Friday, September 08, 2006

Massive Attack on US territory foiled

Massive Attack had been hoping to play a tour of the US and Canada, but they've had a spot of visa trouble - funny that.

Getting into Canada wouldn't have been a problem, but US visas weren't forthcoming. We're not sure, but we suspect there might have been some cross-referencing between lists of names of people who took out full-page adverts condemning American foreign policy and lists of people hoping to enter the US.

Although there's no problem getting into Canada, the band have pulled their dates there, too. Not the first time Canada's suffered because of its neighbours.

Lovefoxxx says "take off my dress..."

... and give it back.

Yep, some lightfingered so-and-so made off from CSS' Manchester gig with Lovefoxxx's black and white dress. There's a reward if you can reunite singer and dress, although that might just be not having Brazilian whoop-ass unleashed on you.

Dave Stewart continues to flog made-up horse

Oh, god, we were hoping that he'd forgotten about this project, but no: Dave Stewart is continuing to press ahead with the Platinum Weird conceit.

The idea is that the Weird were Stewarts band back in the early 1970s and somehow the tapes have just reappeared:

Stewart originally formed the the rock band Platinum Weird in 1973 and was signed to Elton John's Rocket Records label.
By '74, just before the album was released, lead singer, Erin Grace, disappeared. Now, 32 years later, Dave not only resurrected Platinum Weird with a new singer at the helm, and a new PW studio album, but has miraculously unearthed the master tapes of the
previously unreleased '74 "Make Believe" album.

Yes... that's quite a miracle.

We know that music is meant to be a magical place of surprise and playing roles, but sometime the role you play is King Arthur, at the heart of Camelot. But this is more Arthur Fowler, down at the allotment.

Some girls are bigger than others

KT Tunstall has been musing on life and, you know, stuff, at a fashion party:

After being penniless for 10 years, this is very educational. I don't know much about fashion really. Some ladies are really tall. I'm not tall."

Some ladies are really tall. You can't argue with that. You might want to argue if she was actually penniless, or just pretending, keeping a foot in the rich family she came from at the time. But you can't deny she's short.

A Loftus Road wedding

There have been so many articles claiming to know where Pete Doherty is going to marry (or has already married) Kate Moss that the only places not so far nominated as likely venues are the Bolton Asda staff canteen and the top of Mount Fuji.

The Daily Mail claims that Doherty has a hankering to hold the reception in Loftus Road, home of his beloved Queens Park Rangers, but the club aren't keen. What with him having form for shooting up in the VIP toilets and everything.

If only there was a source to tell us more.

Hang on, there is:

A source said: "Both Pete and Kate want a quirky wedding, which is going to fit their personalities. They want a no frills wedding, just a simple day with their friends.

"Pete’s first love is QPR, and holding his big day there is something which he has always thought about.

"To him it would be a laugh — and that is what he and Kate want their nuptials to be about.

"They are an unlikely coupling but they have a lot of fun together."

Well, yes, Loftus Road does often ring to the sound of laughter, we understand.

Robbie Williams is not getting away with it

After taking quite a lot of bile from Robbie Williams over the years, it sounds like the latest smattering of attacks on his honesty has finally pushed Take That manager Nigel Martin-Smith over the edge.

As Robbie has been giving interviews explaining the song he's written in which he talks about cutting out Martin-Smith's eyes, and claiming that he either ripped off the band or was rubbish as a manager, Martin-Smith has been talking to his lawyers:

A highly-placed music insider tells us: "Robbie has called into question Nigel's honesty and ability as a manager when it's well-known that without him he wouldn't have a career in the first place. This has got to stop."

Funnily enough, Williams' interview with The Sun earlier this week in which he talked about Martin-Smith has disappeared from the paper's website.

3am infernal

Since one of them left, the Mirror's 3am Girls have been working as a duo, but it looks like they're auditioning a new member this morning, to judge by their websites. We're not sure Jon Clements' debut is that strong, though... he seems to lack the knack for the light, showbiz fluff which usually marks out the column.

Robbie Williams is not an educational aid

Good news, we suppose, for children from Leeds - whereas normally it takes Kenneth Baker's bungling of teacher-employer relations or a day of heavy snow to get a mid-term day off, eleven schools are being closed due to poor planning of Robbie Williams' Leeds gigs. The local council has more or less decided that it can't be arsed to make sure residents are able to go about their lives and so have effectively told people to lock themselves in their houses until it's all gone away.

Denetta Copeland, whose two children are pupils at Moor Allerton Hall Primary School, said the closure would cause many knock-on effects for parents.

She said: "It is going to cause an outward spiral; it is affecting schools, which is affecting parents, which is affecting the workforce, which is affecting other people who are now being brought in to do the childcare, or the picking up from school.

"He is only Robbie Williams, he is not bigger than education."

Williams denies this, although he did have to admit that education does a bit better than he does in the Americas.

Fightstar not dumped but dropped

Emma GriffithsAs if the bungling blunder of getting drunk and groping your former colleague's girlfriend wasn't bad enough, why prolong the agony by electing to give interviews about an incident that might be best for those involved if they forgot it, and that has already been forgotten by the rest of us?

Still, for what it's worth Charlie Simpson claims "nothing happened" between him and Emma Griffiths, currently in the role of Matt Willis, Charlie's old mate in Busted. He was, you see, very very drunk:

“I was so excited. Fightstar had been nominated for Best British Band [at the Kerrang awards] and loads of my heroes were there. So I got absolutely shitfaced. But nothing happened with me and Emma. If you saw the picture you can draw the wrong conclusion.

“I love my girlfriend to bits. I’d never do anything to hurt her. I texted Matt the next morning and said, ‘Mate, you know how these things work. It is bull.’ But I did get a massive rollocking from my girlfriend.”

It's understandable. Fightstar being nominated for a prize from Kerrang must have convinced him he'd died and gone to a world where he was respected and treated seriously - and in such a bizzaro world, he probably imagined he could get away with anything. Clearly, it's all Kerrang's fault for taking the piss out of Fightstar with a comedy nomination in the first place.

We love the "it's all bull" text, too - all bull, except, erm, yes, I did get pissed and attempted to dry hump your girlfriend in front of the press and Alice Cooper.

More importantly, perhaps, Fightstar have been dumped by Island Records. Or, as Charlie puts it:

Earlier this week we decided to tear up the contract. They wanted a pop album and we didn’t.

“I’ve put so much into this band I don’t want to start compromising now.

“We’re thinking about going to America. The market for our stuff is much bigger over there. It’s the first time I’ve been totally free since Busted. I’m spreading my wings at last.

“I didn’t want to die and leave Busted as my legacy. I proved myself with Fightstar’s first album. Now people either like Fightstar or they don’t — there’s no issues about my Busted past.

“My life now could not be better. I’m living my dream. I’d be happy on minimum wage doing this.”

"We decided to tear up the contract" - in other words, Island could see that Fightstar weren't going to go anywhere in their current form, and refused to put in any more money unless Simpson started to make music people wanted to listen to.

Lohan's bagged

We're not even going to dignify this by asking what sort of vlurt stuffs a million bucks' worth of jewels into a hangbag and then doesn't clutch the bag to them like it's an oddly-shaped extra limb: Lindsay Lohan lost her handbag at Heathrow and, yes, it had more than a Chapstick and a spare pair of tights in.

Oh, she was pushing the handbag on a trolley rather than carrying it.

