Saturday, December 03, 2005


Wooo! That'll freak out the straights, right? Marilyn Manson has married Dita Von Teese in a ceremony at an Irish castle. (Teese got married under her real name of Heather Sweet, which sounds more like a burlesque stage name than her burlesque stage name.)

A big, fantasy wedding. That's messing with their heads, Marilyn. Woo! We bet you had your wedding list some place crazy like Hot Topic, right? And when everyone was expecting you to give them a glass of champagne when they arrived at the reception, you probably did something, like, totally god-of-headfucky, like serving them Pimms. Woooo!


We just can't begin to imagine how Sinead O'Connor has suffered. Mainly because when she tries to tell us, she wanders off down some sort of confused path:

“It’s a very difficult thing to grow up in the public arena,” O’Connor said. “That’s a very hard thing to go through. All your learning and all your foibles and all your fuckups and everything else in full view of the entire human race.

“(It’s) great in one way. Like cutting off all your fucking hair, you can’t fucking hide nothing. So I’m not saying I had no responsibility in the fact that it became such an unhappy situation, but the relationship basically between me and that arena was extremely damaging to me. That is a vampire world that feeds upon young people.

“Look at what it does to people on (American) Idol. Look at poor Britney Spears, the way she’s treated in the papers. Why should she have to deal with this shit?’ I don’t think any of them inspire the hatred that I used to inspire, but to be honest, I’m quite pleased with it too. In retrospect it’s fun, when you understand it. When you’re young and going through it, you think that actually they’re all right and you’re a complete piece of shit and you don’t deserve to live.”

To be fair, Sinead, the reason why people disliked you more than they do Britney is you stomped about saying fuck all the time, and ripped up a picture of the Pope and wouldn't do the American antem... none of which is entirely designed to endear you to the more conservative of cultural commentators, is it?


The whole case of Live 8 suing over Anna Nicole Smith is pretty much everything that was wrong with Live 8 in microcosm. According to documents over on The Smoking Gun, Live 8 struck a deal with TrimSpa diet products - the company would give some cash for advertising on ABC during the show and in return, TrimSpa's spokesperson - Nicole Smith - would get to appear in the programme itself. Nicole Smith, claims the charity, turned up half naked and intoxicated; but they still let her go on. To make things worse, Trimspa never paid the cash.

Live 8 has issued a lawsuit, complaining that Nicole Smith "damaged Live 8's reputation and goodwill in the entertainment industry by her unbecoming and erratic behavior." Oh, and that they could have sold the advertising to some other corporation, one that would have paid, dammit.

But where do you start? A charity event supposed to raise awareness about people who barely have enough to live on, people for whom starvation can't be held at bay by a delicious, nutritious shake, doing a deal to plug diet aids? That whiffs a little bit.

Then, as well as taking cash for an advert, they agree to cede some editorial control to allow the advert to bleed into the event itself - so, some of the airtime that was, supposedly, meant to be raising awareness of the plight of the world's poorest people was allowed to turn into a commercial for a vanity product for the rich. That whiffs more than a little.

Next, the spokesperson turned up dressed and behaving in a way the charity felt was inappropriate. But it let her go on anyway. After all, it was about the cash. "Hey, she's going to make us look like a bunch of jerks, but... think of the moolah." It's getting pretty stenchy now, isn't it?

Then, when it all gets to it, they drag themselves into a court action to try and grub some of the cash back, reminding the world they did all this in the first place, and making themselves look a little seedier. Okay, you lost some slightly smelly cash - but isn't your organisation meant to be focusing its efforts on the world trade negotiations? Isn't piddling about with some too-late worries over Anna Nicole Smith naked or near naked appearance something of a distraction from what you're meant to be doing? How much are all these lawyers costing Live8? How many goats or fishing nets or river blindness ops could have been bought for the money you've already pissed away just filing this lawsuit?


In a partial climbdown, MTV News has apologised for pointing at Paris Hilton tracks posted on MySpace, which are fakes. Although, bemusingly, not all of them:

On Friday, MTV News reported on music tracks purported to be from Paris Hilton's forthcoming album that were posted on While a private publicist working with Hilton affirmed the authenticity of the recordings, her label reports that one song is authentic and the remainder are forgeries.

So... they're sort of real, or partially real, or... hang about: what woudl actually constitute a "real" paris hilton track anyway? It's not like she's going to be making music, is it? Her contribution to any single is going to be so slight they might as well just pull a new Oasis single, have her appear in the video mugging a bit, and call it her single. Maybe that's where the confusion has set in - her publicist didn't realise that Hilton hadn't yet pretended to record the vocals which will be filled in by someone else yet.

Paris Hilton. The Sheraton people must love her, because who can have a comfortable night in a Hilton hotel knowing that their hard-earned cash is going into propping that family up? In 2006, Travelodge should try the slogan "it's basic; there's no ice machine. But you're not subsidising her."


Do you remember Harry Enfield's Double-Take Brothers? One of the second string sketches on his show, they would walk along the street with something astonishing happening to them, like, say, their heads being on fire; then one of them would say "well, at least our heads aren't on fire or anything"; they'd do a double-take, and start screaming. The joke, of course, being, they were ignoring the blindingly obvious and predicting something that they should have been perceiving.

We're only talking about this because, frankly, we can't think of anything relevant to say about the news that George Michael wishes Robbie Williams was gay.


Like the news of a great battle arriving carried by men on horseback, details of the Christina Aguilera honeymoon starts to filter through:

A fellow diner at the trendy haunt said: "Most people recognised Christina. Nobody made a fuss, but we couldn’t help taking a quick peek.

That's pretty much all that Christina exists for, to be honest.

"They seemed really happy and were playing footsie under the table. Then they went to the toilets in quick succession. My wife went in only minutes later and could hear them giggling together in a cubicle. There was obviously a bit of fun being had."

I think we've all drawn our own conclusions there, haven't we?


Can it really be true that Mariah Carey and Jo Whiley had an arm wrestle yesterday? That's only a "... and then the sprinklers went off and all their clothes went see-through" short of being what sweaty Neil has been praying for for five years. If Angelia Jolie starts pole-dancing at the Allerton Road Yates' Wine Lodge, we might need to call in the Vatican to investigate.


Here's a heartwarming story: Geri halliwell has got back together with the father of her kid. [Correct as of 1.55pm, but we wouldn't vouch the reunion will still be on come teatime.]

We wouldn't normally bother mentioning this, but it does give us a chance to point out that his name - Sacha Gervasi - sounds like the sort of name a second-string novelist would give to an Italian character he didn't have time to research properly. Or would come up with when he realised that Gino Ginelli was a trademark.

Anyway, they're back together for the sake of the baby, because Geri believes it's very important for a baby to have its real father around. After all, look how that Jesus turned out - and he even had a stepdad.


Mirror screen grab
To be honest, we think the Daily Mirror's double tagging of the news that John Lennon was murdered on December 8th 1980 as an "exclusive" might be pushing it a bit - if you'd run the story on December 7th 1980, it might have been worth getting that excited about it.

