Saturday, August 06, 2005


We're not sure quite why the Staffordshire Police are planning to take their facial recognition software to this year's V Festival:

Police at the festival in Weston Park, Staffordshire, will use an intelligence database linked to CCTV cameras to scan the site and return facial matches.

"The safety of V Festival fans is of utmost importance to us," said V Festival organiser Andy Redhead.

Now, we could understand - just about - if they were doing this at an event which has a record of trouble (Leeds Festival style, perhaps), or if there was a real and credible threat of disruption by an organisation whose members were known to the police. But it doesn't seem to be the case here:

"This year's Staffordshire V Festival will be the biggest yet, with over 70,000 people set to attend," said Chief Inspector Jon Drake, from Staffordshire Police. "Violence of any kind will not be tolerated. A small minority of offenders will not be allowed to spoil the weekend for the tens of thousands of law-abiding music fans."

What they're not saying in the reports is who, exactly, they're going to be looking out for. If there is a serious threat, shouldn't we be told? And if there isn't, should there be this trawling?


If we were Ashlee Simpson, we'd be keen to try and forget the whole Saturday Night Live farrago, and concentrate on her career as, um, whatever it is she actually does. But, oh no, she now thinks she has something to prove, and is keen to get back on. Of course, she proved something the last time she was on - not merely that she was miming (no surprise there) but that she lacked the basics of professionalism and to cope with something bad happening. It wasn't the miming, Simpson, it was the way you flapped and then run off leaving your backing band to carry the can.


We've had a note to ourselves to bring you a link to this - frankly, astonishing - pair of screen grabs for a while, but have never quite found an excuse to shoehorn them in, so we'll just go with it now: Spizzazzz had a post last May about Kelly Osbourne's extraordinary CD:UK appearance - not so much a push-up bra; more heavy lifting equipment. The question 'what the hell was she thinking' was probably answered when she slunk off the rehab not long after. The photos are safe for work, but not your psyche.

And while we're talking of other music blogs, the growth in the number of mp3 blogs shows no signs of slowing down (did we read this week that there's a new blog created every second now?) and, thankfully, lots of them are pretty good, bringing a range of music you wouldn't find together elsewhere - hats off to Something Old, Something New and Sex Kittens Compare Scratches.


In order to do something or other - god alone knows what - Robbie Williams hopes to find twenty-five lookalikes. Although, presumably, if you were unfortunate enough to have born looking like him (and, by extension, as if your father had been a third-generation in-bred troll and your mother has a little minatour somewhere in her ancestry) you would either never leave the house for fear you would be bundled into the back of a waggon as part of an unreconstructed circus sideshow, protesting "but I am not an animal" every mile of the journey; or else would be spending all your time faxing, emailing, phoning and writing to the makers of Extreme Makeover offering anything (money, sex, spare bodily organs) to get on the show.


Following on from the Uncut 'mostest influential' poll, BBC News Online have been inviting their readers to share the music that changed their world. (Sit down, BPI, not share like that). Some of the entries are pretty smart:

Oops I Did It Again by Britney Spears changed my world. It was after that song that I fully realised the horrific consequences of mass-marketing on the Western world.

Some are pretty much your standard Simon Bates does Our Tune:

"Will You?" from Breaking Glass, sung by Hazel O'Connor. The words are so beautiful and the saxophone solo incredibly haunting. Absolute class.

And some are just plain wrong:

How can you all leave Billy Idol out? He changed everything in the 80s with his music and MTV! And like the Stones, he's still touring. Rebel Yell!


If there's one bunch of joyless uptights more dour than the RIAA, it's the various Olympic bodies around the globe who employ squads of people ready to jump on any infraction of the hallowed Olympic trademarks, lest anyone confuse the four-yearly marketing event with, for example, a good-natured sports event. Latest to feel the wrath is the band Olympic Hopefuls. The band's Darren Jackson hoped they could sort something out:

"Our initial thought was like, 'Well, what if we offer to play at every Olympics for free?' But they didn't think that was too funny," Jackson said. "Then we considered legal action, but we dropped it pretty quickly when our lawyer told us the law was very clear-cut and we were clearly in the wrong."

So the Olympic Hopefuls were forced to shed the "Olympic" from their moniker, and press on as just "the Hopefuls." While Jackson is a bit bummed out by the sudden change, he pledged that he'll continue to keep at least one aspect of his Olympic past alive: For the immediate future, the band will continue to perform in its tracksuits.

We can understand that, technically, yes, they were in breach of the US Olypmic Committee's trademark. But does the USOC really believe that people might buy tickets for a small indie gig in Minneapolis because they really thought they were going to be going to the Olympics?

THE GAME IS STILL NEW? Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Awards

The Annual Billboard-Arun R&B and hip hop awards have had a glittery prize giving (they're like the Source awards, only without the stabbings):

Album: "The Massacre," 50 Cent

Single: "Let Me Love You," Mario

Artist: Usher

Male Artist: Usher

Female Artist: Alicia Keys

Duo or Group: Destiny's Child

New Artist: The Game

Singles Artist: Usher

Albums Artist: 50 Cent

Rap Album: "The Massacre," 50 Cent

Singles Sales: "I Believe," Fantasia

Singles Airplay: "Let Me Love You," Mario

Hot Rap Tracks: "Drop It Like It's Hot," featuring Snoop Dogg and Pharell

Songwriter: Alicia Keys

Producer: Jonathan "Lil' Jon" Smith

Major Label: Interscope

Independent Label: TVT

A list so totally devoid of surprises or much in the way of interest we had to weight it down with a housebrick to stop it floating off.

Friday, August 05, 2005


We don't know if this says more about the armed forces than it does about Ozzy Osbourne in 2005, but amongst the booths at Ozzfest dates in the US are army and marine recruting tents. You know how it is, you plan a trip to see the Sabbath, have a couple of drinks, and before you know it you find yourself in Basra trying desperately to fill in a couple of gaps in your memory...

And we thought the Osbourne family had gone too far when they signed up to do ads for Asda/Walmart.


Two depressing little facts, which make us despair more than they should: Coldplay's X&Y reaches double platinum in the US (that's two million) while Mariah Carey's We Belong Together has now been US number one for ten weeks.


One of those stories which seems to be all over the place at the moment: Brandon Flowers has quietly got married to his truelove Tana Munblowsky. Munblowsky apparently manages an Urban Outfitters in Las Vegas. The idea was to have a quiet affair, away from the gaze of the press, although somehow the detail about Elton John having been desperate to go found its way into the public domain.


