Saturday, February 12, 2005

IF ONLY SHE COULD ASK HIM TO JUST, YOU KNOW, STOP ALTOGETHER: Beyonce is due to sing an Andre Lloyd Webber song at the Oscars in a couple of weeks, but she's told Lord Toad to make some changes.

Oddly, though, Beyonce's complaint was that Lloyd Webber's song wasn't long enough, which is the exact opposite to that which most people find objectionable about his work. Webber has gleefully agreed to provide more length for Beyonce.

HALLIWELL - THE TORY PARTY OF POP: If you're planning on setting out on re-inventing yourself, you might find it a little easier if you have some idea what you're reinventing yourself as. Geri Halliwell seems to just cling to the hope that a reinvention is an end in itself.

This week just gone, she's sacked her manager and axed her planned UK tour. Now, the large piles of boxes marked "Halliwell - Tickets" cluttering up box offices across England might be something to do with all this. But, oh no, she's on her third manager since last summer and axing gigs because everything is perfect, according to a spokesperson:

"Currently in the midst of finishing her forthcoming album, Geri's new team have advised her to postpone her May UK tour.

"Innocent are excited about the new album and look forward to being able to promote it properly before Geri embarks on the tour."

Righto, then... so she's finishing her album at the moment, and so she's had to pull a tour in May as a result? Are the automatic doors in the studio
very slow to respond when someone tries to get out?

OH LORD, WON'T YOU LET US EXPLOIT OUR DEAD RELATIVE TO GET A MERCEDES BENZ?: It's incredibly just how far some people are prepared to whore the family silver round when there's a few bucks on offer. For example, Janis Joplin's estate have just signed a deal to turn Joplin into a reality TV show. Apparently the idea is to find a singer who "embodies the spirit of the 1960s rocker." Although we'd never claim to be an expert on Joplin, we can't help but feeling one of the defining parts of her spirit would be that she'd be hugely unlikely to go on a TV beauty paegent, much less one designed to find someone exactly like someone else rather than a unique voice and artist in their own right. But then again, if someone was prepared to offer us a whole bunch of dollars, we'd happily sign a piece of paper saying "it's exactly what Janis would have wanted... oh, and she said something about a range of bobble-heads with her face on, too..."

WE'RE PITCHING A SHOW CALLED 'RULE OF LAW': Ja Rule, taking a couple of minutes to consider the plight of Snoop Dogg and his twenty-five million rape suit offered some support and a suggestion that he doesn't quite get the whole concept of sexual crimes:

"People are always out to get celebrities, so you never know," said Ja. "I don't think Snoop has to gang-rape anybody. He's got a few chicks, man. I don't think he has to go that route."

In other words: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good-looking guys don't need to rape. In the same way that rich people don't need to do financial frauds, we suppose.

WE'RE PITCHING A SHOW CALLED 'RULE OF LAW': Ja Rule, taking a couple of minutes to consider the plight of Snoop Dogg and his twenty-five million rape suit offered some support and a suggestion that he doesn't quite get the whole concept of sexual crimes:

"People are always out to get celebrities, so you never know," said Ja. "I don't think Snoop has to gang-rape anybody. He's got a few chicks, man. I don't think he has to go that route."

In other words: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good-looking guys don't need to rape. In the same way that rich people don't need to do financial frauds, we suppose.

KEVIN AND BRITNEY, SITTING IN A TREE: So, what's the reasoning behind getting Kevin federline out doing interviews in his own right? Presumably this is all part of a Keep Britney Happy push on the part of her organisation. For whatever reason, Kevin has done a debut interview with Details magazine. He claims that Britney is really proud of him:

"I could be sitting at home doing nothing. I could be playing video games. She's more proud of me than anyone has ever, ever, ever been in my lifetime."

Well, if you've worked out how to plug in the X-Box all by yourself now, Kevin, of course Britney is going to be proud of you. And sitting at home doing nothing? Think how proud your ex-wife would have been of you if you'd stayed at the home you shared doing nothing instead of sniffing round Britney.

But let's not run away with the idea that Kevin is some kind of burbling half-wit who shouldn't be trusted to do up his own shoelaces.

"Our parents were telling us to take our time," he said. "But I mean, it's like, we knew. And how often do people listen to their parents anyway?"

Kevin, you're 27 years old. You should be way past doing things to annoy your parents by now. Good god, do you eat just ice cream for tea because your mummy tells you not to?

Anyway, besides having a role of attempting to get Britney pregnant - crikey, just imagine how cross Dad'll be when he finds out about that, eh? - Kevin and Britney are in business together:

Kevin said they might call the range Pair of Dice after their matching tattoos. Britney has a tattoo of a pink dice and Kevin has a tattoo of a blue dice.

He added: "I'm going to design the men's and she'll design the women's."

The roles were decided because Kevin is better at doing the trousers with his crayons and doesn't quite know how the doing-up bits on the end of ladies' bras go.

But Pair of Dice? Why not just go the whole distance and call it Cortina?

MARILYN MANSON GUILTY AS CHARGED: As we've said before, we don't know if Luke Mitchell killed Jodi Jones; it looked to us more of a Not Proven rather than a guilty, but then we weren't on a jury. But the passing of sentencing again tried to shift some of the blame for the murder onto Marilyn Manson. The prosecution, as you'll recall, had spent lots of time showing the jury Mazza stuff with the implication that liking this sort of thing had to mark you out as a wrong 'un - and it was a theme the judge, Lord Nimmo Smith, would return to as he was passing judgement. But was there a link?. The Manson stuff shown to the jury was a bit icky, if you don't see through Marilyn to the clown he actually is:

The clips shown in court portrayed a naked young girl lying on the ground and areas of foliage and undergrowth. Also, two women, bound together, were seen being hooded and molested and put in a car. Manson could be heard saying: "Kill me, kill everyone, let them all die... Stop rehearsing alcohol and start performing narcotics."

Mmm. Pretty damning. Only thing is, of course, that Luke hadn't actually seen this video at the time of the murder:

The jury [...] watched part of a Manson DVD which Mitchell received when he bought the singer’s CD, Golden Age of Grotesque, two days after he murdered Jodi in woods near her home.

Thereby making this a curious premeditated crime where the perpetrator aped a movie he wouldn't see until after the killing. It seems a little odd that a prosecution has to rely so heavily on the laughable belief that Manson is a menace to society rather than any direct evidence tying Mitchell to the scene. Downloading a couple of Manson paintings from the internet and going "Hey... these are of a murdered woman... just like the woman was murdered here" isn't really police work.

POOLING THEIR TALENT: Much tipped, much touted next big things Delays did a secret gig at Salisbury Ale House billed as Swimming Gala. The gig on Thursday ran on a bit, and ended with Aaron Gilbert and Rowly getting a ride home to Southampton on a milkfloat.

You know, we hate to bat down a good story, but we seriously doubt anyone would be driving a milkfloat the twenty-five or so miles - although some floats can hit up to 30 mph, you'd be looking mostly at managing 10 mph - so it would take two and a half hours to get from Salisbury to Soton that way. Especially fully-ladened and with three people on it.

ROOTING THROUGH THE SMALL ADS: The NME is trying to track down people who placed small ads leading to light, filler articles ("funny tales"), which actually is a pretty neat idea - especially if they included the now-defunct Melody Maker, which always had a much bigger bands section. We placed a few NME personal ads ourselves, before they stuck the prices up so far it wasn't really worth doing any more.

Still, if it was us, we'd definitely include the time the Daily Mail condemned the whole of the NME classifieds because they were full of gays and witches - and some gay witches, too; and we'd seek out David Miedzianik, who has been a small ad regular in the pop press since right back when there was a choice. If you've got a story, of course, the NME wants to hear from you.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I NEED A DRINK AND A QUICK DECISION: Although they could probably do twice as much business going on as Stars In Your Eyes tribute to Simon and Garfunkel, Hall and Oates are still touring as themselves; they're planning a return to the UK later this year. May dates in Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow and London are being lined up.

