Saturday, May 06, 2006


Does nobody actually want to help Madonna? There she is, trying to create photo-ops proving how she and Guy are brilliant together, and all the while family keep popping up to screw things up. Last month, her father-in-law tried to smooth things over with his "well, everyone has rough patches" interview, and now Christopher Ciccone, her brother has also dropped hints that Guy finds it difficult to cope with being Madonna's husband, by smothering him in the faintest of praise:

"I would say Guy has managed to cope," adds Christopher. "They're still together. He's famous himself on a different level and in a different field."

Yes, Madonna is famous as one of the greatest recording artists of the 1980s, and one of the most photographed and talked-about women on the planet, while Guy is famous in his field, as the husband of one of the greatest recording artists of the 1980s, and one of the most photographed and talked-about women on the planet. It's very different indeed.

Like his sister, Christopher apparently flirted with Kabbalah, too:

"She took me to her house and all of the teachers were there and I just listened.

"There are some really good things in it. You have to take it and make it your own, the same as being a Catholic, make it whatever works. But anything that's organised can become very cultish. It got that way for me, so for a long time I sort of stopped.

"With all the celebrities involved, it takes something that's actually kind of cool and really useful and makes it appear foolish, stupid and faddish -- and it's not.

"But when you read about Britney Spears investigating it, it becomes so..."

Good god, things have gotten so crap for Britney she's actually able to cancel out the culty "join us" power of Kabbalah? That's tough.

But there's an idea. Maybe Kevin Federline could draft Guy in to be a human beatbox for his rap music or something?


When angry man Henry Rollins needs to top up his anger - and that can be as often as three or four times a day - where does he turn?

CNN, oddly enough, and Lou Dobbs. Yes, Lou Dobbs:

"Every day at 3 p.m. I will (watch) Lou Dobbs. ... I think he's a straight-shooter. He's the only guy taking a major segment of his one hour a day to talk about immigration, which I think is really important right now. He's always the guy talking about China. I pay attention to him -- I mean, he's not the do-all and end-all of my information-gathering, but he's one guy I always try to tune into."

We've been watching a lot of US News this week, and we're a little puzzled that Rollins thinks you'll only hear about immigration on Dobbs' show - they were even working it into the travel news yesterday on ABC 24/7. The other oddity is that Henry likes to work, he says:

"Heidi will be the first to tell you that I'm pathetic. (Laughs) I just don't have much of a life beyond the work. It's all that really interests me, quite honestly. I'm happy when I'm working and I'm not thinking about myself -- that's when I'm at my best."

You love to work, and yet by three you're sat with a teacake and the remote flicking through CNN? What sort of work ethic is that?

But then, we don't want to make Rollins angry. We wouldn't like him when he's angry. Not as much as he loves himself, anyway:

"I am an angry guy, but I'm not like some dog-kicking, 'Bah humbug!' guy. In my opinion, my anger is good. It's a civic anger."

Civic anger, fuelled by CNN. He must growl every time he sees a petrol pump with three dollar fuel in it.


In what seems like a simple case of flogging anything to get drugs cash, Pete Doherty has sold his mobile. Leaving on the photos and text messages.

From this, we know that Kate apparently sent Pete a text inviting him to live with her.

Apparently. If only there was a friend, or a source, or a buddy to explain what's going on here:

A pal of Doherty said last night: “This is plumbing new depths, even for Pete.

“Selling a phone for the sake of a fix, and risking people getting hold of these details, is just stupid.”

Well, you would have thought that at least you'd delete the stuff first. Unless the messages were part of the deal.


This should make up for the Brits finally stopping giving her Best British Female year in, year out even when she'd made no new records: Annie Lennox is being given the Founders Award by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

It's because they think she's great:

ASCAP president and chairman Marilyn Bergman said: "Annie Lennox is one of the finest musical voices of our time - unlike any other, uncompromising and unpredictable.

"Annie has worn every musical garment possible: Scottish folk singer, jazz singer, punk, rock - changing her image, but never her commitment to originality and excellence."

To be honest, he sounds more like he's describing the mission statement of some mid-Western stationery suppliers rather than a singer - "what did you think of the Lennox gig last night?" "I was struck by her commitment to excellence throughout..."

Friday, May 05, 2006


As the second Eminem marriage runs into the sand, Kim Mathers has made her requests for what she wants in settlement at the end of the 82-day partnership.

Alongside custody of the kid, and the usual stuff, she wants Eminem to settle the utility bills on the house where they lived together. The full bills? But they weren't even together for a full billing cycle. Surely Em's lawyers will fight on that one.


