Saturday, October 29, 2005


For its sheer mote-and-beamability, it's hard to top Sharon Osbourne's bad tempered rant against everyone who is a bit like her:

[She] said of Jagger: “He seems to be a bit of a social climber. Wants to be part of the aristocracy.

“Like that twat out of Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry. Him and Jagger are always up some lord or lady’s arsehole on a fucking Persian rug. They make me sick.”

Sharon Osbourne lives in a massive country house in the Buckinghamshire countryside.

Speaking of Madonna, she told GQ magazine: “She’s a twat. I would like to punch her. She is so full of shit.

“She’s in Kabbalah one minute, she’s a Catholic the next — she’ll be a Hindu soon no doubt. Fuck off you twat.”

Well, you could certainly say it's more than time that madonna made a dignified exit from the public eye, as it's clear any work she's had to offer has now got beyond embarrassing. Remind you of anyone, Sharon?

Then, just for good measure, she throws this in:

“Who else? Oh yes, Bono. What a twat. And Diana Ross. Awful woman.”

Diana Ross? Diana Ross?


Oddly, we've not had a response to either of our two previous emails to Liverpool City Council's Flo Clucas, the council member who has been given the job of announcing the we'll pull it down/no, we'll save it somewhere policy for Ringo Starr's house.

We're starting to wonder if, maybe, she's treating us with contempt. It could be, though, that she's just lost our email. We thought we'd give her another go at explaining that whole "it's of no significance... oh, actually, it is..." business, so we sent her one last email. It ran something like this:


It's been a month now - well, longer, actually - since I sent you a short email asking a couple of questions about Ringo Starr's house. And not a word - not a 'mind your own beeswax'; not a 'of course, as an elected representative I'm happy to answer any questions that may help you understand the bizarre twists of the story'. Not even so much as an out-of-office reply. (That's an Outlook thing, by the way, it's not a reference to political office.)

Maybe you just don't check your email very often; maybe you deleted it by mistake. I do that from time to time. Just in case, I thought I'd freshen up my questions and see if you can't help me understand this whole story a little better.

Now, if I've got it right, there was an investigation into preserving Ringo's house, which the Associated Press and the Liverpool Echo report you as saying discovered the house had no historical significance, as Starr only lived there for three months.

What form did this investigation take, how much public money was spent on it, and how did such an investigation manage to leave you telling the world that Ringo resided in a place for three months when he lived there twelve times as long?

Then, a couple of weeks later, you announced that the house was to be saved after all.

Why did you suddenly do a u-turn? What new information came to light showing this house was of historical signifance after all?

The plan now seems to be to take the house down brick-by-brick, and store it somewhere?

How much will this cost, who will be paying, and what is the long-term plan for the bricks?

And finally - and really, this is just out of curiosity - are the council making any cash out of the destruction of the neighbourhood is in?

I do hope you can at least find some time to acknowledge receipt of this email, and perhaps to share some of the answers. The assumption from such silence is that there's absolutely no policy at play here at all, and it's all being made up as things career along, out of control. But that's not the case, is it?


Simon HB, at No Rock & Roll Fun

As ever, we'll let you know the minute we get a response. If we do.


Well, at least you can't complain that Live 8 hasn't done some good - so many merchandising deals were done to create the VIP areas and so on that even after the costs of putting the musical events on were dealt with, and the Princes Trust paid off, there was a USD12 million profit, which has gone to Africa through the Band Aid charity.

Of course, it could have been much more. The mobile phone companies who supplied the texting infrastructure made their usual fees off every text sent, which from two million messages soon mounts up into a splendid pile of slush. EMI is paying "a royalty" from every DVD sold, sure, but after all that fuss Geldof made about people making money from selling tickets on at a profit, why isn't he slapping the table and complaining about EMI making a profit from flogging the DVD? Or people making a profit from the book? Yes, we know that the main aim of Live8 wasnn't to raise money, but we're still not sure why its okay for companies to use it to boost their profits when those Ebay sales were meant to have been so very, very bad?


Even having strong mob connections cannot help you once you're dead, and relatives and other members of the estate can start to wank your corpse until it leaks coins. Frank Sinatra might be comfortably dead, and is probably sat in one of the leafier parts of purgatory hoping to watch his reputation grow and gather in the way it does after death. Unfortunately, his family have otherudeas:

A virtual Frank Sinatra will star in a show in London's West End, seven years after the singer's death, producers announced Wednesday.

Dancers and a live orchestra will accompany a video projection of the singer. The show uses home movies of Sinatra from the 1950s — restored, colorized and projected onto screens in the theater.

"It's as if you are watching the concert because you are seeing footage of him in his prime, heard as if he is performing in front of you," said the singer's granddaughter, A.J. Azzarto.

"It's not at all ghostly in any way," she added. "Even if it's in an arena it's as if he's singing to you personally."

We think AJ must have misheard a question there, or else confused "ghostly" with "ghoulish." Obviously, at it's heart its little more than a jazzed up piece of cinema, but the promotional push that it's like a proper Sinatra live event is where it starts to stink. We wonder if they looked into seeing how much it would cost to digitally insert Geri Halliwell into the movies to really dump on the old guy's grave?

£517 PER GIG

The usually ill-advised mixing of public funds and music seems to have gone awry again; the problems often happen because politicians think the best way to encourage people to create music is to pay a bunch of "experts" to work on think-tanks, pathfinder schemes and enterprise bodies which have a far better track record of burning through cash than actually encouraging people to learn how to play the guitar.

Grief this time comes from Enterprise Music Scotland, a body into which has been pumped "hundreds of thousands of pounds" from the Scottish Arts Council and more cash from Aberdeen's City Council. (Alarmingly, a City Council spokesperson seemd to be unable to say how much). It seems a "five-figure sum" is alleged to have been pinched from this money; Chief Executive Ronnie Rae has resigned from, well, being chief executive, and EMS has been redirecting media enquiries to the Grampian Police media office:

A spokeswoman for Grampian Police said: "We can confirm that we are making inquiries into allegations of fraud, involving the alleged theft of a five-figure sum from a city centre company."

She added that no-one had been charged and inquiries were continuing.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Arts Council in Edinburgh confirmed Mr Rae had resigned from Enterprise Music Scotland.

She said the Scottish Arts Council had given the organisation £207,000 for the period 2003/04 to 2005/06, but much of the money would be filtered down to promoters and performers.

Or at least some of it that hasn't gone missing would have done. If you're a Scottish musician, you might want to ponder just how many gigs you would have been prepared to perform for a fifth of a million quid.

The Enterprise Music Scotland webpage is a bit of a quiet affair - as is so often the case with these sorts of quango groups.

The news page is empty, save for a pleading "If you have any news relating to promoters and performers or agents, let us know"; the forum proudly announces that its busiest time ever was when three people were on simultaneously, and allows you to read all three messages posted during its lifetime (they've yet to edit the page properly so it claims it comes from '').

The concert diary - surely a wonderful way to promote live music in the region - is another apologetic "Sorry - this page is being updated. " On a Saturday night, at 7.45? Good god, with that sort of dedicated staff, maybe it is money well spent. Unless they're fibbing of course. Google last crawled the page on October 19th, when they found a blank page promising "Below is a listing of all concerts being organised with Enterprise Music Scotland in the next four weeks." Delve a little back further, and you discover there's only one snapshot of the site on the internet archive, from over a year ago: October 2004, in fact. Another blank page, and the promise "Below is a listing of all concerts being organised with Enterprise Music Scotland in the next four weeks." Perhaps October is just a bad month for them, although since they claim to be promoting 400 live events a year in Scotland, you'd think one October or other there'd have been something.


You've got to love the R Kelly defence team - they tried to get the whole shagging a kid and filming it charges thrown out on the grounds that the prosecution weren't entirely sure when the video was made.

The Judge was unimpressed with their arguments.


It's a marketing move, sure, but it's probably a shrewd one: the British and Americans are getting different Franz Ferdinand singles.

In America, USA, the next single will be The Fallen, while British buyers will be given the chance to take Walk Away back to their chintz-decorated living rooms to enjoy while they have a cup of tea and plot their next football hooliganism trip.

