Friday, October 06, 2006

Adams app-pulled

Ryan Adams has requested the closure of a fan website - one that he would sometimes post to. Dave Smith's agreed to wrap up when Ryan got concerned about personal details (his) appearing online. Dave says it's not censorship:

“I just had a good discussion with Ryan about his concerns and reasons for requesting that the board be taken off-line temporarily. There's been a lot of talk about censorship and restricting free speech, but I can assure you he has no grand plans to silence the .org. In fact, quite the opposite, he sees it as a valuable resource, and has enjoyed taking part in the message board, discussing shows even when someone gives a negative review.”

Of course, Dave thinks it was Ryan who asked him to close the site; it could have been someone who stole his identity using information pieced together from the website.

Coyle has a go at being Wilson

We imagine it's meant to suggest there's more to Girls Aloud than they're credited with, but it could equally mean there's less to Kaiser Chiefs than they'd hope: the centerpiece of the extra stuff on the Girls Aloud career-spanning restrospective (okay, boil-down of the last handfull of albums) is a cover of I Predict A Riot.

That career in full:

Disc One

'Sound Of The Underground'
'Love Machine'
'No Good Advice'
'I'll Stand By You'
'The Show'
'See The Day'
'Wake Me Up'
'Life Got Cold'
'Something Kinda Oooh'
'Whole Lotta History'
'Long Hot Summer'
'What A Feeling'

Disc Two

'No Good Advice (alternative version)'
'Wake Me Up (alternative version)'
'Love Machine (demo)'
'Wicked Game'
'I Predict A Riot'
'Sound Of The Underground (instrumental break down mix)'
'Hanging On The Telephone'
'Loving Is Easy'

We've scanned and scanned, and can't see any sign of One True Voice's best-of anywhere...

In praise of Colin Murray

The reaction to Colin Murray's new Radio One show hasn't been universally bad: Guardian radio critic Elisabeth Mahoney was quite positive:

What's interesting is how the station is expanding the accessibility of its evening programming, with Murray and Jo Whiley in the line-up, gently blurring the division between the popular, mainstream success of the daytime schedule and the strongly demarcated specialist shows after dark. This is a good move, and I'm sure I won't be alone in tuning in more in the evenings now that Murray is a happy creature of the night.

Which is true, but misses the point of Radio One somewhat. If the network wanted to make daytime and nighttime less distinct from each other, surely the way to have gone would have been to give Bobby Friction an afternoon show rather than taking Murray into the evenings - giving the daylight hours a stronger injection of the new music they supposedly trust in, rather than bringing more Top 40 and oldies into the specialist schedules.

Mahoney's pledge to join others tuning in after the curtains are drawn does little to reject the feeling this is more about audience figures than supporting new bands.

[Earlier post: Our review of the new show]

David Sneddon comes out of retirement

Yes, you do know who he is.

Think back. No, further than that.

David Sneddon won the first season of Fame Academy, released an album and then withdrew due to lack of anything approaching interest. But now he's back, back, back - thrust into the limelight.

Okay, it's an MBE party for footballer Barry Ferguson.

Since Ferguson is getting his award on October 18th, there could only be one possible theme: Halloween. (We know, but he's a footballer - cut him some slack for at least getting the right month.) And if you're theming a party around people rising from the dead and ghost-like apparations who weren't quite there, who better than David Sneddon to play?

CD technology has passed the Daily Mail by

They're very excited by the plans to make iPod low-power transmitters like the iTrip legal in the UK over at the Daily Mail:

The technology will transform long holiday drives down through France or Florida, where families are currently restricted to local radio output.

... or, you know, having to try and figure out them controls on damn foreign CD player thingys.

[Plug: Be prepared for the change in the law with your own iTrip. Or be forever "restricted to local radio output"]

Robbie Williams is not as strong as Gary Barlow

We're sure when Gary Barlow sidles up to journalists, waving sheafs of less-than-lukewarm reviews for Robbie Williams' new work, and worries that they might send his former bandmate over the edge, it's heartfelt:

"I'd hate to see him go through what I've been through... I don't know if he'd come out the other end."

Possibly a heart feeling schadenfreude, but a feeling heart nevertheless.

They're only a step away from syndicating Onion articles on the front page

The inability of The Sun to tell when people are having a laugh strikes again this morning, as they straight-facedly report that Christian O'Connell is going to be the new Twice-Nightly Whiteley:

RADIO star Christian O’Connell could be the next Countdown host, it emerged yesterday. The 34-year-old said Channel 4 has asked him to audition to take over from Des Lynam.

He told Virgin breakfast show listeners: “I’ve always been a fan and doing a breakfast show means I’m free in the afternoon.”

Let's not detain ourselves with the use of "it emerged yesterday" as if there's a similarity between between, say, the slow oozing of the details of the Mark Foley sex scandal and someone saying something on the radio and just stare, slack jawed. How many editors will this have passed through before they published it? And none of them stopped for a moment and thought "the man who replaced Chris Moyles on his Channel Five show for late-night drinkers being in the running to present a show aimed mostly at the stairlift and Sanatogen market - how likely is that?"

Moss Top Shop boss strop shock

You'd have thought the deal to bring Kate Moss in as a "designer" for Top Shop would have caused more distress to Kate's people than Top Shop: apart, maybe, from getting her a job stacking the sweater racks at Ethel Austin there didn't seem to be a harsher way of cracking and discarding her image of effortless cool.

Instead, it's Top Shop who are reacting badly: Brand director Jane Shepherdson had thrown a wobbler and quit, claiming she hadn't been kept in the loop.

Philip Green took a couple of minutes off trying to prop up BHS to deny Shepherdson was leaving because of Moss:

“As far as I’m aware, she is going for personal reasons. She’s done this for 20 years and maybe fancies something different.”

Kate seems to be such a lousy fit, unless Top Shop is going to try and reposition itself as a different kind of store. You can understand why Green would have been keen to get her onboard - this is a move that has "whimsy of a rich man" all over - but why is she keen to do this? Couldn't she at least have held out for River Island?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Who's the Stooges here?

Maybe we're just a little too old and cynical, but we can't help but feel that the Stooges rider request that's currently gracing The Smoking Gun was written with one eye on it turning up there.

Which is not to take anything away from the quality of the document - stipulating, for example, that the backstage vodka isn't made in England and "a recent" New York Times ("today's would be nice"). And if the real idea was to build some extra awareness of the apparent Albini-produced new album, it's a deft way of doing it.

Back to Church

Depsite having evaporated viewers over the course of a few weeks, Channel 4 is renewing the Charlotte Church show for another two series. Partly, we guess, on the basis that they don't have much else they could do if they didn't.

Andrew Newman, head of entertainment and comedy at Channel 4, said: "Charlotte has proved herself to be a hugely talented star and has got better and better each week.

"She has become an incredibly charismatic all-round entertainer while remaining 100% natural, relaxed, down to earth and completely unfazed by her stardom."

Sadly, while she was getting better and better, the audiences were getting smaller and smaller - down from 2.1 to 1.4 million so far. Still, it's nice to see Channel 4 actually giving a programme time to develop - if she'd been with ITV, she'd have been hauled from the schedules by week three.

