Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eurovision 2007: Blow by suck

Coming up in a few minutes, our not-quite-regular Eurovision live blog (two years ago we went to Longleat instead), from the poorly-conceived humour of the opening sequence through to the last bitter bleatings from Wogan about how it's all a big political stitch-up. Control + F5 for song-by-song coverage.

Actually, before we even get as far as a note being sung in the final, there's a big political block-vote kick-off. Malta were booted out at the semi-final stage; they're crying foul and pointing out that 90% of the winning semi-finalists were from the Balkans or former Soviet Union. The European Broadcasting Union - an organisation created with the highest hopes of bringing unity to the continent, and now seemingly devoted solely to generating ill-will between neighbours - is being pressured to think again about how the voting system works; meanwhile, an action group is trying to persuade the Maltese to boycott voting this evening.

So, that's at least a new punchline to the old "how do you make a Maltese Cross" gag, then.

These are the finalists for tonight, though, who've won through either by doing well last year, rigging the semi-final polls, or simply stuffing the EBU with so much cash they have no choice but to let them in:

1 Bosnia & Herzegovina Marija Sestic Rijeka bez imena
2 Spain NASH I love you mi vida
3 Belarus Dmitry Koldun Work your magic
4 Ireland Dervish They can't stop the spring
5 Finland Hanna Pakarinen Leave me alone
6 FYR Macedonia Karolina Mojot svet
7 Slovenia Alenka Gotar Cvet z juga
8 Hungary Magdi Rúzsa Unsubstantial blues
9 Lithuania 4Fun Love or leave
10 Greece Sarbel Yassou Maria
11 Georgia Sopho My Story
12 Sweden The Ark The worrying kind
13 France Les Fatals Picards L'amour à la Française
14 Latvia Questa Notte
15 Russia Serebro Song # 1
16 Germany Roger Cicero Frauen regieren die Welt
17 Serbia Marija Šerifovic Molitva
18 Ukraine Verka Serduchka Dancing Lasha Tumbai
19 United Kingdom Scooch Flying the flag (for you)
20 Romania Todomondo Liubi, liubi, I love you
21 Bulgaria Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov Water
22 Turkey Kenan Dogulu Shake it up shekerim
23 Armenia Hayko Anytime you need
24 Moldova Natalia Barbu Fight

So, it's the hippo ident, which might prove crucial by the time Scooch come on. They've already popped up - on the lottery draw, which was hosted by Michael Ball (for no apparent reason) and featured Jay 'the bad sheep' Aston from Bucks Fizz and Fearne Cotton, who, obviously, will be playing Colin Berry this evening, because you can't have a live TV event without Fearne Cotton. It's like she's some sort of security device.

Lordi are welcoming us now with a rerun of Hard Rock Hallelujah on video. There's fire and explosions, but not much of a budget, to be fair.

Terry Wogan has just claimed to have eaten one of santa's reindeers. It's only eight o'clock. That's going to be some distraught toddlers, even without the scary visage of Lordi bearing down on them.

There's a surprise: the onstage presenter is a fairly attractive woman, and a grinning bloke who looks handsome in a "I've just killed my boyfriend" way. They're both dressed in black.

And the flirting has already begun. She's touched him below the waist. Despite staring at the autocue, they're both carrying cards large enough to contain all the names of all the winners of all the contests ever.

We're off:

Bosnia & Herzegovina Marija Sestic Rijeka bez imena

Introduced by a film of some bloke on a boat, for reasons the Finns will understand.

Marija has turned up in a skirt with lots and lots of bottle green layers; her song is like a death knell from a Greek Taverna. This might explain why she can't decide if she should be smiling while she sings it or not. Her backing dancers have elected to avoid falling into the 'half-smile, no frown' trap by freezing their features.

Just as you think the song is going to burst into action, it doesn't. But a bloke with a balalaika comes on instead.

Spain NASH I love you mi vida

Spain get introduced by a film of a goth stalking a kewpie doll in a fairground.

D'Nash have "thrusting trousers", we're alerted to by Wogan. Presumably that saves them having to thrust from within them.

Oh, god, they're like East 17 have spent too long in Ibiza. Still, extra marks for having two women drummers with bongos the size of the cutest member of the band. I suspect they're not really playing them, though.

Belarus Dmitry Koldun Work your magic

This is charming: a small movie about a bloke getting his library book from a travelling library, learning how to knit a scarf.

Belarus have gone with something a little James Bond for theirs - black clad women mysteriously stomping about the stage. Dmitry, though, would find several problems holding him back if he ever went for the Bond role, and clearly hadn't left enough time prepping to either do up his shirt properly. Or, indeed, got a song written for him, as this sounds like a slogan and a time beat in search of a proper tune.

The black clad women are now being swooshed about the stage on giant blocks, which looks less James Bond and more Paul Daniels. Which at least connects with the 'magic' theme. I can't wait until they all disappear, mind.

Ireland Dervish They can't stop the spring

The intro is two blokes swimming in an icy hole, which is inappropriate when the next song is meant to be about spring time.

Oh, it's one of those years when Ireland has gone uber-gallic, with pipes and all. This is starting out like it's going to be a folk-song, but surely - unless they're keen not to win - it's going to tranform into a proper pop song halfway through?

There's a bloke with a squeeze box, too. And a guitarist with the largest chin ever seen in any Eurovision band ever. Now she's got a drum.

But there's no sign of this trying to turn into something more populist, though. I bet this is the sort of thing they expected they'd be getting from everyone when they first started the contest. It's probably about as genuine as a Baileys advert.

Finland Hanna Pakarinen Leave me alone

The home team get an intro which appears to feature evil men turning John McEnroe into Fred Astaire.

Bloody hell, it's Amy Lee. No wonder she's been kicking members of Evanessence out so much lately - she's needed space for the Finnish ringers.

This really is like Evanessence. In other words, pisspoor watery goth rock wank.

The lyrics include the words "I've got to go crazy, just to stay sane." Now, I'm no psychiatrist, but I can see a flaw there...

Hanna also has an unfortunate her-out-the-Cranberries vocal "aaaah" mannerism to fight, too.

FYR Macedonia Karolina Mojot svet
Their intro is people skiing out the back of a yellow van and down a corridor. I think it's a global warming thing.

Karolina is what Beyonce would look like without a Loreal contract. Her song is one of those off the shelf "quiet introy bit - loud bellowy bit" standards. Actually, did we say Beyonce? During the bellowy bits she looks like Kerry Katona must when she's off her tits on coke and Iceland pavlova. I can't tell if Karolina is angry or delighted, but she's definitely convinced by whatever her emotion is. I think all the money was spent on the wind machine.

Slovenia Alenka Gotar Cvet z juga
Ice sculptures. If Finland was hoping to get rid of the impression it's an icy wasteland, it's sort of failed.

The song is called Talk To The Hand, although Wogan has told us that, and he's already three vodkas in. Alenka looks like the sort of goth who runs the body art stand in a provincial crafts market - which always does it for us. Slovenia have entered something that's part opera, part national anthem from a small but aggressive nation. It might not win, but it's going to make damn sure they don't get invaded this side of the 2012 Olympics.

Alenka's skirt appears to be flipping up at the back - for a moment I wondered if we were going to see a parade of farmers, all having taken up arms, march from underneath. Sadly, no, but it's still the No Rock favourite so far.

Hungary Magdi Rúzsa Unsubstantial blues
Children making snow angels run us into the song, with the word "unsubstantial" proving a stumbling block for Wogan.

Magdi is, as Shawndra points out, being played by murderous diabetic Katy from Corrie. She's wearing jeans and a vest top, and using a bus stop as a prop (maybe hoping for a Weatherfield Wayfarer to come by, perhaps with Martin carrying her stage costume.) The song is an Elkie Brooks b-side. You could picture it being the musical track introduced by Ronnie Corbett halfway through the Two Ronnies.

Lithuania 4Fun Love or leave
What's this? Is this Nokia being used to lead in Lithuania? At least there's no snow.

4Fun have the name of a gay boy band, but they're actually built around the teeniest, tiniest little girl with a 1970s Doctor Who assitant outfit and haircut. She's backed up with some giant sillhouettes, which is puzzling: have Lithuanina introduced a witness protection style programme to protect the identity of its Eurovision contestants? Will they wake up in the morning and be given new passports and lives as fishmongers in Bristol?

Greece Sarbel Yassou Maria
Bog football now, apparently - which is football played on bogs. No, us neither.

Sarbel's dancers have costumes which are one-half A Million Years BC and one half Bring It On. Sarbel himself is what you'd get if Ricky Martin joined the Cheeky Girls. "Lord a mercy" he cries, and you'd have to agree with him.

Maria, Sarbel informs us, is "an angel in a devil's dress", which would seem to suggest a sheep in wolf's clothing. Surely if an angel wears sinners clothes, she'd be a sinner herslef? We're not theologists, though. We can't be sure.

Georgia Sopho My Story
The intro for this is a bunch of Goths marching down a street (what could they be protesting about? What do we want? Blood! And thicker curtains!)

Sopho has chosen her best red dress to be on the television. Somewhere in Georgia, there's a restaurant without anyone doing the greeting tonight. She's backed up by cossack dancers, who - bloody hell - they've got swords. But it sounds like she's singing along with a ringtone.

Sweden The Ark The worrying kind
A traditional wedding with, erm, a bride carrying carrots. The person who catches the bouquet looks delighted at catching; soup tonight, then.

Sweden might try to, but no ammount of eyeliner and tinfoil jackets will cover up the fact that their song is Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes. With a spot of Status Quo in the middle eight. Winningly, Andy Bell seems to have been given time off from Oasis to join in on bass.