Alex Kapranos explains: "In the States they're more up for a bit of rock 'n' roll."

Plus, of course, the import singles market is quite a lucrative business to be in, we hear.


An unlikely headline, but apparently it's true. And how do we know Gordo loves Lady Sov? Erm, because she says that he spoke to her:

"I only spoke to him quickly, as he's a busy guy, but he commented on my music and said he's a fan.

"He said he's paying attention to what I'm up to, which is weird coming from Gordon Brown.

"He did all the talking - I could hardly get a word out! He's alright."

Politician says he likes what the person he's talking to does, then. Let's hope the Sov never plays the Royal Variety Performance, otherwise she'll come away convinced the Queen is a big fan, too.


Even by the Gallagher brother's standards, the claim recently that there'd been nothing in music to challenge them in a decade was a puzzling one, coming at such a great time for music. But it turns out that we forgot to take into account Noel's cloth ear for music, as revealed to the Australian Daily Telegraph:

As a pop veteran, Gallagher has little time for the new generation of skinny-trouser and tie-clad guitar-driven bands such as Franz Ferdinand and Kaiser Chiefs, dismissing them as "indie shit".

"Within that realm of indie shit, Franz Ferdinand is about as good as it gets. Take Me Out is a tune that wins hands down but, really, it's fucking indie rubbish," Gallagher said.

"We were at the NME awards last year and we were the only ones not sat there with shirts and ties on. Everyone else was there in school uniforms, it was like being at a school disco."

Mmm. That effect can't have helped that everyone else at the NME awards were a decade and a half younger than you and didn't look as if they sleep in hedges. But hush a moment, for Noel is shifting his gaze onto Robbie Williams:

"I feel sorry for Robbie Williams because nobody once ever mentions his music," laughs Gallagher cheekily.

"I wouldn't walk a mile in his shoes because he seems to be a very lonely and unhappy, very confused young man. He doesn't know whether he's straight or gay. He's forever going on about wanting a girlfriend and seems to be a lonely, sad man."

Oh... it's coming... I can feel it...

But hang on, let's fight the lemur of distraction. Because there is a band Noel loves. It's Oasis. Or Oasis-lite, anyway:

"When I first saw Jet it was too rock for me, but they're four of the coolest guys I ever met," Gallagher said backstage in Paris, halfway through a world tour.

"You can't argue with Are You Gonna Be My Girl. I never listened to any of their singles and stuff but I'm a fan now."

Well, you could argue with it - pisspoor reworking of something a Hendrix covers band might produce, or the sort of rock twattery Lenny Kravitz deals in - but since Noel appears to genuinely believe the new Oasis album is any good, it'd be a waste of time.

Noel, you know, is just an ordinary bloke. He even goes to shops:

"Can you imagine George Michael buying toothpaste and a toothbrush and a newspaper or some lemons?

Ordinary people are determined to make you feel bad, though. You'll be in the queue at the supermarket with a pint of milk, some bread and a newspaper and someone will say, 'what you doing here?'

"I turn around and say, fuck off, I'm doing my fucking shopping like you are."

Ah... so you think you're so brilliant it's astonishing you should go to tesco for yourself, but think it's awful that people recognise you when you do? How does that... no, can't fight anymore...

Friday, October 28, 2005


Turns out that Half Man Half Biscuit's Trernoc Kcor Naitsirhc with its accusations that "I've seen your antics in the Green Room" might not have been too far from the truth all along. Yes, even Stryper have had their time spent eating pretzels and falling over, just like George W:

"We had many temptations along the road and many opportunities we could have grabbed on to," said Michael Sweet, lead singer for the Platinum selling band which has regrouped after a decade and is back on tour.

He said there was one stumbling point at the band’s peak.

"We went through a period in "Against the Law" when we started drinking, we started getting a little out of control," Sweet said. "The bad part in that is the fact that it was somewhat hypocritical because we were standing on stage telling people you don’t need alcohol and then we’d go to the bus and drink."

Of course, now that the band are back together, this time supping with the devil provides them with an extra little force: they can self-flagellate, empathise with us sinners even more warmly, and bask in the smuggity warmth of those who have locked horns with Satan. Of course, their idea of heavy drinking probably means they had a sip of a wine mixer a couple of times, but that doesn't mean they're not able to announce that its g-l-o-r-y to know their s-a-v-e-d:

"Thank God we didn’t completely disintegrate and have a meltdown and go the opposite — and continue on the opposite — path. We woke one morning and said, ‘What are we doing?’ and we halted and put a stop to everything and got back on path."

Sweet said the band wants to be an example to others.

"We try to speak less and let our actions be the example of Christ in our lives — who we are, how we treat people, what we say to people. Do we smile or growl to people? Are we pleasant and nice? Do we give grace? That’s what’s going to have an effect on people more than words. We try to live as examples and let that light shine through."

Well, we're going to take their example. We're off to get pissed on a bus parked up outside a church.


After Lenny Kravitz somehow managed to block up his toilet, destroy the apartment downstairs and get sued as a result, he's now facing another legal action - his number two, you might say. His downstair neighbour says the insurance money sought from the first lawsuit wasn't enough to cope with the reapirs. That one sought a thrid of a million dollars, which is quite a lot for even a big morning explosion.


Apart from worrying if Omarion has narrowly escaped any nasty incidents recently, most of sympathy will have been directed towards Kenny Chesney, waiting for his fraudulent marriage to Renee Zellweger to be annulled; over even before he'd removed his big country hat. Chesney's bearing up to the loss of his wife of a few weeks with the help of - yes - music. It's like a drug, see. But a legal one:

"It's like medicine — and obviously I need that now," the 37-year-old country singer tells Life magazine in an upcoming issue.

Asked about his brief time as Mr. Zellwegger, and he offers a gnomic response:

"What was that old song: 'We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout,'" Chesney replies.

That song was called Jackson, wasn't it? Is this some hint? Was Michael involved? Or is it simply that, since the next line refers to a fire going out, a wry acknowledgement that Renee was disappointed that she only got embers when she was expecting a big, licking flame?


We're starting to get a little lost with the Michael Jackson story, to be honest, and tried to straighten it out by writing the keywords on post-it notes and sticking them all over our walls. But whenever we did that, they kept spelling out 'likessmallpps', meaningless gibberish which got us no further. When he knocked back jury duty, he said he was never going to be in America. Then he went to LA to record his charity single.

Apparently. According to Fox News, Jackson fears the jury summons is all a ruse to try and get him back into the US so he can be hit with another child-fidgeting case - although why the prosecutors would try and misuse the jury system in that way but not bother to do anything when he turned up at the recording studio is beyond us.

Meanwhile, Fox sniffily reports that he's put Neverland on the market "as in now, and not six months ago as falsely reported in tabloids." Yeah, Fox - start a global campaign to ensure tabloids don't print false stories and see how long it takes for Rupert to get on the phone...

Some of Jackson's staff at Neverland appear to keep turning up for work despite not being paid:

"Everyone is pissed," says a staffer. "It was one thing when this happened during the trial, but now is a different story."

In May and June, Jackson missed payroll several times, and staffers conducted a work stoppage.

More importantly, Violet Silva, head of security at Neverland and a Jackson loyalist for more than 15 years, quit her job last week. She is now working for former Jackson attorney Robert Sanger.

You wonder how they manage to keep the wolf from the door when they're not being paid. We don't want to raise the spectre of a large barbecue kettle being rolled into the Neverland zoo compound here, but... have you got any other ideas?

And finally, back briefly to that charity single. The Prince of Bahrain's support for the project might have seemed slightly odd to begin with, but... now, we think we see why he happily coughed up for Jacko to record it. It's his:

By the way, “From the Bottom of My Heart” — which is also the title of an excellent Stevie Wonder track on his own new album — was written by the prince of Bahrain. I’m told the prince has had the song for some time and tried to get Jackson to record it back around 9/11.

Jackson, however, opted for his “What More Can I Give,” which was a rewrite of his old hit, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.”

We just bet he hasn't told the prince of the switch yet - let's hope that Jacko resurrecting his dumped 9/11 song instead of his sponsor's doesn't spoil his chances of settling permanently in Bahrain, the place beyond nasty American prosecutors ("the jewel of the Emirates".)


