Saturday, May 14, 2005


The death has been announced of Eddie Barclay, and with it, all of showbusiness:

"After the death of Eddie Barclay, there's no more showbusiness, there's only business left," the French singer Carlos, a close friend, told RTL radio.

Born Edouard Ruault in 1921 in Paris, and orginally intending to carve out a career as a jazz pianist, Barclay moved into production during the 1950s. His original plan was to market the Mercury label's artists in France; shifting one and a half million copies of a Platters record gave him a solid base to start working with local acts as well.

In 1962, Barclay started a long working relationship with Jacques Brel, a collaboration which was to produce Le Plat Pays and Les Bigotes, amongst others. He would also go on to work with Quincy Jones and Charles Aznavour; with Aznavour he gave the artist a sense of freedom.

Eddie Barclay died overnight Thursday in Paris' Ambroise Pare hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for urinary and pulimonary infections.


Still, essentially, a tragic figure, Paul Weller has announced a fairly small tour to mark his 70th birthday, taking in Bradford on July 14th; Telford International Centre 15th (they've got quite a spacious Pizza Hut just outside there); Guildford's Guilfest 16th; Exeter Powederham Castle 17th and Liverpool Potts on the 20th. No, we have no idea what Potts is. It's not clear if he'll be burning his shirt and chanting "Weller... Weller... Weller" or not.


Congratulation to Nivea, who has given birth to a baby girl. Meanwhile, commiserations to the girl, who's been given the rubbish name Navy.


A fire has claimed the life of Monica Zetterlund, sultry voiced jazz-singer. Born Monica Nilsson, the Swede first made her name with a version of Walking My Baby Back Home but her fame grew, making her a household name worldwide. In households where there was a jazz enthusiast, at least. Zetterlund also worked as an actress, appearing alongside Liv Ullman and Max von Sydow in 1972's The Emigrants.

The cause of the fire at her home is not known.


Becapped moustachied muso Carlos Santana's next album has suddenly been rescheduled, and now is unlikely to appear before September. It had been expected in June, and several people with irritating beards had been planning to spend the summer nodding sagely to the new set. A spokesperson for the sort of person who only buys records so they can demonstrate their new speakers said that while they were disappointed, they would instead spend the next couple of months explaining how The Stones still have a powerfully enormous raw energy that could teach younger bands a thing or two.


The death has been announced of Utpala Sen. The 81 year-old Benhali was most noted for her work with
S D Burman, Pankaj Mullick and Raichand Baral, first coming to public prominence in 1941 with Ek Hate Mor Pujar Thala. In a long career, she recorded over 7,000 songs, both film and non-film. Her husband, also a noted Bengali singer, Satinath Mukherjee, died in 1992. She's survived by a son.


There's nothing like people with money doing things just to prove how much money they have - for example, there's nothing very tacky about someone hiring Destiny's Child for their kid's bar mitzvah, is there? Mind you, if we were thirteen and our dad was paying four million to Beyonce, I'd be expecting her to help my passage to manhood in a slightly different way than just by singing bootylicious. Philip Green - owner of BHS and Top Shop - is also talking about getting Justin Timberlake for the party, curiously suggesting he's trying to buy up everyone who's ever appeared in a McDonalds advert. The three-day event on the French Riviera will make history for being the first bar mitzvah ever where nobody is interested in the kid. As today's Times illustrates, it's all about the entertainment:

The Guardian, meanwhile, is thrilled that Rolf Harris has been invited to do the official portrait of the Queen for her 80th birthday - presumably she's tired of so many recent official portraits where the "can you tell what it is yet?" comes when you're looking at the finished article. Let's hope she sticks around long enough for him to finish it.

And the Mirror is suggesting that Madonna's seeking help to add another child to her brood. She really is desperate to keep up with Britney, isn't she?

Friday, May 13, 2005


With the unlikely sounding news that Pete Doherty and Kate Moss are getting married at this year's Glastobury Festival still ringing in our ears comes the news that Carl Barat is possibly going to join Hot Hot Heat for their set. He might also marry Kate Moss.


We're not suprised to hear that Mariah Carey's vocal aerobics can cause garage doors to fly open when her records play. Indeed, we once saw a similar phenomenon ourselves, when a Carey record made every door in a building open. Someone stuck Glitter on the pub jukebox, and everyone made a break for freedom.


There had been plans to launch the new Madonna tour film at Cannes this year, but it's not shown up. Festival head Thierry Fremaux tries to put a positive gloss on this absence, suggesting it was all about quality:

"Madonna takes the cinema world seriously, she doesn't treat it in a superficial way. [Clearly never saw Swept Away. Or Who's That Girl. Or Shanghai Surprise]" I saw three hours of film from the documentary in the form of rushes and some completed footage, but it wasn't ready."

We're taking that as an indication that the movie team are really struggling. They keep trying to fashion a silk purse, but constantly they find themselves doing this:

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More bemusingly, apparently Fremaux asked Madonna to be on the Cannes jury. She said no because she was way too busy what with having to keep going down to her cult's headquarters; which is just as well. Can you imagine sweating for ages to make a movie, calling on all your wits and talents, only to discover its fate in the palme d'or was hanging on the say-so of someone who managed to be the worst thing in a Guy Ritchie movie.


