Saturday, January 06, 2007

Rhymes' crimes

Put your hands where my eyes can see, requested Busta Rhymes. It might make more sense to insist that Rhymes keeps his hands where we all can see, as he's just been ordered to pay USD100,000 to a fan he beat up in New York.

The judge who heard the case held Rhymes - real name not Busta Rhymes - and his bodyguard Troy Green - to pay the cash to Melvin Smith. Smith's injuries had left him needing hospital treatment.

Legend out of his own lifetime

Nice work by John Legend - he turned up at an aftershow party, insulted his own fans and then wound up being thrown out of his own gig. The key problem was that he wasn't going to play to the people who'd turned up to see him: he suggested his younger brother should do the music instead.

The crowd weren't impressed, says someone lucky enough to be there:

"John was incensed. He grabbed the mike from his brother and told the crowd to 'fuck off'. Then he laid into them, saying they should show respect."

Yes, they should show respect. To about the same level as an artist is showing respect for his audience by saying "I'm not going to play, here's someone else instead."

James Brown: causing trouble beyond the grave

It seems James Brown's dying wish may well have been to create some extra upsetment for his kind-of wife Tomi Rae Hynie. Tomi's been locked out of Brown's house since he died, caught in a legal blackhole - she'd been married when she married Brown, and after that marriage was annulled, they never remarried.

However, as mother of Brown's son, James Joseph Brown II, she seemed certain to be able to get back in. But now it turns out that not everyone is so sure James II is scion of James I. The family lawyer has let slip that, before he died, Brown decided there was only one way to make things straight:

[Lawyer Debra] Opri told CNN's Larry King: "James Brown uttered comments to his attorneys before he died.

"He said, 'When I'm gone get it [a DNA test on James II] done so my family knows'."

Of course, it's not clear what he wanted his family to actually know...

The long Thai goodbye

They may or may not have been sort-of kind-of married during some type of ceremony, but the perhaps-pretend honeymoon is over: Kate has sent Pete home from Thailand.

There was, apparently, a fight on the beach of some sort, which led to Thai police getting involved and, according to Pete, was the latest in a long line of final straws:

“Kate won’t talk to me. She doesn’t believe me anymore.”

He insisted he wasn’t trying to buy drugs during the bust- up after a full moon party. He added: “The guy attacked me for no reason.”

Meanwhile, the Sun has come up with a way to make more cash off Pete and Kate's back:

ARE you sick of Pete Doherty stories? If so call 0870 900 ---- and press 2, if not press 1. Landline calls cost up to 10p.

Manson slims down family

There's as yet no official reason been given for the soon-to-be-finalised divorce of Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese, but drawing a curve of the couple's respective career curves since the wedding may prove... well, instructive.

Tourette: "I am not a celebrity, I am a free ordinary man"

Settling back into our usual timezone, we caught up with Celebrity Big Brother last night for the first time, which meant we only got a few short minutes of watching Donny Tourette regretting his decision to join the circus before he climbed the fence and was gone, quitting and returning to the arms of obscurity. We're presuming his role was an attempt to combine last year's Maggot (bloke from a comedy band) and Chantelle (person who wasn't a celebrity) in one housemate. Surely, the streets and cul-de-sacs of Great Britain must have rung to the words "I think he used to go out with the daughter of one of the Boomtown Rats" on Wednesday night.

Amongst those he left behind were quite a few pop people - Leo Sayer (permanently bemused face desperately hoping for best), H (now, apparently, preferring to be called Ian) from Steps and, in a "together at last" moment, S Clubber Jo O'Meara (still pushing the "a lot of people tell me my voice sounds like Karen Carpenter" - which is true, as it does often sound like she's throwing up.

O'Meara threw a strop when the housemates were played Reach during the course of business - "why would they do that?" she kept asking, apparently unaware that it's her greatest moment and - more interestingly - not noticing that nearly everyone else in the house was bellowing along in their own ways. Fancy being ashamed of a Great Pop Song which can unite everyone from a former comedy co-star to a Mirror "journalist" in a bout of happy singing.

The most famous pop-related internee, of course, is Jermaine Jackson, father to Jermajesty and brother of the more famous Michael. "I was lead singer" he told the house, "and Michael was just playing the bongos..." It's arguable that ending up sharing a house with Jade Goody is preferable to his brother's life of rootless taint and innuendo, but clearly Jermaine doesn't think so. The default setting for this year's series may well be Jermaine trying to not look too hurt to discover his presence in the sideshow is not generating awe and reverence, but merely prompting H from Steps to embark on ill-advised second-hand impressions of the BoSelecta version of Michael.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Give us your future, suggests BPI

We're happy to confess to confusion. The BPI has been pushing the idea of extending the length of copyright in recordings to 95 years because it would allow poor, starving artists to keep earning from their work into their old age.

