Saturday, October 28, 2006

Madonna gives local the birds

Let's set aside thoughts of Madonna's children-collecting trips and return, instead, to the vexed issue of one of her many homes (sad, some might say, when one person has so much and so many have nothing). The always-caring Maddy has been running a lucrative shoot on her Wiltshire estate - the one she went to court to keep oiks like us off, of course.

Presumably because the sort of rich idiots who pay large sums to wave guns at animals aren't very good shoots, the number of birds on her estate has been growing and growing, and local residents have had their electricty supplies cut six times by birds flying into power lines, reports the Daily Mail.

Southern Electricity have now had to spend half a million quid to put a protective curtain around the cables.

Still, if your power does go down, it does spare you having to watch that footage of Madonna dancing with the Malawian while her camera man signals to the crowds to stand up and join in, at least for a few hours. Every bag of soap has its own papaya, as they say in Holland.

The parklife is over

Surely the reason Phil Daniels couldn't get into Damon Albarn's new band's party wasn't because Damon has waited to get revenge for Daniel's description of Blur as "my band" some years ago?

Probably not. It's almost certainly got more to do with "keep Natalie Cassidy out at all costs".

Have you still found what you're looking for?

In some sort of bid to try and make what is little more than a contract-completion best of album seem exciting, U2 are throwing a online treasure hunt for their fans; you find the banners scattered across the web, and you get given a fabulous prize by Bono.

Who may well then take you to court to get it back, but it's the thought that counts.

I don't love cash, insists Cheryl

Simply because they love to drive down to the bank of an afternoon, withdraw all their cash, take it home, use it to fill their swimming pool and then spend hours wallowing in the notes and coins, naked and laughing, people get the impression that Cheryl Tweedy and Ashley Cole love money. Tweedy says that - and nicknames like Cheryl Greedy - is just plain wrong:

“I wish they’d stop calling me Greedy. They don’t even know me or Ashley. He is the kindest, softest, loveliest person.

“People call me names all the time — but it hurts more when I hear Ashley being called them. It’s so far from the person he is. They don’t know how much he does for charity, he keeps that private. He even gets offended if I try to pay the bill when we’re at a restaurant. The latest I’ve heard is that we’re buying a house in the Seychelles.

“It’s rubbish. We went there for our honeymoon and it was the most boring place ever. It would drive us mad.”

Plus, the Seychelles banknotes really chaffe when you rub them over your body.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Madonna's baby: Yes, that again

Sorry to return to the subject of Madonna's Oprah interview, but since the good people at Harpo kept the programme under wraps, we're only getting to hear bits and pieces of it in dribs and drabs. First of all, we were surprised that Madonna's appearance had managed to convince the fearless Daily Mail that Madonna's baby is Aids orphan - although not as surprised as his father will be. Obviously, we have no way of knowing if Madonna's version of the death of David's mother is true, or the one everyone else has reported (that she died following childbirth complications), but if there had been good reasons for everyone else providing a false story - perhaps to avoid stigmatising surviving relatives? - we're sure Madonna's decision to blow it in front of millions is understandable. After all, what are little people's lives when compared with Madonna's bids to salvage her PR?

We were also surprised to discover that David [is] still a little bit ill, not completely free of his pneumonia, but he's much better than he was when we found him."

Leaving aside that David wasn't, actually, lost but being cared for in one of the better orphanages in Malawi, if he's got pneumonia, should he not have been allowed to recover before being flown anywhere? After all, most medical sources actually advise against flying if you've got pneumonia. The decision to fly a sick child out the country does somewhat reinforce the suspicion that Madonna was rushing to get him out as quickly as possible.

Indies hurt as Tower collapses

While the implosion of US record chain Tower might seem to be most worrying for the majors, it's also causing some major worries amongst smaller labels: Tower accounted for between five and six per cent of some indie's grosses, and, for all its faults, Tower used to take much more new music than its main rivals.

"I don't see that another retailer is going to step up to make that commitment to physical goods," said Bruce Iglauer, who operates the Chicago-based blues label Alligator Records

The main trouble is that, while online sales have been high enough to help force Tower off the high street, they're not yet at a level where they can replace through-the-door sales:

Rob Miller, partner in the Chicago-based alternative-country label Bloodshot Records, said that online sales account for just 10%-15% of the company's business. He estimates that Tower accounted for about 5% of Bloodshot's sales.

"If it was a one-to-one trade (for lost physical sales), it'd be great, but it's not," Miller said of online sales. "It's a good bandage on a much larger hemorrhage."

In time, downloads and web-sold CDs will expand to fill the gap. The question is, of course, if that will come quick enough to keep the indie sector solvent.

For major labels, the threat of the closure of Tower is added to by the chain's current 'Everything Must Go' closeout sale, forcing prices down and soaking up demand at the start of the holiday seasons.

Bass' boyfriend blows bashing battalions

Lance Bass' partner, Reichen Lehmkuhl has been receiving threats as he publishes a memoir of his time in the US forces, focusing mainly on the homophobia he encountered during his time in the Air Force:

"I am not going to hide," says the former Air Force captain and winner of season four of CBS' "Amazing Race." "There are threats that come in from people who do not want me to be so public and expose what is going on in the military."

Lehmkuhl's book, Here's What We'll Say: Growing Up, Coming Out, and the U.S. Air Force Academy, recounts his time keeping his sexual orientation a secret from Air Force colleagues.

"There was definitely an institionalized acceptance of people being homophobic and telling gay jokes and making homophobic remarks — really, really mean homophobic remarks to the point of, `Kill gay people,'" Lehmkuhl, who was honorably discharged from the Air Force five years ago, told ABC News earlier this week.

Beenie Man is reported to be considering applying for a pilot's licence.

Mariah demands herself out of a job

The people attempting to bring Mariah Carey to Hong Kong have cancelled the gig with just two days to go. They can't take it any more:

"As promoters of the Mariah Carey Hong Kong concert, we have decided to cancel the event effective immediately due to both the poor response of public ticket sales and also due to specific last-minute demands which we find wholly unreasonable and not with the best interests of Hong Kong, us and also the fans," the statement said.

It's thought that amongst her crazy demands which no human alive could satisfy was one for an audience to turn up to listen to her singing.

3AM Girls break shock news

Who would have thought that Billie Piper wouldn't want to be caught up in a nasty, vindictive, public divorce battle:

BILLIE Piper says she doesn't envy Paul McCartney and Heather Mills's divorce saga.

Really? What insights can we expect in tomorrow's paper? Samantha Mumba thrilled she hasn't had her eyes gouged out? Peter Andre saying he wouldn't want to swap with Steve Irwin?

