Saturday, May 20, 2006


So, here we are again... last year, we were off in Wiltshire and missed a big chunk of Eurovision, but this year... we're not going to miss a single glowing moment.

8.00 - A woman in a golden dress is singing to a big gold ball. Mind that long skirt on those steps, love. Oh, christ, and a big, silver, emotionless man. That'll scare off the few kids who weren't already firmly stuck behind the sofa after the cybermen...

8.04 - Here are this year's hosts, then - a woman with scary hair who probably counts as "sexy" in the host country, and a snarky looking bloke who probably thinks he's quite witty. We're told everyone is "amazing" (apart, presumably, from Belguim's already-beaten entrants). Last year's winner is back to do her stuff. She's not really had much of a year, has she? Maybe they should find a job for Eurovision winners to keep them busy until they have to appear again in the following contest - in the same way that Miss World and convicted tax fraudsters have to do community service for twelve months.

8.08 - The hosts tell us she was "amazing." The word of the year, then, would seem to be amazing.

The voting rules are up on screen - calls, apparently, are charged at EBU rate - that's presumably not used very often, then.

The between songs films are the usual "look at our nation" tourist information film fare.

First contestants are Switzerland - Ulrika Jonson and Mickey from Dr Who... oh, hang on, it's a sextet, also featuring a bloke in a hat, and Cher from her Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves period. They're called Six4One (remember, those numbers are charged at EBU rate) and ponder what could happen if we all give a little. Switzerland's successful policy of remaining neutral in world wars should be extended to song contests.

8.13 - "Digital viewers press their right button... red button..." - Wogan's already pissed.

Moldova: Asenium feat. Natalia Gordienko and Connect-R.

The song is called Loca, and it's being sung by a Britney Spears impersonator - if she was any more similar, she'd be throwing babies on the floor - and the Moldovan S Club 7. We suspect this might be the entire collection of musical professionals the country has to offer. The only-to-be-expected rap bit is delivered by a bloke who comes to the front of the stage on a scooter. A kid's one, not a mod's one.

Overall, it sounds like something you might hear coming from a beach as you say "let's try the next beach along."

8.20 - Israel: Together We Are One by Eddie Butler

Every year, Israel enter a song of peace, love and hope - usually the hope being that nobody will ask what part of Europe Israel is actually in. Eddie is straining at the edges of his white suit; many of his backing singers - and there are hundreds - are bursting out of theirs. Presumably the cleavage show is to try and stop people asking awkward questions about walls and things.

8.22 - Latvia: I Hear Your Heart by Vocal Group Cosmos

"It's acapela" warns Wogan. And so it is. It looks like a counselling centre has pulled together a glee club as one of its activities. Imagine the Kings Singers had decided to try and go after the Boyzone audience.

Bloody hell, they've got a robot - a rubbish robot; all it does is sit up and wave. That explains why it looks like they've got a bloke from IT support in the back row.

One of them had hidden a helium balloon in his pocket for the song. That's quite sweet.

8.25 - Norway: Alvedansen by Christine Guldbrandsen

A blonde woman in her wedding dress ("Buffy the Eurovision Slayer" suggests my wife.) Like all the bands so far, despite being a solo artist she's taken the stage with a bunch of white-clad supporters. No robots, no balloons, and no song; instead she just goes "aaah-iii-aaah-eee-aaah..."

8.30 - Spain: Bloody Mary by Las Ketchup

Bloody hell - Las Ketchup? It's not quite entering Tatu, but this is as close as Spain can come to pulling in their big international hit guns, isn't it? It makes a nice change for a band to appear in something other than white - they're in red, of course; and they've built a dance around, um, some office chairs. At the same time, they've got two modern ballet dancers writhing about, making it a bit like the Brassneck video. A bit. "Look at me, look at me, look at me" is the only discernable lyric. It goes on way too long, but isn't too bad. Not as bad as that novelty hit they had a few years back, anyway, but we can't support them because of that hit.

8.33 - Malta: I Do by Fabrizio Faniello

With a name like that, we're betting he's going to have big teeth and hair.

Hair? Check. Teeth? Check. We didn't guess the goatee beard, though. He looks very clean-cut, though, and it's probably the lack of carnal thoughts which gives him the confidence to carry off trousers that tight. The song, unfortunately, is lost entirely in its own Miaimi Vice style electronic drumbeat, and may never escape.

One his backing dancers looks like daughter of bird-killer Emma B. Surely she's not relocated to Malta?

8.36 - Germany: No No Never by Texas Lightning

Cactuses - oh, god, it's Teutonic Country. Imagine country music sung by emotionless robots. That would be Shania Twain, actually, wouldn't it?

Oh, indeed it is.

With a backing band who look as if they took no persuading to wear the six-gallon hats. In fact, they probably started from the hats and developed their act in that direction.

"I'm never ever gonna not go and pick up the phone" runs the words - what? You're not going to call? Or you'd never not call, which means you'll always call? You're going to be constantly ringing me? Like a stalker?

8.40 - Denmark: Twist of Love by Sidsel Ben Semmane

This sounds promising - surely a Scandanvian singing about a twist of love can only be getting fruity, right?

Wrong. It's Sonia's Copenhagen cousin doing what sounds like a skiffle reworking of the Fat Boys version of The Twist. She's doing Donald Rumsfeld style pointing, too.

Ah... Blogger's gone to sleep now, too. Always a service to rise to the occasion.

A dancer has come from nowhere to push his face round the floor - something Chubby Checker never included in the rules for "it going like this."

8.45 - Russia: Never Let You Go by Dima Bilan

Dima seems to have come hot foot from gym class, where he's spent too long working on heavy lifting and given no attention to his sparrow chest. In a similar fashion, he probably could carry a tune, but doesn't have anything with which to lift one.

Oh god, a scary mime-faced dancer has just crawled out the piano. Dima doesn't look like he knew she was in there, but has made a good hand of ignoring her anyway.

8.48 - FYR Macedona: Ninanajna by Elena Risteska

"Give me what you're waiting for" instructs Elena from within her tiny denim hotpants. But if we're waiting for it, how can we give it to you? Never mind, because it turns out she wants to give it to us anyway. If you try and walk in those shorts, love, we'll all be getting it.

8.52 - "Last year was naval" says Terry, "this year, the legs have it."

Romania: Tornero by Mihai Träistariu

Yet more interpretative dancing, this time by a woman in an Ethel Austin blouse trying to keep up with Mihai's over-frenetic bounce-along. Mihai looks a little like a stage hypnotist.

Oh, now there are some lads in flat caps doing basic dance moves behind him. They're lucky they didn't get him on a normal show, he'd have convinced them they were talking to a beautiful woman and made them kiss a mop.

One of the cap lads is spinning on his head on a podium now - this year, it's like the Rock Steady Crew have taken on the choreography.

Half way already? Bloody hell. Nothing so far has really tickled us.

8.58 - Lady presenter has changed from a horrible yellow into a silver and white bridesmaid's dress; the bloke hasn't changed the stupid look on his face. But to be fair, they don't seem to be doing quite as much plodding two-handed comedy knockabout stuff as usual this year.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Lejla by Hari Mata Hari

Not the Mata Hari, we presume. Ooh, this is quite nice, although perhaps a little bit too close to the sort of "sounds of the Pan Pipes" CDs you hear on constant test loops in garden centres. And Hari does have an unfortunate stance for singing, like a man desperate to poo, but afraid to actually put his bottom on the toilet seat lest he catches something.

He's got a stack of white-dressed supporting singers, too.

9.03 - Terry has made his first comment about how the Balkans will block-vote. That's taken nearly an hour, though, which is the closest this man comes to self-restraint.

