Saturday, May 19, 2007

Could America have tired of Victoria?

The latest news on TMZ suggests that, just perhaps, Posh has worn out her welcome:

Victoria Beckham blah blah shopping blah L.A. blah blah Friday. Blah blah!

Posh, 33, blah blah Kitson -- blah blah purple dress blah, Spice blah blah photogs blah blah blah blah!

Paparazzi crush blah blah Robertson Blvd., blah blah emaciated blah blah blonde bob blah blah blah. Blah!

Good lord, when a news service which reports Kelly Clarkson's doings as if they might mean something starts to take the piss quite so violently, your stock has really tanked.

Killers flee Colorado

Poor value for money from The Killers at their Red Rocks show: They managed one and a half shows before Brandon Flower's voice gave out.

They're going to try again in September, but even so, the haul out to Red Rocks isn't a simple one and the fans aren't happy, reports the Rocky Mountain News. The paper has been on the internets:

"I seriously can't believe he walked out on a sold out crowd at Red Rocks. He should have been honored to see all those people singing his lyrics!" one fan posted.

Another took umbrage with the fact the band was still scheduled to play in Los Angeles on Friday: "Wow so you guys are playing (Friday night)? What a miraculous recovery. Ya know, there's nothing like showing your fans you don't really give a (expletive) about them."

The paper also says the audience has "sat through Hot Hot Heat", suggesting this was the injury to which insult had been added.

3AM Girls have trouble counting

Perhaps part of the reason why fans couldn't get in to the Underbelly Show was the presence of media. Although we don't expect the 3AM Girls were actually there, and are probably working from pictures for this:

LOOKS like Beth Ditto's auditioning for The Vagina Monologues...

The Gossip singer stuck her head up Scissor Sister Ana Matronic's frock at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton.

So, erm, that would be a vagina dialogue, wouldn't it?
Bet it left Ana Comfortably Numb!

Eh? Has Beth Ditto's breath got anaesthetic properties, then?

Winehouse married - for quarter of a million

How charming - Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielding-Sillymidoff have had a secret wedding in Miami-Dade ("the Hanging Chad County" as it says on their signs). It's been kept secret not for any silly old reasons like privacy or dignity, but because they've flogged the exclusives to some magazine for quarter of a million.

Victoria Newton congratulates herself on the exclusive to fill up the space:

But, as usual, I found out anyway — beating my half-asleep rivals to the story in the process.

Or, rather, a stringer agency in Florida phoned up and told you, Victoria - otherwise, erm, the photos wouldn't have been bought in, would they?

Still, Newton does get an exclusive from the bloke who did the marriage:
Clerk Sammy Calixte, of the marriage license bureau, confirmed: “They came in this morning to get married and they were alone. I read the vows and each one said ‘I do’. When I pronounced them man and wife, they hugged and kissed.”

Youd have thought at least Amy would have said "No no no... oh, alright I do." No sense of occasion, that one.

Dope is great, says George Michael

George Michaal's seeking out of a remote new home in Scotland could be explained by his new-found enthusiasm as a spokesperson for cannabis. It's great, he tells Michael Parkinson:

Singer George Michael has said the world would be an "easier place to live with" if cannabis was legal.

Speaking to ITV chat show host Michael Parkinson, the star said he was not "advocating" the drug for everyone.

"Nobody ever came home stoned and beat up their wife," the 43-year-old former Wham! singer said.

Well, not quite, but there is a disturbing amount of evidence starting to build up that people do act quite violently after smoking skunk, isn't there?

George also revealed he was addicted to prescription medicines, too - which is like being addicted to ordinary drugs, but your man gets pens and mousemats from his supplier, rather than threats of violence and a semi-regular beating with a baseball bat.

It's all a result of depression following the death of his Mum:
"I know I have a very self-destructive tendency since my mother died, I have got to be honest. That has kind of made itself clear in other ways," he said.

Interestingly, despite having pleaded guilty to driving while unfit, and thus having told the courts he broke the law, he tells Parky he hasn't broken the law at all:
"Ultimately I didn't break the law. I did something stupid, and doing something irresponsible is not a position that I am normally used to defending myself in," he said.

