Saturday, January 07, 2006


We wonder if, when Michael Jackson comes to the end of a meal in a restaurant these days, the waiters ask "will you being paying cash, by card, or shall we just start a legal action to reclaim the value of the meal now, sir?" Added to the growing pile of unpaid bills ending up in court, Martin Dinnes, the vet who treated the creatures trapped in Jacko's freaky zoo at Neverland is suing to get back nearly one hundred grand in unpaid invoices.

Dove ladyFly carefully, brave bird... we can't afford to pay for any broken wings or twisted beaks...


You might think that Gennaro is so busy a man, he has little time to know what's happening in the wider world. But you'd be wrong - for, despite the bust demands of London living, he's on hand to give the Indpendent the benefit of his wisdom on the "new" Yorkshire scene:

Gennaro Castaldo, head of press at HMV, said: "These things aren't planned. There's an effect where the success of one artist or band acts as a catalyst and encourages other musicians to think they can do it themselves. These bands very often like to wave the banner for their community. The media pick up on that and help crystallise it. As soon as retailers can see there might be a burgeoning scene, they use it for merchandising."

Careful, there, Gennaro - you almost make retailers sound like soulless profit monkeys desperately scrabbling round for attempts to cash-in on other people's hard work.


Just two years after Kate Moss and everyone else made it the thing to be seen doing, Dannii Minogue has announced that she's, like, so into pole dancing:

I'm trying to work out how my London pad can accommodate a pole, although with floor-to-ceiling windows it's probably best for the neighbours that I don't."

Actually, love, with floor to ceiling windows your neighbours are probably less worried about if you're going to slap in some lame sextoy and are more busy getting a petition to force you to thicken your curtains.


As a public service, we bring you those journalistic gems, the 3AM girls' payoff lines from today's Daily Mirror:

Too much information, eh Pete?
We dread to think what Elton's wedding present to them might be...
We don't know, it could prove a lucrative sideline...
We'll say...
She's looking blooming lovely, some might say.


If, like us, you miss those sweet days when we had innocent fun reading about Noel Gallagher's swanky life thanks to his then wife's Sunday Times Ok, Yah column, you'll be delighted to hear that ITV has booked a pilot chatshow in which Nicole Appleton will interview her "famous pals" from her and Liam's parlour. It would almost be worth sitting through Nicole's struggles to find something interesting to say to get an idea of what the minted working class poet is doing with interior design these days.


During an idle flick-about yesterday evening, we happened to catch a small stretch of Celebrity Big Brother, most notably a conversation between Pete Burns and Dennis Rodham where Pete - who's actually coming across a lot more likeable here than he does in real life - describe receiving criticism that was "like someone pouring a bucket of cum over you." Probably the only time in history that such a metaphor could be used and both participants would give the impression they knew exactly what that would feel like.

George Galloway, meanwhile, seems to have abandoned the show in pretty much the same way he's left his constituent and is either spending most of his time asleep or sitting about not saying much, lost in a little daydream. He's much more entertaining on Question Time. Perhaps he can just hear Christopher Hitchens laughing all the way from DC?

Meanwhile, the "just how non-celebrity is the supposed non-celeb" debate continues to rage; Digitalspy suggested she was close to being rumbled as she'd been forgetting what position her non-existent record had got to in the chart - although we doubt if Victoria Beckham would be able to tell you where her solo singles have peaked at, besides (through gritted teeth) "not number one." Oh, and apparently, she's still taking bookings as a Paris Hilton lookalike.

The real former celebs are priceless - Barrymore outraged when Maggot asked him if he wanted to get back into stand-up: "What do you mean 'back'?" It seems he did a tour last year of smaller venues ("that's what you do to test out new material" he explained; oddly, it's also what you do if your career is fucked and you can't fill big venues); Pete Burns last night was telling about how he recorded the greatest work of his career with the Pet Shop Boys, only the single got sidelined when his lips started oozing out puss and he had to take a backseat from his music. And the woman who used to be in Baywatch once everyone you've heard of left trapped poor Dennis in the gym and psychobabbled him like her publicist had told her this was Oprah or something.

Damn, we don't want to be suckered into this.

And, finally: since when was playing up to the cameras outlawed in Big Brother?:

But Channel 4 cut the scenes from last night's highlights programme.

An insider said: "We want people to be themselves. Barrymore's play-acting is just a blatant attempt to hog the limelight and it's not going to make it on to the screen."

Well, except for being on the screen during the never-ending(-ish) E4 coverage. But imagine that - somebody going on Big Brother and showing off. Just fancy.

The first day in the house


Following on from Rock School, the series where Alice Cooper took a bunch of kids and, erm, schooled them in rock, prepare yourself for Rap School, which will feature Ice T doing, well, pretty much the same thing. Only rap, rather than rock.


Having not risen to any of the I Speak Your Weight machine insults churned out by Liam Gallagher, food writer and sometime pop star Alex Kapranos has finally had enough:

“He knows he can get in the papers from being as obnoxious as he can.

“When I read the Press that surrounded them earlier in 2005, it sounded like an extremely anxious, neurotic young girl at a high school who thought that she had younger, better-looking competition and was just bitching about everything about her. I think everybody, the Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, every contemporary band was at the end of some form of vitriol from him. I’m not particularly bothered by him. it just seems like bitchery from cheap neuroses.”

We're bemused, though: surely high school girls are about the only people in the world who aren't bothered by younger competition? Isn't being in the Upper Sixth, in itself, an empowering addition to the position held in the pecking order? Alex presumably meant "a girl transferred in from a new school who's better developed and has her own bras." Or something.

We imagine Liam's riposte will be along the lines of "he's a cock, or something."


We imagine that the diners who got to share the Enfield Pizza Hut with Victoria Beckham wouldn't have found her putting up too much of a challenge to get her own hands on the pasta; but we're betting that she clung to the nozzle of the ice cream factory like a new-born calf suckling in the depths of winter.

The Pizza Hut buffet is a good deal, although setting against the 'all you can eat for £5.49' offer is the cost of the surgery to remove the effects.

They've stopped giving us the little mints at our local Hut - is that a national thing?


Perhaps the latest bit of trouble for Naomi McLean-Daley might finally detach her from her goody-goody status. Apparently she got a bit upset while out in the town and started kicking the inappropriately named Paragon Lounge nightclub door. When police turned up to ask what she was doing, Ms Dynamite allegedly punched a WPC on the nose. She's charged with assaulting a police officer and disorderly conduct; her brother and a friend will also be up before the beak on Friday.

Of course, it's possible that she'll remain the tabloid's virtuous woman rapper of choice - after all, her status has survived a previous incident.

Friday, January 06, 2006


What a splendid gesture on the part of Bon Jovi, granting permission to their home state, New Jersey, to use Who Says You Can't Go Home in an advert intended to attract tourists to the place.

It's slightly tarnished by the publishers insisting on being paid a whopping USD175,000 for the rights.

It's made even worse by the reaction of "sources close to the band" quoted in the New York Daily News:

"That's not a lot of money. Coke pays millions to use a song in a commercial. People should get paid for what they write. Jon and Richie are good Jersey boys. They've done so much charitable work for the state."