Those who God has brought together, let no man put asunder. Unless, of course, your marriage makes your cheif security guy quit.

Britney Spears had a tough choice to make when her security bloke Richard quit because he was sick of Kevin Federline's behaviour. (This all according to InStyle, apparently.) To win Richard back, Britney has come up with a novel plan - she's hired a minder to watch Fed:

“The last thing Britney wants to do is accompany Kevin on all his club dates, thats why she’s hired a babysitter – a person who will keep Kevin from misbehaving and report directly back to her.”

It's not such an easy job - not only will you have to follow federline about to see what he gets up to (although surely there are tabloids to do that part for her?), but you'd also have to go and see his show night after night after night... how much would you want to do that?


Noel Gallagher has a fear.

It's a common fear amongst men, as they get older.

He's worried about one day waking up and not being hairy any more.

He's scared of going bald:

Clint Boon“It’s a fear of any Mancunian. Our city was built on barnets.

“You can’t really say anybody’s come out of Manchester with a shit haircut.

Oh, no? Have you forgotten your time working with the Inspiral Carpets, Noel?

Specifically, Clint Boon?

Noel then goes on to complain about not appearing in some rich list or other:

“Did you see the rich list? I wasn’t in it for third year running. James Blunt has supposedly got nine million quid.

“Right. He’s only been going a year! I’ve been going 12.

“I’ve spent a lot on sweets but I should have more than nine million quid in the bank.”

Interestingly, this banging on about money and status is described by the Sun's Victoria Newton as being "a hilarious masterclass in how to be a rock star. " Oh, yes. Worrying about your position in some Sunday Times supplement run down of the rich and bragging about how much money you have - very rock and roll. It's like being alive in the times when The Who would end gigs by reading property prices from the local paper to the audience.

And what upsets Noel?

“I hate people moaning about being famous. It sends out the wrong messages to kids.

“Whingeing rock stars are the worst. Being a rock star is the greatest gig ever. It beats being a footballer because you get to do it for longer.”

... and without the need to actually do anything to prove you should be on the pitch, either, eh, Noel?


We were prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt when he had his first car incident. And the second. And even the third. But it's getting hard to find a place to put the denials any more: George Michael is losing his threads.

Why else would he be throwing a big, showy baby shower for Geri Halliwell? It's like when Mike Baldwin forgot which of his children he'd fallen out with, isn't it? Don't you remember, George? You said she only used you for publicity and called on you when she needed something, like a good, fluffy, feel good story to counteract weeks and weeks of negative publi... oh, we get it: it's payback time, isn't it?


Bono, as you know, likes to see himself as the saviour of the poor, the suffering, those whose voices are small and get lost in the wider media and political world. So it's no surprise he's decided to try and help The Independent.

The paper has signed up to his Red initiative, the campaign that is attempting to prove you can be a Western consumer and help the developing world at the same time - for instance, by running up your share of the trillions of consumer debt on a red-coloured American Express card purchasing stuff you don't need, manufactured using finite resources, you're helping the starving in some way.

As part of the deal, Bono gets to edit the paper for a day on May 16th. The Indie will give half its revenue from that day to the Red campaign, and Bono will use the paper as his personal tool.

Which makes sense - after all, people like Bono can't gain access to the media in any other way, can they?

You might wonder if the idea was to maximise awareness rather than increase sales whether it might not have been better to invite, say, editors of papers from Sierra Leone or Sudan to take the helm of the paper for a day, and perhaps direct the half revenue to help support free media in the developing world directly. But then, of course, it wouldn't feature Bono, would it? And, for some reason, it seems everything to do with Africa has to be passed through the hands of that property speculator and Wall Street Investment Fund figure these days.


Good news for hotels in Milton Keynes - Robbie Williams is shifting his date from Wembley to the MK Bowl. There'd been some speculation he'd do this after Bon Jovi and Take That had both been forced to move on account of the FA having managed to mess up the whole new stadium thing, and we use the word "speculation" advisedly - the MK Citizen reported a couple of weeks back that hoteliers, betting on Williams shifting to Buckinghamshire, had hiked prices for the weekend in question.

The good news for Williams fans, of course, is that the Bowl has a bigger capacity than the Stadium (even if Wembley had a roof or whatnot) and so that should mean extra tickets. The good news for the rest of us is that that means there should be fewer Robbie Williams fans on the street those days.


In what might have been a last-ditch attempt to draw attention to their own comeback, Tony Mortimer out of East 17 has launched a limp attack on Take That:

“They are just a trumped-up Village People tribute band. They covered Barry Manilow!”

“Would there be that much interest in Take That if they hadn’t played the Robbie card?”

