NME -- The Most Maddening Listmakers Ever!

I find it very interesting to compare NME's new list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever!" with the British albums on "NME's 100 Best Albums" list from 3 years earlier.

First, here's the new NME list:

100) Derek and Clive - (Live) (1976)
99) Patrick Wolf - Lycanthropy (2004)
98) Roots Manuva - Run Come Save Me (2001)
97) Led Zeppelin - IV (1971)
96) Adam and The Ants - Kings of The Wild Frontier (1980)
95) Julian Cope - Jehovahkill (1992)
94) The Futureheads - S/T (2004)
93) Brian Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets (1974)
92) Oasis (What's The Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
91) The Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace (1985)
90) Supergrass - I Should Coco (1995)
89) Blur - Parklife (1994)
88) Underworld - Dubnobasswithmyheadman (1993)
87) The Small Faces - Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (1968)
86) George Harrison - All Things Must Pass (1970)
85) ABC - The Lexicon of Love (1982)
84) Redskins - Neither Washington Nor Moscow... (1974)
83) Wire - Pink Flag (1977)
82) The Happy Mondays - Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches (1990)
81) Antony and The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now (2005)
80) Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)
79) Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque (1991)
78) Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992)
77) The Beta Band - The 3 E.P.s (1998)
76) Cornershop - When I Was Born For The 7th Time (1997)
75) Tricky - Maxinquaye (1995)
74) Prodigy - Music For The Jilted Generation (1994)
73) Kasier Chiefs - Employment (2005)
72) Joy Divison - Closer (1980)
71) Buzzcocks - Love Bites (1978)
70) Spacemen 3 - The Perfect Prescription (1987)
69) Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure (1972)
68) The Pretty Things - SF Sorrow (1968)
67) Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)
66) Elvis Costello - This Year's Model (1978)
65) Radiohead - Kid A (2000)
64) Gang Of Four - Entertainment! (1978)
63) David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust... (1972)
62) Saint Etienne - Fox Base Alpha (1991)
61) Echo and The Bunnymen - Ocean Rain (1984)
60) The Human League - Dare! (1981)
59) The Clash - S/T (1977)
58) Suede - Dog Man Star (1994)
57) The Cure - The Head On The Door (1985)
56) Portishead - Dummy (1994)
55) Bloc Party - Silent Alarm [NME bizarrely calls it S/T] (2005)
54) Morrissey - Vauxhall & I (1994)
53) The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (1969)
52) Madness - One Step Beyond (1979)
51) Billy Bragg - Talking With The Taxman About Poetry (1986)
50) The La's - S/T (1990)
49) The Who - My Generation (1965)
48) Elastica - S/T (1995)
47) The Libertines S/T (2004)
46) Pulp His 'N' Hers (1994)
45) The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free (2004)
44) Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (1979)
43) The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main St. (1972)
42) The Jesus and Mary Chain - Psychocandy (1985)
41) Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love (1985)
40) Dizzee Rascal - Boy In Da Corner (2003)
39) Ride - Nowhere (1990)
38) Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating... (1997)
37) Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible (1994)
36) The Beatles - S/T (1968)
35) Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)
34) The Jam - All Mod Cons (1978)
33) Coldplay - Parachutes (2000)
32) The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle (1968)
31) Massive Attack - Blue Lines (1991)
30) Suede - S/T (1993)
29) Led Zeppelin - II (1969)
28) Nick Drake - Bryter Layter (1970)
27) PJ Harvey - Dry (1992)
26) The Smiths - Hatful Of Hollow (1984)
25) The Kinks - The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
24) Pet Shop Boys - Please (1986)
23) New Order - Technique (1989)
22) Super Furry Animals - Radiator (1997)
21) Muse - Absolution (2003)
20) The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965)
19) The Smiths - Strangeways Here We Come (1987)
18) Franz Ferdinand - S/T (2004)
17) The Streets - Original Pirate Material (2002)
16) Dexys Midnight Runners - Searching For The Young... (1980)
15) Primal Scream - Screamadelica (1991)
14) David Bowie - Hunky Dory (1971)
13) The Verve - A Northern Soul (1995)
12) The Specials - S/T (1979)
11) Radiohead - The Bends (1995)
10) The Libertines - Up The Bracket (2002)
9) The Beatles - Revolver (1966)
8) The Clash - London Calling (1979)
7) Pulp - Different Class (1995)
6) Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993)
5) Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am... (2006)
4) Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks (1978)
3) Oasis - Definitely Maybe (1994)
2) The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (1986)
1) The Stone Roses - S/T (1989)

Second, here are the top British albums from the 2003 NME list. (Note that since the 2003 list had no geographic limitation, I have included only the British albums on the list, in the order they would have appeared had non-British albums been excluded.)