There's been a great deal of excitement over the possibilty that Prada - who make more expensive versions of the clothes you can buy in any highstreet store - might hire Kasabian to be their new models. Kasabian's spokespeople are playing it down slightly:

"There has been a lot of talk about an advertising deal with Prada, but the lads are considering their next move before committing to anything. They do hang out with a lot of models and people from the fashion world - which is where the idea must have come from."

This sounds to us like the hope a slightly more rugged company will come forward and snatch them up. Mind you - "they do hang out a lot with models" - what the sort of buggery is that meant to mean? It has echoes of Mr. Lister's "I know architects and doctors, Reeves", if you ask us.


When I was a lot younger, we used to view the kid from up the road with a bit of pity, as his sole ambition was to reach the age of 14 so he could go into pubs with his Dad. But at least he was only twelve years old at this point (this was back when kids at least waited until they were at least teenagers before developing alocholism). But Avril Lavigne is twenty, which makes her desperation to turn twenty-one a whole lot sadder:

"I'm going to have a big bash in Las Angeles. I'm not sure whether I'll do a show or just have a huge party.
The weekend after, I'm going to take all my friends to Las Vegas because I'll be old enough to go in the casinos. It's going to be awesome!"

What makes it even sadder is that Avril only wants to go to Vegas in order to see Celine Dion.


Vodaphone-pushing artrock ahoy, as the Dandy Warhols come for mini-prance around the more-densely populated areas of the UK:

Glasgow Academy (October 23)
Manchester Ritz (25)
London Hammersmith Palais (26)


Liam Gallagher has laid down the law - clearly he's enjoying there being someone more unreliable and out of control than he is - insisting that Babyshambles will never get another chance to support Oasis:

“That’s where the relationship ended. What we’re not going to do is give him a second chance.

“It’s not a question of professionalism. It’s much more simple than that. This is the greatest group in the world and what we’re not going to do is let anyone, Pete Doherty, Liam Gallagher or Elvis, fuck it all up.”

Elvis Presley was not available for comment.


To mark the 100th edition of Uncut, they asked musicians, artists and other people without proper jobs what the artistic moments that changed the world were. Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone won. Of course, this is all a bunch of eyewash anyway - how can you boil down a tipping point in the culture, and if you could, why would the Sex Pistol's Never Mind The Bollocks be a more crucial point than, say, their Today appearance on Thames, or a proper punk release like the Damned's New Rose- but, for what it's worth, these would be the top ten:

1. Bob Dylan Like a Rolling Stone
2. Elvis Presley Heartbreak Hotel
3. The Beatles She Loves You
4. The Rolling Stones (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
5. A Clockwork Orange
6. The Godfather and The Godfather II
7. David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
8. Taxi Driver
9. Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
10. The Prisoner


Maybe it's just us, but given Kerry Katona's recent clincally fed-up problems, we're a little surprised that the first thing she's done after getting better is to pay for someone to add permanent scarring onto her wrists. But, as we say, that could just be us.


As if it wasn't hard enough being caught on a spacecraft where you have to go outside and rip the tilespacers off the side of the thing, while you sit in the middle of nowhere wondering if you're going to make it back to Earth in one bit, you've now got bloody U2 blaring out at you.

Just in passing: We were interested to note at the Burger King in the Milton Keynes mall this week just how comprehensive the NASA grounding of all shuttles has been:


There have been so many bands returning with new material after five, ten, even thirty years this spring and summer that Mudhoney announcing their first record since 2002 hardly seems to be quite as exciting as it should. According to SubPop's Jonathan Poneman, it's going to be more political than you've come to expect from Mudhoney (although it's not going to be a Billy Bragg set).

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Doing the legwork for you, when you're after downloads, is the new Beta version of Yahoo Audio search - it's promising to scrabble together all the formats, from all the sources (including illegal ones, apparently), and on initial poking does pretty well turning up things that iTunes miss - The Siddeleys are on there, for example - and it's got a separate tab for podcasts. Of course, its success or otherwise will depend on people sharing the details of their audio files with Yahoo, and the RIAA not turning up and spoiling things...


We'd already reported that less than two days after Live 8, Geldof's celeb management team at Kruger Cowne had whacked up photos of him and Birhan Woldu onto his 'hire the humanitarian' website; now, it turns out, they've virtually doubled the cost of getting Geldof to your event, happening, or lecturn:

"We reassessed his fees after Live 8. We have about 20 people on our books, including Gordon Ramsay and Ruby Wax but Geldof is absolutely the most in demand. Everyone wants him.

"We upped his fees to £50,000 and now we are in New York arranging a talk tour for him across America."

Now, what was the phrase that Geldof used to describe people making a couple of hundred quid flogging tickets on Ebay? "Making filthy money off the back of the poorest people in the world", we seem to recall.

Intrestingly, Youssou N'Dour popped up on Today last week expressing the hope that Bob and Bono might find a couple of hours to help pull together a benefit single for those caught in the Niger Crisis - oddly, he doesn't seem to have been called back by them yet. On the programme, John Humphrys asked N'Dour why, when the Niger situation was already at a crisis point when Live 8 happened, nobody thought to mention it during the concert. The question was ducked by N'Dour - understandably, as it really should have been directed at Bob-Bono. Why was Bono waving his ducky suitcase around making jokes about golfing with world leaders when people were starving to death - sure, Live8 had another agenda, but... couldn't someone have at least taken the chance to bring another humanitarian crisis to the attention of the watching world? Or would that have harmed the prices on the after-dinner speakers circuit?


It might seem at first just another so-so empty claim when Liam Gallagher compares himself to Elvis, but maybe he's not just doing his usual empty posturing. Elvis did show an early spark that got first ignited, and then forced from memory, by over-indulgence and the excess of success. Maybe this Liam's way of telling us he's ready for his Hula movies now.


The Sun ran a front page earlier this week suggesting that Britain, as a nation, had not so much gone to the dogs as slathered itself in gravy, shoved a handfull of Snausages into its ass, and rushed down to the greyhound track shouting 'Fetch! Fetch me!' Surprisingly, what rose the Sun's ire wasn't the way we let Murdoch operate his newspapers and TV stations in a desperate bid to force the government to bend to his will while refusing to actually pay the fair whack of tax on his businesses through a number of elegant, legal and stinking tax-avoidance schemes, but the way that the country is full of terrorists and criminals and illegal immigrants, and terrorfying criminalised illegal immigrants. Of course, Britain isn't like that, but the staff of the Sun only have their newspapers as a source of news, so you can understand how they might have got confused about things.

However, it turns out The Sun may have been right after all - but not for the reasons they claimed. On the latest listening figures, Chris Moyles is coming within a gasp of being more listened to than the Today programme. Moyle's strong performance has helped push Radio One back over the absolutely meaningless ("psychologically important") 10 million figure. Sara Cox is doing pretty well on Sunday afternoons; JK and Joel's stretch in the post-Wes Chart Show is seeing the audience decline continue - down to 1.81 million now.

