Saturday, July 16, 2005


Last week, while trumpeting the 10 millionth legal UK download, someone from the BPI insisted that this means that the battle against illegal downloads is being won. On the other hand, latest independent figures suggest there's been a 20% increase in filesharing on peer to peer networks in the last twelve months, which would suggest the two are co-existing quite happily. (To be fair, there are legal uses of p2p, and those figures are global).


As if it wasn't bad enough for the Two remaining TLC members to have to deal with INXS pinching their idea for a series - R U The Girl With T-Boz and Chilli hasn't aired yet, and INXS have already started whittling down their new member potentials - T-Boz Watkins nearly ended up reuniting with Left Eye on Indpendence Day, when a neighbour got arsey about their fireworks [Registraton required]:

According to a Gwinnett County police report, the Grammy-winning R&B pop star and members of her family and friends were setting off fireworks in the street late on Independence Day when they were approached by an angry neighbor, Jeffery Strickland. He allegedly told T-Boz, "Things are going to get ugly" if the pyrotechnics display didn't stop.

Two Sugar Loaf Country Club security guards initially responded to the noise complaint but opted to call Gwinnett authorities when they discovered Strickland was brandishing a 45-caliber handgun.

According to witnesses, Strickland tried to break up the party by speeding his black SUV toward Watkins and her guests. When officers arrived, Strickland told them that Watkins and company had started the incident. The report details that officers "noticed a strong aroma of alcohol" coming from Strickland and that his speech was slurred.

According to the police report, when quizzed about driving his vehicle at a high rate of speed toward the TLC member and her guests, he replied: "I got a high-priced attorney. I know how the game works. I was testing my transmission."

After his gun was secured back inside his home, Strickland was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a vehicle.

Apparently, Strickland's attorney claims that his client was "seeking to defuse the situation" by backing his car into people - see, that's the sort of quality thinking them high-price attorneys come up with. We're excited by this new form of crisis mediation, and look forward to ACAS gathering together management and unions and reversing trucks into them to break the deadlock in industrial disputes.


Lined up for just a smidgen into the month of August: a new EP from Willy Mason - although this is a proper, old style EP with a full five tracks on it - Hard Hand To Hold, and the four songs from Glastonbury this year: Wild Dog Blues, Live It Up, Oxygen and When The River Moves On. His set on the John Peel Stage featured his brother drumming and his mum doing backing vocals, so he deserves extra credit for resisting the temptation to do Its A Family Affair.


It's like watching an intellectual giant being freed from the constraints on sharing his thoughts - now he's no longer a member of Blue, Lee Ryan is at long last able to share his truths with us:

"It feels different because I can actually talk, whereas before I didn't used to talk. The boys would be the ones to answer all the questions. I'd stay stuff because I was very passionate about stuff. It would come out wrong half the time, and they would tell me to shut up.

"By the end of it I didn't really care. I'd say stuff that was truthful, whereas a lot of people would say stuff you wanted to hear. I'm not too bothered about what people think, I'd rather speak my heart."

The people have a new leader, then - how long we have been like babes crying, lost in the wilderness, waiting for a calm voice to lead us. Thank god Lee's now able to say stuff about stuff - the stuff that he's passionate about, mind, not just any old stuff.

Of course, this does seem to be Ryan claiming that he's not that bothered about responding to the mass murder of thousands of people in a terrorist attack on 11th September with the observation that "who cares about that when elephants are dying?" being seen as a thick, callous, even moronic demonstration of a low-wattage brain unable to process more than one piece of information at a time and incapable of considering empathetically the likely effect of a statement, however heartfelt, on people suffering feelings of fear and anxiety. Let's hope we can bear the truths he now chooses to share with us.


The figures are in for the first two weeks sales of Mel B's new album (no, we didn't, either) - and it's great news. She's sold 600 copies of LA State of Mind. That's more than The Legends debut 7" managed, and proves that cruel jibes that only her friends would buy the album were misplaced - Mel B doesn't have 600 friends.


They keep telling us that publishing is in dire straits, and yet apparently someone is prepared to cough up half a million for a book by Jennifer Ellison. Now, obviously, the talk of a half a million deal is rubbish, but even so - why would anyone want a book about her life? Ellison is certain it's a great idea:

"I may be young, but I think I have lived many lives," Ellison told the Daily Star.

Hmm... a part in a soap opera after everyone had stopped watching it; a singing career that stiffed after just one single; a role in a film which was so small she was upstaged by the 'turn off your mobile' advert... perhaps we could suggest 'Bouncing Back' as a title? And a free torch for every purchaser?

On the other hand, maybe she's going to spill all about her boyfriends' connections with legitimate businessmen. Although we suspect the editing of such a tome might prove painful...


We've read a couple of reports online that Cerys Matthews has given birth to a son, and called him Jones, after Tom Jones. And we know she was pregnant, and so it's possible - the only thing is, the reports keep describing Jones as "her first child", when she's already got a daughter.

Yes, Tom Jones - according to the story, she started having contractions on the way to see a Tom Jones gig (such is the power of the man); and Jones might be a middle name - we have to hope so, because Jones Matthews is a clumsy old name to be working around with...


It might have taken a while for the Pixies to get round to following up Trompe le Monde, but that's nothing - theNew York Dolls are finally going to do a follow up to 1974's Too Much Too Soon. Rumours that it's going to be called Too Little, Too Late are probably just cruel but not that wide of the mark.


We can hardly contain our excitement at the mystery of Christina Aguilera's arm. The burlesque artist and sometimes singer apparently is wearing a cast and sling due to an extraordinary accident at her home:

Aguilera, 24, sliced two tendons in her arm two weeks ago when she picked up a piece of glass from a vase her dog knocked over and broke in her Los Angeles-area house, publicist Jill Fritzo said Friday.

Now, we're not an expert in these things, but how exactly do you manage to cut through two tendons accidently? While picking up a piece of broken glass? And how do you do that to your own arm, rather than your hand? It sounds like a terrible piece of bad luck leading to a chain of unexpected events. But of course, it must be the truth and not merely a story cooked up to counter the one that everyone believes, that the injury occured during a drunken fight in a Paris nightclub.

More interestingly - what's with her hair these days, and is she actively trying for a 'Kelly Osbourne does Marilyn Monroe auditioning for a part in the Lil'Rascals' look?

Friday, July 15, 2005


People with nothing better to do, the Parents Television Council, have completed playing through the ABC coverage of Live 8 and found something to be upset about - not for them the thought that it was all well-meant, and everyone was working to a quick turnaround, and if the odd rude word slipped through - well, compared with the obsecenity of people dying for want in a world of plenty, does it really matter that much? Oh no, the PTC has fired off a demand for ABC to be fined for missing a single "fuck" in the lyrics of a Who song:

"The program was aired on a tape delay, which should have given ABC ample time to edit all obscenities from the concert prior to broadcast," said Tim Winter, executive director of the PTC. "ABC took steps to edit other profanity from the broadcast. But given the time of day that this program aired, the broad family appeal of the Live 8 event, as well as the program's PG rating, ABC should have been more diligent."

The broad family appeal of Live 8? But surely a parent who didn't mind their younger children watching Snoop isn't going to freak with a barely audible fuck tucked away in the Who set? Added to which, what sort of family appeal does the fifty-something Who actually have? Were preteens really begging Mom and Pop to let them watch the tubby guys in M&S shirts and reading glasses.

