Saturday, June 18, 2005

LIVE 8: FROM DENIALS TO (we'll insert an destination when it's reached) - IN FULL

As we've started to develop quite a lot of Live 8 material over the last few weeks, here's a handy guide to all the content. This page will be updated over the coming weeks with links to further stories as they develop.

Sunday 8th May
Bob makes it clear: No interest in repeating something from 20 years ago; there will be no Live Aid II

Wednesday 11th May
Although it's not going to happen, there might be some bands lined up

Tuesday 17th May
BBC Unions threaten to black out a gig that organisers deny is even happening

Thursday 26th May
Don't call Live Aid II Live Aid II, says Bob

Monday 30th May
It's really good news for Philadelphia's 4th July weekend

Tuesday 31st May
Craig David comes to the rescue of all Africa; Dido to help

Wednesday 1st June
Morning Star: a cautious thumbs-up
Where is the money going?

Thursday 2nd June
Daily Mail manage to cover Live 8 without a mention of Africa
Madonna and Sting to sing Lennon
Ure: It's nothing more than an entertainment
Clare Short: "Vaccuous; demeaning; insulting"

Friday 3rd June
Mirror launch campaign for Status Quo
Drop everything - here come The Stereophonics
Brown writes off VAT; suggests Spice Girls for bill
Queen (without Freddie) confirm - it'll be like Buckingham Palace gig all over again

Sunday 5th June
The big surprise: a £1.6m pay-off to Prince Charles' charity

Monday 6th June
Ticket lottery starts
Take to your boats, suggests Bob

Tuesday 7th June
Live 8: Raising money for the phone companies
Radiohead keep their distance

Wednesday 8th June
Spice Girls just not popular enough
Bob's invited the Pope

Thursday 9th June
Bob manages expectations downwards

Friday 10th June
Albarn: Tax the sales bounce

Sunday 12th June
Bob puts in emergency call to Peter Gabriel: Do you know any Africans?
Surely nobody is going to be excited by Pink Floyd in 2005?

Monday 13th June
Everyone's excited by... Pink Floyd?
Midge Aid ticket lottery gets underway
Status Quo want to play so they can remember this one
Kelly Jones will save Africa

Tuesday 14th June
Independent excited by Pink Floyd reunion
Ebay sellers offer mini-lottery
Ebay offers to hand over any profits made from touts
Ebay decides to pull the auctions altogether
David Steel isn't impressed

Wednesday 15th June
Someone still believes that Jacko's a possible for the US show
Goldsmith seizes Live 8 to launch attack on touts
This time last year, Bob thought organising a gig would distract from the important business of sorting out debt relief
Ebay say "don't make false bids"
Ebay say "please don't sell tickets"

Thursday 16th June
Coca-Cola - people we can do business with
50 Cent makes his excuses and quits
Ebay sellers find ways to work round ban
Bono has lots of famous and important friends

Friday 17th June
Union supports Make Poverty History campaign by targetting Live 8 attendees
Sixty-five acts beg for a place; told "no"
Now the text scammers take their cut

Saturday 18th June
Black artists on the Live Aid bill? Political correctness gone mad...
Noel Gallagher - half a thought

Monday 20th June
2.5% the audience reluctant to come forward

Tuesday 21st June
Bob says band he didn't want now refusing to reform for him

Wednesday 22nd June
Rome concert starts to collapse
Bob really wants the Pope there
Only 16 per cent believe there's any point
Sponsorship and corporate hospitality - Live 8 for sale

Saturday 25th June
Geldof to see if he can walk on waterlogged Glasto
Glastonbury holds hands against poverty; Africa refuses to stop starving

Monday 27th June
Liam regrets not being able to use world hunger to advance Robbie feud
'I'm so poor I could only afford one new Lexus' sobs Joss Stone
Sting can't be arsed to come up with something new; revisits 25 year old joke

Tuesday 28th June
Carey: Dieting for the starving

Wednesday 29th June
Crow flies from Paris date

Thursday 30th June
Newspapers - never mind the complicated bits, it's time for Carey to honk
This could have been yours: Martin to drag Ashcroft onto stage
Westminster denies they put cap on disabled tickets

Friday 1st July
Newspapers - No booze, unless you're corporate
Play for free; get three thousand pound watch
Running order - spot the Lennox

Saturday 2nd July
Newspapers: Everyone's excited; America's not bothered
1.55 "The G8 is the world's sofa"
2.10 No costumes? Send in the Quo
2.30 Apple plugs her ears for Coldplay
2.55 Andrew Marr is the king of Live 8
5.25 Bill Gates: Make poverty history - then we can really go after softaware pirates in Uganda
6.30 Snoop - a fine young man indeed
6.45 Tokyo half empty
7.15 The price of being saved is having Madonna grab your hand
8.00 Blog round-up: CSN say sorry; U2's Pepper for download; Africa not totally convinced - and what's with all the language?
8.15 Joss Stone, you'll catch your death in that
8.45 Scissor Sisters - a new song? Are you crazy?
9.00 The voice of the people
9.10 Velvet Revolver - what were they thinking?
9.30 Sting knows how to please a crowd; Trude doesn't know how to choose a hat
9.50 Mariah Carey calls in for an upskirt screengrabber's wet dream
10.20 Must you entertain us? Robbie Williams
10.30 Someone go and get Peter Kay off. Not you, Townshend
11.00 It comes to this: Bryan Ferry used as warm-up for Pink Floyd
11.45 The Long and Winding Helter Skelter

Sunday 3rd July
Midnight It all ends in a bit of a drunken karaoke, then
Adding up the numbers
Ian McCulloch - full of doubts
Torrents to take and enjoy
Don't mention the Bush?
Bob and Midge fall out again; Pete gets booed
Not much anger at the 1250 quid ticket

Monday 4th July
Newspapers: Madonna wins 'spot the African' contest; America asks "Live whatsthatagain?"
Razorlight adverts on Sunday; coincidence or cynidence?
Doherty spoils day thinking about starving Africans
Sales bounce
BPI try to hijack Live8 for anti-Ebay campaign

Tuesday 5th July
Newspapers: Express discovers 8 and Hate sound alike
TV figures - where were the millions?
Attention turns to Edinburgh
Gilmour rejects Live 8 bonus; everyone else curiously silent
Grazia publishes photos of Glasto; pretends its Hyde Park
Doherty: I wasn't smacked, just upset

Wednesday 6th July
Mirror suggests stars cough up; quiet on its own profits
AOL offers full footage. Except for, you know, the African bits
Doherty: I wasn't smacked, or upset, but groped by a child
Bob's for hire
All eyes turn to Scotland - Bedingfields, it's up to you
Mariah wastes food at gig for the starving
Long train journey to justice
Edinburgh kicks off
McFly in Murrayfield
Annie Lennox lets rip
Bob Geldof licked my lens

Thursday 7th July
Razorlight grudgingly offer cashback
Bob Nobel nomination

Friday 8th July
MTV runs it again to say sorry
EMI smacks lips, awaits DVD profits
Bono and Geldof praise G8 leaders, outcome as aid agencies fume at wasted opportunity

Saturday 10th July
What the pop papers say - Private Eye and NME on 8

Monday 11th July
Peaches denies touching Pete's ass

Friday 15th July
Parents Television Council: never mind the starving children, what about our kid's soft minds?

