Saturday, November 05, 2005


Everybody's favourite arch-drude Julian Cope is going to be off touring this coming February:

13th Cambridge Junction
14th Oxford Zodiac
15th Bournemouth Opera House
16th Camden KoKo
18th Nottingham Rescue Rooms
19th Wolverhampton Wulfren Hall
20th Bristol Academy
22nd Newcastle Northumbria University
23rd Leeds Poly
24th Manchester Academy 2
25th Glasgow QMU

If you trace this route on a map of the country, it draws a massive crab with a sock on its right claw.

Talking of Cope, isn't it a scandal that the only way of getting hold of Everybody Wants To Shag The Teardrop Explodes is to get it on import?


The slightly shabby hucksterism of Mariah carey's label in waiting until demand starts to slow for her Emancipation of Mimi album before magically re-releasing it with a few extra tracks they just found lying about isn't really disguised by calling it the "Ultra Platinum Edition". Antonio Reid does, more or less, admit that it's about flogging the same album to the same schmucks who've already bought it:

"We came up with a couple of songs that I wanted to put out," says Antonio "LA" Reid, chairman of Carey's label, Island Def Jam. "My idea was to continue to create demand for the music."

We suggest that if you bought the first version of the album, you should return it for an upgrade to the new one, since you were sold an incomplete version. Go on, just try it.


The trouble about the resurfacing of Beach Boy internal warring over Brian Wilson's Smile excursion is... well, it's really hard to care overmuch, isn't it? Mike Love has filed some court papers:

Love accused Wilson, his cousin, of promoting the 2004 release of Smile in a way that "shamelessly misappropriated Mike Love's songs, likeness and the Beach Boys trademark, as well as the Smile album itself".

Love, the Beach Boys' lead singer and the owner of the name of the band, is seeking millions of dollars in damages.

There is something more interesting than old men bearing grudges here: in the middle of all the moaning about Wilson's recent activities, Love has included a complaint about the Mail on Sunday giveaway of a Beach Boys compilation. He reckons the 2.6million copies distributed with the MoS cost sales of paid-for Beach Boys compilations. (How many of the Mail On Sunday's readership who hadn't already bought a Beach Boys best of who were stayed from their plans to go down the shops is hugely debateable - a readership who still largely believe the Falklands War isnt over aren't the most obvious Beach Boys audience, surely?)

But don't run away with idea that it's all personal or anything:

"Mike has a lot of affection for Brian and they have a good relationship and cordial relations," said Love's lawyer, Phil Stillman. "There's obviously some problem with the way Brian's [associates] have promoted the albums. They remain family and the co-founders of a very important band in rock'n'roll history."

In other words: you might be family, but this is business. It's a little like the Mitchell brothers.


It would take a man with an icy heart to want to suggest that a music awards show might need to have a bit of a rethink, and nobody would suggest there's anything inherently wrong with the idea behind the UMAs ("born out of the need to build a worldwide and independent awards ceremony to recognise the achievement of British based artists, producers, club nights, dj’s , radio stations, record labels and artist that are or were previously underground and are a product of the current UK Underground Dance/Urban music scene."). Or to even go "erm... isn't that what the MOBOs are supposed to do?"

But holding it the day after the MTV EMAs and the Latin Grammys is a little like putting on your car boot sale the day the church runs the village fete; it needn't be a disaster, but you're going to have to have a certain confidence to pull it off.

Giving Heather Small the "thank god you're here" prize ("lifetime achievement" - that's two songs, then?) isn't a sign of much confidence. Craig David also got an "outstanding achievement" prize (presumably the achievement being having a career that's been kept alive solely by a man wearing a big rubber mask pretending he has no bladder control), while the reggae, drum and bass and jazz prizes (Maxi Priest, Roni Size and Courtney Pine) could have been awarded to exactly the same acts at any point over pretty much most of the last decade. There's nothing wrong with saying that Courtney Pine is the best British Jazz Artist, but that doesn't really suggest that British jazz is in the best of health.

Oh, and any music awards which include a prize for "best entrepreneur" (Marcus Miller) should probably be closed down straight away. Until Marketing Week introduces an annual prize for 'best single', there's no place for having businessmen in a celebration of music.

Also getting prizes:
Best DJ - Ras Kwame
Best newcomer - Sway Desafo
Best hip-hop - Skinny Man
Best album - Roll Deep - In At The Deep End
Best garage - Lethal B
Best chart act - Raghav
Best album - Jamelia - Thank You


He's not gay, of course, but can you believe that he doesn't have a really long line of hugely satisfied female lovers under his belt - or, indeed, anywhere near his belt? Those stories are, well, just not true. Yes, at the MTV Awards, Robbie was doing his Uriah Heap act (we imagine he'll be back to Sherman McCoy in a few days):

"All those newspaper stories about me sleeping with people who say that I was amazing and went for three hours... well, they aren't true.

"These people only do that so I won't sue them - and it works. I won't sue if I get a good write-up. It's as simple as that. The truth is I'm not very good at it... but I'm willing to learn."

Aw, isn't he just adorable, what with his self-deprecating put-downs? Godblesshim. Perhaps we ought to send him Dannii and a whip.


Shortly after leaving Hear'Say, Myleene Klass announced her plans to reinvent herself as a classical musician, to bring the life-affirming joy of oldschool music into the lives of millions. That didn't quite work, so now she's signed a deal to bring the scientific advantages of a pantyliner which comes with a moist wipe in the same package into the lives of pre-menopausal women. Now, it might not be, perhaps, the most stretching of new jobs, but Victoria Newton's reaction borders on the psychotic. It's not the advertising, it's what it's for:

ENOUGH is enough. MYLEENE NO-KLASS has already “starred” in my campaign – Shameless – to out C-listers who’ll do any tacky stunt to line their pockets.

Now here she is – the girl who posed with puppies to flog computer games – pictured cuddling up to er, feminine products.

Not feminine products, Victoria? Surely not? Not with menstrual blood being such a disgusting, disgusting thing? Is your column being ghost written by a thirteen year old boy these days? Does poor Victoria have a fit of the vapours when she takes a wrong turn in Boots and comes face-to-face with the Tampax aisle?*


Let's leave hanging Dannii Minogue's slightly desperate "ooh, I want a whip for my birthday, aren't I pushing at the boundaries of normal sexuality, even although my idea of doing that is shopping at a polite high street store and I apparently only get the thrill from telling people about it" to one side, and just speculate on what she thinks about the size of cocks:

When asked if she had ever encountered any tiddlers, she said: "Yeah, it's scary! You just have to run for your life when that happens - just get out that door... or throw them out!"

Pssst... Dannii, you've got it the wrong way round, sweetheart. A small man is disappointing (although you need to check that it's not simply a collapsing umbrella); it's the huge ones which are scary.


Star 107.9FM in Gloucestershire (we don't know their slogan, but we'll guess it's "Today's Modern Music Mix") organised a big bonfire party to show their support for James I's no-nonsense response to Fundamentalist Catholic Terrorism and, being slightly less well-funded than some other radio networks, couldn't run to a big star. So they hired David Williams, the bloke who was Robbie on Stars In Their Eyes.

Sadly, he proved to be a little too accurate, swore his head off and upset the children. (Although, in 2005, we suspect it would take a little more than someone saying 'it's fucking raining' to destroy the bright lights of hope that shine in a young child's eyes.)

