Saturday, March 12, 2005


We've always been a bit shit at keeping an eye on whats on offer over on the BBC Collective site, so we were kind of delighted that Katy Christie gave us an electronic nudge in the ribs to bring their M Ward stuff to our attention: They've got an exclusive video session and tracks. And a lovely picture of his beautiful eyes. A nice way to pass off some of the weekend.


We're sure that when Michael Jackson heard that Britney Spears was offering him advice, he didn't exactly rush to find out what it was - after all, if he followed her patented behaviours, he'd probably have not only been done for touching kids, but desperately trying to annull weddings to them as well, but for what it's worth, here's what Brit had to say:

"If he did do those things, I feel sorry for him. I feel like he probably feels alone, and he needs some help," she tells Allure magazine.

"He needs someone to be like, 'OK, let's buck you up, let's give you a moustache, let's rough you up, let's go to a bar, let's get drunk and be a man.'

"And if he didn't do those things, I feel sorry for him. Either way, he needs to get in a fight."

Actually... getting drunk and becoming a man... isn't that exactly what Jacko's accused of trying to get Gavin to do?


Danjo Metcalfe was happily tootling away through a covers set in the lobby of the Clifton Hotel, Scarborough. He got to You'll Never Walk Alone, when a bloke suddenly emerged from the crowd and started to bellow out the words. Danjo picks up the story:

"It was the last spot and I was just starting You'll Never Walk Alone when this guy came up, grabbed the microphone and started singing.

"I let him sing part of the song and then finished it off with him. I had no idea who it was but he sounded a very good singer. I thought he was drunk and had just started singing.

"Then afterwards someone from the audience told me who he was. I was just amazed..."

Yep, it was Gerry Marsden himself. Thank god someone recognised him... just imagine how embarrassing it could have been afterwards.


Turning down the job he may or may not have been considered for on Bono's behalf, Jamie Drummond of Debt, Aids, Trade, Africa says Bono won't lead the world bank:

"I can't believe I need to say this, but there are no circumstances in which Bono would be nominated or accept the World Bank job.”

He added: "Bono is flattered to be mentioned for such an important job but DATA does its best work from the outside."

Well, while we couldn't really imagine Bono being offered the position - good god, the world's not gone that far yet, has it? - there are surely ways in which it could happen: after all, only last weekend US Treasury Secretary John Snow wasn't ruling out considering Mr. Vox, calling Bono "a rock start of the development world." And is DATA really suggesting that if one of their members was approached to be head of the World Bank, they'd really say "oh, no, we'll stick to trying to change the world from outside, instead." If they would, they really ought to stop what they're doing now and go home.

In other Bono news, he and his wife, Ali Hewson, launched their "ethical" clothing line Edun. It has a heart in kind of the right place - no sweatshops, using family run factories in Africa and South America - but there's something about the concept that suggests its more attitude than actual well-thought out ethicism. After all, the launch for the clothing range came at Saks; in the UK, the clothes are going to be sold through Selfridges. If you really wanted to make a difference, you'd be signing your deals with Sainsburys and Tesco, and creating a range that wouldn't rely on a short-term faddish market: an ethical version of George or Cherokee would build a massive, steady market for these family-run factories, and each pair of jeans sold would be worn a lot, making excellent use of the planet's limited resources; flogging them through Saks means you're selling into a market which buys a pair of trousers to wear once, maybe twice. In fact, we're not even sure that making trousers in Africa and shipping them over to the US is the most ethical way of getting trousers to the US consumer, but that's such a complicated question we'll leave that be for now.

But anyway: ethical clothes. So, that would imply a company where all the clothes are made for a fair price, sold for a fair price, right? No profiteering at any stage in the system? Erm... apparently not:

"You can make a healthy profit," says Hewson, "and at the end of the day, people know that the clothes they are wearing have a good story behind them."

So, Ali Hewson is quickly reassuring her and her husband's capitalist chums: there's still "healthy" (i.e. supernormal) profits to be made. And at whose expense would that be? Just because you're not ripping off the consumer or the manufacturers quite so much doesn't make your product ethical.

One further thing: The pair have chosen their brand name because it's nude backwards. Which is kind of clever. We wonder if they bothered to google edun and discover exactly how many nudist groups hit on the same idea?


We wonder during this week's Pop Papers if any was really that bothered by the wibblings of faded 80s icon Boy George. Well, someone is - that other faded 80s icon, Madonna. Maddy's publicist has issued a not-very-convincing statement:

However, the 46-year-old singer has hit back through her publicist, Liz Rosenberg, who says Madonna has always, and will continually, be committed to her homosexual fans and has not cynically duped them. She told American newspaper the New York Post: "There's not enough room in the paper to respond to Boy George's ridiculous accusations much less list Madonna's long-standing passion, love, commitment and devotion to the gay community which has not changed for 20 years."

Rosenberg also defended her employer's mystical faith insisting it was not homophobic, and told George he should stick to writing some better songs. She added: "It doses not discriminate against homosexuals, nor do they work toward changing anyone's sexual preference. I wish Boy George would go back to writing songs."

Well, we can understand Liz wanting George to not shine a light in the darker corners of the cult-version of Kabbalah, but to wish him making more records seems unfair: why punish the rest of us?

It's been interesting this week to watch various postings popping up on internet message boards from people saying they're "not a kabbalist" and linking through to this clear statement:

While Kabbalah and its cardinal text, the Zohar, has little to say about homosexuality, it is a main focus of The Kabbalah Centre and Kabbalah in general to stay away from judging others for any reason, external or internal, physical or metaphysical. Kabbalah also explains that the most sharing act we can achieve on this planet is childbirth, which is unattainable between two members of the same sex alone. However, that is not to say that two same-gendered people cannot have the same or more loving, rewarding, and lasting relationships as heterosexual couples. Kabbalah is all-inclusive rather than exclusive, and I hope you feel comfortable continuing your study.

So, that would seem to be a fairly conclusive statement: hey, we wish you'd have some pretty babies, but nobody minds homosexuality. Right? Erm... only, the kabbalah centre's website, seems to have some different viewpoint - during a webchat, Kaballah spokesperson Billy doesn't seem to be embracing the belief that homosexual relationships can be "loving, rewarding and lasting" - indeed, Kabbalah can help you out:

emanation: Do you think that a person born with a lack of sexual desire for the opposite sex should try to become heterosexual?

Billy: If they feel inclined to embrace the spiritual path of Kabbalah and seek deeper answers to life.

LeahLeah: Are you saying homosexuality can be overcome? I don't understand how this position can be manifesting a superior magnitude of Light. This seems judgmental and doing nothing but instilling self-hatred into those who feel their very nature is a "condition." Have you witnessed someone overcoming their gayness via the Kabbalah teachings--as well as a subsequent depression-free life?

