Saturday, February 18, 2006


Although the full list of sxsw bands has been out for a while now, there are more names joining all the time. Including Th'Faith Healers.

Yes, Th' Faith Healers. They're reunited, and it feels so good. With a mini-tour and everything:

Saturday, March 11th - Berlin, Germany - West Germany (yes, that's the name of the club)
Friday, March 17th - Austin, TX SXSW Ba Da Bing!/Leaf Showcase at Blender Balcony At The Ritz (w/ volcano!, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Colossal Yes and Beirut)Wednesday, March 22nd Boston, MA - Pa's Lounge (w/Bright)
Monday, March 27th Brooklyn, NY - Northsix
Wednesday, March 29th New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
Thursday, March 30th Philadelphia, PA - The Khyber (w/The Nethers, The War On Drugs)

Peel SessionsAll this, of course, a Peel Sessions album too...


No matter that the detail suggests they don't actually do it to each other, is there any way in which the prospect of a sex tape featuring Kid Rock and Scott Stapp is tantalising?

Red Light District video is about to release what it reckons is 45 minutes of Creed tourbus antics. They don't say who they think is going to pay to see Stapp's cock, but anyone who'd want to surely should be protected from themselves rather than indulged.


We hadn't realised that one of the side effects of James Blunt selling lots of records was it's filling the coffers of Ricky Ross. Yes, Deacon Blue's Ricky Ross. He wrote one of the songs on the Blunt album, and now he's got so much money, he could buy a dinghy and call it Dig-knee-tee...:

"I am utterly delighted James is doing so well. It was one of the happiest nights of my life when he got recognised at the Brits because James is someone I have known for a good few years," he says. "It's gratifying for my bank manager I have to tell you. He couldn't be happier. It's great for me and it's great for James because he is a great person."

See? If people had taken more seriously our setaside scheme to pay bad musicians cash for not writing stuff, we could avoid situations like this.


Oh, bless his little socks; Nick Lachey must have no shame whatsoever. As if pretending to be in love with Jessica Simpson to make a living wasn't bad enough, he's now admitted his career is so screwed that he needs his ex-wife to support him:

Lachey, 32, also asked for "miscellaneous jewellery and other personal effects", his earnings and accumulations from and after the date of separation and other assets yet to be determined.

Yeah, you keep the jewellery, young man. You've earned that.


You'll have spotted Max Clifford has been hanging about on the edges of the Kerry Katona story - he's bringing his press manipulation skills to try and rebalance her career after, ooh, a sticky patch. It's fascinating to watch him at work - for example, using his UK Press Gazette column to praise her peripheral involvement in an all-women taxi service and, more curiously, getting a puff-piece in the Mirror. Now, what with the toe-curling Iceland adverts, the drug allegations, the fisticuffs in a Warrington nightclub, he's got some uphill work to roll this out, so the angle they seem to have decided on is how Kerry has been badly let down by her friends:

"I'm far better off without them. They are all just money grabbing people and I'm a human being with feelings. I can't believe they would go to these lengths just to make money."

The doting mum was furious at nanny Debbie Price who claimed Molly, four, and two-year-old Lilly Sue, were being neglected.

So... that's nanny Debbie Price off the list, then.

Former Atomic Kitten Kerry was also devastated when long-time friend Joanne Goodier claimed she was a cocaine addict.

She blasted: "They are complete traitors, they have no feelings whatsoever. I let these people into my life, I was naive and a mug but I've never been happier because now they are out of my life and I've seen their true colours."

So, bye bye nanny, bye bye Joanne. Still, anyone can be fooled a couple of times, can't they?

Kerry has had a massive row with mum Sue and they are no longer on speaking terms.

Mum as well?

She has also fallen out with Louise Oortwyn...

Next year, at least, she won't need to buy quite so many sausage rolls for the Christmas bash chez Katona

... and Michelle Hunter.

It does start to make the impartial observer wonder if, with so many people falling out with Kerry, there might be more to it than their failings. To lose one mate isn't unusual, but when you start discarding friends and family like Smash Hits was losing readers there has to be a small voice somewhere saying "is it me?"

... and recently split from boyfriend Dave Cunningham.

Boyfriend too, eh? So far, Max, this isn't looking too good, is it?

Not that Kerry is feeling sorry for herself, despite her traumatic experiences. "I often think, why me?," she admits. "But I'm really still dead lucky. It's not a disaster. I'm not dead. I'm alive and I've two little beautiful girls at home.

"Don't get me wrong - it does get me down and I'm still on anti-depressants. But I don't feel sorry for myself. I have my off days, but who doesn't?"

Well, very few people who have managed to piss off all their friends, we guess.

She says: "I'm single now and I just want to clarify I wasn't dumped - I did the dumping. I'm quite content just being with my girls."

Apart, presumably, from when she's thinking why me.

It's not the strongest piece of turn-around that Max has done, but it does make a change to see a story about Katona that doesn't end with the words "according to a Cheshire police spokesperson."


Fury up in Liverpool, where the 051 club - closed last year because of drugs and violence - has been caught planning to put on under-18s nights. Now, maybe they're not the right people to be doing it, but what did surprise us was this quote from Merseyside Police:

Sgt Paul Douglas, a licensing officer for Merseyside police, said: "Historically, these events have led to disorder so we tend not to support them."

In other words: Merseyside Police don't approve of people running club nights for under-18s at all, because sometimes they can attract trouble. Surely a constructive way for the police to begave would be offering support and help to make sure that they don't turn into disorderly events. It's a little disappointing to discover that rather than help organise events which might give young people something to do that they enjoy. Because, in our experience, teenagers hanging about with nothing to do is much more likely to lead to disorder. Perhaps some trust might be worth spreading.


We always love finding emails from Jim McCabe as they're usually going to lead us to a topnotch story; and this morning he's outdone himself. "I think you might find this interesting" he suggested, pointing us as at report from ABC news that Michael Jackson's legendary Katrina benefit might still be a going concern:

In a telephone interview from Dubai last week, Sheik Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the son of Bahrain's king, told The Associated Press, "The record is coming along great. We've been taking our time to perfect it and mix it."

See? If only Bob and Midge had brought that sense of professionalism to Do They Know Its Christmas? Sure, they might have had to leave Ethiopia to starve for a few months longer as they made Phil Collins do drum track after drum track until it was spot on, but we've always found when people are suffering and in desperate need to immediate help and relief, they'd much rather it comes through a pefectly mixed single. After all, if you're hungry, the last thing you want to think of is somebody having to put up with a bit of a flutter in his 5.1 stereo surround sound system while you're eating.

It seems that some of the people who have done their bit for the project had started to feel a bit like those marks who actually expect the guy to return with the bottle of vodka and their sixteen quid change. The O'Jays manager, Andy Gibson, was delighted to hear the song is still coming: "We were wondering whether or not it was ever coming out. They recorded their part of it two or three months ago."

But it seems the delays haven't been caused by the whole project falling to pieces in any way shape or form, oh no: it's been a victim of its own success:

The prince said the release has been delayed because additional artists wanted to contribute. But he declined to name those artists "I'd like to keep that as a surprise" or to name the company he claimed to have secured to sell the song via CDs and the Internet.

