Saturday, November 11, 2006

Does anyne remember the Arctic Monkeys?

We really, really want to believe the "they said 'don't you know who we are?'" aspect of the Mirror's account of the Arctic Monkeys failing to gain access to a Camden nightclub is journalistic licence; they've never given the impression of being the sort of band who think that a quarter of the Q front cover works like some sort of golden ticket behind purple ropes.

Mind you, if you do want to swan around like that, you should probably put your own faces on the album sleeve.

Kerry Katona is fit - official

They'll be breaking out the prawn-and-sausage bites and the chocolate-coated cheesecake biscuit-shaped icecream nibbles at the Katona house today: Warrington Social Services have finished their investigation into the Iceland spokesperson and decided that she's not an unfit mother:

Social services said: "A referral stated your children were at risk and your partner and yourself were using illicit drugs.

"After further inquiries I am able to inform you there are no concerns regarding their welfare."

Presumably the "inquiries" involved speaking to Max Clifford.

Jamelia's a slag, says Javine. Or maybe the other way round.

We're not entirely sure the row between Jamelia and Javine is happening right now; presumably they had it a while ago and it's just taken time for the sound to reach people's ears?

Anyway, for the benefit of older readers who might recall when the pair of them were popstars, they've fallen out over one of them having sex with Alesha Dixon's husband MC Harvey.

Are we certain this didn't all happen six years ago?

“I’m not normally the type of person to slate someone but I’ve really got a lot of animosity towards that girl because she’s a relationship ruiner.

“Alesha is a beautiful, fantastic person and her husband has been sleeping with Javine behind her back. Javine is a slag. I have no time for her.”

It's been so long since MC Harvey was in the news it's like hearing about people you were at school with, isn't it?

Madonna keen to ruin Abba for all of us

Here's something an eye-watering exclusive from Victoria Newton in The Sun:

MADONNA is working with ABBA legends AGNETHA FALTSKOG and FRIDA LYNGSTAD on tracks for her new album.

Blimey. How has she managed to fit that around not-getting-special-treatment-from-Malawi and flying back and forth?

Erm, it turns out "is working" is an extrapolation of "has had a conversation about working with":

A source said: “Madonna has been in contact with Agnetha and Frida for a few months."


Still, the fact they've not so much as doodled an empty stave on the back of an overestimated Npower bill doesn't hold Victoria back; she's already picturing them storming the charts:

It should be a sure-fire hit...

You may sense an "if" on its way.

...if Madge, seen going to the movies in London’s Mayfair, chooses to release their joint studio efforts as a single.

If they ever manage to schedule the time in the studio. And if the sessions produce anything worth releasing. And if, and if.

Mind you, we shouldn't make fun of Victoria Newton's enthusiasm. After all, she is a bit of an Abba-expert:

And even though Agnetha has lived like a virtual recluse and Frida hung up her high-heeled platform shoes years ago — they have agreed to go into the studio.

Except, of course, Agnetha isn't even a virtual recluse, and she gets annoyed that hacks try and suggest a private life is in some way odd:

“I’m the same person that I’ve always been – nice, normal, down-to-earth, and easily stressed.”

She complained that a picture had been created of her by the media as a recluse on the island of Ekerö. Comparisons with Greta Garbo, another Swede with a reputation for withdrawing from society, were unfair:

“It’s a picture that the media has created as a punishment for me not showing myself enough,” she said, adding that she would “rather be an original than a bad copy.”

Much more certain is that Lenny Kravitz is going to be involved in the next Madonna collection. Which means she's going to need the Abba magic even more.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Something to listen to

A couple of places to point your ears:

North Face of Soho - Clive James reads from his autobiography; in this episode, he sits in the green room while the Sex Pistols prepare for their meeting with Bill Grundy [link decays on Tuesday 14th just after breakfast]

The Long Blondes - collective session [includes video and audio versions of tracks]

VanHalen and Son

As if the cluttering up of the release schedules and column inches and support slots by the children of once-decent musicians wasn't bad enough, now the scions of superstars are starting to turn up and ruin their parent's bands as well, thereby undercutting the very reputation off which they are living.

Admittedly, Van Halen have never quite occupied the cultural heights of, say, Mozart, but even so, the news that Eddie has found a role for his fifteen year-old kid Wolfgang in the band chills the marrow even more than the thought of, say, Keith Allen's daughter Lily. Is there a shortage of paper-rounds in the US?

Eddie is proud of his kid:

"If I excel at the speed of sound, he excels at the speed of light. This kid is just a natural."

But then all parents are like that, aren't they? Presumably Madonna's counting the days until she can get david as a back-up dancer.

Duetting with your ghost voice

Urmila MatondkarWe're not quite sure that, if we were recording an album of duets, we'd call in someone whose singing was judged so poor, we'd been invited twice to overdub her singing.

But then, we're not about to question the judgement of Asha Bhosle, who has just requested Urmila Matondkar join her on record:

"When we met recently, she was telling someone that she'd sung for me in Rangeela and then I reminded her that way back, she'd also sung for me in my film Chamatkar.

And then I sang a couple of lines from the song that was picturised on Shah Rukh Khan and me, Bichoo, ye bichoo mujhe kaat jayega to her. The next day, she called me up and said that I would have to sing a duet with her in her new album and, of course, I was shocked at her request, but agreed!"

The small mercy is that Urmila has decided that this one adventure in stereo will be her only one; she's not looking to be the Bollywood Kylie. For now.

Carey decides to embark on a public laundry

There is little that makes our heart sing than the prospect of all sorts of awkward details being dragged into public view under the rules of open court. Where some might have decided to cut their losses, Mariah Carey has delighted us by choosing to pursue a legal action against the promoters who cancelled her Hong Kong date.

You'll recall, the promoters axed the gig because of poor ticket sales and diva-like demands. (Personally, we'd have been tempted to expect both of those things booking Carey, but what would we know?). But it's far from clear who actually pulled the plug, as:

Her lawyers claim she was forced to cancel the concert after One Group Investments "breached its contractual obligations", AFP news agency reports.

Carey is looking for the promoters to make good the money she'd spent on preparing for the show - so, the price of a purchase of a bikini from Ethel Austin and a bucket of glitter, then.

Christmas gift guide

What do you give the Beach Boys fan who has everything?

Oh, alright, apart from their own sandpit.

How about a finely-crafted Brian Wilson doll? Picturing him from his prime, in 1966. There's only 300 being made, and seventy-five will refuse to come out their box.

All goes Tong for Bloc Party

We spent quite a while in Atlanta earlier this year - not through choice, it has to be said - and so we tend to view the place with a slightly jaundiced eye. We're not saying it's cursed or anything - and the Steak and Ale by the airport suggests it isn't a city without redemptive opportunity - but Bloc Party have had a bad time there, too.

Matt Tong, the drummer, fell ill during a gig there, and wound up being rushed to hospital. His lung has collapsed, it turns out, and with it, Bloc Party's US tour has deflated as well.

A spokesperson says they can't tell when he'll be well enough to pick up the sticks again.

