Monday, January 22, 2007

Randomiser #22: 22 January 2007

Today's song: The Chemical Brothers, "Three Little Birdies Down Beats"

Continuing the big beat theme, this is from the Chemical Brothers' debut album Exit Planet Dust, a title that made rather more sense when they were calling themselves the Dust Brothers. Of course, that was a suicidally stupid choice of name, since not only was there already a Dust Brothers in America, but they'd actually named themselves after said Americans. Silly people. So they changed their name to Chemical Brothers at rather short notice - in other words, they couldn't think of anything better - and kept the album title anyway.

Exit Planet Dust has rather a lot of slow-build tracks like this, whose titles betray the fact that they were probably intended as component tracks for DJs rather than as something to really listen to. The fact that the next three tracks are called "Fuck Up Beats", "Chemical Beats" and "Chico's Groove" is a bit of a giveaway. There are some very good tracks on this album, but stuff like this is more of a trial run for the much better albums the Chemical Brothers would make in future. Here, it's really just "take some interesting sounds and loop them till bored, then stick on an easi-mix run-out."


- Channel 4 has managed to blunder into another reality-show racism row already, after the first episode of Shipwrecked featured an 18-year-old public school girl who apparently claims to support the reintroduction of slavery. Apparently she'll be changing her views over the course of the series (which was filmed 5 months ago), but let's be honest, if she was even remotely serious in that, then they were fishing for controversy in casting her. And if she wasn't remotely serious... well, it's poor timing, to put it mildly.

- Incidentally, Media Guardian also points out that Channel 4 is offering the unedifying spectacle of Jade Goody (agents: John Noel Management) facing allegedly hard-hitting questions from the hosts of Big Brother and its satellite shows: Davina McCall (agents: John Noel Management), Dermot O'Leary (agents: John Noel Management) and Russell Brand (agents: John Noel Management). In fact, even the in-house psychiatrist turns out to be on the books of John Noel Management. Curiously, although Ricky Gervais isn't on Noel's books, Karl Pilkington is.

- Joe Quesada's current line on Dark Tower #1 orders: "It may be one of the largest selling non-superhero titles in recent memory. My prediction however is that even the huge number of orders that we've received won't be enough to cover the eventual demand, by a long shot."

Hmm. As a matter of policy, Marvel don't officially discuss sales numbers - even though they're easily available - but this doesn't exactly sound spectacular. In direct market terms, "one of the largest selling non-superhero titles in recent memory" is a pretty low threshold, and the fact that Quesada threw in that caveat rather than saying, for example, "one of the biggest selling titles of the year", is revealing.

The highest-selling non-superhero title on the December chart, even giving the broadest possible definition to "non-superhero", was newuniversal #1 at number 47. If you take a stricter definition, it was Anita Blake #3 at number 69. In fact, by my count, there hasn't been a non-superhero book in the top 10 since July 2003, when GI Joe/Transformers #1 sold 98,000 copies to make number 6. And that wouldn't even have been a top ten book last month.

Now, of course Dark Tower #1 will be a top ten book, and of course a big part of the agenda is to get a bookstore product at the end of the day. Even so, they were clearly aiming for huge direct market orders from this product, and gunning for a number one slot from the first issue. The fact that Quesada's now talking about it in terms of doing really well for a non-superhero book is intriguing.