Saturday, June 10, 2006


The withdrawing of the apology to the President isn't making things easy for the Dixie Chicks, even in the context of a nation starting to go "Hang about... maybe this Geogre chap isn't all that coherent." Tickets for their forthcoming tour aren't entirely selling out overnight and there's talk of "reorganization" of some dates. (That's a face-saving way of cancelling, apparently.)

It might not be their stance on Dubya, though, that's causing the problem: It could be the repudiation of country music that's blown away their audience.


Back in the mid-1960s, The Standells wrote a hymn to their hometown of Boston, Dirty Water. The song was adopted by the local baseball team, the Red Sox, and became part of the ball game mythology. And that made it an attractive song to Budweiser, the company which makes a product described as beer.

They used it in a commercial, and so the Standells' record company got a huge cheque to cover the royalty payments.

Problem is, The Standells had never been asked if they wanted their music used on a beer commercial - and it turns out they didn't:

"An advertiser decided to turn an artist into a pitchman without their consent," the Standells' attorney, Steven Ames Brown, said Friday. "That's morally wrong."

Anheuser-Busch, who make the lager-flavoured drink, told the Associated Press they hadn't received a copy of the complaint, and would wait until they did before saying anything further.


Some interesting work going on as the Sugababes prepare for the festive release of their singles compilation: Heidi is re-recording all Siobahn Dongahy's bits on the early tracks.

We're not sure if there's actually a Brit for Most Stalinist Band, but this spot of revisionism surely means its time for one to be invented.
Plug: Grab the original Overload before it's consigned forever to the Memory Hole


Apparently, Pink's Dear Mr President has gotten a Florida schoolgirl into trouble. No, not that sort of trouble, political trouble:

"A 10-year-old South Florida girl was banned from singing it in her school talent show, so it's a civil-liberties issue now. I've had a great reaction to that song."

It's like the great protests of the Civil Rights movement, isn't it? We wonder if a militant group will form around her, calling themselves them, um, Pink Panthers. Maybe not.

Pink is also taking on climate change:

"The climate today is very hush-hush, very PC, very 'Don't talk about this, don't talk about that, don't think, don't contribute, it's not sexy, let's go with the whole escapism thing, it's working'."

"Several people are out there doing wonderful things, but you have to Google them. They're not on the covers of the tabloids for these things - only if they're in the middle of a divorce do you hear about their foundations."

It's great to hear that Pink is worried about the greenhouse effect - maybe she'll start to condemn acts who push the idea that driving round in giant, gas guzzling cars is a sustainable way of living. Now, who was it do that one about "looking flashy in my Mercedes Benz" a few years back?


The Sun isn't letting up on its Heather Mills battle, today adding video of Mills auditioning for 'glamour' (i.e. tits out) shots in London. [LINK NSFW. Unless you work for the Sun).

Of course, they can't really get in too much of a froth about this - Heather is effectively trying out for page three, and the paper knows that even its readers might spot the hyperhypocrisy in attacking a woman for appearing in the sort of photoshoot The Sun thrives on.

Still, it's good news for those girls who don't make page three but still harbour that ambition - even if you're not page three material, you can still get your breasts into the paper providing you become famous enough.


Interesting tales from Sandi Thom's past: apparently, after the police came to arrest her boyfriend during a domestic dispute, Thom ended up with a truncheon in the face. She was arrested, but was discharged on breaching the peace charges; she then tried to sue the police but that also got dropped.

And she wishes she'd been around for the excitement of punk.

“It was a horrible experience and it’s in the past. I don’t want to think about it again and would like to get on with my career.”

It's a pity - there you are pumping out tunes that are completely devoid of anything to say and giving the impression that you've had a life untroubled by any incident whatsoever, and it turns out you have had experiences which might fuel some sort of creative process.

Of course, there's further evidence suggesting that Thom's music has been put together by a bunch of forty-something year old men with the new album. In the same way that I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker sounds less like a young girl dreaming of being born in a different time and more like a roundtable of ageing guys in tshirts trying to recast the years of their youth, the title of the album doesn't sound right.

Smile... it confuses people.

Now, if it was called 'All your base are belong to us', we could believe that the name came from someone of Thom's generation. But this phrase is the sort of lameass slogan which used to appear on those cheap tshirts that used to be sold from full-page ads in the back of the NME and Smash Hits during the early years of the Thatcher era. Even back then they were old capitalist's ideas of what young idealists might say. But in 2006? It's so out of time it's like having a Beowulf quote on your sleeve.

We look forward to the follow-ups "Too Thick For University", "Life Is An Illusion Created By Lack of Alcohol" and, of course, the contract-fulfilling compilation "I'm With Stupid."

We recommend, by the way, Charlie Brooker's evidence that Thom might be the musical antichrist.


The signing up for the crisp adverts and the terrible, terrible "don't you love the Orient"/"No, I support Cardiff" gag was a sign that maybe Charlotte Church was taking her eye off the ball a litte.

Now, this:

“I can’t stand that girl [Rebecca Loos]. If I met her I would spit on her, seriously.

“She gives women a bad name, cashing in with her kiss-and-tell.

“I saw Sharon Osbourne at the Glamour awards and congratulated her for what she said on X Factor.

“Me and Gavin had been watching the show shouting, ‘Go on Sharon.’ She was brilliant, I love her.”

So... selling your entire family as a freakshow to MTV is an admirable trait, as is launching blunt, bitchy attacks on other people, but selling a story to the paper is an act which is unacceptable. We're trying to re-calibrate our responses.


You know, of course, that the thought of something terrible happening to Robbie Willaims doesn't bring us any pleasure at all, and we're sure all of us would want to send him condolences following the debacle at the end of his Dublin gig.

Robbie wanted to send the fans out of the stadium on a high. Apparently, he didn't think saying "that's all I'm going to sing, you can take your children home now" was good enough, and so had come up with an elaborate stunt based around Let Me Entertain You and a gondola descending from the skies (we know, we know). But it went terribly wrong, as Robbie explained to the concert-goers:

“I can let you into a little secret. When I was up there I was supposed to come down in a gondola and it was going to be entertainment at its highest peak.

“But when the man standing behind you says, ‘It’s fucked’ in front of 70,000 people, you panic. Being in a white tracksuit probably wasn’t the best thing to be in.

“You’ll never know how much panic went through my mind when I was up there. You’ve been much better than me.

“I’ve not been very good tonight so I will come back and do it for free.”

Good God, man, is it not bad enough to make them sit through it once?

Although Robbie admitted he wasn't very good, The Sun isn't going to risk upsetting him by agreeing, so Victoria Newton sounded thrilled by every eyball-rolling moment:

As the Close Encounters movie theme tune played, a countdown flashed on the screen with the warning, “Gentlemen and ladies — this is not a drill.”

Then, to a backdrop of weird ancient Egyptian symbols, the man himself shot up through the base of a podium in the middle of the crowd.

Talking of shooting up through the base of a podium, guess who the surprise guest popping up was?

After the rousing Millennium, Robbie was joined on the stage by a surprise guest, best mate Jonathan Wilkes.

The TV host is travelling with Robbie throughout the tour, and the pair duetted on the classic Me And My Shadow.

We would have loved to have seen the look on Wilkes' face when he was told what the choice of song was going to be.

The Irish Independent reports that while the gondola stunt might have been under-rehearsed, earlier in the day the preparations were going too far:

While most of the Croke Park fans were on their feet for the duration of the concert, earlier in the day some students sitting their Irish Leaving and Junior Cert exams nearby got an earful.

But this time those supervising the pupils at O'Connell's School, North Richmond Street weren't too happy.

The school sits right in the shadow of the stadium and shortly after pens were lifted for the important exams, music filled the rooms.