Extraordinary goings-on at Brendan Benson's Berlin Mudd Club date this week: it was raided by police who, wielding batons, forced him to turn the set acoustic.

The cops thought the electric gig was too loud; it's probably lucky they weren't at the Free Trade Hall back in 1966.


Former Asda salesperson Sharon Osbourne has lurched into a bit of a rant against Pete Doherty. A bit of a rant here, of course, means a screeching unconsidered diatribe:

"Pete Doherty? Well he needs a bleedin' good slap, that's what. He needs locking down in rehab for a couple of months. And the truth needs to be told to his face.

"There's nothing harder to take than the truth. It's not hip to be in that state he's in. It's not cool, it's pathetic. I wouldn't take him on though - I helped Ozzy but that's because I loved him - I don't love Pete Doherty. But he does need someone who loves him who really gives him some love. He needs to be knocked out a couple of times and, get the shit kicked out of him and thrown into rehab.

"With Ozzy, there would be a few hours in the morning when he was straight and you would see the sweetest, nicest, most generous man in the world. He was funny, and lovely. Then as soon as he had a drink it would deteriorate slowly through the day. But those moments of passion and caring were enough. I thought, 'I can change it, I can change this situation'. It's a hell of a battle.

"Pete Doherty needs to ditch the hangers-on and find someone who really loves him enough to tell him the truth. He needs to go through some hardcore rehab. That will strip him of any notion of celebrity, they should be telling him, 'you're the same as everybody else. You're a fucking addict'.

"It's his only chance of survival because I'm terrified the poor little thing's gonna OD. Now he thinks this is a part he has to play, it's become like a character to play out. People want to see that. It's obvious he's very insecure. He's not confident because he wouldn't do it if he was."

This is Sharon Osbourne, telling Pete Doherty he should lose any notion that he's a celebrity. Sharon "I can do a chatting show" Osbourne? Sharon "Go on, put us on the telly" Osbourne?

However, we're sure that Sharon's advice on how to get somebody drug free will be welcome to the Babyshambles team - after all, she must be doing something right, as with her husband's drug use, there would have been a risk of the children following suit. Sharon clearly was able to ensure that her kids didn't fall into that same trap, so we should listen carefully to what she has to say.

And let's just look at that last line:

"It's obvious he's very insecure. He's not confident because he wouldn't do it if he was."

Sharon Osbourne is a bulimic who undergoes plastic surgery operations on a regular basis.

* - If only the 11 O'clock Show was still on the air, eh?


The looming threat of being forced to share Elton John's sense of humour has darkened the skies a little more, as ABC have green-lighted the plans to make a pilot of Him and Us. Elton's involvement is as executive producer, so he probably won't have any input into the programme in any meaningful sense, beyond choosing the flowers for the set and getting David Furnish a cameo role.


Finding a quiet moment in his busy schedule, 50 Cent has decided to start some sort of meaningless row with Dr Dre.

What over? Nothing:

Game is continuing to work on his follow-up to The Documentary with producers like Just Blaze and Cool and Dre, but 50 Cent says to the best of his knowledge Dr. Dre will not be working on it. In fact, 50 says Dre better not work on the Game

"If I'm not messing with him, how is Dre going to mess with him?" 50 recently asked on-air personality Tim Westwood during a BBC Radio interview in Europe. "Then that means me and Dre got beef. I think everybody sees my pattern."

Yeah, I can see how you'd have no choice. Probably shooting someone would sort it out, though?


What do you give someone who's got everything but talent? A tiger, apparently. That's what Georgina, wife of Westlife's Nicky Byrne has given him for his 27th birthday. Sadly, he's not going to have to unwrap it:

"I'll probably never meet him but you pay money to a charity and they send you updates on how he's doing."

"I haven't named him yet."

When he's tired of his tiger, perhaps he'll go looking for my leopard?


The jury has delivered its verdict in the So-Solid Crew murder case. Almost.

Carl Morgan, the band's producer, has been convicted of murder and will spend at least 30 years inside. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on Dwayne Vincent, co-accused Megaman, who will now face a retrial in March next year.

Passing sentence, the Common Serjeant of London, Judge Brian Barker, told Morgan: "Gun use is the scourge of our streets and causes misery and distress.

"The message must be all one way - that it will not be tolerated.

"You expected eye witnesses would be cowed into silence and that ploy very nearly succeeded."

Morgan was found guilty of murdering Colin Scarlett, the partner of his former girlfriend. Vincent had been accused of encouraging Morgan to pull the trigger, a charge which he denied.


Great news for Bob Geldof - he's won the prestigious Man Of Peace award, conveniently enough at the same time as he's pushing the Live8 DVD. (Live8 was an event designed to raise awareness of this Christmas stocking-stuffer, in case you forgot.) The what? Yes, the Man of Peace award. It's voted for by Nobel Laureates at an annual gathering paid for by the Gorbachev foundation, so it's, well, astonishing, isn't it? Bob says yes:

“It’s almost too big — all the Nobel Peace Prize winners voting for you as their Man of Peace. I feel weird.

“It reaffirms the progress made by Live 8 and the Make Poverty History campaign."

Well, certainly the progress towards garnishing Geldof with awards, prizes, and an all-important profile to help get those public speaking engagements can't be denied, can it?

But you might be asking yourself: if this is such a big deal, how come the Man of Peace prize is something I've never heard of, but also has a name that makes it sound like one of those books they include you in and then charge you £250 to buy a copy of ("Men of Destiny, 2005")?

Well, it's not "all the Nobel peace prize winners", for a start - apart from anything, quite often the prize goes to an organisation rather than a person, and not everyone bothers with the foundation anyway. But it is some Nobel winners.

More curiously, though, are the previous winners. In 2003, Roberto Benigni won the prize - coincidentally, the meeting was held in Rome. Last year's winner? Cat Stevens. You might notice there's something of a showbiz theme emerging here. We would suggest that the prize is little more than a cheap way of getting a celeb to attend the Laureate Bash, rather than a real award for hard work, but we're sure Nobel Prize Winners would never be so cyncial.


Janet Jackson naked? Surely not - the usually demure Jackson never appears in public with less than a bloke's hand covering her up. Turns out, though, that a video of her sunbathing nude has turned up online.

The Associated Press helpfully reports "the 40-second clip was shot from bushes near Jackson", and the rest just writes itself, really, doesn't it?

The video has been taken down under the threat of legal action - although the webmaster doesn't say if that came from Janet or the FCC.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Rather happily, Michael Jackson discovered that he wouldn't need quite so many people to appear on his Katrina benefit after he spent some time reworking it and apparently it's being recorded as we speak. It's lucky that he turned out not to need lots of people - because although his people say that there are big names involved, nobody seems to want to go on the record and say who they might be. But certainly the big hitters promised at first - the James Browns and Mary Blige seem to have been replaced with, erm, Ciara and, perhaps, Shirley Caeser.

Probably not ex-Busted bloke James, though. He reports that since it came out he's been having sleepovers with Micko, he's been having a bad time of it:

"I have been spat at and pelted with bottles at gigs. It would seem people think there is something wrong with being Michael's friend."

"Some of the band think it's bad for our image, but I think he's a hugely influential man in music."

And it never did Paul McCartney any harm, working with him. Except for, um, him releasing a couple of stinking singles and taking nearly a decade to find his way back to any sort of form.


Good god, it turns out that not even Britney is taking Kevin Federline's singing career seriously - if you needed a sign the magic was fading there, that would be it:

[In Touch] magazine quotes an insider who claims Federline's songs were "greeted with hurtful laughter from his superstar wife, who was unimpressed".

The insider adds, "She said his debut CD might sell 'a hundred, maybe a thousand' copies if he was lucky... Kevin looked really hurt."

... especially since he'd hoped he could put his wife down for 5,000 for a start.


Justin Hawkins is in a bit of a bad mood - he thinks we're not getting the proper respeck from overseas. In fact, he thinks British music is in a bad way. A very bad way indeed:

"British music is the laughing stock of the world. It's such fucking dreary bullshit. It's such a cliche to say, 'We were so bored of the industry around us that we started our own band!' But it's no coincidence that all our influences are from a long time ago."