Thursday 4th August
Elton John far from impressed
Geldof ups rates to £50,000

Sunday 7th August
David Gray attacks Soundbite politics in soundbite; book published - for whose benefit?

Tuesday 6th September
DVD to be a commercial release with a re-recorded soundtrack

Monday 28th November
Ross: I wish I'd said the bill was wrong

Friday 2nd December
Chris Martin: complaining about Live 8 is like complaining about the Crazy Frog

Other stuff on the net
On Technorati:

On del.ici.ous

On Flickr
Live 8

About Live 8
Live 8 News
Weblog Watch on the G8 - possibly recursive

Do something
Make Poverty History
Shop fairtrade
Buy someone a goat - network of resistance
G8 Alternatives


BBC TWO is currently doing a twenty-year on 'story of Live Aid', which is interesting for a few reasons: not least the portion where Bob Geldof recalls watching Michael Buerk's original Nine O'Clock News report - back when it wasn't about the Geldof brand, when it was about a clear, obvious, pressing need. The human Bob from 1984 was a much more impressive figure than the Saint of 2005.

The clearly still-rankled Midge Ure tries desperately to pretend that he's put all the upset of being locked out of Live Aid behind him; while Bob continues to maintain that it had nothing to do with Ure anyway.

The most familiar element, though, is the anger at the lack of black artists at Wembley. Bob, in archive footage, is seen defending the decision - it has to be about who will make the world watch, it doesn't matter if they're turquoise or dayglo or black. If there was a little less silver in his hair, it could have been from last week. Talking in 2005, Harvey Goldsmith is illuminating:

"Political correctness wasn't that terrible at the time, so we didn't have to have a one-legged lesbian there."

So, the co-promoter of Live Aid and Live 8 feels that having a few black artists on a pro-Africa event is "political correctness." That's encouraging.


Every man has his weakness... and it turns out for Chris Martin, it's Dairy Milk. He don't do drugs, no way:

"I don't care what anyone else does - if you wanna get up in the morning, drop an E and do some stem-cell research, that's amazing. Personally, weed really does nothing for me.One time someone had some skunk, and I was really gonna make an effort to get stoned because I was sick of what everyone was saying about it. It didn't do anything. Y'know, chocolate does things for me that it doesn't do for anyone else."

We're not sure he's quite got the hang of weed here - sitting with your neck muscles clenched grimly determined to feel something is probably going to work against the very things it's meant to be doing for you. It's like dropping an E and then running round being angry that it's not working.

Still, it's chocolate that floats Martin's boat, is it? We wonder what he dreams of at night...

Elton John made out of chocolate


Does Bono cosy up to the right-wing to get results, or does he cosy up because he likes them? You can understand a bit of flattery of the heads of the multimillion evangelical industry in a bid to get them to throw their weight behind the Make Poverty History and related campaigns, but surely when supping with those who believe they're in a fight against the devil, you should keep a long spoon?

Now it turns out that Bono is planning to work with Pat Boone on a tribute to Billy Graham:

"I came up behind him and said, 'I think it's time Boone-o met Bono,'" Boone says. "And he said, 'We met before. Our group was just getting started and you were on tour in England. We were introduced to you, and you were very nice and encouraging. It meant a great deal to us, but I don't expect you to remember it.' Honestly, I did not remember -- but nobody knew his group at that time. When I asked if he'd be willing to participate in the Billy Graham tribute, he said in a flash, 'I will. I admire him greatly.'"

Bono "admires Billy Graham greatly", does he? What does he admire, especially? His belief that homosexuality is a "sin" - to be fair, Graham does say it's a sin "no greater than idolatry and adultery", but that's from an Evangelical Christian, and we all know how much they hate idolatry. Graham "agrees with pope" on the abortion issue.

Perhaps he admires his stance on AIDS and HIV: although he oddly retratced it later, After seeing letters criticizing that comment, Graham contacted the Cleveland Plain Dealer to retract his statement. "I remember saying it, and I immediately regretted it and almost went back and clarified the statement," said Graham in a telephone interview. He said he never intended to make the remark, explaining that he was tired during the sermon and forgot to retract or clarify his statement. And I'm sure we've all been so tired we've indavertently started talking like bigoted pricks, haven't we?

Perhaps Bono admires Graham's choice of successor - his son Franklin Graham; picked to be head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Franklin is on record as calling Islam "a very evil and wicked religion" - although, apparently, the only real problem there is that people keep pointing out he said that, not that he said it in the first place.

Maybe Bono will find the time to tell us all exactly what it is he admires so much about Graham he's happy to join in a tribute to him? Otherwise we might assume that it's the cash and the power.


Not that we're entirely sure why she felt the need to tell us, but Mariah Carey claims to have had sex with "less than five men". Which is interesting, not for what it tells us about her sex life, but because it pins down almost exactly how high she's able to count.

Mariah, you might have noticed, has tickets on herself:

She said the lack of sexual partners was not through lack of opportunity. Mariah said: "If I even look at a man, he immediately thinks: "Oh, she fancies me"."

... and, presumably, he makes his excuses and leaves.


Oasis couldn't have played Live 8 if they'd wanted to, because they're thick - sorry, because they're already booked up to play Manchester on the day of the gig, and because they're thick - and, indeed, they're so dense Noel Gallagher can't quite seem to work out what his stance on the concert is:

"If it was possible, it would be nice to take part. It's the general thing that rock stars should be doing something to fucking sort this out. And it's like, 'Well, all right, that's what Bono and Chris Martin are for.'

"I don't like the way that somebody suddenly decides that all the bands in England are going to fuckin' play and everybody jumps to attention."

So, it would be nice to take part but it's awful that someone decides to hold a gig and wants people to take part in it. How would it be nice to play in something that you feel pissed off is b... oh, mother...


We love the idea that Johnny Borrell and Andy Burrows have written up a secret plan for the second Razorlight album (we're guessing "like the first one, only hire a string quartet for one of the ballads") and then sealed it up in an envelope. We're not certain, but we'd imagine they also encoded the plan using a superspecial spycode ring. Anyway, there's trouble in paradise, as now bassist Carl Dalemo wants to add his views. He, almost literally, wants to push the envelope.

"I haven’t seen Andy and Johnny’s blueprint. I should probably do one myself and put it in the same envelope and see how right I was. I don’t know what they did but I think they wrote the songs down they thought would be on the album."