Supervisor Elissa Reilly said it was "particularly loud".

"At first, I thought it was someone with their stereo playing in a car outside".

But when the music continued, the supervisors feared it could disrupt students' concentration.

The gardai were called and someone from the school went up to Croke Park to let the band know they were interrupting the students.

School administrator Sandra McLeod said Williams's version of some of Frank Sinatra oldies were in full swing when she arrived at the school at 10.30 and the music did not stop until more than an hour later.

"We are right next door . . . all we were short of was having Robbie Williams singing," she said."

Well, at least there was that small mercy, then. Following the police intervention, the band put down their instruments.

We hope that wasn't why they weren't able to check the gondola was working.

Curiously, the Mirror's 3AM Girls report back from the gig but seem confused about when the gondola incident happened:

Even when a stunt to lower him on stage in a gondola failed to work, he thrilled the Crowe Park Stadium crowd by telling them: "I'm coming back and doing another show for free. On my next show the fucking gondola will work!"

But from the moment he came on, it was clear we were in for a special night as he bounded around the stage.

It seemed to catch up with him and at one point as he gasped: "I want to know how Mick Jagger does this stuff. I'm 32 and knackered. He's about 105 and still does it!"

Not that the crowd minded one bit as they helped him belt out classics such Millennium and Let Me Entertain You.

Wouldn't it have been at least worth mentioning that Let Me Entertain You was the song that got the gondola-snarl-up and as such was belted out as he ran onto the stage in a panic with fire shooting all over the place?

On a totally unrelated subject, does anyone remember when Elizabeth Archer was writing for the Borchester Echo and submitted a report on a village show she'd not actually been at, and so her copy failed to mention the exploding marrow?

Friday, June 09, 2006


Uh-oh - now that Britney has dumped Kabbalah in favour of adopting her son as a religion, it's being whispered that Madonna has thrown a little hissy fit and not only cut Britney off, but demanded back the wedding present she gave to Fed and Spears:

The pop superstar - who was responsible for introducing Britney to the mystical Jewish cult - has reportedly demanded the return the 12th Century Kabbalah book she gave the star as a wedding gift.

A source is quoted in Britain's Hot Stars magazine as saying: "Madonna spent months teaching Britney the Kabbalah system, and splashed out thousands on the ancient scripture for her. She feels she has wasted time, money and precious gifts on Brit."

Well, to be honest, spending more than five quid on a wedding present for the Federline nuptials was always going to be squanderous, whatever way you look at it.

We're expecting Madonna to start condemning Britney as a heretic and arranging a burning come the Christmas Top of the Pops.


We have to admire the probity of District Judge Jane McIvor, who was charged with hearing the latest update on Pete Doherty's process fighting drug addiction. She restricted herself just to what was said in court and, as she must, put aside any information that she might have heard from other sources about syringes on planes, or fingers on mittens, or artwork using blood or invesigations by German police, or cousins being dumped, overdosed and comatose, out on the street.

And, based on what she heard, she was able to praise Doherty for his hard work and recovery:

It was a "tough struggle for him, but he's not going backwards", she added.

Doherty wasn't in court, of course, because he's off in "rehab" in Portugal, as his lawyer explained:

Mr Curran said the troubled star was still "striving towards" negative drugs tests and added there were "valid reasons" why he was unable to attend the hearing at Thames Magistrates Court in east London.

"I have spoken to the person who is managing Mr Doherty at present and he has confirmed he is in Portugal and he is at the clinic," said Mr Curran.

"I understand treatment is going well and he is due to return back to the UK on Saturday," he added.

Back in Britain in Saturday? That soon? We can't wait to hear details of how the Portugese manage to fast-track rehab to such an extent.


That headline is, really, enough of a warning.

If you're wondering what it's like, Roach singer Jacoby Shaddix says it's like a "meat locker".

A clanking old box, completely lacking in warmth and stuffed full of dangling corpses, then.


Apparently, Aerosmith's Stephen Tyler has broken his ankle or at least some bit of himself beneath the knee.

We suspect he might have kicked something in disgust as discovering Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas wanted to write a song for the new Aerosmith album.


Viva VoceWe've found tucked into our email box a list of tour dates which will allow you to turn up in the same place at the same time as Viva Voce, which isn't a bad way to spend the evening:

June 20th Cork, Cyprus Avenue
21st Galway, Cuba
22nd Dublin, CrawDaddy
23rd Belfast, Queens Uni Club
25th London, Wireless Festival (O2 Bubble Stage)
25th London, 93 Feet East "WAX"
27th Leeds, University (with DCFC)
28th London, Brixton Academy (with DCFC)
29th Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
30th Manchester, Bierkeller "Blowout"
July 1st Glasgow, King Tuts


There's a corner of a server tucked away in a corner of Warners Music which likes nothing better than to spool out the video for the Jim Noir Eanie Meanie video. You can have it lick it into your computer from this link [RealPlayer] but be warned, it does have more than a passing connection with football, from which you may be trying to hide.


It's been a while since luxury-car promoting environmentalist Sting has announced a self-regarding new project, but that doesn't mean he's been entirely slack.

Oh, no: He's been working on a Lute album.

Yes, yes, he's playing fourhundred-year-old music on a lute. What's your point?

The singer decided to record an album of Dowland's songs after receiving a lute as a gift from Dominic Miller, the Argentinian classical guitarist. "I sort of became fascinated with it, and immersed myself in the lute and lute music," he says. "Then we met this guy Edin Karamazov who is a Bosnian lute player and we started discussing Dowland, and the idea came up of recording some songs of his for an album. That kind of frivolous idea became a reality."

The very concept of someone thinking that pumping a few hundred thousand quid into making a lute album is "frivolity" makes our heads hurt a little.

[Thanks to Jim McCabe for the story and link]


Jana K writes to bring the arrangements for Nicole Kidman's wedding to anyone so long as he isn't a member of some damn freakoid cult:

Nicole Kidman is so determined not to have photographs of her wedding sneak into the public arena, she's planning to marry in the dark. According to Page Six, when Nic gets hitched to country singer Keith Urban later this month, she'll say her vows after sunset. It's thought the couple are planning to wed on 25 June in Sydney, Australia, and, according to sources, they've already consulted with helicopter agencies in the area to find out how best to stop airborne paparazzi getting their snaps.

We're not a helicopter agency, but we would suggest trying to marry indoors somewhere might stop people hovering overhead being able to see what's going on.


The story about Karmadownload going down was brought to our attention by James at Red Letter Records, whose label is due to release Cardboard Radio's Different, Like Everybody Else on Monday. The single is called Different Like Everybody Else. We didn't mean that everybody else is releasing it on Monday as well.


Some bad news from the DRM-free download market: KarmaDownload has suspended activities.

The website suggests the money has run out:


The main problem for the site appears to have been finding a space for promotion against competitors able to spend millions on advertising and partnership tie-ins.


Following on from David Cameron's tutting over songs glorifying knives, the BBC political editor Nick Robinson points out some of Cameron's supposedly favourite acts aren't entirely unfamiliar with the flashing blade, either.


Evan Dando is taking his reactivated Lemonheads to London - the Somerset House event, actually. They'll be there on July 16th.


As if the removal of Billy Bragg's music wasn't bad enough, it now turns out that MySpace (and other social networking sites) are being trawled by the CIA as part of the War On Bad, Evil Things.

You might think you're just adding a friend who also likes the Arctic Monkeys, but if their friend had a friend who had a friend who once posted a message on usenet suggesting that what George W needs is a right good seeing to, you could find yourself being added to some sort of list:

New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.