1) The Stone Roses - S/T (also overall #1)
2) The Beatles - Revolver
3) The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
4) Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks
5) My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
6) The Clash - London Calling
7) Oasis - Definitely Maybe
8) Joy Division - Closer
9) Radiohead - OK Computer
10) Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentleman...
11) New Order - Technique
12) Primal Scream - Screamadelica
13) The Beatles - S/T (White Album)
14) The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come
15) David Bowie - Low
16) The Verve - A Northern Soul
17) Massive Attack - Blue Lines
18) Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory
19) Scott Walker - Scott 4
20) Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
21) Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
22) David Bowie - Hunky Dory
23) Radiohead - The Bends
24) Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
25) The Streets - Original Pirate Material
26) Blur - Parklife
27) The Smiths - Hatful of Hollow
28) The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street
29) The Smiths - S/T
30) Aphex Twin - Richard D James Album
31) Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
32) The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
33) The Specials - S/T
34) Pulp - His 'N' Hers
35) Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis
36) Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left
37) Duran Duran - Rio
38) Underworld - Dubnobasswithmyheadman
39) Dexys Midnight Runners - Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
40) Andrew WK - I Get Wet
41) The Verve - Urban Hymns
42) Pulp - This Is Hardcore
43) The Coral - The Coral
44) Suede - Dog Man Star
45) The Clash - The Clash
46) The Jesus and Mary Chain - Psychocandy
47) Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
48) The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed
49) David Bowie - "Heroes"
50) The Slits - Cut
51) Primal Scream - Exterminator
52) Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works 85-92
53) Pink Floyd - Piper at the Gates of Dawn
54) PJ Harvey - Stories from the City...

As an initial matter, let's give props where they are due for NME consistently voting The Stone Roses as the best album ever. While it would not be my personal #1, it certainly would be in my Top 10.

Although I believe there is a lot of junk on both lists, ultimately it is very surprising how few of the British albums I really care about are not on one or both of these lists. The big omission that comes to mind is The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. When I was growing up, this album always topped these lists. Now it does not even rate a mention in the Top 100. Is that really possible? Another inexplicable oversight is The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet. Does anyone at NME actually believe that Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish (#6) is better than that album? If so, please raise your hand so that I may smack you with a white glove. Other (albeit less glaring) omissions that come to mind include The Smiths - Meat Is Murder, New Order - Power, Corruption & Lies, and Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister.

But, as I mentioned above, it is the comparison of the lists I find most fascinating. What albums have fallen out of critical favour during the last three years? What albums have significantly raised their level of critical appreciation during that period?

Before we look at some of the winners and losers, I should note that the methodology used by NME for determining which artists are "British" in the most recent list is unclear. The preface to the list refers to the UK, but Irish artists such as U2 and Van Morrison appear to have been excluded. Ditto My Bloody Valentine, for reasons I do not fully understand (the geographic locus of MBV is certainly open to debate). Thus, when comparing the lists, I will assume that Astral Weeks and Loveless have been excluded from the new list for geographic, not quality, reasons.

Those albums on the rise include:

Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish (#6 in 2006, not ranked in 2003)
Pulp - Different Class (#7, n/r)
The Libertines - Up the Bracket (#10, n/r)
Super Furry Animals - Radiator (#22, n/r)
Pet Shop Boys - Please (#24, n/r)
The Kinks - The Village Green... (#25, n/r)
PJ Harvey - Dry (#27, n/r)
Nick Drake - Bryter Layter (#28, n/r)
Suede - Suede (#30, n/r)
The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle (#32, n/r)
Coldplay - Parachutes (#33, n/r)
The Jam - All Mod Cons (#34, n/r)
Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible (#37, n/r)
Ride - Nowhere (#39, n/r)
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (#41, n/r)
Elastica - Elastica (#48, n/r)
The Who - My Generation (#49, n/r)
The La's - S/T (#50, n/r)

