Saturday, July 15, 2006


Presumably he'd realised he was meant to be having a horrible time of things, what with not having had a major crisis in weeks, so Eminem has managed to site himself in the midst of some fresh trouble.

He's accused of assaulting a bloke in a stripclub's toilets.

Why, yes, it was on 8Mile, why do you ask?

What is alleged is someone saw Em in the bogs, and went up to say hi. The Mathers Minders reacted as you or I might if we were being paid to look after the sort of paranoid wreck who goes to strip clubs but takes minders with him, and got a bit nasty. A bystander, Miad J, suggested they take it a bit more gently, whereupon he ceased to be a bystander and, he says, was attacked by Em:

“Eminem got done and boom! He started swinging. I wasn't even expecting it. I was just minding my own business and taking a leak.”

So... he came out fighting to protect his minders. Does he get money back for that?


Israel is bombarding Lebanon. Iran has got hold of How To Make A Nuclear Bomb off eBay, sold to it by North Korea. The gas industry in Russia - without which nobody will be having a patio-heater next summer - is being passed around the hands of increasingly shady legitimate businesspeople. Afghanistan is turning into another Iraq, which in turn can't decide if it wants to be another Vietnam, or a Balkans without end.

And what does the BPI want our foreign secretary to talk to Vladimir Putin about?

Why AllofMp3 is allowed to carry on unmolested.

These people really do behave as if the EMI share price is the most pressing matter of public concern. If Beckett does waste time muttering away about a trade dispute at the behest of a bunch of private companies, it'll be a sign it's time for her to start spending more time in her caravan.

Besides, wasn't the BPI about to embark on legal action in the British courts to have the site closed down? If it's so confident of its case, why does it need to get Beckett to work as their trade mission to Russia?


This, of course, is more the government rushing to catch up with reality than a pre-emptive move: Ofcom is opening a public consultation with a view to legalising iPod transmitters.

At the moment, using a device to broadcast your iPod stream to a car radio is illegal in Europe, as there's a danger (it's claimed) the devices can interfere with "proper" radio broadcasts. You could, in theory, play podcasts of the Chris Moyles show at motorists while Chris Moyles himself is on the radio. That would confuse people, although, admittedly, only the people who listen to Moyles, which doesn't take very much.

Don Foster, the Lib Dem's culture spokesperson, seems to have been the only person answering his phone when the BBC called:

"I am delighted Ofcom have ended this ludicrous ban, based on 1940s legislation... which threatened two years imprisonment to music lovers using iTrips.

"This decision... will not only regulate a booming black market and provide the country with valuable tax revenue, but also enable the iPod generation to enjoy their music using the latest gadgets."

The exciting thing is we can all become pirate radio broadcasters, albeit pirates in pedaloes rather than giant ships.


More bands that you never expected to hear from again: Secret Shine, part of the Sarah Records line-up, are doing stuff as a band again. After nine years.

There's downloads, too, what are free, for you to listen to.


Having decided that both porn director Marc Schaffel and Michael Jackson had been badly served by their doomed attempts to rebuild Jackson's career after he'd let slip on network telly that he enjoys having sleepovers with young boys, the jury has awarded them both some money.

Shaffel gets USD900,000 - a lot less than he was asking for, but still a tidy sum. Jackson is given 200,000, which means that he's ended up out of pocket on the deal. The lamas will go hungry again tonight.

Now, Jackson can concentrate on being sued by his ex-wife.


Will Young is very excited, as having seen Elton John get married, he now wants to get married to his boyfriend.

He, erm, doesn't have a boyfriend, so he might have to wait for some even greater liberalisation in the laws.


Jessica Simpson in video-making accident. She fell off some rollerskates.

Not really going to replace the film of Anthea Turner going up in flames as a health and safety warning from history, is it?


Bearing in mind that Shakira played her part in the claims that she didn't understand any English and thus didn't know what she was singing when she announced her breasts were "small and humble", what to make of her insistence that there wasn't anything sexual about the choice of Oral Fixation as an album title?

"It has many layers to it, many dimensions. I've always felt very oral.

"We're orally fixated from when we're born. I give enormous importance to chocolate, to kisses.

"My mouth is an enormous source of self-indulgence. I'm a communicator, and I enjoy communicating!"

We're not, if you'll forgive us, swallowing that.


Not, of course, that there's any trouble in paradise or anything, but it looks like Guy Ritchie wasn't altogether comfortable watching Madonna dance with Lenny Kravitz. He stormed over, pulled the pair apart and "growled" "time to go home."

The suggestion is that he was jealous seeing his wife slow-dancing with her ex, but he may well have just been intervening before they pair hatched plans to record a duet. In which case, we should give that man five pounds from parish funds.

Meanwhile, this morning's Sun reports more worrying news for Madonna:

MADONNA may have to fill her kettle from a STANDPIPE after a water main burst outside her £6million mansion in Marble Arch, West London.

