Saturday, May 15, 2004

IT'S RUSLANA: Oh, excellent choice Europe. The UK wound up with 29 points, which was the sort of solid, mid-table performance it probably deserved. And Sweden chipped in with three points for Norway, saving it from another nul points hell. Result.

WE INTERRUPT OUR EUROVISION COVERAGE: ... to report that Gwyneth and Chris Martin have had their kid. They've called the poor little fucker Apple. Let's hope he's not rotten to the core. Or anything.

EUROVISION SCORING: So, it's been the usual mixture of nations doing neighbours favours and small countries trying to persuade the rest of Europe not to roll over them. Maybe they should just get the Vatican to do all the votes, although that would probably just mean Italy would waltz it. So far, Malta's surprisingly low down, but Ukraine seem to be walking it. James Fox has probably done worse than he deserves with the competition he was up against. Greece might just be able to steal it, but it looks like our Ruslana will be crowned.

EUROVISION 2004: Last year's winner kicks things off; she's spent the last twelve months slowly trying to turn herself into Madonna. Another fifty two weeks of Maddy crumbling and her getting puffed and bleached and she might have pulled it off, meeting la Ciccone halfway. Is what she's singing here last year's winner?

Oh, now she's singing in English - "please, hold your head high" she implores, although she illustrates this by sticking out her sparrow chest. At least holding your head up would avert your eyes.

The hosts this year are Karen from Will and Grace and a bloke with a wig that Playmobil would think looked a bit too obviously stuck on. Karen warms up the crowd by singing Volare, badly. The audience fail to join in.

First up, Spain - Ramon. Looks like Peter Andre trying to impress Ricky Martin. Ricky Martin would clean up in Eurovision, seriously. The song sounds Spanish, which at least means it scores on some sort of credibility scale, and the drummer has got glitter on his drums, which is always nice.

Austria - Tie Break. Three boys - one with spiky hair, one slightly pudgy with kind eyes, one totally wet. Didn't this line-up take on Buffy in season six? They do a standard boyband-at-christmas tune, but have backing singers - even Boyzone managed their own harmonies, lads. For a group like you to have backing singers is like the guitar acts having someone hidden behind a curtain with a Spanish guitar and a Burt Weedon book.

Norway - Knut Anders Soren. A really, really cheap-looking silver suit here; they must have been collecting tinfoil all over the nation for this. The song is standard Euro "lifting me up" fayre.

France - Jonatan Cerrada - that's the French for "Peter Cetera", it seems. He's got an Erinsborough look about him, and some interpretative dance going on closer to his shoulder than we'd like. Sadly, the only thing they have to interpret is the words "dull ballad". Shit, that's Grace Jones on stilts dancing with him. What's that meant to tell us?

Serbia & Montenegro - Zeljko (or something, our notes let us down at this point). It starts with a flute, before Todd from Corrie wanders on - white suit, of course; this year is so Martin Bell in the male fashion stakes. There's also a balilaika or some other sort of not quite guitar. This is serbia's first time in the Eurovision, which might explain why they've gone for the sort of national folk tune that most other nations got out of their systems by 1963.

Malta - Julie and Ludwig. She's a flighty weather girl type - "Like a butterfly". He's a cod opera singer. It's mariah and Luciano, together at last. It's actually pretty good, in a European way; it has that Puppet on A String stop-go thing going on, and she sings poppy and then he replies in a big false opera piece of proper singing. Near the end, Julie gets to do some Lesley Garrett in the bathroom type scales, but it's not nearly as effective when the roles are reversed.

Netherlands - Re-Union. Two blokes sat on stools, one with an acoustic guitar. We don't approve of this in wine bars, and we don't approve of it here.

Germany - Max. Jesus, another stool. It's the quiet sit down stretch, is it? Max is like Phil Collins with hair, and just imagine how self-satisfied that would be. This song must have won some sort of national heat, but its hard to imagine - even having heard Coldplay - songs that could have been so weak as to lose out to this.

Albania - Anjeza Shahiri. This is what Dannii Minogue would have looked like after fifty years of working in communist coal mines and only having one pair of shoes. Albanians like their films to feature Norman Wisdom, and clearly don't have any higher standards when it comes to choosing songs. "I'm queen of the world" claims Amjeza, before the song ends suddenly, like the tanks have arrived.

Ukraine - Ruslana. It's cavegirl with boots. She's butt-fucking Holly Vallance, both musically and, quite possibly, back in the dressing room. There's lots of "Hois" and "Haa!" and fire and leather and bellys. And boots. The sound of glasses being smashed in a fireplace. With boots. Forever.

Croatia - Ivan Mikulic. Apparently this was a big hit in Croatia. He's got a tiny set of features placed on a very large face, like having a kid's meal on the All Day Breakfast plate. At times the song appears to want to turn into a James Bond theme - the AHa one, we think - but never quite works up the momentum.

Bosnia - Hezegovina - Deen. Called "In The Disco", by the look of it, inspired by Mr. Smiths in Warrington. They've stolen as much from Donna Summer's Hot Stuff as they dared. "Up and down, here we go" they trill. Deer's earpiece falls out, which is reason to hate him - he's the only person in Europe not having to listen to his song.

It's half time, so they attempt to hop around outside broadcasts. Only one works - the woman in Istanbul does appear in vision, but she looks as if she's plotting how to have her husband killed and doesn't speak.

Belguim - Xandee. One of the dancers is in the first hotpants of the evening, which doesn't offset the effect of a drummer in a soccer shirt - make an effort, lad. There's some safe sex styled bump and grind. "You are my brother, my sister tonight" insists the would-be Diva, setting up the prospect of some awkward incest role play later in the evening.

Russia - Julia Savichera. There's a small circus troop on stage. The Avril Lavigne lookalike looks terrified - not only is she having to sing in front of thirty million people, live, but she's being forced to take part in some acrobatic display as well. Mind you, the song's so lame she could probably have benefitted from having a spot of plate spinning to interest the audience too. By the end of the song, she's got a big patch of red dye from one of the body painted tumblers all over her arm, and she appears to have a disagreement with him before getting to the "thank you" bit.

Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia - Tose Proeski. Tose's cloak is almost as huge as his country's name. He actually puts some genuine sounding emotion into his performance, which is rare in these circumstances. His dancers get a big ribbon and tie him to a chair, but not in a sex way. "Life is a story and you've got to tell it. Life is a song, and you;ve got to sing it. You've got to know how to live it." Wasn't that one of the Buffy the Musical songs?

Greece - Sakis Rouvais. This was notable at semi finals for him pulling the hankies from the back of his dancers, but they seem to have dropped that - probably afraid that it would look too much like Tose's ribbon play. They still do the girls changing from white suits to gold bikinis - something Martin Bell would do, during the longer Newsnights of my youth, of course. The song sounds like a Hispanic reworking of No Doubt's Hey Baby.

Iceland - Jonsi. Another bloody white suit. He's this year's johnny Logan. Or maybe Charles Aznavour.

Ireland - Chris Doran. Oh, this is actually this year's Johnny Logan. In a white suit. Clearly, Ireland is trying to win again, which means their song is like when paul Merton is too busy trying to win on Have I Got News For You - it's a lot duller than it could be. Chris looks like he calls everyone "Mate", and he's going to be insufferable when he's back at the call centre on Monday.

Poland - Blue Cafe. Called 'Love song", which sounds like it was a working title and they forgot to change it. The singer is Betty Blue's more homely young sister, wearing a revealing dress which could have put a nymphomaniac in need of viagra; some guys in white suits with brass; a bloke with guitar - they all produce a bit of a mess. Betty Blue Junior sings Love Song "Laave Sung", like she's in fackin' eastenders.

United Kingdom - James Fox. Actually, compared with the other single blokes in white suits, James doesn't sound too bad this evening. He's probably the best in his class, although the song clearly would rather be a terrace chant than a love song, which might harm its chances. There's something of the Marti Pellow about Mr. Fox.

Cyprus - Lisa Andreas. Actually from Gillingham, which makes you wonder if Cypriots are sat at home going "I dunno, we open our borders to the EU and before you know it there's bloody asylum seekers from England taking all our slots on international song contests..." It's the sort of song that would go down well with an ITV audience - almost pretty girl in the most expensive dress Top Shop has to offer singing fairly empty words to a pleasent enough tune that wouldn't scare Dido. Unfortunately, all of them are watching Millionaire Olympic special.

Turkey - Athena. Fuck me, it's the red hot chili peppers. No, it's Bad Manners. They appear to sing "what you doing, you raving whore?" but presumably don't actually do so. It's very youth club with lottery funding to buy some instruments.

Romania - Sanda. The poor woman s Christina Milian singing the sort of song Sabrina would have treated as a cast-off. She's had an hour and forty minutes to get ready, but still forgot to put on a dress.

Sweden - Lena Philipsson. She does that walking while holding the mic stand thing that's meant to look sexy but just makes it seem like the stand is really heavy. "It hurts, oh how it hurts inside in the middle of the night" complains Lena. Never have a Cottage Pie before bed, love. She smiles all the way through this tale of pain and heartache, which means either she loves pain, or else she hasn't thought her act through properly.

Now, to the votes...