Shar enjoys chilled revenge

It must be a glorious day for Shar Jackson, able to watch Britney's relationship with her ex run into the sand, while behaving with perfect poise. She's calling for people to be nicer to Kevin:

"He's such a nice guy," the 30-year-old actress tells "Inside Edition" in an interview that was to air Thursday. "He's made some mistakes but everybody else doesn't have the whole world pointing their finger at their mistakes."

You'll note that Shar is helping avoid people talking about Kevin's mistakes by taking part in a TV programme dedicated to the biggest one to date.

Celebrity divorces, Jackson thinks, are nothing to celebrate. "I don't understand why people take so much joy in other people's pain."

... although, having said that, the money you can make discussing them does come in handy. Especially at this time of year.

Garbage collected

Of course, the news of a Garbage best-of (being scheduled to appear in the far-end of the winter) means only one thing: the now mandatory new track.

Track lists in full:

'Only Happy When It Rains'
'Stupid Girl'
'#1 Crush'
'Push It'
'I Think I'm Paranoid'
'When I Grow Up'
'You Look So Fine'
'The World Is Not Enough'
'Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)'
'Shut Your Mouth'
'Why Do You Love Me'
'Bleed Like Me'
'It's All Over But The Crying'
'New track (untitled)'

We'd guess that since it takes a mixture of Mr T style drugged milk and electric cattle prods to get the band together, we're guessing the new track will be less something done for special, and more likely a thing that has been rescued from the bottom of an audio bin somewhere. Indeed, the lack of a name being appended to this song suggests there's two record company guys rummaging in a dumpster: "Oh, that would have been fine, but it's got banana milk all over the middle eight..." "How about this one... it doesn't sound like it smells of fish..."

Those that forget the past are doomed to repeat the Pete Price phone-in

Back in the 1980s, as part of a bid to sweat the nation's assets, Thatcher warned independent local radio operators that, if they didn't stop "wasting" radio waves by broadcasting the same programmes on FM as on AM, she'd take back one of the frequencies and give them to somebody else. Most stations responded by creating a Top 40 format for their FM station, while shuffling the DJs old enough to remember the original promises of performance made to the IBA over to medium wave to helm an oldies channel.

Radio City decided to try something different. Liverpool bus shelters sprung posters featuring the faces of famous Scousers (most of whom had long since fled the city to live somewhere else) with the words "Have you heard? It's all talk", promoting the launch of an AM all-speech station, City Talk. It was the only all-speech commercial radio offering outside of London, and quite a brave move.

It was also, sadly, an unresearched move. The people of Liverpool who wanted round-the-clock mumbling, all-talk radio station already had one in Radio Merseyside, so no audience turned up. After a lot of spending, and surprisingly few hours on hair, City Talk disappeared, and was replaced with Radio City 1548AM. An oldies channel.

The debacle weakened Radio City somewhat, and eventually the station would be bought out by EMAP.

Why are we heading down this particular avenue of radio nostalgia? EMAP have just spent cash getting a new FM licence for Liverpool, to launch... an all-speech radio network called City Talk.

I was in Busted... keep me out of there

ITV (ask your parents) has invited Matt Willis, out of Busted, to take part on the latest series of I'm A Celebrity, Oh, It's Eating Kangaroo Bollocks Again This Series, Is It? You Can't Say The Idea Has Got In Any Way Stale, Can You?; former Busted colleague James Bourne is worried for him:

James Bourne is furious about Matt's decision to head off into the Aussie jungle for the new series of the hit ITV1 reality show, which kicks off on Monday.

The Son Of Dork frontman thinks it is "career suicide" and fears it could disturb Matt's "fragile state of mind" - he's admitted to two spells in The Priory rehab clinic for alcoholism.

A man who is pretending to be half his actual age and American, in a band called Son of Dork is offering career advice. You'd have to sit up and take notice, wouldn't you?

We're not sure there's a problem. After all, going on I Recognise Some Of The Insects, But Who Are The People? was apparently the only time in the last five years that Kerry Katona lived up to Max Clifford's description of her as someone who doesn't take drugs.

Don't stop till you get the reserve price

We're a little surprised to hear that, in the few days since it was announced that Michael Jackson is going to be doing something at the World Music Awards, somebody managed to "hack into" the WMA computer, getting tickets for the event which had been set aside in Jackson's name, and then sell them on eBay; for the scam to be discovered, and the tickets - which had apparently been distributed - cancelled.

Maybe there are a whole bunch of people who managed to bend space and time to let this happen; or maybe the Faily Mirror is just helping out a bid to try and make Jackson seem at the centre of things.

Now, hackers breaking into the computer and returning Jackson tickets: that, we'd buy.

Pete Doherty: Oh, how he hates the attention

Pete Doherty's justification for kicking a BBC reporter, you'll recall, was his disgust at the "harrassing scum of the press".

Could he be, in any way, related to the Pete Doherty who took a BBC Arena film crew to his first meeting with his son.

Doherty has in the past used Astile in the same way David Blunkett tugged at a nation's gag-reflex with "that little lad", pledging a while back:

"When I can claim to have any sort of control over my own life, I'm going to take some responsibility for Astile. I love the little fella. I need to buck up my ideas there."

Parenting groups welcomed Doherty's novel approach of having the kid first, then thinking about perhaps taking some sort of responsibility down the line, assuming he can stop filling his arms with drugs. Oh, sorry: no, they didn't, did they?

Gallagher finds joy from Oldfield

You would have thought that a man who bought a house, complained loudly about an ugly yacht tied up outside and then eventually discovered the yacht was part of the property would have to admit he'd not had a proper survey done.

When Noel Gallagher bought Mike Oldfield's Ibiza mansion (yes, man-of-the-people Noel Gallagher) not only did he miss the yacht, but also the whole falling-into-the-sea-ness of the property.

Noel's taken Oldfield to court, claiming, more or less, that Oldfield knew the house was at risk and he'd seen Gallagher coming: he's just won a six-figure settlement. After all, it's not like the buyer should beware or anything.

Gallagher intends to invest the winnings in a new scheme to purchase a bridge over the Thames.

Chanel;ing Lily Allen

Karl Lagerfeld has apparently discovered a new muse: he's flying Lily Allen to help him come up with ideas for the next Chanel collection.

Yes, Lagerfeld's vision is of every girl on the street dressing like Lily Allen. Which, erm, they already do. Although not at Chanel prices, of course. That is what you pay designers for.

Meanwhile, Allen has been given back her driving licence, thus confounding those of us who thought the nation's bemusing fixation on her would last less long than her driving ban.

Culture needs more time to grow

Most 80s circuit acts manage to do the nostalgia tours in between day jobs - gardening, acting, delivering small packets to grateful customers. Not so Culture Club (without Boy George), who have decided to put their planned tour on hold while they "prepare":

The band said they could not "prepare adequately" due to a heavy recording schedule and did not want to deliver a "less than incredible show".

If they're aiming for "incredible", then we could be looking at a long wait. The official website is currently listing dates for 2002.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The "un" in Zune is for Universal

Perhaps indicating that Universal aren't expecting the Zune store to be a long-running source of income, the label has cut a deal with Microsoft to get a slice of sales from each player.