Of course, nobody at all is that bothered; even by the PTC's own admission ABC caught all the other sweary bits so this was clearly just a small error - one might say a fuck-up - rather than any knowing attempt by the network to upset people by pumping sexspeak into their living rooms. The site of a supposed Christian organisation using an attempt to do something worthwhile as an excuse for their ongoing, mind-numbing attempt to force us all to live by their narrow standards isn't exactly edifying; the question remains: if you dislike TV so much, why do keep watching it so closely? Get rid of the TV, sell the VCR and spend the rest of your days playing Jenga and reading the less racy parts of the Bible. Don't try and force the rest of us to live by your own narrow moral code.


Victor Edward Willis isn't a cop, but he played one in the Village People. Now he's getting to hang out with real policemen, as they take him down to the station and process him after finding a gun and some drugs in his car. On top of that, there was apparently a fifteen grand felony warrant outstanding for other drug-related offences. They want you, oh my goodness.

It's not known if the one who dressed as a builder is having any building work done, but it's not impossible.


Babyshambles let down Oasis; The Zutons took their place. But now The Zutons have had to pull out of their REM support tomorrow - they'd been supposed to be playing with the band last week; but of course, the London bombings put paid to that. (When you think about it, this means that The Zutons were only free to do the Oasis MK date last week because of the terrorist attacks, which is... well, pragmatic is one word for it.) REM will now face Hyde Park with just three supports - Johnathan Rice, Idlewild and Feeder.


For the second time this year, The Killers have had to cut short a show in Cologne because Brandon Flowers has lost his voice a handful of songs in.

The band's people are suggesting that this time round, it's just a spot of voice problems at the end of a somewhat extended European tour - but the fact its struck twice in the same city makes you wonder if he's allergic to something in the local air?

Anyway: if they arrange another gig there, and you go, insist you'll only pay for the songs they actually get through.


According to 6Music news yesterday, Strangeways' governor turned down Ian Brown's offer to return to the prison he did time in, to do a quick gig for the inmates. We're not sure of the reason, but we'd imagine that it was a combination of the average of people in British prisons being about 13 now, so they wouldn't know who Brown was, and Brown's little micro-riot at T in the Park. Last thing Strangeways needs is another riot...


We're a little puzzled about Seal electing to give people tips on being famous - it's like getting tourist advice from your grandad for a place he visited during the war. Anyway, seal stopped shagging Heidi Klum and eating panther steaks for long enough to warn people just how awful it is being famous and rich and fabulous. Oh, you wouldn't know:

"Your private life is suddenly owned by everyone. They control you, make up stories, exaggerate things. Many people crack under this pressure."

The terrible pressures of deciding which helicopter to use really do get to a person after a while. Poor Seal; poor, poor Seal.


Sharon Osbourne is having trouble flogging off the mansion they used on their "look at us" TV show - she thinks its because people gather outside to have a gander; we suspect it might be because buyers saw that dog shitting all over the place (Anne Maurice would agree with us, we're sure). So, ever the woman of business affairs, Osbourne is thinking of turning the house into a tourist attraction. Well, she's already turned her family into global circus freaks; why not have a sideshow as well?


Trouble over in St Louis, where KATZ-FM's DJ Kaos and DJ Sylli Asz have been suspended after spending some time onair talking about the best ways to fight policemen. Station boss Lee Clear (oddly, it's owned by Clear Channel - no relation) says that this was "entirely inappropriate." It's not helped that a week ago Sergeant William McEntee had been shot and killed in the line of duty in St Louis.

DJ Silly Ass? Oh, my sides.


Things must be jolly in the Pixies camp right now - not only are they doing lots of dates, taking them into year two of a reunion, but they're talking about making a whole new album.

Black Charles Frank Francis says this:

“It's all hugs and kisses, I'm pleased to report. We have been discussing recording a new album lately. As happy as we are with the success of the reunion tour, we really want to make a record for the right reasons, whether it is successful commercially or not. We would be satisfied if it played like our other records, never chart-topping but always in print."

And we'd be happy if it was better than Trompe Le Monde, which we never thought was a very high note to bow out on anyway.


Our favourite former Spice, Mel C, has poured cold water on rumours of Spice Girls reunion, despite the claims they're all off recording stuff for it. Mel, it seems, doesn't want it:

"I'm sure some people are quite keen for that to happen but I am not one of them."

There are rumours that the reunion of the Five Spices will now be like the Five Doctors, with Mel C frozen on a screen and her absence explained away as her being trapped in some sort of Space stasis. And Geri will be played by a small old man who looks a bit like her.


Let nobody think for a minute that Jessica Simpson is a bubble-headed idiot who views the poor and dispossesed as some sort of toy - she's much more stupid than that:

The singer turned actress has revealed that she tried to adopt a child from a Mexican orphanage when she was 16.

According to she said: "That's what I wanted for my birthday but I couldn't legally get a baby across the Mexican border."

Apparently, her and her comedy partner ("husband") Nick Lachey are going to adopt - it's a great way of adding a character to their television series without Jessica actually having to ever be in the same room as Nick.


Of course, we're the last people to raise an eyebrow at a hastily-worded phrase on the internet... but are BBC News really suggesting that the Queen wouldn't let Queen back into a royal park until they changed their lead singer?:

It will be the first time Queen has performed in Hyde Park for 29 years, with original singer Freddie Mercury now replaced by Paul Rodgers.

Not, of course, that Paul Rodgers has replaced Freddie... you can put on someone else's lurex catsuit, but that doesn't mean it'll fit. The current Queen are like The Golden Palace - a spin-off with everything except what made the thing worth watching in the first place.


So, the first BBC TWO TOTP airs this Sunday, but if you're hoping for a leap in quality, the who's on page will leave you feeling slightly disappointed. First item listed?

Fantastic Four 'Star Guest'

Alas, they're not singing or anything, but the cast of Marvel's new Fantastic 4 movie will be dropping in for a chat on this week's show.

Presumably if we did ring up and ask why, someone would have an answer, wouldn't they?


Actually, two of the songs on next month's new Cowboy Junkies album are going to be new, but the rest are covers, although - to be honest - the choices (Lennon, Dylan, U2) are somewhat pedestrian and disappointing. Especially given their field of concern:

The Junkies instructed one another to "bring two or three songs, written by others and the themes of the songs had to relate to war, violence, fear, greed, ignorance, loss." In doing so, their goal was "to create our own small document of hope."

Nothing, you'll note, from We Don't Want Your Fucking War.

Still, we're sure it'll sound lovely.

Early 21st century Blues is available for pre-order now.


One of the buses carrying the second stringers to the Denver date on Eminem's Anger Management tour was involved in a six vehicle pile-up. Ther bus collided with two lorries, and then three further vehicles got muddled up in it:

The Missouri Highway Patrol said the bus was traveling at a high rate of speed when it shot off Interstate 70 about 20 miles east of Kansas City to avoid slow moving semis. The bus veered back onto the highway and clipped one of the trucks, which shot across several lanes and into oncoming traffic. The bus hit a second semi and flipped as four other vehicles collided with the debris.

Amongst 11 injuries, Alchemist (Alan Maman to his mam) suffered collapsed lung and broken ribs; Stat Quo (Stanley Benton) had treatment for 'bumps and bruises' and will be rejoining the tour. For Alchemist, though, the tour is over.


The world is all a-twitter: what does it mean that at the end of his current live gigs, an on-screen Eminem puts a gun to his head. Could it mean that Marshall is about to retire one of the best loved comedy characters of our age?