We're not sure there's quite the pattern of logic there that he thinks there is - it could be, couldn't it, that Hawkins is just out of touch with modern times? And did The Darkness really form because people are laughing at Coldplay? And isn't the British depress-o-rama unfortunately somewhat popular around the globe?


After a fairly short journey from Badly Drawn Boy's backline to indie band of some distinction ("not much" is still "some", remember), Alfie are calling it a day. Lee Gorton, the singer, announced it:

"So this dream is finally over! Some people think we've been milking it too long anyway but (and call me a fool all you like, many have before), I thought there was good reason to stick it out. Mostly 'cause i thought we were just on the edge of maturing into the really great band i always thought we could one day become...Things may well have worked out differently in other circumstances but there's no blame necessary."


After all this time (and just in time for Christmas), Rufus Wainwright is releasing a "special edition" of his Want One and Want Two in a single package, called Want. (We'd have gone with Still Wanting, ourselves.) Just in case simply putting the two albums into one volume doesn't work to tempt people to buy again, there's going to be a couple of extra tracks - a live cover of Chelsea Hotel No. 2 and Propellerhead-collaboration In With The Ladies.


Possibly a first sign of internet music distributors buckling under the weight of major labels pushing for a price hike, Yahoo is almost doubling the costs of its monthly subscriptions - the US monthly rate is rocketing from $6.99 to $11.99.

So now it's more expensive to buy music you don't actually get to keep.


Now, how are things going? Some of the court cases featuring Michael Jackson have been cleared up - antiques, which were somehow never paid for, returned; jury happy that he never actually touched those children in that way on those occasions; jury service ducked. In fact, with things getting slightly clearer, it seems Jackson got bored and has launched a new lawsuit, countersuing Marc Shaffel; Schaffel is suing Jackson for unpaid loans and the costs of producing two TV sepcials.

Interestingly, Jackson's counterclaim suggests that Schaffel was supposed to pay the costs for the production of What More Can I Give, Jackson's never-seen-the-light fundraiser after September 11th. (Talking of which, how goes the Katrina benefit, Micko?) Meanwhile, Jacko also reckons Schaffel kept a quarter of a millions worth of sculptures and painting that belonged to him. Although we don't know if that's "belonged" in the real sense of the word, or the sense where he's just taken them from a shop and put them in his house.


Like watching those fights which Channel Five dredge up from CCTV footage where you don't care who wins, just so long as they all lose, apparently the "feud" between Simon Cowell and SharAnne Robinsonsbourne has now expanded to include Kelly. Apparently it all kicked off at the National TV Awards yesterday, where Sharon received a prize for turning up, and the 3AM girls cared:

We hear he told Kelly that if Sharon won the award for Most Popular Expert at the National TV Awards, he'd "be disgusted".

A 3am mole tells us: "After Sharon won, Kelly told her what Simon had said and she joked that she'd bring the award to the X Factor studios."

Earlier, Simon had said to Kelly: "What's wrong with you, you're speaking sense for once?" To which Kelly retorted: "Yeah, you thought I had Tourette's, didn't you?" Very grown up, guys.

Hang about... "Most popular expert"? What is Sharon Osbourne an expert on all of a sudden? Has she started a show where she reveals the secret to turning an unlikeable character into a repeatedly-booked celebrity?


What could be better than putting your feet up in front of your broadband-enabled wi-fi home entertainment centre and enjoying footage of Idlewild live from this year's T on The Fringe; part of an apparently ongoing process of stuff appearing on the web from the various T-festival endeavours.


Janet Jackson has reacted snappily to the claims by her never-quite in-laws the Family DeBarge that she and James DeBarge had a kid who got sent off to be brought up in the countryside:

"I do not have a child and all allegations saying so are false."

But then if you'd been lying about it for 18 years, you probably wouldn't go "Ha! Yes, you're right, anyway..."

Question: what do you call the family of someone to whom your marriage was annulled anyway? They're not in-laws, are they?


Ah, the joys of having dupes instead of fans: Robbie Williams is going to charge twenty-five quid for access to most of his website. Yes, if you want to read his blog, you'll have to pay in future. Clearly, charging seventy-five quid for a 'feel' denim jacket isn't keeping Robbie in chianti and king prawns, so he's found anopther way to shake people down. Of course, it's not just money for old ropey - you do get a tshirt "worth £20" when you sign up. (And which must cost all of 32p to make, we'd guess). Although you might not, as there's an asterisk:

* Please note: if stocks of the T-Shirt have run out or the T-Shirt is otherwise unavailable we reserve the right to provide you with a substitute gift of equivalent value and quality. Where possible we will use our reasonable efforts to notify you of any such replacement gift before you subscribe to the Inner Sanctum.

Yeah, "inner sanctum", that's what they're calling it. I know, I know.

For your money, you do also get a chance to watch all the videos he's ever made - promotional clips produced to help sell the singles.

It's not so much the principle here - it's nice to be in a club, and trying to leverage some revenue out of the suckers ("fans") online is probably fair enough, but it's the crap offering and, more shockingly, the price which makes me feel queasy. Since virtually everything in the "sanctum" is designed to make you want to consume more (ticket news, videos you can't download, and so on) it seems a steep price to pay to be advertised to.


Good news for Australian artists: in future, they won't have to work as hard to qualify for entry into the Australian Music Prize. Hitherto, albums have been considered as a body of musical work forty minutes or longer. But, after a slew of protests from musicians who simply don't have the stamina for that sort of work, the organisers have announced analbum is now only 33 and a third minutes long:

Prize director Scott Murphy said in a press release “We’ve made a pretty obvious mistake which we all, particularly me, simply didn’t notice – until I started to receive queries from musicians stating that their ‘albums’ were under 40 minutes…. yet by all other criteria, still albums. After quick email and phone communications over the past week we’ve made the unanimous decision to lower the minimum required minutes of music. We’ll make every effort possible to ensure all musicians know of this change.”

Oddly, there doesn't seem to be any willingness to reduce the retail prices of albums by eight per cent to reflect this new criteria.


The admirable young Arctic Monkeys - you may have read about them in the broadsheet press, using the internets to create a "fanbase" - have made an astonishing pledge: they'll knock it on the head if they show any signs of mutating into Ricky Wilson. (They don't say if they mean any era Wilson, or just the current 'I Was George Best's Stunt Double' version version):

“Most bands these days probably just write lyrics because they sound good without thinking.”

“But I don’t want to be a band like Kaiser Chiefs. I think if we’re next year’s Kaiser Chiefs we’ll quit.”

Of course, what's probably especially galling for Wilson is that he'd probably have given his last kidney to get a number one, while the Monkeys have done it with little more than a Hotmail account and a trendspotting featurette on Mark Lawson's Front Row.


One for each of the girls, and the other two to provide a buffer zone between the three coaches with the girls in them. Yep, Sugababes are off on tour.

At this rate, Keisha's going to be sixty before she gets to launch her solo career. "Every time I think we're out of fashion, they pull me back into the charts again..."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


It's not all shooting people and scampering about to cover-up afterwards being in the Met police. Oh, no, the cops are also busy cancelling rap gigs, slapping a ban on Kano:

A statement issued from Scotland Yard said: "Police wish to bring the following to the notice of ticket holders of the event that was due to be held at La Scala nightclub in Pentonville Road, N1, on Thursday October 27 featuring Kano plus special guests.

"This event has been cancelled and the venue will be shut for the evening."

Concert organisers Metropolis Music have also spoken out about the cancellation, saying: "We have been instructed by the police that we cannot go ahead with the Kano concert at the Scala on Thursday (October 27). The police have acquired intelligence that unsavoury characters intended to cause trouble at the concert. This intelligence was received from Operation Trident."

They added: "The police have stated that this is no reflection on Kano and have had no problems at previous events that he has performed at in London. There are no plans to reschedule the show at this time and customers are advised to obtain a refund at point of purchase."

Operation Trident is the Met operation designed to counter gun crime "amongst London's black communities", apparently.


