Saturday, March 11, 2006


We're delighted to hear that as part of May's local elections, Fosca's Dickon Edwards is standing for the Green Party in Highgate Ward, Haringey. Vote early - indeed, vote very, very early and insist you're just ten years ahead of your time.


Well, that's one way to send a clear message about the state of her marriage, but we're not sure it's the message she thought of: today's Daily Mail reports Madonna is making Guy stay at home:

"Madonna is sick to death of suggestions that her marriage to Guy is on the rocks and even that she is interested in another man," said a source close to the couple.

"Neither of them has any intention of splitting up - but they both know that marriage is something that has to be worked on. To this end, Madonna has imposed a strict curfew on Guy to ensure that they spend more quality time together.

"She has told him that he needs to spend a minimum of two to three nights a week in the family home, and that he should be back by 11pm, when the pubs close. Friday night, the Jewish Sabbath, is particularly sacred to her - she wants Guy to be at home on this night above any other. Madonna has also asked him to limit his drinking to three pints a night.

"While clearly not enamoured with his wife's rules, Guy has agreed to go along with them because he knows that throughout their marriage Madonna has let him get away with plenty. It is only fair that he plays ball now."

(Except, of course, the pubs don't actually shut at 11.) We're wondering if the electric ankle tag is on backorder yet.


Despite having twice now announced that she doesn't want to be seen as trading on the name of her uncle Osama, Wafah Dafur Bin Laden's reality TV show seems to be based on little more than, erm, her being a Bin Laden:

"I understand that when people hear my last name, they have preconceived notions, but I was born an American and I love my country," Dufour said in a statement from ReganMedia announcing the deal to develop a reality TV series.

Don't run away with the idea this is all about some edgy publicity based on terrorist connections. Oh, no, it's an attempt to heal the world:

"Her story will bridge the gap that people feel exists between the cultures she has lived in," ReganMedia President Judith Regan said.

"She is also a young woman who falls in love, has her heart broken, worries about her looks, doesn't always listen to her mother, and hasn't spoken to her father in years," Regan said.

This is, of course, another attempt to leverage a musical career out of the connections with ole' wonky kidneys. Sitting in her pants in GQ did nothing for that, so we hope the reality series is the last desperate attempt.

CELEB SACKCLOTH: Javine wants your forgiveness

After her drink-driving conviction ("a mistake that could have cost her her career", apparently - or, surely more importantly, could have killed someone?) Javine is hoping to rehabilitate herself:

To tell you the truth, I'm glad I got stopped," says the shamed songstress as she speaks about the incident for the first time.

"I could have hurt myself and other people. I'm just so sorry about the whole thing. It was a stupid mistake and I feel really bad."

Javine, from West London, explains that she'd been drinking with friends when one needed a lift to a nightclub to work.

"It was one of those times when someone needed me to help them out," she says. "But I shouldn't have done it and have never done it before. I've always been one of those people who jumps in a cab when they're on their way out.

"I've learned my lesson though. It will never happen again."

Ah, so she was doing a favour, then? She doesn't explain how she came to be driving a car full of people who were passing vodka round the vehicle if she was giving a mate a lift to work. Perhaps they all were on their way to work?


That whole Take That reunion impetus just petered out, didn't it? Once all the tickets had gone it was like there wasn't really much point in anyone making an effort any more.

Still, with rehearsals under way, Howard Donald is convinced Robbie Williams will turn up:

"I know it’ll happen. If he doesn’t come on stage with us on this tour, I know at some point Robbie will once more."

Howard continued: "Never say never. We all know how successful Rob’s been with his solo career but then again he's got lots of good memories from his time in the band. He’s very proud of his roots. So why wouldn’t he?"

The most interesting part of that quote, though, is the bit about Robbie will come on at some point "if not on this tour" - so, this is back for good, is it, then?


Belinda Carlisle is casting the film of the story of her lfie, and apparently wants Jessica Alba to play her.

We reckon a Carlisle biopic would be quite something - although, frankly, we'd rather the extra option for S&M you'd get with a Jane Wiedlin film. But Jessica Alba?

Friday, March 10, 2006


We may very well be the last of a very long line to have stumbled upon MC Hammer's very own blog, which is most noteable for the way every time he does a mobile post he signs it Hammertime. At the moment he seems most exercised by someone called Barry Bonds who apparently isn't playing sports any more. Apparently "the hounds deserve the dog pound."


This is what passes for history these days: Black Eyed Peas' My Humps has become the first ringtone to pass the two million sales mark in the US.

Not bad, we suppose, for something which manages to be an unlikeable song about tits. Although, as we've said before, when we first heard Fergie singing about her "lady humps" we thought she was talking about another bit. I suspect that's down to having read the original Dallas novel when we were ten - the phrase used to describe a naked Miss Ellie scarred us.


We know he meant it kindly, but is Matt Helders really going to be thanking Kanye West for comparing him to Phil Collins?

Kanye, it seems, is fond of the Arctic Monkeys in the same way he likes Genesis:

"The guy on the drums is real tight, man. He's got that whole British vibe going on and he brings that Phil Collins, Genesis sound to the table. I can always tell if a band have a British rhythm section due to the gritty production."

While we can see the Monkeys as being gritty, Genesis? Yes, yes, the lamb may have lain down on Broadway but he put down a nice soft blanket first.


Fatten flaccid iPods with a legal stellastar download right now; if you're American, you can prepare yourself for the beauty of a joint Stellastar and We Are Scientists tour:

3.20.06 - Boston, MA (The Roxy)
3.21.06 - South Burlington, VT (Higher Ground)
3.22.06 - Montreal, QC (Cabaret du Musse Juste Pour Rire)
3.24.06 - Toronto, ON (Phoenix Concert Theater)
3.25.06 - Cleveland, OH (Agora Theater)
3.26.06 – New York, NY (Bowery Ballroom) – only stellastarr*
3.27.06 – New York, NY (Bowery Ballroom – only stellastarr*
3.28.06 - Brooklyn, NY (Warsaw)
3.29.06 - Washington, DC (9:30 Club)
4.01.06 - Philadelphia, PA (Trocadero)
4.02.06 - Baltimore, MD (Sonar)
4.04.06 - Norfolk, VA (The Norva Theatre)
4.05.06 - Carrboro, NC (Cat's Cradle)
4.06.06 - Athens, GA (40 Watt Club)
4.07.06 - Orlando, FL (The Social)
4.08.06 - Miami, FL (Studio A)
4.09.06 - St. Petersburg, FL (State Theater)
4.11.06 - Nashville, TN (Exit/In)
4.12.06 - Columbus, OH (Newport Music Hall)
4.13.06 - Detroit, MI (Magic Stick)
4.14.06 - Covington, KY (The Mad Hatter)
4.15.06 - Columbia, MO (Blue Note)
4.16.06 - Chicago, IL (Metro)
4.18.06 - Minneapolis, MN (Fine Line Music Cafe)
4.19.06 - Lawrence, KS (Granada Theatre)
4.21.06 - Denver, CO (Bluebird Theatre)
4.22.06 - Salt Lake City, UT (TBD)
4.25.06 - Vancouver, BC (Richard's On Richards)
4.27.06 - Seattle, WA (Chop Suey)
4.28.06 - Portland, OR (Dante's)
4.29.06 - San Francisco, CA (Mezzanine)

See? It's not all dates we can't go to in London round here.