Sources, friends and deep throats are lining up to say this is the end:

"Em has definitely gotten to the level where he feels like he's accomplished everything he can accomplish in rap," said rapper Proof, Mathers' right-hand man onstage. "He wants to kick back and get into the producing thing."

Detroit producer Jeff Bass, who won an Academy Award for cowriting Eminem's "Lose Yourself," said while he won't rule out the possibility of further solo albums from Mathers, "the Eminem part of his career isn't going to be at the forefront anymore."

Don't tell us he's going to do more acting, though: please, anything but lots more of his trademark slightly confused, slightly angry staring.


Uh-oh, Beyonce's in trouble. Possibly. A thousand downpage writers will be dusting off their 'where there's a hit, there's a writ' articles as Jennifer Armour files a claim that Baby Boy is a little too close to her Got a Little Bit of Love For You which, Armour claims, she wrote "months" before Beyonce released her album with Boy on it.

Some poor judge will start to weigh it all on October 28th.


All in all, Bassam Khalaf sounds like a rap Marilyn Manson - in other words, a bit of a prat who covers his scanty musical talent by using some fairly lame shock tactics. In Khalaf's case, he raps as the Arabic Assassin - all threats to fly planes into buildings and being equipped with bombs. So far, so thick. Trouble is, he was also working as a baggage handler at Dallas Airport.

And like Marilyn, now he's been caught out, he's backpedaling furiously:

"I kept my music and my job separate. I told a couple of people who I thought was cool with me at work that I rapped, but I never sat there and told them lyrics or anything," said Khalaf. "I guess somebody probably told them that I had a Web site."

Khalaf said his terrorist-themed rhymes are more about marketing. He called his songs art and pointed to other rappers who have rhymed about terrorism. He specifically cites Eminem's song, "My Dad's Gone Crazy," which discusses blowing everything on the map up except Afghanistan and says: "There's no tower too high, no plane that I can't learn how to fly."

"Controversy sells," Khalaf said. "It brings a lot of attention. Everybody wants to label all Arabics terrorists just because a couple of people messed up. Well, I'm going to play along with that character. I'm going to let you think I'm one."

And we're sure that all other Americans with Arabic heritage will be really thrilled that he's playing up to tinder-dry stereotypes as a "marketing campaign". The question is not how they had someone rapping about flying planes into buildings working as a baggage screener, but how they gave someone so stupid the job in the first place.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


There are few labels more lubricant-generating that Invicta Hi-fi. There are few pop bands who pop more than Helen Love.

And now they are together, as the band are releasing their next single, Long Hot Summer, on the mighty IH-F imprint on August 8th - that's less than a month away. The b-side includes Helen Love on 45, which is - yes - a megamix of ver Love's back catalogue.

We're saying it's smashing.


We're rubbing our eyes, and yet the words "Scott Weiland has successfully completed a rehab programme" still appear to be hanging in front of us. What sort of rehab was that, exactly?

Anyway, for Scott, it's great news, as he has managed to swerve a trial for posession of coke and heroin by pleading no contest and doing the twelve-step reshuffle. Presumably having Slash to lean on helped him?


Presumably to save the disappointment many feel when they get to a venue for one of their gigs, only for the band to turn up and not get into a scrap with the doorstaff, the whole of the upsoon Babyshambles tour has been cancelled. No excuse has yet been made, but we're betting Pete Doherty claims Peaches Geldof has locked him in a bedroom.


We'd been idly wondering what had happened to Crispin Hunt since the Longpigs packed up their shop and moved on; he's resurfaced in a new band called Gramercy along with Nigel Hoyel (ex-Solar), Dylan Rippon (yes, um, Gay Dad. There's a Pre-release chance to buy a single - Hold On - due in the middle of next month.


Excuse us while we adjust our tinfoil hats for just a moment; most people have a favourite September 11th conspiracy, but we think Mariah Carey might have just topped the lot - Mariah Daily has got a report from Sonntags Zeitung, the Swiss Sunday paper, where she reveals that the failure of Glitter was engineered by the media to take attention away from the terrorist attacks on America:

“Glitter” was ahead of its time – today it’s 'in' to make 80’s music. But the timing was bad - I released it around September 11 2001. The talk shows needed something to distract from 9/11. I became a punching bag. I was so successful that they tore me down because my album was at number 2 instead of number 1. The media was laughing at me and attacked me.

That's right - one minute, as I recall, TV was in rolling news lockdown, the next minute - nothing but Huw Edwards snorting at Mariah Carey. You'll remember Bush announcing The War on Glitter, of course, and the subsequent actions where even Celine Dion was behind Bush's campaign, allowing him to station troops in her dressing room before the final assault. Astonishing days.

Is it really so hard for Carey to admit that people didn't much care for an album rather than hide behind the terrorist slaughter of thousands to explain its low sales?


What on earth could have persuaded Charlotte Church to stop making classical music and try, instead, for a career in pop?

Okay, other than money.

Apparently, it was Joss Stone and Natasha Bedingfield:

According to The Sun quoting US magazine The Star she said: "Those guys (Stone and Bedingfield) are the reason I'm doing pop rock today.

"I like to be sexy, but there's a line between sexy and sensual. Most pop stars are like: 'I can't sing, so I'll bump and grind.'

"But when you think of stars like Joss Stone and Natasha Bedingfield, you think of sexy women who can really sing. That's what I want people to think of me."

Well, actually, when we think of them we think of irritants who have been over-promoted; Stone, in particular, was shrewdly marketed building a dog-on-hind-legs mini-career in jazz (not done well, but surprising it was done at all) before shifting into the mainstream. Oh, hang on - we can see where Church might be drawing inspiration from on that one.

But hang on a minute - Church was inspired by Stone and Bedders? Surely she's been mulling this pop move for a little longer than that?

Actually, yes: back in 2003, it was Dido and Shakespear's Sister who she was bllaming ("crediting") as her inspiration:

CHARLOTTE CHURCH is secretly plotting to turn her back on stuffy opera to have a serious go at becoming a pop star.

The singer, who shot to fame aged 12 as the “Voice Of An Angel” has asked writers for songs, “like those by DIDO and SHAKESPEAR’S SISTER.”

But then, maybe sounding like Dido in 2005 is as uncool as doing classical stuff. Or perhaps she just doesn't want people to remember how long it's taken her stylists to come up with this makeover.


Are you parents of an American child? Have you left it way too late to book a summer camp for them and are looking at the frightening prospect of having to entertain them yourself all summer? Good news! Usher's summer camp still has vacancies and is accepting sign-ups from young people. (No, no, you're thinking of R Kelly there, aren't you?)

Apparently, it's aimed at "minority youth", a meaningless circomlocution, and it's going to "honour their specialities." Whatever form they might take. Usher turned up on the first day:

"This is truly about learning the business side," Usher said Monday. "You're not going to learn it all overnight, but maybe, just maybe, you'll learn enough to change your life."

In other words, they didn't have enough to get proper coaches in, but could pay for loads and loads of lawyers and accountants.

Usher also asked the kids and counselors to treat him like a family member.

He didn't say which one - we bet the kids are hoping he means "slightly older brother", but we think he's got something more in mind along the lines of "your mother's uncle's wife's third cousin, who you don't know well and certainly wouldn't think of touching..."

The camp is called - honestly - Camp New Look. And we're sure all the kids from the hood can't wait to get back to show off their camp new look to all their friends...


Hurrah! There's loads of new songs for Bloc Party to choose from for their second album, and every last one is better than the stuff that made the recent Oasis album by a distance and a half. Obviously. Russell Lissack is spilling his beans:

“We’ve recorded two [possible] songs but we still need to mix them and finish them, so we’re not sure which one’s going to be the single just yet,” he told XFM. "One’s called ‘Hero’ and one’s called ‘Two More Years’.

