Saturday, June 04, 2005


We're rushing to keep up with Kelly Osbourne stories as they come spewing out of the special Kelly Osbourne newsmachine in the corner of the room. Kelly crashes her 1956 Chevvy into a hydrant; the car had been a gift from ozzy for sorting herself out when she went into rehab last year.

But then, of course, Ozzy did owe her one, as her rehab was all his fault: apparently addiction is "genetic", reckons Kelly. Pity talent isn't.

And Kelly had it bad - sucking codeine lollipops and "I couldn't eat, I was throwing up and peeing and s***ting - it was the most disgusting thing," Kelly was quoted as telling the Marie Claire magazine. Of course, a lot of this has been part of the publicity for her new album - the one being trailed by the pisspoor Visage ripoff single.

In another interview, she revealed that she had 500 pills stashed in her room.

Mind you, all this talking about drugs must have set her thinking about the old days. Us Weekly reckons she's back in rehab.

Nobody would wish ill-luck on her, but at least it'll stop her pushing the album and her wonderful recovery down everyone's throats.

Mind you: with another kid having another session in rehab, it does make you wonder why Asda think Sharon's the best person to offer tips to mothers on how to handle their family.


Due to some sort of scheduling mix-up, crowds who turned up to protest about how innocent Michael Jackson is (we're picturing chants like 'He's ill-judged and immoral, but that's not a crime') got muddled up with an anti-war demo outside the Santa Barbara court on friday.

There were also some people there to protest about child abuse, too:

At one point, fans verbally attacked Sofia Hollum, and Sunshine Lopez, 29, both of Santa Maria, who held up a sign reading "No more child victims."

"Do you know anything at all about this case?" yelled a Jackson fan with a New York accent.

"Why does he have pictures of naked boys?" Hollum responded, as other fans claimed Jackson was innocent.

There's nothing as wonderful as the power of blind faith, but how can Jackson fans not even accept that their idol had stepped over the boundaries of what is acceptable for a grown man to do with a child, even on the basis of what his defense team admitted to; never mind what the prosecution alledge?

Oh, and it turns out the war protesters actually turned up because they knew the only way to get any sort of political issue mentioned on the television news, they needed to be where the cameras were.


Now that she no longer needs ("is likely to get") their support, Charlotte Church is turning on those who built her up. Hold on to your collective hats: Pavarotti is fat and George Bush is a divvy:

'I did a massive classical thing in Hyde Park once with 75,000 people,' said Charlotte. 'I was with Pavarotti. He was horrible,really nasty.He wasa pig and I was supposed to do a duet with him.'Charlotte explained that Pavarotti was rude to her about the way she wanted to sing a song. 'I'd learned the soprano part, which was the higher girl's part rather than the mezzo,' she said. 'He was like, 'You have to sing the mezzo'. I said, 'I am a soprano. How am I supposed to sing the mezzo?', and he said: 'You don't sing with me then'. 'He sent me out of his dressing room. I was only 15 - devastated. Pavarotti is a big fat diva.'

'Clinton was lovely, in tune with everyone else, but George Bush just hasn't got a clue what he's doing. He asked me what state Wales was in. 'I said: 'It's its own country next to England, actually Mr Bush'. 'If he doesn't know the rest of the countries in Europe, he could at least know what's in his own country. I'm really worried about it. He's a right weirdo. Him and Pavarotti should get together.'

... although we're not quite clear what they'd do when they got together - and you might wonder if it's more Wales' problem than Bush's that he's not heard of it. Here's a tip for Cardiff: get yourself a couple of tankers and pretend you're making some botulism stew. You'll soon be the talk of the Oval Office.

In other Charlotte news, she's pissed off with the new Pope. Because of his unwavering stance on birth control? Because of his flirtation with the Hitler Youth? Because of his cruel eyes? Nope, it's because he doesn't approve of Harry Potter:

"I'm from a Catholic family. But I don't like this new Pope - he even wants to ban Harry Potter. He says it's because it's full of witchcraft and other bad stuff. If he bothered to sit down and read it, he'd understand the morals of it."

Chazza, he's a busy man and they're big books - obviously he's waiting for the Coles Notes to come out. But a man who can read the Bible and come out with the impression that god would rather people die horrific deaths from Aids in their millions than have them use a condom is going to struggle even with the simplest texts.


There's been a deal of upsetment about Apple's previous use it and toss attitude to iPods, and in a bid to stop people from choosing to goelsewhere (because we bet Sony really is totally commited to saving the planet), Apple have announced a faltering first step towards iPod recycling: take your clapped-out Pod back to a store, and get some cash off your next model.

Of course, making them much, much more durable would be better all round, don't you think?


It's hard to get excited about any news story that involves Coldplay smashing a record previously held by Dido, unless, maybe, it's most times falling off the top deck of a London bus in heavy traffic; but there might be something of note in Coldplay's X and Y setting a new benchmark for internet preorders. It could just mean that a surprising proportion of Coldplay fans are shut-ins, though. The previous record was for Dido's Life For Rent back when Dido was fleetingly fashionable amogst people who wear Italian handmade shoes.

Still, to be fair to Chris Martin, he has been taking being bested by a cartoon frog in the singles chart with incredible good grace, even including a snatch of Axel F in their appearance on last night's Friday Night With Jonathan Ross.

Meanwhile, the Guardian's Science supplement has explained the mystery of the X&Y cover:

The cover translates the album title into a binary code where each block of colour represents a 1 and a gap 0.

As self-confessed nerd and lead singer Chris Martin would be able to explain, it is not only the cover that uses mathematics to communicate its message. Each time someone downloads the album onto their computer, each note of each song becomes a string of 0s and 1s.

In 1870, Emile Baudot devised a system for telegraphists to represent each letter of the alphabet by a string of five 0s or 1s. The letter X was represented by 10111 and Y by 10101. The first column of colours on the cover shows a black and grey block representing a 1, followed by a gap representing a zero, then three more blocks of colour giving three 1s. The first letter in Coldplay's title is the letter X. The last column gives us 10101 or the letter Y.

So what about the middle two columns? Five 0s and 1s can represent 2x2x2x2x2=32 different characters. This is rather limiting if numbers and punctuation are to be included in the code. Baudot decided to use one of the strings of 0s and 1s to denote a shift key. The symbol following the shift key could then come from an alternative set of characters, just as the shift key on a keyboard offers access to new symbols.

The second column of colours represents Baudot's shift key, 11011. The third column of colours becomes the new symbol &. All four columns combine to disclose the title: X & Y.

Decoded, it's even more dull than it looks.


Well, the efforts of the record companies to stop newspapers giving away free music is... well, another example of the BPI-RIAA members making a lot of fuss, pissing off the people they should be working with, and getting nowhere.

The Express is offering a whole slew of Elton John tracks:

The Sun is giving away a Britpop DVD:

And the Mirror has a free Oasis CD, to promote the new album:

There's four "classic" Oasis tunes on the CD and four tracks from the new album - although the paper warns that you can only play the new ones four times. Which is probably three times more than anyone's going to bother with them, so that's alright. What we don't understand, though, is how they can enforce the "four times only" rule - we can see that something might be done to stop a PC playing them more than four times, but how will that work on a car CD player, say, we're not sure.