Prince, Prince, the very appearance of the bloody single after so long will be such a surprise, there's no guest appearance that will top that.

He said the song, which Jackson wrote, "is a message of peace and help and caring. It's a song of total oneness."

Asked if the song's release was a harbinger of a new Jackson album, Prince Abdullah laughed and said, "I will just say we've been very busy."

"This is a raindrop before the thunderstorm,' he said. "He's getting ready to come out with a lot of bells and whistles. He's so energized. It's explosive."

Well, we know that the Sun and the News of the World will be interested at the idea that Michael Jackson will be going around with bells and whistles - we're surprised that Wapping hasn't come up with the idea of making people who get too close to children wear some sort of audible warning round their neck.

Nobody seemed to want to ask the good sheik exactly what the money will be going towards now.


The rumours that everything might be far from glossy in the Ciccone-Ritchie household haven't apparently been put to bed by Guy's charming appearance at the Brits this week - we're not sure of the full details, but our spies tell us that he was on a videophone placed three tables up from Madonna's table for most of her acceptance speech for best whatever it was they had to give her in order to get her to show up.

As that hasn't silenced the gossips, Madonna has been forced to take him out for dinner again and say h how great things are:

“I must admit, I have to pat myself on the back. It’s not easy to be married, to have a successful career, to have children, to be with someone who is as strong-willed and ambitious as I am.

“Guy’s not a househusband and I’m not a typical wife. So you can imagine, we have our clashes.

“But I think we always keep our eye on the ball — that is our marriage — the union of us, the things that we create together, are bigger than the petty fights we have.”

What we love about this is that she started out banging on again about how great she is for being a working mother - like she's lobbing out the Shredded Wheat at 8.15 before dashing to get a bus to the Somerfield meat counter - before she remembers she was meant to be saying how brilliant that bloke Greg or Guy or whatever he's called is and has to change tack, but even then has to keep it all about how any problems come from him being married to "someone who is as strong-willed and ambitious as I am."

Friday, February 17, 2006


This, then, would be one of those things that we reckon we could have guessed without needing them to tell us: Kasabian's second album is going to be ugly.

The sleeve, certainly.

Tom Meighan has announced they've got real drums on the new one:

“But don’t worry, the album’s still really fucking ugly. Sometimes even I’m upset by its ugliness.”

He continued to The Star: “It’s a proper beast of a record and I can’t wait to get it out there.

“But to be honest… the whole album just picks you up and tears through you.

“Noel Gallagher’s been in the studio a couple of times for a listen and given it the thumbs up, so you know it must be as good as I’m saying.”

Oh, Noel thinks its good, does he? Well, that's a fine stamp of quality right there, then. He's never said that one of his own albums was brilliant and then had to scrap the entire bloody thing the first time the songs were heard in public, has he?


As part of the ongoing spat over who gets to actually mess with their kids heads full time, documents have been released which reveal the extent of how much Michael Jackson was prepared to pay Debbie Rowe to give him a kid:

"Mr. Jackson was under an agreement with Petitioner (Rowe) here, which he was to pay her -- did pay her about four or five million dollars up front, gave her a mansion in Beverly Hills, and then was to pay $900,000 a year for a number of years if she abided by agreement terms."

Also in the court file -- a declaration dated January 26, 2004, in which Rowe declares, "I have just been advised by Michael's 'inner circle' that he is abusing drugs and I was even given the name of the physician that is prescribing all of Michael's medications, which I fear is dangerous not only to Michael but also to the children."

The disturbing thing is, this is probably the least insane story we've run about Michael Jackson in the history of No Rock.

We might celebrate by releasing a bird.

Debbie Rowe has been given permission by the court to try for custody of the kids.


Oh, good grief - not only is Nelly Furtado embarking on a comeback (and the second album did transport her quite a way backwards, didn't it?), but she's roped in Chris Martin for a guest slot. Martin, apparently, did it because he wanted to work with Timbaland. Not that Furtado seems especially bothered:

"I was telling (Chris) what I was up to, and he's like 'I love Timbaland. Can I come by?' But (Timbaland's) like a big dude and Chris was scared to sit down at the keyboard. I'm like, 'Chris, sit down. Let's make some music.' I'm always the instigator."

Except in that story it sounds like Martin was the one who asked to come by, which seems to be him in the role of instigator, surely?

Still, we'd be very surprised indeed if this doesn't end up as a UK single at the very least. And not to boost Martin's profile.


The fastest-ever sell out of T in the Park has happened, boosted by the lack of Glastonbury this year. People queued overnight to get the non-credit card tickets - a gesture to music lovers that Clear Channel might want to consider introducing for 2007:

Further back in the queue was 17-year-old Lisa Smart, who travelled from Falkirk to make sure she secured a ticket.

"If you want a ticket and you haven't got a credit card you have got to come along and buy them," she said.

"A lot of people going to T in the Park haven't got credit cards, it's a working-class event, so you need to get up to buy them. If you're not here you're not going to get them.

We're not quite sure we're convinced that "it's a working class event" so much as an event appealing to under-18s who can't apply for credit cards. But the whole "turning up at a shop to buy a ticket" might prove to be as effective a safeguard against toutery as any number of faux-security measures.

Having said that, Ebay are currently awash with tix, the average price seeming to be somewhere around the six hundred quid mark.


This was originally picked up by Jim at The View From Yoorp. Just a day after reporting how booming the UK music industry was, BBC News Online carried a strange perspective on Screen Digest's figures on the European entertainment industry. This should be great news for the copyright owners - flogging extra stuff, can't be bad. But instead, the story has been spun with a gloomy aspect:

But consumer spending on games and music is likely to reveal a downturn of 3% and 5% respectively. More DVDs than ever were sold last year, but a fall in prices of up to 11% meant that the level of consumer spending fell overall.

This should be seen as win-win: entertainment industry sells more stuff than ever, consumers get a better deal, surely?


After years of putting up with claims and counter claims for what the inspiration was for Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (was a girl in Julian Lennon's class, or was his dad just ripped to the tits on LSD?) we can now start to ponder what, exactly, was the thinking behind We All Live In A Yellow Submarine.

Boyhood friend of Lennon, David Ashton, reckons it was a picture of a beached whale he and John drew in the 1960s. The poor mammal had wound up down near Hale Lighthouse (a lovely place to visit, by the way) and wasn't in a good way:

"I was always aware there was some connection between the whale and Yellow Submarine but when I found the picture it really confirmed it. You only have to look at it to see.

"John and I used to go to Hale Lighthouse and when the whale was stranded we went down to see it.

"It was going rotten and was yellow. There were crows and seagulls eating it.

There are quite a few other Lennon songs that we would suggest could also have been inspired by a mouldering, stinking pile of blubber, now we come to think of it.


You remember a few months back there was a whole hoopla over if Will Young was seeing that footballer who nobody had heard of, and then there was more hoopla over which footballer it wasn't, and besides he wasn't seeing him anyway? Well, now he's not seeing the bloke he wasn't seeing for real:

"I did meet my first ‘significant’ one but it finished about six months ago.

"I was completely heartbroken when we broke up and it totally knocked my confidence.