Of course, the propensity for list-making at the Pentagon means probably everyone is on a watchlist by now - we were amused to hear Fox News suggest "was once a member of the [British] Social Democratic party" as sign of weakness of moral character the other day - but even so, it's another thing to think about before throwing yourself too heartily into telling MySpace everything you do and think and feel.

[If you want to take the risk, No Rock has a MySpace corner]


Billy Bragg has pulled his music off MySpace in protest at the rewritten terms and conditions Rupert Murdoch's teens-in-bikini website has issued. The problem is this bit:

"You hereby grant to, a non-exclusive, fully- paid and royalty-free, worldwide license to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services."

Bragg isn't happy:

We are hoping to start a small revolution (in true Bragg style) to try and put a stop to this. You can do your bit by posting out a bulletin to all your friends, esp artists, and badgering Tom with e-mails letting him know how unfair this clause is (not least because you can't hear Billy on here anymore!).

"Thanks for your help and support. The amazing thing about My Space is how fast we can all communicate so if we all do our bit we should be able to change this."

Now, this all seems a little familiar to us: indeed, it's an exact replay of what happened when Yahoo bought up eGroups and inserted a similar clause. There was a flurry of panic, with horrific futures in which Yahoo abandoned its web business in favour of publishing recipe books using dishes culled from within the archives of various groups and lists. Calmer heads pointed out that you needed to cede some sort of copyright to Yahoo, otherwise it wouldn't be able to store or distribute the messages legally, and it seems that that is the point of this clause.

For example, it does claim the right in the name of and not News Corporation - so even if Fox News wanted to download Billy Bragg doing There Is Power In A Union to soundtrack Brit Hume, they wouldn't be able to. But the problem here - as with Yahoo - is that they've erred too hard on the side of legalese. Maybe "Tom" should redraft the clause in a slightly less obscure language, and be very specific indeed about what he'll be doing with everyone's content.

Because this probably isn't evil. But it is Murdoch.


Heather Mills would have been able to breathe easily today - the combination of the World Cup and Zarqawi (they dropped two massive bombs on him, reducing his hideout to rubble, and yet not only were they able to find his body quickly, it was still in one piece and instantly recognisable - what luck for the Pentagon, eh?) would have been enough to ensure the porn pictures started to drop from view.

And so they would, had her ex-husband not popped up letting it be known he wasn't fuming. In a bid to try and "help", he's given the story some fresh wings:

And her estranged husband dismissed claims they had left him "shocked beyond belief".

He told friends: "There's nothing in her past I don't know about. Nothing. I knew she'd done the pictures before we married. It was such a long time ago."

Oddly, he's not being so supportive as to try the ridiculous "they were educational pictures" defence.

Of course, it was likely Macca did know about the photos - they've been circulating quite widely since Mills got engaged to thumbsaloft, it's just that now the Murdoch press feel it's open season.


It would be inhuman to hope anything other than it will work, but as Pete Doherty checks himself into a Portugal rehab clinic, you can't help but think "again?"


“For a little while things were too dark to even begin to get my head around. What I want is a little bit of self-control.”

Well, let's wish him luck. So if he can at least get clean enough to persuade EasyJet to bring him back home.


The transmogrification of Axl Rose into Michael Jackson continues: as he tours whatever the version of the band he's up to now around Europe, he's darting off stage between songs for a hit of oxygen. Apparently:

Technicians admitted the star had been tired at the end of a lengthy tour — and that without the extra oxygen he would not have been able to sing.

An ambulance was also reportedly on standby for Axl in case anything had happened to the singer’s oxygen supply.

At this rate, it'll be an iron lung the next time he plays Colorado.


There's been a lot written recently about Cliff Richard's wine - not the perpetual whining about how copyright law means he only gets half a century of earnings from each ten minutes he spends in a studio, but the fermented grape stuff.

Trouble is, in a blind tasting for Channel 4's The F Word, it was described in less than glowing terms.

By Cliff himself. Gordon Ramsay explains. And swears:

“Cliff had been boasting that he has a vineyard but I realised he knows fuck-all about wine.

“He said he wasn’t keen on this £40 bottle . . . and then he said the second glass of wine was rough.

“So I said, ‘Cliff, that was your fucking wine — fuck off’. He couldn’t even recognise his own fucking wine.

“I must be the only person in the world to have ever sworn at Sir Cliff Richard."

Clearly, Gordon has never been in a room where someone has put on a recent Cliff record.


There's nothing happier than when someone who loves publicity meets up with a company who loves publicity. So imagine the joy when Madonna discovered H&M offered to kit her out for free.

Only her offstage clothes, obviously, as H&M don't make outfits for mock crucifixions.

"Aside from being great fans of Madonna's music and fashion sense, we admire her ability to always be ahead of the trends in everything she does," Margareta van den Bosch, H&B's head of design, said in a statement.

"We look forward to seeing how her touring family translates H&M's seasonal trends to their own personal looks."

If Madonna's always ahead of the trends, how come she's getting her clothes from a shop in the mall?

In return for a bunch of high-street clothes, Madonna will appear in an advert. She previously worked as a buttmonkey in order to get free gear off The Gap.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Some glum news for Steve Jobs: the hitherto almost fictional Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman has been looking at the DRM rules which force iTMS users to play their stuff on an iPod and Apple's terms and conditions, and ordered Apple to make changes.

Denmark and Sweden are also going through the small print of the Apple t&cs to see if other Scandanavians are getting a rough ride.

And if all of the Northern European nations started to complain...

... well, that could lead to a spot of potential ulcer-formation for Steve Jobs.

On the other hand, it might not: Nobody buys an iPod because they want to use the iTunes music store to buy their music, but a lot of people use the iTMS because they've bought an iPod. Jobs could point to the European rulings when next dealing with the labels to say that he's forced to make the DRM more loose on iTunes sales. Allowing music from iTMS to play on other devices could increase download sales without harming the more lucrative sales of the players.

Maybe Jobs isn't seeking the antacids just yet.


The Sheriff's Department investigating the death of Vince Welnick has confirmed suicide as his cause of death.

Earlier: Vince Welnick obituary


There's a couple of interesting programmes come round on Radio 4's Listen Again player which we would be slacking in our duties were we not to mention.

First, A Front Row special which explores the nature of Englishness in pop music.

Then, from last Saturday, Mark Radcliffe exploring the history of the Mellotron.

And, since we're here, a quick plug for All The Way From Memphis, the network's slightly more polite answer to Never Mind The Buzzcocks.


We quite enjoyed Project Catwalk, Sky's version of the make-me-a-clothes-designer fashion show. One of the best episodes was when the wannabe designers were told they were going to have to design an outfit for a mystery celebrity, and enjoying the look on their faces when the "celebrity" turned out to be not Kate Moss or Angelina Jolie, but, erm, Kelly Osbourne.

We loved even more the contestants trying to sound thrilled at working with Osbourne, and pretending to love her own personal sense of style.

Not quite so cheering, though, is the news that Osbourne has replaced Liz Hurley as main presenter.

Officially, Hurley has been dropped because she was "too wooden", but we suspect it's more because, well, she's Liz Hurley and hardly needs to be bothering with a game show on Sky One.


Ricky Gervais' continued expansion as the centre of the universe has been confirmed by scientists' latest observations. Gervais - who a few months ago eclipsed Peter Kay - is now expected to have sucked all known life into his orbit by the end of 2034.

Amongst the latest life found to be getting drawn inexorably into the heart of the Gervais is David Bowie, who will re-appear in the second series of Extras.

For Extras, Bowie will attempt to give a performance which reduces the audience to helpless laughter, something he's already managed in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.


The planned Lost Weekend Glastonbury spin-off at Powederham Castle has been axed, with refunds to be given to those who bought tickets.

The reasons for the festival's cancellation haven't been made public, but it seems possible that it fell victim to the oversupply of open-air megagigs this summer.