Brandon Killer: I (maybe) am a killer

In what seems to be a rather odd admission, Brandon Flowers has revealed he might have killed a bloke. Or maybe hasn't. He's not sure what happened to this guy he hit with his car:

"I hit him pretty fast, I was going about 50, he was drunk, he just walked into my lane on the freeway.

"I was honking and hitting the breaks but I couldn't stop in time. I hit him. It was terrible. Pretty traumatic. He hit my windshield, smashed it up... His shoes fell off. Their shoes fall off, did you know that?"

Yes, we can see how losing your shoes might be a bit upsetting. Especially if you're dead as well.

Flowers maintains it's not that he's not bothered by what happened to the bloke, but the "authorities never told him" if he'd died or not.

It's not clear who Flowers was expecting to contact him - Officer Mikowski from the Driving Accident Liasion department - or why he never bothered to get in touch to ask after the bloke he hit.

Still, nice that his conscience has been stirred by the need to promote a new album. God knows what he'll be 'fessing up to by the time the box sets come out...

Tonight, you're a rock and roll star; tomorrow... well, you're not

Even Noel Gallagher cries, sometimes. Poor old Noel didn't know what to do next after Oasis played the gigs at Knebworth, he tells Uncut:

"The plan was always to become the biggest band in the world," he recalled. "And as much as everybody around us and me used to say it, I was the only one who fucking believed it was going to happen. Like Alan McGee, like Liam, they would say the words and all that, but, in hindsight, everyone was just going along with what I was saying."

Were they just nodding but with that look in their eye like they're hoping you'll get quiet as the cocaine starts to wear off?

"But I knew it was fucking going to happen. I knew in me bones it was gonna happen. After that, at the time, dong the biggest ever gigs in England, 'Morning Glory' being the biggest album in British history, it was like, 'Well, what now?'

Hang on a moment... in what way is Morning Glory the "biggest album in British history"? That's surely only if we elect to ignore Dire Straits' Brothers In Arms. And Bad by Michael Jackson. And Sergeant Pepper. All of which are bigger.

"I remember sitting there, at Knebworth, in the backstage area, and someone saying, 'Well, what now?' And I was like, 'I couldn't fucking tell ya.' And that was how I felt for a good couple of years afterwards, I really suffered. It's like, what do you do when you've done everything. I suppose it's like getting a massive, massive pay rise and buying everything you want. What do you do after that? You kind of sink into boredom. Kind of directionless."

Well, that explains the last three or four albums and every interview they've done this century. Directionless boredom.

Call me Dave

It's taken a while, but following Coxon's solo doings, Gorillaz, and Me Me Me, now Dave Rowntree's making a bid for a life beyond Blur.

His chosen method is The Ailerons, a band featuring more comedy names than you'd find at a clown convention:

Rowntree will be joined by occasional Blur and Gorillaz drummer Mike Smith, bassist Grog, guitarist Dan Beattie and singer Charity Hair.

They're making an ep available through iTunes (does that quite count as a debut release?) and doing a world tour of Camden and the area around it this October:

London Dublin Castle - 13th
London Hoxton Bar & Grill - 16th
London Windmill - 17th

Chip Shop Boy

To promote his new album (rather than the old one about feeding the fish), Badly Drawn Boy is planning to play a gig in a chip shop. People with the internet are being invited to vote for the shop where Gough will be battling with the battered sausage and smell of pickled onions:

Ann's Fry - Glasgow
Smith's Ideal Fisheries - Grimsby
Brett's Fish Restaurant - Leeds
Mr Chips - Hereford
Toffs - London
Ocean Fish Bar - Wolverhampton
Bardsleys - Brighton
Rock & Sole Plaice - London
Brunswick Fish & Chips - Manchester
Magnet - Bristol

Michael Jackson makes bid to rule the world

Having saved the survivors of both the September 11th 2001 attacks and the poor response to the flooding following Hurricane Katrina, Michael Jackson is now turning his attention to the rest of us. He intends to take over the world with edgy street sounds.

How do we know? Erm... the Uncle of someone who once worked Eminem says so:

According to the uncle of Ron "Neff U" Feemster, former producer with Eminem, 50 Cent, and Ne-Yo, Jacko has brought in some production big-hitters for the proposed album.

Feemster's uncle, Charles "Big Chuck" Stanton, told the Los Angeles Times that he'd been to the embattled star's new home to discuss the project and met "a musically focused and creatively fired-up Jackson."

Stanton said he is "ready to take over the world. He's got some hot records. Will.I.Am did one, Teddy Riley [did one]. We're giving Michael a lot of edgy street records. He's putting melodies to some hard party records."

We're not even entirely sure what this means, apart from Michael giving up on the mass-market. It's not clear who exactly is going to release all this streety-edgeness.

Rules ripped up at X Factor

There's hardly a day goes by without one of the tabs suggesting that Simon Cowell Says Opportunity Knocks ("The X Factor") is undergoing some sort of scandal or other - usually along the lines of it all being a stitch-up and in the bag and none of the artists can really sing and it's all Louis Walsh in make-up and wigs.

Today's story is slightly different. The Daily Mirror is reporting the programme has landed itself in Ofcom programme code hot water because of Sharon Osbourne's phone.

Or rather, Louis Walsh's.

During a sequence last weekend when the pair were seen talking on the phone, Sharon's Motorola phone was blurred out to leave it unidentifiable. Louis' Nokia phone, however, was left in the clear and visible.

Guess which company sponsors the X-Factor?

Of course, giving undue prominence to a sponsor's products in the programme is a clear breach of the rules; Ofcom is set to investigate.

ITV's best defence might be to point out that - following the cold chill she cast down the Wal-Mart aisles as an Asda spokesperson - they thought that it was being generous trying and prevent the public associating the Motorola product with Sharon Osbourne.

Ever wondered why Pete Andre is orange?

Someone, a very cruel person, must have told Peter Andre a handy tip at some point which he swallowed whole. His wife, Jordan, has shared his seaside behaviour:

"He lies on the beach and covers himself in Coke. Diet Coke keeps the insects away."

We're sure Andre isn't bothered by anyone much as he lies in a sticky mess on the sand. But has he considered that it might be the vision of Andre in his speedos which keeps all sentinent beings away, rather than the fizzy drink.

Britney Spears reads you your rights

What on Earth is going on at Wapping? Has Murdoch seen the bill for upgrading their Photoshop suite and started insisting that the asset be sweated? They've also got a mock-up of how Britney Spears might look if she was a cop, which illustrates a lame story saying that she's going to play a police officer in her next video.

Although what she actually said was:

"Maybe in my next video I'll be a police officer. That's a great idea. I love it."

Which hardly sounds like she's being measured for polyester trousers just yet.

Prince calls for more clothes

Once, it was all about the nudity with him; writhing about in tiny purple bikini bottoms and panting:

When I see your naked body's wet, hey, hey/
When I see your naked body's wet, Mmm/
When I see your naked body's wet, body's wet, body's wet/
And I'm helpless as a pet/
When I see u naked baby/
when your body's wet/
body's wet, body's wet

Nowadays, he's offering to pay strippers to put their clothes back on:

according to an onlooker at top Hollywood nightspot Xenii he added: “What would your parents think if they could see you now? It’s wrong to dance like that.

“You’re too good for this. You shouldn’t be selling yourself so cheap.”