It's bad enough Paula Abdul bringing the whole thing into disrepute, but American Idol has another scandal waiting to be uncovered. Clearly, guest judge Clive Davis is not a bloke from BMG:

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Instead, he's former Runaround host and former soap star Mike Reid travelling under a flag of convenience:

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We expect ABC to be breaking this shock any day now.


Following his announcement that Where Is She was about Jodi Jones, The Killers' Brandon Flowers has now decided it's time to clarify what he actually meant - as it's getting hot for him right now:

"A quote I gave in NME last week about the inspiration behind one of our new songs, ‘Where Is She?’, came across kind of badly and I'd like to clarify this as I'd hate to cause offence or further hurt because of it.

”I was indeed inspired to write ’Where Is She?’ after I saw coverage of the Jodi Jones murder case while we were on tour in Scotland last year.

”It affected me deeply and got me to thinking about how awful it must feel to be the parent of a missing child, how powerless a person must feel in such a dreadful situation.

”The song is not a direct portrayal of that one story, though - there's no way on earth I could ever possibly pretend to know what it must actually feel like to suffer such a thing, and I wouldn't presume to appropriate any other individual's feelings for a song. Rather, seeing those news stories got me to thinking about the powerlessness and frustration that must come from losing a child like that, and it was from those thoughts that ‘Where Is She?’ came to be."

So, when he said it was written from Jodi Jones' mother's perspective, he must have, uh, been confused. Clear?


The current generation of rock gods have basically rolled their eyes at Liam Gallagher's latest batch of insults, as you might treat a dribbling grandmother's shouting about how Edward Heath. Rather than kicking back, everyone's gone 'oh, are they still going?'. Tim from Keane:

"The biggest twats in a band? We don’t really care. I think he’s a cunt to be honest. He was in a band that was very brilliant in the mid-nineties and now they’re just not important anymore. No-one really cares."

Tim possibly over-estimated the importance of Oasis in the mid-90s. Russell Bloc Party, meanwhile, didn't burst into sobs at being labelled "a band off University Challenge":

“I used to buy NME in the nineties when Oasis were in their prime and the reason I bought it was ‘cos Liam Gallagher would say something stupid and funny every week. However, I thought that was really poor, that was the same thing he said about Travis and Coldplay. I’m throwing down the gauntlet because we don’t hate Oasis but I want a nice insult.”

Nice work, there - not only patting a once-fierce dog in its dotage, but also pointing out that, hey, Oasis were going when I was a kid.

Ricky Wilson, who is on hand if Corrie ever need to recast Shaun, got in the best shrug, though:

“I was chuffed to bits. To even occupy space in Liam’s mind so he’d open his mouth about us is a compliment. He had a go for me wearing make-up, but the only reason I ever wore make-up was to look like him. It’s hard to get that dark, swarthy look in your eyes when you’re a ginger.”


While we're sure that the iPod's day will, like all things, pass, we're more than a little amused by Bill Gates' blustering and slightly desperate reading of the death notices for his great rival's little baby. (Okay, the great rival which he owns a slice of):

"I don't think the success of the iPod can continue in the long term, however good Apple may be. think you can draw parallels here with the computer — here, too, Apple was once extremely strong with its Macintosh and graphic user interface, like with the iPod today, and then lost its position."

Of course, Bill doesn't really have much luck predicting what will happen in the computing industry (WebTV?), which is why he has to wait to see what is happening and then pump millions into exploiting his near-monopoly to try and catch up, but surely he must be able to check his computer history? The Mac never did lead the market, and certainly never by such an extraordinary distance as the iPod has at the moment. Gates seems to be hoping that mobile phones will kill the iPod - and double hoping it'll be phones with some sort of shrunk down Windows as an OS - and in the longterm, he might be right. But just as people have been reluctant to replace their TV and computers with a single screen, it's going to take a massive fast-forward in technology before a phone which can also do what the iPod does is available in anything like a usable format. If Gates wants to dance on the grave of the iPod, he's going to have a bit of a wait.


More to the point, though, if the idea of Live8 is to somehow raise some sort of vague awareness of the G8 summit in Scotland, what exactly will be gained by having a Washington leg, with or without Eminem heading it up? Doing a pop concert in London is far enough away from the actual capitalist carve-up in the first place; adding a US bit turns it ever more from political rally into a mere pop concert. We imagine Blair will be popping up to endorse Geldof's scheme any moment now.


It really is an all hands comeback - Duran Duran haven't just done a new single, and a new album, and a new tour; now, Simon LeBon is going to take part in the Fastnet Race. He's even - and this is really tempting fate - using the same boat, Drum, as he used in 1985. That was the time he almost drowned to death (not the time he almost drowned making the Wild Boys video, trussed up like a Tory in a S&M sex dwarf bar). Rather splendidly, the boat is now owned by Arnold Clark, the car rental people, so if he damages it he'll not only come face-to-face with death but he'll have some explaining to do when he comes to return it.


