Saturday, October 21, 2006

A scout is loyal to the Queen, his country, his troop and Sony-BMG

As that chap who tried to unite all the German speaking peoples of Europe into one superstate knew, it always helps to win children over to your cause, so it's nice to see the entertainment industry taking a break from suing to children to invite scouts to turn themselves into copyright watchers:

Boy Scouts in the Los Angeles area will now be able to earn a merit patch for learning about the evils of downloading pirated movies and music.

The patch shows a film reel, a music CD and the international copyright symbol, a C enclosed in a circle.

The movie industry has developed the curriculum.

"Working with the Boy Scouts of Los Angeles, we have a real opportunity to educate a new generation about how movies are made, why they are valuable, and hopefully change attitudes about intellectual property theft," Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement Friday.

Scouts will be instructed in the basics of copyright law and learn how to identify five types of copyrighted works and three ways copyrighted materials may be stolen.

Scouts also must choose one activity from a list that includes visiting a movie studio to see how many people can be harmed by film piracy. They also can create public service announcements urging others not to steal movies or music.

The useful part for the scouts will be the tips on how download copyright material - until you have it explained how to do wrong, you might do wrong wrong. They also like the "respect your knife" sessions for the same reason.

You shouldn't make it up

For some reason, the Daily Mail website has elected not to publish Richard Littlejohn's humourous spoofs of Beatles songs which formed the entirety of his column today. Since Littlejohn had clearly spent several minutes on them, that seems a shame. So here's a taste:

I once had a girl, Or, as you know, She's now had me. She showed me her leg Isn't it good? Norwegian wood.

She told me that I should stop drinking, I started to laugh, So I lit up a spliff and the next day woke up in the bath. She took off her leg, Smacked me in the head.

I went back to bed. Covered in blood. Isn't it good? Norwegian Wood.

We're sure your sides will be heaving at their very seams. Here's another:

I read the news today, oh dear, About an unlucky man who lost his wife, And though the news was rather sad, We all just had to laugh, We saw the photograph.

He dyed his mullet in the bath, Midnight Maroon was what the bottle said.

A crowd of people came to stare, They'd seen his face before, But nobody was really sure if he was only 64.

I read the Mail today, oh boy, It said he stabbed her with a broken glass, Grabbed the respondent by the neck, Though she was up the duff, He'd always treat her rough.

I had to turn the page.

Woke up, fell out of bed, Couldn't find my wooden leg. On the way downstairs, Tipped the bedpan up. Looking back, I noticed he was drunk.

Found my leg, my Beatles cap, Pocketed my Amex Black, Went up West to meet my brief When he told me what I'd get, I went into a dream . . .

I read the news today, oh dear, Four million quid -- that's just the lawyers' fees.

And though the sums were rather large, She said: I want it all, And it'd better be a damn sight more than Jagger gave to Jerry Hall.

Whatever turns you on.

You'll note, besides the sort of parody that gives sixth form revues a bad name, Littlejohn is obsessed with Heather Mills' disability. Nothing like someone losing a leg in an accident to raise a titter, is there, Dicky? Especially when mixed in with a bit of domestic violence, too.

One last, although there was much more:

Close your eyes and I'll kick you, 'Cos you make me sick, you Bone-idle, gold-digging cow.

I know what you're thinking, You're right, I've been drinking, I've got to get through this somehow.

When you worked in Harrods, You partied with Arabs, And starred in some porno pix, too.

You might think it's funny, But you won't get my money, I ain't going to give you a sou.

All my money, I will keep from you, All my money, darling, this is true, All my money, all my money, All my money, will not go to you.

Littlejohn and the Mail like to position themselves as some sort of moral guardians of the English soul. You can see that coming through, can't you?

[Thanks to Alan Connor for the tip]

I predict a disappointment

The Kaiser Chiefs seem a little demob happy after having completed their second album, and are setting themselves quite heady targets. Drummer Nick Hodgson has thrown down his gauntlet:

“We were looking at some sales figures of Led Zeppelin. The first one did 8 million in the U.S. alone. The fourth? 23 million! So we're like, 'Yeah! It'd be great to do that, wouldn't it? It'd be great to play massive gigs in America.' Hold on a minute! We've got to sell a hundred million records. If we keep making 'em and you keep buying 'em then we'll get there.”

The Zep, of course, were the archetypal albums band - it's going to be a stress for the Kaisers to sell as many albums when they're clearly more attuned to the singles market.

Seeing as selling however many it is they've managed in the US so far returned the band home looking like they'd spent several years strip-mining in a far flung Soviet prison, we'd imagine selling a hundred million would push them over some sort of edge.

(A nice cup of) T in the park

Oh, good: another large music festival. Unbelievably, the organisers of T in the Park think they've spotted a gap in the market, and plan to launch a festival next year called Connect. The twist?

It's aimed at an older audience:

Geoff Ellis, of DF Concerts, organisers of T in the Park and Ton the Fringe, said: "We have been inspired to launch a new festival next year.

"It'll be much smaller than T in the Park with an older demographic. But it's a new festival for Scotland.

"I wanted to do it this year but we had too much on."

It'll be like any other festival, but bands will find the audience feel the need to hurl bottles of piss at them twice as often.

Razorlight given beer, not work, by Borrell

Razorlight about to be dumped as Johnny Borrell starts to work out he'd earn twice as much if he didn't have to pay for that lot to be kept in white trousers and make-up as well?

Perish the thought.

Why, having pocketed ninety grand for a corporate, Borrell spent 19k on some sort of a party for his band.

Which might be a lovely gesture, or it could be that he's experimenting with a new sort of musical setaside. You turn up, take a large payday for doing a brief solo performance to promote some sort of electronic gizmo, and slice off a small portion to thank the others for not turning up.

But maybe we're being unkind:

“There is no way we are splitting up.

“I did America solo last week at the Vodaphone awards.

“They’re fine with me to be doing this but it’s a bit weird singing with a gospel choir and not seeing your band when you turn around on stage.

It's also not entirely clear that Borrell paid for the drinks himself - he ran up the tab on Blackberry's account; it might be that they decide to swallow that too, rather than take it from Borrell's paycheque. After all, if you're paying nearly a hundred grand for a singer, a few more won't hurt overmuch.

Borrell's decision to do corporate work is interesting. We look forward to hearing of his exploits closing the Teignmouth Area Curtain Sales Conference in the new year.

Jessica Simpson: 'Creepy sexualised talk the norm at our house'

One of the most skin-crawling moments in recent music history - Papa Joe Simpsons drooling over his daughter Jessica's breasts ("She's got double-D's! You can't cover those suckers up!) - has been revisited, as Jessica has said she didn't find it in any way icky:

No, I've had double D's for a long time. Are you kidding? No."

She added: "My family is extremely close. I talk to my mum about my sex life. That's not something that creeps me out.

"We're Podunk Southern. My dad is very open about his ideas and it's disgusting that people are making a judgment on something that is false."

There's a difference, surely, between "talking about your sex life" with your mother, and your Dad cackling over how huge your tits are with a bunch of journalists.

Is anyone else a little confused by what Jessica means when she says "something that is false", though? She doesn't seem to be suggesting that the origianl quote was wrong, which sort of implies its her breasts that are false. But surely she doesn't mean that, either?

Urban decay

Being married to Nicole Kidman might not be all it's cracked up to be, then: Keith Urban has gone back into rehab.

Keith - described as a "country crooner" by The Sun - is sorry for the mess he's made:

He said he had “let one’s guard down on recovery” and apologised for the “hurt” it caused Nicole, 39.

Although, to be honest, if you had to choose between a husband who sometimes overdid the JD, and one who built his entire life around the belief that aliens were coming to carry him off in the spaceship because of his specialness, I think we'd all be down the bar, wouldn't we?

