Saturday, September 17, 2005


Renee Zellweger has asked for us - the rest of the world - to leave her to be comforted by ex Jack White in privacy following the collapse of her marriage to Kenny Chesney. Which, you know, we might do were it not for her decision to go for an annulment rather than a divorce. What, ponders the world, and Entertainment Tonight in particular, does she mean that the marriage was fraudulent?

A joint Chesney-Zellweger statement has attempted to make sense of it all:

In a joint statement released to Entertainment Tonight, Zellweger and Chesney said "the miscommunication of this objective of their marriage at the start of is the only reason for this annulment."

Eh? What exactly does that mean? Did our joke about Renee believing it would lead to appearances on MTV hit the nail on the head?

The pair have issued separate statements asking to be given privacy, but even that's only stirred the pot further. If you're going to issue statements about fraud, runs the theory, how can you then issue releases saying "Please, don't discuss the really curious statement from yesterday. Thank you."


Nothing makes our brow break out in a sweat like Michael Jackson announcing he's got his creative juices flowing - there's nothing, just shudders, that way - but he keeps insisting that his Katrina benefit song is going to happen. He told the Associated Press he's "moving full speed ahead with that; although we're not sure what his concept of full speed is here - New Orleans will have been rebuilt at this rate.

This little chat with the AP was, itself, curious:

Also on the line was Raymone K. Bain, Jackson's spokeswoman. She said the call would not be a full-fledged interview, and that Jackson just wanted to make contact to express his thanks for what he said was the AP's fair coverage of his trial.

During the week, you'll remember, we were told of an impressive line-up of stars who were desperate to work with the man who has never actually been convicted of touching any of the kids. Now, though, that list seems to have become a little more fluid:

Bain has said many artists have agreed to join the project, but the lineup hasn't been finalized.


While Flo hasn't taken the time to get in touch with us, we're delighted to report that Liverpool has come up with a stupid, expensive compromise designed to create some more historicalesque pastiche: they're still going to bulldoze 500 serviceable houses and allow a developer to build more expensive houses on the rubble, but rather than bulldoze Ringo's old gaff, they're going to dismantle it brick-by-brick and build it again somewhere else.

Yes, you read that right.

Oddly, it was Flo, who a couple of weeks ago was insisting there was no historical significance to the building who announced this super wheeze. And where, exactly, will the house be rebuilt? Uh... um...:

"There has been a lot of speculation about Ringo Starr's former home in Madryn Street. I have asked officers to ensure that the property is taken down and stored. Its future use will become clear over time."

In other words: we've been bounced into this because our desire to free up some building land for development companies was getting bogged down because of the bloody drummer's house; we haven't got a clue what we're going to do with the bricks but please go away and let us be.

Hmm... it all sounds very expensive, as well. Wonder how much this storage will cost? If only there was someone we could ask... hey, hang about...


Delighted to see that Ringo's home is going to be saved - sort-of. Does this mean that the building was of historical significance all along?

The plans for what will happen to it after don't seem very clear though - is the intention to stick the bricks in storage and hope people forget about it?

One further question: How much will the city be spending on storage of the bricks of Ringo's house?

With thanks,


We'll let you know.


Well, we said we'd let you know if and when Flo Clucas responded to our email about Ringo Starr's house - specifically, the important question that if, as this Liverpool councillor believes, there is no historical significance to the house, then what is it attracting the crowds of tourists who go to look at the house every day?

So far Flo hasn't found a moment to respond - hell, she's a busy lady and Liverpool can't just knock itself down, you know - but we'll let you know if she does.


Apparently, to be in with a shout of getting "entered" into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame you have to have been going 25 years; although nobody from 1980 has been put forward this time round. The shortlist for induction this year features:

Black Sabbath (eighth time of trying);
Lynyd Skynyrd (7th)
Sex Pistols (5th)
The Stooges (5th)
Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five (2nd)
J Geils Band (2nd)
John Mellancamp (2nd)
Patti Smith (2nd)
Chic (2nd)
Joe Tex (2nd)

And first time tryers:

Miles Davis
Cat Stevens
the Paul Butterfield band (we don't have a clue)
The Dave Clark Five
The Sir Douglas Quintet.

(Okay, we sort of have a clue - didn't they work with Dylan or something?)

A panel of 70 "experts" in the music industry (although it includes label executives, which seems ill-advised) drew up this shortlist; 700 of them will vote; there could be up to seven inductees. The constant reappearance of the number seven probably points to something masonic or lizard-conspiratorial there (Verily, the seven shall come from the seven times ten demanding of the seven times ten times ten) which might mean that Blondie are better off keeping away from the whole deal.


Speaking from her orbiting spaceship, Avril Lavigne has laughed in a curdling fashion and told us puny humans that by buying her first songs, we have condemned ourselves to a lifetime of her music:

"I didn't ever expect to sell as many records as I did with my first record, but, because I've had success, I think I'll always be around with my music," she said. "Because I've had success, now I have the opportunity to make music for the rest of my life."

Any lingering sense you might have had that it was possible to place Lavigne's entire intellect in a matchbox, and still have room to make a nifty bed for a mouse will be dissipated as we join Avril - freshly arrived in Mexico - to talk about the prospect of singing in a language other than English:

"I'll probably stick to English. I understand it a lot better," the 20-year-old singer, who was born in Canada, said before a recent performance at the Mexican capital's Palacio de los Deportes. "It's the main language, a lot of people understand it."

Yes, English is, erm, the main language, whatever that means - it seems Avril's probably reluctant to take on another language until she's got the hang of this first one. To be fair, her claim that "a lot of people understand English" is probably right when it comes to her songs, which aren't exactly complex works of construction. And, from a British perspective, it's nice to see someone from another nation celebrating the pigheaded monoglotism which runs through our dark, damp souls: why bother learning another language; the foreigners can learn ours?


The thing that jail chiefs across Southern California feared the most - Courtney Love turning up as an inmate - has been avoided as a kindly old judge decided that Courtney has been making excellent progress on delaing with her drug problems and shouldn't go to chokey:

"I'm very pleased with your progress," Judge Rubin said on Friday. "I think this is an excellent first step on the road to recovery."

Oddly, though, she will be having to live at a clinic which she won't be able to leave for three months, so not entirely not going to prison, then.

Her probation has been extended to 2007, but while Love manages to put that part of her life in order, another problem presents itself - Kristin King, who Love admitted hitting with a bottle last February (she admitted it in February, she hit her the previous April), is now set to sue her. Courtney is spending so much time in courts, the coffee shop will be presenting her with her own pewter tankard, like they did for Pete Beale.


It's not gone down well with his wife Karen Elson (if "wife" is the right word for someone who got married in some sort of obscure amazonian ceremony), but Jack White has apparently cancelled everything to help Renee Zellweger as she emerges from under the brim of Kenny Chesney's hat. Luckily, the Daily Snack has a "stateside spy" (on their budget, we're guessing it's a woman ringing through from the tabloid rack in a King Soopers while her shopping is bagged) who fills in the entire story:

"Jack and Renee have always been soulmates, even after they separated. He was devastated when she married Kenny four months after they separated, without telling him about it. He told her it was a mistake to get hitched so quickly.