Friday, June 03, 2005


So, down in the comments box somebody suggested we were being a bit hard on Elvis Costello, and that the facts of the UEA gig weren't quite as bad the reports made them sound.

So, we dug a bit deeper, and found a report Eastern Daily Press which does present a different light on things:

Elvis took the stage at 9.30, and was greeted by boos and someone throwing a drink over him; he still played for two hours, mind - which, to be fair, isn't any later a start and different a length to most gigs, is it? And, while he has said he won't refund anyone, he's said that anyone who was really inconvenienced by his late stage show can have free tickets the next time he's in Norfolk.

So: not as much of a knob as he'd been made out to be in this case.

We are, however, still waiting for an explanation for signing that RIAA letter...


Thanks a lot, Gordon Brown: "Queen" (or at least the ones who aren't dead and that bloke they drafted in to do the singing) are now signed up for Live 8. Even being on the other side of Europe won't stop them; they've decided they're going to do a giant telly hook-up by satellite from Portugal. Although if they can't be arsed to actually turn up, I'm not quite sure why they'll be allowed to take part. They could at least be forced to do their set by email or something; it seems a bit much to expect people to hike down to London to see a fake version of a band playing on the telly.


We wonder if Midge Ure's rush about the newsrooms of the nation last night saying "actually, you know, don't bother marching on Scotland to demand an end to poverty" and today's announcement by Gordon Brown's pledge to to waive bills for staging Bob Geldof's Live 8 concert in a move equivalent to writing off £500,000 in VAT could be, in any way, connected?

Meanwhile, Brown has handed Geldof, alongside the half a million quid, a few suggestions as to who should be on the bill:

Mr Brown said he wanted the Spice Girls to reform for Live 8 but added that might be beyond the powers of even Mr Geldof to achieve.

He added: "I hope Queen will play a part as well and, of course, Paul McCartney.

"Now if all of these came together with the artists in America, then it just shows the power of people to change things and I think young people particularly should know that by coming together you can change the world."

Although we're a little confused - Brown is one of the people who will be taking a key role at the G8 summit; surely the whole point of the concert is to change minds like his? If he's already made up his mind, what is the aim of the concert, and how will that be changing the world? Unless he's saying "if we don't hear Brian May working his way through Radio Ga-Ga, we'll force Burkina Faso to give all the proceeds from its cotton exports to the World Bank" or "A Spice Girls reunion will mean we'll write off all the debt of Benin; Madonna doing Hanky Panky will see us pour three billion into the Zimbabwe economy..."


They were meant to be safely in Australia, but now the Stereophonics are flying back to help ensure Live 8 boosts their album sales too ("is a roaring success"). Kelly Jones slapped his own back heartily:

"We all really wanted to be involved in the Live 8 gig. It doesn't take much for a band to sing a few songs and help bring awareness to a much bigger issue that'll help so many other people suffering in the world, so that's why we are playing. Long live rock n roll!"

Because, of course, if the Stereophonics aren't there to do their song about how horrible journalists are, nobody will know about Africa, will they?


Apple seems to be about to shake off the class action brought against it over how disappointing the battery life of early iPods turned out to be; the main meat of the deal seems to be an extension of warranties to cover battery loss and the prospect of a small cash payout or a slightly less small voucher. Apple aren't, however, admitting any wrongdoing.


Jack White has, in the sort of haste which will have elderly women everywhere heaving their bosoms and muttering "repenet at leisure", got married to Karen Elson:

Karen Elson and Jack White were married yesterday on the confluence of three rivers – the Rio Negro, the Salimones and the Amazon – in the Amazon basin in the city of Manaus, Brazil. They were married by a traditional Shaman priest on a canoe at the exact place where the three rivers meet. The bride and groom were accompanied by a small party of close friends. The best man was Ian Montone. Meg White was the maid of honor. The ceremony was immediately followed by a blessing by a priest at a Catholic Cathedral called Igreja Matric in the historical city of Manaus. This was the first marriage for both newlyweds.

- we're not sure if that last sentence got cut in half, and was meant to end "except for Jack", or "if you don't count when he was married to the maid of honour", or "to be done by a shaman."

It's not known if Jack really did yell "in your face, Doherty" after kissing the bride. There's also some mutterings this is a stunt rather than a real wedding - does a shamanic wedding have any legal status? - so we'd hold off sending them a toaster and a card until we know for sure.


We're not quite sure it's the massive bombshell the LA Times are treating it as, but "Psycho Mike", the informant who claimed Notorious BIG was killed after Suge Knight and corrupt police officers orchestrated the murder, has admitted his evidence was "all hearsay." But even at the time, Psycho Mike's evidence didn't seem that solid - he gave details that were clearly made-up and, let's not forget, was called "Psycho Mike."


Paul McCartney is going to write a kid's book, in the same way that every musician who doesn't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from does.


Could Live 8 get any worse? Oh yes, if the Daily Mirror has its way:

- it's started a campaign to get Status Quo on the bill, called "No show without Quo." The call is for Rick and Francis to open Live 8 in the same way they opened Live Aid. But why? What's to be gained by merely repeating the line-up from last time? What was it Bob said about not wanting to re-do what he'd done twenty years ago (except for Sting and Annie Lennox?).

If the Mirror want Quo, then we want Adam Ant. Thios is non-negotiable. Maybe Nik Kershaw, too.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Here comes another Nada Surf album, which will make at least one of our friends rub herself into some sort of a frenzy, and we'd be tempted to say she's right, too. The band reckon The Weight Is A Gift will be released on September 12th here in Europe; September 20th in America. There's going to be a world tour, too. And a lot more rubbing.


Last week, Elvis Costello played hookey, watching the European Cup Final when he should have been playing a gig at the University of East Anglia. Eventually the match reached its conclusion after extra time, penalties, and other associated fannying about, and Costello wandered onto the stage and played a much foreshortened set. Not unsurprisingly, some fans were a little pissed off at having been kept waiting around until 11, only to get a scrappy miniset in return for their efforts. They suggested some sort of refund might be in order. Costello adopted the same attitude he had when Hank Kingsley wanted to have a word about the car he sold him:

"Those who've asked for their money back should stay at home reading their cookbooks over a nice cup of Horlicks, while listening to their K-Tel collection of punk rock classics."

On the other hand, Elv, don't you think that those who'd rather sit in front of the telly watching some men kick a bladder about instead of playing their songs have clearly lost any creative impulse they might have once had, and should perhaps be thinking in terms of seeking out a retirement cottage and joining a couple of luncheon clubs?

(Actually, why would someone who's dragged out to the UEA to hear you play music be ridiculed for actually wanting to hear you play rather than sit around waiting for you to do the job you're being paid for anyway?)


Suddenly waking up to yourself: Rob Thomas has discovered not even his fans know what his name is. In a survey, a majority of Matchbox 20 fans admitted they didn't know what the name of their favourite band's singer was. It's not clear what they doodle on the front of their textbooks when the draw a big heart, or attempt to sign their name in the way it'll be when they marry him - "Elize Whateverhisnameis" is presumably as close as they can get.