On the flip side, those albums on the decline include:

Joy Division - Closer (#8 in 2003, #72 in 2006)
Radiohead - OK Computer (#9, #35)
David Bowie - Low (#15, n/r)
Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory (#18, #92)
Scott Walker - Scott 4 (#19, n/r)
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head (#20, n/r)
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV (#24, #97)
Blur - Parklife (#26, #89)
The Smiths - S/T (#29, n/r)
Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis (#35, n/r)
Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left (#36, n/r)
Duran Duran - Rio (#37, n/r)
Andrew WK - I Get Wet (#40, n/r)
Pulp - This Is Hardcore (#42, n/r)
The Coral - S/T (#43, n/r)

Any other interesting observations?

The Jingle Jangle Of The Gaoler's Bangle

H.M.P. Pentonville
The Guardian has printed exclusive excerpts from Pete Doherty's prison diary from his recent 13-day stay at Pentonville. Here are the highlights...

February 1

At the wobbly legged table in me little Peter [cell]. Still waiting for the jingle jangle of the gaoler's bangle. Court on the 8th and hoping for bail. Even life without drugs has gotta be betta than this malarkey. Babyshambles all set to take over as well. Won't do it again honest guv ... Oh yes you will Doherty and you know it. Still, if I'm on a DRR [drug rehabilitation requirement] and being tested there ain't no way round it I suppose. Get to grips with the idea that it is eating away at your money, your love and your life.

February 2

I'll do my hair a-while, and even make my bed. Top bunk, yellow fire blankets aplenty coz I've been on the lookout see. Even nabbed a rare old prison shirt off a passing trolley, a boiled egg and a nice blue prison vest. To say nothing of the many packets of Butler I just found on the side. Baccy down me sock, someone says something a little out of sway, a stranger in all dark non-prison clobber is opposite my open cell door flashing his watch in my direction he was. Later that day ... Felt like freak show with a host of people at my cell door screaming and whooping like apes. DOHERTY! It's him! DOHERTY! DOHERTY! Oi!

February 3

This is the largest prison in the country and in some ways one of the most modern. I've certainly never come across anywhere as clean or spacious as this, why, in all my days at her Majesty's pleasure. Shame only one of the eight showers work, but it was a joy to hear the sprinkle in me ears and the steam on my body just now. Someone, and again someone else, asks how I came up with the name Babyshambles and so I think back to Denholme days and "oh deary me why is it always such a Babyshambles?" "I wonder where you are now..."

February 5

For my own sake - because it feels like they have the power to cut off my head - I must become a hero, organise my life and obtain from it what they deny me. If I live, in order to continue to live with myself, I must have more talent than the most exquisite poet. These people can only put up with the tamed heroes - they don't know about heroism.

More of Peter Doherty's prison writings will be published at Balachadha, where you can also find exclusive videos and stills from the ever-expanding Doherty archives. Viva la Pete!

Pete Doherty after sentencing 2


The Ballad Of Pete And Pete (And Michael)

Three legal stories of interest this week:

Pete Doherty Outside Court
Pete Doherty Is a Free Man
After pleading guilty to a total of seven charges of possessing illegal substances at three separate court appearances last month, our humble hero was miraculously spared the jail time that many expected, and instead was sentenced to a very lenient twelve month community order, and ordered to take part in a rehabilitation programme. The year-long rehab programme will require Pete to attend a drug centre and submit to monthly checks. He was warned by the Magistrate that failure to comply with that programme could lead to a custodial sentence.

Pete had been held in custody since being arrested by plain clothes police officers in Whitechapel, east London, on 26 January. After the sentencing, Pete spoke to BBC Radio 1 about kicking his legendary habit: "As far as the drugs are concerned, it's simple – I’d rather be on the out with no smack than inside prison with no smack." He also said, "as far as the crack and heroin are concerned...I’m getting an implant in four days."

Pete also spoke of his most recent stay behind bars, angrily noting: "What do you think I’ve been doing for the last 12 days? Picking Tulips? I’ve been sat in a cell sweating it out, fully aware of the circumstances. But I’ve also been with murderers, on occasions a couple of brick walls away from paedophiles. I’m not a threat to society, I’m not selling drugs to anyone’s children. I’m not encouraging or ever will encourage people to take drugs." But when he was asked if he was currently on drugs, Pete replied slyly: "Right now?" He then hung up on the interview.