ADD SOME EXTRA COMPLICATIONS: Just when it seemed that Phil Spector might have turned the tide in the case of the dead actor in his house, he's decided to make things a little more complicated for himself, by beating up his driver. The driver apparently placed Spector under Citizen's Arrest after a dispute over "business" descended into the sort of bare-knuckle bout best left to younger, less pudgy, more naked men; Spector then put the driver under Citizen's arrest, too. We didn't know you could do that - we'd always assumed that a citizen's arrest was like bunny ears, and the first person to say the words won. Anyway, with them both having arrested themselves, they had to wait for the real cops to turn up. When they did - we'd imagine they only paused to put in the call to Celebrity Justice, or possibly America's Dumbest Criminals - they charged them both under suspiscion of misdemeanour battery. Both are due in court June 14th, both will be taking public transport.

PREPARE FOR THE FEAST. HAVE SOME LEFTOVERS: We're hankering after a big win for Ukraine this evening, simply because we think their act comes across like they dress like that all the time. Meanwhile, as you ready yourself for this evenings' festivities, browse round Technorati for Eurovisional blogs - possibly the only event in the world which attracts English language attention that isn't dominated by English language bloggers?; Popjustice are already looking forward to 2005 (which, remember, could be in Ukraine - which might mean they'd get the Wedding Present spin off band The Ukranians in to do the entertainment between the songs and the voting) and sample our coverage from last year. But mostly: VOTE RUSLANA! VOTE UKRAINE!.

Friday, May 14, 2004

CHAKA CHAKA CHAKA KHAN. CHAKA CHAKA CHAKA KHAN. CHAKA KHAN, LET ME HONOUR YOU. LET ME HONOUR YOU CHAKA KHAN: Who would you pick as woman of the year? Chaka Khan, apparently, according to the "I'm Every Woman" Conference. Mind you, they probably had no choice having hijacked her song as the title for their event - if it had been the "Simply The Best" conference then it would have been Tina Turner picking up the prize. And if it had been called "Can You See My Gusset Fest", the Christina would have been croaking her gratitude.

EVEN WHEN I'M WITH MY COWBOO...: Congratulations to Kelly Rowland, who;s just got engaged to Roy Williams of the Dallas Cowboys. NBCi5 news announces Singer Kelly Rowland To Wed Dallas Cowboy Roy Williams - Couple Together For Six Months, which we hope means they started dating around Christmas rather than just being a gloomy prediction for how long they'll last.

For those of you who don't follow football, this is what she'll be getting:
and some towels

WOOOOOOOOAH BODYFORM...: As if the loss of "It must be Yop" wasn't bad enough, now Bodyform are ditching the Woah Bodyform jingle. According to NYLPM it was "the most-heard piece of music in Britain in the 90s", but that's surely not true - what about the News At Ten theme? Or Channel 4's der-der-dum-dah?

FAREWELL, KING'S REACH TOWER: It's been confirmed that the NME is to move from Kings Reach Tower, one of its longest held addresses (Danny Baker was still doing Tzers when it moved there, it was so long ago), when IPC quits its home to move to trendy new offices near the Tate Modern. We've already done our stroll down memory lane last September when Time Warner first proposed knocking down Kings Reach Tower, and we suppose the staff who work for IPC will actually prefer working in a modern building rather than something that looks like it was designed by an architect who not only hated people but had just been dumped the day he got the commission. But even so: No more Kings Reach Tower? Whither "sole agents: Gordon & Gotch"?

FOX OVER THE HILL; HANDS OVER TO HILL: We think we might have rumbled Dr Fox by outing his secret double life as "Steve Jones", as he's just announced that he's quitting The Hit40 UK show or whatever it is they've been calling the Pepsi Chart since Pepsi pulled its sponsorship to invest in getting Pink to wear chain mail biknis.

The new presenter team has been announced. So, it's out with the old:

Old Fox

And in with the new:

Katy Hill

In a bizarre recreation of the Radio One breakfast show Carcrash that was Greening and Ball, they're pairing Katy Hill with Simon Hirst. Hirst does stuff on Galaxy105, the Yorkshire variant of the Galaxy brand. He's not quite so, um, telegenic:


He also seems to have the sort of on-air persona which requires him to be known as "Hirsty." We give the partnership about three weeks, although Katy claims they've been working on ideas for months. Working on ideas? For a chart show? Here's an idea: you get a list of records, in order of sales. You read them out in order, lowest sale to highest, pausing to play each one. How about that for a format?

FRED DURST'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: i am amazed at the things i see and hear in the news about our world. i feel like i am in a bad robocop movie. the headlines seem seem so unreal. the chaos and decay of a species unfolding before our very eyes. the rise and fall of human beings is being written in real time. this won't be a vicious cycle that continues on a path way to the righteous world. we are seeing and suffering through the beginning of the apocalypse. - continues in this vein for several more lines - "BTW- we rocked CBS last night on Pepsi Smash. it airs May 27. it felt like it was gonna be so cheesy, but as soon as we hit the stage we decided to play by "our" rules, which is "no" rules, and let it come out."

So, that's chaos and decay. On the next Pepsi Smash. Thanks, Fred

THE VERY DEFINITION OF GRUESOME TWOSOME: Can you imagine the pain of being a fly on the wall when Marilyn 'It's not my fault, I'm just a clown' Manson and Avril 'Look, I'm not a punk' Lavigne get together? Apparently the pair often make time to hook up with each other whenever they can:

"When we're in the same city, we get together and he's so cool. One time, we hung out in his room and watched movies. I went to his show a couple of times and hung out on the tour bus after.
When we're together, it's really cool because we just sit there and totally talk. It's so healthy when I can sit down and talk to another artist who's doing what I'm doing."

Right, we make that three occasions, then, which while admittedly being more often than I visited my last two doctors, hardly makes for bossom buddies. I wonder what they "totally" talk about? And is it fair to say that Manson's doing what Lavigne's doing? I guess they're both repackaging pretend rebellion in an acceptable and consumable form.

WE CALL IT SELF-CENSORSHIP: The Black Eyed Peas have chosen to alter their lyrics for the single version of Hey Mama, to avoid being thought of as no-good-iraqi-kissing-liberals ("to avoid upsetting people troubled by the war in Iraq"). The album version has the line "We multiply like we mathmatice, and then drop bombs like we in the Middle East" but has now become "We multiply like we mathmatice, and then drop bombs 'cause you're shakin' to the beat." It's a curious tweak, because surely everybody - even Donald Rumsfeld - should be troubled by the war in Iraq; but more importantly, isn't it more disturbing to suggest, during the course of a song designed to make people shake their booties, that you'll have a bomb dropped on you because you're dancing?

YOUNG WOMAN GOES TO AMSTERDAM WITH BOY, SMOKES POT SHOCK: A young woman went to Amsterdam and smoked pot in a coffee shop.

Apparently, people who saw Britney doing this says that she claimed to be very fond of pot, but also went "I like the smell of it" - which seems to be a curious thing to say if you're a regular user - wouldn't you use a comparative rather than an absolute?

Mind you, if she does smoke a lot of dope, that would give us a handy get out for when she says something stupid like "Let's all just do as the President tells us."

GOTTA GET THROUGH THIS: Having driven his car off the road in New Zealand, Daniel Bedingfield has agreed to take driving lessons in the UK rather than face court over careless driving charges. Might help him towards getting a full licence, too.

MAYBE TIME TO THINK ABOUT SHELTERED HOUSING?: Now, there's no shame in owning slippers. Something soft and forgiving to wear about the house is the sort of cheap luxury everybody should enjoy. However, there's a line to cross, because once you go out of doors in slippers, you cease to be comfortable and become confused. To turn up at parties wearing slippers - as Rod Stewart does, claiming they're "more comfortable", puts you one step away from being asked if you know who the Prime Minister is.

UNMAKING THE BAND: Sean Combs, aka O, Puff You And Your Daddy, has called time on DaBand, the slightly literally named hiphop act he put together for money ("for MTV's Making The Band") because, apparently, they weren't quite up their own arses enough. P explains:

"Initially my goal with Da Band was to make sure the world saw realistically how serious hip-hop was. So at times it was kind of embarrassing to me the way they were portraying themselves, not taking it as serious as most artists take this art form. The venture with Da Band was successful because it had the TV backing. But at the end of the day, it's not worth me getting money for something I think misrepresents what (my record label) Bad Boy and hip-hop is about."

Goodness, reality TV talent show contestants not approaching their work as if it were a vital piece of the cultural fabric - whatever next? It'll be kids doing the Bagpuss colouring competition at Burger King purely because they want the prize, not for the joy of creating a thing of beauty.

Diddy is pissed that the faux hiphoppers misrepresented hip hop - apparently, they had pointless bickering rows all the time, but none escalated into shooting incidents.

GOODBYE, YELLOW BRICK ROAD. HELLO, PEACHTREE ROAD: Elton John is recording again - it's understandable, what with him losing that lucartive Post Office advert, and the resulting set - named Peachtree Road after a street in Atlanta - is expected in November. There's a song called 'Freaks In Love' amongst them. So, still writing songs about the Royal Family.

WHEN ROCK GODS CLASH: There's something that's really puzzling us about the latest Mozzer attack: he's ripped strips off David Bowie, saying that he's "no longer David Bowie" and insisting that the public only liked Ziggy Stardust and that was someone else's idea.

But here's the puzzlement - back when he was talking to the NME (the first time round), Morrissey insisted that the "last of the international playboys" were "Bowie, Bolan, Devoto and me." This might have been a while ago, but it was long after Bowie had abandoned Ziggy. We wonder if someone forgot to send a Christmas card one year?