The story underneath is even weaker, if anything: it's a cloying recreation of how John spent his final hours, a textbook example of what happens if you put hindsight through rose-tinted spectacles:

Their limousine takes them up Eighth Avenue to Columbus Circle, continues north along Central Park West and then left into 72nd Street. On the way, John chats excitedly about saying goodnight to his five-year-old son, Sean.

Really? Now, we're not denying that he might have said something about popping in to say goodnight to the son he actually had contact with, but we doubt somehow that he was bouncing up and down on his seat going "ooh! I can't wait to kiss my son goodnight."

And then, there's this bit:

Both are on a high. After five years out of the limelight, their new joint album, Double Fantasy, is riding high in the charts and they are busy recording a follow-up.

"What are we going to do when it's No.1, John?" Yoko asks.

"I'll take you out to dinner," he replies.

"That's a date?"

"That's a date."

Although the album went on to top charts around the world, John was never able to keep his promise...

Not with the being dead and all, no, we suppose he wasn't. Mind you, the album would have stalled without him being dead, and, to be fair, Ono has been dining out well on the back of Lennon for the last quarter-century, so it's not like he really broke his promise.

We're expecting more of this sort of mawkish rubbish this week, peaking, of course, on Thursday. Jim McCabe pointed out to us the over-excitement at Radio 4 about the churning out of the old Lennon Rolling Stone interview in today's archive hour - we've even seen it being trailed as "a new interview" (now, that would be a coup) and the trail rotated on 6Music announcing that there's going to be constant interruptions across Thursday for Yoko Ono to speak to the nation is that rare thing - a trail which sounds more like a warning than a promotion.

It's all of a piece, of course, with the over-egging of George Best's funeral this morning - we could just about see the point of providing live coverage, though we'd have said maybe on News24 and perhaps then only on the newsmultiscreen, but in place of kids programmes on BBC ONE? As with Lennon, Best would have been of an age where he was a contemporary of those who make most of the key decisions in TV today; as such, they get accorded a national hero status on the basis of having been childhood heroes.

But if BBC ONE really had to carry Best's funeral, couldn't they at least have done it as part of Grandstand? They could have resurrected the Cup Final Grandstand model, and had a Mastermind special as part of the warm-up. It might have been tacky, but it wouldn't have been as tacky as ITV News Channel ("the network they can't afford to close down") which was inviting people to text messages to be run along the bottom of the screen while they were doing the eulogies.


Take That's worries that they might have been playing to half-empty halls (like they'd have been offered a small fortune if someone hadn't tested the waters first) were proved to have been as foolish as those rumours that Robbie Williams would play James Bond: their first tranche of tickets sold out in half an hour.

It would have been faster, but every person wanted to confirm that gurning idiot Williams definitely wasn't going to be popping up at those dates first.


We're not sure exactly where the honour for which they're fighting actually stands, but Bono and Patrick Swayze are arguing over who invented the mullet. We're familiar with the concept of "two bald men fighting over a comb", but this must be the first sighting of the exact opposite of that, surely?


Apparently, following a row over him bringing a deadbeat mate back for a round of dope-smoking, Britney has finally had it with Kev and told him to go. How do we know? There's a friend on hand:

“Britney flew off the handle and gave Kevin his marching orders. She is tired of Kevin’s constant partying after the birth of their son.
He left their house in the early hours and checked into a hotel. Britney also fired two security guards for letting what she calls ‘the weedman’ into the house, especially now they have a baby.”

We love the idea that Britney Spears world has security guards checking who her husband is allowing into the house - we have visions of Kevin going "but he just tailgated me, honey..."

Friday, December 02, 2005


This morning, Londonist were still insisting that their NME Album Top 50 story was an important, crusading piece of journalism. Now, the post has been replaced by the words "After a communication from the NME we have decided to remove this post."


Assuming, of course, there's been no behind-the-scenes mucking about, Filter Magazine have reported Shirley Mansons 10 albums for 2005:

1. M.I.A., Arlular (XL/Beggars)
2. Queens of the Stone Age, Lullabies to Paralyze (Interscope)
3. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine (Epic)
4. Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak (RCA)
5. Missy Elliot, The Cookbook (Atlantic)
6. White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan (V2)
7. Arcade Fire, Funeral (Merge)*
8. Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake, It’s Morning (Saddle Creek)
9. Björk, Medulla (Elektra)*
10. Antony and the Johnsons, I am a Bird Now (Secretly Canadian)

* Shirley: Technically thess CDs came out in 2004, but this was my main listening obsession during 2005.


Strange things going on if you try to access the Others website - At the moment, it's taking you somewhere else...

Of course, the Official site is meant to be - that's the one registered to Universal Music; is registered to photgrapher Andrew Kendall.

All very curious.


The Guardian's Culture Vulture blog has picked up the story (or near-story) of the supposed Great Chart Mung of 2005. They suggest Londonist's inability to stack up its story beyond a "you'll just have to trust us on this" " doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that this isn’t standard-issue bellyaching."

Which seems to be a little unfair to Londonist - they clearly seem convinced what they've run is both true and important (and it's certainly done them no harm so far, as it's given their blog a profile beyond the "oh, Gothamist have done another spin-off, have they?", which is no bad thing in itself if it brings attention to what's a pretty nice piece of blogging.)

Meanwhile, Conor McNicholas explains to the Guardina what he reckons must have happened:

“Most of us aren’t organised enough to set up a conspiracy,” he says. “I can guarantee that the final list as published is the editorial one, signed off by me. Any insinuation that there is any pressure brought to bear is a libellous one.”

“Early versions of the list do exist, but they’re working documents. They have about as much value as emails about a feature.”

“I would challenge people to make up their own minds about this.”

Although we're not quite sure there's been any doubt that Conor signed off the final chart anyway, has there?


Whatever they're paying David H Brooks for, it's too much. The man who sends the bills to the military-industrial complex recently hired a nightclub to mark his daugter's batmitzvah. Then, he bought people to come and entertain her and her friends. Now, back when i was a kid, a drunk magician making rubbish balloon animals was considered to be the height of party entertainment. But that's not good enough for the offensively rich anymore, so Brooks paid to have 50 Cent, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks and Aerosmith come and play. (The names suggest it was more for Daddy's benefit than daughter's - although 50 Cent is, we guess, the equivalent of a supermarket shopper lobbing a bag of turkey twizzlers into a trolley of vegetables to keep the kids happy.)

Of course, he's going to have to go some way to top that for her 18th - but, fingers crossed, by then the cash from the botched invasion of Iraq will have started to flow. We don't know what he's got in mind, but we did hear him in the carpark saying "how much do you reckon I'd need to give Tom Brokaw to get him out of retirement and doing a naked balloon dance?"


James over at Headphone Sex went to see We Are Scientists play live. It's not quite what he saw, and he was far from impressed.


Chris Martin has just popped up on Today, talking about Live8, and he was incredibly prickly when it was suggested to him that people might feel a bit pissed off that this was meant to be the year for Africa, and everyone let the G8 off the hook in the end. In fact, he compared the frustrations that people might be feeling that Geldof and Bono allowed the goodwill of the Live8 audience to be bought off with a couple of scraps, condemning millions to continue to live in poverty or die early, to the feeling you get if you're number three or number two in the charts and the Crazy Frog is ahead of you.