We're far from clear why they wrote the songs and put them in an envelope. Perhaps they're worried that The Ordinary Boys might be sending in an industrial espionage person.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Calm down, everybody: there's nothing to see here: Snow Patrol are suggesting there might be a bit of a wait for the next album:

"It’s very early stages, which you know, for anybody that might like Snow Patrol, it’s been a while since ‘Final Straw’, that was 2003 if you bought it the first time it was released. We realise that time was ticking on, but we have been on tour solidly for two years, so it’s not all our fault, but we could maybe have got it a bit further on, but we can’t force it either."

Apparently they had planned to do some recording a few weeks back, but Gary found a spoon in his knife drawer and, obviously, after that sort of excitement was just too buzzy to write songs.


While Bob was growling at Ebay for daring to run an auction house, a nastier scame was developing, with those odious mobile phone sharps sending texts promising a 'second chance' for Live 8 tickets. You're asked, of course, to call a premium rate number, whereupon you spend ages running up a massive bill. And there's no tickets on offer at all.

Now, we're sure all the mobile companies - and especially "partner" to Live 8 O2 - would be mortified at this news, and besides acting swiftly to block the numbers, will be promising to turn over the share of the profits they'll be unwittingly making from these calls to good causes. Otherwise, you know, they'd be in the position of making money from a scam off the backs of the poorest people, wouldn't they?

Geldof is, of course, blunt:

"People are being conned. If you hadn't been alerted by Wednesday night, you ain't got tickets. Ignore these texts."

Of course, what helps the con artists get away with it is the confusion created by the officially-endorsed existence of 'second chance' tickets - such as those being given away by the Daily Mirror today. Bob's managed to create a system where there's extra tickets floating about, endorsed by Live 8, which makes people so much more likely to believe the false texts.


The family Jackson - and is it just us, or does Joe Jackson look like he's being played by a caricature of himself? - are throwing a party for Michael Jackson's most loyal fans, to thank them for their support during the trial.

Yes, yes, we're sure you'll be invited

They're going to hold it in a casino. Not that they needed to make sure no kids could get in, of course, but... you know... doesn't hurt to make sure, does it?


As many as sixty-five bands (plus a couple of vent acts and a bloke who makes balloon animals) have been told to piss off when they offered their services for Live 8, the global concert designed to throw attention on the plight of ticket sellers whose lifestyles are being hampered by Ebay. Oddly, while Harvey Goldsmith has said there's no room for the likes of Ozzy, Motley Crue and the Spice Girls, there had been slots available for David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, who were amongst those who pretended to be their own answering machines when Bob phoned up.

Geldof says that Jacko never asked to play with the boys and girls on the US leg, and that he'd not have accepted the offer anyway. Curiously, not because Jackson is a self-deluded freak who believes that wriggling off the hook on child-touching charges somehow puts himself on a par with Mandela and Luther King, but because it'd be too much of a strain for the poor chap:

"I'd say 'Dude, there's plenty of time. I don't think you should really put yourself through something as strenuous as Live 8 at such a fragile stage in your life'."

The issue of Live 8 came up on last night's Question Time, with a chap wearing a hat in the audience offering the most bizarre piece of Sir Bob logic yet - it didn't matter that there were no black artists on the London bill, apparently - there's going to be a concert for the Africans with loads of them, in Africa. The part about how maybe even just one or two of the slots could have been used to give a global showcase to a very small portion of the rich, vibrant cultures of Africa, to allow African artists to build audiences and attract capital to their nations did seem to be a bit lost on him.

But of course, as Geldof says, Live 8 is a political event, and not a cultural one. Although, of course, Midge Ure says Live 8 is an entertainment event and not a political one. And Bob said it was a charity event, not a political one when he was complaining about Ebay, because why would there be a problem selling on tickets to a political event?


Ah, it never gets old, and it never gets funny, does it? Primal Scream have plans to go into the studio to start a new album on Monday, according to Mani. No word yet on what it will sound like, although fringe-watchers suggest that Bobby Gillespie's hair shows no indications we should be expecting anything as good as Velocity Girl this time out.


If you've ever needed a simple demonstration of the meaning of pyrrhic, Michael Jackson's victory in court on Monday will serve your purposes. As if the pawing and prodding of the court case hadn't been humiliation enough, Judge Melville has announced he's going to unseal all the court papers except for those impinging on juror's privacy. The Jackson defence team are already getting nervous about this, trying to block any video footage shown during the trial. Why so worried, guys - hasn't your guy been cleared? Why would you be worried about us seeing the searches?

Maybe she should try to get some of those doves back.


It's been nearly a quarter of a century since his last one, but Jerry Lee Lewis is showing he's still got it as he divorces his sixth wife. He'd married Kerrie Lynn McCarver Lewis back in 1984; she gets quarter of a million bucks out of the deal.


Tucked away in Simon Waldman's Guardian piece about bittorrent is an astonishing - although not surprising - quote from the OECD's report on digital music:

"digital piracy may be an important impediment to the success of legitimate online content markets", but "it is difficult to establish a basis to prove a causal relationship between the 20% fall in overall revenues experienced by the music industry between 1999 and 2003."

In other words: it's possible illegal filesharing might harm the success of online sales, but there's absolutely no compelling evidence that it's responsible for the hard times the music industry suffered during the early years of the century.

Which means that all the money the RIAA and BPI are pouring into the PR-disaster that is suing their own customers is being done to chase away a threat that they may well have imagined. It's equally likely the fall in sales was because the music industry was poorly managed; the chimera of illegal downloads was a useful cover for a bunch of companies needing to hide their own incompetence, and now they've locked themselves into an ongoing cash-consuming mismanagement to cover up that original mismanagement.

If I was a shareholder in a major record label, I'd... well, be ringing my broker trying to stop being a shareholder in a major record label.


It's been almost two weeks since we had a rock star/actress and or model wedding, so thank god Alicia Silverstone and Christopher Jarecki have ended the drought.

Apparently he's the singer with Stun. Nope, nor us.


It's been a slow process, but Ray Davies finally looks set to release his debut solo album. He's signed up with V2 for a release; although he's been working on this for years, it's still going to be a while: he hasn't yet settled on a title or a setlist.


It's not so much that anyone would go to the trouble of doing panstaking, historically accurate reconstructions of Peter Gabriel era Genesis gigs, more that The Music Box has sold out four nights in Toronto with their rebuild of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.

Denis Gagne - who takes the Gabriel role - has problems with the outfits:

But those which Gabriel donned for the "Lamb" concerts were the most outrageous and bizarre of all; it took Gagne a good deal of time and effort just to get the monstrously surreal "Slipperman" outfit right.

"I spent two months working with people who do special effects for (that) costume," says Gagne. "That's full-time, 40 hours a week." Making the work difficult, he adds, was the lack of available footage of Genesis performing the material live.

"They refused to film those shows. They felt they weren't stable," he explains. "Every night, there was something going wrong. So they felt it wasn't worth filming the shows."

Incidentally, while Gagne's costumes are copies conjured from still photos, the 1,100 slides that accompany the songs TMB plays are directly from Genesis' own archives.