Let's hope this doesn't distract him from his work putting together that Katrina benefit: California has ordered Michael Jackson to close Neverland after non-payment of staff, failure to maintain worker's insurance and just generally being a bit freaky.

The animals are going to be cared for by a local zoo, we understand. Jackson is going to have to find about half a million dollars in back pay and fines.


The full weight of the US legal system is currently being hoisted above the heads of Robert Thomas and Jared Bowser, who stand accused of leaking Ryan Adams music online. We get the impression that it's Ryan's label, Universal, who are pushing for books to be thrown, examples to be made:

"Any perception that copyright violations are victimless crimes is just plain wrong," U.S. Attorney Jim Vines said Thursday. "Theft of music, trade secrets and other intellectual property victimizes the creators of such works, who have a legal right to determine how their work is distributed."

Vines said the crimes also victimize the companies that foot the bill for the creative process, in this case Universal Music Group, parent company of the Lost Highway label and owner of the song copyrights.

Now, we can go along some of the way with this - those boys, if they did what they're accused of, did step over the line, and you could say they probably deserved a cease-and-desist letter. Maybe, if Universal could somehow prove they lost sales, at a pinch they should be made to make good the losses (although, since this is late-period Ryan Adams we're talking about, they'd have to find someone who could make change on a fifty). So, what are they looking at?

If convicted on all counts, Thomas and Bowser each face up to 11 years in prison.

In the same way that you have to stick your password in twice when you create it, to make sure you don't accidently mistype it, we'll just bring you that again to reassure you that it's the legal system - and not you - which is unfocussed:

If convicted on all counts, Thomas and Bowser each face up to 11 years in prison.

Eleven years! For a couple of Ryan Adams tracks. That's the same sentence, incidently, as Tyler Jame Lupoli got for molesting four eight year old girls at a sports centre. That's the same sentence a Turkish court gave to the head of their local mafia for ordering the execution of a stockbroker. Eleven years is the sentence given to Francisco Javier Miranda-Espinosa for over five years printing and distributing fake IDs, social secirty cards, money laundering, aggravated identity theft and similar crimes.

These kids stuck a couple of Ryan Admas songs online.


Watch out, Morrissey: you can't go round saying that you weren't surprised by the London bombings and not expect to be dragged off by a Superplod to answer questions, a la The Road To Guantanamo. Morrissey reckons Bush and Blair need to check themselves:

"My view was, how would anyone be remotely surprised? It's an obvious retaliation against Blair's intentions," he said. "And you can't refer to these things as being terrorist attacks and yet assume that the actions of Blair and Bush are not terrorism. "They're worse than terrorism, they're the actions of egotistical monsters."

"Bush views Iraq and thinks, 'Well, we will control this country eventually anyway so it doesn't matter how many people we kill.'"

Now, Mozzer - how can you say Bush and Blair brought these terrorist attacks on themselves? They're safely behind concrete barriers and troops and security guys, after all. It's the rest of us who become targets.


I read the news today, oh boy
about an auction lot that was withdrawn
althought the sheet was authentic
it still failed to sell
you just can never tell
now they know there is a line that lennon fans will just not cross

priced up,
the man said
"mill and a half, right on the head"
so they put A Day
In The Life in the sale
couldn't believe a Lennon
lot would ever fail...


We had started to hope that Travis had either gone away or else become so bland they'd stuck records out without us, or anyone else, noticing, but it seems they were just gathering their forces for another new album.

What is quite sweet is they've decided to record in London so they're not too far away from their families during the long process of recording (write a song, record a song, hope people don't notice it sounds the same as all the others, repeat fifteen times, do an ironic cover of a pop tune for one of the b-sides, go home.)


She's only being cruel to be kind, of course, but Christina Aguilera thinks some younger singers aren't putting in the hours:

“I’m on a different schedule to the new girls. I hide out for a year in my studio. I’m not naming names, but it’s more about the party scene with some of those girls than doing anything creative.”

We can only imagine the hours of thought and sweat and - yes - pure, untrammelled creativity that led to this lyric, for example:

Ah, heat is up
So ladies, fellas
Drop your cups
Body's hot
Front to back
Now move your ass
I like that

Do you think Ashlee Simpson could come up with that sort of poetry? No, because she's down the bar, not standing in a studio with her arse hanging out her leather trousers trying to think up a rhyme for "there's no stopping."


We're not sure we can raise our head off the pillow to even feign interest in the great romance between Tom Meighan from Kasabian and Kelly Osbourne, the model for those bobble-head figures which were popular a dozen or so Christmases back. But we'll try:

"I'm not a homewrecker," she said.

"I've snogged him a couple of time but I've found out he's a bit of a twat. He's a rock star that forgets he's a human being.

"I've got a big crush on him but he's got a girlfriend.

"I don't care though. I treat men worse than they treat me!"

Yes, Kelly. So, since everyone - men and women - treat you with bored indiffernce, that would mean you have to treat men with agressive indifference. Which we suppose flattering Tom by calling him a rock star (surely you have to be instantly recognisable outside your fan base for that title?) is an attempt at.

More interestingly, Kelly paints a picture of life with the osbournes:

"I've lost two and a half stone. I haven't got a clue how it happened. I can't explain it - it just did.

"I think it's because I moved out of my parents house. Their chef used to cook loads of fattening foods."

But how did that work - for, as we know, Sharon did all the shopping, pushing a trolley round Asda to get the bargains. Did the chef provide Osbo with a list ("if you cannot get the three herb and russet cumberland ring, a packet of smart price chipolatas will do at a pinch"), or did he have to make his meals from whatever Sharon bought back ("so... that is three dozen bottles of Nytol and two trolley loads of your autobiography, and a couple of french sticks that were reduced to clear...")?


When we read Liam Gallagher's words of wisdom about the England football team, we assumed for a moment we were listening to one of those reruns on BBC7 from the 1940s or something. But, no, he is using 'gay' as an insult in 2006:

“At times the England players seem to play like women. Beckham and others, they’re gay boys.”

Mind you, he was obviously off his head on something, as he also claimed Oasis were the best band in the world:

“Oasis might not be the biggest band in the world but we’re the best.

“I respect the Stones but their songs are a pile of crap.

“As for U2, they don’t say a lot or seem like normal persons.”

Now, we can just about see why he might need to tell himself that Oasis are the best - we imagine there are times when even Peter Fenn would look in a mirror and say "yes, I am the best" before bashing on his organ. But how on earth can you say U2 "don't say a lot"? Has he missed this month's Bono press conferences? Or last month's chat show appearances? Or the previous month's profit forec... oh, no, he doesn't do that one in public, does he?

Liam Gallagher is currently waiting to have a TV pilot filmed in his living room. That's normal persons for you.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


We wonder if the announcement from Jessica Simpson that she's considering leaving the music world to concentrate on movies is connected to Madonna's plans to leave acting alone. Perhaps its some sort of agreement?