I DO NOT WANT WHAT I HAD WHEN I HAD GOT NOTHING TO DO: Who knew that that Sinead O'Connor's retirement wouldn't last? Almost as soon as the warranty on the carraige clock we gave her at her farewell do has expired, she's back. This time, Sinead is doing it as a 'spiritual singer' rather than a pop star:

"Religious songs with bad words, that's the best way I could describe it," she said. "I've been thinking for years the religious area of music has a huge gap in it. Needs a bit of punky filling."

Yes, that's always what struck us as missing from Handel's Messiah is a few "fooks" and a "bollocks"; thank God Sinead's giving us some swearing devotional. Or maybe the other way round.

A FACE LIKE THE SIDE OF A PLANE: A rich mans knows you can never have too much money, which is presumably why Elton John has signed up to appear on the side of AirTran planes. Or maybe it's just the thrill of imagining his face suddenly appearing through the clouds, kind of like a latter day God:

"This plane looks fantastic" said Elton, unveiling a plane with his face on the side and displaying the sort of level of modesty you'd expect from a man who has been painted on the side of a 717. Apparently, his head is the size of the Statue of Liberty. Which means that the image on the side is a life-size portrait of his ego.

This is all to promote the new AirTran service, which allows people flying on its rather fine fleet to listen in to XM Satellite Radio, a first for any airline and actually quite a leap forward in wht you get offered onboard planes through the headphones. Plus, AirTran give you brilliant little ginger biscuits, and, best of all, when you're on one of their planes, you won't be able to see Elton John peering back at you.

TO BE ANOTHER URI GELLAR...: Interesting watching the friends of Michael shifting their positions as more and more about the trial leaks in our direction - take, for example, Uri Gellar. He was at the Oxford Union earlier in the week (god alone knows why; it's like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame hosting a knees-up for Black Lace) and the topic of Jacko came up:

"They asked me about Michael and I told them that God forbid I'm wrong and he is convicted, then my belief in human nature and my own ability to judge character will be shattered to the core.

"I want to believe he has done none of what he has been accused of.

"I will have to wait with millions of other people to see the outcome of the trial.

"I will simply be patient and see what happens."

Apart anything else, what with him supposedly having telepathic powers and so on, surely he should be able to forsee the outcome? But since he can't, he doesn't really seem to be issuing a ringing endorsement of his certainty that his friend is innocent, does he?

GREEN T: Unless we can persuade Billie-Joe Armstrong to take part in our planned homoerotic masterpiece, Green Day are going to be headline T in the Park this year - 9th and 10th of July, it'll be. Also on the Perth stage will be Keane, The Streets, the Beautiful South and - oh well - the Prodigy. A final tranche of 80,000 tickets go on sale tomorrow.

LOOK INTO THE EYES, NOT AROUND THE EYES... AND NOT THE BREASTS, EITHER...: Who knew that there's more to Britney than an arse which looks good in a catsuit? Apparently, she's got magical powers, at least according to Allan Wicombe, a "healer" from Malibu who recently had Britney in for a massage:

"Her mental powers were extraordinary," Wicombe said. "My fingers froze and were paralyzed for hours after she left. That rarely happens."

Imagine that, eh? You'd got to rub Britney's naked body all over, then your fingers go all stiff and useless when she finally leaves you alone. That really would be a pisser, wouldn't it?

SOME PEOPLE WILL DO ANYTHING TO GET BACK ON TELLY: Presumably, though, Lisa Scott Lee was merely ligging at the Extreme Makeover UK launch party, and not mulling an appearance?

Buy: Lisa Scott-Lee - Lately A single, of course, as somehow she never quite made it to a full album.

JANET'S IN TROUBLE, TOO: We're sure her mother is sighing and preparing another round of 'my child is innocent' interviews on Fox, as news reaches us of a USD120 million lawsuit slapped on Janet.

Leonard Salati claims that her bodyguards attacked him when he tried to pass a note to Janet - this was after spending some time hanging out with her earlier in the day.

Salati's suit alleges that "without provocation," Jackson's protectors went into action, "grabbing [him] around the neck, engaging [him] in a choke hold" and "dragging him down the steps" of the club, then "evicting him from Marquee into the street."

Salati says he partially blacked out during the episode.

"Witnesses say he was choked so severely they could tell he was gasping for air," Salati's lawyer Steven Goldman contends. "We don't know the extent of the spine injury."

Apparently, this is all Janet's fault because she was "negligent" in her choice of security. Of course, he could have sued the guard, but, hey, he's probably not filthy rich, is he?

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO COREY FELDMAN?: That's what the Jackson trial is set to find out, actually, as Feldman is set to be called give evidence. Apparently, it's just occured to Feldman that maybe an adult showing a teenage boy nuddy pictures might just be slightly odd.

Incidently, could we just make a small plea that the press gets over its obsession that he's a "former child star"? Sure, he was in the Goonies - but he was also in lots more... like, um...

Bikini Bandits, for example
. (Sample review: "there you are on the high way and along come bandits, in bikinis")

... and...

Lipstick Camera
. (Sample Review: "How can someone spend money to make such a movie? What did the people involved think about when they made this movie? WHY DID ANYONE CARE TO MAKE THIS MOVIE???")

See... so much more than just one of the Goonies, alright?

MEN THAT ARE LIKE MARS, WOMEN, ARE MOST HEINOUS: Apparently, muttering "I'll take good care of you, babe" in a post-coital embrace can be seen as a legal contract, at least in the view of an ex of Mick Mars. Robin Mantooth - and there's a name, right there - says that Motley Crue's Mars reneged on a promise that he'd take care of her if their relationship ever came to an end.

Apparently, they had a fourteen-year relationship, at the start of which Mantooth abandoned her "career as a documentary film-maker" (oddly, it doesn't seem to have taken very much in the way of abandoning) to "move in with Mick", which clearly she saw as some sort of career move. She wants ten million dollars in recompense.

THE END OF THE LEGAL AFFAIRS: After what seems to be an eternity of staring at the wrong end of a judge's bench, Courntey has finally settled her outstanding cases.

In the usual rockstar fashion, she reversed her constant claims of innocence, she pleaded guilty to possessing a forged prescription and oxycodone, and offered no contest to the attacking a woman with a bottle. The upshot of this legal-tidying away is that Love stays out of jail, and finds herself on a bunch of punishments - 100 hours community service, drug treatment plans, attending Narcotics Anonymous (how can US courts legally compell someone to attend a body which enforces the belief in a higher power as a prerequisite for progression, by the way?) and a fine, and she'll be on probation for three years, too. You wouldn't want to be Courtney's probation officer, would you?

UNBRANDED: It looks like the Launch brand is about to be junked, as slowly (actually, make that quite swiftly), Yahoo is replacing all references to Launch with a new name, Yahoo! Music. It's not like Launch was a very strong brand identity, I suppose...

SOME MORE ON THE BRITS: Firstly, Elvis Presley has a couple of interesting points to offer:

For all the disappointment on the night, eloquent art rockers Kasabian did say they'd retire if they didn't win the best live act Brit, though unlike Welsh rugby fans they don't seem the honourable types to see their promises through.

On a more sinister tip, the Brits normally do their level best to make sure that the gongs are handed out evenly amongst all the big labels, but this year SonyBMG have joined forces and seen their haul drop away to Will Young for best single. Fair enough, having Natasha Bedingfield, Kasabian and Maroon 5 as your frontrunners isn’t a great start, but pushing crap has never stopped anyone from coming away with their share in the past.

Thanks for that, Elvis - but we do think it's essential that Kasabian are held to their pledge - after all, they wouldn't want everything they do from now on to be tainted by people saying "Weren't you supposed to have broken up when you lost the Brits?" and then jabbing them, and going "eh? eh?"

