Saturday, June 17, 2006


In a kind of sympathetic lining-up of the planets, as Grace was evicted from the Big Brother house, former Big Brotherer Pete Burns was released from the big house, where he's been languishing on remand since he violated his bail terms at the end of April. He's being given another chance at keeping his nose clean prior to the court case proper, scheduled for July.


It seemed Boy George had managed to save a humiliating fate by cutting a deal to avoid prison after the whole "ooh, come here police, oh, that's not my cocaine" business. Hed admitted wasting police time, and got landed with a spot of community service.

The former Sunday Express columnist, though, hasn't yet turned up to pay his debt to New York society. He's trying to land himself a cushy job, as, well, sweeping streets would be like some kind of punishment:

Judge Ferrara went as far as to issue an arrest warrant for O'Dowd because he did not appear in person to explain why he had refused to begin his community service.

However, he said he would not order an arrest until next week's hearing, giving O'Dowd a further opportunity to attend the court.

He also ridiculed the singer's proposals to help teenagers create a public service announcement, stage a fashion and make-up workshop and play a DJ set at a benefit for Aids sufferers.

Lawyer Louis Freeman said O'Dowd hoped to do something other than sweeping pavements.

"There's nothing wrong with that if that's part of his punishment, but it will turn into a media circus, and the press will be following him every day," he said.

The judge said he understood the objection to street cleaning - "it's humiliation," he conceded - but claimed O'Dowd "took a deal that had an element of humiliation".

"I put people in jail who don't pay fines", he said. "Why shouldn't I do that?"

The best bit is that Boy George - a man who colours in his neck with a Sharpie to try and hide his multiple chin effect - could helpfully offer the people of the State make-up tip. Although the belief that the press would be following him around every day if he was sweeping streets is also a fine spot of self-delusion, too.


The rumours that Ron Wood had checked himself into the Priory have been confirmed by his publicist, but it's not going to stop the Stones.

The band insist that they'll be ready for July 11th, although the way they're being picked off one-by-one suggests by the middle of August all they'll be good for is a musical remake of Ten Little Whatever They Call The Agatha Christie Book These Days.


Life in a meritocracy: Deputy Environment and Tourism Minister Leon Jooste got a phone call from "someone" in America, announcing that Britney Spears was planning to fly to Namibia to have her baby.

You can see why he might have fallen for it - after all, Angelina Jolie had had a baby in the country, so maybe it she had started a Hollywood trend. And so Leon rushed to announce the good news to the world:

"She has shown interest to come over to Namibia," he said at the time. "Nothing has been confirmed yet, but there is a definite possibility of that happening."

Trouble is, of course, it was all a leg-pull. An abashed Mr. Jooste went public again:

Asked if the call might have been a hoax, Jooste said: "It is really possible."

However, he wasn't totally downcast. He'd just got an email that morning telling him that if he forwarded it on to ten more people, Bill Gates will send him thousands of dollars.

Friday, June 16, 2006


The police have refused Norman Cook permission to hold another Brighton Beach party, like a mother shaking her head and saying "Not after last time."

The last time, in 2002, saw the expected 100,000 crowd more than double to the point where it's estimated nearly a quarter of a million people were down on the seafront. The evening did end in a bit of a mess, with the police then happily slapping themselves on the back.

At the time, Inspector Kevin Claxon told the Evening Argus that the surprisingly low arrest rate - just six, well below the number you'd usually expect on a summer evening in the city - was due to the police not having the resources to arrest more, as the overwhelmed cops struggled to cope. It never occurred to him at the time that maybe Sussex Police were at fault for only booking fifty officers on that evening - even if the numbers hadn't been more than expected, that seems to have been a major underestimate.

Troubles were exacerbated by the train operating companies. Foreign readers may assume that this title suggests a business designed to provide railways services, but, rather, the TOCs are in existence to sell tickets; the actual journeys are left to sort themselves out. So it was one of the companies ran adverts encouraging people to buy day return tickets from London to Brighton for the beach party, somehow neglecting to mention that the event would end at midnight, over an hour after the last train back had left, and leaving thousanads stranded on Brighton station, and spilling out onto the streets, for the night.

There was also tragedy - the death of one of those on the beach was widely reported at the time, mainly as an example of how out of control the whole thing had got; less well reported was the coroner's finding that the death was an accident, and wasn't caused by the numbers of people.

In other words: there were lessons to be learned, and a mature country will have learned them and thought about giving it another go. Instead, the Sussex Police are effectively saying they're incapable of coping with any crowd bigger than, ooh, that which you might expect at a Labour Party Conference. If that's really the case, the Chief Constable Joe Edwards might like to think about handing in his badge and letting someone who's able to have a go. The police are always stressing about how they're having to protect us form anarcho-syndicalist-Islamiscist-Zionist-nationalist terrorists, and yet ask them to turn up and keep an eye on a glorified barbecue and they go "better not, might get out of hand..."


The White Stripes royalty case has reached its end, and it's good news for Jack:

The White Stripes have won a legal case against a former producer who claimed a share in the band's royalties.

A Detroit federal jury rejected claims by Jim Diamond that he had helped create the band's signature sound.

Jack, of course, made a statement outside:

White, one half of the band with drummer Meg White, told The Detroit News outside court: "You never know what's going to happen in a trial".

He has, of course, confused "exciting thriller sold in an airport" with "trial", here.


As the hawk their sub-Busted new single, Please Please, McFly have had to fall back on the old Duran Duran video trick of throwing in a spot of full-frontal nudity.

Unfortunately, it's McFly naked rather than anyone else.

Tom McFly explained this wasn't that unusual:

“I wasn’t at all embarrassed about being naked. We’re used to stripping off in front of each other.

“And we all know who has got the biggest package — me."

To judge from the stills, it might be true in a "in the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" sort of way.


We wonder how this sweet little story could have "leaked out", eh, but even if it is just PR flotsam, it's a nice way of doing it. Robbie Williams is playing a mini-cup tournament with local kids as part of his tour duties.

Apparently Jonathan Wilkes is a great player in these events; he certainly isn't one to hang around the back looking for a lazy chip.


After publishing Heather Mills' hardcore, The Sun goes a little bit further today.

Gary Glitter in Speedos.

The link, of course, is not safe for people who have weak stomachs.


You'd imagine that sticking with her through the lean times, and playing upwards of one hundred buck to see her would buy Madonna fans some home comforts and a little respect, right?


The Chicago date on her current tour was a little, erm, close, reports the Tribune:

[S]he made concertgoers who paid as much as $380 a ticket (plus service charges) wait 75 minutes past the starting time of 7:30 p.m. before taking the stage. And though there was no official comment from tour promoters or the singer's camp, the air-conditioning was undoubtedly shut off—apparently at the finicky Madonna's request. Before a note was played, fans already were perspiring like they'd just had a workout with the diva's dance choreographer.

We find ourselves wondering how Madonna would react if she was made to wait five - never mind 75 - minutes for anything.

Thanks to Jim McCabe for the link.
[Earlier: Madonna tour - first night]

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Thom Yorke isn't happy with the way things are going:

“This is such a dark period in our country's history. There are these huge elephants that we have in the room at the moment, in the West, and people are desperately trying to erase them from public consciousness.”

His new not-a-solo album features a track about the ""suicide"" of David Kelly:

“The government and the Ministry of Defence were implicated in his death.

"They were directly responsible for outing him and that put him in a position of unbearable pressure that he couldn't deal with, and they knew they were doing it and what it would do to him.