Diddy made bubbles in his bath

In what seems to be little more than an attempt to leave the world agape at what a total dude he was, Puff Daddy has been boring on about the old days:

"I was buck-fucking wild - beyond Ménage à trios.

"I was 20-something and renting the presidential suite at the Hotel Nikko in Beverly Hills.

"I got the bathtub filled with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

"Then sex became dangerous."

Well, yeah, the risk of getting a strawberry seed in your bell-end would be quite dangerous - imagine if you had soft fruit bushing out your pants.

Nowadays, though, Diddy has calmed down. A lot:

"My girl right now is very happy.

"As meticulous as I am with my work, I'm even more meticulous with my lovemaking."

Meticulous sex? What would that even be like? Does he have, say, a clipboard which he works his way through to make sure that every bit gets a little attention: "Left nipple - check. Now, I'll continue to work my way down, and see to the right nipple on my way back up..."

Meticulous seems to be the opposite of sex. We're trying to shake the image that Diddy always ensures each orgasm releases exactly the same amount of semen.

Although what he probably means is he never lets a Thursday night slip by without having a spot of sex.

Radiobit: Paul Walters

The death has been announced of Paul Walters, producer of the Terry Wogan breakfast show on Radio 2.

Walters joined Radio 2 in 1977 after a spell with the BBC film department, first linking up with Wogan in 1980. When Terry returned to breakfasts on the network, Walters was the obvious choice to oversee the programme; even after his illness took him away from day-to-day duties in November last year, he continued to be involved with choosing the tracks to sit in between Wogan's talking.

Walters, who also produced You, The Night and The Music, John Dunn and Ed Stewart during his time with the station, was 59.

Friday, October 20, 2006

You can't sing, you can't play and you look awful

We'd imagine that, set against his other struggles, adding Girls Aloud to his demons won't overworry Pete Doherty that much. But even so, it's going to sting:

Nadie Coyle said: "He's supposed to be this musical genius, but has anyone heard his singing?

"I've heard a Babyshambles album and it was like, 'What am I listening to!?' We could make a record that sounded like that, but could he make one that sounded like us?"

"I guess that if you like brown teeth and mouldy fingers, he's your guy," [said Kimberley].

Of course, the great tragedy is that there was a time where Doherty could have made an album which sounded like the great pop album Girls Aloud never quite deliver, had he wanted.

NME places foot on new territory, stumbles

It's awkward to take a title from one territory to another - you have to convince a local audience that you're not distant, that you really understand their lives and likes.

Blogorrah reports that the first Irish NME might have fallen short of doing that:

A band described as the 'biggest' new act in the country on music magazine NME's first Irish front cover has only sold around 500 albums... NME claims Humanzi's success has stopped Dublin in its tracks [...] Its praise is completely at odds with the verdict of one critic, Jim Carroll, who recently described the band's debut album Tremors as "the most expensive and embarrassing flop of 2006".

Well, at least they didn't put Bono on the cover.

[Thanks to Aaron Scullion for the link]

Chemical reactions

Don't call us emo, wail emo band My Chemical Romance:

“We’ve been tagged as doom and gloom or a goth band but we’re none of those. We’re actually a very hopeful and celebratory band and very much about empowerment."

So, not all about death and gloom then? Erm...

“When death comes for you — we believe it comes in the form of your strongest memory and for The Patient, this was a marching band — The Black Parade.

“Death is something we as a band faced head on. When mine and Mikey’s grandmother died, we began to look at death and the after-effects.

“She had been very instrumental in this band as not only was she responsible for my singing career, she was our biggest supporter.”

Death and "it's after-effects", eh? We're not entirely certain, but we had been led to believe that the after-effect of dying is, pretty much, remaining dead, with some side mouldering going on.

When MTV stopped sending the money, I knew it was over

Jessica Simpson seems to be suggesting that God gave her the okay to break her contract with Nick Lachey:

"I went there on our three-year wedding anniversary. He stayed home. On that day, everything became so clear.

"I was in hospitals with all these sick kids, and I was looking at the beauty of this whole different world. I just knew I needed to find something more in my life - on my own.

"I prayed, then looked up at the sky, and I'd never seen this before - it was a double rainbow. It was the most gorgeous thing ever.

"From that moment on, I've listened to JUDY GARLAND'S SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW every single day."

Appropriate, since she was married to a munchkin.

Jessica was, as you can tell, talking at a charity event designed to help children with facial deformities.

Rome was where we saw the yellow dog

Perhaps the oddest music story in the papers this morning is the Bizarre report as Pete Doherty and Kate Moss head off for Babyshambles gigs in Florence:

The loved-up couple were flying to the Italian city of Florence — setting of romantic film A Room With A View — where Pete has three gigs with his band BABYSHAMBLES.

We now have this picture of the Sun audience sitting around having the story read to them:

- Hang about... what or who is this Florence? I've never heard of it
- You remember, it was in that adaptation of the EM Forster novel you love so much
- Oh, that Florence...

Good on 'er: Support rallies for Madonna's adoption

After a rash of largely negative press coverage of her kind-of legal adoption of Malawian not-quite Orphan David, there's some support starting to gather for Madonna and Guy.

Okay, much of it is coming from Vinnie Jones, but it's a start.

Vinnie denied it would have all been done on a whim:

“If you knew them, they probably wanted to adopt every one of those children at the orphanage.

“They don’t just wake in the morning and think, ‘Let’s do this today.’ They will have completely thought it all over.

“They’ve done a fantastic thing that should be applauded. They are the best thing that could have happened to the boy. It’s a massive thing they’ve done.

“It’s very bold. I’d love to do it but the way I’m working, it wouldn’t be fair.”

Vinnie, you'll note, doesn't say "they've been talking about adoption for years", just that he can't imaging they would have not given it some serious thought

Which, to be fair, is what most of those wondering at rush believe, too. That Madonna has been thinking about doing this ever since, ooh, Angelina did it. (Or, more likely, after she basked in the post-Live 8 front pages.)

Angelina and Brad are helping, too, apparently:

"Brad and Angelina know all about the adoption and have been helping Madonna and Guy in every way they can. They know how important it is to them and how difficult the process can be," the Daily Mail quoted the friend as saying.

Yes, those awkward "how much does the donation have to be before we can skirt round these 'archaic' laws" conversations are so wearing, aren't they?

More support comes from the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson:

I've been trying to figure out the difference between celebrity foreign adoption and regular-person foreign adoption, and I can't find any. Cross-cultural and cross-racial adoption is always fraught with complicated, nuanced issues, and those issues are the same whether the adoptive mother is Madonna or somebody you've never heard of.

Robinson has already detailed how Madonna's trip had got lavish coverage from Hello and bypassed the usual rules, which would start out by being the difference here. And, normally, most people sort out the paperwork before taking the child home - for all the protestations to the contrary, it seems Madonna didn't:

It has also been revealed that the "Material Girl" singer has reportedly hired a U.S. adoption agency to adopt the 13-month-old Malawian boy, amidst fears that British authorities could try to stop her from becoming his mother.

So this was planned, and approved, months ago and yet Madonna hadn't even decided if she was going to adopt through the US or the UK?

Meanwhile, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation is seeking an injuction ordering David's return today; contradicting the AP reports of David's father being happy with the adoption, the Centre claims that Yohane didn't understand what he was doing when he agreed the process.

Whatever your position on the adoption, it's hard not to feel a pang of sympathy for Madonna, though, on hearing she's been bearded by the UK's least funny man:

Madonna was yesterday targeted by "comedy terrorist" Aaron Barschak who gatecrashed Prince William's 21st birthday party in 2003.

As she left a London gym Barschak, 40, in a nappy, yelled at her car: "Mummy adopt me, make me part of your family."

She should call his bluff.