Well, frankly, yes. In fact, there'd probably have been more if they hadn't, at least round our house.

More to the point, would there have been any interest at all in East 17 if they hadn't had one of their members manage to drive over himself in an argument about the price of potatoes or whatever it was meant to have been?

Still, that suggestion that the That are a band who exist to do little more than work through copies of a famously gay act will really hit home, Tony. Now, could you sign this copy of your version of West End Girls, please?


Having gone off and got married, things have been quiet on the Christina Aguilera front - indeed, we've not had much of an indication of what she plans to do besides her announcement just before Christmas that she intends to become more classy:

"I think the Christina look I had before meeting Jordan is well and truly in my past.

"I've decided on a classier image for the future - more fitting for a married lady."

Indeed. But how does one turn that into a musical statement? The Sun can help us out on that one:

POP beauty Christina Aguilera has rediscovered her raunchy side for her eagerly-anticipated new album.

Back To Basics - set for release this summer - features a track called Still Dirrty.


Thursday, May 04, 2006


Apparently unaware of the old adage "record second album at haste, slope back to the labour exchange to find out if your old job scraping gum off streets is still open at leisure", Razorlight are rushing to finish their new album in time for it to be released in July.

Apparently, if they don't finish work on the record in the next two weeks, they may miss the chance for it to be leaked onto file-sharing networks a full month before it becomes available in the shops; that would come as a severe blow to Johnny Borrell, who has been working for several months on his press-release telling the world how broken hearted that would make him.


Coming back very soon, very, very soon: The Dears. If you have ears, then it's likely you'll have been waiting for the follow-up to the 2004 No Cities Left, and now they've finally finished coming round here to play music for us and gone back to work in a studio. The result, Gang of Losers, is going to be stripped down. So they reckon, anyway:

We are really proud and are very much looking forward to everyone playing the crap out of it. As clichéd as this may sound, it's by far the 'best work we've ever done.'

"But seriously, it doesn't sound like anything else and it's pretty relentless. As (I think) we've mentioned before, it is somewhat of a stripped down, raw affair. There is French horn in 2 songs and saxophone in another. Though there is some mellotron-ny stuff, there are no real violins, violas or cellos. I guess that means that we're no longer 'orchestral'."

We have a lot of time for the Dears, but we're not prepared to tolerate anybody trying to create an adjective from mellotron.


If you have tears, prepare to shed them now - the Red Hot Chili Peppers are said to be "broken-hearted" at the leak of their new album online.

Yes, it seems Stadium Arcadium has - despite all those cunning attempts of the label to stop it - burst out all over the internet, and, rather than keeping quiet, the band have elected to publicise the leak in order to bring everyone's attention to the fact that it's currently up for grabs on file-sharing networks. Publicising it might be odd, but, hey, grief affects people in strange ways, and it's grief they're feeling:

Posting on the band's official website, bassist Flea has revealed that learning of the leak has been a "bitter pill to swallow".

"If you down load it now off one of these file sharing sites you will be getting a pale imitation of the record," he said. "It will be of the poor sound quality of the technique they used to get it on there and that will break my heart, it will break John Frusciante's heart, it will break Anthony Kiedis' heart and it will break the heart of Chad Smith."

I'm filling up already, I don't know about you.

"Yes, we worked for a year and a half to make the epic record of our lives and it is sad to me for the business reasons of course. I think we are selling something really cool and we put all we had into it, 28 songs, 2 hours of the best that we can offer and I think it is a fair deal for everyone.

"For people to just steal a poor sound quality version of it for free because some asshole stole it and put it on the internet is sad to me."

Well, remember, Flea, that the major labels were proven to be price-gouging in America a couple of years back, and the prices for records were already higher in Europe than in the US before they were made to reduce them in the US, so that whole "fair deal for everyone" hope is probably a little stretchy on the east side of the Atlantic. But we understand, it's not that you're upset about the money... it's that poor sound quality, isn't it?

"The thing that really bums me out is we worked so hard, and so thoughtfully, all of us, for so long to make this record sound as warm and full from top to bottom as was possible. We spent day and night for a year making sure every little sound was just right, that they were all put together in the most beautiful way we could.

"I can not put in words how much this record, 'Stadium Arcadium', means to us, how sacred the sound of it is to us, and how many sleepless nights and hardworking days we all had thinking about how to make it be the best sounding thing we could and now, for someone to take it and put it out there with this poor sound quality it is a painful pill for us to swallow."