GOD OF HEADFUCK ACKNOWLEDGES GREATER POWER: IPR LAWYERS: Marilyn Manson and Madonna Wayne Gacy are suing former bandmate Scott Putesky (shouldn't he be called something like Mansfield Yorkshire Ripper?*). Putesky has tried to stick out a bunch of old recordings which were made when Manson was working under the "spooky kids" banner. Garcy and Manson both want a quarter of a million quid. The reasons for why they want that much for an album that can't have sold more than ten copies isn't clear - perhaps they've seen the RIAA charge USD7,500 a track...

* - apparently, he was Daisy Berkowitz back in the day

AN OBSESSION RENEWED: You might remember that last year we got a bit obsessed with a band called Honeypunk, pondering just how it could be that whenever you logged on the server was "too busy" to show pictures. Now, we're just curious as to why when you vist you get ttaken to a totally different artist? (Peppercorn, since you ask)?

LOVE IN THE DOCK. AGAIN: Courtney Love has appeared in court again. If it's Thursday, then it'll be New York, and the charges relating to hitting the guy on the head with the microphone stand. Yadda, yadda, not guilty plea. Where it gets interesting is just after this picture:

When she gave an impromptu press conference in a toilet. Amongst the items on the agenda:

* "Mrs. Consuela was the pet name for his genitals." It was unclear whose.
* "Let me say something rude - I'm really rich!"
* "They're having sex with girls from my Web site - little girls, 15, 16, 17, 18." It was unclear who "they" are.
* "Check this out! I have to watch video of [two people] having sex in my bed, and he puts my jewelry on her."
* "I think God fucked me for committing too many adulteries."
* "I need a cigarette or I'll die!"
* "No! No! I don't do drugs. I was a junkie - I can't medicate myself - you gotta really watch it."

Then she ran on and on about her ex Jim Barber, the bloke whose house she was supposedly breaking in to (see the one of the other court cases); and how Russell Crowe wanted her to go with him to the Golden Globes, only somebody must have wiped the answering phone message (hey, Courtney, you could also try 'maybe there's a fault on the line, too'); "trailtors around her" are embezzling the royalties from Nirvana recordings - including a "hippie lady in Maui". Just imagine, someone getting rich off the back off Kurt, eh? And how the police "just have a conspiracy against rocker chicks."

There's more:
""I ran around with a married man. It's my own sin, my own fault and I just want to say I'm sorry. Adutlery is bad and maybe this is God's way of punishing me, and I want to apologize to his former wife" Courtney sobbed, before adding, "although God knows what kind of life you've led, lady
...My daughter said to me the other day that she wanted to get rid of her horse because she didn't want it anymore, but I know it's because she knows we can't afford it."
(This from the woman who was rich a quarter of a rant ago)

She also apologised to Dave Grohl at some point, but nobody who was there seems quite sure for what.

SOME CANDY TALKING: We'd been worried about Gareth Gates' future, since it clearly doesn't lay in music. Happily, the lad has just qualified as a speech therapist, so he's got something to fall back on. The only drawback is that he doesn't think he's going to be able to take any sessions alone, in case people fake stutters to get close to him, so he's going to be quite expensive. But we're actually impressed - he's been studying for this for two years which suggets he's always been pretty level headed and not just clinging to the "there'll be a job on ITV2 when the hits dry up" career plan most talent show singers seem to have sketched out.

EAT BANDWIDTH: There's another batch of tip-top quality downloads from the nice people at the Playlouder Singles Club, this month featuring mp3s from Pure Reason Revolution, The Rakes, and best of all, The Honeymoon. Did we mention it was all for free? Because it is.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

"AND WE'LL GO ON BEARING THE GRUDGE UNTIL THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION ARE FOUND: Radio stations across America are still refusing to play the Dixie Chicks over their "we're ashamed the President comes from Texas" quote. Of course, the stations are quick to claim they're not banning the Chicks for not being pro-Bush, just that "the fans don't like it." Shane Finch of WTRS (Thunder County, Florida) says it's all about polling:

We really watched that interview to gauge whether to put them back on the radio or not the next morning."
Shortly after the controversy in March, Finch polled his audience and found about 98 percent wished to ban the group from the airwaves.
Recently he slid the Chicks into a promotional advertisement on the radio, along with other bands whose music the station would play.
"We got lambasted for even that promo," he said. So he decided the station would still not play the Chicks.
"We just polled our listeners and found they were not willing to forgive them until they showed some remorse," he said. "They've never come off as acting as if they are even remotely sorry for what they said.

Remorse? For not having the same opinion as somebody else? Okay.

THE PUNKS NOT DEAD: We're delighted that Kiril took the time out to bring Steve Jone's appearance in the Washington Post to our attention - not just because he confesses that while he was in the Sex Pistols, he listened to Boston, but also because it reports that he's now doing a radio show in LA. Scarily, he looks the part - in fact, he might actually be Dr. Fox:

Jones and Fox

ARE YOU STILL HERE?: Kerry McFadden, who won something quite a while ago now, is so desperate for publicity she's taken to begging for a cameo in the Harry Potter movies. "Gissa job, gissa job, go on, I can do that" she squeals, "Being a goblin? I can be a goblin. Go on, please..."

McFadden used to be briefly famous.

EMI WINS BATTLE: A judge in New York has thrown out some of the claims Avatar Records had brought against EMI, saying the smaller label had failed to provide evidence to support its claim that the major had failed to promote its records and falisified sales returns. Allegations that EMI broke a verbal agreement to extend its deal with Avatar [LA Times; free subscription] are being allowed to go ahead, although in a great piece of news for EMI, the judge ordered Avatar to pay USD1.1million in withheld fees. That'll keep Robbie Williams in McFlurries for another couple of weeks.

COULD YOU PLEASE TURN THAT DOWN, YOUNG MAN?: Paul McCartney's millennium dome rehearsals are attracting complaints - from the other side of the Thames.

The hero of the story is "67 year-old" Eric Pemberton:
"I rang up the environmental health officers at the council and they told me 'It's Paul McCartney,'" Pemberton said. "I said 'So what? He doesn't pay my (taxes), and if it was me that was doing this I would have been prosecuted.' I thought it was quite unacceptable and even my cat was disturbed."

Before writing Pemberton off as an old fogey, it's worth remembering that he's only six years older than Macca.

STREAMING MISERY: If you can't wait a second longer to hear Mozzer's new stuff, then has just the thing; they're streaming the album. Right now. Oh, yes.

IT'S NOT GOING TO LEAVE YOU MANY PLACES LEFT TO PLAY, CHRIS: Chris DeBurgh has vowed never to play Ireland again, because "people in Ireland have a problem celebrating success. I made a decision a few years ago, that I'd never peform there again. Why should I put up with that kind of negativity? I won't have the people I love being hurt." That might be an unfortunate turn of phrase, since the reason Ireland turned on him was his affair - he'd jumped the bones of his 19 year old nanny while his wife was in hospital with a broken neck. A curious way to protect your loved one's feelings. Still, if all it takes is a spot of negativity to keep DeBurgh from playing in a country, could I say on behalf of Britain "You look like a puzzled gnome, DeBurgh" - and if any other nations want to associate themselves with that, do feel free.

DeBurgh once sent a letter to the chair of A&M Records insisting "there is life after the Sex Pistols."

BEYONCE: MAN AT C&A REPLACED AT LAST?: Because they can't leave well enough alone, Beyonce is about to launch a range of clothes, which we suspect is going to be slightly posher than Atomic Kitten's BHS range from a year or two back. Beyonce's main input will be cashing cheques ("creative direction and inspiration"), and her Mum's going to help out too. With that bit. You'll see, by autumn, we'll all be dressing like this:

Or at least all the Easyjet staff will.

WHY? WHY? WHY?: We're still trying to work out why anyone would give Guy Ritchie GBP15 million to make a movie, much less one described as a "crime caper." We're also a little surprised to see Brad Pitt apparently signing up for a role in it. But most unbelievable of all - he's casting the missus in a major role. Madonna is supposedly going to play crime boss Dorothy Macha in the movie, Revolver. Apparently, the film has been delayed because Ritchie has been too busy making Six Shooters. Pity, because, you know, we really can't wait for it to come out.

CENT CHARGES: Following on from that whole throwing-water-crowd-pushing incident, it looks like 50 Cent is going to be charged. Three women have apparently complained about injuries, including kicking and punching; the Hampden DA's office says "it hasn't yet been decided what charges he will face."

RYAN ACTED IN SELF-DEFENCE: Lee Ryan has been cleared of the assault charges against him, but has been found guilty of criminal damage in Horseferry Road Magistrates Court. This all flows from the kick-off outside a nightclub where Ryan smashed five hundred pounds worth of cameras. His defence against the assault charges was that he was acting "in self-defence", which was accepted by the magistrates.

NOW - IT'S RUMSFELD SET TO MUSIC: There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. Ah, the pure poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, the man who, zen-like, is responsible for the behaviour of US troops, and yet also, will not be held responsible for the behaviour of US troops. Fans of Broadcasting House's 'Donald Rumsfeld Soundbite of the Week' will know that Donald has quite the way with lies and obsfucation, and they'll be doubtless delighted to discover that Elender Wall and Bryant Kong have set him to music, creating a chamber orchestra piece from his, um, work.

Interestingly, Rumsfeld himself is a fan: "Someone gave me a copy of this thing, and here is this woman with a wonderful voice singing my press conference," Rumsfeld marveled at a meeting of the Newspaper Association of America last month. "Now, if that doesn't tell you something about the state of the world!"