Lithuania: We are the winners by LT United

In rather a bold move, the lyric consists of a statement that "we are the winners of Eurovision". Perhaps they wrote that on a flipchart when they were coming up with ideas, and forgot to replace it with a proper song. They do look as if they might have been put together by a Lithuanian Alan Sugar for The Apprentice, and they even have someone singing through a loud hailer, Saira style.

David Yelland comes forward to do a dance.

Nobody wants to point out they're just doing an old Gary Glitter song, though.

It might be mind control, but they're the best so far.

9.06: UK - Teenage Life by Daz Simpson

Our finest hour. This isn't it. Daz has all the charm of a drivetime host on BBC Radio Surrey, and his song is like a poor hybrid of Grocer Jack and Smiley Culture's Schooltime Chronicle. It's debatable if Eurovision is yet ready for a proper rap song, but if it is, then why not give it a proper one, rather than something Tony Hawkes would have baulked at for Morris Minor and the Majors.

And who knew it was possible to dress adults up as schoolgirls and reduce their sex appeal?

"What did you learn at school today/ that's what the teachers used to say" -- eh? Surely that's what parents say; teachers, erm, do the teaching.

Mind you, it seems to have gone down really well.

9.11 Or maybe they were just excited because the home girl was up next.

Greece: Everything by Anna Vissi

Is she using a wind machine, or is that just a natural eddy being caused by her flapping dress-wings? Someone has put a lot of work into sewing the details and sequins onto the outfit. Presumably they were also meant to be writing the song, and ran out of time for that bit.

9.14 Finland: Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi

Hot favourites, but their death metal killalotness has been seriously undermined by Mr Lordi's decision to wear a comedy Finnish flag hat.

Actually, this whole thing looks like a gag dreamed up by Joss Whedon for a throwaway scene in an early season of Angel.

Still, it's the look the kids will be trying for tomorrow.

Mr. Lordi has wings which open out, to allow him to present like a peacock. Presumably the ass-shake will be held in reserve for if they have to do it as winners.

Everyone must vote for them. They simply must.

Wogan asks if it's Roy Wood doing the singing.

9.18: Ukraine - Show Me Your Love by Tina Karol

Ukraine try to pull off a Ruslana by thowing in a lot of traditional cossackyness into this, but Tina is no Ruslana. If you want to make the rock-cossack work, you have to give off a vibe that anyone who crosses your path is going to be enslaved in a land-army of sex demons. Tina's not dressed for dragging whelps across the Urals. Indeed, in that skirt she won't be getting on any horsebacks.

Actually, whatever did happen to Tracy Shaw?

9.22: France - Il Est Temps by Virginie Pouchin

Wogan is obsessed this year by "Greek fisherman's caps."

Oh, there's a proper double bass. A signal from the off that France are, once again, going for serious, sweeping balladgs rather than jolly, bouncy pop. Or plastic-faced death metal, come to that. She tries hard, but Virginie's lost it.

She should, though, try singing some of the Sundays' back catalogue. She'd suit that quite well. And they deserve a few extra points for not padding out the stage with interprative dancers.

9.26: Croatia - Moja ·tikla by Severina

It starts out like Private Lives by Grace Jones, but only for the briefest of moments. Severina looks like Gaynor Faye, and spends a lot of time with her arms outstretched - presumably to lay forever the old lie about European women's armpits.

She's backed up by what might be men in Croatian dress.

Oh, she's ripped her skirt off, although she still looks like she's a little overheated.

9.30 Ireland - Every Song Is A Cry For Love by Brian Kennedy

Every song? What about You Should All Be Murdered? Or I Hate Nerys Hughes?

Brian Kennedy's haircut, though, is a cry for a barber. Ireland apparently feel ready to start winning again, but seems to have forgotten how. You can imagine this dirge was written, then compared with a Johnny Logan song, and even they could see why it didn't quite match up, but were unable to tell what was missing.

If this song is a cry for love, it's going to be a terrible sort of love - the sort of love which ends up with someone locked in a closet.

Kennedy did sing better than any of the other blokes so far, though.

9.34 Sweden - Invincible by Carola

Have the auditions for WonderWoman closed yet? Carola is singing with metal leggings and a six-foot flowing top, which shows she could manage anything the part might demand. The song is a bit by-numbers, but the attention to hair detail might swing the gay vote behind her.

9.37 Turkey - Super Star by A. Sibel Tüzün

Umlauts! Umlauts! Shit tattoos that you can't tell if she's midway through having removed or have just faded really badly! A cony-flesh coloured top that looks like a Madonna knockoff. Can it fail?

Unfortunately, yes, because she sings the title as if she was singing "Suicide" rather than Superstar.

Her dancers try and take away from her poor diction and crappier body art by doing some human pyramid stuff.

9.41 Armenia: Without Your Love - Andre

Ooh, Andre looks right mean, like one of those lads who hangs around the market smoking roll-ups with their hooded tops up because the butcher's laid them off and they're waiting for a job mixing cement for the bloke rebuilding the Civic Centre. You know the sort. He does have his position at the end of the contest going for him, as people will be able to remember his song as they come to vote. On the other hand, people will be able to remember his song as they come to vote, and its so empty, that's not an advantage.

9.46 That's the singing over with, then.

She's back in a short, spangly silver number, but the bloke has traded up, too - he's wearing a gold lame jacket. While we're being "amazing" and voting, we're going to be entertained by Member of the European Parliament Nana Mouskouri.

Is she going to sing? Or just babble on about great everyone has been?

These days, she looks more like Ronnie Barker's impression of her than ever.

"There are no losers" insists Nana, which may comfort Daz Sampson who looks like a loser if we've ever seen one.

The giant heart-shaped egg timer which was meant to control voting time slips back on itself, and everyone looks more than a little bemused as what they should do. We don't know the Greek for "plough on regardless and stop standing like you've got a frozen turd in your buttcheeks", but we imagine that's what the presenters were hearing.

The dramatic shots of the sand running out through the eggtimer during the intermission song are slightly redundant now we know it's not actually the control clock at all.

9.58 "An amazing night" says the bloke-presenter, as the audience countdown the end of voting from, erm, 11.

"What an amazing, amazing night" testifies the she-presenter (now in black, by the way.)

The votes are now going to be counted, apparently, although since its all electronic, we're a little at a loss to why it takes the length of a mini-Olympic opening ceremony musical number (based on Aristophanes, apparently) before we can get to the voting.

10.10 Slovenia start the voting and give maximum marks to Bosnia. That's Terry off on his block voting grumps, then.

This year, they've sped up the process by not making the countries go through all their votes - the first seven marks are just flashed up on screen. Finland are leading after the first few countries - if they win, presumably everyone will enter a death metal song next year.

10.15 Does Terry really believe Latvia give Russia twelve points to stop Putin re-invading them?

Lordi are holding up "We Love You" signs; Daz Sampson has got stuck on seven points for the longest time.

Because Finland don't give any marks to Sweden, rather than saying "oh, there isn't block voting at all", Wogan suggests "Sweden won't like that."

10.20 Terry has at least found another obsession, worrying over how hot it must be for Lordi in all that make-up.

Ireland have given twelve points to Lithuania, suggesting they might be the most suggestable nation in Europe.

Daz has by now managed a mid-table ranking, which means he's done better than Javine. Javine might want to think about what that means for her career.

Finland are running away with it, though. Helsinki next year...

10.30 The Dutch Chris Moyles is delivering their votes live from Weesp, and trying to be a character; it's a race for second. Mind you, he's upsetting Terry Wogan so he's not all bad.

Terry also has the hump about there being 37 countries involved in the voting process. But it gives us the chance to discover that, for example, Stephen Colbert is doing the Polish results.

Fearne Cotton is giving our results. Not her finest hour. But she does make rock hands when she gives 12 to Finland, so we forgive her.

10.40 Israel are still on zero - doubtless this is part of some terrible conspiracy being orchestrated by Iran, rather than because their song sucked.

France have just given Israel four. That leaves Malta on the bottom alone.

