Saturday, April 22, 2006


According to an interview in this morning's Guardian, Carl Barat never actually kicked Pete out the Libertines:

So how hard was it to kick him out of the band? "I never kicked him out of the band," Barat says wearily. "I said to Pete, 'You're in a state, you're not turning up for things, you're doing terrible things, which we won't go into - don't come to play this gig. You've missed half the tour anyway - don't come and play this gig. I don't think you're well enough.' He went nuts, and he wasn't well enough anyway, so we continued without him and the long and short of it is that afterwards I said, 'Don't come and play with us till you sort yourself out.'

He took that as a massive 'up yours', got angry about it and rather than rectify the problems we were talking about he went and formed a band that would put up with his problems so it wouldn't be an issue... I'd rather your article was not so Libertines-heavy, but of course that's for you to decide."

Barat doesn't want the article to make it sound like he's harping on about the Libertines and Pete.

Interestingly, he didn't seem that concerned about not making his album Waterloo To Anywhere like that.


The always controversial PETA have launched another round of their annual "sexiest vegetartian" competition, and run into hot water straight away by nominating Propagandhi's Chris Hannah.

Hannah has requested to be withdrawn:

Ok, before anybody gets their will-knots all tied up in a triple-knot, NO, we did not nominate ourselves for Peta2’s “World’s Sexiest Vegetarian” contest. We just heard about it ourselves, so calm down and lighten-up.

We’ve kindy requested that they remove our names from the nomination list, mostly since the inclusion of our collective stallion-hood makes the whole thing unfair for all the other people on the list who aren’t blessed with our natural beauty, but remember whiners: if people could just smarten up and not treat animals like living garbage, Peta would go away and not bother you with their “frivolous” campaigns while you stamp your feet and demand your right to be able to gorge yourself on a dead pig’s asshole.

So shut your meat-holes for once and for god’s sake, brush your teeth before you talk to us.

We get the impression that the problem is that they object to animals being treated like pieces of meat, but also to people being treated in a similar manner.


Increasing continental misery from the Eurovision Song Contest, with the Turkish state broadcaster TRT being forced to deny claims that it cancelled planned TV appearances by Cyrpus' entry to this years competition, Annette Artani:

Muhsin Yildirim, Head of the Turkish Eurovision delegation explained to doteurovision, "These false reports are not based on any official information and are completely one-sided." He added, "Our singer, Sibel Tüzün, did visit Cyprus and during that visit it was she who invited Annette Artani to visit Turkey. The arrangements were made by Sibel and we have no information about what she has planned."

See? If it wasn't for Eurovision, we'd all be fighting.


The now, surely, overcrowded festival market shuffles yp to make a little more room as the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival expands into a two day, five stage, ninety act affair.

Battles for headliners have got so fierce now, Tartan Heart are having to go for Embrace to lead things off.

Also playing: Biffy Clyro, Mystery Jets, Martha Wainwright, Morning Runner, Seth Lakeman, King Creosote and Cinematics.

They're calling it the "mini-Glastonbury of the North", which also suggests the inspiration behind many of the new generation of festivals is less a desperate desire to hold a cultural event; more a greedy eyeing of the Clear Channel paydays.

Talking of Embrace, their World Cup anthem is out in the wild now, demonstrating the problem you get when you invite a bunch of moody mumblers in to produce something that's meant to be sung on terraces: you end up with something of a hodge-podge.

We apologise to all hodge-podges reading.

Meanwhile, in a bid to give the song a shelf-life beyond England's early exit from the World Cup, the band have made matters worse by not mentioning football, except in vague terms:

McNamara told BBC News the song featured football references.

He said: "There's 'You lift it up with one proud kiss', which is obviously about lifting the cup.

"Then there's 'You're the first in my life to think we might just go all the way'.

"I wasn't born in 1966 but I think they have got every chance."

Do you see? He's written a song about cumming in someone's mouth, but managed to persuade the FA that it's got something to do with helping England win the World Cup. (Actually, our understanding is that this is the sort of claim that senior members of the FA used to use in the typing pool not so long back.)

Here's just a taste of what a songwriter falling off a tightrope looks like:

You're the first in my life
To make me think
That we might just go all the way
And I want you to know we're all hanging on

They'll come and yes they'll try
To break us down
But we know that we'll never lose
If we keep moving forward and don't look back

Okay, then, someone sort of the old copies of Three Lions again...


Take That's reunion finally kicks off tomorrow night in Newcastle, and Robbie will be with them. Sort of: he's going to appear as a ten foot hologram, every bit as huge as his ego, and every bit as huggable as the real thing.

Meanwhile, talking to Chris Moyles yesterday, Gary Barlow planted the seed of a possibility that the band might release some new material, extending the reunion into a rebirth. If, you know, it all goes well.


Shayne Ward is truly finding his level now - not only has he done the advert with two fluffy puppets for Woolworths, he's also being added to a Madam Tussauds display. Curiously, he's being stuck in the place previously occupied by David and Victoria Beckham:

Says an insider: "This is a real first as no other reality-show winners have been immor talised this way.

"Shayne was the perfect model and is bound to get a lot of attention when he's unveiled in May. David and Victoria have been in Tussauds for years so a little rest won't do them any harm."

He is the perfect model for Tussauds - the singer for people who don't like music in the tourist attraction for people who don't like actually discovering anything new while they're on holiday.

Ward's debut album is currently outselling the rest of the top fifteen put together. But it is a bit of a quiet week.


Yesterday, George Michael insisted nobody would be interested in his odd behaviour if it wasn't for Elton John.

Today, Elton John has screeched "You what?":

He told a friend: "Did I crash George's car? Was I found slumped over the wheel in Hyde Park? No."

The friend said: "Elton has been sober for 14 years and only ever sought to help George.

"He's been there. He's had his problems and accepted responsibility. He never blamed anyone.

"Elton is shocked and very upset he's been dragged into this. He's getting on with his life.

"George needs to start taking responsibility for his own actions and stop blaming everyone else. It's a terrible shame."

It's good to hear that, despite George's accusations, Elton is "getting on with his life" - we had pictured him sat at home, unable even to ring Interflora.


Ah, so it seems that we're no longer meant to be disgusted by the stupid sums of money for which tickets to the Posh and Becks "charity" World Cup Bash are changing hands, in case it gets in our way of standing open-mouthed at how the rich spend their money.

Latest addition to the grotesque burning of cash (in the name of starving children) is a planned duet between James Brown and Robbie Williams, something akin to, say, getting David Attenborough and Michella Strachan to co-present a wildlife programme.

Don't the rich live fabulous lives - and remember, any cash left over will find its way to UNICEF.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Bit of a nasty end to last night's Camden Crawl, with Jamie Reynolds of Klaxons getting beaten up on his way home after their gg at Koko.

Reynolds was attacked in New Cross; 6Music reports that the band have put their dates on hold while he recovers.


Pink Grease have split. A little, anyway, with the departure of Stuart:

"And now, alas, for some sad news. For those unaware of it already it is my sad duty to inform you that our paisley bass-toting rock god Stu has left the band to seek his fortune in the real world. So now we are five! All the parts on the album are his, however. Many a tear has been shed but believe us, Stuart fans, it was the most amicable of splits. His artistic spirit is too wayward and independent to be confined to a mere band, even one such as this. So the rest of the year is dedicated to him and all the good times we've had together. Check out to see what he's been up to since, including an amazing selection of his paintings. We miss you, Stu!"