The band have been working through the Genesis catalogue in order, which presents an interesting challenge: Gabriel quit the band. The Music Box haven't ruled out getting their drummer, Martin Levac, to come to the front and start doing Invisible Touch.


We did wonder when we saw the headline Cassidy Wanted For Murder if David had finally lost it, and gone out with a handgun and old scores to settle. But it turns out to be a rapper - real name Barry Reese:

According to police, Cassidy (real name Barry Reese) and two other men, armed with .45 and .40 caliber handguns, 9 mm pistols, AK47 assault rifles and 7.62 mm rifles, fired on three other men during an argument that unfolded behind a house in the rapper's northwest Philadelphia neighborhood just before 1 a.m. on April 15.

One of the men who was shot, Desmond Hawkins, 22, of Philadelphia, died from a gunshot wound to the back. The two other men were treated at area hospitals for gunshot wounds and subsequently released.

Cassidy is expected to give himself up to authorities later today - presumably after a good breakfast.


Who knew - Britney Spears has second sight. Just like Uri Geller, or that bloke off Most Haunted. It's true, it really is: she wrote a song about being pregnant two weeks before she really was:

"I wrote this song at my piano, at my house. I wrote it two weeks before I found out that I was pregnant, so it was really kind of weird, because the song's about having a baby... and it's something that I'd been dreaming about for a while. It's kind of like a prophecy."

Of course, the spookiness factor is a lot less astonishing when you remember that Britney had spent the period since her wedding milking Federline of every sperm he could create; added to which, every newspaper in the western world had been writing songs about Britney being pregnant for weeks before she was - maybe they, too, have second sight?

In her new fairground booth mode, Britney has advice for us all:

"Everyone in general should voice their wishes more, because I think the more you throw it out to the universe, if you're in the right space and place in your life, it's weird how the universe gives it back to you."

Okay, we're prepared to give it a go: We wish Britney would stop hanging about with her prancing prince and got back to making cracking pop records.

Nothing yet.

Still nothing.

Doesn't seem to be working, but we'll keep you informed.


Of course, getting home isn't a problem, as everyone's going to march behind Bob Geldof up to Edinburgh. But getting to Live 8 could be difficult, as the RMT has called a strike on Midland Mainline trains for July 2nd. Interestingly, the same RMT is proudly pledging its support to the Make Poverty History campaign on it's website. So it's almost certainly a terrible mistake that they seem to have decided to deliberately target Live 8 by shifting their ongoing strike action from Fridays to Saturdays on that day, rather than a slightly cynical attempt to boost their union off the back of MPH campaigners.


The BBC Glastonbury website is offering a pair of tickets to the festival; prizes will be awarded on Monday, which will still leave you time to flog 'em on Ebay for a pile of bunce.


There are celebrity endorsements, and there are celebrity endorsements: the Queen's got an iPod. Bet she wishes she'd had one to wear under the hat at all those official engagements for the last seventy years...

And, in other music news, Girls Aloud are promoting their new DVD video singles collection ("Cheryl Tweedy has got engaged").

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Past the sign saying "thank you for not mentioning Dadrock", they came, to the 2005 Mojo Awards. London's frankly obscure Porchester Hall was the glittering venue for the not-too-late prizegiving, sponsored by the magazine and dedicated to giving recognition to those "whose careers have been responsible for enhancing our rich musical culture". And who have lucrative back catalogue too, of course.

Siouxsie was voted Icon; Paul Weller won songwriter; the best new act is The Magic Numbers (yes, the Magic Numbers) and Inspiration was the Gang of Four. The Hall of Fame opened its doors to make space for Madness; every year Mojo inducts another act into the hall, usually for inspiring rubbish dancing and being totally misunderstood.


There's a puff piece - and, boy, is it puffed-up - flattering Bono the way he flatters the rich and powerful in today's Guardian. Now, we don't think Bono is insincere in his wish to eradicate poverty; nor do we think he's atypical in basking in praise for his good works. We do, though, think he's a little too close to the people who have created, and are profiting from, the problems he's supposed to be helping with, and that's an impression that we find stiffening as we read the self-regarding flammery:

Earlier this week he told the Guardian in Cologne how advice from Buffett, reportedly the second richest man in America, had shaped his strategy: "Warren Buffett told me, 'Don't appeal to the conscience of America, appeal to its greatness, and I think you'll get the job done'."

His mate Warren, of course. Bono has simply hundreds of famous friends:

"Brad and Jennifer [Aniston] a year ago put together a dinner for 20 great actors and asked me to speak. Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz were all there, and they have all followed through. Sean Penn, George Clooney and P Diddy have all come to me, saying, 'We see you're there, we want to help. What can we do?'"

Rupert Murdoch? Bono's so in with Murdoch. And Karl Rove. And...

Bono has also been able to draw in help from new technology corporations such as AOL, and has described Murdoch as "very helpful". Murdoch lobbied Karl Rove, White House chief of staff, and cleared free airtime on his Fox TV network for One campaign adverts in the run-up to the G8. "Rupert said, 'I'm not going to lead the charge but if we make progress, I'll support you,'" Bono said.

Of course, you could argue that holding hands with Murdoch, the Bush White House, and the whole apparatus which delivered Bush's victory in the last US election in order to get the few crumbs of concession is a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face, only when we say "cutting off your nose" we mean "slicing off your head with a very blunt spoon, and then kicking your head down the steepest hill and letting weasels and eagles feast on the contents of your neck stump, while having a heavy weight dropped onto your feet" and when we say "to spite your face", we mean "to kiss the asses of the sort of people who've made the world and will gladly shake your hand while the cameras are there and then turn around and renege."

For example, Bono is proud of his role in making this happen:

He also cites the fact that aid to Africa has nearly trebled under George Bush and the US in 2003 initiated a $15bn (£8.2bn) five-year programme on Aids.

Well, there has been a small increase in US Aid worldwide, it's true - although much of the rise in the US aid budget was due to September 11th 2001 rather than any words from Bono. (The biggest recipient of US Overseas Development Aid is, of course, Egypt, which benefits from being quite near the Middle East). But it's the Aids programme which, as we've said before, is the point where Bono has either willingly been duped, or is joining in trying to dupe us:

* President Bush promised $15 billion over 5 years, or $3 billion a year, for his new AIDS initiative. But in his budget request for 2004, unveiled the week following his promises, Bush asked for less than half a billion dollars ($450 million) for next year for this initiative.

* Instead of the $3 billion per year over 5 years that was promised, most of the money for the AIDS plan will not even be requested until 2005 and beyond. This is after Bush's term in office will have ended, so there is no guarantee this will be requested at all. Even more importantly, this deadly delay will cost millions of African lives.
(This, of course, was compiled before his election victory last year)

* The focus of the new AIDS initiative is not really on Africa and the Caribbean. The White House has clarified that the $15 billion will include all U.S. funding for AIDS globally. In July 2003, President Bush said the initiative he announced in January was "to fight AIDS abroad", breaking his own promise that it would be for Africa and the Caribbean. This means that whatever amount of money is appropriated for AIDS, Africa will get far less than promised.