Billy: Yes i have. And the kabbalistic view is not about morals, ethics or judgements. On the contrary, everything about our nature is a condition. Our normal bodily desires are not our true selves. Souls are not heterosexual or homosexual. The truth transcends these limited concepts. Each of us come to this world to achieve enlightenement, growth,correction and transformation. According to ancient Kabbalah, homosexuality, like any other aspect of human behavior or desire is included. This is the view of the Kabbalists. You do not have to accept it. And if Kabbalah cannot offer the complete transformation of anyone's life, then who needs Kabbalah.

... which would seem to be the exact opposite to Madonna's publicist's claims that Kabbalah doesn't want to change anyone's sexuality.

Hmmm. Maybe we should try returning to the source material - here's what Rabbi Chaim Vital has to offer in Kabbala Online:

Sometimes a man may reincarnate into the body of a woman because of a sin, such as homosexuality or something similar. This woman who has received the soul of a man will not be able to conceive and become pregnant.

This is, apparently, part of Gate of Reincarnation Cross-Gender Sould Migration, Chapter 9, Section 2. That seems pretty conclusive to us.

One other point: when Madonna was asked about that chap from the Kabbalah Centre caught by the BBC saying that the Jews killed in the Holocaust had brought it on themselves by not being Kabbalic, the official line was that she was too busy rehearsing for the NBC tsunami concert to comment. Surely now she's got enough idle time on her hands to offer comments on Boy George's Times interview, presumably we're about to hear what Madonna actually thought about that?


Although most of the papers have filled their front covers this morning with details of their free CD giveaways, there's no actual music stories apart from this, on the front of the Sun:

So, after Ken and Deirdre and Charles and Camilla, Ron and Penny are going to have a twilight wedding. These things really do come in threes.


So, it turns out that when Lil'Kim told lies in front of a Grand Jury, it was all a bit of a mistake: she'd never do something like that. That would be wrong:

"This was a very serious situation," Lil' Kim testified. "I could not come into a grand jury and purposely tell false statements and lie."

Then it was suggested to her that she owed a million dollars in back taxes. But that was nothing to do with her - she leaves all that sort of stuff to her manager and accountant. Perhaps in the most jaw-dropping moment of her testimony on perjury charge, though, was the attempts to place the following three items on a level of equality:

The shooting by someone she claimed at the time not to know outside a New York Radio station

The day "Biggie was killed"

September 11th, 2001

Kim explains how she could take such an odd viewpoint: "I'm the type of person, I just shut down and move on. I don't live in the past."

Well, I suppose if you genuinely have no ability to remember things that have happened you could confuse a spot of petulant twats shooting each other in meaningless "turf wars" with a major terrorist incident that wiped out the lives of thousands of people. Maybe that could also explain why you forget to ask your manager if he sent off a cheque to the IRS, or if you knew the guy with the gun.

The case continues.


The twists and turns following C-Murder (or Corey Miller, as he will revert to once puberty is over) being found guilty of murder have dealt him a further knockback. He had been offered a new trial after the State ruled that he'd been convicted unfairly when the prosecution had neglected to mention that two of their witnesses had criminal records and cut a deal; now the 5th Circuit court of appeal has said that doesn't matter:

"there was an abundance of other evidence which fully established Miller's guilt."

So, no new trial, then. C-Murder will continue to C-the-inside-of-a-cell. But he's going to appeal again anyway.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Cameron Diaz was rushed... okay, not exactly rushed, but taken to hospital tonight. She'd been clambering over furniture when she fell off and cut her head open. Actually, it sounds a lot less nasty than it must have been - paramedics were worried that she'd broken her back; and she had to have 19 stitches. Luckily, Justin Timberlake was on hand to call the ambulance; although if he'd been around to hold a ladder, she wouldn't have had to be climbing on the chest of drawers in the first place.


There's something terribly wrong about this, but it feels somehow pleasing that Edith Bowman has won Comic Relief Fame Academy. And her version of Sweet Dreams was disturbingly sexy. Congrats, Edith.


Judge Melville has taken some time out of trying to decide if Jackson is a child abuser or not in the legal sense of the term to give his full attention to a more serious issue: Can Jay Leno crack gags about the case while he might be called as a witness? Yes, he can, concludes Melville:

"I am not attempting to prevent anybody from making a living in the normal way that they make their living."

What... Leno gets paid for doing that monologue? Let's hope it's not pay per laugh, otherwise the poor sod'll be starving. It's great, though, that Melville has crystalised an important point of US law: it doesn't matter if you're in contempt of court, providing you're getting paid for it.

Talking of contempt of court, can the official Michael Jackson website coverage of court proceedings really be acceptable? You wouldn't expect balance, but... surely the hugely selective and emotive reporting is slightly contemptuous of the whole process itself?

Back at the courtroom, the defence has tried to get everyone involved to go out to Neverland so they can see for themselves that the boy scout dolls and tigers and wine cellars and whirligigs. Judge Melville rejected the request; although perhaps if the defense offers him a go on the merry-go-round he'll change his mind.


Warners are looking to raise a big pile of cash by flogging off shares - about USD750 million worth. Wouldn't it be cool to get hold of one or two of them, enough to give you the chance to turn up at AGMs and ask about Warner's continued persecution of individuals through its memberships of the BPI and the RIAA?


Warners are looking to raise a big pile of cash by flogging off shares - about USD750 million worth. Wouldn't it be cool to get hold of one or two of them, enough to give you the chance to turn up at AGMs and ask about Warner's continued persecution of individuals through its memberships of the BPI and the RIAA?


The death has been announced of George Scott, one of the founder members of the Blind Boys of Alabama, making him the third of this year's Grammy Winners to die in the month after the ceremony.

Scott was a founder member of the band, which came together at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1936 - although he and his friends Clarence Fountain and Jimmy Carter didn't become commercially active until 1939 (Obviously, Scott was waiting until he hit the big 1-0 before deciding if he was going to be serious about this music thing). He played and toured with the band right up until 2003, making him one of the longest-serving active members of any group in musical history. He had been planning to rejoin the band next year for a 70th year of live work, but the illness which had sidelined him last year beat him; he did manage to record some of his trademark baritone for their next album Atom Bomb, released next week in the UK.

Fountain was one of the last people to speak to his colleague: "I spoke to him last night," Fountain said Wednesday, "and he was feeling fine. It just goes to show you never know when you may be talking to someone for the last time, so always be thankful for the people you have in your life. We're grateful to the Lord for letting us have George for as long as we did. He and I grew up together and sang together from little boys to old men. George was a great singer, he could sing any part in a song. We loved him and he was one of the 'Boys.' He lived a life of service and now he's gone on to his reward."

Scott is survived by his wife Ludie Lewis Mann Scott, his mother Hassie Lou Scott, and his sister Benzie Jackson.


According to an ex-girlfriend - who has, of course, no reason to be embittered - Kevin Federline is a bit whiffy. He doesn't wash or brush his teeth. Or so she claims. But who knows? Since he married Britney and lives in a house with that fancy schmancy plumbing now, perhaps he's changed his ways.