We can picture the scene:

Guy: It says here you might have to fill your kettle from a standpipe, love
Madonna: What the hell is one of those?
Guy: It's a type of temporary tap they use during water emergencies
Madonna: No, no - the other thing... what's a keckle?

Friday, July 14, 2006


No band break-up is permanent any more, not so long as there's enough people willing to pay to see them in ten years, slightly fatter, much balder, and in desperate need of the services of a fitness centre events manager. However, for the time being, Weezer are done.

River Cuomo told MTV as much:

"Really, for the moment, we are done," he said. "And I'm not certain we'll ever make a record again, unless it becomes really obvious to me that we need to do one."

Because, of course, there used to be a crying need for a song about a jumper falling apart.


Singing soldiers - not really a great tradition, is it? There was, of course, Robson and Jerome, whose musical crimes started as a spin-off from Soldier, Soldier; Elvis giving up music to go into the army, where he learned the values of self-restraint and a healthy diet; the Battle Hymn of Lt. Calley, which was effectively an apologia for genocide available on a seven-inch single. The Band of the Ark Royal seemed to be regulars in the album charts a couple of decades back. But that's been more-or-less it.

Now, though, Southport is holding what might be the first military music talent show ever held outside of a NAAFI. The winner, we understand, gets to appear in something called Soapstars on Parade.

It doesn't say which military outfits are allowed to enter - we suspect, though, that any entries from certain unofficial Irish outfits might be in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.


I know it's all for charity but whenever the cancer people do their "world's biggest coffee morning" I always feel a little untidied because although lots of people do meet for a coffee and a nutty flapjack at roughly the same time, it seems a bit odd calling that like it's a single coffee morning it's not all in the same place and - crucially - it's not really a single shared experience.

The same slightly curmudgeonly muttering rises in my throat on hearing of Oxjam, and especially the description of the "world's biggest music festival." It's not, really, it's just a lot of stuff happening across the nation throughout October. That minor quibble aside, it's quite an impressive and inventive event. They want you to get involved, too, you, with your band or your clubnight or your busking. Every penny raised (that doesn't go on administration) will be spent doing good things.


Twenty-five percent of the profits will go to charity, it seems, from the new Glastonbury record label The Glastonbury Phonographic Society. We wonder where the other 75% ends up?

Anyway, the label is going to start by releasing the soundtrack from the Glasto movie, where Julien Temple misses the point, but then it'll stick out albums capturing classic sets from the festival - we suspect that BBC Worldwide will be involved somewhere along the line jangling the keys to the archive on that one.

Glastonbury albumPlug: It's that Glastonbury album in full


As if bringing Leo Sayer back - briefly - from a Shuttleworth-guesting netherworld wasn't enough, the remix team behind Meck's Thunder in My Heart are Lazarushing again.

They've reworked Curiosity Killed The Cat's Name and Number for the 21st century. Not totally, of course, because then instead of "Hey/how you doin'/sorry I'm not home/if you leave your name and number..." it'd go "To enquire about financial products, press one/ to report a robbery, press two/ to hear the options again press star" and then play the Four Seasons for thirty minutes.

Curiosity Killed The Cat were skewered by John Walters at the time who observed that, while the little girls screeched for "Beeeen" during the gigs, as soon as the concert ended and they were told to go home, they stopped shouting and went. With Duran, of course, they'd have carried on screaming and fought their way into the dressing rooms.

Ben Volpierre-Pierrot, the lead singer, famously appeared in the advert for the launch of the Indepedent. Back then, The Indie had a broadsheet format and Ben was living in luxurious circumstances, but over the last twenty years both have downsized somewhat.

Curiosity Killed The Cat best ofPlug: You can expect a new best of soon, we suppose, but this is the one that's been gathering dust for ten long years.


The legislators of America - who, you might have thought, would have other things to worry about - are thinking of junking the one cent piece.

Kevin Federline - who, you might have thought, would have other things to worry about - is campaigning to stop that happening.

Is Fordeconoline angry that the press reports that a one cent piece costs more than one cent to make misunderstands the way that as coins pass from hand to hand the value they represent to the national economy is multiplied each time? Or does he fret that, since capitalists tend to take any change in national currency as an opportunity to round up rather than rounding to the nearest five cents, losing the cent will create a mini-inflationary burp and that the people with the highest marginal propensity to consume, those on lowest incomes, will be hit hardest?

Or is he just thinking that as it's not long before he's back in the subway wanking for coins that it's best to ensure passers-by have as much spare change as possible?

[Thanks to Gary White for the story]

Meanwhile, the day when Fuddingdoaline comes home to discover his pants hanging on a bush and the locks changes surely gets closer with his plans to record a duet with Shar Jackson. It's not just she's his ex, but an ex who hates his wife. Understandably, of course, as Fed dumped her for Britney while she was thirteen months pregnant with his kids. Just how desperate is Kevin for a hit?