We're heartened that he managed to get round to the CD, although he couldn't make time to read any of the reports coming out of Iraq about coalition troops abusing Iraqis - we guess you have to prioritise these things. We're not sure what Rumsfeld thinks the CD tells him about the state of the world, but since he's part of a team that can get a big document saying "There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq" and think that it tells you Iraq has got a nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programme so advanced you'd better buy a gas mask, we're not sure we'd trust his conclusions anyway.

WELL DONE, PLUCKY CANADA: As if Avril Lavigne damning you isn't bad enough, Canada has also got to cope with being patted on the head by Bono. Apparently confusing a country with a child entering a fancy dress competition, Bono felt the need to go and give a thumbs up for the work Canada is doing to help with the Aids crisis. If all Canada gets for its efforts is a visit and some smuggings from a self-promoting former rock star, what would Estonia expect? Tess Daly and a certificate she's printed off on a computer?

Not that Canada seems to mind - or at least, Premier Paul Martin, who's about to plunge into an election. Bono, showing his complete inability to understand the way the world works, tried to deny that he was doing anything that had anything to do with the election at all:

"I'm not here to elect Paul Martin or the Liberal party. I'm here to elect our issue — the AIDS emergency. ... I'm here to elect that to office, that's really it."

Righto, Bono. So this wouldn't have been a photo opportunity for Martin, would it?

It would be almost comical that Bono doesn't realise he's just being used to try and shore up the twenty-thirtysomething vote, time and time again, if he didn't keep being given such responsibility by dimwitted vote whores like New Labour. Since the Canadian government had already taken the decision to double its International Aids fund (to CAD70 million), what else did Bono think his presence was for if not to show that Martin is down with slightly younger folk? We've already had the unedifying sight of Mr. Vox taking tea with George Bush - all that cost the Bush campaign was a few promises that they've not even delivered on yet. We're sure Bono has a splendid scrapbook of all the rich and powerful people he's met, but really: if he wants to help the fight against Aids, why not just charge them a flat rate for the visual endorsement and pass that on to UNICEF or someone?

SMALL GUY WITH A BIG BOX: Paul Simon hopes to tempt those who surf Amazon drunk with a hefty seven CD box set, due at the end of June. The collection - Studio Recordings 1972-2000 collects together stuff he recorded in the studio between those dates. We guess.

TREBLES ALL ROUND: So, it seems ("they think we'll fall for the claims") that Whitney's whole checking out of rehab wasn't a sign that Whitney had had enough of the straight world, merely that she decided to continue as an outpatient. Understandable, really - have you tried getting a morning stiffner in those rehab places? Anyway, despite having left rehab, Whitney had a friend all along to help her make her way - a paid-for buddy called Nancy Seltzer, or as we like to think of her, Nancy Seltwhitewinezer - because what's a Seltzer without a white wine in it? Now, though, the need for a chaperone is over, as Whitney has been judged totally capable of making her own vacuous soundbites: "I now feel whole. I am finally fully myself again and feel stronger than ever. I decided to get rid of everything surplus in my life." Hmm... we must have missed the garage sale she flogged Bobby Brown off in.

DIARY ITEM: If, for whatever reason, Fred Durst's blog isn't hitting your intellectual codpiece, Slate magazine's guest diarist this week is Roger Miller from Mission of Burma. He doesn't seem to realise quite how lucky he was that the bag he left at the airport was merely picked, rather than blown, up by security.

SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO: Did you know it's virtually impossible for a journalist to mention Modest Mouse without also mentioning The Flaming Lips in the same sentence? It happens so often I think there might be something built into the autocorrection feature of Word. Anyway, if you like Modest Mouse (or, presumably, if you like the Flaming Lips), there's a really good Modest Mouse live MP3 archive. Or - as is the way with these things - there is at the moment.

BLAME CANADA: Avril Lavigne has decided that it's time to quit her native Canada, for the odd reason that "it's too cold" (Tomorrow, Toronto is expected to be a chilly 21 celsius overnight, while Montreal is looking at a chilly 24 during the day on Sunday). Presumably, she's using the "weather" excuse to hide the truth, that she's a bit vacuous and wants to live in a shiny town where they make films and you can get sushi at any time of the day and night and the shoeshops are large. But in case any Canadians feel a bit miffed that she's pulling a Lennon ("pulling a Lennon: to mythologise a birthplace you flee as soon as your bank account allows you; to continue to express your love of a place despite wild horses not being enough to drag you back there"), she has pledged that she'll bring up her kids "to visit Canada. See? How bad can it be if she'll let her children treat it as a vacation location?

LE CHAT A LA PROMENADE: Liz McCalrnon reckons that French men are sexier than English men. We're not so sure. Liz says it's the accent - "if a man speaks English to me with a French accent, I'd be very happy," she says. Which must make this her ideal bloke:

McClarnon has also insisted that she won't date celebs anymore. Which is kind of handy, seeing as she's hardly likely to be moving in their circles any more. Her first post-Kitten gig is presenting a weekend show on, uh, Fox Kids.

Still, at least she'll fit in there.

MORE ON THAT NAPSTER BRAND: So, as we reported in pop papers yesterday, Napster is desperate to try and convince people that it's like the old Napster, only legal. That unlikely proposition took another blow when the download company tried to stop Ohio University from surveying its students to see how many would be interested in paying a USD3 a month charge to allow them to access Napster. It seems Napster got jittery about prices being mentioned and has demanded Ohio removes any reference to the likely cost - although that would make the survey utterly pointless. It's not clear if they're unhappy that Ohio are putting a price out, or that its making public that the company is fleecing the general public by charging over three times as much.

Not that the Ohio deal would be so sweet - students would have to cough up an extra dollar to burn a single track to CD or MP3 player (remember, a lot of students will be downloading in libraries or labs), and the songs expire when they leave university. No wonder Napster wants Ohio to shut up about the actual terms.

NEW OLD: Old 97s have set a [US] release date for their new album - Drag It Up comes out on July 27th. The band's guitarist Ken Bethea describes the new stuff as the band's most personal: "What you won't hear is second-guessing, sleight of hand or revisionist thinking." Oh, good, because we hate that.

Tracklisting will be:
"Won't Be Home No More"
"Borrowed Bride"
"Blinding Sheets of Rain"
"Valium Waltz"
"In the Satellite Rides a Star"
"The New Kid"
"Friends Forever"
"No Mother"

Although we suspect Friends Forever won't be a Thunderbugs cover.

THIS IS UNUSUAL: The record labels are used to instructing lawyers, but normally when they're launching actions these days. In this case, though, they're on the other end, as Ras Kass launches actions against EMI, Capitol, Priority and two of Priority execs claiming breach of contract, unfair competition, restraint of trade and looking at him in a funny way. It all stems from his 1996 and 1998 albums Soul on Ice and Rassassination (nice title), which Ras reckons wasn't properly promoted. And that he didn't get his dues. And that his third and fourth album was sabotaged. And that senior Priory figures torpeedoed his career. And stopped him working on a project with Sony with Xzibit and Saafir. The most interesting point, though, is buried in the 32 page filing: ras claims that record labels fail to adhere to section 2855 of the california Labor Code which "prohibits the enforcement of personal-service contracts after seven years" - that could have interesting implications that go beyond just this case.

Puppet going down

You'll remember that just after Christmas Cris Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets got himself into a bit of bovver with a Post Office guard? Well, his case has come to court, and Kirkwood has pleaded guilty, which has satisifed the prosecution enough for them to only seek a minimal sentence - which will still see Kirkwood going down for two years.

[Edit: post reformated 10/06/07 to match current No Rock style and correct spelling of Cris' name]

YOU COULD BECOME A ROCK STAR: Sort-of. Ciccone are about to launch their debut album and, obviously, you can't do an album without a tour, and you can't do a tour without a bassist, and Ciccone don't have bassist right now. They're looking, though.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Where did the Nation go to edition
Gill Hudson manages to restrain her desire to point out that she doesn't care much for the Kat-shagging-Andy-to-pay-off-Alfie's debts storyline in this week's Radio Times - last week she devoted three separate articles to the plot, apparently unaware that the whole point of EastEnders is to discover increasingly unpleasant ways of making its characters even more miserable, and railing against it is like complaining that Manchester is a bit windy. Anyway, this week, the magazine you just know she's pitching as being renamed 'Gill Hudson's Radio Times' has got Abba on the cover, because it's Eurovision weekend and thirty years since Abba won on stage at the Brighton Dome. They point out that the United Kingdom jury gave Waterloo no points at all back in 1974, and then go on to suggest that James Fox will win because, erm, if you add up all the marks ever given and divide them by the number of contests, the UK comes out top. This piece of math ignores the awkward fact that if you did this last year, the UK would have come out even further ahead, and yet got nothing. Even more rubbish, there's no big grid with the flags and names in which we can keep our own scores as the programme unfolds, which is a real let down.

Other listings magazines are available, of course. Time Out marks the 150th edition of one of the two survivng bits of the much-missed Late Show with a bit of a kicking for Later. "Worse still is the hubristic belief that even the best music can be improved by the presence of [Holland's] stilted barrel-house boogie-woogie piano... Holland used to signify a sly, buttoned down rebellion, he's now become one of those 'comic' celebrities..."