Of course, it's easy to make fun of Kevin and Britney, but they really are trendsetters. Oh, yes - apparently, since they got married wearing sweatsuits, people have been desperate to emulate them. The company who made Kevin's velour outfit is enthusiastic about what he's done for their sales, but even they can't resist taking the piss out of him:

Sweatsedo has announced that they have sold every last Pure White suit in stock. Rich Kunkel, co-founder, is amazed: "It's unbelievable. As soon as this guy chose to outfit all his groomsmen in personalized velour sweatsuits, they just started flying off the shelves; we couldn't keep them in stock. Now if he'd only wear his hat on straight, we could hire him as a model."


Coldplay have revealed to a hushed, bestilled world the title of their new album: It's going to be called X&Y. And that will be the most surprising thing about it, we guess. (You can, if you must, preorder it at Amazon ready for delivery on the morning of June 6th.) There's a single coming before that - Speed of Sound on May 23rd. We imagine the speed of their sound will be very, very slow indeed.


Not only is the world stood on its head by Babyshambles cancelling a gig for reasons not related to Pete, he's now decided to turn up and play the gig without the rest of them: he's going to support The Streets single-handed:

"After a lot of consideration I have decided that I don’t want to let the fans down and so will go ahead with the show on my own.”

Doherty not wanting to let people down? Did he go through rehab or a total personality change?

A HELPING HAND: Jackson trial update

So, having turned up late and wearing pyjamas in a bid to take the focus off the evidence, what did young Gavin have to say that was so potentially damaging? Quite a lot, actually:

Jackson's accuser, now 15, told the jury how the 46-year-old singer had twice masturbated him to ejaculation.

"He asked me if I masturbated and when I said I didn't he said he would do it for me." The two, who had been drinking alcohol, then got under the covers of Jackson's bed, the boy alleged. "That's when he put his hands in my pants and started rubbing me."

On the second occasion that Jackson masturbated him, the boy said, the singer had tried to get him to do the same to him. "He grabbed my hand to get me to do it but I didn't want to," he said.

The defense cross-examination seemed less interested in the wanking; more outraged that Gavin had denied Jackson had helped him when he had cancer. Thomas Mesereau listed all the goodies that Jackson had given to the boy; Gavin replied that he'd felt heartbroken when Jacko suddenly withdrew his affection.

Judge Melville turned back to the late arrival of Jackson at the end of the day, giving him the opportunity to repost bail. The hospital Jackson went to with his Stan Ogden style bad back, meanwhile, issued a statement which didn't actually sound like it was saying "he came here for treatment":

"Michael Jackson was at Santa Ynez Valley hospital in the emergency room. We don't know why he was here. We don't know when he was here. He left at approximately 8.45."

The case continues. Jacko might turn up with a girdle today.


So, Lil'Kim has got to come up with a good reason for her whole having lied during the shooting trial thing. Her brilliant excuse?

The prosecution bullied her into lying.

The case continues, so we'll get to see if anyone buys that.

Yeah, she's always being pushed about, isn't she?


The poor chap who lives in the house that Ozzy Osbourne grew up in is so sick of Black Sabbath pilgrims turning up and scrawling on his door that he's considering selling the thing. Perhaps for charity:

"I need to change it on the wife's orders. But I don't know what to do with it.

"Maybe someone who is a great fan, I could pass it on to them, or I might put it on eBay and auction it and give the money to charity."


The poor chap who lives in the house that Ozzy Osbourne grew up in is so sick of Black Sabbath pilgrims turning up and scrawling on his door that he's considering selling the thing. Perhaps for charity:

"I need to change it on the wife's orders. But I don't know what to do with it.

"Maybe someone who is a great fan, I could pass it on to them, or I might put it on eBay and auction it and give the money to charity."


How many times can Geri Halliwell do the "I'm happy with my bodyshape now" interview - usually before she balloons/voms down to a totally different shape three days later? As long, it seems, as rich pornographer Richard Desmond wants to keep paying her to do so:

Of course, much of the attention is focused on the Jackson trial, with Jacko's stunt back successfully deflecting attention from what was going on inside the courtroom. Even the Guardian finds front page space for the latecoming:

As do all three of the redtops, although the Mirror also squeezes on Robbie Williams transvestite adventures (all for charity, of course):

The Star:

The Sun is so excited by Michael in his nightwear, they don't even find room to mention they're being threatened with prosecution for incitement to racial hatred:

On the other side of the Atlantic, Jackson is also hogging the front pages of some of the covers. USA Today gives the story prime coverage:

... and it also gives the New York Post its lead:

But in Chicago, they're focusing on happier news: the truce between 50 Cent and The Game, which does, of course, threaten to save a large number of record sales ("lives"):

And in Dallas, all the talk is of Mary Kate and Ashley - apparently they're now demonstrating "Ashcan chic" (the international finals of Sweet Things Careering Furthest Off The Rails, with the Olsens v Charlotte Church, will take place this summer) - and the band The Afters, who are part of the Christian acts who try to keep that whole deity-worshipping stuff quiet:

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Surely there's no reason Christina Aguilera hasn't made a movie yet, is there? There can't be any shortage of scripts coming her way, and not all of them end in a pop shot, we'd imagine. She says she's waiting for the right part to come up, as it's important she "doesn't play herself in a film." And quite right too, Chris. You keep away from that full-frontal nudity.


You might only have just got over Christmas; we might only have just got over Christmas, but for Usher, his year is over. He's played what he claims - and we can only hope - will be his last show for 2005. Apparently, he's going to spend the next nine months trying to learn how to do buttons so that he can wear shirts like the other boys.


Oddly, Kylie seems to have done a deal with British Airways for them to be the "official airline" of her Greatest Hits tour.

Presumably the only way she could get access to jet-engine powered airbrushing...


Good god, Michael Jackson's falling apart. Apparently. He didn't turn up for the start of court today, with his people claiming he had a bad back and had gone to hospital. Again. Judge Melville insisted Jackson get his ass to court within an hour, or he'd be in breach of bail and heading straight for jail. Any suggestions this is creating a hoopla to deflect press attention from what's likely to be said in court today is pure speculation. Of course.


Good god, Michael Jackson's falling apart. Apparently. He didn't turn up for the start of court today, with his people claiming he had a bad back and had gone to hospital. Again. Judge Melville insisted Jackson get his ass to court within an hour, or he'd be in breach of bail and heading straight for jail. Any suggestions this is creating a hoopla to deflect press attention from what's likely to be said in court today is pure speculation. Of course.


Not because Madonna herself has done any sexual harassment, of course: Madonna has people to do all that for her. Indeed, she's only been named in the suit because she was at the head of the vanity movie unit Maverick Films (no, we didn't know she had one, either). It's there that Yael Oestreich claims CEO Mark Morgan harassed her and then caned her when she wouldn't play ball. Or ballings. Nobody on the other side is answering their phone to the Associated Press at the moment.