We can't remember if he was the cute one or not.


He's divorcing; his best man was shot dead. Eminem isn't having a good time of it right now, and reports are that he's not taking it well:

A source close to the rapper says he has "spiralled into a world of hurt" and is not returning friends' calls.

They revealed: "Marshall's been crying for days. He's upset and confused."

To make matters worse, Kim is clearly keen not to be painted as the demon in their second divorce, and has sent an email to Star magazine:

"I would just like to say that the reason my husband has filed for divorce still remains a mystery to me.

"The only thing I can tell you definitely is that Marshall has a problem being honest with me, himself and many others. I have done nothing but try and try with him, but nothing is ever good enough.

She added: "I wanted to seek out counselling, but as everyone around Marshall knows, he's perfect. It's everyone else that's fucked up.

"It's amazing to me how he can talk as much shit about anyone he wants and people buy it, but the minute someone speaks on him, they are automatically lying or trying to make some money off his name."

We're a little surprised she'd managed to forget that after the first marriage. You know, you might forget they leave the seat up or have an allergy to pot plants, but always being right - that's less easy to mentally misplace, surely?


Coming to the UK next month: the reactivated Dinosaur Jr:

All Tomorrow's Parties - May 19
Manchester Academy - 21
Birmingham Academy - 22
Bristol Academy - 23


This is a bit of a strange one: Charlotte Church having a (probably one-sided) row with Pink.

Pink, it seems, said Gavin Henson was "vain", having met him on a chatshow.

Charlotte has swung into action to defend her boyfriend:

"She's desperate for PR, what with her new album. I think she said it because Gav turned down an offer to be in her next video.

"We were stunned because after the show, she posed for pictures with him and gave him loads of her CDs. Why do that if she didn't like him?"

Well, if it was a bunch of unsold copies of Try This, it could be because she hates him.


Mick Jagger makes occasional trips into the acting world, sometimes with great success (Performance) and sometimes, erm, without (Freejack). We wonder which side his cameo in a new ABC sitcom pilot will come down on?

Oh, please. Let's not prejudge.

We hope the programme involves him and a friend doing impressions of Phil Cornwell.


Despite being Trinny and Susannah-less, and well past its prime, the BBC is planning to make a new series of What Not To Wear. The problem, of course, is who will take the role of hectoring couture harridans?

The smart money had been on Jodie and Jemma Kidd (because, of course, Jodie is always so well turned out) but now it seems there's a challenge: Lisa Butcher and Mica Paris.

Yes, we can't think of any reason other than the near-rhyming names.

Apparently Lisa Butcher impressed the producers at a screen test, which can only mean they managed to miss every episode of her static, camera-salting series of Britains Next Top Model.


Putting her hand on the woggle is Shirley Manson, one of a number of female celebs being recuited by the Scottish Girl Guides as a modern role model:

"I could never have imagined when I was a kid that I would become a famous rock star," she said. "Rarity is a currency and gives us value. It's how we choose to spend our currency that defines us."

Amongst the others are Sharleen Spiteri and Daniela Nardini.

We love the idea of Brownies aspiring to be Anna from This Life when they grow up.


The Sunday Times' annual "richest entertainers in the UK under 30" list has just been published, topped off by Vanessa Mae, whose job involves rising out of the sea, swimming pools, etc, wearing a soggy top and playing the fiddle. That brings in some £32million – notably, quite a bit more than violinists who don't combine their music with a wet t-shirt contest.

Beyond that, the top ten is a little odd:

1. Vanessa-Mae - £32m
2. Kiera Chaplin - £30m
3. Guy Berryman - £25m
4. Jon Buckland - £25m
5. Will Champion - £25m
6. Chris Martin - £25m
7. Karen Elson & Jack White - £20m
8. Orlando Bloom - £14m
9. Daniel Radcliffe - £14m
10. Kate Winslet - £12m

We do love that they've listed the four members of Coldplay in alphabetical order, so it appears that the three you've never heard of are just slightly richer than Chris Martin.

Surprising to see Jack White in there, too – the rules state that you have to have been born in, or live in, the UK, and we were under the impression that Jack's main place of residence was Nashville. And that he was born in Detroit. Sure, he might only be in because he's been lumped in with his British wife Karen Elson, but… it seems to be an unappealing fudge.

Oh, but more bemusing still is Kiera Chaplin's place on the list. Her dayjob is running a website for the obscenely rich to be united with their hearts' desires (those that have hearts, of course), which doesn't constitute being an entertainer by any definition we've yet come across.


There shouldn't be any real surprise that Alex James sees his financial future in making stinking cheese. After all, Fat Les didn't do him any harm.

He's actually planning to turn his 200 acre Cotswold farm into a cheese factory. What's that? Yes, he does live in a house, a very big house in the country. And, yes, we do imagine that this cheese idea is an indication that he watches the food he eats in the country. Why do you ask?


George Michael has noticed he's been getting a lot of negative press at the moment - but at least he knows exactly why. No, it's nothing to do with the falling asleep at busy intersections, or smashing parked cars and driving off and hiding.

Oh, no.

It's because of Elton John.

Reigniting the feud with his former pal, he said: “Every artist has a soap opera and people decide where they are in it. The trajectory of my particular soap opera launched from the statement Elton made 18 months ago, when I hadn’t seen him in a year.

“Elton said he thought I was miserable for some reason and I’ve been trying to prove I’m not ever since.”

Michael tells this to Parkinson, a chat show environment so soft and forgiving Charlie Chalk could use it as a play area.

The Hyde Park business? You know, that was down to Tony Bennett:

“I recorded with Tony Bennett the same night. It was my mother’s memorial a day later, so I hadn’t slept well.”

Parkinson, being a trained journalist, somehow forgets to gurgle with dismissive laughter and ask "if you were a little bit tired and just needed a nap, why did you stop your car in the busiest part of London? Why didn't you park properly? How come you'd done something similar a few weeks previously? Had you also been recording with Tony Bennett then?"

It was Tony Bennett, it was Elton John... if Michael ever murders someone, Tom Jones better make sure he's got a watertight alibi.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Yes, we know. But he really has: just a few hours after swerving a prison sentence.

Guess what for?

That's right - setting fire to a Royal Dockyard.

Oh, alright then. Possessing drugs:

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "A 27-year-old man and a 21-year-old man were arrested after a vehicle was stopped in Roman Road, E2, by plain clothed officers who were carrying out a patrol in an unmarked police car.

"They were arrested on suspicion of possessing what was believed to be class A drugs with the intent to supply."

Of course, although the police did arrest them over the drugs, they did stress that for them, the music was the important thing.

[Earlier: Doherty avoids prison time - correct at time of going to press]


Well, that's a surprise, if you like: Babybird are back. Is back:

"Finally the album is going to come out. Hopefully in September if we get our razorblade skates on. Gigs also. Chrysalis are putting it out worldwide, even as far as Barnsley.”

“So here goes, we're holding our noses and mouths and diving into the retro pong the business call music.”



Richard Monroe II (don't worry if missed Richard Monroe I, you'll soon pick up the story) tried to get on stage with Snoop Dogg during a show at the White River Ampitheatre in Seattle. Now, Monroe believed he'd been invited on stage by Snoop as part of an open invitation. Snoop's bodyguards, though, hadn't heard of any such invite - or perhaps had failed to recognise that "comizzle on stizzle everybizzle" meant that.