C&WSICKLIST: Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn is due to have surgery to replace a shoulder joint following a fall.

The accident has forced Lynn to cancel her planned gigs over the next two months.

Most recently and purchasable: Lynn's Jack-White featuring Van Leer Rose


More upset for Britney (and, unfortunately, hilarity for the rest of us). Kevin Federline's latest plans for her money include making a film about his life.

Oddly, though, while he says its about his life, it's also going to depict him as being a bit like Eminem in 8 Mile, coming up through the streets with just his skills as a rapper to cut him a break.

We wonder who he'll cast as Britney. We hear Mandy Moore has time weighing heavily on her hands.


It's not all gloom from the live venue world: King Tuts in Glasgow is doing so well, it's about to start up its own label. It's not looking to turn into EMI, though, says promoter Dave McGeachan:

"We're not trying to be a big label.We're more a platform to help the bands. We primarily want to help local acts, but we won't just have a Scottish profile. We're hoping to get another band in two or three months and next year build up to maybe 10 acts, when we'll release a compilation.

"I'm really looking forward to unearthing some of the fantastic new talent out there."

Each act will release just one single on the label.


We've read it through twice, and it really does seem that the Daily Record is running 'Man Kisses Wife' as a news story this morning:

On the way home in the back of the car, the 29-year-old [Ronan Keating] couldn't keep his hands - or his lips - off his gorgeous wife Yvonne.

They'd probably have had more detail, but they had to head off to investigate a story they'd heard of where a dog had bitten a man.


Last week, we discovered Kelly Osbourne's weightloss was down to a squirty bottom and not hard work and unedifying lunches.

Now, we discover the secrets of Courtney Love's new, slimmer figure:

"Well, it's not the fucking Pilates, and it's not the fucking liposuction.

"It's called goddamned starvation because I can't afford to buy any fucking groceries!"

Maybe Kerry Katona should tell her the secret about Iceland...


Charlotte Church apparently plans to give Cheryl Tweedy a hurting:

"I think she just needs to grow up and get a hobby - golf or something, but stop having a go at me 'cos it's getting pathetic. First of all, it was quite funny - but now it's just pathetic and I'm going to knock her out if I ever see her."

Careful, Chazza, she's got form you know...


Here's something to set the hairs rising on the back of your neck: Christina Aguilera has, apparently, written so many songs ("paying tribute to smooth music from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s", what's more) that her next release might be a double album.


Or you could, you know, discover the joys of being a little self-critical.


Not that the lack of Mills porn means the paper isn't caught in a moment of fake moral outrage, forcing an "apology" from Kimberley Walsh out of Girls Aloud.

Her crime?

A toke on a spliff during a New Year party.

“I realise what I did was wrong, especially as I’m in a position where fans look up to you. I got caught up in a moment and I’m sorry.”

Victoria Newton froths about her being a bad role model:

Just last Saturday the group completed a UK arena tour, performing in front of thousands of young fans across the country.

Kimberley’s got to remember she’s a POP star — not a POT star.

A pot star, do you see?

Of course, if it's so vitally important that young girls don't see her smoking "a cannabis cigarette", what with her being a role model and all, why did the Sun run the picture of it? After all, the joint was shared at a private party with just a few friends present; if the Sun hadn't printed the picture, nobody would ever have known.


Doubtless, Heather Mills would have been bracing herself for a fourth day of "look at these pictures, you can see her minge and everything", but she's been given a day off; The Sun has had to focus on the much more important story of a ruddy-faced child's ankle and it's likely impact on the nation's desire to hang crappy Chinese-made English flags from the back of their Toyotas.

Either that, or it's got too difficult to unstick the pages of the Wapping copy of her book.


Given a chance to speak directly to the public, the RIAA's Cary Sherman and Mitch Bainwol could have taken the opportunity to try and shift the public perception of the organisation as being a money-grubbing bunch of heartless automatons.

They didn't.

[CNET News]: Do your view your lawsuits, even ones where you sued a 12-year-old girl or a Boston grandmother, as a success overall and do you think the process is working?
Sherman: Yes. We're feeling pretty good. There will be the opportunity for business models that are consistent with P2P networks (such as demo versions or low quality). There have been a lot of conversations recently about ad-supported models.

Bainwol: Now there is additional legal clarity.

They're feeling pretty good about suing preteens and the Boston grandmother (the latter case, of course, was a lawsuit against a woman who the RIAA had to admit hadn't even got a filesharing program on her computer.) It does make you wonder what it would take for them to feel bad.

However, there are some curious little statements in the interview:

Sherman: We've long accepted the notion that you're not going to have a pirate-proof system. The idea is to leave that to the hacking community. Most people want to get it legitimately.

Here, Sherman's talking primairily about digital radio, but we're a little puzzled: the RIAA is comfortable that you can't have a pirate proof system? And yet if "most people" want to get their music legitimately (if they can), what's the point in all the legal activity, then? Let me get this straight: you're suing people to bully them into behaving in the way they want to anyway?

The pair then get asked about DRM:

Bainwol: The world at large is not aware of DRM as an issue. Nobody feels any real problem with it.

That's probably broadly true - out of the six billion people on the planet, it's a very small portion of people who are yet exercised by the issue. Unfortunately, those that are are the same small portion who buy the RIAA's products.

Sherman: It's the ideologues who are focused on it. There's a great article by Jim DeLong that asks how you think there should be rallies outside supermarkets using technology preventing you from taking away shopping carts.

So, Sherman believes that a piece of music is an artefact that should be compared with a shopping trolley. Curious. Of course, this is such a weak analogy even Sherman should see the weakness in it - a shopping trolley is something provided free by a shop to allow people to shop more easily. If shops put technology in place stopping customers from taking out the products they've paid for - or, say, preventing them from using their loaves to feed ducks, that would be similar to what DRM does. And, no, you still wouldn't see protests outside the stores. People would just shop elsewhere.

[CNET] Could the DRM debate flare up again because of public missteps like Sony's rootkit-enabled CDs?
Sherman: DRM has just gotten a bad rap based on this notion that it's going to restrict consumer choice.

Bainwol: It's a proxy for an almost ideological fight on fair use.
Sherman: The fight over DRM will almost fade away as business models (become more flexible).

Perhaps Sherman was too busy thinking about supermarket trollies to notice what happened with Sony's DRM: it introduced Spyware onto computers, opened backdoors into computers that could have been exploited by hackers, and wound up costing Sony millions.

Oh, and DRM was described as "potentially threatening lives" by, erm, Sherman's own RIAA. Presumably they were using that as a proxy in their ideological fight.

Most eye-popping of all, though, comes the opening figure in the report. The RIAA - funded by money from the record labels - has a budget of around twenty-five million dollars. They're always complaining that illegal downloading takes cash from the artists - maybe they ought to ask the musicians if they'd rather those millions were spent on the RIAA offices, or given back to people who actually make music?


Asked by The Times if he was going to clear up the question of his sexuality, Morrisey elected not to:

I wonder if this refusal stems from a deliberate attempt to create mystique or ordinary embarrassment. “It’s neither of those things. I’m simply myself, which is inexcusable to many people. I’m not trapped by anything.”

One thing he isn't, though, and is happy to make clear, is Michael Stipe's ex:

"That’s absolute shit, absolute shit and I don’t know why people ever said that, do you?”

It's not clear if he's more upset at the suggestion he'd been shagging anyone, or Stipe in particular.


To the delight of right-thinking people and music lovers everywhere, Robbie Williams has announced he's knocking the touring on the head after his 2006 dates are done:

"I'm not going to tour for a long time after this one.

"For me, this tour is a year-long celebration of what I have achieved as a solo artist. After that I'll say, 'Thank you very much', it's not something that I want to do again for a long time."