Sticking a finger in the air, DJ Martian reckons we'll see the Kate Bush album in October. But I wouldn't start sleeping outside HMV just yet.


Pete Yorn has cashed in all those fawning profiles, and invited a huge guest list to help him with his third album. Dave Grohl's coming, the Dixie Chicks have promised to turn up; Rami Jaffee out The Wallflowers and Beachwood Sparks' Dave Scher are bringing chips and dip; and if Yorn is prepared to make the call he could get Peter Andre, too.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Asked to choose which of his daughters has the better voice, Ozzy starts coming over all puzzled and anguished:

"I can't say... Aimee's got a phenomenal voice but so has Kelly. As a parent I'll get a bollocking if I choose one - if I say one and not the other I'll end up losing my nuts!"

We think this is fairly easy to solve: clearly, Aimee is the better singer. We haven't ever heard her sing, but, well, we've heard Kelly and that tells us everything we need to know, really.


If we were her record label, we'd be slightly alarmed by the audience profile at her Durban gig, according to student publication DIT:

The atmosphere was incredible! The crowds were mainly young teenagers and children of ages up to seven. There were some odd looking grown men, but hey, it's Avril Lavigne, a girl whose lyrical expression has reached fans globally.

In other words, some very young children and a couple of mucky old geezers in macs. (Has anyone heard from Gary Glitter recently?). Not the sort of audience profile to build an empire from.

The topless spread for Playboy moves ever closer.


Obviously, Brian McFadden must be aware that he's going to come in for a little bit of flack if he starts criticising other artists from his glasshouse of limited talent; but even so, for a man who was married to Kerry Katona and who has worked with Delta Goodrem to attack Madonna for lack of talent is pushing it.

"People are saying Madonna makes great music. It's really rubbish. She doesn't have a good voice, she's boring.

"Just because she's Madonna, everybody says 'brilliant' and 'genius'. I don't think she's ever been a good musician."

First of all, Brian, since she's not actually attempted to be a musician since she quit playing drums in the Breakfast Club, that's hardly relevant, is it? It's not like you're an expert with the bloody oboe.

Secondly, we would agree that Madonna hasn't done anything worthwhile since Ray of Light, and has - through a mixture of arrogance, poor advice and lack of attention to detail - managed to turn herself from a stellar icon into the Norma Desmond Karaoke Show. But the tragedy of Madonna in 2005 is how far she fell from the Madonna of the late 80s. Perhaps, Brian, when you record an Into The Groove, or a Material Girl (we wouldn't expect anything approaching a Like A Virgin), you might wish to return and deliver an expert opinion. Until then, you'd be better off sticking to telling Delta that her mangling of I Can Sing A Rainbow is really great.

Still available after all these years...


Troubles for Edgar Bronfman, whose Warner Group floatation has tanked in the US. The IPO price had already been cut from the USD24 a share he'd been dreaming of to a more realistic USD17, but on the opening of trading the shares fell further, dropping 7% to USD15.75. The label probably did itself with no favours by announcing the cash raised was going to, erm, pay off some of the USD2.5bn debt they're carrying, as that simultaneously suggested they didn't have very much of a plan for the future, and pointed out just how deeply in hock Warners had had to get itself to keep trading in a world it doesn't really understand.


Perhaps as an acceptance that their readership is of an age where even prog-rock seems modish and threatening, the Express is the only paper to get excited about the launch of another Rolling Stones tour:

It's another familiar face from the past who haunts most of the other papers, though, as Macauly Culkin turns up to say 'No, Michael Jackson never touched me there', which is convincing - after all, if Jacko touched him, the multi-million payoff would surely have allowed him to avoid that slightly desperate, "living at a La Quinta motel" air that clings to Mac these days:

The Telegraph - apparently unconvinced by the Mel b v Geri battle - tries to muscle its way on the Coldplay 'head to head' with Oasis:

The Daily Star doesn't let it's key duty (being the first to run a woman in a bikini with a 'phew, what a scorcher' headline - for a heatwave that hasn't happened yet) distract it from attention to the two big stories, Mac and Michael and Renee and Kenny (both, oddly, about a film star sharing a bed with a musician). For Renee's story, the Star has found another "whirlwind" romance - although Kenny and Renee weren't exactly a Britney crashing up the aisle affair, as they met back in January - longer ago than most celebrity relationships manage. And, oh, look, it's that picture again:

Even the Americans are lumbered with that one picture:

Having had to offer congratulations to one celeb couple yesterday, today The Sun is back on form, stirring up a spot of trouble. Who has Cameron Diaz been kissing behind Justin Timberlake's back?

USA Today, meanwhile, is worried about Britney and her craziness:


Of course, it's written by the Associated Press for them, but Yahoo Music News' coverage of the launch of Yahoo's music subscription service doesn't feel very arm's length:

Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news)'s steeply discounted foray into online music subscriptions struck a sour note Wednesday with the shareholders of Napster Inc. and RealNetworks Inc. — the owners of the rival services that stand to lose the most from the new competitive threat. [...] Yahoo's entrance into music downloading business even hurt Apple Computer Inc., which runs the dominant online music store with more than 400 million songs sold since it opened two years ago.