Hey, guess what? Bobby Brown didn't show up for court again yesterday, so the family court of Massachusetts issued a warrant for his arrest. Apparently, Bobby had set out to attend the court hearing into his not paying a previous settlement in a child support hearing, but he "became ill on route." The court said that they'd be happy to accept that, if they could be shown some proof.


So, as Channel 4 News continued, more criticism of Live 8. Firstly, for not being able to come up with any actual African artists for the UK bill. Bob Geldof's office explained that he'd only had three weeks to put the bill together and that all the black artists they'd approached had been busy, anyway (what, all of them?); Midge Ure, asked about the bill, suggested that the black and African artists would be there and that we should pay no attention to the official bill announced anyway - which makes sense, it seems that everything geldof said at the formal launch is being unpicked.

Then Clare Short, former International Devlopment minister, was on; she expressed her doubts about Live 8 - in her view, its demands are "too generalised" and gives the impression that you can change the world but "you don't have to do anything" which "demeans the suffering" of those caught in poverty; Live 8 is "an insult to the complexities [of development issues]; it's jolly and vacuous."

Asked to respond to this, Midge Ure made a couple of fatuous remarks that seemed to be taking aim at Short for not having been part of the original Live Aid line-up: "Where was she twenty years ago?" (Erm... she was an Opposition MP representing Birmingham Ladywood, Midge, and was sitting on the Home Affairs Select Committee.)


An uncomfortable looking Midge Ure has just been on Channel 4 News, apparently sent in to clear up geldof's mess by trying to tell people not to go up to Edinburgh to protest outside the G8 conference after all. Ure compared going up to Scotland with "turning up at Glastonbury without a ticket" (an interesting choice of metaphor: another area where a once radical event has become tamed) and said there wasn't "much point in going" as there'd be other people there to make the point. (But isn't the size of the popular call what's supposed to be important here?). Ure then went on to sneer at the people who've been tirelessly campaigning for debt relief and a fairer approach to international trade for years by dismissing them: Live 8, you see "isn't about crusties with dogs on strings; it's not about radicals." You might have been led to believe there was something quite radical at the heart of the Live 8 agenda, but you'd have been wrong (if the Daily Mail tie-up hadn't given you the clue): "[Live 8 is about] entertainment, fun; it's a social gathering" explained Ure. A couple of days ago it was about tilting the world on its axis. Now, it's been downgraded to a village fete. Change the world? At the moment, Live 8 seems afraid to change its own tshirt.

He's going to be on again in a few minutes; Clare Short is also due to appear.


From our 'women who share too much' files, Britney Spears has honked out that sex is better now that she's pregnant. Apparently now "sex is crazy good." Although perhaps all she means by that is that as she's now got a great excuse for being tired, she no longer has to let Kevin clamber on her at the end of the day for three minutes of duck-ass-shaking.

It seems the only point in the last year when Britney has shut up was when they showed her the picture of the kid growing inside her:

"You can't really say anything. I was emotional. I think it's the best feeling in the world."

Well, you could say "Can we get it to sign a pre-partum agreement?"

She's still threatening to not make any more records for a while, though:

"I'm sure there's going to come a time when I get back to work again, but it'll be a totally different way of life than it was before."

Sure, Britney - your life will be really different, you'll be so busy: there's going to a lot of extra gym sessions to get your figure back; a nanny to brief...


Nobody really seems to know what happened with the Morrissey Isle of Wight cancellation: Mozzer's statement suggested that Sanctuary had announced it without it being confirmed, although the official website has got a more benign form of words:

"Morrissey will regrettably not be appearing at the Isle Of Wight Festival on the 11th of June as scheduled. The pressure of preparing the new album and losing his drummer earlier this month has made it impossible to do the gig without massively compromising both the gig and the album. Apologies to all the fans, the organisers and the people of the Isle Of Wight."

Meanwhile, the organiser of the festival was on 6Music a while ago moaning that if he'd have cancelled an act at such short notice he'd have been had up in a "court of law". So he obviously thought that Mozzer was a deffo.

And what of Sanctuary, the label who - according to some reports - Morrissey is fuming at? They're being very tight-lipped indeed:

"We've worked closely with Morrissey over the last couple of years and out of respect to our artists we're not going to comment any further."

The upshot of all this is Travis are going to take over the slot that may, or may not, have been reserved for, or allocated to, Morrissey. So nobody wins, then.


If you want to see Mogwai this year, your only option will be to go to a former ABC cinema in Glasgow. The one on Sauciehall Street has been re-invented as a venue, and the ABC's first gig will be Mogwai's only one for 2005:

“We are very pleased to announce that our only UK show this year will be on Wednesday June the 8th on the opening night of the new Glasgow venue The ABC in Sauchiehall Street. As the name suggests the venue is in the building which previously occupied the ABC Cinema. Having seen the venue we are immensely excited about being the first band to play in it.”

They probably said some stuff about devils and curses which got cut out.


As part of the T on the Fringe event in Edinburgh, Franz Ferdinand are going to play two gigs outside Edinburgh Castle. August 30th and 31st, with the Arcade Fire down to support on the first one and surprise on the second.


All that struggling, and upset, and ID, and ridiculous rules - has it helped keep Glastonbury tickets off Ebay? No, No, No.


Glastonbury did, indeed, offer the slot vacated by Kylie Minogue to The Killers (although not the entire wing of a hospital she had vacated); but the band turned it down, in a very self-aware way.

Drummer Ronnie Vannucci explains:

“We were offered the headlining slot but we didn’t take it because we’re basically a band that’s been around for, as far as the UK’s concerned, a little over a year. So we didn’t think we were deserving of a headlining slot, we’re just happy to be playing in a good spot at Glastonbury anyway. We only have one album out.”

They have said they'd be interested in closing Glasto in 2007. Yeah, we're sure you will be.

Glastonbury are rumoured to have gone "Phew... thank god they said 'no'; we meant to offer it to The Kills anyway..."


What will the Daily Mail-reading audience get for their troubles at Live 8? Madonna and Sting. And if that isn't bad enough, Madonna and Sting duetting.

Think that's the worst thing you can imagine?

They're thinking of doing Imagine. Jaguar-advertising Sting and Gap-advertising Madonna singing about how great the world would be if there were no possessions. Madonna, Kaballah-endorsing, bollock-cult spouting Madonna suggesting we "imagine no religion."

If you're looking for something else to do on July 2nd, it's the first day of Truckfest South West at the Royal Bath & West Showground, Somerset. Never has the phrase "monster trucks" sounded quite so enticing...


The good news that Kylie's recovering has been slightly tainted by the reports coming from the Cabrini Hospital which suggests other patients were forced to vacate an entire ward to make way for the Minogue. The Herald Sun says:

The pop princess was allocated eight of the hospital's 18 cardio rooms in a move that angered Cabrini doctors and patients and has been questioned by medical authorities.

Those visiting heart patients on the same floor as Minogue were forced to walk through intensive care and put through rigorous security screening before they could see their sick loved ones.

Some visitors were stopped from seeing patients altogether by security guards who, when asked, said they were not employed by the hospital.

Kylie's people insist she didn't dictate where she was put in the hospital, and that she had only the one "directly hired" security guard. ("Directly hired" as opposed to what?)

