Saturday, November 19, 2005


One of the longest running music/brand tie-ups has come to an end after twenty years: Darryl McDaniels, the DMC part of Run DMC, has swapped his alliegance to Le Coq Sportif (French for "Sporting his cock"). But, of course, it's not "simply signing a shoe deal". Oh no, because that would be tacky:

"I put those shoes on [Le Coq Sportif] and it was a wrap,” DMC said. “I finally found the sneaker I was looking for. Finally I could get out of my shell-toes... Adidas was part of a great past, but with my new album and documentary show coming out this fall on VH1, I found a sneaker brand to represent a great future."

DMC found that the new pump was more comfortable in many ways - better arch support, more snug fitting around the back of the heel and, crucially, filling his back pocket with large, soft rolls of banknotes.


DMX is getting to know the boys on D-Wing tonight, following violations of his probation dating back to a June 2004 happening at Kennedy International Airport. He'd been caught speeding despite having promised to remain out of trouble.

He would have got away with just 60 days, but he turned up three hours late to court. DMX claimed he'd had an asthma attack "brought on by stress", but his eventual arrival at court was surrounded by a crew making a reality show about him, something the judge deemed to be disrespectful enough to warrant an extra ten days inside.


The now-officially beleagured superindie label has had an apparently cosmetic management reshuffle with executive chairman Andy Taylor stepping down, although he's going to remain in charge. So there'll be someone else to take on the role of non-executive chairman while [t]his change is intended to enable Andy to concentrate his full energies on overseeing the implementation of the group's new business plan." It's expected the new business plan is a flipchart with the words "1. Don't be taken over by Warners. 2. Err, thats it." on it.


Earlier on in the week, Michael Levy made his strange comments predicting that Apple were about to bow to music industry pressure to change the iTunes pricing structure. Now, EMI have made another statement which claims that Apple is about to embrace a tweak EMI have made to their to fake cds to allow people to shift their music onto iPods. Apple say they have no idea why EMI would make such a claim.


Madonna has lost a more-significant-than-it-sounds court case in Belguim, where a court has accepted the claim of Salvatore Acquaviva that her song Frozen was, in fact, his song Ma Vie Fout L'camp.

Interestingly, Madonna's UK spokesperson, who's usually so very chatty on Maddy's behalf, said she was "unable to give a reaction."

Madonna is now obliged to withdraw the song from sale in Belguim - which means an expensive pulling of Ray of Light from stores across the country.


Is it really 180 days since Courtney Love was sent to drug rehab? Apparently, she's done her time and she's coming home, leaving the centre with the praise of Judge Rand Rubin ringing in her ears:

"You're doing really well. I'm really pleased with the reports," Judge Rubin told Love on Friday.

See, Courtney? That's all it takes to stay clean - being locked up and surrounded by an entire staff of people dedicated to keeping you clean. Should be simple enough to stay out of trouble.


There's nothing wrong with a bit of politeness in pop, so hats off to Franz Ferdinand for apologising to Rachel Stevens for taking her place in the charts:

Alex Kapranos said: "Sorry Rachel. But the irony is that people like you, Rachel, made it difficult for real bands for a long time.

"Rachel Stevens is right. There has been a swing to real exciting bands, thank God.

"I looked at the charts the other day and it was amazing. Do You Want To was in the Top 40 along with records by The Test Icicles, The Arctic Monkeys and The Kills. Four Domino bands in the Top 40. I was like, 'Yes. Nice one.' "And it's great to see other bands like Arcade Fire doing well too."

He also made concilatory noises towards Simple Minds, too. Apparently, ver Minds are meant to be angry that Franz will headline T in the Park next year over them - which seems bogus to us anyway, as what chance would Simple Minds have of headlining T anyway? A teadance at the town hall, perhaps, but not T in the Park.


Ooh, Robbie Williams ears will be burning this morning, what with him being the subject of a stinging attack from Louis Walsh:

And he couldn’t disguise his glee after his band Westlife knocked Robbie off the top of the album charts.

He said: "I’m delighted about that. Robbie is just a jumped up karaoke singer. I have no idea why he’s been so successful."

Well, it's a fair point - although a bit unfair to try and push the current series of The X Factor (or "oh, Come Dancing's on the other side now, isn't it?" as it's known in most homes) by having a pop at Robbie the same week they tried to push the current series of the X Factor by saying that Robbie was a big fan. And to suggest that Westlife are any better is a bit rich - they tend to give off the air of a band who are reading words scrolling up a nearby screen themselves, you know, Louis.

Then, perhaps getting a little confused, Louis Walsh started on Boyzone, presumably forgetting they were his fault in the first place:

He then hit out at [...] Boyzone, saying only "Stephen Gately and Ronan Keating were good singers".

He's half right, there, too. The rest of Boyzone were rubbish. He's on slightly shakier ground when he claims that Ronan was any good. And just looks like the sort of man with an enormous beard with bees living in it when he reckons Gately was.


Amongst the heirs to Washington and Lincoln in the US Senate came two senators from New Jersey, looking to raise a resolution praising Bruce Springsteen for selling records and living a long time. Normally stuff like this passes through with a unanimous vote, which made it all the more surprising that the Republican leaders in the senate even refused to allow the senate to consider praising the Boss.

Not because they thought that this sort of thing was really more appropriate for Entertainment Tonight rather than the debating hall of the nation's government. Oh, no, it was a purely partisan move to punish Bruce for supporting Kerry in the 2004 election race.

This is the democracy they're busy exporting worldwide, you know.


Nobody would wish a fall from a horse on anybody, as it's a nasty business and very upsetting for the horse. So, obviously, we feel a pang of sympathy for Madonna, flung from one of her posh mate's polo ponies, but even so, we're not sure what her claim about the incident actually means. How does your entire skeleton collapse?

"I said I didn't really know how to ride a polo horse but my friend said: 'He's so tame'."

Madonna, with husband Guy Ritchie and friends, had only been riding a few months.

She added: "So I go on, and he went crazy and I went down. I was thinking 'I'm graceful, I'm a dancer, I'm going to land, I'm going to roll and it's going to be fine'."

Instead, she fell heavily on the hard ground. Madonna told US show Primetime: "I tried to stand up and my whole skeleton collapsed on me and I fainted."

So, the pony rushed off, with Madonna trying to cling on to it desperately, making the pony a rich visual metaphor for her career, then. We wonder if the bloke who owned the horse then went in that stagey, oh-I'm-surprised-though-reallt-I'm-not way "oh... that's not my polo pony, that's Wild Willy, the unbreakable stallion. What a terrible mistake..."

So: Madonna's skeleton collapsed, and yet a couple of months later she's dancing about on Children In Need. Okay, the dancing wasn't up to much, and the audience gave her a round of cheers when she just rotated through 360 degrees. Yes, that bad the crowd decided to give her some encouragement for turning right the way round. But she didn't give the air of a woman who had had to have her entire skeleton rebuilt a few eeeks back. We wonder if she meant it compacted?


Does Justin Hawkins have anything to say about his own music, as he seems to do little more than list other people's shortcomings whenever he finds himself in an interview. Latest target is the softest yet, James Blunt:

He told Classic Rock magazine: "There's nothing dour or inward-looking about rock music.