Well, there's nothing there that's untrue, as such, but it's still not exactly right, is it? For a start, Coke is a multi-squillion pound private corporation and slightly evil, and would be using the track on every TV and radio station around the world every ten minutes for ever, so, yes, you'd expect them to pay more (mind you, you'd expect them to not be implicated in the deaths of trade unionists, too.) And while Jon and Richie Sambora may have done a lot of charitable work, since when was "I gave at the office" an excuse for justifying a spot of breathtaking greed?


Fred Durst is celebrating after asking Leyla Bearman to marry him, and - surprisingly - she said yes. According to his PR people, anyway. But then again, they did say that he'd gone to see that girl in hospital that time, and that turned out to be less-than-accurate, so we wouldn't advise buying the congratulations cards just yet.


Oddly enough, despite insisting that her look was so hertfelt and genuine,Avril Lavigne has reinvented herself as a Gucci pig for Harper's Bazaar:

"I'm starting to feel more feminine. I'm getting into hair and make-up and image.

"It's Twiggy for the 2000s."

Twiggy, eh? He always was the coolest of Manson's backing band, we guess.

It is adorable that we're still being expected to pretend that Avril's "look" up until now hasn't been anything to do with image, though - as if she just rolled off the streets dressed like that.

And as the photo we've harvested from the interweb shows, she's really now almost indstinguishable from a younger female member of one of Europe's more established Royal families in matters of hair, make-up, image and deportment.


Some bands, just the very idea that they're taking delivery of some spools of tape and weighing up if they dare use the spitguard left by the last people in is enough to make you tingle. So we're delighted to hear that Sonic Youth have started recording stuff for their next album. Titles recorded include Do You Believe In Rapture and Pink Steam. Add to your 2006 Christmas lists now.


Even the date of birth is contentious when it comes to Lou Rawls, who died today. Most sources suggest he was born 70 years ago, although his family insist his death has come at the age of 72.

What is certain, though, is he was born in Chicago, and it was there he was introduced to gospel music by his grandmother. It was the music which would carry him to Los Angeles in 1950s, where he joined a touring act, The Pilgrim Travelers. Two sessions, bracketing a three-year period rising to Sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Regiment, saw him working with Sam Cooke and opening for the Beatles, but it was to be his smaller gigs on the LA R&B circuit which would lead to his big break. A Capitol Records talent scout heard him and, impressed by his four-octave range, signed him to a partnership which would last for nearly a decade, kicking off with Stormy Monday in 1962. In 1971, Rawls jumped ship to MGM. Eventually, Rawls founded his own label, Rawls & Brokaw, on which he released 1998's Seasons 4 U.

1966's Love Is A Hurtin' Thing won his first two Grammy nominations; he would have to find space for three small decorative record players across his work. He's also credited by some for inventing rap - he would deliver some tracks in a semi-singing, semi-talking way, originally designed to make himself noticed over the noise of the waitresses and ice machines in small night clubs. In 1971, Rawls beat Frank Sinatra for the coveted Best Male Singer award in the Dowbeat readers poll, and he would continue to ride the wave of popularity until the musical tide turned towards the dancefloor.

Unwilling to sing lyrics he believed to be meaningless ("A lyric has to mean something to me, something that has happened to me. I try to look for songs people can relate to because I know the man on the corner waiting for the bus has to hear it and say, 'Yeah that's right.'"), Rawls swapped labels again to avoid being bounced into following the herd. His gun-sticking obstinacy paid off, as his new label, Philadelphia International, delivered his biggest hit, You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.

Rawls had a habit of turning up as an actor in some frightening spin-offs: he had a part in Baywatch Nights and, at the movies, Blues Brothers 2000. As a voiceover artist, he could at least hide his face as he took cash for Captain Planet and Garfield.

More fittingly as a legacy, he can be remembered as a tireless charity and civil rights campaigner - his Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon series have raised more than $200million for the United Negro College Fund.

Rawls had previously died: in 1958, he was pronounced dead following a car crash. He remained in a coma for nearly a week, and recovery was slow: his memory took two months to return; full health took another ten.

His health has been failing for a while now - he was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2004, and brain cancer in May 2005. Optimistically, he posted a message on his website pledging his intent to survive: "I want to thank everyone for your prayers and expressions of love. Your concern touches me...but don't count me out. There's been many people who have been diagnosed with this kind of thing, and they're still jumpin' and pumpin.' I'm thinking good thoughts." Sadly, that wasn't enough, and he died earlier today.


We've just heard that Lou Rawls - despite his claims that he wasn't going anywhere - has died. A fuller obituary will follow later.


Obie Trice has issued a statement through his label about his shooting:

"As previously reported, Trice was shot at in his car whilst driving along a Michigan freeway with his girlfriend. [Trice] was swiftly discharged from hospital and is recovering at home, but apparently he will need to see a surgeon again soon as his injuries are a little more serious than initial reports suggested: a bullet is still lodged in his head, as doctors judged it too risky to move due to its position."

Trice himself blames the city, and not the company he keeps:

"This is living in Detroit, and that's all. You hear about it because it's me, I got ties to Eminem or whatever, but I got people that are out there dealing with it every single day where I'm from. As far as all the rumours and guessing games, people talking road rage and all that nonsense, I'm not getting involved in any of that right now."

Well, no, because you've got a bullet stuck in your head. The phrase "that's got to hurt" has never been so apt.


We're a little confused as to some of the details of the new series of Celebrity Big Brother which started last night.

The idea of having a non-celebrity amongst the celebs would have been slightly more compelling if she hadn't been as exposed as some of the actual celebrities - there's not much distance between Maggot from Goldie Lookin' Chain and the Sky Sports Soccerettes, is there?

Perhaps the most surprising entrant is Preston from The Ordinary Boys - not the biggest name there, and all the more surprising because, well, indie boys aren't meant to do this sort of thing. We couldn't have been more surprised if he'd turned up riding around on the back of a naked Billie Joe-Armstrong - he says on the The Ordinary Boys site that "anyone who loves the band will understand the subtleties of why I'm doing this."

It's actually a surprisingly music-heavy household this time round, with Rula Lenska having been in Rock Follies; Michael Barrymore's stint as novelty act (Kenny the Kangaroo-garoo-garoo, anybody?); Pete Burns - we could have so done without the photos of his lips spewing out puss, thank you very much, Channel 4; that bloke who once had sex Madonna; Maggot and Preston. We don't think George Galloway has ever released a record, but we wait to be corrected on that one.

Incidently, what does one of George's constituents do if they need to talk to him? Imagine if you were being threatened with deportation or something, you'd have to spend a fortune voting to get him out of there and able to help you.
[Thanks to Joe for the Ordinary Boys link]


Now that Kate Moss has moved on to another middle-class would-be bad boy with a pudgy face, Pete Doherty has decided to respond in kind. He's not set up a date with that human-hatchet Jasmine from Make Me A Supermodel - although wouldn't that serve the pair of them justly? - oh no, Pete's going to have his K tattoo removed. Or possibly just altered to show the name of his true love, by adding a "CRAC" before it.


Not that he'd be tempted to get anything out of proportion or anything, but Richard Ashcroft has suggested the end of The Verve was akin to somebody dying of cancer. He was grumbling about fans who think he was better when he was in The Verve rather than indulging his increasingly overblown solo stuff ("fans who resent him breaking up the Verve"):

"I have no time for those kind of people. People die of cancer, shit happens, a band's a band. You feel stupid when people won't let go - it makes it Spinal Tap."

Obviously, Ashcroft was fumbling towards a "set against the scale of human suffering" comparison, but managed to have exactly the opposite effect.