Or maybe a slap.


Most of us, when we Google our names, just get a modest buzz from seeing lots of pages of results. And then a clank of disappointment when we discover most of them refer to a Bavarian proctologist who shares our name.

Famous people, though, get kabillions of returns, all of which are about them. That, though, scares Justin Timberlake:

"I did it once but I was so frightened at all the sites that came up I didn't dig any more."

Huh. All that time drawing the picture of him riding a horse naked, and he never even bothered to look at it.


Pete Doherty has made another court appearance to give magistrates an update on how that long march to drug-free is going. Happily for him, his case is being handled by people who seem keen to see him kept out of prison, so they're not bothered that he hasn't actually been able to stay unmedicated yet:

Judge Jane McIvor said that while he had not yet provided a negative drug test, doctors reported they were pleased with his progress.

"You are going in the right direction," she said. "It's not easy, especially in your circumstances. I appreciate that entirely.

"I think your concentration should be, within six months of the order, to get a negative test."

She recommended that his drug testing be reduced from twice a week to just once, and ordered another review for September.

So, he's not kept off for a seven-day period yet, but this is all moving in the right direction. Doherty has told the courts he's going to get implants again - although we could have sworn he was saying he had them in again already a couple of weeks back; and they only work with smack; and, well, all they seemed to do for him last year was give him something to show to reporters in return for drug money.

It's wonderful that the courts aren't just dumping him in a jail, but we're not sure they're doing him any favours with this soft-touch, either.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Travis have appeared from wherever they've been hiding for the last few years to slap a giant Post-It note on the door of 10 Downing Street to 'remind' Tony Blair about the promises he made at the G8 conference. A Post-It, you see. Had this been twenty years ago, it would have been a giant page from long, thin notebook with "MEMO" written on the top of it.

Travis, we suppose, were chosen as Blair can connect with a bunch of plausible, well-meaning guys who became popular by bending over backwards to be liked but have seen their sky-high support ebb away since the turn of the century. Of course, Travis at least haven't pursued any illegal wars as far as we know, but Why Does It Always Rain On Me came close.


Good raspberry lord, even when Chris Martin tries to throw his political weight about, he does it in an apologetic way. If he'd written the Communist Manifesto, it would have started "If you've got a moment, workers of the world, you know you could probably take your chains off, but ask your bosses first. Actually, probably best to keep the chains on, just in case."

The SUV-driving ecowarrior was talking at a Hong Kong news conference:

"We don't want to be preachy, we just say those words (fair trade), and make sure people look it up themselves. When one or two people take pictures of us, we feel like we could start advertising something we care about."

Although it's not really "advertising" something you believe in if you just mention it in passing and hope people might go off and look it up in a book.

Coldplay then started to apologise for their very existence:

He said the band dislikes their debut album, Parachutes, which was released in 2000.

"We know that's terrible music, and we always try to think about what we can do next," Martin said.

Blimey. Disowning Parachutes almost like it wasn't their own child. Fancy that.


We're not sure a man who once appeared sitting naked in a tub of baked beans is in any place to throw stones, but Roger Daltrey is unimpressed with Pete Doherty:

"I have time for anarchy but Pete Doherty is feeble minded.

"What he does has nothing to do with rock 'n' roll. He is severely dependent and needs urgent help."

Otherwise, of course, he might die before he gets old.


We used to love to hear tales of Fish's gigs at the Lomax, and in particular the lines of beer bought by well-wishers lined up on the shelf above the seating area; not a drop, we understand, was ever wasted.

We imagine its that degree of well-wishery which has convinced organisers there's a market for a Fish Festival. It's being called Fishstock (which is a pun) and being held at Haddington (which might be a pun).

Partly it's designed to mark Fish's career, and the 20th anniversary of Misplaced Childhood, the point where briefly Marillion were treated like they were a proper top forty act.


Although the actual merger of Sony and BMG didn't really mean much (the big music labels had been happily operating a price-fixing cartel in the US before they reduced in number from five to four), it did appear to threaten at least the appearance of diversity in the recording industry.

Now, though, that faux-diversity could be about to be restored: The European Court of First Instance has overturned the European Commission's approval for their union:

The court said that the Commission did not demonstrate to the requisite legal standard, either the non-existence of a collective dominant position before the concentration or the absence of a risk that such a position would be created as a result of the concentration.

Of course, the Commission might now do a much more in-depth study and discover, magically, that the result of the original investigation (described by the court as "cursory") was, nevertheless, the correct one; even if it doesn't, the actual process of demerging might prove problematic. More likely than the restitution of independent BMG and Sony companies would be an enforced hiving-off of some of the business. And even that, of course, would be years and years and millions of pounds in legal refreshers down the line.