“I've been feeling really uncomfortable about that song lately, because it was a personal tragedy, and Dr. Kelly has a family who are still grieving. But I also felt that not to write it would perhaps have been worse.”

We wonder if Chris Moyles will play it.

Maybe not.

Still, at least the world has caught up with Thom's gloominess now.


We forever associate The Trudy with the short-lived Liz Kershaw incarnation of the seven til ten Night-time Radio One shows, and we'd assumed they'd pretty much gone when she did.

Not so, they've just been sleeping, and are about to release their first single in over a decade.

Apparently, they're claiming to be aliens or something, which they might have done before, but we'd somehow missed it.


Following on from their RIAA chums, EMI have paid up to avoid facing court action after being caught by Eliot Spitzer breaking the federal law against payola.

"EMI is pleased to have resolved these radio promotion matters with the New York State Attorney General with this agreement," the company said in a statement, which neither agreed with nor disputed Spitzer's allegations. "In addition to voluntarily adopting strict policies last year, we have been working cooperatively with the attorney general to reinforce these policies."

You hear that? They're delighted to be paying millions of dollars (USD3.75 million in this case.) And "radio promotion matters" - such a polite euphemism for "potential criminal charges".

Spitzer said the compensation for radio airplay was paid by EMI, which includes Virgin Records America, Capitol Records, EMI Christian Music Group and S Curve Records. One deal included tickets to a Rolling Stones concert in Toronto that were given to a radio program director for his personal use.

The radio executive in Watertown, N.Y., was willing to offer "what it takes for us to get them," according to Spitzer's investigation. In exchange for the tickets, Virgin Records received airplay for the Rolling Stones and The Exies.

Good lord, if you had a man offering to do whatever it took for tickets to see the Stones, wouldn't you demand something more interesting than a few spins of a disappointing late-period single?


We're sure we don't detect any arrogance at all in Missy Elliot's insistence that she plays herself in the movie of her life. Oh, none at all.

It does raise the question of if it's tasteless as when other actresses don a fat suit, if you're doing it to play your younger self.


The court case which has pitched Jim 'Not That One' Diamond against Jack White has started to throw out little snapshots of life in modern Detroit, with allegations that Jack... well, still isn't over his Von Bondies problems:

White Stripes frontman Jack White has denied as "laughable" a claim from Von Bondies singer Jason Stollsteimer that he stuck an obscenity-filled warning note on his door with a knife.

The star, who in 2004 pleaded guilty to assaulting his old friend in a Detroit club the previous year, insists it was not him who put the note on Stollsteimer's door.

Diamond made the claim about the note, reports Associated Press. Stollsteimer added that he was sure the message was from White.

Stollsteimer told the US District Court jury: "I found a note stuck to my door with a knife in it. The knife held up a magazine interview story in which White apparently believed that Stollsteimer slighted him by minimizing his role in producing a Von Bondies album."

But there's no reason, of course, to assume that that was anything to with White. Why would it be?


Robbie Williams is making TV history. Not, unfortunately, by being the first man ever to wall himself up in a castle keep live on Yorkshire TV's Calendar, but by being the first artist ever to broadcast a concert in HD. In the UK.

It's on Sky, of course. Robbie read out a prepared statement:

"It's great to be working with Sky. I've seen High Definition television and it looks great. It will capture the atmosphere of the concert in ways that a traditional broadcast couldn't."

Will it? We supppose watching it on an outsize television is the closest thing to be stuck in a crowd where you can't see the stage and have to watch it on an outsize television you can get.

Sky, of course, are excited:

Sky One programming director Richard Woolfe, said: "You'll be able to see more Robbie, hear more Robbie and feel more Robbie.

"The Sky experience will make this more personal and rewarding for Robbie's fans than ever before. Audiences will feel like they're literally on stage with him."

It's just a slightly cripser picture, Richard, that's all - you're still going to be sitting in a semi in Hounslow. The actual feeling that you're a talentless schmuck who's somehow managed to appear on stage with Williams will still only be known to Jonathan Wilkes.


As we observed yesterday, the quick turnaround promised for the Glitter appeal didn't suggest he'd be leaving the court a free man. Today's hearing tossed his application:

"We did not see enough evidence to reduce the penalty for the defendant," said chief judge Truong Vinh Thuy at the People's Supreme Court in Ho Chi Minh City.

"The decision was made based on evidence, documents and testimony of the victims.

"The behaviour of the defendant is dangerous for society, especially towards children. He needs to be punished."

Glitter complained that it wasn't a fair trial; He is, of course, well known for believing the criminal justice system must be fair and impartial at all times, which was why he made large cash payments to the witnesses against him before he went to court.


The Heather Mills pornarama continues to roll on, although today it's starting to look like the worst may be over for her - it's the 3AM girls rather than the Sun today, turning up to the party belatedly with another magazine:

Wearing a revealing red basque and stockings and with her hair in a Farrah Fawcett-style flick, the ex-model is seen reclining on a bed with her legs akimbo.

Blimey - that is quite an exclusive there; we might have thought the Mirror was just jumping belatedly on a bandwagon even though "someone who did porn photos, erm, did porn photos" wasn't exactly news, but it turns out there is something here: since "akimbo" means "with hands on hips and elbows pointing outwards", that she was able to put the hands of her legs onto her hips does suggest there was something quite extraordinary about these photos.

Or the 3AM team don't have their work subbed before they print it.

They're also trying to start a new nickname for Heather - if you thought the Murdoch one (Lady Mucca) was poor, try theirs:

Lewdy Macca

That that made it into the paper makes the absence of a sub seem more plausible still.

The paper is sniffy about the hooker allegations:

As Heather left London her lawyer Stephen Taylor said she would sue a downmarket Sunday newspaper over claims she was a high-class hooker. He said allegations she was paid thousands to bed wealthy Arabs were "untrue and highly defamatory".

Ah, so the NOTW is "downmarket", whereas describing twenty year old porn photos must be, therefore, classy.


Now that she's got the difficult first million-quid photoshoot out the way, Geri Halliwell is planning the next event to stage for OK! Magazine ("next key step in her daughter Hyacinth Tartpant's life"). The Christening.

She's decided to invite Victoria Beckham to be godmother. Victoria is a good choice, since her record of ensuring children grow up to be spiritual beings and good Christians is inarguable, and she'll bump up the prices of the official photoshoot by about 500%.

Some eyebrows have been raised that Posh - who had a big fall-out with Geri - should be in the running, but apparently the pair have made it up:

Geri, 33, has told friends that the offer is her way of thanking Victoria for offering advice "like a sister" throughout her pregnancy - Posh even sent her a poncho to help hide her bump from the paparazzi.

A sweet gesture, although since Geri had her foetus in her womb and not up on her shoulders, and hasn't hidden anything from the press since about 1987, a fairly futile one.

Our spy tells us: "Geri is notoriously selective about the people she has around her - and as a result she doesn't have many friends."

You know who else is notoriously selective about the people they have around them and doesn't have many friends as a result? That bloke with the stained trousers who rides around on the bus singing The Mighty Quinn over and over again. He's notoriously selective.


Jamelia is hard at work on her new album, and taking the advice of her five year-old daughter:

"I ran some of the lyrics past Teja and sometimes she will say: 'Mummy that's great' and then other times she'll say: 'Mummy that's rubbish'.

"You probably won't be hearing those songs on the album!"

Amongst the songs which did pass the five year-old quality test are "Bumhole, Bumhole, Poo Goes There" and a cover of playground favourite "Bum, tit, tit/ bum, tit, tit/ turn your willy round."