And on it goes, predicting great things and suggesting that Yahoo's entry will lead Apple to introduce a song-renting service of its own.


Steve Wallace, a songwriter from Indiana, has emerged from the sidelines to claim that he wrote Britney Spears' Sometimes, and that he hasn't had a penny for it. At first glance, he does seem to have produced a strikingly similar song to Spears', but his case doesn't look very strong - his copyright was registered in 2003, four years after the track appeared on ...One More Time. Wallace, though, claims he wrote the song in 1990 and did that thing where you send yourself a copy of your work in an envelope to use the postmark as proof of creation. Which we've always thought is a rubbish way to do things - first of all, three out of every four postmarks are illegible; more significantly, how can you prove you didn't just send yourself an unsealed envelope to use to claim a copyright at some point in the future?

However, Wallace does have something else:

Wallace also submitted as an exhibit a copy of what he claims is an e-mail from Spears in which she wrote: "I now know for a fact that you wrote sometimes. But there's nothing I can do about it. That's all I can say about it." It's not clear from the copy when Spears allegedly wrote the e-mail.

If this is from Spears, she would have to be pretty stupid to have sent such an email. So it's not impossible, then.

Wallace has hired an Indiana attorney called John Ritchison to fight his corner:

"The New York guys decided the Indiana local boy didn't have much moxie," Ritchison said, referring to himself. "It's real difficult to get them to belly up to the bar."

We'll let you know what that means when our translation experts have finished with it.

Wallace hopes for USD150,000.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Rich men happy to indulge richer men to get a little richer themselves, suggests the New York Daily News:

Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen has been paying a fortune to Paul McCartney, Bono, Greg Allman and other rock legends to record their tracks for his private music library - so the frustrated rocker can jam with them on his guitar whenever he wants...

When we win the Euromillions, we're going to pay Bono to dress up as a clown and wet himself over and over again. Clearly, he'll do anything providing there's someone shoving dollars into his garter belt.


Ah, how the industry bosses try to flatter the few artists they actaully can sell records by: Andy Lack of Sony-BMG had hired D A Pennebaker to make a movie about the making of Jennifer Lopez's Rebirth album - in itself a bit like asking Picasso to do a painting-by-numbers. But was J-Lo happy at this outright flattery? No; and she's had the whole project scrapped. She wasn't happy being caught on camera "abusing her employees" and, more to the point:

J.Lo hated the sound of her voice.

Jeez, girl, how do you think the rest of us feel?


Despite Ananova's frenzy of excitement at Geri Halliwell and Mel B releasing singles "head-to-head", they're not actually releasing singles at the same time.

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Mel B's Today comes out on June 6th...

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... two weeks after Geri Halliwell's Desire is released. (And isn't that a horrifying phrase, like "all hell unleashed"?)

So there's no reason the two of them will be fighting it out for the number thirteen slot in the chart at all.


So, Melanie Chisholm has promised that, should Liverpool win the Champions League, she'll have a Liver Bird tattooed on her bottom. Although it would make sitting down uncomfortable for a few days, it wouldn't be the first time Mel has celebrated with a pain in the arse, as Mel B had to be invited to all the parties when the Spice Girls went to number one.


Following on from Renee marrying the Garth Brooksesque bloke, now Seal and Heidi Klum have got married, too.


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Heidi Klum:

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That's Cosmopolitan's claim that you only date people you feel are roughly as attractive as you are blown to bits, then.


Oh, Bob, you're such a big tease. Despite dismissing talk of Live8 as "kite-flying", he's been setting it up all along. Who could have guessed? Indeed, just a couple of days after Geldof was denying there were any plans afoot, they're getting ready to announce names.

The reworking of Live Aid is timed to coincide with the G8 conference in the UK, and has two aims. The first is to ensure that everyone remembers that Bob Geldof has done more for the fockin' poor than Bono ever has, and the second is to keep the maximum number of young people harmlessly in London watching McFly and Coldplay instead of going to Scotland to protest against the summit.


The resurgent Yahoo is about to debut its music renting service, which apes Napster's wonky business model but at about a thrid of the price. Yahoo will charge subscribers USD60 a year as against Napster's USD180. Of course, both systems don't actually sell you anything; if your subscription lapses your entire collection evaporates. There is an option to burn a track to a CD - but that costs 79 cents; less than iTunes' 99 cents, but then you've not already paid a subscription fee for that service. Doubtless it'll all roll out to the UK fairly soon.


The long-running legal spat between Eminem and Apple has been concluded with a secret settlement of his complaints. Eminem was outraged that an early iPod advert had the cheek to use a kid singing along with Lose Yourself - presumably what really pissed him off was the outing of his average fan of being prepubescent kids. In an especially nasty move, Eminem had also been taking action against MTV and Viacom for showing the ad - reminiscent of the way Robert Maxwell and John Major used to impose a loophole in libel law to beat their opponents into submission - and they've signed up to the new peace deal.