How many magazines have successfully changed their name? The Musical Express & Accordian Times did, of course; Record Mirror's bids to rebrand as both New Record Mirror and then RM didn't work as well. New Socialist tried turning into NS, and had only a few issues before dying. And let's not even look over the water at the fate of Rosie. So, Sleaze Nation's rebirth as Sleaze - not even an apologetic, small text 'nation' hanging about - is a bit of a risk. It feels a bit half-hearted: if this is a whole new magazine, why not give it a new name? And if it's just a relaunch and you don't want to throw away the heritage, why dump half the name? 'Sleaze' is nowhere near as interesting as 'Sleaze nation' as a title, and the content also seems slightly more eager to please, 'please like me enough not to yawn at my attempts to be outrageous.' So, the verdict on the American Presidency is "the race will be won by a guy with Tourettes or an asexual Louis Vuitton handbag", a big thing about how, like, work sucks and what could have been a prescient piece about Man United taking on Al Qaeda, only, of course, there never was any terrorist plot to blow up Old Trafford. Instead, the magazine suggests that since Man U has more supporters than Al Qaeda worldwide, why not use Man U to fight the war on terror? It's not a bad package, but the whole magazine feels corporate in a way its predeccesor didn't - not quite as bad as The Sunday Times Style section, perhaps, but there's a sense of restraint. Sleaze Nation would leap boundaries; Sleaze feels like its keeping one foot still in the garden. Hey, if it was totally new, we'd be loving it, but this is like getting a Bella Italia on the site of a family-run Italian bistro.

Talking of new magazines, we've got hold of a copy of Clash - this is number two, we never saw the first one. It's quite an exciting little monkey - almost square, very glossy and really well designed: actually, we'd be tempted to say it's the best designed British music magazine we've ever seen, but that could be the fumes affecting us (did we mention it smells great?). It describes itself as "essentially independent", which is up there with "smatterings of pregnancy" and grew out of Vibe - not the Vibe still on the shelves, mind. This month they've got The Charlatans on the cover, although everyone's pretending not to notice that James Iha has returned in place of Tim Burgess.

The Delays choose three seaside resorts: "Blackpool, although I've never been there; Weymouth... and Lulworth Cove."

Phantom Planet are asked about doing the theme for The OC - "The only thing I gave any consideration to was not to be credited, just cos the last thing any band wants to be is 'the band from the TV show'"

There's a bunch of Beatles pictures, and the Beta Band forget that Ringo is still alive - one is a forgivable mistake, the other less so.

Sometimes it gets a little bit too much One Two Testing - James Mercer of the Shins is asked about what software packages he uses, which is of as little interest to anyone as what sort of string wax Coldplay put on their guitars.

Tim Burgess speaks up for the Rolling stone's disco period, lauding 'Undercover' and 'Emotional Rescue' - but then The Charlatans are starting to adjust to life as a two-decade act, with the big 20 not that far off now.

Miss Kittin describes herself as "a product that came at the righ time", which is a bit more grim sounding than we think she meant it to; she ponders that if she wasn't what she is, she'd be doing radio or writing a book - she's done two chapters of a novel in the last year, so could have one finished by the time the oil runs out.

There's a fashion section, which we suspect falls just this side of "excuse to have women in their pants in the magazine without having to feign an interest in Hollyoaks"; there's also a three page "attempt" at a Who career overview, which would seem to be doing little more (along with the Beatles snaps) of attempting to persuade readers to hurry along and try Mojo. And then, it goes horrible wrong - pages and pages and pages about Ayrton Senna, who died somewhere between Kurt Cobain and John Smith, and seems to have driven some sort of cars. Then there's a page about the Gumball Rally, which is like CB radio: nobody was interested at the time, except for people trying to pretend they weren't gay, and it has no place in 2004.

Petrolhead obsession apart, it's quite a nice magazine; we hope that it manages to thrive - although with Bang and X-Ray both flopping, we're not sure the prospects look good. Enjoy it while it's there.

So, to the NME, then, which has Thom Yorke on the cover, marking the end of the Hail To The Thief tour. The issue is American themed - we're not sure if this genuinely American flavoured, or if it's like those Tescos American style products which our genuine in-house American claims are about as accurate American as Dick VanDyke was cockney.

So, coachella: big photo of Wayne Coyne in a giant bubble. Radiohead "at their best"; Steve Sutherland pops up to warn Conor Oberst that he might want to cheer up lest he be out-moaned by the resurgent Morrissey, and, oddly, the Pixies review seems to be being held over for two weeks. Nice posters, mind: Brody Dalle looking like Debbie Harry, Matt Bellamy, Thom Yorke, and Balthazar from the 'Bad Girls' episode of Buffy. Oh... Frank Black. Four pages of the posters are given over to a reader survey, though, which seems to be an odd use of glossy paper.

There's a very nice picture of Meg and Jack going to the Coffee and Cigarettes premiere; apparently RZA was also there, but he's not as photogenic as Meg in the dress she married Jack in. Less lovely is Alex Kapranos and Noel Gallagher - it's meant to be some sort of beatification of Franz Ferdinand by Oasis, but Alex is smirking like a child who's just heard his grandma fart, and Noel just looks like his face has been replaced with a shrinky-dink of his face. He also appears to have invested in a genuine Beatles Wig.

Hey, the kids - meet Brad Duea, the President of Napster. Brad is faced with the difficult task of trying to convince people that the new Napster - available in Dixons - is true to the "brand" of the old Napster. Curiously, when he's asked about why you should pay for downloads, he says that "You get what you pay for, and what you might get is viruses, spyware, improperly labelled tracks, inconsistent encoding." Which is true, but that was present in old Napster; so, if those things are such turn-offs, how can there be any value in the Napster brand name?

Delays are here, too, doing the CD thing - Sonic Youth, Morrissey, and Neil Diamond.

Peter Robinson has his trickiest task to date, taking on Mick Jones. Peter suggests that a large chunk of Mick's beer money must come from rereleases of Clash material, an option lost to future directions. Mick suggests they could repackage their MP3s. Helpfully.

Radar band is The Others, plus details of free downloads from yourcodenameismilo, explosions in the sky and the secret machines, which is pretty good value. (We're kind of surprised that the nme really is just giving these away - not even some sort of secret code word for you to at least pretend you've bought the magazine or whatever. We can't decide if its trusting or just madness run riot.)

The attempt to try and keep Shroomadelica going is an interview with Dios, who suggest the genre should really be called "psychedelic thriftstore punk" instead, like in the old days.

morrissey - wiltern theatre, LA - "you always go back to Morrissey in the end", 9
the Live 24 in London - "9.01 Feeder take to the stage. 9.02 Under such severe circumstances, NME decides to call it a day on the No Drugs front too."
the walkmen - highbury garage - "emotional directness", 7

ash - meltdown - "dave grohl will be looking over his shoulder", 8
deerhoof - milk man - "pure girl-pop magic", 9
klang - no sound is heard - "donna matthews mumbling like an estuary patti smith", 7

sotw - the others - "so close to being terrible, but..."
M83 - America - "white noise and stuttering electronica"

and finally, we were delighted to see an advert from David Miedzianik in the classifieds. Back when we were young, before Tesco did Value brands, David used to pop up week in, week out, in the Record Mirror personals. Each time, the message was the same - write to a named dj and ask him (or her) to play more Bob Dylan, along with the address of the dj of the week. One week Janice Long, one week Paul Gambaccini. We'd not seen anything from him for ages, but this week, he's back. His advert wishes Bob Dylan a happy birthday, and asks for Bob to do a song for him. If Bob has any heart in his trousers, he would do - there aren't many artists who could call on the unflinching support of someone to the extent that David M has done his best by Bob; doing a little something in return would be a sweet and touching gesture - not one as lucrative or titilating as a Victoria Secrets ad, but it would mean a hell of a lot more. Failing that, maybe The Charlatans could do him one?

IT'S ALL BEEN A TERRIBLE MISUNDERSTANDING... APPARENTLY: We've just got an email from Morag Milne, although it's signed Kieran Quinn - Tameside councillor ("executive" councillor, no less - presumably she has a special leather folder with pens in) - about the fate of the Witchwood in Ashton-Under-Lyme:

Can I thank everyone who has contacted me regarding the above venue, I cannot answer each message individually because of the volume of responses however it is pleasing to know that Tameside has a venue worthy of such a campaign.
As I am sure you are now aware there never was a threat from the Council to close the Witchwood. But I can understand how this misunderstanding happened
The Council and ASK - the developer - are committed to seeing the whole area redeveloped which is why a CPO for the whole area was issued. This has enabled discussions to take place with various land/property owners and I know that ASK is close to agreeing with the Witchwood proprietors the necessary improvement that need to be carried out on the building so that the Council can issue an exclusion agreement keeping the Witchwood where it is delivering its, original and unique blend of music and entertainment for many years to come and I hope that when this area is developed you will not only continue to visit the Witchwood but also the many and new businesses that we intend to attract.
Thank you for your concern
Kieran Quinn - Executive Councillor Tameside MBC

We're glad that it's all been a "terrible misunderstanding" - we're not quite sure why it takes a Compulsary Purchase Order if all that was being done was asking The Witchwood to tart itself up a bit; surely the correct approach would have been to ask the current owners to make any improvements deemed neccesary, and then, if they failed, to seek CPOs - this seems to have been like taking out an execution warrant, and then saying "but if you change your ways, we won't actually need to kill you." The nicest thing we can assume is that council doesn't want to be seen backtracking, so let's hope that this really is an end to it. I think we'll all be watching what happens next quite closely, though, to make sure no more - ah - "misunderstandings" occur.

I AM NOT VERY WELL: Amy Dykes, of I am The World Trade Center, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She's currently undergoing chemotherapy, forcing the band into hiatus while she gets treated. We wish her all the best.