“I like all the new songs better than any of the old ones because I think they’re all better. We’ve been playing a couple live like ‘Into The Blue’, one called ‘Kids’ and one called ‘The Present’ but I don’t know when they’ll see the light of day. I can’t say too much though because they’re still in the tentative early stages.

“It’s strange for us because the album’s very old in our eyes. I mean even before it was out we were writing a lot of new stuff, so it helps us to get new things out.”


That London United line-up in full, then:

Billy Bragg
The Mitchell Brothers
Terri Walker
Goldie Lookin Chain
Heather Small

There's still time for stuff to be added to the bill. Cocker... anyone?


Brown brings new sound to banjo


Putting the sex tape showing her getting and giving to one side - apparently she's just praying to God on that one - Eve is working on an exciting new project:

"The pressure is on because you have to top the first one or at least be a good as the first one. I think it will because this is also original. I get offered a lot of different things. I don't want to do anything for money. I don't want to do anything that's not gonna push me or challenge me."

But what is she doing? A genre-busting collaboration? A jaw-dropping gig in a mind-boggling location? A fundraiser to help Mayor Dogs' favourite charity?

Nope, she's made an advert for a mobile phone company.

You can understand how the pressure is on there - those two guys singing "phones for less, for you, at phones4u" has really raised the creative stakes in that field.

Meanwhile, she's put her album back to 2006 - presumably keeping her schedule clear in case Chicken of the Sea want her to do a spot.


So, how the hell did Michael Jackson get away with it, then? There's going to be squillions, maybe even heptrillions, of books and TV Movies explaining the verdict, but according to Stacy Brown, Jacko was acquitted because of, not despite, the all-white jury:

"The defence team knew what they were doing. I think if that trial had been moved so that there were more black people on the jury, Michael Jackson would be in prison right now.

"He would not have had the sympathy many thought he would get because if there's one thing the black community will not tolerate it's child molestation.

"I know he was acquitted but I really think that if a black person had been on that jury he would have had a tough time of it. African-Americans will not stand by and go along with that sort of thing."

... whereas, of course, White Americans are well-known for being soft on, and even in favour of, child molesting. So that theory works, then.

The real reason he got off, of course, is none of the jury wanted to see those beautiful birds cooped up in baskets a moment longer than neccessary:


Of all the wastes of his valuable time we can imagine for James Brown, teaching Will Young how to dance might be the biggest we can come up with.

Do we have a well-placed source? We do:

"James is a big Will fan and told him his dancing is coming along brilliantly - but a few hip thrusts wouldn't hurt.

"Will is resigned to the fact he'll never compete with the Godfather Of Soul. But they get on so well they will meet up again when they are in the same country."

The pair first met when they both performed at Live 8 in Murrayfield, Edinburgh and have met up a few time since the gig.

That's "a few times" in a little bit over a week, is it? Good God, Will didn't even see that footballer he wasn't having a fling with at all, oh no no, as much as that. You'd have thought James Brown would have other things calling on his time...

Still, it's big of Will to admit that he'll never compete with the Godfather of Soul - to be honest, he'd struggle to compete with Grandad by Clive Dunn - although we love this news that James Brown is a "big Will Young fan." We think we know how that started:

WY: Wooo! Mr. James Brown - I'm so thrilled to meet you. I'm a big, big fan of yours! Wooo!
JB: And I'm a big fan of yours, too. It's mutual, man. [Long, awkward pause] Please leave my caravan. [As WY runs off to telephone The Sun] Who the hell was that?


And there's no reason, of course, why Roger Waters shouldn't write an opera if he wants to - to be honest, judging by the way his writing has been going over the last couple of decades, it was only a matter of time. Ca Ira (There Is Hope) gets its debut in September in English and French.

But what we like is this:

"It's actually very melodic and it's unashamedly emotional. So, if the intellectuals of the modern opera world are catty about it, so be it. I fully expect some resistance. There will be a lot of, `Who does he think he is?'"

See? If you don't like it as opera, it'll be not because Waters' music isn't to your taste, it's because you're an intellectual. Does this mean he's written to appeal to the unthinking?

Not that Waters isn't above a bit of intellectualising himself, actually:

"It's not just a piece about the French Revolution, it's about revolution in a much broader sense, and it's about the capacity that human beings have for personal change," Waters said. "The piece is an exultation and an encouragement to those of us who believe the human race can discover its humanity and its capacity for empathy to the point where it may be possible for us at some point to guarantee the basic human rights of the individual (around the world)."

Blimey. But we'd imagine there's a subplot or two about kissing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


It turns out that Queen are making a slew of tickets available to members of the emergency services, adding something more tangible to the general "tribute to their bravery" status they've given to the concert.


The defenstration of Lauryn Hill's career continues - following on from last week's coolly-received US set comes another disaster, this time at The Coliseum in London. She turned up so late many of the crowd had elected to go off and find something better to do before she even got on the stage, some 120 minutes adrift already. And then - well, she didn't appear to be that interested in performing:

Her voice, at least, was still in fine form, but her songs were patchy, percussive renditions of non-hits that struggled along where they should have swaggered and too often found it hard to focus on a tune. Songs from The Miseducation, including a stripped-down, piano-backed version of the title track, and Final Hour, one of the few numbers to boast hip-hop beats, were at best so-so, while To Zion was turned into a tacky Calypso tune. Only Just Want You Around, from Hill’s Unplugged album, was a vaguely memorable moment that got the crowd clapping along.

And then, if anything, it managed to get worse:

she took to reading lengthy poems from pieces of paper. Those whose attention was waning were probably wondering who on earth dresses the singer these days. She had claimed it was picking an outfit for the evening that had made her so late — the original excuse was the traffic — but if that was the truth, it was two hours ill spent. A sludge-coloured, calf-length, pleated skirt, glitzy, Pat Butcher-esque earrings and a white silky skirt with a big, floppy bow made her look like a middle-aged secretary and when she grabbed the sides of her skirt to do some dance steps, it was like watching your gran at a wedding.

Better get that Fugee reunions running quickly...


Kenny Everett as Cupid Stunt

... it's a true life movie in which I play the part of Mariah Carey, the half-attached diva; and I've just been filming my big scene, based on a true life incident from this week. Anyway, I'm all out front on stage, giving my lungs a full workout. But then all my clothes fall off, and they have to drop the lights to stop everyone uploading my private quarters to the internet... but I'm telling you the plot. Anyway, go and see it, you'll love it, and it's all done in the best possible taste...


As a slightly-more-considered response to the London bombings than Queen electing to make their gig a tribute to the emergency services, this Saturday there'll be a hastily-arranged festival to roll its eyes at the sort of person who thinks that blowing their faces up is the best way to carry out a political debate. (Because even if you win the argument, erm, you're in bits... how does that work, exactly?)

On the bill will be Billy Bragg, Suggs, possibly Jarvis Cocker and St Etienne and... well, more people, we expect. Though not Omarion.

Billy Bragg says “This free festival gives all Londoners an opportunity to come together to send a message of defiance to the bombers by celebrating the diversity they wish to destroy.” Of course, by his own admission he used to want to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms.

