Saturday, February 04, 2006


After Mr. Bono had enjoyed his prayer breakfast with President 'doing a lot of good work' Bush on Thursday morning, are you curious how he spent the rest of his day? After all, when you wake up and start telling a bunch of legislators what God wants them to do, filling the evening might prove a bit of a comedown.

Not for Mr. Bono, though - he gave a lecture in the evening. Of course, that he pocketed $95 bucks per person, and there were 3,000 of them. Yes, clearly not content with having enough money to buy most of Europe, Bono felt the need to scrape a few more dollars by being a performing monkey for the American Society of Assocation Executives. Funny that for a man who claims to care about the weakest in society, you only ever see him hanging out with the richest these days.

Now, we're sure those people who believe in Bono would argue that he was delivering an important message to people who are in a position to make a difference, but really? He really thinks that the sort of person who pays ninety-five quid for a ticket to see him is going to take away any message? They'll be on the golf course right now saying "Hey, I saw that Bono last night... yeah, orange glasses this time. That crazy guy... what? What did he say? Something about Africans or something. The starving stuff... no, he didn't sing. I think next time round we're getting Doctor Phil."

There's something slightly sickening about the idea of Bono turning the death of Africans into an after-dinner speech circuit interview for the wealthy and comfortable. The simple question is: how is $285,000 best going to make a difference in the world - being used to pay for 2,600 trainee teachers for a year in a Kenya (which is how Oxfam could use it), or paying for some managers to get the chance to hang out with Bono for a few minutes?


You wait for years for Paul Weller to do something worthy of his younger self, and just as it seems it's never going to happen. But then he gets offered a lifetime achievement award, and suddenly finds his voice. It does seem, though, that he just feels that earlier recipients of the prize aren't even close to him:

"Bob Geldof. What'd he win it for? Can't be for his music, man. I mean, if it's for his charity work in Africa then you can't knock it, but Boomtown Rats, fuck off."

[Sting is] fucking horrible man. Not my cup of tea at all. Fucking rubbish. No edge, no attitude, no nothing."

The whole thing of Bono becoming the Pope - what the f***'s all that about? Pseudo-American rubbish."

[Freddie Mercury] said he wanted to bring ballet to the working classes. What a cunt."

That last one is a little rich coming from the man who attempted to bring the Cappuccino Culture to Croydon and Balham - Weller doing the rounds on the back of a scooter, accordion case slung jauntily over his beblazered shoulders having a pop at Freddie Mercury for being condescending might strike one as the Gaggia Machine calling the Starck Juicer ostentatious.

Oh - and he doesn't like Bowie, either:

"Wrong! I like about three records of his. The rest of it's pish."

All this might be a little more convincing if Weller hadn't consistently played village elder at the court of the Gallagher brothers, endorsing Oasis' special blend of low-achievement dot-joining.

Mind you, the pay-off from the 3AM Girls' report on these musing is especially nasty:

"In the interview Weller says he has thought about killing himself because of his black moods. If he doesn't watch his gob, someone will do it for him.

Now, we're not lawyers, but are they actually enciting someone to kill Paul Weller because he thinks Bono is an areshole and doesn't own Ziggy Stardust? Extraordinary.


The desperate attempts to inject some pizzazz into the career of Natasha Bedingfield - who, let us not forget, owes her entire position to a nation muttering "at least she's not her brother" takes an interesting turn with her upcoming collaborations with Diddy, Ashanti and Jay-Z.

Or rather, more honestly, her hanging about at a perfume launch hoping to persuade someone to give her some work.


To be fair, most of the Libertines have kept a respectful distance when faced with the doings of Pete Doherty; we'd assumed this was done out a degree of disappointed respect for the man. It could, though, be because when they do make a statement about him, as Gary Powell did during a break in the Dirty Pretty Things session, they don't really have much to add:

"He's not got a death wish, although it could go either way," Gary told the Razz.

"Prison isn't like sitting on the isle of Guernsey in a deckchair drinking cocktails. It's extremely intense.

"All we can do is wish him the best and hope that a ray of light will come out of it."

We can picture the jailed on their first night in the Scrubs slowly realising that they haven't been sent to the isle of Guernsey - presumably that happens just after they've been stripped to their boxers and made to put on the uniform and they notice nobody has offered them a long hard comfortable screw. Or perhaps when they have their first taste of the communal showers and somebody does.


There some was consternation earlier this week when Madam Tussauds in London announced it was dumping the planetarium to make more room for celebrities. For those of you unfortunate enough to never have been to one of their outlets, they have the most startling collection of wax effigies that look a little bit like the least convincing celebrity lookalikes still capable of earning a living.

Their branch in Las Vegas, meanwhile, has decided exactly what sort of celebs people want to see, and are adding a waxy Tupac Shakur to their line-up; aptly, he will end up looking like a tribute to the embalmer's art and accurate at the same time.

Of course, this is slightly disappointing for Vegas - with the city and its reputation, we'd have hoped at the very least for the real corpse to be stuffed and mounted.


Yesterday's Mirror story - that said nothing but merely suggested that Madonna was spending way too much time with her producer Stuart Price - has had some interesting ripples out into the world.

First, Madonna and Guy Ritchie, the former film-maker made an appearance in public together to laugh off the very idea that anything was wrong. She booked a table at a fancy restaurant, and paraded Guy in front of the paps. Oh, and one of her press people issued a statement:

“She and Guy had a big laugh over the recent reporting of the special friendship with her songwriting/producing partner, dance music genius Stuart Price.”

And she added the persistent rumours of trouble in the Ritchie marriage are “so not true.”

And it might be convincing, too - although since the dinner a deux had been booked after that morning's Mirror had hit the streets, and the statement issued to the press... well, it all reminds us so much of those staged events that used to follow the sexual indiscretions of the Major cabinet. When people go out their way to appear in public together, you do wonder exactly why the feel the need to prove something.

Meanwhile, the Mirror has suddenly got cold feet itself - yesterday, well, it never said there was any funny business going on between Madonna and Price, but if its readers were to conclude that, who could stop them? However, after 24 hours of thinking about it, the journalists have started to wonder if, well, it's a bit unlikely that Price is interested in Madonna in anything other than a strictly Liza Minelli way, so it's decided to clarify things: an affair? No, no, the trouble is she's a workaholic:

MADONNA went into spin overdrive yesterday after the Mirror revealed fears that her marriage is in trouble because of the time she is spending on her career.

Interestingly, they have a quote from Liz Rosenburg, Madonna's PR, which actually makes things sound a lot worse than they probably are:

"Her relationship with Guy is quite good, they're quite happy. They're certainly not estranged."

That may well be the first and only time you ever get to hear a showbiz PR forgetting to spin the story. She didn't reveal if this sudden decision to have a meal out together was to celebrate something - perhaps it's a year to the day since they became certainly not estranged, but we do love the idea that their marriage is something they're bearing like a character in a Jane Austen novel who has married beneath herself in a passion and is now having trouble adjusting: "Mrs Wilkes would, as she often told her neighbours, give thanks that she and her husband had made a life which was marked by its retention of some degree of comfort. For she was quite happy, and enjoyed quite good relationships with the man she had so passionately embraced just five years before, and if the marriage was not longer quite so emboldened by the flames of youthful desire, it would be a foolhardy observer who would suggest to Mrs Wilkes that their relationship had yet reached the point of actual estrangement."

Meanwhile, in what could be mistaken for the sort of use of her children as publicity pawns that she angriy denies doing, or, indeed, the sort of abandonment of privacy for her children that she forced the courts to remove our right to roam in the part of the country she owns, somehow The Sun has discovered that Rocco is absolutely brilliant and doing very well at school. (Fancy that, eh; if you spend money on educating a child it enjoys a better standard of education than everyone else - why have no educationalists thought to this before?)