Yes, for us, it feels like a year-long extrapolation of what you've been doing since you pissed off out of Take That. And, yes, we'd like to see you disappear for a long time. Everyone, it seems, will be happy.


As the IFPI tries to close down illegal online music services, it's managed to get one site off the web. Unfortunately, it's a legal one - Tiscali has become so fed up with the IFPI's attitude, it's axed its music offering: editor Richard Ayers said: "It's very disappointing.

"We were trying to develop a new and innovative service in order to increase the appreciation of music, and indeed the purchasing of music. It was clearly working."

He said there had been a 30% rise in purchases from Tiscali Music Club since it launched Juke Box.

He added that Mercora, which was a partner in the Juke Box service, had been running the same service in the US for more than a year.

"I don't quite understand why the European record labels appear to have a problem, whereas the ones in the US don't."

A Tiscali statement accused the industry of "short-sightedness... in not making any effort to understand either the basic needs or habits of music fans that choose to consume music via the internet, or the acts directly benefiting from this promotion".

It also said: "The industry's conservative attitude makes any collaboration for the promotion and marketing of any type of legal, innovative service very difficult."

Amongst the IFPI's complaints was that the Juke Box offering allowed people to decide what music they wanted to listen to. Something, of course, the industry doesn't approve of.


Rosanne Cash has expressed her distrust of the lucrative industry which has sprung up around her Dad Johnny since his death:

'My father was much like Matisse in that he had a creative rebirth at the end of his life. But much of the product that has come out post-mortem has been very one- dimensional and exploitative.

'I don't want to see him turned into a trading card for "cool" or some kind of "hip factor".'

The force of her complaints might have been somewhat diminished with them being made as she picked up a posthumous Mojo award for her father.

LEGENDOBIT: Billy Preston

As has been widely reported, singer-songwriter and keyboardist Billy Preston has died.

Preston was born in Houston in 1946, and was something of a fast developer. At the age of ten, he was already providing keyboards for Mahalia Jackson; two years later, he was cast as the young WC Handy in a Hollywood biography, St Louis Blues, although it was clear he could have handled the musical demands of the part of the elder Hardy.

Since this was the 1950s, and child labour laws were more relaxed, Preston found himself clocking up the hours in the studio as a session musician for Vee-Jay records. It was from these sessions that he found himself touring Germany with Little Richard in the summer of 1962. During a date in Hamburg, Billy struck up a friendship with the young George Harrison - mainly because the pair were fairly close in age. It was a chance which would work in Preston's favour in the years to come.

Back in America, he continued to work - playing keyboards with Sam Cooke, as a member of the house band on TV's Shindig - and in 1966 VeeJay eventually gave him a chance at his first above-the-line record, The Most Exciting Organ Ever.

He crossed the Atlantic again - this time to play with Ray Charles - which gave an opportunity for him to catch up with his now considerably more successful friend George. Two things came from the visit - first, The Beatles bought out his Vee-Jay contract; second, he was invited to play the keyboards on the Let It Be sessions.

Harrison hoped an outsider would help calm tensions within the band, and it sort-of worked for a while. In recognition of what he brought to the mix, Preston was given a joint credit on Get Back; he was also in the version of the band who gave the oft-copied rooftop concert. This closeness to the group gave Preston one of the strongest claims to the oft-conferred Fifth Beatle title. But for Billy, the joint credit was the crowning glory:

"I was at the Beatles' office, and John said, 'Look, Willy' and he showed me the record. I looked, and it was great. Wow! It was really something to do that for me."

Apple records released two solo Preston albums, and he continued his links with the Fabs throughout his life - he played at George's Concert For Bangladesh, and had a slot at Harrison's memorial concert; his keyboards can be heard on Harrison, Lennon and Starr solo albums. In 1978, he took a role in the BeeGee's Sgt Pepper Movie as the good Sergeant himself. But everyone makes mistakes.

But the Beatles connection is only part of Preston's extraordinary story - his solo records did incredibly well, winning him a string of gold records and the 1972 instrumental Grammy award for Outa-Space. He played on Let It Bleed for the Stones, Blood on the Tracks for Dylan and There's A Riot Goin' On for Sly and the Family Stone. Amongst his successes as a writer was Joe Cocker's You Are So Beautiful To Me. He recorded with The Band when they all backed up Eric Clapton on No Reason To Cry - he was offered a role in the reactivated Band line-up in 1991, but never got to take up the offer.

His private life didn't run quite so smoothy - he was convicted of drug offences and assault in 1992; he was jailed in 1997 as a result of more drug trouble, and in 1998 pleaded guilty to insurance fraud. Preston got a relatively light sentence - five years probation and one year's jail-time, and a restitution of $60,000 - after giving evidence against his partners in a fire-setting and crime-faking scam which attempted to sting a million dollars over 18 different incidents. Merle Otis Greene, Preston's one-time manager, was also implicated in the fraud.

Attempts to take control of his life were then hampered by ill-health: he had a kidney transplant in 2002, but continued to work. Shortly before falling into a coma last November, he left his sick bed to provide clavinet for a track on the Red Hot Chili Peppers' comeback album, and organ on Neil Diamond's 12 Songs.

The 59 year-old died yesterday in Arizona of complications following malignant hypertension.

[Related obituary: Syreeta Wright, Preston's collaborator on 1979's With You I'm Born Again]

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Zac HansonCongratulations to Zac Hanson, from Hanson, who's just got married. And, of course, a much better haircut than he had when the band were at the peak of their powers.

The new Mrs. Hanson is the old Ms. Katie Tucker. They've been stepping out for five years.


The trouble with most rappers - even the good ones - is, as soon as they get to the point where they don't have to make records any more, they stop making records.

Ice Cube hasn't made a record for six years.

Now he's back.

He's claiming, by the way, responsibility for all popular culture since about 1985:

"If NWA didn’t exist, would you have South Park or The Osbournes? Would you have The Sopranos, things like that?" he says. "We kind of made it all right to be yourself, say what you want to say. Artists don’t have limits no more. I think that’s the legacy of NWA, and I’m proud of that."

Without NWA, The Osbournes would never have happened? I think I've just heard the best argument for wishing that rap had never been invented.


Bono's name is such catnippy-heroin to the press, people nowadays issue a press release when they talk about perhaps asking him to do something: So it is that the key story from yesterday's Liverpool City of Culture arts and business meeting wasn't about anything they did or said, but just that they're going to invite Bono to the city:

FRONTMAN of rock superstars U2, Bono, is to be invited to speak to children in Liverpool about world poverty, a forum of business leaders heard yesterday.

We can't help but think of Henry VI Part One: anyone can call forth Bonos, but will they come when you call them?

Having lived and worked in inner-city Liverpool for years, we're also puzzled about why you'd invite a multi-millionaire property owner to tell children living in one of the most financially disadvantaged parts of Europe what it's like to live in poverty.


In response to the attacks on it over the last week, AllofMP3 has issued a statement, which repeats its claims to be legal, but concedes that it may only be so for a couple more months:

The US government officials and politicians have been demanding lately that the Russian authorities shut down, alleging the site is pirate. Otherwise, they threaten Russia with sanctions, including blocking its entry to WTO.

In this regard we would like to make a statement:

1. The site belongs to a Russian company and for 6 years it has operated within the country, in full compliance with all Russian laws. Throughout this period the various government offices have scrutinized site's legality and have not found any breach of the law. So far there has been no decision by any Russian court contesting the site's legality.

2. The Russian site is not operating or advertising its business on the territory of other countries.

3. The site does regularly transfer substantial amounts of royalties to the Russian organizations for collective management of rights such as ROMS and FAIR, which have granted the site licenses to legally deliver music through the Internet.