Yes, that's exactly the same thing, Chris.

He was also bristly when asked about Jonathan Ross saying last week that the bill was a mistake. Again, Chris doesn't really seem to understand why people were angry, this time choosing to suggest that complaining that a concert designed to raise awareness of the lives of Africans offered only one image of Africa and absolutely nothing (aside from a hastily bunged on N'Dour) to represent the creative and positive side of the continent was like complaining that the backstage catering wasn't up to scratch.

What was amusing was Martin insisted he didn't have an opinion on the bill at all, shortly before defending it with this shruggy "doing the best we could" style evasion and concluding that if Live8 hadn't happened, we could have just spent the day watching Minder re-runs instead.

The thing is: I'm not convinced that if we had spent the day doing that, the pisspoor G8 settlement would have been any weaker, Chris.


We're not totally clear who, exactly, has been confused at the appearance of a video for the Kaiser Chiefs' Na Na Na Na Naa on the TV, but apparently enough people are the band have had to release a statement:

"We'd like to confirm that this is not another single. The video was made specifically for Japan and Australia where Na Na Na Na Naa is a single. We hope you like it anyway. It's also included in the extras on our DVD, Enjoyment."

Only a cold hearted cynic would assume there's no confusion whatsoever and this was all a PR stunt.


Kate Moss has dumped Pete Doherty. For good, this time, really. No, really. It turns out, according to a friend who told the Mirror that he takes drugs:

The tearful catwalk star told a friend: "He's a user in every sense of the word. He makes me sick.

"Yes, I loved him, but I was taken in by his little boy lost routine. He has nearly cost me everything.

"Now he's just out to exploit our time together. It's clear he doesn't care about me and has no respect for our relationship."

The curious thing here is the strange way she talks to her friends, almost s if she was writing a press release. But don't worry about the feeling sick, Kate - that's probably just withdrawal.

Pete is rumoured to be trying to flog the story of their relationship for money. Well, at least he isn't stealing car radios.


Yes, yes, we know he hasn't even started filming yet, but David Essex has pulled out of EasyEnders. Apparently, he was only after a small role, but the scriptwriters developed something so big for him he'd only have been able to do it if he dropped plans for his next album, something he just wasn't prepared to do. If only he'd been working on an album when he was making The River.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Time obviously weighs heavy on Scott Stapp's hands; on thanksgiving he found himself in the Harbor Court Hotel in Los Angeles. 311 were there too. 311's Dough Martinez picks up the tale:

"He was acting out of control, looking for attention and being loud and obnoxious. He walked up to the bar, took a shot of whiskey and then slammed the shot glass down on the bar, and it shattered everywhere," Martinez told MTV News. "Then he got into it with some patrons and all of a sudden he's walking up to us and telling us how much of an inspiration we were to him. And it was nice, but we had all just eaten our Thanksgiving dinner, and he was drunk, so it got really annoying really quickly.

"After a while he went back to the bar and was looking for attention. And then a few minutes later, he came back to the table where my wife was, sat down across from us and wanted attention," Martinez continued. "So eventually, since [no one] was forthcoming, he said some disrespectful things towards my wife and I set my glass down and asked him what he said, and then Chad came over and said, 'Don't talk to her that way,' and Scott got up and Chad followed him."

Martinez said things quickly escalated from there, as Stapp turned and "sucker-punched" Sexton in the face — inadvertently hitting Martinez's wife in the process.

"And all of a sudden it was on. I threw a punch and hit Scott. He went down. Then Chad came over and hit Scott too," Martinez said. "At that point we held Scott down until hotel security came to break it up. Then the police arrived, escorted Scott to his room and then told him to get out of the hotel."

So, they might have had to put up with Stapp breathing beer over them, but at least they got to hit Scott Stapp, so it's not a day entirely wasted.


Having taken heat - and facing a boycott - from their fans (and a couple of their members) Bob Weir and the breadhead Dead have relented a little and allowed Grateful Dead fan recordings to be restored to the Live Music Archive. As part of the deal, it looks like have volunteered to try and make themselves, rather than the corporate band, look bad:

"We at now realize that our mistaken attempts to move quickly were based on what we thought the Grateful Dead wanted. For this we apologize both to the Grateful Dead and their community. There has been a great deal of reaction, our actions have caused more than necessary."

Dead bassist Phil Lesh and lyricts John Perry Barlow didn't support Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann's demands for the recordings to be expunged from the internet - indeed, they seem to have been out of the whole picture, according to Lesh:

"I was not part of this decision-making process and was not notified that the shows were to be pulled. I do feel that the music is the Grateful Dead's legacy and I hope that one way or another all of it is available for those who want it," he wrote.

"We are musicians not businessmen and have made good and bad decisions on our journey. We do love and care about our community as you helped us make the music. We could not have made this kind of music without you," he continued.

"Your love, trust and patience made it possible for us to try again the next show when we couldn't get that magic carpet off the ground. Your concerns have been heard and I am sure are being respectfully addressed."

The band used to make about fifty million bucks a year on tour; admittedly, since Garcia's death they've not been pulling anything like that, but you would have thought Bob Weir might have put enought away for his retirement without the need to piss off the few people who might pay to see his band without Jerry.


Mike. Yes, Mike Shinoda. You must know Mike... Mike... little beard? Surprising amount of teenage angst for a millionaire bloke on the cusp of middle age? That's right, Mike from Linkin Park. He's put together a solo work, and he's taken what he suggests is a risk by not calling his outfit Mike Shinoda's Side Project:

"Some people have asked me about why, why did I name the project Fort Minor instead of just going out there and saying this is an album by Mike Shinoda?” Shinoda said. “It's because I do appreciate my privacy and I make music because I love to make music. I don't make music for the celebrity of it. By putting a name on the album and putting, you know, artwork on the cover instead of my picture, I thought that that hopefully will put the attention on the music a little more."

To be honest, Mike, we doubt if anyone to whom your name means anything would be unaware that Fort Minor is you; and if you did release an album with an allusion to your status as one of Linkin Park, it would be more likely to harm sales.

Sadly, this solo work doesn't signal the end of Linkin Park - they're going to do a new album next year.


The ongoing battle between Mike Joyce and the man who once described him as a lawnmower (or words to that effect) has flared up again like a bout of sciatica with Joyce announcing he was going to have to sell all his stuff because of unpaid royalties.

Morrissey has responded by issuing a detailed breakdown of payments to date. It's all very detailed, claiming that Mike Joyce has been hoovering up all Smiths royalties - stopping anyone else from getting any, reckons Morrissey. And then there's the cost of it all:

10. In legal fees alone, Joyce has cost me 600 thousand pounds - this is quite apart from any payments made to him, and is quite apart from any money seized by him. In total, Joyce has cost me 1 million, 515 thousand pounds. This is an approximate figure - it could even be higher.

This is, of course, how all great bands end up, it seems - pissy little spats over who got the cash for doing the artwork on the sleeves.

Joyce is not poor because of one reason - me. His career now is the fictitious position of an unpaid ex-member of the Smiths. He has also pursued all of his claims on Legal Aid.