But instead of stopping, the girls told the star: “We need the money.”

Prince offered them double their nights' wages to stop, but the women pointed out that they needed to dance every night.

Prince had probably genuinely not realised that - after all, he can do one night's performance and that keeps him ticking over for a good few months.

Perhaps most splendid about this story is the Sun's attempt to help some of its slower readers picture this event in their mind's eye.

Prince mock=up

As you can see, this is Prince ... as he'd look with girls at Xenii - and not, as it might appear on first glance, a promo picture of Prince superimposed on some random shot of some random girls at some random nightclub. Brings the story to life, don't you find?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Children Collide head this way

Children CollideAustralian gallery-rockers Children Collide are heading to Britain in support of their coming so-soon single Frozen Armies. You can go and see them, and look, and everything here. London unless they're not:

Tuesday 10th October: Artrocker, The Buffalo Bar
Saturday 14th: Club Motherfucker, Barden's Boudoir
Wednesday 18th: The Legion
Thursday 19th: Dublin Castle
Friday 20th: Wombat Wombat, The Arts Centre, Norwich
Friday 27th: Barrowland 2, Glasgow
Sunday 29th: Life Café (In The City showcase), Manchester

Indie reshuffle

Janet WeissThere's some swapping round in the indie world today, with John Moen, drummer with Stephen Malkmus' mew project the Jicks moving on to take up beating stuff for The Decemberists in future. Replacing Moen is Janet Weiss, who had been drumming for Sleater-Kinney up until they stopped being a going concern.

[Thanks to Barry Shanahan for the tip]

Music against torture

Another new album worth investigating: 50 Minutes, a charity compilation raising money for The Medical Foundation For The Care Of Victims Of Torture. Fifty artists have contributed tracks just one minute long - hence, of course, the name.

Amongst those bursting, doing it, and getting out quick are Daniel Johnston, Ladyfuzz, Plans and Apologies and The Hot Puppies. And 45 others, if our maths is correct.

The language of broken hearts needs no translation

Damon And Naomi, out of Damon And Naomi, and once of Galaxie 500, are about to launch the first in a series of albums, the International Sad Hits. The concept is simultaneously high-falutin' - all four artists are united by a shared common thread to their Altaic languages - and as basic as it comes - a love of melancholy.

The acts are Turkey's Fikret Kizilok, Korea's Kim Doo Soo and Tomokawa Kazuki and Mikami Kan, a pair of Japanese artists.

Kizilok died in 2001, after a thirty-year career of mixing western rock with the traditional music of Anatolia (in modern times, the Asian part of Turkey). Kim Doo Soo took Korean folk and sprayed it with a mournful version of psychedelic rock.

Kazuki Tomokawa also won himself a slotting into the almost non-existent acid-folk genre, picking up the title of the screaming philosopher along the way - an acknowledgment of his ability to express some quite complex ideas while still screeching like a cat in a kettle incident.

Perhaps the best-known of the quartet, Mikami Kan started his career as possibly the only Japanese Blues artist when he arrived in Tokyo in 1968. The city struck him with its violence, an inspiration which fuelled his music and led to his rejection of compromising either musically or lyrically. His early records expressed the sort of admiration for the criminalised youth which would have made even Alex and his Droogs feel a little uneasy; faced with a choice between re-recording or seeing the discs supressed by his own label, Mikami chose to see the recordings withdrawn.

International Sad Hits is available throught Amazon in the UK and the 20-20-20 website in the US.

BT DMA Awards for PR teams

It probably says everything about how shaky the BT-sponsored Digital Music Awards as a shop window for the vibrancy of music online is, that, some 24 hours after the prizes were awarded, they've still not managed to get a list of the winners on their official site.

Perhaps they're just a little chastened by the plodding winners in the various categories. The Register went along, and saw "pouting gang of hired hairdos, the impression was the antithesis of grassroots online music; contrived, objectively rubbish - and damningly - pushy."

The Guardian was slightly kinder to the event, finding room for Sandi Thom's speech:

"It's giving you the chance to communicate directly with the audience rather than going through middlemen. With the internet, Madonna and my mate next door can both have a MySpace account and they're completely equal."

Well, up to a point, Sandi. If your neighbour has got a multi-million pound record label backing them, they'd be completely equal - and, lets face it, with Thom's background, it's possible that they will have. There might be equality of access, but all the while some people have their MySpaces written and promoted by teams of PR, we're still some way from me and Madonna being able to meet on equal terms.

The Guardian notes with approval that [t]he prize for best podcast - radio-style shows that can be downloaded to a portable device or played on a computer - went not to Radio 1 or another media giant but to London Elektricity, a jungle and drum and bass show. But that has to be tempered with the best music magazine going to Time Warner for; best use of Broadband to Viacom's MTV overdrive; best event to Clear Channel's Download Festival and even a prize for News International. MySpace, amusingly, was given an innovation award - as The Reg gruffly notes, their main innovation this year was banking a huge cheque from Rupert Murdoch.

If this awards ceremony was really meant to be applauding the ability of the net to challenge the large incumbents of the music and media industries, it wouldn't have been sponsored by Channel 4, British Telecom and the Daily Mail's sister paper, the Metro, would it?

Those winners in full:

Best music magazine - NME.COM
Best pop artist- Lily Allen
Best rock artist - Muse
Best official website- McFly
Best urban artist - Lemar
Best electronic artist or DJ - Lorraine
Best unsigned - The Wonderfuls
Best podcast - London Elektricity
Best radio station - Gaydar
Best music store - Bleep
Best event - Dowload Festival
Best music community -
Best artist promotion - White Stripes for The Denial Twist Project
Best use of broadband - MTV Overdrive
Best use of mobile - Thom Yorke with MoBlip
Best artist campaign - Thom Yorke for the Eraser
Best Innovation - MySpace

Some people might feel Madonna's PR stunt is little more than a bid to adopt

Less than 24 hours after Madonna first arrived in Malawi, nasty rumours are already running around the web that the purpose of the trip is slightly darker than the professed purpose, to gain some column inches. Some people are hinting she might be only be in the country to adopt a child.

What's interesting is that when it was first mentioned she was going to try and out-Bono Bono by doing something to get in the papers by doing something about Aids orphans, it was suggested she was going to fund an Aids centre herself. Now, it's turning out she's only going to "raise" the money - because, of course, if you donate cash, you only get the one shot of the giant comedy cheque, but if you have a series of events, you get lots and lots of coverage. Never mind that selling just one of her London houses would probably fund the thing straight off.

Madonna's commitment to PR is also shown in her plans to put a million dollars into making some sort of film about the Malawians. In other words, the cash that could have completed a third of the orphanage is going to be spent on making a film about how Madonna is helping instead.

Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Film yourself giving a man a fish, and you will be permanently recorded as a humanitarian.

Morrison wallows in his childhood

It's bad enough that the bookshops of Britain are cluttered with people trying to eke out being told off harshly in the 1960s into literary careers; now James Morrison is trying to bring the culture of pity to the CD racks:

"My dad left when I was young - he was on the bottle. My mum, she had her own issues. We were skint. We moved around a lot.

"Me and my brother and sister had to take care of ourselves when we were younger.

"I've definitely learnt not to be a smackhead or boozer. I've seen a lot of that around me."