Radio 2's audience slipped slightly, but it's still the nation's number one choice, with Terry Wogan still commanding a lead in the breakfast battle.

Meanwhile, the last set of audience figures for Jono Coleman's Heart breakfast in London had handed his replacement Jamie Theakston a difficult job - Coleman had boosted the audience for the programme by 224,000; even with the aid of an enormous TV advertising campaign (and despite rival Johnny Vaughan's thousand-mile-stare ads at the same time) Theakston comfortably sent away all those new listeners, and despatched a further 25,000 odd of his own.


After what seems like months - probably about nine - Michelle Branch has given birth to a baby girl. We wish her all the best, and suggest she takes as much maternity leave as she can. We'll manage to cover somehow - perhaps we'll put on some Joan Osbourne.


We're sure that all those people who tutted when we actually dared to suggest there were a few shortcomings with Live8 will now be lining up to accuse Elton John of not caring about dying people now that he's started to criticise the event for its lack of climax:

"I thought it was a bit of an anti-climax, to be honest. The thought behind it was fantastic, but Hyde Park is a charisma-free zone. There was no sense of occasion and from a musical point, I didn't think there were too many highlights.

So far, so frankly spoken. Oddly, though, when it comes onto the subject of the duet with Pete Doherty, Elt suddenly comes across all mealy-mouthed:

The flamboyant star blamed Doherty's shambolic performance of T-Rex's Children of the Revolution on the troubled star being "really nervous on the day".

Describing Doherty as "a mess", Sir Elton added "it's really sad, I don't think the people around him set a good example, which is a shame."

So, Doherty was just nervous, then. Elton doesn't say if he'd inhaled nerves, or injected.


Quincy Jones hasn't scored a film for over 20 years - not since the Color Purple - but now, he's picking up his baton and special notation pencil again. And what is the project which has tempted him out of semi-retirement? 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' movie. (We don't want to spoil it for you, but in the movie, he doesn't die trying.)

You do wonder what lead Jones to select this as the right film to take the step back into the movies - he presumably hasn't not been offered a film for twenty years, and we're guessing he doesn't have a huge outstanding gambling debt to Cent. Has he got to retarmac his tennis court or something?


Surely Britney isn't really, really planning on calling her kid Charlie, after - oh, yes, "and the Chocolate Factory"? Obviously, it could have been worse (picture Britney yelling 'Wonka' in for his tea), but the story is given some credence by the news that Kevin is pushing for 'Kevin Junior'. After "the father", of course.


She's not put out an album for about thirty years, but now... Lesley Gore is making a comeback. Yes, 'It's My Party' Lesley Gore - she doesn't look quite so much like Grayson Perry now, though, we're told.

Buyable: the 5 CD best-of/all-of box set


We know that the George Bush cut-up subgenre has been pretty swamped recently, and a lot of the manipulations have proved to be so poor that Chris Morris killed himself purely so he could whirr noiselessly in his grave, so we approached Wax Audio's Imagine This with a slight sense of foreboding. Actually, though, it's very nifty indeed - George W Bush does John W Lennon's Imagine in a style that suggests William Shatner's The Transformed Man.

If George is quick, he might be able to get himself onto the cast of the Ono-endorsed Lennon musical, which has had its Broadway debut put on ice for two weeks for "fundamental changes" (in other words, trying to shake some life into the corpse).


Reporting back for active duty: Melissa Etheridge, now cancer-free and planning to have a baby with her wife Tammy Lynn Michaels.

Also back at the side of his partner - although not planning to have a baby, it's not that sort of partnership - is Daryl Hall. Hall's recovered from Lyme disease and is now picking up the tour he and Oates had to put on hold when he fell ill.


Mikka was a dancing bear. He was a wonderful dancing bear, and people would come to see him, and throw money, ensuring he lived at a standard of luxury unknown to other bears, even those within the showbiz industry.

But one day, Mikka was sad.

"I am tired of always dancing, always the same moves," he sighed, "I shall try something new."

And so Mikka created a new act, built around interpretative mime. But the people were not pleased.

"Do your dance, Mikka," they cried.

"Do not stifle me as an artist!" roared Mikka, pretending to be walking against the wind.

So the people decided to do as Mikka wished, and did not stifle him as an artist. The crowds thinned out, the money thrown got less and less, until one day Mikka's agent decided he could allow this to go on no longer, and recast Mikka as a rug in his offices.

Think of the story of Mikka as you discover that David Gray is refusing to play Babylon on his current tour - instead, he's doing, um, all those other great songs that he's known for. Like... um, well, the other ones. He can't emote, you see:

"I only want to sing things that I can feel and if I don't have a feeling for a song ... then I'll pass it over," Gray said in an interview on Wednesday. "Babylon is not very alive for me at the moment.

"It killed me. I try to resuscitate from time to time, but how many times did I have to play that thing -- 10 times a day, 300 days a year in all kinds of garish situations."

Now, we can understand him being heartily sick of it - we were, and we were able to switch the television off when it came on - but since a large portion of his audience are already going to be disappointed when they discover that the bloke who does You're Beautiful is a different chap altogether, it's a risky game to not play your signature tune. Maybe if he's looking for the feeling, he should picture all the cheques that come in for that song. Better to play it now, in a headline show, than to be reduced to doing it on a hasbeens gameshow on ITV in five years...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


While we're sure that there's more to the story that Gorillaz have taken their planned cartoon version of their album away from Dreamworks, let's take them at their word for now. Damon Albarn has suggested that Speilberg's studio just doesn't understand the 'concept' behind the idea of making a movie about the two-dimensional characters. Hmm. If you were going to make a film, would you rather side with Albarn and Jamie 'did a bloody good job bringing Tank Girl to the screen without completely trashing any residual respect for your creation because there was nothing bloody, eye-gougingly awful about Ice T dressed up as some shabby kangaroo and the casting of Lori Petty about whom we can't say anything nice so we'll say nothing at all, didn't you' Hewlett, or the man who made Duel and Jaws?


Make your own mind up:


There's a lot of rumours flinging themselves about regarding Lookout Records, with some sources claiming the US label has crashed into financial difficulties following the decision of Green Day to remove their early albums from the outfit. That move has also lead to suggestions that Lookout hasn't been entirely dilligent in paying Green Day royalties - similar claims surfaced back when Screeching Weasel took their first recordings elsewhere. Lookout, however, suggest otherwise:

After a tremendously successful decade and a half-long relationship with Lookout Records, Green Day is taking the reigns of their Lookout albums, "1039/Smoothed-Out Slappy Hours" and "Kerplunk" as well as their EPs "1000 Hours" and "Slappy." There are no details as of yet as to what the band has planned for these great early releases but "1039/Smoothed..." was already the subject of a successful remastered reissue in early 2004 and both albums are certified Gold.

