Friday, July 21, 2006


Yahoo have finally listened to what the public have been calling for for years: they've released a download without any copy protection. Mind you, it's got Jessica Simpson singing on it, which will probably dissuade most music lovers from sharing it around.


Apologies for the almost unbroken silence of No Rock this weeek - a combination of family business and technical shortcomings of godforsaken hotels. We'll be back up to full speed over the weekend.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Sooner or later, every single second of Michael Jackson's existence is going to be released to the public via court documents. Latest find - from the child abuse trial last year - is that Jacko used to call Macaulay Culkin 'Doo doo head'.

And Culkin still came on to aid the defence. Which must mean it's fair comment.

The cops found a photo of Culkin, and noted:

"The photograph had a message written on it. The message stated, 'To Apple Head. Always remember keep Apple Head Club Doo Doo Head Alive.'"

Apparently the Apple Head Club is an organisation that Jackson encouraged his young friends to join during their totally innocent sleepovers. Before all the trouble started, the Apple Head Club were more powerful than the Secret Seven and had replaced the Red Hand Gang as the ones to watch.


The departure of Charlotte Hatherley hasn't stopped the mighty Ash from pushing forward, and who's to say that they shouldn't? Apparently, they've written 27 songs for a new album (clearly, part of Chazza's role was to say "enough, boys") and - although none have crawled beyond a demo stage yet - fully expect to release something before this time next year.


As you weigh Alan McGee's case for the death of the single (he reckons all over by Christmas), you may want to factor in his track record. True, he did realise that Oasis were the pefect dead horse to flog to the marketplace, and was right on that score. But, on the other hand, he did also believe that Ed Ball, Heidi Berry and everybody on Poptones ever would find favour in the market place.

Anyway, the McGee thesis is that we're heading back to the early 1950s:

"By the end of the year the single in England will be obsolete. Downloads are killing the physical sales. Downloads is song culture like the 50s. The start of rock'n'roll song culture is/ was rock'n'roll. The majors have lost the means of distribution now.

"Downloads will be king within the next couple of years. The majors have lost the football. The accountants are fucked because they never liked music anyway. CDs are ugly fucking data invented by the majors. Only useful now for DJing or downloading to your iPod. Their game is up."

Somewhere, slumbering under a hill in the west country, is the ghost indie army of Are You Scared To Get Happy fanzine, which might be roused by this sudden attack on the CD from McGee, who was burned in effigy when he threw Creation's weight behind these "ugly fucking data" formats back at the end of the 80s. Who knew he hated them all along, eh?


Although no formal announcement has been made, strong rumours that Janet Jackson is set to appear in the gossip magazines are circulating in America.

"At this stage," says a source, "it's not clear if she's intending a sale to Hello, People or maybe even OK, but James Dupri has let slip plans to exchange vows with Janet in September. It's inconceivable that this couldn't be connected with at least a small spread in Parade."

Janet has featured in the wedding pages of gossip magazines on two previous occasions, this will be Dupri's first time.


It's not often, since he stopped hugging Carl Barat, that there's been much cute about Pete Doherty, but the image of him as a nine year-old, sneaking into his sister's room and dressing up in her Brownie uniform, is rather touching:

“The stories, like when I got in my sister’s Brownies uniform . . . there might be one or two pictures. My dad was really worried. I was about nine.”

We bet his Dad would love it if all he had to worry about now was a spot of cross-dressing.


The Robbie Williams swagger is a strange cocksure beast, isn't it? Watch him from some angles, and you might think that he's convinced he's cock of the school; but then look again, and it appears that there isn't very much confidence at all these days.

Williams' 1974 was due to go head to head with Justin Timberlake's FutureSex: LoveSounds. Of course, if they both were released on the same day, only one could be that week's best-seller.

Robbie has blinked first and rescheduled his release for some time in October.


So, there's Bobby Gillespie, apparently sat quietly, minding his own business in a bar in Madrid (and it's only the "in a bar" bit which sounds wholly in character) when bloke walked up and beat the crap out of him for no apparent reason.

