Saturday, July 29, 2006


Eric Clapton has been due to play a gig in Red Square, right outside the Kremlin. But now... well, now he's not. The authorities have withdrawn permission for reasons they haven't shared with the wider world. There are rumours someone played Vladimir Putin some of the stuff Clappo's done since Layla, but that's probably just been made up by people with too much time on their hands.

Clappo's stuck out a statement:

"Eric Clapton is extremely sorry to disappoint his numerous Russian fans but the circumstances of the cancellation are completely beyond his control."

Tschaw. D'you think Lenin would have called off a rally just because the Tsarist regime said no?


Congartulations, we suppose to Pamela Anderson, who has married Kid Rock. At least, after her time as wife of Tommy Lee, it proves Hilda Rumpole's theory that women always marry the same sort of man.


A couple of months ago, we pointed out that Liverpool City of Culture had issued an excited press release talking about a forthcoming visit by Bono to the city that they'd not even yet invited him to make.

Now, they're at it again, with a big spread in the local press about Madonna headlining the Capital of Culture year Summer Pops in 2008. If you read closely, though, they seem to have done little more than come up with her name during a brainstorming session. So it's less 'Madonna to play Liverpool', more 'Man writes pop star name on flipchart'.


One of the few things Kasabian had going for them was the rumoured hatred of the Kaiser Chiefs. You know, the Chiefs are alright and that, but if a species doesn't have a few natural predators they tend to run out of control - it's what happened with U2, for example. If Bono had had to spend more time fighting in the music press with Mark Knopfler or whatever, he would have had less time to invest in property and U2 might have still been making decent records today.

But it turns out that Kasabian don't hate the Kaisers at all:

"That's absolute rubbish. I know Ricky Wilson well and it really hurts. We get on. When people quote me saying I'm going to smash his face in, that's wrong because I didn't say that."

And he said: "Ricky is a nice guy and we bump into the Kaiser Chiefs on tour all the time, just like we bump into a whole bunch of bands on the road. It's horrible when stories are blown out of proportion."

"Ricky will know those quotes are rubbish. People just want to create a feud that doesn't exist."

Well, yes. Otherwise you really are left with Kasabian being nothing more than a bunch of blokish blokes and, erm, that'd be it.

Go on... surely you must hate them a little? Dislike them? What about Wilson's shirts, though? They must rile you somewhat...


This piece from the Mirror's 3AM girls was deemed worthy of publishing by the paper that was once edited by Hugh Cudlipp:

29 July 2006
Eva Simpson & Caroline Hedley

CHRISTINA Aguilera has a face like a slapped a*** despite stuffing her face at posh LA restaurant The Ivy. Cheer up, you miserable cow.

We're not sure if we're more surprised that it took two people to write that, or that (presumably) their editors thought it was an item which had any value in it whatsoever.


We're not sure how likely anyone thought it was that Justin Timberlake would have been either surprised by Lance Bass coming out, or expected him to go "burn the fag! Gays are dirty and are wrong" in response. He isn't and hasn't:

“Lance is one of my great friends. I support him and wish him all the happiness in the world."

Joey Fatone is equally warm:

“He took years to really think about how he was going to tell everyone. I back him 100 per cent.”

We're not sure what form Bass can expect this support and backing to take - presumably he'll get calls from Timbo in the middle of the night saying "I've just met this Norton Graham bloke, he's gay - do you want to meet him, then? As you're gay as well..."


We love the detail that you get in reports of noisy neighbours being taken to court, as if it was the fact it was the Pussycat Dolls being played at 4am in the morning rather than any music whatsoever that led to the complaints against Sam Healy of Cheltenham.

Sam's had her stereo taken away as punishment, although she doesn't see why:

“What have I done wrong? It wasn’t fair.”

Clue, Sam: Playing the Pussycat Dolls at high volume at four in the morning. There would be the hint.


Pete Townshend says reports of war between him and Daltrey miss the mark. It's just conflict:

“Lebanon and Israel are ‘at war’ — not Roger and Pete. Roger and I are in full accord about our lack of accord. Always have been.”

Actually, Lebanon isn't at war with Israel - Israel is bombarding a sovereign nation nation and killing it's citizens because of a beef with a third party, but we get the point: the phrase we think he's looking for is "old married couple." They're like the Duckworths.


Thrifty, that Madonna, isn't she? Rather than spending a fortune on getting her clothes properly washed, she's having them sprayed with vodka.

Apparently, it "kills the bacteria", or at least gives them a hell of a headache. An "insider" (we think a Madonna insider, rather than a bacterium) explains:

“It’s fantastic for perspiration marks. Alcohol kills the bacteria, keeping stage clothes fresher.

“It’s a trick they use in opera houses because the big divas perspire a lot.”

We're sure Madonna will love being compared to a hefty opera singer.

Let's hope nobody goes too close to her with a lit fag or anything.
Houshold tipsIf Guy's looking for some Christmas gift ideas, she might appreciate this...


Having been more-or-less stopped from running the Heather Mills porn pictures, The Sun has had to keep quiet about her for a while. Now, though, the divorce papers are out, and so they're returning to the fray.

Apparently, Paul Macca is filing on the grounds of Heather's unreasonable behaviour, which includes being rude to the staff and "being argumentative", which perhaps gives more of an indication of how much McCartney has become accustomed to people not contradicting him. Original plans to file on the basis that Heather turned out to not be Linda fell by the wayside.

Mills - at least as far as the Sun claims - is planning to fight back (so he was right about the argumentative bit, then). Paul's hired the same lawyer who represented Charles Windsor when he divorced Diana Spencer - because that went so well and smoothly, didn't it?

Heather, meanwhile, is attempting to recast "argumentative" as "feisty":

A spokeswoman for her said yesterday: “Heather’s going to be filing her own counter claims about matters both in this country and America. Any views she has on her divorce will be handled discretely.

“She does not feel the need to repudiate claims that she may be headstrong or feisty. She is hugely disappointed that matters of such a confidential nature should be aired in public and feels it is inappropriate to speak about such matters with a child involved.”

We love the idea that she's got a spokesperson having a pop at Paul while simultaneously insisting that the divorce will be handled "discretely" - presumably this was a press statement released in invisible ink and without a subject line on the email.

The Mirror, meanwhile, takes the opportunity to update readers on how Mills' battle with the Murdoch papers over the hooker claims are going: apparently, she's tracked down Adnan Khashoggi who says he doesn't have a clue who she is, despite having supposedly paid her for sex at some point in the past. Which might help her case, although surely asking someone to recognise a hooker from twenty years ago is like having a line-up and saying "can you spot the woman who served you at the Dunstable Harvester three months ago?"


The big auction of every number one single ever that the papers have been getting so excited about this week turned out to be slightly more St Winfireds School Choir than Pulp: bids only reached £22,000, some three thousand shy of the reserve.

We're waiting for the BPI to blame the lack of a sale on internet-based computer music piracy.

Friday, July 28, 2006


If they do decide to can Lindsay Lohan, they could find a replacement LL to take her part. CBS have just thrown a large pile of cash at LL Cool J to "develop" stuff, on the grounds that he was quite good in House one time.