Flea, mate, you might want to sit down. It might be sacred to you, but as soon as it's out there, it's going to be played on tinny little computer speakers while people update their MySpace profiles with one eye and watch Deal Or No Deal with the other; it's going to be competing with air-conditioning and road noise as people drive along in the car; it's going to dribble out of poorly-balanced radios above the noise of dry cleaners going about their everyday business. The best you can hope for is someone plays it on a nice hi-fi, but even then, they'll take your sacred, balanced sound, turn the bass and treble up and still rummage around for a copy of Maxim to whack off over while it plays.

As James Waterson pointed out to us when he sent us a link for the story: it's not like the iTunes downloads will suddenly be perfect quality just because someone's paying for it, is it?

[Thanks to James - and to Zeinab M who emailed us a link at almost exactly the same time]


Whatever the state George Michael may or mayn't have been in when he had his most recent (noticed) collision with cars, he's not going to wind up in court over it. The Met Police are happy that there's nothing to see here.

He was interviewed under caution about the driving into three parked cars at Highgate happening; they've now closed the case without taking any action.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Chris Martin is a man with a plan - in a decade (when he assumes that Coldplay will be done and dusted) - he's going to study classical music at college.

He might find it a difficult struggle to swap to the classical field - they're much less impressed with faux-emotions up that end of the record shop.

Mind you, he said this during a New York Philharmonic evening dedicated to the music of Speilberg movies, so he's probably thinking Theme From ET rather than, say, The Ring cycle. And it's not like Martin doesn't have a habit of blurting out the first thing that occurs to him his audience might like to hear.


David Bowie is thinking of spending the next twelve months watching Deal or No Deal and - perhaps - trying his hand at crown green bowling. He's fed up with the music industry and is taking a year off:

"I'm fed up with the industry and I've been fed up for quite sometime," the 59-year-old told the New York Metro.

"I'm taking a year off, no touring, no albums. I go for a walk every morning, and I watch a ton of movies. One day, I watched three Woody Allen movies in a row."

Bowie said he had no interest in writing musicals despite reports he is involved in penning the music for a new Broadway production about Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee.

"I might do opera. But I don't have a musical in me, much less a vampire musical," he said.

We wonder what that last comment could possibly mean - surely the Dame wouldn't be taking a pop at Elton John's Lestat, would he?


In his first full-length interview since being convicted of sexually abusing children, Gary Glitter has denied sexually abusing girls. His explanation of what he was up to, though, has shifted from "teaching them English" to "protecting them from ghosts", and he's trying a Michael Jackson-esque distinction between having totally unrelated children in your bed, and abusing them:

When asked if sleeping with an 11-year-old girl was alright, Glitter said: "I'm a father, so from time to time these things happen.

"Your daughter will come into your bed in the night because she's scared or something like that. This happened in this case over here. She was scared of ghosts, so under pressure I said OK."

It's odd, isn't it, that - again, like Jackson - Glitter didn't think "what with the world being convinced I'm some sort of child molester, it might be better to not have these children in my room at all. After all, how would it look?"

We're also far from clear why, if all he was doing was saving the child from nightmares, he felt the need to buy off the family? (Ooh, that's like Jackson again, isn't it? Nothing happened, but, here, have a cheque.)

Of course, Glitter's rush to the Far East - so fast, he forgot to sign the Sex Offender's Register as he was legally ordered to do - might have looked like he was heading off for sex tourism, but that also turns out to have been a terrible misunderstanding:

"I came to Cambodia because I read a book about the Mekong.

"I wanted to see if there was somewhere I could live, I love the sunshine, that's the very reason."

It's odd that it was the sunshine in Cambodia that appealed rather than, say, the sunshine in Florida or Portugal or somewhere else that wasn't fighting a problem with British men coming over and fucking their children.

"The only thing I think about is trying to win the appeal and trying to put some honour and dignity back to my family, my friends and the fans who've supported me all this time."

You see? You might think Glitter's a terrible man, but he's not thinking about himself at all. All he's thinking of is others.

Truly, a figure of our times.


We don't know how much will make it to the screen when it turns up on ITV, but the celeb go-karting thing in Wales sounds less like a charity event, and more like a bid to whittle down the number of stars appearing on the inner-pages of Heat.

Myleene Klass crashed herself badly up on a practice lap - presumably her new breasts made her kart top-heavy - and was dragged off to hospital screeching in agony. (If you heard the second Hear'Say album, you'll know what that sounds like.) Seeing this, Shane from Boyzone suddenly remembered he had an urgent appointment somewhere where his pretty face might not get all mangled up, and walked out. Then Darren Campbell (some sort of runner) drove over the foot of TV autocue-mumbler Debbie King.

The sponsor's spokesperson tried to quash ideas this might have been a bit of a PR disaster:

“Myleene was checked in hospital before being sent home.