Green Day are an incredible force in music and Lookout Records is proud to have been their first home. Despite any rumors or conjecture to the contrary, Lookout and Green Day's long relationship has always been based on trust, friendship and partnership and those bonds remain shared between the label and the band now and into the future.


If you can't get enough of Jack White, or just want some extra time to yell "Go solo already, Meg, dammit", there's good news: there's an extra White Stripes date been added to their November UK tour. They've sold out November 5th at the Hammersmith Apollo; now they've added an extra date on the 6th. Tickets on sale Friday, 9am.


Of course, it's always dangerous - especially with the web - to suggest that something you're looking at is a first, but we've not come across a music video blog prior to cliptip. Cliptip collects and links to music vids from across the web, favouring the likes of Clinic, Peaches, Fiery Furnaces and other such 6Music-friendly fayre. Most notable of the current lot on there is Nine Inch Nail's Only, which appears to have ripped off Midge Ure's If I Wash a little.


Just as Nostradamus' non-specific vision of the end of the world will, eventually, come true, so to will the bold words of IFPI market research director, Keith Jopling. His bold claim?

"Everyone has a phone. Anytime from this year mobile [music downloads] could be bigger than online."

A market research director who assumes that "everyone has a phone" capable of receiving music downloads. Interesting, that - we have a mobile, it's true, but because it's a thing we use for ringing up home and asking if we should buy a bottle of milk, it's quite happily incapable of accepting musical downloads. And even if it could, we'd be reluctant to spend money to download music to a device with poor storage capacity, meaning we'd probably have to delete the last song we bought to make way for a new one.

Ah, but Jopling has thought of that:

Many more specialist phones are expected to compete with portable digital devices like the iPod,"

Well, this is sort of true. Although many commentators are expecting them to be launched and then go the same way of those horse-frighteners with the big keyboards; what would make a phone desirable as a music player would make it useless as a phone. But even if you could create a phone to ape what is done by an mp3 player, without making it horrible as a phone, you'd have to ensure it could cope with shuttling people's music off of their PCs anyway - which would instantly free people from the clutches of the DRM-hobbled and overpriced mobile downloads.


We can't help wondering if the price for Sharon Osbourne's involvement in the new series of The X-Factor (oh, yes, they're making another one) was anything to do with the announcement of an ITV 'tribute' to Ozzy Osbourne. It sounds, well, can we say fascinating?

The former BLACK SABBATH star will be joined by his famous family on the show, which will feature details of his near-fatal quad bike accident, and stories about his notorious alcohol and drug abuse.

So, pretty much the same material that's been recycled from colour supplement to celeb mag to website over the past four or five years, then?

And the programme will feature such outrageous footage, TV executives have are making preparations to ensure it is shown late at night.

... presumably by making it such a dull wander through previously exhausted material that the schedulers won't want it stinking up primetime?


Coldplay are giving Channel 4 the first go on their new video, Fix You, tonight at 10.50pm (yes, it's being given a premiere, like they did with proper event videos in the past, although they seem to have cut Big Brother short to fit it in, so no complaints there, then). But if you really can't wait that long, it's being shown to registered users right now.

Go on, go and look if you must. We'll try to hide our disappointment.


There hasn't been a London date by the Fire Engines since back when we were consoling ourselves with the thought that there'd be no way Thatcher could win two elections in a row, but now - tied to a compilation of out-takes and stuff album - the original line-up in roaring back into town. They play the ICA on September 17th; there's a hometown date in Glasgow, too (The Optimo, September 11th). Go along and shout for Win tracks. That'll make 'em laugh.

The album, Codex Teenage Premonition, is available for pre-order.


Good god, if standing up on stage and opening and closing his mouth in time to the words left even Lee Ryan feeling that he was being understimulated by being in Blue, can you imagine what it would have felt like if someone smarter had found themselves trapped in the band?

"We lost that thing of singing live. We didn't do that towards the end and I didn't want to mime. The satisfaction in the job had gone and doing it for the money was too shallow. The reason I left Blue was that I wasn't giving it my all or concentrating on it, I believed I should have been giving it 100%. All of us had lost interest in the music. Without that, the rest was bullshit."

Lee Ryan may find himself ruing the high artistic standards he's set for himself there. Lip-synching a few light tunes might prove slightly easy than trying to juggle two plates of those TGI Fridays fajita towers, two diet cokes and a side of onion rings.


Actually, it's more the spirit of having gone down the stairs, out onto the street, driven home, had a couple of nights sleep, and come up with a response. Fearne Cotton has now come up with what she should have said when Robbie Williams asked her out during Live8. Can you guess what she now wishes she'd replied?

A) Ha - I get it, you're showing that you're not gay
B) You make my flesh crawl, you odious berk, and the fact that every time you're near a woman in front of a camera you make this great play of hitting on them doesn't make you endearing, it makes you look like a bloke who goes to a speed-dating night and finds that the two minutes of talking to another human being creates rather an awkward gap of empty, unfilled time
C) Wow - that would boost my profile at a time when, frankly, the move of TOTP to BBC2 is making me feel like a person careering towards the 'Whatever Happened To...' column of my local paper, so, yes

The answer is, as I'm sure you've guessed, C. Still, now she's got "I was asked out by Robbie Williams on TV", she at least can build herself a couple of extra weeks of press interest.


We're amused that Contact headline the news that Madonna isn't working with Aguilera or Stefani as her "laughing off" the news - how exactly does one laugh through a PR press release?:

However, Madonna's spokeswoman LIZ ROSENBERG tells gossip site The Scoop, "Christina is working on an album in the same building as Madonna, but they have not seen each other.

"Gwen Stefani is not guesting on the record either. It's all Madonna, all the time - a total dance record called Confessions On A Dance Floor."

Presumably Madonna is now so grand she employs someone to laugh for her, then?


There are many ways to lose your pants, but surely the groovily asexual Will Young (perhaps the only gay man in history who could happily adapt to the Church's demand that you can have a boyfriend, but not do anything) hasn't been doing stuff which would cause him to lose track of his yfronts? Thank god someone was able to offer him a stand-in pair of lucky pants.


There's something disappointing about Eminem's backstage requests for his Manchester gigs - there's the boring blingism of Hennessy and Cristal, but once he's demonstrated that he's quite happy to show he's got more money than sense, the list turns from bling to grim.

A KFC bargain bucket. Even if you leave aside the horrors of how the stuff is made, what sort of person - in a position to demand the finest wines known to humanity - elects to have a cardbox box shoved full of grease and wingbone?