The Sun suggests there's an irony here:

Ironically, her last film was Just My Luck.

No, it would have been ironic if it had been called I'm Stupid.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Costello: It's twins

The big question, of course, when you have twins is do you just accept that one will be evil and bring them up on that basis, or do you try and keep both of them on the path of righteousness even although it'll do no good?

It's a challenge that will be facing Elvis Costello and Diana Krall soon, as apparently she's expecting, and there's two of them.

Two babies, not that there's two of them as in Elvis and Diana, as that wouldn't really count as news.

Coreobit: Jesse Pintado

Sometime Napalm Death guitarist Jesse Pintado has died.

Born in Mexico in 1969, Pintado had been a member of respected metallers Terrorizer before joining with Napalm Death, a partnership which would last fourteen years (the length of several billion billion Napalm Death tracks.) His departure from the band wasn't warm but not entirely uncontroversial, as he told Rockdetector in one of his final interviews:

"We shared a house together, we toured together, we were always together, but people move on. Along the way there was a little rough bumps, though I don't know. In my situation it got to the point where I needed a little fresh start. I'm still good friends with the guys; there's no animosity there, we're all cool, and they're happy with what I'm doing."

The fracture had come due to Pintado's drinking, but he maintains media coverage had blown that out of proportion:

"The other day I was browsing the Internet, and they stated I was dead! I thought 'Oh shit, I'm dead!' I really don't pay much attention to that."

Speaking last year, Mitch Harris had spoken about the situation from the band's perspective:

"He's out of the band. He didn't actually leave the band. We sent him home. He had some personal issues. We knew that being in the band wasn't the right environment for his current state of mind. So we sent him home to get some help and support from his family and stuff. We waited for two years for him to get his act together. For example, he didn't even play on 'Order of the Leech' [from 2002] or the covers album [2004's 'Leaders Not Followers 2']. He just kinda disappeared on us and he became unreliable. There were a lot of issues which were holding us back and confusing the issue and we really just wanted to play ball and just get up there and do what we do, and it was really, really affecting the band in a negative way and it was affecting him in a negative way as well as us personally. We thought it would be best. We gave him 200 million chances and he came back after two years, and his condition hadn't improved and we decided to let him go because he just became unreliable. We have a really hard year ahead of us with lots and lots of touring. We thought it would be best for the band, for the album and also for the fans to just let him go which is a shame because we've been through so much. We've achieved so much together and he's been our roommate for years and just living together we've managed to remain good friends. He wishes us all the best as well as we wish him all the best. I can't put it in any more detail than that because it's his own personal kind of deal. It's his own business really. It's a shame."

Speaking after Jesse's death, Harris had mellowed a little:

"I am very sad and upset about this news. Jesse was like a brother to me and we were very close for many years. For now, I feel the most sadness and compassion for his family that loved him dearly, and tried with all their heart to help Jesse redirect his future.

"I suppose I feel more anger and frustration than anything, as Jesse was gifted with people who loved and cared about him. Jesse was equally blessed with many companions around the world, and I am sure that many people share the same emptiness at this moment.

"Now all that I can do is to try and remember the great times we shared together, and hope that Jesse has somehow found peace in his own mind and soul.

After ND, Pintado had revived Terrorizer and played with fellow former Deather Shane Embury in Lock Up. The ironically titled Terrorizer album Better Days Ahead had been released shortly before his death.

Pintado died in a Netherlands hospital, apparently from complications arising from a diabetic coma.

As a tribute, Earache records have released a free downloadable memorial album featuring his work. Dan Tobin of Earache explained why:

"Jesse was one of the most genuine people I ever met, extremely friendly and easy-going. Its such a tragic waste. I’ll remember him as part of what is my all time favourite Earache record, Terrorizer’s ‘World Downfall’, which is simply a grindcore masterpiece, and for all his amazing work with Napalm Death that I was honoured to be a small part of. I don’t think Jesse’s passing has been recognised as the huge loss it is – the worlds of extreme music and grindcore/death metal have lost a true pioneer. We owe him a massive debt and for that I’ll always remember the guy fondly."

The album can be downloaded from Metaltracks.

The boy without the Arab Strap

Enjoy the release next month of the bsides collection Ten Years of Tears, as Arab Strap have confirmed it's to be their swansong.

Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton are dropping the strap to concentrate on their solo careers.

Prepare yourself for the last big weekend.

Reggaeobit: Joseph Hill

The funeral of Culture singer Jospeh Hill has been set for Saturday.

As a child growing up in St. Catherine, Jamaica in the early 1950s, Hill built his own first instrument - a drum; it was a start in the world of music which would eventually take him around the world.

His first professional work was djing with Jamaican sound systems in the 1970s, but his drumming skills provided him with an opportunity to make music instead of just playing other people's. Asked to provide percussion for the Soul Defenders, Hill found himself recording in Coxsonne Dodd's Studio One. It wasn't long before he started singing as well as playing.

As the 1970s progressed, Hill moved to work with C35 Incorporated and Stepping Stone before, in 1976, forming his own band, Culture. Alongside Albert Walker and Kenneth Dayes, Hill produced a body of work that combined memorable tunes with searing social commentary. Working with producer Joe Gibbs and engineer Errol Thompson, Culture built a large following at home and, following a hook-up with Branson-era Virgin Records, became one of the better-known reggae acts worldwide.

Hill was left as sole occupant of the Culture brand in 1982 when Walker and Dayes quit. He elected to continue under the name instead of going solo, producing Lion Rock more-or-less single-handed and keeping things going until 1986, when the Walker and Dayes returned. Lion Rock was the 48th best record of the last millennium, using the votes of John Peel listeners as the measurement.

Dayes left again - permanently this time - in 1993; his eventual replacement, Telford Nelson joined in 1999.

Although the band had ammassed an impressive back catalogue, Hill was insistent that their tours and work should never become a nostalgia enterprise, and continued to write and create.

Culture were on tour and in Berlin when Hill died at the end of the August. Rather than call off the remaining dates, the band drafted Hill's son, Kenyatta, to take his father's place on the stage.

Janet Jackson doesn't like war, it turns out

Janet Jackson has turned her mind to the subject of politics. And she just wants to share with us:

"I am not satisfied with the situation in this world. I hate war. Hillary Clinton as president -- that would be great. Then she could show all those people who wouldn't trust a woman with such a job."

Although we can't quite see the difference between adopting Hilary as president because she's a woman and not allowing her to be president for exactly the same reason. If she's the person for the job, she's the person for the job, surely?

And we're not sure Janet's analysis holds up anyway - aren't the people who object to the idea of Hilary in charge the sort of people who don't trust democrats with the job, regardless of which side of the toilet wall they squat on?

Still, the news that Janet isn't satifisfied by the world situation. The UN have issued an ashamed press release and promised to try and do better.

What's the difference between P Diddy and Pete Doherty?

Not enough to stop them getting confused, at least at the new London freesheet The London Paper: in an "amusing" feature the really laid in to Diddy:

"Just what does he have to do to get banged up? He's only been done for possessing crack cocaine, heroin and cannabis."

Today, though, they're slightly sorry:

"P Diddy is entirely unconnected with the allegations in the article which were intended to relate to an entirely different person and his name and picture were used entirely in error," the paper said in an apology on page three."