Anyway, as Monroe attempted to give a friendly hug to Dogg, the bodyguards pulled him off and - he claims - beat him and stomped on him for a rather precise sounding 35 seconds. After which Snoop and the other rappers joined in. Now, Monroe wants $20million in compensation.

Of course, whichever side is in the right here will have plenty of witnesses to back them up.

Snoop's people, Meredith O'Sullivan, doesn't actually deny it, but does suggest that Monroe might want to think again:

"Any person who jumps onstage at a concert has to be interpreted as a security threat and an immediate risk. ... Once breach of security has been made, authorities are forced to take the proper measures."

We guess with Snoop's rep, Monroe was lucky to get out alive.


Having been fired by CBS after describing people having sex in St Patricks Cathedral, New York, Opie and Anthony have been given a second chance. The reason CBS is prepared to risk their return is, it seems, nothing can be as bad as Dave Lee Roth's breakfast show.

CBS hoped Roth would be a fitting replacement for Howard Stern, but battles over formats and Roth's, uh, interesting style behind the microphone made him something less than a hit. Apparently, now Viacom have decided it's all over bar the unseemly haggling about buying him out of his contract.

Back on this side of the Atlantic, Chris Evans' takeover of the drivetime slot on Radio 2 has led to a small smattering of complaints from people who don't like his kind of thing, which in turn has prompted the Daily Mail to cut and paste a bunch of whines from the Radio 2 messageboard:

Another listener complained: "Am I supposed to let it all wash over me and blindly accept it as entertainment?

That's the Daily Mail, then, reporting some message board postings as if it was news.

GENNARO CASTALDO WATCH: Jacko hopes for Crazy Frog magic

When something as ridiculous as Michael Jackson hooking up with the Crazy Frog's producer for his comeback happens, who you gonna call?

HMV's Gennaro Castaldo, of course. He almost has an opinion, too:

'Guy Holmes certainly has the magic touch when it comes to seeing an opportunity in the music industry. If anyone can help Michael turn it around, it could well be him.'

Even by Castaldo's standards of vague, non-commital, open-ended statements, this could well be a classic.

Of course, having already worked with a creature designed to appeal solely to children despite its horrible face and unattractive noises, which had to go to extraordinary lengths to stop its curiously stunted penis from appearing all over the television, it could well be argued that Holmes is merely attempting to replicate his previous success.


Because constantly typing "Pete was told to try and be good this time" quickly gets dull, even for the dedicated sorts at BBC News Online, they came up with a fresh angle for coverage of today's narrow escape for Doherty: watching the fans instead. Or not just the fans:

In the public gallery, the bemused family of another defendant due to appear sat watching the man the tabloids call "Potty Pete" up close.

If they were expecting a wild monster, they would have been disappointed to get a quiet and self-contained young man.

Normally, of course, drug addicts have a range of outbuildings.

The Doh-eyed ones had much to exercise them:

Fan Michaela Connett, 18, from Barnet, north London, who managed to grab one of the remaining seats along with a friend said: "Pete's so softly spoken. He's so sweet. I've never been in a court before, so this is all new for me."

With the threat of jail hanging over him, fans were left to wonder what was in the brown bag he had with him.

Fan Faye Angeletta said afterwards: "We hadn't seen him at court with a bag before so we wondered if he thought he was going to jail."

Students Faye Caldwell and Christopher Youens are fans
"The thing with Pete is, he doesn't act like a superstar. He's really clumsy so he dropped the bag and everything fell out."

See? Mariah Carey wouldn't drop her bag. It's nice that selling a few copies of an album hasn't changed Pete Doherty into the kind of person who is capable of carrying a bag. We might go into town tonight and drop our shopping to show that we, too, are down with the street.

Some might suggest that the most ardent of Pete's followers have trouble adjusting their vision to see the world as others do. Some might be right:

Rebecca Bourke said: "You can see Pete is getting better. He looks much healthier."


Compare the shade of his skin with the guy on his way to a Victor Meldrew convention over his shoulder. That is healthy? If his face was any greyer, he'd be in danger from people trying to pull bits off to hold glass in place. We don't know what Ms Bourke's career plans are, but let's hope they're not of a medical nature.

Don't take away the idea that the fans have got up at four in the morning and plodded up to London to see Doherty arrive at court because they're, you know, celebrity-obsessed Heat types. For them, it's all about the music:

Faye Angeletta [said] "We respect him for his music and not his drug taking.

"Everyone thinks Babyshambles' fans are all drug takers but our common interest is Pete, not drugs."

Student Faye Caldwell, 20, said: "I've been to a lot of Pete's gigs but this is the first time I've been to court for him.

"The fans aren't bothered about the tabloid stories about him and Kate Moss, or whatever.

"The music is all that matters."

Although if the music, and not his tabloid fame as a drug-addled Moss-poker is what's important, why are you outside the court watching him turn up to answer charges about his drug taking, rather than staying at home to listen to the album?

More to the point, if you don't think that thespecialpeteyoulove has anything to do with the coke-honking Moss-bonker, do you skip over the tracks on Down In Albion which are clearly written by that person? (Which would be, erm, all of them.)


Probably not planning on a trip to Mamma Mia, or anything else that smacks of fun is Henry Rollins, who still wears his disgruntlement like a cardigan:

"I'm an angry man. I don't kick dogs or hit kids, but I'm pissed, so that will come through the music.

Basically, if I was in the studio today and I wrote some songs by sundown it'd be an angry batch of music.

And if it wasn't angry I'd get a new band to make sure they got that feeling across for me."

Oh, yes. Sack your band because they're not angry. Actually, you could just put them on notice - that'd piss them off...


1980s variety entertainer Madonna is going to descend to stage on a giant cross because that's just how shocking she is.

And it is shocking, too:

The crucifix will be made of diamonds and Swarovski crystals and has reportedly cost £5.7million.

Now, that's a shocking, shocking waste of money. Do you know, we could have sworn that Madonna took part in some sort of event about making poverty history or something, and yet here she is spending millions on a stunt, and pouring cash into the self-same diamond industry which is one of the key causes of poverty and war in Africa.


In a bid to take the merely upsetting and turn it into something grossly insulting, Tom Hanks is plotting to make Mamma Mia into a movie.

Yes, a film based on the stage play based on the songs based upon the doomed romance of Abba.

Apart from making We Will Rock You - The Movie an inevitablity, it's not going to be as good as Muriel's Wedding. You're terrible, Hanks.


Poor old We Are Scientists: they went out to entertain the world, and ended up without any shoes. Keith Murray explains:

"I think everyone would be interested to hear and report that multiple pairs of shoes were wrenched from my body while I crowd surfed over the course of the tour."

Oddly, nobody wanted his socks.

We Are ScientistsTheir album is very nice indeed.


Pete Doherty won't be going back to prison just yet: he's been put on a two year supervision order and 18 months drug rehab (that'll work this time, then) by Judge James McIvor on his latest batch of drug possession charges.


NBC6 in South Florida is reporting that Key West police are investigating allegations that Nick Carter and a friend sexually assaulted a woman during a house visit:

Key West Police Chief Bill Mauldin spoke with NBC 6 on the phone and confirmed a police report was filed in Wisconsin.