Wake me up before you show blow

It's not often Melvyn Bragg's works get The Sun excited, but the forthcoming interview with George Michael for the South Bank Show has sent the Wapping paper into one of its spray-can froths of frenzy. During the course of the backstage chat, Michael takes a couple of puffs on a spliff. Societal meltdown is predicted:

GEORGE Michael will spark outrage when he is seen smoking cannabis in a TV interview.

Will he? Who from? It's not like Michael's made any secret of his drug use; it's not like the programme is on before the watershed; it's not like any adult in Britain would never have seen someone smoking a spliff; it's not even like Michael's slightly shambolic life is going to be a good advert for smoking dope. So who, exactly, is going to be outraged?

Michael even stresses that the drug is bad for you, mmkay:

“It’s the only drug I’ve ever thought worth taking. But it’s not very healthy.

“I think my life might be somewhere else if I’d chosen another avenue.

“Alcohol for instance — if I drank as much as I smoked, my God, I’d be just like Keith Richards.”

If you smoked as much as Keith Richards drank, young man, you'd be unable to move.

Macca asks for help

There's some trademark senstivity from The Sun this morning - having helped Paul McCartney towards divorce by running "Heather McCartney porn" banner headlines at every opportunity and detailing the allegations of wife-beating against him, the paper has discovered that Paul has started to see a counsellor to help during this stressful period.

The headline would make Gripper Stebson proud:

Macca is seeing a shrink

It's not known if Rebekah Wade then made McCartney lie on the ground and roll home.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Juice squeeze a victory

Congratulations to Liverpool's Juice FM, which has picked up a prize. The station's documentary from Ethiopia in the run up to Live 8 has won in the New York Festival's Radio Programming and Promotions Awards.

I can't tell the difference between/ Phil Collins and Genesis

We suspect that Peter Gabriel might have just earned his place in heaven - no sooner had Genesis announced their intention to get back together, than someone realised that they might need to invite Pete along. You know, for old time sake.

It could have been terrible - would Phil have been forced to spend the evening at the back of the stage, pounding away, while Gabriel attempted to deliver some of the more cheesey, upbeat late-period Genesis? Can you imagine Peter Gabriel trying to make his way through Illegal Alien?

Instead, Gabriel has decided to step aside gracefully:

"There were conversations and I decided not to be a part of it," Gabriel told BBC News.

"I'm very happy for them," said Gabriel.

"It's not that I've ruled it out, but I've got some new material that I'll be working on."

The only disappointment is for Mary Wimbrush, the wardrobe mistress for the reunion tour, who had spent the best part of a fortnight fashioning a lawnmower-shaped hat.

We get our satisfaction sharing your success

Google has been moving swiftly to head off copyright problems as it starts to integrate its new YouTube purchase into its business model: Universal, Sony BMG and Warner have been given a chunk of the equity in YouTube.

This might make feel Google feel more comfortable, but in no way guarantees safety: EMI is still sitting outside the party; there's movies and TV material to be sorted as well and, most importantly, there's no guarantee that music business executives aren't foolish enough to try and sue themselves. After all, when BMG took its stake in Napster, it was having to help subsidise the RIAA lawsuits against itself.

Conspiracy theorists - they don't want to be named, of course - whisper in our ears that it's kind of funny that Universal started to fire off lawsuits against other video sharing services this week; almost as if they knew they were about to have a more direct interest in closing down YouTube competitors. "It could be that Google have found a copper-bottomed way of getting someone else to fund the fight to take out the opposition" said the theorist, but then had to go in for his tea as his Mam was calling him.

Donkeys stick carrot

Keane are being used as guinea pigs for a doomed attempt to create a new physical format for singles: Island records are offering their next single as a memory stick:

"You just plug it into your PC or Mac and that's it," said Jon Turner, general manager of Island Records, Keane's label. "We're very keen to see people's reactions to it."

Mr Turner sees the device as a one-off chance to test the water with consumers, but said there could be more releases in 2007. "I do see it as a potential format for the future, but I don't think it's going to run down the use of digital services," he said. "It's an interesting experiment."

So, it's a format that has none of the advantages of CD - you need a computer to play the track, you can't just stick it into your car dashboard and hear it - and all the disadvantages - physical, needs to be shifted round the country, resource-hungry, have to be manufactured before the actual demand can be gauged. Yeah, that's going to catch on.

Oasis complete transformation into old blokes

First, they release a singles compilation.

Then, Oasis allow themselves to be flattered by a special Brit award.

They're getting their prize for reaching middle age more-or-less intact:

BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson said: "Oasis set the standard for many of the young rock bands who are currently enjoying success in the UK charts. As the BRIT Awards goes live for the first time in nearly two decades, it is appropriate that we should honour one of the most exciting live acts the UK has produced."

... but as they couldn't think of anyone exciting, they appear to have decided to go with a reliable plodder instead.

(By the way, Jamieson doesn't mean that the Brits have been mimed for the last 20 years - Chris Evans opening and closing his mouth while a tape plays the words "...nominated again, Miss Annie Lennox", but that the TV coverage is going to go out live. Almost as if it's the hour and a half of prime time telly rather than the opportunity to give gongs to the great and good of the music world which drives the whole event, isn't it?)

Notably, Oasis are meant to be so great but haven't won an actual award since 1996; indeed, for this year's prize show, they refused to turn up because they'd not been judged good enough to even get the chance of a statue. A casual observer might wonder how their contribution has been so outstanding if they've not done anything in a decade worth rewarding.

Rich woman sues wealthy company

It's redistribution of a type, we suppose, as Yoko Ono attempts to get some ten million she reckons EMI owes her. Or, more accurately, the money she believes should have been paid to her husband.

A spokeswoman for EMI/Capitol, Jeanne Meyer, would not discuss Ono's lawsuit specifically, but she said, "Artists from time to time request audits of their royalty accounts. Sometimes there are differences of opinion, which is understandable given the complex nature of recording contracts."

Meyer said the contracts are sometimes subject to interpretation "but 99 times out of 100 these things are resolved in an amicable way."

... although, 99 times out of 100, you're not dealing with Yoko Ono.

Ono explains her action as being vital because, while she has got a lot of money, she is attempting to assemble a complete collection of all the money in the world as part of "an art installation or something."

AllofMP3: Your money's no good here

AllofMp3 - propelled by music industry attention further into public consciousness - continues to adapt to whatever attempts to close it down are batted in its direction.

Visa - citing worries over copyright - had announced it would stop processing payments for the site, which seems to have inspired AllofMp3 to take a lesson from Napster. A new, free business model - supported by advertising - was at the heart of an announcement from the site:

The company, which previously charged about $1 an album, plans to offer consumers a new software program that allows them to download any song from the site for free. AllofMP3 claims to have a catalogue of hundreds of thousands of albums, increasing at a rate of 1,000 per month.

Users of the new service will only be able to listen to songs by using the AllofMP3 software, and the songs will be usable on just one computer at a time. The interface, called Music for the Masses, will initially be available for Microsoft Windows, with an Apple version arriving in several weeks, Mamotin said.

Consumers who wish to transfer their songs between computers or to a music device like an iPod or another MP3 player, will have to pay for the music.

The viability of the service will, of course, depend on being able to find people who are willing to advertise on a site which is something of a grey area; if customers are willing to download a piece of software which does something other than play MP3 files; and, of course, on the IFPI continuing to offer free promotion of that web address.

Is the IFPI lying to the media, or the RIAA lying to the courts?

Trying to keep stories straight when there are a lot of people involved is quite tricky, as anyone who's ever tried to arrange a drunken night out with a bunch of novice nuns will testify. So perhaps it's not surprising that the IFPI and RIAA have been caught out by the Digital Music Weblog contradicting each other:

John Kennedy of the IFPI tells the BBC, "People should understand that they can be caught whatever network they are using. The next time a series of law suits are announced you could be on the receiving end if you are an illegal file-sharer," a statement which contradicts earlier legal action by the RIAA in the US courts.