Now, though, it turns out the BPI are suggesting that new artists sign away their rights to record companies in exchange for their online sales knowhow.

Does the BPI want artists to own their intellectual property for as long as possible, or... could it be they want the labels to? Hard to accept the BPI could be that cynical, I know, but there you have it.

We actually love the idea that young musicians are being encouraged to sign over their rights in return for the BPI members' skills in online sales. Because the old record companies have proved so adept in managing the shift from physical to digital, haven't they? Paying the BPI companies to manage your digital rights is like getting Napoleon to arrange a package tour to Moscow.

More Blur life "is rubbish"

The flipping-coin of Blur reunion tales lands "no" side up today, with Graham Coxon insisting that lunch is just lunch, and not plans for a thirty-date stadium tour and best-of album with DVD release and two new tracks:

Though Coxon did meet bassist Alex James for lunch in November, a Coxon representative assured Pitchfork that it was "just as friends and not to discuss business." According to a statement from Coxon's manager, "There are no plans for Blur to get together this year. Everyone's working on individual projects."

However, Blurologists (actually, it's just us with an annotated copy of 3862 Days) point out that the management statement is something of a thawing from the old stance of "not even if hell freezes Albarn's shriveled balls and tiny penis off".

They say she's gone to rehab; Hello says no, no, no

We guess depending on if you believe either that Britney was pissed or tired on New Year's Eve will determine if you choose to see her time in a "spa" in Arizona as rehab or a New Year's treat.

Her management are as quick to stress that it's not rehab as they were to stress that she was only napping and not three sheets to the wind. And that Jive aren't listening to the work she's done so far on her post-Fed album and are trying to decide if they should throw more good money after it, or just present it to the IRS as a write-off:

I don't know where your information came from, but I can only tell you we're in the middle of recording an album."

Actually, that doesn't quite deny the story, does it? Effectively, it merely confirms that there is half an album for Jive to fret over.

Call back the cops

Having lassoed the best-selling classical record last year by reinvigorating the lute, Sting now seems to be turning his attention to bringing new life to another long-forgotten endeavour considered by many to be better left in the past:

A Police reunion.

Fuel to the rumour-pyre has been given by the heavy hint A&M dropped when announcing a bunch of DVD stuff to mark the 30th anniversary of the band recouping ("breaking America"):

"It is our intention to mark the anniversary by doing something special with the band's catalog of songs. Needless to say, everyone is hopeful the band will support our plans and while early discussions have taken place, nothing has been decided."

We imagine the main sticking point will be trying to persuade someone that calling the new band "Gordon Sumner, Sting out of the Police, and the Police" isn't going to work.

Another rider up in flames

Trouble for George Michael after his well-paid gig for the Russian oligarch: his equipment went up in flames.

Which is probably the least you'd be worried about taking a large cheque off one of Putin's mates, to be fair, and the one and a half million he pocketed following Vladimir Potanin's party will probably buy him some new instruments and stuff.

Wonderfully, Michael's act was delayed when a talking parrot apparently over-ran his slot. But then you can't expect dignity as well as lots of zeros on a paycheque.

Sun confused by Whitney's bra

Rupert Murdoch, catching sight of Whitney's whipThe Sun is busily patting itself on the back today after being nominated as a brand expected to do well in 2007.

And it's started the year in fine form, telling its readers all about how Whitney Houston is selling off her underwear to pay a tax bill:

SKINT star Whitney Houston is selling her UNDERWEAR — to stop the taxman seizing her home.

Singer Whitney, 43, will lose her £3million estate in New Jersey, US, if she fails to pay £500,000 in overdue tax.

Thirteen Dolce & Gabbana bras, a leather whip, old stage outfits, and a chair described as ‘Whitney’s Throne’ are up for auction.


Except, erm, as the Associated Press report shows, the Sun story is almost totally wrong.

The sale isn't being carried out by Whitney, it's being done by a storage company.

It's not to settle a tax bill, it's because her company hasn't paid for the storage of the items.

The threat to her mansion due to unpaid mortgage and taxes has been settled and the estate is not going to be auctioned.

But never mind that, eh: The Sun is a fine brand.

