Friday, April 07, 2006


There's nothing harder than thinking you're a name band and then finding yourself on the bottom of a three-act bill. It's happened to Bullet for My Valentine and they're feeling their egos in pain.

Opening up for Lacuna Coil and Rob Zombie has upset Matthew Tuck:

"Yo, check it. We get just 30 minutes on this ZOMBIE tour, that's it!!! So there's not a lot of time to fuck around. Apologies for not playing all these [songs], but shit, man, you can't please all the people all the time. Next time, bro. As for the merchandise, ZOMBIE makes us price match him so, yup, it's fuckin $40 for a t-shirt, which is insane, I know. Greedy money-grabbing fucks. We're only allowed two pieces of merch, too, which sucks ass. Unfortunately, being first on on a tour like this sucks, but it's gotta be done. As I write this, I'm sitting on the fuckin' floor of the venue 'coz we don't have a dressing room again, 'coz fuckin Zombie takes them all for him, his band and crew. Basically, we are shit to him, but fuck it — if this is what it takes to get a name over here, then it's gotta be done. I'm not one to fuck around with words, so yes, we are not being treated well on this tour. Oh yeah, we don't get a soundcheck either. Fuckin' pissed at this tour, man."

There is a temptation to say "oh, boo-hoo, is life tough on the undercard?", but really, the more pressing question is if they're so annoyed at having to charge forty bucks for a shirt, then why not, erm, not sell any shirts? "God, Rob Zombie says if we want to sell shirts we have to rip off our fans. Well, I guess we'd better rip 'em off, then..."


How could it be that Eminem and Kim, who seemed so happy three months ago, are filing for divorce?

Alright, it could be because they hated each other a year ago. But why now, precisely?

Kim rang up a radio talk show to explain that it's due to Eminem's problem, by which she means his "sleeping pill" addiction:

"He's having problems with, you know, his problem that he had. I was hoping we could get counselling and work it out, you know? ...

"Right after he came home from his rehab, we started to have a few problems, and I thought it was going to be in our best interest to delay the wedding.

"But he really pushed it and I thought it was really going to be something that worked this time."

She also said the first contact she had with Em in six weeks was when he served divorce papers. Which we make means she last spoke to him a month after the wedding.

Eminem, meanwhile, also felt the need to issue a statement:

"The details surrounding both my marriage and subsequent filing for divorce are private and I had hoped to keep them that way for the sake of my family. However, a few of Kim's statements in a radio interview this morning need to be addressed.

"First, her allegations regarding my status post-rehab are both untrue and unfortunate. Second, she was aware that I was filing for divorce. We both tried to give our marriage another chance and quickly realised that a wedding doesn't fix the underlying problems."

Yeah, it might not sound much but wait til he brings Dre in to do some work.


Paula Abdul has reportedly filed a police report following a bit of a tussle at a private party, say Hollywood Police:

"According to Abdul, the man at the party argued with her, grabbed her by the arm and threw her against a wall."

"She said she had sustained a concussion and spinal injuries."

No, no, it almost certainly wasn't Simon Cowell.


After the success her intervention had in helping out her late husband, and her own ability to control substance abuse, who better than Courtney Love to offer some words of advice to Pete Doherty?

Almost anyone, perhaps?

We'll have to wait until the Love album appears, assuming it does, and the track makes it to the final cut, to find out what her advice is.


Riled that her announced world tour has cut them out the loop, Australian Madonna fans are getting up a petition calling on her to visit the country.

Funnily enough, that dovetails nicely with a petition we're running here, to have Madonna move permanently to Australia. Or maybe Peru.


The ever-inventive David and Victoria Beckham have come up with an inspired theme for their charity World Cup party: Spain.

It might be because it's where they live, or possibly because someone told David that the World Cup final was going to be played in Berlin and so he thought that would be appropriate.

If you're coming, though, dress up:

Women will be asked to wear “full-length and fabulous” gowns and lots of jewellery.

Of course, this is the same party which it was considered "inappropriate" to pay large sums to attend. But the starving kids around the world want you to spend thousands on your outfit.


When life hands you lemons, you pass them to the people who manage your career, and ask them to see if they could pop out and get some better lemonade. Jessica Simpson is making a break-up album following the end of her relationship with... you know, thingy.

That should be interesting:

My people
called your people
and said 'the ratings bombed'
let's call the whole thing off

You wanted
to hold on longer
see if MTV picked up
another series, maybe two

but we just couldn't pretend any longer...

Oh, we're being cruel, of course - the pain she feels is every bit as real as the marriage ever was:

"I think that with my music, you can't help but tell people a story about your life.

"I believe every artist, that's their artistry - it comes out of them naturally through lyrics, through music.

"So with this next record you will hear a lot of things I've been going through.

"And if it can offer any inspiration to anybody else going through the same situation, so be it. That's why I'm here."

That might sound stupid, but these days simply hundreds of people wake up every year to discover their pointless reality TV show has been cancelled, and so this will provide real comfort for them. Paul Dannan's already been on Amazon seeing if he can pre-order.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Although this year's line-up of musical events for Somerset House has yet to be finalised or announced, adverts purporting to be the official line-up have started appearing online.

The hoax ads claim Radiohead, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys and KT Tunstall will be playing - apparently none of these acts are on the shortlist, and Somerset House seems a bit prickly that anyone would fall for the suggestion they'd come up with such an obvious line-up:

"The official announcement of the live programme at Somerset House this summer will be made in early May 2006. We have contacted Westminster Trading Standards to investigate this hoax."

After the microphone was switched off, it sounded like they said "after all... that bunch? That would make for a predictable V bloody Festival. I'll bet it's the ICA pissing about again. Let's go and steal their pig mascot...", but we might be imagining that bit.


Yes, it's true - it might sound like a bored man trying to find something to interest him in his middle years to you, but who knows what reason Snoop has for reuniting Tha Dogg Pound?

Snoop's excited:

"It's a beautiful thing for me to be able to work with them, and when we drop this album it's gonna shake the whole game up."

Or possibly he said it was going to shake The Game's hole up; we weren't there.


Two knackered old warhorses have some life beaten back into them this month, as Liverpool's Picket venue re-opens in the new "Independence" zone, an area set aside far away from the Duke of Westminster's new shopping centre. Related, Liverpool Now is making a comeback in what may be its third or fourth version - now, rather than the pan-Merseyside musical celebration it nearly became before in-fighting and territorial battles ripped the heart from the festival, it's going to take the form of a few gigs and a collection of seminar-type events for those slippery folks, "young people".

Amongst those being invited to provide seminars teaching the kids that working at their music is a great way to avoid trouble and secure your future are the people behind the So Solid Crew. Well, they should know.


Gomez, who have been slumbering so long we'd assumed they'd retired back to Southport, are about to release a new album after all, and will tour the US warming up Dave Matthews Band audiences.

Crazy golf on Southport prom would surely be more tempting.


South Wales Police have announced they intend to make no further investigations into the death of Gene Pitney:

A police spokeswoman said there would be no inquest opened or any further police inquiries into the death as the post-mortem results indicated he had died of natural causes.

"As soon as it [the death] was deemed to be non-suspicious, the matter was handed over to the coroner," she said.