When Vista finally makes it onto the shelves, and you finally upgrade your PC enough to run Microsoft's attempts at reproducing the last-but-one Mac Operating System, the music you hear will be written by Robert Fripp. Fripp has produced all the system sounds for the new OS - apparently he was the hottest young star around back when Gates green-lighted the whole Longhorn project.


Possibly a little bit too much reality on Radio City last night: a caller died on air in the middle of the Pete Price phone-in. The caller was in mid-flow when he apparently suffered a heart attack; after police told Price they wouldn't treat checking on him as a priority, the presenter put his show on hold and went round himself. An ambulance was already at the house.


Considering he ran blubbing from the stage at Reading faced with nothing more than a few teenagers and some plastic bottles, is 50 Cent sure he wants to play a Tyneside pub?

We suspect that as its called The Glass Spider it's either owned by David Bowie or, more likely, a slightly ponce-tastic place in Sunderland, though, so it's not like he's going to have to ask Handy Mickey to get off the piano before he does his set, but it's still a wonderful image. We wonder if there'll be a couple of bottles of Brown on the rider.


As a public service, here are the quality pay-off lines from today's 3am Girl pieces in the Mirror:

Has April Fool's Day come early this year?
What a sensible young man.
Caught In The Middle of an underwear malfunction, eh Keish?
A spokesperson said, "They've decided they get on better not as couple."


ITV are so thrilled with the prospective line-up for the Brit awards that they're going to extend the coverage by half an hour (although twenty-two minutes of that will be taken up by Chris Evans mugging) - presumably they are hearing different things to everybody else.

What's going to happen? Oasis' Tweedle brothers are fighting over who gets to sing with Paul Weller; Madonna is going to do something and so are Coldplay. It's so grim that you almost start wishing Jools Holland will pitch up with his boogie-woogie piano.

There is a prospect of Take That, though, and Kate Bush (who the 3am Girls are still describing as a "reclusive singer") might do something, so it's going to be worth a zap through with Sky+ the next day; although let's hope the extra half hour doesn't make it clash with Boston Legal.


Jaclyn NesheiwatAs his career becomes heavier on the "former" than the "lead singer of Creed" bit, Scott Stapp has managed to do something to shore up interest in him by getting engaged to a former Miss America type beauty queen, Jaclyn Nesheiwat. Apparently the pair met at a charity benefit (of course - what else do beauty queens do but travel from charity event to charity event) last year and intend to get married next month while they can still interest the celeb maagzines in it.

Tellingly, the marriage was announced by Stapp's publicist.

Interestingly, Nesheiwat is broadly speaking one of Stapp's employees, working at his curious charity which promotes "healthy parent-child relationships."


After the pay-offs and pleading, Gary Glitter has been formally charged with committing obscene acts with two girls. The charges carry potential sentences of three to seven years.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Interestingly, the organisers of The Rolling Stones set at the Superbowl have decided that anyone over the age of 45 would be "too old to stand" and watch them play. That's thirteen years younger than the youngest member of the Stones.

The people who get to watch the show are going to have attend five rehearsals so they can get the applauding and cheering right. We bet there are quite a few bands who'd love to be able to drill their audience like that.

And, while we're talking of the Stones, we had an email from I Look Ill's Gary on the subject of Victoria Newton's pisspoor Sticky Fingers gag was even worse than we'd thought: Stamp collecting Ron Wood wasn't even on Sticky Fingers.


Remember the bunch of stuff that Michael Jackson claimed had been stolen by a bloke in New Jersey? Oh, you do - a chap called Henry Vaccaro claimed that he'd bought a bunch of Jackson family memorobilia (including "skin bleach, soiled underwear, sexual videotapes, sexual paraphernalia and a hand-drawn picture by Jackson of a 7-year-old boy.") Jackson said that stuff wasn't his, but the other bits and pieces were. You forgot? It seems so did Michael, as he hadn't done anything about the case he filed two years ago, so Judge Florence-Marie Cooper has struck out the case.


Bill Gates - who is so rich, he could buy everything in the world, have it stolen, and buy it all over again has already launched a music service once. Now, he's looking to have another launch, with the basically-another-me-too service we heard about before Christmas.

Its called Urge, it had Justin Timberlake at the launch event, and it doesn't work with iPods.

Gates, it seems, has a vision, where you integrate word processing with watching online videos. Yeah, but they laughed when he said he could see everyone using WebTV, don't forget.

Tucked away in the detail is a potentially more interesting development - Gates has done a deal with DirecTV in the States and BSkyB here in the UK; the DirecTV deal will allow people to play satelitte TV through their computer (although, actually, you can do that with any TV card in your PC, so it's the terms of the deal rather than the technology that is of interest.)

But the music offering? A spot of MTV content is all that separates it from Napster. And how's Napster doing?


We're not convinced that the sudden scrapping of the Detroit Superbowl part Jay-Z was planning down at the library was because the librarians were scared of the raw force of hiphop. We know some things about American librarians, and frankly, their lifestyles would make yer average Puff Daddy look like a young seminarian. Anyway, the City suggests that forms weren't filed; the organisers claim they did, and it's all gone a bit nasty. Would-have-been promoter Demetrius Carrington fumes:

"I've done [events with] Prince, R. Kelly-all type of shit. I think they got scared because of the scope of the event. I think they are a bunch of older conservatives who decided it was too much to handle.

"I was just upset because they were so unprofessional to me," added Carrington. "For us to be in financial ruins in this city and for somebody to arbitrarily change their minds is ridiculous. We were going to employ 100 security detail. They issued me a preliminary contract; we could've done something legally. I was very disappointed. They have one of the biggest venues in the city that is probably going to sit dark [on] one of the biggest weekends that Detroit will have for a long time."

Plus, they're going to have all those copies of LL Cool J's HipKidHop sitting around not being checked out.


Fabrizio Moretti must be rather secure in his powers of entertaining Drew Barrymore, as he seems to be a bit reluctant to make any sort of serious commitment to her:

"We're very happy and we love each other very much but I don't think I'd be ready to get married any time soon."

Fab, honey, you might want to get something in writing fairly quickly.


Channel 4 News is reporting this evening that Kate Moss has decided to return to the UK to talk to the police about the cocaine story.

Pete Doherty and half the London music and fashion scenes must be chewing their fingers tonight.


Just as inevitable as one day Charles Kennedy was going to have to say "So, I like a drink...", Dave Lee Roth has warned that one day the original Van Halen will get back together:

"It definitely won't be rockers with walkers, he said. "Getting onstage and singing 'Dance the Night Away' - let me tell you how difficult that isn't going to be."

Equally disturbing is the way Roth is currently turning into some sort of Keith Floyd lookalike.


It's not often you can point to something on the Fox News website and say it's an amusing and worthwhile read, but their whatever happened to Tommy Mottola article is quite a hoot; it's a timely reminder that the people who are thought of as being so good at the music industry generally just happen to be at the top of a lucky company with a massive advertising budget rather than, actually, any good at things.

Mottola was canned by Sony back in the early days of 2003, but was considered to be such a great figure that he was picked up by Universal to reinvigorate Casablanca Records. Gossips reckon that he was given USD50million by the major to do the business.

50 Million - you have sue an awful lot of teenage girls to make that sort of cash; you'd expect to see some returns.

Since then? There has been the less-than-staggering Lindsay Lohan sidecareer (so low-profile, every time we do something about her we just check on Google that she has made records). And... erm, Brie Larson, apparently the only other artist they have, who managed to sell getting on for four thousand copies of her (or is Brie a boy's name?) debut album.