Meanwhile, after the hoopla of ITV's Brits, there came the even-more-pointless ITV2 programme: a half-hour "aftershow" party which would have been of dubious value if it had been broadcast as it was happening; that someone presumably knew what was in the programme and decided to air it anyway (when they could, say, have run a nice old Ever Decreasing Circles or something) is frankly bemusing.

Anchored - in the rhyming slang sense - by Colin Murray, and with Lauren Laverne roped in as well, the thing was just bemusing. The prizewinners would come on, there'd be nothing to ask them, and they'd go off again. Except for Robbie Williams, who didn't actually want to leave and so was still cluttering up the sofa when Franz Ferdinand came on. Robbie was just blurting nonesense, banging on to Lauren about how she used to be fat and then trying to tap off with her - because "I'm not gay" (has any heterosexual man ever said the words 'I'm not gay' in a situation where nobody had asked him?).

None of which, though, was the most pointless part of the programme, as they'd invited a couple of "experts" to sit on the sofa alongside Colin Murray on the ITV2 banquette: Liz McClarnon (ex-Atomic Kitten - how soon they forget) and STUART CABLE, defrocked Stereophonics drummer. Obviously, anyone still working in the music industry would have been at a proper aftershow party, but is that the best they could do? (In the context of this programme, no, clearly).

RAZORS TIGHTER THAN EVER: Oh, well, it looks like all those rumours that Johnny Borrel is going to break up Razorlight and inherit his new role as the Richard Ashcroft for Not-Actual-Queen Camillia's reign are untrue - drummer Andy Burrows says so:

“It’s the best time ever. We’ve got a lot to look forward to. It was just a stressful final week of the tour. And for that reason alone it’s good we’ve got some time off.

“It was pretty heavy for that last week, mainly because Johnny was struggling because he was losing his voice. It was stressful for everybody, we were trying to support him on one had but at the same time we didn’t know if we should continue with the gigs. We’re so sorry. We're all devastated that we had to postpone these gigs and we hope that everyone who bought tickets can make it to the rescheduled shows. We promise it will be worth it.

“But definitely, definitely no, we’re not splitting up. All of us are excited about getting on with it."

Without wanting to be cruel, Andy, it's hardly taken as gospel when someone on the shopfloor claims to know for a fact that management aren't planning major layoffs.

Meanwhile, the Razorlight DVD is ready for pre-order - perhaps a final farewell?

AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF CHAOS: We didn't know there was still a Polytechnic left in the nation, but it turns out that there is, in Cambridge. Although, by the time Danny Tourette from Towers of London had played a gig there, there wasn't much of it still standing. Dangling, hanging, pulling... things got broken; the police got called. The staff at the Anglia Polytechnic switched the lights back on but did let the band finish their gig - but now there's a repair bill and possible criminal charges hanging over them.

They'll need some spare cash - buy the Hanging On A Noose single

Thursday, February 10, 2005

EVENTUALLY, IT ARRIVES ON THE TELEVISION: Brits Live (except, of course, that the programme isn't) Once the sponsorship credit is out the way, we're welcomed by Chris Evans doing a bit schitck about - hey - the Brit prize is the "little lady everyone wants to take home". He also says that it's 25 years since this started, although surely it's not - this is the 25th, but they didn't do it every year at first. It's a bit like Easter in that respect.

Oh, brilliant - as if it wasn't stale enough, ITV have gone for a filmy-effect on the video, so it feels even further in the past. Which is an effect having Chris Evans present doesn't help, either - he makes it feel like it's from the olden days much more than you might have expected. A period piece.

The Scissor Sisters open up: Jake is dressed as the lower half of a chicken (oh, the cock gags are endless); Ana is a slightly horrible yellow dress. And is that Octavia the Ostrich from Pipkins? Blimey, she's let herself go.

A cutaway reveals Brian May looking a bit perplexed. That's before the melons start singing and the dancing eggs come on (a tribute, surely, to Ludwig?)

They've obviously been invited to sing the first song because it's called Take Your Mama. If you want to close the Brits, try doing a song called 'Is There A Cab Here For Barlow?'

Robbie tries to pretend he's surprised when Evans says two of Take That are presenting the best single evah prize... but, ho-ho, it's only Lucas and the bloke from Attachments doing a reprise of Rock profile. They give Robbie the prize for Angels - presumably, surely, still part of the joke, is it? Oh, no. They mean it. Robbie dedicates his award to the media "after all the support of the last few days" and "my boyfriend Jake Shears." (He has to sneak back later to thank Guy Chambers).

But is Angels really the best song of the last 25 years? As if to offer a suggestion of something better, Franz Ferdinand come on stage to do Take Me Out. Robbie doesn't seem to notice, or hand the award back.

Jo Whiley clearly got to Mark One as it was closing, judging by the Hardman Street dress she's wearing when she comes on to present British Breakthrough - the sort of band she "plays on my show", of course.

Hang about - some members of the public are coming onto the stage... oh, no, it's Keane. They thank everyone like they'll never win an award again in their life. And then go on a bit too long. Surely the one advantage of this being on tape is they could edit this stuff down?

Brian May - still looking bemused - comes on to do some business with Chris Evans. "You ain't going to get comedy out of me this early" mutters May. That makes two of you, then. Just do the Kerrang vote stuff, Brian.

The nominees prove that "rock music is alive in Britain" says Brian, ignoring that the category was padded out by Snow Patrol - and, actually, the winners Franz Ferdinand are hardly going to fill the gap left if Iron Maiden disappeared, are they?

I suppose we should be greatful Daniel and Natasha didn't do Somethin' Stupid. But not doing something too incestuous doesn't really let Daniel off his bellowing his way through Ain't Nobody. It's clear that Natasha got all of the family's share of talent, which wasn't that generous to begin with. Daniel is wearing a suit which suggests he's had an interview for a junior management position at DFS Sofas this afternoon.

Hang about... there are some guys with drums... they've all gone Ruritanian. Where, presumably, a bloke is allowed to look at his sister in a way that we might deem creepy here.

Simon Pegg shuffles on with the air of the one out of Spaced who didn't go on to be in According To Bex - i.e. the one with a career still. He's going to give Best International Breakthrough. To the Scissor Sisters. Ana has changed into something more becoming and sparkly. And Jake is appearing on Tv for the first time ever wearing a shirt. Maybe that's the breakthrough?

Evans keeps muttering on about how the bands are "one for one" or something, which doesn't really make much sense.

Mike Skinner starts his tune by dropping a bottle of beer on the floor - that's what happens when there's a free bar. Dry Your Shoes, mate. Aah... hang about, it's just dawned on us who Robbie is trying to ape with his new hairstyle.

ITV have cut the sound when there's some gentle swearage. Canutes.

It's clear from the way Mike shares the stage with Mark Sladen that he's not really that thrilled that he's been pegged as a solo artist, either. (It's worth pondering for just a moment that that could have been Chris Martin - thank god for small mercies, eh?)

Shirley Manson comes on after the adverts with a better red hair colour than ever - this is best British Live Act ("in association with Live Music Forum", which is that government quango thingy - so The Libertines were never going to get it, were they?)

"The winner is... my label mates, Muse." It's funny, Muse win something almost everywhere they go - and yet how often do you meet Muse fans?

Matt doesn't show up because he's "in the kingdom of Bhutan" - which sounds like a lame excuse you might hear if you were a PE teacher.

Green Day roll up to do American Idiot, which actually sounds a lot better live than it does on record. And Billie Joe Armstrong would look great in gay indie porn. It's not enough to win us over, but we'll send him a script in which he gets done up the ass by a Jarvis Cocker lookalike to have a squint at.

Because of the counting cock-up (or whatever the excuse was), there's ten songs on the Best Single shortlist and yet they still manage to choose Will Young as the winner. Minnie Driver - presumably because she's an actress - is given a bit of blurb to read about the charidee aspects of the evening - one important aspect of which is flattering listeners to UK Commercial Radio that their taste is worth awarding the prize on the basis of. Apparently Keane nearly won this, but there was a last minute surge which gave the award to Young. Keane, of course, also lost best selling album under the same sort of circumstances.