Eminem will doubtless be trousering a tidy sum.


In a life that's turning rapidly into, well, something out a country and western song, Mindy McCready has suffered a serious assault at the hands of an ex-boyfriend:

[S]he was allegedly ambushed by an ex-boyfriend who broke into her Tennessee home, beat her and then nearly strangled her to death.

The former beau, 38-year-old William McKnight, was arrested Sunday afternoon by authorities in Nashville and charged with attempted murder and aggravated burglary. He remains jailed on $130,000 bond.

According to a police affidavit, McKnight tailed McCready into her Green Hills-area home through the garage as she returned to the residence at 7 a.m. The presumably jealous McKnight confronted McCready, allegedly threatened to kill her and told her, "You're not going to go out with other guys."

The police report stated that McKnight began punching McCready in the face and banging her head against the headboard. He then wrapped his hands around her throat and started to choke, saying "I am going to kill you," per the report. At that point, McCready told investigators she began to feel as if she was going to lose consciousness.

McKnight eventually relaxed his grip but continued to pummel her face, police said. He then allegedly dragged her down the stairs before finally leaving.

Yahoo Music News suggests this is the latest in a run of "bad luck", although we'd suggest this is something a little stronger than three losing lottery tickets in a row.


The wedding of Jack White's ex and a country star nobody has ever heard of has got the papers even more excited than those Sudoku puzzles that apparently have to appear in every publication by law now. Indeed, no paper seems able to resist splashing the photos huge, even though there seems to be only one:

Hang about, though... The Times seems to have got a different picture:

However, we don't feel very positive about this marriage - my grandmother always used to say "never trust a man who gets married with a cowboy hat on." We give it six months.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Since Hilary Rosen was so desperate for music to be freed from DRM shackles, she'll doubtless be as delighted as we are to discover Monkeyfilter Wiki's mp3 blog listing, with links to a good couple of hundred mp3 blogs. And, being a Wiki, you can add your links, too.


The continued slump in the fortunes of shock-rock continues: Slipknot are now being turned into halloween masks. Once they drew down moral outrage; now they're so neutered they're begging for free sweeties.


They're sticking out some new stuff in August, but to get us all twitterpated first, the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are going to be driving round the UK far too fast this June:

Nottingham Rescue Rooms - June 11th
Glasgow QMU - June 12th
Manchester Academy 2 - June 13th
Birmingham Academy 2 - June 14th
London Scala - June 16th
Leeds Cockpit - June 18th
Brighton Concorde 2 - June 19th

The album, Howl, will be available on August 22nd.


Shaun and Bez clearly haven't sorted out their troubles with the taxman, as Happy Mondays are again gigging in London festivals this summer: they'll headline Get Loaded in the Park on August 28th. And, yes, The Farm will be there, too - it's unclear if the aim is to recreate 1988 or just last year's event. But the big news is Flowered Up are reforming for the event. They'll obviously do It's On (and probably not much else) but the excitement is in wondering if they'll wear the big flowers.

Still buyable:

Even he sharp-eyed might have trouble telling difference between this best of and 1992's A Life With Brian

Also playing this year: Amusement Parks On Fire, Apartment, Mohair, Ambershades, Caged Baby and Granddad Bob.
Next year: Time for the Paris Angels, surely?


A new Goldfrapp album has been sighted pulling on a tail and readying itself for launch.

It doesn't sound like too much of a change in direction, just a more sturdy snog-off:

Goldfrapp release their brand new single ‘Ooh La La’ on 8th August 2005 on Mute. This is followed by their new album, also called ‘Ooh La La’, released on 22nd August 2005

Described by Alison as “sulky, sexual and a bit ambiguous”, the single ‘Ooh La La’ is a thrilling slab of glam-noir. Vibrant and visceral, the track is pure excitement and tension, delivered with the downright dirty insouciance that we have come to expect of Britain’s most captivating act.

They are such dirty minxes, they make Pot Noodles look pure.


In that godawful new Huffington Blog thing - it's like Tina Brown's Topic A, only with ghostwritten blog entries - one of the superior dinner party guests is angry about the iTunes music store DRM, and how it stops people doing what they choose with the music they've paid for:

But keeping the iTunes system a proprietary technology to prevent anyone from using multiple (read Microsoft) music systems is the most anti-consumer and user unfriendly thing any god can do. Is this the same Jobs that railed for years about the Microsoft monopoly? Is taking a page out of their playbook the only way to have a successful business? If he isn’t careful Bill Gates might just Betamax him while the crowds cheer him on. Come on Steve – open it up.

What's absolutely extraordinary, of course, is the poster here is, um, Hilary Rosen - yes, the woman who led the RIAA to the DRM moral highground. And as if that wasn't confusing enough, she seems to think that Bill Gates - a man whose monopolistic impulses have seen him censured in the US and Europe on multiple occasions (bundled browsers? Windows Media lock-ins?) - as a crusader for open source music:,,, even There are little players to make your favorite music even more portable than ever starting at as little as 29 bucks. Most every player device works at every one of these “stores” and it is pretty easy to keep all the songs, no matter where you got them, in a single folder or "jukebox" on your computer.

