Saturday, April 09, 2005


Apparently, what propelled Whitney Houston back to rehab was a final warning by her more talented mother, Cissy Houston. Or so says a "source":

"She was horrified when she saw Whitney walking around the front yard - as thin as a stick, like an old homeless woman,'' a source told the tab. The source also claims Cissy threatened to take away 12-year-old Bobbi Kristina if Houston didn't get help. As for Whitney's hubby, Roxbury bad boy Bobby Brown, the Enquirer reported the two spend their time fighting and getting high. "Whitney and Bobby fight like two men in a bar,'' the insider dished. "There are holes in the dining room wall where Bobby slammed his fist once and broken chairs have been lying all over the floor.''

Yikes - Anne Maurice ain't going to like that. We really cherish the image of Whit and Bob fighting like men in a bar, though, and it's one that will make any big comeback so much sweeter in our eyes. But what on earth do they find to fight so angrily about? Whose career is more screwed? Who smoked the last spoon?


Could Einsutrzende Neubaten be on the point of calling it a day?. Apparently Blixa Bargeld told audiences at the London Forum this week that "this might be the last time we play in London."


The only EN album Amazon appear to offer...


Does anyone quite understand how the courts found for Capitol in the battle with Naxos? Naxos had been reissuing records from the 1930s by the likes of Yehudi Menuhin, Edwin Fisher and Pablo Casals, on the not entirely unsound grounds they were out of copyright. However, EMI had a cow, brought legal action and a New York court has ruled that even though the recordings are out of copyright, they're still protected by "common law". In other words, the court has decided that copyright would appear to actually be meaningless concept.

Now, surely that can't be right? Either you have a copyright term, which ends, and the recordings are public domain, or the recordings are perpetually covered by common law. You can't have both. And clearly, the RIAA (of which EMI is, like, a big part) have been fighting very hard for copyright terms to be extended, so clearly they believe that it's the copyright which is important. The New York judgement seems to contradict that rule - for what's the point in a term-limited protection if it merely duplicates the protection of some other legislation?


We don't know what would happen if they divorce, but judging by the terms of the agreement that Britney signed before she got married to Kevin Federline, it wouldn't look good for the former dancer. Because if she dies, all the cash goes to a trust fund controlled by her mam and brother. Bloody hell, Kev, what's the point in marrying a millionairess if you don't benefit if she should have an unfortunate accident with a threshing machine?

It's believed this has nothing to do with Federline ringing up Phil Spector and saying "actually, Phil... probably no point in you coming round right now..."


But if you were thinking of casting a vote in the Snickers (the new name for Marathon) competition for a new band to get to play at Clear Channel's Download Festival, you could do worse than use your X to give The Mascara Story your support. We like 'em because they kind of remind us of Identity and Jacobs Mouse, plus, unlike the other bands up for the honour, they're not metal-by-central-casting.


Just when you think that American rap stars are running out of ideas form how to show they've got so much cash they can just piss it away, along comes another trend. Next month it'll be buying diamond encrusted elephants, but for now it seems to be pumping cash into sports teams. Unfortunately, there are only so many proper sports franchises to go round, so poor Ludacris has been forced to fall back on buying a pop-pop team. He's slushed some of the cash from his DTP label into the Blata-WCM team, who compete in races to see who has the fastest motorbike.

Yeah, we know: it's basically something you could do for a lot less money by buying a packet of Top Trumps

- see?
. But let's never try to stop a fool and his money being parted - instead, if we were in charge of a struggling third division football club (or whatever Coca-Cola thinks we should be calling it these days: Diet League, is it?) I'd be ringing up DefJam and asking if there was anyone looking to sponsor a matchball or two.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Julian Lennon is an angry man - his back catalogue has been deleted, and yet he believes himself to be a great songwriter. Why, wasn't Saltwater a number eight hit just fourteen years ago? And yet now, you can't get hold of it. And what about Just Too Late For Goodbyes? That was a mighty number six, and yet try asking for it in Woolworths, or even at a branch of W H Smiths, and after the assistant has gone "John Lennon, you mean? Julian? You sure?" they'll tell you that this musical classic, too, is unavailable. Since the record labels can't be trusted with his work, then, Lennon is going to start his own label to release a greatest hits album. With Saltwater, Just Too Late For Goodbyes and... uh, other hits on it. Julian muttered:

"I've been thinking about how much of my past work is unavailable because the labels and distributors I worked with in the past have shelved my CDs.

"One goal this year is to make my past catalogue available again. I'd like to release them, or what's the point of having made them in the first place?"

Well, we did actually wonder that at the time, to be honest.


Kelle Bryan, who used to be in Eternal, with Louise Redkanpp and the, uh, other two - whatever happened to her, eh? Apparently, shortly after the other two kicked her out, she got hit with lupus; now she's working in a bid to raise awareness of the disease.


Nooooo! Tour de France obsessed Scottish indiepoppers The Delgados have split up after ten years. Stewart Henderson, on bass, was first to say that he'd had enough, and the band decided that it wouldn't be the Delgados without all of the Delgados, so they've decided that's it.