"This is not a great scoreboard... you need fifty-fifty vision to see the score" says Wogan, before greeting the arrival of the German results with a snarky "who do you think you are, Lord Haw-Haw?" Mmm, what was that you were saying about countries stuck in years-old patterns, Tel?

Iceland give their maximum to Finland - the only nation to do so because they thought some death metalling demons were a natural Eurovision choice rather than a giant cosmic joke. "I'm only surprised it took them so long to find a troll to enter" said the Icelandic people, as one.

10.50 Daz is slipping down the table quite rapidly - it might be a little too soon for him to send that "in your face" text to Javine; 25 points seemed a solid start but he's not had a single point for about twelve rounds of voting.

Finland have it in the bag - along with their giant mallets and spare horn-cleaner by now; the only question is if the rapidly disintegrating grip on affairs held by the production team can make it through the rest of the show.

10.55 The Finns have done it. Which is lovely, because it's a sign that the contest isn't quite as dull and predictable affair as it could have been. And Hard Rock Hallelujah beats the hell out of Diggi-Loo, Diggi-Lay.

And who doesn't love seeing a man-troll being presented with a bunch of flowers?

60SOBIT: Freddie Garrity

The lead singer of Freddie and the Dreamers, Freddie Garrity, has died at the age of 65.

Born in Manchester in 1940, Garrity was five foot three of nervous energy tucked behind enormous glasses, allowing the band to lay claim to the role as the jesters of the British Invasion and reach an audience on both sides of the Atlantic their contemporaries couldn't manage. While The Beatles stood out on the Ed Sullivan Show, and the Stones caused collywobbles amongst producers, The Dreamers' sense of fun allowed them to slot easily into a tv world still drawing much of its inspiration from variety theatre. Unlike many of the other bands, they'd picked up a lot of their first gigs on the holiday camp and seaside circuit, where entertainment value counted more than the ability to play chords. If it meant they would never be lauded as revolutionaries, the broader, warmer fanbase they built ensured they'd have a paying audience for as long as they chose to play.

Garrity had been a milkman when he joined the Kingfishers, one of a string of skiffle acts he'd been involved in. Apparently it Freddie's dayjob which inspired band leader Ernie Molloy, as he quit the group to become a milkman shortly after. In October 1961, Garrity took control of the band's future direction, making himself titular leader and changing the Kingfishers into Dreamers.

As with many bands forming in the early 60s, The Dreamers found regular, early work in Hamburg. Popping up on a lot TV eventually brought them to the attention of EMI, leading in turn to a first single: a cover of James Ray's If You've Gotta Make A Fool Out of Somebody. That 1963 hit was followed by I'm Telling You Now and You Were Made For Me, all making the top three.

It was 1965's release of I'm Telling You Now which kick-started their American fame, shooting to number one; they never quite managed the trick again, though, and their next-biggest US hit summed up both their appeal, and its limits. Do The Freddie was a borderline-novelty single aimed at trying to turn Garrity's idiosyncratic dance into a phenomenon.

Although Chubby Checker recorded a cover of the song, The Freddie never quite managed to displace The Twist in the popular affection, and with even British interest in the group starting to wane, it never even got a UK release.

The Dreamers made a movie, Seaside Swingers, in a bid to try and keep their star aloft a little longer, but it was clear by now their future wasn't in competing with The Beatles for the teen shilling. Hello, Hello failed to make the chart at all; the last in a long, limping line of flops came in 1969 when Get Around Downtown Girl was released - but by now the original band had split up.

Lester Bangs was horrified into being impressed by the band's spinning of receipts from very little:

"... Freddie and the Dreamers [had] no masterpiece but a plentitude of talentless idiocy and enough persistence to get four albums and one film soundtrack released ... the Dreamers looked as thuggish as Freddie looked dippy ... Freddie and the Dreamers represented a triumph of rock as cretinous swill, and as such should be not only respected, but given their place in history."

Although the original Dreamers were no more, Garrity had quickly seen there was a demand for their music on the cabaret circuit, and pulled together a new band to take their place along crap magicians and meat raffles in provincial halls.

More surprisingly, Garrity also found work as a children's entertainer - turning in three years on kids TV's Little Big Time. A 1974 solo album found the world still largely unwilling to do The Freddie, so he pulled together yet-another Dreamers and returned to the circuit.

Perhaps his most memorable appearance in recent years was his surprise guest appearance in an episode of John Sullivan's underrated divorce sitcom Dear John, when a series of crossed wires saw him stealing the thunder from Kevin Lloyd's more-faded 60s sensation Ricky Fortune.

Garrity had been plagued by ill-health; his troubles originally being brought on by over-work. Trying to get from a gig in Conneticut to one the following night in Nottingham, a series of delays left Garrity stressed and suffering a heart attack. Subsequent medical investigations discovered he had systemic sclerosis secondary to pulmonary hypertension; the diagnosis left him on a regime of twenty tablets a day, while the illness took away a lot of his mobility. Even so, he took this on the chin, seeing it as a opportunity to write his autobiography.

Garrity died on Friday at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor, north Wales. He had been taken ill with cirulatory problems while on holiday with his wife.


In an especially limp edition of 3am today, the girls phone-in an "A to Z" of the Beckham's World Cup party, an event which still nobody much seems to be interested in - if half the invitees can't even been fagged to return the Hello Kitty 'come to my party' notelet, who does ITV expect to turn up to watch the whole farrago on television?

There are a few interesting moments, though - most notably this:

The Prince's Trust and Unicef, the Beckhams' children's charity. will share the proceeds of the charity auction.

It might come as a shock to the United Nations to discover that its sixty-year old children's fund is, actually, the Beckhams'. Still, it'll at least be able to enjoy the benefits of the event, which are certain to help promote international understanding:

Chef Gordon Ramsay plans a feast for the night, serving up English roast chicken and a peanut butter par fait. "Footballers like that sort of food," he insists. "There won't be any fucking French or German food either."

Belligerant nationalism and feating in the name of the starving. But at least they'll be taking steps to make sure that nobody helps fuel conflicts while they're raising money for UNICEF, right?

Guests will be expected to amazing frocks, designer black tie and enough bling to sink a ship.

We're sure they just edited out the "but without using diamonds from Sierra Leone or gold from the DRC."

Anyway, at least they'll be taking steps to try and reduce the harm to the environment. Some people, when they throw a big event, try to make it carbon neutral by planting some trees. And Victoria and David will be doing that:

O IS FOR ORANGE AND LEMON TREES Being flown in from Spain to "reflect her love" of the country. They'll be decorated with twinkling fairy lights as part of the Magical Woodland theme. Flying in trees? That's got to be a first.

Oh. She couldn't have just nipped down to Wyevale and bought some grown in British nurseries, then?

Still, it's going to raise money for charity - probably just about enough to cope with the exacerbation of problems the party itself creates.


We know you'll have been worrying about how much Chris Martin went for in the promises auction: Five grand.

Now, without wanting to stand in the city centre selling Class War, is it just us, or the sort of school where someone will pay five grand to have Martin sing just one song to them probably not the sort of school which really needs that sort of extra support?


There's a flutter of excitement around the news that there's to be some sort ofd ceremony to unveil a sixteen-foot statue of Mariah Carey's legs in New York, apparently honouring her for having the "legs of a goddess". Oddly, though, it all coincides with a press conference in which she'll announce her tour dates - could it really be that Mariah is giving herself an award?


Having managed to shove over the McCartney marriage this week, the press are now trying to make it two-for-zero and trying to finish off the Spears-Federline union as well. Britney has been off nearly-dropping baby Sean (her religion, you'll recall) while Kevin has been continuing to try and talk up his rap music:

Just this week he hesitated when he was asked on an American radio station if Britney is better in bed than his ex, actress SHAR JACKSON.

