Saturday, January 08, 2005

PROFESSOR SHEILA, TAKE A BOW: And you thought The Smiths were the ultimate student band... it seems there hasn't been anything like enough chin-scratchy consideration of their work - something the new Manchester University is out to put right:

Conference call for papers:
The Smiths (UK)

Why Pamper Life's Complexities?
A Symposium on The Smiths
Manchester Institute of Popular Culture
Manchester Metropolitan University
April 8th and 9th 2005


Professor Sheila Whiteley (author of Women and Popular Music: Sexuality, Identity and Subjectivity)
John Harris (author of The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock)
Simon Goddard (author of The Smiths: The Songs That Saved Your Life)

The Smiths have had a singular impact on popular culture. They looked like nobody else and sounded like nobody else. The music of The Smiths contained an emotional depth and a technical virtuosity that moved people in a way that almost no other band has managed before or since.

In spite of their enormous cultural significance and personal resonance, The Smiths have yet to receive sustained academic attention. To date, there have been remarkably few serious examinations of the band. The purpose of this symposium is to put that right. The event seeks to draw together academics and others who wish to critically examine what The Smiths meant and continue to mean almost two decades after their untimely demise. Among the themes that we hope to address are gender and sexuality, race and nationality, a sense of place, the imagination of class, the significance of Manchester in popular music, the aesthetics of the band, fan cultures and musical innovation.

Abstracts for proposed conference papers should be no longer than 200 words and should be sent (via email) no later than January 10th 2005 to Dr Fergus Campbell, School of Historical Studies, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne,; Dr Sean Campbell, Department of Communication and Media Studies, APU, Cambridge,, and Dr Colin Coulter, Department of Sociology National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland,

A RADICAL READING OF THE TEXT: VH1 in the states boradcast a programme about Kiss a few times last summer. During the course of the programme, there was much discussion about Gene Simmons' sex life, with Simmons bragging about how he was a twenty-four hour sex machine, and there were no women off-limits, and so on. As part of an illustration of this, a photo was flashed up showing Simmons with his ex-girlfriend Georgeann Walsh Ward. Ward, however, was far from happy, and is now suing Simmons and VH1 and probably a few other people claiming they slandered her, and gave the impression that she was a loose woman.

Her big beef is probably that she believed that during the three years they were dating, she thought that she had a monogamous thing going on with Gene, and you can understand her being surprised to discover that wasn't the case (although we guess she should have twigged a little before 2004 that Gene wasn't so good at the going steady). It's not quite clear how she believes people might inferred from the words and the photo that she was loose, but I'm sure her lawyers are working to find a way.

[UPDATE: There's movement on this story in November 2005]

A DECLARATION OF PEACE: We got a little over-excited when we read the headline Settlement in Bill Monroe Mandolin Fight, as we were hoping this was some sort of sequel to the great Didsbury Lute Riots of 1987, but instead it turned out to be a court-based struggle to try and decide who actually owned Bill Monroe's mandolin. The son of the bluegrass legend said it was his, while the Bill Monore Bluegrass Foundation of Kentucky said they'd agreed to buy it off him for USD1.1 million (which seems a hell of a lot even with the way the exchange rates are); when their attempts to put financing for the deal together had collapsed (and who knew that there are few banks brave enough to invest a million bucks in a mandolin in these times?) the son, James, had attempted to seek other buyers instead. Terms of the deal - struck before the whole thing wound up in front of a judge - aren't being released, presumably because nobody wants to hear about a million dollar mandolin.

35MM JOY: There have been mutterings about it for about a year or so, but it seems that goodsense hasn't actually prevailed and, yes, Anton Corbijn is going to direct an Ian Curtis biopic. Despite the presence of Deborah Curtis as an exec producer, and perhaps because of the presence of Tony Wilson as another, the whole thing smacks of little more than high-concept Hallmark Channel video.

"Whenever Hollywood gets involved in the music industry, the end product is invariably shit. Apart from a few films. ’24 Hour Party People’ was one of them. I think we’ve got the right team together to convey the spirit of Ian on film."

Hmm... presumably not something that would find agreement with the reviewer who wrote the following about 24 Hour Party People in their reviews box:

This movie, or whatever it entails itself to be, is nothing but a collection of small parts that make it totally unreliable. It is so boring, that one not only begins to hate British, because they are portrayed as chain smoking, cussing, prostitute visiting, sobs who do nothing but say the F word and sit on the cold sidewalk. The film was supposed to be about the Factory record label which signed up one of the best bands of all time, Joy Division but as the actors are so terrible, all we get is the Ian Curtis look alike who does nothing but prance around the stage all day pretending to look cool. This movie is not recommend to anyone at all because it isn't even a good tool for sleep.

THE PAST IS ALWAYS WAITING ROUND THE CORNER TO CATCH YOU: Alex Kapranos might have thought that changing his name from the more workaday Alex Huntley might have thrown his past off the scent, but his previous, not-quite-as-cool band The Karelia are getting their album from 1997 re-released.

Divorce At High Noon didn't really do much on its first outing, but did get tyhe Dutch and Germans very excited, as this (poorly translated) Usenet review shows:

That is a strange plate. The bezetting is bas/drum/gitaar/trompet (with here and there a guest role for piano etc) music is not one stipulated style, but a mishmash of styles. It swings of jazzy hot-club riffs and thema's, by means of walsjes to almost avant-garde restraint, but the blues and r&b have been also represented. That trompettist removes sometimes complete strange things, it is sometimes net as if he in fact jet ear would have wanted game, such parties plays - ie. It is very strongly played the drums; the song is the weakest point. The texts become as a matter of fact almost stuck-up sung in Oxford-Engels. A beetje strangely, but nice. Will someone or The Karelia soon to the Netherlands come? And/or why have they chosen this name?

If someone who has a smattering or more of Dutch could help us with the bits babelfish couldn't, by the way, we'd be very thankingfilled.

"WHOOPS... I'VE KILLED HER": Oddly, considering he's now claiming that Lana Clarkson shot herself, the police have told a Grand Jury that at first Phil Spector told the police he'd accidently shot her. I expect when you've got a dead straight-to-video actor on your floor, you just say the craziest things, don't you?

Friday, January 07, 2005

MORE DOGS: Ignoring the old injunction that dogs aren't, you know, just for Christmas, Britney Spears has got another dog. And created a dog bedroom with, uh, a chandelier and a dresser in it. Meanwhile, she's also got Kevin Federline his own motorcycle which would make sense: a woman who spends her time choosing furniture for her puppy-wuppie's bedrooms clealry has a husband in need of a throbbing engine between his legs. Tragically, she's also building him a recording studio because he's - no, really - going to become a rapper. He clearly has all the skills to be a singer, what with having previously been a back-row dancer. We can only speculate as to why he's having to wait until his wife has built a studio for him - surely a talent such as Kevin's ought to have been snapped up and whisked to a real studio?