Pete Burns in Fur Coat
Pete Burns Will Not Be Prosecuted
The Crown also announced this week that Dead or Alive singer and Celebrity Big Brother freak show Pete Burns would not be prosecuted over his monkey fur coat.
Burns had bragged to his housemates in the Celebrity Big Brother house that the hideous coat was made from gorilla fur. Following complaints from viewers, police broke into the house and seized the coat.

But when the coat was examined by experts at the Natural History Museum, they concluded it was not made from gorillas, but rather black and white colobus monkeys, which are native to Africa. Although it has been illegal to import colobus monkey fur since 1975, it is not illegal to own it. The Crown noted that the coat was in a poor condition, and it was believed the pelts used to make it were likely to have been imported into the UK in the 1930s or 1940s. "There is no evidence to suggest that this garment was imported illegally," they concluded. A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Police, which currently has the coat, said it would be returned to the singer shortly.

Michael Barrymore
Celebrity Big Brother Housemate Michael Barrymore Also Escapes Prosecution
Finally, it was announced today that a district judge has blocked a bid to launch a private prosecution against "funnyman" Michael Barrymore following the death of Stuart Lubbock, a 31-year-old man who was found dead in Barrymore's swimming pool in March 2001.

A lawyer for Mr Lubbock's family had tried to prosecute Mr Barrymore for alleged drug offences and assault, but a district judge blocked the action on grounds of insufficient evidence. The decision was announced by the Lubbock family lawyer, Tony Bennett, following a private hearing.

Mr Bennett attempted to serve papers relating to the private prosecution on Barrymore last month while he was on Celebrity Big Brother. Channel 4 refused to accept the papers and instead brought the case before magistrates, who decided that a district judge should assess the case once Barrymore's lawyers had time to examine the papers, which resulted in the decision made today by the district judge.

Following the decision, Barrymore said: "Mr Bennet's motivation to seek the truth as to how Mr Stuart Lubbock received the injuries to his body is absolutely right. I remain totally commited as I always have been to continue to pursue the truth. Allegations about drugs on that night have always been a complete irrelevence as to how Stuart Lubbock suffered those injuries. The court held Mr Bennet's misguided application to prosecute me for drugs offences was an abuse of process, it was not in the public interest and the evidence on which he relied was either inadequate or unlawfully obtained."

For Those Who Have The Means

Still no update on if, when and where Duels will be playing New York in connection with their trip to SXSW. I cannot overemphasize how excited I am by the prospect of a Duels show in New York. I emailed the band last week, but so far no word. I promise to keep you posted.
In the meantime, another avalanche of promising shows you may want to consider...