"I suppose for a while I thought it didn’t work out because I’m so famous and he simply couldn’t cope with that. But I’ve realised that’s utter nonsense.

"I can’t blame my showbiz fame for the fact I haven’t got myself a boyfriend."

We find it hard to believe that he actually said this last sentence, but if he really does talk like that, we think that might be the reason he hasn't got a boyfriend.


We're sure David Furnish means well when he starts talking about how Elton John is offering marriage guidance to Madonna:

"Elton and I have spoken to Madonna plenty of times lately. She and Guy are close friends of ours.

"They both need to concentrate on their careers if they want their relationship to work. Elton and I completely understand.

"But if they neglect that, their relationship will inevitably disintegrate.

"They will be fine if they don't neglect what they love to do. If that means they can't see each other, that's the way it has to be."

... but presumably Furnish hasn't realised the official line is that Ciccone and Ritchie are "quite happy" and, thus, in no need to marriage guidance from anyone.

Of course, John is the perfect person for Madonna to talk to - both have music careers; both are married to men who give their job description as filmmakers although people are hard pressed to name any movies they've made this century.


Well, we never thought that Madonna would really start to become like a true Londoner, but her tiresome moaning over having to pay the congestion charge is a sign that she is starting to go native after all.

Thing is, of course, as she owns several squillions worth of property in the Congestion charging zone, she wouldn't have to pay, but she's too grand to put her phone number on a form:

“I’m so fucked off about it. I have gotta pay because I won’t give my number.

“It’s ridiculous. Why would I give everyone my number?”

Erm... because you're not special? Because then you wouldn't have to pay the charge?

Okay, you decide to withhold your number. So you pay the charge. Your choice.

Or... and here's a crazy thought... why not put on one of the dozens of office numbers you have, Einstein? Like your publicist's number, or perhpas just buy a pay and go phone and use that number.


They claim that Razorlight were thrown out of Weller's post-Brits party because they were too drunk.

Surely it was because there was only room for one messiah complex in the room at a time?

Thursday, February 16, 2006


There are many fine music blogs available at the moment, but different to most is the freshly-launched Pop Zeus, which is a blog tracking the development of a Guided By Voices tribute comic book.


Oh, bloody hell: Kym Marsh has thrown her... well, self into the A Song For Europe battle. (Yes, we know they call the British heats Making Your Mind Up now, but we like tradition round here.)

Kym was last heard of trying to launch a post-Hear'Say career back in 2003, something she did with all the success of a group of brownies attempting to refloat a beached whale while the tide is out. She tried advertising during Coronation Street, she tried splitting from her boyfriend as often as Closer could get to press, she even hinted darkly that Hear'Say had been attacked by the music industry for "lifting the lid" on its secrets. All of it got her nowhere, from which she has now taken this step backwards.

She is joined in the battle for the honour to wave the Union Jack in Athens this summer by Anthony Costa, the one with the enormous face but small skull from Blue. You know, looks like a gnome flying a big kite. Impressive to see he's realised just how fucked his career is without a year or two of pretending it's going well.

Making up the numbers: Goran Kay, Four Story, City Chix (no, really and Daz Sampson. Now, doesn't that sound like a late-season evening in a Butlins ballroom?


We were going to wait a full 24 hours before even mentioning ITV's coverage of the awards - if they don't feel there's any hurry in getting them on air, then why should we rush to review them? - but the programme is so poor we couldn't contain ourselves. Why do they insist on treating the video to make it look like film? We know it's already stale, but is there any need to make it look even staler than it is?

The Kaiser Chiefs are the perfect choice to start things off - they're exactly the sort of band who sum up the Brits spirit: corporatism dressed up in leisure slacks; the sort of fun you get in those kid's play centres where it all looks like it's wild and carefree, but has actually had any room for originality or real risk health and safetyed out of the place. You could say the same thing about Chris Evans, too, come to think of it.

Although his question fired at Boy George - "did you really call the police when you had ten bags of drugs in your house?" - did seem to genuinely rile O'Dowd, and his comeback - "that was you" - shows that whatever he has been doing over the last ten years, it's blunted his wits pretty comprehensively. And what on earth was that white shit all over his face? If it was meant to try and deflect attention from the fact he now looks like a small face peering out of a very large building, it didn't work. Even more curiously, Kanye West came up to pick his award looking like Fleegle from the Banana Splits.

We're not certain, but we think that the Urban award may have been filmed a year ago - Lemar beating Ms Dynamite and Craig David to be presented with an award by Jamelia? Corrie's bringing back of the bloke who killed Ernie thirty years ago has been quite a success; apparently they've decided to bring back some long-forgotten characters here, too.

And what is that little bit of business before the nominations are read out? Is it meant to be somebody catching pixiedust and blowing it over the event? If we'd been organising a music business event, especially with Ian Blair keen to catch middle-class drug users, we'd not be majoring so much on the suggestion that the industry depends quite so heavily on magic powders.

Update: They might have been better keeping Prince until later in the show - Kelly Clarkson, for all the fun of trying to decide if she was wearing cullotes or pedal pushers, feels like having the karaoke on after you've just had the main act.

Wayne Coyne and Beth Orton have been presenting prizes - perhaps next year they could try letting the researchers who book the presenters select the winners. Because having Wayne Coyne have to give James Blunt a prize is frankly insulting.

Chris Evans does sound more like Alan Partridge every year, doesn't he? And not in a knowing or ironic way.

It's interesting that there was a lot of fuss over Anthony and the Johnsons being nominated for best British male when he's only vaguely British, but nobody seemed that arsed that Is This The Way To Amarillo got shortlisted for best British single on the strength of it being lip-synched in the video by a bloke from Bolton?

Update 2: KT Tunstall - who, for reasons we've lost track of as we flicked over to see Johnny Weir ice-skate in Torino, appears to have Jo Wylie stapled to her shoulder - has picked up her Best British Female award. We say "hers", although all the rules of justice and sense suggest it should be Kate Bush's, of course. She's thanked her record company for "proving a girl can be herself." Providing, of course, herself involves wearing fairly sexy clothing and is pretty and writes non-threatening songs.

Bloody hell, these Mastercard break bumpers are stinkers.

Update 3: Could Madonna's hilarious acceptance speech (you've been inspired by Radiohead and Elvis Costello? In what way?) have been delivered in a more stilting fashion? If we were her press people, we'd be confirming the hernia story and using the post-op drugs as an excuse.

We wonder if Gorillaz knew they weren't winning a prize before they decided to put in less effort than they did for MTV and the Grammys, or if they decided that before the BPI decided to not give them a prize. Honestly... MTV get a 3D state of the art projection; the Brits get a few kids rounded up the childcatcher.

And we don't know who thought it might be worth getting Peter Kay to do half the voiceovers, but when you've got a distinctive voice like that, why give him a bogstandard undistinguished script to read? It's like calling in Larry Olivier to do a DFS advert.


You've got to love them for trying, as The Osbournes have put their TV mansion back on the market again.

Sharon: even if people hadn't seen your dogs shitting all over the place, they'd still pick up on the creepy vibe of the place. Your old slot on daytime TV still feels as cold as the grave, never mind your old house.


Paul Weller is not a man who is over-generous with praise, so when he passes his blessing on, it means something. (Normally, that he thinks a band sounds a bit like him.)