This is kind of like shovelling sackloads of cash in the direction of whoever it is turning up doing the semi-famous cameo in The Bill this week, an idea so stupid we're expecting Charles Allen to be floating it down ITV HQ within the next couple of weeks.


Singer and actress and train-wreck Lindsay Lohan got a surprise letter while in hospital recovering from "heat exhaustion or something plausible sounding like that", from the CEO of the company paying for her current movie.

James Robinson also thought to CC the entire world in, too:

"You have acted like a spoiled child and in doing so have alienated many of your coworkers and endangered the quality of this picture," Robinson added, claiming that Lohan's actions had caused "hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage" to the production.

A spokesperson for Morgan Creek Productions confirmed the letter's authenticity, but said the company had no further comment. There was no immediate comment from Lohan's camp.

Robinson, 70, rather savvily informed his 20-year-old talent that he was "well aware" that her "ongoing heavy all night heavy partying" was the reason for her "so-called exhaustion," rather than the illness to which she had attributed her late arrivals and absences from the set.

Mind you, if all it takes to send a Lohan movie into turnaround is a couple of Bacardi Breezers and Spiral from Big Brother djing, surely that's a price worth paying?


You might be wondering what Bono is up to this weekend. Go on, guess.

Nope, not some light DIY followed by a barbecue for The Edge and that bloke from the Virgin Prunes.

No: his plans to sort out the lagging in the loft must be put on hold for another week.

Because, in fact, Bono will be sharing a stage with Fox News' Roger Ailes addressing a bunch of Rupert Murdoch's flunkies at the News International summer getaway.

Clinton, Gore, Blair and Peres will be there, but they at least have the grace to admit they're politicians seeking approval of the world's most Australian American. But how does Bono justify going along to be a dancing bear for the Fox News massive?

Oh... yes, he's one of them, isn't he. We keep forgetting that.

Remember, Bono - when you're rubbing the suntan lotion into Murdoch's crackly old skin, make sure there's plenty round the butt. It needs to be fresh for the weekend of kissing you've signed up to.


Damon Albarn seems to start on projects like an especially enthusiastic a-student with incredibly pushy parents and a fear of death. His latest take-up is a side-band called (steady) The Good The Bad And The Queen.

In some ways it's like a supergroup, featuring Paul Simonon and Albarn and a couple of others. In other ways, it's nothing like a supergroup, sounding not entirely super and more like the sort of revue band thrown together by teachers to fill a quiet spot in the school play.


If you're anything like us, you really should accept that you can love PVC, or you can love cheese, but you can't love both. You'll also enjoy these superior aural products:

The latest Popjustice podcast features a half-hour chat with the Pet Shop Boys, ranging over the demise of Top of the Pops, Turkey's accession to the EU and Neil Tennant misunderstanding Sandi Thom's songs: "I thought it was a dialectic."

The Art of Pop - Jarvis Cocker explores the links between art schools and British music for Radio 4. St Martin's College, of course.

Front Row - Mark Lawson talks to Cerys Matthews. Only one of these people has appeared in a skintight catsuit on the front of FHM. So far.

Mixing It - Joan As Policewoman's particulars taken down by Radio 3.

All these links will decay, of course, so be quick (we think you've only got 12 hours to get the Mixing It before the next one goes out).


Just as the RIAA were enjoying their moment of having closed down the defunct Kazaa comes some bad news for them: they've been forced to drop two of their fabulously expensive lawsuits against music fans. The two being sued connected to the internet through a wi-fi connection which was open to their neighbours as well; the record industry had no way of proving that files pulled down from their IP address went to computers owned by the person who payed for the connection.

Of course, the motivation for dropping the cases was less about throwing more good money after bad, and the fear that if this became widespread public knowledge, it could derail lots of their legal activity.


It won't come as a surprise that Bobby Gillespie likes his drugs.

Although it seems to come as a surprise to the 3AM Girls:

GRANGE Hill's Just Say No campaign obviously didn't wash with Bobby Gillespie, who claims he's at his "best" when off his nut on cocaine.

The Primal Scream singer - who ties the knot with fashion stylist Katy England tomorrow - clearly can't remember Zammo and Roland's tough anti-drugs stance.

Yes, girls, the world is divided into those who take drugs and those who bought Just Say No. It's like pointing at someone smoking a fag and saying "don't you remember that Nick O'Teen is a weed?"

Or perhaps it's because Gillespie would have been twenty-two years old when the It's Not Just Zammo storyline shocked a nation with the surprise that "heroin dragon" wasn't a made-up thing, but very real. In other words, some seven or eight years past the target audience for the Grange Hill campaign.

What does come as a surprise is his love of table tennis:

"I used to do loads of cocaine. Me and my mates used to get sniffed up and play table tennis at my house. That's the way to do it.

"Put lines on the table and then you can do those Japanese top spins and back spins right...

Cocaine and table tennis - it's a great recreational activity. That's when I'm at my best. You know what I mean?"

Which is kind of apt - table tennis is played with undersized balls which bounce a lot but are completely empty.


It's hard to believe, we know, but the dream of Lee Ryan - solo superhero is over.

He's been dropped by Sony-BMG after disappointing sales.

Of course, Lee wouldn't want you to be upset at this news. Not while elephants are dying.


Victoria Newton is careful to describe the list of tracks she says will appear on the Oasis boast-of, Stop The Clocks, as "the full list of tracks Noel wants to make up the collection", rather than a definitive final list.

Anyway, here's what she reckons the listing will be:

1 Some Might Say
2 Don't Look Back In Anger
3 D'You Know What I Mean?
4 All Around The World
5 Go Let It Out
6 The Hindu Times
7 Lyla
8 The Importance Of Being Idle
9 Masterplan
10 Half The World Away
11 Acquiesce
12 Champagne Supernova
13 Rock 'n' Roll Star
14 Supersonic
15 Wonderwall
16 Whatever
17 Boy With The Blues
18 Stop The Clocks

What's extraordinary about this, though, is not that it includes some clunkers - if they don't want to just repackage the first album, the need to feature post-success stuff means there's always going to be some stinking old carcasses like The Hindu Times or - god have mercy on our souls - Lyla. But no Live Forever? Possibly the only claim Oasis really have to having produced something that could justify their existence?


We're almost too weak to comment on Grant Nicholas' strangely fifteen year-old take on his own fans:

"There were two lesbians snogging at the front. I was on stage and did a double take.

"I didn’t think we had a particularly large lesbian following. I don’t mind it at all though! It’s definitely better than two men.

"Gay, straight etc, it’s all OK by me. I want everyone to hear our music."

Yeah, bisexuals love being lumped in as "etcetera", Grant. And especial kudos for the "better than two men" observation.

We suspect the women weren't lesbians at all, but just felt that snogging each other was better than having to pay attention to anything going on the stage. To be honest, we'd rather snog a camel than listen to a Feeder live set.


Letoya! Hurrah!

Of course you do... she was in Destiny's Child.

Yes she was... you remember the song:

Kelly, can you handle this? Michelle, can you handle this? Beyonce, can you handle this? I don't think they can handle this! Um... Letoya, can you... oh.