"It's all about being extensions of yourselves and expressing whatever it is you want to say in a bombastic fashion.

"If you're tackling a difficult subject then it's a rock band's job to slam it on the table and go: 'That's what I'm fucking talking about!'

"Whereas it's for people like James Blunt to whittle around the subject and dance lightly, being quite cryptic so everyone thinks he's deep.

"Nobody wants to be deep. The only thing that should be deep is our money resource."

"Our money resource"? What? "Coming down the pub, Justin?" "Hang about, I'll just check my money resource..."

While Justin's claims that rock music should always be stupid as cheese will doubtless give hope to many struggling mid-table indie bands, we're not convinced that "there's nothing dour or inward-looking about rock music." Presumably Hawkins has yet to hear, say, Black Sabbath's Paranoid, or anything by the Manics. Or Suicidal Tendencies.

But then a man who spends time worrying about James Blunt like he's a threat probably has other things on his mind. It's curious that Hawkins views Blunt as competition - since Blunt is aimed squarely at the market who pick up albums while they're doing the weekly shop at Asda on the strength of one single they hear being played a lot on Capital Radio or whatever their local equivalent would be. So, that's where the battle is being fought, is it, Ju?


If you have tears, prepare to shed them now for poor Westlife, who were all excited about going to number one with their Christmas single When You Tell Me That You Love Me. That would mean they'd had 14 consecutive number one singles - and we challenge you to name more than two of them - and they believe that would be an unassailable record. (Although, frankly, boys, if you can do it with your lack of distinction and elan, then I wouldn't count on it being quite so unsurpassable.)

Now, if they're really interested in smashing the record, you'd think they'd reschedule their single to be released at some point of the year when not everybody in the entire world is releasing a single in a bid for the Christmas number one - it's like wanting to set a record for walking round London streets but deciding to do it on the day of the London Marathon.

But who do Westlife blame for really shitting on their chances?

Friday, November 18, 2005


Ah, so that's what it was all about - apparently that whole Michael Jackson in a ladies' toilet business was simply because he didn't read the local language and just thought he was heading to the gents, explains his spokesperson.

It doesn't explain why he was trying to find a gents dressed as a lady, looking for somewhere to reapply his make-up, but we're sure that will be made clear in the coming weeks.


Obviously, nobody wants to look in the mouth of the gift-horse news that Kelly Osbourne is retiring, but even although we can but hope nobody tries to persuade her to to come back (or, more accurately, simply come), we find her farewell statement disappointingly vague:

"I don't intend to do anything. I've been working since I was 15 - what do I want to work for?"

Yes, six years of... erm, what exactly was it you did, Kelly? There were two albums but neither would exactly have stretched you; and being filmed going about your everyday business is hardly trying, is it?

We know the government is keen for us all to live to 100 so we can work until we're 97, but Kelly, we're pleased to see an exception being made for.


Lovely, lovely Stellastarr* are on their way to the UK for a very brief tour in a couple of weeks:

London Metro - Nov 29
Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire - 30
Manchester Late Room - Dec 1
London Koko Club – 2

It's by way of a warm-up for their February 2006 album Harmonies For The Haunted.


Radio 2's annual "choose a track, pay some money" 24 hour splurge is working its way through to the £750,000 mark; cash which goes towards Children In Need. (How did Pudsey lose his eye in the first place, though? We should be told).

What's puzzling about this, every year, though, is what people pay money to hear. The BBC Gramophone Library at their disposal, they put their hands in their pocket and ask for... Clocks, by Coldplay, the last time I tuned in.

Really? Someone is so desperate to hear Clocks they can't retune to another station or wait six hours or so until it's back to business as usual? Isn't there something they'd want to hear that they can't hear every five bloody minutes anyway?

On tonight's BBC Children In Need telethon, by the way, there's hijinks as BBC newsreaders dress up and try to pass themselves off as 70s popstars Queen, and Madonna takes her skirt off and tries to convince people she's 80s popstar Madonna.

But, hey, all our ribbing about Madonna not exactly being part of the club scene any more might have been a little cruel. At her post-gig party the other night she had a dance competition. Against, erm, Sharleen Spiteri and Stella McCartney.


Midway between Christmas gift and frustration, Cerys Matthews is playoing a one-off gig at Bethesda Rugby Club on December 18th.

The catch? Capacity is 250. You can try for tickets from Siop LBapur Lorne House in Bethesda, or Cob Records in bangor.


Blimey, our boy Gennaro has been making up for lost time, virtually spinning a full-length Jackanory out of the week's album sales:

HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: "It looks like she's going to to be at number one in both the single and album charts. She's outselling her closest rival, Will Young, two to one. Her album is also outselling Westlife two to one. She's on target to make end of the week album sales of over a quarter of a million.

"We think the album is on target to be the third biggest selling album of the year behind Coldplay's X&Y which over 400,000 copies and Robbie Williams' Intensive Care, which shifted over 300,000.

"It shows that she's really come back, it's a real return to form after her last album American Life, which didn't sell as well by her standards.

"She's reinvented herself yet again as a disco diva, and reconnected with her fans and the wider record buying public.

"She's also got a real killer track to launch the album, which is a great way to start. In the last year we've had a lot of introspective offerings from people like James Blunt and KT Tunstall and, to some extent, even Coldplay. Madonna's new album hits you between the eyes, it's very upbeat and music fans are really responding to that.

"A lot of people look at music stars who have been around for years and think they did their best work at the start of careers. With Madonna that's not the case, she's constantly reinventing herself and her music, and I think a lot of people will see Hung Up as one of the best things she's ever done."

He added: "The new Babyshambles album is selling quite well, although nowhere near as well as Madonna. Pete Doherty's looking at a number six place."

Actually, we suspect Pete Doherty's looking for his passport still. But our favourite bit of Gennaro's commentary here is the cautious suggestion that, you know, maybe that Coldplay could, under some circumstances, be seen as being, well, you know, a tiny bit introspective. Just a little, mind.

And who knows, maybe Gennaro isn't so mad to say that some people will see Hung Up as the best thing Madonna's done. Admittedly, you'd have to be ten years old and never heard any of her early stuff to be able to form such an opinion, but it is more than possible.


Korn used to avoid doing television - because, of course, it wouldn't look cool to be dancing like monkeys to Jay Leno's command when you're as, uh, deep and in pain as Korn are. Oh no.

But then they've realised that it might be costing them sales. Looking c ool is important, but not when you can't afford a dessert at a fancypants restaurant. Trouble is, how do you explain why, all of a sudden, you're popping up on Saturday Night Live? Jonathan Davis has come up with a face-saving formula:

"We had a thing against doing TV for a long time because of the way it sounded and the way bands came across on it. But there have been leaps and bounds with the technology, so we're going to be giving it a try."

We're not sure what the new technology is that has come in in the last year - rumours abound of magic 'make any old shit sound good' mixers being installed at NBC's studios, but cannot be confirmed - but how splendid that it's allowing Korn to appear on TV just as their core audience starts to let go of their teenage music choices.