Last week: Microsoft's secret Origami project was an all-singing, all-dancing iPod killer

Today: Microsoft's Origami project turns out to be a clunky, chunky monkey. Too small to be used in lieu of a laptop, too slow and too large to comfortably replace a handheld games unit, a PDA or an MP3 player, and needing to suckle at a national grid nipple every two and a bit hours making it useless for any trip further than your local Sainsburys, if this is what Microsoft have sent to slaughter the iPod they might need to think about trying the Order of Taraka next time.


More David Blaine by the day, Pete Doherty scribbled a message about his love for Kate Moss on the car he left court in this afternoon. More intrestingly, the car didn't have a tax disc on it.

Doherty had been in court on the latest drug charges; the hearing was adjourned for a fortnight.


Roger Waters has spent the last decade or so mentioning his part in the celebrations of fall the Berlin Wall, which makes it slightly surprising he's offered to go along and play a show in Tel Aviv while the Isreali government are still building their "defensive barrier." He's been sent a request by a group of Palestinian artists asking him to reconsider.

Waters has a pat response:

"I would not rule out going to Israel because I disapprove of the foreign policy any more than I would refuse to play in the UK because I disapprove of Tony Blair's foreign policy."

Interesting. Let's take that theory - "if I were going to object to one government's foreign policy, I'd have to make a moral judgement on every government's foreign policies" - and apply it to that key internet test case, 1930s Germany.

On this basis, Waters would happily have gone to play Berlin even as the tanks were rolling through the streets of Austria, because - hey - otherwise he'd have to always be acting on his conscience, and how tiresome would that be?

Come to that, why did Waters have to wait for the Wall to come down before he played Berlin? Surely if you can happily dissociate yourself from the foreign policy of the place you're playing in, he could have gone and done a jolly tune or two in Potsdammer Platz even while kids in hot air balloons were being shot at Checkpoint Charlie? If you don't care about the policies adopted by local politicians, how can you turn up to celebrate the end of the Berlin Wall?

Perhaps the oddest thing, though, is Waters' happiness to criticise the Bush government in song on Leaving Beirut and To Kill The Child. But then, of course, there's money to made making anti-Bush records for the greying hippy market; there's money to be made playing Tel Aviv. Principles should never come in the way of commerce, eh, Roger?


It's a pity its the start of March, as this day will surely be declared a public holiday for all eternity, a day of public celebration and private joy.

When you return home tonight, and your family look at you with tears in their eyes and say "is it true? Is it true?" , you can tell them, yes: Madonna has quit acting:

She fears her terrible acting reputation will condemn any film.

That sentence didn't actually need 'reputation' in there, did it?

According to she said: "What film can survive people saying it's going to be a bomb from the second it's announced?

"Making movies is such an effort, and to do that over and over again, with the possibility that I am going to get the shit kicked out of me - and they really enjoy doing it - I mean, it doesn't make sense.

"I have sort of let it go."

What Madonna seems to have missed isn't that people say the films are going to bomb from the off - it's that people who see them say they're going to bomb.

Lets review that career in full, then:

A Certain Sacrifice (1979) - Madonna is caught up in a bizarre cult (ooh, spooky) and spends her time without many clothes on; the film only got a genuine release - oddly - after Madonna started to sell records.

Vision Quest (1985)
- another film made while the money for Jell-o and peanut butter was hard to come by; mercifully, Madonna keeps her clothes on and restricts herself to a small role as a club singer while Matthew Modine struggles to keep his enormous hair in check and romance Linda Fiorentino. Even repackaged and renamed to share a title with Madonna's hit from the film, Crazy For You, it did nothing.

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)

The film which made us think she might be able to bestride two forms of popular entertainment - look, it never occured to us that she was just being herself and the awkward, stilted bits weren't her trying to convey the iculture-clash screwball mismatchage, but her just being stilted. Still, if she'd called it a day after this, we'd be saying "wasn't it a shame she never made any more movies, eh?"

Shanghai Surprise (1986)

"A romantic adventure for the dangerous at heart" brazens the box, although "a misbegotten trump through a third-rate Romancing the Stone" might have been more honest. Madonna is a nun-cum-nurse who's trying to source some heroin to help her patients. Sean Penn is a gun for hire. It's believed that the famous incident where Penn apparently tied Madonna to a chair for several days was done in an attempt to stop her ever making a film ever again.

Who's That Girl (1987)

Most famous for landing Madonna with the "where's the cougar, matey" question for the next few years whenever she appeared in Smash Hits, this pairing with Griffin Dunne promises "a funny thing happened on the way to the bus station", although an hour and a half breathing in fumes at Victoria Coach Terminus might be more amusing. Madonna plays Nikki Finn, fresh out of prison for a crime she - obviously - didn't commit. Dunne plays a preppy lawyer who gets caught up in her attempts to prove herself innocent. Cultures clash, teeth grind.

Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989)

Even Madonna probably admits this one stinks - when it first went nationwide in the US, it was sent out with one of its reels missing. Nobody noticed. Reworked from Damon Runyon's novels, the kindest thing you can say is it kept Randy Quaid off the streets for a few weeks making it.

Dick Tracy (1990)

Adapting comic books to the big screen can work incredibly well - as Sin City so ably demonstrated. On the other hand, you sometimes end up with a Tank Girl, although that would be over kind to Warren Beatty's pointless attempt to covert Dick Tracy into box office gold. Besides setting up one of the most queasy relationships in Madonna's long career of falling for wrong 'uns (it must have been like kissing your grandad) it also spun off the single Hanky Panky, the first time, musically, Madonna was indefensible.

Shadows and Fog (1992)

Talking of kissing your grandad, here's Madonna's attempt to take a step closer to the arthouse by accepting a small role in a Woody Allen movie. To be fair to Madonna, that this one plummeted like a goose with avian flu was down more to the difficulties in bringing gags about mid-Century German expressionism to the multiplex.

A League of Their Own (1992)

If the American public won't buy a nod to nosferatu, surely you can't go wrong with a baseball movie? Madonna and Geena Davis play feuding sisters who set aside their differences to enter the first ever female baseball league. In other words: a film built around rounders.

Body of Evidence (1992)

Having tried highbrow, and folksy, Madonna reverted to type to try playing sexy in this attempt to ride the post-Sharon Stone wave (a wave not even Sharon Stone could keep afloat on, of course). Madonna played the part of a gallery owner accused of, literally, fucking a guy to death. It would have been more interesting if - in a Tales of the Unexpected plot twist - she had then eaten the evidence. Part of the problem was the trouble in trying to match the supposedly raunchy storyline (hot wax sex toys; cocking yourself out of existence) with a mimsy pussy-footing trying to please the censor and sensibilities (Madonna wouldn't allow any nudity to make the final cut; the language was bowlderised to the point where the line 'have you ever watched animals making love?' is used as a seduction technique). The other big problem was that Madonna can't act.

Dangerous Game (1993)

Madonna does best when she sticks to what she's good at – singing, being a diva, or, in this case, playing the part of second-rate jobbing actress. Indeed, this is one of her better film performances and she could have tried claiming that the previous half-dozen had merely been Hoffmanesque attempts to get in the part as a struggling soap opera actress. Trouble is, the plot of this one – Harvey Keitel attempts to screw with people's heads, using lots of hand-held cameras – made for one gloomy evening at the movies.