"We're looking into a sexual battery, which allegedly occurred at a home here in Key West while she was visiting here, visiting Mr. Carter and one of his associates," Mauldin said. "She was accompanied by a relative who came here as well."

Maudlin stressed that nobody has been charged and nobody arrested; these are still being treated as allegations to investigate rather than a crime committed.

Carter's lawyer has issued a firm denial:

"Any allegation of sexual assault by Mr Carter is absolutely not true. He (Carter) vehemently denies this."


Cheerfully admitting some of his songs are about styrofoam (no, really), Daniel Powter (the man it's fair, but cruel, to call Canada's James Blunt) then goes on to claim:

"I got signed more or less after we made the record, so I think if I had that in the beginning, I probably would've sang about my rims."

Well, it's true that they can be very enjoyable, but there are some thing are that best left in the bedroom, don't you think?


Remember Rebecca Loos?


Well, for those of you who have a long memory, she apparently tried to tap off with Damon Albarn.

Good lord, lady, he used to live with Justine Frischmann. Why would someone whose taste runs to brilliant, sassy women like that be interested in a bunk up with you?

No, no we don't have Brett Anderson's phone number. Why do you ask?


There's just been an interesting piece on Today: the recent changes to the licensing laws (drink long, hard, deep, but if you want to have singing, get a licence) may have moved the BBC into illegal behaviour. Technically, if they have a studio event with people watching, they should be licensed for public performance. Top of the Pops has suddenly gone from knackered old warhorse to dangerous outlaw.


Hey, it's not like we're paranoid conspiracy theorists or anything, but Michael Eavis stood as a New Labour candidate a few years back, didn't he? So could it be that his enthusiastic call for all festivals to introduce photo ID cards is a subtle way of advancing the sense that it's insane to imagine you can have your entitlements without showing a photo ID amongst young people?

Certainly, when hapless gnome secretary Charles 'lock'em up' Clarke is trying to persuade the nation that it's fun to live under wartime conditions and a permanent injunction to prove who you are, it'll help him to be able to point at Glasto, Bestival, Creamfields and say "people think nothing strange about being stopped at a checkpoint to show their papers on the way to see Primal Scream, so why should anyone object to this scheme?"

The effectiveness of ID cards in their stated aim - stopping terrorism - tends to be oversold. It also seems that the value of the Glasto ID card is overstated in its effectiveness, too:

Michael said: “The main thing is the photograph. They really cannot get passed that one. It hardly costs anything, it’s not expensive at all, but with the photo ID it proves it’s the person on the ticket.”

The ticket ID at Glastonbury was a success, only a handful of people who did not buy tickets from official sources, made it into the festival.

Really? But how do they know? Because if (as was the case) festival-goers found an effective workaround when selling on their tickets, the point here is that the new owners would go in undetected. Everybody at Glastonbury 2005 could have got in using munged ID and touted tickets.

And as with national identity papers, no mention is made of the eroision into liberties - why should you not be able to sell on your ticket for a modest profit if you decide you can't or won't go to an event you've paid £150 for? As well as stopping the gouger, these measures also block legitimate individual sales.

Finally: if their Glastonbury scheme is so brilliant, why haven't Clear Channel rolled it out over their entire festival portfolio?


Ah, so you're Johnny Cash now, are you, Pete? Doherty has come up with the idea of a gig at Pentonville which, the way he's going, might make sense as he'll wind up there anyway.

We know this because of a "pal":

“Pete knows the staff and some inmates from his stays and thinks it will be good for prison morale. He loves the idea of making it into a prison tour and recording the shows.”

Not, of course, that he thinks his run-ins with the law has turned him into some sort of latterday outlaw.

The prisoners have asked if they could get Rachel Stevens instead.


Well, that's us proven wrong, then. We'd assumed that the Sharon Osbourne ITV chat show would be moribund, but it sounds like the pilot was lively. Only because there were dogs everywhere running around out of control:

Sharon, 53, began by introducing Crufts champ Richard Curtis and his “heelwork to music” dog Disco.

But Sharon’s pooch Minnie growled menacingly when she met the Portuguese Fighting Dog.

And when Graham Norton turned up with his “trained” labradoodle Bailey, it leapt all over the sofa — and barked throughout the interview.

ITV - which is more or less lumbered with doing something with Osbourne - is putting on a brave face:

A show insider said the show — also with X Factor winner Shayne Ward — was “typical Sharon ... outrageous and fun”.

With a lot of uncontrolled yapping.


Let's hope the decision by Mandy Moore to evict her own parents isn't the sort of choice which comes back round to bite you at some sort in the future. We understand that pa and ma Moore aren't exactly enfeebled right now, so it's not exactly granny dumping, but it's still an attitude cold enough you could serve vodka out the back of it:

“My parents moved in with me, I’m very close with my family.

“But the time came when I actually had to kick my parents out - because it’s my house!

“So I had to have the awkward talk with them like, ‘I think it’s about time you guys moved back to Florida,’ which is where I grew up.

“Not only did they lose me, they lost my younger brother who was going to live with me as well, and stay in the house.

“They became homeless and empty-nesters at the same time.”

Oh, the hilarity, Mandy. You should have told them not to call, too. Or ran after them as they struggled down your driveway carrying suitcases yelling "why are you crying? Lindsay Lohan got her dad chucked in jail..."

Mandy Moore is unlikely to be able to borrow her parent's car this weekend, and will need a ride to Dairy Queen.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


This person - playing fast and loose with the risk of bird flu - is Laura Imbruglia.

As you might expect with the surname, yes, she is a relation. Sister of Natalie, in fact. And, as you'd expect from that, yes, she's recorded an album all of her own.

Are there any more at home like her?


We're sorry to hear (quite belatedly) that one of our favourite US magazines, Punk Planet, has been having a tricky time of it recently, with its main distributor going down.

It's keeping going, though, helped out by a series of benefit gigs across the US. It's a cause worth a few quid in any of our hats.


The way R Kelly talks about sex brings to mind a playground braggard, whose sole experience would have come from mucking about with girls from the third form.

Which might not be that far from the truth, although that case continues.

"My sex is so good, I have to break it down," he told the audience [at his New York show] during the latter record. Crowd members laughed along with Kelly as he started coming up with different lovemaking scenarios and adding them into his song, such as a session so good all you could do was hum after.

"Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm," he sang to more laughter.

It then gets even, well, odder:

He also previewed an unreleased song called "The Zoo," where he said he wanted to make love like a wild animal.

"It's like 'Jurassic Park,' but I'm your sexasaurus," he sang. "You and me, hopping like two kangaroos. ... You got me locked in your cage of ecstasy, and I don't want to be free. ... I'm your Tarzan, and you're my Jane."

His curiously immature attitude to sex is probably best summed up by the choice of album title for his next collection: Making Babies. The coy euphemism sits awkwardly with the sexasaurus.


Long-term Joni Mitchell engineer Henry Lewy has died.

German-born Lewy entered the music industry as a disc jockey in the 1950s, moving between stations in California and Nevada. He left radio to head to South America - he actually ran away to join a circus - but returned to LA in 1959. His dj experience was of less use in his new career than the engineering skills he'd picked up at the same time, and it was as an engineer that he joined the Electrovox Studios.