But, George, by saying "guilty" in a court, you are admitting you broke the law. Just because something is also irresponsible and stupid doesn't mean it can't also be illegal. Let's hope that they don't take this sudden public 'not guilty' plea into account when you go back for sentencing - because you know how judges hate scofflaws, George.

Friday, May 18, 2007

T-Mobile cause fans cow at Udderbelly

Trouble at the Udderbelly Festival tent in Brighton (we've been flicking through The Argus, can you tell?). Fans who'd called up the T-Mobile site for tickets to the taping of Channel 4's Transmission with The Gossip and the Scissor Sisters and had been told to turn up didn't realise they were only being invited to hang about outside the tent with an air of disappointment.

One upset reveller told The Argus: "I had a ticket and all these other girls had tickets as well. Everyone was told to get there at 6.30pm, all dressed up for it, only for us to be let down."

We're not entirely sure how far up one must dress to stand in the crowd at an indie gig being taped for late night Channel 4, but even so, there's little worse than the feeling of being closed out of a gig you'd believed you'd got into.

Slim skates sideways

It makes you wonder why anybody would bother trying to help out their fellow man, doesn't it? Fatboy Slim made a generous payment to try and help bring a skateboard park to Hove Lagoon.

The residents got worried. Skateboards? Aren't they full of drug addicts on drugs, drugs bought by the proceeds of stealing old ladies' handbags?

Norman tried to persuade the company managing the project, Skate Expectations (a company name that sounds like the sort the lost-in-suits of The Apprentice might come up with) to meet up and talk through the resident's concerns. But they wouldn't.

So Slim asked that the money go to a different good cause instead. Great Expecskateions just sent the money back, and now skateboarders are turning their ire, in turn, on the dj.

Norman Cook sighs:

I tried to get Skate Expectations to meet up with the residents and they refused.

"They didn't seem to be listening to the local community.

"I was going down there with my son and people were saying things like 'you're not really welcome here'. I just didn't want to be associated with something people didn't want."

The skateboard lobby is being represented by Outreach worker Graeme Reece, who isn't exactly reaching out to Fatboy:
The 34-year-old said Mr Cook was 'two-faced' because his own events have encouraged hedonistic behaviour.

He said: "I attended his party on the beach where there were lots of people drinking and taking drugs. In fact at most of his gigs you would expect to find people doing all kinds of illicit drugs."

So... people take drugs at music events, so, erm, musicians shouldn't worry if they're funding an organisation incapable of communicating with its neighbours? And isn't his role more to point out that it's a bit of a lazy stereotype to suggest that skateboarders are going to be eating heroin and mugging, rather than nodding and saying "yeah, but what about people who take drugs in nightclubs>, eh?"

Reece then starts to rave about the Man:
He said residents might feel threatened by a sudden influx of young people to the skate park, but their fears did not necessarily reflect reality, and said hiring security guards to police the area was not a good idea.

He said: "Any young person who skates is likely to be a bit rebellious and they will not react well to a man in a uniform telling them what to do. It would be more effective to employ an adult skateboarder - someone straight-talking who they'd respect and listen to."

But surely the point of having a bloke in a cap is more to reassure residents that the Hove Lagoon hasn't suddenly turned into a hellmouth; and, if we were fifteen, we'd have had more respect for a security guard, however cheap his nylon uniform might have been, than some middle-aged bozo who thought they spoke our language because "I'm a skatie too, check?"

MicrotonalObit: Rod Poole

We've just been alerted by Karl T to the heartbreaking, pointless death of Rod Poole, Oxford guitarist. He was stabbed to death in the car park of a Hollywood restaurant, the LA Times reports:

The incident occurred about 9:45 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of Mel's Drive-In in the 1600 block of Highland Avenue. Officers answered a call of an assault with a deadly weapon and found Roderick Poole, 45, with multiple stab wounds. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he died at 10:06 p.m.

It appears that the husband and wife who have been arrested and charged with Rod's murder had nearly run him over; Poole's remonstrations with them had escalted into an argument which ended in the stabbing. The couple, Michael and Angela Sheridan, are being held in jail with bail set at a million dollars per head.

Poole was born in Oxford in 1962, finding his first musical feet in the Oxford Improvisors' Cooperative in the early 1980s. The group, of which he was a founder memeber, promoted gigs in the city featuring the earlier generation of free improvisers, with members taking the chance to offer support for them.