Nobody would want to suggest that Ian Blair is blundering about in New Scotland Yard like a starving man trying to find a McDonalds, of course, but you have to wonder if he's going to pop up and explain the whole Kate Moss-Babyshambles waste of money.

You'll recall last time his force managed to shoot someone who wasn't a terrorist, one of the ways Blair attempted to re-establish his authority was by boasting that he, personally, had decided that the Mirror's Kate Moss drug photos be investigated:

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, speaking to journalists at the Police Superintendents Association Conference in Warwickshire on Wednesday, said he had been personally involved in the decision to launch an investigation.

He said: "We have to look at the impact of this kind of behaviour on impressionable young people and if there is evidence something should be done about it."

The trouble is, of course, a grainy photo from a mobile phone doesn't really count as evidence. So, acting on Ian Blair's personal interest in the case, an eight month investigation has burned through £200,000 and concluded that Moss won't be charged.

Don't worry, Ian. We believe you still have the full confidence of the other Mr. Blair.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


You can't stick out an album these days without the obligatory internet leakage, and so we'd imagine that Muse have probably built the expectation of Black Holes and Revelations appearing on the file-sharing networks into the promotion schedule.

Hang about a minute though... Black Holes and Revelations? Revelations, which talks of the beast, as in the devil, and Black Holes? Isn't that pretty much the last Doctor Who in a nutshell?


In these difficult times for the McCartneys, it's good to know Paul can count on Ringo Starr's sold, effective backing.

Which is more than he could when Ringo was his drummer1.

Ringo has been talking to the Canadian press:

"I talked to him three weeks ago and I just said, 'I'm here if you need me.' That's all you can be."

In other words, then, Ringo hasn't spoken to Paul since the paper started painting Heather as a whore and a harlot.

He is with them, though, on the seal culls:

"Yeah, shit, why are you bashing those poor baby seals on the head for someone to wear a fur coat?" said Starr. "Give me a break. I'm a vegetarian too, so it's easy for me."

We're not quite sure what he means by that, though.

1 - We know, we know. It's unfair to pretend that Ringo was a rotten drummer, but sometimes these things are too hard to resist.


Child-molesting glam rocker Gary Glitter has been given a date for his appeal against conviction on charges of child moletation in Vietnam.

The case will be heard tomorrow, although news reports hint that the outcome might be in little doubt:

The results of the trial, which will be held behind closed doors, will be announced later the same day in the afternoon.


The doctors have determined what's wrong with Jonathan Davis, frontperson with Korn:

"Well, he can't sing, he behaves like a petulant thirteen year-old, couldn't hold down a proper job, relies on hackneyed cliched reworkings of denatured rebellion... oh, and he's got a blood disorder, too."

It was the blood disorder which made Korn cancel its European tour - and they say these little dolls don't work - but Davis pledges to make a full recovery:

"The doctors have determined that this was an isolated incident and that after a few weeks my recovery will be complete. I will be ready to rock on the Family Values Tour this summer,"

Not if we can find some longer needles, you won't.


There's a small storm blowing in the US over Hadji Girl, a song apparently performed by a marine which attempts to draw laughs from the idea of slaughtering an entire Iraqi family. Pretty much everyone so far has settled into the lines you'd expect - the Council on American-Islmaic Relations have protested, YouTube have yanked the video, the Marines themselves have swung into their that's not what we'd expect of a marine and now the bloggers like Dave Nalle are suggesting it's all a fuss about nothing:

Clearly it's a song about the Iraq war, but at the same time it's obviously satire - the oft-repeated nonsense phrase having been drawn directly from the movie Team America: World Police.

Now, we'd always thought that Parker and Stone's satire was pretty heavy-handed, but it seems that the central message of Team America might have been too subtle for the marines to grasp if their response to seeing it was "Hey, we should go out and make a song about killing a family!"

Here's just a taste of that marine satire:

They pulled out their AKs so I could see
and they said
Dirka dirka Muhammed jihad
sherpa sherpa bakala
so I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me.

As the bullets began to fly
the blood sprayed from between her eyes
and then I laughed maniacally.
Then I hid behind the TV
and I locked and loaded my M16,
I blew those little fuckers to eternity.

Be honest, you can picture Lance Percival doing that on The Topical Calypso, can't you?

Aha, but then Nalle suggests it's not actually meant as satire, after all, but a way of letting off steam:

What we're dealing with here is basically a silly song from some soldiers who are blowing off steam about the frustrating nature of the war they're in.

Aha - that could make some sort of sense; front-line troops who face danger every day finding a way to cope with their fears. The trouble is, when Nalle also tries to suggest this is a fantasy rather than a real incident, he contradicts this:

In addition, the singer has not been deployed in combat in Iraq and there's nothing autobiographical about the song, contrary to suggestions made by some critics.

So, he's letting off steam at having to face - what, exactly, day after day?

Nalle smells a rat about the whole affair:

While lip-reading suggests that most of the lyrics are the same in the audio and video, the fact that they are out of synchronization raises a lot of questions.

It raises one question, which is: how many YouTube videos has Nalle ever seen? You're lucky if the video and audio are in the same area as each other, never mind being in sync. What's he suggesting? That the video was actually of marines doing some Japanese Noh theatre and someone superimposed a song over the top to cause trouble?

It's true, of course, that soldiers do this sort of thing all the time. In a way, since your career choice is heavily leaning towards killing people, or helping other people kill people, the densensitisation of those who are being cast as your enemy is only to be expected. If the barracks were full of troops singing I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing, they might find it a little harder to kill people the next day.

And, in a country where Colleen "it's not a suicide, it's a PR stunt" Raffy and Anne "World Trade Center widows are witches" Coulter are seen as figures of respect rather than hounded out of society as inhuman moral vacuums, perhaps it's only to be expected that troops don't really see why videoing this sort of thing and then uploading it to the internet isn't a helpful thing to do.

Nalle, though, is sad for other reasons:

What's truly unfortunate about this video is the use to which it is being put.

No, Dave. What's unfortunate is that the marines who made it think that this sort of casual attitude to human life is something that should be shared with the world.


The most depressing thing about the rumours that Eminem is due to appear in a big screen version of Have Gun, Will Travel is that it means our hopes that Bewitched had killed off the short-term fix for an ideas-starved Hollywood of "big name plus old TV show".

Quieter rumours suggest that Craig David is also trying to get a Western remake off the ground, but studios are cool on the idea of Bo! Nanza.


If the world seems a slightly quieter place today, it's because the background noise of Beach Boys sniping at each other has been silenced. Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine put their differences behind them, and even managed to appear on stage together for the first time in ages. They might even play again:

Asked if they might perform in concert again, Wilson replied: "There's a chance of that."

Someone better get something signed before they fall out again.


Good news for XFM in Manchester - the Advertising Standards Authority has rejected complaints about their launch adverts:

The ASA noted XFM had used toddlers posing as members of a famous Manchester rock band to demonstrate visually the "birth" of a new music station in Manchester. We considered that the gesture of the toddler was synonymous with Liam Gallagher and that anyone familiar with Oasis would realise that and were likely to find the parody humorous. We acknowledged that some people would not be familiar with Oasis but considered that they would nonetheless realise that the image was a parody and fantastical and would not see the gesture as offensive when made by a dressed-up toddler. Although we acknowledged that some people might find the poster in poor taste, we considered that the gesture was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Two raised fingers are now, then, "synonomous with Liam Gallagher." He should see about getting it trademarked.


No sooner does Keith Richards turn up for duty after his brain-hurting falling out a tree incident, than the Rolling Stones tour gets thrown into turmoil again: Ronnie Wood has checked into the Priory.