I don't make this statement in search of sympathy from anyone, but I wish that the people at MorrisseySoLow who support Joyce would at least get their facts right before they say anything. Even with his 10% share, Joyce was wealthy. Now, he is extremely wealthy.

It's all a little bit sad, really.


We're not quite sure where the brand synergy comes in, but apparently Elton John is selling soap and towels to raise money for aids charities. We once had a lucrative sideline selling soaps and towels, but then the Marriott fixed the lock on its storeroom and we had to go back to the drugs testing to earn a crust.

Elton is selling the towels through Superdrug, though, which seems all wrong - surely that's nowhere near fabulous enough?


George Michael is angry. Well, mildly vexed anyway. He's not happy with TV talent shows as they give people high hopes, only to dash them:

"It gives these people a taste for three entire months of what they have always dreamed of - and then it disappears."

He's seen that happen to Andrew Ridgeley, and he doesn't want to see it happen to anyone else...


All those rumours, and yet it comes to nothing: Britney Spears isn't going to go to Broadway. Sweet Charity will have to get by without her.

There's still a chance that she'll have a shout as one of the ugly sisters in the Birkenhead Operatic Society's version of Cinderella. Apparently she's been rehearsing hard for that role.


Yesterday, it was Belle and Sebby downloads. Today: Nada Surf in abundance. By Christmas, they'll be handing out Alyson Hannigan porn tapes and pudding.


Curious goings-on over at Londonist, where a post yesterday claimed to have had sight of a list which suggested the NME Top 50 albums of the year had been manipulated for dark and not entirely clear purposes.

To be honest, we're not quite sure what Londonist's point is, entirely: the list seems to be a pretty solid relfection of what the NME's position on most of these albums has been over the year - if, say, a Fabulous re-release had appeared at number one, there might have been a raised eyebrow or two. The curious thing is that Londonist say they've seen a mysterious "real" list, which they refuse to publish or even give illustrative examples from:

We notice, for example, that Babyshambles appear at #9 in the published poll, despite fairing particularly badly in the 'genuine' poll. Dare we speculate that Mr. Doherty shifts too many papers for him to be outside the top 10?

But is number nine in the year-end chart really such a crucial position that PR people would be on the phone going "look, if Pete's at number 13 rather than 9, that's going to ruin his Christmas."

These entries might be excused on the basis that they are relatively recent albums that might have been released after the votes were counted. But hang on, the Brakes album came out back in July, did it not? So why do the Brakes now find themselves at #40?

So... an album really low down the list is a few months old which proves the list isn't genuine?

While Londonist seems to want to organise an indie version of the Orange Revolution, its comments section went insane, with everyone in the world logging on pretending to be Conor McNicholas and asking why Londonist just didn't publish its list?

Londonist eventually responded:

Regarding the issues which have been raised in the comments section - we will not be publishing the list we referred to and we won't be revealing how we came about that information either. This is simply because we were asked not to. This site does not have a history of printing lies in order to pursue personal vendettas and we're not about to start. There's no reason for us to attack the NME specifically (in fact, if you scroll down you'll see we plugged their tour yesterday), we're just stating what we've seen and posting our thoughts on it. If you don't want to believe it then that's fine.

Also, if that is the editor of the NME posting comments here (we're aware other commenters are posting under the same name and have deleted those comments) then he needs to email Londonist directly to prove it and address his concerns over what we've published directly with us.

At this stage, the electoral commission have not become involved demanding a re-run. We have no idea if the list was manipulated or not, but we'd be more surprised, to be honest, if any magazine didn't do a spot of statistical manipulation to its lists of things like this. Ultimately, these lists exist for three reasons: one, to fill space as the year starts to peter out; two, to provide an overview of the year in a fairly dynamic format (they could just do the list as an A to Z, but that would be slightly less fun); three, to give people something to grumble about.

We were delighted to spot in the comments that someone has already decided this whole story has been cooked up by Londonist and NME to boost each other's profiles. If the entire NME staff was cut down by gunfire and Kings Reach Tower set aflame, there'd be someone on the internet going "well, that's just because the new ABC figures are coming out soon, isn't it?"

We've just heard that Londonist has unearthed a memo which suggests that the number 73 and number 74 in ITV's 100 Greatest Commercials may have been swapped by a malevolent researcher. More on that as it develops.


Kanye West is coming for a tour of the UK in February:

Manchester MEN - February 16
Glasgow SECC 17
London Hammersmith Apollo 19
Cardiff Arena 22
Birmingham NEC 28

Tickets go on sale tomorrow. Don't be late with your registration.


"We are merely exercising our right to defend our intellectual properties from unauthorized peer-to-peer notification of the existence of copyrighted material" says the RIAA.

Don't panic - it's an Onion spoof. For now, although we bet Mitch Benn will be photocopying the article and sending it around with a question mark on a post-it note stuck by the side.


Part of the appeal of the Grateful Dead was their laid-back attitude towards fans taping the live shows; it was one of the things that turned the band's fans from a market into a community. Now, though, the band want to turn them back into a market, and have ordered the Live Music Archive to remove all traces of the band. The band deny that they've become sell-outs to the man, and that having digital recordings available to all is different from the cassette copy-and-swap of the old days.

Oddly, though, the band are now selling recordings of their old shows through their own website. But we're sure that's not the reason they've suddenly started attacking the audience which sustained them long past the point of them having any cultural value.


Of course, she wouldn't do any nudity or stuff. Not unless the role calls for it or, you know, it's hot on set or whatever. Avril Lavigne is taking the obvious next step for a singer with a plateauing career, and trys a bit of acting. Apparently she had a "gruelling audition process" to get through before she got the role in The Flock (also featuring Richard Gere, it says here) - although we're not so sure that would have involved having her business people ring the backers and fax over some figures about her niche market.


Although she's planning to still use the name Christina Aguilera as the brand for her oddly sexless burlesque show, legally she's going to change her name to Maria Bratman. Which sounds less like changing your name because you've got married, and more like trying to get a passport in a different name.

How was the wedding, Christ... Maria?:

"I've experienced a lot being in the (entertainment) business for such a long time and I thought my wedding would be a piece of cake."

But on the day it turned out it was a huge cake, a couple of glasses of sparkling wine, and a cold cuts buffet for twelve.


The Sun are delighted to have Pete Doherty back in the company, and sent a reporter round to have a chat with him. Pete - always happy to do a little dance for the press - yakked away in what the paper calls a rambling outburst (can you outburst in a rambling manner?):

In a furious telephone row she told him: “I don’t want you any more. You didn’t stick it though rehab. I hate you.”

But the forlorn Babyshambles frontman insisted: “The real reason is that I can’t buy her diamonds and my dick is too small.”

“I never know where I stand with her. It’s either a black eye or a love-bite. It’s like being in Afghanistan with her. I wish I could find some middle ground.

“I spoke to Kate 30 minutes ago. She shouted and screamed at me. She threw her mobile at the wall. She’s furious.”

Well, she seems to have settled on the black eye, then.

“With the amount of coke Kate was taking, it’s amazing she got through rehab. I don’t know how she stuck through five weeks, because I was bored senseless.

“I thought I’d be able to do five weeks. But if I’m honest, my head would have exploded. I only stuck at it because she paid."