Of course, since Madonna would never exploit her children and risk their precious privacy by trying to use them as a distraction, this story could only have come from the school. We expect to see Madonna taking up this issue stridently on Monday morning.


Well, at least he knows how long he's got to pull together the finest defence team George Bush's performing rights money can buy: He's in court in two weeks. He intends to plead innocent, presumably sticking to the "I was merely teaching them English" line.


Good news for Courtney Love, she's been allowed to leave her home following months of house arrest. She'd been told she had to stay indoors after she'd screwed up on her pledge to the court to say no to drugs; now, it seems, her pee is clean enough to allow her back out into public. She celebrated by running down the street naked asking if anyone had Boy George's phone number.


The troubled Elton John-Anne Rice musical The Vampire Lestat is being further buffeted: after a slew of terrible reviews, they've pulled in Jonathan Butterell (choreographer on a recent version of Fiddler on the Roof) to try and make something of the show; href="">previews
have been put back for two weeks in a bid to give him time.

Elton John, meanwhile, is putting on a brave face - but even he can't stop from sounding worried:

"After reading the reviews, I was fearing the worst, but I was pleasantly surprised," John told the Post.

"We have a lot of work to do, I'm not going to deny that. ...," John said. "We certainly ran into problems in San Francisco. But I think we can sort them out."

And maybe it will be John who has the last laugh - despite the terrible reviews and even worse word-of-mouth - there might just be enough Riceheads willing to pay to ease his journey crying all the way to the bank. In San Francisco, the show broke the Curran Theatre's house record and took more than two million quid.

Evil Willow from BuffySticking a vampire in anything is still an easy way to make a quick buck.


These days, its getting rarer and rarer to find a singer who's foolish enough to use the line "Don't you know who I am", on the grounds if that if you have to ask, the person you're asking either doesn't know, or doesn't care.

Luis Miguel, it seems, hasn't worked this out yet.

[As you might be going who, he's one of the bigger latin artists in the US, and briefly was Mariah Carey's shagpadoodle]

Wonderfully, he's been arrested for an assault on Aspen bartender Jason Moan:

Miguel was charged with misdemeanor assault after being arrested last month for hitting bartender Jason Moan while Moan was trying to free another man from a chokehold by Miguel's bodyguard, Julio Cesar Camera, the newspaper reported. The police report said Camera approached William Hardy after Hardy insulted Miguel's musical abilities.

Moan told police that Miguel tried to stop him from pulling bodyguard Camera off of Hardy. Moan and other witnesses said Miguel said "Don't you know who I am?" Moan said he told Miguel that "I don't care who you are, you don't fight in here."

Both Miguel and Camera have denied hitting Moan. The hearing is set for March 3, but the district attorney's office said Miguel isn't required to appear in person and could send his attorney for the appearance.

Mind you, we have to take a dim view of musicians hitting people who say they're a bit rubbish, on the grounds of, well, self-protection.

Friday, February 03, 2006


For their upcoming tours, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are turning into a four piece. Imaad Wasif is adding to the live power for a mini US tour and All Tomorrows Parties.

There's a new album out on March 27th.


Stop what you're doing: The AP has got a scoop!

Published at 2.34pm this afternoon: Singer Claimed Coat Was Made From Gorilla.

The entire staff of AP were spotted down Ladbrokes insisting they be allowed to put money on Preston to win.


In one of those news stories which just leaves you wondering if we're all going mad, a doctor has criticised the Arctic Monkeys. Because their album sleeve, you see, is sending out all the wrong messages:

Dr Laurence Gruer of NHS Health Scotland said the chart-topping album's cover "reinforces the idea that smoking is OK", he told the Herald newspaper.

Dr Gruer, director of public health science at NHS Health Scotland, said: "Although the band is from Sheffield, thousands of youngsters in Scotland will buy it because it is good music.

"It is the fastest-selling album in British history, but it gives out the wrong image."

He added: "With a blatant image of a guy smoking, it will be seen by many as a cool thing to do."

Good bloody lord. We're paying Doctor Gruer's wages, and as such subsidising this showboating nonsense. I've not got any figures in front of me to say how effective album sleeves are at promoting lifestyle changes, and I'm pretty prepared to bet neither has Gruer. If he's suggesting that people are so suggestible as to take up smoking because of looking at a picture of an ugly chap smoking, he might want to think about persuading someone to put a photo of a bloke eating an apple on, say, Madonna' next single - all the health problems of the world would be solved at a stroke.

Just look at the word "blatant" - now smoking is unhealthy, and it might even be a little unfashionable now. We know that. But it's people like Doctor Gruer creating a mythology about smoking like this - if you smoke in public you are blatant, it's braggardly, it's defiant - that make it seem a sexy pastime and the act of the rebel. The cover of the album didn't seem cool at all - but now the government is condemning it, suddenly it starts to become so.


No, really. We thought he'd disappeared off into musical theatre and would, from there, perhaps turn up on Bid Up TV at some point before trying his luck at Homebase, but no; he's plotting a new album:

"I finish my stint in Chicago in two weeks and I 'm looking forward to writing some new songs for my third album.

"It has all been going well and things are starting to come together in my head."

Ah! he's going to be releasing it in his head. Now, Darius, is it possible to get a sixty watt roseglow with a screw attachment in a candlesize?


Having already forgotten that he is a powerful, wealthy man, Bono now seems to have forgotten that he doesn't really have a hotline to God:

The U2 front man said it's unjust to keep poor people from selling their goods while singing the virtues of the free market, to hold children to ransom for the debts of their grandparents and to withhold medicines that would save lives.

"God will not accept that," he said. "Mine won't. Will yours?"

Hang about, Bono... since when did you know what God would or would not do? Is he now chatting with you in the way that he once did with Mary Whitehouse?

Excuse us, there's the phone... oh, it's God. He's ringing to ask us to give a message to Bono. He says "will you stop hanging out with the rich and the powerful and pretending you're some sort of latter-day Jesus; you're clearly to close to them to do any good, but because people see you there and don't realise you're part of the elite you make it seem like you're challenging, it makes them relax and think that things are being done. Oh, and that thing you did when you were thirteen with the girl's knickers and the cooking oil? That's still on the list, Hewson."


Westlife, unafraid by his habit of sharing his bed with small boys, of leaving bills unpaid, of announcing great charity projects that never actually happen, are still considering doing a duet with Michael Jackson.

Shane Filan said the notion of a ûduet with Jackson had come from their manager Louis Walsh.

"The idea to do a single with Michael Jackson came from Louis Walsh who met up with an agent about three months ago in Germany," he said, adding it was a 50/50 chance whether it would go ahead.

"It would be this cool thing to do, we are all big fans of Michael Jackson."

We know at the scrag-end of a career that's gone on too long, a lack of ideas can sometimes be masked by a stunt, but even so. And, no surprises here, the idea is to do a ballad "rather than an uptempo song."


How delightful it must be for Madonna, to have friends who care for her so much that they're happy to talk to the Daily Mirror about what a rock her producer Stuart Price is and how they enjoy a special working relationship:

And as speculation mounts in music circles that she and husband Guy Ritchie, 37, are drifting apart, her pals call the young studio expert her "Rock".

One said: "It's no secret that Madonna and Stuart have developed a special working relationship. After all, they worked together very closely on her album. They enjoy each other's company and respect each other.

"Madonna's always asking Stuart's advice and opinions on things and obvio Eusly trusts him without question. She confides in him and regards him as one of the most important people in her life."