Yesterday, The London Paper was wailing about how it's so difficult for them to take on the might of Associated's Evening Standard in the London market, almost as if they weren't being underwritten by Rupert Murdoch. Perhaps that was just confusion. And they've "integrated" the sales and journalism teams, as if they've confused advertising and editorial. It must be a very confusing place to work.

Paris caught driving while hungry

Honey emails us with breaking news: Pairs Hilton has been arrested for driving under the influence:

Hilton was arrested shortly before 12:30 a.m. in Hollywood, said police Officer I. Isabella, who declined to give his first name.

"The officers observed that Hilton exhibited the symptoms of intoxication. A field sobriety test was conducted at scene, and the officers determined she was driving under the influence," Isabella said, reading a police statement.

While the police statementise, so do Hilton's people:

Her spokesman, Elliot Mintz, confirmed the arrest and said she had the minimum blood-alchohol level to warrant an arrest. The legal limit in California is 0.08 percent.

"She's absolutely fine," Mintz said.

At the time of her arrest, Hilton was driving home from a charity event where she had one drink, he said. She had spent the day shooting a music video for her new album.

The DUI was "probably the result of an empty stomach and working all day and being fatigued," Mintz said.

We love the idea that she wouldn't even have been drinking but she was doing it for the charity.

It does raise a wider question, in that if Paris Hilton drives like she's drunk when she hasn't eaten properly, since she looks like she's not had a proper meal since about 1989, how in the hell did she pass her driving test?

[UPDATE: Paris, not Pairs. That might have been freudian, though]

Madonna may bring down the house

The Madonna Moscow gig is proving to be a bit of a nightmare. First of all, citing the fear of students falling out of windows, it was shifted to the Luzhinki Stadium. Then it was protesting Christians objecting to the whole thing.

Now, there are predictions that Madonna might cause the Luzhinki to collapse.

Says who?

The bloke who designed the building.

Nodar Kancheli has warned the music could shake the roof to pieces:

"The stadium could collapse if audio frequency resonates with the vibration frequency of the building. The sound waves could damage the structure."

And it's not like he doesn't know about collapsing buildings - he was the architect whose Transvaal Water Park collapsed in 2004 with the death of 28 people. He's predicting a collapse of the roof on the Luzhinki could kill thousands.

It's all a little bit like No Highway. Only with buildings, and not planes.

I bet you look twelve on the dancefloor

Earlier this week, the Kooks got stopped by police who thought they were underage.

Now, the Arctic Monkeys have had the same trouble - so much like young chancers do they look they nearly failed to get in to the awards ceremony itself and then, later, to a drinks do at the Met bar.

It also has emerged that Domino weren't going to bother entering Whatever People Say I Am, I'm Not, You Know, And You Can't Make Me in the Mercury, as they didn't think it stood a chance. The Mercury organisers more or less forced them to fill out the form. Which does make it look a little like this year's plan was always to give it to the popular choice, just to ensure the sponsor's name and the prize didn't start to slide away to the arts sections of the broadsheets. Or maybe not:

A Mercury source said: “It was by no means a fix. The Arctic Monkeys broke all records with their debut album. If they hadn’t been entered it would have made a mockery of the whole competition.”

Just imagine. A prize ceremony not treated with respect.

Allen the family

Keith Allen is getting used to his time as the father of Lily, not milking her success for publicity for the new series of Robin Hood in exactly the same way she didn't milk his success for publicity for her record career. He seems a little confused about her biography, though:

“She was never the type to stand under the Christmas tree singing — and thank God, because I’d have walked out of the room.

“But I’m really proud because she spent two years sleeping on friends’ floors, doing all sorts of jobs — I got worried when she took up flower arranging — and made it work by herself.

“She couldn’t get a deal at first, maybe because of my name, but she basically said, ‘fuck you’ to the record companies and did it anyway by putting her stuff on myspace.”

Although, of course, she'd already had and lost one deal with Warners, and was on her second with EMI before she went anywhere near MySpace. You'd have thought a dad would have known that.

Mind you, clearly Keith doesn't know much about the music industry:

He said he even cancelled the re-release of his Fat Les hit Vindaloo during the World Cup so it did not clash with her album Alright, Still.

Yes... a re-re-release of a novelty single would have had a terrible impact on a mainstream pop album which was receiving the full might of the EMI marketing department. It's a little like not whistling in case it adds to the strength of a hurricane.

Keith, 43, praised Lily for making it without his help — taking on jobs such as working in a flower shop to make ends meet.

That is pretty impressive. How long does someone have to work in a flower shop to earn the fees to put yourself through Hill House and Bedales?


We're not quite sure why the Sun thinks there's something odd that "macho" Jamie redkanpp likes Justin Timberlake, but they do seem thrilled by the idea:

LOUISE REDKNAPP has let slip that macho husband JAMIE is a massive fan of . . . JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE.

The ex-Liverpool and England player loves Just’s single SexyBack and can’t wait to see him in concert.

But lots of men like male vocalists - it's not like Jamie likes to put on Louise's knickers and gets his wife to use a double-headed dildo on him everytime he hears Justin singing, is it? Have we now reached a point where it's considered a diminshing of manhood just to like a bloke singing? How insecure are the blokes who write for the Sun?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sting irritated

Sting has sent a letter of complaint to Salisbury District Council objecting to a small hut that's been built on the other side of a lake near one of his homes.

Sting is outraged by the presence of the hut, although he can't actually see it from his mansion, and even if he could, he seems to spend most of his time in New York anyway. Still, he wants it taken down. We expect it keeps him awake at night, disturbing his dreams of Blue Turtles.

La la la la means I love you

A while back - before they started to pour all their resources into whatever the hell it is they think they're doing - the RIAA got annoyed by the idea of people selling second hand records. "Think of us ("the artists")" they cried, "we're not making anything from these sales." As if that was unusual in second hand circles, like when you buy a pair of dead man's trousers from Oxfam, Marks and Spencer get a cut because they'd sold them originally a few years before.

Then, someone said they'd seen a ten year-old humming a song in the street without a licence and the RIAA all ran off to take the kid's lunch money and forgot the beef.

However, it is an interesting question: is there a way of trading second hand music which could reward the artist who originally made the record?

Lala records thinks there is; hosting a low-price CD swap site which gives 20 per cent of its admin fee to the artists whose records are swapped. Not, you'll note, the labels. If the artist is dead, or doesn't claim their cut, the money goes to a foundation which provides musicians with health benefits.

It's an interesting idea, and seems to be hugely music-positive: people who make music get some money from the on-passing of their work; people who like music get to swap and share.

It's US-only right now, but hopes to roll worldwide at some point.

Via Largehearted Boy

Nice to upset Rod Stewart; 'citing, innit?

It's funny, but we could have sworn that when he was younger, Rod Stewart used to revel in his laddish behaviour, his womanising ways and his ability to - as they say in tabloids - bed mysterious blondes.

Oddly, though, now he's a father, he doesn't find such behaviour quite so alluring. Leastways, not when it's Russell Brand saying he's had knowledge of his daughter:

On stage at the Royal Opera House to pick up the outstanding achievement award, [Stewart] said: "You went with my daughter, did you? Russell, stand up." A sheepish Brand stood and mumbled: "I took her out for one evening."

Stewart asked: "Did you behave yourself?" Brand said: "I never touched that girl." Stewart retorted: "Fucking right you didn't. You musn't come up here and boast. I speak here as a father."