Apparently, Kylie was put into cardiology rather than oncology wards because the cardio ward was more secure. Medical staff were distinctly unimpressed, says the newspaper:

"It's wholly unusual that a patient with non-cardio problems that doesn't require monitoring is placed in those beds," said a doctor at Cabrini, who asked that he not be named.

"It's a precedent you won't want to see repeated. I must admit several people were severely inconvenienced. I was very surprised that eight beds were given to one patient with a non-cardiac condition.

"The intensive care unit was treated as a thoroughfare. It was very distressing and very inappropriate."

Funnily enough, the patients being moved weren't told why they were put into different beds.

The Australian Medical Association has also raised a curious eyebrow at the apparent goings-on:

"We can understand if (doctors) are concerned at a fairly large proportion of beds being used for one individual -- that's something for management to justify," AMA president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said. "In general terms, beds should be used as effectively as they can because both the public and private sectors have a very tight dollar. Someone might need a specific level of care or security, but basically beds should be used on a needs basis."

Management hadn't responded to the story by the time the Herald-Sun went to press.


Now, the first suicide attempt wasn't a suicide attempt, but a misunderstanding; the second suicide attempt wasn't a suicide attempt but a "cry for help"; the whole falling underneath the wheels of your own reversing car and ending up in surgery also wasn't a suicide attempt by Brian Harvey, but "a freak accident" according to his manager, Simon Harrison:

"It looks as if Brian was reversing down the road with his door open, looking out to see where he was going, and the door hit a parked car which sent his car out of control," he said. "Somehow he was thrown from the vehicle and crushed." Surgeons operated on his abdomen and pelvis, he told BBC Radio Five Live.

"I know he suffered from a broken leg, six breaks to the pelvis, his abdominal area was pushed very high into his chest, they had to drain his lungs yesterday and there was also damage to his ribs," he said.

Harvey faced more surgery on his leg on Wednesday, which Mr Harrison said was "broken so badly that it was turned completely in the opposite direction". He briefly regained consciousness and recognised his name, "which is a good sign in terms of his recovery," Mr Harrison said.

He confirmed Harvey had been depressed and his mental state had been "reasonably unstable in the last few months". But he said: "People have speculated it might be a suicide attempt but I don't think you could plan this if you tried. There are easier ways to kill yourself. It was just a freak accident and a piece of seriously bad luck."

"Unfortunately it comes at a time when everybody knows he has been suffering from depression," Mr Harrison said.

"But I spoke to him just a couple of days before this happened and he was very upbeat about recording some new music."

Well, it's true that there are easier ways to kill yourself, although since the official line on the earlier attempts is that Brian wasn't trying to kill himself, but merely get a good night's sleep and some attention respectively, you could see that as fitting a pattern. There's something a little disturbing about a view which suggests that, since someone who's clearly suffering from depression had been cheerful at the weekend, he couldn't possibly have been feeling crushed and desperate a couple of days later. Even if it wasn't a cry for help, maybe those who are charged with looking after him should treat it as such.


Let's try and ignore the attempts her stylists seem to be making to try and invent a softer, gentler Angelina Jolie - which is a little like trying to promote white-water rafting as a spot of gentle exercise - and instead focus on the main news in the Daily Star, which has a shot of Michael Jackson's future bedroom:

"Jacko's cell - Jail, even if he's cleared", trumpets the paper confusingly. And wrongly, actually, as it what the story actually suggests is that he might get off with getting off with kids business, but the charge of giving alcohol to a minor could well stick. So, it's Jacksons cell (if they send him to that prison, and they put him into that cell) even if he's cleared (of everything apart from the some of the charges).

The Daily Express, faced with the not-that-unusual prospect of a bloke in his 60s becoming a Dad, has a crisis of faith: nobody wants to see a wrinkled old picture of Rod Stewart. Then they have an idea - why not have a picture of the mother, instead? "Peggy" they tell us "is a leggy legend" - it doesn't explain why: could it be because she has repeated sex with someone old enough to be an Express reader?

Elsewhere, the Live 8 gig is still getting everyone excited - the Daily Mail manages to give the awareness-raiser a huge chunk of the front page without mentioning debt, poverty, or even Live 8:

... it also suggests that "all proceeds [from the text messages] go to the Princes Trust", although as the BBC News Online piece reported yesterday, that isn't actually true, as anything over the first GBP1.6million is going to the costs of putting the event on. And the news that nearly one-in-ten of the people at the gig are going to be Daily Mail readers makes doing something else that day seem even more attractive.

Meanwhile, Bob's call for everyone to march on the G8 is causing ripples of panic:

The Guardian reports "safety fears" - which could just be a desperate way of the authorities of trying to stop people turning up ("fighting poverty is all well and good, but what if someone loses an eye?"); although we're not sure how that fits with the counter-theory that Geldof is organising this mild protest (which is essentially accepting the legitimacy of the G8 and its methods) to help the establishment drown out the more traditional anti-capitalist protests (which reject the G8's very existence).

For a steer on this, we turn to the Morning Star:

"G8 Organisers Running Scared - Establishment panicked by Geldof's call" says the paper. Ah, so it is anti-establishment, then.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Waht could be more tantalising than the prospect of a double album of rarities and b-sides from The Fountains of Wayne? Okay, from our perspective, the answers could include "a mouth filled with angry bees" and "waking up to find the tory from big brother has been put in charge of the health service", but we know the FOW are pretty popular, so we're happy to pass on the details.

It's called Out of State Plates...

... and is available for pre-order
. The tracklist across the double goes like this:

California Sex Lawyer
Janice's Party
Karpet King
Baby I've Changed
I Know You Well
You're Just Never Satisfied
I'll Do the Driving
I Want You Around
Trains and Boats and Planes
Can't Get It Out of My Head
The Girl I Can't Forget
...Baby One More Time
Elevator Up
Kid Gloves
Today's Teardrops
She's Got a Problem (live)
These Days
I Want an Alien for Christmas
The Man in the Santa Suit
Killermont Street
Half a Woman

So, good news for Wayne-ettes, then. Us, we're off to shove some bees into our mouth.


A few additional entries to that bloglist down on the left tonight: Empire State Human, which again proves that the real joy of mp3 blogs is not just the discovery of brilliant new tracks, but the enthusiastic introductions effected by the bloggers; music hideout, bikini kill-to-postal service podcast; and, if we make enough noise, perhaps flutter might come back to life.


Also in the money today: Trent Reznor, who has been awarded nearly three million dollars following his acton against former manager John Malm. A Manhattan court accpeted that Malm had duped reznor into a signing a dodgy contract which had allowed him to scrape large chunks of Reznor's earnings into his own bank account.


Interesting... as you'll recall, the original booking for Hyde Park on July 2nd was in the name of the Prince's Trust, for the annual Party In The Park. Now it turns out that the deal for the PT to step aside and let Live 8 have the park is a hefty GBP1.6 million pound payment to the trust. And where is that money going to come from?

Well, it'll come from the money raised by the text-messaging being done to distribute tickets.

But wasn't this meant to be a free gig?

Apparently not; every entry to try and get the free tickets will cost one pound fifty.