Going to a Streisand gig is like flying ElAl

If you're planning on going to see Barbara Streisand, be prepared for some hard times at the security gate. She's virtually putting the gigs into lockdown:

The singer wants metal detectors at all her concerts, told promoters to provide her with extra security guards and insists on police sniffer dogs at venues.

Streisand also specifies that plain-clothes guards be "neatly dressed in dark jackets, blazers or sweaters".

That probably includes the sniffer dogs.

Babs has, apparently, racked up the security demands after she got some flack for taking the rise out of Bush:

According to US reports, an angry Streisand told one heckler: "Why don't you shut the fuck up? If you can't take a joke, why don't you leave?"

We're not sure why she's bothering with all the security - a tongue lashing from Babs is surely enough to keep an entire nest of terrorists in order?

Sparing the Rod

We're sure Paul McCartney will be cheered by the almost-ringing vote of confidence in him from Rod Stewart yesterday:

"He might be a drugtaker but I don't think he's a wifebeater. I think he should fight it. I don't think he should settle."

He's almost certainly not a wifebeater, despite all the drugs he's constantly necking... we'd suggest Paul doesn't put Rod on the shortlist for charcter witness.

Taylor quits Duran - again

The second time as, well, not quite farce, as they're all past the stage of trouser-dropping and running in and out of French windows: Andy Taylor has quit Duran Duran again, citing a rift, or maybe a gulf:

A statement from the remaining members, Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John and Roger Taylor, said a "gulf" had developed between them which meant they could no longer work effectively together.

It continued: "Although obviously disappointed and saddened about this, we are excited about the next chapter of the Duran Duran story."

The gulf, of course, wasn't helped by Taylor prancing out the door halfway through a US tour.

Razorlight? It's all peace and love

Like a Tory wife with a disgraced husband stood at the gate of their country home, Johnny Borrell and Andy Burrows want the world to know they're working through their problems and a Razorlight divorce is not on the cards:

"The fight was nothing. I'm sitting here right now in the best band in the world, with the best drummer in the world.

"In fact, Andy Burrows is the greatest in the whole of rock 'n' roll and if there's a better one, I don't believe it. Yes, we have our fall-outs but I love him like a brother."

Like Cain loved Abel.

Barlow closes deals

Gary Barlow is moving to London, and has sold up his mansion - including the disputed pond where he upset all the anglers - and everything in it. Yesterday, there was an auction where you could pick up second-hand Ikea sofas and, erm, used telescopes.

He picked up £11,439 in all, apparently.

Andy wants to protect what's his

Michelle HeatonAndy Scott LeeIf we were Andy Scott Lee, we might have thought long and hard about the relative strengths we were bringing to our marriage to Michelle Heaton before suggesting a prenup.

It's hacked off Michelle, for a start:

"It was Andy’s idea and I went mad. I didn’t like it all."

Andy, though, felt he had something to protect:

"Obviously Michelle is more well off than I am and it's also to protect the property I have with my brother. Whatever we buy together will be split according to the contributions we make. It’s a wise move."

What's most heartwarming about that is that he doesn't even bother to throw in a "if we do one day fall out of love with each other..." - it's surprising he bothered with a prenup, the way he's talking you'd have expected him to have a divorce ready to roll. Just in case. Just to protect his property empire.

Still, it's not like it's soured the beautiful relationship, is it?

"We may not even do it on the wedding night. We might have to do it the next morning. Our relationship doesn’t rely on sex."

Andy might want to check exactly what he's signed up to.

A place by your mum

Whatever you might think about the Arctic Monkeys, they're clearly not ones to squander their cash or their opportunities. Jamie Cook has bought his own house - bricks and mortar, lad, you can't lose on bricks and mortar - and even got his Mum to advise him. Although apparently he offered the asking price, so he's still got some things to learn.

Robbie Williams is not like a racehorse

Meet Frances Ingram. She's just placed a couple of bets on herself - £40 at 100-1 that she'll go on a date with date with Robbie Williams, and a tenner at 1,000-1 that she'll wind up the first Mrs. Williams.

Placing a bet on marrying Robbie Williams? We thought bookies always turned down bets on events with tragic outcomes. Still, if you were setting up a new life with him, it'd be handy to be able to nip down to William Hills on the wedding day and pick up an extra ten grand to add to the family funds.

Why is Ms Ingram so sure she'll end up sharing Robbie's marital bed? Because she's got all the pictures and a scrapbook and everything:

“I am his greatest fan. I adore him and I’ve got all his CDs and loads of pictures of him.

“We have a lot in common, because like me he’s around the same age and has no children.”

And, of course, they both really, really love Robbie Williams.

William Hill are generous as they pocket the cash:

“We know Robbie’s a great sport and I think there is a great chance we will get stung.”

This is, of course, in no way like our local bookie Fatmouth Stanley, who will always try to look worried when he takes our money: "ooh... not a tenner on Streaky Bacon? I reckon that could be expensive for me, even though he's been dead all these years... he's in with a chance."

Judging by Frances' chat-up technique, they've nothing to worry about:

"[I saw him once and] I gave him a V sign and he laughed his head off."

That's hardly a step towards champagne and a starlit horseride through the streets, is it?

It's unknown if William Hill will insist on evidence that the marriage is consumated before they pay out, but judging by the odds, they're not expecting it.

The Sun: First with the news

Brace yourself for an exclusive insight into the life of Pete Doherty from this morning's newspapers:

[B]ehind the scenes, experts are said to believe the wayward singer is still a hopeless drug addict whose attempts at rehab have been merely a farce.

They feel he will only make a genuine effort to quit drugs if he is treated with a rod of iron.

Blimey. Do you really think?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"As a big fan of Peter Jay and Dirty Den..."

Everyone who thought that Britney Spears and Kevin Federline's second child was going to be sharing a name with the London Borough of Sutton, and who has been shopping for novelty items with that upon it, you're in for a shock: the kid's been lumbered with the name Jayden instead.

Apparently, it's not that unusual: it was the 54th most popular name in America last year. We suspect that it was inspired by Kevin's rap music, as it means "God has heard"; presumably the middle name, James, means "... and he implores you to stop."


Razorlight (or the Johnny Borrell Swing Band) have scored something of a coup: Guy Pearce is appearing in their next video.

The band are very excited. Although they're probably not sure yet if they're going to be in as well.

When friends fall out

There's never been anything like it (except when BMG bought Napster and so found itself being sued by its RIAA partners): Universal is suing (Sony-owned) Grouper. Grouper would have been the poor man's YouTube, had it not been purchased by Sony; it's being targetted by Universal alongside similar service Bolt.