Industry lawyers in the US have told courts that the opposite is true, that there are methods and techniques which prevent the RIAA from identifying users of file-sharing software, and have argued the RIAA's contracts with its copyright protection software provider MediaSentry should be held in confidence as a result.

Of course, just because one has to be wrong doesn't mean either have to be right.

The Coldplay on

Victoria Newton has good news for people who don't like music much: Coldplay aren't going to split up at all:

HERE’S something that will put a smile on the faces of COLDPLAY fans.

I’ve discovered that, contrary to recent reports, the band have made a massive commitment to each other and are definitely in it for the long haul.

Well, thank God you're here to counter "recent reports", Victoria - whatever would we do without you, able to slap down stuff like this "recent report":

Coldplay to split up?

COLDPLAY frontman Chris Martin hinted the band could disappear from public for an extended break.

Let's hope Victoria is prepared to name and shame the person whose byline appears on that... let's see, it's one ...oh... Victoria Newton. How bizarre.

Anyway, Victoria can now slap down Victoria's nonesense because:

The four group members — CHRIS MARTIN, GUY BERRYMAN, WILL CHAMPION and JONNY BUCKLAND — have clubbed together to buy a building in Hampstead, north-west London.

They are spending a fortune converting the property into Coldplay HQ — containing studios and offices.

The rockers have entered into a legal contract which makes them joint owners of their new base, which will house all of their staff and equipment.

Right. Because nothing says "we see our future as a band" like property speculation.

The first rule of Amy Winehouse is you do not talk about Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse? She's great. Brilliant. God, she's wonderful.

You'd better think so, or else she'll hit you:

“This girl came up to me and said I was brilliant.

“Two seconds later, she turned around to my boyfriend, pointed at me and said, ‘She fucked up’.

“So I punched her right in the face — which she wasn’t expecting, because girls don’t do that.”

“My bloke Alex took me outside to calm me down and I kneed him in the balls then punched him in his face too.”

Yes... you wouldn't expect to see a drunk girl fighting outside a pub late at night. Unless, of course, you've ever been outside a pub late at night.

Madonna and somebody else's child

Now, there was some talk amongst naysayers and doom-mongers, liberals, bloggers, and snipers when Madonna adopted the orphan in no way differently from anyone else at all, that perhaps Madonna might not be the closest, loving mother in the world. Today's Sun will make those people print out their words and eat them in some way:

Back in Britain Madonna, 48, sent an assistant on a clothes shopping spree for Davie — demanding video footage on her mobile so she could check the outfits herself.

See? You can't be more involved in a child's upbringing than watching someone buy clothes for him on a small screen, can you?

The singer is being helped in her new role as a mum of three by her trusted aid Shavawn Gordon. The American was snapped carrying Davie off the flight to Heathrow.

A source said: “Madge had a heart-to-heart with her before flying to Africa. She told Shavawn she wanted her to be like a second mum.”

See? You think Madonna is distant and uninvolved - but, clearly, she briefed the staff member she was passing the kid off onto for a five hour-flight. Doubtless there'll be some bloggers whining that Madonna didn't put together a powerpoint presentation for the briefing, or failed to have someone rustle up some handouts, but there is such a thing as smothering a kid, isn't there?

You'll note that Gordon has been nominated as "a second mum" for Dave. So, with his birth Mother, what clearer signal could Madonna send out that she seriously does think of herself as possibly third or fourth in the stream of mothers Dave suddenly finds himself with? Maybe sixth, when Cookie is on dutie.

Cameron returns to rap

Having made such a botch on the subject of rap and knife crime, Callmedave Cameron is going to try again and meet a rapping singer.

Conservative people say the meeting with Rhymefest is part of what they do:

A Conservative Party spokeswoman said: "We feel it is important that, if we make comments like that, we meet the people involved.

"David doesn't back away from anything he said and we are having a sensible meeting."

Of course, if David doesn't back away from anything he said, it's curious why the meeting is coming nine months or so after he waded in on the whole issue; it's also curious that, if he's so pleased to stand by everything he said, then why is he meeting Rhymefest rather than Lethal Bizzle. Bizzle, you'll recall, was the first rapper to respond to Cameron's stance, and was rewarded by being wrongly label by Cameron as writing the sort of songs Dave doesn't like.

We'd have thought Dave might have wanted to meet Bizzle to apologise to him.

More to the point, why is Dave meeting an American rapper anyway? Surely if he's really interested in finding out if, and why, there's so much violent imagery appealing to British music fans, it'd make more sense for a British politician to speak to people involved in the British music scene?

Perhaps when Cameron was told he'd had an invite from Rhymefest he thought it was some sort of poetry event in the Welsh hills.

And, of course, it might be more worthwhile for Cameron to spend his time speaking to some of the rappers who do sing about guns and knives, rather than the ones who don't.

The Tories seem to admit this is a bit of a sterile meeting:

The Conservative spokeswoman said: "I don't think they are coming from particularly different angles.

"We realise there are responsible rappers out there who understand what David said."

We love that idea of "responsible rappers" - like safe drivers, or careful savers - almost as much as we love the idea that there are people who might not have understood what Cameron meant when he demonised an art form enjoyed disproportionately by young, black, city-dwelling people. The ones who are talking to you are the ones who don't think you're unsalvageable, Dave.

Maybe you'd be better off thinking where you're going to cut the £21billion from public services.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Madoption: More questions than answers

The Madonna adoption story gets more and more puzzling the more reports come out from Malawi. For example, David's Dad has apparently issued a statement calling for the human rights organisations who are challenging the adoption procedure to withdraw their objections:

"Where were these people when David was struggling in the orphanage? These so-called human rights groups should leave my baby alone," Yohane Banda said.

"As father I have okayed this, I have no problem; the village has no problem, who are they to cause trouble? Please let them stop."

"I was alone with a baby; I had no money, I couldn't buy him milk, that's why I surrendered him to the orphanage," said Banda.

"Orphanage life is no good. We leave kids there because we can't look after them properly ourselves. Now my son has been taken by a kindhearted woman, these people want to bring him back to the orphanage," lamented Banda, standing in his small garden of onions and tomatoes.

The peasant farmer said Madonna and Ritchie promised him nothing apart from "love and care for my David."

That seems quite definitive: the father, standing in his garden, has no problem with the adoption.

There is a question of how a man of Banda's background has suddenly started giving media briefings from his "small garden of onions and tomatoes."

And the Village is fine with it, too:

"Whoever she is she is a kindhearted woman," said Village Headman Lipunga, the chief of the village. "We all love her here and we hope she will visit us soon."

But then, clearly, the village has been happy with whatever deal was struck all along.

And, despite what Banda has told the press after a period of reflection, he'd earlier told the Mail that he hadn't put the child up for adoption, and had hoped to reunite his family:

"I suppose deep in my heart I always imagined that when he was better, or I had got another wife, I would go and take him back," Banda told the Mail on Sunday.

"I did not think anyone would want to take him away."

So at the weekend, Banda had only believed he'd given temporary custody; now he's suggested he "surrendered" the baby to the orphanage. Interesting shift.

Meanwhile, the Malawian government have been attempting to deny they've twisted the rules in allowing Madonna and film-makery bloke thing to fast-track their taking of the child (it's funny, isn't it, how people in Malawi only talk about the adoptive mother - it's her lovely eyes, her generous nature):

[Penston Kilembe, the Director of Child Welfare Services in the Ministry of Gender, child Welfare and Community Services] said when approving the adoption of Baby David government looked at rights of the baby and the family and "found nothing amiss."

"These groups should fight for rights of children, not block the same like they are trying to do now," he said.

But there's a curiosity here, too - Kilembe sort-of admits that laws have been broken, but dismisses them as "archaic":

"These laws date back to the 1940s; things have changed now," he said. "Madonna and her husband has broken no laws as far as government is concerned. They have followed all the legal steps."