What? What do you mean, what are they implying?

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Unbothered by Mel C's refusal to get involved, apparently, the Spice Girls are really uniting for a late tour this year. How it will work without, erm, the only singer?


It sounds more like she was pulling people's legs, but rumours persist: Kevin Federline's squishy sperm juice has battered into Britney's ovaries again.

a small anti-advertisement about BT's poor customer service

If we could just step off topic for a moment or two, we'd like to apologise if we disappear for stretches at a time; this is purely due to the dreadful service provided by BT Broadband and the almost satirical level of customer service that they provide. We've spent ten hours on the phone to various people at the nation's supposed premier communications company, and all they have succeeded in doing is reneging on a promise to provide broadband service from yesterday evening, completely failed to respond at all to enquiries about why the supposed fallback dial-up isn't working, and arbitrailly rescheduled activation for some time next week - apparently, if they fail to fulfill their end of the contract, rather than try and do it the next day, they cancel the order, and make you go back to the start, including the enforced wait of five days to ensure you're not getting "preferential treatment" from them. I really cannot stress enough that if you're looking for a broadband provider, do not even consider BT.

To just bring this back onto a musical tip, BT were once muttering about becoming a host for music download sites - this was a little bit before they attempted to build up the Dotmusic brand - btgetoutthere, we seem to recall it was called. Does anyone know what happened to that?


Well, someone had to say it, but who knew that the Arctic Monkeys would start their own backlash?:

"We know we're not the best band in the country, so why say we are? If we do fail, at least we can say, 'We told you so.'"

The words of guitarist Jamie Cook. A little bit like the King saying "actually, you know, I'm a bit naked."


We can understand to a degree where Spike Lee is coming from when he has a pop at Snoop Dogg and pimp culture in rap music:

Lee, who has also directed music videos, took issue with the rap music genre's portrayal of women in videos as "hoes".

The portrayal of women in some rap videos - often as mere eyecandy designed to sell something - is pretty poor. However, is this the same Spike Lee who allowed the VHS release of She's Gotta Have It to go out with a double-sided inlay sheet - one all arthouse; the other with a foxy chick with a come-hither look on it - so that, erm, distributors could pretty much have their cake and eat it?


It's been rumoured to be alive, and then dead again, but now Pete Townshend who, we assume, must be in a position to know, insists: The Who will have a new album and a tour later this year.

Or, presumably, he shall want to know why.


Twenty-two years after they fell to pieces, Splitz Enz are reuniting. The band are doing an Australian Arean tour this June; Tim Finn says that they're hoping to do some American and London dates as well.


If someone phoned you up out of the blue and said "have you ever illegally downloaded music?", would you tell the truth?

No, us neither. Which probably accounts for the unlikely figure of 92 per cent telling an Associated Press and Rolling Stone magazine they've never, ever done an illegal download.

The survey sample was pretty puny, too - just 1,000 people; oddly, 4 per cent of respondents claimed they didn't listen to music at all.


Michael Stipe and Chris Martin have put their heads together and come up with a way to raise funds for the Katrina victims. They're produced a version of In The Sun which will go out in this week's Grey's Anatomy - presumably Boston Legal was busy; it'll then be stuck up on iTunes is an eyewatering range of styles and mixes. Adam Schlesinger from Fountains of Wayne and James Iha are also involved; remxing will be done by Black Eyed Peas Will I Am and Justin Timberlake.

All cash raised will go to Mercy Corps.

Earlier: Katrina - the music community responses


This is, of course, an eyewateringly long list - and, actually, it's not even really "full" as it seems to be missing the polka and spoken word and bassoon trio categories, amongst others. Obviously, it's heartbreakingly poor - McCartney nominated for the Best album? He might just scrape in as 'best record Macca's made for ten years', but best album? Although it's fighting off the Emancipation of Mimi, Gwen Stefani's solo dud and U2's effort. If there's any justice, Kanye will walk it.

Keane will be delighted at their place on the Best New Artist list - it's interesting that you hear of all these acts supposedly going to break America, but the ones which really do fairly well always seem to be the quiet ones.

My Doorbell by the White Stripes a contender in "best pop perfomance" has probably even surprised Jack White - we know he tried hard, but even he must know he tried too hard.

But what's really surprising is the old names cropping up - Stevie Wonder, Kraftwerk; in one category there's Clapton, Springsteen, Young and Plant all jostling Rob Thomas for space - what sort of world is it where Thomas counts as a young upstart?

Album of the Year
Mariah Carey - The Emancipation of Mimi
Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
Gwen Stefani - Love, Angel, Music, Baby
U2 - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Kanye West - Late Registration

Record of the Year
Mariah Carey - "We Belong Together"
Gorillaz - "Feel Good Inc."
Green Day - "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
Gwen Stefani - "Hollaback Girl"
Kanye West - "Gold Digger"

Song of the Year
Rascal Flatts - "Bless the Broken Road"
Bobby Boyd, Jeff Hanna & Marcus Hummon, songwriters
Bruce Springsteen - "Devils & Dust"
Bruce Springsteen, songwriter
John Legend - "Ordinary People"
W. Adams & J. Stephens, songwriters
U2 - "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"
U2, songwriters
Mariah Carey - "We Belong Together"
J. Austin, M. Carey, J. Dupri & M. Seal, songwriters

Best New Artist
Fall Out Boy
John Legend

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
Mariah Carey - "It's Like That"
Kelly Clarkson - "Since U Been Gone"
Sheryl Crow - "Good Is Good"
Bonnie Raitt - "I Will Not Be Broken"
Gwen Stefani - "Hollaback Girl"

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
Jack Johnson - "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing"
Paul McCartney - "Fine Line"
Seal - "Walk on By"
Rob Thomas - "Lonely No More"
Stevie Wonder - "From the Bottom of My Heart"

Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal
Black Eyed Peas - "Don't Lie"
The Killers - "Mr. Brightside"
Los Lonely Boys - "More Than Love"
Maroon 5 - "This Love"
The White Stripes - "My Doorbell"

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals
Black Eyed Peas & Jack Johnson - "Gone Going"
Foo Fighters Featuring Norah Jones - "Virginia Moon"
Gorillaz Featuring De La Soul - "Feel Good Inc."
Herbie Hancock Featuring Christina Aguilera - "A Song for You"
Stevie Wonder Featuring India.Arie - "A Time to Love"

Best Pop Vocal Album
Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
Sheryl Crow - Wildflower
Paul McCartney - Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
Gwen Stefani - Love, Angel, Music, Baby

Best Dance Recording
The Chemical Brothers Featuring Q-Tip - "Galvanize"
Deep Dish - "Say Hello"
LCD Soundsystem - "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House"
Fatboy Slim & Lateef - "Wonderful Night"
Kylie Minogue - "I Believe in You"
New Order - "Guilt Is a Useless Emotion"

Best Electronic/Dance Album
The Chemical Brothers - Push the Button
Daft Punk - Human After All
Fatboy Slim - Palookaville
Kraftwerk - Minimum-Maximum
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance
Eric Clapton - "Revolution"
Robert Plant - "Shine It All Around"
Bruce Springsteen - "Devils & Dust"
Rob Thomas - "This Is How a Heart Breaks"
Neil Young - "The Painter"

Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal
Coldplay - "Speed of Sound"
Foo Fighters - "Best of You"
Franz Ferdinand - "Do You Want To"
The Killers - "All These Things That I've Done"
U2 - "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"

Best Hard Rock Performance
Audioslave - "Doesn't Remind Me"
Nine Inch Nails - "The Hand That Feeds"
Robert Plant - "Tin Pan Valley"
Queens of the Stone Age - "Little Sister"
System of a Down - "B.Y.O.B."