"Living through anything tough either makes you or breaks you. It's made me stronger. Living with your emotions on the edge all the time, it's helped me tap into them now."

James... Nietzsche's on the phone; he'd like his maxim back.

Oddly, 3AM's response to this tale of woe is to snort:

That's the way to do it, Pete Doherty...

Erm... Pete Doherty didn't have a lousy childhood 3AM Girls...

Brian McFadden sniffles again

Friends - people, pals, mates - of Brian McFadden are putting his current bout of public-wobbling down to his single coming out a couple of weeks ago. You hadn't heard? That's the problem; even with LeAnn Rimes on board, it spluttered out before making the Top 40.

His latest public-wobble is bursting into tears during a training session for Sky TV's The Match.

The pal has decided that it'd probably do him good to know it's all in the Daily Mirror:

"Bri is just not himself, he's all over the place emotionally, he's really suffering.

"He knew the LeAnn track wouldn't go to No. 1 but it really knocked him sideways that it didn't even make the Top 40.

"He went to pieces at the karaoke. "Everyone was chanting for him to come back but he just lit up a fag.

His hands were shaking terribly."

If people are feeling fragile, constant prodding from newspapers will always help.

Katona car crash trauma

Kerry Katona is turning into such a one woman disaster area the UN keep trying to drop blankets on her. Her latest scrape came when the car she was driving in hit another:

The other driver Marie Gallimore said: "My car was hurled into a lampost. I was sitting shaking when I recognised Kerry and thought, 'Oh my God'."

Well, yes, that's the usual reaction.

Katona is several months pregnant:

Her agent Max Clifford said: "She and Mark are home and OK. There is nothing to worry about."

Of course, Max also insisted that she'd never taken drugs, which turned out to be a bit of a lie.

More Pink

Pink is extending her UK tour with four extra November dates:

Brighton - 26
Bournemouth - 27
Birmingham - 29
Glasgow - 30

The shows will be in the Arenas, Centres or otherwise large, cavernous venues in the respective cities.

Chris Moyles collapses

Chris Moyles says he collapsed yesterday, and although his illness was enough to worry the NHS with, it wasn't so bad it stopped him from promoting his book on Paul O'Grady's chatshow a few hours later:

“I was collapsed on the breakfast bar at home and I just really didn’t feel well.”

Which, funnily enough, is what happened to us when we caught sight of him pushing his book on Channel 4 later on.

Blimey... someone who'd had trouble breathing a few hours before and Paul O'Grady interviewing each other. Now, that's high-risk live TV.

Peaches held

Due to some sort of misunderstanding, Peaches Geldof found herself suspected of shoplifting yesterday - a security guard at Urban Outfitters thought she was trying to leave without paying for a coat, and it took a whole hour to sort it all out.

Of course, the whole thing was terribly embarassing for Peaches - fancy getting spotted in Urban Outfitters, who are so last season.

The trouble is if you come from a family with a reputation for petty crime, this sort of thing sticks. Bob and Paula used to cruise supermarkets, eating the stock as they went round, back when they were poor.

We're sure someone's already pitching Geldof in Guantanamo to ITV, opening with Peaches lookin earnestly into the camera: "I, myself, have been a victim of injustice and held against my will in inhumane conditions..."

Police release Carling Weekend "sex attacker" photo

Police are still looking for a man alleged to have sexually assaulted a fifteen year-old girl on the Saturday night of the Reading Festival; they've issued this efit of the suspected attacker.

Detective Constable Mark Bradshaw said: "There were lots of people at this event and I urge anyone who witnessed the incident to get in touch."

If you recognise the bloke, Thames Valley Police would like to hear from you.

Reading festival leaves town for good

Not the Reading Festival, but Reading's other festival: WOMAD has decided it's outgrown the town - after all, it's a little tricky trying to pour 40,000 people into a city centre for a music festival at the best of times.

Reading say they'll miss their money ("them"):

Thomas Broonan, a Womad director, said: "We are intensely proud of our achievement together in Reading and all that Womad has achieved in this context has been with the support and endorsement of both the council and the people of Reading since 1990."

Reading Borough Council acknowledged the town does not have a venue large enough to accommodate the festival.

David Sutton, council leader, said: "My first feelings once the decision was finalised, were of great sadness, something like the sadness parents feel when their children leave home perhaps.

"But we have to accept that there are commercial pressures on Womad and also, simply, things move on."

The "commercial pressures" was a bit of a sly jibe - hardly fair to accuse a festival which has a nose-flute stage and often ends with headliners who don't sing in English as being motivated by cash considerations.

Womad is planning to announce a new home in Wiltshire.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Label loses only Client

Andy Fletcher's record label, Toast Hawaii, now appears to have no bands at all with the news that Client have pulled themselves out and are now organising their own releases. Kate Holmes tells Side-Line:

"It was a mutual decision as Andy was touring with DM for most of 2005-6 and we didn’t want to stop Client and wait. We also became disillusioned with the way Mute got swallowed up by EMI. We still see Andy though as he lives round the corner from us. Maybe he will come on tour with us next."

It's not quite leaving Toast Hawaii as toast; they do still have the mysterious Legate X signed up. If they even exist.

No rock and roll funPlug: The last Client

Idlewild drop Idle; remain wild

It hardly seems a few days since Idlewild went into a deep hibernation, so the announcement of a slew of tour dates so soon comes as a surpise:

Dundee Fat Sams - November 28
Sheffield The Plug - 29
Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms- 30
Bristol Fleece- December 1
Manchester Academy 3 - 2
London Scala - 4

The tour bus from the past

This is quite a package: David Essex, The Osmonds, Showaddywaddy and David Cassidy. Okay, perhaps now they're all lighter of temple and slower of pace, it's not quite the package it once was, but it's not so long that this bunch together would have been almost illegally stinking of sex:

April 2007

11 - Glasgow SECC
12 - Nottingham Arena
13 - Brighton Centre
14 - London Wembley Arena
18 - Cardiff International Arena
19 - Birmingham NEC Arena
20 - Manchester MEN Arena
21 - Sheffield Arena

Miller Fight

We've always had a healthy disrespect for Miller adverts in music magazines - we're still haunted by the MGD campaign which stunk up the back pages of the NME just under twenty years ago; a bunch of the sort of people who New York advertising types would assume to be aspirational saying things like "Drinking Miller Genuine Draft in Tribecca? It's cool." I'd still rather have a glass of ground glass than a bottle of Miller.

Now, a new beef: Weezer are unhappy that Miller appeared to imply their endorsement by including a Weezer ticket stub in an ad in Rolling Stone.

It's not just the beer, they say; it's the other acts they were associated with in the ad - other stubs featured the likes of Bon Jovi and Less Than Jake - harmed their reputation through assocation.

Now, this would be quite funny - it does sound like a joke, doesn't it? - but Weezer are deadly serious. The ads appeared in 2004, and since then they've been working on a legal response - now they've made it, demanding damages apparently running into millions.

Not only does this make the band look more than a little puffed-up ("how could you mention our name in the same breath as Devo?") and grasping ("only millions of dollars can make this right"), but it also reveals a slightly grizzly truth at the heart of the "band":

Frontman Rivers Cuomo — who, as the suit reveals, is the "sole owner" of the Weezer name and trademark — would also be entitled to damages equal to three times Miller's revenue.