Apparently Midge Ure was offered the chance to get bugs in his underpants by going on I'm A Celebrity, but said no because he "didn't want to be surrounded by has-beens." Yeah, truly you would have been like a fish out of water amongst people whose careers ended sometime in the mid-1990s, Midge.

Astonishingly, Midge was charging twenty quid a throw for tickets for his most recent tour. He really doesn't hold himself cheap, does he?


Interesting, the suggestions that "Hollywood" is looking at Will Young's role in the new Judi Dench movie Mrs Henderson Presents and is thinking "he could be the new Hugh Grant comes entirely from Will Young's spokespeople. In the same way that I could probably hire someone to talk about me as the likely next editor of the Sunday Telegraph, then:

“They really like him. Recently the only English gent they’ve had is Hugh Grant. They see Will as a cooler, younger version of that type who can sing, dance and also do comedy. He’s the whole package as far as they are concerned. And his meetings tie in really nicely because next year we’ll be launching his music in the States too.”

We're betting Hollywood is having Will pitched to them as "how would you feel if there was a Hugh Grant type we could guarantee wouldn't be caught getting blowjobs off some random girl on the side of the road...?"

Back in the real world, The Sun has a bizarre picture of Will peering excitedly into a filthy old helmet:


Actually, we're not that surprised that Mark Owen beat Robbie Williams in a poll to decide the most popular member of Take That. We doubt that Williams would be able to win a poll to find the most popular member of Robbie Williams.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


It's nice to hear the first fruits of the Flaming Lips recording session, but slightly disappointing that the song available online, You Gotta Hold On forms part of a site pushing some half-assed new metal Coke bottle (designed for overpriced clubs, apparently). An album. At War With The Mystics, follows early next year. (From the Lips, not from Coca-Cola).


Something to look forward to after Christmas: Beth Orton's got a new album due February 13th, called Comfort In Strangers. She's getting all warmed up for it with a three-night residency at the London Scala on the 6th, 8th and 12th of December.

Aaah. Beth Orton makes us smile.


A family bereavement had led to TV On The Radio to pull out of tonight's 4AD birthday gig at the London Scala, announces a statement:

“Tunde Adebimpe's father died unexpectedly yesterday. He has flown back to America to be with his family, and in the absence of their lead singer TV On The Radio are unable to play at The Scala this evening. However, Celebration will perform at 9pm, and the remaining members of TV On The Radio will be joining them onstage. TV on the Radio will also be playing songs from their new album as part of a DJ set. This is a world exclusive! All ticket holders are welcome to come to the show - the price of their tickets will be fully refundable (from point of purchase) whether they come or not. We would love it if as many people as possible could make it along tonight to see a great band.”

”The remainder of the 1980 Forward shows continue as planned - Magnetophone & Minotaur Shock perform at The Luminaire on Friday evening, and The Breeders play at Blackheath Halls on Saturday and Sunday.”


Clubs across the European Union will become a slightly quieter place to be in the new year with the introduction of new noise regulations. Sort of. Westminster Health and Safety Department are touring London venues to prepare them for the new safe noise levels - although they have got until February 2008 to comply with the new regulations.

One club they visited had dance floor levels at 104 decibels; the new limit will see legal action being triggered at 85dBA.


Tricky blighter, johnny flag. A chap pulls one round his shoulders, all of a sudden the chap is the centre of a firestorm as a result. Ludacris is putting a brave face on the anger that greeted his waving of a confederate flag during the Vibe awards. (For an event which everyone said passed without incident, it seems to have been quite incident-packed.) Ludacris is now claiming that, yes, his idea was to get people talking:

"This flag represents the oppression that we as African Americans have endured for years; this is a symbol of segregation and the racism that reigned not only throughout the South but throughout the entire United States," said Ludacris in a statement. "I wore it to represent where we came from, to remind people that Ray Charles' original 'Georgia' was written because of that racism."

Luda pointed out that he later discarded the flag, stomped on it, and brought a different flag bearing the traditional African colors—red, black, and green.

"It is a representation and my interpretation of where we were and where we need to go. Racism is just as prevalent now and if we are not constantly mindful of our history and take charge of it, history is destined to repeat itself because of ignorance.

"In order to move forward, we must never forget where we were," Luda continued. "I hope people continue to question and challenge authority, media and themselves because questioning and challenging can only lead to enlightenment."

He does seem to have thought this through more than, say, Marilyn Manson does his shock tactics.


Could there be anything more appropriate than Jamie Cullum being announced as the new face of the Samaritans? Certainly, whenever we see his face we certainly always think about calling the Samaritans, or just cutting straight to the chase and throwing ourselves of tall buildings.

Jamie's a long-term supporter:

"I'm genuinely delighted to be joining the Young Ambassadors to help Samaritans. I believe in the work of Samaritans' volunteers."

He added: "I have considered Samaritans one of my favourite charities for a long time and it's good that younger people in society can do something positive to support such a worthwhile cause - especially when the young are also one of the higher risk groups, when it comes to needing emotional support."

(Seriously, an admiration for the work the Samaritans do is probably the only thing we share with Cullum, and we'd encourage you to consider making a donation or even considering volunteering. Remember, every penny or minute you can give makes them need to send Cullum out as an ambassador that little bit less...


We're interested to hear that EMI are running round telling people that they reckon Apple is going to fall into line and start charging more for some tracks on iTunes:

The chief executive of EMI Music, Alain Levy, said EMI had discussed the issue with Apple CEO Steve Jobs and believed Apple planned to end its single-price policy for iTunes music, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site. "We are having discussions which make us believe it will happen in the next 12 months," Levy reportedly said at a press conference in London for the company's half-year profit results. "There is a common understanding that we will have to come to a variable pricing structure. The issue is when. There is a case for superstars to have a higher price."

We imagine this might come as a surprise to Apple, whose one-price-for-all price has been a central feature of its offering; it's possible that Levy is just trying to bounce Jobs into having to capitulate.

There is, of course, no case at all for superstars to have a higher price - you could argue, possibly, that a record which costs more to make could cost more to reflect the extra costs, but since someone who really likes Mariah is not going to get any more value out of one of her songs than someone who really like Toad The Wet Sprocket would get from one of theirs, there's no reason to expect consumers to pay more for Mariah than anyone else. Equally, there's no limit to the supply of any specific music track online, so there's no supply and demand factor which would lead to Robbie's Angels should cost more than Slowdive's Morningrise.

And although there is more spent on bringing a Madonna album to market costs more than getting a Sons And Daughters album out, the main bulk of that money is pissed away on marketing. And surely Levy doesn't want to tell consumers they have to pay more for Madonna tracks because they have to buy thirty-two sheet advertising locations across the capital, does he?

[Thanks to Michael B for the link]


This weekend's discovery of Gary Glitter giving his scooter backseat to teenage Vietnamese girls has been picked up by the local press, leading to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Dung announcing the cops are after him:

"If we have evidence of child sexual violation, very strict legal measures would be applied," Dung said, adding that Glitter had since disappeared.

It's unlikely that Glitter - real name Ayews K. D. Pawn - would have gone to Cambodia; he's been kicked out of the country twice and is banned from returning. And he's unlikely to have come back here, as he "forgot" to sign the sex offenders register before he headed off to the Far East.