"Weeks later, he married Karen in an equally-secret wedding after a whirlwind four-month romance.

"But although Jack’s relieved Renee’s marriage has ended, he hated to hear how upset she sounded on the phone. So he dropped everything to be by her side.

"Karen only found out after he’d left. And she was absolutely horrified. She knows that although Jack is very fond of her, she will never measure up to Renee. And she’s terrified he will rekindle his romance with her.

"But he assured her the last thing Renee wants right now is another relationship."

Got that? it's missing a crazy, wisecracking room-mate and a subplot with the owner of the coffeshop down the road, but... well, it's not very indie at all, is it? We don't want to stir, but if Jason VonBondie was to nip in and start seeing Karen Elson, that'd make one hell of a season finale.


We've never believed that "those who can't, teach", but we're a little surprised to hear that a performing arts academy have invited Javine along to teach the kids everything she knows about showbiz. (Presumably they'll find something to pad it out to an hour, anyway?). Since Javine's entire "career" has involved going on shows where the public votes on telephones and not doing very well at them, it's going be Losing With good Grace 101.


Interesting watching the gentle shifting of the story in the Kate Moss Cocaine shock - clearly, Team Moss have decided that it's not worth the effort to try and pretend it was all made-up, and have abandoned any plan to plead "one off/moment of madness", which leaves just the one option: out with the sackcloth and ashes, and off to rehab. The Mirror, of course, is delighted: why, it only splashed her snorting in order to save her - you know, like a concerned friend would:

Friends also believe that the Mirror's exclusive expose of Kate's drug taking could be her saviour.

One said: "This is the best thing that could have happened to her. She is devastated and understandably so, crying uncontrollably. But she wouldn't listen to anyone who had been warning her about her lifestyle."

So, what we thought might have looked like a grubby little tabloid story was, in fact, an intervention. Why, we're sure that Kate will be ringing up to thank them. And when your friends are there for you, boy, are your friends there for you:

The Mirror published images of the model crushing and chopping out lines of cocaine in a West London recording studio as Doherty laid down tracks for the new group's latest album.

Her friend Sadie Frost is understood to have emailed the Mirror coverage after first telling her about it in a fraught phone call on Thursday.

Kate was said to have been "shaking and trembling" over her future as she sat reading the evidence on a computer in her hotel. She is believed to have sobbed: "My fucking career is over."

Incredibly, the millionaire supermodel first asked friends if she could tell the world that she had been "joking around" and "just pretending to take cocaine". But she was strongly advised she had been caught "bang to rights" and it was in her best interests to turn the negative publicity into a positive.

And she's worried about losing of her kid. Oh, yes, this is the best thing that could have happened. We're sure she keeps telling herself that.

Naturally, though, if Kate is going to work with the tabloids on this - turning that negative publicity into a positive - someone's got have a head on a plate to serve up. And who will it be getting turned into a bagman for this whole deal?

Lila's father, publisher Jefferson Hack, is considering going to court because he does not believe Kate will ditch her junkie lover Pete Doherty.

Horrified by our images of Kate snorting five lines of coke in 40 minutes, he told a friend: "That stupid bastard. She's not thinking of Lila.

"I know Kate is a good mother who loves our child. But I'm no longer allowing our daughter to be in the same room as Doherty. He's turned Kate into a druggie like him."

Yes! Pete Doherty. He's clearly the only possible explanation how somebody working in the modelling industry - and who has partied with every bloody rockstar this side of Paul McCartney; who has made a record with Bobby Gillespie - would be taking cocaine. If it wasn't for his evil influence, Kate would never be doing this, would she?

Jefferson, who visited her London home yesterday, believes that only by taking on rehab and dumping Doherty can she avoid a fight over access to Lila.

It is understood that besotted Kate has accepted that despite her intense love for Doherty, 26, there is no future in their relationship.

... but we bet the tabs are holding their breath and hoping for a reconciliation...


We knew this would happen: they give John Lennon an airport, now every two bit singer thinks they deserve one of their own. As you'd expect, Jay Kay's airstrip plans are both more modest in size, but ragingly large ego shaped in the message about self-importance.


What would be the worst thing you could think of happening at a 50 Cent gig? Besides someone turning up to shoot him again, of course? How about notorious potato-faced footballer Wanye Rooney turning up and trying to rap?

People who'd paid to see 50 Cent in Manchester were less than impressed - which is what you'd expect, as they'd be from Manchester and not that likely to be Man United supporters anyway. And when you've paid to see a rapper at the top of his game (or, possibly, a rapper being shot by The Game), why would you want to see an angry little red face having a go? It's not Jim'll Fix It, is it?

The audience weren't impressed:

Andrew Brandwood, 28, of Oldham, said: “I came to see a top rap act and the last thing I want to watch is some overpaid footballer pretending to be hip.”

Dave Fryer, from Leeds, said: “His appearance spoiled the show.”

Once again, Rooney proves: he ain't no John Barnes.


You'll have been wondering - would Britney decide breast is best, or would she go with the bottle? (Doubtless, both Kevin and Nestle have been holding their fingers crossed for the latter, for their own reasons). Well, it turns out, she's decided to go with mummy milk.

Now that she's had the kid, many of the outre stories circulating have been battered down. Birth under water? Nope, she went a c-section which can't really be done under a pool. Calling the kid London? No, although Preston has made the final cut as a middle name - Sean Preston Spears. We don't know why. And did the baby come out as a kitten with two heads presaging the coming of the rapture? What of the anti-christ? Only one man knows...

... and he's not saying. We'll keep you informed.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Curious little campaign they're running to try and promote the new Jamie Cullum CD: they're sending promotional packs to the head girls of every all girl's school in the UK. Universal Records seem to think that head girls are seen as some sort of arbiter of taste and cool - maybe they are, but in our day the head girl or boy was seen more as a cross between teacher's pet and enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth: as a reward for three years of sucking up, you get given twelve months to inform on your former friends and dish out cruel punishments.

And forcing kids to listen to Cullum's pissjazz, now we come to think of it, might be a fitting punishment. Universal might have come up with a duff idea to push a duff act, but they might, inadvertently, instill a bit of discipline in our schools.


Are we still in that part of the year? Up from nowhere pops a psychologist, Dr Thomas Chamorro-Premuzic waving what he claims is the forumla for the perfect pop song. Which is going to be a bugger for Rat Scabbies; we bet he was planning on having a scoot for that once he'd found the holy grail.

The formula is:

P + Pos + T + BPM + I = S (where P = Pitch, Pos = the % of positive lyrics, T=Tonality, BPM = Beats per Minute, I = Images/Memories associated with the music, S = Serotonin level)

On this scale, Wake Up Boo by the Boo Radleys comes out as the best pop song ever - which is interesting, as Martin Carr has described that as the most calculated song he's ever written, so perhaps he'd already worked out the formula. Or maybe he hadn't, as any fool knows that It's Lulu is a better pop song than Wake Up Boo - maybe the good doctor needs to add a (+ 500 x Msh) to his formula, where Msh is number of mentions of Smash Hits per verse. That'll balance it.