Receiving the pope-like kiss are - of course - The Arctic Monkeys:

"They've fucked off loads of people. They have done it on their own terms.

"Fucked off Top Of The Pops and done their own thing. It's powerful."

Yeah, they've stuck two fingers up at the music establishment by... erm, what, exactly? They go on Radio One to talk about how they won't play Top of the Pops, which is hardly the same thing as a self-denying ordinance. And although getting We Are Scientists to record their Brits acceptance speech was funny, a chummy gesture for the awards show isn't the same as withdrawing in disgust, is it? They're like the organic counter in Tesco: might be better for you and the planet, but they're still counting towards Tesco's profits.


On Valentine's Day - in what, to us, smells like a test-marketing escapade - Simon Bates revived Our Tune for GCap Radio stations.

Yes, the nation loved Simes. And Simes - well, he loved the attention. And for ages, it seemed they'd last together forever. But then things started to change. Radio One - the home they'd built together - started to feel a little different. A little colder. And one day, Simes came into work, and found the door closed on him. No more Our Tune. No more work.

Since then, he's been popping up all over the place with short-lived Our Tune revivals. Once on Sky TV. Once - we seem to recall - on BBC One. On Talk Radio. Even on Classic FM. But these are always fleeting things. It seems Simes is doomed to never again enjoy that long term, open relationship with the nation's hearts. And friends tell him, it's time to move on, find something new... but somehow, he can't let go. He just has to try one last time to recapture that glow...

[10CC doing 'I'm not in love' fades in...]


The good people at the Audit Bureau of Circulations have finished totting up, and there's a huge surprise in the music magazines sector: the NME has done well, with a nearly 10% increase in circulation year-on-year; more shockingly, Kerrang has reversed what had appeared to be a terminal decline putting on 23.2% - and that brings it back to threaten the NME's position as the world's (i.e. the UK's) largest-selling rock weekly: just 627 copies separate them now. One mid-air collision could wipe out the NME's entire advantage in the market, in other words. IPC are rumoured to be about to issue a panicky injunction banning its subscribers from travelling together on the same aeroplane.

The current top ten sales, with increase/decrease since last year in brackets:

Q 168,547 (5.1%)
Mojo 120,530 (5.2%)
Uncut 110,052 (0.0%)
The Fly 108,097 (0.5%)
New Musical Express 76,792 (4.3%)
Kerrang! 76,165 (18%)
Classic Rock 50,027 (12.8%)
Metal Hammer 44,047 (9.5%)
Mixmag 42,234 (-9.1%)
Rock Sound 23,027 (3.2%)


Elton John has just accepted a large chunk of cash from Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Times as they apologise for saying that he'd said people couldn't talk to him at a charity event unless he said they could, or something.

The apology is interesting:

The newspaper's lawyer, Alistair Brett, said: "As soon as the defendant found out the story was untrue - it had been picked up from another newspaper - it immediately apologised to Sir Elton and it is happy to repeat that apology here today."

Yes, that's the quality of the paper's once-mighty journalism team: they now get their scoops by copying out the Daily Mail. Bloody hell, we could do that...

SOULOBIT: Lynden David Hall

The death of Lynden David Hall has been announced.

A winner of the Best Newcomer at the MOBOs in 1998, and a former Best British Male nominee at the Brits, he'd released three well-recieved albums, including Medicine $ My Pain. This, his debut, received an enormous TV advertising push at the time which edged it past the silver sales mark; his other albums were equally warmly reviewed, but never attracted as much record company support or sales activity.

Hall managed to land some quite impressive dates - including a support slot on Janet Jackson's South African show, which gave him an audience of 35,000; he also supported M-People and had a role in the Linda McCartney Tribute show in memory of Paul McCartney's popular wife. He also cropped up in Love Actually (the Carry On England of the Hugh Grant mumbling-rom-com cycle) as a Wedding Singer. Indeed, although his career hadn't yet recouped, he did have a firm basis on which to build.

Sadly, it wasn't to be: The 31 year-old died from Hodgkin's Lymphoma on Tuesday.


Clinging together in the Chantelle-Preston post-CBB slipstream, Rula Lenska has teamed up with Goldie Lookin' Chain to do Your Mother's Got A Penis.

Rula wasn't fazed by how rude Maggot's friends were:

"I've done 'The Vagina Monologues' on the road, so nothing is exceptional."


We've not for a long time seen such an oddly written opening paragraph on a story as the curious kick-off for Ananova's report on Madonna's trip to the Brits:

Madonna had pretty infallible evidence at the Brits that her marriage isn't over.

In itself, not odd. But the rest of the article it's leading doesn't seem quite so sure about the evidence:

Snapped at their table, Madonna fixed a smile on her face - but Guy refused to flash even one little pearly white.

Guy went to kiss her when she won her trophy but she appeared to turn the other cheek.

And in her acceptance speech, she thanked everyone except Guy - even Stuart Price, the British producer to whom she's been linked.

Okay, it's hardly like she took the microphone and said "I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee", but if that's taken as infallible evidence on the part of the Ananova gossip team, we wonder where they found them? Did they previously work for the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad?


I've always thought that one of the most powerful images in 20th Century literature is at the end of For The Good of the Cause: the moment when, having handed over his newly-built college and agreed to start building again on what remains of the school lands, the principal looks out to see the local party chief trying to move the fence to grab just a little more from them.

Effectively moving the fenceposts: The RIAA is now trying to deny its earlier acceptance that we have the right to put music we've bought onto other things like our iPods and back-up CDs.

Although an RIAA brief told the supreme court last year that "[t]he record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod", they're now trying to change the rules, as they put forward a plea to to the DCMA rule-makers:

"[n]or does the fact that permission to make a copy in particular circumstances is often or even routinely granted, necessarily establish that the copying is a fair use when the copyright owner withholds that authorization. In this regard, the statement attributed to counsel for copyright owners in the MGM v. Grokster case is simply a statement about authorization, not about fair use."

In other words, you'd need to ask for permission every time you put a CD onto your iPod.

And, also:

"Similarly, creating a back-up copy of a music CD is not a non-infringing use...."

[Thanks to David Scott for the tip]


6Music is reporting that Coldplay's people are trying to dampen down the speculation over what Chris Martin meant when he said they were disappearing for a "few years" - apparently it's just going to be a well-earned rest after the current world tour before they get cracking on the new album.

That statement sounds like it was written with crossed fingers in an EMI office, one way or another.


Leaking out of some comfy conference rooms: Amazon is in talks to launch a digital music download service; it's possibly going to launch an Amazon-branded music player to play them on.

The problem with this plan? iPods dominate Amazon customer's music player purchases, so how is Amazon going to explain that the downloads its selling won't work on the player they've bought?


Of course, it might just be that Californian Ed Chavez has come up with the idea all on his own - although he's very proud at the support its been getting from the RIAA and MPAA. The idea? If education establishments in the state want funding to help teach technology, they'd have to promise to waste some of the time and money teaching an RIAA view of copyright law as well.