This really is some sort of golden deal for Universal; it's getting cash from a media player which it hasn't paid a cent towards developing, and which may never see any track by any of its artists ever go anywhere near some players. In effect, Microsoft have stuffed Universal's mouths with gold.

In discussing the rationale for the royalty, Chris Stephenson, general manager for global marketing in Microsoft’s entertainment unit, said the company “needed people to rally behind” the new device and service.

“It’s a higher-level business relationship,” he said.

Of course, Microsoft has so much cash sloshing about from exploiting monopoly agreements for its office and operating system software it can well afford to bribe Universal in a way that would be unthinkable for any entry-level manufacturer. And it hopes that if the labels have an interest in the player, it might lead them to push consumers Zunewards.

David Geffen tries to justify the labels stuffing their pockets with cash by pointing at - yes - all those unlicensed files:

“It’s a major change for the industry. Each of these devices is used to store unpaid-for material. This way, on top of the material people do pay for, the record companies are getting paid on the devices storing the copied music.”

He added: “It certainly changes the paradigm.”

But doesn't that mean that the record companies are being paid twice for legally purchased music? How is that fair? Why should Terry Honest pay money to Universal for his Zune if all he intends to put on it are tracks he's already bought?

More to the point, if purchasing a Zune includes a tax to cover the cost of illegal downloads, does that mean Zune owners will be exempt from RIAA legal action? Are Zune owners effectively allowed to download what they like from Universal's catalogue for nothing?

Geffen's observation that paradigms have been shifted here raises another question: is it fair for Microsoft to be making cash payments that "change paradigms", seeing as that effectively means "distorts the marketplace"?

Doug Morris of Universal says it's for everyone's good:

“I’m hopeful that technology companies and creative companies will understand how each other’s futures are intertwined,” Mr. Morris said last night. “It can only work if one doesn’t try and take advantage of the other, and so far we’ve come out on the short end.”

But that isn't true at all, is it, Mr. Morris? Record labels' futures might depend on the decisions taken by Apple and Microsoft, but to suggest they're "intertwined" is only as true as it is to say that a dog and its fleas depend on each other. If Universal ceased to exist tomorrow, Zunes would still find content.

What we're also struggling to discover reference to is how, exactly, Universal will be sharing this bounty with its artists. Remember the artists? The ones who actually make the music? The ones whose interests it is that the RIAA always cite when its taking another ass-poor parent to the legal cleaners? If the idea of Microsoft giving cash to a label is as compensation for "stolen" music, shouldn't that money go to the artists rather than the record company?

Meanwhile, a looming problem for Zune is the growing realisation that Microsoft have effectively abandoned their Plays For Sure initiative. In an earlier bid to try and bury the iPod, Bill Gates' music division started to push Plays For Sure, a symbol promising inter-exchange of music from various stores and across various players. Put Plays For Sure tracks won't play on a Zune, and Zune tracks won't work on Plays For Sure Players. In other words: If you put your trust in Microsoft and bought with confidence from the MSN store, you're stuffed.

It also means that tracks HMV and other online stores are flogging won't work on Zune, just as they won't work on an iPod.

So, having failed to crack the near-monopoly of Apple, Microsoft have just tried to create one of their one.

[Thanks to Franco M for the New York Times story]

The publicity of cheap Oxegen

If you're already worrying about what festivals you might want to go to next year, if you buy your Oxegen tickets right now for July 2007, you can get them at 2006 prices. You've only got until New Year's Eve, mind.

Protect yourself against rising mortgage costs, or something.

Robbie Williams is not suffering in the sub-editing

After last week's oh-so-amusing guest editing of 3AM by Borat, it looks like they've gone with the policeman from 'Allo 'Allo in today:

Either that, or the subeditors added the bit about doors while tidying up the report, and forgot to change the i to a u.

Howard Donald has said there's no room for Rob in the band:

"To let somebody in who you don't know what's going on in their head is not a good idea.

"If we have big success with this album - really big success - then to let him back when we don't really know him any more would be a mistake.

"The others may have some opinions on this, but I don't think we need him."

You know what this means, though? We're going to have to sit through another song by Williams bitching away that nobody likes him, friends turn on you, blah blah. Couldn't they at least have offered him a job sweeping up or something?

Preston declares MySpace, like, so over

Good lord, it's going to be a glum day for Rupert Murdoch - not only is he going to have to start pretending to like Democrats again, but now MySpace has died. It's expiration has been pronounced by no less an expert than Preston out the Ordinary Boys:

MySpace was important with one band in particular, Arctic Monkeys.

"Now it's on the checklist with record labels. We've got to do some in stores, sign all these posters, give away a signed guitar and set up a MySpace account. So MySpace is already dead. It's over."

Of course it is, Preston. Trouble is, nobody seems to have told MySpace that.

Preston would rather bands go back to the more natural, non-corporate wonky way of building an audience - a few small gigs, a bit of a buzz in the NME, doing a charity celebrity Big Brother gameshow and having your wedding in OK.

Won't someone please think of the childr... oh, you are

Of course, when couples divorce, there's always a pang of sympathy for the helpless, hapless victims of the marriage; the ones who don't have the skills or knowledge or experience to look after themselves.

But, to be fair, Kevin Federline is coming out fighting. He's decided - presumably having remembered the prenup is supposedly tighter than Donald Rumsfeld's rictus grin - that he's going to take something away from this marriage, dammit. Kevin wants sole custody of the children. Because he loves those kids, and everything they represent - up to, and possibly including, the prospect of a monthly child support cheque from Britney.

Kevin - now, almost universally dubbed Fed-Ex - is also seeking spousal support from Britney.

Meanwhile, The Sun is amongst the commentators who notice that, simultaneous with the divorce suit, Britney's had something of a makeover. Or, at least, has stopped appearing in public looking like something disturbed by the fire alarm at a Days Inn. Rather uncomfortably, the paper ends its report with a jarring You go girl!, as if they'd spent a little too long watching the Tyra Banks Show.

In the Mirror, Miriam Stoppard off Where There's Life professes herself astonished by the whole business. Astonished that it lasted this long:

FRANKLY, Britney, I'm astonished that you stayed with such an appalling specimen of manhood for so long.

She's got some advice - a little more practical than the Sun's honking:

Enjoy being single.

Then start looking for a man who will make a good stepfather rather than boneheads who are only good between the sheets.

We're not entirely sure how Miriam can say so definitively that Kevin is good between the sheets - but Hollywood sources do say that Federline didn't always come home every night. He must have been sowing oats somewhere.

The Mail found an onlooker who watched her go ice-skating in New York:

One onlooker said: "It was utterly strange. Britney was occasionally holding hands with this guy Larry Rudolph. She tentatively took to the ice at first but started doing pirouettes and looked quite an accomplished skater."

Interesting... they found someone who was able to identify Britney's former manager by name, and yet seemed thrown that someone might take to the ice slightly awkwardly before they hit their stride.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dishing the Dirt: Walken as... Ozzy?