You couldn't pay for a nose for business like that - not unless you were a public-traded company that was playing with people's pensions, of course.


In a clash of artistic visions (over a scent commercial), J-Lo has sacked Jean Baptiste Mondino from shooting the ad for Live perfume.

We should point out that "has sacked" is in the past tense, and that's kind of correct as it did happen months ago, but the gossip has only just fetched up in the New York Post. Apparently, having sacked the director, Jennifer took over the reigns herself. We're not convinced she actually had to excise the phrase "smells like my douche" from the script, but those words certainly didn't appear in the final version.


We're not sure why the Arctic Monkeys fans (the most computery-literate music fans ever, according to all the papers) would need a separate release of their album, Some Line Pinched From An Eminem Single, in the US - surely their fanbase would have no problem getting the UK release through this interwebby thing? - but they are, anyway. It's out February 21st in the US; January 30th in Britain.


It's generally been accepted that Pete Tonwshend's deafness has been down to him hanging around on stages playing that loud music. "Not a bit of it" says the man himself:

"Studio headphones caused my hearing problems, rather than playing loudly on stage."

Townshend warns of trouble ahead with all these headphones we're using now, but then is quick to reassure the mighty Apple that he isn't suggesting their fine product is causing any problems:

"If you use an iPod or anything like it, or your child uses one, you may be OK. It may only be studio earphones that cause bad damage."

He does, though, finally state: "The downside may be that on our computers - for privacy, for respect to family and co-workers, and for convenience - we use earphones at almost every stage of interaction with sound."

Jim Turner, who rightly chided us for not mentioning this story yesterday, points out that "Pete of course knows more than most about computers and privacy."


The astonishingly unlikeable Paris Hilton is being accused of slanderous lies and fibs in a court case designed to show how rich people live.

Zeta Graff - who is famous because her father has a lot of money - was accused, apparently by Hilton - who is famous because her father has a lot of money of trying to strangle her in order to steal her diamond necklace. Graff feels this has damaged her reputation to the tune of at least ten million bucks.

Meanwhile, in a separate lawsuit, Brian Quintana is trying to get a restraining order stopping Hilton from badmouthing him. Oh, and threatening his life, too.

Hilton's spokesperson says, actually, it is she who is the victim. We're going to send her a £5 book token to cheer her up.


For some reason, when we hear that Robbie Williams wants to become a commedian we think of Bob Monkhouse's line "they laughed when they said I wanted to be a commedian; they're not laughing now."

Williams thinks that he may have inherited his father's gift for stand-up comedy. It's possible, we suppose. He must be able to do something entertaining, surely?


First, Eminem remarried his ex-wife; now, he's had a rapprochment with his mother, even paying for her cancer treatment. It's like the plot of My Name Is Earl, isn't it, with Em running around making ammends to everyone he's dissed in song. We wonder what he's got in mind to atone for the "raping lesbians" clunker?


Daisy Martey, who used to be the singer with Morcheeba until she was sacked for being ill, is suing her former bandmates claiming harrassment, breach of contract and defamation. Martey replaced original Morcheeba vocalist Skye, but it doesn't sound like an entirely successful idea:

The ex-Morcheeba lead singer says Paul Godfrey took her breasts in his hands twice, tried to touch her bottom and attempted to kiss her.

Her High Court writ also claims he called her a “cheap tart” and an uneducated working class girl with a posh voice and middle class aspirations.

Band creator Godfrey also allegedly remarked, “Look at your tits”, and “Nice to see you looking half-decent for a change,” the court will hear.

Martey was replaced by Jody Sternberg just a few months in to her time with the band. She's suing Paul Godfrey for assault, harrassment, breach of contract and defamation; in addition, Ross Godfrey is being sued for the last two of these.


For a man who's quite happy to chop himself to shreds in order to pad out a BBC Three documentary, he's quite shy about his knob. The website has been hosting a video of Doherty waving his cock around; now, he's calling for it to be taken down. (Pete, if you wanted to get up a petition, we'd sign.

There's a quote from a "pal", of course:

“Pete was showing stomach implants installed to stop him taking heroin.

“But he decided to expose himself and start grabbing his willy. He forgot about the film, but went mad when it hit the internet.

“He might be an exhibitionist on stage, but he doesn’t want his bits shown to the world.”

So, that would be a part-time exhibitionist, then? Or a man who's an exhibitionist in public?

It's not all bad for Pete, though, as the picture in today's Sun (that one up there) is, shall we say, somewhat flattering in the size of the "Censored" box it's provided. It could have got away with a "No" in a font half the size.

Meanwhile, the police have got sick of waiting for Kate Moss to return to the UK, and have started begging her to come back so they can ask her awkward questions about her drug use.

The detective, AC Ghaffur, appeals to her:

“There has been a lot of speculation about whether she has decided to stay in the United States.

“But we have an investigation to carry out and we need to speak to her as soon as possible. The investigation is progressing very well and the Met is closing in on those who are behind the supply of drugs.

“But we have got to speak to Kate. I am making an appeal to Kate to come back to this country.

“If she does we will seek to see her by appointment. We will arrest her and interview her under caution. "

Yeah, that's a tempting offer right there - "if you come back, you can choose what time you want to be arrested on. By the way, Kate, we really need your evidence before we arrest the drug dealers, so we've decided to try and make it as public as possible if you do decide to help us so every gangster from here to Moss Side will think you've bubbled them." We bet she's packing right away.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Although we're sure her recent hospitalisation was down to asthma and not anything else, Lindsay Lohan seems to have got a little confused about her drug use during a Vanity Fair interview:

Lohan said she used drugs "a little" but quickly tried to retract the admission and denied that she had taken cocaine. "I don't want people to think that I've done ... you know what I mean? It's kind of a sore subject," she said.

Lohan's publicist called Vanity Fair the day after the interview to try to get the confession omitted from the article, the New York Post reported.

Perhaps Lohan - having decided to share that she'd been suffering from an eating disorder - forgot quite how much she was supposed to be telling the world. But nice to see that she's trying a David Cameron gambit on drugs.


The new Pink album is - hopefully - shaping up to be a massive improvement on the last one, as she's dumped the idea that people want her to do everywoman nonesense and got personal again. Amongst what she's promising is a strip-tearing for George Bush and - less encouragingly - a singalong with her Dad:

"It's the most adorable experience for a father and daughter to share," she said. "He's just such a folk singer, I just love it. It felt like the '60s."

Pink, of course, is able to remember the 60s because she wasn't there.


Courtney Love has spent much of the past decade flirting with Death; now she's plotting to work with the Dead 60s. She's hooked up with the band's guitarist Ben Gordon - we presume shortly after sniffing the air and cackling "I smell the blood of a young rock god" - and they've worked on some songs together.

Gordon is currently safe back in Liverpool, but is still considering working with Love on her crawlback album.


That's gay as in the not-queer sense, meaning jolly. In fact, jolly old Robbie can't understand why people might think he's gloomy:

"I am surprised about what the public thinks of me.

"They say again and again that I am a highly depressive guy who can hardly get out of bed for the next day. Bullshit.

"But that seems to fit them well. Like, he may be the famous entertainer Robbie Williams, but he can't enjoy his life. He can't be happy. He is depressive, a terrible person; he can't sing and is certainly gay."