Except actually, Pete, "sticking at things" generally means, you know, carrying on with them when they're difficult.

“I had to share a room with two people. There were lots of strange people in there. It was like a prison.”

For someone who makes much about his time in actual prison and living in squats, it's not quite clear why this would be such a problem.

Pete then claims that he met Kate in Paris, and gets poetic:

Pete then leaned on a pub wall, rolled his eyes and quoted a Verve song: “Drugs don’t work . . . they just make you worse.”

Hang about, Pete... are you trying to tell us you're in the last days of a terminal illness?

Speaking of his drugs arrest, the singer added: “Me and The Wolfman (a song-writing partner) were off to bury the stuff by my grandfather’s grave in West London — to draw a line under our drug-taking days.

“We were just unlucky to get pulled over. Kate doesn’t know I have been arrested and only got out of the nick at 6am.”

Drugs arrest? Oh, yes, Pete's been caught by the cops carrying crack. We're sure the judge will accept the explanation that he was merely taking the drugs to a graveyard to symbollically bury them, though. It should offer Pete the opportunity to refresh his memory as to just how alike British prisons and Arizonian rehab clinics are.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


According to a comic aside in Heat magazine, whenever Ozzy has to pleasure Sharon, he turns to viagre for help.

We can't say we blame him. If it was our job to service Sharon Osbourne, we'd also be turning to pills. Though not viagra, and not just the one. And we'd probably wash them down with half a bottle of whiskey, too, just to be sure.


Not that she's running away with herself, or anything, but it appears Britney Spears has confused her son with Jesus, building a nativity scene in his bedroom and having him sleep in a manger.

To be fair, there are parallels - Jesus' mum was famous for her virginity, as Britney was for quite a while. And his Dad was a carpenter, while whenever Kevin Federline goes into a studio, the result is usually remarkably turned wooden products.


We're a little puzzled by the suggestion that Robbie Williams isn't going to Elton John's wedding. Not that he's not going, but the reason given - because he doesn't want to bump into Gary Barlow. Only Gary isn't singing at the wedding, is he? He's singing at the "hen party". Surely the real reason Robbie won't be going is that Elt and Dave are keeping the ceremony close friends and family only - surely the Williams camp isn't putting about a cover story to explain a lack of invitation?


Chris Cornell is in a big huff with his wife - or, to be more exact, his ex-wife. He's actually going to sue her, so humped-off is he: he reckons she's kept his journals, music sheets and Grammy awards (Soundgarden won Grammys?) and has gone to law to get more than a million bucks from her. Key to his claim is Susan Silver cared more about the other band members than him - she was manager as well as a wife:

The lawsuit claims Silver acted with "fraud, oppression and malice," emanating "at least in part from the dissolution of their personal relationship, and her incentive to further her career by maximizing the interests of other Soundgarden members."

The band split up eight years ago, but Silver has remained in charge of legacy revenues; the pair's marriage ended in 2002.


It's all in aid of charity, but dangerously close to dirty money: amongst other personal items left behind when he died, the san Francisco Sophia Foundation are auctioning off Jerry Garcia's toilet.

Make up your own "if you're feeling flush" joke.


Could this be the most Scottish record ever? KT Tunstall is doing backing vocals on one of the upcoming Travis album tracks.

Not, note, the best Scottish record ever. Just the highest density of Scottish acts on one record.


As you'll know if you hang around the fountain in the town centre: slashgoth has decided to give up the ghostly-facemake-up:

Due to quality control, this site has been closed.

Due to increasing entropy, the site can no longer be maintained to high standards, thus rather than continue to let the site run we have shut it down.


In a way, we're slightly disappointed that George Michael has ruled out a Wham! reunion - he reckons Andrew Ridgeley would never do it; presumably because even the small amount of work he did in the band is more demanding than whatever-the-hell it is he does these days. In fact, George actually said:

"There's nothing big planned on that just yet. Even if Iwanted to, Andrew would never do it. I'm afraid I can't get into those small tennis shorts any more."

Well, you could just pay him for his time this time round instead, George.


HMV spokesperson-in-charge Gennaro Castaldo has been busy, busy, busy. First of all, with the chilling news that G4 are heading for the number one album slot based on the midweek sales, he's doing his best to keep our chins up: Eminem, with his unusual Friday release, might save us:

“Eminem is by far the biggest recording artist in the world, so it’s a massive deal whenever he releases a new album.

“I fully expect ‘Curtain Call’ to sell more copies in just two days than any other album will manage in a week of trading, to give Eminem yet another number one.”

We're not sure how Gennaro is able to see a record released on Friday as having just two day's worth of sales (Friday... Saturday... Sunday, surely?)
but, hey, he's the expert.

Meanwhile, he's also having to give the benefit of his wisdom in the computer game section, too. On Friday, he's got the launch of the XBox360 to fret about - why, the place will be full of disappointed faces:

HMV head of press Gennaro Castaldo said: "The reality is that it will be a week or two before we can even think about having player products in our stores. We have got twice as many pre-orders as we have got stock itself."

No word yet on the likely effects of the Turner Report on Pensions would mean for, say, Madonna (already working a good few years past retirement), but we're sure it's just a matter of time.


Or maybe that's not why they've called their new track - downloadable in that mp3 format - Another Sunny Day, but we bet it is. Of course, if they're half as indie as they think they are, their next single will be called The Sugargliders.


Because sometimes it just throws up the perfect match of advert and news story.

Look up, Sarah, you might find some advice...


As if Oxford Street in the run-up to Christmas wasn't hellish enough, this Sunday you're going to have to try and avoid Mariah Carey doing a signing at HMV. We dare you to go up to her and ask her if they've got Glitter on DVD. Go on. Go on.

Apparently, she's going to arrive by helicopter:

A source close to the 35-year-old, whose single Don't Forget About Us is out on December 12, tells us: "Mariah will descend in a chopper on Oxford Street. It's going to be an astonishing sight."

... at least, the 3am girls are pretty certain the source said was going to descend in, and not on.


Whoever would have guessed that Pete Doherty wouldn't stick rehab? Apparently he was out at the Brixton Academy on Tuesday night, when he was meant to be acknowledging a higher power or something in the Arizona health spa.

Apparently, it's the last straw (the latest last straw) for Kate Moss; more importantly, it's seen him be upgraded by the Sun from Potty Pete to Wayward Rocker.


If Michael Jackson thought the child sex trial marked the end of the attempts by Santa Barbara DA Tom Sneddon to call him to account, this morning's papers will make uneasy reading for him. Sneddon is thought to be about to take action over the drugs found at Neverland, reckons The Sun:

The swoop also unearthed the cocaine traces on the singer’s underwear. Residues of the painkiller Demerol and sedative Promethazine were also said to have been on the garments.

It is not known how the coke got there or in what form it was found.

The discovery was not revealed at the child sex trial because cops could not be certain it was Jacko who used the drug. They could not rule out the possibility the underwear had come into contact with maids or cleaning staff.

...or, of course, with the 23rd Santa Barbara Scouts.