After the ceremony, Brand tried to make amends and they posed for pictures but Stewart later claimed he had no time for the comic. "He's got to be careful," he told the Evening Standard. "He might be a bit of a player but he shouldn't boast. I never did." He added: "Russell's been a bit timid since I had my say."

We especially tip our hat to Rod's "I never boasted" claim, which - since it only makes any sense if it's followed up by an unspoken "and I could have done, the string of women that I had" - is one of those rare sentences that manages to disprove itself in just three words.

The answer to the world's problems

There's some good news about the state of the planet: Pete Wentz reckons the fourth Fall Out Boy album will reduce temperatures by one degree.

Unfortunately, that doesn't factor in the environmental waste of producing large numbers of albums that lose their appeal the moment their owners hit puberty, but we're sure that every little will help.

Gennaro Castaldo watch: Mercury rising

Gennaro Castaldo has been doing some sums since watching last night's Mercury Prize and reckons the real winners aren't the ones who pick up the big prize:

HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo of HMV said the Mercury awards have a "halo effect" on sales.

"This year we're expecting an even bigger sales lift, as more people are now also downloading and buying online," he added.

(Yes, the BBC Report did call him HMV spokesman of HMV.)

Richard Hawley has seen sales rise by 336%; Lou Rhodes also saw a tripling of sales. Even the Arctic Monkeys have seen a small sales rise, although having flogged a few more already the multiples won't be quite as astonishing.

Twelve angry Bunnymen

Oh, alright, Ian McCulloch isn't being tried by jury. But the court hearing into the alleged assault at Glasgow Barrowlands has opened.

McCulloch denies two charges relating to an incident backstage after the Bunnymen's October 2005 gig. Gary Duncan and Juliet Sebley claim that he attacked them in a toilet:

[Mr Duncan] said he and his girlfriend had gone into separate cubicles and were only there a few minutes when they heard "fierce roaring and threatening language" from outside.

Mr Duncan said of Mr McCulloch: "He [McCulloch] was threatening to kick the doors in of the toilets if we didn't 'get the fuck out'. He said he was going to kick the fucking doors in. He said he didn't care who was in there. 'Get the fuck out or I'm kicking the door in.'"

After leaving the cubicle, Mr Duncan said the singer began leaning into him, grabbed his jacket lapels and "pushed and pulled him in a threatening manner".
[He said] was in a state of "disbelief" when he saw his girlfriend running past him.

"She was in a state of stress and in fear and was clutching her head at her right temple," he said.

He said he spoke to his girlfriend, who was "hysterical" by this point, and when he realised her head was bleeding they decided to call the police.

The case continues.

I am not a lady

Pete Burns has been strenuously denying suggestions that he might want to be trying to remake himself as some sort of woman.

His defence is actually quite convincing:

"This idea that I look like a woman, or want to be a woman is wrong. Excuse me, but do I look like a woman? When did you last see a woman who looks like me? Never! And if there is one, I feel sorry for her."

It does leave the question 'well, what the chuff do you look like' unanswered, though.

Breakfast bars

Bam Bam, who got canned from Kiss FM's breakfast show after pushing Ofcom a little bit too far, is returning to daily radio for anyone who's prepared to pay £1.50 a week for him. The shows are going to be full of swearing and so on, and Bam Bam can't wait:

"Radio and television are struggling to engage a young audience against the appeal of pirate stations, the internet and computer games. There are 12-year-olds all over London using the c-word yet Kiss are fined £8,000 because I said 'muff' on the radio - what a joke.

"I truly feel sorry for traditional youth broadcasters who are trying to create programmes for the next generation with their hands strapped behind their backs. That's why podcasting is such a breath of fresh air for young people."

We tend to take out our opera glasses to look carefully at anyone who uses the phrase 'young people', especially when they're suggesting that these young people are a target market and need to hear people saying "cunt" before they'll be engaged.

Meanwhile, as one DJ completely misunderstands why UK radio is regulated and loses his job as a result, another seems to have a better understanding of the rules than his management and... ends up losing his job as a result.

Terry Garoghan had been presenting breakfasts on Brighton's Juice FM, but he's not had his contract renewed:

"As a born-and-bred Brightonian it has been an extra special privilege to wake up my home town. It is with sadness that I am leaving.

"In radio it is very hard to establish an awareness of any show, especially a breakfast show, in such a short time. I am not happy at leaving a job half done and I am disappointed that Juice have given me no good reason as to why they do not want me to continue.

"My Last Bus To Whitehawk show on Southern FM was late at night and carried an X certificate. The Juice management clearly wanted me to carry on from where I left off as they have suggested to me my breakfast show has not been as in-your-face as they had expected.

"As a father of a five-year-old I am absolutely sure that parents do not want their kids exposed to anything over breakfast that walks the line of bad taste. Nor, I would assume, would Juice's advertisers and sponsors.

"Juice is Brighton's local station. It should be broadcasting to the whole of Brighton and not just the trendy centre of the city - this means families in Patcham, Woodingdean, Moulsecoomb - the suburbs.

"Brighton should have a local radio station that reflects its different faces and is not just geared towards clubbers and students. Local radio has a vital part to play in the community and I hope that it won't be too long before the city has the radio station it deserves."

With EMAP still trying to sort out its radio wing, smarting from massive fines, you'd think a wise radio manager would welcome a dj who understands how to work within the regulatory framework. Apparently not, though.

Spiralfrog takes EMI

Don't you hate Spiralfrog as a name for that free download service thingy? It's so clearly been arrived at by a team of New York advertising executives who think they're hip it's surprising that it doesn't have a pair of Olivers Peoples glasses perched on it.

Anyway, their "listen to 90 seconds of advertising and then hear a song for free" offering has expanded today to include the EMI catalogue.

EMI are puffed-up like little sparrows:

"We are very pleased to help launch Spiralfrog," said Roger Faxon, co-chief executive of EMI Music Publishing - which has the largest music catalogue in the world with over one million copyrights.

"It is a very exciting concept which fuses advertising with music downloads and other services to recapture consumer demand which has been hijacked by online piracy.

"Anytime we can create a new revenue stream for our songwriters and combat online piracy, you will see EMI Music Publishing leading the charge."

Well... not so much leading as trailing behind Universal. And we're not so sure that it's that exciting a concept, either, as surely the advertising + free model was introduced last April by Napster, in a bid to try and stop its mounting losses?

That move helped Napster lose seven percent of its already tiny subscriber base in the quarter to June 30th, suggesting that the provision of free, legal downloads (still hobbled with DRM but additionally encumbered by adverts) doesn't recapture consumer demand that's been "hijacked by piracy" but, instead, merely turns already honest consumers into ones who choose not to hand over any cash.

Dignified don

We hope Paul McCartney doesn't feel more than a little patronised by the GQ man of the Year award, which does have the air of a grim-faced pat on the back rather than a genuine prize.

Why has Macca - who's spent the year doing little beside instructing lawyers about planning violations, divorces and digital rights - been given the prize?

"Paul McCartney is not only one of our greatest living legends, he's also probably the most dignified," said GQ editor Dylan Jones.

Well, dignified is debatable - having a screaming match with your publicist because someone has taken your photo, arguing because your ex-wife has taken some half-bottles of cleaning fluid, getting into a spat over the reordering of the Lennon-McCartney credit, making a record with some frogs. That's yer actual dignity right there.