He didn’t hesitate because the question was inappropriate — but because he just couldn’t make up his mind.

Most husbands would want to be by their wife’s side while she fulfils work commitments in the Big Apple and awaits the birth of their second child in October

But Kev appears to see things very differently.

Yes, but then Kev has often taken a relaxed attitude to pregnant partners - most men would rather be with their partner while she awaited the birth of their child rather than going off and shagging Britney Spears, but as Shar Jackson points out quite frequently, that's not Kevin's way.

Friday, May 19, 2006


We know his former wife was fond of Duran Duran; but what of Prince Charles' musical taste? Sure, there was a time when all you had to do to raise a laugh on a TV show was throw the words "Prince Charles" and "The Three Degrees" out in the same sentence, but since then there might have been photo ops with The Spice Girls and the Princes Trust concerts, but little to suggest that Charles' CD collection was more than a dark, dark hole.

As, indeed, it turns out to be: Charles is a big fan of Leonard Cohen:

Describing Cohen as a wonderful chap, Charles said: "He's remarkable. The orchestration is fantastic and the words, the lyrics and everything. He is a remarkable man and he has this incredibly laid-back, gravelly voice."

Fair enough, Charles - but, please, don't have over for the coronation.


You could almost poke this into our Bitter Men of Rock pigeonhole, but when Neil Tennant announces that reality TV pop groups are just so much piss in the musical well, you should listen because, as well as being the king of cone-hatted pop, he knows what he's talking about:

"We are going through a phase where the term 'pop' is used to mean rubbish. But bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Killers, [and] Franz Ferdinand make pop music. They like to think they are rock but they are pop and all have a sense of fun about what they do and have a great look."

"It annoys me that pop gets clogged up with Pop Idol and reality TV rubbish. SHAYNE WARD has a waxwork in Madame Tussauds - can you believe it?!"

To be honest, I doubt if Ricky Wilson fools himself that he's going to get a call from Kerrang any day soon, but other than that, while Neil talks, you just have to stand there and nod without arguing much. (Come to think of it, that would make you Chris Lowe, wouldn't it?)


Green DayThey've been off on holiday, but now Green Day are back - and working on a super secret project:

"It's been a while since we filled you all in to what's going on in Green Day world. We finished touring at the beginning of the year and have all taken some much needed vacation. We have started to get together and work on a bunch of cool projects. It is a very creative time for us and we look forward to working on them for the next year or so."

We don't know about the other two, but Billie Joe seems to be working on an impression of Craig from Corrie.


When they're not suing other people, record companies fill the time suing each other.

Universal Music have the rights to release the soundtrack to overwrought potboiler The Da Vinci Code. When they heard that Sony BMG had had the temerity to release an album called Music Inspired By Da Vinci, their lawyers swang into action - "they're trading on the name of the film featuring the bloke from Big, and the director of Parenthood, apparently unaware that Da Vinci is the name of an artist and pioneer engineer rather than the name of a book.

Sony insisted it had simply seized a marketing opportunity.

It said Universal's rights were limited to the film's official soundtrack and did not extend to associated promotional material or general religious themes and imagery explored in the book.

Universal, though, smelled a rat:

ome of the tracks featured on Music Inspired by Da Vinci, by composer Jan Kisjes, had titles which had no connection with the artist Leonardo Da Vinci - the supposed inspiration for the work - but featured prominently in the novel.

These included two churches which appear in the book - Eglise St Sulpice and Rosslyn Chapel - and The Story of Sarah, said in the book to have been the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

("and who wasn't", by the way)

Sadly, rather than suggesting that the book was inspired by the book Dan Brown used for his "research" - something Universal could hardly have refuted - the two sides have settled out of court.


The advantage of having bands hooked on smack is at least they either turn up, or they don't. When they're fit and clean again, they just turn up and piss you about.

Last week's Depeche Mode gig in Kansas City, for example. It was all going so well, until, six songs in, Dave Gahan wandered off stage. Martin Gore did a couple more songs, but after fifty minutes, that was that.

Tickets cost seventy-five bucks, by the way.

Oddly, nobody seems quite sure what happened, either:

Gahan suffered "a severe stomach infection," collapsed backstage and was taken to a hospital. However, Mitch Schneider, president of MSO, the band's public relations firm, told the Kansas City Star late Thursday afternoon that Gahan had laryngitis, and that the band canceled Thursday [11th] night's show in Chicago.

Gahan "saw a doctor, who advised him to rest his voice," Schneider said.

Many of the audience report Gahan seemed out of sorts - the songs he managed included two false starts - and there's a sneaking suspiscion that Gore sang just enough to push the concert past a point where refunds were no longer required.


Snow Patrol have their standards. They're quite happy to generate a medium-sized audience simply by releasing songs. Gary Lightbody doesn't like showier ways:

"I'd never do what Preston did. I've never met him but he's said nice things about us. He seems like a really likeable bloke but I just wouldn't do it. I read that the rest of the band weren't that fussed. He was a fan of the show but that makes it easier.

"I hate that type of show, that I'm A Celeb Fire Me Out Of A Cannon type thing."

In a similar way, Snow Patrol have plegded they'd never try and build an audience by releasing entertaining songs with listenable music and jolly choruses. Lightbody says that might be how some other bands work, but it's not the Snow Patrol way.


Gnarls Barkley, the band who made history by, uh, something to do with computers, are planning to come to Britain. July 5th at the Hammersmith Apollo.

They'll still be bloody number one by then, won't they?


It's the 2006 answer to the clash of civilisations: The Kooks and Razorlight have fallen out.

First, Johnny Borrell lauched the war of words:

"I heard their single on the radio the other day and it sounds like fucking Avril Lavigne! If he can live with himself after that production, and if he feels like he has to slag people off to keep up, then I'm sure his nights are long and those moments of doubt are really painful."

"For a start, he models his style on me. And that record is the most horrible thing I've ever heard. It sounds like the band are literally rolling over, sticking their arse in the air and begging Radio 1 to fuck them. So fuck The Kooks. Fuck 'em!"

Blimey. However will the Kooks respond?

By, um, playing a tune:

"This one's for Johnny Borrell," the frontman quipped, before the group launched into their recent single 'Naïve'"

Ooh, that'll show them. Assuming Borrell was listening, which he probably wasn't.


No sooner has Bush pledged to make America's borders more watertight than ever than MIA has been denied entry to the US:

Roger roger do you here me over!!!!
the U.S immigration wont let me in!!!!!
i was mennu work with timber startin this week, but now im doin a Akon "im locked out they wont let me in" im locked out! they wont let me in! Now Im strictly making my album outside the borders!!!! so il see you all one day, for now ill keep reportin from the sidelines
to my people who walk wiv me in the America, dont forget we got the internet! Spread the word! or come get me!!!!!! ill be in my bird flu lab in china! liming and drinkin tiger beer with my pet turtel. I love everyone for the support, now i need it more. ill stay up spread out else where.

Now, since the US haven't yet introduced stricter controls for people entering the US with a large number of exclamation marks, we can only presume the problem is Maya Arulpragasam's connections to proscribed organisations (her father was a Tamil Tiger; many of her cousins are still fighting for Tamil self-determination she told Pitchfork last year.) Not, of course, that you'd expect anyone to take the trouble to explain why.


We weren't actually aware that those bits of kit which let your iPod play through your car radio via the magic of low-power FM were illegal, but they apparently are in Europe. Now, though, the Lib Dems are calling for them to be legalised:

The party's shadow culture secretary Don Foster said it was "ridiculous that 1940s legislation is preventing the iPod generation from enjoying their music using the latest gadgets".

He added: "iTrips can be used in the US without disturbing the airwaves, so [Ofcom] must provide compelling evidence why they can't be used here."

Of course, if you got one of those things that turns your iPod into an FM receiver as well, you could use the iTrip to transmit FM radio through your FM radio.