Chavez explains it all:

"This activity has resulted in multi-billion dollar losses to the content industries in California particularly the music and filmed entertainment industries," according to a comment from Chavez's office. "When computers at public schools and college campuses are used for illegal file sharing, precious and costly bandwidth is consumed resulting in increased costs to taxpayers. An educational program targeted at students could help stem this activity. Many students, teachers, and parents do not realize that downloading a copyrighted song or film over the Internet is illegal and no different than stealing a CD or DVD from a retail store."

Perhaps the reason they don't realise that there's no difference between downloading an MP3 and stealing a CD is because it's not true, Chavez, as with downloading the owner is not deprived of anything.


Having revived the concept of cartoon bands, Damon Albarn is now turning his attention to musicals, writing one based on life in Notting Hill.

There's a light golden caramel macchiato/
The SUV CD plays Rigoletto/
House prices as high as an elephant's eye/
And the Mail says they're climbin' clear up to the sky...

Oh, what a beautiful morning
Oh what a beautiful day
Our new gated com-munity
Keeps the poor people away...


It's not all gloomy news from The Brits - Coldplay are putting themselves on hold.

Okay, that'd be gloomy news if you're EMI, but otherwise: whoop!

As they were picking up the best album award, too:

"This means so much to us, especially now. It's going to be a few years before you see us again."

And Chris, 28, added: "People are fed up with us - and so are we."

Still, we're doubtless going to have to endure a greatest hits and a live collection, so it'll probably be like they haven't been dumped in shallow graves somewhere.


From what we can tell, Paul Weller's "sorry" to James Blunt before the Brits was right up there with Alan Partridge's apology to the farmers of Norfolk and the way you say 'sorry' to your parents to try and head off trouble. And it looks like he only gave that grudging apology because he found out he was sitting next to him during the awards. (Would that have been coincidence, we wonder?)


For reasons we can't quite figure out, Westlife spodform Kian Egan has been running round assuring everyone he's not interested in having sex with Madonna. Which is hardly news - first of all, it's not like he's going to be in that position, so it's a bit like finding out his answer to "would you rather have a giant cock and no thumbs, or bionic vision and no cock"; secondly, Man Doesn't Fancy Woman isn't a headline anyway. Unless it's on a Robbie Williams story.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


We really wish they weren't calling it a "British Desert Sessions" as that project has the air of a slightly ego-strokey passtime; nevertheless, Bloc party's Gordon Moakes is pressing on with his side project featuring the likes of yourcodenameismilo and Graham Coxon.

PJ Harvey is currently screening calls.


We're not quite sure he's thought this idea through, but Cam'Ron is so angry about child abusers, he's decided to fight them in the only way he knows how. With Punk'd style antics. In the sort of idea we bet Rebbakah Wade wishes she'd had first:

He now plans to start patrolling the internet where he hopes to deceive the prospective paedophiles into meeting him upon which he hopes to film them for an upcoming DVD he wants to release.

He told MTV: "When they get there, it's gonna be me and (my manager) Big Joe like, 'What the hell are you doing, you damn pervert? What the fuck is wrong with you, coming to meet a 13-year-old boy?' We're gonna talk to them and not let them leave until we find out what's wrong with them."

Hmm. Well, assuming they do say "I'm a paedophile, that's what's wrong with me", it's not entirely clear what Cam'ron will do then - we'd like to think some form of therapy would be on hand, but since he's going to kick off with a spot of unlawful detention, we're not betting on it.


Now that he no longer has the comfort of Renee Zellweger's bosom, at least Kenny Chesney can, at the end of a quiet day, slip down to his boxer shorts and fill them full of dollar bills. He's sold five and a half million dollars worth of concert tickets in a single day. Blimey.


Once, it covered a hand which has never been convicted of touching a young boy in a way so inappropriate as to be illegal. Then, it became the property of David Gest - perhaps he wore it to caress Liza Minelli... but, no, let's not pursue that image. Now, though, Michael jackson's single glove has appeared on Ebay.

Presumably the other one has been put onto a spike on the top of a park railing somewhere, in the hope it will be reunited with its pair.

This isn't any old glove, though - it's engineering, explains the description:

"This is specifically a glove to be worn in concert as there are no stones on the palm side, so holding the microphone and manipulating the fedora hat is easier.

"On the back side of the glove are hundreds of rhinestones individually sewn on. This glove is a significant piece of pop history."

Be warned, though:

"The palm side is visually stained through use."

Probably best to not ask for any sort of tests on that stain.


Or perhaps write to ITV and suggest they might want to show the awards when they still have any interest at all left in them. But - and do try to look surprised when they "announce" them tomorrow - the winners are:

Best British Group - Kaiser Chiefs
Best Live Act - Kaiser Chiefs
Best Rock - Kaiser Chiefs
Best Pop - James Blunt (bollocks)
Best British male - James Blunt
British Breakthrough - Arctic Monkeys
Best British Female - KT Tunstall
Best international female - Madonna
Best single - Speed of Sound - coldplay
best international group - green day
best international album - green day/american idiot
best international male - kanye west

Still, let's not pretend that all the award winners being known in advance will make tomorrow night's telecast an empty amd pointless charade. There's still the big question of what colour shoes Neil Tennant will be wearing.

(for completeness, as it's now later, here are the full runners and riders:

British male solo artist: James Blunt Also nominated: Anthony and the Johnsons, Ian Brown, Robbie Williams, Will Young.

British female solo artist: KT Tunstall
Also nominated: Charlotte Church, Kate Bush, Katie Melua, KT Tunstall, Natasha Bedingfield.

British album: Coldplay - X&Y
Also nominated:Gorillaz - Demon Days, James Blunt - Back To Bedlam, Kaiser Chiefs - Employment, Kate Bush - Aerial.

British single: Coldplay - Speed of Sound
Also nominated:James Blunt - You're Beautiful, Shayne Ward - That's My Goal, Sugababes - Push The Button, Tony Christie - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo.
(Winner chosen by UK commercial radio listeners)

British group: Kaiser Chiefs
Also nominated: Coldplay, Hard-Fi, Franz Ferdinand, Gorillaz

British rock act: Kaiser Chiefs
Also nominated: Franz Ferdinand, Hard-Fi, Kasabian, Oasis.
(Winner chosen by Kerrang! TV viewers)

Pop act: James Blunt
Also nominated: Katie Melua, Kelly Clarkson, Madonna, Westlife.
(Winner chosen by viewers of ITV1's CD:UK, readers of The Sun, and customers of O2 and Motorola)

British urban act: Lemar
Also nominated: Craig David, Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Lemar, Ms Dynamite.
(Winner chosen by MTV Base viewers)

British live act: Kaiser Chiefs
Also nominated: Oasis, KT Tunstall, Kaiser Chiefs, Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand
(Winner chosen by BBC Radio 2 listeners)

British breakthrough act: Arctic Monkeys
Also nominated: James Blunt, Kaiser Chiefs, KT Tunstall, Magic Numbers.
(Winner chosen by BBC Radio 1 listeners)

International breakthrough act: Jack Johnson
Also nominated: Arcade Fire, Daniel Powter, John Legend, Pussycat Dolls.

International male solo artist: Kanye West
Also nominated: Beck, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Johnson, John Legend.

International female solo artist: Madonna
Also nominated: Bjork, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, Missy Elliott.