We wonder why they think you're depressed, Robbie? Could it be, for example, when you give interviews to the Telegraph magazine saying stuff like "I'm depressed"?:

Commenting about his illness Williams, said 'people think that if you're depressed, you're depressed about something. But I'm not. I just feel terrible. It's not about record sales or media or family. The real root of it all is, actually, I suffer with an illness that's called depression'

Or maybe when you sing "pity me" songs, perhaps?

So rock and roll so corporate suit
So damn ugly, so damn cute
So well trained, so animal
So need your love, so fuck you all
I’m not scared of dying I just don’t want to
If I stopped lying I’d just disappoint you
I come undone

Do you think that might be it, Robbie?


Presumably the reason why Babyshambles are only playing a three date tour of the UK is because any more than that they get the bus too crammed with underage girls, "new" PR people, BBC Three documentary makers, drug dealers and passersby that it's no longer safe to drive:

London, Koko - January 9
Sheffield, Plug - 10
Stoke, The Underground - 11


Pete Tong's inteview with Wired isn't actually bursting with fresh insights, but it's worth reading anyway. He's vague on the increasing dominance of Apple in the music scene:

I've always been a Mac user, but as Apple grows more powerful I get the sense that there's a little bit of Microsoft in there. The way it's so controlled from the center. It's phenomenal what it has achieved. Success in digital music gives Apple the chance to control things again, but will it keep that friendly image?

Well... yes, there is a bit of Microsoft in there - Bill took a USD150million stake in 1997, primairily to keep the company alive and spare Microsoft from having an awkward monopoly.

Tong is more interesting when he gets on the reason why labels shouldn't be so busy trying to kill digital - if they'd played their hand better, and cleared their eyes, they should have realised that disintermediating was a positive good for their business; but they've chosen to panic instead:

In my day at London Records, we signed an artist, a pop band. We got everyone, from the guy on the door to the chief executive, approving of the artist. We signed the act, made the record and took it along to BBC Radio 1. To succeed we had to get airplay, but the guy running the station didn't like the record, and we dropped the act. That just wouldn't happen today. If the station knocks you back you have other places to go.

Things have changed so much. Bands can build an audience all by themselves. Market research has gone out the window, labels just follow the heat, really. They maximize artists who are already doing well. I think it's really honest, actually. Almost everyone who arrives at a label's door already has a story.

We're not convinced that Tong is right when he suggests that "market research has gone out the window" - surely, the industry has become even more reliant on a few responses? Indeed, with the new marketplace dynamic and far, far lower break-even point open to them, it would be a positive good for the industry to abandon market research altogether. Instead, and because record companies are basically marketing organisations rather than cultural ones, they cling to the charts more than ever. Tong's right about where the labels have slipped up, but he's living up to his cockney rhyming name on why.


Not pregnant hereSomeone saw Cameron Diaz emerging from a clinic looking happy, and perhaps a little bit better built and rather than thinking "thank god, she seems to have started eating properly", they've decided that she's pregnant with Justin Timberlake's two-headed lovechild.


Stuart Cable, the drummer dumped from the Stereophonics for reasons we never quite understood (probably sniggered "Kelly is a girl's name" once too often), has taken another step in his assemblage of a sort-of media career: he's signed up to present a Friday night show on Kerrang! Radio.

Kerrang! are! happy!:

"Stuart is an absolutely perfect addition to the Kerrang! radio line-up," said the station's programme director, Adam Uytman. "His edgy personality and love of all things rock sums up what the station is about and there is no place better suited to his style and taste."

Edgy? He's about as edgy as the Guggenheim in Bilbaod. To be honest, we have Stuart down as something more like "chummy", which is no bad thing in itself.

"Stuart lives and breaths the Kerrang! brand having hosted the Kerrang! awards for the past two years - he has been itching to take this involvement a step further and get himself on the airwaves," Mr Uytman said.

It would be nice to think that people wanted to play music on the radio because they lived the music, rather than because they liked the brand, but then we've never been offered a show. Not since Wirral Community Radio folded, anyway.


Of course, if Mark Owen really wants to use a bottom double for any naked arse bits on the new Take That tour, he's going to have to show up pictures of the bottom he wants to match, isn't he?

Actually, they shouldn't be called bottom doubles at all, should they? The whole point of using a perter ass is because they're not a perfect match for the original buttocks.


We can't help but wonder if the decision by Patrick Swayze to turn to rap is like one of those things where they play classical music at train stations - designed to put the kids off hanging about?

Swayze reckons he's serious:

The 53-year-old Dirty Dancer told website that he's working on a new track which shows "how rap rhythm is an emotional undercurrent for ballads."

Yes. Especially the ones which namecheck the AK47.


For the second time in a few weeks, 50 Cent has got into trouble for waving his guns about on billboards. Following on from the movie posters in the US, the Advertising Standards Authority has instructed Universal to stop using posters featuring 50 Cent holding a gun and a baby for Get Rich or Die Tryin.

The adjudication is a wonderful piece of work, calling him "Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson" and printing the explanation offered by Universal for the posters:

Universal Music Group (UMG) said the image chosen for the album ad was taken from the promotional material created for the film of the same name and was designed to communicate the narrative of the main character's struggle to escape the ghetto in which he grew up. They maintained that the image was intended to show the choice that Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson's character had to make between the child and the violence represented by the gun.

We love the idea of someone in UMG's head office in the UK loosening his tie, putting down his prawn sandwich from Pret-A-Manger, and starting to write the ASA a letter about the realities of life in the ghetto. It didn't work, as the ASA isn't that stupid:

We noted the relationship between the image in the poster and the narrative of the film. We considered, however, that Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson had such cultural credibility, especially among young people, that his association with gang culture and criminal behaviour was likely to be seen as glamorising and condoning the possession and use of guns. We also considered the combination of the title, "Get Rich or Die Tryin", and the image of Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson carrying a gun could give the impression that success could be achieved through violence. We concluded that the image was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and was irresponsible. We told UMG not to repeat the approach.

Something to remember the next time the record labels start to lecture us about irresponsibility. Something else to remember.


We're sure the modern Dandy - all skateboarding kids with back-to-front baseball cats sticking fireworks up Korky The Cat - had no room these days for those adverts which used to ask a simple question, offering a prize of a stamp collecting kit. Complete with stamps. Maybe the advertisers should try Mojo instead, as it seems that as rock and roll stars mellow, they start to enjoy spending time fiddling about with stamp hinges and uncancelled Finnish definitives. Ronnie Wood, you see, spends his time between Rolling Stones dates steaming the Christmas stamps off envelopes, prompting a pun from Victoria Newton that's so lame, even we'd have rejected it:

And it’s a fitting hobby for the star — famed for albums like STICKY FINGERS.

Good lord. The monkeys-at-typewriters here would have gone with "my sources say he's not that bothered about special issues; he just likes the ones with the Faces on."


Normally, the news of former stars hitting the comeback trail is enough to make the blood run like white wine, but reports today that Kim Wilde is going to stop shilling herbal supplements long enough to make a new record, and that Betty Boo has got so tired of seeing her flawless pop songs being slaughtered by honking TV show winners and is going to make some new stuff herself is enough to gladden any heart.
Boo Best OfThe work she did before she went all grown-up and returned to being called Alison Clarkson. Wonder if she's still got the boots...