But Chamorro-Premuzic: we're not having our legs pulled, are we?


Did you ever wonder what happened to Rat Scabies after he ceased to be in The Damned? Apparently he's gone searching for the Holy Grail. Which is, of course, a total waste of time, but no less dignified than continuing to hoof round small venues pretending to be The Damned thirty years on.

We don't want to spoil it for you, but we bet he doesn't find it. Still, more fun than the Da Vinci code.


Although it had a massive rewrite between its tour of the nation at large and its arrival onstage in Broadway, the John Lennon musical is to close less than six weeks after it opened.

The show, which set out to tell Lennon's story through his music and the distorting filter of copy approval from Yoko Ono, received a critical panning before its rewrite; after which, it got a mauling.


We'd been trying to warm to Jane Gazzo since she took over 6Music's Dream Ticket from Janice Long, but... well, we're relieved we won't have to bother any more, as she's leaving, giving Nemone a permanent home on the station.

We're delighted to see that MediaGuardian calls the station BBC Radio 6 Music throughout its piece - it's what we like to think the network's called, too - but we're a little puzzled by this:

But [Controller Lesley] Douglas denied she wanted to make 6 Music less blokey: "I don't think like that. The way I look at it is: who brings more than just their knowledge of music to the station? Who brings something from their life that makes them a real person people can connect with? It's not about softer female voices or female presenters."

We're not entirely sure why Douglas didn't just pull a face and ask how replacing one female dj with another female dj would be part of a strategy to make the station "less blokey". On the other hand, perhaps she's been putting oestrogen in Steve Lamacq's tea.


So, you want to tell young people that it's a good idea to get your head down, study hard, build up some qualifications; and you think the right person to do that would be a celebrity. And why not? Bring in someone who's smart, perhaps even a little sexy, to talk about what learning has done for them. It could work.

Not, though, if you're going to bring Liam Gallagher in to do it Oh, sure, it's easy for Gallagher to pay lip service to how he thinks that education is brilliant, but since he quit school at fourteen to become a fence painter [let's believe his own biography, shall we?] and managed to build up a huge fortune without giving the air of ever having spent more than a few seconds looking at a quadratic equation, his very presence on the platform of a sixth form college is going to yell the opposite message to that which he's meant to be delivering.

It's not like when you bring a young bloke broken down by the prison system into a school to advise kids against a life of crime: does anyone really think that having Liam stand in his expensive trainers, the scent of a former it-girl still on this fingers, saying "don't do like I did, kids" is a sensible approach?

And even if the idea is that Gallagher will take a "oh, I wish i could actually read" line, then how does that sit with his obvious contempt for education, expressed down the years in a stream of grunts?

"That lot are just a bunch of knobhead students - Chris Martin looks like a geography teacher. What's all that with writing messages about Free Trade on his hand when he's playing. If he wants to write things down I'll give him a pen and a pad of paper. Bunch of students.

In fact, Gallagher has such a record of using the word 'student' as a term of abuse, it's surprising he'd even want to set foot in a Sixth Form College:

Despite comparing the London’s band’s line-up to a panel of students on ‘University Challenge’, the Oasis frontman said he’d be happy to record alongside Kele Okereke and co if they meet his standards.

Still, we're sure the education authorities know what they're doing. After all, if they were rubbish at their jobs they'd be having to come up with lame-assed stunts to try and keep young adults in school... oh, hang on...


From No Rock, May 11th:

However, we don't feel very positive about this marriage - my grandmother always used to say "never trust a man who gets married with a cowboy hat on." We give it six months.

From BBC News Online, 16th September:

Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger and country singer Kenny Chesney are seeking an annulment after four months of marriage.

Apparently, Renee is citing "fraud" as being among the reasons for the demand for the marriage to be struck out - it could be she finally persuaded him to take that hat off and didn't like what was underneath; more likely, since she said shortly after getting married that she thought the best thing about being married to a musicianwould be the chance to get onto MTV, she's finally heard the sort of music he plays.

Still, we'd like to apologise for over-estimating the length of the marriage by two months.


Oh, thank you, Jay-Z. What the rap world really needs right now is for you to go on the radio and yell "I declare war".

Hang about, wasn't Jay-Z supposed to be going about under his other name, Twitter P Bilderburge or Shawn Colvin or whatever it was? Or is that just when he's trying to do "business" in Europe? It's an interesting idea; you have one name when you're trying to sell training shoes and pull together financing; another for when you're attempting to keep a stupid and literally murderous pointless fued going in order to push records. We wonder why Cheney didn't think of that - he could have been Dick Cheney when he was helping decide who'd get government contracts, and Fattacat Dicky Ticka when he was enjoying the good soup with his former homies at Haliburton. Clearly, the White House has a lot to learn from Jay-Z.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Outrage, outrage... or whatever the opposite of Outrage would be. Poor Marty Leopard of Gay For Johnny Depp got punched during a gig in Exeter last night. Leopard was some way in to the band's very, very gay show when someone clambered onto the Cavern stage (okay, it's not exactly scaling the side of the Hammersmith Odeon) and hit him hard enough to send him spinning back home to New York. Happily, after a night in hospital, Leopard was able to pick up GFJD's support on Million Dead's farewell tour.


It's been a whule since we heard anything about the massive scrap-up that was Vibe magazine's 2004 awards ceremony, but the first court case as a result has just been completed: Jimmy James Johnson has been sent to jail for a year, after pleading guilty to punching Dr Dre. (It was after this, of course, that Young Buck allegedly stabbed Johnson). Johnson has also been ordered to stay away from Dre for three years; he's probably lucky to not end up locked in Eminem's basement.


While Pete Doherty hovers round waiting for Kate Moss to wave her Mastercard about, Carl Barat is pulling together a new band.

As yet unnamed, it features two former Libertines (Anthony Rossomando and Gary Powell) and, perhaps less predictably, Didz Hammond, out the Cooper Temple Clause. Well, we weren't expecting it. Carl internet-posted:

"You make me feel a little more alive. I am proud to announce that our new bass player is none other than the justly acclaimed Didz Hammond, formerly of the Cooper Temple Clause. He has never shown anything but love, compassion and talent from the off."

"Gary, Stantony, Didz and I have toiled day and night for a demo, and finally we have it. It is testament to the struggles of The Libertines, yet quite different. I wrote it for you, I hope it means something to you all... XXXXXXXXXXXX".

We take it that last bit is kisses, and not his ISP filtering out the word 'motherfucker'.


Discovering the best you can hope for is third judge on a seventh-generation clone of American Idol must be the moment where your career dances in front of your eyes, but to give Anastacia her due, she's not going to the 'Where are they now' columns without putting up one hell of a fight. Albeit by namedropping: She knows Elton John, you know, and is desperate to get into the wedding photos in Hello! Or OK. She doesn't care, dammit, just give her some exposure:

"I wanna be his frickin' orchid-throwing flower bitch!