* In July 2003, the White House specifically asked Congress to limit AIDS funding for next year. President Bush intervened during the budget process to urge Congress not to spend the $3 billion that was being considered at that time. This was after Bush had returned from Africa, where he had seen first-hand the devastation caused by AIDS and where he had repeatedly promised U.S. support for African efforts to fight AIDS.

And while he was doing this, and faffing about creating a new bureaucracy to ensure Republican values prevailed in any anti-AIDS work (overseen by a druggist, Randall Tobias ex of Eli Lilly, Bush was meanwhile choking off funds to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Oh, and at the same time, Bush's 2004 budget request attempted to claw some of the cash back by cutting domestic spending on HIV/AIDS prevention programes in the US.

Back to Bono's friends, though - as if Bono hasn't fluffed himself up enough, he's now taking the credit for conversions, too:

He was personally credited with the dramatic public U-turn on Aids of Jesse Helms. "Christ only speaks about judgment once and it's not about sex but about how we deal with the poor, and I quoted Matthew, 'I was naked and you clothed me, I was hungry and you fed me.' Jesse got very emotional, and the next day he brought in the reporters and publicly repented about Aids. I explained to him that Aids was like the leprosy of the New Testament."

Let's just leave to one side for a moment just how sickening that concept is - basically, Bono bought into the right-wing way of thinking that some people are poor, pitiable victims and some people get what they deserve. When faced with Helms spitting his venom about people with aids, the response you'd expect anyone with a conscience to make would be to tell him he was wrong; not flatter the old bigot by telling him that he could be like Jesus amongst the leppers. It's akin to taking to the Live 8 stage and announcing "the poor are always with us."

And did Bono actually change Helms' mind anyway? Not so much, according to initial reports about what Helms' biogrpahy is going say:

But in his final years in the Senate, Helms said his views evolved because of old friends such as North Carolina evangelist Franklin Graham and new ones such as rock singer Bono, both of whom got him involved in the fight against the AIDS epidemic in Africa.

"Until then," Helms writes, "it had been my feeling that AIDS was a disease largely spread by reckless and voluntary sexual and drug-abusing behavior, and that it would probably be confined to those in high risk populations. I was wrong."

So he seems to be saying that he was persuaded to accept that Aids would spread beyond the sodmites and the skagheads - not so much that he was wrong when he spat bile like "The only way to stop AIDS is to stop the disgusting and immoral activities that continue to spread the disease."

You might want to argue that if you really want to ensure the spread of Aids and eradicate poverty, rather than sitting down for tea and bible quotes with racists and right-wingers, you'd be better off trying to unseat them in the first place. Bono's response, we're sure, would be you get more results by accepting the world as it is, and working with that. And maybe he's right. But one thing's for sure: if you want to have lots of suppers with George Clooney and chums, make sure you don't actually shake the boat too much.


The increasing removal of rights you used to have to do with you choose as music you've bought sees EMI planning to sell broken CDs which limit you to copying tracks just three times. Now, with most of EMI's catalogue, it's obviously not a major problem - nothing much they do is that good you'd want to include it on more than three personal mixes, but the principle here is the thing. If your favourite band is on EMI, and you want to put a track from their album onto every personal use CD you make, right now, you can. In the future, you'll find your system gums up when you try to make a fourth mix. In other words, you're getting a hell of a lot less for your money; you're getting a product with an arbitrary limit imposed on it - and how much less will these broken CDs cost? Same price as the one you'd have bought last week with all your rights intact.

Of course, there are compatability problems, too, and CDs with the full DRM EMI want to use on it won't work with iPods. Now, recognising that closing off such a large and cash-rich market might be a bit stupid, EMI (and Sony-BMG, who are adopting the same reverse technology) have a plan:

“Both EMI and Sony BMG plan to let buyers get around the CDs' restrictions so they can get tracks onto iPods. Executives said they were willing to sacrifice security in the name of playability.”

So... they're introducing technology which makes the CDs vauleless junk, and then add in a process by which the DRM can be cirumvented anyway. It's like putting a massive alarm system in a house which means you have to knock half the walls down anyway, and then leaving the back door open for anyone who's forgotten their keys...


The splendidly named Baroness Buscombe has praised the music at Glastonbury for helping cut crime rates - presumably on the basis that the music there stops people bubbling over with anger that there's no music there. We like her theory, shared with the House of Lords during a debate on the arts:

More crimes took place in Bath during Glastonbury 2004 than at the music festival, said Baroness Buscombe.
The debate coincided with the launch of a government-sponsored drive to make Britain "the world's creative hub".
Speaking in the House of Lords on Thursday, Baroness Buscombe said revellers at the Glastonbury music festival committed proportionately fewer crimes - despite "consuming most of the cider Somerset can produce". "More music equals less trouble," she said. "Music can act as an effective catalyst for improving the quality of life at a very local level."

Makes you wonder what the Woodstock revival would have been like if Limp Bizkit hadn't played. We wonder if Baroness Buscombe had pondered that the hundred and fifty quid ticket price and travel costs played a major factor in keeping crime levels down; most people investing so much cash in a weekend are going to be determined to get their money's worth rather than going on a vandalism spree.


Naturally, you'd expect XFM to have some long-term strategy, and it's no great surprise to discover that it plans to beat Radio One into a bloody pulp. In the long-term. And what's its secret method? Depressingly, it wants to build its brand on the narrow-mindedness of the average indie-guitar kid:

However, XFM sees the BBC station's emphasis on variety as its weakness. "Radio 1 tries to be all things to all people in terms of the music that it covers," Bryce argues. "People who love guitar rock, we know through research, often don't like pop or urban. They have to put up with the urban record to get to the one they actually want to listen to."

Some people are dragged to the ghetto; some cheerfully build ghetto walls around themselves. What sort of market is it where the target audience will happily sit through Christian O'Connell yammering away, but will retun if Rachel Stevens comes on?


The dwindling of Geri Halliwell's career has led to her becoming more and more desperate to find an outlet - any outlet - to try and shore up her fading fame; harshly, people who could throw her a rope don't seem especially keen to do so: the people creating pointless celebrity golf programmes for Sky have rejected her pleadings to be allowed on the show because she's not actually able to play golf. And she's not really much of a celebrity any more. And because she'd probably turn up wearing a microbikini. And would bang on about how she used to be so obsessed with her weight she would diet too much, but she's now glad to be comfortable with her curvy figure and/or how she's been adopting an exciting new diet to shed those pounds. And would be orange. And would manage to make the golf actually seem interesting. And might want to sing. And if they let her in, they'd have created a precedent which would mean Kerry Katona would have to be in the next series.


How is Courtney Love's new solo album coming along, you might wonder. So badly, it seems, they've dragged Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains in as a firefighter:

"We've gotten together a few times to work on some stuff for her next solo album.