Friday, November 04, 2005


Following on from our piece on the Ofcom raids yesterday, Matt T got in touch to bring a feature on last night's PM programme to our attention. The BBC accompanied the police and ofcom on a raid (which, disappointingly for the package, turned up no evidence of wrongdoing, apart from the apparent lack of a warrant shown to the premise's owner before the raid) during the course of which, an Ofcom spokesperson said that "he believed" drug dealers were being told when to pick up their stash by pirate stations playing certain songs at certain times.

Yes, that's exactly what he said [mp3 download - right click and save as]

Presumably it's more fun to do that than the slightly more-reliable use of pay-and-go untraceable mobiles, even although there's a danger the dealer might not realise it was the Boom Boom Boy remix he was listening to, sending him to Chippenham instead of Beckenham.

We expect the guys who sell guns use semaphore and whistling to direct their customers to the drop-off points.


Seriously, you'd have to assume that being at the Latin Grammys would have been a whole heap more fun than watching Ali G (sorry, "Borat") make producer-approved/pr-approved jokes about how Madonna is a transvestite. They've got a best Tropical Song category, dammit. For what it's worth, these are the winners:

Record: Tu No Tienes Alma by Alejandro Sanz.

Album: Cantando Historias by Ivan Lins.

Urban album: Barrio Fino by Daddy Yankee.

Rock song: Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor by Juanes.

Song: Tu No Tienes Alma by Alejandro Sanz.

Grupero album: Two winners: Loca de Amar by Ana Barbara and Para el Pueblo by Oscar de la Rosa y la Mafia.

Male pop album: Todo el Ano by Obie Bermudez.

Regional Mexican song: Aire by Intocable.

New artist: Bebe for album Malo.

Tropical song: Las Avispas by Juan Luis Guerra.

Banda album: En Vivo by Banda el Recodo de Cruz Lizarraga.

Norteno album: Diez by Intocable.

Music video: Volverte a Ver by Juanes.

Female pop album: Escucha Laura Pausini.

The following awards were presented before Thursday's night telecast:

Christian album (Portuguese language): Deixa O Teu Rio Me Levar - Ao Vivo, Soraya Moraes.

Brazilian contemporary pop album: Incite, Lenine.

Brazilian rock album: Tamo Ai Na Atividade, Charlie Brown Jr.

Samba/pagode: Brasilatinidade, Martinho da Vila.

MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira): Cantando Historias, Ivan Lins.

Romantic music: Pra Sempre Ao Vivo No Pacaembu, Roberto Carlos.

Brazilian roots/Regional Album: MTV Ao Vivo, Ivete Sangalo.

Brazilian song (Portuguese language): Ninguem Faz Ideia, Lenine & Ivan Santos, songwriters (Lenine, artist).

Folk album: One Blood Una Sangre, Lila Downs.

Tango album: Bajo Cero, Pablo Ziegler, Quique Sinesi & Walter Castro.

Flamenco album: Aguadulce, Tomatito.

Latin jazz album: Bebo De Cuba, Bebo Valdes.

Christian album (Spanish language): Para Ti, Juan Luis Guerra.

Latin children's album: Lina Luna, Lina Luna.

Classical album: Riberas, Cuarteto De Cuerdas Buenos Aires & Paquito D'Rivera (Andrea Merenzon, producer).

Salsa album: Valio La Pena, Marc Anthony.

Merengue album: Saborealo, Elvis Crespo.

Contemporary tropical album: El Rock De Mi Pueblo, Carlos Vives.

Traditional tropical album: Ahora Si!, Cachao.

Ranchero album: Mexico En La Piel, Luis Miguel.

Tejano album: Polkas, Gritos y Acordeones, David Lee Garza, Joel Guzman & Sunny Sauceda.

Instrumental album: Coral, David Sanchez.

Pop album by a duo or group with vocal: Sinverguenza, Bacilos.

Rock solo vocal album: Mi Sangre, Juanes.

Rock album by a group or duo: Con Todo Respeto, Molotov.

Alternative music album: Street Signs, Ozomatli.

Singer-songwriter album: Resucitar, Gian Marco.

Engineered album: MTV Unplugged, Gustavo Borner, engineer.

Producer: Gustavo Santaolalla

Just like the non-Latin Grammys, they do go on a bit, don't they?


It's the highlight of the music awards calendar - simply everyone was there, bubbling with excitement to find out who was going to get the awards which can make a real difference to careers and reputations. But for the stars without a hope in hell of winning a Latin Grammy, they were lumbered with having to go to Lisbon to sit through the MTV EMAs.

These European awards are the less important ("younger") sibling of the proper MTV awards, and are a curious relic left over from the days when MTV was a music station rather than a rotating parade of underbudgetted half-ideas masquerading as lifestyle programming.

The winners you can probably guess for yourself, but just in case:

Best male:
Robbie Williams

Best female:

Best group:

Best rock:
Green Day

Best hip-hop:
Snoop Dogg

Best alternative:
System of a Down

Best song:
Coldplay - Speed of Sound

Best R&B:
Alicia Keys

Best pop:
The Black Eyed Peas

Best album:
Green Day - American Idiot

Best new act:
James Blunt

Best video:
The Chemical Brothers - Believe

Best act - MTV Adria:

Best African act:
2 Face

Best Danish act:

Best Dutch & Belgian act:

Best Finnish act:
The Rasmus

Best French act:

Best German act:

Best Italian act:

Best Norwegian act:

Best Portugese act:
The Gift

Best Polish act:

Best Romanian act:

Best Russian act:
Dima Bilan

Best Spanish act:
El Canto del Loco

Best Swedish act:

Best UK & Ireland act:

Free Your Mind award:
Bob Geldof

We do love that a lot of the coverage this morning is brimming with excitement that "Coldplay won two awards", but since one of those was a regional award on a par with Superbus' prize, we're guessing that it might not have counted quite the same.

While we're on the regional prizes, we can see why they have lumped the whole of Africa together (they probably shouldn't but they do), but how come Belguim and the Netherlands have to share a single prize? That's three languages covered by one prize, which hardly seems fair.

And we're still trying to understand how Shakira picked up best female?

The "isn't Bob great" prize was presented by Madonna:

Madonna returned to the stage to present MTV's Free Your Mind humanitarian award to Live 8 organiser Sir Bob Geldof.

He replied: "This means much more to me than many of the other things that are given to me."

"Many of the other things", but not including the large cheques he gets presented with following an after-dinner speech, of course.

Now, all we need to do is work out what System of a Down are actually an alternative to, and we can go home happy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


The unedifying war of wits between Bruce Dickinson and Sharon Osbourne has reignited (albeit like an indoor firework) with Sharon talking at people:

"The bottom line is it's not my fault that his solo records are shit. Don't be jealous of what Ozzy does. He never once thanked us for the tour. People don't behave like that. I tell you, though. This guy got the singer with a fucking egg right in the middle of his brow - what a star!"

So: a band don't say "thank you" for a slot on a tour which they salvaged on the nights when Ozzy was unable to appear, and that's wrong (because, what, they're meant to grateful for the work? Does Sharon see herself as some Victorian millowner?) but its okay to throw eggs at people?


Right-wing nutters the National Legal and Policy Center (of course, they might not be right-wing nutters at all, but their high profile cases do seem to go after Democrats nearly exclusively; they seem proud that Rush Limburgh supports them and they use the phrase "the liberal media", which is enough for us to tick that particular box) have launched an almost inpenetrably complex attack on Puff Daddy for supporting Kerry in public ("for possible electoral fraud"). It's not claiming he voted under all his various names, but rather that Comb's political organisation Citizen Change shared an address with Comb's business.