TWEEDY OUT: Jeff Tweedy, Wilco mainstay, has emerged from his elective rehab for painkiller abuse enthusing about crack addicts putting their lives back together and suggesting that it was all depression at the root of his problems. Hmm... what will Wilco sound like if Tweedy is now one of the shiny happy people? That's going to be interesting. Meanwhile, there's an album to tour, and rearranged dates to announce.

SAID 'SEE YOU LATER, BOY': So, Avril Lavigne reckons the reason why she doesn't have a boyfriend is because whenever guys try to get close to her, her minders push them away. You don't think it could be becase you're a twenty year old woman who dresses like she's twelve, and your songs give the impression that a conversation with you would never rise much above 'see spot run'?

Mind you, at least Avril can blame someone else for her barren streak: Mariah Carey has only herself to blame, reports Page Six:

LIFTING your skirt may not be the best way to get a date - Mariah Carey learned that the hard way while flirting with a particularly handsome male suitor last Tuesday night at nightclub Marquee.
The singer arrived at the club around midnight wearing a precariously low-cut mini-dress, black fishnet thigh-highs and a towering blonde ponytail.
Accompanied by a single girlfriend and a phalanx of bodyguards, she sipped wine, wiggled to the music and waved to the crowd of gawking club-goers. One buffbodied, shaggy haired fan caught her eye and she invited him past the goons for a chat.
Suddenly, the simpering singer lifted up her skirt, flashing a healthy expanse of thigh, perhaps in hopes of sealing the deal. Carey’s candidate took one look at her offerings and immediately disappeared back into the crowd.

Our guess is that it wasn't until he saw her nearly naked that he recognised who he'd been trying to cop off with.

FRIENDS REUNITED: It's finally happened, then - Brett Andreson and Bernard Butler have got back together, and are working with each other. Unless, since Brett made the announcement, they've fallen out again and started to gouge each other's eyes out with spoons or something. This is what Brett said:

I know there has been a lot of speculation and rumour about precisely what I'm up to. So I thought I'd set the record straight. Firstly I can confirm that me and Bernard are working together again.
We've written about fifteen songs so far and even though it's early days I can honestly say that I believe the work to be up there with some of the best things we've ever done.
We have been rehearsing with a drummer and a bass player who will be part of our new band. I can't tell you what we will be called yet but it will not be Suede or Anderson and Butler.
We'll be entering a London studio to start recording in June so I'm hoping that you will hear something early next year."

So, not Anderson and Butler then (and, presumably, not Butler and Anderson), which suggests there's going to be a glorious, prog-rocky name for the new grouping. We're hoping it mentions Pigs and Gasoline.

WHITEHEADOBIT: John Whitehead, from McFadden & Whitehead, has been killed. Whitehead was working on a vehicle when an unknown person shot him in the neck. Another man with him at the time was shot in the ass but survived.

McFadden & Whitehead started out in a band (the Epsilions), where they were discovered by Otis Redding, who became their manager until his death. They're best remebered for their big hit Aint No Stopping Us Now, but they pair also scored big as songwriters and producers, working with the O'Jays and Harold Melvin. They still performed together on the corporate circuit.

I DON'T THINK I LOVE YOU: In the list of pop stars you'd expect to go slightly nuts, David Cassidy would seem an unlikely figure. Even so, he managed to pull off the trick of pissing off the Welsh while playing a gig at Cardiff International Arena. It's not bad enough that he demanded total silence during one song, or stopped playing 'I Think I Love You' because - horror of horrors, fans were singing along - but he also took the piss out the Welsh accent and observed that he didn't know how people could live in Wales "without slitting your wrists." The official line is that "the weather was getting to him and he was exhausted" - so, apparently, if David Cassidy gets caught in the rain he turns into a pompous prick.

OOH, SLAP ME: It's interesting that Avril Lavigne is still choosing to define herself in terms of what she isn't - "I'm not, and never said I was, a punk", "I'm not a teenager" and, most important of all, "I'm not Britney Spears." Although why she needs to point that out isn't clear, because if she was she'd have much better songs, she's kicked off on Brit again. Avril fumed on radio:

The “Complicated” singer says Spears “dresses like a showgirl” and dances “like a ho.”
“’I mean, the way Britney dresses, would you walk round the street in a fucking bra?” Lavigne said. “You won’t see me on stage in a sexy outfit or my hair in ribbons. If that’s what someone wants to do then so be it, but I wouldn’t be seen dead looking like that.”

We're not sure why the whole "hair in ribbons" thing is so upsetting to Avril - god, she must think the Little House on The Prarie girls where just a bunch of strumpets - and we'll let go, this once, her insistence that she wouldn't wear "sexy outfits" with just the merest mention of her bouncing round the bedroom in little shorts in the new video, and just focus on the "would you walk round the street in a fucking bra" bit. Does Avril actually think that Britney dresses like that off stage? That she pops up to the shops for a box of Capstan Full Strength wearing a Pleather catsuit, or that she calls down "I'm off to Tescos, I'm just stripping myslef naked and covering myself with glitter and diamonds"?

COULD THESE STORIES BE, IN ANY WAY, RELATED?: Mel B's company Moneyspider has just GBP1,141 pounds in it [icBerkshire, 30th April]
Mel B sparks Spice Girls reunion rumour [, 28th April]

WHEN EGOS COLLIDE: Can the coming togther of Noel 'I'l do the fekkin' violiny bits meself, too, then' Gallagher and Ian 'Always spits out cough sweets because he can't hold a tune in his mouth' Brown to "do something" together be anything other than a portent of the end of the world? We were wondering if when they said "something" they might have just meant a good old man-on-man sex session, but... well, that's just too horrible to contemplate. Not that we expect to see any results of the working together, it's going to run into the sand like this:

"What do you mean, you're the fookin' resurrection? I'm the fookin' resurrection."
"I'm the fookin' resurrection, pal - since when did Jesus get his little brother to do his preaching?"
"Yeah? Well, when did Jesus... um, not be in... a band with Ringo Starr's son?"
"Oooh, Noel, when you're angry it's almost as if you have two eyebrows..."
"Kiss me, Ian. Kiss me like you've never kissed a man before..."

WAS EVER A FILM MORE APTLY NAMED?: Delovely. And although it's a direct quote from a Cole Porter song, we can't help but wonder if the producers of the film called it 'delovely' to describe the way the appearance of Robbie Williams doing a cameo would, indeed, remove any sense of 'lovely' from the project. Worse, it's now apparently convinced Robbie that he should be an actor and so he's whoring round Cannes desperate to find someone who's not too fussy about how lines are delivered and is able to film from an angle that would hide his jowly bits.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

BPI SHIFTS, RIAA SHIFTS UNEASILY: The BPI has had a quick reshuffle of its top people, in what seems to be an indication that the organisation's multinational paymasters are losing patience with its more relaxed approach to the use of lawsuits against filesharers ("to better focus its services to members and its advocacy on behalf of the industry"). Steve Redmond becomes a full-time 'communications and development' person, but more interestingly, Geoff Taylor becomes general counsel, handling all legal issues and 'anti-piracy' activities. Geoff has until now been deputy general counsel and director of litigation and regulatory affairs at the IFPI, the "international" body that's international in the same way NATO is; the IFPI has been noticeably a lot keener on the concept of better consumer relations through legal action. This could be great news for British barristers.

Meanwhile, the RIAA's "it's all for the artists" defence of those court cases has taken a bit of a knock with the publication of a survey suggesting 60 per cent of musicians and songwriters in the US don't believe the RIAA's actions will benefit people making a living in the music industry; only five per cent believe that illegal downloading has "exclusively hurt their careers." The survey was web-based, so not entirely reliable, but it's an interesting pointer nevertheless.

HIGHLY PAID WORK COLLEAGUES DON'T GET ON OUTSIDE WORK SHOCK: Some people were shocked to discover that people only working together didn't really get on, it was announced today. "My world has literally been destroyed, as if a hurricane had come through and ripped up everything in its path," said a person, as emergency authorities struggled to cope with the victims of the greatest con-trick of all time. "All the while I believed that Britney and Beyonce were great chums who made the Pepsi advert because of a bond of mutual respect and love for the soft drink, and now it turns out they don't like each other. Next thing, they'll be telling me they prefer Coke or something..."

They painted in the Pepsi cans later. And then they painted in Beyonce. And then they painted in Britney.

DAMN KIDS: One of the things that Michael Jackson has been accused of is introducing wine to a small boy; it now turns out another young boy was responsible for introducing Michael to wine; Jackson aide Frank Tyson told tab telly show Celebrity Justice that when he was thirteen, he gave Jackson his first taste of wine, during times when he and Michael would lay about in bed having graphic sexual conversations. Realising this wasn't exactly helping is boss, he then insisted that Michael never laid a hand on him, and that apparently jacko is straight and went on seeing the same lady "for years" in secret. Yeah, Tyson. That was his rhinoplasty surgeon.

ALL OF MP3 ARE BELONG TO US: Nice to see The Guardian reviewing the legally dubious Gigabyte-of-album for ten quid Russian music download site. Their verdict? is a bit slow, but with great choice - MP3 or ogg vorbis - and brilliant quality. Of course, when we say "legally dubious", we mean in the sense that it upsets British record labels, but they've had their chance - if they don't stop trying to squeeze every last penny out of the people keen to establish a proper download service in Europe soon, there won't be anyone left to sell downloads too; just some reasonably well-off Russians. The Russians, of course, will spend their cash buying underperforming Premiership clubs, but that's really off our patch.