We shouldn't be surprised that the Sun has screwed the Houston story up so royally - even when it's writing about itself, it can't keep its facts straight. It looks forward to the "planned launch of Sun TV", something which has actually been cluttering up its website since the chronic redesign last summer. Presumably the paper's hacks ignore it the way everyone else does.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Keen huntsman covers Victoria's Secret salesperson

We've been looking at the email, trying to determine if it's either some sort of new year jape, or perhaps the result of too much festive partying. But, no, it really does seem Bryan Ferry has recorded an album of Bob Dylan covers.

It's called Dylanesque, due out on March 6th. Ferry seems to think this is his Larry Olivier moment:

"As far as the words are concerned it's a bit like an actor tackling Shakespeare."

Splendidly, and fittingly for a man who does his advertising work for Marks and Spencer rather than a saucy panty shop, Ferry has chosen to conclude that The Times They Are A Changin' isn't hoping for a revolution:

"The way I do it doesn't mean it isn't a protest song… this song can be whatever you want it to be. I grew up with the jazz idea that you could do a song in many different ways…"

We look forward to Ferry Does The Clash in 2008, with the revelation that White Riot was actually about the Countryside March.

What does this mean? Probably that Ferry has now done all the standards and is casting about for new projects to keep him in lounge suits and M&S chardonnay.

We're not sure about "best" and "ever", but there is, undeniably, a "song" there

As if to confirm their status as the New Coldplay stand-by shorthand for faux emotion, Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol has become the best song ever, as voted for by Virgin Radio listeners. Perhaps slightly more surprisingly, Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls came in at number two.

The top ten in full, then:

1 Chasing Cars
Snow Patrol
Position in 2005: NEW ENTRY

2 Iris
The Goo Goo Dolls
Position in 2005: 129

3 One
Position in 2005: 4

4 Wonderwall
Position in 2005: 18

5 I Predict A Riot
Kaiser Chiefs
Position in 2005: 210

6 Time Of Your Life
Green Day
Position in 2005: 219

7 A Town Called Malice
The Jam
Position in 2005: 45

8 America
Position in 2005: NEW ENTRY

9 It Must Be Love
Position in 2005: 60

10 Mr Brightside
The Killers
Position in 2005: 496

Nice to see Suggs' new position as Virgin dj recognised in the results. It might say something about the volatility of Virgin's audience as presenter line-ups reshuffle so often that songs bounce up and down so much (last year, Imagine was the best song; this year, Virgin listeners have accepted there are 17 better songs, for example.)

The presence of America in the chart must mean Johnny Borrell's going to have a hell of a phone bill in the New Year.

You're my son now, David (continued)

It was charming to hear that Madonna and that bloke who used to make films have been learning some of David's language, in order to "keep him in touch with where he came from" by dropping the odd word into everyday conversation.

Of course, they could keep him in touch with where he came from by keeping his family in touch with him, but David's father, Yohane Banda, has been reduced to appealing through the media to find out how David's doing:

He insisted he did not want his son back, but said: "I don't have her phone numbers and mailing addresses.

"I want to find out how my son is but I don't know how I can do it."

Well, a subscription to Hello! might be a starting point, Mr. Banda.

We assume, therefore, that the christening and circumcision (one confirmed, the latter rumoured) haven't actually been OKed by David's parent. It's going to come as something of a shock for Mr. Banda to discover Regis Philbin is to be his son's godfather. More of a shock, we suggest, when he finds out exactly what a Regis Philbin is.

That's my dog

Upsetment at some gym or other in London, where Geri Halliwell has been asked to leave after tying her dog to a treadmill:

A source said: “Geri was happily pounding along with her dog tied to one of the supports at the side of the treadmill.

“The animal was agitated because of the noise from the machine. All the other people working out were being distracted by barking and yelping."

But even after Geri was persuaded to stop singing, her dog was still agitated. Told to take the hound out, Geri said "if the dog goes, I...", but didn't need to finish as the staff opened the door for her.

Career gone South; repuatation to follow

Journey South - yes, they're sort of still going - have got themselves into a bit of a mess. Offered a proper gig in front of some people at a hotel, they reacted badly to being heckled (which is like an Aunt Sally moaning about having balls thrown at her) and went upstairs to cause some damage.

Tables, claims The Sun, were overturned and glasses smashed:

A spokesman for Crewe Hall Hotel, near Crewe, Cheshire, said the stars refused to pay for the damage — and police were called in.

He added: “Journey South were booked for a party. They had not been on very long when someone told them to stop, and they were upset.

“When police arrived they agreed to pay £100 damages and were asked to leave the hotel.

“We did not want our other guests to be disturbed and we were also concerned that no further damage was caused.”