"I'd hold his train. I'd hold both their trains because you know those bitches will be wearing trains.

"I would make a fool of myself for El, he's such a lovely, lovely man and I'm so grateful to know him."

She knows Elton John, you know. Did she mention that? We're not sure why she thinks that gay men would get married in dresses with long trains, but she knows Elton John well enough - did you know that? - to know that he's gay rather than a transvestite. She knows Elton John.

She doesn't only know Elton John - though she knows him, you know, he's a lovely man - she also knows Vocterrier Boccum or whatever her name is:

"Victoria and David came to one of my concerts right after she gave birth and I wanted to smack her down because she looked so fucking good. I was like 'I hate you'."

Of course, she doesn't really hate Victoria - she loves her, close showbusiness friends, of course; they probably will all meet up at Elton's wedding and have a right old laugh about it. Elton? Elton John, sweetie, he's a big pal.

It's great they get on so well together - always nice to have company in the dump bins.


The British stupidity with drugs stories is given a chance to trip over its own feet today, with the publication of what the Daily Mirror insists are "shocking pictures" of Kate Moss. What is she doing? Killing puppies for fun? Pissing in an old lady's handbag? Hiding turds under the lid of a Mr Kiplings' individual apple pie and putting the box back on a shelf?


THE Daily Mirror today reveals shocking pictures of supermodel Kate Moss snorting a fat line of cocaine during a debauched drugs and drink session with junkie lover Pete Doherty.

Good god... a model who's dating a junkie doing cocaine? Surely not... not in a newspaper in 2005?

As the white powder induces a sudden rush to her brain, she rocks back in her seat and laughs hysterically. The coke is kicking in.

The Mirror's Stephen Moyes is pretty clear in his description of what it feels like to take cocaine, which shows the power of doing your research properly.

Within seconds she leans forward and again sniffs into a tightly rolled-up £5 note, hoovering up every last grain of the Class A drug.

Okay, now I am shocked. She's snorting with a crappy old fiver? Isn't Rimmel paying her properly?

It is clear from the extraordinary images, captured during a Mirror undercover investigation, that the 31-year-old catwalk queen is a practised user.

Really? There's so much cash swishing round in the Trinity Mirror coffers right now that they wasted money on an undercover investigation to find out if Kate Moss uses cocaine? God alone knows what they've got lined up for tomorrow - maybe they've got someone to sign off on pumping a huge team in to see if the light goes off when the fridge door shuts.

In a West London recording studio, though, Kate chats casually with Doherty and pals as she absent-mindedly crushes and chops out the chunky lines on the back of a plastic CD cover.

With her blonde hair hanging untidily around her shoulders, the model icon, worth £30million, prepares up to 20 lines of coke in just 40 minutes.

Good god, not only is she doing cocaine, but she's let her hair get all messy?

Using a mammoth stash, which she kept safely wrapped in her handbag, Kate - mother of a two-year-old daughter - has no qualms about being seen with the illegal drugs.

Doherty and some of his mates mill around, eager to join the binge and impatiently asking to help prepare the drugs.

Bloody hell - she's chopping out a line every two minutes, and yet Doherty can't wait that long?

But there's more. Of course there's more:

She joins in a discussion about cannabis while joints are passed around some members of the group.

Holy seals, not just using one drug but talking about another. Is anyone safe?

The Mirror goes on to announce that she'd also drunk alcohol - of the sort available over-the-counter in supermarkets and stores - earlier in the evening. And what does all this booze and coke do? Effects, dear boy, effects:

Kate, 10 times a Vogue cover girl,looks unsteady and exhausted as the session continues.

Between lines of cocaine, she repeatedly twitches her nose and rubs her nostrils.

Is this any way for a person who advertises pants and mascara to behave? Relaxing in a private place while looking a bit unsteady? And rubbing her nose?

Yes, it does mark Moss out as being gently hypocritical, in that she has often claimed to not have (much) interest in doing (some) Class A drugs (anymore), but she's never campaigned against them or castigated other users - which makes her a lot lower in the ranks of hypocrites than, ooh, some tabloids who turn a blind eye to their staff marching off into the cubicles two by two while running this sort of expose; or who attempt to chill their reader's blood with the discovery that some thin girl might be doing coke while simultaneously echoing and supporting Oasis - how can it be unacceptable for Moss to do some coke in a recording studio, and yet Bill Borrows will cheerfully supply a couple of pages calling for the Gallagher brother's elevation to sainthood despite their not-entirely-hidden cocaine use? Because I'm really confused here: The Mirror will throw its weight behind a promotional campaign featuring a band who sing about how all your plans are made when you're chained to the mirror and the razorblade, and yet calls for the head on a plate of someone who discretely uses the drug in public?

Yes, cocaine is boring. People trying to sniff some out of an evening are dull company before they make contact; they tend to be even duller after they succeed. But it's nowhere near as dull and boring as a newspaper that once had guts and a mission trying to pretend to be shocked and outraged by someone with a little habit. Perhaps if the Mirror wanted an angle, they should write about the misery and crime created by treating cocaine this way causes; that if we stopped playing at being shocked everytime we find someone does a line we might be able to start to do something about a product whose production and distribution is mostly in the hands of mobsters and paramilitaries. Mossy should be ashamed of herself - but not for the reasons the Mirror thinks.


It's almost impossible to hear poor Kelly Osbourne wailing about what a horror it was being on a reality TV show without remembering that nobody actually made her do the bloody thing. For series after series.

Goodness, have we no compassion for how that poor girl suffered for her few minutes of fame?

"No one can imagine how it is for a 15-year-old to suddenly become one of the most famous teenagers in the world - without even doing anything to earn it.'

That's the closest you're going to get to self-awareness from her - the admission that she actually has no talent and wasn't really worth anyone being interested in in the first place - but it's curious to hear her phrase it almost as if it's our fault. Of course, we'll allow her the silly claim that she was "one of the most famous teenagers in the world" - "supporting character in a cable TV sitcom" would be more honest, but we suppose someone told her that she was more famous than she actually was.

We're not so sure that nobody can imagine how it is for a teenager to achieve mild, fleeting fame. Presumably the girls from Roseanne would be able to have a good idea? Or the Cosby Show kids? What about Charlotte Church, or Drew Barrymore? Or... but we've made our point. Kelly is snuffling again:

"The whole world was discussing how I talk, what I eat, who I hang out with. I couldn't understand it and just numbed myself with heroin and pain killers, until I had no passion or dreams left."

Actually, Kelly, they weren't - they were discussing just what the fuck your Dad was on, and just how often Sharon might get confused with a small hatchet. If anyone did have anything to say about you, it was probably when you turned up at a press launch, or issued a press release, or sought out the paparazzi. Really, if you wanted to avoid being in the public eye, it's a lot easier, faster and cheaper to withdraw from the public eye. I can promise you nobody would have come looking.