2/14 Devendra Banhart at Club Exit
2/24-25 Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Bowery Ballroom
2/25 Stars & Magnet at Webster Hall
2/26 Moistboyz (feat. Dean Ween of Ween) at Knitting Factory
3/01 Test Icicles at Northsix
3/01 Rob Dickinson (of Catherine Wheel) at Mercury Lounge
3/02-03 Belle and Sebastian & The New Pornographers @ Nokia Theatre
3/02 Test Icicles at Mercury Lounge
3/02 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists at The Hook
3/06 Serena Maneesh at Bowery Ballroom
3/07 The Subways at Bowery Ballroom
3/08 The Wedding Present at Bowery Ballroom
3/09 Eagle*Seagull at Pianos
3/10 BATTLE at Mercury Lounge
3/11 Eagle*Seagull at The Hook
3/11 Cloud Room at Mercury Lounge
3/13 Isobel Campbell at Joe's Pub
3/13 BATTLE at Rothko
3/13 Guillemots at Mercury Lounge
3/14 Gemma Hayes at Mercury Lounge (early)
3/15 Isobel Campbell at Southpaw
3/17-18 Stereolab at Town Hall
3/20 Annie at Mercury Lounge
3/21 The Zutons at Mercury Lounge
3/21 The Rakes at Bowery Ballroom
3/22 Camera Obscura at Knitting Factory
3/23 ¡Forward, Russia! & Amusement Parks on Fire at Mercury Lounge
3/24 Billy Bragg at NY Society for Ethical Culture
3/24 The Books & Jose Gonzalez at Bowery Ballroom
3/24-25 Mystery Jets at Mercury Lounge
3/25 Kelley Stoltz instore at Sound Fix (4pm)
3/25 The Arctic Monkeys at Webster Hall
3/26 Ted Leo & The Pharmacists at Knitting Factory
3/26-27 Stellastarr* at Bowery Ballroom
3/27 White Rose Movement at Mercury Lounge
3/27 Th' Faith Healers at Northsix
3/28 The Magic Numbers at Webster Hall
3/30 dEUS at Bowery Ballroom
3/30 The Editors at Webster Hall
3/30 I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness at Mercury Lounge
3/31 I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness at Northsix
4/01 Pretenders at Irving Plaza
4/04-05 Art Brut at Bowery Ballroom
4/07 Arab Strap at Southpaw
4/11 Art Brut at Southpaw
4/12 Mates of State at Bowery Ballroom
4/13-14 Franz Ferdinand & Death Cab for Cutie at Hammerstein
4/14-15 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Bowery Ballroom
4/20 Robert Pollard & Richard Davies at Irving Plaza
4/21 Nouvelle Vague at Irving Plaza
5/03-05 Built to Spill & Camper Van Beethoven at Irving Plaza
7/2 Seu Jorge at Central Park Summerstage

Is there any other place where you can go and get a list of all of these upcoming shows? And don't say Oh My Rockness, because I can assure you that a substantial number of these shows are nowhere to be found on their site. I'm serious, does anyone else come close?


What Is To Become Of Our Beloved Preston?

Preston's Wild Sex and Drugs
BBC6's Mark Sutherland weighs in on the very same question that has been haunting me since Preston from the Ordinary Boys finished fourth in the recently concluded season of Celebrity Big Brother UK: Will his newfound mainstream exposure save or kill the band's career?

Us Sunday Mirror readers are used to being greeted over our toast’n’Marmite by minor celebrities with their shirts off, but the cover stars don’t generally hail from the ranks of mid-ranking indie bands.

But last Sunday, there was Preston from The Ordinary Boys, tats out for the 14-year-old girls, accompanied by the obligatory ‘My Story’ banner headline. Except that this particular version of his story didn’t seem to feature much about his music, but an awful lot about his supposed romance with a poor quality Paris Hilton-lookalike.

Meanwhile, Boys Will Be Boys has achieved the Top Ten placing it always deserved, the neglected Brassbound album is back in the charts and the Ordinary Boys tour in March will probably be a sellout success.

On the face of it, then, Preston’s stay in the Big Brother house, rubbing shoulders with no-marks like Michael Barrymore and Jodie Marsh, has paid off. He’s swapped the NME for OK and is currently British rock’s hottest property after the Arctic Monkeys.

So far, so good, right? So why are the original Ordinary Army of fans – built up over years of hard touring – now at war with the newbies on the band’s website and even accusing Preston of being a “media whore”?

Some of the problem may just be the traditional indie fans’ “I saw them first” mentality but then it must be pretty galling to champion your favourite band to utter indifference only for the people who previously laughed at you to suddenly steal the band from you.

And that is perhaps the reason why this publicity blitz may not be such good news for The Boys in the long-term. Never mind the damage done to their credibility (can you seriously imagine either of Preston’s heroes, Morrissey or Weller, ever taking the reality TV dollar?), much of The Ordinary Boys’ charm rested upon the fact that they spoke up for the dispossessed and the outsiders.

Can Preston still write credibly about dismal dead end jobs and doomed romantic relationships now we know his life is swanky showbiz parties and liaisons (even platonic ones) with wannabe glamour models? And will the new fans stick with them once the appeal of screaming at Preston has worn off and they find The Ordinary Boys’ music is not as fluffy as Kandyfloss?

Those are the questions we want you to answer this week. But don’t bother telling us what you think about Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s chances now Maggot’s also back in the real world. After all, their career always was a joke.

Most importantly, what effect, if any, will Preston's new front-page-news stature have on the size of the venues the Ordinary Boys will play if and when they ever come back to America?