And he's going to be so pissed when he finds out that they don't do mashed potatoes in the UK ones...

No wonder the sky is falling.


We like to think it was the realisation they were aping Peter Gabriel that persuaded them, but, for whatever reason Franz Ferdinand have decided not to call all their albums Franz Ferdinand. They're renaming Franz Ferdinand (their second) to avoid confusion with Franz Ferdinand (their first), and the album will now travel as You Could Have It So Much Better... with Franz Ferdinand.

It's going to have been a quiet word from sales and marketing, isn't it?


We're interested in the spin put on the latest bunch of stats released by RIAA-led international music body the IFPI: "Music buyers are growing older". Interesting, that, as apart from being obviously true (can you think of anyone who is getting younger?) it's one way of interpreting the fact that now 55% of all music worldwide is bought by people over 30 - you could equally argue that older people are buying more music than they used to. But that sounds a bit positive, and doesn't fit the RIAA's need to project itself as leading an industry in perpetual crisis.

Why is this figure in any way remarkable, anyway? The industry pumps more and more into flogging back catalogue each year - and let's face it, your average fifteen year-old isn't exactly going to be rushing out to buy a Best of Michael Jackson or a Pink Floyd remaster; the average age of the population in developed countries is getting higher year-on-year; the old attitude that you did new music until you hit your twenties has been pretty much wiped away over the last couple of decades. The news that the industry no longer relies on fickle teens is a tremendous indication of the health and maturity of the commercial music industry.

It could, of course, do with a little more diversity:

Universal is still the world's biggest recording company with a 25.5% share of the global market. Sony BMG is next with a 21.5% share, followed by EMI at 13.4%.

And we can be proud of ourselves in the UK:

With an average 2.9 albums bought by every man, woman and child, per capita album sales are higher in the UK than in any other country in the world.

And yet, of course, the BPI is pressing ahead with legal action against five people who, it claims, are uploading music to the net. The BPI is, of course, thrilled with itself:

The announcement comes amid clear indications that the record industry is turning the tide on illegal filesharing.

Interesting that they chose the word "tide" - something which flows out, then flows back again. We're not quite sure what these indications actually are, since the last couple of months has seen more activity on the p2p networks, but we're glad they're happy, anyway.

BPI chairman Peter Jamieson said, "Music fans are increasingly tuning into legal download sites for the choice, value and convenience they offer. But we cannot let illegal filesharers off the hook. They are undermining the legal services, they are damaging music and they are breaking the law."

Hang about a moment... for years the record industry has been moaning that the p2p networks had to be closed because "you can't compete with free"; now, it seems, they've finally realised that, actually, you can, by offering convenience and range. If only they'd listened to us five years ago...

Civil proceedings are being issued today against five individuals who between them made 8,906 songs available for millions of people around the world to download without permission.

An interesting choice of word, there - "permission". The BPI wants us to ask before we download anything. Music may only be heard with the direct permission of the big labels.

The BPI will claim compensation and costs on behalf of its member record companies whose music has been uploaded on to peer-to-peer networks without permission.

There it is again - "permission". It makes a change from the "stealing" metaphor they usually work with, but then in a courtroom you can't actually play hard and loose with words in that way; at least something good has come out of the court case - the BPI has finally had to admit that filesharing isn't about theft.

BPI General Counsel Geoff Taylor said, “So far 60 UK internet users have settled legal claims against them for illegal filesharing, paying up to £6,500 in compensation. We have tried to agree fair settlements, but if people refuse to deal with the evidence against them, then the law must take its course. That's why we have had no choice but to take these five individuals to the High Court. We will be seeking an injunction and full damages for the losses they have caused, in addition to the considerable legal costs we are incurring as a result of their illegal activity."

Curiously, they did have a choice, of course - it's not like there's a force of action that they cannot resist. Unless Taylor means that the RIAA is making them do it, but we can't believe that the BPI is a lapdog doing what the US cartel wants. We can't.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


If you're anything like us, you'd have hoped that the long silence from Craig David since his last album was because of a period retraining as a mechanic and the following of a new career refitting old Routemaster Double Deckers. But, no, it seems he's spent his time staring at a blank sheet of paper trying to work out how to write some new songs. David calls this 'writer's block', but that's probably over-egging the quality of what he comes up with when he's not blocked:

"You know what, pretty much after 'Slicker than your Average', which finished at 2003, I felt like when I came back from that record. Having promoted 'Born to do It', going out to America, touring, and then doing the same for the second album."

"I just wanted to relax. I don't feel inspired and creative when I haven't got anything to talk about lyrically."

We know, not having anything to say didn't seem to be a problem with the first two albums. For this one, David's drawing on his school days - at least offering the promise of a Smiley Culture style video of Dave in an ill-fitting school uniform; he's even written a song about being bullied when he was at school. Which, of course, is a terrible thing and shouldn't happen to anyone, but to still be banging on about it fifteen or twenty years later... well, it does suggest a man with very little going on in his life now, doesn't it?


Could we not have done something nice for Hiroshima to mark the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb? Something nicer than a Santana gig, anyway? Apparently, Carlos believed his role there was to "ignite peace" - no, we're not quite sure how one goes about doing that:

"It is an honor to be here and to be of service with our music," Santana told the "Emissaries for Peace" concert crowd of about 2,000. "We want to give birth to a world with peace in our lifetime."

It's not thought he did a cover of OMD's Enola Gay.


The death has been announced of Al Aronowitz, beat-era journalist.

Besides producing the definitive contemporary account of the Beat Generation in a 12 part New York Post series in 1959, and inspiring the writing style of Hunter S Thompson and Tom Wolfe (in effect, creating the Rolling Stone house style), he effected one of the key meetings in musical history: he brought together The Beatles and Bob Dylan. In his words:

"The Beatles' magic was in their sound. Bob's magic was in his words. After they met, the Beatles' words got grittier, and Bob invented folk-rock."

He also claimed responsiblity for introducing the Beatles to dope.

Born to a New Jersey kosher butcher, Aronowitz was one of the first writers to treat pop music as a serious pursuit, covering it enthusiastically until a dispute lead him to being blacklisted by New York publishers. It's this status which gave him the title for the (currently) three volumes of collected writings available - The Best of the Blacklisted Journalist. Aronowitz died of cancer on Monday morning.


How does Brett Anderson intend to fill in the time between the first and second Tears albums? By sticking out a solo work, which is going to be a Coxonesque low-key release rather than a four-ring media circus. Or so he says now:

"I kind of half finished it a year ago and I’ve been living with it and we’re just putting a few final touches to it. It should be released next year and I’m very proud of it... [It will probably be released] early next year in between the two Tears albums. Once I’ve finished touring The Tears album I’ll just put it out. It’s not going be a big push or anything, but I think it’s a really good record."