TweedyReaders of the Sun were asked - presumably during a drunken night out - "if you could persuade anyone famous to appear on Page 3, who would it be?"

Their response? Cheryl Tweedy from Girls Aloud and punching toilet attendant incidents. It doesn't seem to be very imaginative to us, although some people chose Mariah Carey, which seems to be even more odd. Unless they just wondered what she looked like with some clothes on.


Billie JoeAll that bouncing up and down and hours applying mascara have taken it out of Green Day, who plan to spend most of 2006 on holiday, riding their BMXes and comparing downy growths, they reckon:

Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said: "It was a crazy year, but it has been the best year of our career. We don't have any regrets."

Bassist Mike Dirnt added: "A lot of people just keep going and going and going.

"It's important to know when to call it quits for a while and go home, rejuvenate, detox and write another record."

And spend the money, of course.

The boys are expected to continue to appear in slashfiction throughout the year.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


It's been ages since Keane did their first album - Bright Eyes have managed something like seventeen albums and a couple of side projects since then - but they have finally announced a follow-up: it'll be out sometime in the Spring.


Meg WhiteHaving got sick of only ever appearing in pictures stood behind a man with a stupid moustache, Meg White is embarking on a career as a model. She's going to be the new face for Marc Jacob's range, following in the catwalky footsteps of Stephen Malkmus and Thurston Moore. Presumably he's aware he'll need to make the shirts a little more roomy this time.


There are fairly strong rumours bouncing out from Mozzer fansites that the man will be slogging about the UK on a thirty-date tour this March; including what is being called a four-date Manchester residency. Except it's at four different venues, which seems to not be any definition of residency that we understand.


According to someone who sat down and counted, in 2005 Mercedes was the most popular brand name in rap songs which made the Billboard Top 20. In 106 songs, Mercedes got 100 mentions; followed by Nike with 62 and LiqourSave At Kwik Save at third with 62. Alright, Cadillac came third.

It's not clear how many of the top ten name droppers paid for their appearance:

1. Mercedes-Benz
2. Nike
3. Cadillac
4. Bentley
5. Rolls-Royce
6. Hennessy
7. Chevrolet
8. Louis Vuitton/Cristal (tie)
10. AK-47

50 Cent was the most commercial rapper, naming 17 products in seven songs; it's rumoured plans for an eight single would have consisted entirely of dodgy web addresses for viagra sites and public service announcements.

ROCKOBIT: Bryan Harvey

House of Freaks guitarist Bryan Harvey and his wife and two daughters were found murdered at their Richmond, Virginia home on Sunday.

Harvey formed House of Freaks with percussionist Johnny Holt in the 1980s, a band who built a small fanbase who followed them through three albums on Rhino Records. The greatest of these, Tantilla, explored what Harvey described as his obsession with the South and the concept of racial guilt; it was produced by Stone Roses producer John Leckie. After splitting with from Rhino, the duo found it difficult to find a permanent home, releasing work for a number of labels and creating a side project, Gutterball. Holt and Harvey also turned up in other bands - including the Mike Mills-produced Waxing Poetics.

House of Freaks ran out of steam in 1995, ad although Gutterball were still theoretically a going concern, nothing by them, nor Harvey's 1997 solo album made it as far as the shops. In recent years, Harvey had been playing with NRG Krysys and working for Henrico County's technology department; his wife, Kathryn Harvey ran a gift shop.

Police officers working on the case describe the site of the family's murder as "the worst they have ever seen." Family and friends have left floral tributes outside the house.


Have you ever wondered what it must be like to be Usher? No? Oh.

Lets say you had, though: Usher has been talking about what a great guy he is to Complex magazine (the magazine for men who aren't). For example, he's had his colon pumped:

"Nah man. I mean, yeah, I had a colonic before but not no shit like that. Not no monthly thing. Hell no. Someone who travels a lot like I do, while you're on the road, flying over to Africa and eating meats in certain places, you don't always eat the way you should and a lot of waste builds up inside your body. That's why I did it.

"It ain't no shit you gonna be proud of, I'll tell you that."

This does raise the question, of course, of what shits exactly Usher is proud of - presumably he has a small band of flunkies who come in and record the best ones in a book.

Note, though, the neat way he pretends his totally pointless cosmetic procedure was in some way neccesary because he "ate certain meats in Africa" - yeah, we bet you really need a stomach cleansing after having a McDonalds in Pretoria.

Still, he might have had some plastic tubing up his openings, but Usher does draw some lines about what he puts there:

"Um, nothing's gonna be shocking at this point, y'all read it in the tabloids. You know, the orgies and the whole nine. At 15 being surrounded by the shit I saw, looking at orgies and all kinda stuff, I had the lifestyle of a rock star.

Interesting use of the word "looking" at orgies, there. But those special sort of orgies, of course, where the sexual abandon only went so far.

"There were women-on-women but never man-on-man. Shit, nowhere near that! Hell no. No one that I ever roll with or ever would roll with would get down like that."

Have we got that clear? Not only would Usher not have sex with a gay, he'd never have sex with a bloke who would have sex with a gay.

Of course, the likeliest reason why Usher wouldn't have sex with another man is because he could never find another man he loved as much as he loves himself:

"I started off as a hundred-aire, became a millionaire. Started off playing basketball in
front of the yard and now own the Clevland Cavaliers."

You must be very pleased with yourself, Mr. Usher. You certainly sound like you are.


Using nothing more than a compass and the wits of the Radio 2 experts, it's been somehow conclusively proved that 1967 was the greatest year in pop, ever.

Andrew Collins did his best to argue against the year, although he did so by pointing out that The Sound of Music soundtrack was number one for half of the year, something we feel would actually count in its favour rather than against it.

1999 was voted the worst year ever - which is plainly insane, as it gave us both Add N to X's Metal Fingers In My Body and Britney doing Baby One More Time. For the Daily Mail, it was all about the battle:

Rather than the music, 1999 was remembered more for the catfight between Christina Aguilera and Miss Spears

The pair fought it out for the number one spot with their debut singles.

In the end, both songs - Miss Aguilera's Genie in a Bottle and Miss Spears's Baby, One More Time - made the top spot.

A chart battle, of course, that did lose some of its edge with Xtina releasing her single nine months after Britney's.


The US music industry clearly hasn't sued enough people, to judge by the way they turned a rise in sales across 2004 into a 10% drop in CDs across the year. The reason?

Well, a couple of percent were down to the odd shape of 2004, which had 53 trading weeks in it; but beyond that, the big hitters released duff albums which sold well on their debut week to fans, but held little interest for anyone beyond. For example, Alicia Keys Unplugged did quite well in its first week, selling about a fifth of a million units. However, there was no interest beyond that, and subsequently it dropped 57% and 40% week-on-week. The absurd decision to let Ashlee Simpson have another go might have looked like it was paying off when 220,000 danced out the stores in its first week. But then word of mouth led to a second week sale of about 70,000; week three it struggled to find 55,000 takers.

Madonna is a shining example of how the industry has managed to create large stars out of people nobody much wants to hear doing what they're meant to be famous for. 350,000 copies sold in the first week; but after every gay bloke of a certain age had got his copy, the market seemed to dry up - 213,000 in week two; barely 109,000 in its third.