Best Metal Performance
Ministry - "The Great Satan"
Mudvayne - "Determined"
Rammstein - "Mein Teil"
Shadows Fall - "What Drives the Weak"
Slipknot - "Before I Forget"

Best Rock Song
Foo Fighters - "Best of You"
Weezer - "Beverly Hills"
U2 - "City of Blinding Lights"
Bruce Springsteen - "Devils & Dust"
Coldplay - "Speed of Sound"

Best Rock Album
Coldplay - X&Y
Foo Fighters - In Your Honor
The Rolling Stones - A Bigger Bang
U2 - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
Neil Young - Prairie Wind

Best Alternative Music Album
The Arcade Fire - Funeral
Beck - Guero
Death Cab for Cutie - Plans
Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
Amerie - "1 Thing"
Beyoncé - "Wishing on a Star"
Mariah Carey - "We Belong Together"
Fantasia - "Free Yourself"
Alicia Keys - "Unbreakable"

Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
Jamie Foxx - "Creepin' "
John Legend - "Ordinary People"
Mario - "Let Me Love You"
Usher - "Superstar"
Stevie Wonder - "So What the Fuss"

Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals
Beyoncé & Stevie Wonder - "So Amazing"
Destiny's Child - "Cater 2 U"
Alicia Keys Featuring Jermaine Paul - "If This World Were Mine"
John Legend Featuring Lauryn Hill - "So High"
Stevie Wonder Featuring Aisha Morris - "How Will I Know"

Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
Mariah Carey - "Mine Again"
Fantasia - "Summertime"
Aretha Franklin - "A House Is Not a Home"
Alicia Keys - "If I Was Your Woman"
John Legend - "Stay With You"

Best Urban/Alternative Performance
Floetry - "SupaStar"
Gorillaz - "Dirty Harry"
Van Hunt - "Dust"
Damian Marley - "Welcome to Jamrock"
Mos Def - "Ghetto Rock"

Best R&B Song
Destiny's Child - "Cater 2 U"
Rodney Jerkins, Beyoncé Knowles, Ricky Lewis, Kelly Rowland, Robert Waller & Michelle Williams, songwriters
Fantasia - "Free Yourself"
Craig Brockman, Missy Elliott & Nisan Stewart, songwriters
John Legend - "Ordinary People"
W. Adams & J. Stephens, songwriters
Alicia Keys - "Unbreakable"
Garry Glenn, Alicia Keys, Harold Lily & Kanye West, songwriters
Mariah Carey - "We Belong Together"
J. Austin, M. Carey, J. Dupri & M. Seal

Best R&B Album
Earth, Wind & Fire - Illumination
Fantasia - Free Yourself
Alicia Keys - Unplugged
John Legend - Get Lifted
Stevie Wonder - A Time to Love

Best Contemporary R&B Album
Amerie - Touch
Mariah Carey - The Emancipation of Mimi
Destiny's Child - Destiny Fulfilled
Mario - Turning Point
Omarion - O

Best Rap Solo Performance
Common - "Testify"
Eminem - "Mockingbird"
50 Cent - "Disco Inferno"
Ludacris - "Number One Spot"
T.I. - "U Don't Know Me"
Kanye West - "Gold Digger"

Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group
Black Eyed Peas - "Don't Phunk With My Heart"
Common Featuring the Last Poets - "The Corner"
Eminem Featuring Dr. Dre and 50 Cent - "Encore"
The Game Featuring 50 Cent - "Hate It or Love It"
Ying Yang Twins - "Wait (The Whisper Song)"

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Ciara Featuring Missy Elliott - "1, 2 Step"
Common Featuring Kanye West & John Legend - "They Say"
Destiny's Child Featuring T.I. and Lil Wayne - "Soldier"
Jay-Z Featuring Linkin Park - "Numb/Encore"
Gwen Stefani Featuring Eve - "Rich Girl"

Best Rap Song
50 Cent - "Candy Shop"
Kanye West - "Diamonds From Sierra Leone"
Black Eyed Peas - "Don't Phunk With My Heart "
The Game Featuring 50 Cent - "Hate It or Love It"
Missy Elliott Featuring Ciara and Fat Man Scoop - "Lose Control"

Best Rap Album
Common - Be
Missy Elliott - The Cookbook
Eminem - Encore
50 Cent - The Massacre
Kanye West - Late Registration

Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
Josh Groban - "Believe" (from "The Polar Express")
Glen Ballard & Alan Silvestri, songwriters
The Arcade Fire - "Cold Wind" (from "Six Feet Under: Volume 2 - Everything Ends")
The Arcade Fire, songwriters
Wyclef Jean - "Million Voices" (from "Hotel Rwanda")
Jerry Duplessis, Andrea Guerra & Wyclef Jean, songwriters
Tom Petty - "Square One" (from "Elizabethtown")
Tom Petty, songwriter
Danny Elfman - "Wonka's Welcome Song" (from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory")
John August & Danny Elfman, songwriters

Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
"Beyond the Sea" (Kevin Spacey)
"Napoleon Dynamite" (Various Artists)
"No Direction Home: The Soundtrack - Bootleg Series, Vol. 7" (Bob Dylan)
"Ray" (Ray Charles)
"Six Feet Under: Volume 2 - Everything Ends" (Various Artists)

Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
"The Aviator" (Howard Shore, composer)
"The Incredibles" (Michael Giacchino, composer)
"Million Dollar Baby" (Clint Eastwood, composer)
"Ray" (Craig Armstrong, composer)
"Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" (John Williams, composer)

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Danger Mouse
Demon Days (Gorillaz)

Nigel Godrich
Chaos and Creation in the Backyard - Paul McCartney

Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis
"Be Blessed" (Yolanda Adams)
"Dance With My Father" (Celine Dion)
"Harajuku Girls" (Gwen Stefani)
"Never Too Much" (Mary J. Blige)
"Nobody Cares" (Deborah Cox)
"Pure Gold" (Earth, Wind & Fire)
"These Boots Are Made for Walkin' " (Jessica Simpson)

Steve Lillywhite
How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (U2)
Mr. A-Z (Jason Mraz)

The Neptunes
"Already Platinum" (Slim Thug Featuring Pharrell)
"Hollaback Girl" (Gwen Stefani)
"Let's Get Blown" (Snoop Dogg)
"On & On" (Missy Elliott)
"Say Somethin' " (Mariah Carey Featuring Snoop Dogg)
"Touch" (Omarion)

Best Short Form Music Video
Missy Elliott Featuring Ciara and Fat Man Scoop - "Lose Control"
Gorillaz Featuring De La Soul - "Feel Good Inc."
Jamiroquai - "Feels Just Like It Should"
Martina McBride - "God's Will"
Sarah McLachlan - "World on Fire"


Madonna is well known for getting close to firm young bodies and sucking their life-force out of them. For example, there was that MTV Awards show where everyone thought she was snogging Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, but actually she was sucking out their inner organs to try and hold back the march of time's cruel sarcasm. It will be noted, of course, that Brit and Xtina have been but shadows of their earlier selves since that time. Likewise, of course, Madonna's collaboration with William Orbit - he came home minus a spleen and hasn't gone out much; she was seen walking away from the studio wiping her mouth and cackling.

Oh yes, getting an answerphone message "Hi, it's one of Madonna's people... fancy working together?" should make you feel like a prime beef cow who has just seen the farmer consulting one of those posters with all the cuts on them. However, we do wonder if Maddy has met her match this time, as she's lined up to appear with the Gorillaz at the Grammys.

Does she not know they're cartoons? There's nothing to feast on here, Madonna...