So, there's no band at all; just Rivers, his employees and his cherished brand identity. It's not Miller who are making you look bad, Cuomo.

Noisettes say sorry to Pete

There was a bit of scuttling at the Birmingham Babyshambles show on Sunday; support band the Noisettes lashed out when Doherty crashed their set:

After the show guitarist Dan Smith blasted Doherty via Myspace saying: “I'd just like to say, Pete, what the fuck were you doing coming out onstage while we were setting up to play? Are you really that much of an egomaniac or did you want to actually sabotage our show?”

A little while later, an apology appeared, perhaps when the Noisettes remembered their position in the pecking order:

“I'm sorry- I don't mean any ill will to Pete and the rest of the Babyshambles- I don't really know Pete and I’m sure he didn’t really mean any harm.”

“Drew (Babyshambles) actually was back there trying to reset Shingai's shoulder and those guys have been really nice to us for the whole tour. Nigel got all our gear off the stage and bailed us out in Dublin when our van died.”

“I just got really upset seeing my friend Shing in such pain and I’m more angry with myself for just being useless in the face of all this - I kind of froze - didn’t know what to do.”

There was a gentle smell of "Oh, fuck... will this do" about the second post.

U2 show commitment to recycling

Because Bono is much too busy building ugly towers and organising his Wall Street finances these days, you wouldn't expect Dutch Band U2 to go out and actually record new material, so when they say "a new U2 album", it's going to be yet another compilation. The closest thing to new material will be the Green Day collaboration (and is it just us, or is there something extra cynical about getting a band to work with you under the guise of charity only to use it to bolster sales of a compilation album?)

Beyonce is all original, all the time

Attempts to sue Beyonce for copyright theft - Jennifer Armour reckoned Baby Boy was a bit too much like her own Got a Little Bit of Love For You - have run aground. A judge has ruled there are 'substantial differences' between the two tracks.

Beyonce is magnanimous in victory:

"It's unfortunate that lawsuits such as this one occur, but I am grateful and relieved to have this behind me and I am eager to move on," said Ms Knowles in a statement.

... because we imagine she wasn't getting much sleep with that hanging over her.

You've bust ya tour, Busta

Ever wondered if anyone would ever start to say no as artists start to demand more and more luxury aboard their tour gravy train?

It's happened.

Busta Rhymes started asking for extra extras, on top of the extras for his Australian tour.

Now, there won't be an Australian tour at all:

The promoters, PDA Touring, have claimed that their refusal of "outrageous demands on the eve of departure by Busta Rhymes' management" resulted in the rapper's cancellation.

Although unconfirmed, reports are claiming that Rhymes demanded more money for the gig, business class flights for his whole entourage and five-star accommodation.

There are some murky suggestions that Rhymes might have been trying to force PDA's hand to enable him to ease his double-booking problems, as he'd managed to get a clashing set of supports for Mariah Carey.

What was Fergie thinking?

We're sure at storyboard stage, it sounded great: Fergie and two models, virtually naked, writhing in chocolate.

Nobody seemed to realise it would end up looking like a dirty protest in Cell Block H.

David Cameron really is following Blair step-for-step

The Labour party hacked off Norman Cook by using Right Here, Right Now.

Now, The Tories have annoyed him by asking to use Happiness. He's said no, but does acknowledge that Callmedave's lot are slightly politer than Blair:

Multi-millionaire Norman — who is openly Left-wing — has made it clear he does not want the Tories’ cash or to be associated with the party.

He was equally unhappy when Labour used Right Here Right Now as their election tune in 2004.

Norman raged: “At least the Conservatives had the decency to ask first, unlike Labour.

“The Tories, however, remain my least favourite political party — so an emphatic No is the answer.

“Is Happiness going to be the new direction for the Conservatives? We’ll have to wait and see.”

We love the way The Sun uses the phrase "openly left-wing" as if it was the sort of thing you're meant to be ashamed of, like masturbation or watching Fox News.

Victoria Newton is buzzing with the chance to do a spot of political analysis, mind:

Cameron has boasted that he is into RADIOHEAD, THE SMITHS, PULP and BLUR.

Something tells me none of those bands would want to be Tory supporters either.

You see, that's what Victoria gets her money for. Insights like spotting there's every chance that Morrissey might not be a Conservative voter.

Robbie Williams is not invisible

The Sun runs some photos of Robbie Williams playing golf and smiling today. That's not what's notable, though - it's this claim:

These are the first pictures of the star since exhaustion forced him to cancel the Asian leg of his Close Encounters tour.

The first pictures, if you don't count the pictures taken of him on stage for the three nights in Milton Keynes after he axed the dates, of course.

The noise made by dying stars

Can there be anything more distressing than the sight of those members of Five who couldn't find a proper job giving their opinion on MTV's boyband failiures Upper Street?

It's like asking Crippen for his opinion on Shipman's bedside manner. Needless to say, Abs, Shorley Wall, Paulie Knuckles and Wendy Craig from Five were less than impressed with Upper Street, which features Dane Bowers and... well, probably a few people from stage schools. A source saw it all:

"Ritchie and the boys went on camera saying they thought Upper Street were crap and it wouldn’t work.

“The boys heard what they had said and were furious.

“Dane and Danny went beserk and offered to take them outside and show them what they thought away from the cameras. It was all kicking off.”

Like uncles fighting at a wedding, isn't it?

Robbie Williams is not friends with Chris Moyles

Chris Moyles has called his autobiography 'The Gospel According To', presumably to tie in with his self-proclaimed saviourship of Radio One. But the book's not really a gospel at all - Moyles' messiah complex wouldn't let him see himself as a faithful disciple recording the doings of someone else; and the original Bible was a little-less big on the name-dropping:

“I really, really like Elton, I think the guy is brilliant,” he declares.

“He is funny and lovely and charming. I’ve met him three or four times and he’s introduced me to Bernie (writing partner Bernie Taupin) and he’s like this, ‘Have you met Bernie? Bernie! Bernie! Come here. This is Chris. He’s a good lad, we like Chris.’

“And I’m like ‘Elton John’s introducing me to Bernie.’ ”

Bernie Taupin, we imagine, is equally like "Elton's introducing me to that radio bloke again" and scanning the room for an exit strategy.

“Chris Martin is very clean living and very healthy but sometimes you’d think he was Pete Doherty’s flatmate.”

Why? Has Doherty stolen his guitar?

Of course, not every name dropped is done with fondness:

“I’ve met Rod Stewart once and he was a miserable bastard.

“I got introduced to him and he was massively uninterested ’cos he was talking to someone else.”

Goodness, how rude - fancy him not stopping to talking to someone he actually knew in order to dance attendance on a person he's never met before.

Nicola RobertsNicola Roberts from Girls Aloud doesn't measure up, either:

“I don’t hate the girl,” he says: “I don’t know her. But she never smiles, she is a miserable cow. The others really play the game — well, Nadine gets a little bit flaky sometimes.

Nicola Roberts' failure to shoot false smiles at Moyles starts to make us think about shifting the ordering of our list of favourite Girls Aloud.

But there's no decent Bible without a Judas, and for Moyles, it's Robbie Williams:

“It was strange. I find it frustrating that I can’t get past a certain level.