Big Bubbles has a further point about All of MP3 - that there's nothing there that you wouldn't find in a high street store, and as such, nothing much worth downloading, even at about sixty pence for an album. Although they're tempted to download a few Coldplay tracks just in case this technology really is killing muzak.

IT'S TRULY THE TRIAL OF THE CENTURY: Lee Ryan, the one out of Blue who sits at the back with basketwork, has been in court today, at the start of his trial for common assault and criminal damage following a fracas with some photographers. We're just hoping he'll break into the proceedings at some point to wail "What about the eletants?"

MEET THE NEW JOHN PEEL: Perhaps... apparently, it's this chap:

got wood?

It seems that when John Peel packs the family off to France this year, Elijah Wood is going to step in. A BBC spokesperson said "We know there are risks involved - he might play records at the wrong speed, or cue up the wrong track, or fluff the introductions. Which would be awful, as nobody would notice the difference. Can I get a boom-tish, please?"

SO WE HAD AN ELECTION - WELL, KINDA, SORTA - AND BEFORE YOU KNEW IT: HELLO, NEW ORDER: Apparently, even though it's only three years since their last outing, New Order are already buckling down and starting work on their next album. Stephen Street and John Leckie are signed up to do what we must describe as "knob twiddling", even though producers actually spend more time sliding faders than actually twiddling with knobs.

ABOUT WHAT I SAID JUST BEFORE, YOU KNOW/ YOUR CLOTHES ON THE FLOOR?/I DIDN'T MEAN TO HURT YOU/ I JUST GOT CARRIED AWAY/I GUESS I'VE HAD A LONG DAY/ LOOK, I'D SOONER DIE THAN LOSE YOU/OVER SOMETHING LIKE THAT/OH, PLEASE, NEXT TIME JUST SHOUTBACK/ AND I DIDN'T SAY THAT I HATE YOU/ I THINK SOMETIMES YOU FORGET/ AND NOW LOOK, HOW WE'RE UPSET/ LETS TALK ABOUT IT LATER: There's an excellent piece on the always worthwhile New York London Paris Munich listing the spiritual forebears of The Street's conversational song style, which includes David Gedge's one-sided conversations from the Wedding Present albums. Which really makes me want to run home and play George Best very loud indeed.

WILLIE'S REPETITIVE STRAIN: Also having to change concert plans: Willie Nelson, who's about to have some carpal tunnel syndrome correctional surgery. His pain had got so bad he couldn't finish a gig in Las Vegas this weekend, and since the usual country way of coping with pain - writing a song about it and sharing it out - wasn't working, he's had to have his hand fixed.

PRIDE COMES TO AFTER A FALL: Charlie Pride has successfully emerged on the other side of brain surgery for a subdural hematoma. Pride had been experiencing severe headaches and the problem - blood leaking from torn vessels collecting between his brains and the inside of his skull - was quickly dealt with. Pride's had to reorganise his Canadian dates for August, while he recuperates.

SOON, YOU SHALL ALL SHARE IN MY PAIN: Trent Reznor is readying his first album in five years, and it has the very Nine Inch Nails name of Bleed Through. (Although: we know he's thinking of some metaphor of pain deal here, but it still sounds to us a little like a Good Housekeeping warning about the dangers of using those Tesco Value sanitary products).


Trent is especially proud that there's not going to be a single chord on Bleed Through; and he's discovered a demo track that he and his engineer have no recollection of ever making which is also going on. I think the idea is that it's a mysterious vision that came to him in a dream; we're just hoping it doesn't turn out to be a Hanson demo that got muddled up with his by mistake.

RIIIIIIIIIIICKY: Poor Sid Owen - not only was he completely unrecognised at the post-Princes Trust party, but when he tried to get to the VIP area, Jay-Z's bouncer started to physically escort him off the premises. Even more embarrassingly for Sid, who used to be in a television programme on the television, Jay-Z had to rescue him.

MY SUPPORT WILL GO ON: Pomp sicklisting: Celine Dion has cancelled three of her endless Vegas dates; apparently the strain of carrying that long face about has seen her sprain her neck.

Meanwhile, rumours are starting to swirl about that Britney is about to pull out of the Far East dates on her World Tour, pleading sickness and a desire to spend some more time with her boyfriend.

HELLO... IS IT MY POCKET BOOK YOU'RE LOOKING FOR?: Lionel Ritchie's soon-to-be ex, Diane, is seeking a massive pay off from him as their eight year marriage comes to an end. She's filed an account of the couple's monthly spending including USD3,000 of dermatology treatment and USD15,000 on clothes - presumably for her, as Lionel always looks like he's spent five minutes picking things from Cherokee. In total, they burn through nearly a third of a million bucks every four weeks - they could have had their own space programme for that. Diane told the court " I had an extraordinary extravagant lifestyle. [We] regularly spent in excess of $300,000 a month. I had no limit on what I could spend."

CAMPBELL COUGHS: Despite his earlier insistence he was innocent and anything that might have happened was down to prescription drugs, Glenn Campbell has pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident. It looks like there may have been a plea-bargain, as the charges relating to the hitting a cop have evaporated. Campbell was sentenced to ten days jail time, and seventy five hours of community work.

TONY SAVES GEORGE'S DRAWN ON FACE?: Considering it was ripped to shreds, Taboo has done surprisingly well in the Tony nominations: Euan Morton is acknowledged for making a silk purse from his leading ear role; RaDul Esparza gets a nomination for supporting the edifice; there's also a nod for the costumes and the original score (that one's for Boy George himself). It seems the Tony awards panel are bettter than the Oscars at seeing the value in otherwise poor productions.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW ME BY NOW: Whatever you think about the Labour Party, you've got to admit they've got some evil geniuses: their Party Election Broadcast last night consisted to close-ups of Michael Howard's face while Simply Red droned over the top. It's like one of those desensitisation programmes where they show you pictures of bad things and hit you, screaming at you the whole time.

BAMBOO AT COACHELLA: Becky Bamboo braves the poor sunscreen and three buck bottles of water to report:

I was meeting my friend Nayla in Palm Springs at 10, so I had to get up at 3 a.m. to make it there on time. Folks, I definitely do not recommend getting up that early when you've got a 7 hour drive and a 12 hour concert in front of you. Live and learn. However, I do like the drive down I-5 at that time of the morning. There are no other cars on the road and the truck drivers just chill in their slow lane and leave the fast one all to you. Plus you avoid both the smell of the Central Valley stockyards and the worst of the desert heat that way. Sweet.

Okay, so we took off from Palm Springs for Indio at about 11:30. It took us until almost 2:00 p.m. to actually get parking and walk to the gates. Once there the lines to get in weren't bad at all. Nayla had her pepper spray taken away (I told her she was lucky she left her gun in the car. Joke!) while I got yelled at from 3 feet away by an overzealous usher with a megaphone while waiting for her. I tell ya, give people a little bit of power and they will abuse it. Sheesh. When we finally got through the gates and to the field, the first thing that struck me was how many people there were. Coachella is held on the polo fields and it's not that big a place to cram 50,000+ people. The lines at the merch booths were long, only surpassed by those at the water stations. Nayla and I split, her to see Saraha Hotnights and me to see the end of Howie Day's set and get a decent spot to see The Stills. Howie Day was fairly forgettable, but okay. The Stills rocked though. They brought out a couple of members of Broken Social Scene to play on some songs and endorsed all the other Canadian groups playing that weekend. I started to think maybe that crackpot theory about Canadian musicians overthrowing the world governments and creating their own utopia wasn't so far-fetched after all. Well, until their drummer shouted out thanks to Coachella, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area as if he thought they were all 10 minutes down the road. You'd think people from another huge country wouldn't make that mistake. Especially ones supposedly at the forefront of a worldwide revolution. Anyway.

Not to be crass, but, well... when you're out in the sun like that, any water you drink pretty much bypasses the kidneys and goes straight out your pores. So when I say I heard stellastarr* while I was waiting in line for the bathroom and that's the only time I mention actually using the facilities all day Saturday - that's why. stellastarr* totally rocked, by the way. Business taken care of for the next, oh, 12 hours (no joke), I headed back to the Outdoor Theatre to catch the end of ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. I've never really heard any of their stuff and was pretty impressed by them and will be looking them up later. While I was waiting for Death Cab For Cutie, some songs from The (International) Noise Conspiracy drifted across from the main stage and made the wait more interesting. I'm so checking them out next time they swing through town. Death Cab came out dressed in white jumpsuits which couldn't have been very practical, given the heat. At least they weren't in black. Ben Gibbard gave us sunscreen advice (don't buy the expensive stuff that claims it won't run into your eyes because it lies and will) and I laughed in sympathy because by that time of the afternoon I felt like that guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark whose face melted off after opening the ark. And I didn't even get to see any avenging angels. It was too hot to even get out my camera and zoom in on the VIP area to see if my celebrity boyfriend Adam Brody was visible.

After Death Cab I, and about 45,000 other atendees decided it was time for dinner. Desert Sessions made nice background noise while I waited 45 minutes for a fucking falafel and a $3 bottle of water. Second lesson learned: don't eat at traditional times because you'll be screwed. I had just enough time to gulp down my food before heading over to the Main Stage to see The Pixies. I managed to get a spot not too far back where I could see the big monitors and actually catch a glimpse of the band on stage once in a while. The Pixies simply rocked. There was little to no talk, just amazing song after amazing song, each sounding as fresh as if it had been released last month. The crowd favorite was clearly "Here Comes Your Man" but each and every song had people singing and dancing along. So fucking cool.