"She's been working with a bunch of people. I know Billy Corgan's been over there. But I threw a few things at her, and I think we've come up with something different."

Someone throwing things at Courtney Love? That's quite a role reversal.


Just in case there was anyone who didn't quite get the subtle mystery of Charlotte Church's album title, Tissues and Issues. You see... it's about teenage traumes: Tissues and issues. Issues, as in things that you might care about, and tis... oh, you get it? Are you sure?

Available for pre-order

Of course, tissues and issues are also what a thirteen year old boy gathers for entertainment on the night his parents go out line-dancing.


There's an interesting game of cat, mouse and high-powered but unsubtle lawmowers going on over on Ebay; people trying to scalp their tickets are just sticking an email address in their listing and saying, more or less, "deal direct, love"; people are still making amusing bids in an attempt to derail the auctions; and still others with nothing to do with Live8 are advertising stuff like "LIVE. 8 SETS OF BANKSY STICKERS just the ticket " to snare anyone searching on "live 8 ticket."

In effect, then, what Bob and Goldsmith have failed to do is stop the auctions; all they've done is force the touts to move underground and off the site, away from the levels of protection offered by Ebay. They've made it much easier for the unscrupulous to rip off the credulous, but not done anything to stop tickets actually changing hands for cash. Nice work.


Surprisingly, not only are Mew still a going concern, but they're about to tour the UK:

London ICA (July 25)
Manchester Academy (26)
Nottingham Rescue Rooms (27)
Glasgow ABC (28)


Or maybe he'd learned what to say in case Jacko did top himself, and wanted to use the speech anyway - Michael is at peace; hoping to go to a better place:

"Michael is recovering, but it's a time (to) rejoice for the family…we've always had a love for other places outside the US."

Jermaine said that the singer had no concrete plans, except to recover from the trial. He continued: “I'm pretty sure he's just looking to rest. That's what's most important, to rest and get his mind back and focus on being a person - nothing about doing this or doing that but just resting."

We're not quite sure if Jackson is going to have to concentrate on being a person what this means he'd been thinking he was: an omnibot of some sort, perhaps? Or a snuggle-a-lot teddy bear?


On Monday, Kid Rock pleaded no contest to criminal charges arising from a slapping incident in a Nashville titty bar; he was given an 11 month suspended sentence, eight hours of anger management, three vouchers for small shakes at Benny's House of Pies and instructed to replace the glasses of the bloke he hit. However, the bloke he hit, Jerry Campos, is now launching a civil action seeking half a million bucks in punitive damages.

See, Kid, this is why they tell you you shouldn't hit a guy who wears glasses - it's not because they're wimps, it's because they're smart and tend to know lawyers.


We're sure that 50 Cent really has just realised that his busy film-shooting schedule will make him unable to pop in to do a thirty-minute set at the Philly event, and his quitting Live 8 is not an indication that artists are starting to think that being involved with Bobfest might not be quite as a glittering opportunity as it first seemed.

Can you imagine anyone pulling out of Live Aid two weeks ahead because they had some, you know, other thing to do?


Despite first appearances, the headline on today's Daily Star isn't actually a transcript from a call he's made to the lost property office at the Santa Barbara court:

Jacko - Give me my willy back

... but it's actually just him trying to get his hands on the splotchy cock photos.


Now, we don't want to keep repeating Bob's phrase about "filthy money made on the back of the poorest people on the planet", but with the news that Live 8 are about to announce a "major sponsor" for the Hyde Park gig, we're almost feeling obliged to. Bob did say this wasn't meant to be a charity gig, more of an awareness raiser - but we didn't realise he was talking about brand awareness. (Of course, Bob has also said it was a charity gig, when he was condemning Ebay for allowing people to flog tickets online, but we'll let that pass for now.)

A Live 8 spokesman tells The Scotsman there was one major sponsor yet to be announced for the Hyde Park concert, and Live 8 dismisses media speculation that Coca-Cola is going to be a major sponsor, but say it is likely the drinks giant will have a smaller presence at Hyde Park.

Coca-Cola? With an official presence? When Midge Ure said that the Live 8 initiative wasn't going to have anything to do with the usual anti-G8 protesters, he wasn't bloody joking, was he? Coca-cola?

Of course, Coke claims that it has no direct control over its subsidiary plants, but... what about the accusations that the company works with paramilitaries in Colombia to crush union activity? What about Kerala, where the mulitnational has been blamed for causing water shortages? And elsewhere throughout India? While the water they do leave behind gets polluited by residues; while the company provides "goodwill" gestures by allowing local farmers to use its cadmium- and lead-contaminated sludge as fertilizer? How about in 2001 when Colarado Springs foolishly sold its school students to coke and tried to bounce the city into boosting sales by instructing principals to allow students virtually unlimited access to Coke machines and to move the machines to where they would be "accessible to the students all day." Wrote Bushey: "Research shows that vendor purchases are closely linked to availability," adding, "location, location, location is the key." The confidential letter, which was first published by the Colorado Springs Independent, also urged teachers to allow students to drink Coke in the classroom: "If soda is not allowed in classes, consider allowing juices, water, and teas." Bushey [the city official who distributed the letter] signed the letter "The Coke Dude." And so on and so on... you can see why Live 8 wouldn't want Coke involved as their main sponsor, can't you?

And that doesn't even start to touch why multinationals are being allowed to sign up Live 8 as part of their global advertising campaigns anyway - how does that sit with the presumably important ideal of making trade fair?

Bob alone knows who the main sponsor will be - we can only thank our lucky stars that arms manufacturers tend not to put their marketing budgets into consumer events, I guess.

Talking of which: Nice words, Bono - in a bid to "persuade" Thom Yorke to bring Radiohead along, Bono said "there's a missile on your way".

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


There's never anything totally bad about the launch of a new music paper, and so for that reason we're happy to welcome and wish good luck to Revolution, founded by Leonie Cooper. But we're not totally convinced about the project - we'll suspend judgement until we find a copy, but there's two things that make us nervous. The first is the similarity in name to Revvolution, Jonathan King's shortlived title (the one which gathered all its adverts into a pull-out section in the middle and ran a critique of them); the second is the slightly bemusing female slant:

Why did you decide to found Revolution?
because of the utter lack of any music magazines aimed at women and any with a largely female editorial team. The magazine mostly covers female artists, but we'll let boys in if they have girly hair.

Anyone here remember The Passion? The female arts magazine which had a similar attitude towards its coverage of the arts? Well written, passionate, a decent free CD with each episode; died a death after a couple of issues?

While it's true that music magazines can be a bit blokey, the establishment of a girl's alternative just smacks of giving up the fight - you don't have separate girl's gigs; you don't have lady pop radio; so is there an actual demand for a female-slanted magazine? And even if there is, do women music fans really want a magazine which focuses mainly on female artists, as if they're obviously going to prefer music made by somebody who would use the same toilets as they do? It seems to be answering an arguable problem - (" it has a really different feel to butch, macho male music magazine which are full of hype and twats like Bono and Chris Martin") - with a wonky solution. You can create a magazine that isn't boy-boy without making it only girls allowed.