Evans says he's biased in favour of McFly for best pop and then - in some sort of godawful unintentional homage to Partridge - introduces Jodie Kidd ("she's an excellent horsewoman, and has a good golf handicap..."). This prize had been chosen by Sun Readers and O2 customers, who did give it to McFly. They don't ask Jodie Kidd why she's wearing a curtain from a 1960s sitting room; she doesn't ask them if their brothers know they've been throwing champagne over their suits.

Joss Stone comes on to remind people all over the country to nip out into the kitchen to see if their spaghetti bolognaise is ready yet. "I've got a right to be wrong" she sings, a right already exercised several times this evening by those deciding the awards.

Her song is inoffensive until she starts doing the Whitneys, managing to combine being bland and annoying in the same track. Even Chris Evans has snuck off to talk to McFly at the side of the stage.

After the adverts, Evans tries to get us excited because "Robbie has a surprise for you" - if it doesn't involve self-evisceration we're not going to be interested and then brings on someone nobody quite recognises to do "best international girl" - is he some sort of actor?

Yikes... Gwen Steffani has got the most awful 1970s frizz perm. Oh, and the nothing-more-tiresome mute japanese girls are with her - does she realise that it makes her look less like a cool globe-trotter, more like she's some sort of colonial overlord.

The next awarding person gets a hell of a build-up, so it's a bit of a shock when it turns out to be Natalie Imbruglia at the end of it. The hair advert girl who isn't Melanie Sykes, of course. Her job is to do best international newcomer. "Eminem can't be arsed to show up..." - indeed, he doesn't even bother to show his face for most of his half-hearted acceptance speech on tape.

Although since once he finishes it's time for the Best Song In The History of Everything, you kind of wish Em had mumbled even longer. Robbie does his strange semi-growly delivery of some of the lines of Angels and invites the audience to bellow along. No reaction shots show if Brian May joins in. The arrival of Joss Stone halfway through is no surprise, of course - it's only Joss Stone, not Beyonce or someone - but it does at least show that she is a better singer than Robbie. Which isn't saying much. God, we'd forgotten what an awful song Angels is - not made any better by the inclusion of some awful guitar solo styling noodling and Stone doing her Whitneys over the top of it. Make it stop, make it stop. Was it always this long, or have they added an extra verse to celebrate its new award as The Greatest Thing Humankind Has Done?

Naomi Harris has "just nailed the lead in the next Pirates of the Carribean" - let's hope she gets a part in the movie herself out of that, then - and sounds genuinely excited when The Streets wins the Best Solo prize. Pointedly, everyone else bar him comes on stage to pick it up.

Another musical interlude - Keane, doing Everyone's Changing - which after Angels, sounds like a bowl of Angel Delight with a flake in it. The keyboard player seems to have cut through an electric cable, but the rest of the band don't notice. To illustrate the song, the band all effect costume swaps, like the quick change artists of music hall.

Oh, alright, they don't - but Tom does chug about the stage looking slightly more animated than you might expect.

More commercials. Chris Evans has been an alright host, but there's nothing astonishing about this as a comeback. Not as astonishing, say, as Lisa Stansfield coming on to present the Annie Lennox memorial award. (Interestingly, the nominations here are the first mention of Amy Whinehouse all evening - surely she'd be the sort of artist you'd expect to be all over this sort of thing? Mind you, Cullum has been sidelined this year, too). Joss Stone picks up the prize for Best British Female, but at least it's an award for a category there's no argument against her being in.

"It's awesome" says Evans - no, it's not, it's Jamelia and Lemar doing Addicted To Love, which is so humdrum, we're not even going to waste our pre-prepared "Jimmy Melia and Limahl" joke.

Interesting to look into their eyes: Lemar doesn't actually seem to know they're just playing at being in love with each other. Jamelia doesn't look like she realises they're playing live.

And from somewhere they've scared up the only gospel choir in the world without any sense of rhythm at all - St Ceclia's Of The Terminally Unswinging, perhaps?

Jazzie B says "it's nice to be up here presenting the urban music award..." and does a little lecturette about how it's great that acts like "Dizzee Rascal and The Streets" are being recognised. He's obviously peaked inside the envelope, hasn't he?

Even Joss Stone looks surprised -she might have said "Oh, fuck off", but we're no lip readers. She's got more people to thank, though.

Evans describes Best International Group as "titanic" - rather a grim prediction. Bernard and Hooky are on to do the prize - sadly, Peter Hook isn't promoting Skin2 this evening. The chap doing the nomination voiceover (a mostly wasted Matt Lucas - Lauren Laverne is also doing faceless duties) has fun with "U 2, Maroon 5". Hooky is the most sober drunk ever. The Scissor Sisters win - although don't the BPI count them as a British act at all other times, on the grounds that they're signed here. Ana now looks like she's struggling to keep her dinner down. Oh, and now she's cackling.

"She is style, she is class, she is Gwen Steffani..." - she's doing a song. Oh, it's that single - quite why that's managed to crawl onto the Brits stage isn't clear - didn't the nation, as a person, do that pretending to yawn thing when it was released? And it sounds even more like bloody Laurie Anderson done live - click, clack, click, clack.

Damn, when Gwen chooses a poor song, she really goes to the far end of the counter and roots about in the leftover bin right at the bottom, doesn't she?

Old El Passo has a new spiced-up flavour in its range... we're either on the adverts or Peter Hook has come back and is shouting nonesense again.

It's time for the Best British Group - Chris Evans dedicates the prize to "the founding father of many British Bands, John Peel" - you can't help but think that it's a bit a grudging, tacked-on tribute in the context of a show that's going to give a lifetime achievement to Geldof. Especially since Sharon and Kelly Osbourne are presenting the statuette for this one. Good to see that Kelly's off the drugs, then.

Is that Justin Hawkins doing the standing and clapping thing?

Ooh, Siouxse has got some great trousers on. Although she doesn't look comfortable, and comes across a bit like a friend of Blanche when she starts crowing like a rooster. Medical opinion suggests she may have had a fruit drink or too before coming on stage.

Scissor Sisters are, it seems, the first ever international act to win three Brits in one night, which is cool. But better than that, they closed out U2. Ha! In your face, Bonio.

Pharrell and Snoop are up next, but unfortunately they're not going to wipe our minds from Chris Evan's introduction about dog shit.

"What's My Name?" asks Snoop, and his confusion is understandable, as the design of the set means the big screens behind him keep throwing up the word "SNOP!"

Clive Owen is doing best British album, although by now Chris Evans is overselling everything so he seems to be the world's most astonishing actor presenting the keys to the universe. Of course, only Keane look more surprised than Franz Ferdinand when Hopes and Fears wins. There's a very strange cut to commercials straight after Tom does a very humble little thank-you speech.

Trevor McDonald pops up promising that "Camilla will reveal exactly how Charles proposed..." - we're not sure, but we're guessing the words "will you let me put it there if I make you Queen, then?" might be involved?

The Bob award allows a little showreel of the sorts of people who made the Brits so awful for so many years - Lennox, Sting, Bono, Eno, Dave Stewart, Jonathon King (sorry, it was the other one, Townshend, wasn't it?). Jools Holland is given the difficult job of explaining exactly what Geldof's musical talent has done, but he sidesteps it instead. Geldof starts his speech by saying the local council is going to pull the plug if they don't all hurry up - which probably isn't true, but it at least keeps him to the point. He doesn't mention the Boomtown Rats. Nor does anyone else.

Evans makes some closing remarks about how its nice to be nominated - the sort of wishy-washy nothing you'd expect from Katie Boyle, not the supposed bad boy of British media.