International group: Green Day
Also nominated: Arcade Fire, Black Eyed Peas, Green Day, U2, White Stripes.

International album: Green Day - American Idiot
Also nominated: Arcade Fire - Funeral, Kanye - Late Registration, Madonna - Confessions On A Dancefloor, U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.

Oustanding contribution to music: Paul Weller )


Poor old Charlie Simpson; nine months before Busted finally came to pieces, he'd almost had a breakdown. Apparently he wanted to get to the "real life" of Fightstar:

“Nine months before I left Busted I was in Germany and I broke down.

“I nearly had a mental breakdown. I asked my manager to not book anything else, so that I could leave Busted as soon as I had a completely free schedule.

“I only really told my family and close friends but I think Matt and James had an idea I was unhappy. At the time the real life I was leading was with Fightstar.”

Certainly, if the pressure of success was what was doing his head in, he's managed to leave that behind.


Lets hope you haven't broken your right-click button, because it's needed right now, oh yes: Clinic have launched their new single, Tusk, as a free mp3 download.

They are lovely boys.


Surprising to discover that - rather than being delighted by the prospect of him getting a proper job - Paul Weller's dad begged him not to split the Jam:

He (Dad) was devastated. His actual words were, 'Are you fucking mad?' Which possibly I was, but I thought it was the right thing to do. And on reflection I think it was definitely the right thing to do.

Presumably dad had heard the demos for the Style Council stuff.


Apparently, much of KT Tunstall's career has been defined by her desire to fight against the 'girl with a guitar' stereotype exemplified by Phoebe off Friends.

Phoebe, of course, was the sort of person who misheard and misunderstood simple conversations and came to all sorts of maddeningly illogical conclusions. KT, however, misunderstood when someone called her a legend and has decided her braces make her look gay.


Sheryl Crow not bothering to leave time for the revenge to cool, then: following her breaking off of her romance with Lance Armstrong, she's going to re-record her love song for him, Always On Your Side.

Doesn't sound too bad?

She's going to have Lance's part done by Sting.


Surprising comebacks are now so commonplace, it's not even surprising any more: Marion have returned. More or less. Sort of.


According to Page Six in the New York Post, while Madonna was in town for the Grammys, she also slipped in a quick bit of surgery - for a hernia.

That can't be the case, though, as surely Guy would have been at her side for that, rather than back in London eating microwave meals and watching Bravo. And her rep says "I have no information."

It's not, of course, the first time that Madonna has been rumoured to have gone to Cedars-Sinai for a hernia op - last time, her spokespeople said "how could she have had an hernia op, she's filming Swept Away?"


Apparently, The Strokes confused an over-boisterous welcome when they first visited Britain with senseless violence:

We had to get security because people would try to start serious fights, like bottle us in the head," he added. "There was a fight that broke out once. Nikolai (Fraiture) and Fab (Moretti) were getting into a car and this guy hit Nikolai in the head with a bottle. The two of them definitely stuck together. The security guards were like, 'What?!'"

We do that because we love you, boys.


Despite Louis Walsh's assurances to the contrary, Ronan Keating has not made it up with him.

Made what up? Oh, some sort of spat that resulted from when Ronan suddenly realised that since he had no real talent and that had never held him back, he didn't really need to pay Louis to manage that lack of talent.

Ronan manintains that Louis tried to ruin him, like a fallen woman in Victorian melodrama:

"I have no respect for him, he tried to absolutely ruin my career. He was jealous.

"I had to sack him because he wouldn't manage me. He hurt me all right."

Ronan, 28, added: "He's trying to make up with me because he wants Boyzone to get back together.

"He says in the papers: "Oh, Ronan and I shook hands" but its bullshit. He is very controlling and wants to have everything."

The Press Gazette gave Louis a right of reply, and his reply was:

"I'm not going to waste any more time on him and his comments."

But maybe Louis really did set out to ruin Ronan's career, and he's just being modest.


We've just had an amusing email from James Waterson, which we think he won't mind if we share with you:

Just thought you might like to know how well the public education slant of the BPI's activities with regards to downloading are going. Listening to Chris Moyles for a few minutes this morning (look, I can't get 6music at the moment) he went off on one of his 'humorous' rambling monologues covering the BBCs inability to find a few old Rolling Stones tracks and general abuse of his colleagues.

However upon mentioning that he had to go home and buy the track on iTunes music store he suddenly panicked and added a disclaimer that "downloading is bad, killing music, we can do it as a radio station, etc..." before quickly moving on

Good to know that one of the top 5 radio presenters in the country still hasn't got the idea...

Of course, if the BPI have their way, there'd probably be a show trial over several days. Still, at least it'd get Moyles back on the tv, so it wouldn't be all bad for him...

DARKOBIT: Joaquin Tavares

We've just heard of the death of Joaquin Tavares, the keyboardist with Faith & Disease. Tavares was shot after being caught up in someone else's argument - a man had been evicted from a building he was visiting in South Seattle; sadly, it was a man with a beef and a gun.

Eric Cooley from the band said: "He was a dear friend and most importantly in this context, a very talented musician and visual artist and Seattle resident; he played keyboards for Faith & Disease and headed a Latino-flavored project entitled Quinto Sol. His visual art was very impressive as well."

MAMBAZOBIT: Jockey Shabalala

The death has been announced of Jockey Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Jockey joined the band - founded by his brother, Joseph, in the 1960s and was well known amongst black audiences in South Africa. The band came to international fame when Paul Simon ignored the UN ban on cultural links with the aparthied state to use them as backing singers on his Graceland album. The record - which pretty much ignored the suffering of South Africans in favour of songs about Simon's divorce - split political opinion but bagged Simon a Grammy; it also placed LBM in a strong position to tour internationally after their country became their country ceased to be an international pariah state.

Jockey toured internationally with the band up until 2005; although he continued to play with them domestically he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The band are currently on tour in the US; Joseph Shabalala said they would fulfill outstanding dates:

"We must continue to spread our culture and our message of peace, love and harmony," he said in the statement from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"Jockey helped me and the rest of the group on this mission for almost 40 years. As we were performing tonight's encore song, Amazing Grace, I could hear his voice, once again, as part of our harmony. I'll always hear his voice, even as he is now with God."

Jockey is believed to have died from natural causes; he is survived by his wife and four children.

Obituary: Ben Shabalala


You might think that Beyonce has, like, the greatest life ever. But, no: for she fears that her glittering beauty eclipses her deifirrific talent:

"I'm a songwriter and I have eight Grammys, but I sometimes have to fight a lot harder for my respect. "But I don't really like to think about it, because I don't want to be bitter."

Beyonce must look at all those plain girls constantly rising to the top of the charts and being treated with nothing but respect and sob 'why was I born with such a lovley nose?'

On the other hand, could the perfumes, Pink Panther movies and shampoo ads work against you being treated as a latter-day Woody Guthrie, Bey?


Sarah Harding no knickersWe're not quite sure we follow Girls Aloud's Sarah when she explains her underwear regime:

"If I nip down the shops there's every chance I'm commando. If you get up in the morning and make yourself a brew, you're just in your pants - I always walk round the house like that.

"I wander past the windows - luckily, the paparazzi haven't caught me yet."