But this isn't supposed to be a fund-raiser, is it? Wasn't it supposed to be an awareness-raiser?

Well, it's raising awareness of the potential of mobile phones as a revenue-raising device, isn't it?

More to the point, perhaps, is the sudden shift of cash from the Make Poverty History to the Prince's Trust. Now, the Prince's Trust is a fine organisation, and it does very good work, but isn't there something a little suspect it over a million and a half quid being shifted from one charity campaign to another on little more than a whim. It's like Guide Dogs for the Blind giving the first ten grand it gets from a dog-shaped collection box to the Spastics Society, in return for the Spastics Society moving their child-in-calipers collecting box from the High Street.

What's more, the pledge is that the PT only gets the "first" GBP1.6million, which means the organisers are expecting that to be the minimum cash they pull in. There are only 145,000 tickets on offer, which means they're excpecting at least ten disappointed punters to be one pound fifty worse off. Oh, plus the cost of text message payment to their phone networks - great news for Orange, 3, Vodaphone, O2 and T-Mobile, who can look forward to an extra million plus messages generating revenues for them.

But if the first one and a half mill has been spoken for, earmarked for something other than the supposed aims of the event, then the rest of the cash will go towards helping make poverty history, right?

Nope - the residue will "go towards the cost of staging the event."

So, a big, free gig with the aim of Making Poverty History actually going to be raising cash for mobile phone operators and the companies involved in staging the gigs. Yep, that's going to tilt the world on its axis alright.


God alone knows how Tony Cochrane came to be in possession of the knickers worn by Madonna in the film Body of Evidence, but we can understand that he was keen to get rid of them. Sadly, Ebay have refused his attempts to list them, because the site, sniffily, won't deal in used undergarments. Or rather, not sniffily. Of course, we've really only got Cochrane's word for it that they are the knickers from the film - it's not like anyone actually watched the film all the way through and would be able to recognise them, is it?


Astonishingly, The Strokes have already completed work on their third album - it's now going off to be mixed and produced and the other activities associated with turning draylon purses out of sow's ears.

Whatever will it sound like?

Scientists suggest "a lot like this":


Despite Billie Piper saying that she isn't thinking of quitting Doctor Who at all, Rachel Stevens is already trying to grab the role of Doctor's assistant:

"I think I'd be ideal. It's quite sporty and that's one thing I'm good at," Stevens told a source.

See? Everybody has one thing they're good at, after all.


You'll recall that, from time to time, we keep a friendly eye on Avril Lavigne's career, to offer her support for having so firmly rejected selling herself as a skank of any sort. But it seems we're not the only ones who are proud of her pledge to refuse to use cheap, sexual imagery as a way to sell records...

Image hosted by

Why, she even gets awards for it...


Ben Adams, who used to be in A1 until the band got lost trying to find their mittens in a cul-de-sac has resurfaced; he still has the face of an angel and the mind of someone who needs instructions on a post-it note before they can use a bedside lamp. Drowned in Sound bought a copy of Boyz with him in it, from where they found this:

"I think you've got to try everything once," said Mr Ben. "I was in this strip bar (in Thailand) and all these naked girls were massaging my hands, and I just thought, 'Oh well, I'll try it once', and went with this other girl. It didn't really do a huge amount for me. It's always like, if you can sleep with people without having to pay them, then why fucking bother!"

We love the way Ben had apparently just wandered into a sex bar, and was already having nude women squeezing his hands before he suddenly thought "I know, I'll try paying for sex tonight...", and the way he thinks having sex with a prostitute counts as a single, discrete experience, like sky-diving or going to Paris. Unless he means "having sex with a woman" was the thing he was going to try just that once. Or maybe even "having sex". We also love the way he rejects using prostitutes not on any moral grounds, but because it's an economic absurdity to pay for something you could have for free - we bet he's one of those people who complains when their mates buy bottled water: "47p? You can have as much water from the tap as you like for nothing, you know..."

Nature's cruel irony is that it gave Ben the cash to be able to afford to fritter it away on hookers at the same time as it provided him with the physical and celebrity pulling power to ensure he didn't have to pay; and now all three are fading away at the same time.

And, look, we made it through with making a single reference to Bangkok Ladyboys. Apparently, it's very hard to tell the difference, you know...


Despite pumping squillions of pounds into the "security measures", EMI will be hopping mad this morning as Coldplay's new album X&Y is already swooping round the filesharing networks.

The security was as ill-considered as it was ineffectual:

The British Phonographic Industry praised EMI for its efforts to stop the pre-release piracy of X&Y. Review copies of the CD went under a false name - the Fir Trees - and were personally handed to the media by EMI representatives.

Reviewers were compelled to sign a legally binding non-disclosure document. Employees at CD pressing plants were routinely searched, while fan sites claimed the company prevented a student radio station in California playing the album before release.

The band tried to persuade impatient fans to wait for the official European release on June 6 by offering them the chance to listen to the album on the official website.

So, once again journalists were treated as if they couldn't be trusted, employees at the plant were "routinely searched" (under what right does EMI presume the guilt of its workforce?) - while all along the tracks were dancing out of a website which would only take an audioripping program to grab. It's like that episode of the Simpsons where Burns and Smithers go through this elaborate security gating to get to a secret room, only to find someone's left the back door open for the cat.

But it gets worse:

The album is released in Japan today, a situation that was always expected to lead to a flurry of illegal offerings on the internet.

So, having meticulously sealed some of the routes for illegal copies leeching onto the web before the release date, EMI then go and stagger releases so there's going to be legitimate copies available in part of the world anyway.

EMI would not comment on its anti-piracy measures or how it would pursue the "uploaders" responsible for illegally putting it on the net, but the company said it not believe sales would be hit by the leak.

"We've had an amazing success with stopping the leaking," a spokeswoman said. "It is a testament to the pre-release protection we put in place to have an album of this profile kept secure until a day before its commercial release [in Japan]. No other album has come that close to commercial release before it has become available."

So, erm, the campaign has been "a success with stopping the leaking" even though the leaking wasn't stopped. Thank god the spokesperson went into music industry PR rather than medicine - "excellent news Mrs Jones; the attempts to stem the bleeding have been a total success. Although your husband did still bleed to death, it took quite a while before the last of the blood drained from his body. Unfortunately, he didn't recoup his kidneys."

Still, there is an important message here: EMI don't believe that the album being avalilable on the file sharing networks will harm sales. It's nice to finally get a major label admit that, yes, the presence of an album on the networks doesn't cost us any lost sales - in that sense, it's quite a historic day, isn't it?

[Updated 23/08/08 to add tags; content unchanged]


Harvey from the So Solids has been found guilty of assaulting a police officer and using threatening words or behaviour. Harvey had been stopped using a mobile phone while driving (it turned out he was also driving without insurance and while banned); it took CS to calm him down at the time of his arrest. Harvey's defence was that the arresting officer had "shouted" at him (which, if you're honking into a mobile while driving, putting everyone else at risk while not even having any insurance, seems to be fair enough) and:

Harvey said he was left "embarrassed and humiliated" when passing children recognised him as he was being arrested.