You'll be pleased to hear that Kelly's over it all now - and, the fact she's doing an international press tour to push her musical career for the umpteenth time, clearly she's over the problem of the whole world discussing her:

"But one day the poison was out of my body and I felt like a newborn baby. I went to the studio and just poured it all into my new album."

Ah! Bless, if it wasn't for all that pain, we might not have had a new album from Ms Osbourne. So if it's given you a record's worth of stuff to sing about, why bitch about it?

We're surprised she felt like a newborn baby when she recorded the album, though. We'd have pegged it as the work of a five year-old.


As if the prospect of bumping in Mariah Carey at a farmer's market wasn't bad enough, Westlife are about to release a new album. Oh, the humanity.


If rumour is to be believed - and, if it isn't, that's half our content gone - Mariah Carey is seriously thinking of following Madonna and buying a country house in the UK. It's especially Oxfordshire residents that need to worry:

"Mariah loves Britain's history and culture and finds everyone so polite. And she thinks the English countryside is stunning - particularly around Oxfordshire. That's where she's asked the estate agents to concentrate their search."

Don't you two even think of offering to help her

The one way we could have avoided having her bring her patronising "isn't Engelande so merrie" was her refusal to go anywhere with her annoying little lap dog. Sadly, though, Britain is now a full participant in the pet's passport scheme, so that won't save us.


It surprised us that there was ever a year zero for 4AD - it seems to have been around forever and a day. But before 1980, there was only a willowy nothingness (admittedly, a fair portion of the records they'd go on to produce would also be a willowy nothingess, although in lovely sleeves). Which means the label has hit its quarter century, and time for a jubilee. Sadly, this doesn't mean Vaughan Oliver designed mugs and street parties hosted by The Pale Saints, but there is going to be a cracking series of gigs:

1980 Forward:

Thursday 17th November TV On The Radio plus special guests The Scala

Friday 18th November Minotaur Shock & Magnétophone plus special guests The Luminaire

Saturday 19th November The Breeders plus special guests Blackheath Halls
(also : an exhibition of the artwork of Vaughan Oliver / v23)

Sunday 20th November The Breeders plus special guests Blackheath Halls
(also : an exhibition of the artwork of Vaughan Oliver / v23)

Monday 21st November Kristin Hersh performing the songs of Throwing Muses The Scala

Tuesday 22nd November Kristin Hersh performing songs from Hips And Makers onwards The Scala

Wednesday 23rd November The Mountain Goats plus special guests Bush Hall

Thursday 24th November Celebration plus special guests The Water Rats

Friday 25th November Mojave 3 & Mark Kozelek performing the songs of Red House Painters Conway Hall

Sunday 27th November Blonde Redhead & Johann Johannsson The Scala

Now, obviously there's some 4AD bands we'd all have liked to have seen doing their stuff who aren't on the list, which is a pity; that's what happens if you deal in fragile butterfly acts, though. Their pearly dewdrops drop. Their permanent record, though, will be honoured in a compilation album pulling together the best of 4AD's back catalogue. And, apparently, if you buy the album from, you'll be allowed to define exactly what you think that 'best' is: you can create your own hugely limited best of, which will be "hand made" and delivered to your door.

Blimey. Wonder what they'll do in 2030?


The death has been announced of Robert Wise, director of The Sound of Music.

The youngest of three brothers, Wise entered the movie business by taking a gopher's role at RKO, where he was talent-spotted by a sound effects editor. He found favour with Orson Welles, who pulled him in to edit Citizen Kane. Having done a "marvellous job", it wasn't to be long until he was promoted to the director's chair for himself. His directorial debut - the slightly-less-excellent sequel The Curse of the Cat People - would set him on a path of directing mainly half-forgotten b-movies. In 1961, though, he found his true calling, as his work on the big screen version of West Side Story won him two oscars.

His greatest work, though, would be on the 1965 nuns and nazis singalong The Sound of Music. The high-water mark of the movie musicals, the film fixed Rogers and Hammerstein's reputation in the popular mind and, forty years on, enjoys a lucrative afterlife entertaining karaoke crowds.

His last major work was the debut Star Trek film - a return toe genre for Wise, who had earlier directed the cult scifi invasion movie The Day The Earth Stood Still - and he eked out a happy semi-retirement contributing to talking heads shows and directing the odd TV movie.

The 91 year-old died of heart failure in Los Angeles on Wednesday. He was the last surviving member of the Citizen Kane crew.


It's not the first time this week, admittedly, but once again, rumour reckons Britney Spears has given birth.

This time, it's fairly specific information, though - c-section, just before 4pm GMT, in the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Centre.


Before his sudden switch into being the voice of the underclass, Kanye West had been attempting to recast his popular image: less goody goody, more hoodie hoodie. We suspect the interview in InTouch in which he bangs on about porn again was done before Katrina, then - this time it's his Mum discovering how much he spends on porn:

"She's like: 'Kanye, did you spend $500 at the porn store?'"

The rapper added: "Come on, get the fuck out of here! I'm 28 years old and I have to explain to my mother?"

Kanye, you didn't tell your mom to "get the fuck out of here", did you? And why would anyone spend five hundred dollars on porn? Either that's an awful lot of lonely, empty nights you're expecting to be strumming away for; or else it's one, hugely specialist, magazine.

I wonder which it is?


Surely Heather Mills McCartney can't be that surprised that Jennifer Lopez - happy to use fur in her fashion range - employs security staff who aren't that gentle with protesters?

When Mrs Macca turned up at Lopez's office to deliver a DVD about how cruel fur is (a generous assumption, that rather than not caring much, that Lopez might simply not know; that, five minutes into the PETA video she might be on the phone to Marc: "Marc, you know that fluffy stuff on the clothes? It's animals") she got involved in a scuffle with security guards.

In the course of which, her prosthetic leg came off. She asked if she could pop to the toilet to put it back on, but the minders said no.

She bent down and clutched her knee in pain, before asking to use a bathroom so she could reattach the leg. Guards refused and she was forced to cling onto a photographer as she carried out the humiliating task on a stairwell.

We're not actually sure why FemaleFirst think it's a humiliating task - it's only putting your leg back on; it's not like it's taking a poo. And if it's that humiliating, how come Heather seemed quite happy to wave the leg around on Larry King Live?

We're a little surprised that the leg managed to work itself free in all the excitement - surely they're designed to withstand a little bit of to-and-fro? Surely Heather wouldn't have slipped the leg off to make a point, would she?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


To be honest, after all the tireless support Mark Radcliffe has offered to Kate Bush over the last couple of years, it's only fitting that Radio 2 gets the first play of her new single. Albeit on, erm, the Ken Bruce show. Somewhere between 9.30 and 10.30 am next Wednesday. Get ready with your audiograbber and listen aga... only joking: that would be wrong.


Over in Tokyo, on a tour, Doctor John has been in a lamentation for New Orleans. Although he has been lamenting backwards across the Pacific:

As the best-known face of New Orleans, he has been busy since the disaster recording for benefit programs and campaigning for donations. But he says he is disgusted by the incessant celebrity "propaganda" surrounding the catastrophe.

