Saturday, October 15, 2005


In some sort of bizzare Wife Swapping type deal, when the Kaiser Chiefs roll up on Mark Radcliffe's Radio 2 show this Monday, Ricky Wilson and Mark Radcliffe are going to swap jobs. So, Wilson will play the records, crash the news and be slightly flirty with Janice Long, while Radcliffe will take lead vocals on the Kaiser Chiefs' session.


Melissa Etheridge would make a lousy politician - good god, she even cheerfully admits to smoking dope as part of her cancer treatement. Surely she knows you're expected to make evasive statements about how you might have done things in the past that you're ashamed of, but it was in the past and we really don't want to get into all of that, eh?

“Instead of taking five or six of the prescriptions, I decided to go a natural route and smoke marijuana,” Etheridge said in a US television interview.

When asked how her doctors reacted, Etheridge said: “Every single one was, ‘Oh, yeah. That’s the best help for the effects of chemotherapy.”’

The singer said she smoked marijuana every day for her pain and symptoms and “the minute I didn’t feel it, I stopped.”

David Cameron was not available for an evasive, foot-shifting comment which refused to actually answer the question.


In another poll - this one to celebrate 100 years of Variety magazine - The Beatles have been named "the most important entertainers of the last 100 years." Using a special series of criteria and expert brains, the magazine came up with the decision, although Elvis Presley is reported to be considering an appeal to the supreme court.

In related news, John Lennon has come second to the Clever Leopard who used to advertise Granada TV rentals in the poll to discover the most bemusing dead mammal of the last 37 years.


There's very little surprise that Rachel Stevens would like to be a Bond girl - indeed, with the lukewarm response to the new album, she'd probably be happy getting an acting gig as a checkout girl in an Iceland advert - but it's not going to happen, is it? It's true she was in Deuce Bigalow II, but they cut out any part she had a line in, so it's not really like she's building a huge track record in big budget movies.

I'll bet she's wishing she'd taken the giant hotdog costume in the S Club TV series now - that would have been an image the casting guys would have remembered...


The bemusing case of Boy George's cocaine bother continues - apparently he panicked and called the police when a rent boy demanded cash - we had always understood that if you took a prostitute back to your house, you'd be expected to fork out money sooner or later. But anyway, the cops turned out, the Doherty had fled, and one of George's friends - presumably going for the ditzy friend role in the next musical - blurted out about all the coke hidden around the flat. That's what the leaky old NYPD says, anyway:

Yesterday a police department source claimed: “The prostitute demanded his money.

“George refused and said he was going to call police. The prostitute said, ‘Go ahead and you’ll go to jail’. So George freaked out because he was high, called the police, the prostitute left and George got arrested.”

The NYPD yesterday confirmed the star — real name George O’Dowd — called them after a man tried to rob him.

But a spokesman said: “I can’t confirm this person was a prostitute — it’s part of the investigation.”

What's surprising is not that George has to pay for it, but that he's got the cash to do so these days.


The Sun can't quite make up its mind about how it feels on hearing that Christina Aguilera has sold her wedding pictures for "just" £350,000:

It's cut-price Christina

CHRISTINA Aguilera has sold the picture rights for her wedding to an American magazine for just £350,000.

The millionaire singer, 23, is due to wed music manager Jordan Bratman next month — and she has decided to cash in by flogging pictures of her big day to People mag.

So, has she sold them "cut-price" or is she "cashing-in" - surely you can't be doing both? Ridiculous as it might be to pretend that £350,000 is in any way a low price for a few shots of a strumpet in a posh frock with a cake, but it is a lot less than some celebs ask for.

On the other hand, the groom probably helped drive the price down, what with looking like Ben Elton and all. Remember, this is him:

- the bloke down at the corner of the picture. Apparently the guy in the centre of the picture was pissed off as they were going to use this as an image in the new Hugo Boss campaign until Jason Bratman walked into the corner.


Kerry Katona has had the builders in, knocking her up a... well, just knocking her up, actually: her handyman "childhood sweetheart" and her are expecting a kid. This is brilliant news for Kerry, of course, who has already shamelessly exploited her existing kids by using them in an Iceland ad; now she'll have a little baby to flog to the company for the next tranche of adverts.

Friday, October 14, 2005


We've been trying to avert our eyes from the burning wreck of Lisa Scott-Lee for most of the week, but as we get nearer the chart reveal of the week, we feel it's our kind of duty to bring you up to date with what's going on.

In a bid to persuade MTV it would be worth giving her her own "reality" series, Lisa signed a contract stating if he comeback single failed to make the Top Ten, she'd quit music altogether. Which seemed like a breeze - you have to sell about three or four singles to get to number 10, so how hard could it be?

Very, it turns out. The midweeks had her languishing at 26, and it was a languish she spoke fluently. (Old joke property of Danny Baker, of course.) Her people attempted to counter that the midweeks were wrong, and they'd forgotten to count Woolworth's sales - in fact, she was at 14. Probably.

But the air of nervousness in the Scott-Lee camp could be seen; it's like a Sure deodorant commercial down there. In fact, they're trying to deny there was ever a legally binding contract at all:

And even if she doesn't get into the Top 10, Lisa has told Capital FMs Richard Bacon that she probably won't quit music unless she is legally forced to. She said: "There's a lot of confusion. I don't get my chart position till Sunday and I won't make any decisions till then."

He then asked if the MTV deal would force her to give up, and she said: "I can't say what the deal is, but that's not true."

The thing is, if you don't want to paint yourself into this sort of silly corner, don't go on live TV and pretend you're signing a contract to send yourself off to the restart course queue.

Meanwhile, Lisa's sailing close to the wind on the chart rules. In an attempt to shore up her sales, she's offering a prize draw for people who can prove they buy her download more than once. Since last Sunday, the chart company outlawed competitions which were dependent on purchasing downloads; competitions which encourage multiple downloads are surely way out of order.

26 might be the least of her worries - the way she's heading, she could be kicked out the chart entirely.


Tatu weren't going to just sit there and let Charlotte Church rip the piss out of them. So they've decided to have a pop at Chazza. Julia - who was never a lesbian, and never pretended to be a lesbian, oh no - tried this:

"No one has heard of her in my country - yet where she lives, everyone knows who we are. She must be very careful with her big mouth because bad things happen to people."

Uh... that probably says more about the Russian media than Charlotte, actually, Julia. Your riposte is "We're more famous in Wales than Charlotte is in Russia", which when you put it like that doesn't really sound very clever. Added to which, of course, if you're measuring value in fame, Charlotte played private gigs for the American President and the Pope, and Tatu came second in the Eurovision Song Contest. Round one, we think, to Charlotte.


It's got nothing to do with us, whine Babyshambles as they pull the rest of their tour:

"Due to a very heavy touring schedule and the constant pressure and continued harassment from outside sources, the band have unfortunately made the decision to cancel the shows this weekend in Norwich (Oct 14), Coventry (15) and London 's KOKO (16 Oct).

"The decision has not been taken lightly and the band apologises to their fans for any inconvenience caused, especially to those in Norwich as this gig has already been rescheduled from the October 2 after Peter was held by the police in Shrewsbury (October 1) and was unable to make the journey from Shrewsbury to Norwich in time. Refunds will be available from point of purchase."

And to think they came this close to actually completing an entire tour, more-or-less.