Ken Livingstone - former NME cover star (and how does it work that IPC were meant to be sacking mad when someone put Kinnock on page one and yet didn't bat an eye when Livingstone was given an expensive, region-specific cover? They didn't explain that on Inky Fingers, did they?) says: “The bombings that took place last week indiscriminately attacked Londoners irrespective of race, culture, religion or age. London is the future. This free gig will show that London stands firm and celebrates its status as a city of all races, faiths and cultures, the very thing the bombers hate.”

And - and we mean this genuinely - it's nice to hear London quickly back to its slightly over-inflated sense of its own importance, isn't it? If we had to choose between a future of the b-stream kids exploding themselves into an attempt to stop people from thinking freely, and the future being London, we'd prefer a future of overpriced restaurants, bored tourists and crowded escalators.

Oh... yes, this Saturday, Burgess Park


We're sure someone who's better on European law than we are could confirm this, but if a Dutch court has said that Brien (RIAA's client body in the Netherlands) has no right to insist ISPs give up their user's details, doesn't this mean all of us in Europe should have equal protection? At least in theory? And doesn't that mean that the BPI legal actions ought at least to be stayed while it's decided if they do, actually, have the right to the names of filesharers?

Or should we all move (our data) to Holland instead? Certainly, we should be able to buy our broadband from Dutch companies...


Spinning around firing wildly like a dalek with his control switch buggered, Pete Doherty has now attacked the Libertines for being 'manufactured':

"Apart from the Sex Pistols, The Libertines were probably the most manufactured band ever. It was, 'Let's get the best looking people and be as much like The Strokes as possible.'"

Really? They didn't have much luck seeing as they ended up with an Ian Brown retread like you singing and sounding nothing like The Strokes; more to the point - why does that matter? You might have been in the Pizza Hut toilet trying to find a vein while we had the meeting, but it's been accepted by all but two churches in Minnesota that it doesn't matter if a band is manufactured or not, providing the process produces something worth having.

Interesting, though, that Doherty's claim echoes his ex-girlfriend's recent claims that he was little more than a chancer trying to emulate everyone else he'd ever heard of.

But, really: you were trying to be The Strokes? In what way? And, more importantly: Why?


We're getting dangerously close to the next Robbie Williams album, and with it, an ego-boosting tour.

Everyone in the Williams camp is hugely excited:

He also plans to perform across Europe, Asia and Australia to promote his new album Intensive Care. A source said: "Robbie is planning a massive assault on the charts and the tour will be his biggest ever. He's been out of the picture working on his album and can't wait to get out there and perform his new material. He will go all around the world with the Intensive Care tour but is planning to kick it all off in Britain."

We love this definition of 'all around the world' which excludes the USA.


All that time in rehab obviously is doing great work making Kelly Osbourne feel positive about herself. Just check out the difference:

12th May, 2003:

"I'm not going to starve myself or work out. I'm not going to take diet pills. I don't even count calories. That's why I didn't talk to mum for two weeks after I found out she was thinking of having cosmetic surgery to make her look thinner."

13th July, 2005:

"When I get older, I'm getting sucked and tucked. Look at my mother for God's sake! She looks fabulous and, if she can do it, why can't I?"

Those expensive therapy sessions are really helping Kelly have the correct attitude to American life, aren't they?


Having cancelled it on Thursday in the general awfulness of the day, Sum 41 have rescheduled their London date, it's now going to happen on July 17th.

What we did like, though, was in the confusion of the day the Sum 41 spokesperson basically admitted that any pretensions to being punk, serious, and a challenge to authority were little more than froth when he said there was no point in doing it that night anyway as the sort of fans Sum 41 has wouldn't be allowed to come in by their mums and dads.


Queen, who - let's face it - have never been ones to shy away from making some publicity out of a moment - have announced that their rescheduled Friday night gig will be a "tribute" to London's emergency services.

Paul Rodgers - who the BBC call "Queen frontman", but we tend to think of as "caretaker vocals manager" - explained:

"We feel it is fitting to thank London's emergency services for their extraordinary response in dealing with the effects of the bombing attacks and to celebrate the historical resilience of Londoners in their response to yet another atrocity."

Oh, come on, Paul, don't be so hard on yourself - the new tour might be a bit arthritic and pointless, but to call it an atrocit... oh, I see what you mean.

We're not entirely sure how this works as a tribute - there's not going to be a sudden distribution of free tickets amongst ambulance people, is there; and the cops who are lumbered with trying to keep the traffic moving round the Park on Friday night might have a slightly rueful smile at the thought that they get thrown a huge tribute, and then have to work at it.


Choosing not to see imitation as any way a sincere form of flattery, Cheryl Tweedy has attacked Charlotte Church for "stealing" Girls Aloud's "sound".

And the getting drunk and scrapping in pubs, too. That's something else Chazza took.

And having a pretty-boy sports boyfriend? Ooh, she might as well take the bloody lot.

Of course, if Cheryl's really that worried about people pinching other people's ideas, she might want to keep out of the Spice Girls' path for a little while.

Oh, hang about:

According to The Sun a source said: "Cheryl reckons Charlotte's album is a carbon copy of a lot of Girls Aloud material. She says Charlotte has no originality and reckons she is trying to copy the image that made them a chart success.

Oh, it's not the music at all that's the problem, then... it's the bras and skirts.


The first band names have been confirmed for Norway's Hammerslag festival - Draugstafur, Framfred, Grand Alchemist, Myrkskog, Svartahrid and Tsjuder. It's not yet known if the Kaiser Chiefs have confirmed, but they do seem to play every bloody thing else.


Sleater-Kinney are set to tour the US and Canada later this year - only, they'll be supporting Pearl Jam. A working definition putting the art before the hoarse.


Starbucks continuing morphing into a record shop continues apace: they're introducing CD racks in their US and Canadian stores, in order to offer a wider range.

It's not known if HMV is intending to sell iced coffees and overpriced muffins in response. (Actually, the Brighton Virgin Megastore did used to have an American-style soda bar on its mezzanine level when we were hairy; we only ever saw the staff drinking in there, and eventually the ripped it out to make room for the vinyl albums when they increased CD floorspace).


Poor Delta Goodrem - she's enjoyed the upside of being the New Kylie, now she's being marked out as riding a Kylie-style backlash - the period describes as "the backlash that turned Kylie Minogue into a singing budgie for years." No, we don't know what that means, and we're not even sure what period of "years" they're referring to - there was a period when Minogue went for indie credibility, but that wasn't a backlash, it was an experiment. Albeit one that commercially wasn't that great. And it was more months, not years. And what does "singing budgie" mean?

Basically, there's an attempt to try and shore up Goodrem's brand value by suggesting that even Kylie went through a period of commercial wobble - although the two cases aren't comparable at all; Luke Hede from Dainty Consolidated Entertainment is also doing his bit:

"She will have sold 80,000 tickets across the country," Mr Hede said.

"It is really disappointing to hear all this misinformation about her concerts. We don't know where it is coming from, and why, but it just isn't true."

Mr Hede said more than 8000 tickets had been sold for her Monday's show at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre which has a 9500 capacity.

So, that's hundreds and hundreds of unsold tickets. Over fifteen percent of tickets left unsold. Plenty of room inside. And so on. And it's not unfair to assume that he's plucked out the best sales figures as an example, which points to other venues starting with at least a fifth of the hall offering space for hats and coats.

But we can help Dainty Consolidated Entertainment (brilliant name that, by the way - Consolidated Entertainment - you can just smell the steaming of song parts from discarded carcases and the vat of boyband gloop bubbling away in the corner of their Fun Factory, can't you?) in their search for "where the misinformation" is coming from... we'd point you in the direction of Delta's own interview with AAP where she played the "I had cancer" card to try and explain away the low ticket sales. Not, you'll note, a "I've sold tonnes of tickets", but "I haven't got to connect with everyone because I was behind four walls in a hospital for a while."