The album is expected to draw several comparisons between outsiders and garbage, the possibility of having unexpected sex on a weekend night, and to feature at least one track which has an "I am the king of the world, we together are unstoppable" lyric to it.

Actually pretty good, you know:


Good news from Edwyn Collins; he's started taking his first steps again after his haemmorage-MRSA double whammy earlier in the year. He's due to be heading back home in three weeks.


We're not quite so sure the figures for Top of the Pops in its new BBC TWO home are quite as grim as they appear at first sight: a six per cent share on a smaller channel isn't too bad, although having the once-mighty insitution beaten by Channel 4 showing an old Carry On movie must hurt a little. Since it swapped, the audience has fallen from 2.4 million to an average of 1.1 million - although that's not bad considering the current format of the Pops is pretty poor indeed. There's an added question of why what is clearly being considered a family show is being forced now to compete with Antiques Roadshow and Emmerdale - it was hard enough to make it struggle with Corrie, but now the programme is getting nibbled from both sides.

We could make suggestions - no more interviews, ever; dump the guests and ask them to take Fearne with them; instead of allowing the whimsy of the production team to dictate the vintage clips which get shown, ask the audience what they want to see (why not actually get Michael Aspel in to chair a revived Ask Aspel slot?); put it on at six-thirty and do the Top Ten in a link-up with Radio One. We could make suggestions, but would anyone listen?

BABYSHAMBLES MELTDOWN COUNTDOWN: The road to hell is paved with reunions

Of course, the twitching corpse of Babyshambles was never going to go quietly - like some sort of Frankenstein's Monster it's going to lurch about a bit knocking stuff off tables before it's done. So, last night, the band came back together in Stoke for a gig at the Underground. A fan talking to suggested this might be part of squaring paperwork:

I asked him about the tour and he said I was asking the wrong person. Then I said will you be playing again and he goes ‘I dunno I think we’re going have to.'

Apparently it only cost two quid to get in - good, old-fashioned value.


Even Michael Eavis has started to notice that every year, he claims it was the best Glastonbury ever:

It was a great show. People generally felt it was the best we've ever done.

I know I always say that, but we're getting more and more experienced, we're more in control with the fence and security, and the organisation of it is getting better all the time.

We suspect that Eavis might just about the most sunnily disposed man on the face of the planet. The rest of the world might have the idea fixed in their mind that most of the festival took place under an ocean of muddy water and constant rainfall, but not Michael:

Apart from the one storm on the Friday morning, the weather was fantastic.

If it wasn't for the 'ouses in between, indeed.

Our Glastonbury coverage in full


Slightly more serious implications from the Jackson trial than just how few records he's able to shift in his home country: the ruling by the court that documents can be sealed in high-profile cases has been allowed to stand as a precedent for Californian courts.

In other words, if there's enough interest in a case, that level of interest would, in itself, be enough to force documents to be kept away from the public.

"It is a very dangerous precedent because it gives the court an opportunity to close out the public from critical information during a high-publicity trial," said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. "This formalizes the celebrity exception to the First Amendment."

His fellow ne'er-do-well fame-hawks may well be lifting a glass of something bubbly to Jackson this morning. Indeed, this might be the only sort of public release we get to see in celebrity cases in the future:

ROCK SICK LIST: Ozzy Still Ill

They're still not telling people exactly what's wrong with him, but Ozzy has pulled out of a second Ozzfest date (surely with no Black Sabbath they should be renaming the event just Fest?); it's thought he's got some sort of breathing-related problem, but everyone's remaining tight-lipped on exactly what it is that's up with him.


Apparently, those nasty guys, the "internet fraudsters" (the people who stop the web being purely the playground of suicide bombers and kiddie fiddlers, of course) are trying to bounce people into buying tickets for a gig at Cardiff's Millennium stadium. The not-happening gig is meant to be happening on July 19th, 2006; the stadium confirms that no such event has been booked and suggests that you'd be best off not buying expensive seats for something that isn't real.

Just to clarify, there really is going to be an Oasis gig there this December. That one is all too real.


Poor Ricky Martin - there he was, trying to rally the cause for peace in the Middle East - when it all went wrong. Now, we're not entirely sure why Martin has taken this role on; we'd suggest that he wasn't the most popular artist stradling the Israeli-Palestinian divide, but we bet within an hour someone would claim he's number one in Tel Aviv and on the Gaza Strip. Anyway, during the course of the silver jubilee celebrations for the Arab Children's Congress, Martin was given a spiffy kaffiyeh, which, of course, he pulled on straight away. To everyone's delight. Only problem was, of course, it carried the slogan 'Jerusalem Is Ours' all over it in Arabic. Now Martin has had to issue an apology for his headscarf slip:

"I had no idea that the kaffiyeh scarf presented to me contained language referring to Jerusalem, and I apologise to anyone who might think I was endorsing its message.

"My role is entirely humanitarian, and I will continue to promote the elimination of stereotyping anyone - be they from Latin America, the Middle East, or anywhere across the globe."

Of course, people who know what they're doing would take great care to avoid pulling on any items of clothing proferred, however well-meaning the gifter looks, if they were unable to read what the slogan was on it. To avoid this sort of thing happening.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Good grief, as if Metallica haven't ruined enough people's lives by ruining Napster and spoiling everyone's download fun, now it turns out that James Hetfield doesn't only have the talent of Ted Nugent, but also the bloodlust. Currently selling on Ebay: bits of dead animals killed by Hetfield. Don't worry, though - it's all for charity (VH1's Save The Music and the Musician's Assistance Program), so it's not like the animals were killed for no reason whatsoever. Very much. Plus, we bet shooting them gave Hetfield the boner of his life.

[Thanks for the tip to Jim Eaton-Terry]


The surprising number two position for the Michael Jackson Essential Collection in the UK has been trumped by an even bigger surprise in the opposite direction in the US - Jacko managed to persuade just 8,000 Americans to part with money for his latest best-of. If the album was intended as a test to see how the land lay for a massive comeback, the results aren't that encouraging. And that's despite the massive campaign spreading the news of the new album by carrier pigeon:

There is some suggestion that the fact this is the third Jackson collection in about three weeks may have depressed sales a notch, but that hasn't harmed the take in the UK. And, to be honest, the fact that an album is little more than a repackaged hodgepodge of stuff you already know has never really proved to be much of a stumbling block to the music industry pushing its product in the past. The logical conclusion seems to be that in the US, where the likes of the near-journalists at Fox News attempts to keep a permanent paedo-alert burning round the clock, even if people don't believe that Jacko is a kiddie-fiddler, nobody wants to bump into their neighbours at Target with a copy of his record in their shopping basket.