His next move was to Liberty Records, where he helped engineer The Chipmunks (presumably a key role here being making sure the tape ran faster than normal). This stain on his name should be set against the other acts he worked with later, including the Mamas and the Papas, Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Neil Young), and Long Ryders.

His most famous role came as engineer for Joni Mitchell - he worked with her on all but her first album - although Mitchell could be snippy about how useful he was, snapping in interview "People assume Henry Lewy, my engineer, was my producer, but it's not true."

Lewy was 79. He died April 8th in Prescott, Arizona.


The woman who is fighting the leaking of the tour bus video featuring Scott Stapp and Kid Rock having sex has had her invasion of privacy claims tossed by the court.

She can refile if she wishes, but she'll have to do it under her own name, not as Jane Doe.

In other words, to sue to protect her anonymity, she'll have to give up that anonymity.


Field Music, The Pipettes, The Black Neon... and many, many more. All for free, thanks to Memphis Industries, who have pulled together a free album of some of their best stuff. It's free. Did we mention that?


He'd not set foot in Salford since before they had the trams (and possibly since they took the last trams out), and as NME's coverage of last night's Mozzer return to the city shows, he was very aware of the passing of time:

Reflecting on his return home, Morrissey introduced himself to the sold-out crowd, simply declaring, "So this is Salford," before later on he quizzed the audience about the locality.

"Does anyone remember the old Salford market with the clock?" He enquired. "No? So there's no one as old as me, that's a blessing."

He also had a go at Radio One:

"Radio 1 have already said they won't play it (the single)," he told the crowd. "Do you know why? Because the head of music at Radio 1 has said: 'Morrissey was born in 1959 and the furthest we go back is 1971'. This does not apply to U2 or Madonna, it's Radio 1's way of saying screw you, but what do we care?"

Radio One pointed out in a slightly hurt way that Colin and Edith had played The Youngest Was the Most Loved - although that's hardly likely to delight Mozzer.

Come to that, why is Morrissey bothered anyway? He's surely not chasing the Chris Moyles demographic anymore, is he?

Perhaps it's the fear that Bono is getting something he can't have:

Responding to a recent poll that had voted the Irish band's song 'One' one of the best lyrics of all time, Morrissey quipped to his audience, "I noticed in the newspapers that in a lyrical competition Bono did better than me. He's really nice, but really?"

The Guardian awarded Morrissey four of its stars, but it could be that Dave Simpson was just in heat:

"New album Ringleader of the Tormentors suggests his new bonhomie has resulted from pop's most famous celibate finally discovering sex. Which makes it a bit curious that he's left the album's sexiest one-liners behind. There isn't even the one about "explosive kegs between my legs", although the cut of his trousers suggests the munitions are ever present. It's left to an audience member to lower the tone. "Get your shirt off," he cries."

Chris Mugan was in Salford for The Independent, and tried to keep his mind on the music:

His long-suffering backing band was still limited by their devotion to rockabilly, yet "The Youngest Was The Most Loved" still hits home as a fantastic single. Furthermore, while Morrissey has often been accused of glamorising violence, this was a compelling tale of a killer's gestation.

At first, the tinny keyboard was little compensation for Ringleader's orchestration. At least guitarist Jesse Tobias added sparkle to sumptuous torch song "To Me You Are A Work Of Art". Then all the band came together to replicate the Middle Eastern prog rock grandeur of "I Will See You In Far Off Places", one guy playing trumpet, accordion and keys in the same number.

We'll have to wait to see what the Weatherfield Gazette made of it all - let's hope they sent Ken Barlow down - but the other local paper, the Manchester Evening News in the figure of Simon Donohue took the opportunity for some punning:

Ringleader of the Tormentors? Ringleader of the Tour Mentors, more like.

Good lord.

To see the trousers Dave Simpson was so taken with, Eyes Open Music, Bob Rose's photoblog, has some shots of the man in action.

Lots of reaction over on Morrissey Solo. Auntie Edith has what sounds like it could have been a dinner party set-up from hell:

Two rows in front of Paul Morley, but one row behind Marc Riley.

But there are grumbles, of course. Although not about Mozzer:

two selfish twats (a girlfriend and boyfriend stood at the front on the left if you're reading this, he was the one chanting MORRISSEY when Moz was actually trying to speak - you know the one I mean), barging through from wherever their seats actually were, to go and stand at the front, flailing their arms in everyone's faces, getting on the nerves of people who actually managed to get decent seats in the first place.

But generally, the reviews there are brief but positive. It falls to anonymous to give a broader report:

The audience reaction was well short of hysterical - as I've noted in reviews of previous recent shows, it was really quite a mild-mannered response. A lot of people around me didn't seem particularly arsed, and I wonder if the somewhat unphysical nature of the backing isn't part of the reason for that. One doesn't feel completely seized by the music. On the other hand, the man himself sang great, and I feel more and more that the correct approach to Moz is 'a la Sinatra' ... i.e., musically things might not be groundbreaking, but above all it is about THE VOICE.

So, pretty much everything as you'd expect as Morrissey starts his UK tour.

The setlist in full:

First Of The Gang To Die
Still Ill
You Have Killed Me
I Just Want To See The Boy Happy
The Youngest Was The Most Loved
My Life Is A Succession Of People Saying Goodbye
Reader Meet Author
Girlfriend In A Coma
To Me You Are A Work Of Art
I Will See You In Far Off Places
At Last I Am Born
Let Me Kiss You
Trouble Loves Me
A Song From Under The Floorboards
How Soon Is Now
Life Is A Pigsty
Irish Blood, English Heart


It's being touted as his first new material since 2001 (that's not counting, of course, his 9/11 and Katrina benefit singles, due any day now) so naturally everyone is thrilled to hear that Michael Jackson is hard at work making a new album for vanity label Two Seals:

"I'm enjoying being back in the studio making music," Jackson said in a statement and added that he was "incredibly excited" about the new album.

Jackson hasn't made an album since 2001, and hasn't made a decent one since 1983.


Whatever you may think of him - idiot, chump, fool, twit, goosehead, moron, halfwit, tramble, thicky mcthickoid, that sort of thing - there's no doubting that Kevin Federline is a man of his word. he insists he's staying married to Britney for the cash. Sorry, for the long haul:

"I ain't gettin' no divorce. Fuck that! I don't believe in that shit. Once you get married, you're in it for the fight."

Luckily, of course, Kevin's standards don't apply if you don't actually get married, so he does happily believe in dumping your pregnant fiancee for a better deal.


Pink was, quite justifiably, proud of having turned down the chance to appear at Prince William's birthday party, on account of Wills enjoying hunting. Oddly, though, she's happy to do The Prince's Trust bash, despite Charles being the man who introduced William to the joys of blasting cute creatures in the first place. (You might remember the pictures of him rubbing deer blood over William's face.)

Apparently, this is different because the Princes Trust does so much good work. Like, ahem, getting its gig onto ITV. So it's less about how many animals they blast, as how many records they can help sell.


When we left Whitney she was wearing a huge diaper and peering through spyholes. At least, according to Tina "sister-in-law of Bobby" Brown.

Now she's back telling us that Houston has gone into rehab. Although nobody seems sure:

According to Tina, Whitney's husband Bobby Brown was not told she was having treatment when he returned home from tour in Georgia.

Tina said: "At first he thought she was just off on another drug binge.