Blue In The Face (1995)

The less-successful improv follow-up to the more successful Smoke, Madonna's involvement in this (as a Singing Telegram) is brief enough to leave her coming across as one of the more polished performers in the affair.

Four Rooms (1995)

They call this a portmanteau movie because anyone involved with it should have been discovered in an abandoned packing case at Brighton Station. Madonna – alongside Amanda DeCadanet and Ione Skye – finds herself in one-quarter of a multi-authored tale of going-ons in a high-class hotel. Basically, it's Blame It On The Bellboy reimagined by Tarantino.

Girl 6 (1996)

Spike Lee's recent moan that movies constantly portray black women as sexually hypercharged and sexually available probably had just this sort of movie in mind. His 1996 film only had a small role for Madonna – as a boss, rather than sexline worker, because the idea that anyone would pay Maddy to talk them into a frenzy was already starting to look unlikely a decade ago. It also featured Naomi Campbell, which suggests Lee wasn't that fussy at the audition stage. Notably, it's unavailable on DVD in the UK.

Evita (1996)

"And as for fortune, and as for fame, I never invited them in, though it seemed to world they were all I desired…" Full credit to the woman for singing that with a straight face. Ciccone was pregnant during the filming of this, which appears to have taken her mind off the process of acting for long enough to allow her to turn in a half-decent performance. Added to which, it’s got Don't Cry For Me, Argentina in it. Hard to go wrong, so had she turned a corner at last?

The Next Best Thing (2000)

Or Fag-Hag Surprise, as it's also known. Having completed a half-decent film, Madonna retired to motherhood and cultdom and re-emerged to make this with her chum Rupert Everett. He's gay – you can tell he's gay, he's a landscape gardener - she's not getting any younger but desperate for a baby; oddly, despite Everett's homosexuality, he somehow gets Madonna pregnant while drunk (memo to those US churches offering a cure for homosexuality – apparently it's six Malibu and cokes) and so they all live together happily until Madonna falls in love with a man. It could have been an interesting idea, but the script was written by the bloke who did the third Look Who's Talking movie – the one with the talking dog in it.

The Hire: Star (2001)
Madonna's first movie with Guy Ritchie was this seven minute short in which she plays an un-named hotshot rockstar being driven about by Clive Owen. We haven't seen this, but – genuinely – there's a director's cut available on DVD in America which adds an extra three minutes of previously unseen material.

Swept Away (2002)

Ah, if only Guy and Madge had kept all their marital collaborations so brief as The Hire, or his appearance at the Brit awards. Instead, this nasty bit of 'look, I'm filming my wife being raped' business rolled on for ninety minutes of confused surf-edged misery and never quite got as far as the cinema in the UK.

Die Another Day (2002)

Blink and you'll miss it bit of uncredited Madonna action in this Bond; sadly, you'd have to keep your hands over your ears chanting for quite a bit longer to avoid her contribution to the soundtrack.

Arthur and the Minimoys (2006)
So this is to be the end, then – Madonna's acting career (if she's true to her word) will be capped by her voicing a cartoon princess in a film about Arthur (we think it's meant to be an shortsighted aardvark, but we're really not sure). In a bid to close the circle, Princess Selenia is to be held captive by a weird sex cult and initiates Arthur into the ways of love.


Naturally, with Feeder about to release their greatest hits collection - imaginatively called The Singles - you'd expect them to be recording some new tracks to force people to buy a bunch of tracks they already own. The band are sitting down with Stephen Street, preparing for the May 1st launch of the collection.


Curious legal news this morning, with the announcement that David and Victoria Beckham are no longer pursuing their libel action against the News of the World. The September 2004 article had been built around claims made by former nanny Abbie Gibson and accused Vix and Dave of "cynically and hypociritically" pretending their marriage was pefect.

A statement issued by News Group Newspapers, publisher of the News of the World, said: "The defamation proceedings by David and Victoria Beckham against the News of the World have been resolved on a confidential basis. There will be no further comment."

Not, perhaps, the full public retraction the Beckhams were originally seeking when they embarked on the legal action. A deal - terms of which are being kept secret - has been cut between the parties.


Remember Speedway? Of course you do... thrown together to be the face of the Genie In A Bottle/Strokes mash-up, maintained they were more than a stunt band, disappeared almost as soon as they appeared?

Now, does that make things clearer? Jill Jackson? Went out with Alex Parks for a while?

It turns out that despite all the protestations at the time, Jackson's heart wasn't really in being in a Airfix indie band: her heart was in jazz all along.


Citing the "illness of a family member", U2 have postponed their Pacific Rim dates:

"Any fan of U2 will realize that this decision has not been taken lightly," promoter Arthur Fogel said in the statement. "We will announce further details as soon as we have them."

No further details have been released.


If you want to be a gas installer or a doctor, you can't just pitch up and start trading; you need to have a licence. Now, it's never seemed neccesary for a licence to practice music before, but with James Rooney and Farnsworth Bentley announcing plans to get on the iTunes, surely it's time to insist?

James Rooney is a cousin of Wayne, who even we know is the footballer who had to leave Everton for Man Utd because his big red face used to clash with the Merseyside team's blue shirts. James is with a band called Caution, and they've written a song about the World Cup:

"We've recorded a song called Dreams and Wayne and Coleen think it's brilliant."

Great. Trouble is, Wayne and Coleen's taste is probably called into question by the fact that they're a couple, isn't it?

Farnsworth Bentley used to be P Diddy's butler and - now the chances of breaking into the lucrative search engine logo market have been wrecked by Ask dropping the Jeeves - he's looking to make some music:

"He's already done Making the Band 2 in America and appeared in Outkast's video for The Way You Move, so he's no stranger to the music world.

"And of course as he used to be Diddy's butler he certainly knows a thing or two about making it in the music world."

So... warming up Puff Daddy's pants in the morning and standing about in a pop video is of more use than, you know, talent and stuff?

Still, if flunkies are moving into centre stage, who knows who could be next?


It's admirable when you can recognise that your career isn't working, and you choose to try something different, so plaudits to Kelly Osbourne, who's putting the flop music career on hold to concentrate on failing as an actress as well. Oh, yes, they're going to put her in the movies:

"I'm working on a film," she said.

"It's between me and another person but I can't say much about it.

"All I can say is that it's not a comedy and not an action film - but there will be singing in it."

We're not sure we're able to decode such a curious riddle... not a comedy... not an action movie... singing... oh, it's a musical, is it?

Still, if the role calls for singing that's got to give the other person up for it an advanatage, right?


Don't get us wrong, we love seeing loyalty to friends in action. It's heartwarming. But there comes a point where, no matter how close the friend, you have to ask if maybe you need to take a cold-hearted business decision instead. Jonathan Wilkes - the Adrian-from-Bread-alike whose main claim to fame is being Robbie's flatmate - is being handed a duet, and possibly support slot, on Williams' tour.

Blimey - exposure like that you'd normally have to at the very least rim someone for, especially if you've not exactly got much of a track record as an entertainer, much less a singer (a number 24 hit in 2001; a short period presenting You've Been Framed; availablity as an Andrew O'Connor double). Jonathan didn't need to rely on no casting couch, though; he just called up his old mucker:

A source said: “Robbie and Jonathan are inseparable. They are really close pals and do everything together.