We're not quite sure what happens should this get to court: if Sony wins, surely that would present some sort of a weakness when it's attempting to pursue people using broadly similar file-sharing services with its material? After all, if it believes it's defensible to share a music video owned by Universal on Grouper, how can it object to someone sharing a song owned by Sony on, say, Bittorrent? And if Universal wins, wouldn't Sony-BMG have to quit the RIAA?

Yes, actually, according to the RIAA's rules:

Eligibility is not extended to companies that are currently engaged in, have within five years of application been engaged in, or are controlled by any person, firm or corporation which has within 5 years of application been engaged in the unauthorized creation, duplication, sale, importation, or other use of sound recordings in violation of state or federal law.

In fact, shouldn't Sony-BMG have been kicked out for that Napster connection anyway?

Doherty versus Italy

Somewhat wonderfully, we note that Pete Doherty's focus on how it wasn't him who started the fight with the photographer almost pulled off one of the greatest pieces of misdirection in musical history, taking attention away from the reports of him apparently threatening the audience with a broken mic stand at the same event.

Is it a crime to lie to Oprah Winfrey?

Was it Churchill who said a lie could be busily organising a two-way link up with the Harpo studios while truth was still trying to compose a stiffly worded letter to the Ham & High? Possibly.

We're just having a bit of trouble making sense of something Madonna told Oprah in today's interview. According to the the Oprah Website, her critics "don't understand" the Malawian adoption process:

Madonna says that her critics don't really understand how the Malawian adoption process works if they believe she used status to speed up the process of adopting David. "I assure you it doesn't matter who you are or how much money you have, nothing goes fast in Africa," Madonna says. "There are no adoption laws in Malawi. And I was warned by my social worker that because there were no known laws in Malawi, they were more or less going to have to make them up as we went along. And she did say to me, 'Pick Ethiopia. Go to Kenya. Don't go to Malawi because you're just going to get a hard time.'"

There are no adoption laws in Malawi? This might come as news to the US State department, who as recently as April 2006 updated their page on Malawian adoption with the following ("based on public sources and our current understanding"):

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child. Both married and single persons may adopt. However, single men may not adopt female children unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances, justifying an exception.

RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Adoptive parents must be resident in Malawi to adopt.

TIME FRAME: Malawian law requires a lengthy pre-adoption foster care period (at least two years).

Added to which, Malawi is also a signatory to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which creates a legal framework in which the nation's adoption law is applied - part of which stresses that inter-country adoption should only be considered as a "last resort".

It might be that Madonna's adoption of David is totally acceptable within the interpretations of these laws. It could be that Madonna was totally unaware of their existence. But it all looks murkier and murkier the more she attempts to pretend everything's been done by the (to her mind) non-existent book.

And people think she's just a pair of hits...

Excellent news: Dolly Parton is coming to Europe for her first tour on this side of the Atlantic since the days of Abba and punk.

She'll be in the UK during March and then doing other bits - Germany, perhaps. Maybe even Rolovonia - following on from that.

Living in the reel world

Kirsten DunstComing soon from Hollywood: A Debbie Harry biopic. A proper one, rather than a low-budget TV movie one. Apparently Kirsten Dunst is being lined up for the title role, which may prove to be one of the more questionable casting decisions of our age.

AllofMP3 stripped bare

The dubious and beleagured AllofMP3 may or may not be upset to discover that a shadowy organisation - MusicForMe - has cracked the DRM they've been putting on their 'free' service.

The cynics amongst you may wonder if it doesn't help AllofMP3's business for there to be a device which allows users to scoop up the music off their site - after all, they'll still make the advertising money while the tunes are hoovered up, and if some third party has made it easier for visitors to pinch the music, then that might make it easier to tempt people to try their service.

But, of course, that would be too cynical.

Meanwhile, a US company is - perhaps bravely - about to start licensing its code for reverse-engineering the Apple DRM. Although quite how Double Twist expects companies who pay it to effectively steal another company's intellectual property to not simply turn round and reverse engineer it for themselves, and if it would have any legal redress if it did, isn't clear.

The gap between headline and story

The headline:

My Chemical Romance get Madonna's help

The story:

How did My Chemical Romance get Liza Minelli onto their album?

Singer Gerard Way said: "We have discussed a woman forever but then I eventually I just did the woman's voice. I was like, 'It just seems like such a cop out.'

"He (Cavallo) said: 'Well, who do you want to get?' and I was like 'We should get Liza Minnelli. Why not?'

"(Cavallo) called Liz Rosenberg, who is her publicist, and got her to do it."

So... how, exactly, was Madonna involved? Admittedly, Rozenberg is also Madonna's publicist, but since she was working on Minelli's behalf, and was contacted by Rob Cavallo, Madonna has more to do with her "adopted son" than Minelli's appearance on a My Chemical Romance album.

Pete: It wasn't my fought

Pete Doherty denies he started the fist fight with the photographer in Rome: he reckons it was the it was the photographer's actions which precipitated the fracas:

A spokesperson for Doherty released a statement saying: "Pete Doherty totally denies that he instigated a fight with a photographer in Rome.

"Reports that the photographer might make an official complaint will certainly interest Pete's lawyers, who can call on witnesses who clearly saw Pete being hit with a camera outside his hotel."

The idea of a photographer using his camera as a weapon seems somewhat unlikely - they generally treat their cameras as more precious than a baby with an especially wobbly head - although it may, of course, have been an accidental knock.

Guardian Media takes it radio mainstream

Some interesting tweaking going on at the Guardian's radio operations. The cheese-tastic Q96 in Scotland is reworking itself into a classic rock station Rock Radio ("the country's first", apparently) while Smooth has asked Ofcom if it can stop being "a jazz, blues and R'n'B station" and become "easy-listening" for the over-50s instead.

Those of you whose memories are unclouded by doing sex and drinking liquid drugs will recall that Smooth used to be Jazz FM until it changed its name; this represents a final stage in hurling off the very music which won it its licence in the first place.

Guardian Media takes it radio mainstream

Some interesting tweaking going on at the Guardian's radio operations. The cheese-tastic Q96 in Scotland is reworking itself into a classic rock station Rock Radio ("the country's first", apparently) while Smooth has asked Ofcom if it can stop being "a jazz, blues and R'n'B station" and become "easy-listening" for the over-50s instead.

Those of you whose memories are unclouded by doing sex and drinking liquid drugs will recall that Smooth used to be Jazz FM until it changed its name; this represents a final stage in hurling off the very music which won it its licence in the first place.

Through the Mills again

If yesterday's announcement of plans to sue the Sun, Daily Mail and Evening Standard were supposed to calm down the coverage of the Mills-McCartney divorce, Heather's plan hasn't worked.