Damon Albarn runs off to join the circus

Presunably Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett have been invited to provide a soundtrack for a Chinese circus production of the legend of the Monkey King because they're in a band called Gorillaz.

And the Arctic Monkeys were busy.

The show, directed by Chinese theatre director Chen Shi-Zheng, will also feature Shaolin monks and singers from the Peking Opera.

The debut will be in Manchester, followed by performances in Berlin and Paris.

Plug: Monkey - the TV series

Uncanny likeless

David  BeckhamJustin TimberlakeWith Justin Timberlake announcing at the GQ Awards that David Beckham is his "doppelganger", we can only conclude one of two things:

1. Becks and Backs were twins, separated at birth and brought up in different countries


2. Justin Timberlake doesn't know what doppelganger means.

Robbie Williams is not going to be number one

We'd imagine - reading the hilarious advice to local residents being circulated here in Milton Keynes, prior to the invasion of waves and waves of Williams fans - that the poor performance of Rudebox isn't exactly going to break Robbie's bank balance or heart.

But the apparent 7,000 copies sold is pretty chilling for EMI; it's not exactly a glowing return on the investment. We'd imagine the pressure will be on for something a little more blue-rinse friendly next time around.

Oasis acquiesce to re-recording

Quality control went three or four albums back; now Oasis are tossing away the last of their dignity by re-recording Acquiesce to promote their Woolworths-friendly best-of collection.

A young girl dreams of taking the veil

This, perhaps, isn't the most scorching piece of redhot news, but Christina Aguilera forgot her veil when she got married. Not that she was going to blame herself for that; being an employer means there's always someone else around to take responsibility:

"At my wedding I said, 'let's put the veil on' and it wasn't there. It was an oversight of my stylist, who I will never work with again.

Thank God I had my mom's lace wedding piece so we made a makeshift veil."

Good lord, yes, otherwise who knows what the death toll might have been.

It does raise the question if Jason Bratman - who wears quite thick glasses - had perhaps been under the impression he'd been engaged to someone else, so important was hiding her face until they'd signed the register. We picture him turning back the veil for the photos outside, squinting really hard and saying "I didn't think the vicar had said 'do you, Mandy Moore, take this man...'"

Last night's other awards

It wasn't just the Mercury awards last night - Thom Yorke will have been doubly vexed at having missed out on the Best Celebrity Real Breasts 2006. Charlotte Church lifted the cup, which is apparently awarded to mark National Breast Pride month. An important awareness month, of course, as for too long people have treated breasts as things of shame. You hardly ever hear them mentioned, do you?

Aah... but because we don't give it to the obvious choice, giving it to the obvious choice is totally unexpected...

So, the TV Quick Mercury Prize has been awarded, as you might have expected (and, for that reason, probably didn't expect) to the Arctic Monkey's Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Even as we speak, people in record shops will be applying "Mercury Prize winner" labels to the outside of the CD case, although the title of the album will mean nobody will be able to believe that.

They'd not even bothered to play the show, either. At their point in the shortlist, they'd just sat in the audience while a video so hagiographical it made The South Bank Show's appreciations look like a drunken ex screeching complaints in a closing-time market town square.

The award was justified, though, if only for the cutaway shot of bested Thom Yorke during the Monkey's accepatance speech - he looked like a man with hearing difficulties trying to makeout the football scores on a badly-tuned AM radio; as if he could tell what was going on, but couldn't get to grips with any of the details.

It was pretty much a standard Mercury award - although, as Jools Holland pointed out, this year they've dropped the word "music" from the title. Presumably that's so in future years they can include Teach Yourself German CDs and so on; we're putting a small outside wager on Bill Bryson winning in 2007 with his unabridged memoir talking book.

All the usual elements were in place - Jo Whiley enthusising over everything; Jools doing a little bit of mucking about before revealing the winner; the annual reminder of Talvin Singh's existence. It could have been a rerun of any of the last few year's awards. Apart from the slightly bizarre interview with Marcus Brigstocke halfway through - he's an affable chap, but his input into what was going to win was akin to the Booker coverage having a room full of Britain's literati and choosing to get Jamie Oliver for the key commentary role.

The saddest thing, though, was the Editors, who virtually had a neon sign "Not serious contenders - just fattening up the list" hanging over their heads.

Earlier: 2006 shortlist
2005 Mercury Music Prize
2004 Mercury Music Prize
2003 Prize in one line

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Berry returns, briefly

To mark their admission into Georgia's musical hall of fame, REM are going to bring back Bill Berry for a one-off reunion on September 16th.

Then he'll be back out, while the rest of them start work on a new album.

What sort of parents give their kid a name like Bilberry anyway? Presumably ones who are a little too nervous about calling him Logan.

Hair band

Whatever happened to Le Tigre, you might be wondering.

Well, Playlouder reports that Johanna Fateman has re-opened the Seagull hairdresser's in New York; the place, apparently, which was the first unisex salon in North America.

There are, we're told, parts of the central southern US where the very idea of a unisex salon can still get you the sort of look Terry gave Bob when the Likely Lads went to one in 1970s.

Doe the right thing

It's easy to forget that there's still a vibrant, politically active rap scene despite the apparent descent of hip-hop into little more than a fashion procession. In Oakland this weekend, a team of rappers showed the original heart of rap is still beating, providing the focus of a protest against police brutality.

They were out in support of the Family Doe, a group currently suing the San Francisco's Sheriff's Department. The police had held a group of 100 to prevent a protest against a biotechnology conference for four hours, despite none of them having broken any laws. Thirty-eight of the detained had refused to co-operate with the illegal detention, which prompted the police department to deploy a series of tactics to try and break them, including, say the Doe Family "violent "cell extraction", pain complience techniques, and physical torture which left several of the protesters with lasting and perhaps permanent injuries including broken bones, torn ligaments, nerve damage, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."

The rappers turned out on Saturday to help with the fundraising efforts to pursue the police through the courts; amongst those taking part were Emcee Lynx & Beltaine’s Fire, Inspector Double Negative and the Equal Positives, Newspeak1,
Orukusaki of Forensic Science, Shilo of Urban Monks, Mr Ericksen and Frugal Farmacy.

Hook's book

Yes, it sounds like a feature off Mark Radcliffe's old Hit The North show, but Peter Hook is about to start work on a book. He's writing the story of the Hacienda, which should prove fascinating. We've had lots of works which feature Fac51 as the pulsing centre of a vibrant Manchester club scene; Hook will be able to tell the tale from the perspective of a man who threw good money after the bad, and then some more money, and then some other people's money into the place.

Hook explains:

"I realised I'd bored my friends for years with tales from The Hacienda so now I thought I'd bore the general public with it.

"But once I started to get into the writing I realised what a huge endeavour it was, and that I was going to have to work on it properly to do it justice.”

"To us it's a tale of woe, but The Hacienda did change the world of clubbing. Even though it took me to the edge and it took Factory Records to the edge. The stories are legion and legendary."

And by telling them, Hook might at last make some money out the bloody place.

House beautiful

Back when she was sitting on a giant beefburger in the interests of The Fall's I Am Kurious Oranj album, what odds would you have got on Brix Smith ever inviting the Daily Mail into her beautiful Shoreditch appartment?

Now married to Philip Start (he runs some clothes shops, apparently) and rebadged as Brix Smith Start, she's delighted to show the paper around her converted garment factory home.

