Thursday, August 28, 2003


BUM RAP: Beyonce Knowles doesn't want to be famous for being Bootylicious any more. And she's also sworn that she'll never, ever do nude sessions. Well, not while the albums are selling, anyway. Mind you, she apparently said all this in an interview with bang, which surely is more demeaning than showing your breasts in public?

BUM RAP: Beyonce Knowles doesn't want to be famous for being Bootylicious any more. And she's also sworn that she'll never, ever do nude sessions. Well, not while the albums are selling, anyway. Mind you, she apparently said all this in an interview with bang, which surely is more demeaning than showing your breasts in public?

ANYONE WOULD THINK THAT - ASIDE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE WAITING TO GET THEIR HANDS ON A SEGWAY AND WHO 'RECKON THEY KNOW JUST WHO NATHAN BARLEY IS MEANT TO BE' - NOBODY EVER GAVE A TOSS ABOUT THE BAND: Visual-joke band The Polyphonic Spree have been dropped because, erm, nobody much wanted to own a record by them. We hope the label took them in one at a time to tell them. One of them had something to do with Bang, didn't they?

PUTTING THE SPECIAL INTO AGENT: Having done a guest slot in that hotbed of Stanilavsky stricture Hollyoaks, Darius now thinks he's ready to have a crack at being James Bond. Not that mumbling "Nice bikinis, blonde girls" in a soap opera has gone to his head, he does admit that maybe ewan McGregor might be in front of him in the queue when Bond is recast. Really? Jesus, man, Jeanette Krankie would be ahead of you in the bloody queue.

Equally winningly, talking about the "book" he's "written", all about his life, he says "I did English at Edinburgh University and have always had a secret desire to be an author. It's a dream come true." Darius is a really nice guy, and apparently he's hung like hank, but even so... he thinks a slapped together ghostwritten memoir is "being an author"? Boy, did Kafka ever get it wrong.

CRUEL AND UNUSUAL: Bobby Brown to get nine days in chokey and then - and this is where Amnesty will have to get involved - he'll be under house arrest for sixty days. Sixty days with Whitney. I'll bet he'd rather have the chair.

Great thing: The judge who sent the pretty boy to the big house was called Wayne Purdom.

As they took him down, Whitney cried out "Stay strong, baby." Because that's how Big Timmy on Block H likes 'em.

MY FAVOURITE SOUTH PARK: Is the one where Cartman inherits a fortune and buys a theme park - Cartmanland - which he intends to keep to himself. However, he then has to allow in a paying customer to ensure he can afford security. Then he has to allow in more, to get staff to run the food booths. Before long, Cartmanland is a massive success, although Cartman winds up being hit by a massive tax bill as a result and ends the episode broke.

Why am I telling you this? No special reason. Let's get back to business. Michael Jackson is going to let a limited number of visitors into his private theme park.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

NOT ONLY DID SHE SCREAM, BUT SHE RAN THROUGH TWO OCTAVES ON THE WORD 'BASTARDS' ALONE: No Rock is relocating in the next couple of days - we're meant to be putting things into boxes right now, in fact - and, naturally, we get stressed. ("Moving house is a great upsetment. It's upsetting. People get upset", of course). But when we need to relax a little, we just reach for a piece of paper onto which we've printed the Associated Press report on the arrest of Bobby Brown:

Singer Bobby Brown was fine with being arrested -- it was his wife and fellow singer Whitney Houston who went ballistic, police say. Sgt. Chris Lagerbloom said Houston angrily confronted police officers "yelling and screaming and pointing fingers" as Brown was arrested outside a seafood restaurant outside Atlanta for an alleged probation violation. He said Houston was "outwardly frustrated" and "to say that she was calm about it would be a misstatement." Police say Brown was arrested for not showing up for court-ordered community service, drug treatment or a random drug test. Brown has been in jail since Friday's arrest for violating his probation from an earlier drunk driving conviction. He's due in court Wednesday. Police say they didn't charge Houston with disorderly conduct because people react that way all the time when a relative is arrested.