Now, the music industry will probably be quick to blame this on the internet and people stealing the records instead of buying them. They may have a slight point - the opportunity to sample Confessions on a Dance Floor before purchase may well have put off lots of people who otherwise would have gone out and made a disappointing purchase, but "filesharing is making it hard for us to shift rubbish records" is a slogan they'll not be keen to slap on the back of jewel cases any time soon. But could purchasers who might have liked the tracks been taking for free rather than buying them down WalMart? Maybe, except the only album in the last three months of the year to spend more than a single week at the top of the chart was Eminem's Greatest Hits. So, the most successful album comprised almost entirely of tracks you could pick up off the first incarnation of Napster, and which would already have been in most fan's possessions one way or another. It all suggests people will buy decent stuff they already own if the package is right, but have no intention of shelling out for substandard stuff they don't already have.


If you're sitting back in your office, trying to get motivated and wishing that Christmas hadn't passed by in a blur of meat-filled parcels and drug-laced Bacardi Breezers, why not visit the very-good-and-we-meant-to-tell-you-about-ages-ago poison to the mind mp3 blog collection of Christmas tracks? It's even got the Muppets doing the twelve days of Christmas, which is still topical. Nine whatever it is doing whatever it is today, of course.


Trouble upon trouble for SUV-driving environmentalist Chris Martin - now it turns out that his house is haunted. At least, Gwyneth complains that whenever he leaves the room, she hears this strange reedy little voice floating through the mansion and feels the house goes cold, and he doesn't have the heart to tell her that's just him singing to himself while he checks the fridge to see if there's any coldcuts left in there.

So, haunted the house is - apparently with "bad energy" (presumably that's the gas that was meant to be going to the Ukranians?) - and if you're a rich celebrity with a haunting, you have to have an exorcism.

Paltrow asked the most spiritual person she could think of what to do; unfortunately, that was Madonna. Madonna, naturally, suggested getting in the Kabbalah Centre. The Kabbalah Centre has had some success in a related field in the past, helping people cast out the money from their bank accounts, and so naturally they've been delighted to make up some semi-plausible sounding mystic bollocks to lift a few quid from the dumb millionaires ("been delighted to suggest a ceremonial remedy that might drive the spirit from the mansion").

Apparently, it's going to take ten guys blowing the horn from a ram and chanting some old songs to exorcise the ghost, which, by a strange coincidence, was one of the dance routines Madonna's lined up for her next tour.

Only Chris Martin could worry that he's got a bad spiritual presence in his house and invite a worse one in as recompense.


Not that you'd want to accuse Madonna of desperately trying to shoehorn herself into anything that might look a little like a trend or anything, but her next video is going to be made by MTV's Pimp My Ride producers. The plot sees a clapped-out old vehicle being given an airbrush spraying to look as good as new, while experts come in to do something about its tuning and some superficial modern tat is slapped on the dashboard to try and make something fit for the scrapyard look like it's all modern and new.

We're sure there's a metaphor for something in there, but... no, can't think what it might be.

Madonna's desperate desire to turn up at anything she sees young people doing on TV means the video for the single after this one will either be her happy slapping or else turning up on Countdown and getting the conundrum right in two seconds again and again.


If you had to hand over your mobile phone, some money and your shoes to Pete Doherty, before being driven round London so you didn't know where you were, you might assume he was mugging you. Actually, it turns out that you'd have been invited to his New Year's Eve party.

That's right, he charged his guests ten quid to get in and took their shoes from them; into the bargain, he drove them round and round wearing blindfolds so they wouldn't be able to tell whereabouts in North London he lived - which must have been a pain for the taxi drivers coming to pick them up as the evening wound down. We love the idea that Pete thinks he lives at a secret address, mind, known only to him, half the showbiz hacks in London, Scabby Kenny the dealer and most of the North London underworld. And any of his guests who looked out the window.

Meanwhile, the diligent work of the British tabloids has uncovered information about the new kid in Kate Moss' life - you'll recall she was spotted nuzzling. He's a posh kid who wants to be thought of as a bad boy singer-songwriter. So, a complete change of pace for Kate, there, then.

Actually, the Charterhouse boy (what's the correct term for somebody who went to Charterhouse? No, no, we don't mean the four-letter word, we mean is it something like Old Chahoovian or something?) might not be in the same league at all, according to his old classmates:

"Jamie always liked to think of himself as a bit of a bad boy at school. He kept getting caught smoking when he shouldn't have been and thought he was a bit cool."

He never used to spark up outside the Prep Room, did he? Blimey. We hope the Mirror doesn't get hold of video of the time he gave Strangely Brown an apple-pie bed.

Friends insist this isn't a serious romance, as Kate has said she'd quite like to be introduced to Winker Watson next.


Pat Kane out of Hue and Cry (yes, they are still going, and if you pay an extra tenner they'll dress like the Cheeky Girls for you) has changed his songwriting ways, dumping the dictionary:

"People always accused me of looking up the biggest words to write my lyrics but now I write from the heart. I am trying to be more direct now."

It's just a pity he's abandoned the quest to come up with the longest word he can think of at the same time that his life has got little more to offer than Countdown with Des every afternoon.


There are unlikely influences, and then there are unlikely influences: Brandon Flowers of the Killers reveals that when he sits down to write songs, it's Rich Girl by Hall and Oates which is on his internal jukebox.

Hall & Oates best ofActually, it'd be a sad collection without Rich Girl in it somewhere. No, seriously. Don't be so quick to judge a band by their mullets.


Atlantic 252 - the Laser558 without the boat - was a curious beast; started as a semi-legal pop service broadcasting to, but not from, the UK, it then tried to reinvent itself as a dance service and even tried to make its odd-shaped broadcasting footprint a virtue with a bunch of posters proudly proclaiming "London Doesn't Get It." London didn't get Border Tonight, either, but that didn't make it any better. Eventually the whole thing mutated into an equally ill-fated sports service.

It's worth remembering that the original A252 came at a time when daytime pop radio in the UK was dominated by a Radio One still in the grip of cardigan-and-pipe DJs like Simon Bates and Dave Lee Travis; their downfall did, in part, owe something to efforts of the people broadcasting from next door.

Amongst those who remember is Mylo; he's currently the star draw on the Atlantic 252 online museum.


Canadian country singer Dick Nolan has died at the age of 66. Nolan fell victim to the career curse of a novelty hit, which overshadowed his more serious work.

Born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland in 1937, Nolan made his first records in the late 50s while resident in Toronto, comprising mainly of Johnny Cash covers. Ten albums later, he'd built a reputation as a singer of "truck drivin' country and western songs" for Arc Records and wanted to try something different. He returned home and became the forefront of a new Newfoundland Country style, which married traditional themes from the province with the sound of country and western.

In 1972, he released Aunt Martha's Sheep, a comical tale of rustlers trying to convince a mountie they were eating a moose stew. It was to become both Clark's biggest selling record, and one of the most successful of all the Newfoundland Country hits.

Nolan was happy to work this furrow, releasing a further collection of songs aimed at the funny bone with differing levels of success, both in terms of target and sales. His happiness to play up to stereotypes wasn't universally popular with critics who viewed the Newfoundland Country scene with distaste, but it proved a formula which worked; he carried on releasing albums up until 1999 and was still playing live in the last months of his life.

In November, Nolan recieved a lifetime achievement award from MusicNL, the industry association for Newfoundland and Labrador. He died in the last week of the old year following a stroke; he is survived by his wife, Marie.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Your licence fee at work (assuming you're in the UK, otherwise it's grant-in-aid funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office at work): A collection of sessions from BBC Radio Scotland's Air programme, including the now-defunct Delgados, Nectarine No.9 and The Go Team. They stream through your RealPlayer.