Alright, she was one of the bags of ballast lobbed over the side to help the group rise to new heights (or, more accurately, got herself axed when she suggested that Beyonce's Dad be canned as manager), but now Letoya Luckett is back. And not - can we get this straight - bitter:

It was more just hurt.

"I knew I would never get to see them again. I couldn't call Beyonce just to talk.

"The only way of seeing them was in magazines and on TV, showing how successful they were. But I never felt like I didn't want them to be successful."

It's funny how after you get sacked for trying to unseat someone's Dad they stop returning you calls.

It's also funny how she wasn't ever bitter, but has tried to sue Beyonce twice (come to think of it, that might have made it tricky to call her up to chat about hemlines, too.)

The Sun suggests this is Letoya's second crack at fame, which is true, if you ignore her post-Destinys band Anjel. Which didn't really do anything much.


George Michael has announced his intention to sue - no, not the News of the World, but the bloke who he was supposedly shagging in the bushes on Hampstead Heath and people who reported stories that Kenny Goss had called off the wedding as a result.

He's also thinking of bringing a legal action against the photographers who were harrassing him on the Heath and generally, which might have more grounds to it.

Since Michael is laid-back and open about his love of cruising, though, surely the only grounds he could have for claiming libel from a bloke who said he's had sex with him under those circumstances is on the grounds that he'd never do it with a bloke like that - I may have sex with strangers in bushes, but I have my standards about which strangers; and since Michael has been rude about him on television you could argue that it's the van driver who has been held up to ridicule and belittlement by George rather than the other way round.

Michael has a strong point on the harrassment; we're not sure suing a fellow cruiser is that wise a move.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


After his damning of the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco, Brandon Flowers has now said sorry. It's just he's opinionated:

"I'd like to take it all back. These people are just doing what they want to do, just like I am.”

"I'm actually a nice person and I love people. I just am opinionated, and sometimes jealous. It's not something I'm proud of."

Flowers added that he was especially upset by his slagging of Panic! At The Disco because he’s never actually listened to his fellow Nevadans.

“I don't even know what their music's like, or if I would even like it. That made me feel even worse, to think they could have been fans of ours and I hurt their feelings. That's just stupid."

Flowers had been targetted by emo hardliners after his comments - some had strummed electric guitars in a very angry way; others had made plans to send very angry emails just as soon as Mom and Dad had finished with the computers.

Mind you, saying hurtfull things about bands he's never even heard: if they ever revive the Melody Maker, Flowers could make an excellent editor.


Manuela Testolini Nelson and PrinceI'm not sure that I knew that Prince had got married a couple of years back; now that we've found out, it's all over and Manuela Testolini Nelson has filed for the legal right to return her name to plain old Manuela Testolini.

They got married in 2001, Prince's second and longest marriage to date.


Following the potentially hella-messy EU ruling which could see Sony-BMG forced to seek an annullment to their merger, EMI have formally announced they're no longer seeking a merger with Warners.

It's a bit of a shame for the companies which have put lots of money and time into trying to draw a link-up. We'll leave you alone for a moment to think kind thoughts of them.


All is not peace and light in the reunited Who ranks, as Daltrey and Townshend have a falling-out:

"Roger seems to think when I provide bandwidth for The Who website, and for live streaming, he is being exploited in some way and wants a piece of the future 'profit'. Don't think there is much chance of profit when it is all aimed at charity."

"Daltrey seems to be unconvinced that the web has any real contribution to make to our career, and I am not going to spend any more time or money mortgaging my half of the stage.

"Roger is my partner in The Who. He is not my partner in anything else. We love each other but we are not regular social buddies like Bono and The Edge, we do not discuss or share ideas, and we have no unified joint vision of strategy for The Who or for creative projects in general."

Maybe the word "reunited" we used earlier was slightly misjudged.


For the benefit of tabloid journalists who have trouble keeping up, George Michael has reiterated that his personal relationship with Kenny Goss allows each of them to dally on the side, that a spot of cruising doesn't, for some gay men, constitute a "sex shame" and he's still marrying Goss.

The ceremony has been put on hold, though, so as to reduce the number of hacks attempting to disrupt proceedings by, say, dressing up as hedges or something.


In what the record industry is portraying as a famous victory, and everyone else sees as the last squirt of a spent force, Kazaa has agreed to pay USD100 million to the music industry and to go legitimate. Money, we suspect, it just hasn't got.

"We have won another battle in an ongoing war," said John Kennedy, chairman and CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (IFPI). "We move forward with a spring in our step."

This, of course, despite most filesharers having migrated to bittorrent years ago. This move is about as significant in the battle of copyrights as the closure of Napster was - it's a torching of a ghost town.

Kennedy tries to engage with the awkward fact that, for all the legal actions and upbeat press releases, people are still sharing files in a way they perceive as illegal:

"We're not sure whether we should be pleased that it has not increased or displeased that it has not gone down," said Mr Kennedy. "We're not proud or disappointed."

You're not sure? Well, lets try and give you a clue, Kennedy. If you had rats in your basement, and you spent a fortune hiring exterminators, and the number of rats didn't change at all, how would you feel? Like you'd wasted a lot of money, we'd bet.

The other downside to this agreement is that now Kazaa have accepted responsibility for their user's filesharing and come to an agreement to compensate the music industry for what it claims are its losses, does the RIAA have any moral right to claim to be compensated for the same losses from the end users? Hasn't this agreement effectively closed off much of the legal action that the RIAA has been pursuing?


Good lord. Marilyn must be pissing himself laughing this morning.

Meet Sam, who has been chosen to take the lead role in the revived, Boy George free, Culture Club. The band had said they weren't going to go with the first karaoke George who walked in, so we must assume Sam was the second one.

But, oh, what mystery: they're not revealing his second name.


It's not the most compelling argument in support of a gig, but you cant fault Korn's family value tour on price. To their credit, the band have cut a deal which allows prices to start at around a fiver - hardly a celebrity price-tag and raises the question: if a bunch like Korn can do it, why can't some smarter bands take the same sort of move to stop ripping their fans off?


Pop legend (in Germany) and worldwide joke-butt David Hasselhoff was allegedly barred from a BA flight after turning up a little worse for wear. Apparently, he didn't even know who he was:

A witness told the Sun: "A passenger asked if he was David Hasselhoff and he said, 'Not at all, you must be mistaken'.

"He wasn't aggressive, he just had problems standing."

The Hoff said he was upset following his divorce.


Reports from the other side of the shark suggest that Peter Kay is plotting with Sharleen Spiteri to cook up some sort of Christmas musical confection. Spiteri promises a nightmare line up and, of course, hilarity:

“Peter’s got so many mates in the music industry now so I’ve told him to get an album together. He’s performed with me, TONY CHRISTIE and ELTON JOHN and he’s friends with PAUL WELLER, BILLY JOEL and TAKE THAT.

“If he got an album together with all of them on there it is bound to go to No1. I’d definitely be on it.

“We are already doing something together at Christmas which I can’t talk too much about. — but of course, it is going to be hilarious.

“It would be great if he managed to get the album together for then as well.”

Kay, of course, somehow managed to get a credit on a re-release of Tony Christie's Is This The Way To Amarillo despite not actually doing anything on the record at all. Yes, he was in the video - but so was Sooty.