Brian May is not a man to turn the other cheek when someone dares to criticise his works, mighty as they are. We heard he had a chap killed for saying that his Ford jingle "Everything we do is driven by you" didn't quite match up to "Zoom-zoom-zoom", but that might have just been hearsay. Anyway, he's not pleased that Elton John has slagged off We Will Rock You. Elton (and everyone in the world, ever) dismissed the not-quite-musical as being uncreative. Brian May hit back, fuming:

"Elton is a silly boy really for commenting on a piece of work he's never seen. I know damn well We Will Rock You is one of the best entertainments ever - simply because literally millions of people say so, who have seen it and go back again and again, from all countries of the world.

"It will soon have broken the record for any show in the Dominion. These things are not achieved without a certain creativity."

May has also taken a snipe at Elton's upcoming musical Billy Elliott saying, "Billy Elliott, the Musical?. I wish 'em luck, but the film didn't do it for me. Does it rock?.

"I guess if Billy Elliott the Musical is still playing to ecstatic packed houses after three years in the West End, we'll take it seriously."

By Brian May's reckoning, then, the greatest play of all time must be the Mousetrap, seeing as its run for decades and decades. We really can't quite see why the fact bunches of tourists shuffle in day after day in their pacamacs to see some people singing the greatest hits of Queen proves creativity - indeed, we'd suggest that it demonstrates the exact opposite, since theatres seldom sell out when they're being at their most risk-taking. And does this mean the Rod Stewart musical wasn't creative, as it closed quickly? Theatreland is a confusing place.


Sure, it's not much of a headline, but what makes their axing of the Friday date supporting the Streets different is the reason: this time Adam Ficek has had a family bereavement.


The latest easily-knocked off survey from Music Choice has explored what music is most popular for funerals, discovering the depressing news that, while Italians and the French slip away to the sound of something uplifting and classical, in Britain, more people make their final journey to the sound of Robbie Williams doing Angels - suggesting there really is no bloody escape from that awful, awful song, even in death. Number two choice is My Way (we bet loads of coffins get halfway to the curtains before the grieving realise they meant "the other one, the 'start spreading the news, I'm leaving today' one) and third is Monty Python's Always Look On The Bright Side of Life. As if funerals aren't depressing enough already.


The softest leather gloves have been put on at Fox again for their preview of today's testimony in Grand Case Jackson, with Roger Friedman taking a pre-emptive column to try and limit the damage that a solid day of testimony will do to their tame celebrity's image by warning:

the icky allegations will come off as fact for one news cycle.

Friedman also pokes about in the financial mess of Jackson's life - sympathetically, of course; there's the possibility of a global exclusive here, don't forget. He predicts that the royalties that aren't coming at the moment will start to flow again at some point in the future. But doesn't that depend, Roger, on what the jury decides?


The driver of the Dave Matthews tourbus has admitted charges of reckless conduct and discharging contaminates into the Chicago River. Stefan Wohl accepted that he had pulled a lever which dumped Dave Matthews Band poop onto a boat. He changed his original denial after CCTV footage made it clear the band's tour coach was on the bridge at the time. Wohl was fined USD10,000 and given 150 hours community service. There's an outstanding legal action for USD70,000 damages to contend with, too.


Hey, that Marc Anthony is multi-talented: not only does he win more grammys than his wife, but he also is a bit of a painter: he's done a picture of Jennifer Lopez naked (it "depcits Jennifer from her backside", as do most newspapers, of course). She's said to be so delighted, she's hung it in her dressing room at home. Or maybe she just thought it was a mirror.


Franz Ferdinand's effortless assimilation of the entire world continues with big wins at the Danish music awards.

The Franzies won International Breakthrough Act and International Hit for Take Me Out. Somehow, Copenhagen believed the best non-Danish album of the year was U2's effort, but no country can be totally pefect.

The big winners were Nephew, apparently a rock side project of Danish comedy legend Simon Staun:

Female vocalist went to Pernille Rosendahl, from Swan Lee":

Amazon have some Swan Lee samples online, by the way.


The death has been announced of Chris LeDoux. Originally a rodeo star - his speciality was bareback riding - LeDoux drew on his experience in the world of cows and clowns for his musical material, producing a style he described as "western soul, sagebrush blues, cowboy folk and rodeo rock 'n' roll."

LeDoux had produced 22 albums and seemed destined to remain a largely undiscovered specialist taste when, in 1989, Garth Brooks mentioned him in the lyric of Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old):

"A worn-out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad booze/seem to be the only friends I've left at all."

Brooks had often claimed LeDoux as an influence; this musical tribute was all that it took to spark life into LeDoux's career - the pair even worked together, spawning a country hit, Watcha Gonna Do With A Cowboy. Toby Keith was another fan; he, too, would work with LeDoux when the pair wrote Rodeo Moon together. By the end of his working life, LeDoux had recorded an impressive 36 albums

In 2000, LeDoux had returned to touring after a liver transplant, but this time round he was fighting cancer of the bile duct. He was 56.

GAVIN TAKES THE STAND: Jackson trial update

Surely, the most curious aspect of yesterday's jackson hoopla was prosecutor Tom Sneddon asking the don't-call-him-victim Gavib Arvizo if he recognised the defendant. Well, duh, it's Michael Jackson.

Gavin's first day on the stand saw him talking about how jackson first stopped returning his calls, before inviting him back to "audition" for the movies:

Gavin claimed Mr Jackson had taken him to one side, asked him if he still wanted to be an actor and said he would get him into the movies, this was his audition. "He said: 'Tell them you call me Daddy and Daddy Michael,"' he told the court. "He told me to say he helped me and that he pretty much cured me of cancer." Asked whether that was true, Gavin said: "Not really. He was hardly there during my cancer."

Earlier, Gavin's brother Star admitted he'd "got details wrong" in early interviews with police; he'd claimed he'd been on a couch when Jackson did whatever he did, whereas in court he said he'd been watching through a door. Star put the discrepencies down to being nervous.
The trial will puruse its course.


The Jackson trial is of interest to just one of the UK's papers today, perhaps a sign that the case is starting to get a bit messy, and difficult to call before the end of day's sessions - a nightmare for papers struggling with press times. The Express, however, has found a new angle: Even if Jackson wins, he's facing a cash meltdown:

The Star, meanwhile, appears to have heard that Elton John and David Beckham are going into the hotel business. Together.

The Sun, meanwhile, is so busy whipping up racial hatred it can hardly find room for the big news of the day: Charlotte Church believes she's got a "jinxed love life" - hey, perhaps that's down to the gypsies, too?:

... although maybe it;s not so much your love-life is jinxed, Charles. Perhaps it's just your taste is shocking.