The big-budget adaptation of Motley Crue bingeography The Dirt is redrafting the concept of the celeb cameo - the incidental rock heroes who drift across the story are going to be played by big names. So, we're to get Christopher Walken as Ozzy Osbourne (although, personally, we'd have had him as Sharon if it hadn't left the door open for John Culshaw) and Val Kilmer as Dave Lee Roth.

Kilmer, of course, is no stranger to playing ridiculous rock pompadours, having taken the lead role in The Doors a few years back.

Trent Reznor thrases 2005 album a little more

Good news for those of you who like it loud, sweaty, dirty and in ways the Daily Mail don't feel comfortable with: even although there's a new Nine Inch Nails album due in the spring, Mr. Reznor has elected to work the very last of the 2005 one by thrashing its arse with metal-tipped shoes all the way around Europe.

Countries in for a spot of it are Portugal Spain, France, UK, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. There's a chance of more; it all kicks off in February.

America Decides: Britney divorce blog round-up

Apparently the filing, where it asks for 'grounds', merely has a picture of Kevin Federline playing to an empty room stapled to it. Yes, the US is waking up this morning to discover hope restored - as the slightly-less-evil thieving lying bastards take back control of the apparatus of government, and everyone has a chance with Britney again.

Yahoo Answers seems to be attempting to find a definitive answer to if we should be pleased or upset. Opinion seems divided between if we should kick Kevin first, then Britney, or if we should just put the pair of them in a sack and roll off down to a quiet spot near the watermill.

Hollyscoop mulls the possibility that Britney - like the rest of us - felt he was taking himself a little too seriously for a frat boy burning through someone else's cash:

Insiders say that Kevin's partying was the reason behind the split. His head was getting too big and Britney was not going to have it. She was sick of staying home with the kids while Kevin was out "working."

Hey, Britney - loads of women have to look after the nippers while hubby's out taking the bread from the table and heaving out the bacon.

They also suggest that Kevin might have been so busy trying to launch his rap career, he missed the writing on the wall. Not that writing would have been much good for him; at the Bathsheba's feast that was his marriage, it would have had to have been all pictograms. After all, Jen STX points out for Blogger News Network that she dropped a fairly big hint that she was over the whole thing during her surprise Letterman appearance:

Her appearance on David Letterman was a clever little PR move that seems so appropriate now, especially the blink-and-you-miss-it-bit with Will Ferrell where she asks rhetorically “You paid for Kevin’s CD?!” and then laughed hysterically.

Obviously, had Kevin seen that, he might have filed first. (Thank God he doesn't know how to work YouTube or anything.)

If you gave a gift to the happy couple, you might be wondering where you stand. It depends how deeply you dug, says Derek Hall. Any gift worth over ten grand goes back to the person who bought it - handy, as you can then regift to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

The Bosh, quoting NW Magazine, reckons that Federline's behaviour had just got too out-of-control:

"Kevin has always been hot-headed and he likes to bang things around," notes an insider. "Britney learnt to deal with him kicking the walls now and then. But lately, that sort of behavior has escalated to frightening new levels - and recently it hit crisis point."

Although that's now something you're reading on a blog who read it on a blog who saw it in a magazine, which we're not sure quite counts as first-hand coverage. Besides, Janet Charlton's Hollywood says that it wasn't because Kevin was always at home smashing things, it's because he was elsewhere, possibly, um, banging stuff:

It all started on Halloween night when Kevin had his record release party at Xenii in Hollywood. Kevin arrived first and sat with Shar Jackson and his relatives. Britney came later with HER friends and the pair went to his dressing room where they had a loud argument. Both stormed off in opposite directions in the club. They drank a lot and socialized with everyone but each other. At one point Britney ran outside and across the parking lot muttering "I can't take this any more!"

We all know how much trouble it causes when your husband starts hanging out with his ex. It's only a short step from there to sitting in an Oxford hotel car park sobbing at the thought of shagging Sam the cattleman.

Won't someone think of the children, cries Borough of Merton councillor (yes, really) Martin Whelton:

In all of this I hope the welfare of the children is considered by both parties, divorce happens it is part of life but at the end of the day if parents have an acriminous divorce it does nothing for the welfare of that child.

True, but then it doesn't do them very much good if the parents have an acrimonious marriage, either.

The Hollywood Gossip surely speak for us all when they greet the solemn news with a simple Yessssssssssss!

U2 make plea for Guantanamo

Interesting to see Bono and the boys launching their postponed Australian tour with a call for Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks to be sent home "and to be tried fairly."

All good for the image of Bono as the international conscience of rock. Of course, you might wonder, if he's so concerned about the not-actually-legal nature of detention in Guantanamo, he didn't mention it to his mate George Bush when he had one of his periodic meetings with him - you know, the ones where he comes away telling everyone how "passionate and sincere" Bush is? He could have asked Bush to provide proper trials for all the men held down in Cuba, or to release them if they have no evidence against them; or to treat them under the Geneva Convention if they're really "enemy combatants". Oddly, though, he elects to wait until he's halfway through a gig in Australia to mention it.

Funny, that.

Surely Colin Murray can't have been the smart one?

Edith Bowman has apologised for a bit of a major balls-up on Radio One yesterday afternoon, where she read out an email calling Japanese people 'nips'. She claimed - somewhat implausibly - that she didn't know the term was offensive:

Radio 1 said Bowman had "read this particular term out in error" and that "no offence was intended".

Bowman's apology came half an hour after the email was read out.

"Sometimes people say things that might be a derogatory term, but if you're not aware of it you don't know," she said.

"Apologies if there's been anything that's offended anyone this afternoon."

We're not sure this quite makes sense - she must have understood the word was being used to refer to Japanese people, otherwise the "joke" it was built in to wouldn't have made any sense; and is it plausible to be aware of the term and yet not know that it was derogatory?

More to the point, since the humorous suggestion she was reading out was that it would be a good idea to call cold weather "Pearl Harbour", there's as big a question over if it's appropriate to make jokes about the in-living-memory slaughter of a couple of thousand people anyway?

Pete Doherty is sorry for the hurt he's caused

What does it get to persuade Pete Doherty to change his mind? Some film, apparently, as having seen video of himself kicking a Radio One reporter, he changed his plea on an assault charge to guilty, picking up a £750 fine.

During a police interview Doherty refused to answer any questions.

He did apologise but added Ms Barber was a member of the "harassing scum of press".

Magistrate Helen Skinner said: "Referring to the press as scum does no one any favours. You were obviously courting publicity judging by your somewhat extravagant behaviour outside the court.

"People in public life have a responsibility to behave and be a good role model to others."

It's interesting that Radio One reporters are, apparently, "harassing scum", but the press are fine if you're courting attention. Was Kirsty Wark part of the harassing scum when she did the half-hour interview? And what about the tabloids when Pete was feeding them stories?

Holly at Christmas

Damaged Goods have just announced their contribution to Christmas this year will be a special Holly Golightly seven incher - she's covering Tom Heinl's Christmas Tree on Fire.

There's to be a show, too: 22nd December, at what we assume will be the Dirty Water Christmas special in London, London.

Jacko plans WMA comeback

He's not done a public performance since the dancing-on-the-roof outside the courthouse business, but Michael Jackson is going to be taking time out from putting the finishing touches to his 9/11 benefit single to appear at the World Music Awards.