IT'S A GOOD CAUSE, AT LEAST: The millennium stadium in Cardiff had more or less got no choice but to pull together a Lite Aid gig for the 22nd now, as they'd been talking it up all week. And the first names have been announced - Eric Clapton, Feeder, Lemar, Katherine Jenkins and Aled Jones. Apparently more names are to be announced over the next two weeks, which is just as well because the gig is scheduled to last for seven hours and even the most charitable of us might find our goodwill stretched if those acts were being asked to fill all the time.

Meanwhile, it does occur to us that this event is likely to swell the coffers of certain businesses - for example, it's likely many more people will be heading to Cardiff by train on that day than you might expect on a winter day in January. We're sure First Great Western on the Paddington-Cardiff line wouldn't want to be seen to be boosting their profits off the back of such an event, so we've dropped them an email to find out what their plans are for dealing with this increase in business. We'll keep you posted.

SINGLES NOW LAST YEAR - OFFICIAL: It was inevitable, but it still feels like a moment: last week legitimate, sold, approved by BPI downloads outstripped sales of CD singles: 312,290 against 282,399.

In other sales news, US CD albums, with (along with vinyl and cassettes) managed a staggering 666 Million units in 2004 - a 2.3% rise and, some might say, a fitting figure for the RIAA to be reporting. Curiously, this rise was managed at the same time as 140 million official downloads were sold. And yet hadn't we been told that if people could get hold of music on computers, it would harm physical sales? Once again, the RIAA is forced to release figures that shows - providing you're not just releasing turgid rubbish - it's quite possible for people to buy shedloads of real records alongside downloading them. Now will they stop the tired claim that filesharing is killing their industry? Almost certainly not, but we can always hope, eh?

OR YOU COULD HELP JUST BY STAYING AT HOME: Not that she actually is, of course, but Lindsay Lohan has been musing about getting her hands dirty down in Tsunami debris:

"I was looking to try to get some time off to go over there and help," the teen queen revealed to Us Weekly.

Time off? From what? Is she contractually obliged to sleep in until The Swan comes on or something? And we do like the vagueness of "over there" (as in "the rest of the world"; "that place") and "help" - what exactly did she have in mind? Was she going to help bury the dead, or does Lindsay have medical or building skills of which we're unaware? After all, the only thing she's good at - generating pages and pages of publicity - isn't something that's quite needed right now.

I COULD DO THAT...: Robbie Williams is said to be really, really broken up that Queen didn't want him to step into Freddie Mercury's shoes for the corpse-warming tour. But Robbie, you've got to look at it from Brian May's point of view: why would he want someone more famous and with a higher profile than himself to do the singing? He spent his time with Queen proper in the dark shadow cast by Freddie Mercury, he's hardly likely to pick someone equally as elaborate to take the limelight of him in his Pretend Queen, is he?

THEY'RE BACK. WE'RE OFF: Apparently the totally-re-recorded Oasis album is now ready to roll, and Noel says it's the Best Oasis Album Ever. Which he's said every time they've finished work on an album, even the one which they had to scrap in a hugely expensive and embarrasing fashion because not even Michael Eavis could find anything in it to love. (You might recall that this time last year, NME were predicting 2004 was going to be the year of "the return of Oasis", and their sixth album would be "the best one ever"). Noel reckons the only songs on the record which sound like Oasis are the ones written by Andy Bell, and that the best things (or, rather, "most interesting" things) are Liam's songs. "They are very, very good", apparently. Who knows, maybe this album will actually be just-about-good-enough to be released?

THEY'RE BACK. WE'RE OFF: Lumbering across the music media, like spotting a guest at a party who kept you pressed to a wall discussing the Toyota Laguardia for an hour and a half last time, comes The return of the Stereophonics. They've got a new album out in March, which is going to be called Language, Sex, Violence, Other? and not, as we'd advised 'No, You're Thinking Of Toploader, None Of Us Are Married To Gail Porter.' They're also slightly worried their fanbase has disappeared to parenthood and Franz Ferdinand ("plan to mark their comeback with a series of intimate shows at smaller venues").

MANAGEROBIT: The death has been announced of Danny Sugerman, the manager of The Doors. In a rather alarming piece of imagery, Ray Manzarek reacted to the news by observing "Danny is standing side-by-side with his great friend, Jim Morrison, and the two of them will now be laughing together into eternity." John Densmore, meanwhile, paid tribute to "the No. 1 Doors fan of the world."

Sugerman was 14 when he first hooked up with the band, working as a general lackey for free until Morrison suggested he be put on the payroll. After Jim took his final bath, Sugerman stepped up to manage the affairs of the remaining members, and set about creating a myth that the band were more than a bunch of plodders led by a tubby guy sweating in cheap leather pants. First he did this with the book No-one Here Gets Out Alive - in which he claimed that his personal belief was that Jim was "god" - and then by helping along the hagiographic flick The Doors, which at 141 minutes was, at least, mercifully shorter than all the pointless noodling in the middle of Light My Fire.

More recently, Sugerman had found himself on the board of the US Drug Policy foundation and tried his hand at other books. Having had success with two books about Jim Morrison, Sugerman then told the same story all over again, this time with himself at the middle of it. He then wrote a couple of other Doors-related books, before finally branching out and turning in a biography of Guns N Roses - concluding that Axl Rose is an heir to Byron and Rimbaud (it's a little known fact that Byron once replaced Shelley with a guy wearing a fast food bag on his head) before trying to explain away Axl's homophobic and racist side.

Sugerman once turned up on Granada late one Sunday evening reading from one of his books - probably one of the Doors ones - in a very dull monotone for what seemed like six or seven hours. Perhaps one of the soothing balms of the new ITV is that the programme is hugely unlikely to be dug out and replayed as a tribute.

NO CASE OVER THE CASES: Blackground records' attempt to sue the video producer who arranged Aa;iyah's final flight have been thrown out by a court in New York.

NEVER TRUST A DRUMMER: God alone knows what he did to upset her, but a woman who'd been back to the house of Los Lonely Boys drummer filed a complaint at hospital the next day, leading to Ringo Garza and his wife being caught with - gasp! - less than two ounces of dope.

SANCTUARY MUCH: We're not sure how many more big impact acts Sanctuary have to sign before they become "major", but they've added The Charlatans to their growing list of artists.