Bad news for Uli Jon Roth, scorpions guitarist. He's feeling the winds of change blowing now, alright, as he's been declared bankrupt. Apparently, he lives in Wales in a huge half-a-million quid mansion.

Or, rather, he does at the moment. As if having to sell up isn't bad enough, locals don't really think he's a famous rock star, either:

Local resident Elgan Jones, 28, said, "It is right near the beach in a lovely spot, but it is in the middle of nowhere really.

"People know that he lives there and that he is some kind of musician but a lot of people don't really remember The Scorpions do they? Apart from that one song. They were always bigger in Eastern Europe. Perhaps he liked a bit more privacy here in Wales."

Actually, he doesn't think he's a rock star, either. icWales has dug about in the archives and found this:

"The locals don't need to worry about sex and drugs and televisions crashing through windows or anything like that," said Roth.

"Although I have been in a rock band I pride myself on being outside that circle. I may look like a rock star with my long hair and scruffy clothes but I don't behave like one."

And now he won't be able to afford to live like one, either.


It was a year ago today that John Peel died.

In the middle of all the memorialising, there's something genuinely fascinating in today's Times, which lists the records John Peel kept in his special 7" single box:

1. Al Casey - Surfin' Hootenanny + Easy Pickin (PIE INTERNATIONAL) 1963
2. Al Ferrier - I'm Not Drinking More + Don't Play Blue Eyes' (MASTER TRAK) 1980
3. Alan Price Set - I Put a Spell on You (DECCA)
4. Andy Capp - Popatop + Reco - The Lion Speaks (TREASURE ISLAND) 1969
5. Anemic Boyfriends - Guys Are Not Proud + Bad Girls in Love (RED SWEATER RECORDS) 1980
6. Ann Peebles - I can't stand the rain + i've been there before (LONDON) 1972
7. Anti-Social - Traffic lights + teacher, teacher (DYNAMITE RECORDS) 1977
8. Arthur K Adams - Wildwood flower + It's a wild, wild, wild, wild wildwood flower (JETSTAR)
9. Big Stick - Drag racing + Hell on earth (RECESS RECORDS) 1985
10. Bill Oddie - Harry krishna + on ilkla moor baht'at (DANDELION) 1970
11. Boards of Canada - Aquarius + Chinook (SKAM)
12. Bobby Lee Trammell - If you ever get it once + Don't you know I love you (ALLEY RECORDS)
13. Cat Power - Headlights + Darling said sir (THE MAKING OF AMERICANS)
14. Charlie Feathers - Deep elm blues + Nobody's darling' (HOLIDAY INN RECORDS)
15. Charlie Feathers - Nobody's women + When you decide (KING) 2x copies
17. Charlie Feathers - Today and tomorrow + Wild wild party' (MEMPHIS RECORDINGS)
18. Charlie Feathers - Tongue-tied Jill + Get with it' (METEOR RECORDS)
19. Charlie Feathers - When you come around + Too much alike' (KING)
20. Cheeze - Dancin With The Dead - Dancin queen + Direwolf 1989 (BOB RECORDS) 1989
21. Clague - The stride + I wonder where (DANDELION) 1969
22. Clefs of Lavender Hill - Stop! - Get a ticket + First tell me why (DATE)
23. Cleveland Crochet - Sugar bee + Drunkards dream (GOLDBAND)
24. Don Covay - It's better to have + Leave him (MERCURY) 1973
25. Don French - Lonely saturday night + Goldilocks (QUALITY) (LANCER) 2x copies
27. Dreamland Express - Groovy + u.f.o (EMI)
28. Easy Teeth - Car noise + Her blade (DENTAL RECORDS) 1980
29. Eddie & Ernie - I believe she will + We try harder (CHESS) 1984
30. Eddie & Ernie - I'm gonna always love you + Outcast (EASTERN)
31. Eddie & Ernie - Time waits for no one + That's the way it is (EASTERN)
32. Electro Hippies - Mega-armageddon death (STRANGE FRUIT) Peel session
33. Elmore James - The sky is crying + Standing at the crossroads (FLASHBACK RECORDS)
34. Firemen - Old smokie + Louie's theme (LE CAM)
35. Freshmen - You never heard anything like it + Bombing run (RELEASE RECORDS) 1979
36. G L Crockett - It's a man down there + Every hour, every day (4 BROTHERS)
37. G L Crockett - Look out Mabel + Did you ever love somebody (CHECKER)
38. Geater Davis - For your precious love + Wrapped up in you (HOUSE OF ORANGE)
39. Gene Dozier & The United Front - Give the women what they want + The best girl I ever had (MERCURY) 1974
40. Golinski Brothers - Bloody + Toy (BADGE RECORDS) 1980 2x copies
42. Green Hornes - Stayed up last night (ITALY RECORDS)
43. Hooten 3 Car - Danny + Numena (RUMBLESTRIP RECORDS)
44. Idle Race - Here we go round the lemon tree + My father's son (LIBERTY) 45. Izzy Royal - Coronation St (WEA) 1983
46. Jane Bond and The Undercover Men - Hot rod Lincoln + Come on up (EAR MOVIES RECORDS) 1982
47. Jerry Byro - Memories of Maria + Invitation (MONUMENT) 1961 2x copies - different labels
48. Jody Reynolds - Endless sleep + Western movies (LIBERTY)
49. Johnnie Taylor - I've been born again + At night time (STAX) 1974
50. Johnny Adams - You're a lady + I wish it would rain (ATLANTIC) 1972
51. Johnny Fortune - Dragster + Soul surfer (SONET) 1964
52. Ken Colyers Jazzmen (TEMPO RECORDS) 1953
53. La Peste - Black + Better off dead (BLACK RECORDS) 1978
54. Larry Bright - Mojo workout + I'll change my ways (TIDE)
55. Laurie Anderson - O Superman + Walk the dog (ONE TEN RECORDS) 1981
56. Lee Perry - Bafflin' smoke signal + Black smoke signal (BLACK ARC) 1978
57. Lightnin Hopkins - Mojo hand + Glory be (FLASHBACK RECORDS)
58. Marc Bolan - Marc Bolan talking to Stevie Dixon, 1973. Jennifer Sharp, Steve Harley & John Peel talking to Stevie Dixon 1977. (CUBE/PYE RECORDS)
59. Mary Monday - I gave my punk jacket to Richie + Popgun (MALICIOUS PRODUCTIONS)
60. Max Romeo - Sipple out deh' Lee Perry + Revelation (UPSETTER)
61. MC5 - Looking at you + Borderline (A-SQUARE RECORDS) 2x copies
63. Medicine Head - Coast to coast + All for tomorrow (DANDELION) 1970
64. Medicine Head - His guiding hand + This love of old (DANDELION) 1969 2x copies
66. Mel and Tim - Starting all over again + It hurts to want it so bad (STAX) 1972
67. Meow - Kat nip + One night stand + Anthem + Kill kill kill + Catastrophe + Boy groupies (TWIST LIKE THIS RECORDS)
68. Mickey Lee Lane - Tuitti Fruitti + With your love (MALA)
69. Mike Spencer and the Cannibals - Good guys + Nothing takes the place of you (BIG COCK RECORDS)
70. Nice - The thoughts of Emerlist Davjack (IMMEDIATE)
71. Nilsson - Everybody's talkin' (RCA)
72. Nilsson - Kojak Columbo (RCA)
73. Nilsson - Without you (RCA)
74. O V Wright - That's how strong my love is + There goes my used to be (GOLDWAX)
75. Paul Blake & The Blood Fire Posse - Every posse get flat + Flat out (STUDIO WORK) 1984
76. Paul Revere & The Raiders - Him or me - what's it gonna be? + Legend of Paul Revere (CBS) 1967
77. Pavement - Demolition Plot J-7 (DRAG CITY) 1990
78. Pocket Fishrmen (sic) - Yr story + The leader is burning (NOISEVILLE) 1989
79. Quads - You've gotta jive + There must be thousands (BIG BEAR RECORDS) 1979
80. Ray Martin - Blue tango + Bell of the ball (COLUMBIA) 81. Revelino - Step on high (MUSIDISC)
82. Rod Bernard - This should go on forever
83. Roshell Anderson - The grapevine will lie sometimes + Such a beautiful thing (CONTEMPO) 1974
84. Roy Head - Treat her right + So long, my love (VOCALION) 1965
85. Sam & Dave - I can't stand up for falling down + Soothe me (STAX)
86. Sasha Caro - Grade 3 section 2 + Little maid's song (DECCA) 1967
87. Scrugg - Will the real Geraldine please stand up and be countered + Only George' (PIE) 1969
88. Sheena Easton - 9 to 5 + Moody (EMI) 1980 2x Copies
90. Sipho Bhengu - Tickey dopies + I saluti (INKONKONI) 1971
91. Soledad Brothers - Sugar & spice + Johnny's death letter, with Jack White (ITALY RECORDS)
92. Some Chicken - New religion + Blood on the wall (RAW RECORDS) 1977 2x copies
94. Spit Out - O from I + Tan + Rot'n'roll' (MA FROG RECORDS) 1996
95. Stanley Winston - No more ghettos in America + It's alright (JEWEL)
96. Status Quo - Down down (VERTIGO) 1974
97. Super Sister - No tree will grow + She was naked (DANDELION) 1971
98. The Beatles - Come together + Octopus's garden + Something (foreign pressing, country unknown)
99. The Big Three - You've gotta keep her under hand + If you ever change your mind (DECCA) 1964
100. The Buzzcocks -­ Ever fallen in love (UNITED ARTISTS) 1978
101. The Factory - Path through the forest + Gone (MGM) 1968
102. The Galactic Symposium - Y.M.C.A + Money (VAGUE RECORDS) 1978
103. The Legion of Super-Heroes - The great name dropper part 1 + The great name dropper part 2 (AMY RECORDS)
104. The Mark Four - Hurt me if you will + I'm leaving (DECCA) 1965
105. The Mighty Avengers - So much in love + Something they say (DECCA) 1964
106. The Misunderstood - I can take you to the sun + Who do you love (FONTANA) 1966
107. The Move - I can hear the grass grow + Wave the flag and stop the train (DERAM) 1967
108. The Negatives - Love is not real + Stakeout (LOOK) 1979
109. The Nightcaps - Wine wine wine + Nightcap rock (MUSICOR)
110. The Ramrods - Zig zag + Riders in the sky (LONDON AMERICAN) 1960
111. The Smoke - My friend Jack + We can take it (COLUMBIA) 1966
112. The Squirrels - Oz on 45 + Alone again (POPLLAMA PROD) 1988
113. The Undertones ­- Teenage kicks (GOOD VIBRATIONS RECORDS) 1978 3x copies
116. The Upholsterers - Makers of high grade suites (SYMPATHY FOR THE RECORD INDUSTRY)
117. The Upsetters - Bucky skank + Yucky skank (DOWN TOWN)
118. The Upsetters - Key card + Domino game (DL INTERNATIONAL)
119. The Users - Sick on you + I'm in love with today (RAW RECORDS) 1977 2x copies
121. The Versalites - Cutting rasor + Black belt Jones (DL INTERNATIONAL) 122. The White Stripes - Lafayette blues + Sugar never tasted so good (ITALY Records)
123. The White Stripes - Party of special things to do + China pig + Ashtray heart (SUB POP)
124. The White Stripes ­- Merry Christmas from.... (XL)
125. The White Stripes - It takes two, baby + Fell in love with a girl (SYMPATHY FOR THE RECORD COMPANY)
126. The White Stripes -­ Dead leaves and the dirty ground (XL) 2001
127. The White Stripes - Hand springs (EXTRA BALL RECORDS)
128. The White Stripes - Hotel Yorba (XL) 2001
129. The White Stripes - Lord, send me an angel (SYMPATHY FOR THE RECORD INDUSTRY) 2x copies
131. The White Stripes - Hello operator + Jolene (SYMPATHY FOR THE RECORD INDUSTRY) 2000
132. The White Stripes - The big three killed my baby (SYMPATHY FOR THE RECORD INDUSTRY) 2x copies
134. The Henchmen featuring Jack White - Some other guy + Psycho daisies (ITALY RECORDS)
135. 2 Star Tabernacle - Ramblin man' (BLOODSHOT RECORDS) 1998 cover photo by Jack White
136. The Wildbunch - Danger - Jack White backing vocals (FLYING BOMB)
137. Surprise Package vol 2 featuring White Stripes, Rocket 455 and the Blowtops (FLYING BOMB)
138. Surprise Package vol 3 featuring The Real Pills, MHz, The Dirtbombs (FLYING BOMB)
139. Travis Wammack - Fire fly + Scratchy (ARA) 140. XL-Capris - My city of Sydney + Dead bugies (AXLE)
141. Yami Bolo - Richer than Cory (JAMAICA INTERNATIONAL)
142. Yardbirds - Happenings ten years time ago + Psycho diaries (COLUMBIA) 1966