More airwave disturbance from yesterday: someone had left their marine radio on while listening to Radio One, therbey rebroadcasting The Nation's Favourite to coastguards via their distress channel. Colin and Edith put out a special announcement, and the problem was solved:

A spokesman for the coastguard said the appeal worked and the channel was clear shortly afterwards at 1630 BST.

An "embarrassed" boat owner in a boat yard had left the emergency channel on by mistake, the spokesman said.

Come on, mate, there's no need to be embarrassed. Lots of people listen to Colin and Edith.


Neil Diamond has managed to get himself caught up in some sort of neighbourhood spat, and is suing the widow next door.

Diamond says "he undertook extensive renovations of the apartment and roof "to create a serene environment" for himself."

This is a roof on a New York city centre building, by the way, so the depth of serenity he could achieve is debatable.

Any chances of being able to nip up through the skylight and think pure thoughts, though, were wrecked when the widow Marianne Nestor extended her house upwards. Hence, in come the lawyers:

Diamond's lawsuit, which alleges the work was done without proper permits, says the structure, apparently the base for an air conditioning unit, illegally adds 13 feet to the height to the building. The suit was filed last week and made public Thursday.

Diamond says the value of his apartment has been substantially diminished and the construction has irreparably damaged his enjoyment of his apartment and rooftop. He says money will not compensate for his losses.

However, he'd not turn down a few dollars, we're sure.


The Mystery Jets are coming over all acoustic:

"We are either going to go to the Lake District or Cornwall to record four new acoustic songs.

"It'll be very different to the album. We plan to take a load of instruments and do all the artwork there over several weeks and release it as a document to what we did. We are even thinking of doing a tour of matinee shows in places like Sleazy's in Glasgow."

We're a little surprised to discover that "afternoon" is the acoustic version of "evening", but you live and learn.


For years, the British Army has been defending its use of actual bears to make guardsmen's bearskins on the twin grounds that they can't find an artificial replacement and that they're the sort of people who take part in expeditions dropping depleted uranium on children so it's not like they're that bothered about the sixty or so bears shot to make their hats.

Now, though, Pink is fighting on the bear's behalf, and she's gone to the top.

She's sent a letter to the Queen:

"From what I hear, you’re a modern monarch - I’ve even checked out your website.

"So if you haven’t already, please visit, where you can see for yourself the distressing footage of what happens to these bears in Canada.

"Britain’s reputation as a nation of animal lovers is being tarnished by
these money-grabbing hunters.

"I know that your Army Drummers’ cool leopard-skin aprons are synthetic and that the Royal Horse Artillery has fabulous faux-beaver caps.

"Isn’t it about time that your five Regiments of Foot Guards joined your other ranks by replacing real fur?"

We imagine the Queen will be moved by this letter, and demand to know why she wasn't told the RHA is using fake beavers.


With the news that Kate Moss is "seeing" Russell Brand ringing in his ears, Pete Doherty has pledged to kick drugs and win her back.

No, no, stop laughing. At least give the lad a chance.

He's going to have those implants put in again - because they worked so well last time. At least with the heroin. For a little while, anyway. Or at least, they gave him something to flash to passing photographers in return for a few quid when he needed to do some shopping.


Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman popped up on Chris Moyles' breakfast show yesterday morning to drum up some interest in their new X-Men movie. It, um, didn't go as well as it could have:

Chris was pretending to be James Bond’s double when the spat erupted. He put on an American accent and told Halle and her X-Men co-star Hugh Jackman: “Put your hands up in the air.”

Hugh asked: “Are you a some kind of Brooklyn Bond?”

Moyles replied: “I’m a black American guy. A big fat black guy.

“Put your hands up — I don’t wanna be shooting yo ass.”

But Halle, 39, sniped: “Are we having a racist moment here?”

Moyles, 32, said: “No, no. Not at all. I just can’t do American accents.”

So, apparently, "I'm a big black guy and I'm going to shoot you" might not sound quite so stereotypical if you get the accent right? It doesn't sound as if Moyles was trying to be intentionally offensive, but this does have the feel of one of those radio moments that wouldn't have happened if there'd been a chance to think it through.

On the other hand, Berry making a film called BAPS... well, that was always going to be a red rag:

When she told him it stood for Black American Princesses, he replied: “It means something else over here.”

Thursday, May 18, 2006


What could be more wholesome than a band playing a benefit gig in a parish hall to help out the terminally ill?

That's what was going to happen in St. Mary's parish in Barnegat, until the Pastor found out the band was called Divinity Destroyed:

Tuzeneu said he learned last week about the band and its website, which "had some things that weren't appropriate. We were concerned about the message we were sending."

With only a week before the concert, Tuzeneu said their wasn't enough time to investigate whether all the different bands participating were appropriate for a church atmosphere setting.

"If we had more time, maybe we'd be able to work something out," Tuzeneu said.

For months, St. Mary's teenagers have been making plans for the benefit concert, with the aim of raising more than $5,000 for the Sunshine Foundation — an organization that helps grant the wishes of terminally ill children. About seven bands were slated to perform, and more than 500 people were expected to attend, organizers said.

The pastor at least has the good grace to feel bad about what he's done:

"It breaks my heart. It was for a good cause," he said.

But, you know, he'll learn to live with a broken heart. And the terminally ill? Well, they'll still die just the same, just in a little less comfort. What's important is that a band with a stupid name haven't played in an obscure church hall.


Eric Clapton is quite a bitter man in many ways. Or, at least, comes across so. Right now, he's directing his bile in the direction of Bono and Chris Martin:

"Right now, the power of music sits with Simon Cowell and Coldplay and U2, who are really people who just attend awards shows.

"From just listening I can't tell the difference between Coldplay and U2. The one in Coldplay even dances like Bono."

Now, we'll happily put in a few quid to any office collection to buy shoes to kick Bono or Chris Martin, but that's just wrong. Bono, for all his faults, tends to be quite energetic on stage - or at least bounces, as he gets older and breath more precious - whereas Martin doesn't do much of anything. And you can't tell the difference between The Fly and Yellow, Eric? Really?

He's not finished:

"I think what it shows is how incredibly detached all the current stuff is from its roots. What worries me about what's going on now is that people don't know where it's all come from, and I don't suppose they're that interested."

And when people forget about the roots of their music, who knows what could happen? You get things like where that bloke who made millions from watering down the blues for a white rock audience suddenly started piping up in support of arch-racist Enoch Powell; what was his name again?

It couldn't be Eric Clapton, though. He'd never lose touch with his roots. Playing a pro-fox hunting, for example.


It's interesting to hear that the McCartneys are blaming their divorce on it being "difficult to maintain a normal relationship with constant intrusion into our private lives".

It's certainly true that the press has been quick to run stories suggesting the couple were on a rocky pitch, but much as we'd love to see Rupert Murdoch sued as co-respondent in the divorce, surely that can't be the only reason for the split?

"Paul, I love you…"
"I love you Heather, with all my heart"
"We're in the papers again…"
"Saying we're rowing?"
"Right, that's it, then; it's over."

And surely Heather can't have been that surprised to discover one of the richest and most famous men in the world's every doings would wind up in the papers?

After all, what with the recent "don't kill the seals" programme for the BBC, or Macca posting to her website in her defence, or the appearances on Larry King Live – all this has hardly been the activity of a couple seeking to live their lives away from the glare of publicity, has it?

Even at the time of divorce, even while railing at the press for having caused it, they're still issuing media releases - Macca denying that it was all about the money in the pages of Hello, for example.

The money is what's proving most fascinating to the press – we've seen figures stretching from a quickie £50million pay-off up to £412million for a fifty-fifty split. (In effect, the argument is over if there should be two people with grotesquely over-inflated bank balances or just the one.) A divorce specialist appeared on BBC News 24 last night insisting that the courts wouldn't make McCartney give away too much of his cash because – quote "he's a genius" and, apparently, geniuses get special treatment in divorces.