"It took a few days to find out from Whitney's family that they had talked her into rehab.

"All Bobby told me is that she is in treatment, in a secluded place."

So, then, she decided against doing the ever-popular Blaine-style rehab in a glass box in the middle of a public place, then.

It is a full year since Whitney last did rehab, and that was a success, wasn't it?


The trouble with anyone trying to suggest that cannabis has ruined George Michael's creativity is that, judging by quite a long line of duff material, you'd have to suggest he's been walking round in this fug since about, ooh, Last Christmas or so. As in the song, not ecember 2005. But the story seems to have been set in stone, that Michael churns out clunkers because of the dope, and the equally likely possibility - that he's chosen to self-mdeicate himself away from a world that doesn't really need him any more.

The trouble of making the former line stick is shown by this morning's Mirror exclusive, which starts off convincingly enough:

GEORGE Michael's career has gone up in smoke because he would rather puff joints than record new songs, a former musician pal claimed yesterday.

And who is this "former musician pal" (it's not clear, by the way, if it's a friend who has left the music industry, or a musician who no longer hangs out with George.)

Toby Bourke.

Of course you do - he duetted with George.

Waltz Away, the 1997 single?

Nope, us neither.

But to fit the storyline, this has to be part of George Michael's golden age:

Toby, who recorded with George when the ex-Wham! star was in his heyday in the mid 1990s, said it was clear even back then that the singer had a serious drug problem.

The mid 90s were George's heyday? We're curious as to what criteria you'd use to measure that by, but let's assume that it really was the case - the Mirror also wants us to believe that Michael had his "serious drug problem" back then. And yet it's this drug problem which has killed his creativity. Delivering a heyday and wrecking a career, eh?

"He was stoned all the time. It was pretty much a haze of dope the whole way through the recording sessions.

"He would smoke skunk joints in the studio when we were meant to be working. He was easily getting through 20 joints a day. The joints were in a Marlboro box and had been rolled by one of George's lackies. He would smoke one, take a break, then spark another one up.

"I remember how smelly and pungent it was when he was smoking them. But nobody was allowed to complain."

Not only is George Michael thinly connected to reality, but he's smelly as well, then?

But it gets worse:

The singer also became obsessed with feng shui - the ancient oriental art of arranging items in a room to allow the flow of "positive energy." Toby said: "George had a big thing for feng shui for a while. It was as though he thought that V would solve all of his problems, which was ridiculous.

"I hadn't heard a dickie bird from anyone on George's label for two months, then the manager rang out of the blue and sounded really excited. I was hoping he was going to say that George was ready to get back in the studio. But instead he told me things would soon start going again - because they had feng shui'd the office."

Well, at least there was a possibility that Michael has a defence for his car-pranging accidents here: he wasn't smashing up those vehicles, he was merely moving them so their positive qi would flow down the centre of Kensington.

So, what is the Mirror's exclusive story actually boiled down? Some guy who got dropped from a record contract with Michael a decade ago saw him smoke dope and re-arrange his sofa a little too much. And, of course, Toby's only coming forward now because he wants George to get help:

"It was a good experience to be a part of a big hit single. But at the same time it was heartbreaking to see someone as talented as George in such a state.

"And it is even more heartbreaking to see how much worse he has got in recent years. I fear he's putting his life at risk. He needs to get professional help before it is too late."

But... hang about... he was meant to have a serious drug problem back in 1997 which, according to your story, left him incapable of working. So in what way has it "got worse" in recent years?

Toby said: "I don't think you'll see much more work from him. He is basically lazy - and it is all the cannabis he's smoked that has made him like that."

Toby doesn't appear to have had any contact with George Michael since 1999, so it's not like he's basing this purely on stuff he's read in the paper.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


On the day that Jack White's Coke ad appears, news that Franz Ferdinand have turned down a fifty million dollar ad campaign:

The Scotsman report the band would not reveal the company who has offered the contract but stated “It wasn't... Coca Cola or anything like that. It was just a thing that needed some music associated with it. We just had to say no because of the gut reaction. It wasn't because we didn't want to sell more records. It was just because it didn't feel right”.

So, it wasn't Coke "or anything like that" - so what could it have been? That sort of cash makes us wonder if it had been a World Cup type theme-tune or, more likely, a car ad; certainly, we have to be talking about the US market here as it's hard to think of a product which would persuade nearly every UK household to purchase a Franz Ferdinand album.

Unless the advert was "playing Walk Away will save you from bird flu."

We had hoped to get a comment from Moby on this one, but he's still stuggling with the concept of "turning down" an advert.

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Mummys and the Middle East

Motherhood, Louise Wener told readers of G2, better than playing at Brixton Academy. There's something telling about the career of an indie starlet that their highest onstage high comes at a smaller venue than the traditional Wembley or Shea Stadium. It was a lovely piece - written partially in response to Lionel Shriver's depiction of motherhood as being akin to self-removal from the human race, but also standing as useful corrective to the other current popular view of maternity: that it's something you can do, providing you start work straight away to get your figure back. She's doing well as an author, of course, so this wasn't quite a "don't worry whatever happened to..., I'm fine" piece, but it certainly looked that way.

But good god, we'd imagine that not only must motherhood be better than playing Brixton, it must have wrapped up in itself its own blessing that you no longer have to traipse round semi-converted Victorian theatres in the provinces.

The music industry, you'll have gathered, is a nasty place. But it's not the nastiest thing imaginable, as Unknown To Anyone One (UTN1, I'm very much afraid) could probably attest. They're a boyband from Iraq; they're having their career underwritten by an American millionaire who was probably hoping to make a large pile of cash but probably has just bought himself into a doomed commitment that can only cause pain and misery, which might be poetic in so many ways. At least singer Hamid Ali feels he's prepared:

"I don't think the music business can be any worse than Saddam Hussein, that's for sure."

Their manager is trying to get them a gig at the White House for the fourth of july.

More middle-east politics in this week's NME, where coverstar Bobby Gillespie is given a gentle grilling over his actions at last year's Glastonbury - he changed a Make Poverty History banner into a Make Isreal History one; and was perceived by some to be giving Nazi salutes. It provides an opening for some searching questions - "aren't you worried it all adds up to you looking like an anti-Semite" (Bobby: "Because you oppose one country's government's policies doesn't mean you hate all the people from that country") and "don't you support Hamas?"

It's frustrating that the first time NME's come close to placing music into some sort of actual geopolitical context (beyond the Mr. Benn Live8/Chris Martin version, of course) had to be with Gillespie right at the time he's swinging back to playing the musical version of the Stellar Street Jagger. So Gillespie's response isn't debate, it's closue:

"No, I support Celtic. I'm not here to talk about the politics of the Middle East. This is NME and you're asking me if I support Hamas! You don't ask Ian Brown that, or the guy from the Arctic Monkeys."

Which is true - although Ian Brown didn't alter a MPH poster to convey what was obviously meant as inflammatory, if not defamatory, attack on a nation; and it's not clear where Gillespie thinks would be an appropriate forum for him to be asked these questions - is he waiting for David Dimbleby to invite him to Question Time?

If Gillespie was that bothered about the fate of the Palestinains, surely his biggest interview of the year should be just the place to talk about it? Instead, he baulks, and the conversation returns to years-old rumours about not playing Top of the Pops because they'd have had to fly into Luton and so on. As with the band's music, every time Gillespie looks like he's going to get interesting and threatens to take us some place, he gives up and falls back on the rock and roll cliche.