We suspect the main reason for the cool take-up of her offer is that she's made it plain she's not really that bothered about Australia, and that as soon as she's done her last gig on this tour, she's pissing off to New York. We'd imagine that most Australians just aren't that fussed enough to come and wave her off.


Libraries of the world are a happier place this morning: it looks like plans for Puff Daddy'a autobiography have been shelved, as he and Random House come to a settlement over the advance they gave him for a book that never arrived:

Citing a confidentiality agreement, Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum would not say whether Combs had returned the money, but did say that the publisher would not be releasing a book by him.

If it was us, even if we didn't get the USD300,000 back, we'd see not having to publish his scribbly-writing as a a victory for the publisher.


The other day, ITN were moaning that the BBC were providing experimental news services for mobile phones, as it meant that they would find it harder to sell their services - which totally ignored the important fact that British licence fee payers have already paid for this content, and while it might be a pity for ITN if they have to compete with a public service provider, that's no basis for telling us that we can't have the news we've paid for - it's actually a step further along from a farmer blocking a spring which runs across his land, and then selling bottled water to the thirsty village down the line.

Now, classical music labels are fuming about the BBC's Beethoven downloads. Most observers are thrilled with the results of this experiment, which appears to have brought in an audience of people who don't usually listen to classical music, giving them the first step towards a whole lifetime of musical purchases. Everyone should be happy, right?

This week the BBC will announce there have been more than a million downloads of the symphonies during the month-long scheme. But the initiative has infuriated the bosses of leading classical record companies who argue the offer undermines the value of music and that any further offers would be unfair competition.

You really do just find yourself banging your head into your hands, don't you? Apart from the positive upswing for classical music offered by this initiative, they're not FREE; we've paid for them through our licence fee.

Besides: It's time to take a strong stand against the nonesense that giving away the odd bit of music "undermines the value of music" - it's business bollocks, and these companies know it. When the woman in the uniform offers a sample of the new sort of cheese in tesco, Tesco doesn't then see its sales of cheeses fall by 30% - "I was going to buy some cheddar and two tubs of philadelphia, but now I've had a small cube of Port Salut, I don't see why I should pay for any cheese ever again. Indeed, I'm going to steal a cow..."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


It's been a while since we'd had a story about Wal-Mart waving its weight around and dictating what its customers can and can't do, but they're up to their old tricks: they've leant to Universal to change the design of his new reggae-country album Countryman:

Curiously, while Wal-Mart feels its customers shouldn't be allowed to see an album with a harmless hemp leaf on, yet in the UK they're happy to have Sharon Osbourne - a woman who's enjoyed more than a few drug-addled days and nights of her own - as spokesperson and face of the Asda chain. Curious double standards - or is that the difference we're meant to be pocketing at Asda?


You've got to tip your hat for the level of self-delusion being shown by, uh, theotherblokesfromINXS - they're certain that Michael Hutchence would have been amused by discovering his replacement is being chosen on some form of game show - and who wouldn't, eh? "Hey, that job you've been doing? We could more or less choose someone at random, and they'd be able to do it just as well as you." Yeah, we reckon that Hutchence would be delighted by that.

Not, of course, that the band are looking for Hutchence II:

Tim Farriss says the band isn't "in any way, shape or form trying to replace Michael Hutchence."

"What we really want is somebody who brings their own personality along and someone completely different," Farriss told AP Radio in a recent interview.

Of course they want someone totally different - why would they look for someone who'd shimmer star quality through his fingernails and steal all the limelight from them? Plus, it'd be nice to have a lead singer who doesn't force the cancellation of lucrative foreign tours because his extreme-wank hobby slipped out control. They're looking for someone totally different. Oh, and did they mention someone who'd take an order once in a while?


Yes, yes, you have your mp3 blogs, but let's not forget that the internet is still mainly a visual medium; putting it to its best use is Sophie Jarry's On Stage and Back, a collection of images of bands so glorious, you'll be licking your LCD flatscreen.


With the news that Gretchen Franklin, Eastender's Ethel, has died at the age of 94, it's fitting for us to mention her three worthy rock footnotes. First, of course, she was a cousin of Clive Dunn, who had a novelty number one (Grandad, which featured Rick Wakeman doing the bulk of the musical duties); secondly, she appeared - albeit uncredited - in the Beatles' Help movie. Thirdly - and this is how we'll always remember her - she made a guest appearance in one of Mark E Smith's most bemusing couplets, from Telephone Thing:

How dare you assume I want to parlez-vous with you/
Gretchen Franklin/
Nosey matron thing

To this day, we've never quite worked out what he meant.


Ian and Will are going to be dragging the Echo And The Bunnymen show out on a microtour of the UK towards the arse-end of 2005:

Nottingham Rescue Rooms (October 22)
Sheffield Leadmill (24)
Manchester University (27)
Birmingham Carling Academy (30)
London Shepherds Bush Empire (November 1)


The Kaiser Chiefs are very, very keen you shouldn't confuse the re-release of I Predict A Riot with a desperate cash-in on a record which didn't really do that well on its first trot-out. Oh, no, apparently that first release wasn't a proper release at all:

"I Predict A Riot was given a limited release late last year, this single gives the track a full commercial release across Europe and pairs it with our newest track Sink That Ship, written on tour - and recorded in June this year with our good friend Steve Harris at the controls."

So, there - apparently, it isn't a re-release, the original release doesn't count. For some reason, mainly because it wasn't available in Belguim

While we're on the Kaiser Chiefs, something only really occurred to us while we were thinking about Live 8 this week: how on earth did they get chosen to open the American leg of the event? There's at least something eye-catching about kicking off with U2 and Paul McCartney, whatever we might think about Bono. But lifting the curtain with a largely unknown band from another country? No wonder not even MTV took it seriously...


We've been trying to place Imogen Bailey - apparently (according to the Australian press) the British were convinced at one point she was going to be the next Kylie.

Now, it seems, following her failed bid to even manage to be the new Alessi twins, she's being sued for non-payment of the solicitor's bills for contractual work on her music career (one number five dance hit in Australia and a second single which never got released).

If you're a professional working with musicians, the message from today's news is: get your payment upfront.


It's not really looking that good for EMI, then - they're finally getting the Spice Girls to put together that final album, only the five Spices aren't prepared to do it together. Indeed, not only will they not be in the same studio, they're actually not even recording in the same country as each other. Victoria is doing her business in Spain, Mel B in LA; Geri is screeching like a banshee with its fingers trapped in Arkwright's till in the South of France while Mel C and Emma are doing their work in London.

Has the band changed since their last record? A source:

"They plan a greatest hits album next year and a couple of new songs would help sales. It's early stages. The girls won't release anything if it doesn't sound right - but they are hoping for the best."

Apparently, yes, they have changed - they've discovered quality control.


At last hip hop gets its own answer to I'm With The Band - although, disappointingly, Karrine Steffans' Confessions of a Video Vixen have been thoroughly legalled, which make them less fun. But there's still much fun to be had:

Though she never actually saw him take drugs during their six-month relationship in 2002-2003, Bobby Brown behaved like a man under the influence. She describes a conversation in which he kept nodding off while sitting on the toilet, and another in which he claimed he was a member of al- Qaida.

It's worth pointing out that Brown is the only one of the 16 blokes she writes about who's so far reacted, calling her a liar. Though he doesn't say what bits she's lying about.