In an interview with the New York Daily News last week, he said: "I would hate to be like little Harry Connick, being used for propaganda. I like Harry, but that's not for me."

"If they got Harry in, why couldn't they bring back some people who lived in the neighborhood?" he asked.


Of course, it's easy for Mick Jagger to try and make sure the Sweet Neocon kerfuffle is smoothed over and forgotten by muttering to the New York Post about how he'd love to play Iraq, when he's not likely to be asked. But wouldn't you love to see his bluff being called:

"The boys are doing a very professional and a very tough job over there, and they aren't getting a lot of fun either.

"So the answer [to would we go] is - absolutely. To be honest, the troops would probably be more interested in seeing a lot of pretty girls than us."

We imagine the troops would just be pleased to see anyone who doesn't have a half-tonne of explosives strapped to their belly. But you have to wonder at the logic of a man who says he's scared to go into London yet claims he's really love the chance of a gig in Baghdad.


Not very much, mind; she wouldn't want to tire herself out. So, October 31st - Norwich UEA; November 21st - Shepherds Bush Empire. And, erm, that's it.

Still, at least she won't need to pack too much.


Despite being in a relationship - a genuine, proper one, it's not been put together in a PR office somewhere, you know - Delta Goodrem seems to have forgotten that; and has started setting her caps at other types. Apparently, she fancies Chris Martin. I suppose, compared to Brian McFadden Chris Martin might seem tempting; in the same way that if you lived on oats with water for months you might think Chicken McNuggets were delicious fayre.


Liverpool's once-proud indie/alt station Juice shows some hope of returning to former glories with Ulster TV taking control of the station.

Juice has had a bumpy ride - originally launched as Crash, before management double-dealing led to takeover and name change with the format being marched onwards towards the Top 40 mulch it was intended to provide an alternative to; In 2003, Forever broadcasting sold a Brighton sister station back to its old owners (they've kept the name, but improved the output) and the Liverpool network to Absolute Radio. Now Absolute has been bought out by former partner Ulster, who have stated their intention to make their local radio portfolio seem more local than it currently does - a glimmer of hope that Juice might start to play the local scene, instead of just paying lip-service to it.


Having been able to coast on the back of Peter Kay's fictional station of the same name, the newly licensed [real] Chorley FM has become embroiled (of course, embroiled) in a huge row with Kay's management company, Phil McIntyre Entertainment.

According to the radio station, Kay's team were so keen to be able to flog lucrative Chorley FM merchandise (based on their fictional station), they offered to buy out the real one - for eighty pounds.

Phil McIntyre Entertainment denies this:

A spokeswoman for Phil McIntyre Entertainment said: "We definitely are not trying to buy the radio station."

But she said the company had once considered registering Chorley FM as a limited company so it could use the name, but discovered Chorley FM had already been registered as a private limited company with Companies House in November 2001.

However, it was able to trademark the fictional Chorley FM logo for use in several radio and television related areas, gaining registration from the Patent Office in January 2005.

It is registered to use the logo for radio and television broadcasting services, entertainment and programmes as well as radio sets, CDs sound and video recordings plus T-shirts, hats, mugs, lighters and badges - among other items.

With us so far? Chorley FM - the real one - invited Peter Kay to get involved (they say), but he said no; however, Dave Spikey, who co-starred with Kay in Phoenix Nights, which featutred the fictional Chorley FM is patron of the actual Chorley FM:

Spikey said he had been aware of Phil MacIntyre making a bid for the station two years ago, but was not aware of any recent offer.

He said the station had a "big part to play in promoting local talent. [Chorley] is a little market town which is very strong on arts and culture which I do think is very important in the infrastructure of the town."

Chorley FM's team mutter dark warnings about what might happen if Kay doesn't come to the table soon:

"Peter Kay could be a keen investor but he obviously thinks he doesn't need the publicity in this area. He's apparently looking to come and live in Chorley but unless he helps the radio station he'll not be welcome."

Something to think about as you pull together plans to launch a KACL in Seattle.


Earlier this week we brought you the news that Mike McCarthy was due to appear in court over an incident when, according to the charges, he indecently touched a waitress' arse upstairs in a pub.

Riding up to his support now is brother Paul, waving a statement:

"I totally support my brother, Mike McCartney, in defending this allegation.

"Mike is a devoted family man, who has respect for people, and equally he has earned respect for himself in both his professional and private life.

"I look forward to his name being cleared and the anxiety caused to him and his family being relieved as soon as possible."

Matters are due to come to a head in court next month.


In a bid to try and persuade people to pay up for proper copies of the new album (which seems to be not-quite-a-return-to-form, but a step in the right direction), Depeche Mode, iTunes and Ticketmaster have come together to give people the chance to pre-order live tickets for gigs when they buy the album.

Apparently, they're pushing the wire. So says their manager, Jonathan Kessler:

"Depeche Mode is once again pushing the wire for its fans and utilising cutting edge technology to lead toward a better and faster way for fans to access new music and concert tickets."

Pushing the wire? Is this like pushing an envelope while going down to the wire?


Despite being on twenty nine networks, the US main telethon to aid Hurricane Katrina victims managed to pull just 24 million viewers - which is still enough to make it the most-watched programme on US television last week. Although it won't be number one rated, as, erm, the Nielsen ratings don't count programmes without adverts as proper shows.

The low turnout is probably explained by the telethon being a bit redundant - as we've observed previously, if the site of centenarians being bundled from their homes in bedsheets after a week of having liquid shitty poison swirling round your ankles isn't enough to get you to donate, Mariah Carey emoting is hardly going to do it.


First there came the tours; then, the academic conferences. Now, The Smiths' march towards national beatification continues with the news that the band are to be added to the Natrional Portrait Gallery collection.

Stephen Wright - not that one, or the other one - has offered a photo he took for the Queen Is Dead sleeve in 1986, and it's been accepted.

It might be a little early to plan a trip down to London to see it, though:

A gallery spokesman said: "We are delighted to have it but there are no definite plans to hang it at the moment. It's been offered and accepted, and will join the National Portrait Gallery collection."

They found space for Opie's Blur pictures quickly enough.


It turns out we might have been wrong about Tatu all along - we'd had them pegged as straight girls pretending to be lesbians in order to flog records. But as they relaunch their career, they're denying it all. Not the being lesbians bit - oh, no, the new Tatu line is that they didn't even pretened to be gay:

"Our first video was about to love between two girls," said member Lena Katina. "We do not pretend to be lesbians -- we've never said we were. Julia (Volkova) just had a baby and currently has a girlfriend, and we've both always had boyfriends. We share a special bond."

Now, even if we allow that "love between two girls" isn't lesbianic in any way, and dressing up as schoolgirls, and kissing in the rain wasn't pretending to be gay, it's not like the only reason people might have thought a band whose name translated as This Girl Loves That Girl were attempting to create an aura of sapphism, is it?

And that's without all the onstage business. And the claims in interviews. You did pretend to be gay, girls; you can't start pretending you didn't just because you were rubbish at it.

Oh, and the new single sounds like your old ones, but without the confidence.