Yes, apparently they exist - I had thought they were just something you thought you saw if you happened to be watching ITV at 3am. They've decided to give Michael something called the "Choppard Diamond Award", and apparently he's going to say thank you the only way he still can:

Last night a spokesman for the awards told [Victoria Newton]: “Jackson has definitely told organisers he will be performing. His dancers have already started rehearsals.

“He will close the show with Thriller, a complete recreation of the video.”

That's the one where the scary, decaying corpses come back and do some shuffling while bits of their body drop off, if memory serves. Well, that shouldn't be too much of a challenge, then.

Seriously, though, the Thriller video took about sixty years and seventy-nine billion dollars (at 2006 prices) to make, and it lasts for something like a quarter of an hour. A complete recreation looks both impossible and ill-advised, although we should be thanking our lucky stars he's chosen something from his last decent record.

Eminem: I did date Mariah, I did, I did, I did

As if anyone even remembered it had supposedly happened in the first place, Eminem has decided to pipe up and remind us that he'd dated Mariah Carey. Supposedly:

"Yes, me and Maria did have a relationship for about a good six or seven months. But it didn't work.

"I wasn't really into what she was into - our personalities collided. She's a diva and I'm a little more regular I guess.

"I can never deny her talent but the fact that she denied we ever had something, that's bad."

He doesn't elaborate on what Mariah's talent might be - clearly nothing she does in public, anyway.

Mariah's recollection of the affair was somewhat different:

She responded by claiming she was only with him on a few occasions and 'I don't consider that dating somebody'.

That strikes us as being like those boys who give each other blowjobs in the changing rooms but don't consider that actually gay.

We wonder where, for Mariah, the dating begins - presumably you're not going steady until you've had her throw the good crockery at you.

We can't figure out why Eminem - having got away with it - would suddenly want us to start thinking about his lack of judgement again. It's like Mark Foley popping up on Sixty Minutes and blurting out "do you want to see some pictures of those pages, then? I've got some shirt-off ones here..."

Robbie Williams is not getting anywhere with Lindsay Lohan

Remember a few months back Robbie - through, we suspect, more or less gritted teeth - was talking about how it's great nobody knows who he is in America?

It turns out to be a problem when you're hitting on a-listers.

Robbie apparently failed to create any interest from Lindsay Lohan at all - although, to be fair, she tends to be more interested in wetter types, with a small umbrella and perhaps a piece of fruit.

Someone watched him try his luck at a Hollywood party:

“Robbie was hanging around in the VIP area with his bodyguards when he saw his chance to chat up Lindsay.

“After making a bit of eye contact he went over. But she was having none of it. She just turned on her heels and walked away.”

“He seemed to be in a huge hurry and was hitting on every attractive girl in the vicinity.”

In a hurry? Like he was trying to get the whole girl business out the way as quickly as possible? Did he have something else to do that evening?

Thank you for not mentioning how your mojo is working

Did you know Classic Rock magazine does its own awards? We're not quite sure if the readers voted this year, or if they voted back in 1973 and they just took forever to count them, but the results would probably have been the same. Here's the winners in full, with a taste of the magazine's all-too-imitable style:

Best New Band – ROADSTAR. Award collected by Roadstar, natch.

Best Reissue – QUEEN for A Night At The Opera. Award collected by Queen manager Jim Beach.

DVD Of The Year – WHITESNAKE’s Live… In The Still Of The Night. Award collected by no less a person than Mr David Coverdale himself!

Event Of The Year – The return of the MONSTERS OF ROCK festival. Award collected by Danny Bowes and Luke Morley from Thunder and Steve Homer from Live Nation.

Comeback Of The Year – THE NEW YORK DOLLS. The Dolls couldn’t be there, but they supplied us with a special thank-you film direct from, er, New York.

Band Of The Year – WHITESNAKE. Award collected by that man Cov again!

Classic Album – DEF LEPPARD’s Hysteria. Award collected by Ian Hunter on behalf of the Leps, who supplied us with a special thank-you film direct from the States where they are currently touring.

Metal Guru Award – RONNIE JAMES DIO. Award collected by The Man On The Silver Mountain himself.

Album Of The Year – IRON MAIDEN for A Matter Of Life And Death. Award collected by Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith.

VIP Award – ROD SMALLWOOD. Award collected by the legendary Iron Maiden manager in person.

Classic Songwriter – QUEEN. Award collected by Brian May and Roger Taylor.

Tommy Vance Inspiration Award – PHIL LYNOTT. Award collected by Philomena Lynott and Scott Gorham.

Living Legend – ALICE COOPER. Award collected by Mr Vincent Furnier Esq.

That's him, you know, Vincent Furnier is Alice Cooper. Oh, how they laughed and laughed.

The ceremony was held at the Langham Hotel in London, and contrary to appearances, there were some women at the event. Well, near the event.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Breaking news: Britney's had enough

We can't but help worry it might have been our fault - was the jibe about it being her cash paying off Thomas Dolby? Or the one about how having sex with Kevin Federline was enough to make you an object of ridicule?

Or could it be the irreconcilable difference is the refusal to allow Britney to adopt a Malawian?

Whatever, AFP is reporting that Britney has filed for divorce.

He bundled me with compo

A nice day's work for Thomas Dolby. When the husband of the more famous Britney Spears stuck up a track on MySpace featuring uncleared Dolby samples, Tom sent Kevin Chorusline a swift solicitor's letter.

Settlements have been reached, and it seems Britney ("Kevin") has been generous with Britney's ("Britney's") money:

"I'm going to buy a new sailboat, find a quiet anchorage somewhere, make myself a cup of tea and write some brand new songs."

Of course, by inadvertently funding new Dolby stuff, Kevin has finally done something decent for music lovers.

Molko to hear the sound of Bells

Last Thursday, Howling Bells were in session for Mark Radcliffe, and said some very lovely things about how nice Brian Molko was.

Virtue, it seems, is it own reward, but public virtue comes with a nice dollop of work attached - the band have today been named as the support for the Placebo tour of Europe.

These are the dates:

Tues 28 November – ANTWERP – Sportpalais
Thurs 30 November – OBERHAUSEN - Oberhausen Arena
Fri 1 December - ROTTERDAM - Ahoy Halle
Weds 6 December – GLASGOW - SECC
Thurs 7 December - NOTTINGHAM - Arena
Sat 9 December – LONDON – Wembley Arena
Sun 10 December - MANCHESTER - MEN Arena
Weds 13 December - VIENNA - stadthalle
Fri 15 December - BERLIN - Arena
Sat 16 December - HAMBURG - Sporthalle
Sun 17 December - GERMANY Leipzig messehalle
Tues 19 December – HANNOVER - AWD hall
Weds 20 December – MANNHEIM - SAP Arena

At the moment, the Bells are doing support duties for the Killers.

Lay your hands on me

We've heard before about Chris DeBurgh, who claims he can heal people just by laying his hands upon them.

Aah, but so far, there haven't been many people pushing their way to the front of the crowds testifying that Chris has put his hands upon them and altered their life. Well, there was the nanny, but that wasn't quite the same thing.