“Jonathan is a trained singer and has earned his stripes working up and down the country in musical theatre."


We can't say with any certainty, but we get the impression that Pete Townshend hadn't really given much thought to Pete Doherty at all before getting asked about him:

“Peter Doherty is the ultimate rock ’n roll nihilist, the ultimate rock ’n roll fuckwit. It is important we acknowledge that this business loves to kill people. But I don’t worry about him. Maybe it’s not as bad as it looks.

So, he is Z, zachariah, destruction, the ultimate Bakunin of his art. Eeeeh, or mebbe not.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


You think that Britney Spears is at least 33% sex? You better watch out, she'll be coming for your ass, with a team of highly paid lawyers. In her lawsuit against Us magazine, Britney has made it clear that any suggestion she is sexy could harm her career:

I have been informed that the editors of Us Weekly and their lawyers are claiming that the Article would not be damaging to my career or reputation, because I joked about my sex life with my husband on our recent reality television show, Chaotic, and because I have a “highly sexualized public persona.” They are wrong. While I have written and sung certain lyrics about sex and have posted for “sexy” photographs to promote my albums and career, this is certainly not unusual in the musical business and is different than being falsely portrayed as someone who filmed herself and her husband having sex, and then recklessly left the tape in a place where someone from their “entourage” could find and attempt to sell it.

Well... we see that she has a point that just because you dance around naked except for jewels and snog the face off Madonna at an awards show doesn't make it follow that you'd not be able to successfully keep track of what you'd done with a sex tape.

If we'd been Britney, we'd have tried feigning outrage that we'd be stupid enough to make a permanent record of allowing Federline to put his penis anywhere near us. Instead - yes - Britney wants us to think of the children:

Because many of my fans are young women and teenagers, it is important to me, both personally and professionally, that they see me as I am, namely, a married woman who is enjoying her life with her husband and baby. It is very damaging to my career and reputation to be portrayed as someone who would film herself and her husband having sex for the purpose of watching it over and over again, or for any other reason….

If we can get past the idea that it's Kevin Federline she's talking about here, what's especially puzzling is the horror she's pretending to feel at the very idea that people might film themselves having sex. Her reaction would be more in line with, say, the suggestion that she shags meerkats in petting zoos during daylight hours or something. Why, Britney, shouldn't a "married woman enjoying life with her husband" not do a little candid footage in the bedroom?

And damaging to the career? If it could survive that video where Madonna came on to her like Miss Marple on poppers, it surely had to be robust enough to withstand that?


If you're fond of Regina Spektor, who's just gone back to thome after a UK tour, you'll be doing a similar sort of jig to us at the posting of two new tunes to her bit of MySpace.

If you're not a fan of Regina Spektor, you bloody well should be. Sort yourself out, man.


We guess one of the things that makes Kylie so, well, Kyliesque is that she does put feet wrong as often as she puts her tiny-tootsies right. And joining the herd moving towards writing books for kids is clearly a mis-step.

Presumably, she has experience of explaining ideas in really simple words and phrases from conversations with Dannii. But even so... we can't help shuddering:

Jane Richardson, of publishing house Puffin, describes the work as "a lavish picture book with artwork and exclusive photographs.

"(It) will appeal to little princesses everywhere who love to dress up and have fun."


For a moment, Alex James nearly made common cause with Liam Gallagher by describing Damon as a cunt:

"I fucking like Gorillaz. I mean, obviously Damon's a cunt, but they're great.

"If Gorillaz were an undeserved success, that would be one thing. But it's great. He's worked so fucking hard on it. I mean, he's a genius."

Didn't James formerly describe the band as "the banana splits"? Couldn't be he's hoping for a guest slot, could it?


The nasty bit of business with all the drugs in New York has been sorted, with George admitting wasting police time and agreeing to undertake drugs rehab. Splendidly, he's not going to have to do his rehab in New York, but in Wiltshire - although presumably he won't be able to phone his community service in (he's doing five days of that and paying a $1000 fine):

The judge said to Mr O'Dowd: "You are admitting to me the following ... you called the police, you summoned them to your apartment by dialling 911 and reported that your apartment had been burglarised when in fact you knew your apartment had not been burglarised."

We're not sure why - if the drugs weren't, as George claimed, his - he has to have drugs rehab, but let's let that one go, shall we?


How fair are the magistrates at the Thames Court? They appear to have based their judgement on how Pete Doherty has been doing on his community order on evidence presented rather than on what they might have read in the newspapers:

Speaking to Doherty, Magistrate McIvor explained: "It seems as if his (Doherty's) determination is increasing, it is going well but it takes a lot of determination. The order is for 12 months and I expect very results by the next review."

Although the singer had tested positive for drugs during recent tests on February 23 and 28 which he must undergo as part of his order, the results had been lower than expected.

Doherty's back in court tomorrowon the charges linked with the stolen car in Birmingham incident.

FILMOBIT: Gordon Parks

The death has been announced of Gordon Parks, who - besides covering the civil rights movement as a Time photographer, and being the first black director in Hollywood - found time to score some of his own movies. Most notably, he composed the music for Shaft's Big Score, the sequel to his earlier hit.


You have to be impressed with Geri Halliwell's ability to turn an accident (her description of her child to be, which celebrity psychologists are already predicting will help them towards buying a helicopter in 2022) into cold hard cash. She's not even given birth yet, and already managed to Aflog the poor mite to Hello.

The baby, we're told, is to be called Stella (presumably for the aphrodisiac used at its conception) if it's a girl, and Leonardo if it's a boy - like the bloke in the DaVinci code.

Although there's a chance the kid will end up called Mr Spuds:

she said the first scans showed "something that looks more like a potato than a little person. I thought that I was carrying Potato Halliwell."

So, at least we know it's going to take after its mother.

Of course, Geri soon settles down to discuss the important aspects of her pregnancy. Her weight:

"I've put on between 10 and 12lbs (each breast now weighs about three!), gaining most weight in the first three months, all around my bottom and my breasts. It's a hideous stage when you don't look pregnant, but just as if you've eaten too many pies."

We think she might have prepared a graph, showing the hour-by-hour tracking.

She revealed all the Spice Girls had been supportive, especially Victoria who had given her the ponchos she wore during her last pregnancy.

Aw, isn't that lovely? We bet they set them against tax as a charitable donation, though.

Meanwhile, in Spain, Victoria looks up from her Hello!
Victoria: Honey, did you give Geri the old baby changing mats like we said?
David: Yes, doll. Why?
Victoria: No reason


We didn't think that anything would be able to restore Jerry Hall in our eyes after the Bovril adverts - a peculiar mix of an agent who couldn't advise and a spokesperson who couldn't speak - but her reason for not wanting to date younger men is inarguably right:

"Older men are better lovers. They're more experienced and know how to please you.

"Anyway, younger men make you listen to Coldplay - and there ain't no treatment for that."

Having to weigh the odd blue pill against constant plays of Yellow, there's no contest.


For some reason, while Hollywood Police let most post-Oscar parties roll on and on (and on...) Elton John was given a strict one am curfew.
Even the local sheriff, Timothy Louis, was bemused:

'The city told Elton John's party to close down at 1 a.m.