It's too soon to suggest that Australia's love affair with Delta Goodrem is cooling, but there's been a less-than-encouraging take-up for tickets for her next tour. An emergency advert campaign has swing into action; nothing has yet sold out on the tour and with only a month to go, a quarter of the tickets for the two nights in Sydney remain attached to their stubs. Meanwhile, the latest single, A Little Too Late, peaked at number thirteen and has already started to fall in its second week.

All that talk of becoming a proper star in America seems to have started to turn a bit backlashy.


The world has lost its collective mind - Coldplay's X&Y is number one in 22 countries. Still, at least Chris Martin has managed to come up with a powerful argument against globalisation right there.


Of course, it's one thing to say you'll stop Live 8 tickets being flogged on your auction site, but quite another to actually carry out that promise. It turns out that Ebay doesn't have a setting on its database software which can be chosen with a radio button to 'don't let anyone sell their Live 8 tickets', and so as fast as they take down the sales, more Live 8 tickets spring up.

Of course, it could just be that the people who love Bob are doing his bidding: he asked people to bring down Ebay, and what better way than to deliberately do the opposite of what Ebay have asked? So, Ebay say please don't post tickets:

"Once we are aware of any Live 8 tickets being offered for sale, these listings will promptly be taken down.

"However, Live 8 listings may be up on the site for a short time before being taken down since, as eBay is a marketplace, it is not possible to block or check listings before they appear.

"In the meantime, we would like to ask the public to stop listing Live 8 tickets. We are also asking our community of buyers and sellers to let us know if they see any Live 8 tickets on the site so we can quickly take them down."

... and everyone, primed to do the exact opposite, rushes to their computers to try and sell their tix. Everyone gets caught in a permanent loop, listing, delisting, listing, delisting, until all the microprocesser power available is either being spent on putting up Live 8 tickets, or taking them down again. Fiendish.


In these dark days where it's all about Ebay and what bit of Michael got where, we all need something to look forward to. The Sugababes have covered Animotion's Obsession, which is a pretty good justification for not splitting up just yet.

Yes, you do: "You are an obsession/ you're my obsession/ who do you want me to be/ to make you sleep with me?" We suspect the original might just still be available.


More twists and turns in the Ebay-Live 8 story corkscrew: People who attempted to derail the auctions for Live 8 tickets by placing artificially high bids have had their accounts suspended for breaching Ebay rules. And the company insists it won't be withdrawing the suspensions even although it's now decided the tickets shouldn't have been sold on there any way.

Vigilantees, eh? They never propser.


As the focus of Live 8 becomes more and more obscure, we wonder if Bob Geldof wouldn't have been better off heeding the words of a music greybeard who worried that the concept of staging a Live Aid II would just deflect attention and energy from the serious but complex business of trying to build a future for Africa:

"This only serves to undermine the concerted efforts of those concerned with the tragedy of poverty in Africa. However, if the Prime Minister wants to organise a Live Aid II, then good luck to him."

That, of course, was Bob's statement last May when The Sun ran rumours about a new Africa-boosting gig.

And while we're rummaging in quote box, did anyone else Gary Lightbody on BBC Radio talking about his memories of Live Aid, and how it was vital to a "ten year old boy" who'd "never seen any pictures of Africa." Eh? He might have been a bit young for Daktari, but never seen any pictures? I can remember when I was five our local community policeman brought in photos of his trip to Kenya, and I'm pretty certain there were pictures of zebras and lions in their natural habit knocking about our school as well. What was it like in the Lightbody house?

"Mum, can I one day go to Zambia?"
"Ooh, Gary, you with your strange ideas... Zambia isn't a real place, it's made up, like Oz and France..."
"But it's on this map..."
"That's not a real map, Gary, it's just pretend. You'll just have to accept there's no such thing as this Zambia."
"Mum... can you show me where to find some sense of emotion in music?"
"You're really pushing it with your fantasy world now, young man...."


So, Ebay bent over backwards to remove Live 8 tickets from its site last night - but that hasn't stopped the moaning. On 6 Music news Harvey Goldsmith has taken the opportunity of the Live 8 row to clamber onto a platform and call for the end of this sort of thing, forever. Goldsmith claims that "every commercial concert that takes place" has its tickets sold by Ebay, a company he describes as the "biggest black marketeers" in the world. (Apparently he doesn't realise that Ebay doesn't actually sell anything and to describe it as a black marketeer is like calling Microsoft Word a profanity generator because you can use it to type the word 'poopypants'.)

Now, we can understand that Goldsmith is upset by the concept of electronic ticket toutery... actually, we can't - how does he lose out? He sells the same number of tickets at the price he's deemed to be right regardless of if they get sold or not; indeed, with some gigs the tout is actually taking some of the risk from the shoulders of the official promoter - we've all seen guys in bad coats desperatelty trying to make something back on unwanted tickets outside venues; those tickets would otherwise have remained unsold in the box office, eating into the promoter's profits.

But even if we could understand Goldsmith's bluster, considering the central message (whatever it was originally) about Live 8 has already been pretty much obscured, how is it helpful to seize the agenda and turn it into a story about ticket toutery? Isn't what Goldsmith has done is take the publicity generated by the concert and started to use it to defend his own industry and its special interests? Isn't that akin to pocketing "filthy money made on the back of the poorest people on the planet?"


Last night saw U2 play Manchester, with Bono praising the city as the place which "taught white people to dance". Backstage, Bono had stuff to say, not all of which made much sense:

"It was a strange and overwhelming feeling to be back in Manchester and so exposed, because we went out with the sun still up. Rock stars like proper darkness, let’s be honest. Rock stars like to stand in front, behind, on top of or underneath large video screens. So to stand there in such a stripped-down way, play songs from our first album and it feel so right and feel so now, and all the magic going off; that was good."

No, Bono - rock stars don't hide away behind a huge television in the dark; the whole point about rock stardom is that you're big, bright and flashy and people will stare at you and want to shag you until your ears drop off. Clapped-out rock stars might seek to hide, though.

There's more puzzlement here:

At the end of ‘Running To Stand Still’, which was dedicated to “servicemen and their families”, the UN Declaration on Human Rights was flashed up on screen, and later, Bono thanked “Gordon Brown and (the) Prime Minister,” for the steps taken last week towards the cancellation of third world debt.

“This is the moment to make poverty history,” he said from the stage, “Prime Minister Blair, we have a message for you from this stadium of lights… this could be your moment.”

Later, Bono explained to NME.COM: “The Africa stuff really connected, because you just don’t know. Are you gonna get bottled at that point, are they gonna boo? Are they gonna say hurry fucking up? But actually they were rabid. But you get the feeling in the country that there’s a bit of history to be made and people want to be part of it.”