We've been looking for the formerly lame, or maybe even the once-dead, and now, someone has come forward to say: yes, Chris touched me. And made me whole again.

Closer magazine has the testimony of Marisa Mackle. It might take many a muckle to make a mickle, but Mackle made a muddle all of her own. Returning home without her keys one day, she put her arm through a glass pane. It didn't get her in to her house, but it left her arm paralysed and needing fourteen painkillers every day.

Until the intercession of Chris. Notebooks out, Vatican:

“Chris took my hand and I screamed with pain. For 20 minutes he slowly moved the palm of his hand across my arm. He told me not to think about the pain any more. I couldn’t feel anything to start with, but then it became really hot, as if it was over a fire. My hand, which had been clenched into a fist but then it loosened up.

“After he’d finished, I reached for a full pint glass on the table and to my surprise, I could pick it up. It was the first time I’d been able to lift anything.”

We make that a genuine miracle - she could lift a pint.

Chris, of course, is modest about his supernatural skills:

“I try to play it down, but I found myself being able to cure people with my hands.”

He's not so modest, of course, that he won't mention curing a paralysed man.

The downside with this, of course, is the number of times Chris Rea is having to answer his door to lepers every day. "If I have to say 'you want the Lady In Red bloke, I'm the Road To Hell one' one more time, those people are going to need curative powers beyond anything DeBurgh can offer..." he mumbled, sticking a "I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR MISSING LIMBS" poster in his front window.

Manson prepares new album

It's such a tantalising prospect that we might see a solo album from Shirley Manson next year that even mutterings of Billy Corgan and Jack White being involved in some role can't put us off. Even if it does mean the world's two most self-regarding pop people are involved. Okay, most self-regarding after Moby.

Paul Buchanan from Blue Nile is going to be bringing some more low-key talent to the mix.

Conor Oberst predicts the end of the world

There's going to be a new Bright Eyes album, and like a revivalist church or a Bush cabinet meeting, it's fixated with the end of the world:

"The apocalypse is a prevalent theme in my new songs," Oberst told Spin. "There's a feeling in the world right now like everything is unravelling, but maybe that's not a bad thing. I'm not convinced that the human race is good for this planet anyway."

"The new songs are mostly stream of consciousness," said Oberst. "Telepathy is a big theme. If you just concentrate, you'll know what I'm talking about."

Conor Oberst? Burrowing into our unprotected minds? Really?

Conor's mouth twitched into what, on a less glorious man, would have been a smirk. "I bet I can tell you what you're thinking now..."

"Is that telepathy?" I asked, as he drew me closer to his body; so close I could smell the scent of indie-boy sweat.

"Partly" he replied, brushing back the hair which had flopped into his eyes, "partly it's just reading the other signs..." He idly ran his hand across the top of my thighs.

"Conor... this isn't the time..."

Out in the streets, I could hear the hooves of horsemen approaching.

"If not now, then when?" His question may not have intended to be left hanging, but any hope of answering I may have had was kissed away, as surely as the sin and misery of the planet was being swept away by the forces of apocalypse...

Britney's libel suit packed off

A while back, after she ceased to make any music but before her husband started, Britney Spears embarked on a libel action against Us Weekly after the magazine published claims she'd made a sex video. Judge Hart Cole has dismissed the case:

"The article is libelous on its face, since it maliciously and recklessly portrays (Spears) as acting 'goofy' while watching" the video with their attorneys, the suit said.

The judge disagreed.

"It is clear that plaintiff did not bring this lawsuit because she was falsely accused of acting goofy," Hart Cole wrote. "The issue is whether it is defamatory to state that a husband and wife taped themselves engaging in consensual sex."

The judge went on to conclude that Spears has "put her modern sexuality squarely, and profitably, before the public eye" in a way that would make it unlikely for the magazine article to be found defamatory.

To be fair, though, if your husband is Kevin Federline, the thought of you having sex with him would tend to make you be held up to ridicule by the average man in the street.

Cole pointed out that the pair had been happy to yammer away about their sex life on their reality TV show, Chaotic, implying that if you don't want people to shut their eyes and imagine you doing it, you shouldn't encourage them to do so.

Does your father know where you're at?

There's another Madonna story in the Sun today, where Victoria Newton has exclusively bought a copy of the new Abba compilation and reproduces the sleeve notes, written by Madonna:

“Abba’s timeless music continues to inspire me. It’s joyous. Standing still when you hear Abba is impossible.

Well... joyous unless it's something like One of Us. And impossible to stand still, unless it's one of the slow songs like Chiquitita. Perhaps Madonna has only heard a couple of their songs?

Then, god help us all, Victoria Newton herself decides to wade in:

My own confession is a guilty love for Abba – who have to be the best pop act of all time.

But I’m in good company. They are also NOEL GALLAGHER’s favourite group.

We're really confused - if they're the "best pop act of all time" and lauded by the twin delights of Madonna and Noel, why on earth is it a "guilty love" you have to "confess"? And in Britain, where a love of Abba is now taught in citizenship classes, why would liking Abba be something to be coy about? It's like going to a priest and saying "forgive me father, for I have had consensual missionary-position sex with my lawful wedded wife in order to try and have a child."

Who wants to be emotionally manipulated? Anyone?

We're sure that the story which appears in this morning's Sun - Madge dash to let dad see Dave: MADONNA is taking baby DAVID on a sad visit to see her dad – who is being treated for cancer - is a genuine report on a serious private matter and not a cynical attempt to try and manipulate the press coverage of Madonna's law-skirting taking of a child from his home country.

Even although, as the report concedes a few paragraphs in:

A family source tells me that Tony is not in immediate trouble and his treatment is going well.

But, clearly, this is a serious illness and Madonna is keen for her kids to meet Tony while he is in relatively good form.

So, not exactly a "dash", then, is it? Indeed, had a "dash" been the order of the day, wouldn't they have gone there straight from the orphanage to the hospital?

Mind you, since Madonna has claimed that David is "still" ill with the infections he picked up in the orphanage, it's strange he's being introduced to his foster grandfather at all - someone recovering from chemo spending time with someone apparently recovering from pneumonia? I'm no doctor, but that sounds kind of risky to me.

The quote from a "family pal" crystalises what this is all about:

“It is just a shame that the family are going through this secret sadness when it should be a joyful time with the new baby.

“And Madonna has been getting a lot of criticism for the baby adoption.”

Do you see? Do you see how terrible you are as a person? How dare you try and insist that Madonna is made to follow the same laws as everyone else while her Dad is so ill. Just ill enough to appear in this story. What are you, some kind of monster?

Your chance to be part of Westlife

Yes, we know - it's the sort of offer that it's very hard to not get excited by, unless you have some sort of respect and hope. If you visit the Westlife website, and type in your name, you can see your name appear a few times in one of their videos.

It's a bit like You Are The Star from Roy of the Rovers, where you had to go through a comic strip writing your name in the gaps (and, if you were really dedicated, stick a photo at the top of the strip). That was a bit of a dry experience, but at least it didn't come with a bloody Westlife soundtrack.