What it does mean, though, is the cosying together of EMI and Warner now looks like it will face much more of a tricky job if either side wants to convince the competition authorities that a merger in their case would be a thoroughly good thing.

The case was brought before the courts by Impala, which apparently isn't a woolly animal at all (well, not entirely), but an indie body which counts the somewhat bullish AIM amongst its members.


Adult Swim, the grown-up, out-of-hours cartoon network channel in the US, has put together some sort of soundtrack album. Which is nice, of course, but what's even nicer is the free download ep featuring Lady Sovereign, Mos Def and, as Ronco would have it, much, much more.


It's not unknown, of course, for the Red Hot Chili Peppers to seek out hot rocks while on tour. But this time round, it's all above board. Yes, the once-skag-raddled band are enjoying healthy pursuits while on tour: it's all spa treatments and alternative therapies.


We could say something about Chris Hardman, a teenager who appeared on Alice Cooper's Rock School series, being given a record contract (supposedly half a million's worth, but we know how vague those figures can be), but we think that the analysis it deserves might leave him feeling he had to call Childline.

Mind you, we would just be rolling our eyes. We're not sure there's words for the sort of guff RCA are spitting out as they prepare to squeeze a profit from him:

“Little Chris is best described as a grown-up Bart Simpson after he discovered rock music.

“He has a massive personality. He’s like a cartoon character in a good way.”

Interesting comparison - Bart Simpson did release a single in The Simpsons, a novelty track ('I Didn't Do This' to the tune of Superfreak) before the public tired of him; in the real world there was a very brief Simpsons musical bubble which burst almost as soon as "Bart" had a number one. If RCA are drawing parallels with the scion of the Simpsons family, let's hope the newsagent keeps Chris' paperround open for him.


It's like a rite we have to sit through every few years: TV executives learning that just because someone is a strong chatshow guest and can work a crowd doesn't mean that giving them a sketch show is anything more than a quick way of diminishing their standing in the public affection and burning through a few hundred thousand quid.

The pilot for The All New Charlotte Church Show isn't going well.

They could perhaps rescue it by teaming her with Barney Rubble, who can observe "hey, look, Chazza, we're all new" during the opening titles.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Shortly after being lauded by the Webby Academy for his "lifetime achievement" of building a splendid web presence, he's closed his New Power Generation down. He's slapped a message in his proto-txt-mssg Princespeak up to explain why:

"The NPG Music Club has been in existence 4 more than 5 years. In that time we've learned a great deal from each other and about this brave new online world we have all chosen 2 b part of. The members we have been 4tunate enough 2 have join r family have truly made this the best music club any artist could ever dream of. In its current 4m there is a feeling that the NPGMC gone as far as it can go.

In a world without limitations and infinite possibilities, has the time come 2 once again make a leap of faith and begin anew? These r ?s we in the NPG need to answer. In doing so, we have decided 2 put the club on hiatus until further notice."

Probably not unconnected with the most recent record label signings Prince has done. Despite his Webby prize, Prince's approach to the web seems to be like much of the rest of the music industry: still seeing it as a way of marketing product rather than a whole new way of working.


Have you ever wondered how Beyonce gets her Heat-endorsed-as-correct body shape?

Tony The Tiger.

Well, not quite, but she swears it's all down to cereal:

"My big fitness trick is cereal. I love it - granola cereal in particular."

She means museli, of course. We're not sure this is entirely a fully-formed fitness regime - how much, for example? How often?

We're going to try eating a box of museli every three hours as a starting point; we expect to be bootylicious by the weekend.


LeAnn Rimes is recovering in hospital following an operation on her leg - some ripped tissue had become badly infected, a summary which raises more questions than it answers.

Having it fixed has meant the cancellation of three concerts of country music, but if you really love country that much, you'll be used to coping with disappointment.


How charming to see proof that the larger a lable gets, the more like a major it becomes. So we're not surprised to see the Association of Independent Labels has been pulling an RIAA-like stance by lobbying for a change in the laws that will add a couple of extra bob to their member's pockets, and cause trouble for everyone else.

They want internet service providers to be held responsible for people filesharing on their networks.

Now, leaving aside the horrific concept of ISPs no longer being able to be blind to their content, there's the wider question of how, exactly, BT or Tiscali is expected to police this - will they have to employ someone to check every bit or byte to see if its copyright covered? It's impractical and absurd: even if they could spot The Spice Girls 2Becomes1 passing through their network, how can the ISP tell if it's as part of an unauthorised download, or a copyrght-cleared service, or something like a Wippit legal bittorrent share, or so on.

Really, this is just AIM being keen to sue someone, and not being arsed to go to the effort of suing the people who are actually breaking the law so want the law changed in order to have a soft target to go for. It's an unfair and impractical proposal, on a par with people who have their cars stolen suing the council for providing a road down which the vehicle has been driven.