The inquest into the death of Patrick Sherry at a Leeds Club NME night has opened:

A CT scan at Leeds General Infirmary showed he had suffered a fractured skull and subdural haemorrhage, said coroner's officer Sarah Atkin. "He was regarded as critically ill," she said. "So much so that surgery was not an option."
Mrs Atkin said Mr Sherry , 29, married, of North Street, Silsden, near Keighley, was a shopfitter by trade and singer by night.
He was performing at the Warehouse Club in Somers Street, Leeds on Wednesday night when CCTV footage showed him dancing on the stage.
Mrs Atkin said: "Then it appeared as if he jumped towards a roof beam, which he initially managed to take hold of but then lost his grip and fell to the dance floor below."


We've harboured the feeling that Green Day's supposed political rebirth has been tolerated more in a spirit of encouragment than because they've done little more than adapt a fourteen year-old's worldview; and yet nearly everybody has seem content enough to take 'American Idiot' as being on a par with Gramsci at his sharpest. Thank God Kele Bloc Party has broken with the consensus:

"I recently went to see Green Day play in Norway and was really disappointed. The whole premise of the new record seems to be dissatisfaction.

"They seem to be riding on this pubic sentiment of anti-Americanism among teens across the world. It just seems to be the emptiest of sound bites and that's something we were always conscious of trying to avoid."


John Cale is off on a tour of European venues ahead of his next solo album, blackAcetate, calling at the following places:

* Rubigen Muhle Hunziken (September 18)
* Winterthur Salzhaus (19)
* Brussels Ancienne Belgique (21)
* Antwerp Schouwburg (22)
* Amsterdam Melkwek the Max (24)
* Berlin Columbia Club (25)
* Hamburg Fabrik (26)
* Copenhagen Vega (27)
* Frankfurt Mousonturm (28)
* London Queen Elizabeth Hall (30)
* Cardiff Coal Exchange (October 1)
* Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (3)
* Lisbon Centro Cultural de Belem (5)
* Paris Café de Danse (6)

We think our favourite venue name on that list is the Cardiff Coal Exchange.


Probably only disappointed resignation can be mustered for the reports that Britney Spears has booked cult venue LA Kabbalah centre for some sort of ceremony nine days after the planned birth date of her baby. We'd imagine the event - for seventy close friends and family - has to be nine days after birth as an averagely intelligent ten day-old child would be able to see through Kabbalah as little more than an overpriced string and water sales company.


Is it Burt Reynolds speculating what a fantastic gay couple he and Willie Nelson would have made?

"When I worked with Willie Nelson - who is just about the nicest man I've ever worked with in my life - I thought, 'If I'd have been gay, it would've saved me millions, just because we'd still be happily married.'"

Or is it Jamie Foxx banging on about the size of his eleven year-old daughter's breasts?

"She's only 11, but she's 5 foot 6, size 9 shoe. She comes out and she says, 'Dad, I'm gonna put my bathing suit on.' I said, 'Go on. Go ahead.'

"I'm thinking she's gonna put on a Hefty bag, or something, and she comes out in a two-piece. I freak because she's developing. To get her to the beach was like we were at war 'cause I was putting my hands in people's eyes, like, 'Don't look! Go that way! Get in the water before they see you!'

"I have some pictures on my desk at my hotel of her. She was in Italy running on the beach in a two-piece and one of my friends walked in and said, 'Who's the babe?' I said, 'That's my daughter, man!'


With all those bombs in London, your first thought - as, indeed, was ours, was how was Natalie imbruglia?. Thankfully, she was safe:

Imbruglia was down at her house on White Lilies Island near Windsor with her husband, Australian rock singer Daniel Johns. They were coming to the end of an unusually long phase of togetherness in their long-distance relationship, about to enjoy a final week on Richard Branson's Necker Island, when the bombs went off.

"I know it's selfish but I was glad to be going away the next day," she says. "I was in shock because I do take things on, you know. But you have to get on with your life. If you read too much news, you feel sick. You feel helpless. All you can do is pray."

Yes, thank god nat was able to get from the relative safety of not being anywhere near London to the absolute safety of being on a posh island - thank god she went ahead with her plans. It's not "selfish", Nat - if you hadn't flown off for a holiday in a luxury resort, the terrorists would have won.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


While, obviously, its a good thing that the plans to create panic at Live 8 by firing a load of coloured dye into the audience came to nothing, it seems a bit rich to claim Police 'foiled' an attack as some reports are claiming; it seems that the rockets that were to explode over people's heads didn't actually go off. Which is less "foiling" and more "luck" in our book.

The vague finger of blame is being pointed at "anarchists".


And, indeed, we're prepared to believe it - only the most ignorant straight bloke these days would assume that if a gay bloke shows anything approaching interest in you, its because they want to bum you. Lee, though, isn't gay, let's just make that queer. Um, sorry, clear:

"Elton fancies me I think. He keeps asking me when I'm going to turn gay. That's one thing I am definitely not!

Some other things Lee definitely isn't include attractive, smart, witty and coherent. There is a longer list, but we need to be fair to people using dial-up and have to keep this entry manageable.

"Elton rings me and gives me advice all the time. He tells me to stay away from drink and drugs, how to handle everything to do with being famous. He really looks after me."

And we're sure if Lee ever achieves fame beyond a bunch of nine year old girls - oh, and those builders who couldn't tear themselves away from watching him have sex - with a lady - that advice will come in real useful. Lets hope he wrote it down somewhere.

Lee Ryan - let's just make this clear - certainly isn't gay, thank you very much.


After a good few years of laying low, CD:UK is starting to draw some of the heat usually reserved for Top of the Pops with stories circulating that ITV is considering axing the show unless some sort of modernisation takes place. Since Cat Deeley quit and left the show in the hands of charismatic Dave Berry (that's 'charismatic' as in 'astmatic' - he has a terrible allergy to charisma) and an ever-rotating list of co-presenters of a sort that made Clarkson on last week's Top of the Pops seem a great choice, audiences have started to stay away in such numbers that it can't only ber blamed on the lead-in from the misconcieved Ministry of Mayhem.

With ITV suffering ratings bleed everywhere, it can't afford to allow any under-perfomance anywhere across its portfolio. Doubtless some poorly-animated toy-pushing cartoon is already being lined up.


Belle & Sebastian launch a ringtone shop. Yes, you could have Wrapped Up In Books as the announcement to all your friends that someone is trying to talk to you.

Although, really: surely people who have Belle & Sebastian ringtones on phones are not that likely to have people calling them up, are they?


Actually, we're suspecting that Damon's claims he's starting a Make Doherty History campaign is a gag, although we wouldn't put anything past Mr. Albarn; he might be on the phone getting some wristbands made even as we speak.