Santa Maria courthouse has released a transcript of a police interview with former Neverland security guard Chris Carter:

Carter said he would get Xanax prescriptions at pharmacies for Jackson under different fictitious names including Carter’s own name.

He added that Jackson was taking ten-plus Xanax pills a night.

Carter said he expressed his concerns with Dominic Cascio (a friend of Jackson) and Dominic told him Jackson was doing better because he was down from 30-40 Xanax pills a night.

He said a doctor told him Jackson was addicted to Demerol, but said he was giving Jackson a placebo to wean him off.

He described a situation in Florida where Jackson and a security detail were in a hotel room alone and Jackson fell on his face.

He said he later found out that Jackson was intoxicated and had hurt himself.

The puzzling thing about this report - which includes claims that Jackson is flying drugs to Bahrain (that'll go down well with his hosts) - is sourced to a Jackson aide.

Jackson's family are said to be increasingly worried:

Even Jacko’s dad Joe has been unable to get hold of him.

... and Joe, of course, used to be able to grab him with just the one the hand, leaving the other one free to wave the belt about.

So this prodigious drug use might explain this - perhaps if you listen to news footage of this scene carefully, you'll hear Jackson's manager yelling "no, love, when Michael said he wanted to celebrate with a handfull of doves..."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Guardian Media Group is axing Manchester's weekly listings guide City Life. The company bought the title from a workers co-operative over ten years ago, amongst grim predictions that it wouldn't last long under the same ownership as the Manchester Evening News; now, those prediction have come belatedly true:

Mark Dodson, the GMG regional newspapers chief executive, said: "We are trading in a difficult market. The company needs to react to the changed circumstances and regrettably a number of positions will be lost.

"The job losses will come primarily from the Manchester business located at Deansgate and will include the closure of City Life magazine.

"We have struggled to publish this magazine at a profit for the last 15 years and given the downturn in the market we do not believe we can produce the title profitably in the foreseeable future."

The title changed from fortnightly to weekly in 2003, amid complaints that the focus of City Life had shifted from the local arts and entertainments scene to shopping and lifestyle. It's probable that most Mancunians on the music scene have already adjusted to life without Life quite a while ago.


To be honest, we have trouble believing that Michael Jackson's bollocks are his own, never mind the kids, and his ex-wife (we were going to put wife in some sort of ironic quotation marks, but we don't have anything on the keyboard quite ironic enough) is now saying that Prince Michael Junior and Paris aren't actually his kids at all:

Debbie Rowe told the Irish newspaper, The Sunday World: "Michael knows the truth - that he is not the natural father of Prince Michael Jr and Paris. He has to come clean.

"I have no information whatsoever about the identity of the semen donor for either child as such (semen) was obtained anonymously from a semen bank under an agreement of confidentiality."

We're now doubting that he really hatched these chicks from eggs himself, too:

ROCK SICK LIST: Funeral cancelled

Funeral For A Friend had been due to head off to the US for a tour-type thing, but drummer Ryan Richards has got a belly problem and kept the whole lot at home. Statementing:

Unfortunately Ryan has been ill and needs treatment here in the UK to remedy his illness, this means that we will be unable to play the shows we had in place along the east coast of the USA and Canada this November/December. We are very, very sorry about this but we want Ryan to get better. We were all looking forward to this tour and meeting up with the friends we have made so far on our trips to the USA but when it comes to situations like this we made a conscious decision that Ryan should be allowed to recover. We truly hope that everyone will understand this, we appreciate all of our fans and all of their commitment to us and we promise to come back even stronger in the new year for the Taste of Chaos US tour."

Still, it's not like they could have found someone to fill in for him, could they?


A couple of weeks ago Bruce Willis was throwing his cash around offering money for anyone who killed Saddam or Osama or, hell, maybe even someone who kidnapped a pretty blonde child. But Bruce obviously doesn't spend every waking hour watching Fox finding people to offer a bounty for, as he appears to also like The Bravery. He's paying lots of cash to have them play his New Year's Eve party next month.

Let's hope he made it really clear to his people that this offer of cash was different from the bounty one, otherwise it could make for a really awkward party if they got confused - "hang about... if Saddam and Osama are in the ballroom tuning up, who is in the sacks in the basement...?"


Thom Yorke has aired his views on the current climate change meeting in Montreal, and it's fair to say he's not expecting much of positive outcome:

"So the UN are meeting in Montreal to decide what to do after the Kyoto protocol and already the US administration has buried its witless head in the fucking sand, refusing to take part.

"You can even see the strings being pulled. This is true evil. And on TV they are talking about the Sahara and how global warming will destroy the lives of millions who live there soon."

He added: "Oh and the weather man says how we've got caught out by extreme snowfall, highly unusual. Cue footage of stranded motorists, but hey it'll be nice for the kids, cue tobogganing footage. And business leaders are meeting Tony Blair tomorrow to express their concern about gas supplies. Fuck business leaders, what about the rest of us?

"If every property in the country had solar panels or mini wind turbines, just like it has a water supply and a satellite dish perhaps we wouldn't need new nuclear power stations that we can't afford to please these fucking business leaders."

Of course, the big question is how come, if we're so at risk from terrorists that we need to abandon all our human rights in order to save ourselves, it makes sense to build giant, unprotectable nuclear bombs all over the country anyway? Of course, they'd try and make them safe, but Tony Blair - presumably the most protected person in the country - was forced to do a major speech from the CBI equivalent of Philip Schofield's broom cupboard today because they couldn't stop people clambering into the roof of the conference hall. Of course, the arguments that nuclear power is environmentally friendly are equally spurious, but since a child of three can see the problems about building enormous concrete structures and then digging up fuel and carting it halfway across the globe and then having no idea what to do with the shit left over may outweigh the advantages of these clean fuels, we dont really need to hammer that point home, do we?


A couple of weeks ago we sent a request to Sony to be sent their uninstalling information to rid machines of their malignant spyware, to test what their response would be. Now we get an email from Sony suggesting their uninstaller was actually broken itself:

Our records indicate that you recently sent us an email in connection with the purchase of a content protected CD, requesting a program to uninstall the XCP content protection software. We are sending you this email because we have been notified of a potential security issue that may arise in connection with the uninstaller program previously provided.

They've finally got round to sending something out to deal with this latest screw-up. But they're still lying to their customers in it:

To be clear, the security issue is not raised by the presence of XCP content protection technology on the music CD you purchased. The security issue may arise when a user downloads the program to uninstall the XCP software files from a computer.

To be clear? But what Sony-BMG are doing here is deliberately trying to confuse two issues. The security risk they've exposed computer owners to that they're talking about in this email doesn't have anything to do with the XCP profit protection software on a CD - but XCP does open up a security risk for computer owners; and more to the point, there wouldn't have been a need for anyone to try to get rid of the nasty XCP if it hadn't been on the CDs in the first place. This is like someone kicking in your front door, and then when somebody else walks in and shits on your carpet saying "well, it's not my fault there's a turd in your living room; I didn't poop."

The best gag of all, though, bearing in mind that Sony is lobbing the EU parliament for the rights to have access to details of any electronic communications anyone in the EU might have made, is when they get to the guff at the end of the email:

Your privacy is important to us.

Clearly it is. That's why they're attempting to take it from us.