They haven't seen it yet, but that hasn't stopped the venerable Donald R Wildmon and his crazy American Family Association getting all fuming and brimstoney about the planned appearance of Britney Spears on Will & Grace. No, we thought at first that it was because they think she's a rubbish actress and still had nightmares "about the Madonna one," but it's actually because it's mocking the crucifixion. They reckon:

To further denigrate Christianity, NBC chose to air it the night before Good Friday.

Now, I'm not a Christian myself, but even I know enough that "the night before Good Friday" is actually called Maundy Thursday. You'd have thought someone who took themselves so very, very seriously might know that as well.

Once again, though, it seems that what really upsets the AFA is that, well, clearly NBC is picking on them:

NBC does not treat Jews, Muslims or other religions with such disrespect. Yet the network demonstrates a deep of hostility toward followers of Christ.

That's it - NBC is positively Satanic, isn't it? We've all seen Leno's chin - is that the chin of a Godly Man?

Perhaps the AFA would like to make a protest in a more positive way - rather than all this "look at me! I'm so wounded" showboating, why not simply post a page saying "We don't think this is funny; as a protest when the show is airing we encourage all our supporters to turn off their televisions and go and do some voluntary work in their community - fetch some shopping for an elderly neighbour; do a litter-pick; smite some heathens." You can't help but feel this "print off a pdf and send it to NBC" campaign has less to do with anyone taking offence at a gentle play on words, and more about getting the name of Donald E Wildmon into as many TV shows and newspapers as possible. As we say, we're not Christians, but we've read that book they like, and we remember Jesus doing a lot positive things to improve people's lives - not so big with the petitions and email chain-letters.


... not any more. Although the current incarnation of Nick Logan's brilliant idea is but a shadow of itself during the Mark Ellen era, and it's come to be little more than a byword for all that's wrong with pop, there can't be a music fan who grew up in the 80s or beyond who doesn't have a small store of affection for Smash Hits, and will be feeling some sadness that the fortnightly pop bible is to close.

Sickeningly, EMAP have decided they're only going to close the magazine, keeping its "brand" alive through the various cheap TV and radio formats which have helped speed the decline of the once-mighty organ.

There's one more issue to go; The Black Type was unavailable for comment this morning.

An online scamper round a 1981 edition

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


After who knows how much cash spent by the Herts Police, the Natural History Museum and the Crown Prosecution Service, it's been formally announced that - surprise - no action is to be taken against Pete Burns what with his monkey coat being around seventy bloody years old.

Hertfordshire Police has yet to reveal how much money its wasted on this "investigation", but we hope to find out.


We would take the rise more from Jessica Simpson for managing to launch a range of cosmetics called Love Potions without checking that the obvious-as-hell name hadn't already been used. It had, but we can't really hold Simpson too responsible - we doubt if she even realised she had a line of cosmetics. Whatever, Mara Fox, who has been using the name since 1989, has pulled her into court.


Looking like a Pete Doherty tribue act, Boy George appeared in a New York court today, still insisting that the drugs in his apartment weren't his. The court proceedings were put on hold until March 8th, which may at least give him time to get a hat or something.


As Giles in Buffy, he fought demons; in Anthony Stewart Head's new role, playing a sitcom character created by and based on Elton John, he'll, erm, be fighting metaphorical demons:

The project revolves around an over-the-hill gay rock star and his relationship with his long-time manager and the rest of his colourful entourage.

Apart from the words "featuring Britney Spears as a Christian conservative cook", we can't think of anything that sounds less like a fun way of spending half an hour, and we'd much rather Head got back to the important business of signing autographs at twenty quid a throw for Buffy fans.


TV on the Radio are coming in our direction to play a single gig - yes, just one - at the ICA in London. March 6th; tickets are on sale now.


The big California festival, Coachella, is starting to pull its bill together for 2006. Headliners are Depeche Mode and, erm, Tool. Also involved:

Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, My Morning Jacket, Scissor Sisters, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Cat Power, Sigur Ros, Common, Atmosphere, Lady Sovereign, Digable Planets, Tricky, Danger Mouse, Paul Oakenfold,Damian Marley, Matisyahu, Animal Collective, Devendra Banhart, Imogen Heap,Living Things, Wolf Parade, Nine Black Alps, Deerhoof, Go! Team, the Dears, Dungen, Sleater-Kinney, ,Mogwai, Coheed, Cambria, Giant Drag and the Walkmen.

If that all sounds great, be warned: James Blunt.


The NFL - the body responsible for that weird rugby they play with all the padding over in parts of America - managed to piss Aretha Franklin off. She was less than amused to discover they came to Detroit, home of Motown and, erm, The White Stripes, and got the bloody Rolling Stones in to do the music.

Eager to make ammends, the NFL called in Franklin to do some singing and dragged in Stevie Wonder as well. It turns out - guess what? - nobody really intended there to be a snub to Detroit's heritage, oh no:

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that from the beginning, the league wanted to honor Detroit's musical legacy. He also pointed out that the pre-game and halftime shows both last 12 minutes.

McCarthy also said Tuesday that singer India.Arie has been added to the list of pre-game performers. She will join John Legend,
Joss Stone and Wonder in performing Wonder's hits as well as other Motown classics. The Four Tops also will perform prior to kickoff, but they will not be carried live on the ABC broadcast.

"It was always our intention to celebrate the contributions of Motown at the Super Bowl," he said.

We're not sure if anyone has explained to McCarthy that Joss Stone isn't actually a Motown artist. Or, indeed, much of an artist.


What's the difference between Will and Grace and Kevin Federline's rap career? Will and Grace still have a few more months to run and, apparently, Britney Spears' support, while Kevin Federline's rap career is funny and gives the world a good laugh on a weekly basis.

Yes, Britney is showing her love of chasing the downward spiral by taking a guest slot in the final series:

Jack's fictional network, Out TV, is bought by a Christian TV network, leading to Spears contributing a cooking segment called "Cruci-fixin's."

We're ordering a special corset to keep our insides firmly in.


While his management team complimented each other along the lines of "He felt it, but nobody can see the marks," Danny McFly has issued a statement which certainly sounds more lucid than anything he's managed hitherto:

"There's no way am I giving up my dream job. I've got McFly in my blood and I'll be in the band as long as the fans want us."

The statement also denied the rumour that Jones had asked to leave the band and said he had not been invited to write songs in America with a top production company.

The statement also said that Danny was not unhappy with how the band has been performing since the first album.

He then praised the diligent work of Comrade Stalin in discovering those plotting against the revolution.


We wonder what could possibly be driving James Bourne's subconscious that has led him to take up painting visions of an angry armageddon since his cosy job in Busted was replaced with a humiliating role in Blink182-alike Son of Dork?

"I like painting and do it as a hobby when we are touring but I'm not going to be leaving Son of Dork to become a painter."

James said he is inspired by his surroundings but admits his subject matter can be quite dark at times. He said: "I painted the end of the world recently. I created the picture when I went to Westwood Studios near the Hammersmith flyover in London.

"It started off as buildings and I did the sea and then I put red all over it and called it Armageddon."

In the afternoon, presumably, it was a couple of hours play in the sandpit and a story.

It's not an unprecedented career path, of course. Rolf Harris used to make records on which he pretended to be considerably younger than he actually was and then went on to become a painter, too.


Curious double standards on display over at Pepsi - we're always reading about how much money they spend on the likes of David Beckham and Beyonce to get their endorsements; however, it seems they sort of forget to pay bands for the soundtracks to their ads. The company has just been forced to pay a quarter of a million bucks to the Flamingos for its "forgetting" to pay for the use of I Only Have Eyes For You. This was back in 1997; perhaps the most shameful aspect is it took nine years of legal action before one of the world's biggest companies did the right thing and paid up.