The "technology" means that your name pops up a whole four times. And just as text - it's not like Kian screeches "Your Name Here, stop pouring custard in my trousers" or anything.

The good news? There's no profanity filter when you're invited to input your name.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Peel: Shuffler or saint?

The still-fairly-new Guardian music blogs are currently debating the role of John Peel. Was he creative, or did he just play people's stuff?

Says one "as far as I know, he never created a single thing of value."

The question, surely, is what you value and what you count creating: did Dandelion records not count as a creation? Did the curatorial role behind the Peel Sessions not count as valuable in its own right?

As is often the way on the web, though, the debate starts to sink into farce quite quickly:

My objection to the cult of Peel is not that he wasn't important, but that his much vaunted "eclecticism" was actually much narrower than is commonly believed. Yes, he championed a wealth of genres, but he rarely if ever gave airtime to industrial music pioneers like Throbbing Gristle, nor did he show any interest in or sympathy for free jazz and improvisation.

He didn't play any free jazz? Bloody hell - it's a wonder his corpse wasn't dragged through the streets before being given to small children to play football with. We love the way this commentator (richardrj) suggests that because he didn't play Throbbing Gristle or free jazz, that somehow makes his claims to be ecclectic (based on little more than embracing prog, punk, goth, acid, township jive, acoustic, new acoustic, 50s rock, psychobilly, lo-fi, riot grrl, grunge, indie, shambling, and a few others) to be little more than fraud.

All of a sudden, the record labels don't like DRM

Having spent the last half decade trying to make DRM tighter and tighter, now, all of a sudden, the music industry have changed their minds, according to a piece tucked in the bottom of an article in today's Guardian business page:

At the industry conference in Manchester last week, executives signalled their determination to force Apple to open its iTunes Music Store so that tracks bought from it can be played on devices other than an iPod. Likewise, sweeping away digital rights management restrictions would allow iPod owners to buy from stores that use Microsoft's rival technology.

So, they're all for water-tight digital rights management when it suits them, but not when they're fighting their war with Apple, then?

Of course, if the labels really wanted to ensure that files could be shared easily between all players, they could sell the tracks for themselves, in mp3 format. No problem, then, is there?

We wonder if anyone has stopped to ask themselves what would happen if the large iPod market suddenly got fractured across multiple sellers? With no other point of differentiation, suddenly the market would find itself having to compete on price alone, causing the cost of online downloads to drop sharply from their artificial current 79p/99c level. Do the labels really want us to pay a market rate for downloads instead of the inflated price?

Are we suddenly on the same side? Or is this another case of an industry whose management, driven by spite, is incapable of thinking things through?

Flaming Lips have terrible time at the seaside

Brighton born and bred, we're sorry that Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips had the sort of rubbish time there that it's only possible to generate by staying in the wrong sort of guest house during off-season.

Some git robbed the Coyne's stuff before the show; then, during the gig, the lights during the WAND set off someone's epilepsy - halting the show for quarter of an hour while medics did their stuff.

And they probably found parking near the Brighton Centre a bitch, too.

Kevin Federline ship sinks, fights to keep all hands on deck

Did you know that Kevin Iwalkthelinebecauseyouremineiwalktheline released his album to the US market last week? Yeah, we'd somehow managed to miss that, too. The launch night gig, at New York's Webster Hall, also struggled a little.

With only 300 people turning up at a 1,500 venue, organisers were preparing to hand back the door money and slink off for a quiet night ruing their booking policy. But Kevin had other ideas:

A bartender at the event tells American publication Star, "They were going to cancel this concert, but he begged them to keep it on. He had to fight with them to keep this concert."

Trouble is, he was so busy fighting, he didn't get round to taking to the stage until three hours after he was supposed to on there. Luckily, he only had half an hour's worth of acting, which only gave two-thirds of the already thin audience the opportunity to drift off before things came to a stilted end.

Faithfull recovery

Some good news this evening: Marianne Faithfull has made a full recovery from breast cancer and expects to pick up touring next year.

"It has been an extraordinary experience and, in many ways, extremely positive."

We're betting, though, not so positive she'd choose it over a weekend at a Butlins holiday camp.

Designers suggest IFPI may have "borrowed" website

We're sure it's just one of those wacky coincidences, but London New Media Design group Interesource were surprised how similar the new IFPI website is to the one they pitched for them in a design.

Tim Malbon muses:

The new site seems very similar to the design and consultancy we gave them at the presentation.

Of course, I'm bound to think that, right? They say they were working on these ideas all the time anyway.

All rather curious.

Robbie Williams is not more popular than eleven sweaty men in shorts

For some reason, Travelodge have conducted a poll which purports to measure the "fanbase" of a hotchpotch of things, discovering the process that Manchester United and Robbie Williams are amongst the most-fanned things in the country.

This is their top 20:

1. Manchester United
2. Robbie Williams
3. Liverpool Football Club
4. Arsenal
5. JK Rowling
6. U2
7. Take That
8. Tottenham Hotspur
9. Stephen King
10. Killers
11. John Grisham
12. Aston Villa
13. Guns N' Roses
14. Green Day
15. Roger Federer
16. Chelsea Football Club
17. Billy Connolly
18. Arctic Monkeys
19. John Le Carre
20. Bolton Wanderers

If John Reid is serious about wanting to dissuade Bulgarians and Romanians from coming to the UK, he should just pin this list up at Immigration. It's about as depressing a summary of a sludgy nation as you can hope to find: supporting the team that has huge investment and wins everything, finding a place in their hearts for John Grisham and Guns N Roses and Robbie Williams. Billy Connolly? In 2006? What especially - those lotto adverts he did, or the US sitcom? And Roger Federer, we understand, is that bloke who works in the office down the corridor who wears the sweaters and is always first to get drunk at the Christmas party.

[Thanks to Flaart for the link]

Summer Rod

Rod Stewart will be kicking balls out into the audience at a number of stadiums around the UK next summer:

City of Manchester Stadium - June 28
London Twickenham Stadium - June 30
Ipswich Town Football Club - July 3
Glasgow Hampden Park Stadium - July 5
Cardiff Millennium Stadium - July 7
Coventry Ricoh Arena - July 10

Hang about... Rod's planning to play a Rugby stadium?

Download upgrade

We're not quite sure how this is going to work, but the all downloads will now count for the singles chart, not merely tracks which have a physical manifestation.

It's going to make the charts more honest, but there's still the hanging issue of the Radiohead Top 20 question: we imagine that the chart company has done some sums to ensure that the release of an album by a top act won't generate such a large number of downloads that the entire thing eclipses everything being released as singles; or maybe they can't guarantee this, and the BBC axed Top of the Pops as a pre-emptive strike against the prospect of Robbie Williams doing six songs in a single programme.

Meanwhile, the arbitrary length of what counts as a single has been boosted from twenty minutes to twenty five, and the allowed number of tracks on a single from three to four. The upper limit of three tracks had been introduced back when bands like Westlife complained about the difficulty of coming up with "so many" songs to fill a single up. Presumably, they've realised that their target market will buy any old socks anyway.

How's Frannie? How's Frannie?