We're not entirely sure how effective these adverts are, the ones designed to make everyone feel really relaxed about chatting over the fine points of a knob that doesn't flick. The last round of commercials, fronted by Pele, didn't really work - Pele was so clearly insisting that, while there's nothing to be ashamed of, it's never happened to him, it was all slightly counter productive. This time round, they've hired Jerry Hall, who, as a former partner of Mick Jagger is probably no stranger to things going wrong in the bedroom. Although not that sort of problem, surely?

It's not the first time Jerry has fronted a major advertising push. She did a campaign for Bovril a few years back. In fact, they could have hooked the two campaigns together - "if you're looking for something hot and beefy in the bedroom, you've got two choices..."


Following a fall at his home, Tony Meehan has died.

Drummer Meehan was a founder member of the The Shadows; although he wasn't actually part of the band in their earlier Drifters incarnation he hooked up with Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch he was on board when they decided to let the American group with which they shared a name have a clear run and became the Shadows. That was in October 1959, setting in train a period when they'd have a bizarre double life: working both as Cliff Richard's backing band and as an act in their own right, having hits in both incarnations. The Cliffless version of tha band happened almost by chance, as the group had turned in a couple of vocal-less performances on Richards' first live album - he was suffering from a throat infection and needed to give his voice a rest during the set.

The Shadows hadn't set out with the intention of being an insturmental act - their original plan had been to offer an Everly Brothers style singalong experience. But the tracks with singing didn't do as well as their first big instrumental release, Apache - a song notable for giving the band the rare eexperience of knocking themselves off the number one spot when it unseated Cliff and The Shadows' Please Don't Tease. The public had spoken: they preferred the band when it didn't sing, and a pattern of successful singles, eps and albums followed across the 1960s and into the 70s. By this time, though, Meehan had left the band to pursue other interests.

Meehan had started drumming when he was ten, getting an early taste of life on stage with a Willesden dance hall band and as timpanist for the London Youth Orchestra. He had been planning to study law, but the offer of a £25 a week gig with a touring act proved more tempting than another three years of school, and he never looked back.

After stepping down from the Shadows in 1961, Tony worked extensively as a session man, and had a number one with fellow Shadows alumnus Jet Harris in 1963. He continued to drum - playing with Cliff Richard during his Wembley gigs in 1989 - and, in later years, developed a second career in psychology and psychoanalysis.

Meehan, who was 62, is survived by his wife and seven children.


Even although he denies he's worth £165million, Paul Weller has insisted he'd never be tempted to get The Jam back together:

"Nah that would never happen. Why would I want to go back? For nostalgic reasons? That's never good enough," he told Uncut.

"My philosophy is to embrace the new day and get on with it. If The Jam reformed now it'd just be a sad cabaret and that's not what I'm about at all."

Well, not since The Style Council split up, anyway.


It's not because they hate everything music lovers do that the RIAA feels the need to throw its weight around, it's just the twitching of old, frightened industries. The RIAA apparently has so much spare cash its been able to pay people to listen to the whole of Live365's amateur webcast output, and found some people who are getting the rules wrong. (Live365, it's worth mentioning, pay a splendid licence fee to the music industry in order to allow its members to promote the music industry's product.) The RIAA has sent a threatening letter.

But if people are breaking the rules, could that be because the rules read more like a question from an examination in logic than a simple set of instructions. Order your online webcast according to the following instructions:

* The webcast is not limited to particular users who pay for it (that’s the ``non-subscription’’ part.)
* The user must not be able to choose and receive a particular recording: that is, no playing songs on demand.
* In a three hour period, you can’t play more than three tracks from a given album, and no more than two consecutively.
* In a three hour period, you can’t play more than four tracks by a given artist, and no more than three consecutively.
* If the webcast is archived, the archive must be at least five hours long, and must not be made available for more than two weeks. The idea here is to make it hard for users to scan through the webcast to pick out and save individual songs.
* If the webcast repeats itself (plays in a loop) then the loop must be at least three hours long.
* The webcast must not publish prior announcements of the songs: you can’t let the users know what songs are coming up next, and you can’t publish your playlists ahead of time.
* You must identify the song title, album title, and the featured artist in text during the performance of the song.
* You must not “encourage’’ users to copy or record the music that you are playing, and you must “disable copying by users if in possession of technology capable of doing so.’’

Of course, the tortured rules are designed to skew things in the RIAA's favour - they don't like anything that distributes music that they can't control, and so they've come up with this list of instructions that make Nick Hornby's rules for making a mixtape in High Fidelty seem like Liberty Hall. The hope is that most people will spend ten minutes trying to develop a playlist that's compliant and give up; hardier souls are almost certain to fall foul of one or other of the rules sooner or later and give the RIAA a chance to shout "foul."

We'd love to see the bloke who sits in the RIAA offices tracking this compliance, though - does he punch the air when he hears a second track that appeared on Now Thats What I Call Music 62 just two and a half hours after the last one?


Now she's got married and is about to start on the essential baby-shaped accessory, it's clearly only a matter of time before Christina Aguilera completes this phase of Britney-shadowing and asks Jordan Bratman to start hanging out in strip joints.


Aren't you meant to be rehearsing, young man? Gary Barlow is set to be the entertainment at Elton John and David Furnish's "hen night". (Hen night! They're just a scream, aren't they?) We hope with all our heart he's singing and not booked as a stripper.

Of course, if the law had changed earlier it would have been Robbie Williams who got this gig, but there's been a falling out between him and Elton over something or other. And George Michael is apparently freaking out over what to take as a wedding present - surely Furnish has got time to pop a wedding list in at Argos?


After a surprisingly long period of only having a pop at other people, Oasis have reverted to type, and resurrected in-fighting. Liam and Noel refused to ride in the same bus when they arrived at Brisbane as part of their mission to share their particular brand of joy with the Australians. Liam was snappy:

“We fell out. I don’t think he wants to be photographed with me. We’re not getting along too well. I don’t even think he'll get on the bus with me.”

To be fair, we wouldn't wish having to spend 20 hours on a plane with a Gallagher on anyone - even a Gallagher - so it's probably likely they were just a little tired.

On their last visit to Brisbane, Liam attacked a fan who tried to take pictures of him. Back in 1998, Liam's lawyer vigorously rejected claims he was at fault; yesterday, though, Liam seems to have forgotten that:

“If anyone starts asking about that lad the last time I was here they’ll get the same.”


Monday, November 28, 2005


Following the surprising discovery that his marriage to Jessica Simpson was a hollow shell, Nick Lachey is hoping to move from The Newly Weds into a sitcom.

How about something featuring a mis-matched couple mugging their way through unlikely situations with unbelieveable results while the audience laughs their heads off? Or are you thinking of doing something different this time round?


The seventh of Rod Stewart's ongoing series of kids has been released with the news that Penny Lancaster has given birth to a gushing press release:

"It means so much to Rod and I that we were able to keep to our birthing plan and have our baby naturally. It was the most empowering and spiritual experience of my life."

The baby - besides being empowering - was seven pounds seven ounces. Baby seven, seven pounds, seven ounces; seventy-seven year old dad. We're seeing a pattern.