In fact, it's backfired rather terribly. This morning The Sun reacts by reviving the Mucca nickname (just when it seemed like they'd accepted that was going nowhere), pointing out that it doesn't actually know what she's objecting to, and creating a crossover with the popular Pete Doherty saga by dragging Kate Moss into the story:

At one point in the papers, one-legged Heather said she had to crawl to the toilet at night without her false limb on because ex-Beatle Paul, 64, objected to her using a bedpan in their bedroom.

A friend of Kate said: “Kate reassured Stella that she knew Heather was a liar because she had seen her hopping around.

“She said she was ‘jumping around like a fucking gazelle’ and is prepared to swear to it, in court if necessary.”

Kate added that Heather is “extremely athletic” and “not the sort of person to crawl anywhere”.

The pal added: “Kate has met Heather and has seen her with the prosthetic limb on and off. She’s now been telling everyone what a scheming liar Heather is.”

We're sure Heather's lawyers will be delighted to call Kate Moss, because it's not like Paul's lawyers would be able to trash her in court, is it?

The paper then lists "six lies" which it reckons proves she has no reputation to defend. Although a couple of these (" Her first husband Alfie Karmal has branded her a compulsive liar who left him for a ski instructor called Milos.") aren't actually proven lies in the strict sense of the word.

The Mail - whose legal team are slightly more cautious - chooses to focus instead on the threats of Paul McCartney to tour again to "fund the divorce."

Paul, even your dead mate John manages to generate twenty-one million dollars every year - it's not like you're actually near qualifying for legal aid yet, is it?

The most curious question about the lawsuits is why Mills has chosen the papers she has: earlier in the year, she said she was going to sue the News of the World over the hooker allegations as soon as she got a chance. And yet, now she's apparently found the time for legal action, it's not the NOTW which is apparently awaiting a petition.

Meanwhile, the search for who leaked the divorce papers which accused McCartney of being a bedpan stealing satan goes on. They've traced the original fax to a newsagent which is equidistant between his solicitors and hers. So, it could have come from the either side.

On the other hand, that it came from a newsagents could be significant. After all, who benefits from all these extra paper sales?

Madonna chooses top-rated talk show to say how upset she is about all the publicity

The first reports of what Madonna said to Oprah about the adoption are starting to leak out of the Harpo studios ahead of transmission - we're surprised they didn't sequestrate the audience overnight. Madonna, apparently, "fights back the tears" - and, to be fair, since she's such a poor actress, maybe they're genuine tears:

One member of the audience said Madonna was close to breaking down during the interview and added: "She was very upset at all the attention the adoption has brought and when Oprah asked her about allegations that it was a publicity stunt, you could see she was holding back tears but she took a breath and composed herself.

"She said: 'There is nothing I can say to change their minds.' She seemed very sincere and wanted a better life for David."

Well, there are things you could say to change their minds, Madonna. You could explain the camera crew with you. You could also try and square the circle of how you hoped to "raise awareness" if there wasn't meant to be any publicity. You might also explain the thinking behind making the details of your trip to Malawi public if the adoption was meant to be some sort of secret.

Sharon Lynch, 58 - who was at the show - added: "Madonna said she doesn't understand that trying to do something good would cause such a problem."

You can see why she chose Oprah rather than, say, a interviewer; judging by the reports coming out ahead of TX, it's a slick piece of "why is everybody picking on me" manipulation.

What's unforgiveable, though, is that she starts to trash the character of Yohane, David's dad:

The star, who lives in a £5.7million mansion near Marble Arch with husband Guy Ritchie, 38, and children Rocco, six, and 10-year-old Lourdes, told the audience baby David was just two weeks old when he was dumped in an orphanage after his mum died.

And she insisted Yohane's claims that he used to cycle 25 miles a day to see her were not true. In fact, Madonna added, the baby did not have one family visitor the whole time he was there.

Way to go, Madonna - call a poor, illiterate father a liar on international TV. Presumably that's fair as he could do a slot on Larry King to counter that. And we really hope that the phrase "dumped in an orphanage" has come from the journalist and isn't a direct quote.

If Madonna really cared more about David than her reputation, if this wasn't just about trying to turn around a publicity stunt gone tits-up, would she really - considering in a few years it's likely David will watch tapes of this show - have stood in front of millions and called his natural father a liar who didn't care about him?

The King is dead, as Kurt becomes dead king

This is news which should put a spring in Courtney's step: Kurt Cobain has usurped Elvis as top earning showbiz stiff.

Through licensing and other exploitation, Cobain's cold, dead hands have raised some fifty million dollars this year, outstripping Elvis, who could only manage USD45m. Charles Schulz is third, while Lennon and Einstein complete the top five. Yes, Albert Einstein.

What? Of course it's what Kurt would have wanted. And wait until next Christmas, when the Cobain Come As U R range of dolls are launched, complete with exploding head action.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Did you trail along behind them wearing blinkers on your eyes?

If you get a slot supporting Morrissey on one of his periodic tours, don't count on spending long evenings playing Hi-Ho Cherry-O on his tour bus. The Dears' Patrick Krief says he's not exactly welcoming:

"Opening for Morrissey was a sad sight... being asked to leave the building when he's crossing the corridor or being told not to look directly at him made me sick."

Canadian Krief admitted that "sometimes it's better not to meet people you admire. The whole band was pretty upset."

"Seeing what success can do is pretty painful," he added.

Morrissey is planning to invent a special air filter for his next tour, to save him the risk of having to breathe air expired by the hired hands.

Robbie Williams is not winning any friends

He might have remembered to take the bit about what he thought about Nigel Martin-Smith off his new album, but Robbie Williams managed to leave in a line that's even more offensive:

The title track on his Rudebox record contains the line "dance like you just won the Special Olympics", with the word "special" omitted from the single release of the song.


C-Murder must stay indoors

C-Murder has run into problems trying to promote his album: Judge Martha Sassone has told him it's fine for him to undertake any photoshoots he likes, but he's got to stay at home as he's under house arrest.

Mr. Murder's lawyers argued he needed to be able to go out and take some extra-special shots as he needs the money to fix-up his grandma's house in New Orleans. Presumably he was straining to find some blind orphans to add into the mix, too.

The judge, meanwhile, was firm: Murder had been released to prepare for his retrial, not to go on a signing tour:

"There'll be no interviews, no music videos," she ruled. "I guess the music will have to speak for itself. Capitol Records will have to find another way to advertise it."

Of course, having the photoshoot done at home shouldn't be a problem - most rappers dream of appearing on Cribs and showing off where they live, don't they? Although C-Murder's house arrest means he has to live in his own home and not some show apartment hired by the record label.

Mya liar Cent's on fire

50 Cent has been going round claiming that - in effect - he's 'ad that Mya one, he has.

Mya says that's simply not true:

50 Cent used Mya to poke fun at rap rival THE GAME, who played the singer/actress' lover in 2005 video DREAMS, and made love boasts about her.