Older readers might recall a time when Kay was a mildly amusing commedian rather than a kind of entertainment giant knotweed.


Kerry Katona - that strange cross between Kate Moss and Eileen Grimshaw - is apparently going to have another baby; congratulations to her and Mark Croft.

The foetus is pitching a 'My womb hell' story round Fleet Street.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Nobody's seeming to see very much of her, as apparently she's abandoned her Thomesque disdain for Heat-style celeb image-obsession and adopted some sort of wacky over-enthusiastic workout regime.

A friend, all worried, tells the Daily Mail:

"Naturally she found the attention quite difficult to handle especially as not all of it was flattering.

"While she doesn't mind people criticising her music, she was devastated when snide remarks about her appearance were made.

"She has experimented with new piercings, hairstyles and even make-up but the single biggest thing that makes Amy feel better about herself is going to the gym.

"For the past 18 months she has been going to her local women's-only gym, for a two hour session, every single day. She is neurotic about it, completely obsessed.

"Amy will do a full cardio, fat-burning workout followed by lots of repetitions, on a relatively light load, on the weights machines. As her body has become transformed, the more weight she's lost, and the more obsessed she has become."

We're not really sure we can remember anyone making snide remarks about her appearance but we're at least delighted to hear she's too busy doing star-jumps to worry about people like us calling her Whiney Almshouse and similar things. It is odd, though, that she used to insist on following the Tori Amos playbook and now doesn't really care much about the music at all.

If you can believe a friend filtered through the Mail.


They've hitherto refused to come to the party, bemoaning the very idea that anyone could buy one of their precious songs without taking the whole album, but Metallica have finally realised the only hope of selling their music online is by joining iTunes.

The famously grumpy band have decided to allow Apple to help their bottom line.


A survey of the favourite albums of British MPs have proven them to be as slavishly mainstream as their policies, with Led Zep II coming out on top.

Mark Oaten, who is stepping down as an MP following a bad year of private life "miscalculations", picked Dare as his favourite: This album reminds me of my last year at school and brings up a lot of happy memories. Every track is a killer, not a filler."

Yes, he really did say that.

George Galloway saluted the indefatigability of Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, while foreign secretary Margaret Beckett simply said they should ask America and Israel what they thought, as that's how it works round here.

Lembit Opik went with Led Zeppelin:

"Zeppelin made a new kind of music. They created a genre many have copied but no-one has equalled. And Whole Lotta Love is the greatest rock song ever."

Pretty much like the Social Democrats broke the mould of British politics, then.

The album quiz may have had something to do with the British Library introducing listening posts, or could just have been a task the speaker gave the MPS before they break up for summer to keep them busy. The trade and industry select committee were outside playing rounders all morning.


One of those announcements that are surprising only in that they expect us to be surprised:

Lance Bass has come out. As, you know, gay.

Apparently, he hid his true self because he was thinking of Justin Timberlake (and how many men can honestly say they've not taken themselves in hand thinking of young Justin?):

"I knew that I was in this popular band and I had four other guys' careers in my hand, and I knew that if I ever acted on it or even said (that I was gay), it would overpower everything.

"I didn’t know: Could that be the end of ’N Sync? So I had that weight on me of like, ‘Wow, if I ever let anyone know, it's bad.' So I just never did."

Mr. Bass really believes this - that had he said "I like boys", nobody would ever have been able to think about anything else N'Sync ever did again.

The fact he thought that being out would harm his band doesn't mean, you know, that he thinks it's dirty or wrong. And you can't read anything into the longeur between the end of N'Sync and this outing, either:

"The thing is, I’m not ashamed – that’s the one thing I want to say," he explains of his decision to come out. "I don't think it's wrong, I'm not devastated going through this. I'm more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I'm just happy."

As for why he's talking about this now Bass says, "The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that (the rumors) really were starting to affect my daily life. Now it feels like it's on my terms."

Got that? It's "on his own terms", although, apparently, he's only coming out because of rumours, which is a bit like a person being run out of town on a stick saying that it's something they were planning to do anyway.

"I'm at peace with my family, my friends, myself and God so there's really nothing else that I worry about."

God was unavailable for comment at time of going to press, we understand. But when people are described as being "at peace", doesn't that usually mean they've died?


That's not what you want on what would have been your 60th birthday - someone nipped down to Bon Scott's grave and made off with the plaque. Rumours that he was also shaken all night long couldn't be confirmed.


In a bid to raise money to help Autistic Welsh children, S4C have pulled together a calendar which, in a bit of a twist, doesn't feature naked people. Instead, twelve Welsh celebs show off their favourite little black dresses. None of them are men, sadly, but Cerys Matthews is amongst them.


Dear diary,

Today i done an intervue with the NME where I told them about how I've sold you down the river in order to get money to use on skagimplants (better remember these are going to be published - don't wanna get meself in nah bovver, eh?) I told 'em this abaaaaht you:

"It's amazing nonsense. The book's very personal and very open. There'll be stuff that people haven't seen before.
Very private thoughts, very private thoughts indeed. You'll have to wait and see. Raise a toast to it."

Naaaahbaaaady ahhhhsked me what sort of private forts you sell for one hundred and fifty smackers, though. Haaaaaaaarrrgh!




Placebo are limbering themselves up in order to play the hugest UK gigs of their glitter-strewn lives:

Wednesday 6th December SECC Glasgow
Thursday 7th December Nottingham Arena Nottingham
Saturday 9th December Wembley Arena London
Sunday 10th December Evening News Arena Manchester

Yes, yes, they've done Wembley before, but this is the first time they've attempted to fill stadia outside of the capital. Blimey.


Buckethead, sort of out of Guns N Roses, is going on tour.

We know.


While we're talking tickets, apparently the Chelmsford branch of the V Festival has got a small pile of leftover camping tickets. This might be your only chance.

[Earlier: V line-up]


The Magic Numbers are doing a gig for one of the mobile phone companies in Manchester this coming Friday. Most of the tickets will go to the company's customers, but apparently you can go into some sort of hat to win some spares by sending an email to with such details as you choose to share with them.


Sharleen Spiteri - gay?Back before anyone had heard of KT Tunstall - oh, and weren't they the days, my friends? - the number one question about the sexuality of Scottish female singers was "Is Sharleen Spiteri a lesbian?" The answer is no, but Shar doesn't mind people asking:

People are probably clear that it in no way bothers me. I came on in my sailor suit. It was my big lesbian moment. People went, 'Is that for the boys?' and I was like, 'No, the girls'."

"I adore women. I just don't sexually fancy women.

"I mean, who knows, maybe in my life at some point a woman will come along and I'll just fall madly in love with her.

"I always claim that I'm the one member of the band who could actually pull the most beautiful women."

Well, yes, although that isn't saying much.


While we're considering this morning's Sun, does it really believe Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters really was seriously considering suicide when he came off the band's tour?

Because if so, isn't the headline I wanted to Jake it all in a little bit insensitive?

Mind you, we're not entirely sure that Shears means he literally was going to drown himself:

“Getting off the road was the most miserable thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

“I’ve never felt so low. I was ready to go walk over to the Hudson and float away. It was more than a comedown. It was like shooting a torpedo into the ground.”