'Hey, this is Hollywood. I would let it go until 4 a.m.'

Perhaps Elton - not, of course, in the first flush of youth - just fancied an early night.


Why did Mary J Blige go to all the trouble of creating an alterego in order to be abel to express her bad side, as she seems quite capable of doing it without the need for a wig.

Her rider for her current tour requires the provision of a brand new toilet seat for her dressing room every time. (To be fair, if she does have to piss more than once, she is prepared to use the same seat again.)

At last, someone has found a way around the question of "how can you be sure there aren't germs on the toilet seat cover dispenser"?

But she's wise to be wary - Jennie reckons that her sister was at school with this girl who knew someone who sat on a toilet seat in aeroplane and she had a baby because a man had done his dirty business on the seat.


Interestingly, it seems when Girls Aloud signed up to the fly-on-the-wall series, they didn't quite get the bit about how there would be cameras following them. Now, after two-fifths of the band managed to put away 48 drinks between them, tehy want the tapes back. Because they're worried about, you know, the fans and Cheryl wants the footage left off screen:

“It’s not a good idea to show a young audience us getting drunk and making it look like fun. We have to be aware of our responsibilities.”

Tweedy - who wasn't part of the boozeathon - seems to be a little confused here. The production company aren't the ones who are getting drunk and "making it look like fun" - shouldn't the lecture be going a little closer to home?


Clearly tired of looking like some freaky seven stone weakling, Michael Jackson is using his time staying as the guest of potentates working out, in order to look like a freaky nine stone weakling. We're not sure why he's building up muscles - perhaps he needs them to be injected into his face or something.

It must be all these push-ups and so on which seem to have once again stalled the Katrina benefit single: although he says he's still putting the finishing touches to it and we're certainly not going to contradict him now that he's built.


We were prepared to give Geri a chance as a mother, but, frankly, the news that she's singing to the kid is making us wonder if social services should just pop round. She's singing Carpenters songs, too:

“Apparently a baby is sensitive to sound from the fifth month, so I’m already singing Carpenters’ ballads like Masquerade to it.

“I’m also singing a song with the lyrics: ‘The loneliness goes . . . when two people can dream a dream together.’”

Oh good, so the poor kid isn't even born yet and you're reinforcing the societal norm that you're nothing if you're not in a relationship. Where is that quote from, anyway? Is Geri just singing those inspirational posters at her kid? "Wonderful things happen/ when we work together/ a mountain peak is high so we get a clearer view..."

Geri, 33, vowed NOT to sing any hits by her former band, adding: “Children will never think their parents are cool.”

Actually, Geri, they do. If their parents are cool.

HePod, surely?

Following on from Tony Blair's revelation that the music on his iPod is put there by his daughter (how can he be sure it's properly licensed? Or is he happy that God will judge him on that one, too?) comes the news that staff at Vatican Radio (slogan: "coming up, another thought for the day... and another... and another...") have given the rock-hating Pontiff his very own iPod Nano:

“The Holy Father likes to unwind listening to it and is of the opinion that this sort of technology is the future.”

Really? If it's the future, shouldn't he be condemning it and arranging a papal bull banning them? What sort of pope is he, anyway?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Axl Rose has taken just about all the bitching from Slash that he can. Rose has attempted to keep a dignified silence since the splitting of Guns N Roses - well, apart from replacing Slash with a chap wearing a KFC bargain bucket on his head, perhaps - but the filing of legal actions against him has forced him to break his silence. He had been thinking of getting a six foot clown to dance about wearing a diaper yelling "I am Slash and I smell and the smell that I have is poo and you can smell me coming because of the smell of poo", but instead - having seen what clowns charge for an hour's work - he elected to countersue:

The statement issued in the wake of the suit blasts Axl's former allies, claiming "Slash has continually made negative and malicious statements about Axl [in the press] in order to garner publicity for himself" and that both musicians have made "numerous false allegations about Axl ... [and that] Mr. Rose believes that once apprised of the true facts, the judge or jury deciding these lawsuits will rule in Axl's favor on every issue before them."

The most recent suit filed against Axl, according to the statement, "attacks [his] integrity as Slash and Duff, in a vindictive attempt to aggrandize their own stature, rewrite history through false statements, which have been repeated by the media. Their attacks on Axl stand in sharp contrast to Rose's conduct. Axl has at all times worked diligently to maintain the artistic integrity of the band by choosing with great care which properties to license Guns N' Roses songs to."

Moreover, the statement claims Slash showed up uninvited at Axl's door early one morning in October to offer a truce. "Slash came to inform Axl that: 'Duff was spineless,' '[Velvet Revolver frontman] Scott [Weiland] was a fraud,' that he 'hates [Revolver drummer] Matt Sorum' and that in this ongoing war, contest or whatever anyone wants to call it that Slash has waged against Axl for the better part of 20 years, that Axl has proven himself 'the stronger.' "

"Axl regrets having to spend time and energy on these distractions, but he has a responsibility to protect the Guns N' Roses legacy and expose the truth," Howard Weitzman, Axl's attorney, said in the statement. "Axl believes he has been left with no alternative but to respond to these lawsuits. It would have been Axl's preference to resolve disputes with Slash and Duff in private. The courthouse is not his choice of forum. However, Axl could no longer sit quietly and allow the continuing dissemination of falsehoods and half-truths by his former bandmates."

You see? That's all Axl wants - he's interested in the truth, and not all this bickering.

It's yet to be confirmed that three hours after filing, the courthouse took a call from a gentleman asking how easy it would be to withdraw legal papers if you'd decided to just photoshop someone's head onto a fat woman's body to make posters to put up in his street instead.


Citing "transport difficulties" - although they could actually walk there if they set out now - Belle and Sebastain have pulled their plans to play T in the Park this year.


Good news for face powder manufacturers - the Dresden Dolls return next month with album number two, Yes, Virginia.

The bad news is Amanda Palmer claims she's grown out of the need to "over-complicate" her music, which is a shame - we were very fond of the way Dolls songs sounded like especially well-stocked junk shops, with piles of discarded bits threatening to fall over at any moment.

They're keen to stress, though, that they're not Goth:

"In Germany, people are more open and excited by the first impression of the band and the kind of goth look of the band. But the music is anything but goth. In America, it's this nasty black mark, but we have about as much in common with Marilyn Manson as we do with Kenny Loggins."

Ha! The invoke the name of the dark one, the Loggins, and yet they try to claim they have no links with the dark side? They fool us not.


It's been a bad day for Beatles movies co-stars, as following on from the reports of the death of Ivor Cutler comes news of the death this afternoon of John Junkin. In a long career writing and performing comedy, Junkin appeared in the role of Shake in A Hard Day's Night. Junkin, who was 76, died of lung cancer.

FARMEROBIT: Ali Farka Toure

The Malian Culture Ministry has announced the death of Ali Farke Toure who - although he thought of himself as a farmer - was the nation's most widely-known musician.

Born in 1939 in Kanau on the banks of the Niger, although he was the tenth son to be born to his mother Ali was the only boy who survived his early years; it was this apparent stubborness which earned him his nickname of "farka", the donkey.

His father - a member of the French army - died while Ali was still young, prompting the family to relocate to Niafunke. The town was to be Toure's home for the rest of his life. Traditionally, Mali musicians had been drawn from castes of hereditary musicians, which meant that Toure - from a more noble background - should have been able to concentrate completely on his farming, but - according to musicologist Lucy Duran - Toure was considered a child of the river. These men and women are believed to be able to communicate with the spirits of the Ghimbala through spirit ceremonies, and it was during such ceremonies that Toure first discovered the power and attraction of music. In the face of family disapproval, Ali built an instument of his own (a jurukele, a type of single string guitar) and taught himself to play.

It wasn't just family pressure attempting to keep him from music; being a Muslim caused Toure to feel conflicted when patricipating in Ghimbala ceremonies - "because of Islam, l don't want to practice this type of thing too much...these spirits can be good to you or bad, so l just sing about them, but its our culture, we can't pass it by" he once explained.

It was seeing Fodeba Keita play guitar with the National Ballet of Guinea which really inspired Toure - "I felt I could do the same and that I could prove it."
He was proved right when he was able to translate his skill for African instruments to the guitar; a further boost came when the newly independent Mali established arts and cultural troupes throughout its six regions. The Niafunke district troop benefitted from Toure's presence.

Toure's first trip outside Africa came in 1968 to the not-especially-glittering venue of communist Bulgaria as part of as Malian delegation to an international arts festival. It was while in Sofia that Ali bought his first guitar. Upon his return to Mali he joined the National Radio Mali, both as an engineer and as a member of its orchestra.

A friend recommended he send some samples of his music to Paris' SonAfric records, which proved the start of a lucrative partnership. Seven albums were produced through what was almost a penfriend arrangement between company and performer.

Absorbing local influences, along with Zairean rumba and Cuban dance, and singing sings about love and peace as well as the spirit world through a rich mixture of imagery across a spread of languages (although mainly singing in the language Sonrhai and Peuhl, Toure also worked in Bozon, Bambara, Dogon, Zarma and Tamascheq), Toure developed into Mali's foremost cultural figure, but it would be 1987 before he took a solo journey outside Mali; this was the start of a period of international success. In that year, his self-titled album fitted the growing interest amongst Western audiences for what was often lumped together as "world" music and set him on a route to a wider audience.

The 1994 collaboration with Ry Cooder won Toure his first Grammy (he won a second at the last ceremony for In The Heart of the Moon); he also became mayor of his beloved Niafunke in 2004.

Ali Farke Toure was 67; he died from the cancer he had been battling for a while. It is believed he had completed a final album before his death.


He's already got a rap sheet so long it could get its own category at the Mobos, and now Bobby Brown has got some more trouble to contend with. Police took the opportunity of his popping into Stoughton to watch his daughter in a cheerleading contest (who encourages cheerleaders when they're competing?) to ask Brown about fourteen years worth of outstanding motor violations. He was released on a forty dollar bond - presumably the cops thought a bloke who had ignored the warrant since 1992 wasn't unlikely to leave town and put it out of his mind.


You have to be impressed at the ambitions of Martika, who is currently playing in a Pat Benatar style goth-rock band Oppera (terrible, terrible name) with her husband. She might be doing coffee shops at the moment, but she doesn't expect Starbucks to be her natural home:

"At some point that won't really be possible," she said. "Imagine Aerosmith at Perking Latte. We definitely are aspiring to have that type of career. To be like the really big successful bands that have the longevity to be legendary. Why do it if we're not going to shoot for the top?"

We think the key element to this might be that, yes, it's very difficult to imagine Aerosmith playing a small coffee shop. It's not so difficult to imagine Mr and Mrs Martika doing so.


These tour dates were announced during the course of this morning, so may already have fallen foul of withheld passports and so on, but Babyshambles are planning a tour:

Paris Le Bataclan (April 11)
Carlow Music Factory (12)
Dublin Temple Bar Music Centre (13)
Belfast Spring And Airbrake (14)
Derry Nerve Centre (15)
Cork Savoy (16)

It's possible that the dates will be called off due to the problems of getting Pete through the security checks.


Inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Prince is going to distribute special purple tickets in copies of his forthcoming album; if you find one, there's every chance that you'll find yourself being gaffer-taped to the ceiling of Prince's bedroom. Or at least attending a special concert at his home. We're not sure if you'll get to ride his chocolate flume pipe.

OBIT: Ivor Cutler

We've just heard (via a comment from Darren H) that Ivor Cutler died last Friday, following a stroke.

Prior to the launch of Radio 5 and subsequent weekly appearance of new radio stations, Cutler held the unique position of having recorded performances for all the BBC's radio networks - he was a regular session guest for John Peel and Andy Kershaw, but was equally at home on Radios 2, 3 and 4.

It's often assumed that the tale of his diasporan great-great-grandparent's arrival in Glasgow (they thought they were heading for America) was as dubious as his claims to have screamed his first scream as Rangers scored a few hundred yards away at Ibrox Park or the many tales of grim childhoods in parlours and sitting rooms which made him not as famous as he should have been. However, there's no question that his early years were harsh - a young Jew in 1920s Glasgow wasn't a recipe for acceptance; at home, he felt the birth of a younger sibling very hard - although he suggested that "without that I would not have been so screwed up as I am, and therefore not as creative. Without a kid brother I would have been quite dull. I did try and kill him, but my Auntie Eva came into the room and thought that it wasn't a good idea."

As a fifteen year-old, Cutler was inspired by hearing a Rationalist Society speaker to ask at his local synagogue "'can you prove the existence of God? He must have been in a bad mood as he just said 'no'. I never went to synagogue again." A later attempt to reconnect with God failed at the hands of an over-enthusiastic Unitarian minister who chased him, first to atheism and then to agnosticism.

Plans to become a doctor faltered when he discovered part of the training involved unspeakable beastliness to frogs, so he started to concentrate more on music. His first piano concetro was just three lines ("because I didn't know what a concerto was") but then his life was disrupted by war - first as an evacuue, then as an apprentice and a brief spell with the RAF, from which he "dismissed for dreaminess".

As a peacetime occupation, he tried teaching, first at AS Neill's Summerhill project where the famous freewheeling attitude wasn't quite freewheeling enough to encompass Cutler's approach. Having been judged too poor a teacher to be welcome at the most controversial school in the UK, he wound up instead at the Inner London Education Authority, surprisingly still teaching for them as recently as 1980. Cutler's teaching of creative arts to children is seen as one of the key factors in shaping the worldview he brought to his music.

It wasn't until his mid-thirties that Cutler began to give his attention again to music and poetry (as his fans will know, it's hard with Cutler to point to a definitive point where one ceased, and the other commenced). He described his technique: "My way of writing poetry was to go to a jazz concert and just let the music come through me and just write nonsense poems, so that one was listening to the noise of the words rather than the meaning. I wouldn't allow my intellect to get in the way. After six years I found certain sounds more to my taste than others and I gradually began to use actual words."

His plan was to write songs on the side to top up his ILEA income, but he turned up at Box & Cox publishers at the end of the day and wound up giving an impromptu performance which went down well. Cutler was hired, and quickly got a recurring slot on the BBC Home Service.

He made an appearance in the Magical Mystery Tour, playing a character called Buster Bloodvessel; the Beatles asked him if he'd be interested in becoming a tutor for their children but the thought of instructing Julian Lennon in latin didn't appeal, clashing with Cutler's socialism. He did, however, use the connection to work with George Martin on a 1967 album Ludo. Martin wasn't very pleased with Cutler's eccentric style of working and the partnership was not repeated.

Cutler would crop up in the strangest corners of the entertainment industry - between hard covers in a Faber collection of poetry; on Whistle Test; with a guest slot on Late Night Line-Up or the Acker Bilk Show; sharing Creation Records with Kevin Shields and Liam Gallagher. Although those who liked him liked him very much indeed, he was aware he was an acquired taste:

"John Peel has a show on Number One [Radio 1] on which he plays the latest gramophone records. He put one of my records on, and a few days later there was a cloud of envelopes coming in. But some people like Cutler, and some people don't. When I did Monday Night at Home one man called in and said 'Hey! Get rid of that guy! He's driving me nuts and his voice is making my wife's hair stand on end!'"

His subsequent years, installed in a flat in Parliament Hill Fields, saw him increasingly worried about ill-health: his father had fallen to Alzheimers and he feared the same end. An awareness of the onset of fraility meant he reduced his number of public performances after the turn of the century, although he still did the occasional live outing.

He's survived by his two sons; there are plans for a public memorial service later in the year.

There's a full obituary in this morning's Guardian; and a biography on


Hey, if we told you that Robbie Williams has supposedly moved in someone who used to play a footballer on TV, it'd be your conclusions you'd be drawing, not ours. Apparently, he's now recreating Kelly Monteith's 'girlfriend in a bachelor pad' moment with Marsha Thomson, who was Shazza in Playing The Field.

Friends are on hand to be helpful:

friends claim their relationship is "moving up a gear."

They said: "All I can say is - Robbie definately isn't gay.

"Robbie has committed the cardinal sin and fallen for a friend. They've been mates for ages but have always socialised in a big group, until Marsha began staying at his house.

"They began enjoying each other's company and realised their feeling for each other are a lot more than just good friends."

We love that even the anonymous friends feel the need to slip in that Robbie isn't gay there. We make this the second relationship that Robbie is supposedly having at the moment, which must make him quite a busy boy indeed.


New NumanGary Numan has got a new album out next week, which raises the question of what a futurist sounds like when their era has zoomed by. Without the appearance of electric friends or whatever. Apparently:

Co-produced with underground electronic artist DJ Ade Fenton "Jagged" is said to be an aggressive, forward-looking album which takes the best elements of his previous work and gives them an anthemic, contemporary twist.

We did read that as "anaemic" at first, which suggested he was going back to the white face powder.

What is amusing is he's on Cooking Vinyl in the UK now, which for us will always be The Texas Campfire Tapes people.


Plans for Robbie Williams to play a gig in the Rhineland are under threat after Germans come to their senses. Or, apparently, after naturalists raised worries that his droning might diturb a rare bat.

You know, guys, Robbie has feelings and he's not stupid. You could just say you'd rather he stayed at home instead of making up a story about rare bats.


Nothing is harder than when you're told you're no longer required, surplus to requirements, not wanted on voyage, but Goldie Lookin' Chain are putting a brave face on things, after their label told them that face no longer fits:

“We now have artistic freedom to do what we want. We won’t be working under any restraints and won’t have to tone down the act.”

We're not sure where GLC actually were toning down their act - "we could call it your mother's got a smelly penis, but we'd never get that past the guys down at the label" - but we believe there are another six stages of grief for them to work through.

And after Maggot did Big Brother, too.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Actor with sometime music career Ewan McGregor has lashed outwards at the band with forthcoming movie sideproject the Arctic Monkeys:

"I don't like them and I don't know why all the other bands are singing their praises."

Velvet GoldmineThe battle lines are drawn. Will you side with Velvet Goldmine... or When The Sun Goes Down?


Uh-oh: Following U2's gig in Buenos Aires (and all of us of a certain age can recall Paul Robinson telling his family that "it means gentle winds... isn't that beutiful?"), Diego Maradona made off with Bono's hat.

Of course, since Bono once dragged a woman through the courts to get back a stinky pair of keks, Maradona should now be very careful indeed.


Primal Scream are pulling in some favours and few extra hands for the new album -including Will Sergeant, Warren Ellis and The Kills' Alison Mosshart.

Live in JapanThe album is planned for May 22nd. Meanwhile, there's the option of gorging on the import Live In Japan.


Some top swearing fun contained in the latestOfcom complaints bulletins, both terrible accidents.

First up, the Performance channel was in such a hurry to get a Dr John documentary on the air it made the fatal mistake of sticking it out without watching it first.

So, a stream of shits, fucks "and 'derivatives'" went out at lunchtime. Performance have form for this sort of thing, but even so seem to have got away with a wagging finger and a warning to be more careful.

Meanwhile, Men and Motors managed to soundtrack a 4.30pm competition with a nigga, shit and fuck-filled backing track. (Someone - we suspect Andi Peters once played the 'what the fuck was that' version of EMF's Unbelievable during the broom cupboard part of Children's BBC.) It was all a terrible mistake, blustered ITV, and so Ofcom are happy to draw a line under the affair.


We're sure if there's any truth in the currently circling rumour that Jessica Simpson has fumbled the birth control then her dad will be laying plans to get the little mite in a push-up bra and out on stage as soon as possible.


We're sure if there's any truth in the currently circling rumour that Jessica Simpson has fumbled the birth control then her dad will be laying plans to get the little mite in a push-up bra and out on stage as soon as possible.


On one hand, it might look like the festival market is badly overcrowded right now, but the constant selling-out of the events suggests otherwise. So it's no surprise that other events are joining the field.

Latest is the horribly named three day Aerosolics at a "secret" location in Surrey (we're guessing an airfield). They're asking £75 for tickets, which would suggest that the line-up is going to be fattened up beynd the current Young Knives, Spunge and The Sunshine Underground.


Madonna thinks we might have forgotten that time she kissed Britney Spears, so has decided to mention it again:

Madonna revealed that after the kiss Lourdes told her: "Mom, you know that they say you are gay?"

Madonna kissed Britney during a performance at the MTV Awards a few years ago.

According to The Sun she told Lourdes: "I am the mommy pop star and she is the baby pop star. I am kissing her to pass my energy on to her."

This is fascinating. Apart from the fact that it's not true anyway ("Britney is the successful pop star; I am kissing her to try and suck her energy into my tired old haunches"), her explanation isn't even true in the context of Madonna's world. That wasn't what she was doing, and so effectively Madonna appears to be saying 'since there is no way I'd want my child to even think I might be slightly gay, it's better to lie to her.' Great parenting. We wonder how she explains away Guy Ritchie's films.

What's even more puzzling is how Lourdes - famously deprived television and newspapers - actually knows about the kiss.

Meanwhile, Madonna - who hasn't yet found time to offer a response to the staff at her Kabbalah Centre's interesting view of the holocaust - has made time to keep the feud going with Elton John:

"He did send me a letter apologising for his last outburst, right before his wedding. But he seems to be angry. I seem to have become a target. It's not very gentlemanly or gracious."

Whereas, of course, rejecting a well-meant apology is the most gracious thing you can do.