As she plugged her "please buy it all again" reworking of the last album, Mariah Carey has shared her insight into what Christmas means:

"I'm definitely gonna take some time off," said the singer, who's been promoting the album nonstop since its April release. "I'm totally excited for the holidays, which is like ... I'm queen of festivities, that's my bag, but I think I have to figure out what my next thing is gonna be."

So she can spend more time concentrating on giant Jenga and watching the Dr Who special, we can help Mariah by sketching out her next move: a few lamely knocked off R&B songs, accompanied by a series of photoshoots with her breasts pushed up as high as possible.


We could never quite fathom the popularity of Mansun, who always seemed to us to be of a piece with Kingmaker - like a Waitrose own brand version of indie guitar music: very well made, but without the flavour of the original.

Anyway, Paul Draper from the band is back - a Mansun best of, a solo album and he's worked with Skin on her new solo stuff. There are people who will be rolling with delight at this news.


Bryan Ferry's troublesome fox-slaughtering son, Otis Ferry, has appeared in court charged with being one and a half time over the drunk driving limit.

He's accused of having 55 micrograms of blood per 100 milimetres of breath when he was stopped in Cirencester, charges which he denies.

It turns out that Otis isn't even his real name - it's Charles, but he uses Otis, a middle name. Presumably he was afraid Charles sounded a bit too oikish.


We know that Michael Jackson is very close to the ruling family in Bahrain - and they, we understand, see him as a perfectly acceptable houseguest until Mariah Carey comes up for hire - so we wonder if the rushing to deny rumours of a house-buying in nearby Dubai:

"He hasn't purchased any property and he hasn't even been back in Bahrain since he went to London to record his new song," he said. "He's been in Dubai for the past month, but still considers Bahrain to be his home. He will be back here soon."

Meanwhile, we love the Gulf Daily News' vagueness on the whole Katrina single thing:

He is expected to release a song in support of victims of natural disaster which will feature an all-star cast.

We bet that started out as "Jackson will soon release a single in aid of victims of Hurricane Katrina featuring James Brown, Mary J Blige and other top celebrities" until the facts failed to stack up, one-by-one. We bet that as press time loomed they were going "what... even 'soon' has to come out?"


Snoop Dogg is planning to join a protest rally outside San Quentin jail this Saturday, where the execution is being planned of Stanley Tookie Williams.

Since his conviction for a 1979 multiple murder, Williams has turned his life around to the point where he's received Nobel Peace Prize nominations for his attempts to steer young people away from a life of gangs, leading to a growing campaign for California to not kill him. Curiously, the state's Correction Department has launched an unprecedented counter-campaign, issuing a press release which claims Williams continued to run his (and Snoop's) old gang the Crips from his cell.

The claim was removed after press enquiries about the curious role of the Corrections Depatment in trying to influence a sentence, but then a spokesperson for the prison went even further:

"When you look at the totality of what has been occurring that leads me to seriously question this man of peace," said Vernell Crittendon, who has worked at the prison nearly 30 years and regularly interacts with Williams and said he felt obligated to correct the inmate's public image. "A con always will say one thing to you while the whole time he has another agenda. I'm concerned that possibly this marketing that's going on ... leads the public to hear the words, but not to see that sleight of hand."

It's not recorded if Crittendon then pulled on black leather gloves or wandered off muttering "You're a recidivist, Fletcher". What is clear is that Crittendon didn't really offer anything concrete against Williams, other than the vague "totality of what has been occurring" - the US Prison system is notorious for being full of men who are unable to string a coherent sentence together, but it's slightly surprising to see one of them working as a spokesperson for the staff rather than being slammed up inside.

Snoop has been refused permission to visit Williams in San Quentin, on account of his own past record with guns and violence. After all, you wouldn't want someone like that bringing down the atmosphere inside Death Row, would you?


Romeo from the So Solid Crew has been cleared of wounding with intent by an Old Bailey jury. The jury accepted his explanation that his presence at the slashing of Ejay Armstrong's face after a night out in Leicester Square had been in an attempt to make peace rather than cutting him to pieces.

Romeo's account of the incident started off sounding more like a pitch to join the 3AM Girls:

"As we exited the club we walked towards the car park. We saw lots of press hanging around.

"There was quite a few famous people along the road at the back, walking or in cars. The Sugababes were there. Charlotte Church was there and members of a group called Big Brother were there as well."

Returning to the car park, he found a big crowd of people.

"There was a lot of thumping sounds and the first thing going through my mind was 'where's my brother?' I had to look out for him. I saw these guys with weapons. I was not acting aggressively. I was just trying to call for my brother."

Romeo said he split people up. "All I was trying to do was cool it down or stop it. I was more or less lecturing everyone. I was the peacemaker."

Despite London mayor Ken Livingstone making a public speech singling out the So Solid Crew for being responsible for inspiring violent crime amongst the city's youth during the trial, the jury accepted Romeo's story.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Vibe magazine gave Mary J Blige an award and a front cover. And what did Mary J give them? Hell. Lost in the original reports of Blige's VLegend acceptance (which focused on her "I'm a bloody phoenix, me" remarks) was her use of the platform to moan about how she looked on the cover:

"For so many years, Vibe has given me great, great, great covers, but I must say, I'm very, very disappointed at the cover this time, so Mimi, me and you really need to talk, as women. No disrespect, but I really hated the way you guys shaved off my head, pushed my forehead way back behind my ears. I'm just insulted."

Vibe editor Mimi Valdes has now returned the fire, denying that Vibe did anything with Blige's face, and fuming:

"Dissing Vibe while accepting our VLegend Award was extremely disappointing. I'm sorry you find your most recent cover insulting. It was definitely not our intention.

"Besides your desire to make a private conversation public, your accusations are untrue. How your hair looks on that cover is between you and your hairstylist. I swear, your hairline is no different than the Polaroids you saw at the shoot or the snapshots we printed in my What's Good column.

"I'd be lying not to admit how hurt we were by the negativity you brought to our celebration, especially since you were being honored."

... and especially since nobody else is going to give her a front cover these days.


Marilyn Manson needs a few extra quid and, because they're not hiring down at the garden centre, he's going to turn to acting. He's going to play the part of a ground dwelling ancient prophet who rapes women and has thorns for teeth in a film with Nick Nolte. It sounds horrific. The bit about it co-starring Nick Nolte, we mean, not the rather laboured part manson is playing.

He also seems to think it's noteworthyily gruesome that his character "eats ostriches", apparently unaware that ostriches are farmed for their meat.


After having spent their career being hassled by men in suits, Marquis Ross of the 2 Live Crew has hired some suits of his own. He wants cash from Jay-Z and Ice T for a song he says he wrote which they both used. Ross has two separate beefs - Ice T has already made a small payment following his neglecting to include Ross on the copyright of 99 Problems, but Ross wants more; and he claims Jay-Z ripped off the song for the track of the same name on the Black Album.

Ross wants money.