Harvey, kitten, unless the kids happened to be fans of Lewes FC, it's almost certain that they no more recognised you than they would have recognised Annie Lennox being arrested.

Harvey looks set to avoid jail, though, as the magistrate will be considering a "community punishment." Lets hope none of the oceans of kids see him doing this, or it'll all kick off again.


Perhaps it's an indication of just how dull the heart of the Live 8 bill is - and the extent to which Bob's awareness-raiser is, usefully, going to suck support and attention away from the anti-capitalist demonstartions against the G8 - that the Daily Mail is really, really excited about it:

The Mirror is so excited by Annie Lennox and Craig David, it's given itself a 3D-effect headline:

As the Daily Star clears its front page (except for the half given over to Abi Titmuss sticking her chest out), you can't help but wonder if there's something satirical in their "Bob n Elton lead pop war for poor" subhead:

Surprisingly, the Morning Star is quite positive about the whole thing - presumably any march, even one organised by a multi-millionaire, is seen as a chance to distribute placards:

The Sun, clearly, isn't sure about all this helping people in Africa business - it restricts itself to printing the most chilling flyer in music history:

The Times also focuses on the musicians - which is, of course, the real problem with Live 8; however much Bob wants it to be primairily about raising awareness of international debt, the strongest message will be to raise awareness that Coldplay have a new album out:

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Brian Harvey's having a really rotten time of it - following on from two apparent suicide attempts, he's now in hospital after being crushed under the wheels of his own car.

Metropolitan Police are investigating:

"The circumstances of the collision are being investigated but at this early stage we believe the man may have fallen from the driver's side of the Mercedes convertible while reversing from an access road into the street. He was alone in the car at the time and no other driver was involved."

His spokesperson said the first apparent overdose was a mistake; the second "a cry for help." Let's hope this time Harvey actually gets some help - although for now, he's in a critical condition in hospital.


This one isn't a fundraiser, then; it's meant to raise awareness. Live 8 has been formally announced by Bob Geldof and, already, music lovers the world over are clearing their diaries for July 2nd to ensure they're nowhere near a radio or TV to catch Coldplay, Madonna, Dido and Maroon 5 doing their thing to, um, yeah... you know, let people know.

It is, we grant, possible that there are a few Maroon 5 fans scattered here and there who don't realise that there's an enormous problem facing Africa in the shape of the debt her nations are carrying; it might seem unlikely, but no less likely than the thought of George Bush smacking his hand on the table at the G8 summit and yelling "If A-Ha care enough about this to play a gig in a Berlin, then I care about it."

So, five gigs, five cities: Philadelphia (who get Will Smith and Stevie Wonder as well as Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi); Rome (Duran Duran); Paris (Craig David and Jamiroquai - as if that would teach 'em to vote against the European constitution) and, of course, London. London will feature Madonna - presumably pushing Kabbalah Water as the universal panacea for the African problem), Coldplay, REM, Dido and Paul McCartney. Tickets will be distributed through some sort of mobile-phone text message lottery bonanza.

This is the line-up in full:

Hyde Park, London

Mariah Carey
Sir Elton John
Annie Lennox
Scissor Sisters
Sir Paul McCartney
Joss Stone
Robbie Williams
Velvet Revolver
Bob Geldof
The Killers
The Cure
Snow Patrol

Museum of Art, Philadelphia

Will Smith (host)
Bon Jovi
Maroon 5
P Diddy
Stevie Wonder
The Dave Matthews Band
Sarah McLachlan
Rob Thomas
Keith Urban
50 Cent
Kaiser Chiefs

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Craig David
Youssou N'Dour
Yannick Noah
Andrea Bocelli
Calo Gero
Axelle Red
Johnny Halliday
Manu Chao

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

Crosby, Stills and Nash
Brian Wilson
Lauryn Hill
Die Toten Hosen
Peter Maffay

Circus Maximus, Rome

Duran Duran
Faith Hill
Irene Grandi
Tim McGraw
Laura Pasini
Vasco Rossi

Hurrah! Die Toten Hosen. About the only name that seems in any way inspired in the entire bloody line-up. Annie Lennox? Why? Why? Is there anyone left alive who remembers her? Obviously, you know, we have pvc and strapping issues with Placebo, so it's nice to see them on the Paris line-up, but... we're suspecting that from a musical point of view, this is one to tape and hope your fast-forward button holds out.


The Alpha Course, which (our understanding of it) is Christianity-for-PR people, appears to have come up with a number-boosting plan in Coventry: they tried to tempt all the shopping-centre Goths to the cathedral with the promise of a rock band. You young people do still like rock bands, don't you?


Pop landmark Strawberry Fields is closing today. (Actually, the last kid moved out last week, and there's going to be some staff form-filling for the next couple of months, but today is the official end of the place's life as Children's Home).

Police are calling for people to return any copies of Strawberry Fields Forever to their nearest council depot, where they will be painlessly destroyed.


Now, nobody used the phrase "You have to be nice to me because my sister's ill", but it does seem extraordinary that Gavin Newscom, mayor of San Fransisco, declared Saturday Dannii Minogue Day (we'd love to see the Hallmark card). Sure, it's the most gay place on Earth, but surely not even Frisco is that gay, is it? If Dannii deserves a day, then on that basis we're going to need to change the names of one of the months to 'GirlsAloudember'. In fact, we've just heard that Newscom has announced that the City diaries and calendars for next year will be marked "200Michelle Heaton of Liberty X" rather than 2006.

As part of Dannii's mini-gig at a nightclub, where she played all her American hits - or, at least, she would have done had there been any - she phoned Kylie up and had the crowd sing Happy Birthday to her. Because who wouldn't want to be roused from our sick beds to hear a crowd of drunken revellers bashing out Happy Birthday?


We're certain that this use of "for months" is euphemism for "ever" or, at least, "in years" or "since people noticed what a self-obsessed mirror-whore he was", but Jay Kay is begging to have sex because he hasn't had sex "for months". He's calling on single women to help end this drought, although from where we're sitting, it looks like there are sympathy shags there just isn't enough sympathy in the world to create.

In other "must we really imagine Jay Kay having sex?" news, Kay has a shoe fetish:

"I've got a total shoe fetish. I adore a good pair of shoes. Girls have to keep them on with me.

"Doesn't matter what colour they are, just keep them on! If somebody in the band spots a beautiful girl in sexy boots, they have to yell 'Booooots'."

Hard to believe he doesn't get a sniff of any action, isn't it? We're sure that anyone who does get taken back to the Jamiroquai love pad doesn't mind leaving their shoes on, though. Or, indeed, their pants and coat. In fact, y'know, we'll just wait outside for the taxi to come, so we don't miss him, right Did we give you our number? No... oh, don't worry, we'll ring you...


Reduced to writing songs about buying bottles of milk, interviews with Oasis are no less full of thrills, with Noel and Liam's worldview so shrunken they only have themselves to reference. So it is that Noel spent most of his New York Post interview going on about that inter-sibling fued that the world made the mistake of appearing to be interested in some years ago:

And, Noel says although Liam is a good frontman for the band he wouldn't like to play bingo with him.

"He's good to be in a band with, but I wouldn't go down to bingo with him. If I didn't have a band with relatives in it I would be solo, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I wouldn't like to leave Liam on his own.