Appropriately enough, Mya attempts to unpick this tangled web in Complex magazine:

"He claimed to have slept with me and that's totally incorrect. If that's how you choose to succeed then karma's a bitch.

"I don't have time for that small bullshit."

It's not clear if she means Cent's behahviour is "small bullshit", or if she's describing Cent himself.

Meanwhile, The Game has confirmed he's not having sex with Mya any more, either, on account of how both of them are famous:

"That shit (dating a celebrity) has got its ups and downs. The up is you kinda feel hot, the JAY-Z and BEYONCE thing. The downside is that you don't get to spend as much time with double celebrity shit.

"Then there's the thing that be switching up - you take my girlfriend now, I'll take your boyfriend... so I'm pretty much done at this point. I'll keep a regular bitch.

"But we still cool. We're good friends."

Obviously, the women will be queueing up to be Game's "regular bitch." Because nothing sets a relationship off on the right foot as being told you're obscure enough, and enough of a bitch, to get with ole Gamey.

Snoop's 21-inch stick causes awkward moments

It might have been possible for Snoop to have gotten away by explaining the presence of a 21-inch police baton as some sort of a mistake when it was discovered in his carry-on luggage at John Wayne International Airport were it not for that whole massive-fight-at-Heathrow he was involved in earler this year.

Mr. Dogg said that the stick was intended for use as a prop rather than a weapon, although it's not like being hit by a pretend bloody big stick is similar to being shot at by blanks, is it; some reports also say he was unaware there might be an issue about taking an enormous truncheon onto an aeroplane in America. After all, it's not like there's ever anything about flight security in the papers or anything, is there?

When in Rome, kill me

If Pete Doherty is a man who's entering the mid-stages of afianceed happiness, he didn't seem so last night when he got into a massive fight in Rome. He ended up dripping with blood, a photographer ended up in hospital, and the rest of Babyshambles armed themselves with ashtrays in a bid to help.

Earlier today, we ridiculed the idea that Pete might choose a wedding venue as a tribute to Liam Gallagher, but fighting Italians with ashtrays is surely a comic recreation of Liam's Munich scuffle.

It's like Victoria Newton has second sight

Having rushed off down to Woolworths to buy her day-of-release copy of Robbie Williams Rudebox, Victoria Newton feels like a woman vindicated:

ROBBIE WILLIAMS’ new album Rudebox came out on time yesterday — despite his legal battle with former TAKE THAT manager NIGEL MARTIN SMITH.

As I predicted, Robbie had to remove some lyrics on a track called The 90s which Nigel claimed were defamatory.

It’s hard to spot the gap but there is now a brief instrumental section where the disputed words were.

When, exacvtly, did you predict that Robbie would have to remove the lyrics, Vix? Was it before you published them verbatim, or after you'd had to print a grovelling apology for doing so?

Victoria Beckham. Crack in the bottom. There's got to be some pun there, but... no, can't see it

I'm sure you'll join with me in holding some sort of ceremony to show Victoria and David Beckham that we feel their pain as minor building works on one of their houses goes awry:

The couple’s plans for lazing in the pool have been sunk by a paperwork blunder over planning permission.

Their dozy architect didn’t present all the documents needed to get a new pool — and they can’t use the current one because of cracks in the bottom of it.

It's far from clear why they don't just seal the cracks in the original pool - perhaps it's not just the "architect" who's a little dozy. Or perhaps they're not that bothered because they own more houses than Rotherham Council.

Victoria Newton has some advice:

It sounds like they should say au revoir to the whole idea.

Erm... you realise that "au revoir" is "until we meet again" and not "goodbye" - I think you mean adieu.

Pete really is marrying Kate this time, really, really, really. No, really.

If the boy who cried wolf had yelled "it's the wool-uf" as often as journalists announce the imminent marriage of Kate Moss and Pete Doherty, he'd have got bored with it.

With that in mind, although this morning's reports sound plausible, I wouldn't start tapping their name into the electronic gift registry at Debenhams just yet.

For a start, the date seems a little vague:

Kate and Pete are yet to set a date but have discussed a Christmas wedding or January 16 — Kate’s 33rd birthday.

And then the choice of venue seems a little odd:

They will tie the knot at Marylebone Register Office in London because of its rich musical history.

Many famous couples have taken their vows in ceremonies in the old Marylebone town hall, now officially called Westminster Register Office.

PAUL McCARTNEY married Linda there in 1969. And Oasis singer LIAM GALLAGHER wed PATSY KENSIT there in 1997.

While there might be something apt in marrying Kate Moss in a cavernous hole that's already had Liam Gallagher inside it, making an ill-fated coupling, surely Pete hasn't become so rock orthodox that he's started doing things "like the Beatles, la" has he?

Kylie shifts breast cancer perceptions

It might not quite be having a disease named after you, but Cancer Research has identified a Kylie Effect, where the higher reporting of famous people's cancers have skewed perception of the cancer risk.

77% thought cancer risk was higher for under-70s, and a third thought under-50s were most at risk.

There is, of course, really a rising incidence of cancer as a person gets older.

Dr Lesley Walker of Cancer Research UK said: "The survey illustrates another aspect of what has come to be known as 'the Kylie effect'.

"Celebrities with breast cancer like Kylie Minogue and Caron Keating have attracted a lot of publicity - especially in magazines aimed at younger women.

"This is very beneficial in that it raises awareness of breast cancer.

"But the down side is that it may also set up a chain of panic among young women, while misleading older women to think that ageing is not a relevant factor in breast cancer.

It's not clear how, or even if, they plan to shift this perception. Get lots of famous older women ill?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Beenie Man: It's not gay men, it's the anal sex I find hard to take

Beenie Man has been struggling to save his chances of playing the US and the UK following the ongoing boycott campaign orchestrated by Outrage and others. Beenie says we've gotten it all wrong:

"I like to entertain, not hurt people. In Jamaica being gay isn't the same as in the UK."

Well, no. In the UK, there's very popular singers who build their sets around calls to kill gay men, for a start.

But if Beenie isn't homophobic, what's all that batty man business about?

"Batty man does not mean gay. A batty man is a man dat like to have sex through the rear; he isn't gay. He could have a wife and kids, but just does that... it's also a word for the man that likes to indulge in kid prostitution, which is frowned upon, so of course we will speak out."

Apart from the charming attempt to conflate gay sex and paedophilia (the age old trick of the homophobe), this is slightly disningenuous. Admittedly, it's true that "batty man" does come from the act ('buttocks man', explains Jamaican HIV expert Dr Heather Royes in her UNESCO study), to suggest that that means the use simply refers to people who enjoy buggery is a little lame. Imagine if you heard a club comic saying "yeah, but my jokes about turd burglars and arse bandits are about people who give it up the arse, not queers specifically, for example.