He can't be that much of a bloody genius, though, or he'd have at least got a prenup.


The ever-reliable Rocking Vicar reports on the instructions given to those who would be in the audience for a band playing Chicago next week, which is being taped for TV:

Wear stylish clothing that you would wear to a club on the weekend. Jeans are OK.
Do not wear T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts or clothing with logos.
We reserve the right to relocate any audience member whose logo or clothing may interfere with the television taping.
Guys, we prefer you to wear long sleeves.
Do not wear white or pastel shirts. Solid, bright colors (sic) work best on television.
Do not wear a suit and tie, or shorts
Dress attire is not formal but it is not casual.

What's depressing is the network is PBS. What's doubly depressing is the band is The New York Dolls.

We are amused at the idea that turning up in a t-shirt with a New York Dolls logo on would "interfere" with the taping of a New York Dolls TV appearance.

And men? In short sleeves? Presumably that'd just make the band wind up looking gay.


Matt "I think I could manage one of his pies" Bellamy and the rest of the band have given a glimpse of their next album in the shape of a tracklisting:

'Take A Bow'
'Supermassive Black Hole'
'Map Of The Problematique'
'Soldier's Poem'
'City Of Delusion'
'Knights Of Cydonia'

Our prog-meter sounded when we typed in Map of the Problematique - "check for Wakemanisms" showing in the message window.

Black Holes And Revelations is available for pre-order; in the shops July 3rd


The band is going to carry on as a functioning business but Brent Wilson has quit Panic at the Disco. Statementage all round:

"There really isn't a good way to say this, and it was a decision that was very tough to make, but feels like it will be the right decision for everyone. We regret to inform you that Brent is no longer a part of Panic! At The Disco, and although this choice does feel very healthy, he is a great friend of ours and he will definitely be missed.

"We all wish him well and the best of luck in everything he wants to do in the future. The last few years will be something we will never forget, all the places we've been that we never thought we'd go and things we've seen that we thought we'd never see when we started this band."

[The way they were: A Fever You Can't Sweat Out]


That headline was suggested by Marie-Pierre, who makes a spot of No Rock history by being the first person to contribute via our MySpace:

God knows why but they still love him in France. One of the main tv channels has a competition on now to meet him at some big gig he's playing, that they're going to show live or something, and they've got ads on every five minutes with him saying in the single shittest attempt at French I've ever heard, 'Bon-jour. Je m'appelle Robbie Williams.... ca se passe ici, a M six'.

We hope that last bit means he's going to go and stand on the M6, but we suspect our French might be as rusty as Williams'.


Brian Broughton, father of Emma B (the Radio 1 one, not the cough model), is a fully paid-up member of the RSPB. However, it seems he doesn't feel the remit of the Society would run to protecting seagulls which poop in his wife's salad - when one did so, he shot it.

And not just shot, either:

The lifelong RSPB member downed it with an airgun, beat it with a stick and strung it up by its wings in his garden.

It's not recorded if he then buried it in unconsecrated ground, or merely hung a sign round its neck as a grisly warning. We should point out, by the way, that Dr Broughton is in his 60s, which makes it unlikely he picked up Elizabethan execution techniques during his childhood.

Dr Broughton pleaded guilty to killing a wild bird, and was given a conditional discharge. He appears to have been allowed to keep the gun, so if you find yourself in Totnes, we'd suggest you be very careful how you tread.


It's a bit of a sad tale: Largely-forgotten 60s act Five Day Rain almost have a hit:

GUITARIST Rick Sharpe has missed out on earning an estimated £100,000 from a forgotten album which has been pirated and put on the internet.

Master tapes of Five Day Rain - a 1969 LP by his band of the same name - were thought to have been stolen from a studio.

But they surfaced in South America where the record has been pirated.

It has also been on more than 50 websites, played on radio worldwide, and sold around 100,000 copies.

Hang about a minute, though - if it's been "put on the internet" how has it sold 100,000 copies? This sounds like straight theft and a simple breach of copyright to us, and it's disappointing the Mirror is trying to blame the internet for that.

More to the point, is it the piracy which has cost Sharpe a hundred grand? If the album hadn't been circulating in its samizdat form, it wouldn't have been circulating at all - what's cost Sharpe his money isn't someone stealing the record and releasing it, but the record label who owns it allowing something for which there is clearly huge worldwide demand to become unavailable. This story is the flipside to Cliff's plea for mechanical copyright protection extension: it won't do many artists any good, as the records belong to the labels, and the labels - through a mixture of can'ts and won'ts - don't do anything with the recordings.

If Sharpe can track down the people who've released this album, we wish him luck getting his money. But on the upside, he's at least got solid market research to argue for a proper re-release.


Lindsay Lohan discovers there's a circle of hell beneath turning up somewhere and finding someone else wearing the same outfit: turning up and discovering Yoko Ono is wearing the same outfit. Although Lindsay did bring it on herself, and it's not like she wasn't expecting to run into Ono:

"I knew I had to wear something that Yoko would wear, so I dressed in black."

But when they finally met, Lindsay realised her mistake.

"I almost died when she opened the door. We were practically wearing the same thing!"

So, you're going to meet someone, decide to wear an outfit they'd wear, and then feel surprised when she's wearing the same thing?


There's an interesting little twist in this morning's Sun story about Geri Halliwell's new baby, which, we're told:

" a dead ringer for the singer — thanks to a mop of ginger hair."

How do we know about this child before it's made a public appearance?

A visitor to London’s Portland Hospital, a new dad who refused to be named, said: “Geri’s on the same floor as my wife. Her baby has exactly the same colour hair as her mum.”

Well, "new dad", so long as you keep your family's privacy, that's all that counts, eh?

Almost as puzzling as yesterday's Liverpool Echo, which reported the vandalism on Colleen McLoughlin's family's cars. The paper printed a picture of one of the cars, with the number plate blurred out; in the report, though, it gave the street they lived on and described the model, colour and years of all three cars. So, if you were minded, you wouldn't be able to track them down through the police national computer, but an A to Z would do you.


Because she doesn't want to seem old and out-of-touch, Oprah Winfrey has rushed out a statement denying that her attack on Ludacris is because she hates hip-hop. I'm hip to the hop, insists O:

Oprah, 52, insisted that she’s a fan of 50 Cent, Fitty and Kanye West, but added: “I’m opposed to some of the music that offends my sensibilities.

“That’s when you’re degrading women, marginalising women, but the beat I love.”

So, presumably, she thinks 50 Cent's PIMP or Fat Bitches are wonderful feminist works of art. It's equally curious that his constant banging on about shooting people with guns doesn't offend Oprah's "sensibilities."

Our favourite Oprah moment came during her show on Random Acts of Kindness a few years back, when she took a camera crew down to a supermarket to spring a surprise on an ordinary couple. She selected a down-at-heel looking pair doing their shopping, walked up to them and offered to help them with the cost of their shopping. The multi-millionaire then dug her hands deep into her pockets and pulled out... the money-off coupons she'd clipped from her weekend paper.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Those of us concerned that Britney is heading off the rails and is going to end up a potty old lady, dressing her muttonage up as lamb and generally requiring a team of security men to perpetually eject her from bars will be delighted to her that, erm, Janice Dickinson is offering her advice, although not the "watch out, you're turning into me" sort you'd expect:

She's a hick anyway. She needs to get hot again. Stop clomping around in those Malibu flip-flops. "I would tar and feather her first of all, tell her to dump that fucking hick husband of hers. She needs solid advice, and not from Hicksville."

... said Janice, shortly before crashing into the Red Lobster salad bar.


Who would ever have guessed that Noel Gallagher is as unadventurous in the bedroom as he is in the recording studio?