It's a bizarre distance from The Fall days - Jamie Oliver's apparently been shot in the kitchen (sadly, only in the TV sense) and the walls are dripping with art:

A Warhol in the kitchen is a reminder of Brix's rock-star connections - she was the guitarist in Eighties cult band The Fall, and still writes music for other artists.

"It's on loan from Brian Molko, lead singer of Placebo," she says of the Warhol. "He felt that it just went with the apartment. I had to agree!"

As if the Fall somehow sits logically alongside Andy Warhol. We're not even going to start to ponder how Brian Molko came to own an original Warhol, but there's obviously more money in indie than we'd been led to believe.

The great shame of the piece is not that Brix is having a lovely life and is clearly very happy, as nobody would begrudge her that. It's just it's written in such a way as to make her sound like a simpering simpleton:

"I do tend to order a lot for me when I'm buying for the shop. But don't tell Philip," she whispers theatrically.

Unless working in the fashion retail business really does eat away at your brain, we can't believe that the mighty Brix has really turned into some sort of Sharon Osbourne figure...

"I love nothing better than sinking into a sofa with Philip and my two pugs, Gromit and Pixie, and having quiet time. Up here you feel on top of the world."

... has she?

Next week in the Mail: 'Them bottles, there's money back on them...' - Mark E Smith invites us into his beautiful house

If it's the third Thursday in July, it must be time for Guy

How charmingly romantic: Madonna and Guy schedule their sex lives. They're claiming three times a week, but frankly if you were at it every other day, you wouldn't need to try and keep track of when it was going to be happening next, would you?

There's more, though:

"Madonna has also requested 'M time' each week, when she will talk to Guy about her career and he will offer advice."

We wonder if Guy floated the idea of some G time, to talk about his career. Probably not, as that'd be like ITV's old Looks Familiar programme, mired in nostalgia.

Mind you, what sort of career advice could Guy possibly give Madonna? And even if he did have an idea about the music industry, would she listen anyway? They'd be better off using the time for some more sex. Or at least working out the next week's schedule.

Profits of Paris

Nick Stucke emails us with an observation:

I know you've perhaps had dozens of people telling you this, but the
Paris Hilton CDs are on Ebay already, currently making up to £300 !

These, of course, are the CDs that have been improved by the simple expedient of Banksy removing Paris' work and replacing it with his own.

The doctored CDs have been uploaded to Flickr - not safe for work, unless you fancy explaining to your boss that, yes, they are Paris Hilton's tits, but they're there as art rather than porn.

Glasto blast-o

Next year's Glastonbury is going to be bigger than ever, and that, claims Michael Eavis, will mean it's better than ever:

"What I can announce now is that I'm adding an extra 100 acres next year so it will be the biggest festival ever.

"I'm renting the additional land from a neighbour so there's more space and major improvements to the campsite. So it's not just going to be bigger, but better.

"We're going to be presenting the best line-up anywhere in the world. Glastonbury 2007, will be, literally, the greatest show on Earth."

Given that it was already a trudge around the site to begin with, and the place was already totally packed, we're not so sure this is the brilliant news it's meant to be. After all, you can expand the site by 100 acres, but if all the extra people want to go and see the headline act, the area in front of the main stage isn't going to magically expand, is it? There does come a point where large becomes monsterous, and that was a place Glasto was already close to. Let's hope this isn't another step towards the Tesco tent.

My Chemical Romance drummer hospitalised

Plans for My Chemical Romance to play live in America this weekend were dropped after drummer Bob Bryars was hospitalised. Not as a result of injuries picked up in the Reading shelling but from something he did filming a video:

"My Chemical Romance regretfully announced they are cancelling this weekend's performances in both Allentown, PA (September 2) and Syracuse, NY (3) due to the hospitalization of drummer Bob Bryar.

"Bryar was admitted to the hospital late Thursday night because of complications resulting from injuries sustained last month while the band was shooting a video in Los Angeles. He is expected to remain there through the weekend."

Remain in hospital, rather than Los Angeles. We assume.

Gerard Way is distraught:

"One of the major disappointments of this, other than seeing Bob in pain, is missing Taking Back Sunday and Circa Survive."

Yeah, yeah, that must be heartbreaking for you.

CSS live on NME

As part of the hoopla surrounding's tenth birthday, they're going to stream a set by CSS from KoKo on September 12th. There's also going to be a performance by Kasabian, but nobody can make you watch that if you don't want to.


While Robbie hangs about golf courses in the hope of getting to caddy for someone, P Diddy is indulging in a spot of sports-hanging of his own - He's always sending text messages to David Beckham:

I met David Beckham a long time ago, when he attended one of my parties.

"We keep in touch often. All throughout the World Cup, we were on our pagers, going back and forwards.

Diddy, we imagine, had to keep texting messages like "No, I haven't had a chance to listen to your wife's demo yet..."

Did anyone read that quote back to you, Jamelia?

We're not saying that there's anything factually incorrect in Jamelia's dismissal of the wives and girlfriends of footballers (the WAGS, as apparently we're meant to call them), it's just she could have phrased it slightly more elegantly:

To me they are just famous for doing nothing and sleeping with someone. They're taking advantage of their partners' position.

... and, we understand, there are books available which show what those positions might be.

Please ignore the Kelly Osbourne rumour you haven't heard

If you shook the internet very, very hard yesterday, and looked through the stuff that fell out on the floor, you might just have seen a rumour that Kelly Osbourne had got married. Rather self-importantly, she's issued a statement denying the marriage you hadn't heard about, to someone you've not heard of, ever happened:

"A number of rumours circulated very quickly suggesting Kelly Osbourne had got married.

“This Press release is to confirm that this is totally untrue and is as real as the inflatable church that carries out these non-legally binding mock marriages for fun.”

Matt Derham of Fields has called his lawyer to double-check the last fact, as he saw that episode of Alice where Mel married one of the waitresses by mistake and knows this sort of thing can happen.

Undress Will Young

We're actually quite tickled by Will Young's latest piece of merchandise: he's produced a run of pens that work on the same principle as those nudey lady ones that the braver kids would sometimes bring to school.

Have them up one way, and you see a soberly-dressed Will. Tip it up, and the clothes slide away, leaving Will stood in his y-fronts.

More entertaining than any of his records to date, then.

Gareth Gates is working on something similar, where up one way, he's surrounded by a knot of adoring fans. Then, when you tip it up, they slide away...

Which member of Girls Aloud is most confident near-naked?

That there's trouble in Girls Aloud is suggested again this morning, as what would normally be a fairly unremarkable announcement - Sarah Harding has signed a deal to flog Ultimo knickers and bras - is turned into an attack on the rest of the band:

A source said: “Sarah isn’t afraid of showing off her body — she’s got a great figure and she knows it. The other girls aren’t as confident about their bodies as Sarah so its not something they would go for. They have done sexy shoots for lads’ mags but doing a modelling deal in just bra and pants is not the same thing.”

That's right - for example, this cover from FHM shows just how much Nadine Coyle would have to loosen up to appear in pictures wearing next to nothing. You can just see how she lacks confidence, and that's almost wearing a skirt in the picture. Can you imagine if she wasn't almost wearing that, too?

Robbie Williams is not a swinger

... but he is going to hang out with Colin Montgomerie. As he completes his comfy settling in to the light ent monster model, Robbie is embracing his inner golfer and will be joining Colin to wear pastel coloured diamond-patterned sweaters at the Ryder Cup.

Monty and Willy became mates during the Anty and Decy golf thing. Presumably both drawing large crowds and earning large sums for doing something bemusing gave them something in common.

Okay, we know it's just about possible to have an interest in golf and not be clubbable (in both senses of the word) - Nigel from Half Man Half Biscuit, for example - but there's something about hanging about golf courses which just gives off the air of the Mike Baldwins.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ash in psych-ish, hits New York

Irish band Ash are, effectively, Irish no more as they've upped sticks to New York. They reckon they spent so long working there, they might as well move there and have done with.

Plus, you can buy a pizza the size of your head for 37p with the exchange rate the way it is.

The new album seems to be a mixture of the good (psychedelic experimentation) and the bad (reports using the word "Coldplayesque"); they haven't run it past former Ashista Charlotte Hatherley yet, though. Tim Wheeler explains why:

"That would be too much like seeing your ex-girlfriend."

Militant Muscovites misprize Madonna

The shift in the venue - and day - for the Madonna date in Moscow hasn't dealt with one of more pressing problems facing the event: Russian Orthodox radicals are calling for the concert to be banned. There's been quite a large-ish protest:

"We will never allow her to desecrate our greatest icons. We demand to drive Madonna out of Russian territory," Leonid Simanovich-Nikshich, head of a group calling itself the Union of Orthodox Religious Banner Bearers, told about 100 supporters at a central Moscow square.

"They say that Madonna is very rich, but what is all that wealth if a person has lost their soul?"

Well, it's half of Wiltshire, a couple of London townhouses, and... oh, you mean spiritually. We do like that Simanovich-Nikshich doesn't appear to actually believe that Madonna is rich, either, treating it as hearsay.

Rather splendidly, instead of burning her image, the protesters speared a poster of Madonna - kind of angry militancy crossed with the Dad's Army titles.

In case you've not been keeping up to date with Madonna, Reuters offers a handy reminder:

Madonna has attracted accusations of blasphemy throughout her career. In 1989 her hit song "Like a Prayer" featured burning crosses and statues crying blood.

Well, almost. The song didn't, but the video did. And, perhaps more to the Christian-baiting point, it featured Madonna getting off with a black guy who was representing Christ. It might have been that bit that caused Pepsi to drop her like a anvil, rather than a statue crying blood.

Jones, Cable re-attached

The long and bitter rift between Kelly Jones and Stuart Cable after Jones kicked his old school chum out of the Stereophonics has been laid to rest after the pair met by chance and had a drink together.

After all, why should Cable bear a grudge? Being poked off the drumstool has meant his life has become more interesting, and he's started to find a lucrative role as the budget-priced Noddy Holder.

Meanwhile, Jones is off the Hollywood in LA, America to pitch a movie:

"I'm going to LA at the beginning of September. I've written a short film, which I'm trying to develop. I will be shooting a read through scene out there with Dougray Scott, a fan and friend of mine for a number of years, he was really into the story and the idea, so that should be a blast and a new experience for me which I'm nervous and excited about."

If Scott is your friend, Jones, why would you describe him as "a fan" first of all?

Roy Bailey follows in the footsteps of The Beatles

Folk singer Roy Bailey has returned his MBE in disgust at Tony Blair's Middle-East policy, having been inspired to do so by the similar move of nurse Suzy Wighton.

Bailey explains his actions:

“In the end I had to do what felt right. Suzy Wighton’s article did focus me. When I read her argument I thought, ‘I can’t disagree with any of this’. I thought I should commit myself to doing this so I made my own statement and returned my own MBE.

“I wrote to her and congratulated her for her stand because it did help me focus on the issue.”

The lifelong Labour supporter added that he considered Blair’s support of US foreign policy a “betrayal” of the party’s values.

“ When it comes to waging an illegal war in Iraq, the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq and now Lebanon, I can no longer accept as an ‘honour’, a recommendation supported by the Prime Minister, that I be awarded the MBE. Tony Blair insists his decisions are in support of democracy. We cannot bomb people into accepting democracy any more than we could slaughter people into accepting Christianity.”

Somehow, we suspect that Bailey's action is heartfelt; unlike, say, Paul McCartney's return of his MBE as an anti-Vietnam protest. A few years later, Macca got over his problems with UK foreign policy well enough to take a knighthood, and he hasn't seemed that bothered about sending it back since.

Hatfield of hellos

A gentle tug of the string attached to our big toe from Jeff at Old Grey Cat alerts us to a new slew of tracks being made available via Juliana Hatfield's honors-system download page. The system works on you being invited to pay a cash sum you feel is right for the track - kind of the way you can sometimes buy tomatoes in the country by putting some coins in a box by a hedgerow.

Amongst the new stuff on offer is a batch of demos from the Some Girls album; the basic system itself is a refreshing experiment in trust and co-operation and, we suspect that the release of more tracks into the field is an indication that it's working. There's not much of a downside on this.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Sales away

With the news that the British music scene is having something of a boom, with new artists at the forefront, who better to turn to for an explanation than HMV's own Gennaro Castaldo? At least, that's what The Scotsman decided to do, anyway:

"In the UK, there's a much more dynamic environment where new artists can come to the fore. The Internet now is part of that armory for breaking a new act," says Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman with music and entertainment retailer HMV.

Although, of course, that The Internet was meant to be destroying record sales, by making them free, wasn't it? Curious.

Getting a job purely on your merits

You'll never guess who is being lined-up to direct the next Coldplay video. Oh, you have: Gwyneth Paltrow. How did you guess?

"Gwyneth has said she's keen to direct pop videos and Chris has agreed to let her direct one for Coldplay," a source claims. "She loves the band and their music, and it's a way for her and Chris to be together while he's working."

So, since it seems any old idiot can direct a pop video, will we expect to see Martin producing Paltrow's next movie? It's only fair, surely?

Having said that, we'd love to see Chris Martin working on Shallow Hal 2: Worth The Weight.

[Thanks to Jana K for the tip]

Slow Breeders

Kim DealThey don't exactly knock albums out like they're sitting on the production line at the canning factory, so it's always exciting to hear news of The Breeders working on a new album. With Steve Albini doing the production, too.

They're spending the month recording, apparently. We're still some distance away from a release date.

Petey clean

Sentencing in the Pete Doherty drugs case has been deferred until December, with Judge Jane Ivor telling Mr. D that she's very impressed with his progress - he's turned in his first clean bloodtest since records began; Ivor also told Doherty she likes his new song. (Everyone, it seems, fancies themselves as a rock critic.)

"It's turning out to be a long haul. I'm impressed with the negative results for heroin and cocaine. It's stage I never thought you'd reach, (and) the option of re-sentencing you would be counter productive. I'm deferring sentencing for three months until December 4, but you have to continue with you rehab and continue your employment, which means cooperation with those who work with you."

The question, of course, is, if she never thought Pete would ever test negative for coke and smack, then why did she put him under the order for testing in first place? The positive view would be that she gave him the opportunity to prove her wrong; the cynical view would be that Pete was being set up to fail.

Interestingly, the NME website reveals that earlier reports that Pete had been instructed by the courts to attend the Priory were erroneous; the injunction was that he must receive rehab, but didn't stipulate from where. Pete has to continue with the treatment as part of the deferred sentence.