But surely if the laws are that archaic, then the government would have swept them away rather than just decided they don't apply any more? Besides, isn't it the job of the judiciary rather than the executive to decide what laws apply in which situation? Indeed, you'd have thought the government would welcome the chance to test this curious "that law is more than 25 years old and doesn't, therefore, count" interpretation of legislation in the courts. By encouraging legal action, the Government could happily sweep this tired and threadbare piece of dead legal letter off the statute book.

Another question that's floating about unanswered: if Madonna and Guy have been preparing the paperwork for this adoption for "months" as she claims, how come they hadn't thought to apply for a passport for David until this week? And if they were being so diligent in filling out all the paperwork, why is it the UK authorities apparently knew nothing about it?

Zoe Williams, writing in this morning's Guardian suggested that all the commentary over the adoption is tied up with a determination to stop people believing that the rich and famous get treated differently from us:

Madonna's case is prosecuted basically as a fairly crude demonstration that the world is fair, that preferment can't be bought.It is primary-school morality, bugled noisily so our tiny minds can comprehend it and be soothed.

In other words - if we've got this right - Williams believes that Madonna has bought exemption from the usual rules, but thinks everyone should pretend that's okay lest we seem shrill.

Jamie T is a bit of a gentleman

Of course, it could be true that the track T had recorded with Lily Allen did feature a "brilliant" vocal by the daughter of Keith Allen, and that Jamie only scrapped it because of the drums.

But it doesn't half sound like a man letting his mate down gently to us. Especially as, when he's asked if he'll work with her again, he's fairly non-commital:

"Maybe. Although not for this album. But we've been friends for a while now so we'll see."

If she was that brilliant, wouldn't you be busily booking studios?

Macca: I never touched her

As you'd pretty much expect, Paul McCartney has had his people issue a firm denial of Heather Mills' leaked claims that he was violent towards her.

His solictor suggested that, much as he'd love to start throwing mud, he's going to wait and take it to court. Although there were a few sods chucked, just in case:

Sir Paul's statement, issued through his solicitors, Payne Hicks Beach, said he had "maintained his silence in not commenting on the media stories believing that it was best for all concerned, particularly his children, for there to be some dignity in what is a private matter".

"Our client is saddened by the breakdown of his marriage and requests that his family is allowed to conduct their personal affairs out of the media spotlight for the sake of everybody involved," it added.

Mills was a guest on daytime hospital camera-poke Coverage Of People Who Are Ill In City Hospital (god alone knows why), but luckily for her, she was virtually smothered by Nadia Sawahala into not even having to say anything. "And I agreed to come on here before this story" simpered Mills, in case anyone thought that City Hospital was in some way like Newsnight and the next feature might have been James Baker being grilled on US Iraqi policy while being tested for shingles.

Pete Doherty's solicitor makes a Freudian slip

If you were representing a man famed across three Oceans for taking smack and coke and crack, wouldn't you think twice before telling magistrates that your client's progress on drugs was a "mixed bag"?

Bruce Clark told the court that Pete Doherty is "making progress", and suggested the problem has been not so much drug addiction, as being from London:

Mr Clark told the court: "He's giving up a lifestyle he's been living in the East End which is not the best place for him to be.

"There are alternatives for him though. He is now living at an address out of London," he added.

That'll make all the difference, then. Although he did go to live in a monastry in Tibet and still managed to find himself haggling over prices in back street within a couple of days, so we're not sure "wherever Kate Moss lives" is going to be quite the safe place you'd hope.

District judge Jane McIvor said: "Weekly appointments under the order had not been as successful as expected."

Doherty who appeared wearing a grey shirt and dark trousers told the court he was still seeking treatment.

"I've been going to NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings and seeing a counsellor separate from the Priory," he said.

When asked by the judge if he was still optimistic, he replied: "Yes".

We feel a bit sorry for Judge McIvor, who has been working desperately to try and get Pete sorted and keep him out of jail, and wish we had the trust and patience she did. Even if she is the only person in the country who expected his weekly appointments to be more successful than they've turned out. (The rest of us, I suspect, are surprised they've gone as well as they have.)

Pete gets another three months to try and tidy up his act.

We can all do number ones, we think

As if the queues and queues of the half-talented and merely half-hearted who line up to be abused by Sharon Osbourne and that bloke with the trousers wasn't testimony enough, Oxfam have completed a survey which has discovered a third of Britons believe they could have a number one single.

Oddly, though, only four per cent of bands believe they'll ever be able to make enough cash to live through playing music. So, either people in bands are a bit more realistic than the rest of us (and, I guess, a couple of nights playing your finely-crafted tunes to the backs of heads as people stampede for the bar is enough to allow you to accept your lot) or else nobody believes that having a number one is a route to fortune.

We're not sure why Oxfam are spending money on a survey of British attitudes to music - presumably with Madonna taking over responsibility for feeding starving orphans, they've got cash to spare.

I got afterlife

We're always in two minds about record labels trying to "redefine" artists to appeal to the kids - that way lies Frank Sinatra spending his twilight years being frogmarched through duets with Bono.

On the other hand, inviting new remixes of classic old stuff can bring an act to a new audience, and it's probably less heartbreaking to have Nina Simone remixed by Coldcut than to see her being dragged out to flog yoghurts with insignificant levels of biotics on them.

You can judge for yourself what you make of Nina Simone Remixed and Reimagined as there's some online streaming going on.

We reckon the Groovefinder remix of Aint Got No/I Got Life is probably closer to the spirit of the yoghurt adverts; Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter Jazzeem's All Styles Remix is probably less a remix than a total reworking and Francois K. Remix of of Here Comes The Sun probably comes closest to keeping the spirit of the original.

It's not a bad collection at all, even if the original idea is quite bad. But please, make time the originals, too.

Dirty Waters run deep

The Dirty Water Club has spent ten years delivering live entertainment and dark corners for rude touching to the good people of London, and as part of their celebrations, they're calling back some of the bands who've graced the stage and disgraced themselves for an encore performance.

So it is that this Saturday (21st) you can see The Priscillas, Thee Exciters and - doing a seceret special one-off reunion - The Parkinsons. All for six quid. Full details from the Dirty Water web.

Klooting about

Also as part of a flurry of Kl-named bands, I Am Kloot are preparing the launch of their Peel Sessions album. There's also a microtour, too, to celebrate:

Manchester Academy 3 - November 3rd
London 93 Feet East - November 8th & 9th.

Don't you wish these Peel Session records featured JP doing the introductions and back announcements?

Kling Klang Klomeback

Three years Klanging in the wilderness has come to an end. Kling Klang are back.

A new record - The Esthetik Of Destruction - has been put together with electricity and tape; it's out Novemeber 6th. Yes, an album. Their debut album.

And there's to be a tour, too:

Glasgow Club Olum - November 30th
Leeds The Common Place - December 1st
London somewhere 2nd
London Elefest, Corsica Studio - 3rd
Manchester Star & Garter - 14th
Liverpool Defcon - 15th

Westlife ride to Delta's aid

In a judgement handed down from high-seated stools, Westlife have weighed the story of the Kerry-Brian-Delta triangle (although a Delta is a triangle) and decided: Delta is the victim here.

You might think that Kerry, whose marriage imploded, exploded and left her running a cab office and eating Iceland pizzas while "working through" drug problems, came quite badly out of the whole thing. But, no: if you have tears, prepare to shed them for Delta Goodrem:

NICKY BYRNE told Closer magazine: "We feel sorry for Delta. People blame her but she's the victim in this."

It's not entirely clear how Goodrem has been victimised, although we suppose having to have Brian McFadden's orgasm face thrust into your own over and over again is a type of punishment.

Westlife are most upset that the whole thing turned into a circus:

MARK FEEHILY said: "I was texting Kerry last week. She's been doing well, although she's been in hospital. But we don't like to read about Brian and Kerry's lives in the newspapers. They're our friends so we call them up and talk to them just like other friends.