It was during his time with the co-operative that he developed a solid friendship with Shake Appeal, the band who would eventually transmogrify into Swervedriver.

In 1989, Poole relocated from the City of Dreaming Spires to the City of Angels, and in his new home Poole carved himself out a career as one of the very few musicians for whom the term "genre-defying" is apt rather than an empty cliche. Ink Blot Magazine attempted an explanation:
Rod Poole uses just intonation, a tuning system with different underlying mathematical relationships from conventional western turning, to coax overtone-rich sounds from his guitar. His music doesn't progress along a linear melodic path, but it also avoids the pronounced discontinuity characteristic to free improvisation. Instead, it focuses on gradually evolving changes in timbre and texture. Poole plucks intricate figures which become surrounded by an aura of ringing overtones; as his finger-picked patterns change, that aura shifts and shimmers like St. Elmo's Fire around a ship's mast. The effect is a little like that achieved by an Indonesian gamelan orchestra, but Poole does it with one guitar.

Talking to LA Weekly, Poole came up with a slightly simpler description of what he did:
“I just look at it as... improvised acoustic-guitar music,” he says, weighing each word. “Tuned, improvised acoustic- guitar music”

His body of recorded work isn't the widest, but his enthusiasm and skill made him one of the key figures in LA's mainly-underground microtonal movement. Beyond his solo work, Poole also played in two bands: Voice of the Bowed Guitar and the Acoustic Guitar Trio.

Depp props Pete and Kate

Johnny Depp - who, if we understand this correctly, has abandoned acting in favour of pretending to be a pirate animatorinic from a theme ride - has called on the press to stop having a go at drug-addled social climber Pete Doherty and Kate Moss:

"I was not good for Kate. But she's a strong girl and a great girl and very smart.

"Dragging her through the mud like that - they (the newspapers) are weird and two-faced. Let her be! I have never met Pete Doherty, but I think he has talent and he and Kate could be great together. She's got a great brain on her and she's a great mummy."

Ten years ago, if he'd come across something "weird and two-faced", he'd have made a film about it. But that doesn't pay as well as romping for Disney.

George heads north

Attracted, we'd imagine, by the idea of less busy roads upon which he can fall asleep, and excited by the idea that in Scotland, there are miles and miles of Heath, George Michael is thinking of moving north.

George, it seems, has always loved Scotland. You know how it's always been "Caledonian this" and "tartan that" with him.

Okay, perhaps not, but he's trying to make up for lost time:

"I've always loved playing there from the Wham! days.

"The Scots have a real spirit and identity the English are afraid of."

Yes. That's why, erm, there's that Hadrians Wall, isn't it?

Sons and Daughters take on Butler

The lovely Sons and Daughters have hired in the help of Bernard Butler to work on their second album:

Scott Paterson admitted: "Bernard was a weird choice because I was a big fan of his playing on the first Suede record and I learned to play guitar along to people like him and Johnny Marr.

"He really knows his stuff in the studio and he's a great musician as well. He's definitely given a lot more feedback on the songs - it's like working with an old-school producer in the Phil Spector sense, where they take stuff and advise on direction or arrangements."

Although without the waving guns in your face, of course.

Nas confuses himself with some sort of dignitry

Can it really be true that Nas - the man who claims in "NY State of Mind" to win "gun battles with mega cops" - has tried to insist that he gets a police escort to his gig in Birmingham tonight?

Nas has insisted in his rider:

"Under no circumstances is the artist to be delayed arriving or departing the venue due to traffic."

And how, exactly, is the venue meant to make the traffic in a city bend to his will?

If ever there was a time and place just begging for a Reclaim The Streets demo, this, surely, is it. How priceless would the look on Nas' silly I-love-murder chops be if his cars sailed round a corner into a street blocked by people enjoying a bicycle party?

Even Cowell hates Grease Is The Word

Okay, it's probably slightly hypocritical of us to suddenly start hailing the quality of Simon Cowell's critical judgement, but when he has a pop at Grease Is The Word, you do find yourself nodding:

"It has been slaughtered by the critics and rightly so."

Of course, the difference between us and him is that we're not actually making the programme through our indie company.