Too focused on the past, too hagiographic, the sort of thing he would have hated. For all the quibbles about the John Peel night celebration, what were the shows actually like?

We've only listened to the first chunk so far. Listen Again seems to have got muddled, not listing the first segment but misattributing the two earlier segments to the wrong bit; luckily, Take Your Medicine have an easier-to-use bunch of links.

The first surprise is that Colin Murray and Edith Bowman are doing a segment - certainly, they're being pushed by Radio One as their bright new stars, but surely there must have been more appropriate presenters? We can't imagine that Peel felt any more warmly towards Murray than he did to Simon Bates or Tony Blackburn - indeed, even Murray seems to be surprised to be anchoring the show, recounting Peel's last words to him. (On spotting Murray's broken arm, he asked "Was that a punishment for crimes against music?"). One of Colin's first contributions to the proceedings is to hyuk-hyuk that it's going to be a "bad night for anyone protesting against binge drinking." Yes, puke your guts up over the streets of Britain. It's what Peel would have wanted.

The evening has a feel of election night, with calls going out to teams of presenters scattered round the country. Zane Lowe comes the closest to getting into the spirit of what Peel meant to those of us who actually listened to his show, opting to hoof around London to take in as many gigs as he can; the person in Belfast simpers that it's astonishing there are so many events taking place in Dublin "in a country which doesn't receive Radio One." Maybe not officially now - although it does seem to be available online - but up until fairly recently Radio One went out on a Medium Wave frequency and, as such, would have been fairly easy to pick up throughout much of Southern Ireland. And Peel did World Service shows, too, of course.

Up in Liverpool, Mary Anne Hobbes pictures Peel enjoying the events of the night, "sitting at God's right hand." Really? This would be Peel who said that he "didn't really believe in God", would it? Wouldn't it be a more fitting tribute if people didn't just assume it was okay to throw him into some sort of theology he wasn't a part of? (It might seem a small point, but it's kind of akin to someone bursting out during John Paul's funeral "well, he'll be enjoying this now, sat in Valhalla with Odin..."

Another curiosity is that nobody seems to have ever listened to the programmes, much less what he said in interviews. Several times, chart positions in the Festive Fifty are offered as evidence of how much John valued this band or that act - but the Festive Fifty was voted for by the listeners and usually pushed forward such a bland, safe selection of songs that Peel would spend most of the Christmas shows complaining about our tastes. Take the measure of the man from the Fifties, and you'd get the impression of a bloke who loved white boys playing guitars, with very, very occasional forays into dance music, and who spent most of the 1980s and 1990s steadfastly refusing to listen to any black music at all.

On the bright side, there were some well-chosen tunes: the whole thing paraded off with Status Quo - although "down, down, deeper and down" might not be the best sentiments for remembering a friend buried less than a year ago - and Stanley Winston's No More Ghettos In America sounded just as fine as the first time we heard Peel play it; and looking ahead in the setlist we see there's some of those acts who are just so indivisible Peel: Kanda Bongo Man and Ivor Cutler. You almost wonder if they'd not have been better off dropping all the hoopla and the gigs and the binge drinking, and just played non-stop music for six hours. Somehow, that's what we really suspect John would have wanted.


Michael Eavis is now claiming he's lined up the 2007 headline act - dropping only the hint that "they're not American", which rules out most of the bands big enough to close the event in a meaningful way. Oh god, it's going to be Williams, isn't it?


Whatever would he do, were Elvis not a multi-squllionaire and dead, when Presley came out the shower and found someone had made off with his shirt? Apparently, the shirt was on display in the Dallas Hall of State, but someobody lightfingered made off with it.

It's not like he needs it where he is, thought?


It's the sort of thing which, as Eleanor G points out, will give the music industry around the world ideas: Japanese recording industry spokesperson Taizo Shinya is "pushing for an iPod tax".

You do wonder if Sony or another Japanese manufacturer had cornered this market if Shinya would be quite so keen on the idea, but let's not assume this is just sour grapes. Because, more importantly, it's a sucidially stupid idea.

First of all, if you charge people when they buy a machine on the assumption that they will download unlicensed material, you'll actually legitimise their use of those files - for how can they be illegal if they've paid in advance for them? And once you've opened the door that some people have paid and have to be allowed to take whatever torrents they fancy, it would make it completely impossible to police those who haven't. Good news for us, bad news for the record labels.

Secondly, what constitutes a digital music player? If you tax ipods, you'd have to tax phones which can play MP3 tracks - and since most phones will have the capability to play those soon, that would bring almost every phone user into the tax. Even those who don't use the function. That's not likely to be popular. And do you tax cameras which can store tracks? Yesterday The Sun was suggesting that breast implants capable of storing MP3s - would we have to see a tit tax?

Shinya's difficult climb was illustrated when a browser-hijacking pop up slapped itself over his quote:

Image hosted by

Meanwhile, back in America, Stanford University is providing its students with free downloads from Yahoo!Music. Good news for them - although we're not entirely clear how the RIAA is happy with this sort of thing. Isn't the campaign against illegal downloading supposedly motivated by the fear that if people get some tracks for free, they'll expect all music for free? Or is the RIAA sanguine about this because Stanford students are so much smarter than the rest of us?


Last time round, Madonna did those humourless "what the fuck do you think you're doing" false versions of her new tracks for the filesharers; this time, it looks like it's the genuine article of her new single, Hung Up, creeping around the internet to download in all its mp3 glory. Clearly, she's not as much a control freak with her music as she is with her kids.


It might not be that surprising that - just in case - the Rolling Stones keep a machine backstage in case they need to restart their hearts; slightly more grim is the announcement that Prince is on a waiting list for a new hip.

The trouble for Prince, though, is that he's a Jehovah's Witness, which would make the changing out of his knackered old hip tricky, what with the rule about no blood transfusions. But we're sure the church would stretch a point - he's a little chap, it's not like he's going to need very much blood to top him up.


Surely, surely, surely not? Can any company, even Gio-Goi, really think that adding a range of clothes designed by Pete Doherty is going to help their sales?

More to the point, if Pete is supposedly all about the music, why would he even entertain the idea of something so clangingly celeb-tatty as doing a Gwen Steffani?

Meanwhile, if things weren't bad enough for Kate Moss, she's now got to put up with Jay Kay offering her advice from the time he "touched the depths" (apparently, this isn't a reference to shagging Denise Van Outen):

"My life has changed completely. I kept kidding myself that I was not an addict until one day I suddenly realised I was.

"If you can’t admit to this then you will never be able to quit.
"Unfortunately from what I hear Kate leads the sort of lifestyle which leads you straight to cocaine."

He advised her to "find a true friend and with their help cut yourself away for a year".

He added: "I gave up on my own. I didn’t go into a clinic.
"I didn’t kick it slowly otherwise I just would have restarted all over again. I just stopped and that was it."

Of course, the problem is that while Jay Kay went away for a year to wean himself off the drucks, the whole world managed to kick their Jamiroquai problem by pretty much the same process.


It's not the first time it's happened, so we presume that Madonna giving another interview to tell everyone about what a tough mother she is means that it's vitally important to Madonna that we know all about her take-no-bullshit approach to parenting. We're not entirely sure why a woman who stole acres of British countryside to protect her privacy and save her children from the public gaze thinks it's not an invasion of their privacy to talk about their tantrums and behaviour, but at least it confirms that she treats her own family the way she treats everybody else - people to be told what to do.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing is that one of Madonna's punishments is making the children wear the same outfit more than once - that probably doesn't sound much, but can you imagine if Vogue found out?