I Don't Like Mondays is still a great song, but... it hardly constitutes a body of work, even although, splendidly, the violinist is smoking a fag during Bob's performance. And, apparently, Paul Whitehouse (doing an impression of Pete Doherty) is playing the piano. Bob looks mildly surprised when the pause on "the lesson today is... how to die" doesn't get a major reaction. It did the last time he got to sing in front of an audience, didn't it? Sadly, though, ending the show with Geldof more or less anticlimaxes across the message of how he's not really a musical heavyweight of his generation.

Pete Briquette is there to play bass - oddly, of course, the only one of the Rats who didn't complain at being left out of the Lifetime Achievement award.

Bob goes into Rat Trap - everyone holds their breath to see if he'll pay tribute to his ITV hosts and swap "CD:UK" into the lyric...

Nope, Julie's still trying to watch Top of the Pops.

The curious thing is, Bob seemed really certain that this award was rightfully for him rather than the Rats because he'd done loads of stuff after the band finished. And yet... the songs he did were both from the early period of the band. Nothing from vegetarians of love. It was like he'd lost confidence in his solo stuff.

So: This year's Brits, then. Almost totally devoid of anything approaching incident. Either the chaps at ITV had done a very BPI-friendly job in the edit suite or else - more likely - it was as dull being there as it was watching at home.

HOLIDAY '88: (For some reason, in the same way that Film 2005 will always be Film 76 in our mind, Holiday never got past being Holiday '88 for us). Anyway... Fred Durst. He's been quiet on his Xanga site for a while now - we'd assumed that maybe he'd been getting more tattoos or something, or perhaps the Feds had arrested him to ask him why he's a bloke nearing forty pretending to be a teenager online; which does look kind of bad. But actually, he's just started another blog, over on the "official" Limp Bizkit site, where he reports today from Prague, a city that is lovely indeed, but somewhat ruined by clueless American tourists cluttering up the busy streets. Let's see what Fred has to say, eh?

have been in prague, and i am still here, putting vocals on the new album. the world has so many wonders to it. the czech people are a very interesting society. i do enjoy it. this album is dark musically already, but when mixed with the tone in the air of prague it becomes somewhat horrifying.

It would be diverting to spend some time correcting the grammar, but frankly we're not entirely sure what the "it" is that Fred enjoys - the Czech people? Their society? Information Technology? - so we'll move on. What exactly does Fred find in the Prague "air tone" that is making the new album horrifying? (Although we do bet it is a fright when it's released, certainly)

wes, ross, and myself have set up protools and a beta 57 microphone in an old apartment right near the charles bridge. this is where i am connecting with the darkness. some days are explosive others just plain heavy from the gothic aesthetic of this city in general. we have gone to the other side a few times with absinthe to discover the unknown. as it seems the unknown is quite demanding these days.

Not going much further than the Charles Bridge? Check. Drinking absinthe and feeling that this must mean you're having some sort of experience? Check. Pretending that because you know the word 'gothic' makes you 'connect with the darkness'? Check. It's the tourist album, isn't it?

we have watched no television or listened to no radio. we walk everywhere we go on cobblestone streets. the beggers bow down, as if they were praying, and hold their hands out for money. much different than the states. the weather is very cold and unforgiving. the perfect call for where my head needed to be.

Yes, it is "much different than the states", Fred - there, the beggars hold little paper cups on the side of the asphalt. A completely difference world but cobbles, isn't they?

as for updates on this site or anywhere else, you know we are finishing our new album which we consider the best of limp bizkit. definitely the heaviest and most consistant in intention. so i can only emphasize that this needs room to grow its wings on its own and does not need to have its innocense and freedom taken away by every detail that could be provided along the way until it is ready to take off on its own. that time is very near. we have created a monster that cannot be kept down for long.

If the album is heavy, it's going to need some very large wings that it's going to be growing on its own, isn't it? We ran this paragraph through babelfish, and it kept coming out as 'Shit, we don't think the record company is going to like half of this old twattery, and yet we've spent a fucking fortune coming to Prague and getting pissed on the lager. We'd better not mention anything in detail about the stuff we've recorded as it'll probably have to be junked and we'll use the rehearsal tapes we did back in the US... but the record company don't have to know that, do they? It'll just be our little secret.'

SOMEHOW, THEY'VE FOUND 25 PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T READ ANYTHING ABOUT THE JACKSON CASE: That's the most startling fact in the details released from the potential juror questionnaires: there was less than a 90% 'Yes' rate to the question about if you'd watched even "a little" about the case. E! Television are said to be launching an enquiry to find out how these people slipped through their net.

Sixty percent of the jurors had heard about the time that Jacko paid off the last kid to publicly accuse him of wrong-down-there touching; one juror claimed that Jackson's Uncle is a personal friend of his; while another worked as a firefighter with a Neverland employee. Best of all:

A 47-year-old woman said one of her sons worked at Neverland ranch, while her 15-year-old son had visited to "ride and hang out."

... although, to be fair to Michael, he did always insist that the boys tucked themselves in again before taking a turn on the big dipper.

Meanwhile, the appeals court in Ventura, California, is considering lifting some of the secrecy in the Jackson case. It's always tricky, of course, applying the constitution to cases such as these, and trying to decide what the American founding fathers believed would be right - although Andrew Jackson is known to have had a subscription to the National Enquirer and so would presumably have had cameras in the courtroom in a jiffy.

The splendidly named Theodore J. Boutrous, attorney for the Associated Press made the reporter's urge to do it in public sound almost noble:

Boutrous said the public had a right to follow the allegations and Jackson's responses to them in order to gauge whether prosecutors and defense attorneys were acting properly and making well-grounded arguments.

He said the obligation to release information was especially high in cases with intense public interest.

Perhaps Mr. Boutrous needs to run through again on the differences between "the public interest" and "what the public is interested in"; it can be quite confusing, can't it?

Jackson's attorney, Robert Sanger, came next:

[He] said the singer didn't want special treatment, but was entitled to a fair trial. Sanger said he was worried about the jury pool being contaminated.

The jury pool which, of course, managed to avoid contamination from the recent Jackson video, for example, or long interviews with his ma on Fox, could quite easily lose that purity if the public got a peek inside the courtroom. Jackson, of course, is entitled to a fair trial, and that's a right that must be upheld in any case where he's unable to buy off the key prosecution witness before the hearing begins.

ACTUALLY I DON'T CARE ANYWAY BECAUSE I'M AN ACTRESS, ACTUALLY: Putting on a brave face this morning, instead of showing us her bare arse, it's Jamelia, who came away empty handed from the Brits (that's except for viewers on ITV, for whom she's still hoping to win three prizes). It turns out she wants to be an actress anyway. So that's alright then.

GHOST IN THE MACHINE: From the 'and what did you expect' file, Charlie Simpson complains that Universal ran Busted like a machine:

"I was in London and an opportunity came up. At the time, when Blink 182 and Green Day broke and the whole pop-punk thing went really big and I just thought, 'It's better than being at school,' so I gave it a go.

"And it ended up being this massive thing and I was like, 'Oh shit!' When I joined it was three songwriters writing music for a laugh. And then it got put into this machine that was Universal and came out as a big-branded thing.

"It was a fun three years and it just came to the point where I wanted something that my heart was in."

Who knew that a being in a boyband would be like working on a Mr Kipling Pie Factory production line? We do, however, cherish the idea that Busted were meant to be a kind of Blink-182 clone: obviously, the tunes were too good for that to happen...

WOULD YOU BUY A JACKET FROM SOMEONE WHO COLOURS IN HIS OWN NECK?: As his journey from trailblazer to bandwagon-chaser continues its spiral downwards, Boy George is launching a 'fashion range' called B Rude... do you get it? It sounds like "be rude" - clever, eh?

George said B-Rude is his "emotional rage" and "vicious optimism" in the form of fashion.

"I design clothes for those who like their reputation to arrive in the room ahead of them," he said.