Now, that sounds like a metaphorical expression of a feeling to us, but the paper is on the phone to The Samaritans:

Despite becoming one of the most loved performers in music Jake returned to New York on the brink of throwing himself in the city’s Hudson River.

There's a difference between "I could have" and "I almost" that they've missed, surely?

Meanwhile, Shears' decision to marry his boyfriend gets an odd treatment:

Now Jake is planning to follow his pals SIR ELTON JOHN and DAVID FURNISH’s example by, walking boyfriend Chris up the aisle.

Up the aisle - geddit? What we love, though, is the suggestion that Elton is the only gay man who has ever got married and so any gay weddings have to be done in emulation of him - it's like reporting Cheryl Tweedy and Ashley Cole's nuptials as "following the lead of Britney Spears and Jason Alexander."

Still, like Elt and mycivilpartnerdavid, they're planning a quiet wedding in a traditional setting, are they?

And he plans to do it at the Glastonbury festival. He told Attitude magazine: “Chris thinks it might be too much of a scenario but I think it’d be a great party.

“We could have naked trannies jumping out of cakes and stuff. It’d be fun.”

If a transvestite is naked, are they still a trannie?


While it's not very good, we're trying to understand why The Sun is so exercised over Lindsay Lohan's advert for some sort of acne treatment.

COULD this be Lindsay's worst acting performance ever? booms the tabloid - well, not really, it's no more wooden than most of her stuff.

Better still, the paper breathlessly reports We've managed to get our hands on the starlet's cringey new acne commercial. How have they managed this? Bribery? A journalistic sting with a muppet dressed up as a make-believe Arab prince?

Erm... no, it's a YouTube embed. So The Sun has "managed" to use a search engine, then.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Strange times over at The Guardian's comment is free weblogs, where Tom Robinson springs to a second post about Bob Geldof in 24 hours, after his first led to some comments suggesting that, actually, Geldof might not be much cop.

I'm appalled by the torrent of ignorant, spiteful bile directed towards Bob Geldof and his music in response to yesterday's post - typified by HowSoonIsNow's comment: "As a musician he's a dead loss: mountain of attitude, molehill of talent."

Blimey. An Italian promoter made a major miscalculation as to venue size and ticket price - a not uncommon occurrence - and suddenly it seems to be open season on Geldof's musical career and personal integrity.

Well, yes, it was a "major miscalculation" on venue size - although since the Rome gig booked for Bob only attracted fifty takers, anything larger than a home economics classroom would have been ill-advised; what is debatable, though, is if the comments on the original post really constituted an attack on either Geldof's career or integrity - a few suggestions that his glory days were in the past and the odd querying of why he didn't just turn up and play is hardly "open season."

However, Robinson wants to prove that Geldof isn't washed up, and launches into a bizarre defence:

To begin with the music: you don't have to like Bob's songs to at least respect the fact that others - including me - have liked them a lot. Here is a man who wrote 13 top-30 hits between 1977 and 1990, including two number ones.

Any fool with modest talent, reasonable looks and towering ambition can knock out one or two hits if they are lucky and pushy enough. Look at James Blunt. Or me, come to that. As Lady Bracknell might have said, to have written half a dozen hits may be regarded as good fortune; to have written more than a dozen looks like talent - at least from where I'm sitting.

There's a strange double standard here - if we've read this right, Tom argues that even if you don't like somebody's songs, you should respect them for being popular. He then slags off James Blunt - who, surely, might not be to Tom's taste but ought to win his respect.

But what of Bob's 13 top thirty hits? We loved the Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays and Rat Trap are brilliant pieces of work, by anyone's standards. There's Someone Lookin At You (woah-oh-oh-oh) and Banana Republic weren't quite as good, but could have held their heads up at the time as some happy bits of nonesense that Ed Tudor Pole would have killed to write. Beyond that... there's meant to be another nine?

Certainly, artists and their music fall in and out fashion. But album tracks such as The Beat of the Night (Deep in the Heart of Nowhere) and The New Routine (Sex, Age and Death) make regular appearances on my iPod - and radio playlists - on sheer musical merit alone.

Without wishing to do Tom down, we can't imagine we'd ever see a collection of CDs stacked in HMV with a sticky label proclaiming "As heard on Tom Robinson's iPod"; and if Geldof is frequently appearing on radio playlists (on merit or even through his company being a major independent supplier of programmes to Radio 2) it's odd that we've not heard his music coming out of a radio in years. Except one time in Asda a few weeks back. And that was the Rats.

And, contrary to Scrittipolitti's posting, the Boomtown Rats didn't have a "heyday" in 1981, when they may or may not have been "reassuringly shite": they had a genuine, measurable, shout-it-from-the-rooftops heyday in 1977-8, when they clawed their way from obscurity to the NME front pages with a series of blinding gigs that blew away all competition night after night. The songs were great, the band were hot and Geldof was a rivetingly charismatic frontman.

Spot on, Tom. Sadly, the words "were" and "was" are the key ones here.

If they lost the plot later on under the pressures of success, it was no more than happened to contemporaries such as TRB, Squeeze, the Hot Rods, Graham Parker and countless others. So why all this bitter schadenfreude when it comes to Bob and the boys ?

Perhaps, in this case, because nobody posted anything to a website about Squeeze or Graham Parker this week? Or maybe because - and this is probably their good luck - none of those have been turned into living saints and thus feel the urge to try and bolster their claims to be as famous for their music as their philanthropy?

The uncharitable sneer from Correspondent Bob's solo career was "a half-hearted exercise which never took off and was over 20 years ago" is simply incorrect: Bob's hilariously defiant Great Song of Indifference made number 15 in 1990 and was widely covered in dozens of languages by recording artists across the globe - for the simple reason that people everywhere liked the song - on its own merits - very much indeed.

Well, yes, that does make it factually incorrect, although since a number fifteen hit isn't so much a take-off as a soft landing, Correspondent should have said Bob's solo career was a "half-ignored exercise which barely took off and was sixteen years ago."

As to his subsequent lack of musical output, Bob's personal life, in case you've forgotten, was devastated by loss, strife and tragedy during the 90s in the full intrusive glare of the world's media, gleefully detailing every fresh blow. He told me three years ago that at times of crisis there would be an average of 40 reporters camped outside his house. A scooter from the Daily Mirror and a van from the News of the World with blacked out windows tailed him everywhere he went. Even when he escaped the pressure at the weekends in Paris with close friends, there would still be journalists waiting for him on the Eurostar home.

The astonishing thing is not that it took him until 2002 to write another album - the critically acclaimed Sex, Age and Death - but that he managed to make one at all under such conditions.

Tom could have a point here - if Bob had been beseiged and unable to function during the 1990s, that is. However, he did manage to put together Planet 24, executive producing The Big Breakfast and The Word and building it into a company which Carlton would buy off him and his partners for £15million, while Geldof would establish another company, Ten Alps, to make TV and radio programmes and do PR for the likes of the Ministry of Defence. Indeed, it could be argued that Bob's creative desert was less because of family crises and more because he was spending so much time with his money.