4. The site reserves the right to take all steps necessary to protect its business reputation. We call upon everyone to take a thorough and unbiased view of the site's legality.

5. On September 1, 2006 the changes to the Russian copyright legislation will come into force. Since January 2006 the site has been making direct agreements with rightholders and authors at the same time increasing the price of the music compositions and transferring the royalties directly to the artists and record companies. The aim of is to agree with all rightholders on the prices and royalties amounts by September 1, 2006.

6. We believe in the long term and civilized business based on respecting the law, considering the customers' demands as well as the interests of both national and international rightholders.

The Administration
June 6, 2006 Moscow

Interesting - especially the suggestion that things will change at the end of August. That's either a coded plea to the copyright cops to hold off as they'll put their own house in order, or else a coded message to people to come for the closing down sale.


The BBC governor's clearing of Chris Moyles' use of gay in its modern sense has sparked a bit of outrage from the gay theorists: Most notably, Tim Lusher writing in The Guardian is pretty upset:

What is surprising, though, is that the BBC has once again leapt to the defence of their £630,000-a-year, strike-busting star (last May he chose to break a 24-hour strike by BBC staff over job cuts). First the BBC told us that the racist moment wasn't actually a racist moment; now, after a listener complained that Moyles' ringtone comment last July was homophobic, the board of governors has declared that the word gay "was often now used to mean 'lame' or 'rubbish'. This is a widespread current usage ... among young people".

Intrestingly, Lusher is quick to make it clear that he doesn't believe Moyles to be homophobic - he points out that Moyles and Will Young text each other, for example.

The problem, of course, is the shift in the meaning of the word from being "homosexual" to "a bit crappy." Lusher goes further, suggesting that it would have been okay in a younger man:

While it is true that since the 1990s the word "gay" has become a youth-speak synonym for stupid, second-rate and feeble, that doesn't make it a good thing. In fact, in case Moyles is still unaware of this, the casual use of "gay" - when used other than to accurately describe homosexual men and women - is cruel and derogatory.

The BBC may argue that Moyles (age 32) is supposed to be down with the teenagers - that's who the show is meant to appeal to. But that doesn't necessarily mean that he should behave like one. [...]

Tony Thorne, head of the languages centre at King's College, London, believes that the gay/rubbish linguistic connection is one that only the under-28 age group can make comfortably. "It is true now that it is very widespread among young speakers and it is not used with any homophobic intention at all - and that is difficult for people to get their heads around," he said yesterday. "Even if a person does not mean to be homophobic I do not think there are many gay people who would be able to laugh it off. A lot of people have not caught up with it yet. Many people over 30 are surprised to hear young people use the term in this way."

So, were Moyles four years younger, it would have been okay, but as he's past the (presumably scientifically arrived-at) 28 year-old cut-off point, he's overstepped the mark?

Apparently, the age of the governors is also an issue:

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, agrees that the offence is probably unintended, but adds drily: "He's not especially homophobic because, as Halle Berry pointed out the other day, he's racist as well." Summerskill says he's unsurprised by the BBC governors' response given the "inexcusable" lack of an openly gay board member. "They are presuming to be down with the kids. It's like a dowager duchess turning up at a dinner party in a rubber mini-skirt and pretending she's hip."

It's interesting how the negative stereotyping of homosexuals is wrong, but it's fine to create lazy stereotypes about older people.

This railing at the shift in the meaning of language is, amusingly, reminiscent of the frothing of the right when queer people started to use "gay" to define themselves - it's only a matter of time before someone from Outrage pops up to wail over the loss of a good, old-fashioned English word.

Moyles shouldn't have described the ringtone as gay, not because it was homophobic to do so, but because the shift in usage hasn't travelled far enough to allow the new meaning to be tossed around without causing offence: He can be accused of thoughtlessness rather than offensiveness.

What's fascinating, though, is the struggle on the part of some politicalqueers to try and shore up what was in itself a temporal slang term: maybe you should let it go, and fight the more important battles, people?

Lusher shows why his focus on this small spat, and the confusion of a shift in language with a cause that needs fighting, when he cites the taunting and murder of a child in the context of a silly spat over one word on a radio programme:

Does any of this matter? Is it so bad if the meaning of "gay" changes, if the intent is not homophobic? Damilola Taylor comes to mind, bullied at school and called "gay boy".

(Taylor was murdered, by the way, in 2000; long before the new 'gay' became part of the lingua franca)

The bullying of Taylor was a terrible thing, certainly: but is Lusher really trying to tell us that when they called him "gay boy" they were having a go because they thought he was rubbish? No. Taylor was the victim of homophobic bullying - and it's that which needs to be addressed. It doesn't matter if 'gay' means good, bad, or even 'liable to write think pieces in the liberal press.' The bullies will find words and fists to use to attack those who don't match up to their version of normal. Homophobia isn't created by the change in the meaning of a word - and more than it was ended by the re-defining of the word "queer."

And while kids are having their lives made miserable in playgrounds, you're sitting around debating if its okay for a dj to use a phrase already in wide circulation to describe a ringtone.


One-man charm offensive David Cameron has pushed his "with the kids" credentials even further than his professed love of Benny Hill managed: he's started an attack on Tim Westwood:

"I would say to Radio 1, do you realise that some of the stuff you play on Saturday nights encourages people to carry guns and knives?"

This was Cameron's response to a question from the editor of Good Housekeeping (he seems to have attempted to recreate the Little Britain sketch where Tony Head's prime minister holds a press conference for unlikely magazine reporters; Cameron also fielded enquiries from Conde Nast Traveller and What Car?; it's not recorded if the man from Dinosaur Weekly got the chance to grill him). GH wanted to know what Cameron thought about all this knife crime going on. It's fascinating to see the modern, shiny Cameron has decided that it's all pop music's fault.

We love the image of David sitting up listening to Westwood's show writing the lyrics down in a big book.

Of course, having expressed his love for Ernie on Desert Island Discs, should Cameron be calling on himself to investigate why he encouraged Radio 4 to play a song that glorifies street-fighting and treats the death of man in such a battle as a reason to make jokes?

Rachel Spence has been in touch to let us know Guido Fawkes has something to say on the matter.


Embroiled in a battle over the rights to the phrase Bat Out of Hell: Jim Steinman, who wrote the song, and Meat Loaf, who sang it.

Meat Loaf wants sole rights to the name, so he can release a third album under the banner; he also demands over £25 million in damages.

Asked if he'll give the words up to Mr. Loaf, Mr. Steinman is believed to have said "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that."


Someone should take Dannii Minogue to one side and... no, actually, that would be enough. Just take her to one side.

While there, though, it might be worth mentioning that before you start begging for a role in a TV series to check if there's any point. Minogue-redux launched into a little pitch for a little part in Little Britain while on GMTV:

“My ultimate dream is to be in the Little Britain scene at Fat Fighters wearing a fat suit."

In a fat suit! Do you see? How hilarious fat people are! And it's even funnier because Danni isn't fat at all.

"I would really like to do that — maybe playing a washed-up pop star eating loads of chocolate bars.”

We take it back. We didn't realise she was a method actor.

Trouble is, of course, there isn't going to be another series of Little Britain - she might as well have been trying to wangle herself a part as Albert Steptoe's girlfriend.

While we're on the topic of BBC Comedy, can we just say how much we enjoyed BBC TWO's discomfort on Monday night, when it was keen to trail the new comedy programme it had on last night, but seemed strangely reluctant to actually say what it was. So we had voiceovers announcing "new commedy from BBC THREE tomorrow" and even continuity describing some of the characters in the programme. But no mention of the name to circle in the Radio Times. To slightly adapt what teachers used to say: if you're big enough to have a programme called Tittybangbang in your schedule, you're big enough to say the title.