Actually, George, you seem to be designing for people who like their reputation to be languishing in Viv Westwood's 1975 diary:

LIKE A NEW-FANGLED OLD-FASHIONED RADIOGRAM: It turns out that Sirrius had talks with Apple about adding its satellite radio service to the iPod - Steve Jobs - who probably was counting the potential lost sales from iTunes if people could use their iPod to listne to the radio as well - said no. For now.

NAPSTER: MANAGING A PROFIT: Hoo! In your face, iTunes - so Steve Jobs' suggestion that he couldn't see anyone else making a profit in the download market lays in tatters this morning, as Napster post a small profit for the quarter to December 31st - a healthy looking USD12.8 million. Of course, that wasn't from selling downloads; all of the money came from flogging off Roxio to Sonic Solutions. (It's not known if Roxio - like Napster downloads - expires if Sonic cancels its Napster subscription).

Ignoring the sale of Roxio, Napster managed a loss of USD16.4 million, which is only marginally better than the operarting loss of USD17.9million for the same period in 2003.

The underlying numbers look weak, too: Napster has just 270,000 paying subscribers, 44,000 of whom are part of the dubious University lock-in deal.

NO LOVE... GET OUT THE HOUSE: After the big piece in this week's Guardian where Terry Bickers and Guy Chadwick talked about how they don't hate each other any more, it looks like they've needed to find a new outlet for their ire: so poor New Rhodes have been given a kicking; booted off the support slot on the HofL comeback because... they were talking while the headline set was on.

It seems Mrs. Guy Chadwick went up to at the end of the night in Colchester to have a pop at them for standing at the back of the venue yakking to fans, and they refused to apologise. So she jolly well got her husband to pay them for their work and send them home.

NOW: IT'S THE BEASTIES AGAINST THE COLONEL: The Beastie Boys have joined up with PETA to take part in the campaign to try and stop the grease-and-cardboard chain KFC from torturing its chickens:

In an open letter to KFC Chief Executive Officer David Novak, the Beastie Boys call for a halt to the fast-food chain's use of suppliers that break birds' beaks or use growth-inducing drugs.

"You have a responsibility to tell your suppliers that what they are doing is wrong," the band writes. "By doing nothing, you are to blame for the cruelty that these chickens endure, which is truly sickening."

The Beasties are joining an interesting coalition of the Rev Al Sharpton and Russell Simmons. We kind of hope they get together to do a single.

A BRITS OBSERVATION: Supplemental to the results. As a result of treating The Streets as a solo act and Joss Stone getting the Urban award, the message from The Brits organisers last night was: No black artist anywhere on the planet did anything in 2004 worth an award.

UPDATE: Funnily enough, just after we posted this Today's Brits feature came on, and they asked Joss Stone how she felt winning the urban award: "I'm so glad people are getting past that colour thing", she said.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

WILLIAMS DENIES 'DOHERTY OR ME' STORY: Robbie Williams is threatening to sue The Sun over yesterday's story that he threatened to quit the Brits if Pete Doherty was allowed to go. The Sun has yet to respond to the letter from Williams' solicitors:

A statement from Williams' lawyers, Sheridans, said the story's claims were "grossly offensive and defamatory allegations against Robbie Williams and are completely untrue".

The statement continued: "Our client has not sought to have Pete Doherty removed from the guest list or banned from attending the Brit awards. He has made no threat not to appear or perform.

"He has not sought to impose any conditions concerning Pete Doherty. Our client is not unsympathetic in his attitude to any problems Pete Doherty has with drug or alcohol addiction."

Sherdians said that the Sun published the "damaging and offensive article" without checking whether it was true with Williams or his management.

The law firm said it had written to the Sun asking it to explain its conduct and requesting the publication of "an immediate apology and retraction". It has received an acknowledgement of the letter and confirmation that the matter is being looked in to.

MINI-WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: We're back in a period when the Royal Mail seems reluctant to deliver the pop papers in time for Wednesday night, so - in lieu - we thought it was worth bringing you, in full, Chris DeBurgh's comments in this week's Radio Times. Chris is making some sort of cameo appearance in Down To Earth, which is a bit like that Forever Green thing that John Alderton and Simpering Pauline Collins used to appear in ages ago. Anyway, we really don't think that DeBurgh needs any commentary to go with what he had to say: suffice to say, his true nature shines through:

"I did a fair amount of acting in my college days. I seem to remember getting into some fairly deep Samuel Beckett. I really liked the challenge. In Down To Earth, I play myself. Singing Lady In Red.

There were about 70 members o the cast and crew in the studio when I was singing. And, by the time I'd finished, most of them were in tears.

He [Ricky Tomlinson] gave me his autobiography. The inscription was "To Chris. Singer. Actor. My arse.

The DeBurgh name can be traced back all the way to 1066. The Duke of Normandy's second wife was a DeBurgh. It's so amazing to think I'm so connected with history.

That lot [Pop Idol] won't have lasting careers. You need to look at the real artists - Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Sting, myself. We have one thing in common - we write our own material. Music that speaks to the people. Like Lady In Red.

It [Lady In Red] took me 20 minutes to write and six months to refine. I suppose it's like any piece of art... a painting or a sculpture, for instance. When I sing it, I know it's having an impact on people's lives. It gets used at quite a lot of funerals."

Like any piece of art.

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE RESULTS, PLEASE, LOOK AWAY NOW: - although we suspect you might have to spend the next 24 hours re-creating the Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads episode with the football match if you don't want to know who wins what in the Brits 2005 before it's on ITV tomorrow.

So, England F then:
Best Internatioal Breakthrough: Scissor Sisters
Best Song of the Last 25 Years: Angels - Robbie Williams. Palpable rubbish, of course, because if that was the best song these islands had produced in the last quarter-century, we'd have all boiled our skin off in misery long before the middle of the 1980s.
Best Rock Act: Franz Ferdinand
Lifetime Achievement: Bob Geldof - this was announced before, of course
Best British Breakthrough: Keane

... more results as they come in.

UPDATE: Here's some more, then:
Best British Single: Will Young - Your Game (eh? Surely someone is just leaking out ridiculous results to throw everyone off the scent?)
Best International Female: Gwen Stefani
Best Pop Act: McFly

UPDATE: Best British Female: Joss Stone
Best urban act: Joss Stone. (No, really. So we won't get to see Jamelia's ass, then...)
Best British Group: Franz Ferdinand
Best International Male: Eminem
Best British Male: The Streets

Amy Winehouse - nominated for some sort of award - gets some last minute adjustments to her outfit

The Official Brits site hasn't been able to cope tonight - we've not managed to log onto it at all, which is quite poor. of course, if the thing had been shown live on TV, they might not have had that trouble.

Best International Album: Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters

And the final award... Best British Album goes to Keane. We bet they couldn't quite believe that, either - and while we have a soft spot for Keane, this seems like the wrongest of the results of the evening. Most of the shit decisions can be put down to having a general public vote - but this? This is going to seem so like a miscarriage when viewed from 2013...

THE PUNK LEGEND NOW ARRIVING AT PLATFORM FOUR: This Saturday, there's going to be a small ceremony to name a Class 47 diesel train after Joe Strummer. The train is going to chug about East Anglia, giving a little bit of joy to all train-spotting pogoheads in the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex areas.

NOT ESPECIALLY UNEXPECTED: With Pete in "rehab", Babyshambles have quit the NME Awards gig tomorrow night.

PAID IN FULL: Prince earned his body weight in gold (probably) and then a couple of Tina Turners and a Paul Simon on top - the little chap was top earner in 2004, making about thirty million quid from his various endeavours. Madonna made just under thirty million - although it's not known if that includes cash from the israeli tourism advert, earnings from selling string to the credulous, or deductions for tithing to a cult.