Police confirmed they attended the incident.

Oddly, although the hotel and police say it happened, Journey South's manager seems to have forgotten about it:

Last night their manager Tim Byrne denied any trouble at the hotel.

He said: “Journey South were booked to play one song but they played three. Afterwards they left the stage and hotel.”

Although admitting to playing three songs instead of the requested one is bad enough - that's wearing out your welcome if you like.

That'll help with the legal fees, then...

Nice day's work for George Michael, who's pocketed one and a half million quid from Vladimir Potanin, one of the many billionaires who have close links to the Kremlin.

It's interesting that George would be so happy to bank an enormous cheque from one of the people who helped Vladimir Putin to power and yet somehow forgot to raise the terrible state of lesbian and gay rights in Russia at the moment. But then George has always shown an ability to remain flexible when balancing his financial and sexual identities.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The RIAA enjoys a festive joke

It must be having a bit of a giggle, because if the RIAA claim against Allofmp3 is serious, it would just be making itself a laughing stock.

Hitherto, the RIAA has attempted hamfisted justification of claiming thousands per song from uploaders on the basis that they might have uploaded each song once, but those songs could have been downloaded repeatedly, costing the industry more than one sale.

Now, though, they're demanding $150,000 USD for each of the 11 million songs sold by allofmp3, despite two major problems with this:

First, even if we accept that a single download represents a single lost sale of a legitimate download (and we can stretch our credulity just that far this once), how does a loss of a 79 cent download suddenly morph into USD150,000 worth of loss?

We look forward to the RIAA bringing forth a witness who says, under oath, that had they not bought an allofmp3 download of Livin On A Prayer, they would have bought the same track 189,874 times off iTunes.

Secondly, not all of Allofmp3's customers live in the US. Why should Allofmp3 recompense an American label for the loss of a "potential download" (or two hundred thousand of them) when overseas customers wouldn't have been able to buy legitimate downloads from an RIAA company anyway?

And that's before you even get to the question of how a New York court is supposed to be the place to bring a legal action relating to Russian copyright law.

Since the RIAA isn't run by a bunch of idiots, and wouldn't set out to waste court time with vexatious litigation, we can only assume that, yes, this is all a little joke.

Liam Gallagher wants the secret of youth appeal

They call it an "unlikely friendship", but really, Liam Gallagher schmoozing McFly comes across as more, well, creepy and inappropriate:

Frontman Danny Jones tells the Daily Mirror, “I was really star-struck when I met Liam. He's my idol but I did my best not to show it. He kept saying: 'I buzz off you guys man,' and said that he'd love to appeal to kids too.”

"We spoke about the bands and how I wanted us to be more accepted. We want to get invited to things like the NME Awards. He gave us really sound advice and stuff.”

So, Liam gets the secret of how to hang about the Mickey Mouse Club studios without triggering some sort of alert; McFly find out how to drag the NME awards prizes ever closer to being the Brits but with slightly worse catering. Can we just leap towards 2008 now?

Keith Allen's daughter seeks dog

Christmas was ruined for Lily Allen when someone pinched her pooch, Maggie May:

"Not only am I devastated that my dog has been taken away, but I am also concerned for her wellbeing. She needs an operation on her stomach and is having medical treatment. There is a reward. Please, anyone help."

The dog was a pedigree, and it's believed it was taken for its intrinsic value rather than in some sort of kidnapping-for-ransom deal. Maggie May is a pure white bull terrier, and went missing from Forest Green. Allen was in Jamaica at the time.

Killers on the loose

No sooner has the faux-snow been blown from the mastheads and the tinsel incorrectly put into boxes marked "1979 Tax Returns" and lost forever at the back of the cupboard under the stairs than thoughts turn to summer and who might be headlining which festival.

Already linked with Glastonbury, now The Killers are apparently headlining V. Oh, and doing the Dodi Fayed memorial gig at Wembley.

It all suggests something of a lack of imagination when it comes to people drawing up the running orders for the outdoor mega gigs.

But did David get the Mushroom Wellington?

We hate having to stick up for Victoria Beckham, but we're not entirely sure there's any substance to the "throwing a hissy in the Toby Carvery" story.

It's quite sweet that the Beckhams went to a Toby - they're really quite nice, and they're doing the mashed potatoes at the moment - but wouldn't the story have been enough without this bit:

Builder Matthew Morgan, 23, who was dining at the pub in Ewell, Surrey, said: “We were saying how nice it was to see Victoria doing something normal and not being all stuck up — then she started complaining.