Damon's main beef is that Doherty turned up and disrespected Elton John at Live8:

"The concert was all about raising awareness, but Peter looked like he was having trouble raising his own awareness. He looked wasted.

"He's a mess. I'm starting a campaign to Make Doherty History."

To be fair to Pete, nobody seems to be working harder to make him history than he is himself.


The Raveonettes return

Double pack of Blank Generation and Dancing Barefoot

On The Road with Death Cab For Cutie - lots of backstage blethering about "creative process", but that's what yourt FWD is for


Poor Bryan O'Lone - there he was, about to play a tune on stage, in front of an audience, as part of a Carnegie Hall competition, when his music teacher marched on stage, berated him, and - oh, yes - slammed the piano cover down on his fingers, like in a cartoon. According to a lawsuit the boy and his family have filed (this is, of course, America), Bryan had turned up expecting to play Chopin's Scherzo Number Two, but the preprinted programme had him down to do Beethoven's Pathetique. His music teacher, Yalena Ivanov, told him he'd have to do the Beethoven.

O'Lone said a recital judge told him he could play what he wanted, so he chose to play the Chopin. After a few notes, Yalena Ivanov came on stage and accosted him in front of the crowd of 300, according to the suit.

The Young Pianist Competition's board said O'Lone was assigned the Beethoven by Yalena Ivanov - who chose all music to be played - and was rejected when he asked for permission to play Chopin. He practised the Beethoven during rehearsal but when he got on stage, he told the crowd the program contained a misprint and that he would be playing Chopin, the group said in a statement released Thursday by Lana Ivanov.

"Mrs. Ivanov lowered the lid slightly (while holding it in her hands) so he could not continue to play and asked him to leave the stage," the board said.

After that, the boy's family screamed profanities at Yalena Ivanov while she was on stage, according to YPCNJ, which said the Ivanovs believe the suit will be dismissed.

It's fair to say you don't get that carry on over at rock competitions.


Ah, what is more traditional on a Sunday morning than a celebrity sex story? Emma Davis, who once had sex with Pop Mastermind Lee Ryan, has popped up to tell a tale of - naturally - rampant sex so flattering to Ryan that we can only presume the News of the World and Ryan shared the costs of underwriting this kiss and tell:

"Lee blew me away sexually. It wasn't a case of One Love, more like Eight Love because we were at it time and time again all over his flat."

Do you see what she did there? One Love - Eight Love.

"Lee's flat has no curtains and the block next door was being built, so workmen could see right into all the rooms.

"We were having sex on his sofa and we knew they could probably see everything."

Shocking, eh? A good income from dancing and opening and closing his mouth, and he apparently couldn't afford curtains. We do feel sorry for the workmen, though, quietly trying to mind their own business and having to watch Ryan's scrawny ass pumping up and down. Now, of course, they're going to have to relive the horror as Emma tells all to the NOTW:

"The minute the front door was closed we were in the bedroom making love like wild animals."

Interesting that she doesn't specify which sort of wild animal - we're going for pandas. In other words: very little effort or interest, but the fact it was happening at all was probably something of a surprise.

"Afterwards we wandered naked into his kitchen to eat something, but dived on the sofa for more sex instead."

He's got a sofa in his kitchen?

The pair then curled up to watch a movie, but before the credits even started to roll they were at it again.

"We made love four times during the movie," said Emma. "I don't remember the storyline!"

We're guessing that here, she was just shagging him in order to avoid having to explain the plot to Ryan. Especially if it was the one where Henry was angry with Thomas and the Fat Controller.

Surely, though, they must have done their work establishing Ryan as some sort of love-crazy sexmachine, though? No, it seems: Ryan's PR wanted more, harder, again:

Things started to hot up yet again when Lee walked naked into the kitchen to make a chicken tikka.

Don't let the image form in your mind.

"He was standing by the stove and I couldn't resist his pert bum, so I walked up behind him and began kissing his body. Lee directed me back towards the sofa where we started again."

We did wonder about how he was going to set about making a curry naked, but we're talking two forkholes in the plastic film, aren't we? And did you spot how masterful Lee was there, directing things? He's a man, and a man in command.

"I don't care what people say. Lee's well endowed and knows what he's doing in bed. I was satisfied every time we made love."

Of course, this last line sort of unpicks all the good (such as it was) that the whole article has been working on - "I don't care what people say", then? Why? What are people saying? It implies the consensus is that Lee has a tiny, tiny little man and, if asked to find a lover's clitoris would ask if that was made by Honda or Renault. All that effort trying to build up Ryan as a tough loving man, and at the last gasp, we're left wondering just how many people he's left unimpressed.


Despite having been seen with her legs wrapped around his throbbing machine, Nicole Kidman is not, apparently, getting anything other than a motorcycle ride from Keith Urban. They're "just friends", apparently.


Okay, we think we've got this Hendrix thing straight: He was in danger of going to jail because he was pinching cars, so he jumped into army; but he didn't want to be in the army so he "pretended" to be gay to get out.

His new biographer Charles R Cross reckons that he was just fibbing about being gay to get a discharge, and points out that, you know, he liked ladies:

Mr Cross says Hendrix had a legendary appetite for women - he even had an affair with actress Brigitte Bardot.

But he had told a base psychiatrist at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, he had fallen in love with a fellow soldier, the book claims.

Because, of course, if he had dated Brigitte Bardot, there's no way he could possibly actually been in love with a man too, is there?

It's all in this book:

Room Full of Mirrors

ROCKOBIT: Art Collins

The death has been announced of Art Collins, for the last twenty years the man behind Iggy Pop's career.

Collins started out doing promotional work for Atlantic Records in 1975. A move to Rolling Stones Records provided his career with enough impetus for him to become president until a 1982 path-change led him to management. Besides overseeing Iggy's late-period blossoming from edgy body-slasher to Queen Mother of Punk, Collins roster included Joe Jackson, Marianne Faithfull and Marshall Crenshaw.

Iggy remembered his manager in an official statement:

"Art was a big sweetheart. He was a marshmallow. This very down-to-earth guy was a kind of tonic for everyone he met, and he really loved rock and roll. He was immensely proud of his tenure with Atlantic Records, his work with the Rolling Stones, and I hope with me as well. He was my best friend."

In May 2000, Art and guitartist Pete Marshall came to the resude of a Warsaw-New York flight when a woman started to threaten passengers and stewards with a bottle - Marshall and Collins struggled against her and eventually restrained her in a backseat with the demonstration seatbelts.

Collins - who was 52 - died at his home in Pine Bush, New York. The cause of death is unknown, waiting on an autopsy report.