So many people got bright shiny iPods and other players for Christmas that 50% more downloads were sold on December 25th than on Christmas Eve.

The iTunes Music Store's dominance was underlined by the figures, outstripping its nearest competitor, Sony's Connect, by two-to-one; last year, Napster was in second place and only 10 per cent behind. Sony's relatively good performance is being put down to the Walkman phone tie-up with Ericson.

Thank god all those new machines aren't being filled with stolen music, eh?


It turns out that Anastacia wasn't even intending to be a singer; her first career choices were to be either a child psychologist or an archaelogist.

Imagine if she'd decided to spend her time in a big hole full of dirt and bones instead of making music. How did the archeologist dudes manage to persuade her off?


In what might be the least-thrilling battle of our age, Jamie Cullum is squaring up to his record label in a bid to secure his vision of what his next album should sound like.

Cullum wants the freedom to do as he pleases, but claims the label is pushing him to do something "commercial":

"The label want me to record a new album this year and it's going to be a battle.

"I've got an idea of what I'd like to do and they know what they want me to do, so we'll just have to see how it pans out."

Yeah, because we bet your label is worried you'll turn up with a record that sounds like the Happy Flowers. Your idea of experimenation is to stand on top of the piano midset; somehow, we bet the bosses won't be too upset if you go wild and add an extra drumtrack or something.


But it's alright, this time - they've forced the closure of, which was one of those irritating sites on the web which have URLs a little like somewhere people might go, but is actually just full of meaningless rubbish designed to try and sell people stuff. Which the National Arbitration Forum decided was enough to make people think it might be something to do with Pearl Jam themselves.


Apparently, Mariah Carey has made a New Year's pledge that she will learn to snowboard in 2006. She's been trying to master the art of sliding down a slippery surface on a slippery board since the turn of the century. You might wonder why even she finds it so challenging:

“I like to sleep until 3 PM when I’m on my holidays, and the ski lift closes at 4 PM. So I usually get dressed up in a festive ensemble - either a Chanel, Dior or Lagerfeld outfit - and then I go shopping.”

Now, this does have the vague scent of a made-up quote, but just in case it isn't... she sleeps until three? In the afternoon? Just what is it she's doing that's taking it out of her so much? Mind you, having seen what she does when she's awake... perhaps we should all send her a lullaby and a soft pillow.


The closing of the last till in the last record shop on December 31st allowed the chart people to tally the best-selling singles of 2005. If you have tears, prepare to shed them now:
1: Tony Christie ft Peter Kay - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo (UMTV )
2: Shayne Ward - That's My Goal (SYCO Music )
3: Crazy Frog - Axel F (Gusto )
4: James Blunt - You're Beautiful (Atlantic )
5: McFly - All About You/ You've Got A Friend (Island )
6: Akon - Lonely (Universal )
7: Pussycat Dolls ft. Busta Rhymes - Don't Cha (A&M )
8: Westlife - You Raise Me (S )
9: Nizlopi - JCB Song (FDM )
10: Madonna - Hung Up (Warner Bros )
11: 2Pac ft. Elton John - Ghetto Gospel (Interscope )
12: Sugababes - Push The Button (Island )
13: Daniel Powter - Bad Day (Warner Bros )
14: Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc. (Parlophone )
15: Will Smith - Switch (Interscope )
16: Mario - Let Me Love You (J )
17: Jennifer Lopez - Get Right (Epic )
18: Nelly ft Tim McGraw - Over And Over (Curb/ Universal )
19: Mariah Carey - We Belong Together (Def Jam/ Island )
20: Snoop Dogg/ Wilson/ Timberlake - Signs (Geffen )
21: 50 Cent - Candy Shop (Interscope )
22: Bodyrockers - I Like The Way (Mercury )
23: Pussycat Dolls - Stickwitu (A&M )
24: Oasis - Lyla (Big Brother )
25: Audio Bullys ft. Nacny Sinatra - Shot You Down (Source )
26: Robbie Williams - Tripping (Chrysalis )
27: Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Domino Recordings )
28: Sean Paul - We Be Burnin' (Atlantic/VP )
29: Black Eyed Peas - Don't Phunk With My Heart (A&M )
30: MVP - Roc Ya Body (Mic Check 1 2) (Positiva )
31: Gorillaz - DARE (Parlophone )
32: Eminem - Like Toy Soldiers (Interscope )
33: Sunset Strippers - Falling Stars (Direction )
34: Amerie - 1 Thing (Columbia )
35: Stereophonics - Dakota (V2 )
36: Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone (RCA )
37: Black Eyed Peas - My Humps (A&M )
38: Oasis - The Importance Of Being Idle (Big Brother )
39: Westlife ft Diana Ross - When You Tell Me That You Love Me (S )
40: Ciara ft Missy Elliott - 1 2 Step

And the albums? Well, apart from knowing that Williams will be bitterly disappointed at being beaten back into third place, that's an equally grim place to be:

1: James Blunt - Back To Bedlam (Atlantic)
2 : Coldplay - X&Y (Parlophone)
3 : Robbie Williams - Intensive Care (Chrysalis)
4 : Kaiser Chiefs - Employment (B Unique/ Polydor)
5 : Gorillaz - Demon Days (Parlophone)
6 : Westlife - Face To Face (S)
7 : KT Tunstall - Eye To The Telescope (Relentless)
8 : Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway (RCA)
9 : Eminem - Curtain Call - The Hits (Interscope)
10 : Faithless - Forever Faithless - The Greatest Hits (Cheeky)
11 : Katie Melua - Piece By Piece (Dramatico)
12 : The Killers - Hot Fuss (Vertigo)
13 : Oasis - Don't Believe The Truth (Big Brother)
14 : Il Divo - Ancora (SYCO Music)
15 : Madonna - Confessions On A Dancefloor (Warner Bros)
16 : Green Day - American Idiot (Reprise)
17 : Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters (Polydor)
18 : Keane - Hopes And Fears (Island)
19 : Take That - Never Forget - The Ultimate Collection (RCA)
20 : Gwen Stefani - Love Angel Music Baby (Interscope)
21 : Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business (A&M)
22 : Sugababes - Taller In More Ways (Island)
23 : David Gray - Life In Slow Motion (Atlantic)
24 : Basement Jaxx - The Singles (XL Recordings)
25 : Pussycat Dolls - PCD (A&M)
26 : G4 - G4 (Sony Music)
27 : Foo Fighters - In Your Honour (RCA)
28 : Tony Christie - Definitive Collection (UMTV)
29 : 50 Cent - The Massacre (Interscope)
30 : Jack Johnson - In Between Dreams (Brushfire/ Island)
31 : Mariah Carey - The Emancipation of Mimi (Def Jam/ Island)
32 : Athlete - Tourist (Parlophone)
33 : Akon - Trouble (Universal)
34 : Will Young - Keep On (Sony BMG)
35 : The Prodigy - Their Law - The Singles 1990-2005 (XL Recordings)
36 : Eurythmics - Ultimate Collection (RCA)
37 : Stereophonics - Language Sex Violence Other (V2)
38 : Jeff Wayne - The War Of The Worlds (Columbia)
39 : The Magic Numbers - The Magic Numbers (Heavenly)
40 : Mariah Carey - Greatest Hits (Columbia)