The Null Device
Details have emerged of the next Belle & Sebastian album. It'll be titled "The Life Pursuit", comes out on the 6th of February, and has 13 tracks, two of which are titled "Another Sunny Day" (in homage to the Sarah Records band perhaps?) and "Mornington Crescent" (presumably after the game; either that or written during a bad delay on the Northern Line). The tweeness quota is rounded out by the title of the first single, "Funny Little Frog", and the Stuart Murdoch Bible-reference quota is taken care of by "Act of the Apostle", Part 1 and Part 2.
There is also something about "another B&S album (of sorts)" being released in three weeks, though no further details. Could this be the children's song compilation that Momus was too outré to be accepted for?
"We know firsthand how the story gets short-changed every time a reality show gets taken over by an advertiser," said the Writers Guild of America. "We're the ones forced to put in long hours just to figure out how we're going to embed that can of soda into the storyline eight more times before the final episode."
Product placement - whereby items are woven into programmes to satisfy advertisers - has become rife on US television as revenue from traditional commercials has dropped. It is most common in reality shows such as The Contender, which recorded 7,500 instances last year. It can also be seen in fiction programmes. In an episode of Desperate Housewives broadcast this year, one of the lead characters finds work as a model, buys a Buick LaCrosse and wastes no time showing it off to her friends at the mall. Two Buick commercials ran during the same episode.The Writers' Guild of America wants a statement at the beginning of each show, listing the incidences of product placement in the programme, in the hope that such statements counteract the economic pressure to shovel in more products into each script, with the story taking a back seat to commercial considerations.