The way they were:

The Great Eastern




The ho-hum so-so Queen Adreena are about to spew out a flurry of releases - Medicine Jar, a single and The Butcher and The Butterfly, an album which we can't feel that excited about due to our rule of taking an instant dislike to anything which sounds like it's named after a Post-it note discarded by Peter Greenaway; and a tour:

April 22 – Hitchin Club 85
23 – Somewhere in Whitby
May 17 – Leeds Josephs Well
18 – Leicester Sumo
20 – Glasgow King Tuts
21 – Newscastle University
23 – Sheffield The Room
24 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
25 – London Islington Academy


The independence of Mean Fiddler is at an end: they've accepted a takeover from Clear Channel. Clear Channel and Irish company Gaiety's Hamsard joint-venture cash channel Hamsard has valued Mean Fiddler at a bit under forty million; it now means the NeoCon broadcasting-advertiser has got a 39% share of Glastonbury and all of Reading/Leeds Festivals.

The takeover still depends on MF shareholders giving their assent.


Something really heartwarming for a Friday afternoon: A Geezers Dream Come True, a blog following a bloke's first tour ever. What makes this one slightly different is that he's a grandfather, and has been dreaming of playing in a band for forty years. See? It's never too late...


Possibly even more depressing than the recent news that, given a choice, chances are most people would like their ride on the crematoria conveyor belt accompanied by Robbie Williams is today's shocker that more people have their first dance to Bryan Adams than anything else. Yes, Everything I Do I Do It For You. (We had Mazzy Star's Fade Into You, since you ask). We're betting that most marriages which debut with Adams last less long than its spell at number one. Christ, if they're saying that that is the musical expression of their love, they'd probably have split before the final chorus.


Having spent a month or so watching Boy George giving interviews to the Ilkely Advertiser and Through The Night With Spiggy on Radio Kent, Elton John has taken the opportunity of a piece in Rolling Stone to hit back. John enthuses over Eminem and rolls his eyes at George's natterings:

"From the start, I've always admired Eminem's thinking.

"That's the reason I wanted to appear on the Grammys with him when I was asked, despite all the nonsense talked about his being homophobic.

"Let the Boy Georges and the George Michaels of the world get up in a twist about it if they don't have the intelligence to see his intelligence."

This is all for a special edition where stars and Dave Matthews are invited to pen appreciations of other greats.


Rather excitedly, reports reach us that Duncan James is being lined up for a job on GM-TV. That's brilliant news, and we'll have ours cream, no sugar.


Because Marc Anthony apparently doesn't think that J-Lo was "very classy", Jennifer Lopez is planning on rebranding herself as Jennifer Anthony. Or Aunty Jennifer, as we're planning on calling her.

We'll bet the people who make her perfume and other products in the fine JLo range will be absolutely thrilled at that one. Mind you, Britney was supposedly becoming Britney Federline a few months back and that seems to have been quietly dropped...


The curious question about Swansea University's vice-chancellor hoofing down to the Manics gig to present Nicky with a lifelong honorary fellowship is why there? Normally, these sorts of things are given as part of the university's degree ceremonies, aren't they?

Perhaps the V-C was worried Wire would misinterpret the instruction to wear a gown.

While we're on the Manics, we always enjoy it when Steve Lamacq trots out the "I was interviewing Richey at the Norwich Arts Centre, when he started to carve 4Real into his arm..." story, so we were especially delighted when he even managed to work it into his Guardian quiz yesterday.


So, that smooth Glasto ticket operation wasn't quite as smooth as it looked: it seems an unspecified number of ticket purchasers had their tickets cancelled due to "payment difficulties."

Seetickets - the company which provides the tech for - are blaming other people. Nick Blackburn says "it's possible that this is a mistake which lies more with the credit card companies." Which may be the case, although we understand that those affected had already their purchase processed - which would seem to be the credit cards companies doing their job. So are we supposed to accept that the credit card companies then turned round and said "Hang about, that card we said was okay ten hours ago? Actually, it's maxed out." Possible, although it seems unlikely. If they behaved like that, you'd see shopkeepers having to chase customers down the street - "madam, could I have the hat and handbag back? Visa have made a mistake..."

Still, the whole thing's being investigated, so we might find out what went wrong.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Poor Grace Jones; there she was enjoying first class travel on the Eurostar, thinking life could get no better than the three-course meal and swanky carriage, when she discovers that there's actually a Premium Class as well. Where they get a four course meal. And she wanted in. Yes, we know this sounds like the set up from a late period Frasier - "it's not knowing there's an extra course, Niles. It's not knowing what the extra couse is..." - but it really happened. Grace decided to go and sit in the Premium Section anyway. And, as is inevitable, the ticket inspector came to see her. What happens next is disputed, but it ends up with Jones leaving the train in Ashford. The company line is that Jones said she had no money to pay the upgrade, and when asked to return to first class attacked the train manager. So they threw her off in the middle of Kent. Jones, for her part, says there was "definitely no physical confrontation" and said that she asked to be let off the train (yeah, in Ashford) because the ticket she'd been issued had been "incomplete" and didn't show the price she had paid.

Mind you, what's the point of Premium class on Eurostar? Surely if you've got more money than the cost of a first class ticket, you'd be flying anyway?


Having been launched to little more than an "oh", Wendy James is ("Racine are") hoping that Racine Number One can pull off a re-release about six months after its debut. Apparently this is because Pia-K, James' label, has hooked up with One Little Indian.