Yes, we know that doesn't mean anything. But don't tell NLPC that that isn't evidence of wrongdoing right there:

The Complaint notes that Citizen Change is at the same address as Combs’ businesses, raising the possibility that corporate funds were illegally used in support of Citizen Change’s activities. The Complaint also points to the campaign’s emphasis on fashion, style and conspicuous consumption, and asks the FEC to investigate whether the real purpose of the Vote or Die! campaign was to advance a commercial activity, namely Combs’ line of clothing and/or his clothing company.

So... in future, don't wear your best shoes when you campaign, then. The NLPC would have loved Michael Foot. Except for the politics, of course.


Nobody's really got any idea, but if ITN are reporting that it might have happened, that's good enough for us (okay, if a bloke we barely know tells us things in a pub, we'll take that as gospel, too, especially if he buys us a short and mixer): Britney's kicked Kevin Federline out of the house. Possibly.

The 23-year-old has only just given birth to the couple's first child Sean Preston, but after continued reports of argument's and feuds between the couple, it seems as though their marriage is on the rocks.

The blazing row allegedly erupted in their Malibu mansion when Britney lay into Kevin about his continued partying whilst she looks after their baby.

Chart-topping Britney has apparently told Kevin she wants a temporary separation to give them some breathing room and a chance to sort out their problems.

There are also claims the couple had to re-film many scenes for their reality show as there were too many foul-mouthed rants.

Hey, we don't mind the swearing. But if they're going to leave in any of Kevin singing, that needs to be pushed well back past the watershed.


Ofcom have been busy little bees and wasps, running round closing down 44 pirate radio stations in London in a series of raids.

Now, we know the arguments against pirate radio, and today the fire brigade and the National Air Traffic Control service have popped up to say how awful it is trying to stop planes crashing into the soft heads of children or houses burning down when pirate radio cuts in:

"Pirate radio transmissions interfere with, and sometimes entirely disable, the communications systems the London Fire Brigade relies on.

"The interference makes it more difficult for the fire fighters to go about their daily business of protecting Londoners."

And a Nats spokesman said: "Unauthorised broadcasts on or close to frequencies used by air traffic controllers can interfere with the passing of vital information between air traffic controllers and pilots."

We find this slightly puzzling, though: since pirate radio is aimed at, well, people's FM radio sets, which generally stretch from 87.5MHz to 108.0, how are these services interfering with the National Air Traffic Services up at 117.975MHz, or the fire service which broadcasts down at 70.5MHz? (I suppose there's something technical we're missing, but if there's a glitch which means Radio Kit comes through a fire bobby's radio, how come you don't get the Archers being constantly interrupted by pilots on the way into Luton?)

Anyway, everyone's very happy and the raids found guns and drugs, and nobody's even going to ask if a better way to stop people broadcasting illegally would be to find a way to ensure their audiences find what they want to hear on the proper radio.


Mark Russinovich was having a little sweep of his compter system to see what rubbish had been poked into holes by virus writers and malware, and was surprised to discover that Sony-BMG had been using nasties to bugger his machine. Yes, Sony-BMG.

Their "copy-protected" CDs had, he discovered, installed junk on his PC (without asking); what's worse, if you tried to remove it, it breaks your PC:

What makes Sony's CD digital media software particularly nasty is that using expert tools for removing the parasite risks leaving you with a Windows PC that's useless, and that requires a full reformat and reinstall.

Now, installing anything on a PC without asking the owner first is, in our books, unacceptable behaviour; installing something that renders your system unusable for any purpose is just going way beyond what you'd expect a CD to do.

Oh, and because the software is so clumsily written, it also offers the potential to open a door for anyone else to sneak crap past the limping Windows security guards. It hasn't happened yet, we should stress, but it could. We don't want to get too "bird flu will kill us all" - this is more like a kid playing with a box of matches who needs telling "never, never do this again" rather than a full-on arson attack.

Sony-BMG have responded by offering a patch - yes, a patch. You have download patches because Sony have sold you a broken CD and then broken your computer. Oh, but the patch doesn't remove the virus-style software - it just stops it being invisible.

Anti malware company F-Secure are so worried by the potential of Sony's code to screw up your machine that they suggest you don't use their cleaning programs, but instead contact Sony directly.

There's nothing on Sony's website about any of this (not that you can find that easily) - showing how little the company is really bothered about this. We're trying to get hold of a list of the CDs with this copy protection thing on it, and suggest that you might want to, too - finding an email address which doesn't come straight back at you at Sony is tricky, but doesn't bounce (probably just gets sent straight to trash, but in the absence of any other assistance, it's worth trying.)


There are debuts, and there are debuts, and Jarvis Cocker's poetry debut falls into the heavily itallicised sort of debut. Trashed On Cider is being stuck on the outer wall of The Forge, the new student halls of residence being built in Sheffield.

It's part of a bid by the Sheffield Off The Page literary festival to broaden its appeal to young people. Or, rather, younger people. Or young-ish people.
[Thanks to Jim McCabe for the link]


Online music downloads - they're doing really well, aren't they? Over six and a half million sold every week, week-by-week. A market that wasn't there before, doing really well. The record companies must be delighted, yeah? Nope. They see that as a plateau, and a bad thing. They want the figures to grow every week, every year. (Leave aside that the decision by some companies to offer subscription services, which don't count as downloads, is disguising some of the growth and the summer, with students away from their dorms and a slumbering release schedule, is hardly going to do wonders for increasing sales.) And guess what their solution is?

To put the prices up. Yes, the fact that sales are holding steady is a sign that, erm, the consumers must want to pay more.

If you'll excuse me, there's a commotion in the barnyard. I think someone may be taking an axe to the goose...


Fox News sister business MySpace, currently enjoying something of a modish glow of approval, has been applauded all round for offering bands a way to work to fame without having to do anything as dull as join a record company. To celebrate, erm, MySpace are starting a record label.

This is their first big step since Rupert Murdoch bought them, and it suggests the new owner still doesn't really see the interactive media as anything more than a strap-on for his old media businesses.

Oh, and don't even think about suggesting it might prove a challenge to the RIAA big boys - MySpace will be having all its fulfilment managed by Universal businesses.


A few years back, when we were writing for a local listings magazine, we had a chance encounter with a bloke from a band whose gig we had reviewed in an honest, but perhaps slightly sarcastic, fashion. He was enjoying a coke rush, and so spent some time listing our shortcomings as a critic, ending on the splendid news that our inability to talent-spot would soon be obvious to all as he'd just signed a deal which would see one of his songs being used as the new theme tune for Match of the Day. Rather oddly, they still don't seem to have started cueing up his record on a Saturday evening.

We think of him now as we read the slightly over-excited report of Franz Ferdinand's deal to provide a theme tune for an MTV reality series about football:

The band's song This Boy, from their You Could Have It So Much Better album, has been chosen as the theme tune for a new flagship MTV reality show called Goal.

It means the band - Alex Kapranos Nick McCarthy, Bob Hardy and Paul Thompson - will reap untold profits as they corner the market with the song.

"Untold profits" - now, surely that means profits the like of which have never been seen before, which would imply billions and billions and billions. MTV, clearly, are generous with their royalty payments these days.

And what "market", exactly, have the Franz boys "cornered"? It's not the market for theme tunes, otherwise they'd be providing music for everyone (Granada might want to leap on board for Do You Want To, mind: "There's Les/ and there's Cilla/ there's Kirk/and there's Chesney/ It's time for Corrie/ Time for Corrie Corrie Corrie..."). It's not even the market for sporting themes... so, presumably the market they've cornered is for MTV sporting themes. A somewhat nichey little niche, we'd suggest.