You know, I believe the children are our futures, and we should teach them well, and let them lead the way. Part of that would be to get ripped off their tits on drug, skip bail, turn into a screeching harridan when the police turn up to do their job. But it's nice to know that whatever they take away from Whitney, they won't take away her dignity.

No doubt the real reason they didn't arrest her was because they really, really didn't want her in the cells. The noise of desperate men seeking sexual solace in each other is bad enough, but listening to Whitney bellowing from the other cells? Nobody's going to want to submit to that willingly.

RINGS AROUND THE WORLD: We're actually quite impressed with an email we got from Pierre, who pointed out this listing of International Charts and suggested that, using their Mexican listings, tatu "seem to be quite big in mexico." Maybe to a point, but (and here our Spanish lets us down) they seem to be at number six in the siding chart for foreign artists, which - while better than they deserve - hardly constitutes "storming" the charts. Trickling up the secondary listings would be how we put it...

DOES MY ARSE LOOK BIG IN THIS?: Buddyhead, which is so excellent you have to read it through a smoked glass screen, reports that Fred Durst is fretting over just how rubbish the new album is turning out sounding, and - splendidly - that he's asking MTV to airbrush his arse down to a more manageable size for the 'Making of' show. The man gets more like Kylie every day. (NB: We have no way of knowing if this story is totally true, but - hey - if Fred wants to show us his arse... oh, hang on... I think... blee...)

YOU ARE WHAT YOU SING: There's an interesting little document cropped up listing the songs which wannabe American Idols aren't allowed to sing in their desperate attempts to attract the eyes of the nation in the hope that they might add some value to their otherwise empty lives. There's a blanket ban on Mariah Carey and - erm - Van Morrison, and a tart "most alternative/rock bands would not be advisable" (thereby shutting out the chance of AI getting its own Fame Academy-esque plastic indie boy shoofing his way through The Strokes like his taut little ass depended on it). We guess its something to do with rights clearance, isn't it?

This came to us via the excellent hookers & blow, who also gave us the lead on the story above.

OH, COURTNEY... I AIN'T YOUR GRANDADDY: They say that all is fair/ in love and war/ and child, believe it/ but when Courtney's grandma was in search of love/ it wasn't Marlon she'd choose... ... in fact, her mother isn't even sure which book Courtney was reading which lead her to assume that Marlon was her grandad. We do admire the honesty on Love's mum's part, in standing up and saying "the most interesting thing in my book isn't, actually, in it..."

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: For some reason, the busier we are, the earlier it seems to appear, but it'll be back to it's live at 10 pm slot next week edition

The main problem with Word, of course, is the cover choices - okay, Dido is a step up from Weller, but it still screams "Your Dad's magazine is here, Tarquin." I mean, even if they had some sort of cover gimmick - star dressed as a favourite character from literature, for example, although it's be four Alex from a clockwork orange a year - would be a better indication of the imaganitive appraoch inside.

And what's inside? Gabby Logan, defending rhythmic gymnastics which is "as much a sport as darts or golf" (so, not in any real sense of the word 'sport' then) and reporting that she once got Barry Venison to warn off a proto-stalker.

There's some interesting maths at the heart of the Mercury Music Prize - the entry fee is GBP200 a disc, the prize fund is GBP20,000. Many, many more than 100 CDs are entered each year. The prize may be increasingly without honour, but there's sure some profits.

Jewel loves being told "you're dressing sexier" because she thinks it raises the question "can you be sexy and smart at the same time?" - although this seems to take for granted that people think she's smart, surely?

HMV is having to tighten its returns policy in light of the sheer weight of people who had been bringing discs back having ripped the MP3s off them. We guess the 'No Risk Disc' policy has been dumped, then.

Things you didn't know about Randy Newman (perhaps): he arranged 'is That all There is' for Peggy Lee, and was nominated an energy-sapping 16 times for an oscar before he finally won one of the blighters.