The NME, meanwhile, seems to have reacted badly to the last set of circulation figures which suggested that Kerrang is about to overtake it for the world's biggest selling rock weekly title. Again. This week's issue comes with a three-feet tall poster of Fall Out Boy; next week's (or tomorrow's, more accurately) has got a My Chemical Romance poster in it. In a futher bid to tempt Kerrannnng readers over the NME, they're going to axe the column where people advertise for girlfriends, as that would seem to just be rubbing it in.

gnarls barkley - st elsewhere - "a song that appears to be about having sex with someone while they die of an overdose", 8
jody wildgoose - afterlife - "needs to cut down on the music theory", 6
nick rhodes and john taylor present only after dark - "the battle against the Stereophonics of this world"

totw - dirty pretty things - bang bang you're dead - "200 seconds of pure troubadour swagger"
goodbooks - walk with me - "blur reinterpreting Grandmaster Flash"
giant drag - this isn't it - "a scuzzy ball of unrequited love"

patrick wolf - bloomsbury theatre - "he's been able to develop in the hinterlands"
hope of the states - manchester late room - "lunges for the jugular. And mauls."

And finally, while the NME rocks up to try and shore the bottom line, a threat comes from the other end. Mixmag, in what might be a final signal from the sinking dance music market, has gone indie. The latest issue has got Hard-Fi on the cover.


Tomorrow night, BBC ONE is dedicating a large tranche of airtime to the McCartney's battles against the fur trade, an hour of positive PR for Macca and Mrs. Mills, depicting him as the concerned, caring figure that he likes to project.

Unfortunately, a little bit of business being done by Heinz and Tivali might spoil his day somewhat. Heinz is the current owner of the Linda McCartney brand, and is talking about selling the first Mrs McCartney's name to Tivali. Trouble is, Tivali is owned by Osem, in turn majority-owned by Nestle.

Nestle has done a pretty good job of buying of people's consciences of late - it bought Anita Roddick's Body Shop. As a company, of course, it's most famous for attracting the ire of baby milk campaigners who attack Nestle for encouraging mothers in developing countries to feed their babies formula instead of breast milk; however, if McCartney has a moment or two between writing letters to stop the fur trade, he might want to consider Nestle beauty company L'Oreal's animal testing record: unlike, say, the Co-Op, L'Oreal refuses to adopt a fixed cut-off date for the ingredients it uses in its products, and instead invents "new" ingredients which then, under EU law, require testing on animals.

Oddly, L'Oreal attempt to argue that restricting itself to the many hudreds of potential ingredients that have already been proven safe to use "is not an effective or practical means to reduce and eliminate animal testing." It's not clear what they'd actually be testing on animals if there were no new products requiring tests, but I suppose at least we can be thanking them for not trying to tell us that the rats actually enjoy being blinded by beauty products, or that - in the wild - rabbits with naturally seek out chemicals to burn their own skin.

Thanks to Jim McCabe for the link - and we think it's worth sharing what he said:

at first sight this looks like just another business story involving two multinationals. However, one aspect of it which has apparently been overlooked in the reports is the effect it may have on the PR image of Sir Macca. As someone who has gone to great lengths to tell the world about his "ethical" campaigns (vegetarianism, landmines &, most recently, seal-culling in Canada), it seems strange that McCartney's people haven't gone into PR overdrive; the silence is deafening. We're witnessing a pattern here: the ethical unravelling of the Live8 luminaries. Bob 'n' Bono have trousered a few bob for gabbing away to wealthy audiences, & now this unseemly deal for old thumbs-up to explain, or not, as the case may be.

That's the oddest thing - even if his wife's name has been sold to the highest bidder and he's lost control of it, you'd expect McCartney to at least have an opinion.

But then again... how ethical was Linda's range to begin with? There was an incident a few years back when a customer opened one of her pies only to discover it was full of meat; it turned out at that point that Ross was making the Linda McCartney pies on the same production line as their meat ones - in other words, the arch-vegetarian's range was basically making the manufacture of cow pies a much more attractive, cost-effective business by allowing the machinery to be utilised producing premium products when otherwise it would have been sitting idle. Sunsidising the production of cheap meat products, in other words.

Linda McCartney's Ploughman's Pie is the only product we've ever eaten that was so awful we actually rang the customer helpline number on the packet to complain. We can understand the desire to produce a synthetic meat replacement - but why would anyone want to replicate the gristle as well?


Keith Bender, the man shot by D12 member Proof shortly before Prof was shot by Bender's cousin, Mario Etheridge, has died. Bender died early Tuesday morning; Etheridge has been charged with discharging a firearm in a building and carrying a concealed weapon.


Even if it does turn out that Sean Lennon and Julian Lennon release their albums at the same time, is this really the exciting chart battle that the Daily Express believes it to be?

A source tells British newspaper the Daily Express, "The fact that both brothers are finally bringing out new albums is interesting in itself.

"Their release dates will be crucial. It seems Sean's album is further down the line, but this doesn't rule out a battle of the brothers - whether either of them like it or not."

If a chart battle takes place and nobody buys either record, does it happen?


We're not totally convinced this is quite a leak - after all, we can picture an excited executive beating himself off and excitedly enthusing over how viral it is. Yes, Jack White's TM Coke ad is on the internet.

It's the right thing to do
and you know it
It's inside of you
so just show it
love is the truth.

Mmm, so he's not only attempting to sell his talent, but he's also trying to parcel up love and sell it as a product of the Coca-Cola company.

Jack's defence for allowing his ass to be stuffed with gold coin is that he saw this as a great way for getting a message of love out to the world. Because, of course, you can't do that without being a large sum of money.

Presumably he divorced Meg when Michigan State Insurance stopped sponsoring him to tell her he loved her.

Jack tells us "it's the right thing to do".

Greg Crister, author of Fat Land, isn't so sure:

"A joint study by Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital researchers in February 2001 concluded that such excess liquid calories inhibited the ability of older children to compensate at mealtime, leading to caloric imbalance and, in time, obesity."

"One extra soft drink a day gave a child a 60 percent greater chance of
becoming obese. One could even link specific amounts of soda to specific amounts of weight gain. Each daily drink added .18 points to a child's body mass index (BMI). This, the researchers noted, was regardless of what else they ate or how much they exercised.

It's the right thing to do...

[Earlier: White Stripes sued by early producer]


The least-likely sounding of many of the claims of sexual abuse against Michael Jackson - that he lured a boy into his limo and held him for several days, only for the boy to forget this until Jacko was up on the most recent sex charges - have been rejected by a court:

oseph Bartucci accused Mr Jackson of sexually assaulting him in a limousine in 1984, claiming he had repressed the memory of the incident until 2003.

But the action was dismissed last week by US District Judge Eldon Fallon.

"We're pleased with the results," said Mr Jackson's spokesman. "It's time to get on to new and better things."

Mr Bartucci's lawyer said he was "basically shocked" by the ruling.

Yes... shocked. That must be shocking.


On first glance, Cliff Richard's pleas that mechanical copyright be extended from fifty years to lifetime plus seventy years seems to be reasonable:

According to the singer, many musicians born in the 1950s rely on their copyright payments as a pension.