When she's not spending time looking at photographs of Heather Mills tending to a male model, Victoria Newton still has her day job to concentrate on, pulling together the Bizarre pop page, where today she's discovered that Right Said Fred are going to be playing the World Cup Opening:

I thought the camp duo had packed it in years ago. But it turns out that muscular brothers RICHARD and FRED FAIRBRASS are absolutely massive in Germany.

Is it just us, or did the showbiz editor of The Sun just admit that she's not exactly got her finger on the pulse? Incredible that someone who's so intimate with German hardcore pornography doesn't know which British acts are doing well overseas.

Oh, and the not-that-we're-obsessed-with-the-war headline?

Reich Said Fred.


We suspect that Mike Skinner may have been, you know, doing that joking thing when he was talking about how much he gets it:

“Out on tour it gets a little boring.It probably is pretty easy to shag a different girl every night.”

But he adds: “But I don’t think I’d actually want more than three girls a week.”

Although we do have an image of him trying to juggle his 28 alcohol units, 35 portions of fruit and vegetables and three women across the week, and ending up having to have sex and two kiwi fruit on a Sunday evening.


For a newspaper that claims to be disgusted by them, The Sun seems more than happy to shoot Heather Mills' porn photos onto the front page again and again: today is day three of "these pictures are so horrible, we just have to show you them."

Victoria Newton is back to having to handle the story on her own. We worry about her having to constantly keep flicking through this book, again and again and again. Is she not worried about the risks of becoming depraved and corrupted? Or a little more depraved, a little more corrupted?

Anyway, even The Sun realises that without at least trying to think of a new story, it might look like it was just publishing hardcore porn to turn a quick a profit, and so Newton provides some fresh words to go with the pictures.

Supposedly, the bloke who appeared in the pictures with her is now looking to sell his story - we wonder if this story will eventually wind up in The Sun? Oddly, while you and I might think he was just another model who appeared in the photo shoot, The Sun insists he's actually Heather's "porn pal".

Then there's some speculation on what all this means for the divorce settlement:

Yesterday it emerged her divorce settlement from the former Beatle could be slashed.

Lawyers for 63-year-old Paul are bound to cite her pornographic past as grounds for his payout — until now estimated at £200million — to be reduced.

Although actually, Victoria, when you say "emerged" you mean "occured to me that perhaps" - this is such a lame piece of speculation they've not even bothered to ring up a tame lawyer to give a supporting quote.

Newton, meanwhile, has found a whole new reason to be outraged by Mills' behaviour:

Heather is in talks to do a warts-and-all interview about her split from Paul — on AMERICAN TV.

American TV? That hussy

She has told CNN host Larry King she is desperate to tell her side of the story. Heather has been approached by a string of British TV journalists including Sir Trevor McDonald. But she favours King as she has often appeared on his show — and believes she will get softer treatment in the States.

Softer treatment from King than from McDonald? That's like weighing up the relative merits of down from ducks against down from geese, surely? Mind you, we can see the advantage in going with King - the way US TV has been forced to self-censor since Janet Jackson's nipple, he's not really going to be able to say very much about the content of the photos.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Another day, another denial from the Sandi Thom camp that her overnight rise to fame was, in fact, an orchestrated media ploy. This time, it's her label boss Craig Logan:

Logan wrote in Music Week that he wished to "correct some of the myths and assertions in the media with some simple, honest facts".

"The only guerrilla marketing tactics employed were when the flyer was sent out to over one million email addresses, which is hardly revolutionary," he said.

He said the flyer had contained a link to Thom's website, which explained why people monitoring search engine traffic had tracked few searches for Thom.

Mr Logan added that the costs of the bandwidth for Thom's webcasts were "absorbed by the streaming company".

"Fact: Sandi tried the old way of building a community and it didn't quite work for her. The new way has."

He also said: "Sandi Thom is a great artist, which is why RCA signed her."

Okay, let's get it out the way: Yes, that Craig Logan, the one out of Bros.

Now, let's assume this is truth, and focus instead on the second question: they sent out a million emails? Who to? Are RCA admitting they built Sandi Thom on the back of a spam campaign? Or did they have access to a million email addresses which had agreed to receive this sort of marketing message?

And if they did, which sort of young girl working on her own in a basement would have access to a million email addresses which have opted-in to get messages about winsome singer-songwriters? Especially one who had - by her people's own admission - failed to build a community already?


Back in February, Nelly Furtado was trilling about the track she'd recorded with Chris Martin.

Sadly, though, we're not going to hear the results of this meeting of minds, because Martins' label has panicked. Nelly explains:

"Chris's label didn't want his voice sounding so rocky, so they said we couldn't use the song. Now it's on the album with just me singing it."

Yes, Parlophone were afraid if Martin sounded too growly, it might scare off (or simply scare) Coldplay fans.

How growly would he have been in the context of a Nelly Furtado record, anyway?


Johnny and the boys will be traipsing around the UK later this year:

Aberdeen AECC October 20
Hull Arena 21
Sheffield Arena 22
Nottingham Arena 24
Swindon Oasis Centre 25
Plymouth Pavillion 26
Cardiff Arena 28
Brighton Centre 31
Wembley Arena November 1

It's actually hard to recall that this time last year they were so hot they were preparing to play Live8.


Last month, The BBC had to explain that Chris Moyles impression of a big black man with a gun wasn't intended to be racist. Now, it's explaining that his use of 'gay' wasn't intended to be homophobic.

He does seem to attract a surprising number of misunderstandings, doesn't he?

In the same slew of BBC governer's findings into complaints, the great and the good were called upon to consider The Game's appearance on Jo Whiley's show:

On Jo Whiley's show, The Game caused uproar for calling gay men "faggots" and "not real men".

The governors' committee said: "The Game's comments were very offensive, completely unacceptable and clearly homophobic.

"However, it also noted that the presenter, Jo Whiley, was swift to make a full apology for what had been said and to distance herself and the network from The Game's comments."

Whiley showed "courage and presence of mind" in making a "sincere, full and swift" apology, the committee said.

Apparently, The Game has been barred from future interviews on Radio One.


Now that figures have started to show just how popular AllofMP3 is in the UK, the BPI has started to launch an all-out attack on the service:

BPI spokesman Matt Phillips said: "There is no doubt it is totally illegal.

"It is illegal for them to sell the recordings in Russia or anywhere else because they are not licensed, and UK consumers are infringing copyright law because they are making illegal copies from an unlicensed source."

He added: "Because it is a professionally put together site it does look legitimate, although it should be obvious from the price that it isn't."

But if we should assume that any site offering downloads for small sums is illegal, does that mean Napster's freebies are beyond the law? And Tesco is offering a single for 20pence at the moment - should we alert the old bill?

The trouble is, the BPI's statements might not be entirely true. Allofmp3 has been operating in a grey area. It might be totally illegal. On the other hand, it might not be. There's two big questions that need to be settled:

First, is the company properly licensed to operate in Russia?

The site says it is, through the Russian Organization for Multimedia and Digital Systems; the IFPI says this doesn't count. Again, the IFPI are stating this to be a fact, when, again, that's as yet an untested opinion.

Secondly, are people in the UK breaking the law downloading their music from a Russian server?

Let's assume for a moment that - to the frustration of the IFPI - AllofMP3 is a legal service in its home country. It's far from clear that the BPI or any body at all has any grounds to stop British consumers from choosing to source their digital recordings from Moscow rather than Morecambe, if the Russians are happy to supply them. However upsetting that might be for them.

We can understand that the BPI might want to frighten people from using the service. But they should be honest, and start their statements with "As far as we're concerned..."