There's also a puzzling aspect to her approach to media. Taking a very upper class view that TV is for appearing on, not watching, even while she wants to create a TV series aimed at young girls (Kabbalah-themed, of course: "Each episode would be about girls finding themselves in challenging situations."), she won't actually let her own kids watch the telly:

"TV is poison. I was raised without it and didn't miss anything. My kids don't watch it. We have televisions but they're not hooked up to anything but movies."

You really hope that this is just a big fib to try and avoid having to pay the TV licence, but it isn't, is it? And, to be fair, Madonna did turn out alright despite not having TV at home - she didn't flee to New York and start making porn until she way well into her teens, and there's nothing spoiled or twitchy about her now she's an adult, is there?

And we're delighted there's no double standards at all about refusing to allow any sort of trashy television in - Newsround, The McLaughlin Group - while ensuring a flow of Hollywood fayre can come washing in. We wonder what they did when Guy Ritchie's thing was on Channel 4? Did they pop round to the Neighbours?

Seriously, though, it's a home where there's no TV news. So they must learn about the wider world from other sources, right?

"We don't have magazines or newspapers in the house, either."

Hang about... Madonna is unable to watch TV news, and doesn't read newspapers or magazines. We're starting to see why she's drifting away from the world so speedily...


Nice. Alice Cooper is getting his kicks by dressing his daughter up as Paris Hilton and letting dogs rip her throat out.

Admittedly, it's all part of his stage show. It's all a laugh, you see:

'At the end of this show, Paris Hilton comes out during the song Wish I Was Born In Beverly Hills. She has a little chihuahua, which is actually a hand puppet. The dog rips her throat out and there is blood everywhere. She is on the ground beating the dog as it continues to grab her throat.

'Everyone who sees the show dies laughing because everyone wants to see that dog attack her. The absurdity of it makes it so funny.

'The paparazzi are taking pictures of her as she is bleeding over the audience. They aren't helping her.

'From what I understand, Paris would think it was funny because it is such a caricature of her. We are making fun not of her but of the slice of society she represents.'

We do love that careful "from what I understand" there - how did you come to this 'understanding', Alice? Computer modelling? Testing on animals? Did ou run the sketch past The Dim Socialite Unit at the University of Emotional Reaction in Berne, with perhaps a professor producing a pie chart - "As you can see, Mr. Cooper, coupling Paris' low intellect with her desperate desire to pretend she enjoys being the butt of a joke, there is a 73% chance that Hilton won't object to watching herself be mauled to death. At least in public."

Thursday, October 13, 2005


It's being so cheerful that keeps the BPI going, of course. We don't know if they have a special department that comes up with things to whine about, or if it's part of everybody's job description to find three things to feel slighted about every day, but we have to tip our hats to their ability to keep up an almost perpetual procession of moaning that life isn't fair. Today, they kicked up some stink because they found adverts for Napster and iTunes on sites which the BPI believe were offering illegal downloads.

Well, yes, maybe some of the money from those adverts might go to subsidise illegal activities - but does that really matter very much? The BPI keep banging on about how they want people to use legal services rather than the dodgy ones; surely there's no better place to try and advertise your services to people otherwise tempted to use non-licensed download sites than on those sites themselves? If the BPI really wants people to change their habits, perhaps they could explain why it would make more sense to advertise only to the converted? More to the point, Napster - a service which the BPI often praises as being an example of good practice - is entirely founded on a brand name built on illegal downloads: how do they square that?


We were surprised and delighted to have BBC America's Anglophenia blog brought to our attention, as it's written by an American who's pretty well-up on matters British, filtering our tatty showbiz world back to us from across the Atlantic. It's like looking in a big mirror, one of those curved ones you get in bathrooms which make your skin look like a mixture of holes, curious white corkscrew hairs and small red postules the size of the Purbeck Hills. In other words, it's spot on. (If you're reading this from the other side of the Atlantic, of course, it's not like a mirror, it's like magnifying glass. And if you're reading this in Asia, the metaphor - surprisingly, perhaps - is like trying to read a street sign through a classic design coke bottle and polaroid sunglasses.)

Anyway, from this source comes the news that The Subways are getting poised to swallow something hard and jagged, and drop their metaphorical trousers in a bid to break the US market - they're going to be band of the week on The OC.

ROCK SICK LIST: Tommy Lee burns

See what happens when you play around with fireworks? Clearly, Motley Crue never paid attention to Hale and Pace's amusing-yet-message-heavy explanation of the firework code and managed to get Tommy Lee burned by their fireworks during a Wyoming gig. There seems to be some confusion over what exactly happened - perhaps he forgot to keep the fireworks in a solid box with a tight-fitting lid, such a biscuit tin. Maybe he didn't use a torch to read the instructions carefully. Or perhaps he was swinging about from a rope like a twat and got slapped by a giddy roman candle.

Apparently he wasn't seriously injured.


Trouble over at Clear Channel, the company dedicated to celebrating the diversity of American music by buying up all the radio stations and making them sound the same. With the company caught in the ongoing payola scandal, it looks like a couple of senior people are getting canned in an attempt to clean up its act.

Documents released as part of New York state attorney general Eliot Spitzer's investigation into major labels and radio stations conspiring to freeze out competitor's access to the airwaves have started to point fingers:

According to the documents, Michael Saunders, PD of Clear Channel R&B/hip-hop WWPR New York, was to be given a plasma TV and entertainment system valued at several thousand dollars, with the understanding that he would add Sony R&B artists to his playlist. However, Sony’s in-house counsel squelched the deal and Saunders did not receive the goods.

Likewise, Clear Channel top 40 KHTS San Diego PD Diana Laird allegedly accepted a flat screen TV in November 2002, under the guise that Epic was providing it as a contest prize for a station listener. Laird is said to have provided the name and Social Security Number of a friend to mask the scam for the label’s internal accounting department.

Additionally, Columbia was cited for providing Las Vegas trips to Donnie Michaels while he was PD at Pamal Broadcasting top 40 WFLY Albany. Michaels subsequently joined Clear Channel and currently serves as APD of mainstream top 40 WHYI (Y100) Miami.

Apparently well-informed sources are suggesting that Saunders has left Clear Channel today.

Saunders had previously become noteworthy when his refusal to play any local artists while running one of Clear's Detriot stations led to a mass boycott of his network on Fridays.


We'd never really thought very much of anything Slipknot did was other than a pose, but at least we thought Corey Taylor's screams came from his heart. It turns out, though, that Taylor uses a screaming coach, called Melissa Cross.

She apparently sees nothing ironic in the concept of tutoring your scream:

Like a lot of music, there's a movement that occurs in the underground and it's a bunch of kids uniting under the idealism that music spawns. In the '80s there was this aggressive music because kids were pent up, and they needed to get it out. So the ultimate expression is to scream your guts out.

... but hey, if you're going to do some primal screaming, make sure you go to scream camp first so you can be properly organised.