I've been, not exactly wary of seeing Radiohead again, but definitely a little anxious because of how awful the Hollywood Bowl show was for me. I lost them in Southern California, so it's only fitting that I found them again there. They swung into "My Iron Lung" early in their set and I wondered how I ever thought I could live without Thom's upper register and spastic dancing and supermodel Jonny's total guitar freakouts. I feel a little silly admitting to tears, but they have meant a lot to me over the years and I had no idea I would get them back in a field of damp, sweaty people straining equally for a glimpse of the band and a hint of a breeze. They played a shortened version of their Hollywood Bowl show, even playing "Creep." Thom was a little restrained vocally, due to his health problems but it didn't detract from the music that much. Lesson #3: no more shows at the Hollywood Fucking Bowl. Ever.

Wilco's cancellation meant that the Main Stage acts ended in time for everyone to head off to see Kraftwerk. On my way there, I noticed Electric Six was playing in the Mojave Tent. I've heard great things about their live shows so I stopped in for a bit. Everything I'd heard was true and more. They were hysterical and had everyone laughing and dancing. The lead singer was wearing a white suit straight out of Saturday Night Fever and kept pawing at his hair as if he was a dog trying to dislodge one of those cones from the vet and I laughed every time he did. What can I say? It was late. I waited until they played "Danger, High Voltage!" and then headed over to Kraftwerk. Their tent was packed and the surrounding lawn was full of people. The music was beautiful but was putting me to sleep so I went back over to Electric Six in time to catch the last half of their show, including "Gay Bar" which was fucking awesome. They are definitely more than a joke band and I'm looking forward to seeing them again. On my way back to catch the last part of Kraftwerk's set, I passed the tent where Phantom Planet was wrapping up. I paused to hear them do "California" (woohoo!) and "Big Brat" and then went and crashed on the grass during Kraftwerk's encore (during which they were wearing what looked like higher tech versions of that internet guy's Tron costume).

After that Day One was all over but the finding of the car (about an hour of wandering around going, "I'm pretty sure we were in line with that horse tent over there" and "we weren't this far to the left were we?" and "wait, what color is your car again?"), actually getting out of the parking lot (about two hours of 15 minute catnaps in between movements measured in millimeters), stopping at the Circle K so I could drive us back to the hotel (remarkably, I was less tired than Nayla), driving 20 miles past our exit and having to turn around (on second though, maybe not), making it to the hotel and finding parking (there was a clear space in front of the fire hydrant that started to look real good round about 4 a.m.), and collapsing in bed with sweaty clothes and dirty feet for about 4 hours of quality sleep before getting up to do it all again the next day. Good times.

Day Two review is coming. Weird dancing! Foot long corndogs! Breaking the record for hours gone without needing to pee!

Monday, May 10, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAID: WAS THE FACE SO GREAT?: So, the final edition of the Face has been and gone, and everyone has lined up at the graveside (topped off with a model wearing a gauze bikini and wonky make-up) to lament the death of one of the bright sparks of the music-lifestyle publishing continuum. But was it really such a great title?

We picked up a back issue at random (i.e. last time we popped down to see my Dad, I grabbed a copy from my old bedroom) to see if it really was the vital, cooler than you publication. The issue in question turned out to be Number 72, the April 1986 edition - ninety pence to you, love. So, with fourteen years to run, and the Jason Donovan slip-up far in teh future, how was the magazine doing?

It had Nick Kamen on the cover - not, we should point out, as a model, but in his brave new career as a singer. Nick Logan was still editing ("Contributing editor: Robert Elms") and Neville Brody was still doing stuff with letraset and pencils - so you'd expect something classy, right? And yet, not only is Kamen being marked as the figure to watch (in what way was he ever going to be cool? He was, like, the Tetley tea folk or Douglas the Butterman), but there's also a lot of excitement over Charlie Sexton - "does he have more to offer than a pair of cheekbones?" Erm, no, as it goes. Kamen is pledging to keep "a low profile", which he managed to do successfully for twenty years after.

There's a double page spread about Coca-Cola posters, which even at the time was less youthful heat, more middle-aged collector (pity they missed out on plugging the lucrative market in Frys Five Boy plate adverts), but the first sign that the Face in 86 was very much a thirtysomething's desperate desire to be hip was the big plug for Absolute Beginners. TV-am even spotted this was a clunker, and yet The Face seems to be buying the dream: "with a richness of colour and witty detail, the set and costume designs kaleidescope time and space... lots of colour, noise and posing..."

Gary Oldman is in, too, plugging Love Kills although he "pins no special hopes on its success" - the face's dream seemed to be creating a British film industry by word of mouth, presumably in the hope that it might generate someone more interesting than Oldman and Kensit to write about.

And this, surely, is the stuff that the Face dropped into hindsight's blindspot - for every trend they saw coming and jumped firmly onto (they weren't really ahead of the game with acid house, it's just most of the aciiiid kids had got so wasted when they read about it six months later in The Face they thought it was a new thing), they backed a whole Grand National of lame old nags. This month, British youth was about to become... New Jazz freaks. This whole scene was built on the wobbly back that Courtney Pine looked quite good in a suit. Gayle Thompson tried to sound a note of warning, that it wouldn't be any good unless people actually started to play instruments instead of simply buying a couple of black and white posters of guys with saxophones from Athena, but The Face wasn't listening.

Still, they got it right about Doc Martens, although it's hardly much of a risk in suggesting 'young people will wear Docs' at any point since 1975.

Raymonde get a lot of coverage - they were also favourites of the Record Mirror at the time - James E Maker was complaining that you couldn't trademark the way you look, although even if you could have done, the Intellectual Property rights on the Raymonde look wouldn't have bought more than a small portion of chips.

Jon Savage helps the reputation for predicition a bit, though: "It's not a question of hating Americans - no such polarisation - but in being selective about its products and rejecting saturation. Meanwhile, we turn inwards, and to Europe, and to the East."

There's an interview with Patricia Highsmith - the sort of thing The Face would never have done in the recent past, four gorgeous long pages, mainly densely typed. She relates her early days working as a rewrite girl for comic books, earning four bucks a page.

It's a fashion special, so there's extra pictures of clothes. In 1986, Face fashion shoots were still fairly straight - well, homoerotic, but done straight: people wore the clothes, and would generally stand in the middle of the frame. The coming looks were School Girl-meets-Matador and slightly scarily hung boys in tight pants. We never saw anyone wearing these looks. They also interview Jean Paul Gaultier, who, like Absoluite Beginners, anyone with half an eye could see was absolute, screaming rubbish; even back then.

The TV review mentions Blind Date ("LWT's recent...") without any hint that it might nearly outlast the Face. Prince had just done an interview for MTV: "I haven't built any walls around myself" he claimed, as if making a mental note to nip down to B&Q for a bunch of bricks and a trowel.

And so, really, the magazine wasn't all that - as a guide to the coming world, it's as far off beam as the ladybird books which confidently predicted flying cars, silver jumpsuits and single pills providing all our nutritional needs. The best bits - the signed columns, the theoughtful telly reviews and the Highsmith interviews - would be dumped in a quest for ever rising sales, while the sub-Peter Yorke trendspotting would eventually overwhelm the title. If the Face was ever going to be a measure of the core temperature of the young people of Britain, in 1986 its thermometer was missing the rectum by a good distance.

THE TRIBUTES ARE HEARD: Since Alejandro Escovedo was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and forced to retire from daily music making, one hell of a tribute album has been coalescing to help him with medical costs. The album, Por Vida, is due out on July 13th (US) and includes stuff by Lucinda Williams, Cowboy Junkies, Ian McLagan, Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey side project the Minus 5, Son Volt, Jon Langford and Sally Timms, Chris Stamey... this is starting to sound like the cast of a Royal Command Performance, if the Queen was twenty-five and shopped at Rough Trade... Sheila E, Whiskeytown... and so it goes on.

MOTHER... OH MY GOD, MOTHER: Why are there so many Australians in Earls Court? Presumably because their mothers throw them out, if the average Australian kid believes a Michael Buble CD is a fitting Mothering Sunday gift.

[Thanks to Jana K]

SQUEAL LIKE A HOG: This comes to us from Page Six:

"DANCE music master Aphex Twin wants Madonna to squeal like a pig. The diva agreed to contribute hog-like, grunting sounds reminiscent of Ned Beatty's famous man-on-man rape scene in "Deliverance" for Twin's upcoming album. But, says Twin, she changed her mind before he ever got to see her go hog-wild. "I wanted Madonna to just do stupid noises," he tells London's Daily Record. "There wasn't going to be any singing on the track. Just grunts, moans and pig impersonations. I really wanted to hear Madonna doing a pig."

Actually, if you want to hear Madonna doing strange noises, just hire Swept Away on DVD.

The same edition of Page Six also reports that Christina "too ill to do the big tour" has been off trilling her heart out in the studio. Funny that.

[Thanks to Amblongus]

BAD NEWS, JENNIFER: The music world wasn't interested, the movie world wasn't interested, and now (according to Merseyside police) the shady plastic gangsters of Liverpool aren't interested in Jennifer Ellison, either.

Still, the Echo still love her, as one of their own:

Ellison played Emily Shadwick in Brookside for five years before leaving to embark on a career as a pop singer.
She is to star with Minnie Driver in a new film version of Phantom of the Opera.

Which is a somewhat generous way of describing one amazingly under-performing single and a very minor role mainly used to cover up the floor of the cutting room.