IN THE LORD'S NAME, WHY?: Oh, good god, Fischerspooner are about to try and refloat themselves off the back of the Scissor Sister's popularity ("are about to release a second album"). Apparently, they've spent two years working on the collection, Odyssey, in which time they came up with "up to 25 different ideas for songs". That's perhaps as many as one a month.

We suspect the schedule for those two years have been thus:

Jan - Mar 2003: Wait for ears to stop ringing from the noise of the world's laughter
Apr - Nov 2003: Trying to find their EMI contact's new phone number - "No, Casey, the person answering says it's a Chinese Restaurant, again..."
Dec 2003: Period spent as elves in George Henry Lee's Santa's Grotto
Jan - Aug 2004: Sorting out the fall-out from telling the woman down the dole "We are not unemployed... we are culturally vibrant"
Sep 2004: Secure job working in a TV rental shop
Oct 2004: Catch sight of Scissor Sisters on TV in shop quarter; confuse Sisters' bright, shiny, happygaypop with the sort of po-faced, fun-removed Romo stuff because both bands use eyeliner
Nov 2004: Wondering if other people - maybe even record-buying people - might get equally confused. "Warren, have we still got that bag of Number Seven eyeliners and stuff?"
Dec 2004: Knock together a couple of dozen songs

There is, of course, a joyless, self-important statement:

"We worked hard, for an extraordinary two years with some extraordinary collaborators, to make a coherent AOR record, a total statement. Inspired along the way by psychedelia, classic rock and the ideas of the romantics that were the roots of rock and roll, we tried to combine those influences with our own take on modern pop music to create something new and, hopefully unique."

Thursday, January 06, 2005

NOT SO MUCH WITH THE PR FOR HIM NOW: As he recovers from surgery for prostate cancer, James Brown is hearing from old friends and colleagues. Although perhaps not always the ones he'd want to. His former PR assistant, Jacque Hollander, is suing Brown claiming he raped her sixteen years ago. Hollander is seeking a hundred million dollars in compensation for the alleged assault - she says she was raped at gunpoint and battered repeatedly, an attack which lead to her developing Graves Disease. Hollander's spokesperson says that she'd been "afraid" to file criminal charges at the time of the assault but has "recently gathered strength" to bring the action.

VOTING PLUG... AND A VOTING PLUG: The rather nice people at Plug are currently inviting all-comers to invite in the Plug Independent Music Awards: lots of categories, including record shop of the year, which has Rough Trade fighting in an otherwise all-American category; music magazine, which sees The Wire, Uncut and Mojo amongst the runners; and music website of the year, where is going eye-to-eye with

Music categories include Live Act, Avant Album of the Year and Americana Album of the Year. Go vote.

Meanwhile, you can still vote for us, or 3Hive, in the Best of Blog awards. If you have a moment to spare.

RIDE IT... OVER?: Even though she's hardly playing the Royal Albert Hall, reports are that Geri Halliwell is having trouble shifting tickets for her forthcoming UK tour - "lots of seats still available" just about sums it up. Even a desperate faux-partnership with Darius from Pop Idol (which is less a relationship, more a 'Here And Now tour' in dating form) has failed to shift the blighters. The big comeback single, Ride It only managed 41,000 copies...

HOPE IS IMPORTANT: It's been pointed out to us that it's not that easy to find the download in aid of Motor Neurone disease tucked away on the all-floating, miserable user experience that is the official Hope of the States website. To cut a long search short, you can find the download on

HASN'T SHE ALREADY DONE A BOOK?: Mel B or G or whatever it is she's got Carol to pull out of the constanant box for a surname this week is planning to write a warts-and-all autobiography about the true Spice Girls story, in the apparent belief that there's anyone who's interested any more. It's expected to be especially hard on Victoria and Geri, which will come as a total shock to the three people who still think they're lovely, genuine people and not neurotic control freaks with an insane desire to promote themselves way above the level of their minimum talents should allow.

We suspect the book won't be as exciting as this one:

HAVEN'T WE BEEN HERE BEFORE?: As another celebrity Big Brother prepares to clutter up Channel 4's schedules, we're interested to read that Brigitte Nielsen plans to "launch" a singing career on the strength of it:

"My album is finished and I'm just waiting for a record deal - people will be surprised at my voice."

Will they, Brig? Surely people will only be surprised if they don't recall your previous attempts to "launch" your musical career. Like the singing spot on Gloria Honeyfield's daytime chatshow in the 90s, or your 1987 album Every Body Tells A Story, for example? In fact, we'd rather hear fellow Big Brother contestant Bez knocking out a single than another throw of your stuff at an uncaring world.

Myleene Klass is also going into the house - along with Mark 'famous only as legal ruling' Bosnich and John McCirrick. Klass on another reality show? Whatever happened to that serious classical music career, eh?

JENNY AT THE POST: As the cash rolls in to help the earthquake-tsunami victims, Jenny Frost was at the Mount Pleasant Sorting Office in London yesterday to lend a hand with the piles of mail heading to the Disasters Emergency Committee. Presumably they kept her on at the Royal Mail after she'd done some Christmas relief work, then?

Actually, her, Denise Van Outen and Michelle Collins were there to, um... well, what, exactly? Keep the tsunami in people's minds? Encourage people to make donations? ("I wasn't that bothered by five million people made homeless, but then when her out of Eastenders explained to me she wanted me to donate, well, I had to put my hand in my pocket.)

NOT BELLE DE JOUR: Clearly, Belle De Jour is not a pen-name for Lauren Laverne, as anyone who was capable of earning money as a callgirl wouldn't wind up presenting The Orange Playlist. It's still rolling away in the background on ITV, and this week it's the turn of Denise Van Outen to choose some records.

Here, Lauren attempts to show Denise what skin that isn't riddled with the seed of future melanoma looks like.

In the programme, Denise reveals that she took pictures of herself on George Michael's toilet to show to all her friends - we imagine many excuses and early entrances must have been when she got that roll back from Bonusprint - and that at a party, she met Andrew Ridgeley standing next to the fridge and - what larks! - called him Andrew Fridgeley all evening. It's a wonder Passport To Paradise wasn't recomissioned, isn't it? We don't know if Andrew responded by renaming denise after an appropriate object next to her, although unless George Michael has a stupid, cackling tit in his kitchen, it seems unlikely.

CARL UNDER THE KNIFE: Carl Barat is sick of having an ugly, useless lump at the side of his head everywhere he goes: no, Pete's not come back: Barat has some sort of tumour behind his ear. It's possible the tumour, when its removed later this month, will release a single with Doherty on vocals.

MAN FORCED TO BUY IPOD: A chap called Thomas Slattery - tantalising close, but not close enough to Tony Slattery to allow us to look for a chance to make a "Of course, she's a lady" joke - has brought a lawsuit against Apple, claiming it forced him to buy an iPod in order to take his iTunes stuff with him. We're not quite sure why Slattery felt he was being forced to use iTunes in the first place, although it's possible that Steve Jobs used some sort of sword or something; his case seems to be based on iTunes being a distinct market in its own right. We're not expecting the case to get far, but we hope the judge doesn't laugh at him for being a person using the courts for the right to have a crappier MP3 player.

CLOSER THAN THE WASHINGTON GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS: It's rare that the annual charts are anything other than a foregone conclusion, but the 2004 year's album chart was neck and neck up until the last minute: indeed, so close was the race that Radio One announced the wrong winner, hailing Keane's Hopes and Fears as the best-seller. Actually, Scissor Sisters had a better News Year Eve and nudged themselves in front of Keane by just 582 copies.

WHEN IS A THREAT NOT A THREAT?: Last year, the RIAA was squawking with panic about the prospect of young Americans recording music off crystal-clear digital radio. However, asked to clairfy what they saw as the threat, RIAA spokesvoice Jonathan Lamy said "Oh, we're only worried about digital terrestrial [DAB, or HD radio as they're calling it in the US] not satellite."

It might seem odd that the RIAA is only worried about people recording off DAB and not XM or Sirius: why would it make any difference where the person stealing (for all non-authorised recording is, lest we forget, theft) steals from? Isn't this a curious line from the RIAA; like saying - to use their favourite "stealing a CD from the store" metaphor - that it's OK to rob a disc from Harrods, just not from Target? Ah, but it turns out that, while terrestrial radio pays a flat royalty for each play of a track, the RIAA gets a slice of revenue in return for tracks played on satellite. In other words, the RIAA has a direct financial interest in promoting the uptake of satellite and discouraging the growth of DAB in the US. This isn't about rights and wrongs, it's purely about crushing a service which isn't as attractive to them.

TIMES ARE HARD FOR THE JACKSON BROOD: The large pile of financial problems hanging around Michale Jackson's head has now got so bad, his ex-"wife" Debbie Rowe has been reduced to flogging her wedding ring on Ebay. Rowe claims that Jackson owes her more than a million dollars in unpaid alimony.

In other Jackson news, the approach of the Jackson defence camp seems to have shifted from "He didn't do it" to "You can't trust that boy's mother", with a lot of material appearing in the press claiming the mother of the kid he's alleged to have got drunk and fumbled was exploiting her son's cancer for monetary gain.

WHY WON'T THEY TAKE HER SERIOUSLY?: Poor Ashlee Simpson: things are just getting worse and worse for her. Following on from the Saturday Night Live debacle, she got booed so badly at the Orange Bowl halftime show that TV producers had to cut away from her face.

Can anyone think of a reason why she might not be taken seriosuly?

PRESENTEROBIT: Humphrey Carpenter, regular presenter of Radio 3's Night Waves and In Tune, has died. Born in 1946, and the son of a future Bishop of Oxford, Carpenter combined a sharp wit with a bright musical talent.

His entry into presenting came in 1970 with the launch of BBC Radio Oxford, one a slew of stations the BBC threw together to try and head off the gathering threat of Independent Local Radio. Carpenter - who'd joined the BBC as a trainee in 1968 - fronted some of the accessable -but-worthy midweek programmes but transformed himself into Humpf for Saturday mornings, offering an Everettesque mix of silly voices and pop music.

As a musician, he could swap between piano, double-bass and sousaphone; his jazzband Vile Bodies held a residency for some years at the Ritz Hotel.

In a busy career, he also found time to be a respected though controversial biographer - his book on Robert Runcie created a brief storm, although he's probably most widely known for his book on Tolkein - and a children's author, creating Mr. Majeika; as well as squeezing in a Saturday morning theatre group for children. He never extended his work to television, though, something Carpenter himself put down to a tendency to "come across like someone's mad aunt."

Humphrey had been diagnosed with Parkinsons in his early fifties, and although he shared the details with his friends, he kept his condition from the BBC in case it affected offers of work. He died on January 4th from a pulmonary embolism, and is survived by his wife, Mari, and two daughters.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Special mopping-up the time I've been away edition
So, there's three previous NMEs to work through, covering four weeks. The issue before Christmas was Muse, which is pretty much all we know about it.

Then came the Christmas and New Year double issue - with, oh god, U2 on the cover. Presumably they pinched it from Uncut. Socially concerned Bono is spraying a bottle of expensive champagne all around. Nice to see a careful approach to the world's resources then, and a sharing attitude towards not flaunting excessive wealth. Bono shares his views about Band Aid 20: "I think the piano hook is really great. It's much more... it's much more... I prefer it. I much, much prefer it because the music is a little more about the lyric. It feels more tense, which I think is what some people don't like. It's not sugar coated." Oh, Bono... besides clearly scraping together an opinion on the slot with all the elan of George Bush on the stump, the reason why people hate Band Aid 20 is that, two decades on, the only attempt to try and make the lyric anything more than a load of Imperially confused cliches was the addition of Dizzee Rascal's career-ending rap. Nobody was going "ooh, it's a lot more tense than when Bananarama were on it; that must be the presence of Dido ratcheting up the tension."

Elizabeth Goodman, the New York correspondent, used her Xmas column to say farewell to Guided By Voices, which means we're placing ourselves forever on call to carry her shopping bags whenever she has the urge.

Nathan from the Kings of Leon met up with Peter Robinson, and came down on the side of a Boots vouchers over M&S - something that i wish my Uncle who always used to give me Marks & Spencers every year had realised. Mind you, back then M&S had little more than sensible pants and chickens and Boots had a record department. Now, M&S has really nice pants and booze, and Boots doesn't even do homebrew. Nathan's view of the balance of christmas vouchers is as relentlessly 70s as his beard.

Lisa Moorish was allowed on the pub golf tour this year, as was Charlie Simpson from Fightstar (not Busted, remember, that's just his day job). Also turning up were Eddie Argos, Simon Neil and Maggot. Oddly, though, it was the best one since Johnny Cigarettes gave up judging.

Carl and Pete both get interviewed, separately. Carl complains he used to give the Libertines mouth organs for Christmas but they'd just leave them lying around - although, as we know, Pete would later help himself to other "gifts" instead. Pete Doherty, for his part, reveals that the bloke in the room next to him in the Thai monastry kept playing Room On Fire over and over. With hindsight, then, not surprising he went into town to look for smack, is it? And, if you're waiting for the judgement of the winner, Ana Matronic, of the Scissors, offered a choice between Pete or Carl, plumps for "Carl, Carl, Carl."

Johnny Borrell, interestingly but inadvertently juxtaposes Blair lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction ("a disgrace") with slipping out that the German tour wasn't totally cancelled because of a bad throat but more because he'd got "fucked up" with valium and prescriptions - "a big night of downers and champagne."

Simon Pegg, Nadia from Big Brother, Elton John and Daniel Radcliffe pass their judgement on the singles from the year just gone. Nadia ponders the deeper meaning of 'Your Mother's Got A Penis' - "it's a very 21st century woman they're referring to" - while Elton enthuses over Franz Ferdinand. And Morrissey. And Scissor Sisters. And The Others. And The Libertines. He does however, nearly, slag off Kelis - Milkshake got on his tits - but, of course, he actually likes her.

There's a Courtney Love ramble - she gracefully announces that she'll let Frances spend Christmas with Kurt's Mom, for all the world like she had a say in it; then she rambles a bit about how she's off the drugs now, before lurching into a years-old piece of schtick about Trent Reznor's dick being small.

The back page is given over to Paul McCartney, for a spot of festive scouse thumbs alofting - "we always have a good new year's eve in Liverpool" he trills - but still finds time to call the apparent re-election of George Bush "terrible". On the other hand, America has much tastier Linda McCartney products than the UK, so maybe he's just fibbing and really he loves the Republicans.

The NME staff still slumped over the three bottles of Grolsch and small glass of Drambuie that they got from the Time Warner Christmas Party, the latest edition has been handed over to Franz Ferdinand to guest edit. Which, at least, can't be as bad as the Goldie Lookin' Chain experiment.

There is some good news coverage of the collapse of the babyshambles UK tour: covering the Ebay spat where someone was trying to flog a stolen effects pedal from the Astoria gig, they quote the seller as justifying themselves by suggesting "Pete Doherty is the REAL thief here..." - erm, well, yes. Taking things he didn't own was what he went to prison for, wasn't it?

Dick Valentine from The Electric Six (now "the year before last's Scissor Sisters", of course) takes on Peter Robinson. He claims he always gets a chocolate pony for Christmas. He lies. Lies like a snake.

The first fingerprints of Franz in the issue are on the Letters Page. Alex offers the following points in response to reader's concerns: (I) Kasabian are going to surprise us one day and it's not nice to slag them off because they're inarticulate (surely, though, articulation is the very essence of being in the performing arts?); (II) nobody should be shot like Dimebag; (III) They didn't have to decide if they were going to do Band Aid as their passports were in the Japanese embassy in Germany (we don't know if it was a "quick, here comes Ure... throw the passports over the wall of the nearest embassy and/or consulate" move); (IV) Junkies (like Pete D) are boring.

In the opinion slot, Alex Kapranos then suggests we should listen to independent labels instead of the majors, although suggesting that Alan McGee (twice sold off Creation to the highest bidder) is a shining example of the independent ethos is a little stretching. More interestingly, we think the footing at the bottom of Pete Robinson's piece is the first ever open acknowledgment of his life at by the NME.

In the celebs ask Franz questions, Wogan demands to know why the band said Wogan was on BBC Two. Their answer is that it scans better. This might be Wogan's first appearance in a pop paper since he told Smash Hits criticising Crossroads was like kicking a cripple, but we can't be sure.

Then the Ferdies go on to recommend the Buzzcocks (Pete Shelley revealing those perfect three minute pop songs were that length because of the speed the band played at, which is both physics and magic) and The Blood Arm (who have a song that's based on a John Cassavetes movie).

They also revive NME coverage of fanzines - probably for the first time since 1991 - with plugs for Black Velvet, Homelovin', Vanity Project, REPEAT, and Robots and Electric Brains.

There's a second bit of that U2 interview. Bono rightly does snort at the story of Kristen Pfaff overdosing and her Dad telling TV she was having trouble coming to terms with "signing to a major", although he doesn't remember her name; he then maintains that there's "never been a more independent group" than U2 - hey, you know, when they bend over for Island, they're still insisting how much vaseline - and keeps repeating it. Rather like the thought was on a shuffle-repeat on a limited edition iPod, or in the firm, manly handshake grip of George Bush.

kaiser chiefs - camden barfly - "wonky indie [turned] bona fide superstars
manics - brighton centre - "after a decade trying to struggle free of the past, the Manics might have a future"
the beat up - manchester night & day - "the coolest people turn up late"

oceans twelve - soundtrack - "swagger", 8
the martini henry rifles - superbastard - "scurvy-ridden Welsh", 7

totw - death from above 1979 - "howling into the gale"
client - pornography - "Goldfrapp reduced to cheap instruments"
snow white - bored somewhat detached - "Lord of the Flies kids into Black Flag"

And just when you thought things could get no worse than a two-part U2 feature... next week: "The return of Coldplay." Good god, it's a rubbish year.

TSUPERGROUP: Although, to be honest, it's stretching it a little to describe a band consisting of Nic Cester, Chris Cheney and Dave Lane as a "supergroup" (Jet, The Living End and You Am I respectively), they're coming together to do a special performance outside the Sydney Opera House on Saturday in aid of the Tsunami victims... so you can't really complain too much.

NO MO' LO: And, indeed, it's Jenny on the block. Ms Lopez has insisted that all references to her as J Lo, or anything but Jennifer, must stop. Which is going to come as a bit of a blow to the jewellers who've been paying her to promote the tacky J Lo bangles and dangles range.

DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE: In a sweet little outburst, Charlie Busted from Busted has said that he'd if he was forced to choose between Busted, the band that he's in, and Fightstar, his side project, he'd plump for the life of not-very-good rock and smaller sales:

"I can't say too much because of the politics involved, but Fightstar is what I do and so, if I have to choose, there's not even a question as to what I'd do.

"The Busted thing happened when I was 16. I saw an opportunity, took it and it was better than being at school. It was a fun job but I'd never claim Busted was anything other than a pop band.

"Busted is not the ideal band I'd like to be in by any stretch of the imagination."

He sounds for all the world like every other not-very-good guitarist talking about his day job, doesn't he? "Nah, la', I'm tellin you... once me band Garbagepail Genuine finalises our contract with EMI, I'm thowin' in the job at the sortin' office, la, once an' f'all..." It's just most of them don't have large groups of nubile teens sobbing "Don't quit the Post Office, please..." when they say it.

DID ANYONE ASK DULUX ABOUT THIS?: We love Pink, we think - although if the forthcoming album is as poor as the last one, we're going to have to consider revising that opinion. But we were a bit surprised to discover that she's registered Pink as a trademark, which seems a wee bit tossy, especially as she uses a little (R) mark next to her name on her website.

Anyway, there's about to be a Live in Europe DVD (regrettable Matt Belgrano hair on the cover, I'm afraid); out on 5th February. She's meant to be starting work on the new album soon... just make it any good, eh?

SOUP STEW: We already have a favourite guy of 2005: the waiter who poured creamed spinach into Jessica Simpson's lap on accident. The whole thing was caught on camera, as Simpson is attempting to shore up her flailing music career by doing another season of MTV's Newlyweds (presumably this one will be called The Honeymoon Is Well Over). The MTV crew were pissing themselves, the staff were pissing themselves - the only people who weren't laughing were Simpson and her husband-of-sorts Nick Lachey. Lachey drew himself up to his full five foot two and tried to make the manager get his staff to apologise, although surely laughing at a puffed-up airball being covered in hot, gloopy vegetable side-dishes is merely human nature? Proving himself to be even more of a dick, Lachey then whined about the temperature of his filet mignon (we would have thought that was the least of his worries on his plate by this point) and then refused to pay the bill. The whole tossy episode will be paraded on MTV at some point in the future.

OH, ARSE: It's like having a bottom-shaped catchphrase: Beyonce is sick of people shouting 'Bootylicious' at her. Apparently it happens everywhere she goes.

Presumably she's hoping that people will yell the title of the more recent single at her, although they'll need flashcards to remind them what it was.

OH... THAT SORT OF A BREAK: "Nnnno... when I said I was 'taking a break', I didn't mean I was taking a break, I meant I was taking a break from... um, being told what to do..." - Britney is attempting to clarify why she's back at work a month after announcing a two-year 'break':

"I think I should rephrase myself from my previous letters when I was talking about taking a 'break'.

"What I meant was I am taking a break from being told what to do. It's cool when you look at someone and don't know whether they are at work or play since it's all the same to them."

Right... so you're only taking a break from being told what to do for two years? And then what? Slavery?

Meanwhile, Britney's signed a big new management deal - from here, her career will be directed by Dan Dymtrow. Although, presumably, he won't be telling her what to do. Until Winter 2007. Dymtrow used to work for Larry Rudolph, the manager Britney dumped last year, so he'll already know where the bodies are buried ("the ropes").

MUSIC GOES FOR AN AMANDA BURTON?: We've read some rubbish on the internet in our time, but Brintey to quit music for a career as a forensic scientist may be the best rubbish ever. Apparently, Britney has "developed a passion for solving crimes":

"It sounds ridiculous but she's been inspired by CSI, which shows scientists solving crimes.

"Britney has been growing tired of all the media attention and is thinking about taking a break from it all. She's taking this university idea quite seriously."

This just in: she's changed channels, and now intends to become either a radio psychiatrist in Seattle or a New Jersey mafia boss, depending on which offers best health insurance.

THE RIAA: BRAVE LITTLE SOLDIERS: The American record industry body has lost another legal battle: a second US appeal court has ruled they have no right to force ISPs to cough the names of music downloaders. The RIAA sniff they don't care anyway:

"Our enforcement efforts won't miss a beat," spokesman Jonathan Lamy said.

But if it's not a major setback for them, you might wonder why they've bothered to spend so much money trying to get the appeal courts to overturn lower court judgements that said much the same thing. The fact is, that being forced to file John Doe cases is much more time consuming and expensive, and it's such a protracted process it makes any attempts to pursue a serious legal attack on downloading impossible. Lamy may bluster that the enforcement efforts won't miss a beat, but they're moving to a beat slower than a handclapping at Port Vale.

ADAMSKI'S GOING TO BE SO DISTRAUGHT: Blimey. Seal has got engaged.

To Heidi Klum.

But wasn't she going out with the fictional deputy mayor of New York?

YOU MIGHT WANT TO FETCH A PENCIL TO KEEP UP: The American revival of We Are The World (renamed We Are The Future) is apparently still happening. Why is it the Americans take so long to organise these things? In the UK, some hack on the Sun fills some space suggesting they revive Band Aid; a re-recording of Do They Know It's Christmas is number one by the time the paper hits the streets. In America, someone floats the idea of doing We Are The World and six months later PAs are still trying to set up meetings.

But now, there's to be a rival revival, as a group of Chinese celebrities are going to re-record We Are The World as, um, Love for the tsunami. Jackie Chan, Jacky Cheung and Andy Lau are amongst the artists who'll be doing the new version of the song in a live performance this Friday, but at the moment they're insisting that there won't be a single release. So, we're expecting the "overwhelming public demand" to make it happen by the middle of the next week.

STUDIOBIT: Studio owner Amjed A Abdallah has been found shot and killed. His murder took place at Stduio 8, the recording complex on Eight Mile Road between Ferndale and Detriot. The inspiration for the title of Eminem's 8 Mile movie, Studio 8 was used by Eminem in 1997 for the Slim Shady LP. Just before Christmas, the studios had been listed on Ebay; Abdallah had said he was spending too much time in New York to keep them on.

Police have yet to establish a motive for the killing. It's believed Abdallah's body had been lying for two days or more before being discovered.

IPOD REACHES HIGH-WATER MARK: There always comes a point where something culty reaches the point where it ceases to be culty anymore: it moves to BBC One, or Jennifer Ellison somehow gets connected with it, or - as is the case with the iPod - Playboy notices and turns up, smoothing down its combover, sucking in its stomach and trying to show that, ey, it's hip too, like Fonzie. So it is that are now offering iPod optimised cheeseporn. It's the first step towards becoming just another toaster.

(Actually, second: the U2 special edition was probably the first.)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

IS (NOT WAS): It's not quite a comeback, as they never quite issued a break-up statement, but Was Not Was are working together again: not just for the best of album, but a set of new material as well.

OTHER CHARITIES ARE AVAILABLE: It must be a bit grim if you're involved in trying to fundraise for a non-tsunami charity right now. Hope of the States have done something to cheer up the Motor Neurone Disease Association, by donating an unreleased track to the cause after one of their fans planned to do a cycle ride.

GOTTA LOVELY BODY: Apparently, readers of Heat have decided that Will Young has got the best body of all the celebrities. Will's response was to look shifty and deny he even had a shed, "and besides the smell is drains."

SALES? RETURNS: Joining in the gloomy feelings about Christmas sales will be Duran Duran and anessa Carlton, whose latest albums haven't really done very well.

While tickets to see the Duranies are being snapped up like there was going to be free cake and ice-cream, it's clear that what people want are the old hits rather than the new stuff - so far, Astronaut has managed to sell just 162,290 copies in the US.

More amusingly, Vanessa Carlton seems to be discovering just how unlikeable she came across while her first album was going platinum: Harmonium has barely scraped past the 100,000 mark, and that seems to have eaten through any impetus it might have had.

THOSE WHO DON'T LEARN FROM HISTORY...: Remember Passengers? You will if you've ever set foot in a second hand record shop, most of which have so many copies of the U2/Pavarotti "experiment" visitors are invited to grab handfulls of them - an offer few take up. Well, since Bono seems incapable of admitting when he's made a mistake, U2 are going to record with Pavarotti again.

Speaking from behind sunglasses, Bono said "Do you get it? He's a classical singer, and we're a rock band. Isn't that astonishing what we're doing there... classical music hooked up with rock music. We're just amazing... it's breaking down pre-conceptions..." shortly before accepting cease and desist letters from William Orbit, Malcolm McClaren, the bloke who did Tubby The Tuba and Mark Stewart,

A FURTHER LITTER FROM KITTENS: Former pop-star Natasha Hamilton out of Atomic Kitten (yes you do remember: they produced Bejam versions of mighty songs) has had a boy, adding Harry to go alongside the Josh she'd already made. The other ex-Kittens were said to be "thrilled" by the news, and certainly didn't mutter under their breath about how that's scuppered the reunion plans and how they could all be playing Bristol Rockefellas if she'd learned how to keep her bloody diaphragm in. Not at all.

PUT BECK: The process of creating a not-too-wacky-for-mainstream album isn't an easy one, which has lead Beck to delay his new album until the spring-end of March. It's believed part of the problem is that he's having difficulty persuading Jack White to leave his studio.

LET'S HOPE BOY GEORGE IS BUSY: Amongst the many dozens of musical responses to the tsunami, Donewaiting are organising a benefit in Columbus Ohio; if you're in the area and can offer help, they'd like you to get in touch.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY: What could be more unpleasant than taking part in the forty million dollar schmoozefest that is the Bush inauguration? How about playibng the RIAA party at the Bush inauguration? Well done, Three Doors Down. Apart from getting sponsorship from Kitten Drowners, Inc., you probably couldn't have come up with a more unpleasant gig.

FREE TIM BURGESS LOVE: There's the first new Charlatans stuff this year available now, and it's available for free: you can download Alles Klar (German for 'Alice and Claire') from their website. No pictures of Tim Burgess in speedos, though, sadly.

BEST. SONG. EVER.: The Brits are going to offer a special best song of the quarter century prize to celebrate 25 years of themselves, and the shortlist is kind of interesting:

1. Heroes - David Bowie
2. We Are The Champions - Queen
3. Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush
4. Night Fever - Bee Gees
5. London Calling - The Clash
6. Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
7. That's Entertainment - The Jam
8. I Don't Want To Talk About It - Rod Stewart
9. Look of Love - ABC
10. Golden Brown - The Stranglers
11. True - Spandau Ballet
12. Careless Whisper - George Michael
13. Holding Back The Years - Simply Red
14. Sledgehammer - Peter Gabriel
15. Sacrifice - Elton John
16. Unfinished Sympathy - Massive Attack
17. Why - Annie Lennox
18. Fields of Gold - Sting
19. Kiss From A Rose - Seal
20. Wonderwall - Oasis
21. Angels - Robbie Williams
22. Yellow - Coldplay
23. Babylon - David Gray
24. Leave Right Now - Will Young
25. Dry Your Eyes - The Streets

First of all, if the idea is to celebrate 25 years of the Brits, shouldn't this longlist have been the Best Single from each year of the awards? Or is this merely a tacit acceptance that the Brit awards seldom reward the best single of the year?

Secondly: does anyone actually know how Annie Lennox's Why goes? We assume the panel who drew up this list at Radio 2 stuck Annie on as a joke, to take the piss out of the way the Brits would make her Best Female Singer even in years when she didn't leave the house other than to pick up a Sporting Life and a bottle of gold top on a Saturday.

Even Will Young must be wondering what he's doing there, and it's puzzling that the Elton and Rod songs on the list aren't their best singles. Having said that, it's nice to see a couple of actually memorable songs you might not have expected appearing: Love Will..., Wuthering, and most unexpected of all, The Look of Love - thankfully untainted by its long period being used as Gary Davies' lunchtime show bed.

We fear, though, it's going to be Williams, isn't it?

NOW, THAT WOULD BE A STABLE: It's unlikely to ever happen, but Matthew Knowles has made an overture towards managing Britney Spears. Matthew, who spent the whole of 2004 pissing away his daughter Beyonce's position as The True Queen of Pop through a mixture of over-exposure, poorly considered sponsorship deals and really shabby quality control, has offered to bring his magic to Britney's career.

I'M NO GARBO: Agnetha Faltskog, out of Abba, has denied she's a Garbo-esque recluse in a TV interview with the Swedish channel TV4. Besides denying she was anything like Garbo, she also took the opportunity to deny she was also living like Gabbo, the vent doll who stole Krusty's audience.

THERE ARE SECRETS AND THERE ARE SECRETS: We're curious as to exactly how secret the ceremony at which Madonna and Guy Richie renewed their vows could have been if the Sun knows about it. We're also not entirely clear what the point of renewing your vows in secret would be, anyway: "we're going to make a public affirmation of our love and commitment, only we're not going to let anyone know."

Reports say the wedding was "Kabbalah-based", which is presumably why Guy spent 100 grand on a ring. Large cash payments for apparently significant items which don't really mean anything being a major part of the Kabbalah.

Monday, January 03, 2005

ROSS OFF-COLOUR: Poor Mac cosmetics; having managed to make a partnership with Liza Minnelli work (something none of her husbands have managed), they must have thought they'd got the knack of handy tricky celebrity slap-on endorsements. Then they cut a deal with Diana Ross. Everything seemed to be going so well - acres of publicity planned, the promo slots booked, the slap being glugged into poncey containers - when Diana decided she didn't like the names chosen for the range, and so pulled out the deal. Apparently, they're hoping she'll come back to kiss and make-up.

LEE RYAN AND MATT JAY HAVE GOT ENGAGED: Though, sadly, not to each other. Him out of Blue and him out of Busted have got engaged with Lee managing to put aside worries about dying elephants for long enough to ask Stefanie Martinez; she accepted; and Matt is to be made an honest man of by Emma Griffiths, who does things for MTV, apparently. A million girls squealed "Noooo" when they heard about Matt; a million girls said "but I thought he was gay?" when they were told about Lee.

TAIL ATTEMPTS TO WAG DOG: According to friends, sources, chums or close pals, Kevin Fadingstar has told Britney she can't buy any more clothes because he's sick of their home being full of pretty-though-useless things which do nothing but burn their way through Brit's fortune and take up valuable space. If we were you, Kevin, we wouldn't suggest Britney starts dumping stuff which fits that description...

CH-CH-CHANGES: There's nothing that unexpected in Jennifer Lopez's "fame changed me" confession:

"It was all a bit mad. For a girl like me, wearing gorgeous clothes and having all this attention was amazing. It was like being a princess.

"But it didn't take me long to realise that that sort of fame can be scary. The more the circus builds up around you, the more you start to lose all those intentions that get you there in the first place.

"I was always about being a good performer and working hard, doing movies, making music, but that started to get lost in all that crazy stuff."

... but doesn't this directly contradict the lyric of Jenny From The Block? Can purchasers claim a refund?

AN OFFER YOU SO COULD REFUSE: We wonder if the people who made the winning sixty grand-plus bids in an auction to do yoga with Sting knew exactly what they were bidding on? We can't decide if they didn't know it was tantra without the sex, or if they didn't know it was yoga with the Sting.

MORE SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION: If you're sitting about with not much to do this Bank Holiday, you could take a couple of moments to cast a vote in the Best Music Blog category at the BOB Awards. Far be it from us to suggest who you should vote for, but have we told you how good you're looking today? And how much we love your shoes?

I BELIEVE THIS IS WHAT'S KNOWN AS A "REALITY CHECK", ISN'T IT?: Apparently, Daniel Bedingfield feels like a "fat brother basking in his sister's glory". It must be hard being lapped by a more talented sibling - perhaps he could ask the other Dan, Ms Minogue, how she coped. On the other hand, at least Danni never gets quite as creepy as Daniel does:

"Let's face it, my sister is stunning looking and now I look like the fat brother trying to get in on the act."

All a little bit too Nat & Georgia, isn't it?

WE'D RECOMMEND THE AQUARIUM INSTEAD: The city of Boston has a new tourist attraction to go alongside Cheers, and the fake Cheers: They've put Fishman from Phish's dress on display. Apparently it's made from cassette tapes featuring his favourite artists. It's been a very long Christmas period, hasn't it?

Curiously, this is how Yahoo News describes the band:

Phish, which has broken up, experimented with myriad musical genres. The band's legions of dedicated fans made them a younger version of The Grateful Dead.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

VALETE 2004: A full list of obituaries from 2004:
Julian Aberbach, publisher
"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, ex-Pantera and Damageplan
Gene Allison, gospel and r&b artist
Bill Asp, label owner and club promoter
Estelle Axton, co-founder of Stax records
Harry Babbitt, big band vocalist and Woody Woodpecker's laugh
John Balance, Coil et al
Ernie Ball, guitar string millionaire
Jan Berry, as in "... and Dean"
Alf Bicknell, Beatles Chauffeur
Dave Blood, Dead Milkmen bassist
Laura Branigan, singer
Johnny Bristol, singer and Motown producer
Barry Brown, reggae artist
Cornelius Bumpus, Doobie Brothers saxophonist
Kenny Buttery, Neil Young drummer
John Cester, father of the brothers from Jet
Ray Charles, blues legend
Brian Clough, football manager who toyed with the odd novelty single
John 'Buddy' Connor, bluesman
Kevin Coyne, singer-songwriter
Billy Davis, Motown songwriter and producer
John R T Davis, jazz restorer
Skeeter Davis, Grand Ole Opry regular
Sacha Distel, French chansoner
Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd - reggae producer and label owner
Al Dvorin, "Elvis has left the building"
Fred Ebb, lyricist
Brenda Fassie, South African singer
Jerry Goldsmith, film composer
Stanley M Gortikov, RIAA sponsor of Parental Advisory labels
Les Gray, Mud singer
Hunter Hancock, rock and roll era dj
Rob Heaton, New Model Army
Jake Hess, gospel singer
JJ Jackson, pioneering MTV VJ
Rick James, Rick James, damnit
Arthur 'Killer' Kane, New York Dolls bassist
Graeme Kelling, Deacon Blue guitarist
Barney Kessel, jazz guitarist
Terry Knight, Grand Funk Railroad manager
James Lawrence, Hope of The States guitarist
Tushar Makwana, Heart FM dj
Terry Melcher, Beach Boys producer
Lizzie Mercier Descloux, No-wave inspiration
John McGeoch, Magazine and Banshees bassist
Eamonn McGirr, endurance singer
Sean McGrath, Saves The Day bassist
Dennis Miles, Body Count Guitarist
Arnold 'Gatemouth' Moore, bluesman
Artie Mogull, record industry figure
Ol' Dirty Bastard, Wu-Tang man
Olive Osmond, matriarch of the Osmond family
Bruce Palmer Buffalo Springfield bassist
John Peel, Radio One mainstay
Robert Quine, Voidoids guitarist
Eugene Raskin, folk musician
Johnny Ramone, Ramone
Burt Reid, Crown Heights Affair sax player
E Rodney Jones, early blues dj
Adan Sanchez, Ballader and son of Chalino Sanchez
Ed Sciaky, Philadelphia dj
Son Seals, bluesman
Ben Shabalala, Ladysmith Black Mambazo vocalist
Artie Shaw, jazz band leader
Greg Shaw, journalist and label owner
Edmund Sylvers, The Sylvers singer
Doris Troy, gospel singer and co-writer of Just One Look
Randy Vanwarmer, singer-songwriter
Lacy Van Zant, father of the Van Zants from Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special
Carl Wayne, Move frontman and radio dj
John Whitehead, as in "McFadden and.."
Syreeta Wright, as in "Billy Preston and..."

DJOBIT: Goth DJ Chris Mason, who was attacked in Watford's Market Street early on Christmas Day, died from his injuries on New Year's Eve. Chris - who was a dj at Batastrophy in Watford - had hit his head on a brick wall after an unknown man punched him in the face.

COULD THEY JUST NOT GIVE SOME OF THEIR PRE-TAX EARNINGS?: Band Aid really is replaying itself in full, isn't it? We've had the re-recording; then the announcement of the re-run of USA For Africa. Now, we're having a recreation of the slew of b-string celebs gathering together to wail away at the first hint of trouble. So it is, we give you Ferry Aid Mk II: Cliff Richard and Boy George trilling for the tsunami victims.

Unbelievably, the song they're singing, Grief Never Grows Old isn't even a specially written ditty: it's something Mike Read wrote ages ago but thought was too gloomy to ever use. How wonderful that the deaths of a hundred thousand people have given this work an opportunity to see the light of day.