The Daily Record has got one of those emergency messages, of the sort usually sent for couples from Bridlington touring France in a Morris Minor. They're looking for Travis:

The band's official website,, even went down recently. What's going on boys?

A passing scientist has suggested that what might have happened is the individual members of the band heard Snow Patrol on every TV trail this year, and thought that it must have been a new Travis album made without anyone telling them, so they're all sitting in a huff refusing to contact each other.

The dignity of Paul McCartney

So, you might be wondering how Paul McCartney's campaign to divorce with dignity is going.

Apparently, one important stage is sitting in a cafe loudly slagging off your ex:

A customer who overheard [McCartney and agent Peter Cox] chat in a Central London cafe said: "Everyone recognised him. Paul didn't seem to be worried who was listening. The subject soon changed to Heather."

Macca then made the claim about his estranged wife's alleged demand. "He even drew dollar signs to emphasise it," the listener said.

The customer added: "He said, 'She's not at all nice or compassionate, she just wants the money'. He drew dollar signs in the air again."

Sir Paul is said to have continued: "Everyone knows she is a liar, she even lied in her autobiography. Everybody knows that.

"She has told so many lies like the one about me being a drunk - just because I go to pubs.

"It's all pack of lies you know, that I am stingy - that's another one.

"And it's all crap and rubbish. If she doesn't get what she wants she'll pick a fight.

"I am really miserable, bullied actually. It just pisses me off, it is such crap. I am being described as a bastard and it's not true."

See? Dignity.

Toyah's got a stalker

ToyahToyah has been getting grief from an American woman who's developed an obsession with her. Every so often, the New Yorker turns up in Toyah's home village:

"This woman is severely mentally ill. She is very dangerous. I want her to leave me alone but I don't wish her any harm."

Toyah is now working the immigration services to try and find a solution - let's hope they're not sore with her for that whole campaigning-against-the-immigration-centre thing she was doing a couple of years back.

And you thought the P was for Puff

No real surprise that P Diddy was an inveterate bed wetter, is there?:

“I used to be afraid of going to sleep at sleepovers. I read books about how to stop.”

He claims his bedwetting went on until he was six, but the idea that the five year-old Diddy was borrowing medical textbooks in order to go to sleepovers and stay dry seems a little unlikely, so we wonder if he miscalculated his chronology there?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mike Skinner won't be hitting the streets

Spend a few hours in the company of Pete Doherty can really do you in: One minute you're planning to run the New York Marathon; then, a joint interview with NME later, and you're unfit to run your eyes over Sarah Beeney.

Apparently, he's torn something:

“I can't fucking believe it. I've torn a muscle and I can't run in New York this weekend. Typical. Been training for months and the first time I hurt myself is a week before the race!”

To make matters worse, apparently he can't get the rental money back on the ostrich costume, either.

Victimless crime not a crime at all, rules Spanish judge

There's concern in the cosy, leather-sofaed offices of music lawyers at the Spanish court rejection of a prosecution for filesharing.

Of course, what the court hasn't done is to give the thumbs-up for people helping themselves to music off the web for nothing. What Judge Paz Aldecoa's ruling sets out is that downloading music off the web, if intended for personal use, is not a crime:

"[There was] no talk of money or any other compensation beyond the sharing of material available among various users."

"No offense meriting penal sanction has been committed [...a guilty verdict] would imply the criminalization of socially accepted and widely practiced behavior in which the aim is in no way to make money illicitly, but rather to obtain copies for private use."

The State prosecutor had been trying to get someone thrown into jail for two years; Spanish Justice Minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar seems to have missed the point of the ruling with the sort of ham-fisted confusion only a politician can muster:

"Certain attacks must be taken seriously, especially those for lucrative ends."

Well, perhaps - but the whole crux of this case was that there were no "lucrative ends" involved. That's exactly why the judge dismissed the charges.

The music industry has, of course, been bleating about the judgement, but it should really be welcoming it. The attempt to force copyright issues into a crime against nations and citizenry rather than a civil wrong at the expense of a company has been a disfiguring sideshow, and the sight of executives calling for people to be clapped in irons because they have a few old Roxy Music tracks on an iPod makes it very difficult for any sympathy to be worked up on the occasions when the record companies have a legitimate grievance. Copyright trangressions aren't crimes, they're like neighbourly disputes. The music industry should take this chance to take a step back from the bowels of self-parody up which they are disappearing.

Give the man a bone, Noel

You'd have thought that, since he's on most of the tracks on it, Bonehead would have at least been given a free copy of the Oasis best of. (Interesting that there's so much of his era stuff on there, almost as if the more recent Oasis stuff wasn't as good, or something...).

But if he doesn't get a freebie, he's happy to pay for it:

"If Liam and Noel don't get round to sending me a couple of copies, I'll have to pop down the shops and buy one. I'm on 13 of the 18 songs, which isn't bad at all. But then they were a much better band before I left."

Well, yes. Although that isn't saying over much, is it?

Nine million bi-cycles

We're always happy to hear that Katie Melua is in a relationship, as the more time she spends dancing hand-in-hand through fields of flowers, the less she's going to have to make Ragu-style music.

She's apparently seeing photographer Lara Bloom, who claims to have been the first person to break the story that Madonna was going to give birth to Rocco.

There's a source on hand:

"It's true that Katie and Lara are very close.

"Katie's very upfront and frank about herself and is completely comfortable about it, even though she's dated men in the past.

"She thinks of Lara very fondly and it's obvious they're supportive and loving toward one another—it's very sweet.

"One thing's for sure, people who thought Katie Melua was boring have got something to talk about now."

Erm... not really. We thought she was a dull heterosexual. Now, she's a dull bisexual. Same sex kissing doesn't actually make you any more interesting as a character (despite what EastEnders scriptwriters might have you believe).

Next week: Jamie Cullum will experiment with trying to be a lesbian.

This fortnight just gone

We were off enjoying the few bits of Amsterdam not currently in thrall to drunken English youths stagging and henning, or overwhelmed with Rembrandt, and so this is a round up of the last two weeks on No Rock and Roll Fun.

The ten-most opened individual stories were:

1. RIP: Paul Walters
2. Why are so many people keen to see heather Mills naked?
3. PETA find Heather Mills a naked role
4. It's not even as if we have any pictures of Heather Mills naked
5. Or pictures of McFly naked, come to that
6. The debate about KT Tunstall's sexuality continue
7. Purplemelon hope nude Heather Mills photos will sell records
8. MTV EMA nominations under scuritny
9. Razorlight come to save the world, not the band
10. Lily Allen takes her clothes off under the sea

The big events have been the MTV EMAs, the Q awards and the Latin Grammys

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Never throw fireworks - lob these instead:

Thrown Muse Tanya Donelly repeats solo tricks

Isobel Campbell tops her excellent year

Pet Shop Boys Radio 2 concert made flesh. Or plastic.

The Daily Show with weapons: Jello Biafra's latest spoken word set

Skipping past 78 & 79, Smash Hits collects the best of their 80s golden age

Laibach's all national anthem project

Mercury Rev get the chance to flog a glorified mixtap

Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel have a rerelease flurry