The highlight, though, is the discovery that Usher is less of a panther in bed - more like George Costanza:

She and Usher Raymond used to share Subway sandwiches in bed in between lovemaking sessions in 2000.

Get your own copy:


You have to wonder about a financial services company which is so sharp it not only agreed to help Michael Jackson refinance his debt last November, but then acted surprised when he didn't pay the bill. Surely the clue, Prescient Acquistion Group (was ever a company less-well named?) was when he asked you to help him with a fifth of a billion dollars debt.

Anyway, Jackson, who also apparently bought Sony out of the half of the Beatles catalogue they owned at the same time (meaning he'll be making cash out of every Live 8 DVD sold, if you think about it) hasn't paid for their advice, and now Prescient are taking Jackson to court:

Prescient said it was entitled to an immediate payment of $24.8 million, which is 9 percent of the financing used to pay off the Bank of America debt and a $3.3 million advance to Jackson and his company.

Prescient accused Jackson of breach of contract, saying that it had done what was expected in a written agreement and that Jackson and his company were not entitled to "retain the benefits of those services in equity and good conscience without paying to Prescient an amount to be determined at trial."

Ocean Finance are considering running adverts with a "need money to consolidate your debts, and maybe with enough over for a new nose" message.

ROCK SICK LIST: Marianne Faithfull

Get well soon, Marianne Faithfull; she's had a "slight" heart attack and as result has had to pull out of the movie version of the Picture of Dorian Gray. She's expected to make a full recovery.


It sounds as if the Scotsman has got a little giddy on the BPI's celebrations of the ten millionth download: Download generation turn backs on music piracy is how it headlines the story. If, um, that's what you want to believe, guys. The paper doesn't explain who it is the BPI are suing if that's the case.

Monday, July 11, 2005


Leaving Westwood looking ever more isolated, Danny Rampling is going to quit djing on New Year's Eve. He's issued a statement:

It’s been said that as a pioneering DJ I made a significant contribution to the history of club culture over these last two decades. I have most certainly filled my own personal suitcase of dreams and ambitions during the course of the last 18 years.

Looking back from where I am today as a man, a husband and a father - I am humbled to have played a part in a time that will go down in humanity as a musical revolution. A time when music took a powerful seat at the table of world’s change and made it’s impact globally to millions of happy people. Dare I say love-happy faces of all creeds and races?

The passion and the energy I helped project in developing the UK and American House music scene in its infancy was contagious, it spread like a bush-fire until it engulfed the world and regardless of what the cynics may have said it was a rebellious force that made a positive statement for change in British youth culture. Especially the second summer of love - the halcyon years of 1988 and 1989. “Shoom Shoom” they roared in every room.

Those 18 years on the DJ stage have been such a brilliant experience. Sharing music and love with people all around the world in the darkest corners to the most fabulous settings always spreading the true vibe of House music with its message of peace and harmony.

You might notice that Rampling isn't really expecting the world to go "Oh, really? That's nice for him" and surf on to the next announcement - this is, you know, significant. He developed everything and invented energy, you know.

You're probably interested in what Danny is going to do next. Oh, go on, pretend you are... yes, he's going to open restaurtants:

Over the years of playing around the world, I have been slowly developing a taste for fine wines and modern eclectic cuisine. Many of my friends are chefs or wine importers and the passion and enthusiasm I have for this has made me take the decision to bow out at the top and open a restaurant in central London next year. My son Claudio and my wife Patricia will also benefit from me being at home in the city full time rather than jetting off around the world returning jet-lagged for days only to go off and do it again a few days later.

The new vision is very challenging but its also exciting getting closer to the realisation of another dream of being a restaurateur. I am certain now is the right time to turn and face the change head on and enjoy. The emphasis will be on having fun at a restaurant (rather than a stuffy silent environment) and enjoying stylish food of the highest standard. It will be a large chilled space with 80+ covers and I am fortunate that my business partner has 17 years experience in Michelin Star restaurants. The cuisine will be modern European with Southern Mediterranean influences. More information of this venture will be announced.

Oh god, a huge restuarant with overpriced food and a "fun" atmosphere. He's lucky he's got a Michelin star associate on board, because apart from that detail he makes it sound like a Brewsters or a Hungry Horse.

But he wants to bow out on a high, so, of course, his announcement has to end with a self-puffing overstatement:

The culmination of 18 years DJ'ing will also see a landmark compilation release on Defected. I am currently putting together a 3 CD set, which will be released at the end of the summer. Two of the CDs will reflect the greatest timeless tracks I’ve played over the years, which will reflect the magic of the days of Shoom, Pure Sexy and the Love Groove Dance Party. The final CD will be eclectic Balearic. This collector’s edition will be a piece of history.

Not just a mix CD, then. Oh, no, it's a landmark and a piece of history, like Lincoln's hat.


Curious goings-on (or rather not) with Tribal Gathering: last Wednesday, all the VIP passes were stolen from the organisers at King Cross; today, the event was pulled.

The wording of the official statement seems to imply that it was the London Bombings which had led to the cancellation:



- although as it doesn't actually state clearly what they mean by "recent events", they could just mean the theft of their passes. Surely the organisers wouldn't be attempting to hide behind the London Bombings as a not-quite-excuse, would they? And if they really do mean the London bombs - how much extra security would that have meant, exactly?


The death has been announced of Chris Tetley, long serving Picadilly Radio metal dj. He was with the Manchester station between 1977 and 1993, where he shared a love of music coupled with the inside track that could only come from his time as a producer and road manager with acts including Black Sabbath and Joe Cocker.

Tetley developed a lucrative sideline as interrogator for a seemingly endless number of interview picture disc albums, notching up time with everyone from Ronnie James Dio to Roger Waters.


Charlie From Busted better hurry up with his Fightstar album if he doesn't want the only people interested in it to have already hit puberty by the time it comes out. The album has been put back to the start of 2006, because Charlie doesn't want to inflict a substandard album on the fans. We're not certain leaving it six months will make the music any better, but at least giving it a while will reduce the number of fans interested, and thus fewer people disappointed.


Bob Geldof might have fallen short in making poverty history, but even if he'd managed it, he wouldn't have got this year's Nobel Prize: George Michael is surely going to scoop that, as he's brokered peace between Mel B and Geri Halliwell.

Actually, we've just thought through the implications of what that might mean, and we're scared now.


We find it hard to believe that it takes two people to produce one of Madonna's godawful children's books - intended to take a trite story and staple a pisspoor Kabbalah message to them, but according to Page Six, we can't really blame her for how bad they are: the paper reckons they're written by Eitan Yardeni, who churns out stuff for the Kabbalah centre. It seems unlikely that someone who has a day job that involves writing could turn out such stilted prose, but it would explain why Madonna sounds like she's unfamiliar with her own books when she does one of those sightly-unsettling readings to try and boost her sales.

On the side, while we were doing what we laughingly refer to as "research" for this piece, we came across this story from November 2000:

What was slated to be an evening of charity, dinner and support turned out to be a magical musical evening on Sunday, Oct. 29, at London's Harrington Club when Mick Jagger and his current and former Rolling Stones buddies, Ronnie Wood and Bill Wyman respectively, were joined onstage by Eurythmics band member Dave Stewart and award-winning pianist/composer Michael Kamen for a once-in-a-lifetime jam session in honor of the Kabbalah Centre. It was Jagger on vocals, Ronnie Wood on percussion, Bill Wyman on bass, Dave Stewart on guitar and Michael Kamen on keyboards. The scene was truly Rock and Roll Hall of Fame material with the reunion of Jagger, Wood and Wyman playing together.