With another swift swerve, Beenie tries to suggest that criticism of his music, and other hate-artists is actually levelled at Jamaicans:

Beenie squashes the myth that coming from Jamaica means being homophobic: “It’s not like if you pass a gay man on the street, you don’t say hi or nothing like that but it’s just not as accepted”.

But there isn't a "myth" that being Jamaican means you must be homophobic - if that was the case, Outrage would be campaigning against Jamiaca the state rather than specific musicians.

“Gay attacks happen everywhere, why blame it on Jamaican music? Have these people ever been to the Middle East? In Jerusalem if a person is gay, they can be taken to the middle of the road and cut-up. But they say we are the most homophobic country in the world! What about the comedians who make jokes about gay people? What about the American president who doesn’t agree with gay marriage?”

Well, yes, there is a lot of homophobic activity all around the world. But reciting a slightly skewed list doesn't get you off the hook, Beenie. (And it's worth noting that in Jerusalem, under Israeli law, homosexuality isn't illegal, and anti-gay discrimination is.)

And is Beenie really saying that he has a problem with anti-gay comedy or objections to gay marriage? Can we expect to see him on a march?

Finally, though, the question is, if Beenie isn't anti-gay, what on earth is his lyric in Damn all about?

"Well I'm think of a new Jamaica, me come to executve all of the gays"

Perhaps he meant to say paedophiles but just couldn't make it scan.

Go for EMI? No, no, says Ono

Yoko Ono isn't planning on pursuing her claims against EMI-Capitol over allegations they short-paid Lennon royalties; the legal action she filed last week was merely a way of keeping her options open before claims evaporated under statute of limitations.

In other words, she's not squeezing the label until their juices run, but merely parading around the kitchen showing them the Smoothie maker she could still plug in.

Bloc booked for February

2005 was the year of Bloc Party. (Mostly.) 2006? The year of no Bloc Party. Which makes 2007 either the year of "whatever happened to..." features which discover Kele working for removal companies or else the year of the clattering, triumphant comeback.

HMV are taking orders on a Bloc Party album for release on February 5th.

(They're actually doing a proper US tour at the moment, which accounts for why they're not constantly popping up next to Colin Murray.)

Razorlight save the world, but maybe not themselves

Never mind the crumbling icebergs and melting glaciers, next month's Stop Climate Chaos gig in Trafalgar Square will give a chance to examine a more fragile ecosystem: Razorlight.

Johnny Borrell tells the Independent he simply doesn't know if the rest of his band are even going to show up:

"We'll have to wait and see whether it's the whole band or just me."

Johnny's probably realised that if he does a solo set, he'll have helped save quite a lot of electricity that would otherwise have been wasted powering instruments of people who, quite frankly, aren't part of the solution.

[Thanks to Jona for the link]

Monster squirts out of Pipettes

Monster BobbyMonster Bobby, the man who's credited with inventing the Pipettes (seven or eight times a press release, at the very least) has gone solo, signing with Hypnote Recording Concern from New York, in New York, home of the New Yorker and New Yorkers. Both sides are quite excited by the deal, although beyond a vague promise of an album sometime in 2007, neither seems quite sure what to expect yet.

A blur called Paddingtons

There's bust days ahead for The Paddingtons: indiepop's own limb-waggling Tim Burgess has offered them the Charlatans studio to tidy their demos into something releasable as a second album, while they're also edging out onto a UK tour from this very evening:

Mon 23 October Sheffield Leadmill
Tue 24 Oxford Zodiac
Wed 25 Norwich Waterfront
Thu 26 Newcastle Northumbria Uni
Fri 27 Aberdeen Moshulu
Sat 28 Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Mon 30 Manchester Academy 2
Tue 31 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
Wed 1 November Bristol Anson Rooms
Thu 2 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Sat 4 Hull Yo-Yo at Welly
Sun 5 Preston 53 Degrees
Mon 6 Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Tue 7 Reading Fez
Wed 8 Brighton Concorde
Thu 9 London ULU

Fit and working again

Good news tucked away in Edwyn Collins' MySpace blog: Mr. C is back in the studio, sat beside his old Neve mixing desk:

Getting back to some of the tunes again. It takes time, a lot of patience. However, I'm learning to enjoy this producing lark once more.

Buchanan back in blue

It's not quite a Blue Nile reunion tour, but it's probably as close as we're going to get: Paul Buchanan out of the band is plotting a solo tour of Blue Nile and his own stuff; included in the line-up is former Blue Nile colleague Robert Bell.

You can see this, and hear it, too, here:

Sunday 19 November – London, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Tuesday 21 – Dublin, Vicar Street
Friday 24 – Aberdeen, Music Hall
Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 – Edinburgh, Usher Hall
Monday 27 – Perth Concert Hall

Blue NilePlug: Why you should, if you can - 1984's A Walk Across The Rooftops

The Zune's lead balloon

Although Pitchfork are denying there's anything political about their polite refusal to create a Microsoft-themed Zune area on their site, it's clear the idea of Bill Gates underwriting part of the alt-rock training bra of the internet would have been, well, uncomfortable:

"They asked us about generating new content with them or creating a new section on our site specifically for Zune visitors, but it wasn't something we were interested in pursuing," Pitchfork Editor-in-Chief Ryan Schreiber told The Post.

Sources attributed Pitchfork's reluctance to the blog's fiercely indie audience.

"Pitchfork's audience looks at that site like it is the Bible," said one high-level music industry executive. "They might not take too kindly to a Microsoft pop-up on the site or a relationship with such a big corporation."

But Schreiber shot down that rationale. "It wasn't anything political, and I don't want to sell Microsoft or the Zune short," Schreiber said. "But the idea just doesn't make a whole lot of sense for us."

The New York Post, though, reports one outlet which is happy to cosy up to Bill Gates:

One of those other outlets is NME magazine, and the London-based publication may be more receptive to Microsoft - the duo are co-sponsoring a party during the CMJ Music Festival in New York next month.

"NME is a company and a publication that is doing interesting things in the online space, and they are certainly avatars of taste in their world," [Richard Winn, Zune's head of artist development] said.

There's suggestions that there's something terminally wrong about Microsoft being involved in the creative world, and when you hear the people at their most interesting end using phrases like "they're certainly avatars of taste", you can start to see why.

Fresh melons

What would it take to bring Blind Melon back from the dead? (Although, obviously, not the actual dead one.)

Just a joke press release, apparently:

The reunion became a serious idea after Smith sent another former member, guitarist Rogers Smith, a joke e-mail in the form of a press release.