"If you're afraid of your boss" says Mary J Blige "that means you have disrespect for him." Yes, Mary, that's it - if you're working for a sadistic, evil bastard, the fault is with you for not showing 'nuff respect. Did Whitney tell you that, dear?

It's curious that Dave Tyack, one of the early toasts of Twisted Nerve, managed to go missing in Corsica with barely a murmur. He's still not returned.

George Melly has a wonderful anecdote, as is his MO, about Sir Roy Strong's friends getting the balls to tell him he name-drops too much. Without missing a beat, Roy replies "You know, that's extraordinary - the Queen Mother was saying much the same thing the other day..."

Tim Burgess is, unsurprisingly, listening to Gram Parsons and loves The Catcher In The Rye, as does Ricky Gervias, who also loves the Darkness.

In his Dexy's piece, what William Shaw manages to do is, for the first time, manage to make the isolated Dexys myths make sense as part of a coherent whole; so even the master-tape stealing seems logival, if not exactly sensible. Presumably he's aided by Kevin's more accesable attitude (and by not being part of the Established Music Press), and as such is able to document Rowland's fall the way it actually happened; a slow slide into addiction and misery rather than the 'drop from a clear blue sky' that it's usually repackaged as. Rowland's dole officer seems to have been a sweetheart, by the way, suggesting that he signs up for a sound recording course, to give him the 18 month waiting time as a breathing space.

Less successful is the So Solid Crew piece, which seems to miss what, with hindsight, is now blindingly obvious - the records were merely the chart equivalent of the gas explosion in Family Affairs; a quick and effective way of launching a slew of new characters at once. The early days of the So Solids saw them approached as if they were a coherent lump; in effect, they were merely a musical box of Celebrations.

"Nobody ever used 'I' at the NME - it might have made us seem less credible as a governing body of musical taste."

It's nice to see themanwhofellasleep getting a double page spread (Popbitch has been lacking something since he left, don't you think?)

In the Dido piece, there's one telling piece of information - when she was a new romantic, her favourites were Spandau Ballet (she cites the suit-era, too, rather than the admittedly sexy naked men smearing paint over themselves period). Oh, and it was The Police who inspired her to make music. We didn't see any mention of how much she respects Annie Lennox, but we're betting its there.

In the reviews section, The Coral's Magic & Medicine is "Captain Pugwash meets Captain Beefheart" and Broadcast live "in a Narnia of their own making."

X-Ray might want to cut down on the 'XRay can reveal' catchphrase in their news section; in a monthly your news couldn't be any colder if it had a haddock and chips in it and, besides, we don't believe that you haven't just copied it down off your radio sister service. Having said which, the magazine is settling down into a fairly readable groove now; it's a lot less of a hectic read and they seem to either have abandoned some of the regular features or at least toned them down a little. Together with the cover mount CD, it's still a nice little package.

This month, Franz Ferdinand say "this guy once said [we] reminded him of an acid house party - that attitude, only with rock and roll music." We're not sure this is a compliment - isn't it merely saying "listening to you made me feel I was in a warehouse surrounded by a mix of gangsters and people off their cakes, with very little attention to health and safety being paid?"

Jason Pierce admits, with a sigh, to having sometimes called his hometown Drugby. In the Jamaican Black Country, presumably.

Frank Black hates stickers. So do we. They're the crappy end of pop promo material - Frank reckons they're worse than graffiti and we tend to agree with him. At least graffiti you have to be able to write to do (a little), but where is the input into removing the backing and slapping a piece of paper onto something? You don't even need paste and a bucket.

The label of love this month is Wichita, and the chronicle is a bluffer's guide to Krautrock.

Lauren Laverne suggests the perfect back to school record is, erm, Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. We love Lauren like the goddess she is, but if any schoolchildren do take her up on this advice, the number of Childline is available in the phonebook.