The music began right after dinner when Jagger's brother and band started to raise the tempo with the sound of dueling guitars, a violin, percussion and vocals. Jagger and Hall took to the dance floor and their guests followed suit.

Curiouser and more curious.


This item on Popdirt clearly has been worded to elicit a punchline:

Macmillan Dog Day
Former Hear'Say member Kym Marsh and Nicole Appleton attended Macmillan Dog Day on Tuesday (July 5) at Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, Great Britain


We like a joke as much as the next person, but surely inviting Whitney Houston to judge American Idol is a little bit unfair - the poor woman can barely judge distances these days, much less another person's talents. Still, it might give the guy paid to paint out the coke bottles for ITV another job to do, trying to make Whitney look like she's actually in the studio...


Actually, she does have a point, but we're not sure that the best response to the poor quality of maternity wear is to have Britney Spears designing her take on mum-to-be togs. Although we can sort of see the logic: "If you're going to have waters breaking all over, why would you want to be wearing underwear anyway?"


The BPI squeezed a couple of bottles of Babycham out of the budget for suing single mothers and preteens in order to celebrate the ten millionth download from UK-based music servers - legal, obviously since the first one. Just imagine how they could have done if the prices were realistic.

It all adds up to a 52% increase in sales of singles across various formats - surprisingly, the seven inch vinyl single had something of a surge, too - in 2004, 154 thousand were sold; last year, that shot up to 288,000. Probably because they're not hobbled with Digital Rights Management.

The BPI is excited by the news of all those profit-heavy downloads:

BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson said: “The record industry has enthusiastically embraced the new legal download services since their emergence in the mainstream little more than a year ago and now we’re beginning to reap the rewards."

We love this idea they're trying to promote of themselves as being at the screeching, fire-spuming edge of technology - it would be more honest for Jamieson to say "having spent nearly a decade trying to scupper digital distribution, we're feeling a bit foolish that if we'd pulled our fingers out in 1998 we could have actually avoided that whole downturn in music sales altogether." But he wouldn't.

The BPI is also gurgling at how British bands are once again doing moderately well in America:

Top 40 UK Artist Albums in USA 2004, Sales

1, Stardust - Great American Songbook Vol. 3, Rod Stewart, (J), 1,207,703
2, Great American Songbook Vol. 2, Rod Stewart, (J), 814,173
3, Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand, (Epic), 778,229
4, 1, The Beatles, (Capitol), 708,982
5, Life For Rent, Dido, (Arista), 696,293
6, A Rush Of Blood To The Head, Coldplay, (Capitol), 669,730
7, Start Something, Lostprophets, (Columbia), 629,180
8, Me & Mr Johnson, Eric Clapton, (Warner Bros), 593,024
9, Great American Songbook Vol. 1, Rod Stewart, (J), 575,436
10, Permission To Land, The Darkness, (Atlantic), 559,958
11, Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd, (Capitol), 551.362
12, The Soul Sessions, Joss Stone, (S Curve), 545,222
13, *Back In Black, AC-DC, (Epic), 455,085
14, Early Days & Latter Days, Led Zeppelin, (Atlantic), 432,951
15, Greatest Hits, Queen, (Hollywood), 399,572
16, Greatest Hits, Elton John 1970-2002, (Island), 388,474
17, Hopes & Fears, Keane, (Interscope), 387,014
18, Mind, Body & Soul, Joss Stone, (S Curve), 373,065
19, The Voice, The Very Best Of, Rod Stewart, (Warner Bros), 369,498
20, Patience, George Michael, (Epic), 356,484
21, Seal IV, Seal, (Warner Bros), 344,085
22, Jump Back, The Best Of The, Rolling Stones, (Virgin), 304,411
23, The Cure, The Cure, (Geffen), 298,442
24, Sacred Love, Sting, (A&M), 297,082
25, Number Ones, The Bee Gees, (Polydor), 288,202
26, Final Straw, Snow Patrol, (A&M), 277,784
27, Absolution, Muse, (Warner Bros), 269,918
28, Best Of, David Bowie, (Virgin), 267,262
29, Forty Licks, The Rolling Stones, (Virgin), 259,938
30, Parachutes, Coldplay, (Capitol), 257,495
31, * Live, AC-DC, (Epic), 253,357
32, Vault - Greatest Hits, Def Leppard, (Island), 248,371
33, Peachtree Road, Elton John, (Universal), 241,049
34, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club..., The Beatles, (Capitol), 227,104
35, Lennon Legend, John Lennon, (Capitol), 219,462
36, Hits, Phil Collins, (Atlantic), 217,911
37, Best Of, Sade, (Epic), 216,147
38, Mamma Mia, Original London Cast, (Decca), 210,808
39, Best Of, Van Morrison, (Universal), 209,308
40, Greatest, Duran Duran, (Capitol), 205,397

We're not entirely sure this is quite the putting one over of the US for both the Boston Tea Party and sending us Debbie Gibson: a market that size, and only one album manages to squeak over the million mark. Added to which, there's very little there that isn't compilationy or cataloguey. It's hardly the Beatles invading, is it?

Finally, the best sellers for the second pack of three months from the year (quarter 2, in other words):

Top Ten Albums, Quarter 2 (April-June) 2005

1, X & Y, Coldplay, (Parlophone)
2, Don't Believe The Truth, Oasis, (Big Brother)
3, Back To Bedlam, James Blunt, (Atlantic)
4, Forever Faithless - The Greatest Hits, Faithless, (BMG)
5, The Singles, Basement Jaxx, (XL Recordings)
6, Trouble, Akon, (Universal Island)
7, Demon Days, Gorillaz, (Parlophone)
8, Now That's What I Call Music 60, Various Artists, (EMI Virgin/UMTV)
9, In Your Honour, Foo Fighters, (BMG)
10, Employment, Kaiser Chiefs, (B Unique/Polydor)

Top Ten Singles, Quarter 2 (April-June) 2005

1, Axel F, Crazy Frog, (Gut)
2, (Is This The Way To) Amarillo, Tony Christie ft Peter Kay, (UMTV)
3, Lonely, Akon, (Universal Island)
4, Feel Good Inc, Gorillaz, (Parlophone)
5, Signs, Snoop Dogg/Wilson/Timberlake, (Polydor)
6, Switch, Will Smith, (Polydor)
7, Don't Phunk With My Heart, Black Eyed Peas, (Polydor)
8, I Like The Way, Bodyrockers, (Mercury)
9, Ghetto Gospel, 2pac ft Elton John, (Polydor)
10, Lyla, Oasis, (Big Brother)

Top Ten DVDs, Quarter 2 (April-June) 2005

1, Elvis By The Presleys, Elvis Presley, (BMG)
2, Family Jewels, AC/DC, (Sony Music Video)
3, Live At Wembley Stadium, Queen, (Parlophone)
4, Born To Boogie, Marc Bolan & T-Rex, (Sanctuary)
5, Live In Concert, Thin Lizzy, (ILC Video)
6, Who Put The M In Manchester, Morrissey, (Sanctuary)
7, Greatest Video Hits - 1, Queen, (Parlophone)
8, Legends In Concert, Dean Martin, (GMVS)
9, On Fire - Live At The Bowl, Queen, (EMI/Parlophone)
10, Love Metal Archives - Vol 1, Him, (BMG)

... and there's not much there which suggests that America is about to be hit by a scene they've never seen, is there?