Yeah, Bono - god, you must have been wondering how the U2 hardcore audience would have reacted to you talking about debt - because they're well known for being the least open-minded audience in the world, aren't they? It's not like they hang on your every word, is it? They wouldn't have been making bets between themselves on the walk between the car park and the bar how long it would take before you started talking about global debt, would they? Yeah, Bono, you were so at risk of being bottled. The chances were actually about the same as your risk of being carried off by giant eagles dressed up in Basil Brush-style waistcoats.

The setlist, for those of you who want to know:

* ‘Vertigo’
* ‘I Will Follow’
* ‘Electric co’
* ‘Elevation’
* ‘New Year’s Day’
* ‘Beautiful Day’
* ‘City Of Blinding Lights’
* ‘Miracle Drug’
* ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own’
* ‘Love Or Peace Or Else’
* ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’
* ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’
* ‘Running To Stand Still’
* ‘Pride (In The Name Of Love)’
* ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’
* ‘One’
* ‘Zoo Station’
* ‘The Fly’
* ‘Mysterious Ways’
* ‘With Or Without You’
* ‘All Because Of You’
* ‘Yahweh’
* ‘Vertigo’


You'd have thought that weighing less than a half-sparrow breast portion and having debts so huge even Bono would suggest there was no way back would keep him busy, but what's really eating away at Michael Jackson right now is the worry that Tom Sneddon might still have the 1993 splotchy penis picture he had taken during an earlier investigation. Asked about it on MSNBC last night, Sneddon claimed that he didn't have a copy of the photo and that it would take three signatures to get hold of one. Or a really, really corrupt 24 hour developing shop assistant.

Jackson's big fear is that Sneddon will seek revenge by letting his penis circulate on the internet; equally worried by this threat are Dell and the major ISPs who know that the phrase "you could stumble across Jackson's splotchy knob online" is enough to see people ripping computers out of their sockets and returning to snail mail.


Following her decision to give exclusive rights to Starbucks for sales of the new acoustic version of Jagged Little Pill, HMV are pulling a strop and pulling all of Alanis Morissette's catalogue from its Canadian shelves.

Starbucks? We'd heard Alanis was fonder of another food and lifestyle chain:

But there's no denying that HMV are really pissed:

As of June 13, HMV will be removing all Alanis products from our stores, consistent with the views of the majority of our customers, and will be returning all Alanis product to the record company."

Alanis is rushing to try and stop the damage:

"My intention certainly was not to ruffle feathers in that department although it's inevitable obviously," Morissette told the Boston Herald. "I have had a really sweet and positive relationship with retailers my entire career."

But you can see that Mozzer isn't going to be that upset by the HMV ban - clearly, these days HMV sees itself as a DVD and computer game rummage sale (you'll note in that Jackson story they style themselves as an 'entertainment retailer'); and, clearly, she's going to find more people who want to buy her stuff in a slightly overpriced coffee shop than in a neon-and-gloom chain hole.

Isn't it ironic, don't you... oh, no?


We'd assumed that the early reports that Michael Jackson was hoping to get a slot on Live 8 was the sort of thing that you hear about on the internet, like the claims that Victoria Beckham paid off someone's mortgage to get a hotle room for Royal Ascot in York. Now, though, it seems that it's not totally impossible:

Harvey Goldsmith, promoter of Live 8, said he would consider adding Jackson to the bill. "Of course we'd consider it," he said. "Whether it's appropriate or not is another issue, whether he's in a fit state to work is another issue, whether he can work is another issue and whether he can work live is another issue."

Bob's done some stupid things during the planning of Live 8, but surely even he's not insane enough to invite a performer whose presence would force any last hope of people remembering the point of the event off the radar, is he? Is he?

Meanwhile, "a spokesman for entertainment retailer HMV" (and we bet that's our old friend Gennaro Castaldo) is itching to try and shift those large piles of HIStory:

"This trial can be a turning point for Jackson and the making of him once again.

"A lot of the key elements of a successful career are still in place - he has a dedicated fan- base and he remains the most famous man on the planet, so is guaranteed huge publicity in everything he does."

Well, that's certainly true, but surely the fact he's the most famous man on the planet because he went on television and said "ooh, I love having small boys in my bedroom, me" and subsequently had a circus court case as a result. And publicity for everything he did? Well, yes, with the phrase "jurors suggested they did believe he was a molester" attached to everything from now on.

Imagine: how can anyone run a headline 'come back kid' over a picture on a story of jackson, when everyone will add the words "down the" and "of a" in their mind's eye?

Tom Sneddon has just been on Today talking about the case - "I don't feel I'm a loser", he said. Curiously, he couldn't understand why the jury didn't accept the testimony of the earlier victim brough forward - although, surely, that wasn't one of the charges he was facing. Maybe Sneddon should have built the case around him, instead.


Yesterday, the tabloids had had to rush to catch up with the Jacko verdict; with 24 hours to prepare for the reaction story, they had a different problem - how to move the story on.

The Times ponders if Jackson can come back:

It's an interesting question, but if they'd strolled down to see what their colleagues were up to at The Sun, they'd have seen the problem he was facing: basically, Jackson is being painted as having got off, not an innocent man:

The angle being taken on the statement by his defense attorney that Jackson will no longer have kiddie sleepovers isn't, it's fair to say, sympathetic. Rather than "My innocent parties have been ruined forever by this evil court case", the papers are going it as close to "Righto, I'll stop fucking kids then, says Jacko" as they can:

- and they're not exactly underplaying the jurors who said that, actually, they wouldn't be surprised if Jackson was a kiddie fiddler, either:

The big question now, of course, is just how tiny and in debt Jacko is. The Mirror knows what it's got in the 'just how screwed is he' sweepstake - 6 stone; £160m in the hole':

Meanwhile, Jayne Middlemiss apparently tried to ban some of her topless photos - we're not quite sure why, as we'd assumed that they were all in the public domain anyway and it's not like she's ever been anything other than upfront about having been a glamour model anyway. Maybe she's just sick of being reminded about the wavy hair she used to have:

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Although at first Josh Homme and his people had denied it was his fault, Homme has pleaded no contest to charges relating to his smashing a bottle over the head of the Dwarves' Blag Dahlia. Apparently it was because of a long feud that kicked off when Nick Oliveri started to drum for the Dwarves after Homme had canned him from Queens of the Stone Age. Then...

Dahlia slams Queens in the track "Massacre" off the band's latest disc, The Dwarves Must Die. "This one goes out to Queens of the Trust Fund/You slept on my floor/And now I'm sleeping through your motherfucking records," Dahlia warbles.

According to eyewitness accounts, Homme allegedly turned up backstage at the Dragonfly to taunt Dahlia. But the heckling apparently got out of control.

Anyway, the upshot is that Homme is going to do rehab and anger management. It's not known if the dove woman will be on hand to release doves when he returns to court July 27th to show he's been good. If she is, this is what the scene will look like: