Saturday, April 01, 2006


There are very few people who can really look at Britney Spears hanging about with mouthagape husband Federline and think "that should have been me." Justin Timberlake, though, did once have the opportunity, and he blew it. So perhaps his of Federline is coloured a little:

“He thinks Kevin is gross, and there’s not much that would change his mind about that,” a source told the tab. “He says that they [Spears and Timberlake] had a lot of great years together, and he’s pretty sad at how things turned out for her.”

No, that seems balanced and fair enough. But also slightly deluded - "a lot of great years together"? Sure, quite a few decent weekends, maybe even a lot of great pizzas... but a lot of great years is surely a stretch?


Well, this is going to be hard to take - it's like the bad old days of the brain drain, when Britain's well-educated elite would quit the country as soon as they got a sniff of interest from anywhere abroad. It doesn't happen now, of course, because the poor state of the university network in the UK coupled with the crippling cost of tuition fees means we don't really turn out anyone who many countries are interested in. Although apparently Andorra has been sniffing round third year semiotics course students at the University of Luton.

Still, they want to get their hands on our lovely music, and - because they don;t want to be flying "back and forth across the Atlantic", Hard-Fi have elected to relocate to LA while they concentrate on breaking the US.

Presumably nobody has told them that living on the West Coast means that they'll, erm, be constantly flying backwards and forwards to the East side for TV appearances and so on.


The IFPI has issued its annual report on how music sales did last year - a three per cent dip in total sales combined, but assess saved by a trippling in digital sales (worldwide, accounting for at least £633 million going into record company coffers - and remember, they're turning a much higher rate of profit on those sales).

John Kennedy explains the three per cent drop:

"Physical music sales declined again for a combination of reasons, including digital and physical piracy, competition from other entertainment products and the shift in consumer spending to online and mobile."

Interestingly, he doesn't consider the other, more compelling reasons - that physical music formats are overpriced; that record companies are focusing on releasing stuff that people don't want; that record shops are closing down all over the place because the labels have been happy to co-operate with chain stores and focusing on a limited number of titles which makes it difficult for people to impulse buy anything other than a very few records, most of which are shit and so on. Indeed, as with every bloody year, we're told that the major labels troubles are due to factors completely beyond their control.

The world's biggest-selling records (IFPI's perspective only) were 50 Cent's The massacre (7.5 million copies); Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi (7.7) and Coldplay. A staggering 8.3 million copies of X&Y were sold last year. Chances are someone you know bought one. Possibly even someone you like. Maybe even your own parents. How does that make you feel, eh?


"But it's for charity" wailed everyone at the not-entirely-surprising news that someone was trying to scalp tickets for some sort of pro-UNICEF night with Victoria and David Beckham. Somebody had got hold of tickets, and was selling them on for some ridiculous ammount like £23,500.

London-based Dave [West], 61, bought the tickets in good faith thinking the cash was going to a worthy cause.

But after hearing of Thursfield's sacking he said: "It's disgraceful that someone should try to abuse the Beckhams, UNICEF and other charities in this way."

The sell-off was completely against the spirit of the movie-themed party to raise money for the United Nations Children's Fund - for which Becks is a goodwill ambassador.

But is it really against the spirit of the event (apparently, Tom Cruise and Madonna are going to be there - only a Rev Moon away from the full set, of course)? It's a lavish event in which people will be competing to show off how rich they are salving their consciences that the conspicuousness of their consumption is okay because it's all going to channel some money to starving people. Selling the tickets on for a profit isn't depriving UNICEF of any money - they've got the cover price - so what, exactly, is the problem with someone paying over the odds to get into what is effectively a PR stunt for the attendees?

The agency which sold the tickets to the smugfest, Bluefish UK, has sacked its managing director John Thursfield. Presumably, it's also sending its mark-up to charity.

David and Victoria can hardly contain their delight at this making the papers:

Posh and Becks said in a statement: "We are very grateful to the Mirror for bringing this to our attention."

Is that it? Not any offer of a muffin basket to say thank you or anything?


After the "police called to Burns flat" story comes, sadly and inevitably, police called to Burns flat and arrest him.

Locksmiths were apparently at his place, changing the locks, when another row flared up. Someone tried to jump out of a window; the cops came and it all ended up with Pete being carted off on "suspicion of assault."


In order to give Robbie Williams some sort of presence at the Take That reunion, he's going to appear as a giant, soggy cypher cascading down some rubber curtains. Or something. It's a "spectacular backdrop" for the stage, apparently.

If it was us, we'd get that bloke who turns up as an Elton john lookalike to do Robbie's bits. It'd make us laugh, otherwise.

Friday, March 31, 2006


A week ago yesterday, Billy Bragg (who seems to have got his spark back of late), played the Somerville Theatre. You were there, sort of, thanks to Bradley's Almanac.


Last night, we dreamed we went to Eurovision in Slovakia, and Terry Wogan wasn't commentating because he'd got drunk. The official line was he was ill; he was sat in an aisle looking very sorry for himself. We cheered him up by saying he could a commentary for the DVD release. Oddly, none of this happened today. But then, we're not Shakira, who has her dreams come true:

"This is the truth, so hear me out," Shakira said. "I don't want you to think I'm esoteric or metaphysical, because I'm not superstitious, but I dreamt about Wyclef one night before he and I actually met."

Now they have recorded a single together. In our dream, Ray Moore had to fill in for Terry. Can't see that happening, somehow.


Worrying news from Nashville: George Jones is in hospital with pneumonia. He's expected to make a full recovery, but live shows are being put on hold while he gets treatment.


Although efestivals are headling their story about the conviction of someone selling dodgy wristbands outside the V Festival one in the eye for a tout, Spencer Cottol wasn't actually a tout. Touts sell genuine tickets for inflated prices, whereas what Cottol did was sell fake wristbands for the Chelmsford leg of the festival. The key difference, of course, is that someone buying a forged wristband might not get in and, if they do, represents a health and safety risk by pushing the festival over its capacity; someone who buys from a tout has just paid over the odds.

V festival's head Bob Angus issued a statement:

"We do not approve of the production of fake wristbands."

I'm glad we cleared that up. We're not sure, though, if they do approve of people pulling on a Chinese dragon costume and sneaking sixteen pairs of legs in using just one ticket, or simply burrowing their way into the festival compound using an Acme Burrowing Machine. We imagine they'll still be having meetings to decide a policy on those.


Busta Rhymes - despite having a name like a drag act - turns out to be more than a little homphobic, according to a story in the New York Daily News. Rhymes was in Miami for the winter music festival when he noticed he was eating in a restaurant next door to a gay club:

"The restaurant was packed with transvestites, gay men and drag queens, which obviously made Busta a little edgy. "This became evident when a young gay fan came up behind Busta and tapped him on the shoulder to congratulate the rapper on his recent comeback. Before the guy could even mutter a word, Busta turned around and repeatedly screamed, 'Why the fuck you touchin' me, man? Get the fuck away from me' . . . his two huge bodyguards then caused an even larger scene by pushing the kid away . . . Busta quietly whispered to his bodyguards, 'I hate fucking faggots, man.'" Busta's spokeswoman didn't return calls.

Obviously, he couldn't have whispered it very quietly as Thomas Barker, the NYDN's eyewitness, heard.

It's a pity he doesn't like gays, though, considering he goes to such lengths to create clone-friendly photoshoots, isn't it?

In other news, Rhymes has also been accused of smashing a bottle over the head of David Mays, the founder of Source magazine.

When queried about the brawl, Mays replied "I ain't talking about that." Busta's representatives had not issued any comments at press time.

You can see why people choose to retire to Florida, can't you?


Gennaro Castaldo has been a bit of a busy chap this week - popping up in the Mirror to read last rites for the VHS:

HMV only sells videos in its 30 biggest music stores after a shake-up earlier this year.

Spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said distributors were just releasing childrens' films and fitness shows on VHS. He said: "The suppliers are phasing it out. Later this year videos will be 99.9 per cent dead." The video revolution began in the early 1980s in a battle between VHS and Betamax to become the established system.

That's Gennaro, who is quite happy with "mostly dead" as a concept. Schrodinger, you never thought of the 99.9% dead cat, did you?

But while he's marking the end of one format, he's quivering with excitement at newer ones:

"There`s every chance Crazy will top the singles charts this week purely on the amount of downloads sold.

"This would not only represent a watershed in how the charts are compiled, but would show that legal downloads have come of age."

"Downloads have given the singles market a massive boost and retailers such as HMV are now selling more and more through their digital music services."

Retailers such as, ooh, HMV, for example.

But Gennaro wasn't done yet, oh no. He also had something to say about the selection of Embrace as offical song. Now, by GG's standards, this sounds a little bit sceptical:

As far as I know they have not even written it yet. I suppose the there is always the danger they will come up with a turkey but the band are a good choice and are on a real high at the moment.

"They will have been given a brief to write the sort of song that captures the imagination of the whole country. If they do that it will shift hundreds of thousands of copies, become a huge number one and probably sell more singles this year than any other song.

"Embrace have a title so they will have a good idea of what they want it to sound like. I expect an anthem to that everyone will be chanting during the World Cup. The FA will want the whole British public chanting it come June."

Mr Castaldo said: "England songs of the past have a pretty good record for hits. Embrace will have a hard job matching the success of great songs of the past like World in Motion.

"Embrace are a cool, credible indie pop band and they are certainly an interesting choice. Even though single sales are dropping I think everyone will want a copy of this."

Hang about, Gennaro... single sales are dropping? But a couple of moments ago, singles sales were being given a tremendous boost by downloads. Which is it, man?

And, of course, Gennaro had something to say about the tiresome Mike Flowers version of the Radio 4 UK theme:

And retailers say it could be heading for the top 10 after HMV's online store received well over 1,000 pre-orders last week alone - more than any other new release.

"It may not be enough to get it to number one, but there's clearly enough interest from Radio 4 fans for it to make the top 20 chart and perhaps even push it into the top 10," said HMV's Gennaro Castaldo.

But is the record being bought by Radio 4 fans, or just dull, harping critics of the BBC who seem to think that the axing of a tune probably less than one in a thousand have ever heard is some sort of symptom of just how communist the BBC are?

It's a canny enough tune, and even although we're so sentimental we miss "This is London" and Tum-te-te-tum-da-da-da-da-da-daaa on the World Service, hearing the UK Theme was always a sign you were up too early.

We wonder, for example, if JMB of Political Muscle could convincingly explain how it is "a PC blunder" and "politically correct" to drop the theme? Or if it really is a "symbol of Britishness" in the way Blogging The Beeb would have you believe. We seriously doubt if one in ten of the people who are suggesting the dumping of the theme is tantamount to pissing on the Queen's duvet and burning Prince Harry's Union Jack underpants had even heard of the music before it was axed.

There is a lot that is interesting to be said about the theme. Gennaro Catsaldo managed to miss it all.


Apple turns thirty with another one of its periodic battles with the Beatles. The nearly-impoverished Beatles have hauled Apple into court claiming the iPod and iTunes breaks a 1989 agreement to, erm, not distribute music on physical media such as compact discs.

You'd think that someone at the Beatles would understand that the whole point about digital downloads are, erm, they're not physical media.

It's hard to see why The Beatles are wasting their time on this (their money, of course, they have so much of, frittering it away on lawyers is not a problem for them.) Nobody thinks that iTunes is anything to do with them. They would be hard pressed to find any evidence that anyone assumes Steve Jobs is behind their back catalogue and a few Mary Hopkins records. They should just let it go.

Of course, it'll be interesting to see if Apple manages to be relaxed in the face of Barratt's horrible iPad concept. The homebuilder freely admits it's trying to ride on the back of iPod mania:

Barratt plans to build about 1,800 iPads in more than 40 towns and cities, including Coventry, Slough, Edinburgh and Reading. The iPad hopes to catch the tailwind of the iPod, Apple's popular digital music player. "We haven't cleared it with Apple, but we have registered the trademark," Mr Dearlove said. An Apple spokeswoman said she was unaware of the flats.

Since the key thing about iPods has always been how tiny they are, we're not sure invoking their name in the context of homes, especially ones which are hugely "compact and bijoux, Mostyn", is the wisest marketing move. (And at up to £125k for a piddly 380 square foot, their flats make the Nano seem cumbersome.)


Classic Rock - apparently roused in response to the NME's recent top 50 - have got a shadowy team of experts together to choose the top 100 UK albums of ever, ever.

Astonishingly, AC/DC have four entries in this chart, despite, erm, being Australian (don't bother firing up the comments, I know the Youngs might have been born in Scotland, but this really is a case of it's not where you're from, it's where you're at.) Even more interestingly, U2 come in with The Joshua Tree. At 100. It's not clear if the low placing is because the album is actually a load overstated bombastic nonesense, or simply because they know U2 aren't British and just couldn't think of any more albums so slipped it in at number 100 as it's sort of there.

Of course, when Muriel Gray once inadvertently described U2 as British on The Tube, she was sent a collage made out of used condoms which read "IRISH."

The top ten, then, would be:

10. Free - Fire & Water
9. The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street
8. Led Zeppelin - II
7. Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
6. The Beatles - Abbey Road
5. David Bowie - The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust...
4. Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks...
3. Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon
2. The Who - Who's Next
1. Led Zeppelin - IV

The Sex Pistols? Snark.


You seldom get through the day without Grant Nicholas popping up to deny that Feeder are splitting up. It's a measure of how reassuring his words are that the following day, he'll have to do it all over again.

Today, Grant Nicholas is denying that Feeder are splitting up:

The stories that we are splitting are a load of rubbish. It's my fault because I said something in an interview to a not very bright radio DJ. I don't know why he twisted it around so much.

We basically said that the next full album would complete our six album contract with our label, Echo, who we've been signed to for 13 years. I said we'd either stay with Echo and sign a future deal or move on to a new label. He took that as the band splitting up, which is not the case at all."

Maybe he just thought that perhaps you should think about throwing it in. You know. Good advice.


Having organised time off from the milk round, East 17 are back, back... oh, you get the picture.


The "look at us, we're playing soccerball" celebrity football match dur for next month is shaping up to be a lot of men growling at each other apparently unaware that they're not actually taking part in the World Cup.

Gordon Ramsay is attempting to psych opponent Robbie Williams out by threatening to "kick his arse".

No, no, not the arse.


It's bad enough she co-inflicted that godawful You're Beautiful on us, but Blunt's co-writer Amanda Ghost has now added a puzzle to the pain:

"I've heard all this stuff about him being a bit of a ladies man. But he's way too small for me, so I don't really get it. But he's a lovely guy."

Yeah, yeah, lovelyguyjustnotlookingforarelationship rightnow lovelyguyjustnotforme, enough with the wrapping up the brush-offs. What we want to know is: too small in what way, exactly?


Perhaps, ooh, we don't know, because of something that may have happened recently, Kate Moss has dropped her libel case against Channel Five.

Moss had been suing over the network's claims, broadcast in 2004, that she had fallen into a coma while on cocaine.

Part of Channel Five's defence was that the Babyshambles studio pictures showed that she was a regular user of cocaine; Moss had been faced with having to sign a legal statement confirming her claims that the pictures didn't show her using cocaine. Oddly, at this point, she threw in the towel.


Not perhaps quite getting how long Whitney has apparently been on crack, not how much she loves crack, Mary J "I used to like a drink, so that's similar, isn't it" Blige is convinced Houston will pull through:

“I’m saddened by the whole thing.

“Whitney is technically the best vocalist in the business.”

But Mary believes Whitney has the strength to make a charts comeback.

She said: “Whitney will come through. I have every faith that she will make a breakthrough. I’m just praying for her now.”

Yeah? So much for the power of your prayers, Mary: Whitney got evicted from a house she wasn't meant to be living in and now faces legal action because of the damage she and roomie Cherelle (blimey, there's a pop name from down the dumper) did to the place. (Presumably, this is where Whitney knocked the hole in the toilet wall to keep an eye on things.)

The curious thing here, though, is Fox News seems to be condemning its sister newsish operation, The Sun, for paying money to Tina Brown for jump-starting all these stories:

It doesn’t help that this week, Whitney was sold out by her sister-in-law, Tina Brown (not to be confused with the journalist Tina Brown). Tina’s brother is Houston’s often-arrested and imprisoned former pop star husband Bobby.

Tina sold the most salacious stories she could muster to "The National Enquirer" and the "UK Sun" tabloid, along with pictures that suggest a horrifying saga of Whitney’s drug abuse. Her take could be as high as $200,000. There has been some suggestion that Brown, needing cash, put her up to it.

We'd love to think this was going to be the start of internal battles in the Murdoch kingdom - we haven't had this much fun since Fox News and The Simpsons had a public fight over pretend news tickers. And the Simpsons parody of Fox's pretend news tickers.


Not the ones of her naked hugging a teddy bear; the Babyshambles studio pictures. It seems that Moss has refused to confirm the pictures of her snorting coke had any coke in them, so the Crown Prosecution Service are calling in experts to look at them in order to form part of the prosecution of the man they believe supplied the drugs (not Pete, in this instance.)

We're not sure why they don't just put Kate and Pete in the dock, under oath, and ask, which would surely be cheaper and a little more reliable?


Having seen the music "career" stall and the acting one never start, Kelly Osbourne is settling into her third-choice career: being a bit thinner than she was before. Oh God:

“Lots of posh boys are keen. They all just want to take me home to upset their mums because I have TATTOOS. They want to piss them off.

You don't think that, perhaps, it might be your shrew of a mother and shambles of a father which would put the fear of God of the posh boy's families?

“I have had a lot of interest. The good-looking boys only look at me now because I’ve lost so much weight — they would never have touched me before.”

Yes. Those sound like exactly the sort of people who you'd want to date. You might have made rubbish records before, but at least you had some self-respect.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


The building of the new Wembley Stadium - seen by many as a dry-run for the infrastructure disasters planned by the government to ruin the 2012 Olympics (official slogan: "...or possibly 2013") - has ruined plans for the summer gig season. On account of the stadium not having been finished when it was meant to, and all the builders being sent home. Even while the FA and the Stadium were refusing to claim yet another slippage of the project, the rumours that the Rugby League Challenge Cup for the end of August was ringing round other venues told another story.

So it is that the summer gigs booked up in a fit of optimism are now being moved, dropped or rescheduled. Take That's reunion tour will now end with "thank you, Milton Keynes, we love you." Bon Jovi, who should have opened the new stadium's musical life as the ended the old one (which, you know, was there, and worked), are probably going to play Twickenham instead.

It's six years since England ceased to have a national stadium, because the FA reckoned we deserved better. It's odd, but putting such a major project in the hands of people who've booked Embrace up to do an official tune was always going to be a problem, don't you think?


Another email from Cait M, this time reporting from, um, the Post Office:

Standing in the post office queue for ages yesterday I noticed a magazine called 'Contact' which I think is for people who use internet dating. Their lead strapline was: 'Robbie Williams: life, love and looking for a wife'.

Maybe he uses match dot com! Maybe my sister in law could 'wink' at him! She's desperate.

And that's the sort of 'looking for a wife' that means you don't have to actually speak to/meet/have physical contact with girls! Hey-hey!

Thanks for that, Cait... we would encourage you to try logging on to see if you could find Robbie, but we suspect he might use a slightly different site...


There is a possiblity that Electric Six retain some purpose - we suspect a professor somewhere might be using them right now to demonstrate the concept of diminshing marginal returns - but even Dick Valentine seems to realise the game's up for that one and is dipping a toe in the solo market with a UK tour.

Relax, though, he's still going to do the E6 hits. Plural, says the story here. The tour dates are so spectacularly half-arsed not only are some of the venues yet to be announced, one day he's not even decided which town he'll be in:

28 April - Middlesbrough, Cornerhouse
29 - Darlington/Hartlepool, venue TBC
30 - York, Fibbers (JD Lounge show, afternoon set)
4 May - Glasgow, Barfly
7 - Cardiff, venue TBC
8 - Liverpool, Barfly
9 - Manchester, Blue Cat Cafe
10 - Birmingham, venue TBC
11 - London, Islington Bar Academy
13 - Hull, Adelphi

We hope Darington and Hartlepool get to battle it out for the honour, like some It's A Knockout contest. Perhaps Arun should be invited, too. We think their legendary flasher would fit in rather well.


To a certain extent, Noel Gallagher has a point when he has pop at The Rolling Stones:

"The Stones said that every time they put out an album they think it's their best and they can't understand why people don't take the new records as seriously as the old ones.

"Well, you're old age pensioners. By all means make records and go on tour, because if people want to see you, fine, but don't expect to be taken seriously. Your best work is behind you."

However, let's take a look at the two bands, shall we?

Ten years into releasing music, The Rolling Stones came up with Angie.

Three years into their releases, Oasis had already been reduced to D'You Know What I Mean?

After fifteen years of making records, the Rolling Stones were still three years shy of making Start Me Up.

Four years into their career, Oasis were reduced to sticking out a b-sides collection.

The twentieth year of working, the Rolling Stones did Undercover. Admittedly, they've done nothing worth bothering with since.

Oasis marked their tenth anniversary by scrapping an album because when they played it to the audience at Glastonbury, they were laughed back to the studio.

Yes, The Stones have run out of steam. But Oasis? They only ever had but a single puff.


In order to fill in the apparently required new material for their Best Of collection, The Replacements are getting together. They've done nothing significant as a band for 16 years, which is almost twice as long that Embrace haven't done anything significant for.


Mark Goodier once did the only chart that counts. Now he's going to do three of the blighters, presenting local chart shows on the Real Radio network:

"This is the first time many listeners have had the opportunity to listen to a music chart show that really reflects their area. It'll be interesting to see how musical tastes differ in each of our regions," said John Simons, the group programme director of GMG Radio.

Well, for those of us, sorry, them, who note the charts down in an exercise book and compare the two.


Following the worry that iPods would make us all deaf as posts, Apple have come up with a software fix. Because, of course, simply suggesting you turn it down so your ears stop bleeding wouldn't be quite so elegant, would it?


The Mirror suggests that Morrissey has said Ronnie Corbett would "make a better king" than Charles, although, really, he didn't:

"The very idea of Charles being king is laughable. You might as well say that Ronnie Corbett will be king one day.

"I think that would give people more pleasure."

So, really, he was saying that both Charles and Corbett were equally absurd as choices for monarch - does the Mirror no longer require basic comprehension skills in its writers?

It's a pleasing idea, though, of Corbett delivering the Christmas message:

"Good evening... good evening. Time again for the Christmas special... and a little wave there to the people to the Commonwealth. Especially the little countries with whom, of course, I have a special empathy. Now, today I'm going to tell you about my year - not the bad bits, of course, the producer said to me 'keep it upbeat, lovie, and just mention the good bits of the year.' In which case... goodnight. No, no..."

Morrissey also said he'd rather eat his own testicles than reform The Smiths - not quite so damning as it seems, as every man would like to be able to at least get his mouth into that general area.

Oh, and he's not likely to be on the list of secret loan-makers to the Labour party:

"I don't like his face, I don't like his expression. And I can't stand Cherie Blair's face, I just wonder if there can ever be a photograph of her where she has her mouth shut."

It's a little rich for Morrissey to have a pop at someone for not knowing when to keep their mouth shut.


They should be thankful she didn't make them sing I Could Be So Good For You as well: Britney Spears is being sued by Silas Dukes, Lonnie Jones and Randy Jones. They're her former minders, who, despite earning up to £100,000 a year, felt that conditions protecting Spears were a little too harsh:

"They worked shifts from 12 to 16 hours.

"They would take trips that would require them be on call 24 hours per day.

"However they were never compensated for the overtime."

Yeah, and we bet when they suggested working from home Spears refused to come to their houses to be protected in a way convenient to them, the bitch.


We can picture the scene - Jessica Simpson telling her Daddy she wanted one of those things, you know, that Angelina Jolie's got.

Collagen lips?


A little credibility?

Brad Pitt?

Hmm... maybe, but no...

Ah... a picturesque adopted child

That's the thing.

Are you sure, Jessica? A constant, whining presence who's dependent on you and you alone for everything?

I was married to Nick Lachey, I'm Ashlee's sister. I've got the experience.

The statement from her spokesperson in a little odd, too:

Her publicist Rob Shuter said: "Nothing has been finalised yet; as to when and how Simpson will adopt."

But he added: "It is true that she's exploring options."

Mr Shuter said Jessica and her family have anonymously contributed funds to a smattering of Mexican orphanages for several years now.

A "smattering" of orphanages? Is that the correct collective noun? And did he really call Jessica "Simpson"?

All across America, across the world, orphans are praying to God to cancel their previous wishes to be adopted by a pretty, rich lady.


Hoping it'll draw a line under his strange car-stopping in the middle of the night happening, George Michael accepted a caution for possessing cannabis yesterday.

In one of the those special deals you can only get if you're rich, famous or both, Michael managed to persuade the cops to open up at 7 am, and to let him go to a different police station from the one which arrested him (interestingly, this is the same police force that's currently investigating the Tories and Labour to see if they do special favours for the rich and powerful - funny that.)

Tests on the "liquid ecstasy" Michael was supposed to have had showed that the phial actually contained poppers.


Yesterday, Shania was accused of helping a bloke drink drive; now, she's being held responsible for shooting someone to death. According to the defence case in a murder trial at Winchester Crown Court, Linda West had danced about to Man, I Feel Like A Woman with a huge shotgun. As she put the gun down, it went off, killing her husband. (Mrs. West denies murder and manslaughter; the case continues.)


Odder and odderer goings on from the post-Big Brother world of Pete Burns: on Monday night, a man was arrested at Burns' flat after Pete called the police. We don't know quite what happened though - Burns had offered to give the details to a radio station but, erm, wanted to be paid in groceries.

No Rock is formally bidding a can of alphabetti spaghetti and a loaf of Mighty White.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


1998 Mobo Award winner DJ Swing has died.

Voted best club DJ at the Mobos, Swing - whose real name was Brian Daley - first found success with the Boogie Bunch and was expected to develop a successful career. All this was cut short when he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer, in June 2004. After a struggle to find a suitable donor - the subject of Channel 4's Saving DJ Swing documentary - he found a matching donor in November 2005. First impressions had been that the transplant was a success; sadly, it came too late and last week his leukaemia finally beat him.

Swing's friends and former colleagues have set up a website to encourage more donors to come forward.

DJ Swing was 39.


Apparently there's more to the Hard Rock Cafe than queueing for an hour to eat an overpriced burger while looking at a plectrum once used by a member of the Stray Cats. They're now developing property under the same banner, and the Black Eyed Peas are designing a million dollar suite for one in San Diego. The profits will go to charity, although we can't imagine there's any charity that wouldn't rather they just bought a bed and some nice curtains from Ikea and gave the million dollars to charity instead.

"Hard Rock is a brand that has always been true to its core and I really dig the direction these guys are headed in San Diego," said Peas member "When I heard about this project, I knew I had to be a part of it and what we're going to do will be outrageous and, at the same time, benefit the Peapod Foundation and children all over the world. All the band -- Fergie,, Taboo and I -- will have input so it's going to be a great time for us all."

It's not the badly punctuated William is wrong - Hard Rock has always been true to its core; but the problem is what that core is - it's surely dedicated to ripping the gonads off music, comodifying it and selling the neutered mess back to soulless sightseeing consumers at a racket-high price. Why on earth would the Black Eyed Peas want to be associated with that sort of behaviour, eh?


The unlikely choice of replacement for Howard Stern across many CBS stations in the US, Dave Lee Roth, seems to have come into grief. WYSP in Philadelphia is rumoured to have plunged from 4th to 19th in its local rating since Stern left; now, it's not only listeners failing to turn up for Roth's show - Roth didn't turn up for the third of his Spring Break shows today. His bosses are keeping quiet as to why Dave didn't show, but a reshuffle of other presenters may or may not be permanent; coincidently, a ratings sweep is due to start this week.


We're delighted to get an email from No Rock regular Elvis, with details of the following:

After his pop at Live 8 on Xfm a while back, Rog had another sly dig at the Goldfrapp Teenage Cancer Trust gig last night. Doing his onstage thanks/promo bit before Antony & The Johnsons he talked of the units and beds the money helps to buy "With these events you can actually see where the money's being spent, which makes a nice change..."

Wonderfully subtle, but it's good to see not everyone bows before Emperor Bob and Bono's new clothes in the rock version of Blair being invited to Camp David.

Thanks for the report...


ROC - as we've previously established, they're back, back, etc - are playing London's Barfly in Camden, London this Saturday, April 1st, as part of Transmission.

If you can't wait, they're also djing at the Spiky Records party - "Friday 30th" we're informed, which seems to suggest either a temporal fold or someone having difficulty with the "thirty days have September..." mnemonic; check with the venue, Redstar in Camberwell to avoid turning up either too soon or too late. (Incidently, we'd love to hear details via the comments section of any time you have missed a gig by 24 hours or more...)

Oh, and the bands first two albums are available on iTunes - search on R. O. C. for the first, and Roc virgin for the second. Apple: computers with a mind the size of a planet, and they still can't sort out their databasing.


Matt Brownlee was arrested, drunk and speeding, in the middle of downtown Ottawa, ten years after he killed a woman and her twelve year-old son in another drunk driving accident. An open and shut case? You might think so, but he actually has been found to be not criminally responsible for his actions.


He believed Shania Twain was helping him drive.

Now, we know that in the 1960s in some deeply Catholic countries bus drivers would squat next to the driver's seat because they felt Jesus should have it, what with him being the ultimate driver and all. But Shania Twain?


Patti LaBelle had a bugger of gig at the River Bearch Jazz and Blues Festival in Florida on Monday night. She cried during the set, and apologised:

"I've never been this embarrassed in my life. This sucks. It's the worst show I've ever done in my life."

The trouble was an outdoor gig in cold weather for a woman who's got diabetes and is getting over a heart murmur. She told the audience she'd understand if they left. Apparently quite a few took her at her word. It's all a little sad.


Lethal Bizzle - he used to be in the More Fire Crew where his stupid name probably didn't attract such eye-rolling - brought mayhem to Liverpool after his Sunday gig.

At an aftershow party on Bold Street's Bar and Grill, the "Bizzle entourage" were at the heart of a clash with locals which saw three teenagers stabbed:

Police believe the two groups began arguing inside before the row spilled out onto the street.

Six Merseyside youths and three youths and a girl from London are still being questioned on suspicion of assault and public disorder.

It seems like the Bar & Grill staff ejected troublemakers, allowing them to fight on the street instead.


Mike Skinner's cheeky "that one's dedicated to Cheryl Tweedy" after doing When You Wasn't Famous hasn't gone down well in the Girls Aloud camp.

Far from laughing it off and going "as if Cheryl would ever have done 'prang'", the spokesperson was incredibly icy:

"Cheryl has never met Mike Skinner and has no intention of doing so."

Or, at least, she doesn't remember ever having met him.


Folowing on from the end of TOTP Reloaded, more trouble for the once-proud Top of the Pops brand: it's German outpost is being axed in favour of extra episodes of Smallville. Channel boss Tom Sanger tried to ease the pain:

"Top of the Pops is a strong brand, but after seven years it didn't interest the audience any more."

It's possible another German network might pick up the series. Just about possible.


B magazineIt's not been closed, oh no, it's merely been "suspended until further notice" - B Magazine has gone down the tubes.

Its final cover star? Ashlee Simpson. Probably best to pop the pillow over it all round, then.


Aww, bless: Jack Osbourne's Mum is buying a house for him:

But Sharon, 53, is determined to lay down the law - starting with location. It seems party animal Jack had his heart set on living right in the heart of London - in seedy Soho - but Sharon has other ideas and after her son ruled out Hampstead, the pair settled on the more sedate Regent's Park area.

Presumably, Sharon hasn't heard of the tube.

Mind you, since most 20 year-olds have to buy their own homes, she might just figure that Jack is so reliant on her that if she doesn't tell him the way to Soho, he'll never find it on his own.


No, no, not instead of her strange cult thing; she's going to do the dance as part of her big tour this year. Oddly, though, the tour is supposedly themed around (yawn) Studio 54, so we're not quite sure how Tommy The Clown's 1990s dance style fits in, but you simply have to try and keep up with the Black Eyed Peas, don't you?


What do you do when your car gets towed away? Rather than waste time trying to pay the fine, traipsing about from police station to cashpoint and back, why not simply buy another? Pete Doherty's bought his eighth Jaguar in a few weeks; perhaps afraid this lavish expense might make him look a little less like the down-to-earth street character he fondly imagines himself to be, he flew into a rage as people tried to take photos of him. And smashed the windscreen of a photographer's car.

He probably thought the guy could go and buy another car so it wasn't such a big deal.


We're not sure that "Whitney Houston is off her tree on drugs" actually constitutes a news item as such, but today The Sun has got what the paper says are eyewitness reports. Tina Brown (Bobby's sister, rather than Mrs. Harold Evans) has snuck a camera in to Houston Towers and is happy to describe what goes on there:

“The truth needs to come out. Whitney won’t stay off the drugs. It’s every single day. It’s so ugly. Everyone is so scared she is going to overdose.”

Ah... this is an intervention, then, is it?

There the woman who co-starred with Kevin Costner in the 1992 hit movie The Bodyguard smokes crack, uses sex toys to satisfy herself and ignores personal hygiene.

We're not sure why the use of a vibrator should be considered evidence of being out of control, but to be honest we never paid very much attention during drug lessons at school. Frankly, if the choice was between having Bobby Brown poking about down there or using a buzzing pal, we'd be stocking up on batteries and locking the door.

When high on drugs, she imagines she sees demons and is being beaten by them.

The sad truth is she's watching Christina on MTV.

The sad truth is that she bites and punches her own body without realising it.

Millions of fans will find it hard to believe that THIS was once the wholesome girl admired for her stunning looks and amazing voice.

Well... only if they'd not read a single word about her since 1981, surely?

In her paranoia, Whitney made a hole in the bathroom wall so she could see who was in the house.

Surely this would only work if your bathroom had been positioned, Jeremy Bentham style, like a panoptican at the top of the building? And couldn't you just leave the door open?

Tina said: “She breaks everything — mirrors, phones, cabinets, appliances.”

Not the fridge! Please, not the fridge.

Tina added: “I understand what she’s going through. Addiction is a disease. Maybe this interview will save her life.”

Yes, yes, we're sure it will. Does she actually have The Sun delivered to her locked buzzing demon-filled vantage point? And in her addled state, can we be sure she won't just turn straight to George and Lynne?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


For reasons that probably have a lot to do with Disney buying Pixar and not needing to churn out rubbish animated movies of their own any more, the frankly terrifying planned reworking of Romeo and Juliet with gnomes and songs by Elton John - called, of course, Gnomeo and Juliet - has been dropped. We hope off the top of a very, very high building next to a very, very, very deep well.

Elton was "producing" in some sense, too. We suppose that means David Furnish would have been drawn in the background of some of the scenes.


The Village People person who went on the run has been captured and now Victor Willis is facing up to five years inside. The one who dressed as a policeman had arranged a plea-deal on gun and coke charges, but rather than serve the maximum 16 months did a bunk instead:

According to Morley Pitt, assistant district attorney in San Mateo County, Willis could now face up to five years in prison.

"It's just sad that his life has spiralled down to the point where in all likelihood he's going to go to prison," Pitt said.

"You never like to see anybody go to prison, let alone somebody who is 54 years old," he said.

Well... it's not totally true that you never like to see anybody go to prison, but we take the point.


Forward Russia are about to cause keyboard problems for typographers the length and breadth of the nation as they headline a tour about:

York, Fibbers – April 16
Aberdeen, Kef – 17
Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire – 18
Preston, 53 Degrees – 23
Stoke, Sugarmill – 26
Northampton, Soundhaus – 28
Tunbridge Wells, Forum – 29
Bedford, Esquires – 30
Southend, Chinnerys – May 2
Reading, Fez Club – 3
Aldershot, West End Centre – 5

We kiss Forward, Russia. But we're not going to give ourselves RSI doing the upside-down exclamation point business.


We're wondering how old Kid Rock will get before he drops the "Kid" - after all, even David 'Kid' Jensen realised eventually that pretending to be a Kid when the only business a man of your age would have at a Youth Club would be of the funny variety. Anyway, "Kid" Rock has taken to petty theft and violence, say LA Police:

"The incident unfolded on March 22, 2006, at about 2 a.m., when Los Angeles police officers saw a large crowd of people standing in front of the hotel located at Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive. According to investigators, the two bodyguards walked up to a 26-year-old paparazzi and hit him while he was attempting to take a picture of Mr. Ritchie." (Rock's real name is Robert James Ritchie.) "Afterwards, one of the bodyguards grabs and throws the victim's camera to the ground. Mr. Ritchie picked up the camera, put it inside of his vehicle and drove away with both bodyguards."

Rock hasn't made an album since 2003 and hasn't really done anything much else since.


We've just (well, 6 hours ago) had this from Cait M:

Sting and David Bowie are hoping to collaborate on a new artistic venture. Band Aid it ain't. They are in talks with nightclub entrepreneur Ivan Kane about financing the expansion of a set of high-class American strip joints called Forty Deuce.

Sting, 54, we're told, is a huge fan of lapdancing - sorry, the burlesque art form - but asks the erotic performers to keep their clothes on when they do a turn for him. Is this man on a mission to educate women in the sex industry?

Does he make them put away their make-up and dance to Raaahck-sanne as well? I find the kit-on private dancing a teensy bit creepy, but it also makes me wonder whether there would be a new right-on etiquette if "burlesque clubs" were run by eco-warriors. Would girls have to wear biodegradable stockings?

t'was in the Telegraph. Of all places.

Blimey - it's also in female first, too. Roxanne, you don't have to put on a red dress, indeed.


Apparently Broadcast is reporting that Top of the Pops Reloaded, the Saturday spin-off show from the main programme (itself now turning up as often on a Monday as the supposedly exciting Sunday as-the-chart-is-announced slot), has been axed as part of the post Dick & Dom reshaping of Kids Saturday morning TV on the BBC.

Hilary Duff will have to find another outlet for her talents.


If we're to believe this, Nick Lachey believes he's seen Marilyn Monroe's ghost:

The New York Post's Liz Smith reports that Nick Lachey told a pal recently that when he entered an elevator at the Roosevelt Hotel, he was confronted with a gorgeous blonde dressed in sexy 1950s-style evening wear. Jessica Simpson's ex pressed his floor and when he turned around for a better look, the woman had vanished. The singer claimed the phantom looked a lot like Marilyn Monroe, who is said to haunt the Hollywood hotel, where she used to hang out during her starlet days.

Nick, sweetheart, you wouldn't have got near Marilyn when she was alive and so why would she bother to manifest herself to you now? And, bearing in mind the reputation of the hotel for being haunted by her, if you bumped into a woman in the lift who was the spit of Monroe, would you think "well, let's ride up with this phantom, then?"

And don't you love the "turned around for a better look" bit - because we usually inspect our fellow lift travellers when we get a chance. Probably with a bit of prodding, too. We picture him pulling on a pair of spectacles, like Indianna Jones' dad - "now then, what do we have here?".

Lachey, son, there's only one blonde haunting your life, and she sure as hell isn't anywhere near as talented as Marilyn Monroe.

In unrelated news, a blonde guest from the same hotel reported fleeing from a lift when a young man tried to enter it. "He looked like some sort of ghost, as if he was a phantom whose life was effectively over and was doomed to spend the coming years wandering the globe making desperate appearances in gossip columns as he slowly fades from view."


Nobody would ever accuse them of hiding their Razorlight under a bushell, so it's not surprising there's a total swagger about how great their new album is. Carl Dalemo explodes:

"We started recording the album and have been ever since. Serious work my friends but it's going damn well. Sounds more and more like a classic every day."

Mind you, that's what Noel reckoned about the lost Oasis album, wasn't it?


Jack White, sucking down a lovely, cool bottle of Coca-Cola, has found this great new band you might not have heard of. Oh, yes, he's clambering on the Arctic Monkeys bandwagon:

"I love the Arctic Monkeys. Who doesn't? I'd love to see them live, but haven't got round to it yet. I never get to see bands because I'm never in the same town for more than two seconds."

It's unclear if this endorsement for a popular product is paid-for or not.


The Guardian's money pages featured a plaintive wail from a reader whose son wanted to see the Kaiser Chiefs but hadn't got a ticket. How can he avoid paying tout prices, she wanted to know?

The replies were mixed, ranging from the useless (I would recommend your son spend his cash on a ticket to Leeds or Reading Festival where he will get to see the Kaiser Chiefs (almost certain to play) and a hundred other bands for the price of a ticket off Ebay - he has an ace time and doesn't line the touts' pockets.) to the wise (If you can't get a ticket, and you really, really want to see a band, then go to the venue and you just might find someone with a spare ticket or two, and you can always haggle with the touts.), but the most interesting ones were recommendations to try Scarlet Mist.

This is a site encouraging ethical (i.e. face value) exchange. It's a nice idea, although it won't exactly beat the touts - after all, they're buying up the tickets in the first place and won't be looking to share them on Scarlet Mist. However, if you have tickets, or want tickets, and don't want to add any more middlemen on top of the middlemen in Ticketmaster or wherever, it's worth a try.
[Thanks to Eleanor G for pointing out the article in the supplement we usually shove unopened into the recycling bin]


After a very long period of people not returning phonecalls, the FA have finally picked a band to knock out a tune for the World Cup: it's to be Embrace.

We hope they were carefull how they announced that, what with all the bed-hopping antics down at Lancaster Gate of late: "I rather fancy a crack at Embrace" could have caused all sorts of problems if misheard.

That this is all a little tatty is summed up by the announcement being made by, erm, the marketing manager, Tom Harold:

"The official World Cup song has become something of an institution and it is really important that we have an original and exciting track.

"We're confident that Embrace's song will capture the imagination of the fans and players alike."

An institution? We challenge anyone to whistle either 98 or 02's feeble efforts, and we don't quite see how something could be an instiution if people don't remember it. It's what makes the difference between the Queen Mother and Princess Alice, isn't it? Indeed, you have to go back sixteen years to find an official world cup song that anyone actually liked.

Oh, and the song is called World At Your Feet (do you get it? Oh, yes, you would, because it's the same lame pun as they used twenty years ago.

Make the players sing it. Go on.

ROCKOBIT: Nikki Sudden

Former Swell Maps man Nikki Sudden has died at the age of 49.

Born in London half way through the fifties, Sudden was inspired to pick up the guitar by the glam giants of the early 70s - most notably, T Rex. Teaming up with his brother, Epic Soundtracks, they formed Swell Maps. Perfectly placed to take their place in the DIY punk maelstrom, the Maps saw every one of their four singles and two albums hit the top of the then vibrant indie charts. The band split in 1980.

Maps' two solo albums didn't catch the imagination in quite the same way, and in 1983 Sudden joined up with Dave Kunsworth to form the Jacobites, making - again - two albums (Jacobites and Robespierre's Velvet Basement) before splitting.

Sudden found a fitting home amongst the kilter-free 1986 Creation roster, with whom he stayed for five years and the same number of albums (not to mention proping up more than one of Alan McGee's inspired compilation projects).

A world tour found Sudden's path crossing with REM, which would lead to The Jewel Thief, an album made with Peter Buck, Mick Mills and Bill Berry (now known as Liquor, Guns & Ammo) before Sudden decided to resurrect the Jacobites. Three more albums (and a limited edition bit of business Kiss of Life) followed, before Sudden switched back to solo mode.

Although solo may give a false impression of Seven Lives Later, the guest line-up on which captures just how well-respected and liked Sudden was on the alternative music scene. He pulled in favours from various members of The Jet Boys, The True Spirit, The Fatal Shore, Band Of Outsiders, Once Upon A Time, Vermooste Vløten, The Flaming Stars, Sonic Youth and Voodoo Witch.

The Jacobites hit the road again, while Sudden also squeezed in a session or two with DM Bob and the Deficits - the resulting album has yet to appear, as has Golden Vanity, a 1998 project.

1999's Red Brocade did get a release - the duet with Jeff Tweedy helped, of course. He continued to work on a number of projects - including a book of his lyrics, film soundtracks and working on new editions of his music, part of a long-running campaign by Secretly Canadian to reactivate his entire back catalogue.

The cause of death isn't yet public, but Dave Kusworth has released a brief statement:

We are all just incredibly sad to lose our friend Nikki.

Our thoughts go out to his Mum and Dad....

Nikki had just finished work on his new album and had played it to us only a few weeks ago - its easily his best - long time producer John Rivers believes this too - and we'd chatted together about ideas for the cover .... I'm sure you'll all get to hear it in time.

A Jacobites gig had been booked for the 12 bar club in Denmark St. on 29th March....Dave intends to play on that night with support from Paul Caton and Darrell Bath - playing the gig in his memory - Dave feels sure that that is what he'd want....

Nikki was always a great support to us all - he was a big part of our past, part of everything we did - always believing in us - always ready to share his contacts - Nikki Sudden believed in Rock n Roll - and how hard was that in this cold new millenium!!??

Perhaps, though, the best summation of Sudden comes from his own words - this is from his 2004 journal:

The other day I came across a description of me on Ebay, "NIKKI SUDDEN ~ JACOBITES ~ INDIE PUNK GLAM". I've always hated being described as 'Indie' - I can't think of a worse insult… I wouldn't ever claim to have been a punk either. Swell Maps missed that particular epithet by a year. Our first single, Read About Seymour, was released in December 1977 but we were never punks. I'm not sure what we were but I know better than any of those who have tried to pigeonhole us over the years.
The descriptions that have been applied to me sometimes beggar description. A week or so back Tip, which is a kind of Time Out for Berlin, and who, seeing they've been writing about me for years, should know better, described me as Alternative Folk. Alternative Folk! I've had all kinds of epithets thrown at me from Glam Rock Legend to Underground Superstar. The worst, well the most inaccurate ever, was 'dark wave poet'. The best - the most accurate - is still waiting to find itself. Glam Rock Superstar? I prefer English Rock'n Roll myself…


Anti-abortionist activists are strange people, aren't they? They seem to have realised that waving around forty-year old pictures of foetuses and claiming they took them this week, in a hospital bin, and screaming at frightened fifteen year old girls might make them look more horrific than the supposed evil they're railing at.

So now, they're fighting abortion by, erm, making a statue of a naked Britney Spears giving birth to her son. We're not sure what the wolf head is meant to be doing there.

Apparently unaware there's currently a massive legal battle going on at the heart of which is Spears' insistence she isn't a sexbomb, the "artist" Daniel Edwards thinks this is how Britney would love to be seen:

"I don't think she would be angry at the nudity of the work - she has herself appeared in public nearly naked through her pop career and this work is in step with the public image she has created for herself.

"It was an inspired decision to choose Britney for my work.

"She is a beautiful woman and was in the middle of a beautiful pregnancy.

"The image from behind of the kneeling pose is very strong so I felt the front of the sculpture needed an equally powerful image which is where the bearskin rug comes in."

Oh, it's a bear, is it? And it's an image as powerful as Britney's swinging mimsy, you say? Oddly, there aren't very many bear porn fakes online which would seem to argue against that.

"Not only is it a traditional symbol - the newborn baby on the bear-rug, but the dead skin represents the end of the circle of life."

He added: "The sculpture is an idealized version of Britney. She is very versatile and these are all the different forms of her face.

"I started the work a couple of weeks after Britney gave birth to Sean and finished within two months."

As long as two months, eh? Presumably most of that would have been - ahem - research.


In a bid to try and keep in whatever league it is they're in now, Portsmouth are being made to sing Living On A Prayer in the dressing room before they go on the pitch.

Not all the way through, though, surely? "Johnny used to work on the docks/ union's out on strike" is hardly going to put people in the right frame of mind for a footie match, is it? I'd be too worried how he's going to feed his family to concentrate on throw-ins and corner kicks.

Still, you hope that someone is in talks to get them to release this as a single, don't you?


Here's a quick quiz: what's the name of the famous woman who had sex with both Prince Charles and Dodi al Fayed?

No, no, not Diana: apparently the answer is Barbra Streisand. There's an "explosive" new book by some chap called Christopher Anderson which says so much:

The book quotes Burke’s Peerage managing director Harold Brooks-Baker who said: “The official explanation was that Prince Charles and Barbra Streisand had a private tea. Well, Charles has ‘had private tea’ with quite a long procession of women. He was besotted with Streisand.”

We shall be adopting "had a private tea" as a euphemism for "had a quick bunk-up" in our general conversation. Presumably Charles' long-term cuckolding of Mr. Parker-Bowles would be a private all-you-can-eat buffet with Camilia on this basis.

The book also quotes Diana’s former friend Lady Elsa Bowker who said: “Diana knew that Charles was infatuated with Miss Streisand. She would not have been surprised at an affair.”

We're a little crumpled on the timeline here - would this mean that Charles was being unfaithful to the woman he was being unfaithful to his wife with? And does a private tea constitute an affair? It's all very confusing.

Obviously, Charles is too busy making organic biscuits to confirm or deny the tattle, and Streisand?

The book also claims Streisand, now 63, had affairs with Hollywood stars Warren Beatty, Ryan O’Neal, Steve McQueen, Don Johnson and Jon Voight, plus Andre Agassi, Richard Gere, Omar Sharif and Liam Neeson.

... well, she's unlikely to remember.


Despite apparently not doing too badly for someone attempting to carve out a musical career as an afterthough alongside wearing miniskirts, it seems Colombia wasn't that bothered when Jessica Simpson "decided" to take her contract elsewhere.

Simpson has joined the downward spiral at Epic, with a slightly vomitty statement:

"I love all my friends and supporters at Columbia. I will miss them as I start this new relationship."

It's not quite as thrilling as it seems - both labels are part of Sony-BMG (they even break consumer's computers in exactly the same way) and she's just following the boss:

“Charlie Walk was my first hero at Columbia. He believed in me before I really even got to meet the rest of the company.

"I couldn’t think of anyone I would trust more than Charlie to present my new music to the world. Epic is in a new place with a new leader. It just seems the right place for me as I begin my new journey.”


Hah! They think they can trick Robbie Williams, do they? Try to get him to appear in photos with some bloke with a twinkle in his eye and a floral shirt. Can you imagine the headlines?

So Robbie Williams isn't going to see Nelson Mandela when he plays South Africa. This is being played as a snub, although it doesn't sound like there's been an invite for him to snub, to be honest:

“Mr Mandela’s spokesman said he doubted if he knew who Robbie was.”

To be honest, we wouldn't be that surprised if Williams doesn't know who Mandela is - "wasn't he one of the characters on Only Fools and Horses?" - and we can't but imagine Nelson has better things to do than trump down to take part in another tour promoting photo op.

Now, as you know, we're not that fond of Williams, but The Sun seems to be a little unfair when it gets on to his rider:

The source also revealed Robbie’s wacky demands for his gigs.

They include SIX rooms for him and his band.

His room must have soft toilet paper, four packs of cigarettes, four ashtrays, two full-length mirrors, water melon, honeydew melon and ordinary melon, chocolate and peppermint drops.

Is it just us or is that not especially wacky? He's got quite a big touring band, so six rooms doesn't seem that outrageous at the sort of venue he's playing, and a mirror would come in handy if you're about to go on stage dressed up as a pratty clown or something, surely?

Okay, we notice he's insisting on having a pair of big melons, because he likes pairs of melons, like breasts, like ladies have, oooh, women, but it's hardly as if he's asking to have a bowl full of m&ms with all the little 'm's all pointing in the same direction, or wants a curry from a specific restaurant in Blackburn flown in and served in a dish shaped like a cormorant, is it?

Monday, March 27, 2006


The whole story suggesting that Pete Doherty has embraced buddhism as a way through the drug problems might be slightly more believable had he not already been out to live with monks in a bid to kick the drugs. And hadn't snorted, cut and blown his way through the Rolling Stone interview. And... oh, everything.


There's not going to be any Morrissey dates in Canada, not while Canada club seals to death. Mozzer ruefully admits his boycott is unlikely to bring Canada to heel:

"I fully realise that the absence of any Morrissey concerts in Canada is unlikely to bring the Canadian economy to its knees, but it is our small protest against this horrific slaughter - which is the largest slaughter of marine animal species found anywhere on the planet," the singer said. "The Canadian Prime Minister says the so-called 'cull' is economically and environmentally justified, but this is untrue.

The Canadian Prime Minister also states that the slaughter is necessary because it provides jobs for local communities, but this is an ignorant reason for allowing such barbaric and cruel slaughter of beings that are denied life simply because somebody somewhere might want to wear their skin. Construction of German gas chambers also provided work for someone - this is not a moral or sound reason for allowing suffering."

Ouch - going a little far to invoke the holocaust in this one, Mozzer: you're not the mayor of London.

Canada have raised the stakes by announcing plans to tomrent a couple of whales, bludgeoning a porpoise and booking Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce to play a state banquet.


Apparently having found some sort of success to be as hollow as much of his act, Will Young seems to have turned to God. Curiously, his path to God appears to have been via the fundamentalist Alpha Course.

Obviously, Will's choice of religion is up to him, but it's sad that he's picked a group whose spiritual leader Nicky Gumbel compares gay men with paedophiles, asserts that God didn't "design our bodies for homosexual intercourse", believes homsexuality to involve "shameful lusts". Gay people are ill. A spot of self-hatred. That'll help Will with the depression, then.


Robbie Williams is planning to take part in a tribute to the Pet Shop Boys. The pop combo, we presume, and not the, uh, supposed rodent fanciers.

Robbie will sing one of their songs for a soon-come Radio 2 retrospective. Let's hope he does Opportunities.


You'll have the new Kate Bush by now, and probably have written off the song where she nearly sings Pi as being the smarter equivalent of a song that goes ba ba ba. But what if Kate wasn't merely filling a lyric sheet with a bunch of easy numbers? What if she was hiding secret messages?


Seemingly blisfully unaware that the real reason he's number one is someone managed to delete a large chunk of Embrace's sales, Ne-Yo has come up with a theory as to why he's so popular:

"I knew that girls would like it. R&B is predominantly for women.

"But it's been dudes and thugs coming up to me and saying: 'Yo, that So Sick record is my joint.'"

We think he means that men find his music enjoyable. But let's just look at this bit again, shall we?

R&B is predominantly for women.

So, he doesn't just talk like he's a two dimensional cartoon character, then.


Not that it's a fire sale or anything, but apparently Jacko has been trying to offload his zoo animals in a hurry. The Mirror suggests he himself has been "ringing round Hollywood frantically trying to offload his neglected collection of tigers, elephants, orangutans and giraffes."

Lovely image, isn't it?

- Brring, Brring
- Good morning
- hello, am I talking to the homeowner?
- Yes...
- hi, I'm Michael and I've just got a quick survey question for you. If a washed-up kid-loving but not in a way that's been proven in court to be wrong pop star offered you a number of below cost price giraffes, would you order one, two or maybe more?
- I'm sorry?
- Or a couple of tigers?
- Who is this?

Apparently, the prices really are bargain basement. (In fact, they're so cheap, the good colonel is looking into if they could be Bargain Bucket prices - apparently elephant tastes just like chicken.)

Giraffes - were £25,000; on offer at £6,250 the pair
Tigers - were £15,000; on offer at £6,250
Elephants - were £35,000; on offer at £9,000
Crocodiles - were £5,000; on offer at £1,000
Orang-Utans - were £10,000; on offer at £2,500

Hurry, hurry, hurry - get 'em while they're tasty. The deals, that is.


The first thing you think when you hear there's been a drive-by shooting while Shayne Ward was filming a video in "downtown LA" is "blimey, there should have just been a few warning visits from friends of concerned music lovers first."

Then it actually turns out the shooting was "just feet away from" (in other words, probably "just within earshot of" the set. Still, it's a handy story to spice up what otherwise would be 'dull bloke makes video in hackneyed location.'

"It was a miracle neither Shayne nor any of the crew had been injured - the shooting was so close to where they all were.

"Shayne was really shaken but he took it upon himself to go and speak to each member of the crew one by one to make sure they were OK. He was really concerned about everyone and anxious the guy who was shot."
(sic - we assume the Mirror dropped an "about" rather than inserted an extra "who".)

We wonder if - as he was taking it upon himself - he made a list to ensure he got round everyone in turn. Or did he wake up in the middle of the night thinking "shit, I forgot to ask the make-up assistant if they were ok.

Even more unlikely than Ward turning into a one-man counselling service is the apparent belief that America really needs to import Chorley Market Justin Timberlake rip-offs:

"Simon Cowell has chosen Shayne as his priority for 2006.

"He showed him off to a bunch of US bigwigs at a huge Sony BMG conference in Miami last week and the feedback has been incredible. The consensus is that Shayne has the whole package to break the States - looks, talent and personality."

Well, yes. Apart from the fact he isn't good looking. And doesn't have much of a personality. And the talent leaves something to be desired. But you can't argue with what's left in the package.


No, go on, guess what role they're apparently giving to Justin Timberlake? bearing in mind a couple of weeks ago he was being touted as a plausable ice-skater for a romcom sitcom with Camron Dampam?

"A Rambo style Iraqi war hero.

"He'll have to bulk up to play the role" reckon bystanders. Are they kidding? He'll have to bulk up to be able to handle signing the deal.