The Sun, of course, is afraid that "indie bloke attacked" isn't enough of a story on its own, so has to explain the true importance of Bobby:

Bobby — a close friend of Kate Moss — showed up almost 12 hours late for a pre-recorded Top Of The Pops.

They do, of course, have "a source":

Bobby turned up for filming sporting two nasty-looking black eyes and a swollen nose. The band were scheduled to film their performance on Sunday morning but Bobby was in no fit state to be in front of a camera.

“He looked like he had taken one hell of a beating. Everyone was amazed he even turned up.

“It’s not easy to hold a note when your nose is broken.”

To be fair, it's not easy for Bobby to hold a note when his nose isn't broken.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


More reports that Robbie Williams is doing it with ladys - this time, it's someone from Iceland. But what we can't help but wonder is: does he phone the gossip columns before, after or... and this is possible... during?


Everyone turned on Anthea Turner when she turned her wedding into little more than a stunt to promote Cadbury's Snowflake. Since then, Anthea has been forced to take any work she can (BBC Three, and her once a prime-time poppet) while Cadburys attempted to win back sales by not bothering to fix the leaky waste-water pipe on the grounds that if they could flog Fry's Turkish Delight as a sweet snack, a bit of salmonella wasn't going to prove a problem.

While Turner was pilloried, nobody seems very upset that Cheryl Tweedy and Ashley Cole have pretty much turned their wedding into some sort of PR dream by using it to cap a week advertising the frankly unintelligble Dream Numbers game from the National Lottery and the horribly undrinkable Coke Zero from Bill Cosby's Coca-Cola company. Anyway, they finally tied the knot yesterday, "amid tight security", apparently. To keep out Nadine Coyle, we suppose.

Except it wasn't the actual wedding - like Charles and Camilla, they did the formal paperwork one first, and then had a faux-wedding, just for show, like they were a pretend couple. They had to do it like this, apparently, because Victoria Beckham isn't legally allowed to conduct marriage services in the UK, even while riding a unicorn.

The horror, though, as several dozen Hot Stars regulars were forced to use portable toilets:

Historic Wrotham Park, where movies Bridget Jones and Gosford Park were filmed, refused to wave its strict rule banning the use of its indoor toilets, forcing all 300 of Ashley and Cheryl's A-list guests to use temporary ones erected OUTSIDE in tents.

Good God, have the people at Wrotham Park never heard the sound of two hundred bullimics throwing up wedding cake in a tent?

The pair's PR and management people tried to throw snappers off the scent by arranging an even more pretend wedding in Highclere Castle:

In a bid for total privacy to protect their £2.25million exclusive rights deal with a magazine, Ashley and Cheryl even ordered marquees to be erected at the castle to fool the media into thinking the ceremony was being held there.

The interesting definition of privacy, there, would be The condition of being left alone and out of public view until the cheque is cleared and the weekly magazine published.

Inevitably, though, there was a chink in the steel wall around the wedding:

Sales manager Dino Macaretto, 38, who lives next door to the chapel, said: "I can't believe what I am seeing. I can't believe someone would go to all this trouble just to not get photographed. A girl's wedding day is supposed to be special but I can't see how this could be seen as that. It's like a rugby scrum. We saw her ankles and shoes as she climbed out of the carriage. My three little boys thought it was a hoot but just couldn't understand what was going on."

Minders from the Tweedy-Cole Wedding Company have since been dispatched with powerful mind-erasers to sweep the thoughts of Tweedy's ankle from Dino's mind, in case he attempts to describe it to a police artist and reconstructions start to leak online.


He's nothing if not professional, is young Justin:

"I don't show up drunk to functionsThe drugs I do have been in my own private time. I've never been arrested - though not to say that I won't!... If Courtney Love shows up to a function, then it's like, 'Oh that's Courtney Love.' If I show up drunk, it's like, 'Oh my GOD!' And, like, Britney's an unfit mother because she put her child in the carseat backwards. I feel bad for her. We all make mistakes."