If it had been up to rock and roll, Rufus Wainwright would be dead now, or else working for a real estate company or something. But classical music saved him:

"The greatest asset during my rehab process has been the influence of classical music, which saved my life.

"Unlike rock 'n' roll, where drugs, sex and debauchery are the norm, you can write your most interesting music when you're old, fat and ugly."

... which everyone ignores in favour of so-so versions of the popular classics performed by pretty young things in flighty dresses.


We've pretty much ignored the supposed quitting of Louis Walsh from the X-Factor last week, for exactly the same reason that we didn't do anything here about Liz being dumped by Kirk in Corrie: pre-scripted events in soap operas don't really fall within our remit. Having said that, we can't let Walsh's whining go ignored completely: he reckons Sharon Osbourne could have killed him when she poured water over him at judging:

"When the water hit my monitor, it started fizzing and then went out.

"Goodness only knows what could have happened if my hand was on it.

"She could have electrocuted me, there's so much electrical equipment around the judge's desk."

Louis, either go to the police and report it as an assault, or just shut the bugger up. To be honest, if we had to spend an hour a week sat next to Sharon Osbourne we'd welcome the chance to have a quick shower. What's interesting is that the X-Factor has finally become what the series of programmes since Pop Idol has always been in danger of turning into - some old people bickering like Stalter and Waldorf while the acts do little more than give the "stars" a chance to regroup. Even the best attempts of the tabloids to get some sort of interest in the singers has failed, and they've been reduced to getting the dumped ones to whine about the judges. Really, if they want a chance of a Christmas Number One, they should forget getting the winners to do something, and just have Simon, Sharon and Louis trot through Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.


Here's a surprising change of heart: Jonathan Ross, who anchored the BBC coverage of Live8 has admitted that he thought the bill for the event had been ill-considered.

Ross had Damon Albarn as a guest on his chat show last Friday, and surprised Albarn by agreeing with his attack on the line-up:

Speaking to the singer, Damon Albarn, on his chat show, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, he admitted he was filled with "regret" at not having spoken out against the lack of African performers at the event on 6 July and singling out bands such as Velvet Revolver and Pink Floyd's reunion as part of his criticism.

"It was, at times, very patronising. I could have swapped Velvet Revolver for just about anyone. I can understand why they did it. They wanted maximum exposure in the Western media and to do that they need stories. Pink Floyd reforming gets you an awful lot of attention.

"Other acts were chosen to attract different parts of a Western audience, certainly to get the media attention, which they achieved and which they wouldn't with African musicians," he said.

[Albarn] questioned "what kind of feeling is being sent out to the world when a concert is organised, presumably to raise awareness and the world doesn't see anyone from Africa there?"

To this, Ross replied: "I agree with you and regret not saying anything about it on the day. The [concert] bookers probably now feel the same way but at the time it probably didn't occur to them."

Somehow, though, we doubt that Geldof and Harvey Goldsmith are regretting the decisions they made - they were pretty vocal about how (effectively) nobody wanted to see any African acts before the event took place, and now the focus has been shifted to selling the DVD in aid of EMI's bottom line, we'd be very surprised if Bob was thinking it might have been better to have, say, an Ethiopian presence that went beyond a spot of stage-dressing for Madonna's act.

There was, of course, a sudden scrabbling to add a token presence to the event, and it seems there might have been a bit of high-profile strongarming to get even that - according to Firoze Manji's comment on a blog over on the Red Pepper website, the lack of African talent nearly led to a direct snub to the Geldof festival:

I was informed by a senior Officer at Oxfam in Kenya that Mandela had originally refused Geldof's invitation to appear at Live8 criticising Geldof for the lack of Africans involved - but I can't verify this

Meanwhile, the spin from Geldof continues to try and portray the outcome of Live8 in the best possible light. Last week an email circulated, partly intended to encourage people to email Peter Mandelson calling for a fair result in the world trade talks - recipients are encouraged to click on a link to send an email calling for trade justice. It's a good idea, although the fact the first half of the email from Bob is a 'didn't we do well' affair applauding the "success" of Live8 does create a confusing mixed message.

In that self-applauding segment, Geldof trumpets: Oxfam reckons that if the G8 keep their promises, by 2010, these commitments will save 4.5million lives per year. You personally helped to make that happen. That's a hell of a result.

Hmm. Well, it is a hell of a result, in the sense that it's a hell of a lot poorer than should have been achieved with so much popular support for a change in how we interact with the developing world. What Geldof doesn't mention is that even Oxfam - the NGO most likely to see the positives in what Western governments grudgingly hand over - described those promises as having "fallen short of the hopes of the millions around the world campaigning for a momentous breakthrough.” Other organisations were more outspoken - the Jubilee Debt fund described the debt deal's shortcomings: It argued that the “G8 debt deal is not 100 per cent debt cancellation” as demanded by campaigners, “immediately benefits only 18 countries” and “reinforces the harmful economic policy conditions enforced through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative”; Action Aid said "what Africa needed from the G8 was a giant leap forward, all it got was tiny steps. The deal that has been announced falls way short of our demands. We have some aid, but not enough, some debt relief but not enough and virtually nothing on trade. Once again Africa's people have been short-changed" and Christian Aid's response sounds like a direct attack on the Bob and Bono show:

This will not make poverty history,” the NGO said, adding it was “a vastly disappointing result. Millions of campaigners from all over the world have been led to the top of the mountain, shown the view and now we are being frogmarched down again.”

The email also makes us return again to the question we asked the other week - if Geldof considers it's worth sending a round robin to try and force pressure on Mandelson at the trade summit, why the hell wasn't some of the acres of poster space bought to flog the Live8 DVD not used to make the call? Even a ten per cent strip at the bottom with a slogan on could have made a difference.

After all, Geldof found space in his email to plug the DVD:

P.S. If you'd like to relive LIVE 8, the official DVD is just out - all 16 hours of it - almost certainly the greatest live music recording ever released. To find out more click here.

Okay, he might not have made poverty history. But he certainly has done all he can to ensure that gift-buying problems for fortysomething blokes have become a thing of the past.


Decided by a combination of sales and staff votes (the exact mix isn't explained, but we imagine that means they took the sales chart and fudged it about until it was something they could be proud of, Rough Trade Shops offer their Top 100 albums of the year. Here's the treetop:

1 The Brakes - Give Blood
2 Black Mountain - Black Mountain
3 Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise
4 MIA - Arular
5 LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
6 Antony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
7 King Creosote - KC Rules OK
8 The Boy Least Likely To - The Best Party Ever
9 Richard Swift - The Novelist/Walking Without Effort
10 Gonzalez - Jose Veneer

We're a little surprised to see MIA there - presumably held aloft on critical acclaim rather than actual sales, although if someone from the label pimps some of the tracks out to advert makers they might start to make some of their cash back. Gonzalez, of course, has been used to push Sony's colour televisions, as if to prove the point.

Lower down the chart you find the records where the hipsters start to fade to the mainstream - Gorillaz at 26; Franz Ferdinand's You Could Have It So Much Better at 36; Bright Eye's I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning a surprisingly low 39.
[Thanks to Aaron S for the link]