... although, of course, a lot of these you can't shift to another one of your computers, or share with your mates. Indeed, if Hilary is really keen for people to be able to be able to move their music between devices with ease, she might like to investigate this groovy new format we've been hearing about - it plays on iPods, it plays on Microsoft players; hell, it even plays on Sony machines now: MP3.

Meanwhile: iTunes starts to sell videos (apparently without any DRM encumbrence).

Also meanwhile: here's a moral poser for Hilary. I Love Lucille borrows her friend's iPod to listen to music ripped from a mix CD Lucille made for a friend. Now, the mix CD, clearly, is unlicensed music - but does the music suddenly become legal again when it's Lucille listening to it? And, since it would be illegal for Lucille's friend to transfer her music to Lucille's iPod, is it also illegal for her to allow Lucille to listen to the same songs on the friend's iPod?


Renee Zellweger has finally gotten herself a country singer, getting married to Kenny Chesney (we're betting she doesn't use Renee Chesney as her everyday name; it sounds like a jam-making mishap). The pair met while answering phones at a tsunami benefit. Although not quite Gary Numan marrying a fan levels of weirdness, it does come close:

According to Country Weekly magazine, Chesney long ago named Zellweger as his favorite actress and was inspired to write his 1999 hit "You Had Me From Hello" after seeing her in "Jerry Maguire."

Something that many stalkers and obsessives will take comfort from, although there always will be that disturbing "I bet he was wanking over me before we even met" ghost hanging over the marriage.


Another step forward for an accessable world: the new Stevie Wonder video comes with audio description, believed to be a first for a popclip. We'd imagine the idea is more to raise awareness of the technology than to give extra value to the video, but we do hope it takes off - we'd quite like to watch a Christina Aguilera video with someone actually spelling out what she's doing over the top.


Make your voice heard - sign the petition to bring back Alex Kapranos' fringe.


"Boink" is, we'd imagine, the sound that Wayne Casey - or KC, of the Sunshine Band - made as he fell off stage during Phoenix's Cinco De Mayo celebrations. (Arizona, apparently, is now in Mexico). KC ended up with a sprained knee and six stiches above the eye, and he blames it all on the wrong shoes:

"I left my shoes at the hotel and had to perform in a new pair," Casey, who is recovering at his Miami home, said in a statement Monday. "I picked the wrong pair of Boogie Shoes!"

Nobody wants to throw around the words "stack heels" here, of course, but...

Monday, May 09, 2005


Tonight I'm Not Yours: Rod Stewart's continuing throat problems have led to the axing of his Earls Court gig tonight. Stewart hopes to be back on stage for Wednesday. Stewart had throat infection problems in 2002 and cancerous growths in 2000.

To be fair, he's not really a man who needs to sound any huskier.


Curious: When Paula Abdul discovered that ABC were working on an expose about American Idol, her lawyers sent a long denial warning the company not to make any links between the programme's judges and drugs. ABC, of course, were going for an "unfair relationship between judge and contestant" angle. Which makes you wonder what made Paula's lawyer Marty Singer think it was going to be about drugs?


In some odd survey paid for by Lloyds TSB, given the choice of any manager, people would really like theirs to adopt Sharon Osbourne as a role model. Apparently 28% of those asked thought she embodied exactly what a manager would need; she completed a top three with Alex Ferguson and Tony Blair, which seems to suggest that not knowing when people are tired of you and it's time to go is the most pressing factor looked for in a boss in the UK. Maybe this really just tells us that people in the UK really hate leaving parties.

Fiona Cannon is Lloyds TSB's head of equality and diversity, and she was wheeled out to give her opinion on what this tells us. (Presumably the Lloyds TSB Head of Carpets had a prior engagement):

"Clearly home life is very important to Sharon Osbourne and it's good to see people choosing someone who talks openly about their family and who does not separate out their work and home lives. Having a good work-life balance is one of the keys to having a happy and fulfilling working life and we’d love to hear about bosses who encourage and support their staff in helping to strike that balance."

We're a little puzzled by this - Sharon Osbourne hasn't really solved the work-life balance at all; all she's done is whore her family into being her career. In fact, if home life was so important to Sharon, why would she have flogged it and her privacy for a few quid? The only Osbourne whose home life seemed to be of any importance was Aimee, surely?

Thanks for the tip on this one to the good people at Talent in a Previous Life


Britney underwent a pregnancy scare at the weekend when nothing was written about her being up the duff for almost 48 hours. A quick bout of stomach cramps and things were back to normal.

"Our monitors picked up no signs of coverage for nearly two days, and it's usual under those circumstances to bring the mother in for a quick once-over by the papparazi," explained a career doctor. "In this case it turned out there was nothing to worry about - the papers picked up the story within an hour and we were able to arrange an early release for those that missed it."


So, all these years Ozzy has been shaking like a loon and serving as a good example of why you really should at least regulate your drug intake: now, it turns out, he's got a rare disease of the nervous syndrome.