Whatever it is Bob Geldof wants, I'll bet you a quiet family life comes top of the list and getting his picture in the papers is pretty close to the bottom. The problem is that, whether he likes it or not, he has one of the most recognisable faces on the planet, which gives him almost unique access to the world's media - and most powerful political leaders - whether he chooses to use it or not.

We suspect, though, he likes it quite a bit, don't you?

Many of us feel that world debt and global trade barriers are a humanitarian scandal and Aids is an unfolding global catastrophe. But not many of us can do much about it beyond charitable giving, letter writing and attending the occasional demonstration. Let's suppose for a moment that Bob actually would like a quiet, easy life - News of the World permitting. What would you do in his place, knowing that simply picking up the phone might save dozens or even hundreds of lives? Put up the shutters, mutter "I've done enough" and tell the world to go fuck itself?

Oddly, unless we've missed something, Tom seems to have started to responding to criticisms that hadn't been made of Bob in response to his original post. But since he asks: we like to think if we could ring up Blair, or go and play golf with Bush, we might take the opportunity to tell them to do something, rather than just appear with them on stage and tell them how great their half-arsed promises are.

The idea behind Live8 was (supposedly) to demonstrate to the powerful that we, the people, were firmly behind the idea of justice for the impoverished, the ill and the uneducated of the world. That was why it was allowed to more-or-less railroad the Make Povery History movement. Instead, it seems to have been used by Bob and chum Bono to calm down the angry crowds on behalf of their friends inside Gleneagles.

Or would you be big enough to accept the facts, the horrible responsibility that circumstance had thrust in your lap? Would you have the strength to put yourself in the firing line all over again, resigned to the fact that the media would think and write the worst about you whenever possible; and that whether you sought to alleviate a little of the world's unnecessary suffering or simply sit on your arse like everyone else, armchair critics would rip you to shreds?

"Just think, all that self promotion and no one wants to know. Perhaps he should put up a montage of suffering Africans to get the punters in," wrote Xuitlacoche on yesterday's blog. Well, comment is free, and you are entitled to your opinion. Mine is that, on balance, the world is a better place thanks to Geldof's efforts than if simply sat down, shut up and crawled into a corner, as you would seem to prefer.

Bob himself expressed all this far more eloquently, and at greater length, in his review of 1985 for the Guardian last December.

Bigmouth strikes again? More power to his larynx.

A short while after taking one of his commenters to task for suggesting the Rats big hits came three years after they actually arrived, Robinson manages to suggest that Geldof was reviewing a year twenty years later than the one he was actually looking back over. And that article is just an apologia, even down to the tired old line that "if we'd just saved one Ethiopian life then it would all have been worth it" - which, frankly, if he believes, makes him an idiot.

What makes Robinson's defence of Geldof even odder is that even Bob himself admitted that in terms of sales and musical influence alone, he wouldn't have qualified for a place on the Live8 stage. If Geldof admits he's less musically significant than Razorlight and Snow Patrol, why can't Tom?

[Thanks to Jim McCabe for the link]


One of the biggest companies in the world, with an understanding of dealing across the market places of various countries would, you think, be able to come up with a name for its products that would avoid the pitfalls that befell, say, the Nova. (or the "Won't go" in Spanish.)

So how have Microsoft managed to give their iPod killer the name Zune, French-Canadian slang for the cock?

[Thanks to Karl T]


Having reached the point where there's only really him left to let down, Pete Doherty is going to go solo:

"There'll be a solo acoustic album released this year. It differs from Babyshambles because it will be just me."

'Just what Pete wants to do' doesn't sound too different from Babyshambles, when you think about it.

Oh, and he cheerfully admits he's doing the odd spot of skag:

"I went to (Portugal) to detox and got clean ready for the implant. Things just kept going wrong with the implant, it was like, some public holiday, then customs cut it open. [A]fter Sweden, it was so bad I had to have a nasty, dirty old hit as soon as we got back to London. It fucked me up for three days."

We didn't know that implants got bank holidays off. Or, come to that, that the patients have to hump their medical requisites with them from country to country.


Bad news for lovers of sub-Cardiganny sunshine pop: Victoria Bergsman has quit The Concretes.

The band are pledging to carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters:

"The Concretes have announced that lead singer Victoria Bergsman is departing the band to pursue a solo career. The Concretes' performance of recent single 'On The Radio' on the last series of the Jonathan Ross TV Show is the last time the band will have played together prior to Bergsman's departure.

"Anyway... Life goes on. We are working on new stuff and so is Victoria. We wish her the best of luck."

Anyone else remember the Sneaker Pimps? No? Exactly.


Arvel Jett Reeves secretly tapes Michael Jackson while Jacko was heading to hand himself in on child molestation charges. He gets eight months for conspiracy. And quite right - privacy is important.

On the other hand, the US government asks phone companies to hand over acres of private data on millions of Americans, and most of the phone companies do so without a second thought. Nobody gets charged with anything.


Lurking deep - okay, lurking fairly shallowly - beneath Britney Spears' pleather-clad exterior is a twelve year-old girl. The latest entry onto her Britblog is a picture what she found of a tiger and a thing about how she's like a tiger and how they're great:

I'm mesmerised by tigers. Their eyes, their stripes, their constant quest for survival. They almost have a sense of mysteriousness about them.

Almost, you'll note.

They pull you in and make it difficult to look away.

Especially if you poke them with your stick with the horse's head handle.

They make you wonder what is behind their gaze. A sense of eerie awe comes over you when you are in their presence.

And, of course, their tops are made out of rubber, their bottoms are made out of spring.


The demands for Madonna's backstage comforts during the British leg of her Look, Look, Look At Me tour have wound up in today's Daily Mirror, and top of the list is having a brand new toilet seat installed in her dressing room. With a full inspection and a proper seal, too - she's not going to settle for a sash telling her it's been sanitised for her comfort.

What else?

A DNA Of The Soul candle, made of a blend of lemon, lemon grass, tea, cinnamon and myrrh, which is meant to "restore meaning to lives that often feel meaningless".

Now, why, we wonder, would Madonna feel the need to something to cure life of meaninglessness? Perhaps it's for Guy.

A POWER of Prosperity candle which is meant to give you the strength to keep your ego in check

To be honest, if you're the sort of person who refuses to use a toilet seat someone else might have sat on, you're probably going to need a few of these.

AN Evil Eye candle, which offers protection from negative glances.

Doesn't work, love. But at least you'll be set if there's a rolling brownout, so it's not all bad.

Ein Gedi Dead Sea Foot Spa.

We imagine this is a bit like a Clairol one, only stupider.

Unsalted Edamame

A type of Japanese pea, apparently. She couldn't just ask for M&Ms like everyone else, could she?

Her very own love-seat [and she] insists that everything else in her dressing room, including the walls, will be draped in white - the symbolic colour of her faith, Kabbalah.

Luckily, also the symbollic colour of having the painters and decorators in.

Dozens of white roses will decorate the backstage area and the all-important bottles of Kabbalah water will be on hand.

Or, we suspect, any old water put into Kabbalah bottles. Which is, after all, more or less what Kabbalah water is.