Peter from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club turns out to be the Edward Grundy of rock - he grew up on a sheep farm that went bust and then joined a noisy band. We don't think this means that Peter is the Ambridge horse ripper - although we suspect he'd be happy to give David Archer a hand killing any badgers that he might have left over at Brookfield. Then there'd be comments on the website, you can be certain.

The rapture admit to being over-hyped, while Chad from the Neptunes bristles so much at being accused of having been a Goth we can only conclude that he was one.

Tim Burgess is still the easiest interview in the world, wittering away from one topic to another (at one point comparing LA to Highgate Cemetary); he also pulls off what dave Gahan seems incapable of or unwilling to do; describing the restraints of being a member of a band without making it sound like its something you get sentenced to. He's still our boy.

The NME are desperate to makes ammends to the Darkness, aren't they? This is second cover without a supporting interview in about six weeks. Of course, we're damn near the 39th relaunch of the decade, and it's a reading/leeds 'souvenir' special, so it might be 84 pages long, but if the paper could feel any more end of term they'd be bringing games in and playing Hangman instead of doing album reviews.

News: the paper seems to think the well-covered story that Coldplay are going on hiatus is some sort of World Exclusive (hey, guys, robbie's thinking of chucking it in...); there's a strokes track-by-track preview - the nme says "worth the wait", although they have to believe in it because if it ain't great, bang goes the whole of their plans for October (November, December, 2004...)

Damon Albarn is asked about the Hutton enquiry. He waffles. The paper then challenge him on why he had a pop at Chris Martin for being anti-war when it was "fashionable" (i.e. when we were about to go to war). Albarn's answer is amazingly stupid - in fact, Alisatair Campbell would probably applaud his attempt to spin that what he really meant was that Chris Martin should have made his anti-Bush speech when he stepped onto the Brits stage, not just before he was leaving it. It's interesting that in Damon's mind, the anti-war movement became fashionable during the time that Coldplay were picking up their gongs - an astonishing coincidence - and that he doesn't seem to understand that if you're going to use live TV as a platform, you have to make sure your outburst comes when they're not expecting it; after the hand has relaxed on your microphone fader. It's a pity that Albarn represents the part of the anti-war movement that couldn't be happy winning people over, and just attacked the converts for having waited to be convinced. "We should be doing this [protesting] every year" he says of the Stop The War, failing to grasp that what was astonishing about the event was that it brought together so many people with so many clashing opinions out to protest a single subject.

Surprisingly, having near-naked Kate Moss in their video has landed the White Stripes all over the tabloids. I'll bet that came as a shock to them, didn't it?

That fucking Bowie & Bing strip is still there. It's COCK COCK COCK COCK COCK COCK.

The Bandits CD features Nancy and Lee, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Eek-a-mouse.

Fannypack are given the Hot New Band treatment, presumably because there's no regular 'one-joke novelty act' feature in the paper. Yet.

Franz Ferdinad are here too; they take knitted replicas of their girlfriends on tour with them. Presumably because the real thing would be deflated by the time they get home.

Do you think James from Starsailor has a pudgy face? We've been debating the point here. Rather unfairly, the band are asked to speculate on if they think their producer Phil Spector really did shoot that woman, although Stel does try and suggest that it's nice timing that Silence Is Easy has been released at the same time as Spector, erm, hasn't been.

For some reason the nme didn't just get Jack and Meg loosalikes but also Justin Darkness and, erm, Hank from Turbonegro instead. The Meg wasn't too bad but the Jack? Was he supposed to have died in the car crash? Meanwhile, a fan is asked what's so great about the yeah yeah yeahs and replies "it's really great to see a woman fronting a band", as if the whole of the last thirty years hasn't been knee deep in female-powered acts. there's posters and reviews too, and everyone gets at least one word. Just one word in many cases.

The Raveonettes are all tied up - it's a great photo, if a slightly flabby story-so-so-far article in support. We can't decide if Sune or Sharin are the prettier of the pair. That's a good sign.

the cooper temple clause - kick up the fire, let the flames break loose - "already an inferno", 8
scout niblett - I am - "reminiscent of Daniel Johnston at his best", 8
the neptunes - clones - "fuck the rap faggots", 8
spiritualized - amazing grace - "another truly great album", 9
anjali - the world of lady a - "knee-trembling", 6

sotw - trash money - you lied, satan - "genius"
dido - white flag - "as involving as an Argos catalogue"
tim burgess - i believe in the spirit - "a superfly declaration of empowerment"

pj harvet - st austel eden project - "more relevant than ever"
starsailor - london ULU - "the audience are occasionally flummoxed"
tim burgess - birmingham academy 2 - "'Play sproston green' shouts abloke. If only."

Sigh. Will Swells ever get to do the letters page again?

THAT'LL SHOW 'EM: Can you spot what's wrong with the following paragraph?

Almost three years after their breakup, Rage Against the Machine will stick it to The Man one more time with the release of the CD/DVD Live at the Olympic Auditorium, due November 18, according to an Epic Records spokesperson. [Source: MTV news]

Unless we've missed something, and Epic Records have turned over night into a whale-hugging co-op, how exactly will sticking out a(nother) contractual-fulfilling collection of previously released material (albeit this time with some extra shouting, crowd whoops) stick 'anything' to the Man? "Oooh, that Rage Against The Machine have really got me scared now" writes The Man "I just hope they don't take it further and start to release Best Of and Greatest Hits compilations into the Christmas markets in the coming years. Why, that would just about be the end of me..."

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

OH, GOOD: Carson Daly's playing-at-record-labels side project is preparing its first releases. Oh, good. If we weren't already refusing food, water and oxygen in preparation for the Strokes' second album, why, we'd be hunger striking until this was ready.

DIYOBIT: It's all obituaries at the moment, isn't it? Wesley Willis has sucummed to myelogenous leukemia at the age of just 40. His death has caused difficulties for most newspapers, who seem to feel that his passing is worthy of record but aren't quite sure how to describe what exactly it was he did. Perhaps the greatest tribute is to say that he made the records he wanted. But he chose to introduce himself as 'I'm Wesley Willis. I'm a rock star', and so maybe that should be his epitaph.

C&WOBIT: Country Music Hall of Fame member Floyd Tullman died on Friday from Leukemia. Shortly before he died, the 88 year-old finished up work on a collection of tracks called the Influence, a duets-style affair in which he sang with Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. Tullman is probably best known for his first hit, They Took The Stars Out of Heaven, a wartime number one.

STROKING THE FIRE: We're now meant to be getting frottingly excited as the Strokes have named their album. It's going to be called Room On Fire and the tracklisting would be this:
’What Ever Happened?’
’Automatic Stop’
’You Talk Way Too Much’
’Between Love & Hate’
’Meet Me In The Bathroom’
’Under Control’
’The End Has No End’
’The Way It Is’
’I Can't Win’
We'd imagine that you'll be find it difficult to breathe until the thing appears on October 20th.

NO SHIT, SHERLOCK HEADLINES OF THE WEEK: Debbie Harry says Monroe inspired her to go blonde. Coming next week: "Name was taken from a comic book"

BIOGOBIT: Ian MacDonald, music journalist, has died. Although his work has appeared in Uncut, Mojo and the NME, where he was briefly a staffer before punk happened, MacDonald will probably be best remembered for Revolution In The Head, a meticulous work placing the Beatles' songs into their cultural context.

MacDonald also made music as well as writing about it. Some of his work was used by Quiet Sun, a band featuring his brother Bill MacCormick and a pre-Roxy Music Phil Manzanera; more recently he returned to the studio to make the album Sub Rosa.

His last book, The People's Music collected some of his best articles and traced his central argument that the success of the Beatles shifted the power of the music industry from the business to the fans, while punk destroyed the 'skills base' of the music world. It would have been fascinating to see what he made of the post-Napster world but, sadly, we'll never know. The increasing turmoil in the wider world drove MacDonald into depression and then suicide.

APPENDICITIS BITES: So, the one out of Tatu who doesn't look like a tranny Mick Hucknall has been rushed to hospital with get-me-out-of-this-itis, sorry, appendicitis. They had to - dash it all - cancel a Monte Carlo gig, but, according to Ananova, "We also plan to go to Latin America, where our music is currently storming the charts." This is wonderful news, only slightly undermined by their not being in the Brazilian charts, or the Argentinan run down. Mexico don't appear to have a listing (at least not one we can find) so we guess they might be big there, as they don't appear in the Peru listings. However, we do offer them congratulations on being number one in the Vox 9 listings. From what we can gather, hitting the heights in this and claiming you've "stormed the charts in Latin America" is on a par with being at number three on the Box's Box Tops chart and suggesting you're Europe's answer to Madonna.

WHERE DO PEOPLE GET THE IDEA SHE'S LITTLE MORE THAN A TAILGATER?: The fact that she's waited until her sister broke the US before Dannii Minogue has a crack at the USA is probably down to scheduling difficulties, we'd imagine. Let's hope she doesn't spoil the 40th anniversary of 'I have a dream' by twittering on about politics.

Monday, August 25, 2003

LIKE THE HARD ROCK CAFE, ONLY WITHOUT THE BURGERS: The last time a Liverpool nightspot attempted to replicate beyond the city boundary, the Lomax-goes-to-Stoke adventure didn't have a happy ending. However, that hasn't put the Cavern Club off the idea of opening international branches. Since the Cavern Club in Liverpool is only a replica, we guess there's no reason why the international fakes won't be just as 'genuine' as the hometown fake, but it still seems a bit curious to us - how many people in Rio would want to go to a backstreet English bar when they could be doing Brazilian stuff? It's good news, though, for the Brazilians who were refused entry to the country because they failed a Mike Reid style pop-quiz about the band. Now they can either indulge their passion at home, or at least bone up on the facts before they set out again.

The little curious wrinkle to the International Cavern story, though, lies in the announcement of it this weekend. Sure, it gave the organisers of the Mathew Street Festival something to hang their press on, but hasn't this already been announced back in December last year?. And talking of announcements, what exactly happened to the Beatles themed hotel the same team said would be opening in 2003? I hope they've not held the launch party and not invited us.

THIS'LL BE A CAREER MOVE, THEN: Aspiring rap singer found shot to death

'HURRAH! NOBODY BURNED DOWN ANY TOILETS!": So, lets give credit where it's due, and give thanks that - apart from the nasty barrier not-collapse - Leeds festival went well and didn't end in a foreshadowing of armaggeddon.

Shavo Odadjian also earns our respect (on behalf of System of a Down) for their quick action in pulling up their set when the barrier-incident happened: ""It's our responsibilty. Even though it's my show, if kids are getting hurt you've got to stop. Once the energy starts coming from the fans and comes to us it creates a cycle of intense energy. Once that gets too much, you've got to stop it and create some peaceful energy." You might wish to compare and contrast this with the attitude and actions of Fred Durst back at the Big Day Out - if he'd reacted like that, rather than encouraging the Limp Bizkit audience to attack the security guys, maybe that girl might not have died. Everyone at Leeds seems to have swung into action and done the right thing quickly and saved a major-fuck up from turning into a major tragedy, and deserves to be praised for that. But that doesn't let the organisers off the hook - after the Danish and Australian festival disasters, it's unforgivable that the barrier shifting was able to happen. When you hand over your money to a festival company, you have the right to expect that the basic safety equipment is going to work. We'd be interested to see if this is going to be taken any further.