Whatever happened to picking sides

Hey, Paul Weller - aren't you meant to be part of the Oasis team? Isn't recording with Graham Coxon tantamount to consorting with the enemy? Sharing vocals, even?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Built to Spill

More download generosity: the Australian Spill Label has started to offer its compilations from the end of the last century:

During the 1990s I produced the "Spill" series of compilations, as a kind of pre-myspace attempt to document and showcase interesting independent music being made in Australia at that time. The comps had an impact at the time - now I think they are interesting historical snapshots of a time when the focus of Australian music was shifting from Sydney to Melbourne - and St Kilda to Fitzroy - and the indie scenes of Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney and Perth were finding each other and cross-pollinating. The people on these compilations were part of that process.

Australian indie was a splendid thing to behold - probably still is, but we hear less of it these days - and this is a gorgeous snapshot of some of the reasons why.

Numbers stations

Over on That Truncheon Thing, demos from Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot sessions. It's part of a week of Wilco rarity sharing from the blog.

Apparently, he said this with a straight face, too

Brian has, oooh, really spooked everyone out by invoking the Dev to promote his tour with Slayer:

"Satan is alive and well and living on the planet Earth, and now you know exactly where to find him - this tour."

Ooh! He'll be doing a pentangle in biro on the back of his hand next, and mucking about with ouija boards and god knows what else.

Satan issued a statement in response: "Look, I've got a lot on at the moment trying to get Falwell settled in, so let's keep this brief. Even if I did exist and wasn't merely a construct of religion desperate to have some sort of stick to keep the folk in line, do you seriously think I'd waste my time going on a bloody Marilyn Manson tour, listening to him night after night? I'm meant to be the one who inflicts the misery round here. Anyway, what's with Manson? Is he, like, ten? Does he think life is some sort of perpetual round of trick or treating?"

Ozzy on the street

The NME is rather generously calling Birmingham's proposed 'walk of fame' "Hollywood-style", but it's really just the latest in a number of etched paving stones like the slightly embarrassing one at Brighton Marina - they've just added the BBC London breakfast show host to join a distinguished list of other names including, erm, the local paper, and Julie Burchill.

The first Birmingham star is going to go to Ozzy Osbourne, which suggests they're already running out of ideas.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham elect, Randal Brew, said: "I really look forward to welcoming Ozzy back to Birmingham in July. It is a great honour to be able to offer him the very first star on the Birmingham Walk Of Stars."

Osbourne, who was also inducted onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002, stated: "I have a star in Hollywood on their Walk Of Fame but having a star in my home town means so much more to me. A personal thanks goes out to Lord Mayor Randal Brew."

We're not sure if it's more demeaning for him to be doing the marge adverts, or for the Prince of Darkness to be offering personal thanks to elected men in tricorn hats.

Wentz confuses 'lookalike', 'self', 'movie', 'real life'

Apparently, Pete Wentz has taken great offence at Tobey Maguire looking a bit like him in the the new SpiderMan movie, Spiderman III: Money For Old Mope.

It seems the trouble is that when Peter Parker paints a picture of pooped-out pecker, he looks a little bit like Pete Wentz. This is only to be expected, since Wentz is a pretty boy who dresses up like he's a fifteen year-old whose family don't understand him, which is probably exactly the stage direction in the Spidey script.

Wentz, though, bless him, isn't the stickiest of webs, and seems to think this is all some sort of elaborate pop at him:

Wentz hasn’t seen the movie yet, but he’s still bemused at the news that a mega- grossing superhero franchise may have stolen his identity. “My nephew, who doesn’t know anything at all, says I was in a movie.” Pete tells Rolling Stone. “I was like, ‘All right…’ I’ve heard about this from so many people.’” And on Tuesday night, right after our conversation, Wentz went onstage in Moline, Illinois, and shouted “Spider-Man 3 sucks."

Let's hope Wentz never finds himself under the oak tree in Milton Keynes mall - he's going to think he's been cloned or something.

Wood Pops

Had we been casting about for someone to play the role of Iggy Pop, we're not sure we'd have alighted upon Elijah Wood as being the most obvious choice. Ewan McGregor, maybe - at least we all know what to expect when the cock gets unleashed, as it surely must in any Pop biopic.