It's the only thing covering the Liverpool Echo's arse as it almost announces that Paul McCartney is going to open the new Kings Dock arena. They stick on a question mark, because they know there isn't anything to it other than councillors drawing up a wish list and - of course - dropping a couple of names:

Cllr Mike Storey, leader of Liverpool council, said: "We are planning a huge event for the launch, and who would be better than Paul McCartney?

"The idea of Sir Paul and friends playing the first-ever concert at the new arena is simply fantastic.

"Knowing Sir Paul, I am sure he would want to be part of such an important event in his home city."

If you know him so well, Mikey, why not ring him up and ask if he'll play rather than issuing forth a speculative statement?

Kings' chief executive Bob Prattey said: "Promoters welcome the new venue because by linking it with Liverpool's great musical and sporting heritage, they have a winning formula.

"They also know there is great potential support from the public, because people here enjoy going to big events - it is part of our culture..

"The success of the Summer Pops helps, because it has attracted headliners like Diana Ross and demonstrated that we can sell tickets for big acts."

The Summer Pops has recently - successfully - chalked up its millionth pound of debt for the people of Liverpool, and some of the less-star-struck councillors are calling for an investigation into just how much money it took to attract Diana Ross to play the Summer Pops.

That they're having to fall back on talking about one of the more, awkward, shall we say, gamblings of council tax money to try and talk up the venue suggests they're starting to have mild panic at what they're going to do with the venue when it's finished. The original plan had been for the site to provide a home for Everton FC; the deal fell through and the plans had to be scaled down considerably. But with far fewer seats than originally planned - less than 10,000 and half the size of Manchester's MEN Arena - and no regular Premiership matches to help with the finances, it's not obvious what the King's Dock is going to do. And Bob Prattey doesn't seem too clear, either:

Mr Prattey added: "We have been in discussions with UK sports bodies to ask them about coming to Liverpool.

"Televised sport in particular would raise the profile of the arena and Liverpool as a city."

But surely that's not the argument they're making to the "UK sports bodies", that they can build the profile of Liverpool - as Tony Hayers once asked Alan Partridge, 'why would they want to do that?' More to the point, why would hosting a sports event attracting a few thousand people do more to raise Liverpool's profile than having two internationally-famous football teams?

Let's hope Macca does decide to help them out. It'd be nice for him to play such an intimate gig once in a while.


We're reluctant to sound too much of a curmudgeon on John Peel Day - we don't want to spoil it, like we did with Love Day last year - but we listened to Peel shows for over two decades, and we don't really feel that the charity singles with Elton John and high-profile concerts at the Queen Elizabeth Hall really reflects anything much about what made Peel special, and why we felt like we'd been kicked in the guts when that BBC News Alert came in just under a year ago.

It seems we're not the only ones - Andy Kershaw's not entirely sure it's hitting the right note, either:

Andy Kershaw, his friend and former Radio 1 colleague, yesterday questioned whether Peel Day was a fitting memorial. "John wouldn't have liked it," he said. "He'd think it was maudlin. He would also object on the grounds it was nostalgia-driven. He'd think we ought to spend less time doing stuff like this, and more time ploughing through stacks of records looking for the next new band." Kershaw, who now hosts a world music programme on BBC Radio 3, described the event's organisers as hypocrites who ought to have appreciated Peel more when he was alive.

When Peel died, Kershaw gave Channel 4 News an interview recounting their last conversation. "I said to him [that] he didn't look too good. And he said, 'No, I feel terrible.' He had been diagnosed diabetic a couple of years ago, and he was also finding it really hard that Radio 1 had moved him even later into the night. Marginalised is the correct word. [It] pushed him from 11pm to one o'clock in the morning and he actually said, 'It's killing me.'" Yesterday Kershaw stood by the comments. "I'm not going to go down that road again," he said. "But it's all on public record. I don't retract a word of what I said because I was merely reporting what he said to me."

Perhaps the most charitable explanation is that Radio One didn't appreciate what it had until it was gone.


There was a time, Howard Jones once observed, when there was nothing at all, just a distant hum. A little bit later on, there was a time when if a first play of a pop video was given a scheduled slot on a major channel, it would be something fairly significant: like when The Rolling Stones did their IBA-worrying Undercover clip, or Michael Jackson danced with zombies. Now, though, it seems like any old tune can get a "world premiere" on Channel 4. Last night, for example, there was Will Bloody Young doing it straight after Lost.

Will Young.

The video isn't even anything much to write home about - it's another lame pastiche/remake/tribute to Top Gun, with Will Young taking the Tom Cruise role. By which we don't mean "slightly pudgy-faced gay man pretending to be a rabidly heterosexual airplane pilot for the purposes of a film", of course.


Poor old Louise Nurding Redkanpp whatusedtobeineternal: she's finding it so hard to scarpe up any interest in, well, anything she's got to offer she's more or less having to beg Playboy for a chance to whack 'em out, about five years after they'd have been interested. She makes it sound like she's negotiating, though:

"I like doing photo shoots, just not in bikinis any more. If Playboy magazine called though, it would depend on how much they offered me."

To adapt an old Woody Allen joke, we head off to the future in a slightly similar universe:

Jamie: Hey, Louise - I see you're in Playboy...
Louise: Yes, that's me
Jamie: What was the finanical deal?
Louise: Two hundred quid
Jamie: That's not much
Louise: It was all I could afford


There's been a small knot of artists desperate to claim kinship with long-dead figures this week - we'll come to Michael Jackson in a moment, but first we should give the attention he so desperately craves to James Blunt, who reckons he's descended from royalty. Tenth century King Gorm the Old, to be precise, which is interesting - we'd have thought that Blunt and his entire family would have proven to be gormless no matter how many generations you go back.

Apparently, Blunt's family left Denmark to fight in the Battle of Hastings. James, mate, it's finished now. If you'd like to go back to Copenhagen, don't let us detain you.

Michael Jackson, meanwhile, has announced that he's actually a knight of the realm. Albeit one who died 800 years ago. It turns out - and you wouldn't have got odds on this - he's the reincarnation of Sir William Marshal, the first Earl of Pembroke. You can see why Jacko might think there's a link - when Marshall was in his forties, he married the teenager Isabel de Clare.

Oddly, though, this regal blood didn't help jacko when he tried to get into the reopening party for the Hard Rock Cafe: he turned up, and got turned away becasue the place was full. It does surprise us, actually, as we'd always assumed that the HRC would pay for any sort of crumbling pop-related tat to stick up inside; who knew they had standards.

Splendidly, amongst the "celebrities" who they could accommodate were Kelly Osboure and Lord - a real Lord, in modern times - Brocket.

One other little detail in the report here - besides his visits to Billy Elliot, Madam Tussaurds, the Hard Rock cafe and other places popular with children tourists, he hasn't left his suite at the Dorchester much. Curious, for a man supposedly in the country recording a charity single, don't you think?


Well, who'd have thought it, eh? Robbie Williams has popped up saying he'd quite fancy being a girl because he wants to know what a female orgasm feels like.

It probably would be an amazing thing, for Robbie to be able to experience a female orgasm. From either side, we'd guess.


We yield to nobody in our admiration for New York London Paris Munich, but surely they must have been to one of Billy Joel's furnitue polish cocktail evenings? They're reporting this morning that Midway Still have launched a greatest, erm, hits compilation album.

We don't remember how any Midway Still songs go, but we do remember the competition to find a new band logo they ran through the NME. British graphic design has never recovered.