“I’m certainly not friends with the guy but I think I’ve known him long enough that I think it should be ‘Hi mate’ rather than just ‘hello.’

“He’s got a lot of issues, he’s fairly guarded and I can understand that but it might be nice if you were let in a little bit more.

“I thought we were mates and now we’re just pals.

“It goes friends, mates, pals for me and I think it’s a bit pathetic to admit it but I want to be friends with Robbie Williams and because he’s not my friend, I’m upset.”

And what was it that Williams had done which left Moyles feeling so upset? No, he'd not turned up at Radio One wearing a Christian O'Connell tshirt? Had he told him what Bernie Taupin says behind his back?

Nope; he'd arrived at the Radio One studio and offered to shake hands instead of embracing Moyles:

"I was expecting a big hug"

And yet he treated you like a bloke he works with. What a pity.

George Michael: Problem? What problem?

George Michael has reacted with anger to suggestions that he might have a bit of a problem:

"I do not have a drug problem.

Maybe you don't have any addiction issues to you need to address, George, but - with witness reports of your car lurching about busy city roads, and your needing three people to get you from the car to the ambulance - you might have a driving problem.

The Mirror seems relaxed enough about the idea of someone incapable of controlling a vehicle veering all over the roads to make a joke of it, suggesting he might have been listening to James Blunt CDs. They also speculate that he might be narcopleptic. Or, they consider:

He is known to be a dope smoker so the drugs could be leaving him lethargic.

Do you think? And the whole "smelling like a Bob Marley poster in a student bedroom" thing could be another clue there, couldn't it?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Chairs in the air

A DMX PA lasting less than quarter of an hour ended with a woman in hospital and a minor fracas.

The event - co-sponsored by New York's trouble-magnet radio station Hot 97 - was going tolerably well when DMX suddenly left the stage to have a slap at the sound guy. In a bid to speed up the performances, it seems the management of the venue was cutting the mics mid-set. 50 Cent had been playing before DMX and had tried to stir the audience in his favour to get more time; the bid for extra time failed but he did manage to inflame the crowd.

According to police, DMX and his associates exited the stage at about 11:45 p.m. but returned minutes later, throwing bottles of water into the crowd.

"A member of the audience picked up a steel folding chair and threw it onstage," Daub explained. "It was thrown back off by a member of DMX's entourage and it struck the victim in the head."

Ouch. Chairs hurt twice as much when they're aimed at someone else.

Eric Clapton is doing Cocaine again

He'd - somewhat piously - dropped his cover of JJ Cale's Cocaine from his set when he did his spell in famous-person rehab. Now, though, Eric Clapton is playing it again. Of course, he can't just slide it back into his set: we need a mini-lecture, too:

"I thought that it might be giving the wrong message to people who were in the same boat as me," Clapton recently told The Associated Press.

"But further investigation proved ... the song, if anything, if it's not even ambivalent, it's an anti-drug song. And so I thought that might be a better way to do it, to approach it from a more positive point of view. And carry on performing it as not a pro-drug song, but just as a reality check about what it does."

Clapton, of course, is incapable of singing a song that isn't true - for this reason, he once felt obliged to shoot a sheriff, just so that he wasn't fibbing about that one.

Bookmarks: Some other stuff to read online

The Guardian celebrates thirty years of the Rough Trade shop by listing some of the best indie record shops. Probe isn't there; they were probably invited to take part but hung the phone up on the paper. And...

Culture Vulture invites ideas on who might have been missed off: Probe turns up, so does Jumbo.

Newsday meanwhile celebrates New York's Looney Tunes: "People should talk about the independent record stores that are thriving," Groeger said quietly, almost humbly. "There are some."

NPR hears about Tracey Ullman's new book on knitting. Yes, that Tracey Ullman: "It was the window of this yarn store," she says. "It was like, edible -- the colors and the textures of this wool -- and it was bamboo baskets and needles and it was so different from when I was a child -- all this awful acrylic post-war wool."

Guardian Money collects more tales of iPod woe: [S]ome retailers admit to a raw deal. One told the Guardian: "Apple will not consider giving refunds on faulty machines outside warranty. Other manufacturers take a different attitude and will reimburse the shop. "We only make 10% profit on an iPod. That means if one in 10 customers have a problem, we don't make money. That's probably why shops take a hard line with them."

The Wall Street Journal's Number Guy sorts out the randomness of iPods: "People tend to seek patterns and order where none exist -- perhaps even in a shuffled iPod playlist, where they might pay more attention when their favorite songs are playing, and thus assume that those songs are in heavier rotation."

Headphone Sex reviews Field Music and Fields - ignoring, incidently, the Field Trip: Although intrinsically linked to local peers Maximo Park & The Futureheads, Field Music are a little more reserved, a little more thoughtful, and a little more influenced by 60s psychedelic pop (and The Beach Boys in particular).

Chartreuse explains Paris Hilton as Madonna 2.0: Whenever she tries to promote herself, it falls flat. Books, records, movies, etc. don’t work for Paris. Because she’s actually a platform. Like Digg and YouTube. Paris Hilton has gotten so good at garnering attention for others people are now using the fact that she doesn’t visit as a marketing tool.

FourFour brings the much-needed Beyonce/Zombie crossover: A 1,500+ word essay on B'Day, however, would betray the album's brilliantly simplistic spirit. Instead, I'm offering a what-if scenario that combines a new favorite (that'd be Bey) with an old -- Lucio Fulci's opus of zombies and popped eyeballs, the 1981 trashterpiece, The Beyond.

Last Bookmarks
Bookmarks before last

Liam Gallagher ruins Dirty Pretty Things gig

Good Lord, as if Noel trying to ruin Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys' chances wasn't bad enough, now Liam Gallagher is turning up and throwing a spanner into the Dirty Pretty Things.

The DPT's gig at Camden Proud Gallery was already hovering on the cusp of being pulled due to over-crowding when Gallagher shambled forward to 'collaborate'. Never mind that this is a bit like Pam Ayres turning up to help out WH Auden, the crowd got even more excited and surged forward. Placing safety ahead of a McCartney-Jackson moment, the gig was aborted.

Creating a lot of fuss and ending up in general disappointment. Quite a keynote Liam's working on, there.

There aren't enough festivals already

There are now more festivals than regionally-based detective dramas on television, but since there still seems to be no shortage of people willing to buy tickets, we're not expecting new entrants to the field to dry up just yet.

Latest is a bid to create a "Welsh T in the Park", Fflam, scheduled for Singleton Park in Swansea between June 15th & 17th next year.

No bands have been named as yet, but since there's only so many acts in the shallow pool they'll be fishing in, we're sure you'll be able to guess.

Jamelia dampens down 3AM

The continuing experiment of turning the 3AM girls page in the Mirror into a guest-edited feature really runs into the sand today with Jamelia, whose contributions would struggle to make it past an It's Real editor's conference. So we learn that:

SHOCK! Lemar is one of her best mates;

HORROR! Jamelia would have liked to be in EastEnders, but can't act, or on Strictly Come Dancing, but can't dance (we note not being able to sing didn't keep her off Top of the Pops);

GASP! Her boyfriend is a bit untidy;

YAWN! Jamelia won't ever have plastic surgery. Unless she gets her breasts done.;

SLEEPYWINKERS! If her boyfriend cheated on her, she'd cut off his bollocks, but doesn't need to, because he wouldn't;

CANIGONOW? She once met Prince Charles without a bra on. She didn't have a bra, not Charles, although he probably didn't have on one, either.