"He'd get in too much trouble," the 38-year-old guitarist told the New York Post.

But, he adds their rivalry is often "tongue-in-cheek."

"It often sounds to me a lot more vicious than it is. It's all said very tongue-in-cheek, ya know?

"But when it's in black and white, obviously you don't see the smirk on our faces when we're saying it..."

Oh, help us, we're drifting off ag...


It's actually quite a nice change for a report featuring a pop star going to court to just be about a small-claims court type of deal.

Cyndi Lauper has fallen out with her landlords over the lebel of rent she's paying - they want USD2400 a month; Lauper believes it should be a rent-controlled 508. In Manhattan. About 250 quid a month. And you get free coffee refills in America.


Or maybe it's just a coincidence that all of a sudden, ABC is delighted to give Kenny Chesney a network special, and not because the producers dangled "behind the scenes moments at his home". In fact, we bet the just-having-married Renee Zellweger was more of a stumbling block to the deal. We bet. Really.


That noise, madam? That would be Hugh Cudlipp spinning about in his grave as the Daily Mirror sheds the last of its dignity and accepts its future is as a kind of Look-In for the 21st century. Buy yours for your Oasis poster magazine and "souvenir photo album". It's not clear to what extent John Pilger has been involved in preparing this.

There's also the not-entirely-surprising claim that the Spice Girls have been dropped from Live 8 even before the event has been officially announced. Assuming, of course, they were ever really expected to be taking part in the first place.


Footballer, model, TV presenter, solo singer - let's not just peg him as "the former member of So Solid Crew", shall we? - Michael "Harvey" Harvey is due in court in St Albans today following his arrest in none-more-raptastic Welwyn Garden City. Talk about the badlands. He's charged with using threatening words (something he never quite managed when he was in the So Solids) and behaviour, and assaulting a police officer.


The death has been announced of Oscar Brown Jr, who combined social activism with a successful singer-songwriting career.

Born in Chicago in 1926, the son of an attorney and estate agent , Brown was a pioneer in the black media - his Negro Newsfront was one of the very first radio news programmes to concentrate on the reality of life for black Americans. During unsuccessful attempts to enter politics both locally and nationally, Brown started to develop his songwriting hobby into something more serious. With the help of impressario Robert Nemiroff, he won a contract with Columbia in 1958 and recorded his first album, Sin and Soul while silmultaneously producing his musical Kicks & Compnay. A busy man, he was also supposed to be selling houses for his Dad, too; it was the release of Sin and Soul in 1960 which finally allowed him to concentrate purely on music. With Al Ham acting as his first manager, Brown relocated to New York where he quickly built a massive following.

Amongst his new fans was NBC's Dave Garroway, then hosting the Today programme. Garroway secured a two-hour special for Brown which, along with the buzz around Kicks & Company, secured his place in the popular mind and saw Brown regularly appearing on the same bill as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane. Drawing muscially from jazz, gospel, blues and even folk, Brown's reputation as a lyricist was secured when he added lyrics to Miles Davis' All Blues; he combined his political stance with his day job when he colaborated with Max Roach on the We Insist! Freedom Now Suite.

Social justice would be a theme to which he would return again and again - in his 1967 musical Opportunity, Please Knock; even in his last work, a 2002 revival of Great Nitty Gritty. The original version had been done with residents of the notorious Cabrini Green housing estate.

In 1969, Muhammad Ali appeared in Brown's first Broadway musical, Buck White, and in a long career Brown also worked with Mahalia Jackson and Mongo Santamaria. He presented Jazz Scene USA and From Jumpstreet, and even managed to fit in some time on the soap Brewster Place (with a young Oprah Winfrey) and the sitcom Roc.

Oscar Brown Jr was 78; he died in a Chicago hospital from complications following a blood infection.

Monday, May 30, 2005


The thing about a religious movement - any religious movement - is that you can judge it by what it chooses to make an issue of. This world is full of pain, suffering, misery and hate. So, what does the Greek Orthodox Church choose to campaign against? A Slipknot gig in Athens. Jesus, guys (if you'll forgive the pun) - the only reason that Slipknot exists is because they think that they're in some way threatening to the social norms; you're only encouraging them. Ignore them, and they'll go away. Perhaps you could use the time you're spending trying to get a bunch of clowns banned to, you know, give some of your riches to the poor of the city instead. That might do more to make the world a better place than treating some tiresome chaps in overstock Family Dollar halloween masks like they're in anyway challenging.


The 3AM team at the Daily Mirror have now got themselves a message board - we suspect they discovered the Bravenet sign-up page; a LiveJournal can surely only be a matter of moments away, now - which seems to be full of self regarding nonesense. For example, "Andrew Pritchard from Newport, South Wales" pops in to say:

Hey, I'd just like to thanx the 3am girls for their very pleasant article on Mariah Carey, its so refreshing to hear you appreciate her talent rather than perpetuate the drivel so often spread by the tabloids. Its about time the focus is put back toward her accomplishments in music rather than her lifestyle, thankyou!

We're not sure if "Andrew" is a front for the 3AM girls, or for Mariah herself.


Perhaps the stressed hacks over at Contact were just too shell-shocked and disappointed that The Fugees really are going to make a second album to pay attention to what they were saying. But there's been a terrible misunderstanding. Pras said:

"We're working on it. Clef and Lauryn's putting tracks together while I drop my solo album."

Which Contact have interpreted as meaning that Pras isn't going to bother with the solo stuff, rather than releasing it:

The former FUGEES stars have dropped their solo projects to reform the hip hop band - nine years after the group split.

Still, at least they didn't interpret "drop" any more literally - otherwise they'd have run a headline "Pras to fumble and allow record to fall to the floor."


It's been a while since we've had a snarky outburst from Morrissey, so the attack on his own record label is more than overdue. Morrissey is pissed off with Sanctuary for announcing his Isle of Wight festival date. Because, he reckons, he's never intended to play:

"I have not ever, at any time, agreed to play the Isle of Wight Festival. The announcement was made by Sanctuary and it was their error. However record companies never take the blame for their mistakes."

It's not known what Sanctuary's response is, although there are rumours they're playing Paint A Vulgar Picture a lot and talking to the Russian mafia.


Good god, it really is just going to be retread of the last one (we can only assume that Nik Kershaw is sitting by the phone, waiting for the call): there's going to be a Live 8 leg in Philadelphia as well as in London. And the City is clearly looking forward to the chance to host the event, for all the right reasons:

"This will really enhance our Fourth of July," said Deborah Bolling, a spokeswoman to Mayor John F. Street.

That's it, Deborah - this is all about extending the tourist envelope for the city as wide as possible. Nothing like leveraging international debt and poverty to help get the hotel room occupancy rates up for the month, is there? Let's hope famine never ends; just imagine what a fillip to tourism it would be to have an anti-starvation gig every ten years or so...