Okay, so making the leap from "bloke has a doze in a service station" to "living in his car" is a bit wild, but that's exactly what the Sun has concluded Pete Doherty's doing just that. Of course, drug-addled rock stars and cars parked up at service stations don't have a happy record of going together, so we guess we should at least be pleased that Pete was found with the vehicle.


Considering he's been babbling away to the Daily Record about how Son of Dork will outshine Busted and Fightstar put together, we're a little bemused as to what, exactly, James Bourne's got to moan about. But moan he does, having a pop at Charlie for spilitting up Busted and costing the three of them "millions of pounds".

We're not sure where he thinks the millions would have been wrung from a boyband already in decline - perhaps he was expecting to sell oil exploration rights in Matt Jay's hairline.

Bourne's financial position must be dire, though, as surely only a desperate need to fund an operation or buy some of that Robert Winston endorsed milk with the fish gizzards in it would persuade a British man of his age to pretend to be a twelve year-old American as he's currently doing in his Dork band.


London's very own mayor, Ken Livingstone, has done a Ms Dynamite. We don't mean in the sense of a disappointingly lacklustre second collection - although, come to think of it, since he got re-elected he hasn't exactly been releasing top ten hits, has he? - and having a pop at plastic gangsta rappers for more-or-less forcing black kids to carry guns and knives:

"Gun crime, knife crime - they are the only crime categories that continue to rise. With role models like So Solid Crew, there is almost an inevitability about that and people in the public eye should consider the role models they set," the mayor said.

He added: "This idea, that it is fun to use guns and knives - particularly when that is big bands or rap artists - is a role model that ends up killing kids.

"The people that do that in the public eye need to realise they are responsible for that. Their actions set the standard that kids pick up. Some overpaid rap artists swinging around with a gun or knife...the consequences of their behaviour is a kid lying dead in the street."

The curiosity, of course, is that most of the So Solids were cheeky little stage school kids before they were in the band, which presumably means they were equally bad influences on themselves as they were on everybody else. And while we understand Ken's point, just going "well, it's the rappers with their knives, isn't it?" hardly explains anything, does it? If rappers thought that dressing as bunny rabbits and singing songs about ponys would bring them massive sales, they'd be doing that. Unless you start asking why the culture is apparently generating so many songs about stabbing, and why they resonate so effectively with the target audience, you're going to get nowhere.

And while we knwo it's not exactly contempt of court, we were a bit surprised to see Ken stood in one part of London condemning the So Solids, while in another part of the same city, Romeo So Solid was denying charges of wounding with intent.

Romeo - real name Marvin Dawkins - denies cutting Ejay Armstrong's face during a pointless argument outside the Cirque in Leicester Square. (If we were Dawkins, we'd be desperately denying we'd even set foot in such a place.) The prosecution is a bit sniffy about Romeo:

"He was known to various people because he happens to be something of a celebrity as he used to belong to So Solid Crew," Miss Forshaw told the court.

Although, to be honest, we doubt that he'd be spotted in the line-up round on Never Mind The Buzzcocks these days. The case continues.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


He's furrowed up his brow, and tried to think things through, but 50 Cent can't seem to get beyond "my enemy's enemy" when it comes to Kanye West, and so makes a bit of a twunk of himself:

50 says he disagrees with West's infamous statement that "George Bush doesn't care about black people," proclaimed during a September telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims. "I think people responded to it the best way they can," 50 told "What Kanye West was saying, I don't know where that came from."

Instead, 50 said, "The New Orleans disaster was meant to happen. It was an act of God."

Well, let's just suppose for a moment it was an act of God, and not a disaster which was made worse because of the unnaturally heated Atlantic and the lack of funding and manpwoer for the levee programme - Bush seems as reluctant to take the rap for that as God does - but that's not the point. Kanye isn't blaming Bush for the hurricane hitting the place, it was the pathetic response that was supposed to be coordinated by Bush's mate Brown that he was criticising. Perhaps you'd better stick to drawing guns on your notepad and choosing which singlet will best show off your biceps, and leave the more serious debates to others.

Do you really believe that that was the best response that could be managed by the richest nation on the planet, 50 Cent? In which case, you're less half dollar; more half wit.


Perhaps one of the most conceited competitions in recorded history: Christina Aguilera wants fans to leave her a message on a special voicemail line telling them what her music means to them ("time to pull a sock onto my hand and make sure the bolt is firmly across" not what they're looking for, we'd guess.) The best examples will wind up on her next album - that sounds like a great idea, a bit of the album dedicated to people saying they lurrrve you. That won't suck.

Apparently the number is 0018009277821, and Christina wants her fans to be creative and come in at under a minute. "When I hear your songs, I wonder if you take it up the wrong 'un" will leave you with a good thirty seconds to pant.


Not so long ago Anastacia - product of a TV talent show - railed against how bad TV talent shows were. Now, Girls Aloud - gifted to the planet through the curious voting pulses of a Saturday night ITV audience - have had a pop at the X Factor, on the grounds that everyone on in it is rubbish:

According to OK! magazine Nicola Roberts said: "I don't think the talent is that good this time round.

"Seriously, if that's what Britain has got then we're dying on our arses!"

Can anyone suggest why Nicola might want to think twice before saying something like this?


Hey, we might forget it when we're feeling our flesh creep when her Dad it talking about her tits, but Jessica Simpson is just a person, just like anyone else*. People constantly suggesting that her marriage to Nicholas Lachey was little more than a crumbling edifice put together to help her build a profile has seen her heading off to get
the help of a counsellor. Now, Gripper Stebson might think it okay to write "Jesso is a headcase - she goes to a shrink" on the blackboard at this point, and then make her roll all the way home, but let's hear her out, shall we?

"Yes I have," the singer-actress tells Teen People in its December-January issue, on newsstands Friday. "I respect knowledge of the psyche. I would be a therapist if I weren't an entertainer."

She doesn't say if she would be a strict Freudian, a loose Jungian, or perhaps draw more strongly on More Chicken Soup For The Soul.

Still, there's no end in sight for the marriage, she insists:

"Hopefully mine and Nick's story will continue for the rest of our lives, like what we vowed, through sickness and in health."

Like what they done vowed, she done said. We're sure she focused on the "sickness and health" bit because, while she's always happy to whore her own wedding to MTV or do a shoot for Maxim, the "for poorer" bit is never going to be much of an issue.

* - well, Hilary Duff or Paris Hilton


Tonight's Depeche Mode gig in Fort Lauderdale have had to pull the opening night of their US tour due to hurricanes and everything. The band's Florida date has come too soon on the heels of Hurricane Wilma:

The band's manager, Jonathan Kessler, said: "Depeche Mode were excited to launch the tour in south Florida.

"However, they're not willing to jeopardise the safety of their fans, who would be putting themselves at risk travelling to and from the event under dangerous conditions."

Perhaps God was saving the good people of Jeb Bush's state from the evils of men in skirts.


Never one to shy away from delivering a vaguely-worded statement in the twin pursuits of promoting HMV and giving PR firms an easy ride, Gennaro Castaldo has swung into action in support of the Santa record:

Gennaro Castaldo, spokesperson for HMV: "There's at least one surprise Christmas No.1 contender that comes out of the blue every year, and this is most definitely it. They don't come much bigger than Santa (apart from Cliff, obviously!), and this novelty cover has a real chance of making it given its infectious appeal: it will be a great stocking filler for the pre-teen market, while it should also go down a storm at the Office Christmas party."