Robert Johnson's guitar, the one on which rock and roll was invented, is up for sale at a hefty $3.25 million.

You'd have to sell your soul or something to get that sort of cash. Still, it does make it unlikely it'll wind up in the Frinton-On-Sea Hard Rock Cafe wedged between Tin Tin Out's shoes and some chains used by Jez, Howard Jones' interperative dancer.


Or maybe you won't, as the resurrection hardly got the nation talking. And now it looks as if it might all be over, with reports of Tony Mortimer slapping Brian Harvey during a business meeting. Not the first time Harvey has fallen foul of a sack of spuds, of course.

An eyewitness trilled:

“Something inside Tony just snapped and he flew at Brian, punching him in the face over and over again.

“He had to be pulled off Brian by the other lads in the band. Then he spent the next half an hour swearing at Brian.”

He's living the dream, isn't he?

The meeting was a discussion about a new contract for the band. So, a bit of a waste of time all round, then.


We don't know what Robbie Williams has done to annoy The Sun, but they're currently handing out a kicking (footing out a kicking?) to him on a daily basis, inviting readers to deliver their verdicts on his new single, Rudebox.

We'd love to think it was genuine outrage that he's pillaged the wonderful Boops (Here To Go) by Sly and Robbie - which is like melting down a Henry Moore to make some garden furniture - but we smell some other sort of score being settled here.

Anyway, an apparent ninety per cent of Sun readers aren't fond of the track:

“Rudebox sounds like Roland Rat’s 1983 hit Rat Rapping. It’s the worst song released by a major artist in the history of pop music.”

That's a little unfair, as Rat Rapping wasn't that bad, but it does throw up the intriguing possibility that Jonathan Wilkes is the Kevin The Gerbil of our age.


Uh-oh. Lily Allen's gotten herself into trouble for talking about taking cocaine. Now she's been bounced into a humiliating and meaningless apology:

Lily, who had a No1 hit with Smile, said she “did not want to encourage youngsters to take drugs”.

In her website apology, Lily, 21, added: “I made a silly joke while being interviewed.

“I’m so sorry if I have disappointed any of you.”

Well, we're not disappointed, but this sort of mealy-mouthed career-centered apology doesn't reflect any better on you.


Steely Dan are pissed, in a light-hearted but still meaningful sort of way. They reckon Owen Wilson has ripped the plot of their My Cousin Dupree for his new yukyukfest You, Me and Dupree. So they've filed a complaint with Luke Wilson:

What we suspect may have happened is this: some hack writer or producer or whatever they call themselves in Malibu or Los Feliz apparently heard our Grammy winning song "Cousin Dupree" on the radio and though, hey, man, this is a cool idea for a character in a movie or something... Nevertheless, they, like, took our character, this real dog sleeping on the couch and all and put him in the middle of some hokey "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" ripoff story and then, when it came time to change the character's name or whatever so people wouldn't know what a rip the whole thing was, THEY DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER TO THINK UP A NEW FUCKING NAME FOR THE GUY!"

Wilson - currently filming a story about a girl called Rikki who has a series of misadventures while trying to hold on to an important phone number - has yet to respond.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Last week, while we were busy elsewhere, the Mercury Music Prize shortlist was announced.

These, then, are the 12 "best" albums of the last year:

Arctic Monkeys - 'Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not'
Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan - 'Ballad Of The Broken Seas'
Editors - 'The Back Room'
Guillemots - 'Through The Windowpane'
Richard Hawley - 'Coles Corner'
Hot Chip - 'The Warning'
Muse - 'Black Holes & Revelations'
Zoe Rahman - 'Melting Pot'
Lou Rhodes - 'Beloved One'
Scritti Politti - 'White Bread Black Beer'
Sway - 'This Is My Demo'
Thom Yorke - 'The Eraser'

From these, only one can go ahead to be given the career kiss-of-death and small cash reward; you'd have to fancy Editor's chances in the "not too obvious, but not too much of a showing-off" stakes.

Lily Allen, apparently, was considered by her record company to be such a likely candidate for the prize (her album, Alright, That'll Do, came out on the very last day to qualify) that they've lobbed her twenty grand to make up for the harsh discovery that, when pressed, people don't actually think it's up to much.

Not that the record company are being generous - they'll probably claw it back through "marketing" costs anyway.


Sparklehorse. Perhaps it's just us, but they have one of the most off-putting names this side of those bands who try to be unpleasant by calling themselves things like Whooping Cough Blind Babies.

Anyway, they're going off on tour for what seems like a big chunk of the Fresher's Circuit:

September 26 Norwich Waterfront
27 Bristol Fleece
28 London Hammersmith Working Mens Club
29 Oxford Zodiac
30 Reading Fez

October 1 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
3 Nottingham Rescue Rooms
4 Glasgow King Tuts
5 Aberdeen Moshulu
6 Leeds Cockpit
8 Sheffield Leadmill
9 Brighton Old Market
10 Newcastle Academy
11 Birmingham Gee Club
12 Liverpool Stanley Theatre
19 Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
20 Manchester Royal Northern College Of Music

It's all in aid of a new album, apparently.


Proving you can never sweat your assets too hard, IRS records is set to release a "new" best-of album of REM's time on the label, rather like the 1991 one. Only, you know, slightly different.


Pharrell Williams, that is, Apparently, he's got other commitments which makes romancing a lady a bit of a non-starter:

"No, no romance. Music's been my girlfriend. That's the truth! It sounds crafty but it's really the truth. I haven't really been able to put time into anything other than music and fashion."

Blimey. Let's hope he never finds out what music gets up to with Peaches and Andrew Lloyd Webber when his back's turned.


In order that they can remember how to tie their ties before going on stage for Reading-Leeds, Franz Ferdinand are doing a warm-up. Forum, Kentish Town (London again, sorry) on August 23rd.


So, there you are, at a Madonna gig. Just as you're asking yourself why, there's a crowd surge and you're in danger of being knocked out your wheelchair. The security guards are no help. Who will save you?

Leonardo DiCaprio, apparently, who shuffled up to make room for two wheelchairs in his part of Madison Square Garden.

Of course, if he was really kind he'd have helped them to the exit.


Either Chris Park was hit so hard he lost all ability to handle perspective, or he still thinks that "having been in Phixx" counts as being, in some way, famous.

Not that anyone would want to make light of the lad being jumped in a Newcastle park, but his reaction is a little curious:

"I just thought, why me? It was so random and pointless - it shows everyone has to be careful. It can happen to anyone, anywhere."

God, yes. It's almost like you're identical to any other member of the public who wouldn't be recognised in the street.


Paul Hester, the former drummer with Crowded House, is offering an object lesson in the risks of dying intestate, as a woman who says she was engaged to him has turned up demanding a third of his estate - and also insisting that there's a lot more cash around than the official record suggests.

She isn't, of course, Mardi Somerfeld, the woman Hester was living with when he committed suicide, which might make the whole situation even more messy and unmanageable. Oh - and unpleasant. Did we mention unpleasant?


Struggling uber-indie label and management company Sanctuary is facing a takeover bid from MAMA - and, if need be, MAMA is prepared to be hostile.