Yes, we know there was all that stuff about how If you want to make the music you believe in and not have to go through twenty phone calls' to get one thing done … you start your own label, but it seems the whole marketing and stuff is better off done by someone else after all.


Following on from the death of their former colleague Paul Hester, the Finn Brothers have cut short their European tour. Neil has apparently taken on too much:

"Following the tragic events of the past two weeks, Neil Finn has been diagnosed as suffering from mental exhaustion and stress and is taking an immediate four-week break from touring on doctor's advice."


Although we're depressed at the news that Stereophonic's Dakota is the most-downloaded legal track so far this year (thank god people stealing music have better taste), we're delighted by the photo BBC News Online have chosen to accompany the story.

The top five downloads in full are:
1. Stereophonics - Dakota
2. Chemical Brothers - Galvanize
3. Jennifer Lopez - Get Right
4. Nelly - Over and Over
5. Gwen Stefani - What You Waiting For

... which has prompted Peter Jamieson, head of music industry cartel the BPI to get all excited about just what a bright future the singles chart will have when downloads are incorporated:

"These figures suggest that the addition of downloads to the official singles chart will take the market to new audiences and broaden the appeal of the singles market."

Yes, because when you look at the top five downloads, you just can't wait for clod-hopping rockbands, clapped-out dance acts, over-exposed designer wannabes and Nelly to have a chance at the charts. Imagine, eh - including downloads will mean there's a chance that Jennifer Lopez will at long last have a chance to take on McFly for the coveted number one spot.

Good grief. In fact, let's just cheer ourselves up and see that Kelly Jones picture again, shall we?


It's true; she's teaming up with Candies (a shoe company, apparently) to take part in The Event To Prevent. It's a well-meaning stab at trying to stop teenage girls getting themselves knocked-up. Presumably Ashlee's message will be that girls should always carry a tape around with them saying "No" on it, so they can play that if they don't feel up to actually saying it themselves.


We're sure it was with the best of intentions that Lindsay Lohan donated her old clothes to the homeless - you know the ones with last year's plunging neckline, and the skirts which now do quite cover her arse. But we're not sure how much use they'll be. As one homeless person put "I might be sleeping on the street, but I don't want to dress like that sort of tramp." (Probably).


The final headliners for the Eden Project gigs this year have been announced, with Embrace (August 19th) joining Basement Jaxx (26th) and Ian Brown (27th) doing the honours. It's wonderful that an environment had been created where these old, threatened things can be given a chance to survive, isn't it?


As if we haven't done enough to upset the good people of Amsterdam - stag parties consisting of thirty blokes who clearly haven't ever seen a woman's pants before; young people who are busily taking advantage of the provision of drugs well beyond their own tolerance, and a lot of weeing in canals - we send 'em bloody Coldplay for a secret gig. reckon the bemusing artwork resembles Tetris, which we can sort of see where they're coming from with, but it doesn't quite (pun alert) stack up. It's closer to something you could produce on a ZX Spectrum, although the orange makes it unlikely. Sorry, we sound like we actually care, don't we?


Woohoo! Hey, settle down, you springbreak guys: MTV is going to bring its portfolio of stuff online with a newbranded service, MTV Overdrive. So when you switch off MTV in disgust because it's full of rappers who are c-grade even at home showing round a house they've hired, you can find exactly the same stuff online.

Jason Hirschhorn, MTV's senior vice president of digital music and media, said the channel was being launched in response to the high number of young fans with broadband. "It seemed essential to create a new hybrid screen with its own content," he said.

We're not quite sure why putting stuff on the internet is "creating a new hybrid screen" - it's still the internet, it's not like you're going to have a TeleMonitor to need to watch the stuff. It's also interesting why MTV felt they needed to "create" anything; even Channel Five have been putting stuff on the web. Perhaps we should rework Hirschorn's quote for him:

He said it seemed like MTV needed to jump on the bandwagon, but wanted to make it seem like they were being proactive in some way.

MTV Overdrive. They pay people to come up with the names, you know.


We were fascinated by the news that Mariah Carey hates getting in lifts, because she keeps getting stuck in them. And we have to be honest, if we were in a lift control room and saw Mariah Carey clambering into one we had a power switch for, we'd have been tempted to cut the electricity, too. Give the world an hour or two of safety.


John Major was ridiculed - rightly - for suggesting that the most appropriate way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of VE Day was spam fritter making competitions. On the other hand, we're not sure that would have been any worse than the plans for the 60th: Will Young and Katie Melua doing some songs in Trafalgar Square. Not since the blitz will there have been such a desperate rush as Londoners hurry to get down the nearest Underground station.


The only smart one of the Osbournes - the one who didn't take part in the turning of their life into a freakshow - has been hit the trail of misery that's following the family:

The only piece of soothing news here is that Aimee's illness has forced Sharon to cancel an appearance in the Vagina Monologues.

Meanwhile, Posh seems to have forgotten that she's nowadays famous merely for generating the next generation of David Beckhams:


We know that someone dug up Benny Hill's garve looking for cash, but we thought that this headline on the Scotsman's website showed that things had sunk to a new low: Frankie Howerd OBE is raffled. Actually, it turns out they're missing an apostrophe and an s; it's merely his OBE and not Frankie Howerd OBE himself which is going up to be the raffle prize.