The other option, of course, would be to study why Allofmp3 is so popular, and think about why DRM-free, competitively priced music is attractive.


Apparently, Liam Gallagher is holidaying this summer on a yacht, off Mauritius.

Something to think about the next time Oasis pull their "lads of the people" schtick.


We're never entirely sure when the Mojo awards come round if they're a wrap-up or a opening: were these the last awards of the 2005 season or the first of the 2007 awards? Although being Mojo, some of the awards felt they were from 1985:

The MOJO Best New Act
The MOJO Best New Act Award supported by BBC 6 Music. Chosen by MOJO Magazine readers & users. Presented to an act who have made a significant impact over the last 18 months.
Presented by Tom Robinson
Winner: Corinne Bailey Rae

MOJO Classic Album
Sponsored by Rhino. Presented by MOJO to an artist responsible for a landmark release in the history of rock’n’roll. Presented by Jason Pierce
Winner: Can - Tago Mago

The MOJO Roots Award
Chosen by MOJO Magazine.
Presented by Richard Hawley
Winner: Dann Penn And Spooner Oldham

The MOJO Inspiration Award
The MOJO Inspiration Award sponsored by EMI Catalogue. Chosen by MOJO Magazine readers & users. Presented to an act that has been the catalyst for music fans and fellow musicians alike.
Presented by James Dean Bradfield
Winner: Buzzcocks

The MOJO Les Paul Award
Presented to a visionary performer on the guitar. Only innovators, genii and true legends of the string-driven thing need apply. Sponsored by Gibson.
Presented by Jeff Beck
Winner: Brian May

The MOJO Catalogue Release Of The Year
Cash Sponsored by HMV and presented by MOJO to the reissue that is both definitive and beautifully packaged.
Presented by Nick Cave
Winner: Johnny Cash - Legend (Sony BMG), collected by Roseanne Cash

The MOJO Vision Award
Sponsored by HMV and presented by MOJO to the best music DVD package of the year in recognition of visual innovation and impact.
Winner: The Flaming Lips - The Fearless Freaks: The Life And Times Of An American Invention? (High Coin)

The MOJO Merit Award
Chosen by MOJO Magazine
Presented by Beth Orton & Roy Harper
Winner: Bert Jansch

The MOJO Maverick Award
Chosen by MOJO Magazine
Presented by Bobby Gillespie
Winner: Jesus And Mary Chain

The MOJO Medal sponsored by Ford Transit
Chosen by MOJO Magazine
Presented by Vic Reeves
Winner: Jools Holland

The MOJO Hero
Chosen by MOJO Magazine
Presented by Don Letts
Winner: Prince Buster

The MOJO Songwriter Award
Voted for by MOJO readers and supported by MOJO Radio. Presented to an artist whose career has been defined by their ability to consistently pen classic material.
Presented by Mick Jones
Winner: Chrissie Hynde

The MOJO Icon Award
Voted for by MOJO readers and Mojo4music users, the recipient of this award has enjoyed a spectacular career on a global scale.
Presented by Phil Alexander
Winner: Scott Walker

The MOJO Hall Of Fame
Presented by MOJO to an act or solo star who is best described as “an artists’ artist”.
Winner: Elton John

The MOJO Lifetime Achievement Award
Presented by Phil Manzanera
Winner: David Gilmour

Perhaps the most notable of these awards (i.e. the one that isn't just going 'you're old, and great') is the one for Corinne Bailey-Rae. With the papers desperate to find some sort of online music creation, rather than the Sandi Thom approach, shouldn't they be focussing more on Rae, whose otherwise unnoticeable music got a strong, sustained push from Amazon, with some sort of live event being trailed for what felt like forever on their homepage - surely, the first ever virtual instore appearance?


George Michael is hoping to convince the world that, actually, he loves being in the papers because he falls asleep and crashes his car all the time because it helps flog his new single:

"In all honesty it does me good. I take crap for a couple of weeks but it promotes my new single. I hate to say it but it's true."

Of course, the real problem is that releasing a crap single is going to make his career as a narcolpetic crash test dummy seem in doubt.


Yesterday, The Sun made space amongst the ads for sex phone lines and adult DVDs to get itself all over-excited and outraged that Heather Mills did some porn work when she was younger.

In fact, so flushed with horror at the pictures is the paper, that it's printed some more of them today. We're a little at a loss as to what the point of this second slew of photos are. Okay, we're not - that would be like us saying we didn't know why Jimmy Mulligan used to charge ten pence or a packet of ET biscuits for a peek at his brother's Fiesta in the upper school playground - but we're not sure how the paper can pretend that these pictures are so bad and yet still feel happy to print more of them in a "family" newspaper.

Still, the paper is busy congratulating itself on upsetting everybody, dragging out a "source" to confirm that Paul McCartney is upset:

A source said: “This has come as a real shock to Paul and those around him.

“He is a very sweet, kind, caring guy who doesn’t deserve this. He’s a real family man. He is shocked beyond belief and beside himself over the whole thing."

McCartney is shocked to discover his wife was a model? Or are we supposed to believe that a man who made his name playing strip clubs in Germany might find a spot of nudity beyond the pale?

True to form, though, Heather has managed to make things worse. She could have just asked "Yes, it's porn, and?"; she could have said "I was young, I had no money and I had to eat. It was terrible. Can you imagine what it's like having no choice to remove your clothes and be photographed because you've got no other option? You could ask Zoe, 24, from London." No, instead:

Heather, 38, said the shots were part of an educational “lover’s guide” to “caring relationships” and “instructive sex”.

Right. And people buy the magazines for the articles on aeroplanes.

Of course, The Sun loves that lame explanation, and has pulled in an expert witness:

THE creator of the Lovers’ Guide last night poured scorn on Heather Mills’ claims that her sleazy picture book was “educational”.

Robert Page said he had no doubt it was porn.

He added: “What we do is erotic rather than pornographic. We show people how to do it without showing everything off.

“This, on the other hand, does it in a particularly lewd manner.”

Mr Page said the point of the Lovers’ Guide was a delicate attempt to teach couples how to have fun in the bedroom, rather than a lurid representation.

This is one of those irregular verbs, of course: I have illustrations teaching couples how to have fun in the bedroom, you show everything off in lurid descriptions, they make lewd hardcore porn.

But Page hasn't finished:

He said of Lady McCartney’s pictures: “You can’t really argue that showing an erect manhood and other graphic acts is necessary when it comes to educating people about sex."

Oh no? To be honest, I'm not sure someone who's so uncomfortable talking about the naked human body - go on, say penis - is the right person to be writing sexual health manuals; and we've heard doctors in the past saying that they have treated couples who didn't realise the cock had to be hard to have sex. Indeed, having an illustration in which the knob isn't ready to go is arguably like a cookery book showing someone trying to make an omlette with unbroken eggs.

Still, it allows Victoria Newton (joined in her byline by another writer today) to ram home her key reason why this is disgusting filth and not cheeky fun:

The German book featuring Heather contained page after page of no-holds-barred images with NO WORDS.

That doesn't actually mean it couldn't be educational - after all, those cards which show you how to get out a plane on fire don't have any words on them, but you don't see sweaty businessmen sneaking them off into the Business Class toilets for a quick five minute pant over the woman trying to open the overwing exit.

Not that it really matters - the key thing, of course, is that the paper is in such a hypocritical frenzy over a woman with no pants that it feels it needs to bring in an expert to knock down a paper tiger.

It's all very odd from the paper which set out its stall when it first started printing its own porn: "We, like most of our readers, like pretty girls. And if they are as pretty as today's Birthday Suit girl, 20-year-old Stephanie Rahn, who cares whether they are dressed or not?"

Apparently, dressed or not doesn't matter. But if they're married to someone you've heard of? That's a different thing entirely.