He might have been trying to make a positive point (that taking the English National Opera to Glastonbury opened the company up to new audiences) but the wording of Martin Smith, ENO's chairman, doesn't reflect well upon him: Glasto-goers, apparently, "never heard of or hardly knew how to spell opera". Smith is merchant banker; oddly, his career is also merchant banker. He droned on:

"[The audience] were completely and utterly rivetted by it. It has to lead us down the path of saying, what is it about the organisation that is inhibiting us from reaching those people who clearly have the capacity to respond and listen ... if they really understood it and knew what was going on?"

Even a member of his own opera company could see what was wrong with this:

"How incredibly patronising. That audience was as switched on as anyone could be. They were very intense. They got it."

The ENO has been in trouble for a good number of years; perhaps having a chairman who assumes the Glasto audience are a bunch of ignorant drones could be a reason why.

Personally, we'd recommend the '94 Glyndebourne Le Nozze di Figaro. Even though the audiences there tend to be more interested in the picnics than the music.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Old Boy, Old Order, New Braves

There's nothing worse than an embittered old queen; once the bright focus of any room and offering the hint of opportunities and possibilities, they waste their talent and spill their promise. Stuck amd aging, they sink deeper and deeper into self-parody, their once legendary wit turning blunt, cruel and bilious - no longer barbs delivered with the confidence of the centre of attention; they sit firing blanks from the edge of stage. Once, the patron saint of the EBQs would have been Norma Desmond, but now, it seems, Boy George has moved to the best rooms on Sunset Blvd. His twilight years now see him granting interviews to those newspapers still interested and doing everything he can to engage: A man with nothing to sell pitching and bitching his empty case. The Times found space for him this week, and George is busily finding fault with everyone. Rosie O'Donnell, for example, who pumped millions into pandering his Broadway dreams for Taboo is "a Pottery Barn lesbian" and "domineering"; George Michael has "propgated the myth that gay men are 'rampant'" - but, erm, Michael was cottaging when he was arrested, it's not like he was making it up - and if you want to talk about playing up to gay stereotypes, who's the endless bitching coming from?; The Queer Eye gays aren't gay enough - "My life is about much more than what my cushions are like or what theatre show I should go to" - which is a bit like complaining that Delia Smith isn't a real woman as not all women spend all their time cooking, surely?. Elton John playing with Eminem would be like George "singing with Pol Pot" - apparently "every gay person with a brain cell found it hideously offensive to see Elton performing with him." Really, George? You don't think some might have thought it was Eminem acknowledging that he'd stepped over the line in the past; that Eminem sharing a stage with Elton was a small step towards understanding and tolerance? And on it goes, with George even reprising his "cup of tea rather than sex" schtick and Radio One not playing his music (good god, he's now the gay Francis Rossi). It's all remorseless, self-pitying, and ultimately a little sad. We can turn the page; it's just a shame George is so stuck on his.

We skipped WTPPS last week, so we'll rush through a double helping of NMEs - last week it was New Order on the cover, probably for the first time since we were at university; inside was the big scoop of an exclusive interview with Pete Doherty - he claimed he's off the smack, and let's hope he is. But the world might want a little more than his word.

Peter Robinson took on Tori Amos, challenging her on if Famous Amos is a made-up person like Captain Birds Eye. But, of course, Captain Birdseye wasn't a made-up person - he was a real bloke, called Clarence, who started making frozen food. Tori didn't know this, so missed out on a chance to win the battle of wits.

Bernard Sumner now calls New Order's most famous track "fucking Blue Monday" because I'm sick of it". Peter Hook, on balance, still enjoys the ride: "we've had a fantastic 27 years. Haven't got a pot to piss in, mind."

Reviews: Live:
REM - Sheffield Hallam Arena, more or less abandoned because of Mike Mills' illness: "Four songs? It's not as if REM's back catalogue is exactly un-acoustic"
Juliette Lewis & The Licks - London Astoria: "a convincing display"
The Tears - London Astoria: "An imperfect landing from a band who still have time to become brilliant"

The Arcade Fire - Funeral: "It will do more than capture your heart", 9
Idlewild - Warnings/Promises: "Another rip-off of Document? Far from it", 9

TOTW: Fischerspooner - Just Let It Go: "Wahey!"

And so, on to this weeks NME - the average age of the cover star drops by a third as the Bravery (left to right: Craig from Corrie with Morrissey's hair; Mark Gatiss goes Goth; Shakin Steven's love child; one of Kings Of Leon and a forty-five year old teenage boy).

Oasis' first album is going to be called Don't Believe The Truth and the first single is called Lyla, and Noel believes that Liam has written some... no, it's no good...

Johnny Borrell pops up for his first interview since that wobble and derailing in the US. The paper asks him how he felt about people claiming he'd lost his mind, but he says he doesn't mind because he wasn't. They don't ask him about the "rest of the band don't count" rumours.

There's an interview with Richard Brayshaw. Who he? Well, Richard was using Kazaa to shift paid-for music files about - "it was just for me to use". As a result, though, he's had to pay £1,500 to the BPI after they threatened to sue him - he doesn't think they had a case, but didn't fancy taking them on. He did, however, beat them down from £6,500.

It's a pity Kaiser Chiefs look so much like Menswe@r, isn't it? Ricky Wilson is this week's chunk of meat tossed to Peter Robinson. Ricky tries to distract attention from his shady past (Parva) by claiming that they were going at the same time as The D4 were "getting all the press." Yeah, we remember the heady days when you couldn't move for The D4.

Kathleen Hanna pops up to enthuse over the wonders of new technology and how "it's made Le Tigre's music translate to the ears of rock & roll execs, who'll hopefully help get us heard beyond our limited group of friends." Eh? Kathleen, you get listened to by execs not because you're able to knock up a tune on an iMac, but because you've got a massive audience, a Jane and Bust magazine following, a clearly defined brand and are well known. That's not something that comes packaged with new technology - even GarageBand.

Lou Reed's favourite new crossdresser Antony is in Radar; he might be ours, too - born in Chichester, moved to Sann Jose, and his only lifeline was Smash Hits.

The Bravery are very keen to deny that they aren't a copycat act - although, claims Dirt, "my side project is a Killers cover band."

Equally keen to deny copyist claims are Nine Black Alps - they're not Nirvana Redux, they insist: "I'm more into Sonic Youth and Radiohead" says David.

babyshambles - brixton academy - "[Pete sings] how do choose between death and glory? It's a haunting climax."
keane - bull and gate - "relentless charm"

queens of the stone age - lullabies to paralyze: "Better. Than. Sex", 8
stereophonics - language sex violence other: "maybe it was all Stuart Cable's fault... [they're] sexy, angry, hungry, focused and (generally) intelligent", 7

totw - british sea power - it ended on an oily stage - "a unique new dawn"
trembling blue stars - "snooze-length"
siobahn fahey - pulsatron - "retro daft glory"


Back before he could afford leather trousers, Jim Morrison made a promo film for Florida State University. The thing has been found, dusted down, and is now available on the internet. You can see why he didn't choose a career in acting.