[Earlier: Gene Pitney obituary]


News reaches us of Brighton club night Unpop entering the blogging business. They stuff their bloggy pockets full of music, noise and pop gone wrong related matters. Obviously, we reckon it's worth looking at otherwise we wouldn't mention it.


A PR piece drifts gently into our inbox, offering video feeds of the new Flaming Lips single. As we've said before., it does sound a little bit like McCartney during his Press To Play era.


It's hard to tell from the poorly-translated Armenian Daily report, but it looks like there's trouble brewing over the Armenaina entry into this year's Eurovision Song Contest. The good news, though, is that if their entry Andre (chosen by "closed voting") wins, Armenia is ready and willing to host the 2007 finals.

Wouldn't you love to see the look on Wogan's face if he had to fly off there next year?

Much of the upset come from disgruntled Azeris and Turks unhappy about the entry of Armenia as country as its own right.

Meanwhile, and closer to home, we're indebted to Nerys Hucker for bringing Finland's entry to our attention. The act is called Lordi; the song? Hard Rock Hallelujah. Oh, Lordi indeed.


Reading of the details of Keane's playback album launch last night at London Bridge tube station the phrase that recurrs is "trying a little too hard."

Entry was only granted into the venue by flashing a photograph of a lift within the station along with a carboard invite scrawled with a list of instructions.

The select few were then invited to enter a doorway within the station which led to an underground venue where Keane's second album was premiered, and the band later played four live tracks.

As fans were led through a secret passageway, they were treated to scenes which were almost like a ghost train ride, with empty high heels dancing away in the corridors and Victorian maids handing out seafood and manuals containing the album lyrics.

Tom warns that this time, ooh, Keane are going to be darker:

"This is very exciting for us. This is probably a record that will shock you and excite you in equal measure."

Like a miswired vibrator, then?


Or something like that - The 88, who are yet to sign a deal have lined up a plum role in new Alyson Hannigan sitcom How I Met Your Mother. They're going to be the band picked to play her character's wedding following some sneaking into Prom-related humour.


What is more deluded on Pete Doherty's part? His apparent conviction that he's marrying Kate Moss this autumn?

“We are going to marry. It’s going to happen at a Scottish castle somewhere between September and November. A posh Scottish castle. That’s gonna be so cool.”

(As opposed, of course, to those terrible, common Scottish castles, we presume.)

Or is he at his most deluded when he says, well, this:

“The new Lennon — I like that.

“Honestly, I am the most important rock star now.

“And you will hear lots of great songs from me in the near future.”

The most self-important rock star, was that?

Although maybe Pete is the new Lennon - Lennon was in a popular band but, following a very public and acrimonious split, went on to make dreadful, self-indulgent, would-be-spiritual twaddle, constantly finding roles for his partner regardless of the quality of her contribution.

That's a little unfair, though, as Kate Moss is actually quite good.

Talking of Kate Moss - and, let's face it, these days Pete usually is:

“Drugs or sex — they are both great.

“The best is a combination of both of them. I really love sex on substances — nothing beats that.”

Of course, if you take the right combination of substances you could convince yourself that Junky Meers from the Used & Overstock shop in the High Street was Kate Moss.

The trouble is, while Doherty is trying to show how astonishingly cool he is with all this talk of having sex while on drugs, we can't help thinking of that episode of Seinfeld where George smuggles a radio and a sandwich into the bedroom to have all his favourite things at once.

Oohoho...spicy mustard...woohoho, you're hot tonight...


In order to do the best gig he feels he can, Duncan James empties his mind (not too demanding a process, we'd wager) and demands total silence for twenty minutes before going out on stage.

To be honest, Dunc, you'd be more popular if you extended the total silence for twenty minutes after you go out on stage, too.


Winningly, it turns out that when Anthony Kiedis only got round to mentioning to Flea that he'd had his sister by sticking it in his autobiography.

Scar TissueSo there was Flea, flicking through Scar Tissue: "hee... hee... wow... ouch... HANG ABOUT JUST A SECOND THERE, MISTER."

It's unusual for a rock musician to discover that your bandmate screwed your sister from reading a book - actually, let's be honest, it's unusual for a rock musician to read a book, period. The normal way, of course, is to rifle through the home videos on the tour bus.


We're quite fond of Living TV - anything that had the foresight to buy up ANTM and Boston Legal is fine by us - but they dropped a bit of a hairy prairie oyster last night.

Last night they dedicated an hour programme to how terrible it was celebrities are so thin, focusing mostly on Victoria Beckham and the other one off the Paris Hilton show. Of course, even they realise that there's no earthly reason why bullimics and annorexics shouldn't be treated with the same dignity you treat people with other illnesses, so to try and take away the sense this was "Look! Look at the freak's ribs! She's a like a xylopohone in a gucci flightcase", they added a quasi-educational layer of reminding people that you need fat, and that it's terrible people in this society of ours feel the need to shed more and more weight, pushing themselves to the point of death in order to seek approval.

Almost as soon as the last word had been uttered in the script, the screen shrank to make room for a gaudy trailer for The Biggest Loser, the enforced diet programme which offers approval and prizes to those who shed more and more weight.


The popeThe Sun runs this picture of Pope Benedict with his hair blowing up this morning, suggesting that it makes "him look like rocker Billy Idol."


In what way?

Clearly, they reached for the first punk they could think of, and then changed their mind because it let them run a "Pope Idol" headline.

But even after a night up involved in private family business with Ross Kemp and the local constabulary, Rebekah Wade surely could tell the difference?

Billy Idol

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


It was like a fairytale. Eminem and Kim Mathers fell all over in love again, and remarried, he promising this time he'd really put some work into the loving, the honoring and the cherishing; she making vague promises about not looking too closely at the tattoo of her grave he had done.

But having got remarried all over, there's only one thing left to bring full closure. Three months in, they've just filed for a brand new divorce.


Less than thrilled with the selection of Embrace to be the "official" England tune is Peter Hook.

Although his suggestion is the Arctic Monkeys:

“It’s a travesty. We’re going to get some middle of the road weepy ballad," Hook said.

“That’s definitely not going to get anyone singing along on the terraces, is it? Embrace just don’t do it for me."

“The should have got Arctic Monkeys with Wayne Rooney rapping along, otherwise the FA should have just re-issued ‘World In Motion.’”

Mind you, what Hook knows about judging the public mood can be written on the back of a returned Revenge album.


Ian McCulloch has pleaded not guilty by letter to two charges of assault and one of breach of the peace and will now face a trial this September. The Bunnyman, erm, man, is alleged to have kicked open a toilet door hitting fan (former fan, presumably) Juliet Sebley on the the head and repeatedly punching Gary Duncan.

The incidents are alleged to have followed a gig at Glasgow Barrowlands.


The already overcrowded World Cup singles market has made room for another entry - Joe Fagin has reworked his Auf Wiedersehen, Pet theme tune That's Living Alright as That's England Alright.

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet was about a bunch of English brickies earning extravagent sums of money providing a basic level of service in Germany, often blowing the job because of spending too much time chasing women and pissing what talents they had against the wall, before slinking off back to Blighty to try and explain their abysmal behaviour to the folks at home. Sounds like a perfect fit to us.


The Howling Bells are lining up so many dates, they had better not own cats because who would feed and love them while they're away so long?

Some of the dates are supporting Editors, and some of them are supporting Isobel Campbell; one is on the Camden Crawl and a few are part of the NME New Music Tour. That should let you triangulate their sound. Dates, then:

Friday 7 April - LONDON - Barfly
Saturday 15 April - GALWAY - Roisin Dubh
Sunday 16 April - DUBLIN – Village (with Isobel Campbell)
Monday 17 April - CORK - Cyprus Avenue
Wednesday 19 April - BATH - Moles
Thursday 20 April - LONDON – Oh Bar (Camden Crawl)
Thursday 20 April - LONDON - Legion (Sonic Cathedral)
Wednesday 26 April - NORTHAMPTON - Soundhaus
Thursday 27 April - LEICESTER - Charlotte
Friday 28 April - ALDERSHOT - West End Centre
(1st May - new single, Blessed Night, released, so they'll be down the pub celebrating that night)
Tuesday 2 May - BIRMINGHAM - Bar Academy
Thursday 4 May - STOKE - Sugarmill
Friday 5 May - NOTTINGHAM - Trent University
Saturday 6 May - BRISTOL - Bristol University (NME New Music Tr 2006)
Sunday 7 May - CARDIFF - Cardiff University (NME New Music Tour 2006)
Monday 8 May - WOLVERHAMPTON – Wulfrun (NME New Music Tour 2006) (and their self-titled album is out that day)
Wednesday 10 May - NEWCASTLE - Cluny
Thursday 11 May - PRESTON - 53 Degrees
Friday 12 May - GLASGOW - Barfly
Monday 15 May - CAMBRIDGE - Soul Tree
Friday 19 May - BRIGHTON - Zap Club (The Great Escape Festival)
Saturday 20 May - BARNSLEY - Downstairs @ The Number 7
Sunday 21 May - MANCHESTER - Roadhouse
Monday 22 May - COVENTRY - Colosseum
Saturday 27 May - EXETER - Cavern
Sunday 28 May - CARDIFF - Barfly
Tuesday 30 May - WOLVERHAMPTON - Little Civic
Wednesday 31 May - LONDON - Brixton Academy (with Editors)
Thursday 1 June - LONDON - Brixton Academy (with Editors)
Friday 2 June - SOUTHAMPTON - Joiners


The midweeks are out, already, Gnarls Barkley is being sold in shops like old style 78s, and still Google News alerts pulse with new stories featuring Gennaro's press release being worked into news stories - Life Style Extra claims to have published on Sunday at a minute past eight, but oddly, Google News seems only to have just spotted the story.

Indeed, Google is reporting 451 pages hooking together "Gnarls Barkley" and "Gennaro Castalod": we come fifteenth, incidently, behind The Independent and Ulster Televsion, but ahead of the Daily Mail and, erm, our own atom feed.

If the PR industry gives out prizes for mileage from a single statement, Gennaro would be putting up new shelves this weekend.


We have been sitting for a while on an email from Mike M, bringing his blog Obscure Sound to our attention. It's pretty good. In fact, it's got Scott Walker and Magenta Skycode mp3s, which makes it better than pretty good in our book.


Well, she'd had an easy time of since her comeback, apart from a few quibbles about the lack of leotards in the videos, but the honeymoon had to end: Kate Bush has been named and shamed.

Apparently, her website has been called the "most inaccessible" in a prize giving (or, in this case, prize witholding) by the National Library for the Blind. Which seems a little unfair - it might not be the easiest site to navigate without site, but to suggest that it's the worst in the entire world seems a little harsh. We hope they didn't single Kate out because they thought her name might generate more press coverage than, say, giving the prize to one of the 60% of government sites that fail to meet accessability standards.

[Plug: They've just re-released Kate's back catalogue on those kind-of-like-vinyl CD editions, including The Kick Inside and The Sensual World]


Good lord: Toad the Wet Sprocket are reforming for live dates.

STAROBIT: Gene Pitney

Gene Pitney, who has died in Wales at the age of 65, may appear a dyed-in-the-wool entertainer, but he nearly missed his calling. Born in – aptly – Rockville, Connecticut on February 17th, 1941, Pitney's childhood interests were spread – hunting, collecting stamps and playing with electronics as well as music. Indeed, he might have followed a career in electronics had his out-of-school band, Gene Pitney and the Genials, not distracted him.

In 1959, Pitney recorded his first single Classical Rock & Roll, with a duet on the b-side credited to Jamie and Jane. This was to be the first of a series of alteregos – his record label was keen on rechristening him Homer Muzzy; Gene favoured Billy Bryan. Eventually, he decided his real name might be less fraught with danger.

Pitney's first success came from his songwriting – the Kalin Twins picked up his song Loneliness and Pitney started to think of himself as backroom, rather than a performer - perhaps the stage nerves which had developed following a poorly-received school performance still haunted him. He would supply songs to Tommy Edwards, Roy Orbison and Billy Bland; he wrote Hello Mary Lou for Rick Nelson, who sold two million copies of it. Perhaps his biggest success as a writer was Rubber Ball, which not only provided hits for Bobby Vee and Marty Wilde but continued to provide a lucrative revenue stream as an advertising jingle (give 'em Butterball, it seems, they'll come bouncing back for more.)

Sucking a thoughtful tooth, Pitney figured it was time to get back into the recording booth, and funded himself (to the tune of thirty bucks) recording his own I Wanna Love My Life Away. To keep costs down, he played the drums, piano and guitar and provided six different layers of backing vocals for the song. Released as a single, it made the forty in the UK and the US.

The title track for Town Without Pity delivered his first US Top 20 hit and an oscar nomination; he quickly followed up with the equally successful theme for The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance.

Twenty-Four Hours From Tulsa was to be the key which sent Pitney global – it offered him the chance to build a near-global following. He took the view that if a record started to do well in a new country, you had no choice but to head out there and build that success. It was a shrewd attitude, and it saw him able to tour worldwide for a full six months every year since 1970. He loved the travel:

"There is nothing more exciting to me than to get on that airplane and know I'm going to get off in a totally different country, in a different part of the world."

Until 1983, his love of jet travel meant his entire touring commitment was concentrated outside his home country – which allowed him to do a comeback tour that year without actually ever having stopped working.

A chance meeting on ITVs Thank Your Lucky Stars led to a friendship with the Rolling Stones: they provided him with That Girl Belongs To Yesterday; he provided Jagger and Richards with their first US number one as writers.

While turning out a slew of rock albums – in a variety of languages – Pitney also dabbled with the country market, bringing a fresh aspect to all his work.

Although he created a string of classics through the sixties and seventies, Pitney wouldn't have a number one in the UK until he hooked up with Marc Almond in 1990. The original version of Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart had stalled at number five in 1967.

His reactivated recording career created a happy double demand – people who came to him for the first time started buying back catalogue, while his older fans wanted new material.

He appeared on Desert Island Discs, choosing Elton John's The Last Song, C C Rider by Chuck Willis, Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven; Gillian Welch's Tear My Stillhouse Down; Israil Kamakaiwo’ole's version of Over The Rainbow, Norah Jones' Nightingale, Queda Te Aqui by the Gipsy Kings and Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman doing Con Te Partiro. His luxury was a case of Opus One wine and his book was a Mensa Puzzle collection.

Pitney died this morning [Wednesday 5th] after being taken suddenly ill while staying at the Cardiff Hilton Hotel. His manager reports that he was found in his bed this morning, and was pronounced dead at 10am. The cause of his death is not yet known.

He is survived by his wife, Lynne, and three sons.


BBC News is reporting that Gene Pitney has been found dead.

UPDATE: Gene Pitney was taken ill in the Hilton, Cardiff this morning at around ten o'clock. His death has come as something of a shock to the team working with him on his UK tour as he'd shown no signs of illness before.

We'll have a more detailed obituary later.


Pete Doherty went shopping yesterday, for Burberry products, although it appears that he may have "forgotten" to pay for a couple of scarves while he was spending £450 on a coat.


It's interesting that he went shopping for Burberry, too: yesterday, he was attacked by Daniella Westbrook; Daniella, of course, is the celebrity singled out as having done the most damage to Burberry in its slump from posh outfitter to chav clothier. Could it be Pete wants to be Westbrook?


Because this year's event was such a stagnant, unwatched affair, they're planning a massive overhaul for the 2007 Brits.

Firstly, they're going live again, which makes sense - there's bugger all point in showing an awards ceremony where everyone read the list of winners online a day before.

Secondly, in a bid to try and shake the impression that the prizes are all about portly middle-aged men who have made a pile of cash and lost their creative spark, they're thinking of inviting the Sex Pistols to play. With a lure of a lifetime achievement award - although, clearly, a band who turns up to pick up such a prize is hardly going to have any degree of anarchy left in them.

We love the idea that in some gentlemen's club somewhere, they were kicking the idea of how to inject some spark into the Brits and the only people they could think of were a band who said "nipples" once on a local TV show and promptly went off to become estate agents.

Still, if the Sex Pistols say no, there's always Shakin' Stevens - he fought Richard Madeley on the telly once. He could bring a dangerous element.

The Sun's Victoria Newton is thrilled they're going live, though:

The Brits were always about bands behaving badly. Some of the most outrageous moments include JARVIS COCKER waggling his bum in protest as MICHAEL JACKSON performed in 1996.

My favourite was in 1998 when DANBERT NOBACON of CHUMBAWUMBA chucked a bucket of icy water over Deputy PM JOHN PRESCOTT.

The insider added: “Going back to screening the show on the night might encourage some bad behaviour.

“Viewers say they want it live.”

Only thing is, Victoria, both the Jarvo and Chumba incidents happened after they'd started taping the show and sticking it on air the next day. Oh, and the TV versions didn't show either event, either.

She also has her doubts about the Pistols plan:

I can’t see Johnny accepting a gong from the music establishment.

In February the band refused to attend their induction to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Victoria, honey, you realise the Pistols accepted their induction and just didn't turn up to the ceremony - and they didn't turn up to the ceremony not because they are anarchists who hate being told how very, very important their Woolworths Punk was, but because they were too tight to pay for a ticket? Lydon would probably turn up at a UKIP bake sale if the payday was right.


Harraj Mann was on his way off to catch a flight from Teesside Airport, and was delighted to catch a cab which had a slot to plug your mp3 player into.

He entertained the taxi driver by hooking up his device and singing along to Procol Harum, The Clash and The Beatles.

After being dropped off at the airport,Harraj was surprised to discover the cabbie had called the police, fingering him as a terrorist.

Mann was marched off the plane and interrogated for three hours.

Why? Because he was a bit foreign-looking and while singing in the taxi had belted out the lines "war is declared and battle come down" in London Calling.

Harraj can see the funny side:

"I played Procol Harum, Whiter Shade of Pale first, which the taxi man liked.

"I figured he liked the classics, so I put on Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song. Then, since I was going to London I played The Clash and finished up with Nowhere Man by The Beatles.

"He didn't like Led Zeppelin or The Clash but I don't think there was any need to tell the police."

Now, obviously we live in different times, but how can we have faith in the police to actually protect us from terrorists when they're not very good at it - it takes three hours for them to realise "oh... he wasn't on the phone getting details from Osama, he was singing along to a famous song from one of the most famous albums of all time." Mind you, compared with Jean Charles de Menezes, Mann can probably count himself as lucky.

We imagine Durham Police are still trying to decode the Procul Harum lyrics, though - "turning cartwheels across the floor, are we, sonny?"


Whatever happened to The Ordinary Boys, then? The problem with Preston's Big Brother gamble was it relied on the band having enough velocity of its own to avoid being sucked wholly into the Heat magazine black hole, where celebrities don't do anything other than revolve around themselves.

It hasn't worked. Today, Preston is in Heat talking about his proposal. Apparently, when he proposed to his long-standing girlfriend after spending two weeks fooling about with Chantelle, the poor lamb was "panicked":

"I just panicked and wanted to make things right and I had these feelings for Chantelle that I shouldn't have had.

"In the house the thought of me with Chantelle didn't enter my mind, because I knew I wasn't allowed I really hadn't thought about it.

"When I came out of the house, I had a chance to weigh everything up, and I was like shit, I really want to make everything right with Camille.

"Like an idiot, I thought that was the right thing to do and I guess it made everything worse - eventually we had a conversation that led to us splitting up."

"I guess it made everything worse" - this, of course, is what passes for sensitivity in the modern male.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


No sooner had she signed a lucrative Asda modelling contract than Michelle Heaton suffers a heart murmur.

Apparently her new Wal-Mart bosses, when told of her condition, asked "a what murmur?"


No, they're not, actually, but since they've decided to announce that illegal downloading has cost the UK music industry a billion pounds, we thought we'd pluck an eyecatching figure out the air and use it as a headline, too.

The figure is based on a TNS survey which tracks the entertainment spend of a panel of 15,000 consumers. Unfortunately, the value of the figures is weakened somewhat as the latest set of figures released by the BPI rely on just 3,317 response - THS only approached half the panel, and less than half of those asked to take part bothered to respond. The BPI hasn't chosen to make available any data to suggest the one-in-five of the panel considered this time round reflects the general make-up of either the panel as a whole, or society in general.

The billion? That comes by a little bit of magic. The music purchases of filesharers is compared with non-filesharers, and the conclusion drawn that if the filesharers behaved like non-filesharers, they'd spend the same on music as they do. Which - and let's ride with their assumptions here - would mean that there were £414 million worth of music purchases that weren't made in 2005. They add this to the similarly dubious figures from 2003 and 2004, and there you are: that's a billion quid.

But are these figures quite as scary as they seem? The BPI offers up the apparently conclusive claim that the impact has been particularly acute on singles sales where an overall decline of 9% on singles buying rises to 34% for illegal downloaders. The substitutional effect is clear.

But hang about a minute... when they say "singles", do they mean physical, CD singles? Surely they must, as they have to compare like with like, and the legal download market wasn't counted in the 2004 figures for "singles". But wouldn't you expect the amount spent in HMV by people who are also comfortable downloading music off the internet to decline quite sharply as they choose to buy online instead? In addition, of course, people who are more comfortable online are going to spend less on the same physical product as someone who shops for on the high street, simply because CDs are cheaper in Cyberspace than they are in the stores.

Perhaps that's why the BPI focuses on spend, rather than the actual number of records being bought.

The BPI also seems a little bit confused about its own figures. Today's report states:

Further indications that the BPI’s campaign against illegal filesharing is succeeding with the percentage of the population illegally downloading down to 15.4% in 2005 from 16% in 2004 and 17.8% in 2003;

but the report on the 2003 report says:

The survey reveals that 17.8% of the public say they are downloading music. This equates to 8.0m people. Of those 92%, are using illegal sites, some 7.4m people.

We make 92% of 17.8% as coming in as less than the 100% of 17.8% they claim today were illegally downloading. In fact, based on the BPI's 2003 figures, only 16.5% of the public were using illegal sites to download.

That makes the total fall in two years of expensive lawsuits and other high-profile, costly "educational" initiatives have seen only 1.1% of the population turn away from illegal downloading.

If our maths are more solid than the BPI, that's a sniff under half a million people.

Based on the BPI's chums at the IFPI report this morning which revealed only one in five people who reduce their file sharing do so as a result of fear of legal actions, we can conclude that the BPI's hurling around threats of legal action has managed to stop just 98,666 people from "stealing" music.

We don't know how much the scheme has cost the record companies - or, rather, the artists who provide their income streams - but so far there have been 138 legal actions.

That means each lawsuit takes an average of 715 filesharers off the internet.

Equally interesting, when this series of studies was first launched by the BPI, they made a great play of counting how many CD-Rs were bought by illegal downloaders. They seem to not be worried about that quite so much now. Perhaps they're trying to quietly forget their initial Chicken Licken style panic that CD-R sales would destroy music as we know it.


Brazlian GirlsEyetie writes to point out that, while the Reading-Leeds festival might offer slim pickings, the Iceland Airwaves festival is shaping up quite nicely - the Kaiser Chiefs, the Brazilian Girls (pictured, as they say), Leaves and others already confirmed. It's kind of a cross between In The City and Reading, with a bunch of events scattered across Rekjavik. And, for £349, you get proper accomodation, flights and tickets, which doesn't work out as much more than Reading costs by the time you pay for the ridiculous train fare. Plus, you're in bloody Iceland instead of Berkshire. Worth considering as an alternative, certainly.

PSYCHOBIT: Eugene Landy

News reaches us of the death of Eugene Landy, known as "shrink to the stars", most notably thanks to his "care" of Brian Wilson.

Born in 1934 in Pittsburgh, Landy started out in showbiz himself - he produced a national radio show while still in his teens, discovering George Benson in the process.

His earlier celebrity links helped after a spell back in college during his thirties, as he set up as a clincal psychologist in Los Angeles. Clients at the time included Rod Steiger, Alice Cooper, Richard Harris and Gig Young. Young would eventually die in an apparent suicide pact.

Despite also lecturing at the University of Southern California, he still had time to work up the Undergroud Dictionary, a "how to speak young person" primer.

Landy's biggest opportunity came in 1975 when Marilyn Wilson asked him to help the chronically addicted and depressed Brian Wilson. The pairing seemed to work, but Landy was canned the next year when he tried to double his fee to twenty thousand dollars.

In 1983, Wilson returned to Landy's care, which saw pyschologist moving in with patient and - in his own words - taking care of "every aspect of their physical, personal, social and sexual environments."

The fee - now $43,000 - was a stretch, even for the Beach Boys, and a demand for more from Landy was, this time, met: in kind, with a quarter of the band's publishing rights.

Brian Wilson's bookBy 1988, Landy had taken on the extra role of manager, executive producer and co-writer, helping himself to credits and cash from Brian's comeback album and autobiography. His actual contribution to the songwriting process seems to have gone no further than telling Wilson he was directly planting music into his head; for the book, we can safely assume the large chunks of praise for Landy and his methods originated with Landy.

In 1989, worried at the growing influence the psychologist was having over Brian, the Wilson family attempted to separate the pair; they failed when Brian chose to stay with Landy. The next year, a legal suit was brought which suggested Landy had influenced Wilson to change his will, largely in Wilson's favour. The case was settled out of court, but the State of California had by now become aware of Landy's behaviour, issuing a separation order and accepting his offer to resign his licence to practice. Questions were also asked about how a therapist could also be a patient's business manager without throwing up some sort of conflict of interest.

Although he was unable to practice in California, Landy was able to relocate to Hawaii, practising until his death on March 22nd.

Wilson, meanwhile, started to recieve more conventional treatment; on Larry King Live in 2004, Wilson admitted that during what he now calls "the Landy years" he was subjected to questionable control. Meanwhile, Landy's credits on the Brian Wilson album were quietly deleted.

[Thanks to Simon at Sweeping The Nation for the tip]


Sony's hopes of creating a sparkling new revenue stream ("format") in the shape of Universal Media Discs have run into trouble.

The original idea was that UMD would allow the PlayStation Portable to function as a hand-held movie watching device. Trouble was, hardly anyone wanted to watch movies on their games machines:

Disappointing sales have slowed the flow of movies on the proprietary Universal Media Disc to a mere trickle. At least two major studios have completely stopped releasing movies on UMD, while others are either toying with the idea or drastically cutting back.

And retailers also are cutting the amount of shelf space they've been devoting to UMD movies, amid talk that Wal-Mart is about to dump the category entirely.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has completely stopped producing UMD movies, according to executives who asked not to be identified by name. Said one high-ranking exec: "It's awful. Sales are near zilch. It's another Sony bomb -- like Blu-ray."

239 movies and TV shows got a UMD run out; just two managed to sell more than 100,000 copies.


Poor perky Tim Burgess: knowing that death comes in threes, he started brown-bag breathing when two friends died:

"I was feeling death was following me quite a lot. And I did feel quite scared by it.

A really close friend of mine, who when I first met my girl in LA was the only person who thought it was a great thing, died while we were making this record. So did the bass player in a really great punk band I loved called The Leonards, Tom Paine. And he was only a year older than me.

So I felt that death was quite close around me. It started getting on top of me, really. I think... it's good, death. Death is not the worst thing that can happen."

That's Tim for you: seeing the upside in total cessation of breathing and all vital signs. It's not as bad as, ooh, running out of Golden Grahams or finding a spider in the shower.

Plug: Return to form Charlatans album Simpatico pre-ordering now


Rufus Wainwright, it turns out, isn't that bothered about the mens and womens' sections of stores. He buys what he likes best, he says:

"I tend to wear ladies' jeans so that they're tighter and look more retro."

Which is fair enough. On the other hand:

"I also steal my mother's clothes sometimes."

That just sounds a little bit too Tony Perkins. Obviously, we've all done it but there does come a point where you have to grow out of it and start buying your own pantyhose.


Catherine Zeta-Jones (former collaborator with David Essex, of course) is a woman. Her husband, Michael Douglas, is a man. But he's a little upset that things aren't always so cut and dried:

"Young guys are somewhat androgynous and use cosmetics. The lines (between men and women) seem to be getting much closer."

Since this trend started somewhere around the start of the 1970s, we're left wondering if Mr. Zeta-Jones has taken three and a half decades to notice, or if he's just started to go a little bit Mike Baldwin around the edges.


After the slightly lukewarm line-up for Reading-Leeds, the V Festival have pulled Girls Aloud out the hat to top off what actually looks like a pretty solid line-up:

Bloc Party
Paul Weller
Bic Runga
Daniel Powter
The Ordinary Boys
Fatboy Slim
Groove Armada
The Charlatans
The Go! Team
We Are Scientists
Girls Aloud
Ghost Cat
The Magic Numbers
James Dean Bradfield
Rufus Wainwright
The Feeling
Daniel Powter
Bic Runga
Gavin Degraw
The Cardigans
The Saw Doctors
The Rifles

Apart from the Saw Doctors and - lord help us - Daniel Powter and Orson - that looks much more attractive than what's on offer over in Berkshire.

INDIEOBIT: Martin Gilks

Martin Gilks, drummer with the Wonder Stuff and the Mighty Lemon Drops, has died.

Gilks left the Lemon Drops after an argument about his hair – the others wanted it cut, he wanted to keep it at the usual length and joined the nascent Stuffies, who at that time were emerging from the remains of From Eden. The MLD went on to briefly blossom without him, as part of the C86 crowd.

Boosted by the blessings of the staff of Record Mirror and Janice Long's night-time Radio One show, the Wonder Stuff was able to choose between a slew of major labels, eventually plumping for Polydor in 1988 and setting up a not-quite jetset lifestyle of travel between London and Stourbridge. Martin relocated to share a London house with band roadie Adam Booker – a house which would slowly attract much of the rest of the band and the mayhem which that would imply. The first couple of singles under the Polydor contract struggled, but the album, The Eight Legged Groove Machine, made the top 20, kick-starting the bands' success and also starting them on the route to intraband fighting.

The battle for the band's direction between singer Miles Hunt and bass player The Bass Thing Rob Jones led to a mix of rows and tantrums – a headline gig at the Town & Country wound up with only Martin Gilks onstage.

Not everything was fraught during this period – the band were able to wallow in a metaphoric jacuzzi of cash and, on a trip to the states, used the metaphorical jacuzzi of cash to wallow in a literal jacuzzi; Martin also met press officer Penny. She would eventually become his wife, despite his choice of a Fields of the Nephilim gig for a first date.

A second album, Hup, was well-received, although the promotional tour nearly broke the band – by now The Bass Thing was drinking so heavily he could hardly play; Hunt tore strips off him during a Liverpool gig. Almost as soon as the band returned to start work on the next album, Bob quit the band. Originally, Bob's departure was taken as a cue to break-up the band, but after a two-month head clearing period – during which Martin travelled to Thailand – an announcement appeared in the pop papers:

Amicably, Bob has left The Wonder Stuff. The band have not split up. Martin Bell (the fiddle player with whom they work with) is now a full-time member and we will continue with a new bass player.
Love Martin, Miles, Martin, Malcolm.

Rob Jones died at the age of 29 from a heart attack in April 1993.

Through the Never Loved Elvis album and the Vic Reeves fronted Dizzy Number one hit, the Stuffies continued to be the leading West Midlands band, but Hunt's passion for loud suits and constant touring was leading the band to be a less than fun place to be. Martin and fiddler player Fiddly wanted out, and decided that their performance at the 1994 Phoenix festival would be their last. The Wonder Stuff were over as a going concern.

Martin was part of the post-Stuffies, Hunt-less Weknowwhereyoulive, who seemed to exist only in the smallest of photos on the news pages of the pop papers – they replaced Miles with Ange Dolittle, hitherto best known as "the singer out of Eat who did a gig naked for a bet." They were, it's kindest to say, for aficionados. They managed two eps before they ran out of steam.

A Wonder Stuff reunion followed in 2000 with a brief series of gigs – these days, reunions after five years seem restrained; back then this rekindling seemed like indecent haste; a live album of one of these dates inspired a further mini-tour. Marting had taken over management duties for the smattering of ad –hoc Stuffies events, which left Miles Hunt free to concentrate on his solo career, such as it was. The band were also lined up to provide music for kids TV series, including Underground Ernie, a series about a tube driver which might turn up sometime soon on CBBC. But just as the group seemed to have found a way to rub along together…

In a bid to boost his struggling solo career, Miles tried to annexe the Wonder Stuff brand. The others weren't happy:

It may not have escaped your notice that there is a band out there purporting to be "The Wonder Stuff" who are touring in October. As we see it, we feel that you are owed an explanation. This band is releasing a solo album by Miles Hunt provisionally titled, "Escape From Rubbish Island" and has re-branded it under the name of "The Wonder Stuff" (to be released on IRL recordings, an independent label associated with Spirit Music & Media, Miles' management company). However, we feel it is only right to point out that Martin Gilks & Martin Bell, along with Stuart Quinnell and Peter Whitaker, have nothing whatsoever to do with either this tour or the recording. We perceive this as merely a marketing ploy by Hunt & IRL. It appears that Malcom Treece will be making an appearance with this group, although we have had no confirmation from Malcom at this time.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported us since the reformation concerts in December 2000 and are sorry that things have ended up the way they have. But this situation is not of our making.
Martin Bell & Martin Gilks.

Miles continued to plough on with his vision of the band; stuffed with exiles from the likes of Republica and – god help us - Amen, they weren't very good. Teletext did offer a nine-page interview with Miles, but that was kind of the high-water mark of the flag of convenience version of the band.
Although the band ended in acrimony, Hunt was always generous about his former colleague's talents, if not his business choices:
"When I was working with Clint from the Poppies on a couple of film scores recently, I played him some of the songs and he said to me that they sounded “more like the new Wonder Stuff album than anything else you’ve put out since you disbanded”. The record company said the same thing, so we decided that it WOULD be a Stuffies record. We started having talks about reforming the band to make it, but obviously talks didn’t go too well because Messrs Gilks and Bell decided to fall out with me in the meantime and stop returning my calls. I thought long and hard about it for ages – whether it was the right thing to do, putting the album out under the name of The Wonder Stuff…or “branding” as Gilks likes to put it when wants to take a swipe at me…but then when Malc said “Yeah, these are great songs! Let’s do it!”, I thought “Well, I haven’t thrown anyone out of the band; those guys have decided to quit; we’re all grown ups so fuck it – it’s a Wonder Stuff record” [Malcolm and I wrote the songs], but I still think Martin Gilks is a fucking phenomenal drummer, and on all our previous albums he put his stamp all over them, so I can kind of understand why he’s upset. Same with Fiddly (Martin Bell). Hopefully we can patch things up eventually but I think that’s going to take time."
Martitn Gilks reportedly died in a motorcycle accident on Monday.

[Thanks to Karl T for the news]


The latest batch of Ofcom judgements have been released, including three music stations getting a ticking-off. [pdf document]

BRMB's drivetime show presenter read out a news story about a prostitute biting a client's penis, chortling that it's not the time to haggle about money when your "willy is still in her mouth."

BMRB apologised for any offence caused and agreed that the remark was unsuitable
for broadcast at that time of day. It said it had spoken to the presenter regarding the future selection process of material for the show.
GCap, BMRB’s parent company said it believed that the presenter was simply making light of a story he had read about in the press. However, it appreciated that
some of the detail was “not altogether appropriate”, given the time of day, and apologised for any offence caused.

Next up, Kerrang! radio managed a misjudgement of Partidge-like proportions:

A listener objected to a promotion which said that Kerrang! was “about as welcome as a tourettes sufferer at an auction”. He considered this ridiculed a serious neurological condition.

Kerrang! said that it had withdrawn the promotion and apologised to the complainant as soon as it became aware of the complaint. The promotion was intended to be humorous not offensive, but the station recognised that it had misjudged this.

And finally, Virgin Radio found itself in hot water when it promised huge tellys as prizes, only to offer nineteen inch sets instead:

In an hourly competition, listeners were invited to identify various American cities. On separate occasions, the prize was described, variously as a “great big telly”, “enormous” and “these are not just piddly little ones, these are enormous”. A winner complained that the prize had been described inaccurately on air, since what she received was a 19” LCD television.

Virgin Radio said that it had originally intended to give away wide-screen televisions. However, on the day of the competition, its sponsorship team had discovered that the televisions were to have standard format screens and so the briefing document for the presenters was amended to reflect the changes. The broadcaster acknowledged that three of the descriptions it broadcast were inaccurate and apologised for its mistake, confirming that it was in the process of contacting all winners to inform them that they would now receive 32” wide screen sets.

Mind you, we've seen what Virgin consider an enormous audience. It's all about where you stand, is it?

In all three cases, the swift actions of the broadcaster led to Ofcom considering the complaints resolved.


There's sound business sense behind Franz Ferdinand registering their trademark in a bid to avoid bootleggers, but even so... it does feel a long way from art happenings in warehouses.

Apparently they've even included underwear in the trademark application. The Kapranos knickers cannot be far away.


The IFPI, the RIAA's worldwide client organistation, has rushed up to the microphone to announce a further chipping away at "illegal file-sharing" by launching another smattering of expensive lawsuits.

This time, it's 2,000 cases spread across 10 countries:

Among the countries targeted was Portugal, where sales of physical formats like CDs have slumped by 40 percent in the past four years amid heavy file-sharing usage, especially by college students.

Other users targeted for legal action included a Finnish lumberjack, a British postman, a Czech IT manager and a German judge, the IFPI said.

Hang about a moment... wasn't the family of the British postman financially ruined by the BPI back in January? How fresh is this "fresh wave", exactly?

The IFPI is desperate to try and steer attention away from the sorts of cases where they bring legal action against preteens or dead old ladies:

A large number of cases involve men aged between 20 and 35 and parents who have not heeded successive education and warning campaigns about the legal risks of allowing p2p file-sharing in the home.

Yes, the IFPI isn't going to leave itself open to the claims that it's pursuing kids. No, it'll demand ridiculous sums of money from their parents, instead, using the threat of dragging their children to court if they don't pay up.

Of course, it's meant to be educative, remember, otherwise this would merely be a very expensive and clumsy way of burning through record company cash - cash that could otherwise be spent on developing artist's careers:

Of those people who are stopping or cutting back [downloading], many cited the legal consequences of their actions as a major worry. This fear was common across most of Europe: France (35%), Germany (27%), Sweden (25%) and the UK (20%).

We can only assume that in other countries, its less than one in five who take any notice of the lawsuits - and that's amongst the third who have cut down. So, we make that somewhere like 7% of people whose behaviour has been influenced by these lawsuits. On the IFPI's own figures. And that's not 7% of people stopping, it's 7% stopping or just downloading less, or more carefully.

And yet they keep bringing the lawsuits.

Seriously, we're not just grinding an axe here - clearly, it's a strategy that's failing badly, and we do genuinely want to know why the music industry is wasting so much money on it?


Bloody hell - Tom Jones has had tonnes and tonnes of plastic surgery, and yet he still looks like someone has carved an ammonite out of mahogany. Indeed, he's had so much, he's been warned to stop:

"He advised me against having anything else done," reveals Sir Tom, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mirror.

"I went to see a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills and he said: 'You've got to be careful with your lower eyes.

"He told me: 'Your eyes will be bloody popping.' He said I should try to look as natural as I can."

He also dyes his hair. This... this isn't really very surprising, is it?


Is there no end to the talents of Shayne Ward, who won a singing career on 3-2-1 or something? He's not just a singer, you know: oh no, he can MC. He says.

"I can MC. People don’t know that and it will definitely surprise them. Every time I used to go out on a night out with my mates I used to do it. It was fun."

Well, to be fair, he managed to roll out a karaoke act into a number one, so why shouldn't he fondly picture himself accepting a Mobo?

"I'm not sure what direction I will head towards in the future. It's something I will consider.

"People think I look like the sort of guy who just likes soft stuff - but I like every type of music. The only things I don’t like are heavy metal or heavy rock."

So you don't only like soft music, you like anything that's not heavy? Righto, Shayne.


MinkiAnd to prove it, The Sun has longlens photos of him talking to a girl in South Africa, in Africa. Apparently she's a model called Minki van der Westhuizen (and let's get the Pink Panther jokes out the way now, shall we? Yes, I said minki) who used to date Graeme Smith, a cricketer of some sort. This is enough for the Sun to judge her:

Watch out though, Robbie, I fear Minki may be fame hungry like your ex GERI HALLIWELL.

The difference being, of course, that Minki actually has a career.


Daniella WestbrookOf all the voices piping up with their opinion on Pete Doherty, perhaps the most surprising one is that of Danniella Westbrook, the woman who is known, mostly, for doing so much coke her nose turned into one giant nostril. She doesn't approve:

EX-cocaine addict Danniella Westbrook yesterday slammed rocker Pete Doherty — for glamorising drugs.

Yeah, pisisng your talent away, turning up as mumbling buffoon, ripping your flesh open, debasing yourself for a few quid - Doherty makes it look like Thursday night at the Ritz-Carlton ballroom.

She warned that kids see junkie Pete, 27, as “exciting”.

Do they? Only we've not seen I Love Stars recently, but we'd have thought that Doherty has a limited appeal to kids. You know, a soap star in a family television programme rolling round clubs and parties coked off her tits - that might make coke seem exciting to kids. A stinky old man who makes non-nursery music? Less so.

But what can be done, Danni?

But Danniella, 33, whose habit rotted away her nose, said: “He won’t try and help himself until he decides to — and that can be a very long road.”

Aaah. I see. So, you're saying, that unless he decides to do something about his drug problem, he won't try to do something about it? Thank heavens for your insight.

Monday, April 03, 2006


The announcement of the Reading and Leeds Festival headliners has put a bit of a drag on the NME.COM site, but, if you have time to cool your boots while it loads, you'll discover the three headliners are Franz Ferdinand (Reading Friday; Leeds Saturday), Muse (Reading saturday, Leeds Sunday) and Pearl Jam (Reading Sunday, Leeds Friday) - which at least means you can probably get away with a day pass.

Muse? We like Muse, but we can't help feeling their ascension to headline status is a bit of an over-estimation of their powers. But then we always feel that.

Other bands are due to be announced right now but, erm, the server seems to have totally fallen over.

UPDATE: Drowned In Sound hasn't fallen over. Also on the main stage, then, will be Placebo, My Chemcial Romance, Kaiser Chiefs, Audioslave, Feeder, Arctic Monkeys, The Streets and Yeah Yeah Yeahs; headling the second stage will be Primal Scream, The Raconteurs (or Jack White and his amazing Tin Machine) and Maximo Park; while the bill will also feature Belle & Sebastian, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, The Cribs, The Futureheads and The Subways.

Not the most inspiring bill we've ever seen, but probably enough to fill a couple of afternoons if you pick your way round carefully. Of course, people only go to these festivals now for the bumper cars so it doesn't matter much either way.


... and many other Abba songs. Yes, having surprised us all by announcing he likes the Arctic Monkeys off the internets, he's now come up with the extraordinary announcement that he likes Abba:

“I love ABBA. To listen to those songs, they're incredible. And the way that they sound is even more incredible.

“I never understood the kitsch tag that Abba have. People seem to look at them in an ironic way.”

No they don't, you bucket. Do you really think that people storm onto the dancefloor whenever Dancing Queen comes on because they think they're expressing irony?


The internet - you can't believe a bloody thing on it, can you? There were rumours circulating that NBC had tried to offload Jamie Foxx's Unpredictable music special after discovering that Foxx had operated a kind of reverse colour bar, refusing to work with any white artists.

None of this, it transpires, is true: Foxx insists that he'd have been delighted to have Elton John on his show (a two-box ticker) and Justin Timberlake, who is almost painfully white, but neither could adjust their schedules around to turn up.


Former BeeGee Robin Gibb is sharing his house with a ghost. He lives, it seems, in a converted monastry:

"It was a place where monks would b e trained for their vocation.

"There's even a resident ghost, who mysteriously fills up the water in the old font in the chapel, which we converted into a dining room."

Yeah. That could be a ghost, Robin, but we'd be tempted to call a plumber before we invited in an exorcist.


The lack of any real comment beyond professional shrill Gennaro Castaldo saying the same thing over and over (we suspect lifted from but a single press release) seems to back up our initial feeling that this is kneejerk history rather than a real watershed moment.

We were delighted to discover, though, from The Sun that Gennaro is not a PR man at all. Oh, no: he's a chart boffin.

And it might be he's the only chart boffin in town. Castaldo's astonishingly empty observation that "This is an exciting development and a watershed in charts history, which show that legal downloads have truly arrived. It is HMV Digital's biggest-ever selling download and we're beginning to see this market really start to take off" appears in one form or another not just in The Sun, but also WebUser ; Chocolate Magazine (unattributed); RTE online; NetImperative; Reuters; the Manchester Evening News; Ulster Television; the Daily Mail; Channel 4 News; YahooMusic Launch Dotmusic thing; Australia's ABC; Daily Telegraph; NineMSN... oh, and you get the drift.

We suspect that even when the Pistols were on Today, there was more than one commentator who had an observation.


MJM International make bras, and last week they made two signings for celebrity models.

Helena Christensen was snapped up to prance about in the luxury Ultimo bra range.

And Michelle Heaton was also given a contract. Is the member of perennial runners-up Liberty X also going to be tempting people to buy Ultimo bras?

Nope. George at Asda bras.


News reaches us from across the river that Siobahn Donaghy has got herself on MySpace.

Curiously, there are now as many original Sugababes in Siobahn Donaghy as there are now in the Sugababes.


Here's a fascinating thing: The Darkness are releasing a single, Girlfriend, on May 15th.

In itself, not espeically fascinating. But this is the third single from One Way Ticket To Hell. Now, that is surprising. Can you, without firing up Google, name the other two?


After a long legal struggle to decide on ownership, the adventures of Jerry Garcia's toilet haven't ended yet: it's been stolen from a driveway.

Wonderfully, not only has the toilet been stolen but - yes - police say they have nothing to go on. Life imitates The Two Ronnies closing headlines.

We realise this story appeared in a US paper on Saturday, but... it appears to be genuine


An interesting new music blog launched quietly yesterday: it happens for a reason, in which, every day for the next 365 days, Simon Silverdollar will record his observations on all the music he's heard that day.

We did once consider doing something similar during a holiday once, and even started making notes for what we were going to style A Musical Trip Through The Kingdom, but abandoned the idea at the first comfort stop (a Pizza Express in Aylesbury), so we wish Simon S the best with this idea. We're not sure why he's elected to do it covering a tax year, though.


Oh. Pink is co-editing 3AM this morning - we doubt if she actualy did any of the writing, and probably just turned up for the photo byline, so working just as hard as the normal 3AM girls, then - and... well, in the battle between the smart, sassy Pink we love and the half-formed thoughts of the Try This Pink, it's the latter who wins out.

Not that she's totally wrong:

WOMEN had to fight to get where we are now but if you look at popular culture you'd think we're completely happy in thongs with a stripper's pole between our thighs, and all we care about is the latest pair of shoes.

... but, erm, isn't this the same woman who did the whole pole-dancing thing for the papers last week?


Having lined her up for a chat show, ITV are now showing signs of jitters. Perhaps they've realised that she's a little bit unlikeable.

Paul O'Grady, whose defection sparked the panicked signing, used to have a little dog on the show. People liked that. Can they come up with a cute idea for Sharon like that?

Yes: exactly like that: Sharon Osbourne will have a little dog on the show.

It's not the only idea she's borrowing from Paul, either. Paul used to be known for dressing up unconvincingly as a woman.


Where do the Mirror get their exclusives from? Like this one, today: - News - EXCLUSIVE: LES ADOPTS CHES

Yes, the Mirror has exclusively found out that Les Battersby in Corrie is adopting Chesney, something known only to people who read it in the papers weeks ago and, erm, watched last night's episode of Coronation Street. I can't wait until tomorrow to find out what happens in tonight's episodes.


Whats more tiresome than children in back-to-front baseball caps pretending to be tough? Adults recalling their days as kids in back-to-front baseball caps and still pretending to be hard, that's what. Tony Mortimer out of East 17, for instance:

“Robbie and the other Take That boys would not have lasted five minutes in East 17 — it was that full on we nearly didn’t make it.”

Erm... you didn't make it; your band fell to pieces because one of you got so drugged he forgot you weren't meant to tell the press about it. One you ended up "falling" under his own carwheels after a meal of potatoes. None of you have got any bloody money.

But Tony, the only band member still financially secure, admits they are lucky to be alive. He confessed: “We killed off boy bands. But East 17 almost destroyed me."

You killed off boy bands, did you? What the hell are Westlife, then? Busted? McFly?

Breaking up, though, was hard to do:

“If you walk out of the house everyday and hundreds of people mob you it has a mental effect.

“The day after we split I had nothing to get out of bed for and when I did I got hassle. So I stayed indoors up until only two and a half years ago."

The problem here, surely, is not that you were in a boyband, but that you had nothing in the way of what Denis Healy called a hinterland - you can't really blame anyone that when your job went, you had nothing else in your life: indeed, you were in a sweeter place than most people who get made redundant as you had a bit of cash behind you.

One of the other things that irritates about made band members - they talk like we, the little people, don't know what it's like to lose a job.