San Francisco based entertainment lawyer Steve Ames Brown reckons there's a trend:

"Pepsi routinely pays the Caucasian performers who appear on camera, but refuses to pay the African-American singers whose voices are used in the soundtrack unless they sue," Brown said.

"That's completely inaccurate," said Dave DeCecco of Purchase, N.Y.-based Pepsi. "We have a long history and strong track record of supporting diversity in our advertising."

A spokesman for Pepsi said the failure to pay The Flamingos directly was an oversight and that Pepsi didn't realize the song was subject to the collective bargaining agreement.

Which might be true, people do make oversights. It's funny, though, that when this oversight came to light, it still took a judge ordering them to pay up to get the cash out of them.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Not because of any of the usual reasons you can think of for banning Phil - artistic considerations, his general demeanour, the Genesis connection. Nope, ironically considering Collins' role in getting the terms of copyright extended (in his favour) across Europe, his label have fallen foul of French law with their DRM. Warners have been fined somewhere over five grand for selling a CD which deprived French consumers of their right to make copies of the songs thereupon - and, while it's hard to imagine why anyone might want to record a Phil Collins song on any media, the principle the judgement has upheld is one that the French consumers group has indicated its prepared to uphold in the appeal courts if required.

GENNARO CASTALDO WATCH: GG goes international

We knew that these small islands couldn't hold a man of Gennaro Castaldo's wisdom and ambition, and so we're not surprised to spot HMV's man's first transatlantic appearance, on the website for CBS' Early Show, no less, talking about the Arctic Monkeys, and explaining to the Americans that they came out the internets:

"They came to the attention of the public via the Internet, and you had chat rooms, everyone talking about them... to actually have a band that seems to have done it for themselves … who, through their fans, managed to get it on the Internet, get that kind of buzz going and now achieving this huge chart success, I think that's why the media responded and why the broader record-buying public has reacted as well."

But don't worry, Gennaro isn't going to abandon us to have to flail blindly without his razor-sharp insight. Oh, no: he's also on hand to explain to LifeStyleExtra that Pete Burns' appearance on Celeb Big Brother has helped the sales of Dead or Alive:

"The Dead or Alive single has done really well after only two days. It has received a lot of attention with Pete Burns being on Big Brother and it was re-released at the right time.

"There is only 700 sales separating the top three so I expect the race for top spot will get pretty hot as the week goes on."

If only someone could combine the internets with Celeb Big Brother, who knows what we might see, eh, Gennaro?


If you're planning some sort of gala in aid of charity, and want Vince Neil to be one of the celebs, make sure you don't repeat the mistake of the Miami delinquent school charity and make sure you get him off before the free drinks kick in:

According to multiple witnesses, the rocker swaggered through the high-powered crowd of South Beach denizens, judges and lawyers — including star defense attorney Roy Black, whose wife, Lea, chaired the event — brandishing a microphone and spewing profanities.

"Fuck you!" he shouted at another entertainer, drag queen Elaine Lancaster. "I bet you'd like to!" Lancaster retorted.

Then Neil attempted to lead his stunned audience in a spirited chant of f-words. "I was disgusted," said a Lowdown spy.

In the end, they were so desperate to shut him up they got him to sing - although, personally, we'd have been tempted to keep him swearing to stop that from happening.


How to catch the copyright cheats, eh? In a move which might stir memories of the current Pope's youth, a group in Hong Kong has been established to get young people involved. The Youth League for Monitoring Internet Piracy has approached 200,000 kids, offering them a way of informing on suspected copyright violations. It's not yet known if there will be any rewards on offer - although we'd expect some sort of double prize if you denounce one of your own family - but it's nice to see the entertainment industry piloting the application of some tried and tested ideas from the 20th century to make sure nobody gets a single track without paying for it.

[Thanks to Nerys Hucker for the link]


Struggling downloads service Napster may yet have one trick left up its sleeve - there are rumours that Google is checking out the company with a view to co-opting it in place of building a music download store of its own. Both sides are keeping schtum on a possible deal.


Kate Moss has returned to Britain, and nipped in to a police station to explain that video the Daily Mirror had of her taking drugs while the Babyshambles album was being put together.

Moss has been talking under caution, but has not been arrested.


We're sure it's not that he doesn't really understand anything about anything, and he fully knows what he's doing, but tiresome goth-clown Marilyn Manson is going to play Lewis Carroll in an "arthouse horror" movie loosely based on his life. Carroll's life, not Manson's, although we suspect that the movie will end up being more about Manson that Carroll. Even the movie's producer admits its going to be a predictable thing:

What people expect from Manson, they're going to get here," said producer Alain de la Mata.

"He didn't want to wait for Cannes to do this, he's ready now," said de la Mata.

We don't understand what the second half of that means, by the way: are we meant to be astonished that Manson has started work on a film without waiting for an international simper-fest to announce that he's going to make it?


We didn't think it was ever going to happen, but we have finally had a response from Flo Clucas. It seems, indeed, she's been trying to respond for quite a while but... well, you know what email is like.

I am in receipt of an e mail that was sent to my colleague, Cllr Fielding, this week. The e mail that you sent over the New Year period was responded to, so I cannot understand why you have not received it.

I that e mail, I indicated that I had been away when the earlier e mails to which you referred had been sent(I was actually in the USA), and as some unknown e mails are listed as 'spam', they may have been deleted. I asked you to send the e mail, and any questions to me again, but have not received any to date.

The following, however may be of interest to you.

The streets where the house is situated are in a very poor condition and the majority of local residents have asked for their homes to be demolished as a result. The houses were first condemned in 1973. They were built originally as temporary homes for workers. New properties to be built on the land, will be available for local residents at an affordable price, with the council putting all of the value of any land into the new homes to make them affordable (this is with the consent of the council and needs the consent of the ODPM, as this is a regeneration project for the area)

The exisiting houses, according to English Heritage, are of no historical significance and we have been asked to supply only photographs of the properties before demolition. Number 9 Madryn Street does , however, have a cultural significance, Although that the house where Ringo spent most of his life in Liverpool is only a few minutes distance from Madryn Street, is still occupied and will remain so for many years yet, we have endeavoured to find a new home for this, his early years home. This has been done.

Hmmm... there are some interesting points here, such as if the buildings were in such a bad way as to be condemned in 1973, how come they're still standing and providing homes 33 years later? But that's a side issue from the Ringo Starr issue. It seems that the reports which quoted Flo as saying that Ringo's house was of no historical significance were unfair to her - it was the estate as a whole that the report covered, and hadn't actually been considering the cultural significance of the specific house Ringo was born in. (Hats off to English Heritage, of course, for deciding that what happens in a building doesn't apparently influence its significance at all.)

Anyway, while it was nice to hear from Flo, there are some questions still hanging. What exactly is going to happen to the bricks once the house has been taken down, for instance?

We've emailed back - let's hope this one doesn't get stuck in her spam filters, eh?:

Thanks for your reply, Flo... a mysterious number of emails disappearing there - it might be worth getting the council's tech department to recalibrate the spam filters if they're deleting emails on such a regular basis.

Thank you for clearing up the confusion I had about the report you were quoting from in the press last September - from the BBC News Online report, [ ] , I'd had the impression that it was Ringo's house that had been specifically described as not having significance, but it seems the editing of your comments had changed the meaning from describing the historical importance of the street as a whole, rather than just the one house and its position in musical history and as a tourist attraction in its own right.

What I'm especially curious about now is what the plans for the bricks are once the building has been taken down. Presumably this was costed out before the announcement was made? How much will this cost, and who's going to be footing the bill?