"Brad wrote a fake press release and sent it to me -- it was saying how we were back together and how Travis had brought us together," Stevens told Billboard. "It was the first I'd heard of it. I called Brad and I was like, 'What do you mean? You got the band back together without me?'"

Travis is Travis Warren, who's taking the place of the dead Shannon Hoon on lead vocals.

It would seem to the outside observer that a band which starts booking dates on the strength of a spoof email was looking for an excuse to reform. Let's hope none of their friends ever go to Spain and bring back one of those posters where they print your name on a bull-fighting poster. "Well, this says I'm a matador, so..."

Dude don't look like a lady

The Daily Record makes McFly at GAY sound more interesting than it actually was:

The last time they played the venue they performed a striptease, now they've decided to dress in girls clothes.

Dougie wore green tights and his pals even applied his make-up for him on the night.

But, Misguided Reveries was there, and clearly there wasn't much attempt at passing:

Cue much bemusement as McFly get on stage and 'drag up' one of their number. He didn't look very good in a green dress, that's for sure.

The photographs suggests this was less finding their inner tran, more some sort of tribute to the Generation Game. (More pictures, should your stomach be stronger than ours, at Seriously? OMG WTF?).

Justin pots the Pink

We were watching some old Pink on the music video telly channels last night, and desparing if she'd ever hit the heights of the MsUndazstood album.

She may have been thinking the same thing, as she's signed on to be support act for Justin Timberlake on his US tour.

It's a hell of a pop package, but it's very obvious who's being thrown a bit of a pop lifeline.

Whatever the ghostwriters say I am, that's what I'm not

The instant autobiography has become something of a lifeline for the remainder bookshops in the last couple of years, as ghost-written tomes detailing the short lives of the young and recently famous clatter off the presses, through the proper bookshops and end up in 99p-stickered piles in the corners of Book World. You can understand the allure of a large cheque from a publisher, but generally, nothing flags up an over-inflated ego like a young person believing that being notorious for a few months is enough to drive a book.

It's still surprising, though, that The Arctic Monkeys have confused themselves with Peter Ustinov and are planning to get "our true story" out into the shops by Christmas.

You might think they're worried nobody would be interested if they leave it much longer.

The Sun would quite like to apologise again

Having had to grovel to Nigel Martin Smith last week, this morning it's Ken Livingstone who gets the sorry:

On August 21 we reported the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, obtained two free tickets for the V Festival in Chelmsford, Essex. We have been asked to point out, and accept, this was not the case. We apologise to Mr Livingstone.

Generally, if Ken wants to go to a music festival for free, he'll throw one, rather than blag tickets.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

RIAA member adopts flexible attitude to law and order

Of course, Universals' Def Jam haven't broken any laws by bringing forward Fabolous' album a couple of months to capitalise on the rapper's recent arrest following a shooting incident (he was the victim) and subsequent discovery of guns in his car (he claims he was as surprised as the cops were).

But it does look a little grubby for one the RIAA's major players - who care so much about the law when it's being broken by filesharers - to be capitalising on possible criminal charges and using them to market records. You might wonder how an industry that has the ear of Congress (and their other, softer parts) would justify turning a police investigation into a sales campaign: apart from anything, the message 'get caught with weapons, become a priority artists' seems a little, well, confused from such paragons.

Roger: Wilco and out cold

Wilco seem like such a quiet bunch, but it turns out if you upset them, you'd better look out.

Jeff Tweedy has punched a fan who jumped him during a show. Pitchfork readers took up the story:

"So some dude jumps on the stage," the reader claims. "After he gets on stage (who really does this at a Wilco show?), he runs up to Tweedy to give him a fat smooch on his cheek.

"Tweedy freaks out like the [a character in There's] Something About Mary who doesn't like having his ears touched and grabs the dude by his throat. While clinching to his throat, Jeff hauls off and decks him with a punch/open hand slap/shove to the face and [the] dude skirmishes away. Tweedy later apologizes (sort of) and hurries to the point of the set where they bow out before the encore."

Another show attendee e-mailed us, adding, "Tweedy had to comment. 'I mean, come on guys, we aren't used to that! You guys have to stay down there."

Apparently, the venue at Springfield wasn't used to throwing gigs, and so security might have been a bit lacking.

Sons of the father

More grief for Madonna: Yohane Banda now says he didn't realise he'd signed papers giving David up for ever:

Mr Banda, who is illiterate, said he had no idea what the High Court adoption papers he signed had meant and he was "just realising" what the procedure entailed.

He said: "I was never told that adoption means that David will no longer be my son... If I was told this, I would not have allowed the adoption.

"I want more clarification on the adoption. I would prefer that David goes back to the orphanage where I can see him any time I want, rather than send him away for good."

Mr Banda, 32, said he thought Madonna would just "educate and take care of our son".

In a considered and balanced piece in Friday's G2, Xan Brooks provided an interesting overview of the story so far (or, at least, that far). In it, he revealed the root cause of Yohane's financial hardship is that he still owes the dowry to his late wife's family. A sum of forty pounds. Madonna could have reunited the family for less than half the price of a ticket to one of her gigs.

As Madonna's charity Raising Malawi's own website notes, there are a million orphans in Malawi. It's still not clear why she didn't choose one of these, instead of a kid with an extended family. (And, yes, we know that David's life chances have increased expotentially through this circus - but he was already in a relatively better place than any number of his compatriots.)

The Raising Malawi website makes curious reading in light of the past week, too - it suggests the key to its mission is to provide education in order to allow the nation to develop self-sufficient future; it's interesting to know how you'd intend to build an educated population while removing children from the country.

The other curiosity is the Raising Malawi site somehow fails to mention that the organisation was founded by Kabbalah Rabbi Michael Berg - indeed, it even suggests there's no religious element to the charity's work. However, on Berg's Kabbalah blog, the projects aims are described in a slightly different way:

It is Michael Berg’s vision to bring light to all parts of the world. What better place to start than in the african nation of Malawi.

Raising Malawi is a grassroots initiative offering lasting solutions to the orphans of Malawi. Our approach is comprehensivee, compassionate, and effective. Unhindered by obstacles such as bureaucracy and red-tape, Raising Malawi is run and staffed by volunteers, allowing us to raise these children up from powerlessness into self-empowerment – quickly and directly.

We always tense a little when we hear people bemoaning "bureaucracy and red-tape" - normally, it's decried from CBI conference platforms, where they're talking about such tiresome activities as ensuring that workers don't get crushed to death by dangerous machinery and being forced to dispose of their waste properly rather than dumping it in the sea. While we're aware that some developing nations can generate much pointless paperwork, there's something hugely disturbing about a rich cult announcing that it intends to operate in someway above the local laws. The Madonna supporters who are saying "yeah, she's adopted a kid outside the law, but she's given money to the country" might want to investigate those donations a little more deeply.