We can't help but feel that the presence of so many White Stripes records in there demonstrates this is a bit of a work (sadly no longer) in progress, as we 're not sure all of those would stand the test of time the way Sheena Easton has.

Meanwhile, Radio 4 is currently offering extracts from the Peel autobiography - we don't know if it was deliberate that Sheila's bits first appeared today, but to suddenly have her words (if not her voice) cut in during the programme on the anniversary was enough to set us sniffling. Actually, it was also a bit of a relief: we like Michael Angelis, who's reading the Peel parts, enough, but he seems to be using exactly the same voice he used when he took over from Ringo Starr on Thomas The Tank Engine. There's enough tape of Peel floating about; surely Angelis knows that he didn't speak as if he was coming across the words for the first time? He sounds like Peel's Archers appearance, only being reworked by an uncertain guest on Just A Minute. It. Can. Be. Quite. Distracting.

Still, Peel in his and his wife's own words is never a disappointment; 9.45 every morning this week on Radio 4, and through Listen Again too, of course. (On Listen Again, look for Book of the Week as, for some reason, the webteam seem reluctant to ever say exactly what the book is.)


The ever upwards climb of Franz Ferdinand takes them ever further onwards - onto Manhattan, onto meetings with David Bowie, and into the pages of Hello! .

Hello appear to have some sort of special access to the band - for how else could they come up with this sort of detail:

The Glaswegian quartet, who have stormed the US charts with their second album You Could Have It So Much Better, were photographed soaking up the bright lights of the metropolis in between concerts. And they were welcomed by one of its most iconic residents, London-born David Bowie, when they performed at the famous Madison Square Garden venue.

Given that he has been living in New York for well over 20 years, David no doubt had plenty of tips on the best places to eat and hang out. Most of his adopted home's main attractions will already have been known to the band, however, as the sights of Manhattan are famous the world over.

Anyone paying a visit to the island would head for the legendary Statue of Liberty, while a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge offers some stunning views of the city's skyline. The Empire State Building is another must-see, along with the buzzing billboards of Times Square and the awe-inspiring arches of Grand Central Station.

A stroll through Central Park meanwhile makes for an idyllic way to wind down after an afternoon on the tourist trail, but those who prefer to indulge in a little retail therapy may prefer to take advantage of the unparalleled shopping opportunities that fill the surrounding streets.

... hang about, that's two lines from a press release and a big chunk copied from the DK Eyewitness Guide to New York, isn't it?

Blimey! Somebody has already rushed out a whole BOOK about their adventures.


There's an all-new filesharing service in town: iMesh. Yes, of course, iMesh isn't exactly new, but with the company having lashed out $4.1million to settle a lawsuit lastyear, it's different. It's now got a widget in which will let users legally acquire songs. If they pay:

The service offers access to 17 million music files. About 15 million will be available for free because copyright holders have not asked iMesh to block them.

Users of iMesh can now legally access songs through the Gnutella network, where musicians and others post music for free sharing. In addition, songs can be bought from the four major music conglomerates.

We're not sure quite how the 15 million free tracks come to be free - isn't going "well, nobody asked us to block them" a little weak as a justification? And yet the RIAA - in the person of Mitch Bainwol - seems happy to endorse iMesh:

Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, said iMesh is another example of the growing online marketplace that respects the rights of musicians, songwriters, record labels and others.