Apparently, Ozzy has Parkin Syndrome, a condition so rare that if you search for it on Google, it appears to only affect Ozzy Osbourne.

I'd always assumed it was the booze and stuff. Now I've found it all stems from the family. It's called Parkin but it's not Parkinson's. Anything to do with the central nervous system has the word Parkin in it.

"A doctor in Los Angeles tried to tell me I had multiple sclerosis. And I believed him until I had a second opinion. When I told my sisters she said, 'Not you as well? Mum had that and Auntie Elsie and your grandma.' I'm like, 'Thanks for fucking telling me'. Me walking around thinking I've got some drug paralysis."

Actually, we're not doctors, but we suspect that it's only the drug damage to Ozzy's central nervous system which has stopped the syndrome from knocking him completely over.


Texan senator Gonzalo Barrientos thought it would be a nice gesture to name a stretch of road after Willie Nelson; and so picked Highway 130 and proposed a couple of signs and a change to the map.

First of all, a bunch of other guys complained they didn't want the road to change its name as it crossed their areas, so Barrientos agreed that the Willie Nelson highway would disappear and reappear to keep them happy.

Then came a letter from Willie Nelson's people: he believed he was too grand to have something as mundane as a road named after him:

"However, Willie simply does not feel that the naming of a toll road in his honor comports with his world view on either a personal or an artistic level,"[attorney Leon] Katz wrote, adding he must decline the request that Willie grant permission to name the toll road in his honor.

Presumably Nelson would accept nothing less than having all of Texas renamed for him.


Kerry Katona had decided she was perfect for a slot on Coronation Street, so got in touch offering her services to the series. (Presumably she thought that after Ian McKellen, they'd be keen for another top-drawer actor to help with the ratings). Unfortunately, Coronation Street producers had heard of her, and made as polite a decline as you can do while you're pissing yourself laughing.

It's thought that Kerry didn't realise that Candice was just a woman acting the part of a dimwitted famewhore desperate to be on the telly at any cost, and that they weren't actually looking for people like that in real life.


Hats off to Eddie Montgomery, 50% of Montgomery Gentry and a showbiz trooper. He was playing a date in Asheville when, three songs in, he let a monitor take his weight. Only it didn't, and it gave way. He fell to the ground, snapped his wrist - and carried on with the show. His partner Troy Gentry could tell something was up:

''I knew it was a serious injury by the look on Eddie's face and the fact that his arm was dangling at his side the rest of the show."

Once they'd done their encore, Eddie went off to hsopital where a whole bunch of titanium was inserted into him, and then got straight on the bus to Mississippi.


Oh, god - another Jay Kay story. This is starting to look awfully like he's building up a profile for some sort of new record, doesn't it? Anyway, this time he's complaining about having to change a line in one of his songs because Hollywood "made" him (i.e. they said they wouldn't give him large sums of money if he didn't):

"Working with Hollywood, it ain't worth it. There's always some smart arse - the first lyrics I wrote for the chorus to it were, 'It's a good day to die.' They decided that was a bit strong for the kids. When I heard it at minus 27 decibels in the film, in the back while people are talking, I thought, 'What was all the fuss about?'"

'what was all the fuss about' being an apt summation of Jamiroquai generally, of course. This was about a song in the Godzilla remake, which makes it all the more ironic - not only could nobody hear the song, but nobody went to the movie either.

It's not clear if Jay sent his cheque back as a protest, but we're guessing he didn't.


The death has been announced of Siwsann George, Welsh folk singer and campaigner. Raised in Treherbert, George was a member of the first generation in recent times to be educated in Welsh as first language; it was an education which would inspire her art and politics in equal measure. A talented musician on harp and guitar, as well as a strong singer, George first found fame on the circuit with Mabsant; later, she formed the Siwsann George Welsh Road Show. Her folk revue was to lead her across the globe.

Siwsann George was 49. She's survived by a husband, Roger Plater, and a son, Osian.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


We're impressed that Michael Eavis has always struggled to keep Glastonbury free of the sort of sponsorship which has left, say, Reading looking like a corporate weekend in the Berkshire countryside: we're sure the Orange mobile customers able to snap up "sponsor's tickets" will be delighted, too.


The good people of James Brown's home town (the one he grew up in, Augusta, Georgia, not the one he was born in, in South Carolina - isn't home a slippery concept?) have finally unveiled a statue of their most famous son. It was due to be revealed last year, but Brown managed to get caught up in some domestic violence charges, and the city didn't think it would be right to put up a statue to someone accused of beating their partner:

"We need to let Mr. Brown settle those issues in his private life before we move forward with a very public recognition of his professional life," Mayor Bob Young said last year.

Oddly, of course, Brown chose to accept the charges, which means that Augusta seems to be happier putting up a statue to someone who's accepted they're guilty of domestic violence rather than to a person who has merely been accused and, thus, still given the presumption of innocence.