Good God, they're right:

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


It's been rumoured as on the way for a while, but now it's here: Apple have confirmed a video iPod. That, in itself, is not interesting - what is surprising is the answer they've come up with to the question "why would someone buy an iPod with video if there was nothing to play on it?": Apple have signed a deal with ABC to flog episodes of their dramas through iTunes for about a quid a time. It's limited, it's US only, but it's one of those moments you might need to remember where you were when you heard the news.

Oh, and did we mention the remote control iMac G5 designed to be used as a home entertainment hub?


Oh, how nearly perfect it all was. Alicia Keys - spokesperson for the gold mining industry - nearly didn't record Unbreakable at all. Apparently she "kind of put it on the shelf" waiting for the perfect time.

Sadly, she judged that the moment was right.


We're getting a little puzzled about Bono - he seems to be getting more and more Jack Woolley as the months roll on. It was bad enough that he somehow forgot about all the demands for a genuine change in the deal for the World's poor on the journey from Live 8 to Gleneagles; now, he's getting the hump because people are using their private boxes at U2 gigs to raise political funds:

"The U2 concerts are categorically not fundraisers for any politician. They are rock concerts for U2 fans," a spokesman for the band said.

The angry outburst came as it emerged that former-first lady Mrs Clinton has 'invited' 18 people to join her for a concert on U2's sell-out Vertigo tour, providing they stump up £1,300 for the privilege.

Rick Santorum has also organised a fund raiser round a U2 gig.

The hilarious idea is that the concerts are "rock concerts for U2 fans", despite the fact that the luxury boxes Clinton is using are hired out for about four grand a time when U2 play. A rock concert with a comfy sofa and non-stop champers, then. And since the U2 business underwrites Bono's political career, isn't there a very real sense in which every U2 gig is a political benefit these days?


Happy-go-lucky Noel Gallagher is worried about the kids - apparently, he's afraid there isn't a band to replace Oasis. Sweetly, he didn't seem to realise that his Q Award was a recognition of his status as comfy old has-been - he seems to think it was applause from the cutting edge:

"What does it say about the state of music today that it's left to us to dominate these events? I'm 38. I shouldn't really be here. It's embarrassing. Where are all the 21-year-olds? Where's the next Liam Gallagher? Oasis have been going for 20 years and we shouldn't be getting all the awards today. There should be young bands coming through. There has been nothing to challenge Oasis at all."

Well... there is the Arctic Monkeys, and Hard-Fi, and Bloc Party and The Pipettes and the Franzies. And Ladytron, the Go-Team and... but you get our point. Okay, all of them have much more ambition and talent and are far more compelling than Oasis, so in that sense aren't challenging Oasis for the bland middle-ground crown. Hang on, though, Noel is going on again...

"Remember what it was like in 1994 when we came on the scene? It was a movement that swept the country. There has been nothing like that since and I think that is pretty bad. The album charts at the moment are really boring and bland."

Ah, he's turned into the 1994 version of Lydon, convinced that nothing has happened since his brief time living modishly, because he doesn't realise that the exciting new music is a party that he just isn't invited to - not surprisingly; he'd managed to ignore everything that was exciting about the early 1990s when he was making his low-calorie Lennonisms. But then arguing with Gallagher is almost as soul-sapping as listening to his music, and... we can feel it happening... we're...


Richard Ashcroft - presumably buoyed by being flattered by Chris Martin - is very, very pleased with his new album. He's happy to tell everyone all about it, and boy will he talk about:

"It's sounding shit hot. I'm pleased with it. It's got a good mix to it: there's some good raw rock 'n' roll on it, some moments of beauty and lushness, but there're some tracks that are pretty raw, pretty heavy.

"And I think, lyrically, for me it's hitting the spot. There's a lot of different topics and things I'm going into, and for a time I was thinking about that very English way of writing tunes back from '65 and '66. The Stones, The Beatles, [all the songs] have a bit of Dylan twisted-ness in the sound, but they retain an Englishness to them.

"That's what I wanna be, a great English songwriter. I don't want to be anything else, I realise that now. That's my job, that's my duty, to write tunes, not to fuck around."

Oh, great. Someone who think's he's the saviour of English songwriting harking back to a time when everyone had to smile whenever the Small Faces put a single out. And just when Paul Weller started to be cured of that, too...


There have been some curious tie-ups between advertisers and celebs in the past, but the new adverts featuring Kerry "just a small drug problem" Katona and Iceland is a stroke of genius.

Iceland is scampering downmarket in a desperate bid to try and shore up its market share - when we went into the Bletchley branch last week, it felt like a Lidl trying to recreate the days of rationing. Meanwhile, Kerry Katona is also desperately trying to cling to any business she can. At least it's easier to believe that Katona really does buy 12" pepperoni pizzas at a quid a time than it was trying to pretend that Sharon Osbourne ever wheeled a trolley round Asda, but the whole stinking air of desperation on both sides is made worse by the rubbish script.

Katona has been signed on for her total lack of dignity. In a bid to try and reinforce the idea that Iceland are now cramming more food into each packet, Kezza holds up a bag of chicken breasts and asks a hapless Iceland worker (and they obviously had a struggle casting someone who looked less glamorous than the 'celebrity' customer) something along the lines of "have these breasts been enlarged?" The shop worker mutters and shuffles off embarrassed, and then, presumably since they're afraid people might miss the joke, Kerry stares down, agape, at her chest.

You see? He thought she meant her tits! She meant the chicken!

It's believed that Ronnie Barker was watching this advert when he died.

The weakness of the gag is multiplied, though, by the ridiculous set-up. Why would someone challenge a shelf-stacker because they were afraid their portions had got bigger? And even if they did, why would they phrase the question in such a tortuous way - wouldn't you say "Are these bags bigger?" or something similar?

Even worse is the one where Kerry thinks that she's being offered home delivery because she's famous - someone at the agency had obviously realised that 97% of the country haven't got a clue who she is anyway, as they construct a plot which ensures she turns up at the shop dressed like a princess. A princess of a tiny, third-world country, admittedly.

Kerry Katona is perhaps so lumpen that she makes the old Bejam chest freezer seem like it was light on its feet. If Iceland's intended message was "We're really crappy, but at least we're cheap", it's spot on the money.


More moments of pen-sucking for the Hello! caption writers as they're lumbered with a photo of Bob Geldof getting on a train:

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What can they find to say about that? Well, it's the Eurostar. And surely, of course, he's not going to have been the only famous person to have used the Eurostar in the last ten years, is he?

Also taking the train that day was Sir Bob. The Live 8 organiser is just one of a host of personalities to have travelled on Eurostar since its launch over a decade ago

Wonderful! It's not a picture of a grumbly old cryptopolitician humping a suitcase, it's the leading edge of a parade of glittering famous people [not pictured].


The ever-reliable Mr Red Penguin has got details of the top 100 singles of the year. This is the top ten:

1 Tony Christie Feat. Peter Kay - (Is This The Way To) Amirillo 1,090,500
2 Crazy Frog - Axel F 523,100
3 James Blunt - You're Beautiful 436,000
4 McFly - All About You / You've Got A Friend 333,300
5 Akon - Lonely 331,400
6 2Pac ft. Elton John - Ghetto Gospel 268,300
7 Pussycat Dolls Ft Busta Rhymes - Don't Cha 265,500
8 Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc. 245,400
9 Daniel Powter - Bad Day 226,200
10 Will Smith - Switch 193,400

There's something almost breathtaking about the sudden drop in sales between number one and two; and the drop between one and ten. Indeed, only thirty-one singles have managed to do more 100,000 sales so far this year, and only about three that are any good.