"It is a significant moment in the transformation of the peer-to-peer model," he said.

Presumably the owners of the fifteen million tracks that fall into the grey area wouldn't feel that having their CDs shoplifted was a crime, either. Since they don't print "Please ensure you pay for this record at the checkout desk" on the CD box. Or maybe the RIAA isn't quite as strict as it likes to pretend.

How much, you may be wondering, does it cost to download from Gnutella? Since the files aren't held on a central server, and there are no cost implications for labels to either store or distribute downloads these ways - indeed, since its the consumers who pay those costs on the label's behalf - you'd expect this way of buying music to be cheaper, wouldn't you?

Nope. 99c. No wonder the RIAA are happy to gloss over the dubious end of this business - their members will be coining it.


It looks like DMX could be heading for jail when he returns to court on November 17th; the rapper-turned-actor-though-not-very-much had been caught making further traffic violations while under a conditional discharge for his whole crashing into a gate and pretending to be a cop business. It could be two months inside.

Back in 2002, DMX admitted cruelty to animals after police found thirteen pit bulls the worse for wear at his home.


They're plastic, they're tiny, and you can pose them however you want. Yes, they're Girls Aloud, and now they're being turned into dolls, as well.

No, they're not anatomically correct. Well, as far as we know - I suppose it's possible that Nicola is all smooth and moulded down there in real life. We're raising a curious eyebrow at the target market, though:

Aimed at girls aged six to seven they'll cost £7.99 each.

Apart from being a hugely segmented tiny market, Girls Aloud... six year old girls... hmmm.


Presumably, this is some sort of post-modern joke: The Stone Roses are releasing a new single on Monday. This one:

Sally Cinnamon. We're not joking; check Amazon if you don't believe us

Obviously, it was a great single and its chart position - 46 - was harsh even during the more difficult chart conditions back in 1987. But... why now? It's not even an anniversary divisible by ten.

If it goes Top Ten, wonder if they'll get the band on Top of the Pops?


Taking time off from his tour of multi-thousand dollar speaking engagements, Bob Geldof has tried to keep the spin of the success of Live 8 going (presumably to help sales of the book and the DVD, some of the money of which will actually make it to Africa). Nice choice of imagery, too, Bob:

Bob Geldof has warned politicians that Live 8 was a "devastating bomb" which will encourage the youngsters of today fight for what is right.

What the world needs now is a few more bombs, Bob. Wonderfully, he doesn't conclude that Live8 has taught a very different lesson: that activism requires little more than listening to an Elton John song or two and applauding; or else that you put your faith in a charismatic leader who promises change, only to discover the changes they deliver are in their lecture tour rates.

"It wasn't the blinking of an eye - it was a devastating bomb.

"The effect forever on the economic life of Africa is there.

"The aid agencies are now marketing the young like big companies because the agencies truly understand."

There is much about this that just leaves me wanting to sob and sob. It's a victory that campaigns for social justice have to be treated like they're a campaign for Dairylea Dunkers? That the future is so bleak Bob believes the only way of engaging people in the suffering of others is by getting Bono and Macca to do something from the Beatles back catalogue?

And how does an aid agency work like a big companies' marketing campaign anyway? Wouldn't something like that lead to a situation where things that don't fit with the big message get dropped off the stage? You know, imagine a situation where thousands are starving to death in Niger while a bunch of celebs hold the world's attention calling for justice for Africa, but not a soul mentions that immediate humanitarian disaster because the PR team don't want to confuse the message by mentioning specific cases.

Big bomb? That's one word for it, Bob.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Interesting choice of director for the World Cup entertainments - FIFA have invited Peter Gabriel to organise the opening ceremony.

Ominously, Gabriel promises "some crazy ideas." That's the best argument for avoiding the first match we can think of.


Or so she'd like us to believe. Madonna has been telling the world about what a questioning attitude she brings to religion:

"The rules [of her Christian home] didn't make sense. The rules didn't give any answers, so I was being rebellious for no particular reason.

"I reject the attitude of any religious organisation that does not encourage you to ask questions and do your own exploration."

Odd, that. Not simply because she claimed last week to know absolutely nothing about the rabbi who founded the school of thought upon which the form of Kabbalah she follows is based - not very much exploration shown there, then - but also there's the wider question of just how far the celeb-endorsed Kabbalah encourages its followers to actually ask questions at all - David Rowan reported in The Times "that volunteer workers were warned that the "dark forces" would bring them personal tragedy if they ever left. Other former insiders allege that they were told to abandon unsupportive partners or families at the centre's behest. " Indeed, when Rowan asked some direct questions of the Kabbalah Centre, they decided to not answer directly, but just issued a statement instead.

Presumably, though, Madonna has more success in getting her questions answered - although her questions seem to be more along the lines of "how much more would you like?" and "do you need to have any PR done today?"


Interestingly, Damon reckons that the day Graham Coxon went "bugger this" and walked out of Blur, the band died. He was, however, happy to drag the corpse about for a bit, even although it was hollow:

"I got sick of the ritual of performing. I never really liked the last Blur tour. I hated playing the old material. I just found that really depressing without Graham.

"It was a painful experience to play songs that belonged to a band where one member was missing."

Oddly enough, he recently announced the band would be returning to live action. We're picturing some sort of bizarre re-animation technique, like the one Dawn used to resurrect Joyce...


Whatever happened to The Rest of Texas? There used to be a band called Texas, once, with people in it. Blokes - possibly seven or eight of them, certainly hairy ones. Nowadays, though, the band seems to have shrunk to Sharleen Spiteri, and usually only her from the shoulders up. Anyway, she's been excitedly sticking up for her big pal Madonna:

"I know Madonna, she's a lovely lady. She's someone that I really respect," said Sharleen. "She's astounding. It's very hard to be a woman in the music industry and to keep it going for that length of time and to still be making good music – which is what she's doing, it's amazing.

Yes, she's the only woman who's managed to keep it going that long. Apart from Debbie Harry, of course. And Siouxsie. Dolly Parton, Kate Bush, Neko Case and Kate Pierson. Alison Moyet, too, of course. And PJ Harvey. And... well, so on. Of course, it's not quite the same, of course, as none of them have been reduced to doing a cover of American Pie just yet.


Police investigating the shooting of Cam'ron the other night are rumoured to be thinking it might not have been a carjacking; they're working on the theory Cam'ron rather than the car. Cam'ron and his people are continuing to claim it was an attempted carjacking; apparently at the time of the incident the rapper was wearing jewellery worth a fifth of a million dollars. Which would be a little overdressed for a French Empress on a Sunday night downtown.


Carrie Brownstein has developed an unexplained allergy which has dumped her into hospital twice, which means Sleater-Kinney have called off their European tour:

"[Brownstein's] doctor has advised that she not travel/tour for prolonged periods of time until the condition stabilizes and further tests are conducted," reads a statement from Sleater-Kinney. "The band apologizes to all the people that this cancellation affects."

Chance are the tour will be rolled back to next spring - assuming the allergy gets nailed down.


We're starting to think that Lee Ryan may just be having us on - surely only a man with a team of scriptwriters would be able to so constantly supply such a range of just, frankly, bizarre pronouncements. Today's contribution:

"I don't think much of that 50 Cent lot. I met him recently and he's not really that tough. Not tough at all."

"They don't scare me, they want to come down my area...then they'll see what rough really is."

"That 50 Cent lot" - what is he, Alf Tupper or something?


Pete Doherty's first love was football, not music, and his passion was for Queens Park Rangers. Now he's returning to that love, writing a song that he's offered to the team to use when they win the FA Cup. They've got a while to decide if they want it, then, although... it's possible the sub-I Ludicrious lyrics might make the decision quite simple:

I'll be, I'll be there
And just before I hit the bar
With the ghost of Rodney Marsh in his pre-smug pundit days
Before he sold Rangers down the Swanee
With Gerry Francis's offshore money
It's a toss-up between Mick Jones
And a consortium from the Middle Eastern equivalent of Barrett Homes
I'll be, I'll be there
With blue and white ticker tape in my hair
Up the Rs
Up the Rs
Up the Rs
What a life on Mars

If Byron was alive today, he'd be writing football anthems. But they'd be better.