Oasis have a record of dedicating stuff from the stage based on what's happening in the news - we think Noel likes people to know that he isn't thick, and that Newsround keeps him in touch. So, it's not entirely surprising as they take the stage at the Hollywood Bowl they toss out a song for the Katrina Victims. We're not sure, even before the New Orleans authorities get to grips with counting the bodies, their choice was the most well-considered: Live Forever. I suppose we should be grateful that it was a different Britpop band who did Ha Ha, You're Dead.

We're sure those bereaved in one of the largest storms will be delighted to have been asked "did you ever feel the pain in the morning rain?", Noel.


Mick Jagger does come across a bit of a wuss, with his strangely luxuriant hair standing on end at the the thought of living in London with all those bombs. We guess he's afraid if he's injured in an explosion and detained for months in hospital, it'd really screw with his international dashing about to avoid tax.

On the other hand, when we went to read the story on the Daily Snack, the news website of porno-man Richard Desmond's newspapers, we had to conclude that, maybe Jagger has a point being afraid:

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


You might not expect Ned Flanders to be launching his own record label, but since he shares an alterego with Derek Smalls, Spinal Tap's bassist, perhaps it's not so hi-diddly-highly unlikely. Harry Shearer and his wife, musician Judith Owen have cooked up a deal to release their own music in response to frustrations with the major labels:

"It came from me already being on major (labels) and having less than a joyful experience," Owen told

"One of the situations where 'new prez' comes in, the whole thing falls apart. After a situation like that, when you've lost your main guy, and you spend your life jumping through hoops trying to please people, it leaves you with the sensation of, 'God, wouldn't it be amazing just to be an artist?' It was a sense of Harry and I both being 'outside of the box artists' in our own fields."

Having said all of which, the stuff released on their label, Courgette Records, will still rely on Warner Group's distribution skills. But then, when you're just being an artist, you don't want to be a van driver as well.


TV On The Radio have been pretty quiet so far this year, which makes their sudden reappearance all the more startling. They've rushed out an mp3 track in response to Hurricane Katrina:

"we (tvotr) were back in the studio thinking and feeling again and made this song for all our everybody... in the absence of a true leader we must not forget that we are still together.... hearts are sick ... minds must change ... it is our hope that this song inspires, comforts, fosters courage, and reminds us... this darkness cannot last if we work together. let us help each other... heal each other .... look after one another ... the human heart is our new capitol.... this song is for you.... us.....we....them... it is free. pass it on.

The track can be downloaded for nowt.

Clue: It's called Dry Drunk Emperor. It's not going to be going onto Bush's iPod.


Arab Strap - who crop up on 6Music this Thursday, on Gideon Coe's show - are going to put themselves on a bus and tour the UK in November:

4th - Manchester, Night & Day
5th - Sheffield, Leadmill
7th - Norwich, Arts Center
8th - Northampton, Soundhaus
10 th - Cambridge, APU
11th - Bristol, AR2
12th - Cardiff, Barfly
13th - Exeter, Cavern
15th - Colchester, Arts Centre
16th - London, Garage
17th - London, Garage
19th - Southhampton, University
20th - Liverpool, Academy 2
21st - Birmingham, Bar Academy
22nd - Leicester, Charlotte
23rd - Newcastle, Uni (Global)
24th - Aberdeen, The Tunnels
25th - Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire
27th - Glasgow, King Tut's


Despite earlier reports suggesting Usher had disagreed with Kanye West's summation of the slow reactions of the Bush White House to react to the Katrina crisis, Usher has clarified his position - West was right, and started an important debate:

"Contrary to false media reports, I support the personal opinions made by my friend Kanye West. If it wasn't for his comments, there would not be an open dialogue about the underserved people in the Gulf Region. Our country is in a state of emergency - instead of the media trying to turn celebrities against one another - we should all come together as one and support the victims of this devastating tragedy. Let's all be a blessing to those in need."

Meanwhile, Kanye himself has been out, now relieved of the need to keep quiet imposed on him by the NFL, and talking to Ellen DeGeneres:

"People have lost their lives, their families, their homes, they have no place to go to. The least I can say is to go up there and say something from my heart that's real. There we so many bulletpoints that I had been hearing that wasn't on that teleprompter. I just wanted to bullet point these things that disturbed me so much."

He's about to come over ever so slightly Martin Luther King:

"A lot of time, people let fear get in the way of their dreams and what they need to do. And being in the situation I'm in, you have everything to can use your endorsements, you can lose this, you can lose that. But there's a whole lot more I could have lost... how about if I like what if I had drowned? What if I didn't eat for five days? People are so concerned with what they can lose."

Okay, Martin Luther King if King had held a Pepsi contract.

As the news media tries to rally support for Bush, West has become a convenient target for the right. Apparently, some news outlets were reporting "lustily booing" - Matt Drudge amongst them. Not so, counterclaim people who were actually at the Boston transmission of the NFL kick-off concert - some boos; but drowned out by cheers. And if the climate has taken so badly against Kanye, how come there are no reports of lusty booing from the other venues where the concert was simulcast?


Apparently Chris Rea's been in hospital. On Friday, he'd been planning to drive in a 24 Hour Rally (it would have been an ordinary rally, but a bunch of twinkwads had been going to drive slowly along the road in front so it would have taken a lot longer, we guess). But Rea was suddenly hit by severe pain. Doctors told him that this ain't no technological breakdown, oh no, this is infected abcesses caused by a complication of insuilin injections.

After an op on Monday, Chris is up and about again. He's eager to get back to work. But we'd suggest you take a couple of months off, Chris. Just to be on the safe side. Maybe a cruise?


The downside of having a hometown gig: People will know, while you're on the stage, that you're not in your house, and it's almost certain everyone else who lives in your house will be at the gig as well.

So it was that Luciano Ligabue got home from his date in Reggio Emilia to discover all his stuff had been burgled.

The burglars made off with two computers, a video projector, a flat-screen TV and even a Renault Clio parked in the 45-year-old rock star's garage, ANSA newswire reported.

What sort of rock star drives a Clio?


Michael Jackson's people seem totally convinced that his attempt to salvage his career ("raise funds for Katrina") is going to take place, announcing that Mariah Carey, James Brown and Snoop Dogg are all on board for the project.

It's interesting that so far, the announcements of the line-up are coming from the Jackson camp, rather than anywhere else:

Jackson is "continuing to reach out to artists who would like to work on him on this project", his spokeswoman said.

"He humbly hopes [it] will make a tremendous difference to all individuals who have been affected by this tragedy."

And which label will have the honour of releasing From The Bottom of My Heart? 2 Seas Records.

No, nor had we - it turns out to be owned by Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad al Khalifa, the son of the King of Bahrain. Bahrain, of course, is a constiutional monarchy where it's illegal to form a political party. In 2002, Bahrain issued a decree granting immunity to those who had commited human rights abuses in the past. In 2004, Amnest International had to become involved to secure the release of Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja following his detention and the closure of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights. In April, Ghada Jamsheer was charged with "insulting the judiciary", a thinly-veiled attack on her for daring to campaign for women's rights in the country. And more recently, Bahraini security forces beat human rights protesters during a campaign against unemployment. (Despite being an oil-rich nation, the unemployment rate in the country was most recently estimated at 15%; compared with, say, 10% in the Czech Republic.)

Seems to be an odd choice to invite a member of that ruling family to underwrite a charity single, but perhaps we're missing something.

Which reminds us - Jim McCabe was in touch with a link to this Guardian piece, in which his former PR manager (dumped after 17 years) Bob Jones spills where some of the bodies are buried down at Neverland:

In 1984 a young White House counsel, John Roberts, today President Bush's nomination to become the Chief Justice of the United States, wrote a memo in response to a request from Jackson that President Reagan send a letter telling him how great he was.

"The office of presidential correspondence is not yet an adjunct of Michael Jackson's PR firm," reads the memo. "Frankly, I find the obsequious attitude of some members of the White House staff toward Mr Jackson's attendants, and the fawning posture they would have the president of the United States adopt, more than a little embarrassing."

Almost makes you want Roberts to be approved by Congress on the spot, doesn't it?

More pertinently, as Jackson claims to be carrying from the bottom of his heart about the poor of New Orleans, is Jones' revelation that he refers to poor black people as "splaboos"; and through laziness or being too softly-monged on drugs, Jackson cheerfully fakes illness to get out of work:

Jones recounts one performance by the King at the Soul Train Music Awards. Pleading a broken ankle, Jackson performed from a chair. As soon as he reached home with his 12-year-old friend, Jackson tossed his crutches aside.

Hard to believe that that's the same man who turned up at court in his pyjamas because of his bad ba... oh, hang about, it isn't, is it?

There's other wonderful allegations in there (Jermaine Jackson made some mumbling about taking legal action, but so far Jones has received not so much as a cease-and-desist) - Jackson trying to get Liz Taylor to persuade the Queen to knight him, for example. And then, there's the growing realisation that something might be wrong:

"We were in Paris and we're going to the Louvre and the paparazzi is there on motorbikes following," says Jones. "We got to the Louvre and he got out of a bus hand-holding one of these little boys."

Alarmed at the implications for Jackson's image, Jones challenged the singer, to be told that he didn't care.

"I told his manager, I said you're going to get into trouble, this can't happen. And I also told the attorneys and the business manager. These attorneys and the manager making all this money, I guess they thought I was some kind of fool trying to buck the system."

Jones seems a broken man - and a broke man; he was canned by the Jackson camp and left without any pension or income, which is why he's taken full advantage of never having signed a non-dsiclosure agreement; most of all, he seems to be stressed by having to unpick the years of work he did building Jacko up:

Despite all his work to create a myth as the Peter Pan King of Pop, says Jones, people will only remember Michael Jackson for one thing. "He damaged whatever legacy he has. When people think of him now, they think of molestation."

Perhaps Michael's rich friends will buy all the copies


There might be much made of the Blur-Oasis battle taking place ten years ago, but the real significance from a musical point of view was a different release, a few weeks later. Ten years ago today, Kazaa made its debut. While Oasis have failed to change the world, and have barely managed to change their sound, Kazaa has shifted control of the music industry further out of the hands of the big companies than they could ever have expected.

It's worth raising a glass of champagne to the thing. With all its spyware and flaws and dubious legality. Happy birthday, kazaa.


Not bad for an evening's work: following its annointing of I Am A Bird Now as the Mercury Prize Winner, Antony and The Johnsons jumped from 135 into the top 20.

Almost worth risking the curse for, isn't it?

Quick! While there's still some left


We have a certain amount of sympathy for Robbie Williams - as you work your way through year after year of birthday cake, you find that your waistline starts to expand; hills become steeper; newsprint becomes smaller. So we can almost feel sorry for him, as we picture him trying to work out to Take That tunes and finding himself unable to keep up.


Just keep chanting "they mean it well... they mean it kindly" - Nikki Sixx and Chester Bennignton have recorded a duet in aid of those displaced by Katrina. Yes, together at last - Linkin Park and Motley Crue. Sixx takes the chance for a prod at Bush:

Now is the time were asking you to react. Please donate. Please pick up the phone or go online and make a difference, don't wait, our government already did that.

Meanwhile, yesterday evening saw a bunch of Hispanic-American acts - led by Gloria Estefan and Jon Secada - head down to the region with supplies and toys for those stranded. Gloria didn't take the chance to have a prod at Bush:

"Having felt people's love and support first hand through difficult moments in my life makes me feel it's our responsibility to help one another."

We'd love to report that she mouthed "Michael Brown" at the end of that, but she didn't.


If you've been wondering how Charlotte Church managed to go out with that dipshoe Johnson for eighteen months despite his obvious character flaws, it could just be that she's a lousy judge of character. Indeed, she believes that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are in love rather than being held together by a more mundane contract:

Welsh Church once met the Hollywood hunk backstage on US TV's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and was bowled over by his sincerity.

She says, "He was so genuine. I can't believe that he'd be going out with Katie Holmes if he didn't love her."

And Cruise is just as much a fan of the soprano-turned-pop singer. He once admitted that his children listen to her album as they go to sleep.

Of course, the version his kids are played as they drift off to dreamland does have the ranting of L Ron Hubbard backmasked on it.


Don't run away with the idea that Revolver is just another forumulaic thugs-with-guns flick from the mind of Guy Ritchie. Oh, no, this time it's different: it's a caring movie:

"I like to think there's justification for the punishment inflicted. It's not gratuitous.

"I wanted one person to get their ear shot off but I had to scrap it."

See? It's not just violence for violence's sake, it's punishment. And who can complain about guys being shot providing it's being done as a kangaroo court handing out summary justice.

We're not sure how he squares his wife's ("his") mystical belief system with this Blind Beggar approach to morality - Krayballah, is it?

It's not quite clear why, if this film isn't just a dull gangster geezer flick, it was felt the appropriate way to promote it would be a thirty-two sheet poster depicting gangster geezers waving guns around on the site of a fatal shooting. Perhaps there's a twist in the tale?

Ritchie's film - which he dragged his wife off her sick bed to try and shore up the prepublicity at the Toronto Film Festival - may have set out careful to avoid the glorification of violence, but even on its first showing it has inspired acts of evisceration and several instances of assasination. Admittedly, these are all from the reviewers, and, clearly, they're sure they have justification for the punishment:

[Dismissed as a] "convoluted, risibly overwrought muddle" by one US magazine. Screen International also warned viewers would be left "bewildered and disappointed" by what the Hollywood Reporter described as "pretentious style and fractured storytelling". Hollywood Reporter reviewer Kirk Honeycutt adds: "The movie spins wildly in circles, continually doubling back on itself, repeating scenes - once even backward - and lines of dialogue until a viewer loses a grip on what is supposed to be real."

We had wondered how he was going to spin out the same thin idea to fill another couple of hours of screen time - re-running scenes seems to be pretty inspired.

The shame of it all, though, is that Andre 3000 has got himself muddled up in all this.