As ever, we'll let you know if and when there's a response.


With their re-released single heading for number one (the phrase "moving as assuredly as a lion towards an elderly okapi" is the one we'd heard), The Ordinary Boys are basking in something of a post-Celeb BB glow right now. The band's tour has been radically extended to meet demand, although the number of people calling for tickets who realise they're not going to be watching Preston touching Chantelle's bottom is probably low.

The dates now read:

Dublin Ambassador (March 16)
Belfast Mandela Hall (17)
Glasgow Barrowlands (19)
Manchester Academy (20)
Nottingham Rock City (21)
Leeds University (23)
Bournemouth Solent (24)
London Brixton Academy (25)
Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall (26)
Brighton Dome (April 21)
Birmingham Carling Academy (22)
Liverpool University (23)
Edinburgh Corn Exchange (25)
Newcastle Carling Academy (26)
Norwich UEA (27)
Bristol Carling Academy (29)
Cardiff University (30)
Exeter University (May 1)

Chantelle's bottom is currently denying it will appear as support, although it has said it might consider a guest appearance at the Brixton date.


Hold everything, Placebo are plotting a tour for April:

Blackpool Empress Ballroom (April 5)
Glasgow Academy (6)
Newcastle Academy (8)
Birmingham Academy (9)
London Alexandra Palace (11)

This is all in aid of the new album, Meds (already available for preorder), of course.


No, we're not talking about her supposed fattening up - thank god one of the Jackson family actually looks like they have time for lunch, we reckon. No, what we're worried about is the plans for Jackson to record with Mariah Carey. It's all because Janet is dating Carey's producer, Jermaine Dupri:

"The hardest part is figuring out a song that fits both of them, because you have two different styles of artists, and the thing when you're dealing with divas is you don't want to overshadow either one, so if you were to do a song for them, it would have to work where both of them would feel they were on the same pedestal, or else someone's gonna have a problem."

To be honest, Jermaine, you're probably on a hiding to nothing with that one. Best you can do is put them in two separate rooms and get them to record two separate tunes and just slap them together on a record. Nobody's going to care overmuch.


Sony-BMG feel so afraid of the future they felt they had no choice but to release CDs "protected" by malware, and yet they feel so confident they're happily pissing away cash buying up played-out joke Chico from last year's X-Factor. Coming hot on the heels of Universal signing an insanely huge agreement with Costa, you might view the record industry cartel as having rather more money than they might let on.


To be honest, we're less surprised that TThe Cult are reuniting for a tour of North America, than it's only three and a half years since they last broke up.


As you might expect, even when bands have huge-selling records, it takes a while for the money to make its way through to them. The Sun, though, seems surprised that the Arctic Monkeys have yet to have piles of cash delivered to them in big suitcases. Come on, the album has been on sale over a week - surely the cash should be in by now?

Frontman Alex said: “I don’t even understand the money side. I don’t know what gets back to me. I have no idea.

“There’s only so many times you can hear the words gross and net and understand them. There will probably be a frightening conversation about that soon.”

We're not quite sure why hearing a simple term like "gross" more than a few times suddenly makes it impossible to understand it - if you keep saying "cheese" to him, does he start to find it difficult to recall it's a milky-lump?

Meanwhile, Mylene Klass seems confused, and not for the first time, generously saying that she didn't mind them beating Hear'Say's record for the fastest selling debut single of all time - interesting, since the band haven't; they've just had the fastest selling debut album, and Hear'Say didn't hold the record for fastest selling debut single anyway - that was Will Young, surely?


After ten years of trying - and turning out one boyband member and, erm, Liam Lynch - Paul McCartney has admitted that really, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts he helped found can't make a great artist:

Great bands could not be taught but emerged naturally, he said.

"When we started the school I was working with the Liverpool band The Christians on a charity record and they said to me that you couldn't teach what we did. I agree with that, a great band probably just comes about naturally."

You're really up against it if you can't even get someone up to the level of The Christians with a three-year degree course.


For reasons we can't imagine, Brittany Murphy has decided she's going to have a crack at being a pop star, just like Russell Crowe and Juliette Lewis. This seems to have confused Victoria Newton:

IS there room for another pop princess called Brittany?

As far as we know, there isn't a pop princess called Brittany already. We know that The Sun is fond of homophobes, but we didn't realise it had embraced homophones quite so tightly, too.


Clearly, these are the good times at Universal, as they've got enough cash sloshing about to sign up Anthony Costa for a five album deal. Perhaps he misheard and they thought he was in Five. Anthony - whose main talent is not wearing a shirt - seems to be about the seventeenth former member of Blue to be given a solo contract for reasons that aren't actually that obvious.

His first single will be out just as soon as he's chosen a shirt to not wear. There was supposed to have been a release this week, but it was pulled in order to avoid a head-to-head battle with Blue village idiot Lee Ryan's single - which suggests that Universal aren't entirely convinced they picked up the right bit in the Blue distress sale.


According to people who've seen him inside, Pete Doherty isn't having a good time of it inside:

Pat Ward, visiting a friend, said: "My mate says he's doing things he shouldn't, silly things. He's gone soft in the head."

Although, of course, he did do silly things he shouldn't before he went inside. That's pretty much what got him there.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Interesting list of venues for the newly-announced Arctic Monkeys tour - they're big venues, but considering that people are saying with a straight face "there's been nothing like it since the Beatles", it's hardly an enormo tour:

April 13 Nottingham Rock City
14 Glasgow Carling Academy
15 Newcastle Carling Academy
17 Bournemouth BIC
18 Plymouth Pavilions
19 Wolverhampton Civic Hall
21 Newport Centre
22 Rotherham Magna Centre
23 Blackpool Empress Ballroom
25 Hull Ice Rink
26 Cambridge Corn Exchange
27 London Brixton Carling Academy


As we've noted before, Pete Burns isn't entirely pleased to see You Spin Me Round re-released:

"I'm sick of that song. It's like still wearing school uniform when you're 50."

God, yes; can you imagine dressing so oddly and sticking out like a sore thumb in a crowd like that, eh, Pete?

Of course, less unhappy about the re-release will be Stock, Aitken and Waterman, who will be given the chance to see some cash roll in once again from their first number one single. It might be strangely neat if it turns out to be their last number one as well.


The waft and weft of rumour has been tightly melding this last week to insist that there is going to be a Pink Floyd reunion tour this year; not so, according to Dave Gilmour:

"Nick, Richard, Roger and I are telling fans directly that this is not happening."

It seems our plan of getting a gang of unruly schoolkids to chant "we don't need no Floyd reforming/ we don't need no crumbly olds" outside Roger Waters house for a week and a half paid off.

GENNARO CASTALDO WATCH: Morten before markets

We had been wondering why Gennaro Castaldo had been so quiet what with all the talk of takeovers at his company, HMV, today. It turns out that he had much more important things to worry about, offering an opinion on the expected crowds turning out for A-Ha this evening at Oxford Street:

HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: "We have been amazed by the fans` response. This is one of our most successful in-store sessions ever."

Apparently, they had 700 people waiting outside before the store even opened today. It's Harkett's eyes, isn't it? Anyway, what with all those people wandering about outside, you could hardly expect Gennaro to have time to think about the store being sold, could you? It's like Empire Records down there. Only in reverse.

(Actually, wouldn't it be a hoot if the mystery bidder for HMV did turn out to be an indie record shop?)


Sanctuary Records has been doing pretty badly of late, ever since it bought Urban Records from Beyonce Knowles' dad - we're not sure, but we believe they found him flogging it in a market, trussed up in a sack, and when they got home they discovered it wasn't a pig at all, but a goat, which has been chewing through their profits ever since.