Oh, you did?:

"Just straight-up erotica. I don't flail around with bats or that. Or those whip things that they set on fire on the beaches in Ibiza."

Good lord, man, the least you could do is pull on a gimp mask. Out of concern for your partner.


Andrea and Christina from Lacuna CoilBullet for My Valentine's complaints about life on the road with Rob Zombie and Lacuna Coil did solve their problems - they were promptly kicked off the tour.

Now, Andrea Ferro has added bitch-slap to pink-slip. He says you shouldn't go on the internet and moan about people in public, as he, erm, goes on the internet and moans about people:

"It was something stupid on their behalf, especially the singer, who wrote on the Internet a lot of stuff which was not exactly correct, because we did many tours as an opening band in these kind of tours, and we know that when you are an opening band, you're not gonna have every day a soundcheck or every day a dressing room," Ferro explained. "We had to share the dressing room with them. They're very nice guys, actually; it's just that they're probably… You don't go on the Internet and call somebody 'money-grabbing fucks' [like Tuck did with Zombie]. . . When you open and you are the first out of three bands, many of the venues can't hold the dressing room for everybody, so it's normal that you sometimes have to sacrifice a litte bit. Probably they got some different kind of success in the U.K. in the beginning and they think that they paid their dues, but I believe that they still have to pay their dues, like everybody. So it was an unexperienced mistake. And we're sad for them, because they're very nice guys also — it's not that they were very bad guys — it was just a stupid thing. But I also understand Rob that he didn't have much of a choice. Why somebody goes like that to the Internet. Seeing how powerful the Internet is today . . . and everybody is ready to talk shit about you, you don't wanna have problems like from somebody that is working with you, that you gave them a chance to play sold-out shows every night all across the country. That was a stupid move. But I think they're really nice guys; they're a very good band. It's just a matter of unexperience, I believe."

Unexperience? Are you sure you don't mean disexperience, Andrea? Obviously, you wouldn't want to make a slip like that on the internet, not with how powerful "the Internet" is. Today.

Curiously, we notice that Andrea suggests its rude to call your tour hosts "money-grabbing fucks" but doesn't actually suggest that Zombie didn't make the band price-match his merchandise, or, indeed, that charging forty bucks for a tshirt isn't money-grabbing fuckery.

VENUEWATCH: Venue The Venue to cease to be venue

A too-familiar tale of valuable city-centre cultural asset being turned into expensive flats by developers, this time from Edinburgh: The Venue is closing.

Luckily, there is a fight back - Colin Fox, leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (we used to have a socialist party in England, too - I wonder what happened to them?) isn't letting it go quietly:

"This is indicative of the increased emphasis placed on development to the detriment of popular culture, which is out of keeping in a city with the reputation of Edinburgh."

Unfortunately, the venue's management can't find a new home, because, erm, developers turning every available building into flats have left the city centre without anywhere affordable for them to relocate.


Everybody knows what happened to Shirley from Goodbye Mr MacKenzie and side-project Angelfish: she turned into Shirley Manson from Garbage.

But what of the others? Shorn of their star asset, the band splintered and crashed into lives of alcoholism and sub-editing. Guess what, though? They're hired a too-young-to-remember-them vocalist (Stacey Chavis) and been reborn as Isa and the Filthy Tongues.

Who'd have thought?


Dave Baksh has realised his age and quit Sum 41. He's done it to make the band better:

"The biggest decision was whether I wanted to go out and be a detriment to this band and just be doing it for the fans," he says. "It would have been really unfair to go out and treat these guys that I respect in that manner. It would be totally rude and not like me in any way."

Of course, to really make Sum 41 better, the others would have to quit as well. Baksh, meanwhile, is working on a "heavier" project of his own. Who said "like Fightstar?"


Mopping up some of the few lawyers not already suing the dead and preteen, the RIAA has now launched legal actions against XM Radio.

The music industry cartel believes that, since you can store some programming in one or two XM radio model's memory, that makes it an iPod-like device rather than a radio, and as such, there should be some extra cash given to them. XM, however, believes otherwise.

Naturally, the RIAA is being reasonable and just demanding USD150,000 for each song stored by XM subscribers - representing, we imagine, 79c for a lost sale on iTunes and USD149,999.21 for a bit of a laugh.

Talking of the RIAA - no word yet from them or the BPI in response to our questions about payola.


The ongoing processes of back-catalogue reactivation has reached the Jesus and Mary Chain; each of the albums will be accompanied by a DVD with three promos.

The collections, out in July, are Psychocandy, Darklands, Automatic, Honey's Dead and Stoned and Dethroned.


The new Peaches album, Inpeach My Bush, sounds like it's a change of direction from the sex-obsessed foul-mouthedness of the previous work:

'Fuck Or Kill'
'Tent In Your Pants'
'Hit It Hard'
'Boys Wanna Be Her'
'Two Guys'
'Rock the Shocker'
'You Love It'
'Slippery Dick'
'Give 'Er'
'Get It'
'Do Ya'
'Stick It To The Pimp'

See? Nothing there you couldn't play to your grandmother.


Well, not quite: To help Canonbury Primary School in London, Chris Martin is auctioning off a private mini-gig:

CHRIS MARTIN, lead singer of Coldplay [will] PERFORM one of the band’s songs in your OWN FRONT ROOM (piano must be provided - six month limit to pledge and max of 10 people in audience)

It's not clear if you can make him do it wearing a rubber minidress and high-heels.

GOSPELOBIT: Johnnie Wilder Jr

Carla Hawkins, daughter of Johnnie Wilder Junior, has announced her father has died in his sleep.

Wilder was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1950, and started to perform while still at school. He was an active member of his High School's glee club. Professional performance, though, started when he joined the army - while serving in Germany he joined a five-piece vocal harmony team which entertained both troops and locals during their spare time. Out of the army, the original line-up mutuated and relocated to West Germany, eventually settling down as the band Heatwave.

The addition of Rod Temperton to the group was key; as the man who would eventually write Thriller and Off The Wall for Michael Jackson, he gave the band enough of a flip to allow them to sign with GTO Records. By now in England, the number one smash of Boogie Nights saw CBS take on Heatwave worldwide. Three albums followed - Too Hot To Handle, Central Heating and Too Hot To Handle - selling millions on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1979, disaster struck. Visiting family in Ohio, Wilder was involved in a car wreck which left him paralyzed from the neck down. Despite being in a wheelchair, Wilder's resilience pushed him on. He rejoined Heatwave for a European tour and offered vocals for the next two albums.

Another major change came in 1983: Wilder found God, and quit Heatwave. (He gave his blessing - indeed, encouragement - to the band continuing without him). He wasn't even sure if he wanted to carry on with any sort of music:

"I know what I achieved and appreciate the benefits I received from being in Heatwave. But one thing I didn't have was the level of personal gratification that I now experience. There were times when I went back and forth about whether or not to continue singing, without ever coming up with a conclusive answer".

In the end, it was as a producer that he would return to the studio - gospel act Straight Company cajolled him into working on an album with them; following this, Wilder produced his first solo work, One More Day. Subsequently, he'd produce another eight gospel acts and see his own music win four CAMA prizes to sit alongside the two Grammy nominations won with Heatwave.

Wilder was 56.


BBC News is reporting that Paul and Heather are going to make their trial separation a permanent affair.


Not content with having stacks of drug cases at home, Pete Doherty is now working on a pan-European record. The AFP news agency reports that German police would like a word:

A spokesman said police in the western city of Cologne had launched a probe against the Babyshambles frontman, who is on tour in the country, based on allegations he drove with two fans into the city centre over the weekend and consumed narcotics with them in the car.

The spokesman said the police were analysing photographs of the alleged incident and planned to question witnesses.

Let's hope the MTV camera crew don't push for assault charges over the blood-squirting...


Congratulations to the late L Ron Hubbard, whose cult has just welcomed a new member in the shape of Isaac haye's son.