EMI have made it clear that they're to give up trying to interest America in Robbie Williams. The company CEO Alain Levy has said that launching Williams in the leading entertainment market "isn't neccesary." In the same way, of course, that it's not reallty neccesary to have shoes, or drink water:

"In order to crack the U.S. market, we probably would need six months to a year to do it. It simply isn't in his schedule now. Right now I don't think it's on the cards. I don't think it's necessary."

In other words, America has been like those people who put little notices on their front door saying they don't want free newspapers, only the notice says "No Gurning Idiots Thank You".

In unrelated news, the American Embassy reports applications for residence visas have increased several thousand per cent in the last 24 hours.


Is Justin Hawkins working his way through rock in alphabetical order, or is his constant stream of nitpicking and fault-finding (yes, yes, we know: mote and beam) done at random?

Today's target is Pete Doherty:

"I'd say firstly (Pete) doesn't do rock music, and secondly, he only sells records because people are curious as to what a junkie sounds like," Hawkins told Orange World. "I think that's really wrong and really irresponsible...I think he's a talentless waste of fucking skin!"

Drummer Ed Graham added: "You wouldn't mind so much if the bloke had written a song that was good enough to justify all his publicity, but he's not got a good song in his body. I would like to smash him in the face really hard. I hate everything about him. He should be on the plate. Served up on Sunday, with a selection of veg," to which Hawkins replied "You wouldn't eat that. You wouldn't put that fucking poison in your mouth would you?"

Of course, there's nothing much to be said in favour of being a junkie, but on the other hand: isn't threatening to beat up someone because they've been weak enough to get trapped in drug addiction a little bit insensitive?


More phrases to chill your blood: How does "Travis have got 20 new songs grab you?

Apparently, they have, according to Dougie Payne's website:

We've got about 20 songs recorded. This includes stuff we did in Westside earlier in the year and one tune goes back to the sessions we did with Eno last December.

"We've got two weeks in here this time around and reckon most of the time will be spent finishing off those things that need more work but we decided to start off the session with trying a new song.

Good God, man, is not twenty enough? Why record more - it's like a country having enough weapons to destroy the planet a dozen times over but still building more warheads, isn't it?


Doubtless, the expected downturn in global music sales this year will be blamed on piracy, theft, drug dealers selling Alanis Morrisette's back catalogue to schoolkids on the black market, and all the usual excuses. But don't fall for it - US labels are having a rubbish year because the product has been thin. The effect is going to look worse, too, as last year new stuff from Eminem and U2 was getting deployed.

When the labels start crying, remember these words from Jim Urie, president of Universal Music:

"The release schedule is weaker this year than it was last year."

That's why they're having a downturn; to blame sliding sales on theft is like a baker suggesting his poop-filled-tarts aren't selling because people are stealing cakes from Tescos instead.

You can sense the desperation for something - anything - to capture public imagination in the sheer weight of push the Madonna album is getting. Her unconvincing attempt to pretend she's still a vibrant dancefloor force is what happens when record companies call in favours: as when the Are You Being Served team regrouping for Grace and Favour, no turning up of the applause track can disguise that she's, well, a little past this sort of thing. It's not that she's too old, but she's too distant from where she came from. When she sang "only when I'm dancing can I feel this free", you could believe it - on the dancefloor she's able to put the cheap rooms, glamour photography and nastiness of life behind herself and groove herself a whole new life. But what now? When did Madonna last go to a disco, nevermind need the glitterball as a means of escape? Normally, sane counsel would take her to one side and suggest she produces something a little less off-the-shelf, something a bit more personal and not so plastic. But instead, the industry needs a hit, and so will sell us the substandard as transubstantiation.

Things are slightly less gloomy at home, with Robbie Williams also holding out the prospect of massive sales to the don't-really-like-music market.

Williams and Gorillaz helped EMI manage to increase its sales for the first time in five years, but still managed to mislay 47% of its profits.

2005 has been a brilliant year for music in the smaller end of the music business pie charts. You'd have thought with all the investment the big labels keep telling us they put into artist development, they'd be enjoying something of a golden boom.

Having said which, we should remember that when massive corporations announce they're living in hard times, it's always relative. A drop in profits of nearly half still left EMI with supernormal profits of £22.5million.


The mutterings that the Kaiser Chiefs are working themselves into an early grave grow into a smattering of "told you so": the Kaisers have pulled their Spanish tour due to an outbreak of a "rare virus" in the camp band band camp:

"It's with deep regret we have to cancel our planned gigs on the Wintercase Tour in Spain this week. These are the first shows in Kaiser Chiefs history we have cancelled. The cancellation is caused by an outbreak a highly contageous & rare virus in our travel party. Unfortunately this has lead to enforced cancellation of all Kaiser Chiefs gigs this week until each of the band has the all-clear following medical tests. We apologise for any disappointment this may cause and hope you understand the strange circumstances that have lead to this. We hope it's not too long before we have the chance to visit Spain again.

"We apologise for any disappointed Spanish fans and those of you that were travelling from anywhere else. We hope you still enjoy The Tears at these gigs. "

(They were due to play with Brett and Bernard, they don't mean that they want people to revel in crying their hearts out at an empty venue.)

Hepatitis A, apparently, in case you're wondering.


They're already announcing tours for the period after the January sales - Funeral For A Friend have lined up a glum jaunt for next February:

5 Exeter University
6 Bristol Academy
7 Liverpool University
8 Shepherds Bush Empire
11 Newcastle Academy
12 Edinburgh Corn Exchange

Rather optimistically, This Is Fake DIY are describing this as a "Spring Tour", rather than the probably more likely "slog through snowdrifts and battles against diminishing stocks of fuel."


The future isn't very bright for Robbie Williams, with former Take That manager Nigel Martin-Smith fretting that he's going to end up "like Paula Yates". A prospect too horrifying to contemplate - forced to work with Jools Holland, have sex with Bob Geldof and unsure if Hughie Green is your Dad or not.

Oh, apparently he means dead - which, actually, is Robbie's ultimate fate anyway, we believe:

"He's so bitter and it's hard to know what his problem is, but he's always had a self-destruct button," said Nigel yesterday.

"Despite all the nasty things he has said about me, I still worry about Rob. I'm scared that one day I'm going to wake up and be told that he's dead, like Paula Yates.

"I was good friends with Paula. I still feel guilty that I didn't contact her when she was going through her troubled period."

Hmm. One of those good friends who keep away when someone's got problems, then.

Towards the end of Robbie's time in Take That, Nigel often saw the star in a terrible state. "We were supposed to be doing the MTV Awards in Germany but Robbie was unwell," he revealed.

"He'd been in bed with an international model the night before - I can't say who - and he was shaking. A complete state. I called a doctor and told Robbie to be honest about what he'd taken so we'd get him the right shot. He was a real mess."

It's nice that Nigel is so discrete about who Robbie was "in bed with", albeit while revealing medical and narcotic histories.

Talking about why Robbie quit in 1995, Nigel said: "He was a young lad with a lot of issues. He had his mum telling him he should be enjoying his fame, going to premieres, but he didn't always understand that to stay famous you have to work hard.

"He wanted the lifestyle but didn't realise the slog involved. He wasn't pulling his weight."

If we recall the last days of the Take That empire correctly, it would have taken a small truck to pull his weight, wouldn't it?