(And, yes, actually, Frankie Howerd does have a couple of feet in pop history - not merely down to his appearance in the BeeGees remakes of Sergeant Peppers (as Mean Mr Mustard); he had the Ed Stewart staple Three Little Fishes under his belt, and did a cover, we believe, of Je Taime with June Whitfield. And then there's this curiosity: Get Your Titters Out, which set some of his act to a disco beat.)


Curse you, Carphone Warehouse... if you hadn't kept them alive by using Connected as your theme tune for so long, they would have had to have got proper jobs and then we'd be spared a return from the Stereo MCs. They've made a statement about it, too:

This record represents a new surge of energy for us, in that we're making music as we feel it again, with much collaboration, reflection and interaction, culminating in our new label Graffiti Recordings, and our 5th album, 'Paradise.' We've made a record in our own backyard, homegrown, and without relying on the mainstream--we're really excited to be setting all this off in 2005.

They've done four albums already? Are they sure?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Poor Dannii Minogue - apparently she finds it difficult to make female friends, something she puts down to being "voluptuous":

"Having a voluptuous figure can be intimidating to other women. Sometimes I just walk into a room and other girls will just be like, 'Hiss,' and I think, 'You don't even know me.'"

You don't think, Dannii, that rather than being intimidated by your figure (which isn't actually voluptuous; two breasts on a skinny girl makes you look like a pair of belicia beacons leaning together), that they do actually know you?


Amongst the first musicians to notice there's an election on, like, officially now was Audioslave's Tom Morello. He's not even English, and probably hasn't even seen how old and tired John Snow is sounding (thank god it's only a four week campaign), but he's worried that people might stay at home and that could be bad. Although, ahem, Audioslave's involvement in the US election didn't really secure a victory for commonsense, did it, Tom?

"That really is a testament to the fact that despite the enormous amount of propaganda put up by the Bush administration, there were a lot of artists that were able to see through it.

”I think had all those artists not done that you would have seen a landslide in the Amercian election, and I think it was artists like that that did help to energise young people not only in the election, but hopefully beyond it so they continue to fight against this unjust war."

Morello wants British youth to stand up and be counted. Or, at least, get their undertoned arses down to the polling station:

"I'd say first of all, you shouldn't be waiting around for you leaders to change the world, that's your job, and young people have always been at the forefront of progressive, radical and revolutionary change. In history classes (in the US) they try to teach history like it's a bunch of stuffy dates and kings and queens of the past. History is people like me and you standing up where we live, where we work, where we go to school and fighting for what's right, and that's something that you can do today."

So how woud Morello vote if he had a cross to cast in the UK election? Erm...

"I don't know what the slate of candidates is, I'd have to call my friend Billy Bragg. I defer to his opinion on that one!"

So, there you have it: wait for Billy Bragg to tell you how to vote, and get a new world.


Your one-stop ballot box for pop-related election coverage. Or maybe election-related pop coverage. One or the other. You know how these work: bookmark this page for updated links to other No Rock stuff on the election.

Wednesday 6th April
In the campaign, UKIP announces plans to field 500 candidates
Tom Morello: Don't vote until you speak to Billy Bragg

Sunday 9th April
In the campaign, The Tories attempt to make immigration an issue, again, hoping the electorate are as nasty as they are
Revist Charles Kennedy's Desert Island Discs choices

Monday 10th April
In the campaign, The Tories launch their manifesto
Chris Martin asks: Won't someone think about the Africans?

Tuesday 11th April
In the campaign, Charles Kennedy expands his supporter base by one as his wife gives birth
Billy Bragg kicks off his tactical voting campaign against Oliver Letwin

Monday 18th April
In the campaign, Lib Dems introduce the concept of 'visible policing', pledging that no longer will the Met be able to use their invisibility cloaks
The Sun launches an attempt to Rock The Vote UK, using youth icons Joss Stone and Trevor Kavanagh

Friday 22nd April
In the campaign, lorry drivers once again threaten to make everyone's lives miserable so they can spare a couple of pence on diesel
Make Chris Martin PM, say NME readers

Tuesday 3rd May
In the campaign, Michael Howard had been driving around without a properly taxed bus
Otis Ferry re-emerges to try to shout at Blair
Liam Fox: His eye-make-up past


Family illness has lead to cancellation of a couple of Rakes dates, with others hanging in the balance. Statement time:

"It is very unfortunate and the band are very sorry if they have let any one down by canceling these two shows. They hope to be up and running for the rest of the tour very soon. Anyone planning to catch The Rakes on this tour should check with the venue first."


Napster is doing quite well on its own terms, as it announces a 53% increase in subscribers to its Napster To Go download service. That's the one called Napster To Go because if your subscription lapses, all the music you've paid to download goes, kind of if those book clubs came and took back the books you've already bought if you reject its Book of the Month choice.

Napster now has 410,000 subscribers, which is up 143,000 on the three months prior. So that's adding at a rate of less than 40,000 a month, which doesn't seem that impressive to us. Added to which, 56,000 of those are university students, many of whom are being bounced into subscribing to Napster by colleges petrified of the RIAA and certainly not representing good long-term customers.


Despite all the hoo-hah and photo ID, Glasto tickets are still turning up on Ebay, much to the chagrain of Glastonbury organisers:

"Anyone now offering tickets for sale is utterly bogus. Do not purchase tickets from unofficial sources.

"This is not permitted under the tickets terms and conditions - you may lose your money and will not gain entry to the festival."

Now, while we can understand why Glasto don't want touts buying blocks of tickets and flogging them at mark-ups, we're still no nearer an answer to the question of why they think its acceptable to deny people who buy a ticket and find their circumstances change to sell it on; even at cost price. Is there any ethical justification for saying that, for example, that when young Peter buys a ticket and then discovers his mates couldn't get any, that he has to either go on his own or forfeit the hundred and some-odd quid he's invested. In effect, in a bid to stop the touts, Glastonbury have created a system that punishes individual music fans for finding their plans changing between 9 am on the first Sunday in April and June. It's on a par with removing everyone's freedoms in a bid to catch a few terrorists.


Britney seems to have got a little befuddled - it's Jessica Simpson who wants to be her, surely, not Britney Spears who's trailing in Simpson's wake.

Image hosted by

She's making some sort of TV programme from their home videos. Now, if she was following Paris Hilton, we might tune in.
Get yer Britney Spears primer:

Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth


Sigur Ros have announced a slew of European dates. And a Japanese festival. They're all in July. And Europe. Except the one in Japan.
08 Academy, Glasgow
09 Lowry Theatre, Salford
12 Olympia, Paris
13 Paradiso, Amsterdam
14 Cirque Royal, Brussels
16 Vega Main Hall, Copenhagen
17 Stadtpark, Hamburg
19 Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt
20 Columbiahalle, Berlin
22 Circus Krone, Munich
25 Cavea Auditorium, Rome
26 Villa Arconati, Milan
31 Fuji Rock Festival, Japan


Due to excitement and stuff, Dinoasur Jnr have added an extra date at the Forum on June 9th, to go with the one they're doing the day before.

Just re-mastered, re-released:

You're Living All Over Me

You're Living All Over Me




Tsunami-relief boosting meets shy, awkward boys with small hands: donate ten bucks to a tsunami relief effort, get a receipt, send it to the Indie Pop Cares a Lot guys, and you'll get a CD featuring the likes of Carol Cleveland Sings, Frankie Big Face, and the Half Racks. It's a gift to keep you giving.


Good news for, well, mainly Ian McNabb: Neil Young is out of hospital after his aneurysm and, according to his agent, everyone's expecting him to make a full recovery.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


He's only half-joking, of course, is Rufus Wainwright when he says he should have hidden his homosexuality to sell records:

"I've always been a habitual truth-monger. I'm unable to lie.

"And I do think that if perhaps I had started off my career with more of a Machiavellian, strategic sort of plan to hide my homosexuality, I think in retrospect it could have been crafted quite magnificently.

"Because I was a very handsome young person."

Rufus, sweetness... how would you have set about hiding your homosexuality? Watching Queer Eye For The Straight Guy on rewind? Honey, you're way to cock-cock to have kept it in...

Besides, if you'd really wanted to have sold loads of records, you'd have recorded songs rejected by Usher, wouldn't you?


It's such a hostage to fortune, we won't even bother to say the obvious response to the news that Mariah Carey has compared herself to her dog. Let's instead give her some credit, and examine exactly what she meant:

"He's a kid and so am I. He gets frightened of crowds of people. He gets delusional. I may believe in Santa, but I'm not delusional."

Leaving aside the question of how anyone can be in their early 40s and believe in Santa (did she mean Jesus?) we want to know what makes her think her dog is delusional? Actually, more to the point, what makes her think that she isn't? Unless - and it's just possible - that all those babbling postings to her website were actually done by the dog?


An interesting piece circulating from the newspaper gossip columns at the moment drifts across our desk:

The Daily Star reports that Girls Aloud star Cheryl Tweedy was invited to a party for Michelle Heaton's boyfriend Andy Scott Lee, but wouldn't mingle with the Liberty X star unless a group of people she called "riff raff" were removed. "Michelle kept asking Cheryl to join them but she kept refusing," a source said. "After a while she let it slip that she didn't want to leave the VIP area because she didn't like some of the people in Michelle's group. Michelle was surprised as she thought that Cheryl was a down-to-earth Geordie lass like herself and was quite shocked by her new airs and graces."

Yes, Cheryl... probably best to stick to the VIP area; those riff-raff might include the sort of people who have criminal records for unprovoked assaults, mighn't they? You wouldn't want to be hanging out with people like that...


Queen have upset the people of Rome by pressing ahead with a gig round the corner from where the Pope was lying in state. The group don't quite suggest it's what the Pope would have wanted, but the implication is there:

"After consultation with local authorities, promoter Barley Arts decided the concert should go ahead. Band opened concert with a minute of silence."

Interestingly, Guido Bertolaso - the chap in charge of getting the Pope properly buried - took a moment off from ringing the Co-Op to ask for an extra car now that Prince Charles is coming - to reveal that he's actually a fan of Queen. But he still thinks they made a bad choice:

"I think that in this moment of pain and prayer, a concert should not be held in our capital - with all due respect to what others believe."

But Guido, if you're a Queen fan you'll know that this cash-in tour is little more than a desecration of the memory of Freddie Mercury. Why on earth would you expect them to worry about any other memories into the bargain?


Back before Rufus and Conor were the boys who made the boys wish they were boys who did boys, it was Ryan Adams whose eyes made everyone ponder life a singer-songwriter's bitch. Now, he's trying to win back our love and filthy, filthy letters with the release of double album Cold Roses on May 3rd - preorders being taken.

Image hosted by

The track list in, well, full:
Disc: 1
1. Magnolia Mountain
2. Sweet Illusions
3. Meadowlake Street
4. When Will You Come Back Home?
5. Beautiful Sorta
6. Now That You're Gone
7. Cherry Lane
8. Mockingbirdsing
9. How Do You Keep Love Alive
Disc: 2
1. Easy Plateau
2. Let It Ride
3. Rosebud
4. Cold Roses
5. If I Am A Stranger
6. Dance All Night
7. Blossom
8. Life Is Beautiful
9. Friends


Good work to the subs on the South Wales Echo who, faced with a fairly dull story about Mick from the Clash wandering down to the station to pick up Pete Doherty's supermodel girlfriend came up with the mahic headline Strolling Jones gathers Kate Moss


The claim by Jesus Salas, a one-time house manager, that the Avrilo family's mother was at no point "held at Neverland Ranch against her will" kind of got lost during the excitement at the testimony of Jason Francia. Francia is a 24 year-old who claims that Jackson touched him, too. He was the son of a Jackson maid:

Questioned by Ron Zonen, for the prosecution, about times he had felt "uncomfortable" with Jackson, Mr Francia related an incident when he was aged about seven at Jackson's apartment.

"I was sitting on his lap. I was watching TV and he was facing the TV as well, my back was to his chest.

"He started tickling me - which was cool, I tickled him back. Then somehow we got on to the floor, and then I'm tickling and he's tickling. He moved down to my little private region, around my crotch area. Eventually it stopped."

He said that at the time he thought it was ''weird but not super weird because it was tickling".

He related a second incident where he was watching cartoons at the Hollywood apartment while lying on a sleeping bag on the floor. Jackson lay down next to him and began "spooning him", he said.

"He was tickling me from behind. I was laughing, trying to tickle him back." Then the singer moved his hand down to touch the boy's genitals through his clothes.

Asked how long the contact lasted, Mr Francia said: "About two cartoons' worth."

Francia claims that the family reached an out-of-court settlement with Jackson - one that, unusually for this sort of deal, seems to have held quite well. Until now.

The case continues.


We're not entirely happy about it, but we find ourselves having a smidgen of sympathy for Jonathan King again. He'd attempted to have the costs order against him for the two collapsed trials struck out; a judge has ordered him to pay up.

There had been plans for two additional trials on charges relating to his having sex with young friends, but after the prosecutions fell apart King's "not guilty" pleas were accepted. Even so, he was instructed to pay GBP14,000 of the Crown's costs. Judge David Paget rejected King's request for the money back:

"It seems to me that, as I recollect the whole of this case and the whole of the indictment, that his conduct did bring suspicion on himself," he said.

The judge added the original 14,000 pounds in costs awarded against King in 2001 were "a fraction of the costs" incurred by the Crown in bringing him to justice.

So, despite being officially cleared on the charges, King has effectively been fined 14,000 for the crime of having suspicious conduct. It all sounds rather like the Judge has decided that King was guilty and decided to punish him anyway.

The wider point, of course, is that GBP14,000 is a "fraction" of what the CPS spent on these extra prosecutions, which implies that the tax payer must have wasted hundreds of thousands of pounds pursuing these extra cases. With King convicted of what could have stood as a sample charge, was that really a wise use of our money?


So, officially, then, the Glastonbury ticket sales went like a dream, although it seems fairly clear that the disaster of 2004 meant the wobbles the system experienced this year didn't seem quite so bad. But there are still reports that the system couldn't cope. Aloud seem really pleased that their system didn't actually fall over, although there are numerous reports of people finding the online forms were solid but malfunctioning; a lot of people who bought tickets had to use backdoor URLS; the confirmation emails took over twelve hours to appear. The biggest problem, reading through the BBC News responses, is that the tickets sold out more or less instantly, but the system didn't reflect this:

A success? From reading the other emails it seems most tickets were sold in the first hour, confirming my suspicions that most of us were wasting our time. Despite being logged on from 9am and with my mobile and landline on constant redial, I got nowhere. Neither did anyone else I know. The only way I knew they'd all been sold was when Radio 1 announced it.

You also wonder how many people who tried last year decided not to bother this year, taking some of the pressure out of the system.

Let's hope Michael Eavis decides to swap to some sort of lottery system for 2007. If Clear Channel will let him.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Interesting lawsuit just been filed in New Haven, where agent James L Walker claims Sony-BMG duped gospel acts into firing him. Walker - who seeks recompense in the millions - claims Sony-BMG's gospel subsidiary Verity got tired of his skills in negotiating good deals for his acts, and so simply strong-armed singers into signing up with max Siegel instead. Siegel, besides being a music agent, is also president of Verity. So, at the very least, there's some sort of conflict of interest right there.

"When someone tells you, 'You're not going to be able to do any music anymore,' it leaves a bad taste in your mouth," said David Frazier, a gospel songwriter who has written music for a number of hit records. "I changed legal counsel just so I could continue to make music."

Sony-BMG says it hasn't seen the lawsuit yet, and so is unable to comment.


With the end of the Financial Year, The Sunday Business Post in Ireland got a chance to see what the local pop stars were worth. For example, Daniel O'Donnell's DOD promotions company made a profit of EUR1.06 at the end of 2003. Nice for him.

Doing less well was Curtain Call, one of three Cranberries legitimate business front operations - in 2003, they made a loss of EUR637,000, something like a 1.2million Euro drop.

Oddly, the Corrs also saw a massive drop in their profitability: profits down by 90% on 2002 to a tiny EUR39,800; Coppice, their trading vessel, wound up with just EUR18,600 in the bank. There's an interesting billing of another company, Coppice International Management, of EUR213,400 for admin. These, of course, are the sort of artists who the record labels are trying to protect from having their earnings hit by piracy. Otherwise they might not have so much to play with in their book-keeping exercises.


Having fled her native Devon for a life of making Gap commercials in California, Joss Stone could be about to run into a problem: there's quite a push from the meddling conservatives who run the US to have her boyfriend, Beau 'son of Lamont' Dozier charged with statutory rape, on the grounds that while Joss is barely, but still, legal in Tiverton, at 17 years old, she's still below the age of consent in California. The mutterings are also causing a fit of the vapours in the Gap offices, who are now thinking about dropping her from the forthcoming campaigns. Sure, with Sarah Jessica Parker you had to spend a fortune on the post-production touch-ups, but at least nobody was ever going to confuse her with Lolita.


We don't know how much of the latest brittle-tattle is true, but if all of it is, she and Kevin are about to become single parents. Unless the, uh, kabbalah rabbi she's hired can save the marriage before the spawn of Federline is born. Oh, yeah, she's pregnant. Too. Probably.


They work like little bees, do Miss Black America - they're about to stick out a new album called Terminal, from May 30th on their website and June 6th; there's a single, Dot Dot Dot at the start of May and a tour which makes more stops than Mr. Pullen on a day trip to Niagra Falls:

APRIL 9th Cambridge Corn Exchange
18th London Islington Bar Academy - supporting Antihero and Locus Of Control
22nd Cambridge Man On The Moon - with Antihero, Ten Year Prospect and The Khe Sanh Approach
23rd Ipswich Manor Ballroom - all-dayer with the Dawn Parade, The Fashion, The Khe Sanh Approach and more
27th Hull Ringside
28th Middlesbrough Arena
29th Sheffield Grapes

5th Bournemouth Rubber Soul @ Destiny
6th Leicester Attik
7th Totnes Dartmouth Inn
8th Exeter Cavern
9th Cardiff Clwb Ilfor Bach
10th Birmingham Bar Academy
14th Dartmouth Festival - headline
20th Manchester Retro Bar
27th Nottingham Junktion 7



Oh, surely it can't really be true that Mariah Carey employs a bloke to carry a fan for her? How can she be that hot? It's not like she wears clothes or anything.


No, really... what the hell is the cover of X and Y, the Coldplay album, meant to be?

Obviously, it's a nice change from the usual "the art teacher is away today, so please just draw something sensitive" approach they use, but what is it? Any ideas? Anyway, they've announced the final tracklisting as well, and we're sure we can all imagine what these will sound like:

* ‘Square One’
* ’What If’
* ’White Shadows’
* ’Fix You’
* ’Talk’
* ’X&Y’
* ’Speed Of Sound’
* ’A Message’
* ’Low’
* ’The Hardest Part’
* ’Swallowed In The Sea’
* ’Twisted Logic’

We'd love to think the opening track is a homage to Joe Brown's early eighties game show Square One, but we suspect it'll be another 'oh, my poor heart is broken' type dirge.


Gwen Steffani - who to us looks like she's doing her best to cope on a holiday where her suitcase has been lost and only the souvenier shops are still open - has been named Harpers & Queen best dressed woman of the year.

They had three billion others to choose from, but for some reason they went with Gwen. Maybe mixing houndstooth and baseball caps does work, after all.


She'll be hoping you do, but two years is a long time to be away.

Yes, Shakira is about to return. With a double album. But she's being cautious: she's going to release it back home in Colombia before she tries the rest of the world.

No word yet on the Reebok sponsorship.


The Tokyo high court has rejected an appeal against its earlier findings against the company which ran Filerouge, which has given local RIAA client RIAJ a great big stiffy. They say they:

will continuously take drastic measures against .. illegal use of music on the Internet that corrupts the ‘cycle of music creation’ and leads to decline of the music culture."

Now, we're sure anybody from Celine Dion upwards might be able to put together an argument that music in 2005 is much more vibrant and a much healthier culture than it was back in, say, 2000, before file sharing really caught on, but these things are about copyright law, not truth.

MMO have been ordered to pay getting on for 37 million yen to RIAJ members. We're still waiting to hear how much of that will actually find its way into the music culture, and how much will go on shareholders and brass doorknobs for the boardroom.


While some 80s stars are attempting to sustain a little career glitter through reprising their old acts on ITV at teatime, Boy George is doing pretty much the same thing in gossip pages, only without the dignity. This time, it's George Michael again:

"People saw me as the benchmark queer while George was passing himself off as a straight stud. In fact, he was loitering in public loos like some pre-war homosexual.

"It's one thing to keep quiet. It's another to pretend you're someone you're not."