Obviously, we've been out of action for a couple of days, and as soon as we turn our back, we lose one of the true greats of British music.

There now can be no Pink Floyd reunion.

We'll deliver a fuller obituary sometime tomorrow.

Monday, July 10, 2006


The last place you'd have expected a story announcing Madonna's apparent intention to ditch kabbalah would be the Independent on Sunday, but it seemed convinced. The paper claimed that she had got tired of pumping millions into a bottomless pit that stopped her kids from celebrating Christmas and "strained" relations with Guy. All of which sounds plausible, although having made out massive cheques for eight years it would seem odd that suddenly she thought "that's enough." Maybe she was balancing her chequebook between gigs and worked out what she was spending on bottled water and string.

However, one of her hordes of spokespeople has said they've not heard she has any such plans.

[Thanks to Karl T for the tip]


Andy Nicholson might seem to be firmly out of the Arctic Monkeys, what with having quit and then being replaced. But now Andy wants back in. There's a source, apparently:

"There had been tension in the band from being cooped up on the road for months. Andy had a falling out with Alex and left.

“But he has missed being part of the band he founded and wants to reclaim his place back before they record their second album.”

Hmmm - so he wants to do the records but isn't that bothered by the touring? Who does he think he is, Kate Bush?


James Blunt has announced he's going to spend his time surrounded by a bunch of clapped-out old donkeys.

No, no, he's not touring with Kasabian, he's bought a mountain farm in Spain where he intends to raise donkeys for their eggs and butter. We know there's a flaw in his plan, but let's give him the room to make his own mistakes, eh?

Sunday, July 09, 2006


We've never seen quite how the parallels were supposed to work that suggested Pete Doherty was the new Richey Manic; now James Dean Bradfield has made a polite request to stop people confusing the two:

And, speaking from the Cardiff studio in which he part-recorded his solo material, he said he had no advice for the former co-frontman of The Libertines because he "didn't feel qualified".

"It's impossible to give that kind of advice," he said.

"I would never have any advice to give to anybody who is close to Pete Doherty or to Pete Doherty himself because I don't feel qualified, because we really didn't know what to do ourselves with Richey.

"We've re-traced our steps in terms of what happened to Richey so many times and at the end of the day Richey was surrounded by people who cared about him and who were quite sensible and still we couldn't help."

It might not have escaped Bradfield's notice that he's doing press for his first solo album, and all anyone still wants to talk about is Richey.


It only seems why, a couple of years, since Bill Cosby was giving his famous Pound Cake speech. In-between worrying about people stealing bottles of Coca-Cola, the product he, of course, has invested heavily in, Cosby attacked young people for wearing revealing clothes and having sex as if there were no consequences.

Clearly, since May 2004 Cosby must have had a bit of a rethink; as he's happy enough hosting the Playboy Jazz Festival. Or, perhaps, the festival is only sponsored from the revenue from the interviews in the world's number one shaft-stroker magazine.


After a year in which Ringo Star's birthplace was first condemned, then dismissed as being of no interest, and then saved in some sort of strange brick museum, and Strawberry Fields ceased its operations, Liverpool almost managed to wipe another Beatles tourist attraction from its maps.

A well-meaning but hideously misplaced attempt to try and atone for the whole "being built on slave money" basis of the city had led to the idea of renaming all streets that had been originally named in honour of slave traders.

The someone remembered James Penny.

As in Penny Lane.

"I don't think anyone would seriously consider renaming Penny Lane," said city council member Barbara Mace, who has been pressing to get rid of names linked to slavery. "My proposal is to rename several of the streets and to replace them with the names of people who have done something positive."

So, then, it's a serious attempt to remove the names of streets associated with the slave trade, unless it would be awkward or embarrassing to do so. In other words, Mace is proposing to only change the obscure streets named after slave traders - which is such an empty gesture you could cram a fleet of daleks in there and still have room for some cybermen.

Added to which, it's more than a little dishonest, representing almost a desire to wipe out the uncomfortable truths of the city's former prosperity:

Eric Lynch, 74, who gives tours focused on the history of Liverpool's involvement in the slave trade, said renaming any streets or squares would be a "disgraceful attempt to change history."

"It's like somebody in Germany deciding to bulldoze Auschwitz," Lynch said. "Like somebody deciding not to celebrate D-Day. If we don't know the past, how can we make sure we don't make the same mistakes? Are the monuments to the Irish famines going to go next?"

Well, up to a point, Eric - although if the Germans did decide to bulldoze Auschwitz, that would be slightly different what with it being in Poland.


The press has been waiting a couple of weeks since the last flurry of legal action to kick Heather Mills about a bit, and the temptation has finally got too much for the Sunday Mirror, which has got hold of something fresh:

AN EXPLOSIVE phone conversation between Sir Paul McCartney and his daughter Stella about the breakdown of his marriage and impending divorce has been secretly BUGGED, the Sunday Mirror can reveal.