It must be terrible to constantly read about your friends' drink and drugs and spats and fights in the papers all the time. That'd presumably be why you're talking to a magazine about their private lives, Mark.

The Sun would quite like to apologise

For some odd reason, Victoria Newton's photobyline doesn't grace today's piece grovelling to Nigel Martin-Smith for letting Robbie Williams accuse him of all sorts.

The Sun says:

Apology to Nigel Martin Smith

October 18, 2006

On September 4th and 14th we wrote about "The Nineties", a song written by Robbie Williams for his soon to be released album.

The first piece carried quotes from the song and quotes from Robbie himself which alleged that Nigel Martin Smith, who used to manage Take That, either stole the profits from a European tour or incompetently failed to make any and lied to the band when they asked about it.

In fact, there is absolutely no truth in these allegations. The European tour did make money, the band were paid and the accounts were scrutinised by accountants and found to be unimpeachable.

We sincerely apologise to Nigel Martin Smith for the distress caused by publishing these allegations and have agreed to pay him compensation.

Let's hope the paper's Macca-as-wifebeater tale stands up to scrutiny, eh?

That's why Mum has gone off the deep end

Kelvin McKenzie's mouth leads him into Merseyside trouble. First he angered all of Liverpool by claiming that the lies he published after Hillsborough "weren't lies at the time" ("They were great stories that later turned out to be untrue - and that is different", he reckons); then he wound up being battered with a cushion brandished by Kerry Katona. This wasn't Kerry taking revenge on behalf of the Hillsborough dead whose memory McKenzie continues to piss over, sadly; instead, she was angry that he'd implied she'd written her poor-me autobiography for the cash.

Ironic, isn't it? He gets his comeuppance on one of the few occasions he's right.

Kerry insists she wrote her self-serving book "for the fans"; presumably it's the same motivation which makes her do the Iceland adverts. "I have a duty to inform my fans that chicken curry is only a pound..."

It was Sharon Osbourne's show which provided the gladiatorial ring for the battle. Doubtless the few viewers left will have been surprised to see the programme suddenly sparking into life.

Mel B is pregnant with Eddie Murphy's two-headed child

Oh... hang on... it could be twins.

How do we know that Mel B is pregnant?

Excited Mel, 32, broke the news that she was FOUR MONTHS gone to staff and shoppers at a Los Angeles boutique.

Blimey. You know your days of fame have ebbed away when, rather than getting a phone call from Ok asking you to confirm or deny your pregnancy, you're left having to run into a shop and bellow the news.

The twins? Well, apparently she's got no real reason to believe she might be carrying two children other than sometimes Eddie Murphy's family have twins. Says the manager of the bra shop.

Meanwhile, Victoria Beckham has ruled out having any more kids for a year (or at least nine months) as she's going to concentrate on her "fashion career":

“I would love to have more children — maybe not for a year or so because I’m enjoying the three I’ve got. And it’s hard work.”

“I don’t want to be getting on the stage any more doing those kinds of things.

"I love to sit and draw and to meet with designers, to travel and get inspiration. I’m enjoying that a lot more.”

Of course, since Beckham isn't really a designer, but instead is a famous name to be stuck on a pair of trousers designed by someone else, it's debatable if she stopped being famous if she would be able to continue being a fashion and perfume line - it's why you can still find Britney Spears perfume, but would be hard pressed to turn up a bottle of something by Sheena Easton.

Mills: Victim of Macca "attack"

Well, they did say that the McCartney-Mills divorce was going to turn nasty, although nowhere near as nasty as the marriage if the claims in Heather Mills' divorce filing are true:

She says that while in Los Angeles in November 2002 he “grabbed her by the neck and pushed her over a coffee table”. Heather adds he stormed outside and fell down a hill, cutting his arm.

In May 2003 — while she was four weeks pregnant with their daughter Beatrice — she claims he shoved her into a bath, leaving her shocked and distressed.

And in August 2005 he choked her after she asked him if he had been smoking cannabis, the papers allege.

In April 2006, just before they announced their split, he flew into a rage and tipped red wine over her, it is claimed.

He then reached to grab Heather’s wine glass, snapping off the stem.

The papers continue: “He lunged at the respondent with the broken sharp stem of the wine glass, which cut and pierced the respondent’s arm just below the elbow, and it began to bleed profusely.”

McCartney is expected to contest these claims in court, as you'd expect, since if they're proven, he turns out to be a complete shit.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Madonna: Open your heart

After the last couple of days turmoil, Madonna has made a public statement about her "adoption" of David.

(By the way, it wasn't encouraging to hear one of the anchors on BBC Breakfast this morning referring to David as "it".)

[Madonna said] she had acted "according to the law like anyone else who adopts a child".

The singer said she wanted to "open up our home and help one child escape an extreme life of hardship, poverty and in many cases death".

Of course, if that was her real aim, she could open up a couple more of her homes and give escape to several other kids. One of those Hampstead houses turned into an orphanage, funded by, say, the royalty cheques from her post-2000 hits. That would be making a difference, rather than making a gesture.

More interesting than the emote-by-numbers is the claim that she followed the law like "anyone else":

Madonna said she and her husband Guy Ritchie began the adoption process months ago.

"This was not a decision or commitment that my family or I take lightly," she said.

Interesting. Back when the chap from the Kabbalah centre she supports made his comments about how the jews who died in the holocaust brought it on themselves, Madonna's spokesteam said she was too busy rehearsing a single gig to offer up a reaction. Rehearsal took all her attention. Now, though, she's apparently been touring a controversial stage show round the world while simultaneously spending time in Malawi being interviewed about her fitness to be a parent. How, we wonder, did she and Guy manage to keep coming and going from the country unspotted?

And if this had all been sorted in advance, and so this trip was merely to pick up the child, how come Liz Rosenberg seemed unaware her boss was going to be leaving Africa as a mother of three?

No more Killer Cars

Thom Yorke cares about things. He cares about you and me, and the planet. And global warming.

In fact, he's quite worried how bad rock music, and touring in particular, is for the environment:

"The way that tours are structured now and the way it works is a ridiculous consumption of energy ... I would consider refusing to tour on environmental grounds, if nothing started happening to change the way the touring operates.

"I think it's a necessary part of what I do, to tour or play live, but I find it unacceptable, what the consequences of that are.

"Some of our best ever shows have been in the US, but there's 80,000 people there and they've all been sitting in traffic jams for five or six hours with their engines running to get there, which is bollocks.

"It's all completely la-la. It's daft. When you discuss it you feel like a prat because you're saying I'm not happy with that and I want to do it another way. I want to go to the US by ship. The Cure did that years ago because Robert Smith refused to fly, and then I get told that if you take the ship, that's as much carbon usage."

He added: "Long haul flights just feel wrong. I'm trying to figure out a way of getting to Japan by train. I quite fancy that Trans-Siberian whatsitsname but apparently it's a bit scary."

Of course, it's arguable that if Thom decided not to take his tour to Japan, then Japanese would come to British dates - would the carbon savings of not shifting Thom's stuff to Tokyo be wiped out by kids coming in the opposite direction?

And, presumably, some tours are worse than others - U2's Zoo TV tour, for example, was effectively shunting large numbers of TVs around the world and then having them blare away for a few hours at a time while, say, an acoustic tour puts a slightly lower strain on the planet.

Liam Gallagher, of course, could have argued he was trying to save the planet by abandoning US tours - were it not for already having done the damage of going from one side to the other.

It would be interesting to see how rock gigs rank compared with other pastimes, though: surely a Radiohead tour can't be as bad for the environment as a season of formula one motor racing?

And if Thom is taken to the logical end of his conclusion, not only would touring be outlawed, but so too would electronic music of all sorts: all those computers, and tapes, and CDs. It would be lovely to think that we might edge closer to keeping our side of the Kyoto agreement simply by decommissioning Robbie Williams, but I suspect our problems run deeper than that.