Sanctuary have, apparently, yet to respond to the offer; difficulties incurred through growth have left the company forecasting losses of up to twenty-two million quid for the year to September.

Equally unknowable at the moment is if MAMA are interested in the whole of Sanctuary's business, or if it would be looking to offload the record company part of the operation - a sizeable gem that might satisfy either EMI or Warners without causing them too many problems with the regulators.


Since never a week goes by without the launch of something or other touted as an iPod killer, and because the details of Microsoft's Zune device are so limited at the moment, nobody is getting very excited by the pre-announcement of a mobile device from the people who bring you Excel spreadsheets and soft-crashing operating systems.

People who are looking closely, though, aren't even less than impressed.

Wired sniff and point out that not only has virtually every piece of hardware coming from Redmond been a bit of a flop (the X-Box aside), but the long chain of partners involved in flogging the music, other (supposedly) compatable players and the company itself makes it very difficult to adapt to changes in the marketplace. And that's without the massive current lead Apple has.

While the iPod isn't impregnable, it's still looking like it might have a few more years before Steve Jobs needs to lose any sleep.


She's not Madonna - Tania StreckerRobbie Williams is keen to ensure his privacy is only breached when he sees fit - indeed, he's managed to annoy press photographers by banning them from his German gigs, so keen is he to keep control of his public appearances. Oddly, the same Robbie Williams has now recorded a song which is, in effect, a tabloid-style invasion of someone else's privacy.

It seems he once dated the same person (Tania Strecker) as Guy Ritchie, and Ms Stricker told him that when Ritchie dumped Strecker for Madge, he used the explanation that Tania was very nice, "but she's Madonna." This exchange has now formed the basis for a track on Williams' forthcoming album, which does raise the interesting question of if Robbie feels its okay for him to make public private conversations between the vaguely famous, can he ever complain if the press rake through his private life in the future?


We're not in London, and the odds are you're not in London, either. But if you are, chin up, it could be worse. At least you get the chance to sample the delights of Pretty In Pink clubnight at The Fly. The next one is this Thursday.

Upstairs, it's Val and Nick pumping your ears full of New Wave goodness, while downstairs, Sean Turner surrounds himself with boys in make-up and girls in ra-ra skirts for 80s pop explosions.


Gennaro Castaldo had been so quiet of late we'd started to wonder if he'd been offloaded to keep the takeover panel happy, but here he is again, in the Belfast Evening Telegraph talking about Snow Patrol:

But Gennaro Castaldo of HMV reckons Chasing Cars could be the sound of the summer and the band's first number one single.

"HMV has placed a sizeable order for the new single, so we certainly think they're in with a chance of landing their first-ever UK number one."

Gennaro is styled as a "music industry insider" for this one.

Meanwhile... can this be the same Gennaro Castaldo?


Like some sort of musical unabomber, Geri Haliwell has been coming up with a masterplan to revive her career:

Strategy - Game plan

how many can we get?
TV Productions?

Although, to be fair, Geri, you might want to try this:

New Brighton?
Behind the counter in Blockbuster?
how much would I get from OK for twins?
Is it too late for Celebrity Love Island?


Tom Meighan is feeling his heart-wrench as Kasabian guitarist and keyboard player Chris Karloff walks, citing "musical difficulties." That doesn't always mean "the bassist slept with the drummer's girlfriend", you know.

Tom sniffles into his sleeve:

"I am gutted. It's sad after you've been with someone all those years and he's a great person and friend and it's just one of those things. We wish him the best, he's a wonderful musician."

... which will stand him in good stead down the Underground.

We find the idea of musical differences in the Kasabian camp pretty puzzling, to be frank - it's not like they're the sort of band who strike you as being overblessed with options for their future musical direction, so we can only conclude Karloff maybe pointed out how much all the songs sound like each other.


In a surprising explosion of exploding, Dr Fox has revealed he still exists. Fox - he's the one who was Capital Radio once, not the one who shared the sofa with Esther, that was Doc Cox - isn't impressed by Lily Allen:

"I do think it’s all just hype with her. In two years’ time are we still going to be talking about her? No."

He added: "Smile is a good summer tune, and very appropriate for the weather we’re having, but I think she’ll pretty much be a one-hit wonder."

Doctor Fox used to present a chart show a few years back, so is something of an expert in how one minute you're going "this is a number one" and the next it's "you must remember me..."


Good news from Wales, as not only has Mike Peters beaten cancer, and not complained about the state of the charts with all these young people and there not being any respect, but he's going to be a Dad again.

Plus, he's got excellent blood:

“My haematologist told me I had the worst blood diagnosis he had ever seen. Now he says I have the best blood result ever achieved in a cancer patient.”


How they even heard about it in the first place is a bit of a mystery, but under pressure from a catholic music publisher in the States, Charlotte Church has dropped a sketch from the creaking pilot of her 'comedy' show. The gig revolved round saying the Pope was a Nazi.

The publishers weren't happy, although, erm, the Pope was a member of the Hitler Youth (and, of course, the Vatican had its 1933 Concordat with Hitler's Germany) and that doesn't seem to have bothered them.

We suspect the opportunity to junk any of the weak sketches - and, frankly, this sounds pretty gnat's strength stuff - is just too tempting for the production team.


As part of the victory celebrations for its 25th anniversary, MTV is getting The Streets to make the longest music video ever.

We know it seems crazy - MTV planning to show a music video, but older readers may remember that before it started showing rappers touring houses they were pretending are theirs and Tim Westwood presiding over the ElizabethDukification of cars, MTV used to be a pop music station.

Actually, though the finished piece will weigh in at twenty minutes, since Mike Skinner is going to provide the music for footage shot by filmmakers, this isn't a music video at all. Videos are films shot to fit music; what this seems to be is The Streets providing a short score for a film.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Back from his near-death experiences, Jason Pierce is about to tour the UK. Trying out new material for his next solo album, it appears:

October Friday 20th Salisbury Arts Centre
Sunday 22nd Brighton Komedia
Monday 23rd London, Queen Elizabeth Hall
Tuesday 24th Colchester Arts Centre
Wednesday 25th Leicester, The Y
November Wednesday 22nd Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre
Thursday 23rd Gateshead, Sage
Friday 24th Manchester, Lowry
Saturday 25th Edinburgh, Queen’s Hall

We are led to expect more dates might manifest themselves as and when.


Lets hope this time he's actually spoken to the woman, because apparently Fred Durst is getting married. Again.

He met a woman called Krista Salvatore on Memorial Day weekend, and felt he should tell the world before the "rumours":

"I wanted to set the record straight before it became something it is not.

"This is very special to me. I am loving life."

We love the idea that he's convinced there's an enormous gossip network just waiting to buzz into life to yakk about Durst's love life. It's more a case of "I thought I better announce it while people can still barely remember who I am."


While Israel continues to over-react Lebanon back into the twelfth century, the fairly grim question that arose when they told people living in the south of the country to get out was "as you've bombed the bridges and the airport and blockaded the port, how, exactly are we meant to flee?"

Part of the answer? Pray to the god of heavy metal.

No, really: Bruce Dickinson piloted a 757 from Cyprus taking Britons evacuuated by the navy from Beirut.