Goodness. Naturally, the Mirror must only be reporting this because it's outraged at a third party illegally intruding on the McCartney's privacy and eavesdropping on what they believed to be a private conversation. We expect the paper has only splashed it on its front page as part of the investigation to reveal who the bugger is, right?

It is not known who bugged Macca's call - it is a criminal offence under The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to intercept calls whether made on a landline or by mobile and is punishable by up to two years in jail.

Oddly, though, this doesn't seem to have stopped the paper detailing the contents of the phone call in full.

Well, not quite full:

Stella also makes scathing remarks about Heather's charity work and wellbeing which cannot be repeated for legal reasons.

So, the Mirror is happy to run with stuff that's been obtained illegally, but not if it risks a libel action as a result. Clearly, the only way you can keep your private conversations out of the Trinity Mirror group is to slip in an awful lot of libellious stuff. Certainly from now on, we always tell the people ringing up from the 3G Network stuff about Sly Bailey that would make your hair curl, just in case the conversation otherwise turns up in the MerseyMart the following week.

Besides propping up the dwindling readership of the Sunday Mirror, the tapes have made their way into Heather Mills' hands, with the end result that Heather has apparently banned Stella from contact with Bea, her half-sister.

Since Stella hadn't exactly given Heather the warmest welcome into the family, and was widely reported singing "ding-dong, ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead" (more or less) when the news was broken that the marriage had broken, surely it can't have come as that much of a surprise to her? "I always thought you just really hated me and despised my usurping of the position of your mother in the household and considered me a gold-digger and would go round telling as much to all and sundry, but I never thought you were as cruel as to say all that while being secretly tape-recorded as well. What sort of monster are you?"

It's like the media are approaching this as if it was a Big Brother task - there's a metaphorical clock depicting Heather's divorce pay-off, and she's stood in the garden as they fling crap at her while the pay-off clicks upwards a hundred thousand or so every weekend. At some point, she'll have to scream out "decree nisi" and wave her hand in the air, whereupon she'll get her payout and the flinging will cease. The more crap you can withstand, the less "quickie" the divorce, and the bigger the cash prize at the end.


Would anyone think that super-showbiz-know-everything-bot from the future Rav Singh out the News of the World actually knows Girls Aloud are about to split, or, like the rest of us, he just thinks with Cheryl Tweedy parading around with Victoria Beckham and issuing "exciting baby news" bulletins to the glossys that it's only a matter of time?

Of course he knows for sure - he's spoken to a "source close to the band":

"They just don't talk at all — it's over for them. There's always been a rift in the band.

"Nadine and Cheryl don't talk, there is no communication. There's also a rift between Sarah and the others."

What we love best about this is the suggestion that the band needs to be able to talk to each other to churn out records - it's a little bit like saying the future of Cadburys Mini Rolls is in doubt because Mona and Helen on the production line have stopped talking after Mona crticised Helen's last bleach job.


Last year, we were so spectacularly curmudgeonly about the TV coverage of T in the Park that we were offered the editorship of the Daily Telegraph. This year, we're not exactly bubbling over with joy, but in a season shorn of the giant, overpowering presence of Glastonbury, the ability to dip a toe into the waters of the Scottish festival feels fresher and more inviting.

Perhaps no Glastonbury is a good thing. Maybe 2007 should be the last one. Michael Eavis could turn up on stage after Kylie, announce that the thing has got so big and so dominating that he's decided next year it'll just be an acoustic tent doing folk music or something different, and forever freeze Glastonbury as a legend in the history of rock music instead of making it slightly nastier, more plastic and more bloated each year until it eventually meets the Reading Festival coming across the southern English landscape in the opposite direction and explodes in a mess of beer adverts, mobile phone tents and big wheels.

Anyway, back to the case in hand: T. What with cybermen battling daleks all over the place, it was quite late before we slipped behind the press red options and sampled Goldfrapp's performance. It wouldn't be fair to call it lacklustre - indeed, with dancing models in a range of costumes (space robots, horse-mane-fronted sofa outfits and so on) there was an astonishing ammount of lustre. It just felt a bit flat as performances go.

I'm sure I must have sat through a full Maximo Park performance at some point before, but I really don't remember one. And that's probably because it turns out that away from the front end gems (Apply Some Pressure, The Coast is Always Changing - you could draft this list for yourself) there's a great gooey mess of songs that just make-weight; there didn't appear to be anything on display at T suggesting they've planned some sort of surprise change for the near future. Worse, the band have relaxed to the point where they've abandoned their smart look and took to the stage looking like dress-down Friday in a homeless shelter. For them, it looks worryingly like three catchy singles and a tie was all they had on offer to separate themselves from the lower reaches of the Top 40 indie pack.