Brotherobit: Robert Broudie

Sad news from Liverpool, where solicitor Robert Broudie has been found dead, after apparently falling from the top of the Anglican cathedral.

Police say there are no suspicious circumstances relating to the death of Robert, brother of Lightning Seed and producer Ian Broudie.

His business partner, Paul Thompson, said: "He was the most able, conscientious and committed lawyer I have ever known. "He had a national reputation for fighting fearlessly on behalf of all those he represented. "He had the respect of all who worked for him."

Just because an idea is poor doesn't mean it shouldn't be pursued to the fullest

Every time you think that perhaps the music industry has finally decided to quietly allow the idea of suing consumers to drop, it confounds you by showing that, no, it's going to push ahead, now adding Brazilians and Poles to the tiny fraction of a portion of a percentage of a sample of filesharers strong-armed by solicitors' letters.

The music world is puzzled that these actions don't seem to be educating filesharers out of their bad habits. Why won't they learn?

The wider world is equally puzzled that the failure of the profile-damaging and cash-sapping lawsuits at stopping the behaviour hasn't educated the record industry into abandoning the actions. Why won't they learn?

Let's make some plans

Plans and Apologies - Derby based indie guitar with extra legs - are looking for help to try and save a gig planned for Monday 23rd. But because plans can fall through, and so often they do, they've found themselves with neither promoter nor support band for The Grapes in Sheffield. If you can help out, the band ask you to get in touch through MySpace. Or rather their space.

Shambles pick up tour diary again

We're not sure how many, if any, of these dates will ever actually happen, but since Babyshambles has been good enough to rescedule - even adding extra dates - it would be churlish to not flag them up:

Newcastle Academy - December 4
Liverpool Academy 5
Bristol Academy 6
London Hammersmith Apollo 7
Lincoln Engine 8
Inverness Ironworks 9
Glasgow Academy 10
Middlesbrough Town Hall - 11
Manchester Academy 12
Nottingham Rock City 13

My Vitriol revived

My VitriolThey've been hibernating like so many hedgehogs since 2002, but who would have thought that we'd ever hear from them again?

My Vitriol are back and planning London and American gigs. London is Koko on November 24th; the US dates haven't been confirmed, although apparently tickets for these ghost gigs are changing hands for $80. A deal which is better for scalper than mark, we'd suggest.

FinelinesPlug: Refresh your memory with Finelines/Between The Lines

To the victor, the spoils

We don't know if the person who's going to win the X Factor have yet been told that they'll be coming out on top, but we'd imagine those struggling to win the teatime talent show will be taking a pause from being yelled at by Louis Walsh this morning to wonder if it's all worth it. Because what will victory bring?

Success on the level of Steve Brookstein, perhaps. We'll save you the trouble of googling him; he was the first winner of the X-Factor. Now, he's scraping 120 ticket sales in Worthing. Elsewhere on his tour, to be fair, he's managing to sell out venues by the good luck of only having the budget to hire out small places.

Brookstein, though, insists that he was made promises on ticketing which haven't been kept:

"I don't know what's going on but basically the tour is being really badly promoted. I am really disappointed. People, even my friends, aren't able to buy tickets, even when they are available. It's promotional incompetence and I'm getting shafted left, right and centre.

"Other gigs are doing much better though and the actual show is amazing which, as far as I'm concerned, is what it's all about.

"Worthing was disastrous but other venues, like Essex, have been fantastic and I've been getting great regional reviews. The show is absolutely wicked and I guarantee that the music I'm giving people is far, far better than anything been performed on the Saturday night X Factor shows."

Plus, we imagine he'll offer to reheel your shoes if you turn up.

Are you sleeping with that girl? Tell the truth

The tabloids have started to lose interest in the doings of the McCartneys and the Mills - presumably because the divorce has stopped being quite so publicly messy - and so it seems that Paul McCartney TM has had to find another way of discovering what Heather's up to.

He's taken to phoning up her personal trainer to ask if they're having sex or in love or anything. Ben Amigoni even got invited to Macca's house. It's not known if he was asked to wear co-respondent shoes.

Are you sleeping with that girl? Tell the truth

The tabloids have started to lose interest in the doings of the McCartneys and the Mills - presumably because the divorce has stopped being quite so publicly messy - and so it seems that Paul McCartney TM has had to find another way of finding out what Heather's up to.

He's taken to phoning up her personal trainer to ask if they're having sex or in love or anything. Ben Amigoni even got invited to Macca's house. It's not known if he was asked to wear co-respondent shoes.

All Saints quit battle; enter war by mistake

While we're wondering if there ever was any plan to really release All Saints' comeback album on the same day as Oasis put out their stocking filler, we're a little surprised that they've now decided to stick Studio 1 out on November 13th instead.

Being bested by Oasis and U2 is one thing - different markets, isn't it? - but electing to go head-to-head with the Sugababes' best-of collection is just walking into the guns. To be honest, they're also going to struggle being up against George Michael and Simon Webbe out of Blue. Perhaps they should think about January?

This is why they call it surveillance

It's usually irritating when gossip columns describe "someone phoning in having seen someone vaguelly famous going into a shop" as surveillance, as if it's information that has some intrinsic purpose. But hearing who was at The Fratellis gig at the weekend does actually fit the bill as a kind of grisly warning to steer clear of the band.

They attracted Peaches Geldof, Kate Lawler, Will Young and. of course, Victoria Newton. Sometimes it's handy to know whose shoulders you'll be rubbing.

Robbie Williams is not currently slagging off Oasis

When you read the headline on Victoria Newton's Bizarre column this morning, you might wonder if you've slipped through some sort of timewarp. Robbie Williams writing a song about Liam Gallagher - is this 2000 or something?

Erm, actually, it is, concedes Newton, someway into the report on the song Give Pies A Chance. She's merely unearthed a song recorded as a muck-about in the studio back when both Robbie and Oasis were still making music rather than pushing catalogue. So, not entirely the most piping hot of news, then. In fact, it even includes a jibe at Patsy Kensit:

The abuse includes taunts about the Gallaghers’ looks and career, dubbing them Monkey Boys with Monotone eyebrows. It goes on to claim they’re: “Unemployed since being here right now.”

On the delicate issue of Liam’s ex, PATSY KENSIT, Robbie adds: Your Mrs fancies me — bet she wishes she’d waited ’til I was shifting units.

Montone eyebrows? I wasn't aware we were supposed to have multicolour facial hair.

Coming tomorrow, only in The Sun: Robbie to leave Take That.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Genie in a bottle

If ever there was a warning to stop browsing through YouTube looking for porn, here it is. You might catch Christina Aguilera peeing in a bucket:

"I'm very comfortable with my naked body. There's probably even some video of me peeing."

Well, if you've ever used a restroom near Chuck Berry, almost certainly.

Apparently, the pissing in a bucket video would have been made when she was caught short during a costume change backstage at one of her gigs; Xtina suspects that someone may have taken the opportunity to catch a little footage. If not, it'll probably form the heart of her next promo clip.

Towers of London have a TV show to promote

Towers of London have a TV show to promote. Towers of London have a TV show to promote. Towers of London have a TV show to promote. Towers of London have a TV show to promote. Towers of London have a TV show to promote. Towers of London have a TV show to promote:

Towers of London have a TV show to promote. Towers of London have a TV show to promote. Towers of London have a TV show to promote.

Towers of London have a TV show to promote. Towers of London have a TV show to promote.

Q Awards catch the Arctic Monkey tails

Remember when it was Arctic Monkeys everywhere you looked? Now it's just starting to look a little bit silly, as more and more prize ceremonies come round and feel obliged to acknowledge that all the other prize ceremonies have given the band prizes, even although they've been around long enough now to have let everyone have a good hard look and realise "actually, they're alright, but... well, they're not that special, are they?"