We're not sure how this has come "out the blue" when he's appearing in a press release about it, but we're delighted to respect Gennaro's professionalism here. Any sane person would barely be able to say anything more than:

"For God's sake, why? This a reworking of bloody Amarillo with "santa's grotto" shoved in the place of the Texan town in the title, which doesn't even scan; and that bloody song has already been number one for about seven-eighths of the year already on the strength of a lame joke which didn't really work but for some reason presuaded people to buy it for bloody weeks. Everyone involved in this project should be shot, and their heads put on spikes, and their bodies given to the beasts of the field for their food."

But Mr. C, he gamely ploughs ahead pretending that the record is every bit as valuable and important as, say, Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come or Blondie's Heart of Glass. What a trouper.

[Thanks to our deep throat for passing on the press release - lovingly created by Sue Harris of Republic Media]


If The Sun is to be believed - and why should we not? - Kate Moss has hired a team of minders to keep Pete Doherty away following her spell in America trying to convince everyone she's clean ("in America doing rehab").

Of course, she doesn't really need a team of minders - all she has to do is learn the words "is that Harry the dealer over there?" and she'll find Pete just disappears of his own accord.
[Thanks to Zeinab Malik for bringing this to our attention]

ROCKOBIT: John 'Beatz' Holohan

A fatal car accident has claimed the life of John 'Beatz' Holohan, drummer with New York based clean-grungers Bayside.

The band's vehicle jacknifed in icy conditions while they were heading up Interstate 80 to a gig at Salt Lake City, throwing Holohan from the vehicle. He died at the scene. Bassist Nick Ghanbarian was also seriously injured in the accident.

The group were early pioneers of using MySpace and Friendster to build a fan base, promoting their 2003 debut Sirens and Condolences online and building up what they described as "The Bayside Cult", members of which were encouraged to get tattoos and wear razorblades.

Beatz's page on the band website listed his favourite bands as including U2 and Big Daddy Kane. He was 31.

GLAMOBIT: Steve Hill

The death has been announced of Steve Hill, original singer with Australian glam act Skyhooks.

Steve was with the band from its formation in 1973, but it wasn't until he quit after a few months and was replaced by Shirley Strachan that the band took off, developing a reputation for frightening the horses with blokes in make-up and songs about wanking.

Steve recently rejoined his old band for a one-off reunion gig. He'd been living with cancer for some time; it finally overwhelmed him on Monday.


Belle and Sebastian are pulling together a charity album - they did think about doing it for a group that encourages shut-ins to overcome their problems, but then they realised that would wipe out most of their target audience, so instead it's going to raise cash for kid's charities.

Amongst those taking part are Snow Patrol, chipping in with a cover of Ricky Wilde's I Am An Astronaut.

Yes, this Ricky Wilde:

The brother of Kim, son of Marty. As you can see, his attempts at spinning cash from music weren't very successful and he had to sell his shoes before having more luck as a songwriter.


Lee Ryan doesn't like using smelly toilets - stand up ones, too, not just cubicles. Because there's some sort of connection between one of the 3am Girls and Lee, they do seem to report his every move, so they are happy to report on his toilet habits:

"I hate it when you go into a urinal and it really pen and inks, man. I can only go in if I put the collar of my T-shirt over my mouth and nose and not breathe."

Of course, Lee's not the first former boy band star turned soloist to attempt to keep his face hidden everytime he goes into a public toilet. Let's hope he doesn't find himself in any George Michael bother...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Trouble in paradise for Kanye West, who finds himself being targeted by many of the people who worked on his Gold Digger video. They reckon Kanye's neglected to pay them and have launched a legal action.

Everyone else is shuffling responsibility:

Kanye West's record label Def Jam, meanwhile, insists responsibility lies with the production company. A spokesperson says, "Production companies submit budgets, we approve them, and then we cut a check.

"But beyond the approved budget all costs and fees are paid for by the production company."

At the same time, 18 of the crew from Lil'Kim's last video shoot prior to her being banged up also say they're waiting for pay. They got cheques in September which bounced. Kim is apparently offering to make good the outstanding money in snout and pineapple chunks.


Marilyn Manson had promised he was going to give up rock and roll - okay, he was going to give up popgoth in order to concentrate on something else. But it seems he was only toying with us, like a bloke who storms out the pub and hangs around in the car park hoping someone rushes out after him. God knows what persuaded Manson to give his clowning another go - presumably an email going "sorry to hear your decision, we'll be happy to provide a reference" - but whatever it is, he's made a new album and come up with the sort of twittering that even Craig from Corrie would think pushing it a bit:

"The time that people aren't expecting what's going to happen, I find that's the best time to really cause the damage that needs to be done," Manson explained. "I might have had to defuse people with a smoke screen of weakness and the idea that I was going to run away from music when I was really just trying to find the bullets for my gun — metaphorically, of course. But I was contemplating giving up entirely. It's a sort of philosophy that I find to be true that if your life is collapsing around you, sometimes you have to be willing to let go."

Yes, Marilyn, you're going to "cause the damage that needs to be done", because you're such a threat to everything the straight world holds dear, aren't you? (Except when you're snuffling to Rolling Stone that it's mean to blame you for Columbine because it's all an act, of course.)

But maybe we're being unfair - he has been creating a smokescreen of weakness - and quite impressively, too. Five albums worth of weak goth and lame attempts to shock by saying "bum" and wearing Rimmel has been a pretty effective screening. We wonder what he's doing behind it. Perhaps he's stuffing envelopes for the Republicans?

Or maybe just producing even shittier goth-lite:

Most of Manson's still-untitled sixth LP has been finished for weeks.

"I feel as if there's more like three albums' worth of material, [because] I don't want to cram a long record into a place that doesn't have the attention span for that," he said. "I'd like to return to the old-fashioned records that had eight or nine songs [that] were all very important. Not to say that I made records that had filler material. They were all based around a central idea, and the central idea in this one is my pain and its ability to be unashamed to repeat itself."

We're not sure what the central ideas were in his last albums - seemed to be "do a cover of a familiar song to knock out as a single and get some tits in the video" most often - but that's got to be better than Manson's pain. (Kidney stones?)

As for the musicians he's been working with, Manson said, "It's hard to call [them] a band because it's open and developing in a way where anything can happen. The songs have been ... a collaboration between [Tim] Skold and myself, but we're at the point now where the people who will fulfill the positions that need to be there to make the Marilyn Manson of end times, the Marilyn Manson that, if it had to be the last form, this is the way it should be remembered — those people will stand forward and make themselves appreciated, and I feel like I've created an environment where that will happen."

Oh god, he really talks some old bloody rubbish, doesn't he? Don't get us wrong, it's nice to see a bit of hucksterism in pop, but Manson has long since gone into EastEnders territory, trying to find a way to bring back a character that's already been written out, killed off, used up. He hasn't finished yet, mind:

"[Skold] has turned out to be the guitar god Marilyn Manson always needed," he revealed. "His guitar playing is something that completely seduced me into liking [music] again. It was almost a naked woman to a man who's just gotten out of prison, because I felt like I was in a prison of sorts, of my own creation. I was preparing a hole for myself, really, and finding nice clothes to be buried in. Instead, the hole will make a nice place for people to wait [for] a V.I.P. party that's not going to happen, on their way to hell, and I'm just going to have a fashion show afterward."

What we don't get is how Skold went from being in KMFDM (Kill Motherfucking Depeche Mode, of course) to being guitar, uh, whore for the Mode-covering Manson. Will Skold end up having to play Personal Jesus on tour?