In a 'something must be done' twittering, Al Sharpton has called for TV and Radio to ban artists connected to violent acts. Although all he's calling for is a ninety day ban, which seems almost pointless, especially looking at what he thinks the ban will do:

"There's a difference in the having the right to express yourself and in engaging in violence and using the violence to hype record sales, and then polluting young Americans that this is the key to success, by gunslinging and shooting."

Sharpton isn't so dull as to assume that this is a plan that's going to work, so we'll assume he's just attempting to kick-start a debate. Trouble is, it's the sort of debate which can rapidly run out of control, and before you know where you are Clear Channel will be adopting a policy of banning anyone who's ever been in any trouble with the cops. Except George W Bush, of course. His drink-driving never counts, for some reason.


Actually, you can't really knock Supergrass for their decision to do a club tour this summer, not after keeping the ball in the air for over a decade. And it's great for the fans, who'll be able to get close enough to the band to actually sniff the scent of Jude Law on their breath. Here's the venues:

Manchester University (May 15)
Sheffield Leadmill (16)
Leeds University (17)
Preston 53 Degrees (21)
Newcastle University (23)
Northampton Roadmender (24)
Bath Pavillion (25)
Norwich UEA (27)
Portsmouth Pyramid (29)
London Koko (30)
Liverpool Academy (31)

There's an "I should KoKo" headline there waiting, isn't there?
The original and still the best:

- and just seven quid on Amazon


Tumbling into our path comes the news that Arcade Fire's Laika single, due out on March 28th, is going to be super-special-ebaytastic limited editions - three inch CD, seven ich vinyl and both with a wonderful, hand-tooled die-cut gold-leaf sleeve. If you really want to power sell, you can take it down to the live dates and get it signed:

17th March - ULU, London [sold out]
4th May - Manchester MDH
5th May - Glasgow Debating Chamber
6th May - Birmingham Academy
8th May - Bristol Academy
9th May - London Astoria


Nobody knows the troubles Ashlee Simpson has seen this year... oh, hang about, we all do, don't we? Now she's taken to begging the audience for sympathy for her plight, whining to a bunch of people who'd paid good money to see her in Chicago:

"I've had a tough year. But, I've learned a lot of lessons and the most important is that I don't have to be perfect"

The world as a whole is hoping that by this time next year she might have picked up on the other half of that lesson - "so long as you're halfway decent..."


Paris Hilton, sorry, Jessica Simpson and her "husband" Nick Lachey are both banging away in the recording studio, working to make two more CDs full of music that you couldn't give away.

Although, to be fair, we did quite like Simpson's 7-11 version of Let It Snow, but the arrangement rather than her delivery.

Anyway, she's been working with Jam and Lewis, who clearly have done some hard thinking in the reputation versus earning column; Nick, meanwhile, is clearly just pissing about without a clue:

"I'm pissing about without a clue" ("It's definitely not gonna be the straight-ahead pop ballad thing that people have been used to hearing from me. I'm trying to mix it up a little bit. Part of the beauty of music is experimentation and kind of finding yourself and your direction.

"That's what I've been doing the past few months - writing and singing and 'demoing' and getting back to the kind of musical frame of mind and what it is that I really want to do.")


Those Scientologists will try anything to get their graspy fingers round people's bank balances ("souls") - if the flattering psychometric-style test doesn't work, they'll send John Travolta in to offer you a "film role": either that, or Travolta really does believe that Girls Aloud would make good film stars, which strike us as even less plausible than L Ron's religiousbabble itself.


Don't say we didn't warn you: Billie Piper is now threatening to go back to pop, reports Ananonva. (Although, admittedly, not for the first time). The idea, of course, is to use the post-Doctor Who bounce to give her a catapult forward in negotiations with labels.

What we love about this picture is that someone has written her name on her belly for her - presumably so that she can remember what she's called. As she's reading from the top, that could explain why she spent six months convinced her name was Ellip.


Obviously, it's hard to think of Mel C and Robbie Williams sharing anything more than a hairdresser without being both disgusted and puzzled ("but isn't he...? and isn't she...?"), but it's worth making the effort for a moment, as Mel C has dismissed William's claims to have shagged four of the five Spice Girls. Her, yes, Geri, yes... but:

"Victoria asked me about that and said, 'Well, I've not slept with him.'

"And I know Emma's not slept with him.

"In fact, I'd like to ask Robbie about this, because, to my knowledge, there are a few of the Spice Girls he didn't slept with."

On the other hand, it is possible Robbie isn't lying... we wouldn't be surprised if he counts "one, three, four, seven, twelve, many..."


It seems that two high-profile shootings and the terrible PR over the Tsunami "joke" has led bosses at New York's Hot 97 to cry "enough":

New York Daily News

Not many music news stories on the front of UK papers today, but there is at least something heartwarming: following the implosion of her pop 'career' and the complete lack of interest in her role in Phantom of the Opera - the Movie (yes, apparently they made one, and apparently she was in it. Briefly.), Jennifer Ellison has remembered she's got another career to fall back on:

Daily Star cover

Yes, there's always money to be made standing around in a bikini.


We're not entirely sure how Michael Jackson can allow his publicist to make public statements on Jacko's state of mind (he was "hurt and embarrassed" when Star Arvizo claimed he'd stuck his hand down his brother's pants while knocking one out, as you can imagine) - surely even if it's not strictly breaking the tight gag order on participants, getting your paid spokesperson to make statements on your behalf is virtually the same thing as ringing up the editor of Fox And Friends yourself?

The last day and a half of testimony has been going well for Jackson, though, as the defence has thrown some doubt on Star's testimony. In a bit of an odd session, Thomas Mesereau showed the boy a pile of porn magazines and got him to confirm that they were the ones Jacko had shown him. Aaah... but the issue of Barely Legal Mesereau had passed him had come from August 2003, after the incident had taken place. Which either proves that Star was lying, or else that all porn mags look the same and it's hard to tell one two year old jazz mag from the other - it's not like there's much difference between one spread eighteen year old and another, is it? Just for a moment, though, savour the sweet joy that someone in Mesereau's office must have had trying to get hold of back issues of Barely Legal. It was either three hours of squirming on the phone. Or asking the client during a case conference.

More damaging for the prosecution was Star's admission that he'd lied in a clunky court case brought against JC Penney a few years back. It's not clear if the defense have thrown enough doubt on the lad's previous claims to have actually witnessed the molestations.

The case continues.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


You start to wonder if Sanctury Record's business plan consists of anything more than a well-thumbed British Hit Singles with the words "sign everything except Cliff" scrawled on the top. Their continuing hoovering of all talent ever has seen them announce the signing of Simple Minds. Jim Kerr rolls on...


...or does Cher have more than the look of Pete Burns about her on this final tour?


yes, it's that popular google search term all over again, as she agrees to do a cover for Allure magazine wearing just a necklace Kevin bought her. On his wages, that's going to be a mighty small necklace.