The boy, Nana Kwadjo Hayes ("King child born on Monday", apparently) was born on April 10th.


While it's one thing to go on Celeb Big Brother to boost record sales, there are somethings a decent band should never consider, even if in half-jest. Unfortunately, though, Preston rules nothing out for the Ordinary Boys:

"I wouldn't mind working with Sting."

Well, it didn't do Dire Straits any harm, did it?


Oh, Noel Gallagher, if James Blunt ability to turn an American career out of a very slight talent doesn't bother you, then why do you keep going on about it?:

"I've got a lot more money than him, that's a fact."

Yes, but James won't have had any of the cash from the Back to Bedlam sales or the constant piping of You're Beautiful in Fairfield Inns lobbies and Albertsons meat counters yet, will he?


It seems that marketing perfume and, erm, whatever else it is she's been doing for the last year isn't enough for Jennifer Lopez, and she wants to try something new.

J-Lo - the sitcom:

"I like the idea of making the world laugh," says Jen.

Oh, honey, the whole "I'm still Jenny from the block" business? The very globe was shaking with mirth.


Apparently, an observation by Austria's LernQuadrat that reported that children can study more effectively if they listen to rock music with a regular beat has become so scrambled today's Sun believes LISTENING to Robbie Williams can make kids brainier, say experts.

Well, not really - listening to rock can help children concentrate, actually. LernQuadrat director Konrad Zimmermann clarifies:

"Classical music, which has long been considered beneficial to learning, is obviously not fit for the world of young people today. They need to know and like the music in order for it to have a stimulating effect on learning."

The need for the children to like the music also makes The Sun's other claim that "Mel B and Norah Jones also help" look a little dodgy, too.


We'd have imagined that if you'd been living away from your partner for three weeks already, you'd have already been trialling seperation, but it seems Paul McCartney is hoping for a more formal version of things.

The Sun, of course, being a great supporter of traditional values and family, can barely contain its glee, reaching for the calculator:

If they do split up permanently Heather would stand to pick up around £200million of Sir Paul’s £800million fortune as the couple have no prenuptial agreement.

The four-year marriage has been stormy. Many of the ex-Beatle’s pals secretly suspected it would never last.

"many of the ex-Beatle's pals." The rest of the pals, of course, made no secret of it and drip-fed stories about thrown away rings and stand-up screeching rows to the papers since the engagement.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Having announced that her son is now her religion, it's presumably some sort of iconoclastic act for Britney to drive around Malibu with Sean Preston not properly belted in?


Metallica's James Hetfield has snuffled in public as part of his attack on the "horrible myth" of sex and drugs and rock & roll:

After a moments silence "for the people who didn't make it, that aren't with us, who could be and I think should be" he told the crowd: "What a horrible statement, to me. It is a myth. And to have those things attached to music, which is the best drug in the whole fucking world, moves me like no other.

And I thank God that I discovered that gift early on.

"Getting sober is not for sissies. Dying is easy, living is hard."

The only thing worse than someone banging on about how brilliant they are now they've overcome their addictions is implying that they're wonderfully hard and butch because of their struggles. The world doesn't need any more Henry Rollinses.


Bono's IndependentToday was the Independent's baptism into the Bonoworld of Red, the bid to try and turn social justice into a consumer fashion accessory. And it's as predictable as you'd expect - a lot of Bono showing off the circles he moves in - there's a circle-jerk interview with Blair and Brown; a bit from Nelson Mandela saying how great Red is. Naturally space is found for something from Geldof. The cover is a stunt - not unusual for the Indie, to be honest, but a not-very-good artwork from (of course) Damien Hirst and the headline "No news today" (with, in smaller print, "just 6,500 Africans died today as a result of a preventable, treatable disease" at the bottom) doesn't really work. There are so many ways 6,500 pointless deaths could have been given the centre stage; instead, they're dashed to the small print.

It's a fair summation of what the Bonoesque attitude is - the terrible facts of what happens in some parts of Africa are deemed to be inadequate to generate a reaction; he doesn't believe we could consider so many deaths without them being rolled into a big production number.

Wouldn't a simple black and white headline "6,500 Die in AIDS crisis" have made the point a bit more starkly?

But then, that would be putting the people themselves at the heart of the story, something which Red isn't minded to do. There is space found for an African voice, or two, beyond Mandela - but mainly room is found for quotes from the rich and powerful rather than those whose voices are never heard.

By a strange coincidence, Red chose yesterday to announce its tie-up with Motorola, launching a new mobilephone from which a small slice of the profits will go to Bono's AIDS charity, allowing this to count as "news" and meaning Bono the editor could run a story quoting Bono the charity organisers in a news story about Bono the philanthropist. Now, Motorola are one of the better electronics companies - their refusal to use Coltan from the Congo seems genuine and something they police quite successfully - but is it really helpful to encourage people to throw away their current mobile phone and get a new one, with a thin payment to charity, in the name of helping the world be a better place? Could the deal cut with the UK mobile phone operators to give a slice of revenues from calls made on this phone not have been drafted in some other way that didn't require a new phone to be bought, and another, old one, added to the 100 million mobiles thrown away in Europe each year?

(By the way, the phones will cost £149 - only £10 from that will go to the Red foundation.)

Bono uses a signed editorial to try and justify the whole concept of consumer-activism - he describes it as "irrelevant" to worry about the motivation of anyone involved, and as "ganging up on the problem." But chucking away mobile phones, running up credit card debts, shopping at the Gap for trousers we'll only wear once - how can these ever be part of the solution when they're at the heart of Western over-consumption, of having more than our share: how can the problem be its own solution?

More worryingly, Red has the same weakness as Live8 built into it: it suggests that the world can change, and the individual needs do little more than watch a Pink Floyd gig or buy a skirt on an American Express card. Billy Bragg once observed that "there's drudgery in social change". To pretend that it's possible to bring about global change without doing anything unpleasant or difficult is to do everyone a disservice. Because when action really needs to be taken - to hold the government and self-appointed saviours to account - "I gave at the checkout line" might be just the cop-out people need.

Just to show exactly who his friends are these days, Bono invites Condoleeze Rice to choose her top ten. For the record, here it is, with Rice's comments:

1. Mozart - Piano Concerto in D Minor - "I won my first piano competition at the age of 15, playing this work"
2. Cream - Sunshine of your love - "I love to work out to this song. Believe it or not, I loved acid rock in college - and I still do"
3. Aretha Franklin - Respect - "The Queen of Soul's anthem"
4. Kool and the Gang - Celebration - "It's just such a great song"
5. Brahms - Piano Concerto No 2 - "It's a stormy, difficult piece, but I'm going to learn to play it before I leave this earth"
6. Brahms - Piano Quintet in F minor - "passionate, without being sentimental"
7. U2 - (no actual quote or choice from Rice here, but there is an observation that "Rice is happy listening to any of their tunes"; we imagine this was a gesture to Bono by someone who wanted to show what pals they were, but not so much she could be arsed to send a researcher to find out the name of one of their songs. Mind you, choosing a band named after American spyplanes, part of an intelligence service which is less than gleaming, might be considered bravery enough without having to plough through one of their albums)
8. Elton John - Rocket Man - "It brings back memories of college, friends, my first boyfriend"
9. Beethoven - Symphony Number 7 - "Quite sumply the greatest symphony of all time"
10. Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov "The greatest opera of all time. If you love Russia, you have to love Godunov"


Oasis' confident plans for a midsummer mini-album have been shelved because even Noel thinks the stuff they've written for it wasn't good enough to release:

"We had a couple of tracks left over from the last record and in our own heads we thought they were good enough to be released as an EP.

"We went back and listened to the tapes and we reckon we can get it better, so we're having the year off instead."

Who knew the offcuts of an already-flabby album would be so unsaleable?