So, anyway, back to Manson. This album is about his pain, remember:

The album's lyrics, he said, were inspired by his muse, fiancee Dita Von Teese.

"They have probably the most romantic feel to them," he said. "This is a desperate and crippling desire for romance — not in the romance sense of a Reese Witherspoon movie, but in the sense of living your life like a film and enjoying it that way. I've found a woman I can relate to. That's something — and I don't even feel sappy saying it — that, if anyone has that, don't lose it, because it's probably the only thing that you can ever really find any satisfaction from."

Yes, that sounds like you're, uh, suffering there, Marilyn. Go on, shock us some more:

"We created a snare-drum sound with a bottle of painkillers," he explained. "We often get sent to the house — the wife and I — an assortment of sexual marital aids that are also very useful as percussive instruments. When hitting a rubber penis against a leather couch, I found a bass-drum sound that's unmatched by any other."

Oh, Marilyn. You're not talking about dildoes, are you? How thrilling to see you mentioning a product that you can only buy in bloody Boots The Chemists and Anne 'Vanilla Flavoured Sex Stores' Summers on every high street in the country. What a serious threat you are to everything we, our wives, our children, our pets and our local scout troops hold dear. Now, why don't you go and take that PVC basque off, chuck, that must be chaffing your nipples red raw.


His superpowers have long deserted him, and even his legendary trousers have gone - now MC Hammer is on his uppers, and having to flog control of his back catalogue just to keep the wolf from the door. (The wolf, incidently, is only metaphorical; we wish to stress that MC Hammer is not at risk from being eaten by a real wolf.)

Hammer's finances have been rubbish for years, as protective bankruptcy, involuntary bankruptcy and myriad lawsuits have wiped out the profits from his music career, and now the last remnants of his dignity are also going. The team handling the sales reckons the complete set will come in at somewhere over the million mark - presumably on the basis that everytime MC Hammer is used for a cheap laugh, that's money in the back.

It's perhaps not quite so insane - people are demanding £45 for Hammerman, a two episode tape of his animated series. Let's just remind ourselves, shall we?

Hammer stars as Stanley Kirk Burrell, a worker at the community centre helping local children. Whenever the hammering beat of his rapping rhymes activates his magic dancing shoes, streetwise Stanley is transformed into Hammerman - the first musical superhero. Two episodes: 'Defeated Graffiti' and 'If The Shoe Fits'.

We're not quite sure he is the first musical superhero, but we're more concerned about his magic dancing shoes - do they activate if he's hammering away while not wearing them?


As America pauses to remember Rosa Parks, so Britains take a moment to try and remember Alex Parks. A few older members of our tribe claim to recall her, winning some sort of talent show, but the younger one think she's just a myth.

Myth or not, she's resurfaced, having an angry at Tatu:

“It is insulting to see t.A.T.u. acting the way they do. It feels like they’re trying to make a bit of a joke out of being a lesbian. It’s sad.”

“If their music was any good then it might help, but their latest record sounds exactly like their previous one.”

We don't think Tatu were exactly playing the lesbian for laughs, Alex.

But once Alex starts talking of singers who've probably never really known the love of a real woman, she can't stop:

“I don’t understand how James Blunt has done so well.”

“I think his songwriting is poor. He’s got a rhyming dictionary and that’s it. He’s so unimaginative and boring. His music is not deep enough for me.”

Yeah, look at James' rubbish words - how shallow can you get?

Maybe that's what it takes
For me to be with you
Maybe it's our love saved
Maybe that's why it breaks
And we do the things we do
Maybe that's what it...

Oh, hang on... that's not James, is it? That's Alex's Maybe That What It Takes, isn't it? Funnily enough, it's surprisingly easy to get confused between the two.

REMOTE CONTROLLED: Music on TV and Radio the last few days

"It sounded like Enya played backwards in a blender" complained Jeremy Hardy during one of the musical rounds on Radio 4's News Quiz on Friday night - he'd just been listening to a snatch of Ian Brown's FEAR.

It's been a curiously busy time for music TV and radio, or at least, so it's seemed, the last few days. Last night, George Michael popped up on Newsnight being interviewed by Kirsty Wark, which meant we had a queasy moment when the BBC's flagship TV current affairs programme carried footage of Mike "Smitty" Smith wearing an amusing pullover from Whams debut TOTP performance. Michael feels that subsequent events in Iraq have vindicated him over the whole Wag The Dog affair (a scandal so small it never quite warranted a "-gate" suffix). Funnily enough, you can often hear people muttering to themselves as they search for lost relatives or body parts in the aftermath of a carbomb in Basra, "well, at least it vindicates George Michael."

Luckily for him, Kirsty didn't attempt to pin him down on why he was happy to turn up at Bono and Bob's Live8 when the two men have offered so much support to Blair and Bush if he felt so strongly about it all.

The meeting gets an extended run-out in what appears to be a regular BBC FOUR "x ... talks to Kirsty Wark" slot; last weekend it was Jarvis Cocker. His main concern was over the excitement that greeted the opening of Ikea's Edmonton store: "That's what gets people worked up, a cheap settee."

Just a word, though, Jarvis - we yield to nobody in our admiration for you and your body of work (except to those who reckon Relaxed Muscle wasn't more than a blind alley), but the huge glasses and hair look... are you trying to recreate the look of Daniel Craig's Geordie from the end of Our Friends In The North or something?

We don't know if Virgin is happy with the performance of its Virgin xtreme radio station on Sky, but it might find a few more listeners tune in if it appeared on the Sky EPG under a name that suggested it was a Virgin radio station - we stumbled across it by chance on Saturday night despite it showing up in channel listings as the less-than-inspiring "On Air"; likewise, Virgin Classic Hits won't entirely be helping attract its target audience with an EPG listing of "Radio". The fact they've been broadcasting for ages without anyone fixing that basic problem would suggest there's not the greatest amount of attention to detail going into the channels.

Back to TV with pictures, and the hugely disappointing Girls and Boys, which bills itself as "Sex and British Pop", but really uses a couple of lines about boys with long hair to try and pretend that this isn't just another bogstandard trot through the history of pop music. This week was the 1970s, which meant you got lots of lovely footage of Bowie, Bolan and Pauline Black interspersed with the same people giving the same self-justifying interviews as they've been doing for the last thirty years.

So you had Angie Bowie telling us how she invented David and everything he ever did. Although no matter how many times she tells the story about her reaction to his coming out to the Melody Maker was simply to go "You got a front page and three pages - good", you can see she's still not convinced herself of it.

And here's Malcolm McClaren, revealing that "I think I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show several times..." - since "several" means little more than "more than twice", how can you not be sure of that?

Up pops Hugh Cornwell, attempting to justify the whole strippers-on-stage thing as insisting The Stranglers thought that punk was "too politically correct" - a curious anacrhonistic claim which sounds more like a desperate effort to have come up with an excuse over the last couple of decades. Still, at least it's better than "JJ did it and ran away", we guess. He's not challenged on why, if the idea was to protest against how punk had strict rules about how you dressed and what you think - as he claims - the best way to do that was whipping strippers on stage rather than, say, not wearing black clothes?

Pauline Black, at least, was good value - "I thought 'why should I sell sex? I'm gonna wear a hat", as if wearing a hat is the polar opposite of being sexual. Never seen Cabaret, then.