So... you're in your own home, wandering round in just your knickers; but then you remove them before you go to the shops?


Amongst things we really don't want to hear is the impromptu hooking-up of Kanye West and Coldplay when the two acts turned up at Abbey Road at the same time.

It's surely a bit of a wasted chance for Kanye Porneater, though: yes, he has had a bit of a sing. But he could have used the opportunity to get Chris Martin to look through his pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow naked and weed out any fakes.


With the Brits just round the corner, it's time for Music Choice's annaul Naomi Awards, which celebrate the worst in music and give them prizes. (This is meant to be the opposite of the Brits, but that does seem to be what the Brits does too.)

Amongst this year's big winners are Lisa Scott-Lee (Worst British Female, Worst Pop Act, Worst British Single for Electric); Lee Ryan; Steve Brookstein; Babyshambles and Westlife.


We're recommending building something a little like a cuckoo clock to help you keep track of if the Pete Burns engagement is off or on.

At the moment, it's on again, apparently.

We'd leave it a couple of weeks before popping down to John Lewis for the list, though.


We're still not totally convinced this wasn't a publicity stunt, but... Touch FM in Coventry had one of those eye-rolling public proposals yesterday, when Steffan LaTouche proposed to his girlfriend Natalie Tonner live on-air.

Natallie then turned him down, live on-air, too. And stormed out.

That kind of put a wrinkle into the Valentine's Day breakfast show.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


We're not quite sure if Pete Doherty really believes he's living in some sort of fairy story - perhaps one in which Kate Moss is being held in a castle somewhere. But he does seem to believe that she's only able to communicate with him through secret messages carried by ladies-in-waiting. Oh, and they're still an item:

"She was in a bit of a state and needed to know that I was OK," said Pete.

"She managed to get a message to me saying how much she loves and cares for me. It really lifted my spirits while I was inside. When I was inside she was all I could think about.

"There was a point when we didn't talk. But as far as I'm concerned we never broke up. I just never accepted it was over between us and I don't think she did either."

Oddly, considering she was all he could think about, his prison diaries - as published last weekend - don't really mention her overmuch.


Just starting to explode all over the internet like a rash: Britney Spears was rushed to hospital yesterday teatime with some sort of stomach pain. Mind you, if we were married to Kevin federline and waiting for his next pratfall in public, we'd have a gnawing away at the base of our belly, too.


After its few years of morphing and falling to pieces, Lollapalooza is effectively returning to Chicago Grant Park as Glastonbury, USA - a three day static festival over a number of stages.

No bands have been officially mentioned yet, but the Smashing Pumpkins seem to be ready to take on the Rolf Harris role.


Apparently, if they win a Brit tomorrow, Hard-Fi have pledged to put their prize on eBay. Funnily enough, if Hard-Fi win, Kasabian have pledged to put all their instruments on eBay and to retrain as TV engineers.


We're certainly not going to suggest that Dick Cheney used his apparently illegal weapon to shoot a seventy-eight year old man in a bid to distract attention from the report into how rubbish the Federal Response was to Hurricane Katrina; and, had that been the original distraction plan, we're sure the sudden interest in Britney Spears' bad driving wasn't intended to try and drag attention away from the distraction.

Indeed, Norman Mineta - apparently US transportation secretary - felt he had no choice but to bring the bad driving back to the top of the news agenda, to warn the millions of other Americans that the cops will take it seriously if they, too, try drive with their babies on their laps while pursued by photographers from People and OK:

."No matter who you are, there's absolutely no excuse for this display--not instinct, not fear, not even reckless paparazzi," Mineta said, according to the text of his speech found on the Transportation Department's Website. "It's irresponsible to compromise the safety of a child for the sake of the moment."

"So, I'm asking everyone today to put the safety of all of our children first," Mineta said. "Put your children in booster seats, buckle them up, buckle yourself up and obey driving laws."

Even if you're being chased by reckless paparazzi. To drive with a kid on your lap is a dangerous as, ooh, dropping depleted uranium into residential areas, or waving a gun about when you haven't got a clue if you're shooting at a small, flightless bird or an old man.


No sooner had we got used to the idea of Yannick Noah no longer being a middle-ranking tennis player but a major French pop star than we've now got to shift our perception again: he's the target of a homopohibc outing campaign in Cameroon.

It's part of a nasty anti-gay buzz running through the trashier end of the media in some African nations:

“Men making love to other men...may be normal in the West, but in Africa, and Cameroon in particular, it is unthinkable,” said Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, publisher of the antigay tabloid L’Anecdote.

Although, apparently, Belinga manages to spend quite a lot of time thinking about it. Thinking of those heaving buttocks, and all those naughty penises... thinking, thinking, thinking...


Sony BMG are trying to reach all the people whose computer's privacy and security they violated:

If You Bought, Received or Used a SONY BMG Music Entertainment CD Containing Either XCP or Media Max Content Protection Software, Your Rights May Be Affected By a Class Action Settlement, And You Should Download Updates For That Software.

What is this about?

A settlement has been proposed in a lawsuit brought against SONY BMG Music Entertainment, Inc., SunnComm International Inc., and First 4 Internet, Ltd. ("Defendants"). The lawsuit, In re SONY BMG CD Technologies Litigation, Case No. 1:05-cv-09575-NRB, is pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and relates to XCP and MediaMax content protection software installed on certain SONY BMG music CDs.

The Settlement resolves claims that the Defendants manufactured and sold CDs containing XCP and MediaMax software without adequately disclosing the limitations the software imposes on the use of the CDs and the security vulnerabilities it creates. The Defendants have denied that they did anything wrong.

Who Is Included, And What Does The Settlement Provide?

The settlement provides relief for persons who bought, received or used SONY BMG CDs with either XCP or MediaMax software. Under the settlement, any person in possession of an XCP CD can exchange it for a replacement CD, an MP3 download of the same album, and either (a) cash payment of $7.50 and one (1) free album download from a list of 200 albums, or (b) three (3) free album downloads from that list.
Purchasers of CDs containing MediaMax 5.0 software will receive a free
MP3 download of the same album and one (1) additional free album download. Purchasers of CDs containing MediaMax 3.0 software will receive a free MP3 download of the same album.

The settlement also requires the Defendants to stop manufacturing SONY BMG CDs with XCP or MediaMax 3.0 and 5.0 software and, until 2008: (1) make available updates to fix all known security vulnerabilities caused by XCP and MediaMax software; (2) provide software programs to uninstall XCP and MediaMax software safely; (3) fix any future security vulnerabilities discovered in MediaMax and any other content protection software placed on SONY BMG CDs; (4) provide independent verification that personal information about users of SONY BMG CDs has not and will not be collected through XCP or MediaMax; (5) waive certain provisions of the end user license agreements for XCP and MediaMax software; and
(6) ensure that any other content protection software will be clearly disclosed, independently tested and readily uninstalled.

At 9:15a.m. on May 22, 2006, the Court will hold a hearing at the United States District Court, Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, 500 Pearl Street, Courtroom 21A, New York, New York 10007-1312, to decide whether to approve the settlement and the class attorneys' fees and costs.