Anyway, having managed to turn a loss of £26.7million into an even bigger loss of £142.6million over the course of a year, you might expect the team in charge to have a plan, And they do. Boy, do they. It's not - as you might have thought - taking what's left to a boot sale and inviting offers. Nope, they're going to sell shares in the company to allow, erm, everyone to join the downward spiral. Of course, to tempt people to buy shares in a company which has lost over one hundred and fifty million quid in just a couple of years, you'd have to set the price pretty low: so, then, those investors who had held the faith and not offloaded their shares this far will see the value of their holdings plummet futher. The result? Shares have continued to drop in price.

Sanctuary hopes to raise £110million from the share deal; it has an agreement to write off £35million of its debt and its going to close Urban altogether. At the moment, you can buy 100 shares in Sanctuary for about 70pence.


The still-surprising survivors of Madchester, The Charlatans, are off touring round the country this April, in support of the Simpatico album:

Wolverhampton Civic Hall (April 24)
Glasgow Barrowlands (25)
Edinburgh Corn Exchange (26)
Newcastle Carling Academy (27)
Sheffield Octagon (29)
Liverpool University (30)
Nottingham Rock City (May 1)
Leeds University (2)
Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall (4)
London Brixton Carling Academy (5)
Bristol Carling Academy (7)
Exeter University (8)
Southampton Guildhall (9)
Norwich UEA (11)
Manchester Carling Apollo (12)


A little glow of good news for Pete Doherty this morning: the Crown has dropped charges of driving under the influence of drugs:

[P]rosecutor Mark Tavender told the court today that keys found on Doherty at the scene of the incident did not fit the car.

He explained: "This is an allegation of driving while unfit. The Crown believes there is not sufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr Doherty was driving."

He added: "The vehicle had four passengers, they all decamped from the vehicle. The keys found on Mr Doherty did not fit the vehicle in question. On the basis that he is in custody waiting (on) drugs matters a decision has been made to withdraw the case."

This was, of course, the December 18th arrest. It's perhaps interesting that his being held in custody has helped persuade the Crown not to pursue this one.


Craig David has come up with a novel way of begging for a Brit Award without seeming too needy - he says he only wants to win for his mother:

"I think I've given a lot to music through my music, to British music.

"That's not consciously 'well that's why I should win a Brit', but I think if you can pave the way and open doors by virtue of making music that people enjoy, then it's great when you get nominated, that's my recognition.

"Picking up the award is almost better for my mum because she gets the award on her mantelpiece - so it's more for her."

Actually, over the last couple of years, because she hasn't released any substandard urban-lite, we'd argue that Craig David's ma has probably done more for British music than her son has. Maybe she should get the prize.


It's set to be the 2006 answer to the Price-Andre or Beckham-Adams weddings: A textbook example of the distance between aspirations for sophistication and the reality of tat. It is, of course, the Cheryl Tweedy-Ashley Cole wedding.

When you discover that pageboy outfits are being made for Tweedy's dog, you get an idea of what sort of event we're looking at here.

But it's still meant to be sophisticated, says "an insider":

"She wants it to be a smart and sophisticated affair. And Windsor Castle is an option for the reception."

Naturally, they can't mean the Castle where the Queen lives - can you imagine the phone call when they rang up and asked to use the Great Hall? - so we presume they must be planning a cold cuts buffet at the Camden pub.


The scrappy performance of HMV over Christmas hasn't, it seems, put off people's dreams of owning a record shop (albeit a chain of shops with rather fewer records than other bits and bobs): HMV is facing a takeover approach, apparently from a private equity firm:

"Our initial reaction is one of scepticism that a deal could be completed at these levels," Steve Davies, of Numis Securities, told Reuters.

"We have talked on numerous occasions about the competitive pressures HMV is facing right now, and which are only going to get worse over time.

"From a private equity viewpoint, the biggest hurdle is who they are going to sell the business to in two or three years time in order to generate their required returns."

Of course, HMV might be worth more for what it has (a range of city-centre stores) than what it does (flogging DVDs and stuff like that.)

Gennaro Castaldo has had nothing to say.


Although XFM has been trying to push itself as the young voice of alt-rock, it's decided to fall back on the generation before last to staff its Manchester outpost.

Andy Rourke (yes, out The Smiths) and Clint Boon (Inspiral Carpets) are both in the dj list, along with Paul 'hasn't really done a lot since The Sunday Show, you know, the one with Peter Kay on it" Tonkinson is going to take breakfast, while Debris fanzine editor and Hacienda legend Dave Haslam getting a slot on Fridays. Its unclear if anyone under the age of 40 has a show on the network at this stage:

"Sometimes I can't work out whether I'm putting together a radio station or forming Manchester's best ever band," said the Xfm network managing director, Nick Davidson.

"This city has been crying out for a station like Xfm, which was born out of music from the Madchester era. It's a momentous occasion for a city like ours, which has been starved of a radio station with a passion for credible indie-rock music," he said.

Hmm... we could have sworn that the station was born out of a pirate radio service part-funded by The Cure, rather than a desire to bring Northside to a bigger audience, but what would we know?


Perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks like the last few weeks of McFly are going to sound like a watered-down version of the last few weeks of Busted. Danny Jones wants to leave and go solo, the others are keen to carry on milking the band until every last creamy drop has been removed. We imagine Jones phone rings at 3am every morning, with a mystery voice chanting "Remember Fightstar? No, nor does anyone else" on the other end of the line.


The non-appearance of Pete Doherty at an appointment is barely news these days; being banged up on drugs charges meant he wasn't able to do his cameo for Mike Skinner during a Streets video shoot at the weekend.

In the Guardian at the weekend, a Babyshambles site editor suggested that it was unfair that Pete got arrested so many times - "it's like they're targetting him" she said, and she might have a point. On the other hand, if you have a public profile and it seems that every time you pass a cop he'll have a quick rummage in your greatcoat pockets, you might think you'd do well to just check you don't have any smack crammed in there before you nip out down the 24 Hour garage.

Amusingly, Doherty claims the second (or was it third?) arrest the other day was unfair - he admits he had drucks in his pocket, but reckons he'd had them when he was arrested the first time: the police had missed them when they searched him that time and sent him on his way with his wrap intact. Of course, if that is true, and the police are boosting their clear-up rates by simply arresting Doherty time and time again, it might be that they didn't miss the drugs at all - but it's a big "of course", and comes down to if you want to put your faith in the Met Police or Pete Doherty. Not an easy choice, is it?


It's like musical bird flu, the spread of Arctic Monkey fever, isn't it? Jarvis Cocker has announced that he supports the band and their rise based on graft, not hype:

"I think it's very important because they've done it without trying "The only reason people have got into it (the music) is because they've listened to it and they like it, so it's something real.

"I guess all the music industry will probably think 'how can we emulate that or what can we do?' "I think there's nothing they can do about it because it's something that has happened naturally, there's no way to apply spin doctorism to it."

Well... kind of, Jarvis. They may have been a hype-free act up until about ten minutes before the release of the first single, but since then "the band from the internets" has been receiving enough hype to make Mark Oaten Prime Minister; and while their spin might not have come from a smoked glass clad office block, there's spin a-plenty around them. (Remember that last Friday they were even co-opted by the BPI into the battle against file sharers.)

And the fastest selling debut album of all time schtick has been fairly hypey of itself - now, admittedly, a lot of that came from the retailers and chart companies rather than the Monkeys, but to pretend that it was nothing more than word of mouth that got the band onto the BBC Ten O'Clock News twice in five days is surely placing faith ahead of sense?