The Stones camp are convinced he'll be out in time for the European tour to get underway on its new schedule. Unless Mick Jagger gets his dinkle caught in a Segway's wheels or something.


Well, at least you couldn't call it typecasting: Kelly Osbourne is going to play Wendy Darling from Peter Pan.

It's part of an entertainment being thrown for to mark the Queen's 80th birthday - eighty years, and you're rewarded by Kelly Osbourne in a frock.

Kelly will be acting in front of the grandest, most important woman in the nation, but it's hoped that the Queen will join Sharon to watch.


It's not entirely surprising - the competitive price, the "Made In China" label - but the Mail On Sunday has visited iPod city, the place where Apple's music players are made, and come away unimpressed.

And for the Mail to be complaining about worker's conditions, you know it has to be bad.

The report claims Longhua's workers live in dormitories that house 100 people, and that visitors from the outside world are not permitted. Workers toil for 15-hours a day to make the iconic music player, the report claims. They earn £27 per month. The report reveals that the iPod nano is made in a five-storey factory (E3) that is secured by police officers.

Another factory in Suzhou, Shanghai, makes iPod shuffles. The workers are housed outside the plant, and earn £54 per month - but they must pay for their accommodation and food, "which takes up half their salaries", the report observes.

A security guard told the Mail reporters that the iPod shuffle production lines are staffed by women workers because "they are more honest than male workers".

No wonder Apple felt so comfortable cutting a deal to make jogger's iPods with Nike.

[Thanks to Karl T]


Hey, kids - thinking of fame, fortune, and maybe even a rugby-playing b-list boyfriend?

Well, don't. Millionaire Charlotte Church says it rubbish:

“If I had to give advice to young girls who want to be famous, I’d say unless you have thick skin and nerves of steel, don’t do it.

“Being a teenager is confusing enough without having to read all these opinions about you.

“Once you are older, you are probably better equipped to deal with it.”

Speaking from her solid gold helicopter, from somewhere above the vast tracts of the planet she owns, Charlotte paused a while to eat some lark's tongues stuffed with gold and swan's liver before heading off to have her feet massaged by a team of naked slaves.


I'm not sure this is suitable at breakfast time, but it's unavoidable: Ashlee Simpson has been comparing her breasts with Jessica's:

"I love my boobs. My sister Jessica always grew up having a larger chest.

"Men love it and stare at it, but she needs to wear two sports bras to even play volleyball.

"My point is that whether you have big boobs or small boobs, there are always pros and cons."

One of the main positives, of course, is if you're the sister with the smaller breasts, your father Joe won't be perving over them in interviews.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Flying in the face of the general feeling that the summer festival market is saturated, a new on is set to launch: The Foundation Festival is based in Somerset, is raising money for charity and claims to be totally independent. A little bit like Glastonbury, then.

This is the line-up so far:

Distorted Minds
Fun Lovin' Criminals
Goldie Lookin' Chain
Lethal Bizzle
Mampi Swift
Marcia Blaine Girls
Mixmaster Morris
Nate James
Pendulum + MC Verse
Pharaohe Monch
Scratch Perverts
Stanton Warriors
Terri Walker
The Egg
Xela V. Deaf Center

It's due for the weekend of 2nd-3rd September at Shooter's Bottom Farm (control yourself) in the Mendip Hills.


The little bit of social breakdown at the end of Download hasn't put the organisers off: they're already selling tickets for Download 2007.

They haven't said who'd be playing yet, but it's not like it matters much, is it?


Heather Mills has decided that the News of the World's allegations that she was a high-charging sex worker in the 1980s are a step too far, and has announced her intention to sue:

Her lawyers' statement said: "Heather is very distressed by this article.

"She continues to recover slowly from her revision amputation operation and has suffered weight loss, anxiety and sleeping problems as a result of the stress and anxiety of the break-up of her marriage.

"The coverage of this in certain newspapers has caused further distress and illness to her.

"The interests of her daughter are of paramount concern. She will defer issue of legal proceedings until the arrangements in relation to the divorce are concluded but intends to sue at that stage all parties (including individuals) who are intent on damaging her reputation."

The story was, certainly, designed to reduce Heather Mills' standing in the mind of the average man; the curiosity is that today's statement holds off the legal action until after her divorce is finalised: surely such a serious attack on your reputation is something you'd want to deal with straight away, rather than writing "sue murdoch" on a piece of paper and sticking it on your fridge door to deal with later?

Additionally, Peter Preston and Max Clifford [Realaudio] appeared on Today this morning discussing the case; Clifford suggested there might be further stories appearing soon.


The Billy Bragg fuelled investigation of MySpace's terms and condition has prompted a closer look at the terms on which you get YouTube to host stuff.

It's not a pretty deal:

In its Terms & Conditions, the wildly popular video sharing site YouTube emphasizes that "you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions".

There's quite a large "BUT...", however. Not only does YouTube retain the right to create derivative works, but so do the users, and so too, does YouTube's successor company. Since YouTube has all the hallmarks of a very shortlived business - it's burned through $11.5m of venture investment (Sequoia Capital is the fall guy here) and has no revenue channels - this is more pertinent than may appear.

The license that you grant YouTube is worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable. The simplest way to terminate it is by withdrawing your video. But even this is problematic, as OpenTV's Nathan Freitas wrote recently:

"It is good to know that if you delete a video from YouTube, then the rights you have granted them terminate. However, once they have distributed your video 'in any media format and through any media channel', that’s a little hard to take back, right?"

Of course, since 89% of stuff on YouTube is ripped from old VHS tapes and thrown up by people who, strictly speaking, aren't in a position to waive copyright rights in this way, the whole thing has the makings of a future Jarndyce v Jardyce style court-case to the death. But we wouldn't recommend uploading the cartoon you're hoping will win you an animated short Oscar.


Jo SClub O'Meara's low-selling debut solo single has led her to think about recalibrating her life:

[A]n insider said: "She's now thinking about musicals and panto."

It's cruel, but... where's my pop career?
It's behind you.


We're sure Robbie swinging back into his "ooh, I can't find a girlfriend to have sex with for some strange reason" routine isn't in any way an attempt to draw attention away from the lack of hard detail being put on his offer of a free gig for Dublin after his finale blew cold.

No, he just wants to share how terrible his sex life is:

He says pals can’t believe he has been almost celibate for the past FIVE YEARS.

But his love ’em and leave ’em reputation means girls won’t put out on dates because he says they don’t want to be “like all the other girls.”

Frustrated Rob said: “Girls think that by being ‘different’ I’m going to want them more. But I’m not.

“This has happened for the last five or so years. SLEEP WITH ME!

“It’s become a running joke how hard it is for me just to pull. I know people are ‘just having sex’ because it was going on in my house in the other bedrooms with boys that aren’t famous.

“I see little honesty in the ‘other girls’ statement. To me it means, ‘OK, so you’ve got a date with Robbie Williams. That’s safe, are you going to gamble and see if you can go for Robbie’s millions?’ ”

Well, aren't you the charmer?

The singer’s frustrations peaked when models on his latest video Sin Sin Sin gave him mixed signals.

He fumed: “All the ones I fancied had boyfriends and, over the three days of shooting, led me a merry dance.”

Rob... you forgot "and are probably man-hating lesbians."

You claim women are messing you about (when they're just being nice to the boss) and only after you for your money. Why do you think you don't have a relationship?


It's been a few weeks since the whole Britney-driving-with-kid-on-lap incident, and now Mrs Federline has decided it's time to put to rest the suggestions that she's a rubbish driver who put her son's life at risk by driving like an absolute moron.

So she went on Today. (The US TV one, not the James Naughtie one.)

And her explanation?

She grew up in Louisiana, and that's what people in the backwoods do.

We're country."

She's had a couple of months, and the best she can come up with is "well, you wouldn't even have noticed if I'd been driving a tractor."


Here we go again. It's still not clear if The Sun wants us to think it's only running the pictures in a purely illustrative manner (although, of course, many pictures [are] too filthy to print in a family newspaper) or if it's just got carried away, but more books of Heather Mills full-frontal and pretending to have sex have turned up.

In the 1988 book, titled Sexual Secrets, she is seen performing a sex act, indulging in bondage and simulating full sex.

"A sex act" is, of course, Emily Bishop speak for a blow-job.

Other pictures, which do not feature Heather, show four-in-a-bed and lesbian sex.

Person who wasn't married to former Beatle in erotic photograph shocker - hold the front page.

Frustratingly, for the paper, it's hearing of other pictures in circulation that it can't get hold of, to print, for illustrative purposes only:

Meanwhile last night it emerged that Heather — who split from Macca last month after four married years — was also pictured in a top-shelf French magazine.

It is thought she appeared in a number of graphic poses.

Well, yes, porn magazines are generally like that.

Meanwhile, the Mirror breathlessly reports a meeting between Macca and the woman The Sun is now calling Mucca:

HEATHER Mills made a midnight dash to the home of her estranged husband Sir Paul McCartney last night.

It is the first time she has visited his London townhouse since the couple split last month.

Yeees, first time she's been to his townhouse. But since she went over to see him while he was on his country estate last week, it's not exactly the first time she's met him face-to-face since the papers started their trawl of Mills' past.

One interesting facet of today's deluge: The Sun is a lot quieter about the News of the World allegations at the weekend, restricting itself to a brief report of her denial:

Heather, who yesterday denied claims she once worked as a hooker, has turned to her family for support, while ex-Beatle Macca has been left devastated.

Monday, June 12, 2006


The supposed good-natured Panic! At The Disco split might not be quite as good-natured as we'd been told. Ousted bassist Brett Wilson has been giving another side of things:

"I was kicked out of the band," he said. ""It was 100 percent a surprise to me. We were about to leave for a show in California, and they called me the night before and told me I was out of the band. The only reason they gave was that it was for 'musical purposes.' Everything was good and fine, we had just gotten back from a tour in Europe, and there had been no previous conversations about anyone leaving the band. I don't know why they chose me.

The [story] they told you made me really angry, because they said the matter was discussed as a band, and it wasn't discussed at all," Wilson said. "It was done as a phone call and the only person who spoke was [drummer] Spencer [Smith]. Apparently [frontman] Brendon [Urie] and Ryan were on the speakerphone too, but they didn't say a word. They never even said they were sorry."

This going public with the gripe persuaded P!ATD to tear up their original statement, too. They told MTV News:

"We made the decision based on Brent's lack of responsibility and the fact that he wasn't progressing musically with the band," Smith said in a lengthy e-mail message. "Brent did not write any of his bass parts on the record. Brent did not record one note of bass on the record. Brendon and Ryan wrote all of the bass parts and Brendon recorded all of the bass parts. We had to simplify some of the bass parts that were recorded because Brent could not play them live.

"Our record would've sounded absolutely the same even if Brent wasn't in the band during the writing or recording process," he continued. "These are all things that only a few people know, and we were fine with that. Stating these things would only make Brent look bad and we had no intention of doing that."

... although now, of course, they do.

Wilson suggests the real reason for the split was to cut down the number of ways the payday from the lucrative US tour; the band counter they're barely able to break even on the trip.


We know now that Callmedave Cameron is seeking gentle nodding for his questioning of rap lyrics (not, let us be clear, a call for censorship). Meanwhile, in the US, he'd find support from Bill Cosby.

Cosby has been moaning about hip-hop for quite a while. Dr. Marc Lamont Hill wrote a piece offering a contrary veiwpoint, which has led to an interesting couple of weeks for Hill.

Hill says Cosby called the dean of his college, to "express concern", and then:

Over the next few days, I did a series of radio interviews where I discussed the op-ed. In each interview, I reiterated both my respect for Dr. Cosby and my critique of his “Call Out” tour. Last Tuesday, I did a show in Atlanta with a Black conservative who decided that “he would put me in my place.” Over the next hour, I proceeded to punish him with reasoned arguments and strong examples.

A few minutes after the interview ended, I received a call from a friend in Atlanta. He told me, “Go on the internet and tune into the station. Bill Cosby just got on the radio and he’s talking about you!”

I didn’t bother to ask how Bill Cosby, who I was sure wasn’t in Atlanta, knew that I was on the radio discussing him. Instead, I asked what he was saying about me. He replied, “He’s calling you a liar and a hustler. He’s saying that you have a ‘hip-hop website’ and that you can’t be trying to help Black people with a ‘hip-hop website’”

Words can’t convey the level of frustration that I felt at that moment. Why could he have just called in why I was on the air? I tuned back into the station to hear the end of Cosby’s diatribe. By this point, he and the host (who cosigned everything that Cosby said) were criticizing “the hustlers” who write about hip-hop and critique him at the same time. He explicitly named Michael Eric Dyson and me as two of the hustlers.

Hill managed to get onto the show via phone, but felt the host wasn't entirely keen to give him any airtime to counter Cosby's claims:

The next day, Cosby calls my college again. What did he want? I won’t say in public. But one thing is for sure: he didn’t call to speak to me.

Meanwhile, with the King of mainstream black entertainers fighting a war on hip-hop culture on one front, the Queen is also engaged in a battle, as Oprah again denies she has a blanket dislike of the genres.

Oprah attempted to fight back after a couple of weeks when hip-hop stars suggested she treated them badly:

Ludacris says some of his comments about hip-hop lyrics were unfairly edited out of Oprah's show when he went on late last year to promote "Crash." Ice Cube says Winfrey insulted him several years ago after inviting castmembers of "Barbershop" on her program but excluding him.

"Maybe she's got a problem with hip-hop," Ice Cube told FHM magazine recently. "She's had damn rapists, child molesters and lying authors on her show. And if I'm not a rags-to-riches story for her, who is?"

"I don't have an opinion, because I am my own person," Oprah said on [LA Reid's] birthday party's red carpet. "I respect other people's rights to do whatever they want to do in music and art and whatever. So I am my own person, they are their own people. I respect their rights.

"I am a woman who has worked very hard for my status in the world and as a human being," she added. "I don't want to be marginalized by music or any form of art. ... I feel rap is a form of expression, as is jazz. I'm not opposed to rap. I'm opposed to being marginalized as a woman."

Of course, as you beetle in to a party given by the head of, erm, DefJam, it's not the best time to develop a coherent argument - although she also commands an hour or so of primetime talk show and doesn't manage it there, either. But "I'm not opposed to rap as it's a bit like jazz, but I don't want to be marginalized as a woman"? It suggests all sorts of questions that might make for an interesting TV programme. If you let anybody with a differing viewpoint on it.


Just one month after the US release of her album, So Amazin', Island DefJam have dropped Christina Milian, with resounding claims of "mutual consent."

It seems LA Reid was pissed off that Milian chose to record Say I instead of SOS, so when the new album managed just 50,202 copies in its first week, Milian's fate was sealed.

This, of course, is just one example of the way the major labels use their money from long-term copyright hits to support modern artists through lean times.


Following a stinging Ofcom enquiry into two Chris Moyles shows, Radio One has announced that presenters who swear on-air in future will be disciplined, and two slips will lead to a financial penalty.

Of course, with Chris Moyles earning £630,000 a year, he can afford to drop three fucks and cunt every year. Indeed, they might even prove to be tax-deductable.

Ofcom was reporting back after complaints that Moyles introduced whores, twats and fucking to his show.

The presenter invited female listeners to text in and say whether they urinated in the shower. A large number of texts were received and the presenter said: “Thank you very much ladies, I shouldn’t really say ladies – you all pee in the shower, you dirty whores.”. Although its use was clearly meant to be light-hearted, this is a word which research suggests is found offensive, particularly by women. Its use, while intended to be humorous, was inappropriate for a breakfast programme that attracts a child audience and in breach of Rule 1.5.

The use of the words “piss” and “twat” [by a guest] was not altogether suitable in this context, when children were particularly likely to be listening. However, we acknowledge that the presenter had asked the guest not to swear. We also welcome the reminder given to production teams about how to deal with language from contributors. We consider the matter resolved.

While the use of the word “fucking” was clearly a slip of the tongue and was followed by a number of apologies, it was nevertheless unacceptable, given the context and that audience figures suggest, as it was still half-term for some schools, 46000 children were still listening to the programme from 09:30-10:00. This was in breach of Rule 1.14.

The most interesting one of these, of course, is the casual use of "whore" to describe women - call a ringtone gay, and you get three or four newspaper columnists calling for your dismissal; describe women as whores and... well, there was a curious silence, to say the least.

The same Ofcom report also upholds complaints against Scott Mills' show, in the form of his "wind-up" calls:

On this occasion, the co-presenter called the woman pretending to be from an after-school club that her young son was due to attend. When the co-presenter said that he had called to explain the club’s rules, understandably, she was keen to ensure that she understood the rules that her son would have to abide by. She went off to get a pen to write the rules down. Then the co-presenter started to speak in an overtly aggressive manner, swearing (although this was bleeped for broadcast) and using offensive language to describe the rules of the club, which included: Rule 1: ‘I don’t take any shit [bleeped]’; Rule 2; ‘Shut the fuck up [bleeped]’. At this point he told her that she might want to pass that particular rule onto her ‘little shit [bleeped]’. The woman was shocked and clearly objected, particularly as her son was in the room (at one point she could be heard asking her son to go into another room).

Given the circumstances, the call made for, at the least, very uncomfortable listening. Although the swearing was bleeped, the frequency and severity of the language was clear. Furthermore, the tone of the call was aggressive and unpleasant. Ofcom had not received a complaint from the mother, and so whether permission was given by her to broadcast the conversation was not a matter of this investigation. Nevertheless, she clearly appeared at the time of the broadcast to be distressed, angry and upset.

Elsewhere, MTV gets told off for showing the Justin Timberlake-Nelly Playboy video during the day on TMF ("Nevertheless, we have some concerns regarding the licensee’s compliance record. This is the third scheduling error made by TMF within a seven month period – and the sixth in two years."); as we suggested when it happened, E4's daytime showing of a Hard-Fi gig went down badly.


You'll remember back last week David Cameron had a moan about how these young rap stars go around encouraging people to carry knives and stab each other.

Lethal Bizzle, the rapper-cum-entrepreneur, thought this was a little unfair and sent Call-me-dave a letter, inviting him to meet and talk about how to get young people interested in the political system again. (Bizzle was part of a coalition attempting to get the black youth vote out during the last election.)

Now, in the olden days of the Tory party, when Dave was merely a senior figure in the party, rather than it's pretty public face, a letter arriving from a black person would cause a certain degree of panic at Central Office, with people running around screeching "it's a letter from a knife-wielding criminal."

How things have changed under Cameron's smartly-suited New Tory.

Now, The party leader merely responds by writing a thinkpiece for the Mail on Sunday screeching "it's a letter from a knife-weilding criminal."

Following my comments last week criticising some of the music played on Radio 1, one UK rap artist, Lethal Bizzle, wrote an article for The Guardian criticising what I had said, telling me: "By making comments like this you're taking yourself further from the young British society."

I think that's rubbish. I was helping a media studies class at a college in my Oxfordshire constituency on Friday and the issue was a hot topic of debate.

As soon as I pointed out that I'm not calling for a ban or telling people what to listen to, but just asking for an intelligent debate about taking and sharing responsibility, heads began to nod agreement. (Checking on the internet, I found one of Lethal Bizzle's lyrics: 'I will b cocking back my steel strait, bullets bullets, run run, fire fire, bun bun, if u don't like killa killa?' so I can see why he might feel a bit defensive.)

Aha, but David Cameron seems to have fallen victim to that age-old problem of believing things just because they appear on the internet - for example, earlier on in this piece I posted to the internet a suggestion that the Tory Party used to be a bastion of reactionary old-school racism and mistrust of people who weren't white, which clearly isn't true at all. Likewise, those, erm, aren't Lethal Bizzle lyrics.

It's also bemusing that Cameron feels happy to reject Bizzle's take on what matters to young people because, while Bizzle has worked with young people and listened to them for a long time, Dave popped in to a media studies class was talking about something their guest had recently said about the media.

Here's a hint to David Cameron: if you pour a load of farmyard slurry over your head, and sit in a railway carriage for the afternoon, you'll come away convinced the entire nation talks of nothing other than the stench of manure in Britain today. But your findings might be slightly skewed.


Having had a half-year away from the headlines, Mindy McCready has decided to remind everyone about her overdose-arrest-bail-skipping lifestyle by suing her ex-boyfriend:

Country crooner Mindy McCready has sued her ex-boyfriend, William McKnight, for $3 million claiming he beat her last year and because of this, her career suffered, the Associated Press reports.

"One of the problems is that, literally, venues worried about whether ... McKnight would show up and someone would get hurt," McCready’s spokesman, Paul Berg, said.

Other people, of course, were just worried that McCready would turn up, drunk and driving, and someone would get hurt. It's not known if McCready will be looking to add a lawsuit against herself before this comes to court.

We're not sure if the most usual reaction to being the victim of a criminal offence is to demand three million pounds rather than reporting it to the police, but we're not legally trained.


The Heather Mills fightback may or may not include legal action against the News of the World, her lawyer has hinted.

In what appears to be a shot across the News International bows, her legal team have reminded the paper of a previous back-down:

Mills McCartney's lawyer, Stephen Taylor, told the Guardian that four years ago the News of the World had been threatening to print the allegations for three or four consecutive Sundays - but had not published. "We threatened legal action and that stopped it." Mr Taylor said he would today discuss taking legal action against the News of the World over the allegations with Mills McCartney .

The MediaGuardian website also - as is essential when talking of these matters, it seems - got an uncredited observation on the affair. But rather than "a friend" or "pals", they've got a quote from a former News International executive:

"There are a few people, and McCartney is one of them, whom editors are reluctant to have a real go at. If you attacked Heather, you attacked Paul and the public might not like that." The executive said it was not just that Sir Paul had the wealth to sue, it was that if he launched a public attack on News International, or another newspaper group, he could do serious harm to their sales.

The executive also suggested that Sir Paul knew all about the allegations against Mills McCartney and might even have spoken to Rupert Murdoch about them. "But now she has lost Paul's protection, it's gloves-off time."