Despite constantly failing to actually develop any thesis in favour of cramming in more clips (what did the Sex Pistols meets Bill Grundy incident have to do with either sexuality or gender?) the programme did at least find space to mention Northern Soul, which often gets left out in the Glam - Prog - Punk - Disco evolutionary school of 1970s music. Next week, of course, the New Romantics. And, we'd guess, Kate Bush in a leotard.


Ronald Isley's tax affairs have landed him in the soup - his trial has ended with him found guilty of five counts of tax evasion and one of "wilful failure" to file a tax return. Isley's activities included insisting on being paid cash for millions of dollars worth of fees, putting property in other people's names and cashing royalty cheques intended for his dead brother. It's possible he also had a window cleaning round on the side.

He'll be back in court for sentecning in January, although he's probably going to spend the next couple of months trying to transfer the conviction into his ex-wife's name.


Gruff Rhys went off to play a gig at Bagnor's Greek Taverna at the start of August and - as often happens when you spend a night in a taverna - he woke up to discover he'd lost his voice. Unfortunately, the voice he lost was the voicebox used by the band, and now the Super Furry Animals are appealing for its return.

The only curiosity here is that he lost the device at the start of August and they're only now looking for it? That's a hell of a retsina sleep-off.


The Kaiser Chiefs have elected to push the life of their debut album on a little further, announcing a further tour for the Employment collection in April:

"When we announced the (Rock 'N' Roll Riot dates) back in July our message board was full of venom within hours as all the dates sold out immediately," they explained. "So we've decided to play one final run of 'Employment' gigs in April 2006."

So that's going to be May before they even get round to thinking about the follow-up - that's if Ricky Wilson is still ambulatory by the time he's been on the road non-stop for ever:

Glasgow SECC (April 19)
London Alexandra Palace (21)
Plymouth Pavilion (24)
Brighton Convention Centre (25)
Birmingham NIA (26)
Leeds Millennium Square (29)

Support is going to be provided by the Polysics...

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... and also Graham Coxon, which seems to be so far the wrong way round we're sure even the Chiefs will be feeling awkward by the third night.


We're not sure if its a good sign or a bad sign that the TOTP producers are allowing Green Day to get away with a nine minute performance of Jesus of Suburbia this coming Sunday - "the longest in the show's history", it says here. It's encouraging that the programme wants to give proper space to a performance - even a Green Day one - although we bet they'll find the need to scroll gunk all over the screen while its on; on the other hand, we can't help picturing the scene in the production office:

"Green Day want to do nine minutes..."
"Who else have we got booked for the show?"
"Erm... Hilary Duff is still a possible..."
"Ask them if they could add a middle eight and another chorus and stretch to fifteen."


There are only two sorts of artist who play GAY - young singers who see courting the gay audience as a way of building their career, and older acts on their way down who hope to hold off their Norma Desmond a while by cruising for the camp market. We'll leave it up to you to decide what sort of booking Madonna at GAY is.

More seriously, with Madonna the public face of the Kabbalah cult, should GAY be offering its hospitality to a representative of a business which has, at best, a confused attitude towards homosexuality?

Let's just review that advice again:

emanation: Do you think that a person born with a lack of sexual desire for the opposite sex should try to become heterosexual?

Billy: If they feel inclined to embrace the spiritual path of Kabbalah and seek deeper answers to life.

LeahLeah: Are you saying homosexuality can be overcome? I don't understand how this position can be manifesting a superior magnitude of Light. This seems judgmental and doing nothing but instilling self-hatred into those who feel their very nature is a "condition." Have you witnessed someone overcoming their gayness via the Kabbalah teachings--as well as a subsequent depression-free life?

Billy: Yes i have. And the kabbalistic view is not about morals, ethics or judgements. On the contrary, everything about our nature is a condition. Our normal bodily desires are not our true selves. Souls are not heterosexual or homosexual. The truth transcends these limited concepts. Each of us come to this world to achieve enlightenement, growth,correction and transformation. According to ancient Kabbalah, homosexuality, like any other aspect of human behavior or desire is included. This is the view of the Kabbalists. You do not have to accept it. And if Kabbalah cannot offer the complete transformation of anyone's life, then who needs Kabbalah.

Perhaps Madonna can explain to the GAY audience how her cult will help them "correct" their sexuality. We're sure that would go down well.


It's been a rubbish year for Javine, all-in-all; there was the not-entirely-careerwise Eurovision flop, the "it must have been a spiked drink" nightclub incident and now she's in hospital with a burst appendix.

She was taken to hospital in agony, but there was a delay - apparently when she started writhing about, pulling a face and moaning and wailing, her friends thought she was just reprising her Eurovision performance.


It's probably an indication of how far and hard Travis were eclipsed when Coldplay came along and brought ruthless efficiency to the moperock world that when we heard Fran Healy's got his girlfriend pregnant our first thought was "let it go, Fran, you can't compete with Chris Martin."

Anyway, congratulations to Fran and fiancee Nora Kryst on their news. Let's just hope we're not in for an album of how great and yet how frightening fatherhood is.

Monday, October 31, 2005


Steve Jones of 1970s boyband Sex Pistols has been getting all worked up over the way that bands called "punk" these days are little more than a bunch of lads being manipulated by marketing guys and record labels. He fumed:

“Knuckleheads like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte are told what to do, and they do it, you know?

“It's a shame that they're disguising it under the word 'punk.' It's a bunch of fucking shit, you know?"

Yeah, there's no way the Sex Pistols would have just done what someone else told them to do, was there Steve? In fact, Malcolm was very insistent that you shouldn't.


No cheap remarks about singing to mirrors - Franz Ferdinand have announced the bside of their Walk Away single due December 5th will be a cover of Air's Sexy Boy.

We always thought that the original sounded more like the band were singing "sexy pudding" ourselves. Doubtless Alex's diction will be a little sharper.


The current US Slipknot tour is on hold giving Shawn Crahan time to mourn his father, Michael, who died of a heart attack last Tuesday.

It's a nice gesture, although slightly surprising - if we recall our Slipknot lyrics correctly, isn't mourning little more than a bid to try and cover your own inadequacy? Thats what we learn from I Am Hated:

Everybody wants to be so hard
Are you real or a second rate sports card?
They all lost their dad or their wife just died
They never got to go outside - shut up
Nobody gives a fuck
It doesn’t change the fact that you suck

Perhaps The Clown might give some thought to his band's songs as he mourns his father. Because putting on hold singing songs about how pathetic mourning is in order to properly mourn your own loss seem to be having it both ways.


Blimey, you really can do wonderful things if you've got an XBox. For example, something like violating the integrity of a former drummer with Ink and Dagger. You or I would find that difficult to do, but said drummer Ryan McLaughlin claims Microsoft did it by including some songs by his old band on some snowboarding game (Amped, for those of you to whom that will mean something). McLaughlin says, indeed, he's outraged:

"outraged that my artistic integrity has been so brazenly violated."

Blimey. Microsoft have issued a statement as dry as you would expect:

"Microsoft respects intellectual property rights and enters into licensing agreements for music and media in our games and other products."

The game is apparently four years old, but that's how long you'd expect the average drummer to get past the loading screen.


U2's tour mates (we're not holding that against them, mind) The Arcade Fire have plans for next month, releasing Wake Up on November 14th. It's only going to be available on seven inch single, though, but if that's a little too lo-fi for your needs and desires, you can watch the video online to your heart's content. Or until you hit your bandwidth limit. Or your neighbours catch you.


Strange going-ons at the GBar in Liverpool: three people collapsed in mysterious circumstances late Sunday/early Monday:

A Merseyside police spokeswoman said: "At this stage we don't know why the people collapsed but we are looking into the possibility it was drug-related."