Likewise, the presence of Franz Ferdinand in at number one with their album disguises what otherwise might be the most crushing top ten albums of all time:


With the possible exception of the Kanye West album, the whole run of albums from number 2 downwards are just... well, there isn't actually a word for them, as they're so bland it's physically impossible to attach any sort of adjective to them at all.


Bizzy Bone has wanted to clarify matters: he's not gone mad, he's just found Jesus. Hope that makes things clearer.


The ongoing Teenage Fanclub have announced a new single which, in a Janus-style embrace of old and new technology, will be released as 7" single and download only. Called It's All In My Mind, it's lifted from their current album:

Teenage FanGclub?


The constant whining of the record companies isn't just restricted to the rock and pop wings of the organisations. The classical music parts of the label are also given to sobbing into their tissues, given the opportunity. EMI and "other labels" have complained to John Whittingdale, chair of the House of Commons select committee on culture and media that the BBC didn't "ask the label's permissions" before embarking on their Beethoven downloads lthis summer:

The BBC has been accused of failing to consult the UK record industry before launching the hugely successful free downloads of the complete Beethoven symphonies earlier this summer.

[Whitingdale said] " in Beethoven week there were 1.4m free downloads at a time when record companies are saying that people should pay for music and the archive trials are going ahead without any market impact assessment.

"The inference is that you are not treading carefully but having a dramatic impact on a number of small and fledgling concerns."

Yes, that would be EMI, one of the four largest record labels in the world that are amongst the "small and fledgling concerns" that Whittingdale is speaking up for - will nobody think of the fledgling companies barely able to count their profits in tens of million quids?

The moaning seems to at least make a degree of sense, until you twist the question the other way round: if the BBC decides to give us, who fund it, recordings it has funded with our money, why should it ask the permission from anyone else? Why should we assume that something like a Beethoven concerto should be something we pay a third party for?

We could, of course, leave the commercial sector to build its market, but even Whittingdale's own arguments seem to show the weakness of this idea:

The complete symphonies were downloaded 1.4m times in the two weeks they were made available in June, a figure record company executives say would take "upwards of five years" for an equivalent commercial CD to achieve.

In other words, the BBC managed to persuade a million people to have a go at classical music, in the space of a few days, opening a million ears to the world of Beethoven they may never have sampled before. Perhaps not all of them will then go straight down HMV to try a bit of Brahms, but some of them, surely will. The music industry, much given to ripping off its features to better spite its own face, would rather not have had this massive educational and popularisation exercise take place. They might be in a ghetto, but it's their ghetto.

You'll notice that the book retailing industry seem less concerned about the BBC's planned Shakespeare season coming up later this year.


Last week: Rod Stewart and currentblondepartner turn up at a party to honour Larry King's 100 years in showbiz

This week: King returns the favour by flattering Stewart as he gets a star on the Hollywood walk of fame:

"He's one of my favorite guests. He's one of my favorite people," the CNN host said.


We think the new Depeche Mode album is the best thing they've done for ages, but we would say that, wouldn't we? You can judge for yourself, as they're streaming the new album Playing The Angel over at MySpace. In full.


After having been given the shitty end of the stick to hold during the run up to Live8, and then being beaten with the shitty end of the stick during Live8, and not even being allowed up to Gleneagles when Bob and Bono went to meet their friends and tell world leaders "whatever you think best", Midge Ure is finally getting his moment in the sun as Abertay University (Dundee) is set to award him an honorary degree.

Of course, chances are he'll turn up to pick it up only to discover Geldof's already on the podium taking care of it for him, but it's a nice gesture.


Another life left in disarray by Pete Doherty (although we suspect that there's much more to it than his involvement), as the girl who sort-of ran off with him after the Carlisle gig (that's the first one, not the second teenager who got on the bus) has been kicked out of college. The Daily Star has it as being kicked out of "Fame school" - apparently Cumbria Institute of the Arts; who knew? Natasha Ellis isn't happy:

But when she tried to resume her studies for a national diploma in performing arts her tutor Gwyn Hunt told her to leave. Last night Natasha’s dream of acting lay in tatters. She said: "My tutor told me I was unreliable and immature. She said I couldn’t continue and suggested I tried another college.

"I couldn’t believe it. I haven’t done anything wrong. You’d think a performing arts college would want its students to meet rock stars. You could say I was just doing my homework. I can’t believe they can treat me this way."

Well, it's an inventive enough excuse - although we're not sure that's the sort of homework that would help you get the third chorus role in a provincial touring production of Cats - but somehow we doubt that Doherty was more than a final straw; or possibly a convenient excuse:

College vice-principal Peter Nixon insisted the decision to axe Natasha from the course had "nothing at all to do with the Pete Doherty business’’.


Poor James Bourne - like all the former Busted boys, he's keen to think that he's all grown up now. We bet he even hums "I'm a man, yes I am" as he has his morning wash. But then... Michael Jackson invites him for a sleepover.

We imagine Jacko was disappointed, too, when he turned up. "He looks a lot younger in this Smash Hits poster, doesn't he?"

Do you suppose Jacko stayed in to watch Channel 4's Minipops documentary last night? Tiny children dressed up as adults, popular in the 1980s, now seen as slightly embarrassing - surley right up his street?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Bad news for anyone about to head off to Hertfordshire Poly tonight - apparently the Towers of London gig there tonight (and the Cardiff and Oxford dates) has been put on hold while the band finish their album in LA. We're not sure how they'll be able to tell when it's finished - after all, it's surely going to be a rag-bag affair. Perhaps they'll keep going until they've hit 74 minutes.


We're a little surprised that Lil'Kim should be stood on the roof of her cell again, banging on about how terrible 50 Cent is. What sort of prison is she in, anyway? She seems to be constantly issuing press releases. Anyway, Kim thinks 50 cent is a bad example:

"I don't have a lot of respect for 50 Cent because his music is hardcore, violent. I love his music sometimes, but I feel like in his personal life, his real life, he carries that on, and that's not a great message, you know what I mean? I think he promotes it."

Well, that's great Kim, but aren't you in prison because you lied in court in a bid to protect a guy who shot someone? Isn't your position a little bit Jonathan Aitken?


Unfortunately, there's not a person left alive who thinks that Marilyn Manson is anything more than a slightly less amusing version of Krusty The Clown, otherwise we could suggest that his announcement today makes it difficult for anyone to believe he's a god of headfuck. Like Krusty, Mazza has decided to licence his name to any old crap - so from 2006 you can buy Marilyn Manson perfume.

Just as Mazza's music is very, very thinned-down goth, we expect the perfume to smell ever-so-faintly of patchoulli.


As Eminem battles his "sleeping pill" addiction, someone's clearly still running the business for him, as he - or a person a lot like him - has put together a best of album which will pull together all his jolly songs about raping lesbians, suffocating pregnant girlfriends to death and burying your mentor's body in a basement. Your gran's Christmas gift has been sorted, then.

Eminem watchers suggest this collection - called Curtain Call - might represent his departure from performance; presumably to concentrate better on supping hot milky drinks.


Oh, how the music retailers must have celebrated when they finally bullied newspapers into stopping giving away free CDs - their persistant whining about how it was ruining their businesses had finally hit home, and slowly, the labels withdrew their support for the schemes.

The shops were less thrilled to discover that the newspapers just shrugged, and started to give away DVDs instead, eating into a range with a much higher margin. It's like a baker had finally managed to stop the wasps buzzing around his eccles cakes, only to discover they'd instead started to nest in his wedding cakes and fine confectionary instead.

A nasty shock for the shops who - instead of seeing papers fling out the equivalent of £2 1960s compilation CD, had to contend with a £15 Cabaret DVD available for a quid in every corner shop in the land. Terrible times, and the sort of times which call for - yes - HMV's Gennaro Castaldo, sent out to argue that it's just not fair:

HMV is one of several retailers worried that such giveaways will diminish the value of their business.

"DVDs should be aspirational but if you see them being tossed around it sends out a negative message," says HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo. "It devalues the medium in the minds of the public."

But doesn't the fact that a DVD can be made for as little as 16p suggest customers are being ripped off in the shops?

Mr Castaldo rejects it as a "facile argument". The cost of DVDs sold in shops reflects the "full costs of creating a film, distribution, marketing and selling it."

"But DVD prices have been coming down a lot recently."

Erm... yes, they have. You could get East is East last Saturday for £1.20, with a free Guardian, TV guide and book review supplement thrown in. Clearly, there's a bit more room for HMV to shift their prices downwards.

We love Castaldo's argument here - you can't give people cheap DVDs because they'll lose their "aspirational value"? What sort of logic is that? Do people really go into shops and try and haggle prices upwards so they can feel better about themselves? "Excuse me, what's the difference betweent the five pound slippers and the ten pound slippers?" "They're identical, pal, except the ten pound ones make you feel a little bit more like you're Prince Edward."

The only plausible reason for pretending that DVDs are luxury items is so that they can go on charging luxury prices for them - if you actually cancel down Castaldo's argument, he's saying "if we don't make people pay through the nose for this product, they might stop paying through the nose for the product".

And, well, it is true that a new release DVD might have its owners wanting to still top up the costs of producing the movie in the first place - but something like Cabaret was made in 1972. Presumably Cy Feuer isn't still fielding phonecalls from the cameramen saying "Look... when do you think you might be able to pay us for our work? It was thirty-three years ago now..."


We'd been wondering how things would have been with Depeche Mode getting back together after all that business with Gahan moaning about singing Gore's songs. Frosty, at first, it seems, to listen to Martin Gore:

"During the press for his (Gahan's) solo record , he went a bit too far saying stuff like he felt like a puppet and I was a dictator, and he felt like he had a right to contribute.

"I realised during that period that if the band were going to continue then I would have to allow that to happen up to a point. But I didn't think it was right that after 25 years he should step in and write 50 per cent of the songs."

Not without at least offering another 10 per cent to Vince Clarke, certainly.

In other Dave Gahan news, apparently Michael Stipe bumped into Gahan back in 1996, and was so shocked at how raddled he looked he, erm, phoned up Anton Corbijn for help. We often confuse "doctor" and "photographer" ourselves - both make you take your clothes off and realise that your body isn't exactly as great as you'd hoped:

He recalls, "Michael said he'd just met Dave Gahan and that Dave was in a terrible state, and could I do anything about it."

But Corbijn's help came too late - Gahan clinically died from a drug overdose in May, 1996.

That's actually the final sentence of the ContactMusic report, which would give you the impression that Gahan was dead. Which would make his persuading Martin Gore to give him some of the songwriting for ver Mode even more impressive.

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It's almost certain that it isn't true, but you can almost see the logic in Britney Spears taking on the splenetically crazed Shar Jackson as some sort of maid. There's a source to "back up" the story:

"Shar was the first person Britney turned to when Kevin started going out partying and playing golf, instead of looking after her and their new baby."

"Shar suspects Kevin is envious of the amount of time Britney spends with her son. So she's looking after Sean to give Britney more time with Kev."

Nobody, I'm sure, wants to say it, so perhaps someone should buy this for Britney:


The two certainties about weddings is that someone will shag somebody they shouldn't, and that people who haven't seen each other in years will find themselves getting back together again and burying hatchets, and so on. We don't know who got the illicit shag at Dewitt Burton's wedding, but the reunion was his former employers'. He used to roadie for REM, and so Stipe, Mills, Buck and - yes - original drummer Bill Berry got back together for their first gig since Berry left in 1997. Apart from one other reunion. It seems to have been a little adhoc, too, with the band scampering onto the stage while the "proper" wedding band were on a break.

e bet they loved having to come back on after REM had finished.


We were delighted to discover that Charles Saatchi's plans to move his gallery from the old GLC building to Chelsea after a spat with the owners of the building has come to court, because what could be more delicious than the discovery that one of the current landlords at Ken Livingstone's old place is Pete Waterman. Yes, of course, that Pete Waterman. It's not all Kylie and trains for Pete, you know. He's busy overacting:

Record producer Pete Waterman has said that his "great regard" for Charles Saatchi ended when the art collector made "chilling" allegations about the landlords of his London gallery.

Waterman is a director of Cadogan Leisure, apparently. Who knew there was so much cash in Rick Astley records and doing a show on Radio City?

He told the judge, Sir Donald Rattee, that he had grown to love the Saatchi Gallery, which he believed was a "fun" addition to the Riverside Building. But he said Masakazu Okamoto, European managing director of the owners of the building, Shirayama Shokusan, "didn't have the same passion about modern art as the rest of us had".

Nothing screams fun like a giant picture of Myra Hindley made out of children's handprints, we guess. What isn't fun, though, apparently, is Saatchi's allegations. Prepare to be chilled to the very marrow:

Mr Waterman said that in October 2003 he was telephoned by Mr Saatchi who alleged that County Hall was part of "a fraud" involving Mr Okamoto, his wife, members of the Cadogan board and their solicitor. "I was too shocked and then chilled to take all of this in, save that this was probably the worst conversation, and certainly the most chilling, I had ever had in my life," Mr Waterman said.

He said he learned that Mr Saatchi had warned that unless the landlords "get off his back", he would report what he had told him to the fraud squad.

Mr Waterman went on: "I did support Charles Saatchi and the gallery for all of the reasons already stated in this statement. I certainly had great regard for him. My view of him has been completely tarnished by that phone call and is the reason why I have never spoken to him again."

Of course, most people had Saatchi marked down as a bit of knob from the moment he started slobbering all over Thatcher, although a few did wait until that time he wanted his advertising agency to buy the Midland Bank before firming that perspective up.

Obviously the court case will be ongoing.


In what we're starting to suspect might be a sponsored genre-hop, Elvis Costello has announced plans to sing opera. We make it that, having done classical, punk, cod reggae, new wave, pop, torch song and chamber music, Costello now only has to do a yodelling album and a poodle-rock show to complete the set.


It must be a curious job, writing for Hello magazine. For example, a photo like this comes across your desk:

... and while the obvious reaction would be to screech "What the hell is it with him? All that blubbering about how Martin Bashir made him look like a nutter, and yet he comes to London and continues to parade his kids about decorated as if they were furniture - what is it, an antimaccasar?"

