|Oh Poor Santa! (by forestgum, Jul 19th, 2007)
Please help him to get out of that traffic jam, there are many kids are waiting for him :O
|Oh Poor Santa! (by forestgum, Jul 18th, 2007)
Please help him to get out of that traffic jam, there are many kids are waiting for him
|Exciting (by nautin, Jul 10th, 2007)
I like it. I will send it to my friends.
|Rush hour.... (by kitty, Jul 9th, 2007)
Hurry up, Santa. Kids are waiting for you. Really kool.
|Santa caught in LA traffic jam (by billyoung, Jul 9th, 2007)
Poor him!!! He'll be late to give presents to everybody, me too.
|Ho ho ho (by Frank Tran, Jun 26th, 2007)
Funny and interesting...I love this piece
Snogging, bickering and the cost of ringtones
Helen Brown joins the divas and David Brents at the music industry's annual
The accordionist on La Croisette has a limited repertoire, and during the 72
hours I've spent in Cannes, I've come to know it pretty well. His fingers move
passionlessly through La Vie en Rose and Yesterday while he stares blankly out
toward the yachts.
The industry types swarming between the concrete conference centre and the
swanky beachfront hotels sometimes throw a coin in his pot. It's not exactly the
rock and roll dream, but he's found a reliable formula for what everybody here
is trying to do: "monetise music".
Welcome to the 41st Midem conference, which ends today – a trade fair and
frantic five-day networking slog for the music business.
"Cannes? Music?" asked a friend. "Wow. Sounds glamorous!" Hardly. Waiting for my
EasyJet early-bird at Luton airport I get an amuse-bouche of what will be on the
Midem menu. You can spot the delegates a mile off.
A couple of young dudes whose hair products are fighting a losing battle with
their oversized headphones, but mainly men pushing 50, uniformed in battered
leather jackets, clutching record bags and scouring the Midem magazine. Three of
them are already slugging back the lager at 6am. "D'you know what I call it?"
announces the baldest of the trio. "Madem. Because it's completely mad. You'll
get mashed, man." He's David Brent with an iPod.
And he's not alone. Midem attracts around 10,000 participants from 93 countries.
The long line of travel-crumpled individuals queuing up for registration on
Saturday morning are from tiny record labels, law firms, CD packaging outfits
and mobile phone companies. They've paid a minimum of €550 to be here.
At the press desk I'm handed booklets and schedules and allocated one of 100-odd
pigeonholes in the press lounge, where an Austrian journalist is arguing with a
Belgian colleague about the cost of ringtones. I think of Arctic Monkeys' recent
comment – "There's only new music so that there's new ringtones" – and lift an
Ericsson brochure from my already-bloated pigeonhole to read that: "In the first
half of 2006 sales of physical formats such as CDs were down 10 per cent on the
previous year and download sales up by 106 per cent … Music bought over the
mobile phone is the fastest-growing sector of the UK music market."
I download an espresso and head into my first press conference. It's the launch
of "Merlin", a ground-breaking licensing agency designed to help independent
labels protect themselves from piracy. Indie labels are responsible for 80 per
cent of annual music releases, and they've finally realised that they need to
club together to defend themselves. Within minutes, the press pack have
nicknamed Merlin "the fifth major label". Everybody's saying the CD is dead.
More than that, maybe the record label is dead. Music comes straight from the
artist to the consumer in a keystroke these days. Hopefully with the consumer's
credit card details involved at some point.
"D'you cover new media?" asks an American hack.
"Uh… no," I confess. "Music."
She laughs very loudly.
'Boy, are you ever in the wrong place! Still, there's the NRJ Awards tonight,
Pronounced "energie", the NRJ Awards are France's equivalent of the Brits.
Alongside les grandes étoiles of the Francophone market, US celebs like
Christine Aguilera, Nelly Furtado and Gwen Stefani have flown in. But though the
streets are full of clamouring fans, the hall feels rather empty, with music
industry types chattering into their mobiles throughout the performances.
Tiny Aguilera wins "Album of The Year" for Back to Basics and almost struggles
to lift the huge chunk of metal thrust into her hands. Last year James Blunt
used his award to bludgeon a burglar who broke into his hotel room after the
There's far more excitement at the MTV Border Breaker Awards the following day.
This smaller event celebrates European acts who have broken out of their own
country. The hall is packed with excited children, aged around seven to 12. The
atmosphere is like Prize Day at a rather cool, multilingual junior school. The
UK's Corinne Bailey Rae picks up an award in absentia.
These acts may have shifted units beyond their own borders, but the extent to
which they conform to national musical stereotypes is astonishing. The French
winner does disco-pop with an accordion; the Portuguese act includes flamenco
guitar; the Italian does opera; and Ireland's "Celtic Ladies" play fiddles and
cover Enya tunes.
After the show, I wander around the vast hall of stands, many organised by
slogan-branded nationality. "Because Life's Too Short to Listen to Shitty
Music," advise the Canadian posters. Scandinavia promises "Moosic" with an
earphone-antlered moose, and "Schnappster". There's a stall claiming to be the
official label of Santa Claus.
At the Taiwanese stand I am handed a nice cup of green tea and invited to hear
some goth music. The British stands include everything from recognisable labels
to a stall whose dubious claim is to offer "karaoke in every known format!"
At a party where, bizarrely, there's a 20-minute queue for the free beer while
tables crammed with champagne flutes stay untouched, I chat to Paul Sheddon,
who's here to sell acts like girl group Brown Eyes Blue.
"Crystal Gayle fans?" I ask.
"No. They're too young. It's just that some of them have brown eyes and some of
them have blue eyes."
Odds on out of four girls, I'd have thought. But the quartet played the Clothes
Show last year and have just signed a clothing deal with Miss Selfridge. Sheddon
spent around £900 getting out here and says it's more than worth it. There's a
guy walking around with a list of major acts like Annie Lennox and Kelly
Clarkson who are looking for songs. The few lucky agents and songwriters to
provide them will make a mint.
Amy Winehouse takes to the stage in a crow's-nest beehive for the climax of the
British showcase. When she sings of "homegrown", she's the only person here not
talking about the talent. It's just like the end of any conference. There's
snogging, bickering, a girl in tears and a young man making a valiant effort not
"They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said, 'no, no, no'," sings Winehouse,
and the front row raise their plastic cups and chant along. I head into the
night, paying my toll as I pass the accordionist one final time.
About 20 palm trees down, I hear a disturbance on the beach. An older man of
Teutonic extraction is shouting and frisbeeing CDs into the waves. "Best thing
he can do with them, mate," confides a fellow onlooker, as the weeping man is
led from the shore by his friends.