Police sealed off the packed bar shortly before 2am today and took down the details of every person inside the building.

One woman was taken to intensive care; the two others also went to hospital but none are believed to still be in danger.


Madonna has made another pronouncement, so you'll want to update your shrines and Madonna-a-ramas:

Madonna says she is not interested in acting in any more movies, but she does want to move behind the camera like husband Guy Ritchie. The 47-year-old popstar told the New York Daily News, "I want to direct."

We're sure she'd be every bit as sharp a director as her husband, too, so why not? There's not a cinema-goer in the world who wouldn't support Madonna in moving behind the camera, although why should she stop going just one step behind? Keep walking, love, past the camera, out the big sound stage doors, round past the catering bus and out through the studio gates. Hopefully, you can persuade your husband to join you.

If it will help, we're sure we can persuade the academy to give you a special Oscar for making the movies better by keeping away.


Surely the fans of the Sugababes who spent just fifteen minutes with them at the album launch last week - rather than moaning they stayed so briefly - should be delighted they saw all three women in the same room for so long? That's got to be some small piece of history, right?


There's surely nothing more humiliating for a badass rap artist than being arrested - but being arrested for something rubbish. So, poor old The Game is in for a bit of a ribbing next time he meets up with his gangsta buddies: he's just been arrested for wearing a spooky mask in a shopping mall.

[A]ccording to police, a group of friends of the rap star behaved disruptively Friday night at the Four Seasons Town Centre. The Game, real name Jayceon Taylor, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Police also said that at one point, his friends were sprayed with pepper spray after they surrounded police in a threatening manner.

Mall security said the singer had on a full-face Halloween mask while cursing and refusing to leave when asked. Taylor was arrested when police arrived for continuing the offensive behavior.

Of course, mall security being afraid of someone "cursing while weaing a mask" doesn't exactly cover themselves in glory, either.


The Sun seems to think there's something odd about Charlotte Church "insisting" on taking up the DFS offer of interest-free credit on a pair of their sofas when she has seventy sqoodillion pounds in the bank. Surely the scandal, though, is that she was buying sofas at DFS at all, after their current commercials.

The "design team" team at DFS explaining what they look for in a sofa in the most stilted, charmless way is the closest thing in British advertising to somebody nailing two planks over the door and painting 'Go away' across the front window. Never mind Linda Barker's claims that she's looking for great design (it's a mass market sofa, how many design choices there? "Two seats or three? Arms at the end? Matching footstool or not?"), there's the wonderful moment where the bloke in the Second World War spiv's suit has a pause of panic when he realises he's painted himself into a verbal corner: "designer sofas for minimalist flats, right through to traditional sofas for... [oh, shit, these are all meant to be designer, aren't they? And how the hell do i describe the sort of effect these old fashioned hunks of chair gives without alienating the people we want to fork out for them? Oh, god, I wonder if I can do a retake? How long is this pause? They'll edit the pause out, won't they? It'll sound as if I itended to always end by saying - however lamely -] the cosy look."

Yes, no shame on Charlotte for taking advantage of a offer. But what are you doing in DFS? You're not in Girls Aloud, for lord's sake.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


The stepping down of Howard Stern from his networked US show to disappear into the world of satelitte radio seemed to be one of those things that would only be of any interest to his fans. But as Stern says goodbye to FM radio on December 16th, Infinity Broadcasting is going to dump rock formats from some of its stations in favour of constantly rotating classic hits or "personality-led" talk networks.

There's an irony that Howard Stern, king of gibbering talk radio, sustained new rock on the radio, while one of his replacements, Dave Lee Roth, is ushering in a format which doesn't feature the sort of band upon which Roth built what we must learn to call his reputation.

It's especially bad news for New Yorkers who like music less than twenty years old. After December, the largest radio market in the UK will not have a single radio station playing current rock hits.

"What Infinity is signaling is that a combination of celebrity talk and comedy appeals to its target market more than music in general and rock in particular," says Barry Sosnick, consultant and president of "When you have Infinity, a major player in broadcasting, indicating that music isn't a powerful draw for listeners, (that is) the most frightening implication."

Of course, the sort of formats we're talking about here are drawn up by companies which understand statistics more than entertainment and passion, so it's probably not to be taken as an indication that rock is dying in the US. Just that the sort of people who are happy to spend time talking to market researchers aren't the same people who are buying more rock albums than ever in the US (20.8% market share so far this year, up nearly a percentage point.) The question is, though, with less radio space for loud guitars, will the next generation learn to love the amp?


There has been some criticism levelled at the Bono-Bob Live 8 team over the way they approached signing artists up to the event (as if the very idea of not taking part was an insult to the world) and their emotive use of the Africans they claimed to be helping, turning them into mute cyphers. Both criticisms seem to have been borne out by the experiences of Eminem. And that's judging from a story Bob Geldof tells:

"Bono called me while I was in Africa and said 'he's (Eminem) not calling me back. I've got these pictures of kids wearing Eminem and D-12 t-shirts and we got them sent off to Eminem's office but did we hear anything? It's sad.'

He added, "If people don't want to do anything, then it's cool, I'm ok with that, but I wouldn't mind if they got back to us."

Perhaps, Bob, Eminem thought that using kids and tshirts (did you just happen to have them with you in Africa in by chance?) to try and exert leverage was so far beneath contempt a dignified silence might be the most telling response?


Not just the Pixies in their own words; there's Stephen Appleby cartoons, too

Mick Rock does the photos; Bowie does the commentary. And the make-up.

Try and ignore the cringe-inducing name and horrificable packaging - inside there's Franz, Libs, Pulp...

Cheikh Lô moves Senegal a little closer to South America

Cut Copy, because anyone who upsets Chanel can't be all bad


That's two weekends running now we've felt a pang of sympathy for Kelly Osbourne, and if it carries on we'll have to maroon ourselves on an island with no contact with humanity. But it seems she was less than thrilled when Sharon Osbourne turned her 21st birthday party into a promo for the X-Factor (which means, of course, for Sharon Osbourne):

"Kelly was heard complaining that her party was full of people she didn't know.

"She was yelling, 'Everyone wants a fucking piece of me'. The party was full of people from the X Factor and loads of others Kelly didn't know, and she was clearly annoyed. It was embarrassing because mum and daughter were yelling at each other. Kelly started crying and her make-up was all smeared. She looked like a panda."

We do find ourselves able to hold back a smidgen of sympathy, though, at the "everybody wants a piece of me" outburst - Kelly, love, the X-Factor contestants give the impression of not knowing where the sky is, never mind if they're at the birthday party of some girl who was on the telly a couple of years ago. They wanted a piece of the action; it wasn't you they were after.


Almost as soon as the NOTW claims Pete's shagging Nuha, the Sunday Mirror hits back with Pete's denial:

But both he and Nuha deny anything happened. He told a friend last night: "I have not been with anyone and don't know why people are saying I have been having an affair with this girl. She is just a hanger-on who started following me around after we met in Nottingham. I just want to be with Kate - and can't wait to see her."

Curious. Unfortunately, the Sunday Mirror speaks to a friend of Nuha's - presumably, though by no means certainly, a different one to the News of the World's - they don't seem to have grasped that Nuha's officially being dismissed as a "hanger-on":

"She has been involved in a work project with Pete and there's no more to it than that. They're friends - and no more than that."

A hanger on who's a PA who's involved in a work project? We can barely bring ourselves to check the Sunday People - it'll probably be Nuha having a lesbian tryst with Kate.