But, no, the consumate professionals at Hello behave as if it's the most natural thing:

Accompanying the performer were his three children, Prince Michael Jr, eight, Prince Michael II, four, who is nicknamed "Blanket", and daughter Paris Katherine. Seven-year-old Katherine, her head and face covered by a green scarf, walked hand-in-hand with her father as they toured the venue.

Because we all make our kids wear drapes, don't we?

Hello does get one sly dig in, though:

The 47-year-old, who was escorted through the throng of well-wishers by a group of burly security guards, was looking sharp in a black suit and dark glasses. And he seemed to have taken a leaf out of British interior designer Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen's book, as he completed the look with an oversize-cuffed shirt and matching tie.

Taking style pointers for Laurence L-B? That's gotta hurt...


Yesterday's Victoria Newton's Bizarre column in the Sun had been predicting a massive blow-up between Liam Gallagher and Chris Martin at the Q Awards. Nothing, of course, happened in the end, which makes it even more odd that today's column is claiming second sight:

AS I predicted, the war between LIAM GALLAGHER and CHRIS MARTIN erupted as the pair came face to face at yesterday’s Q Awards.

Blimey... not only does Victoria Newton have predictive powers, but she's scooped the whole world. Nobody else seems to have seen this "explosive" meeting. So, what happened?

Liam could not resist calling mild-mannered Chris “a plant pot” as the COLDPLAY frontman stepped on stage to collect the band’s only gong.

Incoherent man mumbles something bemusing; few feelings hurt. We're only surprised Wade didn't give her the front page for this one.


Trouble for Pete Doherty this morning - okay, more trouble - with a security guard planning to bring legal action against him. Mark Robinson claims that Doherty whacked him with a mic stand during a Leeds gig, raising the possibility that Pete Doherty and Courtney Love are slowly turning into the same person.

It's interesting the curious double-standard the tabloids are taking to the ongoing 'shambles story, by the way. While Kate Moss is being described as a "shamed supermodel", Pete is still getting headlined as "Potty Pete" - we're not sure why Pete's apparently more devastating drug use gets a chuckling little nickname.

Monday, October 10, 2005


At the rate that R Kelly's child porn trial keeps getting pushed back, the girl he allegedly filmed while he was screwing her is going to be drawing her pension, never mind over the age of consent, before she has her day in court. The main cause for delays is Kelly having to share a defence lawyer with George Ryan, former Republican governor of Illinois. Ryan - who commuted the sentences of all death row prisonners when he stepped down as governor - was indicted shortly afterwards on charges relating to alleged racketeering. It's probable his trial will last months, making Kelly unlikely to find himself in the dock proper until early next year.


The brilliant news that - in a really tricky high street environment and with illegal downloads continuing to remain stubbornly high - UK album sales rose year-on-year in the quarter to September will be generating mixed emotions over at BPI headquarters. Coupled with a singles market rise (physical and downloads) of 49 per cent, there's precious little room for the major labels to argue that there's a pressing need for legal actions against three year-olds and grannies to save the UK music scene.

Meanwhile, Her Majesty's Government has announced plans to help the indie label sector - although they manage to make it sound as dull as possible, couching it as an initiative to assist small and medium enterprises. The music minister (James Purnell, apparently - no, we didn't, either) isn't actually going to do anything you understand, but has called for "a study into the support independent companies need." It's not clear yet quite how much cash is going to be pissed away on this study, but we bet we could fund a couple of Pipettes albums, a dozen singles and a fanzine on the cash at the very least.


The troubled tale of Britney Spears' bra and its Ebay flogging has taken another twist, with Spears pulling the bra from the charity auction. Apparently, Britney's afraid people might buy the bra thinking that it's something it's not.

Last week, the bra had been pulled by Ebay, under its rule forbidding the sale of used underwear - a clause designed to stop people rubbing kippers on knickers and selling them to single men. Perhaps because Britney tends to wear her bras as outerwear, the item was relisted; now Britney's taken the bra away again, as she worries people might think she wore it during her HBO special.

The sudden insistence that things should not be sold in a misleading fashion makes us wonder if she's going to stop the attempts to push Kevin Federline on us under the guise of a rapper.


Faced with the problems caused by his home town mayor failing to pull together enough financing for his own gig, Little Richard has subsidised his own performance. Businesses had been asked to underwrite the cost of the event, but moaned they hadn't got enough time.

Richard isn't going to play for nothing, though:

Little Richard told the almost 5,000 people attending the concert free of charge Saturday that he will return a $30,000 portion of his fees.

"It's not a whole lot of money, but it's from the heart," he said.


Of course, we didn't go to the Q Awards, as we seldom leave the house, but luckily 6 Music has a fairly comprehensive report. So, who got what, then?

As part of the celebrity dance, Coldplay, U2, Oasis and Albarn-Blur-Gorillaz all got prizes for turning up - best act in the world, best live act, best album/people's choice and best video/best producer, although you could probably scramble those prizes up and nobody would mind much.

Chris Martin was testy when he picked up the Best Act in The World prize: "Some of you probably hate us but I couldn't give a fuck because we're the Best Act In The World." Ah, bless. Although we're not sure how that squares with the public blubbing he was going through the week before last when he sobbed over those nasty reviews he got.

Peter Hook, who was there as part of a New Order contingent being annointed as Q legends, was also testy when he picked up his prize, calling Q "two-faced cunts who give us bad reviews".
Sixty-five years in the music business and he still hasn't grasped that individuals writers do the reviews, and the magazine as a whole present the awards. And how many faces should a cunt have, come to that?

Paul Weller picked up an Outstanding Contribution; Nick Cave a Classic Songwriter, Bjork and Inspiration, the Bee Gees a Lifetime Achievement and John Lennon, who has been a long time, was awarded a Classic Award. Yoko Ono - brand manager for John Lennon - turned up to ensure the prize was put onto Ebay straight away, and the prize money properly counted. She said this is just the sort of thing that John would have loved:

"I wish he (John) was here today, he would have loved it."

We bet he would have done, too. Although it would have marked him out as a stinking hypocrite, hanging around industry backslapping booze-ins; it was rather brave of Yoko to admit that.

She then recounted how he woke her up one night asking, 'Why do they cover Paul's songs but never mine?" telling the audience that she replied "You're a good songwriter. It's not just June with spoon that you write.

"You're a good singer and most musicians are probably a little bit nervous about covering your songs."

Well, yes, they'd be nervous about covering them because who would want to leave themselves open to the ridicule of sticking out a load of half-formed spirtualistic claptrap? (Sit down, Madonna). And while we can all enjoy a quiet snicker at the jibe at Macca's simplistic rhymes, on Imagine John rhymes "one" with "one" at one point - at least June/spoon has got a slight novelty about it, what with the extra word.

Waterloo Sunset got a Classic Song prize - Cathy dennis' cover version painted out of history - while James Blunt was named best new act, disappointing those of us who'd hoped he'd be forgotten as quickly as hed arrived. KT Tunstall won a prize, apparently for best track for something called Black Horse and The Cherry Tree. Q's Innovation in Sound prize went to the Prodigy, presumably for the bravery in releasing an album without a coherent idea behind it last year.

Chris Martin and Liam Gallagher did not fight.