France Les Fatals Picards L'amour à la Française
They've taken an advert break, which Finland is filling for non-commercial networks with the sort of stuff that would make you wish for a Topps Tiles ad. France is being given a run in by an opera film.

Jean Paul Gaultier has designed The Fatal Picards' outfits; it's not clear if he holds the guilt for the unfortunate facial hair. Or Alan Carr being on guitar. The refrain seems to be "L'amour" and "again". Actually, they're called the Picards and one of the singers - the most theatrical does look like he's come off the bridge of the Enterprise. Let's hope next year they go for the Amazing Shatners instead.

Latvia Questa Notte
They're not all about the mobile libraries in Finland, this is introduced by a proper, building style library movie.

Latvia have entered three tramps in top hats. Hang on, there's a fourth one now. And three of them can sing a bit, in a mock-Caruso way. One just makes slightly alarming noises like a highly educated pig that's been studying showtunes. Or are there five of them? Where are the all coming from? The song is the sort of underachieving epic which usually signals it's time for a nip to the bar during a musical.

Russia Serebro Song # 1
Ah, this is the 'did we mention Nokia' intro, then.

Russia have gone with a bizarre cross between The Kids From Grange Hill, Atomic Kitten and Girls Aloud. We'd mark them down purely on being obvious - it's only one step away from holding up a sign saying 'vote for us, we'll give all of Europe a grope' - but it works on some sort of Tatu-esque Sugababes plateau.

They promise their "bad ass baby" for us, which is nice.

Germany Roger Cicero Frauen regieren die Welt
They're running out of ideas for intros now - they're down to saunas.

Women Rule The World, Roger Cicero tells us. He's apparently particularly fond of Peggy Lee, whose track he seems to have ripped off here wholesale. He's come dressed as if he's going to try and sell us a potion that's been used in the Middle East to trade for a hostage release. Shawndra points out he "could be the next Joseph", which is true. In his head, though, he probably thinks he looks exactly the same way Robbie Williams thinks he looks when he slaughters the Frank Sinatra back catalogue.

Serbia Marija Šerifovic Molitva
What's this intro all about? Girls breaking into something or other... eh?

Blimey - with all the excitement about the transvestite entry from Ukraine, nobody has mentioned Serbia's fielded the first ever Drag King in Eurovision history. She's very good, too, although perhaps a little bit too close to Roland Browning in the face for comfort. The song sounds like it's about something terrible, or maybe from the opening of an international sports event. It's hard to say which.

Ukraine Verka Serduchka Dancing Lasha Tumbai
Oh, fuck off. Santa is meeting the Moomins. And playing them at chess. I bloody hate the Moomins.

Thing about this is, it's not really transvestitism, is it? It's just a sweaty bloke dressed up as the Statue of Liberty. Admittedly, Liberty is a woman, but that's hardly the same thing, is it? He delivers his song in the same Julian Clary did Leader of The Pack many years ago, but, frankly, I think we need to set our standards for Eurovision cross-dressing a little higher than a pair of Sunni Mann's sunglasses and a few feet of Bacofoil. And in all the fun of picking out costumes, they seem to have forgotten to bother writing a song. This, even Black Lace would weed out of the set.

United Kingdom Scooch Flying the flag (for you)
How will they introduce our team? A lighthouse keeper in a big red hat, that's how.

Scooch, of course, you'll be familiar with. And know its shortcomings - first, it's all chorus; second, it's not sure if it wants to be campy or sexy, and so falls in-between the two. The 'ba-da-ba' bit is pretty good, and they do have a big bottle marked "Bucks Fizz" as one of their props, although they should have had Eau Du Bardot on the perfume.

But will a song which relies on spoken double entendres work when the voters speak English as, at best, a second language?

Romania Todomondo Liubi, liubi, I love you
Introduced by some trying to debug software only to discover a child in the computer.

Pete Doherty and Ricky Gervais have come together to do Romania's entry. It's not clear which one is Liubi. It sounds like a traditional drinking song, which could be the case - perhaps they were too drunk to realise they hadn't written it in the first place.

Bulgaria Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov Water
Breaking icebergs and celebrating ice breaking - see, a visual gag - for the intro.

Ooh... this is promising: it opens with a Lisa Gerrardesque wail. Unfortunately, after ten seconds, it's drowned out by enormous drums. But then she starts to bellow more. She's winning, like a kind of Faith from Buffy, only with a bellow instead of a pointy piece of wood. We don't know if there's a Fire, Earth and Air to go with the water, but we'd actually like to find out. It's not often the Eurovision leaves you wanting more by the artist.

Turkey Kenan Dogulu Shake it up shekerim
The intro is a bloke hitting things.

Turkey have managed to get the words "Shake It" flashed up on the screen at the back. The singer is dressed like he's trick or treating as a Matador. The track isn't Turkish enough to be interesting, nor poppy enough to be toe-tapping. Turkey look like they'll be back in the qualifying stages next year.

Armenia Hayko Anytime you need
Have we had an Armenian entry before? They get run in by a proposal intro - that's going to put people in a positive mood, which has got to help.

And Armenia could do with some help. Nick Cotton is wading his way through some "please, please, look, if you don't want to shag me, then at least can we be friends or something? I could do your washing" type dirge.

Moldova Natalia Barbu Fight
We're nearly there, the last introductory film shows some scrubbing women persuading the boys to do their work with some feminine wiles.

Wogan wants us to shout "pull your trousers up", apparently oblivious to the fact that it's all mesh, boots and chaps for Natalia. This is an attempt to do a Ruslana, but without Ruslana's balls. "We've got to fight forever... some things are bad" observes Natalia, and the audience might be forced to conclude we've stumbled across one of those things.

Down in the comments - actual comments while we're doing this, it makes me feel like I'm Anna Pickard doing the Guardian's Apprentice blog - Liam and Tash have pointed out the French entry looked like Cheap Trick, but to be honest, we never thought that Cheap Trick looked like they were actually turning cheap tricks.

Santa has come on to mark the start of the voting - Finland seems determined to claim Santa as their own, which is debatable, surely. Wogan has just made the first mention of block voting of the evening, which is the sign that we're now in judging mode.

And a reference to the block votes in the semis. That's 2. We'll be counting.

So, our choice would be Bulgaria, Slovenia, followed by Russia. Shawndra, however, tells us this is plainly wrong and has thrown her weight - and, oddly, our text vote - behind Georgia.

Did we hear Terry Wogan just say that "I wish somebody would beat him up" in reference to the Ukranian entry? Is this was his famously witty commentary has now been reduced to - jokey calls for a spot of gaybashing?

While the votes are being enumerated - we understand the Germans are behind the calculators this year, so we can't work out why it's taking so long - we're getting some ballet, fire-eating, acrobatics and, inevitably, heavy rock. The heavy rock is being played on double basses, though. So it's all a little Cirque Du Ozzfest.

The fairy princess who is hosting the backstage area is asking the Serbian drag king if she kills a rabbit before going on stage. Now she's moved on to asking the Swedes if they think being pretty helps in the competition.

"Is this supposed to be funny?" asks Terry. Clearly he doesn't think so, which raises the frightening question of what it is he's chuckling away at.

Prior to starting the votes, they plug the official CD, DVD, MP3 whatever you want. In the shops tomorrow, except for Catholic countries, of course.

Monetnegro is getting first go with the votes - only fair, seeing as they haven't had a song in the finals, so it means they can fuck off to the pub early. Their top votes go to Serbia. Wogan - who has been doing this for years - appears to have never noticed before that they don't give 11 points to anyone.

But at least he doesn't mention block voting. Belarus giving twelve to Russia, though, means he can't keep his mouth shut.

He seems to think Armenia and Greece are "close enough - along the old Balkans". Armenia give twelve to Russia.

Andorra turn up next. Wogan predicts "twelve points will go to Spain." They give their twelve to Ukraine.

The woman presenting the Austrian votes looks like she really wanted to compete. Not a sniff for the UK so far. Austria's 12 go to Serbia, who are taking an early lead.

We're not the only ones with zero so far - Latvia and Ireland share our shame.

France's 12 goes to Turkey. "Those belly dancers are British" says Tel, trying to salvage some national pride.

The Danes trot up next, giving twelve to Sweden, lifting them from languishing near the bottom to a more credible mid-table slot.

The Greek guy shows off by doing some stuff in Finn. Either that, or the Finns really like Greek. Bulgaria take Greece's maximum vote.

The Spanish presenter can't speak Finnish, so she just tries some flirting. She's hundreds of miles away, she feels safe. Romania pick up the Spanish 12; Serbia aren't doing so well now but remain on the top of the pile. Ireland, Latvia and UK still on the arse-ends.

Serbia give twelve points to Hungary - we'd forgotten they were even taking part, to be honest - but after their bit, Ukraine come to the top.

Finnland are doing their votes from outside in the Square where people who couldn't buy tickets on eBay had gathered. The Finn maximum goes to Roland Browning and Serbia again - taking them back to top.

Turkey's votes are announced by Shirley Manson. Their big twelve goes to Armenia.

Terry's "is there a Western European country in the top ten" is the 20th reference to block voting so far.

Bosnia comes in from the cold to give twelve to Serbia. They're back on top.

If we didn't know better, we'd say everyone in belguim is drunk tonight. Their twelve goes to Turkey.

Portugal - 12 points to Ukraine.

Albania have perhaps the gayest man in Eurovision presenting their votes - possibly the gayest man in Albania, too. Ireland pick up five points to get off the zero, leaving just us and Latvia to our shame. They deliver twelve points to Spain, to Wogan's surprise.

They're rattling through the scores - Romania give two to Latvia, which now means the UK is the only nation on Nothing. Romania's max goes to Moldova.

Cyprus give twelve points to Greece, and Wogan explodes with bitter cackling.

Can he really not come up with anything other than block voting to add to his commentary? Even ridiculing our zero score would be more entertaining, even as Croatia give twelve to Serbia.

Slovenia's guy is in a sparkly jumper; he does some business with a flashlight that is probably one of the Eurovision fans. They give twelve to Serbia, who seem to have it in the bag.

Israel's guy makes a reference to "Push The Button", which is as close we're getting to real controversey this evening. Belarus pick up the twelve from Jerusalem, as the Finns go to commercials.

Scooch are backstage with the fairy princess, making very big frowns. They probably don't deserve nothing. Just very little.

The Russians look despondent, too. Presumably worrying if they'll have to give blowjobs to all of Europe despite losing.

Back to the votes, with Germany delivering votes in a trilby. The scoreboard seems to have been designed this year on the mistaken belief that everyone will be watching on 50" TVs. 12 here to Turkey.

Lithuania also haven't given anything to Scooch. We're not going to be coming from behind. Their 12 goes to Georgia, the first time any country has ever put them top of a national vote.

Norway's woman has got wonky breasts - one peeking out; one tucked safely in. Her twelve goes to Sweden, bringing Wogan's fiftieth block voting remark.

The Swiss were robbed at the semis; they respond by giving twelve to Serbia. Is this continent really fond of the sort of thing that the Serbians did?

Over to Prague now - the first time the Czechs have voted, apparently. Can this be true? They give their twelve to the Ukraine.

Even the Netherlands don't give us anything. Their presenter does a bit of business, pulling in a co-presenter to deliver their 12 to Turkey.

Ireland now... surely the UK must be in for a single vote now? Surely?

Yes... seven points. Apparently, Wogan approves of this sort of bloc voting. We're now just third from bottom. Until they give their twelve to Lithuania, knocking us down to next to bottom again.

Did anyone vote in Malta, then? Apparently enough to generate a scorecard anyway. Bloody hell... they've given twelve to Scooch. That's nineteen in total now, leaping us up to, erm, still two from bottom.

Estonia deliver twelve to Russia - "a placatory move there" suggests Wogan.

Georgia up next, chucking their points to Armenia. Or "another satellite state"

Bulgaria gift 12 to Greece; Wogan tries to suggest that this is because people "vote in blocks" because they like to vote for those at the top, seemingly oblivious that everyone voted at the same time.

Sweden have sent in one of McFly in a cardigan, with a generous twelve for Finland.

Ukraine's presenter is grinning like she's getting something just out of shot; she gives twelve to Belarus, which makes Wogan winney like a horse.

"Great big bear... good evening, Mr. Putin" says Terry. Yes, the Russian votes are coming up; they return Belarus' twelve.

Serbia are forty-ish ahead with ten votes to come. It's in the bag for them, really.

Latvia is, apparently, the home of incredibly cheap braces. They give ten to Lithuania, which knocks us back down to almost-bottom; their twelve goes to Ukraine.

Iceland deliver twelve to the Finns; allowing Terry to remind us there's a Scandanavian block vote, too.

A geography teacher in Warsaw pops up to pass twelve to the Ukraine, but it's coming too late.

The Moldovan presenter delivers his results as if he was making a dating video - Romania get the cheeky wink and the twelve.

Ukraine have closed the gap to 22 points behind Serbia; they could do it. But will they?

Fearne Cotton manages to not screw-up the UK Votes. As a nation, we gave top marks to Turkey.

Macedonia, which was a Yugoslavian Republic in a former life, has chosen last year's entrant as presenter. She feels the need to burst into song. It's been a long night, love, just cut to the chase. Their top marks are for Serbia, too.

Hungary are last with the votes. The UK, then, are stuck on 19, which is presumably as badly - or better - than any of the other Song For Europe entrants would have managed; Morrissey, we suspect, would have struggled to get into double figures.

Hungary's points go to Serbia, who have, erm, then won.

Who would have thought?

Terry Wogan's monitor has gone blank (or maybe he's just gone blind). The official count of mentions of Block Voting this year is 64. The last time, he chuckles and says "but do we care?" God alone knows how many times he'd have gone about it if he did care, then.

So, all off to Serbia next May, then. Now, that's got to be worth shunting Doctor Who out the schedules for.

The Game out the game for a while

LA Police have arrested The Game, apparently on charges of making criminal threats. They spent three hours searching his house before carting him off, which makes you wonder what they were looking for. Perhaps it's like when we make notes before ringing the pizza place to make sure that we get the order right. Maybe they found a piece of paper with 'ring frank - threaten to break legs - ask about children [SINISTER TONE!]' or something on it.

Nixey business

These dates, by Sarah Nixey, have just been confirmed by that process which allows confirmation:

23rd May :: Short acoustic set at The Big Secret, Ginglik, Shepherds Bush. Onstage at 8.30pm.

8th June :: Short acoustic set at Fopp, Tottenham Court Road, London. As part of the City Showcase week focusing on new music and fashion. Free. Onstage at 8pm.

4th July :: Headline electro-pop show with Trademark and Mr Solo as guests. DJing provided by the pop loving Talia. At the Luminaire in, of course, London.

Bowie on a Spree

He's promising "photographic evidence" later on, but we take Hal Samples' word for it: David Bowie joined Polyphonic Spree on stage last night during their New York set.

[UPDATE: 07-01-12]
Don't think anything from that appearance ever showed up online, but an earlier hook-up, at Austin, in 2004, has been captured for as-much-posterity-as-RIAA-takedowns-will-allow:

Modern Chiefs is rubbish

Damon Albarn has served up the worst possible criticism for the Kaiser Chief's new album - he's compared it to a bad Blur record:

“I've made two bad records. The first record, which is awful, and 'The Great Escape', which was messy.

"The Kaiser Chiefs' new record sounds a bit like The Great Escape in that it sounds a bit empty. Sometimes records are like that if you try too hard to repeat your success."

We'd argue pretty strenuously against Allbran here - not about the Yours Truly, The Angry Mob, which he's pretty much on the head with. But we think he's made more than just the two bad records, and one of them isn't Leisure - which might not be perfect but is a bloody good debut album. Hands up if you didn't feel a twinge and the urge to go off and play it when a track from it turned up on The Apprentice earlier in the week.

First night: Prince at Koko

Prince's secret gig at Koko - secret in the sense that you weren't ever going to get to go, so forget it - has thrilled the press. Although it's not like he was playing the Camden Falcon, is it?

We're also a little surprised by who's considered a-list these days. RWD magazine were excited, but clearly they can't get out much:

RWD - as well as MIA, Will Young, Johnny Borrell, Carl Barat and Chris Moyles - was in attendance to see the triumphant return of The Prince after a nigh-on 10 year hiatus from our shores.

Chris Moyles? Will Young? The never-more-aptly-named MIA? Are they sure they weren't backstage at BBC Four's Music Hall programme or something? And can you have a hiatus from a nation?

London Lite's Andre Pain must have been standing near, but not right behind, RWD:
Little Britain star David Walliams, singers Mika and Will Young and DJ Chris Moyles were among the stars who saw him at Koko.

Pain saw the Moment Where Prince Fell Over:
Several fans were pulled on stage to dance and, amid a party atmosphere, one girl gave him a peck on the cheek.

Apparently joking, Prince fell to the floor, but a bouncer appeared and removed the fan from the stage. Prince disappeared and then returned with his head wrapped in a towel, muttering darkly about being kissed by a stranger.

Oddly, by the time the 3AM Girls get round to writing about it in The Mirror, the story has shifted a little"
PITY poor little Prince after the tiny star was toppled on stage - knocked off his heels by a way-too-zealous female fan.

The woman forced a kiss on the singer before straddling him as he lay prone on stage at a secret London gig.

He flounced off in a huff - only later returning with a towel over his head, muttering that he was ashamed.

But it seems that - while RWD and the London freesheet had been attending, the supposed premier gossip column had been amongst those of us relying on second-hand reports from the frontline:
Says our eyewitness: "As soon as this woman kissed Prince, he suddenly fell to the ground."

With her hero prostrate in front of her, the woman couldn't resist going further.

"She grabbed his arm and started straddling him," our witness goes on.

"Prince looked absolutely terrified. This clearly wasn't meant to happen. Then two bodyguards rushed out and hauled her off. Her arms and legs were flailing all over the place."

Luckily, it turns out that 3AM staple Beverly Knight was on hand to offer an opinion. Unfortunately, she seems to have confused Prince, the popstar, with a senior member of the British Royal Family:
Soul star Beverley Knight really felt for him. She told us yesterday: "It was so disgusting. I can't believe anyone would be that disrespectful. What makes you think you can behave like that with Prince?"

Clearly, though, Beverly thinks that it's usually okay to straddle people you've never been formally introduced to, just so long as they've never run their own record label.

Oddly, after this, the 3AM Girls are back in the room:
The incident was the one low point of a gig that was otherwise superb, though he didn't play enough hits for our liking.

But if you were there, why are you relying on an "eyewitness" for telling you what happened? (As it turns out, they could have just looked at the photo on Stereogum to have fudged their report.)

Either the 3AMies were at the venue, and are so inept you missed the incident - like Lizzie Archer nipping away from the vegetable show and not seeing the marrow explode - or you weren't there, and are trying to make it seem like you were.

Let's turn to's report to decide:
Prince ensured the fans had something to shout about with hits including 'U Got The Look', 'Kiss', 'Cream', 'Let's Go Crazy' and an impassioned version of 'Nothing Compares To U' in his set.

That sounds like quite a lot of hits to us. Although, of course, no amount of hits could probably compensate if you were stood outside with your ear stuck against the door.

The 3AM's moan, though, is at least refreshing in a sea of pliant press which would make Enver Hoxa jealous. The Telegraph's Tom Horan stressed how blessed we all are:
But for all the Brown-style fainting and showboating, the imploring and the pelvic fireworks, what was striking was Prince's humility. This was to be a party, not an ego trip. Having invited various audience members on stage, he found that one supremely lumpen individual had somehow taken his spot at the mike. Graciously he allowed him to sing the whole song. It brought the house down.


He did a dazzling cover of last year's Gnarls Barkley hit Crazy, reinventing it as a lampoon on all the people who have questioned his sanity over the years. Yet he barely dented the vast back catalogue of pop brilliance that is his to draw on.

Most of all, he just kept laughing and smiling. Prince is clearly in the mood for a party. How flattering that he has chosen to have it here.

We are not worthy to kiss his discarded head-towel. Prince, Prince, please shrug disdainfully in our direction.

You'd expect total capitulation from Hello, of course, a magazine which treats the daughter of a 1970s pop star and the presenter of a game show on Living TV with the same overawed reverence as Prince himself:
Revered the world over for his breathlessly sexy delivery, Prince is bound to draw a crowd of glamorous ladies anywhere he performs. So the coolest names of London's night scene, among them Lisa Snowdon and Peaches Geldof, flocked in droves to see the iconic funk artist playing a trendy London music venue.

Although what, exactly, is Hello trying to say here?
And it wasn't only the girls who were eager to see Prince in action, as Grace Kelly singer Mika, David Walliams and Will Young were in the audience, too.

It fell to The Times' Kevin Batholomew to try and turn in a review that attempted to treat Prince as just another performer. He nearly managed, it, too, but even by the end, Kevin was taking the Bible Studies guy's word as law:
[E]ven at the age of 48 did nothing to belie his status as music's supreme performer, but also by an ecstatic audience.

"You give me the energy to do this", he told us. "At the O2 we're gonna turn that thang out. They're gonna be the best shows you've ever seen." You better believe it.

Hattie Collins, who reviews for the London Paper and blogs at Hattie C In The Place To Be admits the existence of a phenomenon which causes journalistic distance to crumble in the face of the little man:
eing a music journalist, it's sometimes easy to become a cynical, boozy, grumpy, faded hack. But hey, every job has its benefits. Don’t get it twisted though; just because we take great pleasure in slagging things off, even we have a day-off from the haterade every once in a while.
For me, my journalism kryptonite is the one and only Prince. Quite frankly, he could arrive onstage and fart for four hours and I’d act like it was the best show ever.

Rubbishcorp has Purple Pixie pix and Koko video.

Kylie Tardis story flies again

A couple of weeks ago, Russell T Davies was telling the BBC staff magazine Arial that rumours of Kylie being the special guest for this year's Christmas Doctor Who were wrong:

A woman like that is booked up two years in advance, and I haven't even started writing the episode yet.

If the idea was to try and keep the element of surprise, like Catherine Tate's materialisation in the Tardis at the end of the last season, it might have helped to ask Kylie to keep it under her hat. She's told InStyle she's in:
"Yes ... my gay husband [stylist, William Baker] is so excited about it! But I'm not going to play a villain."

Not the evil Kyliemonster who ruins everyone's Christmas by blurting out the secret, then?

I am Jason Donovan. Hear me roar.

There's a lovely quote from Jason Donovan, talking on the radio yesterday, about his wild years:

I went out to lunch in about 1993 and didn’t come home until 2001. Fact. But I had a great time. I’m Jason Donovan, and proud of it.

He is underestimating the time of his reemergence from his lunch-time slump, though. In fact, we believe he's not even reached the cheese board yet.

Bobby Brown: Not Humpin' Around

You'd have thought that a man who signed up to spend twenty four hours with Jamie Campbell for an ITV programme had no standards at all. But it turns out Bobby Brown does have a line he won't cross, after all.

He doesn't hold with any of that gay stuff.

Campbell, it seems, made a remark about putting "sex moves" on Brown. Brown didn't take it well:

“What the fuck do you mean, sex moves? Are you gay? On live TV I will fuck you up.”

(It isn't live TV, which has given ITV a chance to circulate some preppublicity gold.)
“You should have laughed, because I didn’t laugh. Do you know how I could fuck you up in here? Do you know that? Are you gay? I think you’re less of a man for not answering.”

“You know what would be more of a joke? If the 24 hours ended right now. I will whoop your ass in here, thoroughly.

Then Bobby seemed to remember that, by not getting a desperately needed cheque signed by Michael Grade, the joke might wind up being on him, so he stayed.

The minister, the free gig and the auction site

While Blair flies about the country securing his legacy ("yes, yes, but if I wear gloves to cover the stains on my hands... how about then?") and Gordon Brown tries to build one of his own, the business of government trickles on without them. Shaun Woodward, who combines the creative industries ministership with being Barry off of Eastenders, has demanded that eBay stop selling Big Weekend tickets because they were free in the first place:

Mr Woodward said:"This flies in the face of all the hard work that Radio One is putting in to stamping out touts at the Big Weekend.

"Ebay should stop selling the tickets - the artists are not making money from this free event, so why should the touts?

"Demand for this event is outstripping supply by more than ten to one, and the BBC has decided that people should get tickets on the basis of how lucky they are, not how much money they have."

"The artists are not making money from this free event" - are you sure about that, Shaun?

Of course, it is a bit low to get a free ticket, and then flog it on eBay, but suggesting that eBay should engineer a rule which covers licence-fee funded events seems to be a little piecemeal. And it's interesting that, once again, the government is focusing on individuals flogging singles and doubles on eBay rather than the companies which ratchet up ticket prices by buying blocks and blocks of them. And also no word on the unacceptable "booking fee" practice, neither. We wouldn't want to suggest Woodward is rattling at a strawman to make it look like something is being done. But he is.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Rap it up for the common good/ let us enlist some of Hollywood

Imagine fusing, in some sort of ill-considered crucible, MTV's best-forgotten search for a white rapper with, ooh, say, Celebrity Fame Academy. You'd probably end up with a format where celebrities were formed into teams to rap-off at each other.

MTV, the suckers, would bite your hand off.

Bloody art

Pete Doherty's so-so blood-splattered artworks have turned up on display in London's Bankrobber Gallery (their slogan is also lifted from the Clash, the apt "turning rebellion into money").

The blood is key, apparently:

Robin Barton, of the Bankrobber gallery, presenting the show, claimed the medium was very appropriate for Doherty.

"His use of blood lends itself perfectly to exploring the extraordinary personal and physical intensity that characterises so much of Peter’s life and work as an artist in the broadest sense," he said.

Perhaps... except, when Doherty was photgraphed poking a syringe into a sleeping girl's arm, he claimed he was collecting blood for his pictures. And if he's using someone else's blood, doesn't that make the art as impersonal as if he'd just gone and bought some paints from a shop?

Straight dope: Gay rapper wasn't gay

Do you remember MC Jason Caushun? He was promoted as the first mainstream, out, gay rapper who picked up an award from GLAAD? It turns out he was the creation of Ivan Matias, who's now calling time on a joke that isn't really all that funny.

Matias explains the genesis and six year, six show history of Caushun, and suggests that there was some sort of social conscience at the heart of the project:

I don't think he was mocking Hip-Hop. He was just a fraud with it. I think a part of this project was good because it showed that Hip-Hop is not as homophobic as it projects. Out of everyone else who could have popularized something as trivial as the color pink, it took a masculine culture like Hip-Hop to popularize that on men. This showed a good side of Hip-Hop that's its open and diverse.

Hmm. So what might look to the casual observer as a minstrel show of sexuality managed to sell some pink shirts. Well, that was certainly worth it. Because, of course, pink is a notoriously gay colour.

Allen a day's work

"I get along with the paparazzi: they give me cigarettes and money for parking meters.

I used to hate being papped, but they aren't going to leave me alone so I might as well just get along with them.

Yes, they intrude on my personal life, but that's the industry and it's legal."

- Lily Allen, ContactMusic, 10th May, 2007

Gobby pop star LILY ALLEN is being investigated by police following complaints by a photographer of alleged assault.

The 22-year-old faces arrest after an incident which left paparazzo Kevin Rush with a bruised and bleeding nose, along with an imprint of Lily's gold sovereign ring in his face, according to the Daily Mail.

Lily allegedly lunged forward and hit the photographer during an incident in March, when she left a party and was making her way to the Groucho club in London's Soho.

- ContactMusic, 11th May, 2007

Levine the dream

The problem with the identification of the Pink Pound, and the corporate need to try and "target the gay market" is that you wind up with awkward situations like Adam Levine of Maroon Five doing interviews with The Advocate trying to get in touch with the band's gay audience:

"There are beautiful men out there. Antonio Banderas is gorgeous. Well, maybe not so much anymore. He peaked around 'Desperado'.

"I mean, every male secretly wants to have sex with Brad Pitt, but that's a given."

"Men have a certain camaraderie with each other that's easygoing and kind of simple, when you think about it. Sometimes men and women clash mentally."

God, it's like that bit in A Very Peculiar Practice where Peter Davison's trying to cope with talking to a lesbian, isn't it?

Levine concludes by revealing that blokes don't queue up to have sex with him:
"Not Hey, you wanna make out?' It doesn't happen to me. I don't know why."

Because going up and saying "lets make out" is how every bloke who finds men attractive goes about things, isn't it? Apart, of course, from the ones who just fling you to the ground and start to hump you.

We would love to see the look on Levine's face if Brad Pitt did turn up with a ball gag, a cheeky wink and a pass from Angelina Jolie.

Killers throttle progress on LP3

Having worked out they can coast on their laurels for a bit longer ("To allow them time to develop some interesting new ideas"), The Killers have decided they won't even start recording a new album for at least a year. And, if we're lucky, maybe not even then, either. That's what they've told Dave Keuning, anyway:

Speaking of the band's plans, Keuning said that they have been "jamming here and there in soundcheck" but that "the recording, it's at least a year off, so it's hard to say what will be kept".

He concluded, "A lot of people are dying to know what the third album's going to sound like, and I can't answer that."

Although 'like the other two, only with a larger budget and a dwindling pile of ideas' is probably a safe bet.

Debbie Harry's charmed life

As if the story of surviving one maniac - Ted Bundy - wasn't enough, now it turns out Debbie Harry also has a tale about coming face-to-face with not convicted of any crime as of this moment gun love Phil Spector:

"He pulled a gun, that notorious thing he does. He stuck it in my boot. And he went 'Bang.'

I thought, 'Get me out of here! I want to go home!'

It's his schtick, you know but why a person would be walking around carrying a .45 automatic in their home... and now he's finally gone and done it."

Or maybe not, depending on what the jury thinks. Let's hope Debbie doesn't now find herself besieged by bloodthirsty NRA gunophiles explaining that if everyone walked around their homes carrying 45s, then Pearl Harbour would never have happened, or some equally guff-like guff.

Like a Daydream? Ride reunion rumours rise, rebuffed

In what is a slightly less than fraternal approach to the news, is denying a story carried by sister magazine website Uncut reports that Andy Bell is on the point of bringing about a Ride reunion; NME talks to Dave Newton, the band's manager, who suggests it isn't going to happen:

"This point in time would be the least likely for this kind of thing to happen - they're all very busy at the moment with individual commitments and very full schedules. Having said that, if the organisers of NXNW want to get in touch with an offer, I'd have to put it to the boys."

Which is a pity - we'd quite like a Ride reunion, providing Andy Bell's current boss can be persuaded not to turn up and spoil things.

Bad celebrity

"Bad celebrity", of course, being the self-excoriating mantra of Frasier following KACL dropping all its speech programming. In that episode, of course, he's embarrassed by his tiny fan club staging a barely-perceptable protest to get him reinstated - the turn out being so low as to do more harm than good.

I don't know why I should think of this as the rally for Paris Hilton in New York manages a turn-out of three people.

An Open Letter To My Teenage Self

For some reason - we can't assume it's purely to come off as a smug, self-satisfied git - Fergie has sent a letter to her 17 year-old self. Typical of the bloody Post Office, though, it's only just turned up.

Oh, hang on.

"Sure, you'll be a giant flirt and wear sexy clothes, but you'll never take it to an unhealthy level and act on it." Fergie also warns herself about the rough patches ahead in her life, including her drug addiction and debt problems - but adds,"Don't worry. You'll always come back to your roots."

Fergie's 17 year-old self has replied with a text message trying to clarify what, exactly, she means by "acting on sexy clothes to an unhealthy level" and pointing out that if she'd included some useful information - like who wins the 2002 Kentucky Derby - she could have avoided the debt problems altogether. A second text attempted to clarify if "I'm, like, always this embarrassing in the future?"

We're so good at telly

Having managed to quietly drop The Sharon Osbourne Show, you'd think ITV would have learned its lesson, wouldn't you?

Apparently not.

Talkback Thames is piloting a Geri Halliwell talkshow.

The production team is talking up the idea:

"It's early days, but the idea is that Geri could really get to the heart of issues with her guests."

She couldn't get to the heart of the Trocadero by taxi, never mind to the "heart of issues".

Robbie Williams is not setting his blog to 'private'

Apparently, Robbie Williams has taken to blogging. And people accuse bloggers of being self-obsessed narcissists unable to form relationships or string a sentence together. Oh.

"There are a few dating rules people adhere to out here in Hollywood. And they're all fucking stupid... Don't call until the next day. Then don't get back to him for at least 2 days etc.

"It's all rubbish. If any of the rules are applied to me, I respond in kind by never speaking to them again."

Well, that's a mature response. Are people still using The Rules, though? Wasn't that a fad that went out before even the Atkins Diet? Maybe people just aren't calling you because they don't want to, Robbie. Perhaps rather than playing by The Rules, they're just putting it off?

Apparently, someone called Tina has annoyed him, too:
"I trust you less than ever now. You have completely blown any trust I had for you by being a devious cunt.

"If I knew my girlfriend had been on a dinner and DVD night with another man I would be livid. I'm furious thinking about!!!!!!! And it happened weeks ago."

"I was pissed off for all of 20 minutes.

"Apart from the dodgy profile I liked her and I expect more from her and women in general."

So... you were only worried about it for twenty minutes, despite being so worried about it you're blogging an incoherent rant "weeks" later?

Okay, Robbie. You've convinced us.

Whatever happened to Harvey So Solid?

Apparently, Michael "MC" Harvey has turned up in the cast of Daddy Cool, the Boney M "musical". Although he's not really a daddy, and, it turns out, not that good at keeping his cool, either. The Sun reckons he's been given some time off:

The ex-SO SOLID star launched into a backstage rant — and last night producer Robert Mackintosh said: “He was a bit grumpy. He’s having five days off.”

Drew breaks his ass

We've been trying to replicate this accident under laboratory conditions, and are having some trouble: Leaping up to catch "a falling double bass", Drew McConnell of Babyshambles fell and shattered his arse.

It's always dangerous adding strings on the second album, isn't it?

We're hoping nobody called out to Pete "can you get him some ice for the injury?" because the last thing he needed at that point would have been meth.

McConnell won't be able to sit down for two weeks.

Bizarre not that bothered

Back in February, John Coles, a helper on Victoria Newton's Bizarre column, had an article in The Sun which attempted to sneak an invasion of Charlotte Church's privacy. The paper had been told that Church was pregnant:

Mr Melton said that the newspaper had told Ms Church’s PR agent that it had received firm information that she was pregnant.

The paper was told in response that such information was private and would not be commented on. Ms Church’s representatives did however confirm that she was ‘not more than 12 weeks pregnant’ and said that if she was pregnant, no statement would be made until after the 12-week scan or when a doctor said it would be safe to tell family and friends.

Understandable. Not only is the first trimester full of risk you might not want to undergo in public, the Press Complaints Commission is very clear on this sort of thing:
The Commission has recently made clear that newspapers should not reveal the fact of someone’s pregnancy before the 12-week scan without consent and when the information is not known to any significant degree.

So, since they were refused permission to publish what they knew, Coles' name (and, interestingly, Newton's photo byline) went out on a story which reversed the usual Bizarre way of doing things - it reported facts, pretending they were speculation:
CHARLOTTE Church snubbed a boozy 21st bash for a quiet family party — sparking rumours she is pregnant.

The chat show star and singer has finally quit smoking and pals have noticed she has put on a bit of weight in recent weeks.

Church complained to the Press Complaints Commission, which asked The Sun to provide evidence of these 'rumours'. The paper was unable to, and the PCC upheld the complaint. The paper prints the adjudication this morning but - in what we're sure is an oversight and in no waya thumbing of its nose at the PCC - the original story is still online at the moment.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Now Nokia hangs up on Cowell

Following on from Ofcom's ticking off for the X-Factor giving undue prominence to its products, Nokia has taken its ball off home.

ITV are trying not to sound too panicky at the loss of the sponsor:

ITV's brand partnerships director Gary Knight said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to be associated with one of the biggest entertainment shows on British TV.

ITV claims other mobile phone companies are already queuing up to offer their cash in return for the prime-time advertising opportunity.

Yes, who wouldn't want their brand to be posied to get associated with the next slew of premium-rate phone-in headlines?

SuperKate to the rescue

Who knew that Lily Allen had been saved from a certain thrashing by the intervention of Kate Moss at Glastonbury:

These girls were beating me up and she was the only person who stood in and said 'leave her alone you're being bullies'.

"They stabbed me in the ear with a beer can and cut my ear open, I also had two black eyes - it was a bit of a nightmare!"

Interesting, isn't it? Not the bit about Moss stopping Allen being attacked, but that Moss and Allen were in the same bit of the festival two years back. You know, when Allen was supposedly a struggling artist awaiting a big break and not trading on her Dad's name or anything like that.

Lily says this is the reason she's only got nice things to say about Moss:
"I only have nice things to say about her because she jumped to my defence a couple of years ago at Glastonbury Festival."

That's what she said on this morning's This Morning. Amongst the "only nice things", of course, has been snorting derisively at Kate's clothing range.

Explosions silenced

According to Pitchfork, family illness has led to the cancellation of all Explosions In The Sky booked dates, from All Tomorrows Parties this month through to Japanese festivals in July. They're hoping to rebook the standalone dates for Autumn sometime.

"We'll make you eat your own food"

The manager of the cafe where, it's claimed, My Chemical Romance and Muse ate before they fell into gig-cancelling sickness, has apparently been getting death threats:

[T]he bands stopped for a bite at Glenn Gormley's Green Leafe Cafe. Shortly afterwards, the musicians (and other patrons) got sick, which forced MCR and Muse to cancel several dates on their tour. Since then, Gormley says angry My Chemical Romance fans have been leaving him death threats.

On the other hand, for taking My Chemical Romance out the game, music lovers have had a whip-round and bought Mr. Gormley a lovely vase of flowers as a thank-you.

The Ben Folds fight

Interesting scenes at this year's Boston Pops: Keith Lockhart was forced to suspend the Ben Folds performance as half-naked men wrestled in the audience. The Associated Press reports:

Witnesses said they heard a scream from the balcony, and the sound of chairs falling, then a second scream as the fight escalated.

"The first time there was a scream, Keith looked up that way but he kept going," audience member June MacIndoe told Boston's WHDH-TV. "Then about a minute and a half later...there was a big scream and you could hear chairs falling over and you could see them up there, fists going."

At that point, Lockhart stopped the performance for a couple of minues, she said. "He just stood there, you know, quiet."

Some might argue that a spot of mindless violence provides an entertaining diversion from a Ben Folds gig.

Staff stings Sting

Sting and Mrs. Sting have lost a case brought by their former cook who claimed they'd discriminated against her after she became pregnant. An employment tribunal described the way Sting and his wife treated Jane Martin as "shameful":

Ms Martin claimed to the tribunal that things started to go wrong when she became pregnant in 2005. She said Miss Styler had lost her temper with her when she took time off work. The couple's management company, Lake House Estate, which employed Miss Martin, then said she would be made redundant and she left her job in April last year but the tribunal panel said Miss Styler was behind the dismissal.

We love the idea that she was told she was being made redundant - "yeah, we're going to cook our own food from now on".

Naturally, Sting and Trudie have expressed "astonishment" at the decision. Tribes in the Rain Forest are expected to be telegraphing support to the oppressed millionaires sometime this afternoon.

Attempt to generate publicity succeeds shocker

Attempts to get themselves a few column inches here and there by making a video with splashes of needless violence in have paid off for The Cribs, with the promo for Mens Needs being reportedly "banned" by MTV2.

Although, actually, it's just being restricted to post-watershed slots, and that's because Ofcom reminded MTV of the terms of its licence. Which isn't exactly the same as being banned.

The Boys Are Back In Town. Except the dead one, obviously.

Thin Lizzy have just announced a slew of tour dates around the UK, apparently unencumbered by their lead singer having drugged himself off to heaven twenty years ago. The part of the irreplaceable Phil Lynott is, of course, irreplaceable, but as they need someone to do the words, they've got a bloke in off the market. Not really, of course: John Sykes is doing vocals.

This isn't unprecedented, of course, as the band regrouped with Sykes on vocals back in 1996, to "mark" the tenth anniversary of Lynott's death and have been popping up, on and off, ever since. reports:

The band have promised to play a host of hits, including 'Whiskey In The Jar' and 'The Boys Are Back In Town'.

Reassuring, just in case you thought they might be something other than a bunch trading on past glories by working their old classics to death.

Oldfield unhappy with Bells

Talking to last night's Front Row on BBC Radio 4, Mike Oldfield revealed he wasn't all that thrilled with the record label allowing the Mail On Sunday to give away Tubular Bells for free the other week. That would, of course, be EMI, part of the RIAA, which argues that it prosecutes people for file-sharing because doing so harms the value of the artists it represents.

The long Blarwell

No wonder the audience at Blair's timetable-for-departure speech were pleased to see him; they'd been tortured waiting for him to turn up. Radio Five Live had listed the music played to the waiting delegates, and it isn't pretty. In no particular order:

Mambo #5 (Louie Vega)
Beautiful Day (U2 - close personal friends, of course)
Reach For The Stars (yes, S Club)
Lifted (Lighthouse Family)
Missing (Everything But The Girl - presumably in the hope that we'll miss him like the Deserts miss the rain.)

LDN is a mid-tour visit

Kate Nash has just announced a UK tour:

The Great Escape Festival (May 19)
Reading Fez Club (20)
Leeds Cockpit (25)
Bristol Fiddlers (26)
Nottingham Rock City (27)
Birmingham Glee (29)
London ICA (31)
Wakefield Escobar (June 2)
Manchester Late Room (3)
Liverpool The Loft (4)
York Fibbers (5)
Edinburgh Henry's (7)
Aberdeen Tunnels (8)
Dundee Reading Rooms (9)
Glasgow King Tut's (10)
Newcastle Cluny (12)
Exeter Cavern (14)
Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach (15)
Sheffield Leadmill (July 23)

There's no word yet on if she's going to launch her own clothes line at Tammy Girl.

Two haddock, three chips, a pickled egg, Bez and butter

Or, if you'd prefer, Happy Mondays are taking a battering. They've lined up a gig at the Palace Pier Fish and Chip shop in Brighton. It's going to be a testing ground:

"I love Brighton. It's the first time we'll play the new stuff and anyone who doesn't like it will be thrown in the sea."

Northside are trying to sort out a gig for the West Pier.

Kasabian: British fans are rubbish

Apparently, Kasabian love their European fans more than their British fans because on the continent, they don't think they're third-rate copyists:

Serge said: "I think the fans get us more abroad than in the UK because we don't get any of that crap where we're 'whaaay' lads and we 'ave it and all that."

"The foreign fans listen to the music more and don't call us The Stone Roses or anything.

"I think they get us for who we are, especially in France and places like that. There's no baggage like in the UK."

Serge then conceded that, perhaps, they do dress like 'whaay lads who 'ave it and all that':
"We're just musicians at the end of the day who happen to like wearing good clothes."

So, this seems to boil down to Serge thinking that British fans don't - oh yes - give Kasabian the respect he feels they deserve. But perhaps fewer people would describe Kasabian as third-generation xeroxes if, erm, they weren't third-generation xeroxes.

We imagine that Serge is also a little confused - the people who call Kasabian here aren't fans; as anyone who's ever criticised Kasabian can testify, there are plenty of British people who are convinced they're the very acme of rock prefection. But in Europe, the only people he's likely to come across are fans - we're not sure how good Pizzorno's French is, but we bet he doesn't spend his time with a Harraps translating general French music websites which are probably just as sceptical as the general UK ones.

Victoria Newton claims James Morrison "got hammered"

For a gossip columnist who normally has a "cut and paste from the press release" approach to her work, Victoria Newton is taking a strict line with James Morrison. Morrison cancelled his Melbourne date, with apologies:

“I am absolutely gutted I have had to cancel this show in Melbourne.

“I have been looking forward to bringing the band here for so long. I hope to be back in the not too distant future.”

Newton, though, suggests this is a lie:
You’d think popstars could come up with more original excuses than “doctor’s orders”.[...]
Wouldn’t it be really refreshing for a rocker to just say: “You know what? I got hammered on Bundaberg Rum with all the hot chicks in the hotel bar last night.

“Then I woke up with a mouth like a taxi driver’s underpants.”

We wonder why she's decided she no longer needs favours from Morrison or his press team.

Diddy does it for Di

The leaking ship that is the Diana Memorial Concert is starting to look less like a coherent event, more like a mad grouping of anyone who's free that day.

Puff Daddy? Really? Tom Jones? Will Young? Roger Hodgson?

You know, Roger Hodgson. Out of Supertramp.

Apparently, someone's discovered a 1988 quote where Diana said she like Supertramp, and the Sun has rolled out its royal photographer Arthur Edwards - a man who carries on like he has breakfast at Clarence House, dinner at Sandringham and supper at Buck House, rather than merely shoves a camera into the face of any of the inbred unelected he happens across. Edwards has "confirmed" that Diana used to have a Supertramp tape in her car, so that's alright then. The link with Diddy is less clear - not even Arfur can offer any 'evidence' of a link, and presumably nobody is going to try and suggest that had she lived, his music would have been what she was listening to know.

Horses beat the Stones

The unpleasant plans to drug a load of horses up to the eyes to allow The Rolling Stones to play a gig at their home in Belgrade have been dropped, and now the band will, instead, be drugged to keep them quiet.

Or, perhaps, they'll play a different venue in the same city, instead.

They say she's going to awards, baby, she says Mo, Jo, Jo

The nominations for the Mojo Awards - careful: not the Mobo Awards - and it's probably fair to say they're quite a mixed bag. Sorry, did we say "awards"? We mean, of course, the Mojo Honours shortlist.

Amy Winehouse has got three nominations, the Arctic Monkeys have two (so far, this could be the Brits, or the NME awards, at a pinch) while The Gossip, the View, Bob Dylan and Midlake shuffle about further down the list. Apparently, as the BBC have only got highlights and Mojo's own site chooses to say how exciting the launch at HMV was without offering a full shortlist.

The BBC does have a quote, though:

Editor-in-chief Phil Alexander said of Amy Winehouse: "Now the sky is the limit for her. There is nothing that can stop her apart from herself."

We're sure that's just out of context and Alexander isn't really suggesting the only thing that has been holding back Amy Winehouse's career is the lack of an appearance in a chin-rock monthly magazine's awards listings.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Another Zune? So soon?

You can't accuse Microsoft of giving up on a bad idea too quickly, so the never-popular Zune is about to become part of an expanded range of unloved music players gathering dust in an unvisited back-of-store display in Best Buys. The new players will have bigger screens, apparently, meaning the horrible navigation tool will be even smaller than on the current model.

Such is the confidence of Microsoft in their music player, they've still not given an official launch date for the product in the UK as far as we can see. The smart money is on them not bothering.

American fanzines and small labels face last post

Small (and not-so-small) magazines and record labels in the US are facing another slap in the face, as they try to cope with challenges from the digital world: the American Postal service is axing international surface mail and hiking its rates for mailing media. It's going to hurt, publishers and record companies have told Westword:

"It's not going be the thing that kills me," [Jackson Ellis, publisher of Verbicide] says via phone from his office in Vermont, "but coupled with the lack of advertisements and the general slump in print publications, it could be the thing that pushes me over the edge. I'm already operating at a loss, and I can't keep doing this forever. These new regulations don't give me an opportunity to grow."
"The new postal policies are definitely going to affect our rates, but we're not going to stop doing what we do," says No Idea Records' mail-order manager, Matt Sweeting. "I hate to put it in these terms, but the days of the two-dollar seven-inch are over, and that's kind of frustrating. Unfortunately, if we can't send our music via media mail, we're going to have to pass on our extra costs to consumers, because that's the way a business works." Although No Idea currently sells its LPs for seven dollars and CDs from anywhere between seven and nine dollars, these new rates are inevitably going to cause the label's prices to creep up, and quite possibly force it to rethink its business model altogether.

You'd have thought the Postal Service might have felt it had a vested interest in supporting people who produce stuff that needs postal workers to distribute, rather than forcing them to think about transferring their stuff into pdfs and mp3s instead. But then, it is part of the government, so maybe any hope of some sort of longterm strategy is always going to be crushed.

Now, Last FM wants your eyes, too

Last FM, which has pretty much sewn up the marketplace for "I am listening to this, which means you'd like this..." widgets online is now adding video to its offering. EMI is already on board, and besides its recommendacious software, and only offering legal content, Last is hoping it will beat out YouTube by promising a much better quality service - audio encoded at 128kbps instead of 64kbps.

Last is setting out to have every video ever made, ever ever ever, on its service, which means that Belouis Some one with all the nudity in it. Which was rude.

Obituary removed

On May 5th, 2007, I reported on the deaths of three musicians in an accident on the M25, based upon reports carried in The Times and the Brighton Argus which contained inaccuracies in the bands the deceased played for. As the presence online of this posting was causing continued upset for the family and friends of the deceased, I have decided to remove the posting from the site.

Sharon's obscured face gets X-Factor ticked off

Ofcom have reported back in response to "viewer" complaints that The X Factor - sponsored by Nokia - had blurred out the non-Nokia brand name on Sharon Osbourne's phone during programmes, while showing unblurred close-ups of Nokia phones thirteen times in the same episode. Ofcom have found ITV in breach of the rules covering sponsorship, although they sounded a little vague about what, if anything, they were going to do about it.

N'Sync to reform for court battle

N'Sync and Jive Records are being sued for ripping off another act - oddly, though, not New Kids On The Block.

Good lord above alone knows why it's taken six years for Troy Alexander ('Royal T' as nobody calls him) to notice, but he reckons his song Up Against The Wall was virtually the same as the one Jive gave to NYSNC just nine years afterwards. In 2001.

Troy's lawyers appear to admit the songs don't sound alike, and are relying on the lyrics being similar. Which they are, of course, because they're made up of words and have "girl" and "hot" and such like in them. It's clear that Jive aren't going to be unduly worried here.

"and there's no way I'm doing a cover of 'Venus... she's got it', either

Serena Williams has apparently been playing about recording rap music, but reckons she's too shy to pursue a music career alongside her main job playing pat-a-ball. Doubtless any moment now she'll be taking calls from executives keen to discover if a cheque large enough will help her over her embarrassment.

Something to listen to (and watch): Feist

It seems to be almost weekly: some Feist fun on the internet. Today, she's pitched up for a Candaian AOL session.

Spears: Oh no, whoever knew my topless shots would appear in the papers?

We're being asked to believe that Britney Spears is distraught that pictures she posed for have appeared in all the newspapers:

[T]he singer is furious about the timing of the pictures - she has just embarked on a comeback trail, performing live in a series of comeback gigs this week in California.

Gosh, yes, how frustrating that so much free publicity of you looking all sexy and come-hither should have appeared just before your big comeback gigs. What terrible timing.

Isn't it terrible that you'd posed with your nipples covered, and thus meant the photos were possible to run in most places without pixelation or disfiguring black stripes over them? What rotten luck.

Spice Girls reunion latest: There isn't one

Despite Victoria Newton's insistence, there are no high-level talks intended to lead to a Las Vegas style Spice Girls reunion. Mel C says so:

"I have had mixed feelings about a reunion but I am against it. My fear is that we could never have the same magic as we had all those years ago.

"You see a lot of bands reforming but I think the Spice Girls were unique and I don't want to ruin what we had."

If that's Mel C with mixed feelings, we'd hate to see her taking a dogmatic line on something.

Now move your big hair round this way /so I can work on that zipper, baby

Amy Winehouse is apparently buzzing that Prince is keen to involve her in his tour of London. She was surprised to discover this was his farewell before giving up for Bible study, though:

"What? I didn't know that. Prince is gonna study the Bible?! Is he going to be a rabbi? I hope I can do [the gigs] though. I'll drop everything to do that. Stuff like that doesn't make me go, 'Oh, I must be the nuts.' Stuff like that makes me want to do this tomorrow, and the night after, and the night after. Now I want to find out how solid that is. I'd do it with bells on. All day long."

You might want to think twice about the phrases you're using with the famous sex imp in play, Amy. But is it really so surprising that he's interested in the Bible? Isn't it well known that Prince is fond of purple, sex and God, in more-or-less the same order - being surprised by that is like finding yourself shocked that Paul McCartney has turned down the roast gammon on the carvery.

Moby tricks

We're always happy to have a pop at Moby when it's called for - which is, obviously, quite often - so it's only fair that we should doff our cap when he does something impressive.

And he just has.

The new version of his website is going to include a corner where independent filmmakers can download music to use, on a soundtrack, for free:

we're starting with about 60 pieces of eclectic, unreleased, film music, but over-time i'll continue to update it and add more music.
these 60 pieces of music can be downloaded and used for free by student filmmakers and indie filmmakers and, basically, anyone making a non-commercial* film, be it 2 minutes long or 400 minutes long.
if you're a filmmaker(or are in need of free music for a non-commercial film or video)you can sign up and download and use this music for free.

The asterisk links to some small print which effectively says that if your not-for-profit movie suddenly turns into a moneymaker, you'll have to sort out a licence with the man. Or possibly hire-in Henry Mancini instead.

You can always go downers-town

Petula Clark has confessed to her drugs hell. Well, not even drugs purgatory, really, as she seems to have drawn the line at anything stronger than Marlon Brando's exhaled air:

I've dabbled, though I usually prefer a glass of wine.

I'd go to parties in California where the likes of Marlon Brando and Miles Davis were at and you'd get stoned simply from breathing the air.

I find the whole thing rather silly. I can't remember the last time I tried anything and I've never been tempted to get more involved."

We're wondering what she means by "getting more involved" - is she suggesting she never had the interest in setting up a cartel, or simply that she hasn't decided to drink a phial of Pete Doherty's blood?

Run for you lives

Swastika-loving plodders Kula Shaker clearly have used the money from that car advert to get their instruments out of Cash Converters, as they're threatening a tour of the UK. The trip will form part of the run up to the largely unwanted third album.

It's like a poorly conceived sequel to a patchy horror movie, isn't it?

Gallows gallops around the land

Touring about the country next month, Gallows (as the headline sort-of-implied):

Sheffield, Leadmill – June 11
Leeds, Cockpit – 12
Belfast, Auntie Annies – 13
Dublin, Voodoo Lounge – 14
Aberdeen, Tunnels – 16
Newcastle, Academy – 17
Bristol Bar, Academy – 18
Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms – 19
London, King’s College – 21

The album's getting a re-release to tie-in.

Can't complain, Mustaine grumbles

Dave Mustaine is a man dedicated to controlling his career - he even takes a close interest in what's on his tshirts:

"I'd made a couple of things clear to my agent: I don't want tits and ass on my t-shirts, because I think that's kind of juvenile, and as far as the Satanic stuff, I've been there, done that and I found it kind of wanting.

"You can be so much heavier with stuff like a nuclear bomb than a pentagram. I mean, what's scarier: VX gas or an upside-down cross?"

This is exactly the same as when famous druggies start lecturing the youth of now about how they shouldn't do drucks because they're no good. There's something almost heartbreaking about someone who has had to try drawing pentangles on walls and attempting to raise Beelzebub before deciding 'actually, that might be a load of old rubbish.' Who knew digging up a corpse and dancing round with the dead's skin over your head didn't really have any effect at all?

Does he actually mean that he's now going to sell stuff with photos of bombs on, though? Because isn't that going to make his tour programme indistinguishable from a British Aerospace sales brochure?

Keith Allen's daughter 'surprised' by support

Lily Allen's range of clothes for New Look has now been deployed on the high street - doubtless your office today is full of women, and the odd bloke, wearing something off the shoulder and horribly clashy ("brightly coloured"). Lily, of course, is attempting some false modesty:

At the launch party she said: "I'm still really freaked out because I usually get really bad press so I feel like everybody hates me.

"I don't really understand why anyone would come and buy these dresses so I am preparing for the shame of tumbleweed in Oxford Street when no one wants them."

Naturally, because New Look would have signed you up and given you a wodge of cash in the expectation that the dresses would end up being recycled into rags for cleaners.

And you "usually get really bad press", do you? Yes, all those fawning pieces about how you're a style icon, and so much more down to earth than Kate Moss, and being called one of the coolest people in rock by the NME - it's just slap, after slap, after slap, isn't it?

Smells like Xtina spirit

We'd have thought that Christian Aguilera might have decided to abandon the Britney Spears playbook by now, but, no, she's still aping her one-time rival, move for move. So it is that the world is preparing itself for Aguilera - the perfume. It's going to be called Simple. Sorry, Simply. And they're clearly pitching it as a gift gormless blokes will buy their for their unfortunate girlfriends:

Presented in a curvy glass bottle, intended to mirror the singer's silhouette, the fragrance will be supported by a print ad campaign featuring Aguilera's bare back painted with a black lace design.

It features the tagline: "Sometimes it's all you need to wear".

A;though, frankly, why you'd need to bother with a dab of toilet water behind your ears if you've already got your knickers off is beyond us. Still, nice to see exactly what the mature Christina is like now she's no longer relying on sex appeal to sell.

Britpop: The Phoney War

We know that the first Blur-Oasis chart battle was at least 75% marketing scheme, but at least there were actual hostilities to build the coverage around. More surprising was Jon Wilde's Comment Is Free piece yesterday which predicted a new battle, providing, presumably, a Dunkirk to the Roll With It/Country House Paschendale:

[I]t's a reasonable guess that spring 2008 will bring the welcome return of Blur and Oasis once again slugging it out in the charts - and no doubt slagging each other off to the flaming hilt.