"It's ironic that Rob now says he wanted to write songs - he never said it at the time."

Perhaps his manager never explained that that was where the real money was, eh, Nigel?


Shane McGowan has followed Paul Daniel's example. No, this isn't about the lovely Debbie McGee, and if that mental image is following you round all day you've only got yourself to blame.

Just as last week, Paul tried to buy a waxwork of himself from Gerry Cottle on Ebay (Cottle is breaking up the waxwork storeroom at Wookey Hole); now, The Pogues have had to turn to Ebay to get the Fairytale of New York artwork back.

Paul Daniels, sad to say, didn't win his auction - which makes you wonder who else could possibly have a use for a small, waxy version of the former titan of television magic. Besides the lovely Debbie McGee, of course.


Move over Sappho. After centuries as being the leading writer on the love of women for other women, she's been bested. By Kerry Katona. Apparently she has a column in OK, and to fill it this week she's apparently had three Malibus and had somebody transcribe how there's not anything wrong with it:

“I think lesbianism is great! This is 2005 – there are so many lesbians out there that it’s right to see it on TV. Besides, every woman has a bit of bisexuality in them. Look – a pair of lips are lips. It doesn’t matter if they belong to a girl or boy! If I was asked to go lesbian in a film I would definitely do it. I want to be an actress and if that’s what the role required I’d do it. I think a woman’s body is beautiful.
I wouldn’t let my daughters see me star in a love scene, though, but then I wouldn’t let them see me doing it with a guy either.”

We do wonder if her comment on "a pair of lips is a pair of lips" suggests that Kerry doesn't actually realise that there's more to lesbianism than just kissing - something that's reinforced by the bit about how she'd "go lesbian in a film if the role required it" (and, frankly, Kerry, having seen your acting in the Iceland ads, we'd expect any film role you get offered will probably require quite a bit of that sort of thing): does she realise that in a film, it's acting, and when people onscreen appear to have sex, they're not really doing it? We're picturing Kerry turning down a role in Pirates of Carribean because she's not a good sailor and didn't want to have her eye poked out and replaced with an eyepatch.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Things aren't going well for Kevin Federline, are they? Not only did his own wife start the global laughter at his rapping, but now the man - who, by profession is meant to be a dancer - turns out to not even be any good at his own job. Kev was booging on a podium and fell off. Now, he's wearing a bandage on his left hand, which, if rumours are to be believed, is the other half of sex life gone.

BITTER MEN OF ROCK: Frankie Poullain

To be fair, after he was shoved out the way and had his name downmarked all over town, you wouldn't expect Frankie Poullain to be exactly thrilled with the new Darkness single. But he's more bitter than you might expect a man who got off a waggon just before it spun off the road to be:

The dumped bassist believes that in tackling drugs ‘One Way Ticket’ “insults” people with narcotics addictions.

He ranted: “As for Justin’s claim the song is all about redemption, it’s hardly Marvin Gaye or Bob Marley now, is it? I think it’s insulting to people with real difficulties.”

“Justin? A mega megalomaniac? No, not really, he’s just a victim of the lifestyle. Unless you were in the druggy clique or the fawning circle of ass-kissers, you’d find yourself persona non grata. Hence I’m now a free agent.”

We're trying to decide if we'd choose the druggy clique or fawning circle from those two options. Probably the clique, as it sounds like the holidays would be better there.


Apparently, there was nothing which could have stopped Mark Chapman's plans to kill John Lennon. Chapman has given an interview to NBC show Dateline in which he describes his quest to kill Lennon as being "like a runaway train":

"I heard a voice in my head saying, 'Do it, do it,'" Chapman recounted. "And as he passed me I pulled out the gun, aimed at his back and pulled the trigger five times in succession."

Chapman recalled that his desire to kill Lennon began one day in his apartment in Hawaii, where he was sitting on the floor and looking at the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. His animosity soon began to consume Chapman.

"There was a successful man who kind of had the world on a chain, so to speak, and there I was, not even a link of that chain, just a person who had no personality," Chapman said. "And something in me just broke."

You do wonder when Chapman says nothing could have stopped him if he'd at least paused for a moment if he'd been told that all he was going to do was turn the Beatle into some saintly figure for the rest of eternity, and made Imagine into a hymn for religious people who like to believe they're agnostics and atheists who hope they're religious.

And is it just us, or is the concept of someone derving time for murder doing an interview just a little bit icky? We don't support the death penalty in any shape or form, but maybe there should be something about maintaining a media silence in the whole murder sentence. Otherwise we're going to end up with Celebrity Convict Big Brother.


There's probably nobody who's bothered, but the official list of contestants for the forthcoming series of If I Eat Bugs Can I Have A Daytime Chat Show has been released, or leaked, or someway come into the public domain. There's a few music-related celebrities in reduced circumstances involved - Little Jimmy Osmond, crushingly, would be the most famous of them, but it's interesting to see that Anthony Costa from Blue has decided to go straight to has-been without the awkward solo records in-between, which might be wise. Jenny Frost becomes the second former Atomic Kitten to head for the jungle - and lets face it, what a success it was for Kerry Katona winning the last-but-seventeen series.

Also going: Kimberley Davies, one of the few former Neighbours not to have tried making records; David Dickinson, who might at least be as spectatcularly horrific as he was on Dealing With Dickinson; Elaine Lourdan, someone who was ex-Eastenders; Sid Owen, another ex-Ender but with perhaps the world's smallest pop career well behind him (Copies of his only single, Good Thing Going, are actually cheaper brand new from Amazon than they are second-hand); Carol Thatcher, who is the closest thing in real life to Rosemary's Baby; and Sheree Murphy, apparently from Emmerdale Farm but whose most recent TV appearance seems to have been "Granada Reports - playing herself."

We suspect you can now forget completely about this programme and go about the rest of your life.


1980s heroes Vince Clarke and Martyn Ware are hooking up together to do some charity work - they're recording voices to be part of an art installation for Amnesty International. Presumably the pair are keen to work for Amnesty because they know how it feels to disappear for a long period of time with nobody knowing where you are or what's happening to you, and with very little hope of getting a release any time in the future.

Seriously, the artwork is designed to raise awareness of violence against women and visitors will be invited to leave messages on an answerphone as part of the installation.


(Skip this if you're eating)
It might be a wise move, what with Rod Stewart getting on a bit, for him and Penny to stick some of the Stewart spunk into a freezer just in case. It seems they didn't need to fall back on the spare sperm. She'd drive the little fellas straight from Rod's groin to the preservation centre.

But it does - irrationally - make us feel a little sad to think of sperm trying bravely to survive in such a sterile, icy environment, far from anywhere and with no sense of hope. We bet they're glad to get out of Rod's testicles and into the freezer instead.


We wonder why Robbie Williams is obsessed with the X-Factor? Could it be that he finds the concept of totally talent-free irritants being constantly encouraged to sing on the television to be strangely comforting?

Actually, we're not convinced that Williams really is that bothered about the show, as we've only got Kate Thornton's word for it:

X Factor presenter Kate Thornton told Heat magazine: "Rob is as obsessed with the show as the rest of the country. He was watching it illegally on the internet in LA, so now we send him tapes.

"I think Robbie thinks that Shayne has a good chance of winning."

But hang about a moment... Robbie was downloading the programme off Bittorrent, and instead of being drummed into court and sent solicitor's letters, he gets sent tapes instead? But isn't Robbie one of those "internet savvy men in their twenties and thirties" who are causing so much trouble? Why should some people get sued and some get goodies for doing the same thing with copyright material owned by the entertainment industries?


Any books, we guess, are better than no books, but even so, the announcement that 50 Cent is getting into publishing might be more exciting if he had something new to bring to the table.

Instead, it's going to be a range of novellas and comics that rehash the stories he's already worn out on records and in his movie. Lots of BANGS and URRRGHS! then, we imagine.


We might have cackled once or twice that the music industry is probably planning on suing everyone in the world as the only way to stamp out dubious filesharing - now we're starting to think that maybe that is their plan.

Another handfull of people across the globe have received legal letters today, trill the IFPI. 2,100 alleged uploaders across 16 countries, apparently, 57 of which are in the UK. John Kennedy, head of the IFPI, is keen to try and portray this as a measured response by a sensible organisation rather than the sound of more cash being pissed away on a pointless, failed policy:

"This is a significant escalation of our enforcement actions against people who are uploading and distributing copyrighted music on p2p networks."

Actually, you're talking about these people as if there's a legal principle of "innocent until the RIAA says so" - it's not like the claims the various agencies have made haven't been wrong in the past.

"Thousands of people - mostly internet-savvy men in their 20s or 30s - have learnt to their cost the legal and financial risks involved in file-sharing copyrighted music in large quantities."

Thousands of people. There's six million filesharers in the US alone - at the most gentle estitmate. But what's more noticeable here is the lame attempt to try and shift attention from the pensioners, teenagers and single parents on benefits who are being called upon to fund the conglomerate's legal activities so far.

Trying to demonise downloaders as "internet savvy men in their 20s" is a rather weak gambit, though (whatever happened to the child porn and drug dealing claims they used to rely on?) - firstly, when you hear of a grandmother getting a nasty letter from a multinational cartel demanding money with menaces for using a computer program she doesn't actually have, you're not going to go "ah, but they're having to crack down hard to catch the 23 year-olds who know how to install a Google Toolbar on Firefox, so it's not that bad."

More importantly, the only people who are going to be reading about this in any depth are internet savvy twenty and thirtysomethings, so it's hardly likely to win them over, is it?

And what is the belief that women aren't downloading music? If the quality of research the RIAA/IFPI are relying on tells them that it's all boys doing the bad behaviour, it might explain why they're behaving so stupidly - maybe they really don't have a clue what's going on out there at all.


To be fair to Noel Gallagher, there are some strong points made in his critique of hip-hop - there is a lot of sexism in the genre. But to dismiss an entire genre in such sweeping terms is a little bit... well, ignorant:

"I fucking hate it... all the people that make that kind of music and all the people that buy it. When you see the videos of some guy throwing 100 dollar bills over a naked woman lying on a bed with a dog leash around her fucking neck... what the fuck is all that about? That to me doesn't seem to be right somehow."

"Back in the '70s and '80s, if that was done by a rock 'n' roll band, it'd be called sexist and there'd be shock, horror and outrage. For some reason, hip-hop artists tend to get away with that. It's all about the bling and the money. The critical thing about these fucking is they go on about 'increase the peace' and getting kids to stay in school, but they're all raving crack heads. It's a fake form of music to me, and they're all a bunch of idiots anyway."

Yeah, those rappers are always on drugs and going on about it - why can't they write some other songs like "all your dreams are made, when you're chained to the mirror and..." hang on, I'm going...


Ricky Wilson has belatedly noticed that, while Pete Doherty is praised for being the laureate poet of the darkplaces, he's lumbered with being seen as the indie-rock Barney the Dinosaur. Always smiling and bouncing about, having fun. Now, though, like Rosie Webster, he's desperate to be thought of as deep:

"There's a lot more of a dark side that fuels our song-writing. It's full of bitterness. 'Modern Way' sounds uplifting and triumphant, but it's about the bitterness always underlying. And 'Everyday I Love You Less And Less' - that sounds really pissed off."

The trouble is, when I hear a popstar moaning that nobody understands how serious their songs are, I just want to ruffle their hair and tweak their downcast cheeks.


The last thing we want to do is draw further attention to Travis Barker from Blink182 doing an advert for a mobile phone, but the corporate justification for having a plasticpunk doing their adverts is a classic piece of adrubbish, so we feel we must:

“Travis Barker is a perfect partner for Boost because he created his own path to success,” he said. “Travis will tell you that he had his body consumed in tattoos in part to help motivate him in his pursuit of a life less ordinary. We at Boost are committed to showcasing and supporting people who dare to live at the next level.”

So... Travis had a bunch of tattoos to stand out in a scene full of people with bunches of shite tattoos, while signing a deal with mobile phone company is, in some way, "living at the next level" - imagine the rush as you check your number of free minutes, and the sweet, sweet joy of discovering just how many cross-network texts are bundled with the line rental. The only worry, of course, is that your friends might not understand your new life.


Clearly, had the ghost of Christmas Future taken Scrooge to 2005 and shown him the X-Factor muppets joining a Christmas chart race that already features G4, Crazy Frog, some bloke pretending to be Santa and Westlife, Ebeneezer wouldn't have been rushing out to buy figgy puddings all round - oh, no, he'd have been heading off to shoot Edison.


One thing you can say for Cheryl Tweedy, she knows when to stop fighting - well, nowadays, anyway. She attempted to put an end to the Girls Aloud spat with Charlotte Church on one of the 17 chart shows this Sunday:

"This has been going on so long. We actually really like Charlotte Church and we love Crazy Chick. She was saying some really nasty things and I'm not the kind of person who sits there and lets people slate us. So I said something back - which I probably shouldn't have - about her boyfriend. She's now saying that she was hurt by my comments and I'm really sorry if she was."

Ah... it's nice that she said sorry - something we don't recall her doing when she leathered the crap out that toilet attendant.


Apparently - and we're not sure why anyone has told us - Sinitta is searching for a surrogate mother to help her and her husband start a family. We imagine she'll be quite clear that she doesn't want no seven stone weakling, or a boy who thinks he's a girl, for this one.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Here's a curious one - Michael Jackson has apparently been photographed re-applying make-up in a women's toilet in Bahrain. Apparently - and who knows how deep the truth is here? - he was dressed as a woman and went in to fix his make-up; a woman screamed and took a photo on his mobile phone; Jacko's security attempted to separate her from her phone - eventually the police took the phone away, citing a law that makes it illegal somehow to take pictures of transvestite pop stars. And of course Jacko is a big chum of the royal family there, which probably doubles the illegality of taking pictures of him.


Forever seeming the gloomy side of life, Ozzy Osbourne is betting that with his luck, he'll get bird flu:

The singer says he will probably be the first person in the UK to catch the disease because he is so unlucky. Speaking on BBC Radio 2 he said: "I don't smoke, drink or take drugs anymore. "But knowing my luck, a bird will crap on me and I'll get bird flu on the way home."

But Ozzy... you've done enough drugs to take down a parade of Russian Cossacks, and drunk yourself so far past oblivion you only lived because they wouldn't take you on the ferry across the River Styx in your condition; you had a quadbike accident that would have killed most people but walked away; and you have sex with Sharon Osbourne without being eaten after - you're not unlucky, you silly old sod; you're bloody charmed is what you are.


Pearl Jam haven't split up - after all these years of living with realisation they were the scenester choice of people who didn't like music, and of watching the hand of history wave away from that scene, Pearl Jam still think they have something worth sharing with us. We don't want to be dismissive, but there's only so far you can carry the goodwill generated by "not being Fred Durst."

Anyway, as you'd expect, everything is in place for the next Pearl Jam album, with Vedder talking about struggle and rage:

The band are also saying that the material being written for the album is "easily the best stuff" the band have ever produced.

"It's been a difficult record and it's like sometimes the harder something is, then the more valuable it becomes," singer Eddie Vedder said.

During an interview with a Brazilian radio station, he added: "It's easily the best stuff we've done but also some of the hardest stuff. It's very aggressive, because again, it's kind of a product of what it's like to be an American these days. It's pretty aggressive, especially when you turn it loud."

Well, yes, we're sure it is pretty aggressive when you turn it loud, but then so is anything. In Iraq, the US army tortures prisoners of war by playing them Barney The Dinosaur turned loud.


Presumably this is all over MySpace like a rash right now, but Arctic Monkeys won't be getting a follow-up single out this side of Christmas. Actually, they'll not be releasing anything until the day after the first after epiphany (January 16th, in other words.) The single will be When the Sun Goes Down.


Just to mark its release today, you can find an Arcade Fire ecard and link to the video pushing Wake Up, which is mainly being a 7" single and download.

And if you can't pretend to know about these new bands - it was the soundtrack to the BBC ONE autumn trailer a month or so back.


You'd have to admire Madonna - after all this time, she's still pushing the boundaries. It's just that where she once pushed what showbiz sexuality meant and looked like, now she's just pushing at the boundaries to see how limpingly pathetic she can be before someone will actually tell her. Her latest gambit? Oh, she loves to say 'fuck'.

Yes, Madonna. So do most six year-old kids these days. They do it, though, because they're aware its powerful, don't know any better and are trying to get a reaction they can't manage in any more erudite way. Actually, scrub the "though" from that sentence:

"It just feels so good to scream it out loud, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. And I just love how it irritates everyone."

You don't have to say "fuck" to irritate people, Madonna. Since about 1998, every single bloody word you've uttered has had that effect.


Sony-BMG's bleeding nose continues, with Microsoft announcing their nasty bit of "anti-piracy" software malware, with plans to include removal tools in the next Windows update:

've been getting a lot of questions in the last week about Microsoft's position on the Sony DRM and rootkit discussions, so I thought I'd share a little info on what we're doing here. We are concerned about any malware and its impact on our customers' machines. Rootkits have a clearly negative impact on not only the security, but also the reliability and performance of their systems.

We use a set of objective criteria for both Windows Defender and the Malicious Software Removal Tool to determine what software will be classified for detection and removal by our anti-malware technology. We have analyzed this software, and have determined that in order to help protect our customers we will add a detection and removal signature for the rootkit component of the XCP software to the Windows AntiSpyware beta, which is currently used by millions of users. This signature will be available to current beta users through the normal Windows AntiSpyware beta signature update process, which has been providing weekly signature updates for almost a year now. Detection and removal of this rootkit component will also appear in Windows Defender when its first public beta is available. We also plan to include this signature in the December monthly update to the Malicious Software Removal Tool. It will also be included in the signature set for the online scanner on Windows Live Safety Center.

When even Microsoft is telling you you're wrong, then you have to accept you're wrong. We wonder if Sony will apologise?

Another aspect of the poor thinking behind the anti-piracy kit has come to light: Sony helpfully provided information on its website to instruct people how to install the malware on machines bypassing administrator rights. So, not just leaving doors open, then, but showing you how to break open other people's doors.


Never Mind The Buzzcocks is going to follow the model of Have I Got News For You and adopt the rotating guest host idea, just as soon as they can persuade Mark Lamarr to get caught snorting coke off the breasts off hookers by the News of the World.

Actually, Lamarr is just taking a break and intends to return to the show after a a short period. Funnily enough, that's what Angus Deayton thought he was doing, too.


Really, really obsessed, in a slightly stalkerish way. Every interview he seems to be finding something else about Martin to complain about. This time, it's his behaviour at Band Aid:

“During Band Aid Chris swanned in, stayed for about 20 minutes — and had his own VIP area. We were there for two days and worked our behinds off.

“He obviously didn’t care. I got the sense he was just doing it to raise his profile.”

Looking relaxed with his feet up at Bizarre’s London HQ
[i.e a desk in The Sun's newsroom in the middle of nowhere], Justin also had a dig at Chris’s support for the Make Trade Fair campaign.

He joked: “This ‘make fairs safe’ stuff he does gets on my nerves. It’s all a bit cheap.”

So... Chris Martin swanned in and gave 20 minutes to a campaign to raise awareness of African debt, which wasn't enough, but goes on too much about a campaign to raise awareness of African debt? And if he only turned up at Band Aid to raise his own profile, wouldn't he have hung around for two days grandstanding for the camera and, say, working his ass off when all he had to do was sing a line or two, like... oh, I'm sure there was someone who did that, but I forget their name now. If only I had last year's People of Today to hand...


Who buys Debrett's People of Today? Admittedly, it's a bit like the Beano Annual, featuring the crazy characters who we've been laughing at all year all gathered into one book, but even so, we can only assume that it sells to people who are in it and nobody else. Seriously, when was the last time you were watching TV, saw someone being fawned over by Parkinson, and thought "ooh, I'll look them up in People of Today later..."?

Anyway, the dubious survey has decided that all the Spice Girls except Victoria Beckham have ceased to exist in the current, replacing them with the likes of Joss Stone and, erm, Caroline Aherne.


Normally, we take a pretty dim view of actors turning into rock stars, in exactly the same way we would if a baker suddenly turned his shop into a butcher's. However, we might make an exception for Toni Collette if it means she never, ever makes anything like In Her Shoes ever again. Is it just us, or are they showing the trailers and adverts for that far, far more than they should as every time you see it, you become a little more convinced that it's probably the worst film ever made and that everyone involved should be taken outside and made to take their chances with the wolves and bears?

Anyway, Toni knows that forming a band takes her a very long way from Porpoise Spit:

"I know you hear about actors wanting to be rock stars, and it sounds like a nightmare, but I've been singing since I was little. It's been a long time coming, and I don't apologise."

The interesting thing about actors who turn singers is their strange habit of insisting they're not trying to tailgate on their main career, but they usually always have their name in their band's. This time, it's Toni Collette and The Finish, since you ask. The Finish? It sounds like the sort of band who'd be third on the bill at a High School talent show. A rotten, rotten name.

Statler: I can't wait for The Finish
Waldorf: What do you mean? This is Toni Collete and the Finish
Stalter: I know. That's why I can't wait for them to finish