The top ten earners in full (pockets), according to Rolling Stone, were:
1. Prince
2. Madonna
3. Metallica (above)
4. Elton John
5. Jimmy Buffett
6. Rod Stewart
7. Shania Twain
8. Phil Collins
9. Linkin Park
10. Simon and Garfunkel

That top ten between them made at least a fifth of a billion pounds. Remember that the next time you're told the music industry is on its uppers.

50 Cent earned thirteen million quid, making him the rap act with biggest payday.

PERHAPS YOU'VE GOT BELGIANS IN THE CONGO: We're not sure, but we reckon the stomach pains which have hospitalised Billy Joel could be the early signs of pregnancy.

LESSER MEN MIGHT TAKE THE HINT: We know Ashlee Simpson is far from loved, but things just seem to be going from terrible to terribler for her. Having been jeered after SNL and shouted down at the Rose Bowl, she has now become the first singer in history to be so very awful she's been booed off a shop-floor. While shopping. Not singing.

Out shopping with two femme pals, she'd just entered Red Balls boutique when four late-teen girls spotted her, let out a whoop and ran inside! Ashlee grinned ear-to-ear, figuring they were fans wanting autographs, then recoiled like she'd been slapped when Mean Girl #1 shrieked, "You're a FAKER!" Pale and speechless, she stood paralyzed as the leering gang howled insults - then turned and ran sobbing as Mean Girl #2 spit this mega-nasty in her face: "You have NO talent, Ashlee . . . and you're not as pretty as your sister!" The Witches of Melrose cackled as one of Ashlee's pals screamed, "Look what you've done . . . I hope you're happy now!" As they escorted the tear-streaked thrush back to her car, my earwitness heard Ashlee wail, "I don't know if I can take much more of this . . . it sucks . . . it REALLY SUCKS!"

You have to wonder what sort of father it is who keeps putting his daughter through this sort of thing. Joe, if you have an ounce of decency, let her quit showbiz.

Or at least teach her how to deal with criticism.

HANG AROUND WITH MARIAH CAREY: There's a casting call gone out for the new Mariah Carey video - why, we can picture the finished article already:

Hey, folks! We're looking for upscale wedding guests and high rolling party guests with your own upscale wardrobe (tuxedos, black ties, sexy gowns, rhinestone formals). These people are good looking model types. Tall and thin types, please, with a more urban, hip, edgy ethnic diversity. Mixed cultures, but with attitude. This is an exclusive, good-looking event. Ages 20-45. This pays $150/12 and shoots this Wednesday through Friday (any one of these days). Submit photos and we'll call you if Brett Ratner likes your look. Good luck!

It's a fact, of course, that upscale wedding guests will only be good-looking: naturally, if you're getting married and have ugly parents, they can attend the ceremony but only if they lurk round the back of the priest's hole. And it's astonishing to hear that in Mariah Carey's world, having people of different races in the same room is "urban, hip, edgy" - can you imagine how edgy she'd think the London Underground was at rush hour?

Meanwhile, there's a call for a 2Pac/Elton John "short film" (the very definition of edgy, we suppose).

DRUMMEROBIT: The death has been announced of Keith Knudsen drummer with the Doobie Brother's. He joined the band in 1974 after hearing from Doobie mainstay that they were looking for someone to sit on the stool. He had just a week to prepare before heading out on tour, but was to remain with them until 1982 and their farewell tour. He climbed back onboard for the 1993 reunion jaunt. The time in between he had spent with fellow ex-Doobie John McFee in Southern Pacific.

Knudsen had beaten cancer in 1995, but he'd never fully regained his health. He died of pneumonia at his home in Southern California.

PETE: MY NO DRUGS HELL: Mr. Doherty is out, then, and all over the tabloids. Apparently, you know, this time it's all going to be different:

"I'm going to stay clean. I'm determined to do it for Kate and my mum, the two women I love. Everyone has been telling me for months but I wouldn't listen. This is the shock I needed."

Eh? The previous, proper prison sentence wasn't the shock you needed, but this one, for some reason, will be? Even though you were only on remand? Not sure we totally follow that, Pete. And he does seem to be up to his old tricks already...

... as he appears to have sold an exclusive interview to two tabloids. The Mirror and The Sun both seem to have lapped up his pleas that this time, everything will be different - but how many times have we heard that?

Meanwhile, the Star seems to have a different story:

...although we've not quite worked our way through the story to see how a man with a curfew intends to "wreck the Brits" without being sent back to prison (presumably to get the shock he needs topped-up?), so we suspect it might be the sort of bollocks you'd read in the Star. Look, they've got Kelly Brook on the cover like anyone has any interest in her this side of the millennium.

FLASHING YOUR ARSE: In what looks like a fairly desperate last-minute bid to influence the voting, Jamelia has promised she'll show us her arse if she wins all three Brit awards she's up for tonight. Jamelia, if you win all three, we'll show you our ass...

Talking of the Brits, is it just us or is there something ridiculously old-fashioned about the 'live' coverage having a 24 hour delay on it? It's like the way they wouldn't show football live in the 1970s. If they were going to be able to keep a lid on the results, that would be fine... but it really does remove almost all the point in watching the show tomorrow night if you know who's going to win. Pretty poor.

Something else that puzzles us: it's officially called the BRITs. Why? It makes it look like the first four letters are an acronym - which they're not. Is there anything more to it than designers being rubbish?

ELTON JOHN IN OUTRAGEOUS AMOUNTS SHOCK: But not his own - there's anger in Scotland that ticket agents are charging up to 13 per cent booking fees for his Easter Road gig. As Elton fan Dougie Sinclair says, it's hard to see exactly how these fees can be justified in a computer age:

"It was a 90-second phone call.

"I couldn’t grasp how they can justify charging that much as a handling fee for something that took so little time.

"To rub salt in the wound, they then said it would cost me another £1.40 to pay for postage if the tickets were sent to my house.

"I think the girl on the phone must have realised how ridiculous that seemed and she said she’d waive the postage fee.

"I expected to have to pay a booking fee on the tickets, but I don’t understand why it would cost them more to process a £60 ticket than a £40 one. Most people probably don’t even realise, they just accept the charge they are given."

Although, of course, ticket sellers aren't meant to be quoting prices in adverts that don't include the booking fee - an OFT ruling that seems to be largely ignored at the moment; this could be the reason that the OFT is now about to launch a more serious investigation into the booking fee rip-off.

LABELOBIT: Nick Kilroy, owner and manager of the KIN label, has died, apparently of an overdose. Nick - known across the music web world as nick.K - was also responsible for the Zabriskie Point photoblog. Philip Sherburne offers a warm appreciation.

DOWN AT DOWNLOAD: The annual attempt by Clear Channel to prove that rock is its bitch, the Download Festival, has announced its headliners for 2005: Feeder, money, Black Sabbath, money, and System of a Down will be topping the bills; Garbage are the band who could make it worth going; and the comedy tent is going to be filled by Velvet Revolver, Him, Slipknot and Billy Idol.

Ozzy's press comment sounds strangely lucid:

"Donington is the home of great music and I'm really happy to be playing there again. Download is going to be a fantastic show and we'll be pulling out the stops to make it a special experience for the crowd and everyone at Donington, I'm really looking forward to seeing those fans again."

We suspect it might have been translated from the original "urrrr... Down... what?"

This year, apparently, there's going to be a plan to try and copy the Reading Festival plan and slow indiefy affairs, by having a slightly less shouty-stupid line-up on the first day. June 10th if you're keen.

BUNTON UNWANTED: She's been hoofing it round US radio stations, and even got a high-profile slot on Howard Stern's show to plug her new album. So how many copies of Free Me did all this work shift in the US? 5,380.

Still, she's always got lucrative work as a Vicky Pollard impersonator to fall back on:

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

THIS ISN'T AN ATTEMPT TO DISTRACT ATTENTION, OH NO: Robbie Williams, who isn't gay and doesn't want to have anyone thinking that he might be, has attempted to draw attention away from jake Shear's suggestion that he's gay by making some sort of fuss over Pete Doherty being invited to the Brits.