And what is this guess based on?

Partly, Noel Gallagher's comments back in January that Oasis were planning a "massive album" and that he was "counting down the minutes" to the release - although what with it already being May now, he must have been counting down like those irritants on coach trips who think its witty to start "there were fifty thousand green bottles, sitting on the wall..."

And, partly, a chat with Alex James:
Alex James revealed to me last week that a Blur reunion, long considered a laughably far-fetched possibility, is now very much on the cards. According to James, the original Blur line-up, guitarist Graham Coxon included, will convene in a studio sometime in October to begin work on a new album, the band's first since 2003's Think Tank.

So, that's a mad promise from a famous idiot that he's about to create a massive work of art (Wilde, surely, knows that the first stage in the genesis of any Oasis album is for Noel to over-claim for it) and a vague possibility that Graham Coxon might give up his hard-won peace to return to the belly of the beast.

Jon isn't, by the way, warning of the threat: when it comes to Britpop wars, he's in the camp of "a good battle will clear the air and sort things out":
On the other hand, the Blur/Oasis rivalry might fondly evoke a time when we all cared so passionately about music that we were forced to pick sides. Generally speaking, the 90s were exemplified by Clinton and Blair's notion of triangulation; we were all obliged to find some wet middle ground on which to meet. For all its spite and silliness, the Blur/Oasis conflict as least gave us all something to argue the toss about.

Yes. On the other hand, it might leave the UK music industry looking faintly ridiculous, as men old enough to know better fight over a prize that has long since lost its sparkle - with chart glory the Deirdre to Noel's Ken Barlow and Damon's Mike Baldwin.

It seems, though, that Alex James still broods:
Alex James prefers to look at this way: "Blur won the battle, Oasis won the war, then Blur went on to win the whole campaign."

Which would make sense, were it not for James' poor grasp of military strategy - a campaign is a part of a larger war, not the other way round. But still worrying about the spat twelve years on, Alex? The sparks of interest are going out, all over Europe.

-What you protesting against? -What you got tickets for?

The art of protest song writing isn't as dead as occasional think pieces in the papers would suggest (these usually assume that back in the 60s you couldn't switch on the TV without seeing Phil Ochs turning up for Top of the Pops), but its nice that the Arts Council is doing something about it.

We're not sure the right thing to do, though, is a competition to encourage protest music with tickets for, and a slot at, Glastonbury as the prize. Because if your motivation to protest is to go to a festival for free, what sort of song are you going to wind up with?

Cause it's 1, 2, 3, 4
What are we fighting for?
Don't know, and I don't give a darn
Next stop is Worthy Farm...

How many Princes fit into a Barbara Streisand?

Say what you like about Prince - possibly including the phrase "although the embrace of bold experimentation is to be applauded, it can make for passages of his live show that drag somewhat" - but you can't knock his pricing policy. While Babs Streisand is straight-facedly charging five hundred quid to see her gigs, £31.21, plus a free album is probably the closest we'll see to a sensibly priced top-deck star live show this year. Of course, it's some sort of mystical number, and had the new album been called 7777777777 instead of 3121 you would have had to sell your house and your mule to buy a ticket, but it's an interesting proof that you can do a big gig, give away a record, charge a flat rate of thirty quid and still make a profit.

Mind you, the booking fee will probably turn out to be £90.

Go back West

Things are a bit itchy between Russia and Estonia at the moment, with that moving of the bronze soldier commemorating Soviet war dead being just the focus of a long list of grievances between the two nations.

So it probably wasn't wise of Neil Tennant to turn up to play Tallinn and start addressing the crowd in Russian.

Victoria Newton has some fun at Neil's expense, rustling up an outraged fan:

One insulted fan vowed to throw her Pet Shop Boys CD collection into the Baltic Sea.

But perhaps Neil has an excuse for not knowing about the recent native Russian riots in the city - maybe he relies on a newspaper which hasn't mentioned them. Like, ooh, The Sun, for example, which has only mentioned 'Estonia' six times on its news pages this year - twice to mention that its the only place in the EU (along with Ireland) with more muggings than the UK, once to acknowledge the nation taking part in the Afghanistan war, twice in some story about football, and once in a story about a rape.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

XFM heads to South Wales

A very, very long way from its pirate origins: XFM has won a regional FM licence for South Wales. Its bid was guided by an advisory panel chaired by Nicky Wire - curious that someone claiming in the Guardian last week to have rediscovered his punky roots is also doing consultancy work for GCap Media, isn't it?

Dogg offers to work for pony

Apparently, Snoop Dogg is offering to produce My Little Pony singer Celine Dion, as (a) he finds working for his mates less than challenging and (b) since he can't go overseas anymore, he's got some spare time. Dogg says:

"I got beats for mothafuckin' everybody, man. I got beats for Celine Dion, and mothafuckin' Sade. "I've got music for everybody, not just rap. Rap shit is easy - whoever I call, I can get, just because I'm Snoop Dogg. That's too easy. I want to reach out with some creative artists that's gonna be here 20 years from now."

Or, failing that, with Sade or Celine Dion.

Rhymes: No deal

The Manhattan DA had offered to cut a deal with the accused-of-a-lot-of-DUI Busta Rhymes. Plead guilty, get a year's sentence, and put it all behind you.

Rhymes has turned down the deal. His lawyer seems to be planning a defence based on Busta being hounded for having refused to help find the man who killed his bodyguard - which might be the case, but, as we've observed more than once: if you believe the police are just looking for any excuse, it's probably not a good idea to get pissed off your pockets and leap into a driving seat.

Ruined In A Year

Birthday congratulations to Ruined Music, which has been collecting stories about songs spoiled forever by association with bad circumstances for a year.

Y Kant NE Dreem dOO?

As if she hasn't got enough strings and bows attached with varying degrees of surety, Tori Amos is now trying her hand at writing a musical:

"I think I am writing a musical. I'm gushing but I'm under lock and key. I'm trying to be Lloyd Webber and Rice. I'm trying to be both. I'm busy. This is such a big project - a double record, 23 songs and the extras."

Being Lloyd Webber and Rice is quite a tall order - how can you fit in all that work for the Lords Taverners and being a Lord? - but we fear she might end up closer to Richard Stilgoe. So far, she's only let slip one song is about how you kill a man, which suggests it might be a bit like Jesus Christ Superstar which is pretty much on the same subject.

Legend In My Living Room

Annie Lennox - yes, that Annie Lennox - has had her daughter hit by the curse of the email party invite. What was meant to be a quiet affair for Lola while her Dad was away got a bit out of hand after half the viewers of the internet turned up. It's not Annie's problem, of course, as she doesn't live there any more, but that hasn't stopped it being turned into her problem. The Daily Mail takes almost as much delight in detailing the damage as the chuffwads who caused it enjoyed making it:

[A]s things got worse people were urinating on the carpet in the corner of the living room, then there was graffiti being scrawled on and even etched into the walls, pictures were being taken down and damaged, CDs went missing, books were taken off bookshelves and pages were inexplicably ripped out.

We like that inexplicably. As if there's good, solid, reasons for pissing on someone's carpet or graffiting a person's walls.

The sound of clothing

While Britain waits (or at least pretends to) for Lily Allen "inspired" clothes to go on sale, who knew there was something more annoying than clothes supposedly inspired by music?

How about music inspired by clothes?

Yes, that's what we meant: All American Rejects bloke Tyson Ritter is set to debut a side project, The Gnomans, which is a band inspired by a t-shirt line.

“This whole thing really hasn’t been thought through,” Ritter says. “If I wanted to make money, I definitely would be approaching it differently.” So, after a burlesque show (“We’re not talking Ping-Pong balls getting shot out of orifices”), the Gnomans will play while Asian girls parade out in the T-shirts. If all goes well, says Ritter, “the whole thing’s gonna be like the best sex ever—two and a half minutes and then you can go have a sandwich.”

Let's leave aside the hanging question about how brief Ritter thinks good sex last. Let's also not even wonder why "Asian girls" or ask if that shades from "positive discrimination" into "patronising racist wank". Let's not even wonder if having a project, never mind a side project, might be overstretching Ritter's talents a little. In fact, let's pretend this isn't happening.

It's all better now, isn't it?

What's On London goes off

It's a shame to hear what was, apparently, the oldest listings magazine in the world, Whats On London, has gone down, taking several jobs and freelancer's money with it, but at the same time, there's something astonishing about a magazine which has closed because it simply ran out of paper.

Mani: sort it out, Pete

When a member of Primal Scream is advising you to get yourself in hand, you should really take that seriously. Mani is warning Pete Doherty to get it together:

"Show me the tunes mate. I don't want to see you being a junkie. You'll end up dying.

You are probably about to ruin one of my mate's lives. I'm very friendly with Kate Moss and it's about time you concentrated on your music."

And that wasn't just because he wanted to say that he was mates with Kate Moss, you know. It's genuine concern.

Meanwhile, a London cabbie has claimed that Doherty tried to pay a fare with Kate's belongings. Although the image of a taxi pulling over and saying "tenner, mate" only for Pete to try and pass a teasmade through the grill with a jolly 'keep the change' is pleasing, it wasn't quite like that, says driver Roland Andrews. It was a 100 mile journey, for a start:
"He was pretty apologetic and told me I should contact his accountant for the rest as he didn't have a cashpoint card or anything.

He asked me to help him unload his stuff into Kate's house and then he said, 'If there's anything here you want then help yourself to it. The missus won't mind.'"

Presumably the difficulty in paying tax on half a basket of used undies made Andrews decide to seek the outstanding fare in money, instead.