How Do I Participate In The Settlement?
If you bought or received a SONY BMG Music CD containing XCP or MediaMax software and want to receive the relief you may be eligible for under the settlement, you must submit an online claim form at, or mail a claim form to:

SONY BMG CD Technologies Settlement
P.O. Box 1804, Faribault, MN 55021-1804

All claim forms must be submitted by December 31, 2006.

The interesting paragraph is that bit which sets up the behaviour Sony-BMG are going to have to stick to...


What, besides the delightful flightyness of the faux-religion, led Madonna to abandon Catholicism for the cult-version of Kabbalah?:

"There's nothing consoling about being a Catholic. They're all just laws and prohibitions."

Unlike, of course, Madonna's beloved Kabbalah - which, erm, doesn't even let you translate its rule book into another language. Even the Vatican has started to try and talk to people in words they can understand.

Mind you, we do wonder if Madonna hasn't got around to learning the language she needs to get to some of Kabbalah's rules. Like the one about how a woman removing her clothes for anyone bar her husband is opposite to the 'ideal form'. Presumably, though, in the original there's a Hebrew noun which can be translated as either "husband" or "coffee table wank book."


We're not quite sure why the idea of Kylie Minogue trying on wedding dresses has caused such excitement...

Kylie and Jason wedding... it's not the first time, is it?


All back to Bedlam - Beldam Scooters in Bedford, to be precise. They like to listen to music when they're working in their workshops, which is fine. However, you can sometimes hear the music playing from the back when you're in the public areas.

Now, this, reckons the Performing Rights Society constitutes playing music to the public, and so they tried to shake £85 quid for a PRS licence out the scooter company. The scooter company, however, thought this was absurd; now, if someone walks in to the office, they switch the radio off.

Once again, an over-enthusiastic interpetation of the rules has left the PRS looking a little bit foolish. It's basically on the same basis as demanding cash from someone playing a CD in a car at the traffic lights with their windows down.

Although we shouldn't put ideas in their head...


The latest people to feel the ever-spinning wrath of the RIAA? People who sell their iPods but don't remove all the music that's been loaded onto the machine first of all.

That's right: the RIAA are going to come after you if you give your old iPod to your brother, or sell it on without clearing it first.

If they put half as much - even a tenth as much effort - into developing new artists as they do issuing stern legal notices about very minor infringements of the strict letter of copyright law, maybe their members would be able to sell some new music and not have to worry so much about protecting every single sale of back catalogue.

In other iPod news, the little player has been blamed for the death of a cyclist - she was listening to her music and not paying attention to the traffic; let's hope the family ensured they wiped the contents of the iPod before disposing of it lest the RIAA attmept to sue them.

And Microsoft has unveiled an iPod killer - actually, that might be an unfortunate choice of words given the cyclist story - in the shape of some PDA. This is not, of course, to be confused with the iPod killer Microsoft unveiled in April 2004. Or the one from May 2004. Or the July 2004 Creative Zen iPod Killer that Microsoft supported. Or last month's mooted Microsoft music player that was going to kill the iPod. Or the XBox, which Microsoft suggested would, yes be an iPod Killer. Oh, and let's also try and separate this in our minds from the late 2004 iPod killer, the iRiver.

Even Wile E Coyote was a bit more effective with killing, there, Mr. Gates.

[Thanks to Dave Scott for the RIAA link]


By the time we've completed another 24 hours heavy blogging, Robbie Williams will have paid himself another thirty thousand pounds. He draws down a healthy salary of eleven million quid a year, and I'm sure we'd all agree he's worth every penny. Apart from anything, of course, Robbie hates having money:

"In my darkest moments I'm convinced life would be easier if I didn't have as much as £100. Then I could walk the streets as a free man, meet a girl - and live the quiet life I long for."

Great news, Robbie: you'll find it's far easier to go from millionaire to not having £100 than it is to travel in the reverse direction. If you really do find it such a burden, there are any number of deserving causes you could help out at the same time as cheering yourself up. Or you could try returning from tax exile, for a start.


For once, Bono hasn't sided with the rich and powerful and it seems to have done some good. During a U2 gig in Monterrey at the weekend, Bono dedicated I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For to the Kirsty MacColl justice campaign and, with the band about to play Mexico city this week, it looks like Vox's intervention may have given the final impetus to Jean MacColl's long fight for the truth about Kirsty's death:

Ruben Aguilar, spokesman for President Vicente Fox, said that federal investigators will soon resolve the case of MacColl, who was killed by a power boat in December 2000 while scuba diving with her two sons in the Caribbean resort of Cozumel.

“The investigation has to offer results,” Aguilar said in a news conference. “The federal government is following this situation.”

It's widely believed that an earlier investigation into Kirsty's death was fudged by the Mexican authorities to protect supermarket magnate Guillermo Gonzalez Nova; one of his employees took the rap and escaped prison through an undisclosed pay-off.


Oh, wouldn't it be great if the claims that Pete Doherty is going to run the London Marathon next year were in anyway true or likely? There's the hero for our times he was promising - dressed up, we hope, like Bernie Clifton and his giant ostrich.

Of course, it would take Pete about three days to complete the course - what with being pulled over by the cops every three hundred yards, and the thirty-nine mile detour to get some stiffeners.


Because he's sulking ("busy rehearsing for his world tour"), there's not going to be an appearance from Robbie Williams at the Brits. Now all we need is for Chris Evans to develop some minor food poisoning or flu, and we might be halfway to a show.

Oh... hang on: I only dreamed about James Blunt and the nasty carpet-laying accident, didn't I?

Robbie is spending Valentine's Day hanging out with his mate Jonathan Wilkes in LA, says the Sun. Oh, and rehearsing, of course. Can't take a day off the rehearsals.


After having run out of music industry figures to moan at, to, or about, Paul Weller has moved on to hurling abuse at his closest fans. They made the mistake of trying to enjoy his brits warm-up secret gig:

"We don't know what we're playing yet, it's not a fucking request show. Don't know what you're talking about anyway, you guys didn't pay for these fuckin' tickets in the first place. Enough of the fuckin' 'waheys' guys. I'm about to play a fuckin' mellow song. You're putting me off."

Weller must have been a lot happier during the last days of the Style Council when - apart from the odd suppressed giggle - he generally played to stony-silent halls.


When Mutya was pulling herself out of the hungry-ferrets-in-sack of the Sugababes, she should have got a gagging clause built in. Or at least a guarantee nobody would suggest she was a hoodrat.

But she didn't, so Keisha is free to muse:

"Mutya brought more of a street element. When Mutya was in the band there was something edgy about it, whereas with Amelle it's more slick. People say we look more united now."

We're not entirely sure which people have been saying they're more united-looking, but we bet Stalin used to get the photos delivered and say "you wouldn't have been able to tell Trotsky was ever in them, would you?"

"Mutya had been in the band since she was 11 and it just wasn't something she wanted to do any more. It had nothing to do with Tahlia, her baby. I have no doubt she'll have a successful solo career.

"The main difference is that now everyone's happy. When someone's not happy with their situation, like Mutya was, it can start to have a negative effect on everything else around them."

So there's the implication that Mutya was lying about her reasons for leaving, and the suggestion that she's kind of like a poison gas. Fond recollections of long-gone friends...