Thank god there was some advertising on the page, otherwise we'd probably have had "what I'm going to watch on TV tonight" and some drawings of kittens to pad out the page.

Let's stop having the 3AM filled with what celebrities want us to hear, and go back to the usual system, of letting their PR teams do it for them.

Robbie Williams is not as popular with the dead

No wonder Robbie Williams is fed up - even the dead are turning their backs on him, as James Blunt takes his place at the top of the funeral music charts:

1 Goodbye my Lover, James Blunt
2 Angels, Robbie Willams
3 I've had the Time of my Life, Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley
4 Wind Beneath my Wings, Bette Midler
5 Pie Jesu, Requiem
6 Candle in the Wind, Elton John
7 With or Without You, U2
8 Tears in Heaven, Eric Clapton
9 Every Breath you Take, The Police
10 Unchained Melody, Righteous Brothers

Since we don't believe that people in the dying demographics are likely to have developed any great affection for James Blunt over the last year or so of their life, the message is clear: make sure your will either has a choice of music, or at least excludes anything that sounds vaguely like a Simon Bates' Our Tune.

Madonna is pregnant. Or has a passport.

Aha! Madonna is spotted going into a clinic which "specialises in pregnancy and immunisation", so she's pregnant. With, erm, expectation before her trip to Malawi.

Unstuck wit' chew

Could it all be over for Pussycat Dolls, so soon, so soon? This morning's Sun has picked up on a rumour that the band - based on the Bratz dolls - have started to fall to pieces:

But an insider on a TV show that tried to book them revealed record bosses said their next single would be the last.

The band's spokesperson has insisted the group will remain together - and, let's face it, if they swapped out some of them and replaced them with similar nail technicians, nobody would really notice, would they? It'd be like Dan Archer - they'd only have to stop recasting at a point where the age they were supposed to be got Biblical.

Brian McFadden flubs

Cheering news from Newcastle, where a crowded bar came within moments of having to listen to Brian McFadden doing karaoke - only for him to fold and flee at the last moment.

He was meant to be singing Stayin' Alive at the time.

George Michael crashes out in car. Again.

Oh, Lord. Not again. As Oscar Wilde never said, to fall asleep at the wheel of your car once is unfortunate; to do it three or four times makes it look like you need to hand in your licence. This time, cops apparently found weed when they were called to George Michael, getting some sleep at the junction of Cricklewood Lane and Hendon Way at three in the morning.

He was taken first to hospital for a check-up, and thence to Colindale police station where he was cautioned for possession of drugs and charged over the driving offences.

His partner Kenny Goss said at their North London home last night: “He has nothing to say. He’s fine and I’ve got him a McDonald’s.”

That'll teach him.

Victoria Newton, meanwhile, is cross:

IT’S impossible to feel anything but frustration with George Michael.

Well, boredom is starting to come up on the outside, to be fair.

[H]e seems intent on squandering his God-given talent.

Victoria, it's too bloody early in the morning to get into a theological debate with you here, but what's with the "god-given"?

[I]t would be a tragedy if his astonishing legacy is tarnished by his bizarre behaviour.

Although, clearly, not so much of a tragedy that you feel it would have been worth not reporting his symptoms in the paper, eh?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Well, that's 2011 bloody ruined, then

Actually, we suspect that the basing of a claim that there won't be a new Coldplay album for five years on something someone claims they overheard Chris Martin saying backstage might make for a shaky story.

Apparently, he said:

"It's going to be a long, long time before you hear a new album from us," he explained. "We've done a few things, but we're all enjoying having families at the moment. If it takes five years for us to feel ready to record something new, then so be it. We need plenty of time to let it come together organically."

There is, even in what sounds to be a strangely verbatim quoye, quite a bit of hedging there.

Nine Million Bicycles Under The Sea

A good wine, they say, needs no bush. But a rubbish one? That'd need all the bush you can muster.

In other words: the stuntier someone is, the less distinctive you'll usually find their music to be. Something to consider as we hear that Katie Melua is planning to play the world's deepest gig, 100 metres below the North Sea, at an oil rig.

Why play a gig so far below the surface? There's no real reason, nor explanation - Melua describes the planned event as "pretty cool" but that's about as far as it goes. It seems to be little other than a stunt; the Guiness Book a way of gathering press coverage when there's little novelty in the music to capture the attention.

Still, there's always the hope that this inspires James Blunt to attempt a gig in the red-hot, magma-bubbling core of a volcano or something.

Priscillas here, now(-ish)

PriscillasNever mind the return of Cracker - a programme destined to shore up the ITV3 schedules for all eternity, in-between the reruns of Brideshead Revisited. Tonight's TV highlight is the Priscillas, live on liveroom TV, which is kind of like a Whistle Test tubed into your eyes via the broadband internet. They're live at nine, and you can watch afterwards forever.

And not a single crowbarred reference to 9/11 in sight.

You, You Tube and the music: Stiff

Our sometime Sundays collection of stuff off of YouTube takes its inspiration from the recent Stiff night on BBC4, with some Stiff artists, although not always from their time on the label:

Tracey Ullman - Breakaway - keyworded "fetish" on account of the leather skirts
Tracey Ullman - Terry - video of the cover...
Kirsty MacColl - Terry - ... video of the original version
Plasmatics - Butcher Babies - NSFW video
Elvis Costello - Alison/Pump It Up - filmed on Super8 during a 1981 performance
The Pogues - Dirty Old Town - live version with Kirsty MacColl hanging about in the back
Tenpole Tudor - Swords of a Thousand Men - from Top of the Pops, looks like
Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World
Devo - That's Good from David Letterman's show in 1982

Emo uninjured despite vicious attack

Emokids are reacting with something-other-than-shock at an attack on the world's most self-indulgent genre launched by Kasabian's Tom Meighan. Tom railed like he was Sally Webster discovering Rosie wearing stripey tights for the first time:

"I keep hearing how emo music is bringing kids together and that it's got these positive messages and all that, but if it's damaging teenagers and if it's making them depressed, how can that be a good thing?

"All it causes is moaning teenagers. There's nothing positive from it. People tell me it's doing something for the kids, but all it's doing is making them moan all the time.

He continued to mtv: "It may upset people, but emo is dead in my eyes. Fuck emo. Just enjoy the world. Teenagers are better than that, man. I want to tell them to be positive about life.

“You've been brought up well by your parents, so don't sit around in your bedroom cutting your wrists. Grow up."

Emokids across the US reacted as one with the word "who?"

Brad Kalchawski, 16, from Wichita Falls, Texas took time off from his organising his campaign to get Hot Topic to open a branch in his town, to ask "Tom What? What's a Kasabian? Is that a Japanese car?"

Ellen Miskoski, 16, added "I think I've heard of them - they're that Oasis band, aren't they?"