The Kaiser Chiefs were on, too: Ricky Wilson looking not quite as ill as he did, but still not seeming totally right. Like Maximo, they seem to have decided the time for eye-catching stunts is over - no Kaisersaurus style hijinks this time, although Ricky did do his trademark (well, used under licence from Bono) traipse over to the front of the crowd to allow them to look into the bloodshots of his eyes.

Taking a quick dash around the web, the main focus of the reports is tonight's Who headline set (almost as if the people doing editing are of a certain age); ITV News is delighted to be able to do a Three Stooges style "Who is the headline act?" spot of headline gaggery.

Scotland on Sunday measured out the rain and wandered about talking to burger-sellers and showing that T is trying to shift from its traditional role as "advert for beer" to ride the Live8/Glasto social concern hydropod. And sell beer, of course:

The St Andrews Hospice had pitched up for the first year, massive saltire flags draped around their shoulders. One merry worker, selling teddy bears and wristbands, said: "We're having a great time. We're here to raise our profile and so far the people have been great."

At the Amnesty stall, Susan Stein, the group secretary for Amnesty in West Fife, was giving out fuchsia pink earplugs brandishing the words: "Think about what you need to think about."

Stein hoped to borrow some of Glastonbury's more socio-political thunder. "The hope is that with Glastonbury not on this year, there might be a few more socially conscious music goers at T in the Park. Musicians and political issues have become more and more entwined in the last year so we're hoping to get a really good turnout today. So far the response has been great. The atmosphere is brilliant and we just hope that people will come in throughout the day."

We're not sure the logic works here: that there are hordes of socially conscious music fans who have been left roaming the country in the absence of Glasto; and, besides, if there were people going to Worthy Farm for the chance to sign petitions and chat to Greenpeace volunteers, surely they're the sort of people who'd already have their direct debits set up for Amnesty anyway? Isn't the point of being at the festivals to reach the music fans who aren't socially conscious and convert them? If the place is full of people who are already in touch with their inner Cameron, isn't Stein's presence there like being an evangelist trying to save at a gospel concert?

More worryingly, it turns out the new "more secure" festival has had some serious flaws: The Sunday Mail discovers that prople have turned up, handed in their tickets and got wristbands - only to discover they need their ticket as well as their wristband to get any further than the campsite:

Deborah O'Neill, 24, of Cranhill, Glasgow, handed over her brief at the entrance to the campsite on Friday.

She said: "The steward insisted I give him my ticket to scan it before he gave me my wristband, then didn't return it. I can't believe I missed the whole festival."

Mechanic Chris Roberts, 22, of Glasgow, also missed out. He said: "I handed over my ticket in good faith to someone who worked for T in the Park."

Shamefully, T in the Park don't seem very bothered about this:

Last night, a T in the Park spokeswoman said: "We are advising everyone to keep their tickets with them at all times."

Surely they should have drilled into their staff that bit before they opened, rather than issuing a can't-be-arsed press statement halfway through the event.

More puzzlingly: why do they need to see tickets as well as wristbands? The whole reason for the wristbands is because it's insane to expect people to be pissing about with paper tickets in the middle of the rain, mud, tent-sleeping, flying bottles of rockfan wee and wind.

Adding to the misery outside the fence was Jim Kerr's brother, Paul. The Sunday Mail says he'd claimed to be selling tickets for the festival and "boasted of his Simple Minds connections" (as if that's a thing to brag about); five grand and Kerr have vanished into thin air.

Sylvia Patterson, luckily, wasn't relying on Kerr to get her in for the Sunday Herald, and files from "the drunkest festival in the history of the music festival itself" and notices that, well, the older generation is refusing to give way gracefully:

“Fifty,” he said, bewildered, as another Guinness disappeared, “I cannae believe it. I always thought I’d be different by now.” Me too, I thought, and boogied all the way up and down the Dublin Castle with him. (Apparently.)

“Hope I die before I get old,” bugles The Who’s most famous line and look at us now, old, still alive, the inner 17-year-old still refusing to “f-fade away…”, especially in The Who themselves (apart from the two that are dead).

This year, therefore, against screaming better judgments, against a declaration last year that there will no more of this young folks’ frippery, no more close encounters with paramedics, broken limbs, toxic psychosis and a latrine where your bed once was, I will be back at T In The Park to see The Who, “forced” by the best mate to relive our sepia-toned youth, two teenage Who fans who believed we were Lesley Ash in Quadrophenia and Sting would one day marry us.

For a play-by-play coverage, there's This Is Fake DIY and their mini-blog:

The lure of Kula Shaker quickly wears off, so we head over to catch Neil Hannon and The Divine Comedy. Hannon crafts his unique turn of phrase and orchestral melody in to one of the highlights so far, with a semi-'best of' set, complete with a cover of 'Maneater'!

Franz Ferdinand's special surprise, according to the NME, was bringing on a dozen drummers. Did we fight the dragon of Drum Theatre for this?

The NME T blog uncovered one of the flaws of holding a festival so far north - the likely rain sends people rushing for the tents and flip-flops the festival heirarchy: suddenly, the main stage seems unattractive and damp and you're not able to get in to the King Tuts stage for the down-card bands:

The lastest casualty of the rain here at T In The Park is your lowly news hound who was unable to get into King Tut's tent to see The Oridinary Boys. With lots of people avoiding the weather, NME couldn't get into the totally full tent. 'Over The Counter Culture' sounded great from the outside, but with our feet getting soggy and our cap starting to drip we were unable to enjoy the rest of Preston and co, so came here and blogged instead as an excuse to keep dry.

Blog coverage of the event is a bit patchy at the moment - we imagine the few laptops which did make it to the event are drying out - which leaves us with people getting called by friends (Corinne_x sharing then ayden called me today from t in the park, she was like " omg, theres just women squatting everywhere and pissing, theres arses and fannys out everywhree " in utter disgust haha then half an hour later i got a text saying " i just squatted "); watching on TV (Summer In Oxford spotting Goldfrapp’s playing at T in the Park now. Or at least they’re showing the clip from her performance. She looked like a man at the beginning. It’s rather odd. I’m so used to seeing her hair frizzed up.) or making it back to a nice dry home to blog (Thea's Radio Days tapping So much for the promoters saying we have a hundred (or whatever it was) bands on - - but I"d rather there were a lot less acts on and that they were spaced out better. Half the time I wanted to see around four acts on at the same time. The stages - particularly the NME stage - were absolutely MILES apart. It sucked quite frankly.).

Flickr does much better for instant responses from the scene and, as well as fan shots, is playing host to a whole slew of Radio One's photos as well.


Having scuffed his trainers so badly when he suggested all rappers and hip-hoppers were knife-wielding asbo magnets, Callmedave Cameron is attempting to rebuild his credibility with what you just know his master plan calls "the voters of tomorrow."

He's calling for tolerance for hoodies.

"We - the people in suits - often see hoodies as aggressive, the uniform of a rebel army of young gangsters," the Tory leader is expected to say.

"But hoodies are more defensive than offensive. They're a way to stay invisible in the street. In a dangerous environment the best thing to do is keep your head down, blend in."

Mr Cameron will say that, for some people, "the hoodie represents all that's wrong about youth culture in Britain today".

However, he will go on: "For me, adult society's response to the hoodie shows how far we are from finding the long-term answers to put things right."

Were this not a somewhat transparent attempt to draw a line under his attack on rap as, well, representing all that's wrong about youth culture in Britain today, it would still be rather questionable - and, of course, most people who actually bother to talk to younger people have found that much of the knife carrying is "more defensive rather than offensive", but that didn't stop Cameron leaping to a knee-jerk demonisation.

The real problem, though, is that the hoodie moral panic only really existed in the mind of the Daily Mail over a year ago. It might have made some sense to issue a helping hand of friendship back then, but going up to kids on street corners this summer and saying "I'll support your right to wear hooded tops" is about as relevant as offering to ensure they can always find places for skiffle group to practice.

Attacks on clothes worn by teenagers are exactly the same thing as attacks on music listened to by teenagers (and lame-ass defences of the same) really do miss the point. There are young adults who are frightened, alienated, threatening, angry, upset and all points in-between. Those are the problems. Hooded tops? They're just a fashion.


Oh, what fun we had over the last seven days on No Rock & Roll Fun.

These were the ten news stories most read:

1. Chris Martin picks on fat people
2. Jessica and Nick: can you believe its over?
3. France passes law to force music sharing
4. McFly have a go at full frontal nudity
5. Dallas Austin: Yes, it was my coke, but there's a funny story about it...
6. Here's a poser: is KT Tunstall a lesbian, do you think?
7. Heather Mills pornstar past
8. Pink sticks up for Britney Spears
9. More of Heather Mills' naked nudity
10. Noel Gallagher's secret gay past

You could, of course, see the entire week on a single page
or try the previous week in a single post.

And we suggested any or all of the following could be as reliable a form of entertainment as yelling "you think by now they'd practice the penalties, wouldn't you?" at the TV:

Girl-humanoid electrofunk cybermen-dalek music

Rising from the ashes of Girlfriendo

Muse take the next step towards rock opera

Atari Teenage Riot/ Atari Teenage Riot/ Atari Teenage Riot/ Atari Teenage Riot/ Atari Teenage Riot

All of Charlotte Coleman and Dylan Moran's photographer in the country sitcom How Do You Want Me?

Memorialising Ivor Cutler DVD collection

Sex and - ho-ho - violins, My Life Story's life story

Near-legendary bsn favourites the Old 97s gather their best

The Wizard of Dictionary Corner reworks his rock-operatics in a classical style

Not new, but essential: This Mortal Coil, It'll End In Tears