Well... it wasn't quite "putting a carseat in backwards", was it Juju? It was driving along the freeway with the baby on her lap. Or maybe you're thinking of the time she nearly dropped him. Or perhaps the time social services called round. Or - of course - the time she got married by accident. Or, even more likely, the time she got married to Kevin when she didn't have the excuse of being ripped off her tits.

But back to the drugs:

"I've done way too many drugs already. I've already inhaled and I've already...who knows... I'm just like everyone else. I get completely plastered, I've done my fair share of drugs and I've been caught places with my pants down; it's just that I make sure there are no cameras around."

Did you catch that? He's done drugs. Not that this is an attempt to reposition him, or anything. The drugtaking he's done. With actual, proper drugs.


After they went to so much trouble to try and avoid having their big day spoiled by the intrusive lens of photographers, nobody seemed overmuch bothered that Avril Lavigne and Deryck Whibley finally got married yesterday.

They had an open air event - sadly, not in a shopping mall outside a branch of Hot Topic, which would have made sense - and the first dance was to the Goo Goo Dolls' Iris. The bride wore Wang, it says here, which to us means she got married wearing a defunct computer.


We hear the real reason for Madonna pulling her Australian tour is because she's realised that she'd be coming a poor second to the women from the Sheila's Wheels advert. Even though they're not a real band, and actually consist of three ladies from Clacton whose Australian accents reflect a long time watching The Young Doctors while waiting for a call from their agents.

Her given reason, though, is a little weak:

"Please forgive me. Unfortunately, the logistics just didn't work out this time around. You remain in my heart."

So, there you have it - it's just too difficult to work around and book the anti-kangaroo jabs and everything. But don't worry, Australians - we're sure she'll send you a bill for £100 just for being in heart.


Lee Ryan has set his sights on making another OK-friendly pairing - and the current beau of his new target won't be pleased.

Lee, 42, has decided he'd like to try pulling The Queen, and doesn't think that her squeeze of the moment, hunky Philip Prince of the Edinburgh-based Duchy, will stand a chance when he uses his magic charm on the octagenarian ruler:

"I could pull her, no problem. My chat up line would wow her - I'd say: 'Hello ma'am.'"

When the Queen returns from Love Island - where she's currently being pursued by Jordan's uncle - we're sure Lee will be getting a call.


T in the Park almost ended in tragedy when Alex Kapranos had a brush with death: He nibbled at a tuna casserole and felt something tingle in his mouth.

It seems that Kapranos has a nut allergy, although he managed to save himself by spitting out the fish dish. Which makes it sound to us that he doesn't have the nut allergy that's quite so life-threatening that you need adrenaline injections to save yourself. Not that we'd wish that on him.

New singlesPlug: Franz Ferdinand have a new single out this week


Seven days on No Rock & Roll Fun:

The ten most-read articles:

1. Madonna dances with Kravitz; Guy is unimpressed
2. Porny old Heather Mills
3. Yes, porny old Heather Mills
4. Is KT Tunstall a lesbian? Some people want to know
5. McFly remove all their clothes
6. The Automatic take on Sandi Thom
7. Eminem pops up for the BET awards
8. Chris Martin is Marjorie Dawes
9. Noel Gallagher's gay secret
10. Lily Allen isn't trading on the family name. Much.

The week's festival was T in the Park

You can read everything from the week on a single page
or skim the previous week in a single post

And, coughing politely, we made the following recommendations:

Skewed, sexy, sweaty, naked, naughty, twisted VAST double

The reworking and reconstruction of Four Calender Cafe has been so lavish, it puts the Albert Memorial to shame

Gaye Bykers On Acid wrapped up in one handy, wipe clean package

The Guillemotts proud to be called "odd-looking" by The Sun

Sufjan decides the Illinoise outtakes were worth a release after all

Bjork box set featuring everything but the girl

Greg Dulli's poignancy-laden solo sideproject

Liverpool's great undiscovered joy: Tramp Attack

Sonic Boom Six share no members but a bloody-minded experimental approach with the Spaceman Three

This scared the marrow out of me when I was little: flying children at the window, David Soul, and Salem's Lot