Regardless, considering the reasons for the event being put back twelve months, you might have thought Al Sharpton would have chosen his words a little more carefully:

At the ceremony, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Brown's former road manager, said the statue will stand as a reminder that everyone gets knocked down, but champions get back up.

Sharpton insists that the erection isn't a "statue for his ego" - although it's hard to see how having a public subscription pay for an effigy (" a life-sized bronze statue of the Godfather of Soul himself in middle age, grinning broadly and wearing a cape") could be anything other than a bit of ego-stroke.


The latest rush of life to the story - magazine throws award bash, awards bash collapses into violence and stabbings - has come with a ruling that Jimmy James Johnson must stand trial to face charges of punching Dr Dre. Johnson was the chap allegedly stabbed by Young Buck in the violence that spewed around the awards last year; this prosecution will focus on the claims that he punched Dre after asking for his autograph.

We're sure Vibe is busy planning its 2005 Awards show right now; we're guessing a street brawl theme would be the best way to pick up on last year's successes.


There's something sweet about Scotland on Sunday's excited reporting of sightings of the free CD it gave away last week on Ebay: it's attracting bids of not quite nine quid. Actually, the CD does sound pretty fine - six previously unreleased Teenage Fanclub tracks, including I Saw The Light. The Todd Rundgren cover was recorded for the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie, but wasn't even used once.


Just stick the word "iPod" into a fairly flat news report, and all of a sudden you have something zeitgeisty and biting. For example, the story that "listening to music through headphones too loud can cause permanent hearing damage" - a news report which surfaces every two or three years, and has been since the first Walkman landed in the UK - is now redressed as a modern scourge: Digital music craze stores up ear trouble for iPod fanatics. In a bid to try and make it sound like a new risk, they've done their best:

The original Walkman played cassettes with a maximum duration of two hours, while portable CD players give up to 80 minutes a disc. A typical MP3 player, however, can store up to 300 hours of music and has batteries that last for 12 hours before needing to be recharged.

... because, of course, when we played music on our walkmans, once we reached the end of a tape, we switched them off and stared out the train window.

So, has the problem suddenly got worse as a result of the MP3 player's popularity?

"It would obviously be beneficial to reduce the volume and restrict the usage of personal players," said Christine DePlacido, principal audiological scientist at the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy. "The difficulty is in persuading people to do this before their hearing is damaged, as many believe hearing loss will not happen to them until they are much older.

DePlacido added: "A lot of the young people I see with tinnitus describe listening to music at high intensities. It would be hard to say how great this problem is, bearing in mind I only see people who are distressed by their tinnitus. I imagine there are a lot more people out there who are just living with it."

In other words, while it is a problem, it's not entirely clear that it's a major problem. The RNID has done a survey which found that 46% of young people in Scotland didn't know that loud music could damage your ears - but that was three years ago, and doesn't quite mean that half of all Scottish teenagers are pumping mp3s into their ear canals at high levels. Nor does the research showing 13% of 18-24s listen to personal stereos for two hours or upwards every day exactly extrapolate into 13% of young people damaging their ears.

It is a real risk - and, yes, maybe we should follow France and insist that devices designed to be put into the ear can't play noise at ear-damaging levels (in fact, that's just common sense, isn't it?) - but trying to create a panic seems to be missing the point just a little. We said: MISSING THE POINT...


After a day or so of feverish excitement over plans for a Live 8 - a new Live Aid designed to coincide with the G8 summit - Bob Geldof has dismissed talk as 'kite flying'. "Why would I possibly repeat something I did 20 years ago?"" asked Bob, who at this year's Brit awards played all his songs from 25 years ago.

The event - which, clearly, then, isn't going to happen - is going to take place at Hyde Park on the anniversary of the original Live Aid; Capital Radio have already said they would be happy to drop their plans for their annual Princes Trust Party In The Park if there was to be a new Live Aid. Which there isn't. (We're guessing, though, there might be quite a high price to pay - perhaps the good people at the newly merged GWR-Capital are thinking of Live 8 as a potential idea for their planned increase in shared programming across the ILR network?)

But Geldof says it's not happening. He wouldn't want to revisit something he did 20 years ago. After all, it's not like Band Aid were number one at Christmas, is it?


Doubtless their intentions in writing a song from the perspective of Jodi Jones' mother are good, and perhaps two years after she was killed (apparently because of Marilyn Manson, if we followed the court case properly) it's no longer so raw as to be untouchable by art. But... The Killers? Didn't you think that your name might not be the most subtle one for the subject?

Where Is She is already getting people's backs up in Scotland. A band spokesperson has tried to calm things down:

"We know it was a huge case in Scotland and it's not the band's intention to do or say anything that causes offence.

"We don't want the family to think the band are cashing in on it or commenting about what happened. They don't want to drag it up again and create bad memories for her family."

So... if they're not commenting on the case, nor wanting to make money out of it, what exactly was the point of writing the song? Indeed, how can you write a song about something and not comment on it? Much less with a song written from the perspective of the murdered girl's mother. And even if you don't want to cause upset, isn't writing a song in the character of a mother whose daughter has been murdered certainly going to cause a degree of anxiety, if nothing else?