Another kid for Pete?

There's nothing like adding a child into an already complex situation to make things really simple, is there? So it's nothing but good news that Pete Doherty's uncle reckons Doherty and Moss are about to have a kid:

Phil said he spoke to Doherty on Friday when the singer called him from Italy, where he is performing with his band Babyshambles. The rocker told him Kate had had a scan, everything was fine so they were happy to share the news.

Phil said: "They are both delighted and Pete sounded really excited."

Phil, 57, Pete's favourite uncle, added:

"That is why they want to get married. Pete told me they want a baby together to cement their marriage.

"I am made up for them. I wish them every success. They're so happy, they love each other. I can't wait for the wedding - we are just waiting for a date."

Well, yes, if we were liable to get an invite to a wedding where the bride counts her income in millions, we'd be quite excited, too. We might even consider wearing a tie for that one.

What we're more at a loss to understand is why you need a baby to get married - surely the ceremony is the bit which "cements" your marriage together and gives you a solid base from which to raise your kids? Expecting the kid to be the glue which holds your relationship together is hardly fair on the kid. And, since Pete hardly gets on with Lisa Moorish and Kate and Jefferson don't entirely hang out together, you'd think both partners would have spotted it doesn't work, either.

Still, the delivery will be interesting: Kate on her back screaming for morphine, with Pete yelling "actually, make that two..."

Razorlight keep it together for the sake of the small print

The very fact that everyone's noticed that Razorlight have a camp, and that the camp is dedicated to doing little more than issuing regular denials that the band are on the point of splitting, hardly does much to support the claims that the band are a happy and coherent whole, does it?

The band's management main concern in keeping the boys together seems to be more about honouring contractual tour obligations than ensuring the purity of the equipe's vision doesn't get diluted by allowing Borrell to pull a swift Richard Ashcroft style move and reveal that, even solo, he sounds exactly the same than with a band.

The last scheduled date on their books is the 7th December 2006 in Rennes for the Transmusicales Festival. Nobody is putting much stock in the band being around for the 2007 summer festival season, and certainly not in the current format.

Peaches cans partner

It's the news the already beleagured London club scene had been dreading: the Trash Pussies have split.

Yes, yes you do.

Peaches Geldof and the one with the less-famous father, Fiona Brown.

No, that's not the news that clubland was dreading. The dreadful bit is Peaches has already got a new "crew", calling themselves The Black Rats. This time round, apparently Peaches remembered to ask someone who knows how to operate a record player to be in her gang, offering the possibility they might even manage a repeat booking or two.

The unhappy ending without an end

With some commentators (notably The Independent's Richard Ingrams [online but requires subscription payment]) are suggesting that the leak of the "Paul hit me" documents came not from Heather Mills' side, but could have been a leak from Macca's people. The thinking being that people wouldn't go "Ooh, Paul McCartney is a wife-beating sod" but - slightly more tortuously - "Heather Mills is a terrible woman, not only making up these stories but then leaking them to the press."

Well, it's possible - assuming that Paul's hired a bunch of idiots for lawyers. If you rule out that possibility, it's hard to believe anyone would think the risk of releasing even the suggestion that you're a domestic barbarian into the public domain would be a wise thing to do. Especially since, unless I've missed something, it's going to be a judge who decides the final settlement, rather than a text-vote amongst the British population.

Doubtless Ingrams would suggest that today's story in the Sunday Mirror is a further ploy from Macca's side: clearly, starting a rumour that Heather claims Paul hit Linda as well is such a horrible slur on McCartney it can only prove these leaks are coming from the Mills camp. Which must, therefore, mean that it's an inspired move by McCartney's advisors.

Whoever has rung these stories into the papers, it's clearly a sign that this laundry is going to be washed in public until there's nothing left of the sheets to scrub. McCartney's advisors are fuming at the "he hit Linda" reports:

A source close to Sir Paul said: "This is a step too far. Next she'll be saying she's discovered a brand new colour. It's getting more ridiculous by the minute. There's one thing to make all the claims she has last week - but this is just outrageous. It's nonsense - Paul and Linda had a fantastic marriage."

Is it just us, or did this source say, in effect, "nobody minds much if she claims he hit her, but how dare she say he hit the good wife as well?"

Meanwhile, the News of the World (which, we shouldn't forget has its own reasons to see Heather Mills' reputation entattered) claims that, if anything, the violence was flowing from Mills to Macca, and not the other way:

For the first time since the showbiz divorce of the century started, one of Sir Paul's aides has broken ranks to tell the News of the World how Heather:

SMASHED up chairs and threw ornaments at the singer in screaming rows at their Peasmarsh home.

HURLED a bottle of ketchup at him during one blazing hour-long bust-up over dinner.

"They had to get special cleaners to clear up the mess. A very expensive carpet was ruined and had to be chucked out."

The paper doesn't record if the bottle was one of the glass sorts, or the plastic, squeezy type.

More damningly still, in the NOTW's eyes, is Heather's bid to not only usurp the position of the beloved Linda of the burgers, but... well, somebody else:

[She] LONGED to have her own chat show—and FANTASISED about becoming the new Posh.

Good lord, is nothing sacred? How dare she cast her eyes at our own dear Victoria.

Even the Sunday People has managed to find a story, despite now being staffed by three people using potato-printing kits. They've found out that Heather is angry with Paul and that Paul used to be in The Rolling Beatles, a band which made pop music in the mid 1980s.

This week just gone...

Seven days on No Rock and Roll Fun:

The ten most-read individual pages were:

1. Heather Mills porn, again
2. Heather Mills naked pictures, again
3. Brandon Flowers thinks Green Day aren't 'nice'
4. Heather Mills nude photos, again
5. McFly naked, again
6. Is KT Tunstall gay, again
7. Victoria Beckham's busy days
8. Killers deny their song about Jodi Jones was about Jodi Jones
9. Purplemelon want Heather to get naked again, again
10. Madonna buys kid; finds it's trickier than it sounds

You can read the whole week on a single page,
or skim the previous week in a single post.

And if you can't afford to buy an African baby, you could try buying these...

Beatnik Filmstars gather together thirtysomething long-lost and odd recordings

Some Bizarre compilation - Einstuerzende, Depeche, Soft Cell, PTV...

His name Is Alive return to non-download release action

Squarepusher: Kevin Shields divided by Bill Bailey

Warrior in Woolworths back again - another X-Ray Spex rerelease

The Fall - live in 2002 and presumably just sober enough

Badly Drawn Boy tells the story of his life

I am the girl from Deacon Blue/ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo aah ooo. It's rubbish, but we wanted to do the HMHB line