Interesting that George - supposedly so sensitive about avoiding stereotyping and gay-aware - seems to be so dismissive of gay men who enjoy cottaging. It seems that after all his bollocks about people being not gay enough, there are also people who are too gay. Or is he just trying to pretend that George Michael is the only man in the last sixty years to have random outdoor sex?


Most of the papers are tied up with the heads of the Catholic and England churches this morning, but the Daily Star has at least got hold of some sort of dressing-up story which allows it to run that headline we've all been expecting for some time:


Wasn't the Sun part of the screeching chorus telling Kate Moss to get the hell away from Pete Doherty a few weeks ago? It seems to have forgotten that, and now is delighted that Kate is going to be singing on the Babyshambles album:

KATE MOSS has fulfilled her dream of being a rock star. She will feature as guest vocalist on the new album by BABYSHAMBLES after hanging out with boyfriend PETE DOHERTY at the Twin Peaks studio in the Brecon Beacons while his band cuts the CD.

We're not quite sure why having a hit a credited vocalist with Primal Scream didn't fulfill the dream.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


While, obviously, during the period of official mourning it'd be a little tactless to criticise the Pope too harshly (we've got a whole future to pick over his record), is anyone else a little surprised at quite how powerful Bono has been in his praise for the man?:

U2 lead singer Bono has paid tribute to Pope John Paul II, calling him the "best frontman the Roman Catholic Church ever had". Bono described the late pontiff - who died on Saturday - as "a great show man, a great communicator of ideas".

Hmm. Is this the same Bono, who has campaigned so strongly for the world to do something about the Aids crisis? Or is this a different Pope he's talking about, one who didn't take a theologically strict line on contraception that in 1988 he said that it wasn't acceptable to use condoms, even to stop the spread of Aids, forcing the US Catholic Church to withdraw its support for them? In 1993, he told a rally of 30,000 young people in Kampala that the only way to put an end to the "tragic plague" was "the sexual restraint if chastity."

We wouldn't have expected Bono to be very tart with the man still warm, but even so... it seems a curious lack of understanding to be praising the life of the man who spent so long communicating such a dangerous idea. Or does Bono not actually think that having someone in such a key spirtitual role spending so much effort condemning something as simple as a condom, something that had such potential to save so many lives, as sinfull had any bearing on the numbers of people who need help and treatment today?


We're starting to get lost about who has snarked at who - was it The Bravery snorting about Kaiser Chiefs or the other way round? Anyway, Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian has weighed in to indierocks' own version of the rap wars by complaining that Franz Ferdinand are not... uh, "real":

"Franz Ferdinand, Keane, all that lot, I just don't believe them. They are not my people, they are not real, and they'll get found out soon enough. The Beatles were real, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, us. Why? It's in our blood. What's in Keane's blood? Fucking tap water I'll bet."

We're a little puzzled by this - it seems that because Franz Ferdinand are artschool types they don't count; but The Beatles, with Mr. Artschool himself Lennon at the helm, are somehow real. Hmm.


You can, of course, prove anything with facts, but our head really can't even begin to take in the facts about Shakin' Stevens:

Because Shaky, to this day, is the 16th-highest-selling artist in the UK. Ever. Full stop.

He's the most successful British singles chart performer achieving 30 Top 30 hits, a record which is still unsurpassed, and has more number ones than any other Welsh artist.

And, according to the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, he shares with the Beatles and Elton John the distinction of being the most successful UK chart performer of a decade, in his case the '80s.

He also discovered the cure for smallpox and was the first man to ever pull off cold fusion.


Apologies to Simon T, who brought this to our attention when it happened; we've been trying to get access to our screengrab for this. Can you spot the rather large mistake Ananova made when they reported Natasha Bedingfield's bemusing victories at the Capital FM awards?


While we're looking at Glastonbury, there's been some slightly ominous moves behind the scenes that could lead to ultra-Bushite Clear Channel having a major role in the organisation of the festival in future years. Clear Channel is taking a huge stake in Mean Fiddler, which is wholly responsible for the Reading Festival, a slew of London venues and, of course, does the security and logistics parts of the Glastonbury Festival. It's expected Clear Channel will mount a bid for full control of the MF group if its bid to buy out Vince Power's share of the company is successful.

The company who put up this billboard, without being asked:

... having any sort of stake in a festival which used to support CND? And still supports Greenpeace? Some confliction there, surely?


The always useful Glastoblog has a hint why they're keeping the phonelines open: struggled but not as badly last year, but the BT network was still overloaded by demand. Better than 2004, it seems, but far from perfect.

And then there's this on Ebay, which makes it look like those keen to get tickets have had to resort to using secret URLs:

hey we got ours :)

We want to see you there too.......

try this link..

I just crushed the monkey and it burnt my snozzle....

the only payment I am asking for this link is an email PLease....... I wanna hear......

Questions from other buyers

Q: hi can u help. ive submitted my order for 2 tickets, but have had a screen saying 'this page cannot be displayed' come up next rather than any conformation....more answered on: Apr-03-05
A: Too many is better than too few. Keep ordering. You can cancel if you need to :))) Don't worry, be happy :)


It looks like Glastonbury sold its tickets out smoothly, at least on first glance. According to there are just a few tickets still available on the phones - 0870 165 2005.