The question, of course, is if she really has lost Paul's protection - after all, there's been no definitive indication of what Macca is thinking. It could be that he's still on good enough terms with Heather to want to fight for her reputation; equally, he might view that this continued stream of press coverage paints him as a bit of a thicko who married an old hooker without realising and decide that it's in his interests, as much as his ex-wife's, to conclude the chapter as quickly as possible.

The Murdoch press seems to be betting quite heavily that Paul is more interested in leaving Heather out to dry than helping her. In itself, that's quite curious.


Although it wasn't as bad as the deaths which followed Guns N Roses 1988 Monsters of Rock festival at the same location, this weekend's Download festival came to a nasty end.

Althoug the music passed off without much in the way of trouble - Izzy Stradlin rejoined his old band for three songs - afterwards the by-now familiar routine of fires being started, police being called, and violence breaking out as the cops arrived.

Twelve people were arrested in the resulting microriot.

Superintendent Les Milner from Leicestershire Police appealed for anyone who may have taken pictures or footage of the attacks on their mobile phones to get in touch.

"The disorder involved a number of people and it is not clear at this early stage what sparked the trouble," he said.


Although none of the reports we'd read suggested that Cliff had dropped the "f-bomb" on Gordon Ramsay during a wine-tasting, his manager has felt moved to announce Cliff doesn't swear:

“The claim of swearing and use of the f-word is total nonsense – it is not in Cliff’s vocabulary.

“I was at the table for the tasting and it didn’t happen.”

Mr Latham added that Ramsay’s version of events was “a self-serving promotion exercise for the programme."

Unlike Cliff's appearance on the programme, which wasn't, in any way, a self-serving promotion exercise for his wine.


It's great to hear that Kylie is back playing live - indeed, in a few short months it might be possible for a red-top to print her name with prepending "brave" to it - but we do feel ever so slightly sorry for Dannii.

Yes, you heard. We feel sorry for her.

We imagine she thought that inviting her sister to pop out onstage during her GAY date was a smooth PR move, but the end result was, effectively, to sideline the Supermarket Own Brand Minogue at her own moment in the Sun.

A "source" (which we take it means the paper spoke to a ho-mo-sex-yew-all) said:

“There were a few tears. It has been a very emotional road for the girls. No one knew for sure whether Kylie would ever perform again, but she is obviously desperate to get back on stage.

“Dannii looked a bit embarrassed when Kylie started singing one of her songs — I don’t think she had expected that.

“But then she joined in and the pair of them sang a chorus without backing music. They sounded amazing.

“Dannii has been so supportive to Kylie over the last year, Kylie wanted to show she was there for her too.”

It's perhaps most humiliating for Dannii that people seem to think her releasing an album is kind of on a par with Kylie being life-threateningly ill.


Having watched all of the football records fail to make the chart - oddly, kept off by Nelly Furtado, who recorded one of the official songs for the World Cup 2002 and did some business in Berlin for the opening ceremonies - The Sun is getting desperate to deliver its beery chart the number one it promised.

So the cost of the download has been cut to a penny at Tesco.

It's still overpriced.

The arcane rules governing physical sales qualifying for the chart features a price below which sales are treated as not counting; we've always thought it a stupid rule, but if it's going to exist, shouldn't it cover downloads as well?

While we're talking about football and supermarkets and world cup records, are we the only ones raising a quizzical eye at Alex James breaking off from his new life as a gentleman farmer and rural activist to allow Asda-WalMart to slap Vindaloo onto an advert for (naturally) a football-related Take Away curry ad? We're sure his new neighbours will be delighted as they deliver whole flocks of sheep to the supermarkets for tuppence to know where the real money goes...


The Sun's excitement at having decided that the Big Brother Golden Housemate draw was a fix (it has an "exclusive" dossier of evidence that it could only possibly have drawn up by hundreds of staff hours of diligent research, or watching yesterday's Big Brother's Little Brother) doesn't mean it can't find space to continue banging away at Heather Mills. It follows up the NOTW story yesterday, making up imagining how Paul must have felt reading the details of Heather's past as a hooker. It would, of course, have been a terrible shock.

Except, as the paper admits:

Sir Paul blocked similar revelations about Heather from being published in 2002.

Oh. So not very much of a shock, then?

They try to suggest that it's different this time:

Friends say he did not know “the full ins-and-outs” of the story.

Do you see what they di... oh, you did? From quite a distance? With the naked eye?

Now Heather — who wed Sir Paul in 2002 and had daughter Beatrice two years later — is without his legal protection from the dirty deluge.

Unprotected dirty deluges are the worse.

Astonishnigly and unhelpfully, the boss of LIPA has popped up to give the sort of insight being a headmaster at Sandi Thom's old school can only offer:

Mark Featherstone-Witty — his partner at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts — told how Sir Paul was worried last week about what may come out, adding: “He said he feared more revelations over the weekend. I don’t think he has had much sleep.”

Yeah, Mark, I'll bet Paul was worried - what if hapless friends started giving on the record quotes to keep the story burning along, eh?

Meanwhile, the paper also throws cold water over Heather's plans to become a TV star in America:

One said: “She can never appear on US TV as a host, the American public wouldn’t stomach it. You do not get porn models appearing on mainstream TV."

Funny, we could have sworn we saw the porn Tyra Banks on the real Tyra Banks Show just a few days ago. Although, admittedly, that wasn't as a host. Besides, what the paper means is that people who've done porn in the past can't expect to appear on primetime TV. Madonna, for example, has never appeared on any of the networks after 4.35pm.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror has decided to sidestep the awkward question raised yesterday when its sister paper flatly contradicted its claims that McCartney knew all about the porn photos by focusing on the latest, more hookery allegations. The pair, apparently, spent an hour on the phone yesterday with Heather denying the News of the World reports. (Is it too soon for Vodaphone to suggest a celeb version of its "How long have you got?" ad campaign?)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

SOULOBIT: Lula Mae Hardaway

The death has been announced of Lula Mae Hardaway, songwriter and mother of Stevie Wonder.

Hardaway was born, January 1930, in Eufaula, Alabama. Her childhood was one of want: want of affection, and material want, as her biographer Stacy Brown recalls:

"She had a very, very rough upbringing. She went from house to house as a child, from relative to relative. Her parents didn't want her."

At fifteen, she moved to Indiana and found work sewing in a factory; a marriage, to the much older Calvin Judkins brought children but also misery. Judkins drank, beat her and - eventually - persuaded and bullied her into prostitution.

Hardaway wasn't going to take that, and fled with the children to Detroit. There, she survived by whatever means she had available, encouraging her blind son Stevie to sing on street corners to make some sort of living.

It was a scheme which would change their lives. Berry Gordy heard the boy's voice, and the founder of Motown and the sharecropper's daughter from Eufaula set about discussing the contract which would start Little Stevie Wonder's career.

Although she would start to take a backseat in later years, Hardaway kept a close eye on the early years of Wonder's career: she co-wrote a number of tracks with her son, including Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours and I Was Made to Love Her.


The on-off-on-off Pink Floyd tour - which has never actually been on, except in the minds of people reading chicken entrails and so on - is back on, again. Perhaps. According to Nick Mason, anyway:

“I've just finished playing with David at his recent solo concerts and I'm about to play a show with Roger. I call myself the Henry Kissinger of Pink Floyd! I'd love for it to happen again ad I really do think Pink Floyd will play together again - but it would have to be for love, not money.”

We're not sure that it's fair for Nick to compare himself with bloated war criminal Henry Kissinger. I mean, orchestrating a Floyd reunion might be bad, but even that pales next to Kissinger's record.