It's a little bit like being the Princess Diana fountain for the Q Awards, then, catching a national mood long since evaporated and about which we're all slightly ashamed; coming up with a shortlist stuffed with monkey nominations just as the nation is starting to scratch its head and go "what was all that about anyway?"

The Q nominations in full are:

Best New Act:
Lily Allen
Corinne Bailey Rae
The Kooks
Arctic Monkeys

Best Track:
Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - Scissor Sisters
Never Be Lonely - The Feeling
I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor - The Arctic Monkeys

Best Live Act:
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Arctic Monkeys

Best Album:
Black Holes and Revelations - Muse
Empire - Kasabian
Under The Iron Sea - Keane
Razorlight - Razorlight
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys
Eyes Open - Snow Patrol

Best Video:
When You Were Young - The Killers
I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - the Scissor Sisters
Empire - Kasabian
Smiley Faces - Gnarls Barkley
Why Won't You Give Me Your Love? - The Zutons

Best Act In The World Today:
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Good lord, if I were the editor of Q I'd be suggesting we re-open nominations, as frankly that makes the magazine sound like it's produced in the back of Ken Bruce's head. Snow Patrol? U2? Orson? Orson? Oh bloody hell.

No wonder the magazine makes mention that the ceremony is "untelevised". In an age where the proliferation of music TV means it's impossible for Bagthorpe Sixth Form College to award the winners of its Battle of the Bands night without fielding two bids for live coverage, and with Q having its own network, the lack of TV coverage looks more like a bid to keep the horror out of sight.

Most adoptions start with a little light kidnapping

We first heard the news that David, the poor kid which has been selected as Madonna's post-tour project, had been lifted in an email from regular correspondent Karl T:

Funny that. I seem to recall there being a little bit more, well, process involved when my parents adopted my brother. Then again, he was from Long Eaton.

Sadly, Long Eaton babies aren't quite as photogenic.

It does, indeed, seem that David has left Malawi, although it's far from clear that he was supposed to have gone.

The human rights charities had postponed a legal challenge to the adoption while it "collected evidence." Meanwhile, the Malawian authorities are attempting to correct the impression that it rolled over and gave the rich woman whatever she asked for:

Penston Kilembe, director of child welfare in the ministry of gender, Child Welfare and Community Services, said Madonna and her husband had broken no laws.

"The process did not start today - Madonna's people have been pushing the papers for some time and her coming was just to sign the papers to conclude the process," he said.

Really? Malawian law appears to insist that adopters live in the country for 18 months, and while it's possible that Madonna has been sending people over for a year and a half, her tendency to attract attention to herself and the whole international tour thing makes it seem far from likely Madonna and Guy have been living in Malawi for that long quietly; the reports of Madonna's people driving round looking for children and the fact that David can't have been in the orphanage for more than two months suggests that there's not been any period of investigation to see how adopted parents and child get on.

And while Madonna may have had permission to take David away from his home, surely the responsible thing would have been to wait to see if the legal challenge failed? If you're that sure of the rightness of your actions, and that you will spend the next twenty years caring for the child, why not wait a few more days to convince the world?

A statement from Liz Rosenberg, Madonna's publicist in New York, said the child was issued a passport and a visa Monday.

"It is expected that the family will be reunited within the next few days," the statement said.

Rosenberg said Madonna and her husband, filmmaker Guy Ritchie, were granted interim adoption of the child, who was granted a visa that allows him to travel with them.

"This interim adoption grants David's new parents temporary custody for 18 months, during which time they will be evaluated by the courts of Malawi per the tribal customs of the country," she said in her statement said. "It is expected that the family will be reunited in the next few days."

The child was accompanied out of Malawi by one of the singer's bodyguards, a witness told Reuters news agency, and is believed to be en route to South Africa.

So Madonna couldn't even be bothered to wait to take what by now will likely be a confused and frightened kid on the longest trip of his short life, instead thrusting this supposed wanted child into the care of some paid retainer. Cynics might say that's starting as you mean to go on.

And what will happen in 18 months? Even if Malawian officials concede they've made a terrible mistake, it's going to be very, very hard to put it right - allowing a child from Malawi to Hampstead is one thing; letting him come to feel that Hampstead is his home and then returning him to a small African village quite another.

So, instead of waiting a few days to think seriously about the options, the Malawian authorities have collaborated in a grotesque fait accompli, in which nobody comes out well. Madonna looks desperate and grabby, treating a child like an eBay product, swooping in to ensure nobody else can get it. Malawi looks like a nation which is happy to collude in deals which treat its citizens as chattels. And David? He's probably just lucky he's too young to understand that what's best for him matters less than keeping some rich woman happy and providing a cutesy ending for a self-aggrandising film about how great she is.

If Madonna really cared about the kid, if she was interested in the person rather than the statement, why wasn't she prepared to invest the time in the adoption that the law demanded?

Flowers disapproves of Green Day

Who would have pegged Brandon Flowers as part of the Fox News demographic?

He's not happy with Green Day for American Idiot. He doesn't think it's "nice":

Flowers claimed he was "offended" by the song and he also had a go at Green Day for filming their 'Bullet In A Bible' DVD in England.

Flowers told The Word: "You have Green Day and 'American Idiot'. Where do they film their DVD? In England. A bunch of kids screaming 'I don't want to be an American idiot'. I saw it as a very negative thing towards Americans. It really lit a fire in me."

The singer continued: "You have the right to say what you want to say and what you want to write about, and I'm sure they meant it in the same way that Bruce Springsteen meant 'Born In The USA' and it was taken wrongly, but I was really offended when I saw them do that."

Um... Brandon, not only have you appeared to miss that American Idiot is a political song, however basic, and that there's something perhaps appropriate in getting British kids to sing it while our troops are off fighting a war ordained by an American president; not only do you actually appear to be part of the subliminal mindfuck America in the song, but the way the kids at the Milton Keynes bowl "took" the Green Day song is precisely the way you're meant to take Born In The USA? Don't you realise that - just as American Idiot was cast in the Iraq war - Bruce's song was built on disgust with the Vietnam war? Can you hear lyrics like Down in the shadow of the penitentiary/ Out by the gas fires of the refinery/ I'm ten years down the road/ Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go" and think "that's a nice positive song about the US"?

Brandon, though, has got an album which he believes might be a corrective - presumably he wants it to be like Shiny Happy People:

"People need to see that, really, there are the nicest people in the world here! I don't know if our album makes you realise that. But I hope it's from a more positive place."

Brandon, while he objects to British youngsters singing along with a critique of US foreign policy, had no problems pretending to be the mother of a murdered British child. That, we guess, is his idea of a more positive place.

McCartney (TM)

Jim McCabe hits us with an email, which is always a delight. He brings to our attentions plans by Paul McCartney to trademark his name. And not just as a provider of anecdotes about the 1960s and supplier of songs about frogs:

The application was made by McCartney's company, MPL Communications, and if successful will give him the exclusive right to use the name McCartney on clothing, footwear and headgear. It specifies such disparate items as bath robes, articles of fancy dress, overalls, sports clothing and swimwear. But the scope of the application means that the vegetarian musician would also have the right to lend his name to products he is thought to loathe, such as meat and poultry.

A spokesman for McCartney said the inclusion of meat products was purely defensive. "It would give him protection against his name being used on products he does not approve of," he said.

Mind you, Linda would probably have been aghast at the McCartney "brand" being adopted by Heather Mills, as well. That could, of course, be what all this is about - maybe he's afraid Heather was planning her revenge by launching a load of McCartney Brand topless bikini items.

Jim observes that "the phrase, "Macca's Meat Pies" has a certain "something"?", which is true. And we can picture a small logo underwriting the quality: "You can tell it's good, if it's got my thumbs aloft."