Mrs. Miskoski, who came to give Brad and Ellen a lift down to the Mall to buy some eyeliner, shook her head: "is he quite an elderly gentleman, cut off from youth culture? When he was young, did he not find a way to try and set himself out from the generation before? Did he never feel, as a teenager, that the whole of the world had been set up with the sole purpose of frustrating his every dream and desire, and thus make him feel obliged to take up a stance of poetic outsider as part of a vital growing process which, given time, will be toned down and start to form part of a rounded character which is able to empathise with others, having had this cartoon-like experience of being on the 'wrong side' of society's tracks?"

When told that Tom was actually quite young, and in a pop group, understanding spread across Mrs. Miskoski's face: "Oh... he's a bit simple, is he?"

The brain drain returns

We thought the brain drain was a thing of the past - the UK's youngest, brightest minds being tempted overseas by the promise of greater riches.

But it's not over - and we're about to be hit with a serious body blow.

Posh and Becks are about to flee to the US.

David Beckham has (apparently) lined up a lucrative contract to follow in Peter Ward's steps and throw in football to play in a US soccerteam instead, while... well, Victoria will continue to "design" ugly jeans that nobody buys and recording albums no-one will ever hear.

We don't understand why the government doesn't insist on some sort of export licence, the way they would with a painting or sculpture, to keep our cultural gems in the country. Or, rather, in Spain.

Of course, the real reason is nothing to do with getting to spend more time with Tom Cruise and his cash-hoovering cult friends.


We blame Danny Baker for this. Last week, he was defending Phil Collins on Radio London; now, property developing firm Genesis are about to launch a reunion tour of their sideline music interest.

The Sunday Mirror reports a source:

Last night a source revealed: "Genesis were huge in Britain and America and there remains a huge amount of affection for them. And the tour is likely to make them millions."

We're glad for the sort of insight that only an insider could give you - we'd never have known that "Genesis were huge" without them.

Robbie Williams is not telling all

Robbie Williams has been in an eighteen-month relationship with a woman, according to the Sunday Mirror. The paper describes Charlotte Austin as "a humble barmaid" - presumably as opposed to those arrogant barmaids employed in Yates Wine Lodge. The paper never quite clears up why, if she's been Robbie's secret lover for a year and a half, she's suddely decided to tell the papers about it. The telling usually comes after the kissing stops, but the feature makes no suggestion it's all come to a bad end; the whole thing, in fact, reads less like a lover has broken a confidence, and more like Robbie Williams has rung-in the whole thing putting on a David Walliams-style lady voice:

She said: "It's quite empowering to be involved with him - it's empowering to tell him, 'Sorry, I can't see you tonight, Robbie Williams.'"


"Even though it was Robbie Williams, it still isn't like a movie where people are ripping clothes off and I get carried to the bedroom."


"It was all very sweet and it was the best sex I had ever had - not because it was Robbie Williams, but because he is so unselfish and just so lovely about it all.nd stamina-wise - he has no problems at all."

Tell that to the people who paid for tickets to one of his Milton Keynes gigs who were hacked off to discover he blew off the stage twenty minutes early.

"It's a bit empowering - if Robbie Williams tells you you're gorgeous, well it does help to get rid of some of your insecurities. I mean - if he thinks you're beautiful then you have to have something going for you, don't you?"


"And that is when it hit me - when you see him in the flesh with those famous tattoos - that's when you remember that your mate Rob is actually the Robbie Williams all those girls lust after."

Did she mention it's the fabulous Robbie Williams that's she talking about here? Robbie Williams. Out of Take That. That one. The famous, fabulous, shit-doesn't-smell Robbie Williams. I don't know if you'd have picked up on that, as she was being a subtle about how this is all about the marvellous Robbie Williams that all the girls want to have sex with. That one.

Of course, if Robbie was writing this himself, it would have stressed that he has sex with lots and lots of women and ladies and girls, not just one.

Oh, hang on:

She said: "There's kind of an unspoken arrangement with Robbie. You know he might never call back, you know you're not the only one. He doesn't often call girls back or revisit them. But he did with me for some reason.

"I knew he was with lots of other girls at the same time - he has them all over the world - that's just something you accept.

"But when you're spending time with him and things get physical you start to think it would be nice for it to continue, even though you know it could end at any time. We'd talk about the other girls and how for them it was their big night - something they'd remember forever."

Well, you would, wouldn't you, if you were a lady with all those lady bits that had been pleasured by the super-wonderful Robbie Williams off the telly and the radio. You'd remember it forever and ever. One to tell Saint Peter about as you reach the Pearly Gates, although he'd be bound to be the tiniest bit jealous that it was you who'd got to have just a few minutes of sex with Robbie Williams with his famous tattoos.

Hang about... did we mention how fabulous he is?

"Robbie's a good-looking guy, but that isn't what it's about. He is so engaging and lovely and funny - he's a performer - that's what sets him apart. The majority of his attractiveness isn't his looks - it's his way. I'm not saying he isn't physically attractive, but it's more than that."

The oddest thing, though, is not the totally-blemish-free account of the affair, but this bit:

"It was all very real, but very lovely - we just walked into the bedroom and proceeded to have serious hanky-panky."

Serious hanky-panky? Who has ever, ever, used the phrase "hanky-panky" to describe sex since about 1937? Is she sure it wasn't Bertie Wooster shagging her?

Living the dream

Freddie Garrity, from Freddie and The Dreamers, who died in May this year, left an estate worth just under a quarter of a million pounds, according to his published will.

Heather Mills: And stretch

According to this morning's News of the World (and that's, obviously, more than a pinch of salt required), Heather Mills "has struck up a close relationship" with her personal trainer, Ben Amigoni.

The paper reports breathlessly that they go out cycling together, for all the world to see, and he visits her house and spends time there. That's unlike other personal trainers, of course, who usually shout directions through a letterbox and run off.

The paper reckons that Paul McCartney would be "furious" if he knew, although they have no more reason than he would to assume that she's just getting match fit.

And he's seen the pair of them together anyway:

Macca would even watch Ben put her through her paces on the treadmill last summer.

It doesn't say if he hid in a wardrobe when he did this.

This week just gone

Seven days in the life on No Rock:

The most-read individual pages were:

1. Heather Mills' naked calendar pictures
2. Is KT Tunstall gay or what?
3. McFly waving their cocks about
4. Heather Mills porno book past reappears
5. Heather Mills gets dragged into PurpleMelon PR campaign
6. Aaron Carter announces engagement... (a little too soon)
7. Jake Shears would shag Wayne Rooney, given either the chance or a blind eye
8. Heather Mills old porn pics again
9. Pete Doherty will marry Kate Moss, reckons people
10. MTV want your content, and your trust

You can read everything from this week on one page or
skim the previous week in one post

and, we suggested these things to buy, rather than that Gordon Brown was telling a lie:

Yeah, well, we all had more hair back then: Placebo debut hits 10

Yeah, well, we all had more hair back then: Evan and the Lemonheads return

Not quite a Lloyd Cole return to form, but he's past the midlife crisis stage

Inspired and reviving return from BabyBird

Nicky Wire steps out from Manics safety-zone, but not too far

So now we know: Daleks beat Cybermen

Film version of The Likely Lads: "Working class sentiment is the indulgence of working peopled created through football and rock-and-roll for people like you who moved out to the Elm Lodge housing estate at the earliest opportunity"

She-Ra now works the Northern club circuit with Skeletor's nephew Bonehead, you know