“I was behind her in the queue and when darker bits of meat were put on her plate she made it clear she wanted more breast.

But asking for the bit of the turkey you prefer is hardly being "stuck up", is it? Everyone at the Toby is free to ask for white or dark. Now, if she'd refused the turkey and demanded roast quail on a bed of chard, that would have been out of order. But to ask for something you're paying for? That's not actually bad, is it?

I'm not drunk, I'm just tired

While not denying that Britney Spears had to be helped from a club in Vegas a few minutes into 2007, her management are attempting to suggest that she wasn't off her head, just napping:

[M]anager Larry Rudolph said: "She was not drunk. She was just tired and falling asleep."

He added that the 25-year old singer "was just done" and walked out of the venue and did not seek medical help.

Ah, well, if she didn't seek medical help, she couldn't have been drunk, then, could she?

Moss: I don't, I didn't, I haven't

Have Pete Doherty and Kate Moss got married? The Sun says yes:

KATE Moss and junkie Pete Doherty were “married” yesterday — in a bizarre Buddhist ceremony on holiday.

The lovers had water sprinkled over their heads as a Thai priest pronounced them man and wife.

Friends and family clapped and cheered.

But the quotation marks around married shows that even they know that, really, this wasn't a marriage:

[T]he New Year’s Day union at a villa overlooking a Phuket beach is NOT legally binding in the UK.


What's more, Kate Moss denies that even the bizarre Buddhist ceremony never happened, either:

"Contrary to various entirely false media reports, there has not been any kind of marriage ceremony in Thailand. She is on holiday," he said.

The Sun reports that "pals of Kate" have been told to keep January 18th free in their diaries, surmising that that will be the date when the pair finally give the money shot. Although if Moss has any friends whose diaries for the week after next are still empty, we wonder, frankly, who they are.

Bookies have apparently stopped taking bets on the pair putting their, uh, relationship onto a legal footing, but:

David Williams, of Ladbrokes, said the bookmaker has closed its book on the pair tying the knot.

But he added that the firm is offering odds of 4/1 that the couple will divorce before 2008.

We were always given to understand that bookmakers refused to take wagers on unhappy events, but presumably they don't really see the potential divorce of a couple with young children as involving real people with actual emotions.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Yes, happy new year to everybody. We're not even going to touch Christina Aguilera trilling away in Times Square while a ticker above her head detailed the judicial killing of Saddam Hussein in eye-popping detail, so instead we'll just mention the further updates to the ongoing round-ups of 2006, and wish you all the best for this forthcoming 365 days of Robbie Williams.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Robbie Williams is not going to Adam and Eve it

It's hard to know quite what the most tragic layer of today's story in the People is.

Could it be that Robbie Williams wants to play a cockney gangster in the next moribund geezer flick that comes along?

Could it be that he's "learning" cockney rhyming slang, apparently unaware that films are made with big papery things called scripts which contain the things that the people in them have to say?

Or, could it just be that he's apparently "learning" cockney by watching old tapes of Minder and Only Fools and Horses?

We bet he's watching the Gary Webster era Minder as well, rather than the good stuff.

Why publishers lose money

We've thought and thought, and still can't quite figure out who would be so interested in Matt Willis' life story as to make his memoirs worth a million quid. Especially since it'll be aimed at next year's Christmas market, by which time the last of Busted's fans will have hit puberty.

Still, we'll look forward to using the piles of unsold copies to reach the higher shelves in Book Bargains early 2008.

Can you swap a Free Parking for a Get Out Of Jail Free?

It's not entirely clear which of George Michael's many car-related slip-ups have led him to being charged with being unfit to drive, as there have been so many to choose from. Or perhaps the cops are just bringing a portmanteau case to cover every eventuality.

It's not you, Bob, says Sienna

Sienna MillerIn what we're sure is a genuine outpouring of upsetment and not an attempt to try and get him to back down from his legal threats, Sienna Miller has said that she's "mortified" that Bob Dylan believes Factory Girl blames him for Edie Sedgwick's heroin-flavoured death:

Miller told The Observer she was "mortified" to learn of Dylan's anger. "It blames Warhol more than anyone."

"I'm Bob Dylan's biggest fan. I'm mortified that he's pissed off," Miller, 25, told the Sunday newspaper.

"She [Sedgwick] needed help and no one helped her. It's not that Dylan drove her to heroin addiction."

So, apparently, simultaneously, nobody helped her and it blames Warhol. Curious.

The other curiosity is, if Dylan isn't being at least looked at oddly by the movie, he appears not as himself, but as a composite character.