We're not quite sure what all the excitement is - hasn't she done this for Esquire before now? [Not Unsafe For Work, but not entirely comfortable either].

Meanwhile, she's revealed that it's not been all plain sailing with kevin - like most marriages, she got that three-week itch where "We hit a little bit of reality, hardcore." You've got to be fair to her, she's young, she's not used to marriages that last more than 24 hours - what would you expect. We think what might have happened is she realised that, no, that was all that he did.

Actually, it turns out that the problem was caused by the hitting of reality:

Before we got married we were on tour, and we were like kids, ordering room service, saying, 'Lets go out tonight.' And then all of a sudden you have this home, you have the kids, you have the diapers, get the dogs to the vet. It's this whole reality, you know,"

There can be nothing worse than the sudden discovery that your husband needs diapers. But your heart goes out to her: Britney thinks reality is taking dogs to the vet. Not even to the PDSA. She really doesn't have the first clue about reality, does she?


So it turns out that Green Day might not be totally without redeeming features. (Besides, of course, the role we've cast Billie Joe in for our upcoming adult-interest-indie-boy-porn flick). Corey George, who had been in a coma for two weeks after being hit by a car on his ninth birthday, woke up just after someone had played him American Idiot. He's now off the critical list and hopefully on his way to recovery. It might not have brought down George Bush, but it turns out the album did have a positive to contribute all along.


Josh Homme has posted up a statement about how he fell sick and had to cancel the European tour - not that an explanation is really needed; if I had the choice of snuggling with Brody Dalle or playing some clunking tunes to a room full of long-haired bootwearers, I know where I'd choose to be. Anyway, here's what he said:

“I’d like to say thank you to all well wishers. Your words and thoughts were printed out for me to read and you know what, it mean a lot to me. It was just cool to see sweet things instead of bottles of meds that were not meant for recreation. I’m trying to think of something cool for all who still got the tickets for the shows missed. I’m thinking of a free vinyl ‘45. I just wanted to say thanks for understanding. I feel better already.”


The tantalising prospect that V2005 might have featured a very special headliner has been dashed with the news that Oasis are topping the bill [Chelmsford, Saturday; Weston Park, Sunday]. Luckily, the other day there is going to be Scissor Sisters and Franz Ferdinand, so at least one day is worth going to. And, in a lazy cut and paste, all these acts have also been forced to pinkie-swear that they'll be there:

Athlete, Ian Brown, Kaiser Chiefs, Maroon 5, Embrace, Joss Stone, Robert Plant, The Bravery, Texas, Jet, The Zutons, Doves, Thirteen Senses, The Music, Goldie Lookin' Chain, Dizzee Rascal, 22-20's and Goldfrapp

Texas? Blimey.


Mel C - whose new single is cracking, actually - has said that she really wants to become a mum, but doesn't want to get married. Now, I know what the more cruel amongst you are thinking:

But she's just not bothered about settling down:

"I know a lot of girls dream about their weddings but I'm certainly not one of them. But I hope it will change one day."

She's been dating the same person - bloke for three years now. If we were Thomas Starr ("building company director") we'd be wondering why, if she can't imagine a wedding right now, she hopes she'll be able to in the future. Who said something about a change in the law? See me after class.


Continuing to add wait to the belief that apart from the gorgeous Pat Nevin, footballers and taste are seldom on more than nodding terms, Westlife have been booked (apparently) to play Wayne Rooney's wedding to Coleen McLoughlin. Coleen, of course, believes that being a footballer wife means she has an automatic right to pester the top 40 with some songs ("has chart ambitions herself") and will probably enjoy the chance to see how easy it is to sell records even although you have no talent to speak of.

Image hosted by


And it's all legal, too. Showing just how peer-to-peer networks can be a force for good, the SXSW people have released a torrent into the wild featuring all the mp3 tracks being made available as part of this year's festival hoo-hah in one big lump. 750 tracks. A complete music collection in one go, in other words. (If you can't face the whole 2.6 Gig version, there's a clip version of thirty second bursts on offer, too).


It does seem Britney might be a bit of a cult after all - she's just posted to her website thanking Madonna for "introducing her to Kabbalah". Britney says the human handbag dropped her a tip about the big K when she was going through a bad patch - or "preyed on her when she was at her most vulnerable", as you might also put it.

Britney prepares to sign away her fortune


Okay, that's a headline up there with "Man looks at porn on internet" - apparently, Kelly is obsessed with the idea of getting it on in the kitchen. Of course, he's American, who tend to have larger kitchens and wouldn't need to steer clear of an Aga in the corner, but it does all sound a little unhealthy. Because it seems from this line:

Hands on the table, on your tippy-toes, we'll be making love like the restaurant was closed."

Hang about... he's doing it in an open restaurant? Good grief - talk about your hell's kitchen...


Ja Rule has swallowed something hard and jagged and said 'sorry', apoligising mainly to the entire city of Toroto while pleading guilty to assault. Obviously, he had his reasons - some people had stood near him shouting stuff about 50 Cent and, just like any 12 year-old, Ja felt angry at the playground taunting. Although the court report says he's 29, which can't be right. Anyway, it all ended up in a punching.

More oddly, the judge - W P Bassel in the case apologised to Ja for the shouting in the first place. A judge. Saying sorry for people going "ooh, 50 Cent is better than you." There'd be your majesty of the law, then. Ja copped to an assault charge and will use the small change in his 4x4 to pay the 1,200 dollar fine.


James Brown, damn, has added his weight to the Jackson trial clamour, suggesting that Michael was set up:

"I think he's been set up like most entertainers. They've been trying to do that to me all my life, trying to get something for nothing."

Yes, it was all part of an elaborate sting that involved persuading Jackson to chirrup away to Martin Bashir about how great it is having wee kiddies in your bedroom at night. If it does turn out that Jackson has (apparently repeatedly) been the victim of a massive con trick, he might want to ponder if his own behaviour left him exposed.

Meanwhile, James Brown has insisted that he is music, and he writes the songs:

"All the music playing the last part of the 20th century was all James Brown," he said. "The 21st century is just James Brown period," he said.

"Whether it's rap, hip hop, gospel, or country doesn't make no difference. They are all using my stuff and I'm glad because I've been able to bring something to music," he added.

We've played the third Oasis album back to front, and we can't see any James Brown in it all.


"Males search internet for porn" wouldn't be thought of as an eye-catching headline anywhere. Anywhere, it seems, but the Daily Mail:

Daily Mail front page

I guess we also shouldn't be surprised that every day Jackson looks exactly the same in the photos, should we?