One of Korn - we understand he styles himself "singer", but even "vocalist" is stretching it a bit - missed the band's show at the Download Festival because he got taken to hospital.

Proving that, yes, anyone can do what Jonathan Davis does, Korn played on with guests doing his bit.


Kevin Aviance, who had Billboard dance hits with Do Da Din and Alive is now looking likely to miss his planned dates as part of New York's Gay Pride festival, after being violently attacked outside a gay club in East Village.

Four people aged between 16 and 20 have been charged with hate crime assault and hate crime harassment.


A Sunday selection from the place where wonky old VHS tapes go to die. This week, it's a dirty toe dipped into the world of musical parodies:

The Pet Shop Boys reworked by Spitting Image
Fan video pitching Fry and Laurie against The Prodigy
Pamela Stephenson-as-Kate Bush doing Oh England My Leotard on Not The 9 O'Clock News
Hi, I'm Ian Curtis and I love watching Rok TV...


The defence didn't want it shown. The prosecution didn't want it shown. But for reasons best known only by the judge in the R Kelly sex video, he wants the video of R kelly having sex with an alleged minor shown in open court:

Prosecutors claim the tape was recorded when the girl in question may have been as young as 13.

Along with defence lawyers, they had asked Judge Vincent Gaughan to restrict the viewing of the video to only himself, jurors and the legal teams in court.

They claimed the contents were so explicit that they would embarrass the girl, who is now 21.

But the judge ruled there was no "overarching interest" in banning the tape from public view.

It's funny, we don't have any specialised legal training, but we can think of some compelling reasons which might make it unwise to show what's claimed to be a film of an adult having sex with a thirteen year-old girl in a public space.

To be honest, even if it wasn't child porn, we'd have thought there was a strong reason for not showing R Kelly's pumping buttocks on any screen at any time.


The Sunday Mirror also claims that Macca had no idea the wife was a former pornstar:

A close friend revealed: "Paul is dumb-struck at the photos. Absolutely stunned.

"He has always been aware that Heather did glamour modelling when she was younger, but this is totally different."

Macca is privately furious that Heather's camp tried to persuade the public that he had always known about the snaps.

Really? And where might the impression that Thumbsaloft knew all about this have come from in the first place?

How about, erm, the Sunday Mirror's stablemate, the Daily Mirror, which ran claims that McCartney was more worried than surprised on Thursday:

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."

So... is the Sunday Mirror telling us we shouldn't believe anything we read in the Daily Mirror?


Meanwhile, the Sunday Mirror has paid the bloke from the German sex guide to talk about appearing naked with Heather. It's full of what you'd expect from a Sunday tabloid:

"She may be a vegetarian now, but she certainly liked her meat and two veg back then."

Do you see? He means cock.

Peter Wilson sounds as if Heather spoiled what was meant to be a lovely day of porn by making it mucky:

"I knew she meant business from the word go. It soon went from fun to sleazy. Within minutes, she was lying in a chair with a black-and-white striped basque on and nylons.

"I was leaning over, kissing her knee. The photographer was just changing cameras and she leaned back and spread her legs wide, gave me a flash and said: 'How much do you think I'd get for that picture?' I could see everything."

That's awful - when you sign on to do hardcore porn the last thing you'd expect would be to see a woman's vagina, poor lamb.

Ah, but it turns out Peter had been told that it was to be an education manual - he couldn't have known, of course, there were to be NO WORDS in it:

The photographer came in with whipped cream, baby oil and an edible thong. I thought: 'What the hell is this? How's that going to help young kids?' I was worried but Heather wasn't bothered at all. She seemed to know what was going to happen.

Bravely, though, Peter managed to fight down his worries and go through with having Heather lick cream off his knob, and whatever. In between, there was unlikely small-talk:

Scouser Peter, now divorced with a 16-year-old stepson, remembers: "Heather said she was from Tyne and Wear and, at one point, asked me where I lived.

"I told her I was from Liverpool and, out of the blue, she started talking about The Beatles. She said, 'Everyone knows John's the one with all the talent and Paul's the window dressing'."

Interesting. I'm trying to recall any random conversations I might have had back in the late 1980s with work colleagues in such detail - and, to be fair, I can remember discussing Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's Parents Just Don't Understand with the bloke from the fish counter, so maybe it's not so unlikely ("It's true" he said, "parents just don't understand"). Maybe.

So, just how perverted and sordid was this photo session?

"It wasn't for the camera, it was just her and me. Of course she was enjoying herself. She was moaning. I said, 'Does that feel as good as it sounds?' It was like something out of When Harry Met Sally."

Oh, so it was as sordid as a comedy sex scene in a 15-rated film, then.


With The Sun having given her a going-over for the porn all week, now they've handed Heather Mills McCartney over to the News of the World which excitedly claims to have a 'sworn affadavit' proving Mills' secret vice past.

The excitement over having something signed and legal is curious - are we to understand that normally the News runs this sort of thing on nothing more than a conversation and an honest face? Perish the thought.

In sworn affidavits we have evidence from the private secretary who paid Heather for pleasuring his billionaire master.

We think this oddly-written bit features three people, Heather, a secretary and a billionaire, rather than just Heather and a secretary who called his knob his "billionaire master", but it's hard to say. Since when did secretaries call their employers their "masters"? Okay, maybe in the Maggie Gyllenhaal movie.

And we have testimony from Denise Hewitt, the ex-wife of the heir to the Berkeley Homes empire, that she joined Heather for lesbian games and group sex when they were both London prostitutes.

"Lesbian games" are, of course, a little like those Reindeer Games Rudolf wasn't allowed to join in.

And we reveal that Heather's vice trade wasn't simply a moment of madness in her life. It went on for years.

So... we're given to understand that in the NOTW's moral universe, it's okay to charge for sex, providing it's a "moment of madness" (although, presumably, if it's just a moment, you won't be able to charge very much.)

Now, of course, this isn't just prurience - oh, no, the paper has a good reason for dredging this up. Public interest, of course. Um...

Heather, now 38, is locked in a split from ex-Beatle Paul and his £825 million fortune, Our revelations will have a shattering effect on her negotiations for a settlement.

Well, you can't come up with a more compelling public interest than trying to help a multimillionaire keep more of his multimillions, can you?

Besides, why would this have any influence at all? Even assuming that people's pasts somehow affect one way or another their entitlement to a divorce settlement, wouldn't it be incumbent on McCartney to ensure he was aware of his wife-to-be's past before marriage? And wouldn't all this have been important before, not after, the ceremony? It's not like there's a bit "if anyone knows of just cause or impediment, speak now, or hold on until the negotiations for divorce payouts."

A former escort girl named Petrina Montrose, who joined Heather for the Dorchester hotel orgy, told the News of the World: "Heather was a familiar face in our business.

"I worked with her when we were both hired for a party thrown by an Arab prince at the Dorchester."

Are you sure that was a real arab prince, and not the NOTW's pretend Arab prince?

There is a weakness in the News' story: they're implying there's something less-than-trustworthy about sex workers, and yet they're basing a large part of their story on, erm, quotes from a sex worker.

Rather than wade through the story (although there is a titilating reference to Lebanese food), here's the whole thing told entirely through the crossheads:


[UPDATE: Heather Mills is denying it all in a statement:

"Heather Mills McCartney strongly denies the allegations in today's News of the World," her lawyers said.

"These are not new stories and were refuted by her lawyers four years ago when first raised.

"The sources clearly are a variety of unreliable persons who have been paid for these stories.

"The timing of the article is clearly designed to cause maximum hurt to Heather, her husband and family at this sensitive time."