop legitimate questionning again. Even if there is no such demonstration, it is utterly clear that Michael Martin has lost the confidence of the Conservative benches, and it appears that he is unlikely to regain that confidence. He's had six years, his health is not what it once was, and it would be best for him to step aside with honour intact.

permanent link
posted 05 Nov 2006, 13.31 +0000

Politics
Chart Changes and Music in Week 44

It must be autumn, the first Star Academy single is out - this time, it's France taking the lead, with the apostrophe-tastic Y'a qu'un ch'veu. That's new at 3; slightly less success for the sixth Belgian edition, Je chante lands at number 14.

North Europe's Top Twenty

 20 16 Evanescence - Call me when you're sober
 19 NE Depeche Mode - Martyr
 18 NE McFly - Starlight
 17 14 Basshunter - Boten Anna
 16 17 Lemar - It's not that easy
 15 18 Silbermond - Das beste
 14 11 Shakira - Hips don't lie
 13 NE Meat Loaf and Marion Raven
   - It's all coming back to me now
 12 10 My Chemical Romance
   - Welcome to the black parade
 11  9 Justin Numberwang - Hairyback
 10 12 Killers - When you were young
  9  4 Lily Allen - LDN
  8  7 Fratellis - Chelsea digger
  7 13 Cascada - Everytime we touch
  6  6 Pink - You and your hand
  5  8 Bob Sinclar - Rock this party
  4  5 Muse - Starlight
  3  3 Seizure Sisters - I don't feel like dancing
  2  2 Razorlight - America
  1  1 Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous

Depeche Mode is, as ever, huge on the Baltic coast, far larger than they ever are in the UK. McFly, by contrast, is exclusively big in the UK. Meat Loaf has moderate success across the continent.

It's mission accomplished for the UK singles chart; now that physical sales are vastly outnumbered by downloads, many of the restrictions on the physical single will be abolished from the start of 2007.

Rather than three songs running to 20 minutes, the one maxi CD can now contain four songs, and run for 25 minutes. This restores the status quo to July 1998. Maxi singles have been allowed to contain 40 minutes of mixes of one song since the beginning of the year; this had been limited to 20 minutes since 1998.

The legitimate physical formats will be any three from:
- a maxi CD
- one mini CD (two tracks, 10 minutes)
- a DVD single (same restrictions as maxi CD)
- a 7-inch vinyl single (three tracks, 20 minutes)
- a 12-inch vinyl single (four tracks, 20 minutes)
- a cassette single (same restrictions as maxi CD)

It is not clear if 78 RPM singles, eight-tracks, or wax cylinders count as valid formats; we know that CDV and DAT don't.

Up to three digital bundles will be allowed; these are still limited to three tracks (including mixes) and 20 minutes. It will still not be necessary for the digital bundle to replicate the physical single.

All formats must contain a common recording, or a mix thereof.

Digital tracks will be entitled to appear on the Top 200 Singles chart whether or not a physical single is available. Singles will be allowed to chart as soon as they gather enough sales, and the rule that removes singles two weeks after the physical release is deleted will be abolished.

It is not clear if the 52-week rule will remain in force; this rule forces singles out of the chart a year after their original release.

Quickly through the chart, then. Fedde le Grande's Put your hands up for Detroit rises to the top, beating off a challenge from the Bodyrox's Yeah yeah and the not-going-away Council Estate Slappers. The toxic combination of U2 and Green Dull is new at 6 on downloads. In the name of all things interesting, why? The return of the All Saints is number 11, also on downloads. One place lower, Simon Webbe's newie is not a Carly Simon cover. After their success in Europe, Depeche Mode come in at 13. They'll be gone by the 20th. An ep featuring Babyshambles and friends hits number 17. Here's a chainsaw for the rake, Lucy. Jamiroquai and Keane both make the top 20, neither act is in the slightest interesting (or gives an excuse for an in-joke) any more.

Damon Allbran's new band, The Good, The Bad and The Queen tread Blur circa 1997 ground, they're 22. Tenacious D, the one-joke band who seem to have been clogging up the lists for many years, are new at 24. Panic at the Disco had an unexpected number 2 hit on the Billboard charts, but second time around in the UK it only makes 25. Rapper The Game makes 26. Klaxons have the dubious honour of being the NME's favourite band of the moment, but New Rave is neither new nor rave. Still decent at 29, though the Sugababes's newie, one place lower, is far better. Sean Paul can only make 31, suggesting his day is past.

Basement Jaxx, Moby, Alesha all miss the top 40 by a smidgeon.

On the albums chart, the Council Estate Slappers have pushed out their singles collection, exposing their lack of different songs (they've only got two, the fast one and the slow one). Amy Whinehouse is in at 3, the Who at 9, Madeleine Peyroux at 12, Tony Bennett at 15, and the hits of Aerosmith at 19. Michael Ball, the Deftones, Smokey Robinshon (hits), Holloways, and aging rockers Thunder all enter the top 75 albums.

Here's the good stuff on the singles listing:

 5  4 My Chemical Romance
  - Welcome to the black parade
 8  6 Razorlight - America
 9  1 McFly - Stargirl
13 NE Depeche Mode - Martyr
16  9 Meat Loaf and Marion Raven
  - It's all coming back to me now
22 NE The Good The Bad and the Queen - Herculean
25 46 Panic At The Disco ^^
  - I write sins not tragedies
28 21 Shakira - Hips don't lie
29 NE Klaxons - Magic
30 NE Sugababes - Easy **
33 24 High School Musical OCR - Breaking free
35 19 Little Chris - Checking it out
36 20 Kooks - Ooh la
37 25 Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous
39 16 Magic Numbers - Take a chance
40 25 Killers - When you were young
41 15 View - Superstar tradesman
43 NE Moby - New york new york
44 29 Lily Allen - LDN
49 39 Pink - You and your hand
60 NE Young Knives - The decision
63 53 Kooks - She moves in her own way
65 NE Kasabian - Shoot the runner **
66 NE Milburn - What you could've run
68 51 Goo Goo Dolls - Iris / Stay with you
69 44 Lemar - It's not that easy
71 63 Muse - Starlight
73 22 Raconteurs - Broken boy soldier
74 55 Bedouin Soundclash
  - When the night feels my song
75 30 Long Blondes - Once and never again

permanent link
posted 05 Nov 2006, 19.11 +0000

Entertainment
Weather in week 44

High pressure settled over the UK on Wednesday, and it's been surprisingly cold since, with some sharp overnight frosts.

30 Mo cloud to sun        12/16
31 Tu sunny spells, wind  10/13
01 We sun                  1/ 8
02 Th sun                 -2/ 8
03 Fr sun                 -3/10
04 Sa sun                 -2/12
05 Su sun to cloud         5/12

October finished with 101.5mm of rain, almost double the month's average. November's average is 62.5mm. We're up to 29 degree heating days already, compared with 4½/808, and 19½/677½ in the past two winters

Next week will begin with fog, so if you're going out to-night, do wrap up. As the high pressure slips away on to the continent, we will get south-westerly winds, already over Scotland, spreading south to all parts by Tuesday. That will raise the temperatures substantially, and introduce the threat of showers to all parts. By the end of next week, it's likely that matters will have quietened down somewhat, leaving calm but warmer weather.

permanent link
posted 05 Nov 2006, 19.26 +0000

Weather

older writing... write to