“As far as we know she is fine, but bruised and shaken I’m sure.”

That doesn't sound too much like they don't really know or care, does it?


No, no, not as in "cartel fixed" - that's still being investigated - but the record label's attempts to force Apple to abandon a one price fits all model, and to push prices upwards, have failed.

Partly in recognition that access to the seventy-nine squazillion iPods relies on iTunes, the big four have signed up for a new contract punting everything at 79 pence or 99 cents.

Effectively, right now, Apple is walking the music industry on a leash.


Always a man with a short fuse, Ian Brown threatened to live the dream of many TV viewers and slap Steve Jones. Jones was interviewing Brown as part of E4's coverage of the 24 Weekend, and offered to move tables so that Ian could "perform his moves."

For some reason, Ian took offence at this, threatened to hit him and flounced off camera.

It can't be that Ian thinks his dancing is, you know, making him a figure of fun, could it?

Ian, leave it, he's not worth it. Save it for Reggie Yates.


Well, that'll shift the odds on England winning the World Cup: Victoria Beckham is convinced the boys can do it.

Oddly, she's never actually appeared as a pundit on Football Focus:

"I think everybody’s feeling really positive.

"I’m very, very excited about it. I think we can win it."

It turns out all those people who reckon she doesn't like living in Spain are wrong, as well:

"I get frustrated when people say I don’t like it.

"Some people like to take the negative slant but David’s happy, I’m happy.

"We’ve got a great life out there and I’m getting more into the Spanish way of life, the late meals - the whole social thing is great."

So, that's how long they've been on the Iberian peninsular now? Three years? And her main reaction to living in a foreign country is that she gets her tea a bit later in the evening.


You'll recall - mainly because we keep banging on about it - that the RIAA and its constituent four major labels insist they're only doing what they do to protect the artists; that they have to take a strong line, suing people for downloading songs because how else will the musicians get any money? Legal downloads are the way to make sure the people who make the music get paid in full.

Oddly, though, the artists aren't entirely convinced by this. Cheap Trick and the Allman Brothers have filed papers against Sony-BMG claiming the label has been attemting to rip them (and, by implication, other artists) off by unfairly applying physical sale terms to internet downloads.

Aware that the labels used the advent of CDs to help themselves to a larger share of the revenue (even after CD sales overtook vinyl sales, some labels told their musicians that, as it was a "risky new format", they'd have to receive a lower royalty rate as the companies kept back more to cover the cost of pressing, distribution, packaging and so on), artists reps made sure new contracts recognised the lower costs of providing music online, and carved a fairer split.

However, Cheap Trick and the Allmans signed with Sony a long time ago and haven't signed a new contract in the digital era. So, instead of a 50-50 split of the download revenues, they're still being given their cut based on the assumption that each song they sell online incurrs costs for the label of a jewel case, being driven round the country, stored in a warehouse and so on.

They don't think is very fair.

Worryingly for Sony, the bands are hoping to turn this into a class action, which would mean any act signed to Sony prior to the new, iTunes era contacts, could be in for a payday soon.

The other labels might be running a finger round their collars, too.

[Thanks to Donald S for the story]


Although Napster is portraying its new idea as a kind of return to its original values - while, simultaenously, punting it as being a cool new thing - the 'new' music offer is a bit of a puzzle.

Wasn't the whole reason why the RIAA ran the original Napster off the web because they shuddered at the existence of free music being available, because if you give some music away, customers come to assume that all music online would be free? And yet, now the RIAA-approved Napster is saying that by giving music away, that will encourage customers to try its subscription package. Surely both can't be true?

And since the RIAA claims that its main focus to stop people stealing-thieverying of music is aimed at the tech-savvy, heavy-user, aren't they exactly the sort of person who will find it easiest to take the stream of music from the "free" listens and turn it into a perpetual mp3 for their own use?

In effect, what Napster are doing is showcasing the weaknesses of the subscription model anyway - you find a tune you love, you can play it five times then it stops playing. Unless you fork over some cash, of course. (I don't know if business manuals call this the 'heroin-pusher model', but they probably should.)

By giving people a chance to see what it's like to have to constantly feed the meter to keep hold of music they might otherwise have owned forever, Napster thinks its going to get a load of sign-ups and overtake iTunes. The number of people trying to get its songs onto their iPods and failing, losing their Our Tune after a handfull of listens, or merely using AudioHijack or similar to empty the store of groceries before the charges come back suggest this idea might only have been half-thought through.


No Rock spent the last couple of days sat in an airport in Atlanta... I hope you didn't miss us too much...