The still-astonishing victory of the Sony Entertainment division over the electronics head is celebrated in the FT, which gives a big picture splash to Howard Stringer turning up to seize all the power. Head of one of the biggest companies in the world, and still wears Tesco ties, by the look of it:

FT front page

The Times, meanwhile, has some astonishing news: apparently there are people at the Times who still think that Boy George having a spat about Madonna is still front page news; even more astonishingly, they still call him "the gender bender", like it was 1982 and Jimmy Saville still presented Top of the Pops:

Monday, March 07, 2005


The world might not have been that impressed with Minnie Driver's music, but surely it can't fault her keenness? She;s about to embark on a huge US tour, with an aggressive level of PR and 'contesting' around it. We do wonder, though, who the hell has decided what her key market should be, for the Press Release bounces that Minnie is:

Appealing to the 20 to 30 fashionista urban dwelling hipster demographic which is comprised of tastemakers and influencers of peer groups, Driver’s tour will target venues holding 500-1500. According to King, "This audience can be reached virtually nowhere else."

Ram a plastic rooster up my ass, if you liked Minnie, wouldn't you think twice before going to a venue chosen for that sort of person? If it wasn't bad enough that you'd be in a room with 999 fashonista urban dwelling hipsters, people might see you coming out and assume that you were one of them, as well.

Buyable: Don't give up the dayjob -
Everything I've Got In My Pocket, the album

The dayjob:
Princess Mononoke
- Minnie provides anime voiceover action


More trouble for Nick Carter, former Backstreet Boy and... uh, whatever is it he does he now. The twat appears to have been driving while sauced up. Cops caught him shortly after he left Duke's Restaurant in LA, where he'd allegedly enjoyed himself a little too much.

* apologies for invoking the ghost of jim davidson


The Michael Jackson trial has picked up where it left off last week, with the cross-examination of Davellin Arviso, sister of the boy Jacko is accused of molesting. The defense played an audio tape - secretly recorded by a private investigator - where the family appeared to praise Jackson. Davellin broke down while the tape was playing, saying that she'd still liked Jackson when the tape had been made. The recording featured Davellin talking about the abuse they'd experienced by their own father. Under questioning, Davellin admitted she'd lied previously about details in the case.

Next prosecution witness was brother of the accuser, Star. Star told about the now-famous porn-and-Simpsons sessions:

He said that while looking at an image of a woman's breast Mr Jackson joked: "Got milk?".

He also said the singer whispered in the ear of his sleeping son: "You're missing some ..." using a vulgar term for female anatomy.

"Michael told us not to tell no one what we did - not to tell our parents what we did," he said.
There seems to have been a bit of a contradiction between the two sibling's versions, though: Davellin claimed the boys had spent their first night at neverland with Jacko; Star insisted the first night was spent with their own father, and the nights with Mickey came later.


The Chinese government have made an attempt to outlaw lip-synching, comparing the practice to "selling fake goods". The lengths people will go to to ensure Victoria Beckham won't play there.


The death has been announced of Iain MacLennan, one of the most enthusiastic supporters of folk music in Scotland.

Despite a day job at Heriot-Watt as a computer technician, the 53 year old;s real passion was music; it was a passion which drove his life for thirty years. His younger brother, Alasdair, spoke about that love:

"Iain never married because his true love was folk music. It wasn’t a family tradition and he never actually played an instrument. But he adored listening to Scottish music and he was involved in almost every folk club in Edinburgh since moving there in the 1970s.

"It was his passion and he dearly wanted to return to Edinburgh after his illness to continue his work. But despite his battle with bladder cancer over the last few months in Forres, he died peacefully in hospital on Thursday morning.

"He wanted us to celebrate his life and that is exactly what we will do. A humanist service is being held next Wednesday in a local pub and we will hear a lot of folk music before travelling to the crematorium.

"He will be sorely missed by all of us, especially our mother and father."


The launch of a new alternative music TV station is always an occasion for rejoicing, as it means a full three weeks of excitement and decent music until the dream crumbles and it starts relying on just showing Blink 182 and White Stripes back to back. Let's hope things are different for THAT TV, although the horrible, probably reversed out almost acronym doesn't fill you full of confidence. Surely, anyway, The Home of Alternative Television should be THA TV? And doesn't the name imply it's going to be Mark Perry back-to-back?

On the other hand, it's not owned by Viacom or EMAP, and it's based in Edinburgh, which means it's far out enough from London to be far out enough. We've always hoped that someday there'd be a station a little like a 24-Hour version of Yorkshire TV's Transmission - maybe this could be it?

It's on Sky from August.


It's looking a bit gloomy for Lengendary Rock Venue (TM) CBGB's, where a New York property battle looks likely to lead to the venue's closure. It turns out the club is subletting its space from the Bowery Residents' Committee. Although the BRC sounds like a snooty bunch of moustache-and-suit types, they use the rest of the building as a homeless shelter; their work is being hindered by an apparent rent backlog. Although CBGBs debt is down from a high of nearly a third of a million bucks, both parties agree there's still a sizeable seventy-five grand outstanding. What makes things tricky for CBGBs is their lease comes to an end this August, and having spent much of the last decade pissing off their landlords, they're about to get bitten back. The BRC want to bring the costs into line with new space in what has become a very expensive property market - a move which would double the money CBGBs would have to find. Muzzy Rosenbatt, BRC executive director, does seem to have the angels on his side for this one:

"I am not going to subsidize CBGB at the expense of homeless people" - which could be tricky to argue with.

MP3 HOME FREE: FOR NOW, the site which sits in Russia offering tonnes of top mp3 action for a fair market price, has just managed to avoid being the subject of criminal action. It turns out it wasn't quite as in keeping with Russian copyright law as it might have claimed, and didn't have all the licenses it should. What got it off the hook, though, was the very specific detail of Russian law: since the company wasn't actually flogging physical items, there wasn't anything they could be prosecuted for trafficing. Indeed, the prosecutors decision was that was a place for listening to music, not obtaining goods.


See the giddy little dance we're doing? That's because there's some streaming video of the first new Garbage stuff since that slight split-then-reunion thing they did the other while aback... we can't actually listen at the moment because our computer is unaudioed, but it looks pretty good - Shirley waking up cross and putting on her socks. There's a choice of feeds available, in descending order: Real High, Real Low, Windows High, Windows Low. The single is lined up for pre-release from Amazon.

Join the vixen2 list to get all the Garbage news if not quite first, then quite soon

JENNY FROM THE BUSH: A further example of how record companies' minds work. Obviously, the pairing of Brian McFadden and Delta Goodrem is great for the Australian and north-western European markets, but what to do launching Delta in America?

Clearly, they need to make her the new something-or-other; and while you or I might have sighed and gone "New Anastacia, innit?" they've decided that she's the new J-Lo. No, really. Although, to be fair, Jennifer Lopez's background didn't actually match the one we were supposed to believe granted her musicianship that all-important authenticity, so there's no reason why you can't market a nice, middle-class stage school girlie from Australia in the same 'jenny from the block2 r&b mode. Obviously, you wouldn't if you were a company with any sense of honesty or reality, but this is the music business...