Yes, yes, we know that Pete Doherty could no more go to the Brit Awards than he could a Midnight Mass, what with the curfew and all, and we suspect that Williams knows that too. Which would be why the fuss is just over a paper tiger, and not anything that's actually going to leave him having to either climb down or look stupid. Stupider.

What is interesting, though, is what the organisers really would do if the choice was between Doherty and Williams - we suspect, since the British TV coverage is all signed and dusted and an audience more or less assured, they'd probably choose the guy who's got more of a profile in the key US market. And Robbie Williams would be watching on telly instead.

FATHER JACK: We nearly lost The White Stripes to God, or so Jack White has told 60 Minutes, claiming it was an amp that saved him from the Jesus:

"I'd got accepted to the seminary in Wisconsin, and I was going to become a priest, but at the last second I thought, 'I'll just go to public school,' " White tells Wallace.

"I had just gotten a new amplifier in my bedroom, and I didn't think I was allowed to take it with me."

Of course, we suspect that the discovery that he'd be expected to turn the other cheek a lot also put him off the idea.

ROBBIE WILLIAM'S SEXUALITY QUESTIONED SHOCKER: Yes, yes, the Scissor Sisters are going to headline the V festival - but they're American, they probably don't realise it's all a bit Target Greatland - but more interesting is Jake Shears calling Robbie Williams out:

[Shears] rejected the claims that no other bands are as gay as them.

"There have been loads of gay bands in the US," he told The Sun newspaper.

"Just because we're not closet cases like everyone else. If you want me to name names, I will. Robbie Williams is a gay man. Just look at him."

Are you insane, Jake? Robbie Williams gay? We've never heard such an unlikely claim. He's had sex with all of the Spice Girls. Except the lesbian one, obviously. He appears in pop videos with young girls drooling over his body. Why, surely his long-term flatmate Jonathan Wilkes would have been the first to know if Robbie was gay at all, and he's never said anything about it, has he?

CROAKING: Derek Whibley, frontperson of too-old-to-be-doing-that Sum 41, has got a throat problem and as a result Sum 41 have postponed a slew of gigs. He's ruptured a vocal chord and a couple of doctors have asked him not to perform for the time being - oddly, he agrees to shut up when two doctors ask him; hundreds of thousands of music lovers beg him to shut up and he takes not a bit of notice. The band should start making noise again in a few days.

BANGED UP FOR NOT TURNING OUT: Oscar D'Leon, Venezuela's 'devil of salsa' had been booked to do a show in the North of Colombia last week as part of the Barranquilla Carnival, but when the organisers refused to give him any of his fee upfront, he decided not to bother. Not only were the organisers upset, the fans were too and there was a smashing of things by the frustrated audience. Concert organiser Gregorio Rico - who maintains that he had actually paid an advance - decided to bring legal action against D'Leon which, under Colombian law, meant D'Leon had to be arrested to ensure he didn't flee the country. Just imagine: if you got flung into prison for not turning up to play a gig here, Pete Doherty would never be out of jail...

THIS IS A WILLIAM SHATNER NUMBER...: Domino have, of course, made a small pile of money from selling Franz Ferdinand records. Now, if they were EMI, they'd spend it on leather chairs for the office and throwing a few quid into the RIAA to bring legal actions against kids and corpses. Instead, Domino are paying homage to an earlier set of Scottish indiesex gods, readying a compilation of Orange Juice stuff for an April 18th release. No word yet on what's going to be included in the bunch - titled The Glasgow School - but it's Orange Juice, dammit.

If you can't wait... or even if you can but just want it: You Can't Hide Your Love Forever - Orange Juice. Probably the most indie-at-its-finest album ever.

A HALF DECADE LATER: Can you believe that it's been five years since It's Jo And Danny first released Lank Haired Girl to Bearded Boy, five years in which it's been largely unavailable? But now, it's coming back.

IJAD have created their own label - Double Snazzy - which is how the re-release is happening; and there's to be a party, to celebrate: a gig featuring the band, of course, and Tunng, Lionshare and Good Morning Captain, plus djing by cherrystones, doug shipton, peter paphides and chris fowler. That'd be at your ICA on March 23rd; the album is re-released next Monday.

DOHERTY'S OUT: His manager - the one who lead to Gemma Clarke quitting the band - finally got down the courts with a GBP100,00 draft, so Pete's been released into his curfew life.

ONCE A THIEF, ALWAYS A THIEF...: We're chuckling away over the evidence of Pete Doherty's past sins catching up with him - not so much that he appears to have pinched twenty quid from the delivery company he worked for, but that he was in a "retro Pizza Express ad" and worked as a model. We realise wearing flares and cords to flog dough boys might be almost on a par with being a rent-boy, but it's funny how the modelling seems to have slipped his mind...

I HAVEN'T GOT A STITCH TO WEAR: Panic at the Bedingfields, according to today's Daily Star, as someone has pinched the dress Natasha was going to wear to the Brits. They're puzzled how it could happen, as someone appears to have broken in to her stylist's house and targeted that one dress. There can't be that many people who'd even imagine Natasha had a stylist, surely? We wonder who could be responsible.

In other news: Daniel Bedingfield seen making discrete enquiries at Dolcis about heels.

THEY DON'T SELL SOAP POWDER, BUT BOY DO THEY SOUND LIKE THEY DO: Talking about this year's Brits, gorgeous, pouting Matt Phillips gets so excited about the likes of Franz Ferdinand that you can just hear him itching to send out a one meg powerpoint slide to everybody in his address book:

"There is a massive appetite for artistic bands like Radiohead, Coldplay and Franz Ferdinand that the industry has spent time investing in. We have a solid base of bands coming through that have durability."

Hold up a minute, there, gorgeous pouting, while we do accept that EMI did a lot of work to build Radiohead and give them time to find an audience - in fact, Thom and the boys might have been the last band to be allowed to do such a slow start on a major label - surely the original groundwork for Coldplay was done by Fierce Panda - not "the industry" as the BPI would portray it; and Franz Ferdinand have pretty much built themselves, and, again, are on Domino, who while strictly speaking are part of the music industry aren't really part of the Music Industry. Indeed, what the success of those two - and The Darkness, come to that - shows is that the mainstream industry is more reliant than ever on waving a chequebook to buy up acts whose first steps are invested in by independent, free-thinking labels. It disproves again the great lie that major labels invest in the talent - they don't; their skills and investment are targetted on marketing, something they do do rather well. But if we were relying on the Big Four to bring us our kicks, we'd be stuck listening to Elvis re-releases and Dido. Maybe the Brit awards should have a Best Advertising Campaign gong?

THAT'S US TOLD, THEN: Blimey. Oasis are going to do a (very, very small) North American tour after all. USA (and Canada) can you wait?

Toronto-Molson Amphitheatre (June 17)
Detroit Meadow Brook Amphitheatre (18)
Chicago-UIC Pavilion (20)
NYC Madison Square Garden (22)
Philadelphia- Festival Pier @ Penn’s Landing (25)

Support on all dates comes from Jet, unless the Gallaghers notice they're less popular than the band supporting them. There's also going to be a couple of dates in Newcastle, too, as part of the 'if we play large enough venues, the chatter might drown out the awful music' tour - they'll be at the Arena July 12th & 13th.


THE GHOST OF JANET JACKSON'S NIPPLE HANGS OVER THE SUPERBOWL: While in Britain, Murdoch is facing legal action from the now-defunct political party Conservatives over a story they ran which suggested one of their organisers was realistic, in America his Fox Network is being sued for axing a Superbowl ad. The advert, for, was a light-hearted parody of last year's Janet Jackson nipple moment. Fox - which was keen to upset neither the NFL nor the Jackson family - didn't run the advert, causing go daddy to go wild.

On the other hand, Fox did also spare the American public the trauma of an advert featuring Mickey Rooney's arse, so they're not all bad.