In other festival news: The coverage of the two legs was excellent - although we'd doubt that a crowd waiting for Metallica would be that "stunned" by Bobby Gillespie being rude to them; Metallica fans will take any end of shit from their own band, so the boss of a rival band coming on all Alex Fergusson won't be too much of a problem, we'd guess. The curious bleeding of the career of Blur continues - Damon falling off stage like an emotional music hall artiste and - oh, what a surprise - Phil Daniels joining them for Parklife. A-bloody-gain. The surprise is probably more in the band dredging up that part of their past to play live rather than Daniels appearing once the opening chords chime out.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

SYSTEM OF A FALL DOWN: The it-would-be-foolish-to-call-it-cursed Leeds Festival had another major fuck-up on Friday when a 'safety' barrier gave way during the System of a Down set. Mean Fiddler rushed out an ass-covering statement:

"During the first few minutes of the System Of A Down performance at the Leeds Festival yesterday the front of stage barrier moved approximately half a metre. This resulted in a young girl trapping her foot. The performance of System Of A Down was halted for a few minutes to release the girl and re-pin the barrier, which at no time collapsed. The medical services have reported that 22 people were treated for minor injuries and the whole System Of A Down and Metallica performances continued with no further incident. Overall the medical services on site reported a 25% decrease in patients this year compared to the same time last year. Today's performances are fully scheduled and under way and we're looking forward to a great weekend of live music."

So, that's alright then - the barrier didn't collapse, it just shot forward half a metre and injured 22 people. The statement manages to neglect mentioning three people were hospitalised, and two of them broke ankles. It doesn't reflect on the luck that it actually gave when it did was kind of lucky, as it was early on in a set and before the crowd started going really bonkers. The barrier did not collapse. That's what counts. So it turns out the function of the safety barrier isn't to guarantee safety, but merely to keep standing at all times. You'll also notice that Melvin Benn didn't bother to take the opportunity to apologise to anyone, or even wish them a swift recovery.

PORTUGUESE UNCERTAIN OF WHAT CONSTITUTES TOURIST ATTRACTION: You've got to love the town of Albufeira in Portugal, wh've just named a street after Cliff Richard. Apparently Cliff has been going on his - hey - Summer Holidays there for years (which makes us wonder why he made Blair go to Carribean if he himself prefers Portugal in summer - we wonder if he was just making sure that Tony and he are never in the same continent simultaneously) and the good people of the town believe that their connection with Cliff has boosted Portuguese tourism. Now they've drawn attention to the link, they'll find out exactly where they have been mistaken. "We're staying on the Rue De Sir Clifford" doesn't really have the romance of, say, Place De Les Heroes, does it?

Of course, on the matter of Street Names in this Beatle Weekend, while Liverpool City Council has sniffed the opportunity to cash in on the band in the last few years ("embraced the lasting heritage of the city's most famous sons") it hasn't always been thus. The dunderheaded demolition of the original Cavern is a story that everyone knows (pulled down with the cry "The Council Car Park Must Be Built"), but if you really want an indication of how little the Hatton-era city valued them, pick up an A to Z and see the grudging streets that were named after John, Paul, George Ringo and... oh, that's it, isn't it? As an indication, if you zoom in as close as you can on Mapquest, only John Lennon's Boulevard is big enough to have its name visible. Liverpool's relationship with the Beatles recalls Sybil's summation of Basil's attitude to guests: "You never get it right, do you? You're either throwing them out, or else you're fawning all over them..."

BUMPING AND GRINDING AFTER NIGHTFALL?: Frustratingly, the reports of Bobby Brown being arrested for violating parole is that they don't know what it is he did. All we know is that he was having a meal with Whitney Houston - which makes us want to cry out, Richard Ingrams style, "He's suffered enough." How much trouble can you get into having supper with Whitney?

[Thinks: Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. Together.]

I daresay he was asking for it then. It's a wonder they didn't take her.

BORKING?: We've had an email from Carina in Australia, giving us what we imagine she'd call a good 'dissing':

everyone keeps on borking eminem like he is bad but in hes songs he is just expresing himself about hes life leave him alone and dont go borking someone you dont even know

That's us told then. We've upset Eminem. Thank god he has Australians to stick up for him.