Doubtless Virgin Radio's Top 100 British Songs vote was meant to attract publicity and new listeners to the network; the plan, though, has backfired with a top ten that confirms everything you suspect about the station - lumpen, blokeish, predictable, cloth-eared:

1. Oasis - Wonderwall
2. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
3. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
4. The Beatles - Let It Be
5. John Lennon - Imagine
6. Police - Every Breath You Take
7. The Jam - Going Underground
8. Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony
9. Robbie Williams - Angels
10. The Stranglers - Golden Brown

Apart from The Jam, it's not even the best single by the artists involved - good god, if you're going to claim that Oasis have made the greatest British record of all time, and it's not Live Forever?

The unifying theme of most of the top 10 seems to imply that Virgin listeners are easily impressed by the mock-heroic. Nearly all the top ten songs they've chosen have that air of misplaced self-importance that could easily be mistaken for an epic scale.

Also interesting: the chart managed just three female artists - Kate Bush at 16; Yazoo at 73, and the Eurythmics at 93. And they thought Five Live was Radio Bloke.


We were startled by Contact Music's suggestion that Julia Fordham's sister was "cashing in on her success" by writing a book about her; it's not as if Fordham has been challenging Kylie and Coldplay at the top end of the charts - we always thought that Woman Of The 80s was a bit of a mistake to record at the time; twenty-odd years on, and it seems a fatal error.

Still, we always had a soft spot of Fordham, who we always thought of as an approachable Alison Moyet; her sister's book is a self-deprecating account of her life as Julia's assistant.

Look, you can buy it:

Claire Fordham: Plus One - A Year In The Life of a Hollywood Nobody
. It's got a puff on the front from Tracy Ullman, which probably tells you everything you need to know.

Meanwhile, Julia is about to become a mother for the first time any moment now.

Also Buyable:

Sunday, May 29, 2005


More confused older people: Liam Gallagher has said he'd work with Bloc Party, given the chance. Which we're sure Bloc Party will be delighted to hear, once they've finished remixing the Crazy Frog and doing their concept album with Geri Halliwell.

Not that Liam isn't without a degree of self-awareness:

“If I didn’t write another song again it wouldn’t bother me,” he said. “I get my kicks from singing more than sitting there doodling about with fucking lyrics.”

“Gem helps me out a lot, I struggle with lyrics sometimes,” Liam explained. “I can’t find the words. The words I find hard ‘cos I’m fucking thick.”

Good god, what sort of jam-jar hlaf full of wasps must your brain be like if you have to get Gem from Heavy Stereo to help you with the difficult words. Those sessions must be great - like two cavemen coming up with a rhyming dictionary.


Back just after the death of the Pope, Bono made some onstage remarks which we thought were slightly opaque; they seemed to be rather warm for a bloke whose watch had helped create the Aids crisis which Bono was supposedly attempting to solve on his other face; the comments suggested we were being a bit harsh and U2's frontman wasn't so much heaping on praise as just gently patting on the head. Well, Bono has been talking about the Pope again, and we're not entirely sure our interpretation of his stance was wrong in the first place:

“He seemed to be starring at me,” Bono recalled of their meeting. “I wondered was it the fact I was wearing my blue fly-shades? So I took them off in case I was causing some offence.”
However it seems the frail Pope had other ideas. “When I was introduced to him he was still starring at them,” the singer added. “He kept looking at them in my hand so I offered them to him as a gift in return for the rosary he’d just given.”
At this point the U2 man received a lesson in showmanship.
“Not only did he put them on, he smiled the wickedest grin you could ever imagine,” said Bono. “He was a comedian. His sense of humour was completely intact… I thought ‘Wow! The Drop The Debt campaign will have the Pope in my glasses on the front page of every newspaper!’"

... not much inlcination there to even suggest that the Pope might have helped make the problems of debt-ridden nations far worse in the first place by ensuring that as many people as possible were spiritually bullied into not using condoms, thereby robbing the countries of large swathes of the economically active just at a point when their medical infrastructures were struggling to cope. No, The Pope's main contribution to third world debt issues - in Bono's estimation - was he wore a pair of Lynn's Mum's cataract glasses. Boy, did we have him wrong.


It's disturbing to discover my father had something in common with Shirley Manson: they both had a crush on Anni-Frid Lynstad from Abba.

"I always loved Frida, the dark-haired singer. All the other girls and my sisters loved the beautiful blonde, Agnetha, and it made me angry and upset that no-one loved Frida. Something instinctive drew me to her. She was the more poignant, beautiful character and she seemed to sing the sadder songs."

Winningly, Contact Music has decided that means "GARBAGE star SHIRLEY MANSON was desperate to have a lesbian relationship with ABBA's brown-haired beauty ANNI-FRID LYNGSTAD when she was a teenager." We're not entirely certain you can resolve what Shirley said into a teenage Shirley laying in the dark of her room, panting and dreaming of Anni-Frid, a large bucket of warming KY Jelly and three different shapes of strap-ons, although it's not an image we're totally rejecting...


There's something sweet about Simon Webbe from Blue. The plucky chap had clearly spent all week downloading the Paris Hilton burger ad, cleaning up his keyboard and then downloading again, and so he thought he'd take the opportunity of the House of Wax premiere to try and snag a date with the dimwitted cashpoint. So he turned up with a gift: a basbeall cap with her name written on it. Presumably having a hoodie with her face silk-screened onto it was too expensive. It seems that Webbe had something custom made, although baseball caps with Paris on aren't that hard to come by.

Simon Webbe got the bus home alone and is not currently expected to be sharing in the Hilton hotels fortune.


Jennifer Lopez seems to be struggling with a few Hollywood concepts. For example, she's planning to make a sequel to Shall We Dance, her movie with Richard Gere. (Amazon have loads of copies still available, oddly enough):

Surely, Jennifer, the point of a sequel is to revisit somewhere people wanted to go in the first place?


Now, we might give the impression that we believe every time Pete Doherty gives an interview to the press, it's because he's mainly interested in a big cash payment and what he might do with it. But that can't be the case, with him telling the News of the World:

"I did do drugs but that's all in the past now. That's not me any more. My drug is babies now—I love them."

It's unclear if he's snorting the babies or mainlining them. Now, we've been here before, of course: Pete Doherty telling a Murdoch paper that he's off the drucks. But this seems to be all part of his campaign to bounce Kate Moss into marriage (it's interesting he's the only one telling the press that it's a certainty); now, it sounds like he's come up with a new plan to try and secure, um, security:

"I love Kate very much—we're definitely going to get married. We are trying for a baby together."

Pete as a Dad? But he's so unreliable it's a miracle social services haven't taken his sperm into care. (Of course, we should say "Pete as a Dad again" - he had a kid, Estille, with Lisa Moorish - "I haven't really been there for him in the last year. I must sort that out." See, there were we having doubts as his fathering skills, and yet he's already thinking about possibly sticking Estille on his to do list at some point in the future.

But has Pete really changed? He's still hanging around with unsavoury sorts:

Yes, SHADY PETE DOHERTY is hanging out with RAV SINGH, as our PHOTO REVEALS. In news which will SHOCK gorgeous supermodel KATE MOSS, it's clear JUNKIE PETE is still spending time with the SHOWBIZ EDITOR of the NEWS OF THE WORLD.


A worried pal told us: "Gorgeous supermodel Kate will be so upset. Pete keeps insisting his bad boy days are behind him. Then he turns up with Singh. It's like he can't keep away."