Despite not exactly having set the bar especially high to begin with, even Chris Martin seems to have accepted that Coldplay lyrics have sunk from "they were all yellow" and could do with some improving:

"One thing we're working on is our lyrics. They're about to get brilliant.

"I don't want to go on about what we're about to do but we're about to get a lot better and part of that is lyrically."

That sounds exciting, doesn't it? We're taking this as a pledge that they're now going to pull out all the stops to ensure that in future, they'll never release any song with less than three-quartered arsed lyrics.

Chris, certainly, is excited:

"I can't sleep at the moment, cos we're working on new stuff."

That accounts for why Paltrow has wound up up the pole again.


Apart from the whole creepy grown man under suspicion of being overfond of small children announcing that he thinks he's okay to have complete stranger's kids sleeping in his bed, one of the most memorable parts of Martin Bashir's Living With Michael Jackson freakarama was the bit where jacko went shopping.

Not being like other people, Jacko's approach to purchasing was to spot something - usually something horrible - and then to summon an assitant with a "woo-hoo" to have the item placed in his car. The shop assumes that someone from Jackson's people will be round to settle up later. But sometimes, nobody comes. He pulled this stunt in May last year.

Now, after all this time, and reluctantly, Jacko's people have returned the antiques he'd scooped into his safe keeping.

While he's working through his returned goods, does anyone know how to get a dove back into a box?


We have a friend who is one of those vegetarians who eats fish and, if presented with the option, would also eat duck on the grounds that it behaves like a fish. At least there's a degree of logic at play there; PETA's sexiest vegetarian Chris Martin apparently eats duck because he can't tell the difference between a cabbage and a bird:

"I sometimes eat things that have been alive, which doesn't really make me a vegetarian. And sometimes I eat things that have breathed just out of spite. I ate some duck the other day by mistake. I thought it was cabbage - that's food colouring for you."

Although, Chris, even vegans and fruitarians eat things that have "been alive", as cutting anything that ever lived out of your diet would even stop you from eating chalk...


No sooner was John Harris fretting about how hard Ricky Wilson was pushing himself in pursuit of fame than he's collapsing after a gig. Apparently he collapsed down after the Birmingham Academy date on Sunday night. Calm down, young man.


There's an inevitability about it: sooner or later, he would replace his metaphorical willy-waving with some genuine willy-waving. The Sun are excited that he's released his naked snaps and are running a picture of Robbie Williams naked. Although, being a family paper - stop giggling at the back - they've preserved his dign... oh, hang about, it's Williams, so there isn't any dignity, is there? They've covered his cock up with a picture of the sleeve of Intensive Care. Apparently it must be available on Minidisc.

More bemusingly, the Sun says:

We have preserved his modesty with the cover for his new album — Intensive Care.

But MP3 videorecorder users can download the uncensored clip.

Can anyone explain what an "MP3 videorecorder" is?

Monday, October 24, 2005


Bobby Womack appears to have - perhaps unwittingly - ruined a bloke's life. Mark Cronton wrote a song back in 1985 while he was a member of largely forgotten souse band 2am. He was surprised to discover pretty much the same song turn up on a 1992 Bobby Womack album. The name of the song had been changed, but the high Court agreed that Womack had lifted the track from Cronton, and ordered a £57,000 payment. Trouble is, Womack hasn't put his hand in his pocket to pay up, and so if Cronton wants to see any of the cash, he's going to have to sue the man all over again, this time in America.

Only he doesn't have the cash to do that, and his pursuit of his money this far has left him with a broken marriage and, says Cronton, "every aspect of my life has been affected by fighting for what I deserve."

It's curious that the RIAA is happy to pursue kids for a few ill-gotten downloads - in the name of ensuring artists get their fair rewards, of course - and yet seem unwilling or unable to get involved in cases like this. Surely, what with their belief in justice, they should be able to ensure that any artist who has an outstanding judgement against them in a court in one territory should be forced to make good that payment before they receive their royalties in another? Or is that guff about caring about artist's copyrights a thin veneer they use to try and justify corporate greed?

Rhetorical question.


If Lee Ryan had his time over again, he'd like to come back as a big, false tit. Some might say that since that's working out so well for him this time round, it's no surprise he doesn't want to try something different, but his actual desire is to be one of Pamela Anderson's breasts. His exact words:

"If I could come back as anything I'd be Pamela Anderson's thrupenny bits. That would be heaven."

Now, even without the wilder aspects of this pronouncement, the idea that any form of reincarnation being heaven throws up a theological question which could probably lead a Pope to tears. But trying to dig a little deeper into what the hell he means seems to be the sort of endeavour that would lead you to wind up living in a cave writing mathematical formulae on the walls. What on earth would be the advantage of being Pamela Anderson's breasts, unless the possibilty that you might one day get Tommy Lee's cock shoved deeply into you is in any way attractive? And how would reincarnation as breasts on a living woman actually, you know, work? And what sort of person calls breasts "thrupenny bits"? Especially about thirty years after the three penny piece went out of circulation? Is Lee Ryan actually Albert Tatlock reincarnated?

Meanwhile, he's also told us about his fellow Blue mate's cocks:

"I'd compare Simon's genitalia to broccoli and Duncan's to, well, a marrow."

We'd need more details than this - would that be purple sprouting broccoli? And what size of a marrow? And why are you telling us?


The death has been announced of Simon Hobart, the club owner who first offered hope to young gay, lesbian and bisexual indie kids that they might be able to go clubbing and not have to dance to, well, dance.

Hobart's Popstarz was one of two indie gay nights started in London in 1995, alongside the equally well-regarded, but more shambolic Vaseline night. While Vaseline transmuted into the less-litigational Club V and concentrated on the messier side of indie and the fanzine culture, Popstarz concentrated more on creating a successful business, albeit one with a commitment to offering an alternative to what Simon described as "factory-farms stereotyped, mindless, blinkered gay people” churned out by other clubs." Hobart recognised that there was a massive unsatisfied market of gay and bi people who wanted to dance with their fringes over their eyes instead of their shirts off their backs. “The feeling was that gay people had been liberated from the hell that they’d been in for most of their teen to adult lives,” he said. “So many people said to me it was like coming out of the closet for the second time.”

The success of Popstarz led to a sudden blossoming of other non-straight indie club nights around the country, most notably in the form of Poptastic, although the lack of a large geographic catchment area meant a lot of the original bright-eyed provincial nights started to water down their indie policy: first Kylie would edge out the Mudhoney; then Sonia would start to take over from the Kenickie, until at some nights it could be difficult to remember you'd turned up on the promise of an alternative. Actually, that's not so very different from most straight indie nights, now we come to think of it. But the slow slide to mainstream was, largely, resisted by Hobart.

Hobart moved from promotion to club owning in the late 90s, with the purchase of the Ghetto Club, and the more recent Trash Palace.

Simon, who was 41, was found dead outside his his home in the early hours of Sunday morning. The exact cause of death has yet to be determined, and although it's not thought to be suspicious, police are requesting anyone who can shed light on the circumstances call Crimestoppers in 0800 555111.


The Arctic Monkeys were fretting last week that they might be spoiled by scoring the number one spot so early on in their careers; and if they were worried it might mean they attracted an intolerant cd:uk type of crowd who aren't really interested in anything more than The Song JK and Joel Have Played Them, it looks like they could have been right. During their gig at Liverpool Barfly, the audience weren't especially warm towards support act Test Icicles, rapidly turning from uninterest to hostility, reports Gigwise:

Shortly after Test Icicles played recent single ‘Circle. Square. Triangle’, large sections of the crowd turned hostile and started booing the electro-punk trio.

Plastic beer glasses were thrown towards the stage, and the antagonism grew and mass cries of “you’re fucking shit” were heard when the band were forced to cut short the set due to a technical hitch on ‘Boa vs. Python’.

Guitarist and singer with the band Devonte Hynez reacted to the hostilities by saying “Yeah, we’re shit.”

Clearly dejected, the band left the stage after playing a mere five song set.

There's nothing like the influx of the Top 40 fans...