"It seems terribly wrong that 50 years on they lose everything from it."

But then, is the extension of the copyright period really a neat way of creating pension schemes for performers that Cliff claims it is?

If that's the real idea, then what's the point of the "plus seventy years" bit - the argument, of course, would be that this would allow the performer's heirs to also benefit from his work, but why should they? I don't get money as a result of the work my grandad did at the Tamplins Brewery fifty years ago, and I've yet to have it explained to me why children and grandchildren of writers should be treated any differently.

But what of extending the period from its current generous fifty years? Would this not help poor performers in their old age?

Clearly, Cliff, and Macca and the successes don't need the extra help - and removing all our rights to use recordings which copyright holders have had fifty years to exploit to the full to further enrich the already grotesquely rich doesn't seem to be a compelling idea.

Artists who were less successful in the 1950s might make a few quid from the changes, though. But here the key word is "might". It's disingenuous of Cliff to pretend that the people who sang and played on the tracks will be the ones who get the money from this extended copyright - most of these copyrights are held by corporations rather than individual people, and so rather than helping out musician pensioners, Cliff's scheme would wind up swelling private companies bottom lines.

More importantly, if these singers are eking by on a few quid, surely that's because their record weren't selling that well by the 49 years of copyright stage. If they weren't making enough to live on before the copyright would have had its fiftieth anniversary, why would they suddenly find cash rolling after?

If Cliff really cares about making sure old singers don't starve, perhaps he should think about having a word with his chum Tony about improving the basic State Pension. Then all our senior citizens could afford to keep warm and eat well, not just the ones who happened to have a number 32 hit back in 1958.

But we're not rejecting Cliff's calls out of hand:

But Sir Cliff says they should be given the same rights as songwriters, who get royalties for life plus 70 years.

"It seems to me we should ask for parity," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "It doesn't seem just."

Parity. Yes - copyright for everyone and everything should be cut back to fifty years from date of creation. That would be just, it would give everyone ample time to make their money back, and inspire others.

You're right Cliff. Let's push for parity.


The 3Am Girls are applauding Pink for being so clever this morning:

SMART lady, in more ways than one. Pink looks great, but she's so much more than just a pretty face.

When she had a go at showbiz bimbos in her recent Stupid Girls video she showed she's our kind of woman.

Really? Then how come you run acres of fawning coverage about Jessica, Paris et al?


Westlife's reign of tyranny looks set to be extended by another five albums' worth of indistinguishable ballady, with figures of five million each being thrown about as they renegotiate for a new contract.

And they deserve it, of course. Every single penny. Good luck to Mark, Spodo, Shane, Wayne, Tootsie and Hammerzorg, crusher of the Western Rebellion. We can't think of any better way of spending millions of pounds than reproducing the last bloody thousand albums all over again, and again and again, until we all die.


David beckham's contract with Gillette is nearly up, and "rumour" (or at least Victoria Newton) has it that the company are looking to replace the polysexual panglobal icon with, erm, Shayne Ward.

Now, when Beckham says something is "the best a man can get", the phrase suggests that this is the ultimate shaving device, perhaps designed as part of the space race.

If Shayne Ward says "this is the best a man can get", the sentence will take on an instant air of "it'll have to do"; there'll be a ghost "for a couple of quid from Kwik Save" hanging at the end of it.


And not just the closet, either. Courtney wants to move to London, and Mel C's house in the capital is up for sale, so La Love is currently padding about, checking the kitchen door handles work, peering at the carpets and making sure those all-important wardrobes have enough space for the Donald Duck suit.


Apparently in the hope of pulling a Chantelle, ITV have decided to allow people into Celebrity Love Island this time round who aren't actually Celebrities.

Not too different from what they did last time, then, when they had Paul Danan on.

As an indication, here are two people being considered for the new series. One is a "celebrity", one a "non-celebrity". Can you tell which is which?

Keeley Hazell
Amanda Harrington

Well done if you spotted Keeley Hazell, who is a topless model, and as such "famous", while Amanda is merely a bikini model and "not famous." So, at last we've finally managed to boil down where the thin line between fame and obscurity now lies: if people have seen your nipples, you're famous.


Warrne Mitchell is being forced out his own home by Ronan Keating. Sadly, it's not down to Keating turning up like Nicholas Van Whatsisface and throwing his furniture around - what a story that would be. No, it's just Mitchell lives too near Kenwood House:

“It’s just an organised piss-up. We plan to move away over the summer.

“It’s awful. As well as noise from the concerts, there’s some terrible MC making inane comments, disturbing the peace.

“You can’t sit in the garden at all and simply contemplate nature. Our little dog has to hide under the bed.”

The Kenwood House people find it impossible to believe the distant droning of Ronan Keating is anything other than a boon to local property prices:

A Kenwood House spokesman said: “The concerts give huge pleasure to a lot of people, including many residents.”

Although, obviously, it helps if you like Ronan Keating. As by definition, then you'd be very easily pleased indeed.

So, MItchell is thinking of moving. And, as we know, moving is upsetting. It's a great upsetment. People get upset...

Monday, April 17, 2006


Presumably he picked up an "introduce a friend for 25% card" from Dolly Parton, but what on earth persuaded Kenny Rogers to get plastic surgery?

Before, he used to look like Kenny Rogers.

Now, he looks like Michael Douglas auditioning for the role of Colonel Saunders.


Following on from protests at Roger Waters plans to play Tel Aviv, he's had a bit of a rethink and now shifted the gig to Neveh Shalom, nearer the Israeli-West Bank border.

Waters had previously defended his appearance in Israel, despite the whole border wall and driving over protesters and so on because:

"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."

Or, as Reuters paraphrased:

Waters has said that he remains firm in his opposition to the barrier but will not penalise Israeli fans with a boycott.

We can imagine Queen saying pretty much the same thing as they wandered off to play Sun City - after all, why penalise South African fans because of what their government was doing, eh?

The one effective thing Waters could do to persuade the Israeli government to rip down its wall - a wall so offensive that even George Bush realised it wasn't really going to help much ("I think the wall is a is very difficult to develop confidence between the Palestinians and Israel with a wall snaking through the West Bank") - is withholding even tacit support for the wall's existence.

So, it might mean a few Israelis don't get to see an aging rock star for a few more years yet. And, yes, Waters not going won't, in itself, change the government policy. But not going would be much more likely to have a small positive effect than turning up and doing the "hey teacher leave them kids alone" routine.

Today's round of murders in Tel Aviv, with nine killed by a suicide bomber is a sharp reminder of why Waters can't pretend that the Middle East is just another gig. There are too many dead bodies - too many dead, innocent bodies - on both sides of the wall to pretend that it's no different from playing the Birmingham NEC.


How many disgruntled people has Jack White left behind him? The latest gripe to crawl out of the woodwork is Jim Diamond, who co-produced The White Stripes back in 1999.

He reckons he deserves a bigger slice of the cash for helping the band come up with their trademark sound. Jack White, unsurprisingly, doesn't:

"It is a meritless case which will be defended with vigor," said Bert Deixler, the Los-Angeles based attorney representing the White Stripes.

The White Stripes deny that Diamond helped create the band's style. The band said in court documents that they paid him $35 an hour for time at his Ghetto Recorders studio, which he started in 1996.

Which, we can't help thinking, is probably more than Meg got.