King beats Queen

We're still scratching our heads about last night's Channel Five programme, Battle of the Popstars - Live. Did anyone really bother to spend good money (35pence a throw) voting time and again in increasingly pointless pairings of bands? Come on... who's better? Blur or Kylie? Answer now, dammit.

The closest thing we got to an upset was when Queen beat the Beatles in the semi-finals, thereby preventing the final round pitching Elvis against the mop tops - which seemed to be the inevitable consequence of the format. Elvis beat Queen, of course, thereby meaning after two hours we were told that Elvis was the best pop star ever.

In order to help people decide who to vote for, there was a smattering of punditry for each artist - although, frankly, if you need to be told who Kylie Minogue is, your vote for best pop star ever isn't really going to be an informed judgement. Mind you, if you don't have the ability to offer an informed judgement, chances are you'd have been appearing in the programme anyway, which bulked out the talking heads with the likes of a Cher impersonator, Molly Parkin and Emma Jones. Jones managed to show excatly how she landed the editorship of Smash Hits by offering the observation that Robbie Williams is the only person who ever made a successful career after leaving a boyband. Presumably she's never heard of Justin Timberlake. Or Bobby Brown. Or Rona Keating.

A curious and time-wasting concoction then, which we suspect had little purpose other than to raise some cash for Channel Five. We're a step closer to wanking for coins on terrestrial TV turning into a reality.

Doherty: Wish you were here

Pete Doherty is in the supposedly rigorous Priory Clinic, undergoing rehab. He must be in some sort of torment, right?

Apparently not, according to Adam Ficek:

"Pete sees rehab as a holiday camp. He gets to make new friends and can talk to his girlfriend Kate Moss when he wants. It's a bit of a pain, but fans don't need to worry about him, he'll be fine. It's a doddle for him."

I'm sure that's put all of our minds at rest, then.

Kasabian think they're the Stranglers

Why do people buy Kasabian records?

Serge reckons he knows:

"It gets you in the mood to be a sleazy bastard. That's how rock 'n' roll should make you feel."

No, no, Serge. We said listening to you makes us feel dirty, but we meant more like we'd been sat in a dumpster for an afternoon.

Luke Kooks cop shop shock

One of the things we really dislike about modern life - we have a long list, if you're interested - is the way that the notices which, when I was a teenager, basically said "Under 18? No booze for you, sod off" have morphed into cringey, would-be amusing messages like "ooh, if you're lucky enough to look under 21, please don't be offended if we ask to see some evidence of your age and perhaps a few questioons about your beauty rituals."

Luke Pritchard, out of stage schoolers The Kooks, has one of those young faces, and so when cops saw him carrying bottles of beer through the streets, they carded him, and carted him off to the police station to verify that he was old enough to shave. And drink.

Wonderfully, they had to ring up his parents to have them confirm he was older than his baby-face suggested.

The word, of course, is "bless".

Get naked, Heather Mills urged

When it comes to Geoff Baker, long-serving, long-suffering publicist to Paul McCartney, revenge turns out to be a dish best served rubbish. We seem to have a theme developing today.

Believed to have been let go in response to a clash of personalities with Heather Mills, Baker has issued a public offer to Heather Mills: Model for the sleeve of my new band's single. Only he wants her to do it naked, and the track is called Queen Diva.

Do you see? We're talking levels of subtlety here that could be seen from the moon.

The band he's managing now is called Purplemelon. Which we think means Heather has the last laugh. Yes, she might be going through a very public divorce; yes, the porn stuff she did when she was younger might have been published in the all the papers. But at least she's not trying to interest the world in a band called Purplemelon.

Robbie Williams is not letting go

We feel sorry for Robbie Williams' core audience of Home Counties matrons, who'll buy his new album hoping to get something nice, like that Angels or the ones where he pretended he was Frank Sinatra's tailor, and instead get a jolly song littered with sub-Sopranos threats:

Either you’re a thief or you’re shit
which one will you admit to?
Such an evil man
I used to fantasise about taking a Stanley knife
and playing round with your eyes.
“I’m 16 and chubby,’ he tells me,
‘Lose 20 pounds, you’re not Rob, you’re Robbie,
and if I see you with a girl,
then you’ll be sorry.’

Robbie Williams being ordered to keep away from girls. Just fancy, eh?

The target of this ire is Nigel Martin-Smith, Take That's manager; Williams apparently believes that he diddled him while he was in the band and favoured Gary Barlow over him, just because Barlow wrote all the songs and sang all the songs.

Somehow, we can't see this replacing Angels as first dance material.

Girls Aloud Havant a clue

Why were Girls Aloud late on stage at a concert in Havant?

Not, as you might think, because the group is in crisis and everybody hates each other, oh no.

Apparently, it was because Cheryl Cole's dog wouldn't go back in the house when they went to pick her up.

After an hour, they decided to take the dog as well. Although a better solution would have been to leave Cheryl behind.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Murder, torture, bathing in blood - just another day at the goth office

David A Line of UntotenBack in the 1600s, Elisabeth Bathory took to killing young girls so she could bathe in their blood and, thus, obtain eternal youth. It's a rotten idea - apart from anything, if that worked, then Nadine Baggot, Celebrity Beauty Editor, would be sloshing about in a bath of teenage O negative instead of spending her meagre income on Olay Regenrist. Plus, of course, murder is never a pretty business. And what good is eternal youth anyway, if you have to spend it forever digging a hole in the garden to bury corpses in?

Still, Bathory is about receive some of the immortality she thought was hers, in the form of an album by German pridegoths Untoten. Titled Die Blutgräfin, it details her legend over two albums' length and is due the end of October. Probably not one to ask your Gran for for Christmas.

China Apple journos threat lifted

The company whose employees had been beavering away making iPods for an extraordinary length of time has apparently decided to not sue the journalists who brought the story to the public's attention after all.

Their paper, the China Business News, and the iPod manufacturer, have apologised to each other. Wonder if there was any pressure from Cupertino involved in this sudden u-turn.

Double-crossed Helix

The major labels do what they do for the artists, you'll remember. An example of how they put their artists' interests ahead of the rest can be found by listening to the story of why the band Helix appear on the soundtrack to Trailer Park Boys, but not on the soundtrack album. This is what Helix's Brian Vollmer has said:

"This week the song 'Heavy Metal Love' officially made the Trailer Park Boys movie soundtrack. Unfortunately, Dean Cameron, president of EMI Canada, decided to withhold the song from the movie soundtrack CD. He did this because the distribution of the soundtrack CD was being handled by Universal, not EMI. Even though EMI would have made money licensing the song to the movie people, Dean decided to make a point. Stupid. Sandbox politics at it’s best. The biggest losers here however are myself, Paul Hackman’s widow, and my former manager William Seip, as we would all have made money from the publishing generated by our song being on the CD, not to mention the exposure of the band which would have probably led to sales of Helix back catalogue which EMI owns. No wonder big record companies are going down the tubes when they do shit like this. And I think of all those years of loyalty to Capitol/EMI-not seeing our families, doing every interview they ever asked us to do, whatever… and this is how the company repays us. Pure bullshit. Thanks a lot Cameron.

Of course, it's possible Vollmer has got hold of the wrong end of the stick, but even if he has, that this would be the conclusion to which he's jumped suggests a less-than-positive working relationship between band and label.

We've said before that if we were in any way an institutional investor and held stock in the record labels, we'd be taking a good hard look at the decisions they're making these days. It's not just that they're capitalists - it's that they're so bad at capitalism to boot.