Apparently, The Passenger has been signed off by Iggy; the production team are the same crew whose Ian Curtis film, Closer is wowing them in Cannes right now.

Togther, apart

It was planned before his death, but there's something almost heartbreakingly apt at Grant Mclennan sharing his solo best-of album with solo stuff from fellow Go-Betweener Robert Forster.

Intermission is due June 18th.

My Faust, my last, my everything

Bet you can't say "Faust tour dates" without typing "Teutonic":

1st June: Bristol Venn Festival
2nd - Coventry Taylor Johns House
3rd - London Corsica Studios
5th - Leeds Irish Centre
6th - Liverpool Barfly
8th - Glasgow Barfly
9th - Edinburgh Borgo
12th - Leicester Charlotte
13th - London Luminaire: Some sort of solo set by individual members type deal.

[EDIT: Also of note: Win tickets on Playlouder]

XFM hangs the dj

In what isn't, oh no, a cost-cutting exercise in any way, Xfm have announced they're dropping djs from daytime programming. Instead, it'll just be a non-stop cavalcade of music and adverts between 10 and 4.

But what if Xfm plays a song you've never heard before and you want to know what it was? (It could happen.) You'll be stuffed - no back announcements to tell you what that was.

The big idea is that people will send text messages in to choose the next song - so, that's the Arctic Monkeys, then Oasis, forever, then - and Xfm will scrape off the funds without the need for anything as tiresome as paying people to think what to say or play next.

A limited collection of songs, and you choose what comes next, with no additional information or entertainment. Well done, Xfm - you've just invented the iPod, only one you have to share the control wheel for with the whole of the UK.

Xfm have promised that nobody will lose their job as a result of the changes, although managing director Nick Davidson must be looking dodgy.

Oh... and although there won't be any professional presenters, "listeners can record messages to go out on the air". A bit like junior choice, then.

Carry on up the Amazon

We might be being a little unfair to Amazon, but it certainly feels like the formal announcement of a store selling un-DRMed EMI mp3s sounds like a revisiting of announcements past. Certainly, the actual launch has come to feel a little underwhelming in the face of months of speculation.

Amazon did claim to have 12,000 other record labels signed up rather than relying just on EMI, but the reluctance to name names suggests more My Cardboard Box Of Records For Selling At Gigs than Sony or Warners at this stage.

Hey You? Oy, vey.

The mighty Pojustice has got a clip of the trudging Hey You - it's an EcoPlod, presumably; and the lyrics to Madonna's answer to the world's problems have also started to appear online. But we can't believe that the most complete set - which includes the line "the sun is shining/the earth is whining" - can possibly be true. Seriously, even if you thought the couplet wasn't so damn cheesey it could trap a rat, why would you try and protect the planet by portraying it as some sort of petulant teenager. "I'm getting hot... my make-up's running. I don't like it. Make it stop."

The clip on PJ does have some audible lyrics - "open your heart/you've got to change this time" - and since you're changing, might we recommend a tracksuit from H&M, imported from halfway around the world - and the frankly baffling "keep it together, we'll make it alright/our celebration is going on tonight." Which suggests, if nothing else, Madonna is writing from a conviction that the very start of the song will do so well to organise some sort of general keeping-it-together and unspecified changing, that by the end of the song the danger will all be over and we can get down to partying.

Or maybe she's just being honest and admitting that Live Earth is going to be little more than a bunch of hot air and some famous people telling us how great they are at saving us common folk.

"This could be good, hey you" ends Madonna. Yes, let's look for the silver lining in the global climate catastrophe clouds - or where the clouds would have been if the Earth hadn't heated up so much. At least it's given Madonna the chance to look concerned in a way that hasn't involved taking other people's children. And she can wear that white suit again. It's all good.

Don't stop thinking about what to borrow

Hilary Clinton is having trouble choosing a song with which to trumpet her campaign for election. So she's throwing it open to a popular vote:

"I hope people from across the country will go to my website and vote for the song they feel best represents our message of change and their hopes for a better America," Hillary said. "And I promise to leave the singing to the professionals."

Perhaps she ought to not leave the drawing up of a shortlist to consultants, though. These are the tunes that are being considered:
* City of Blinding Lights - U2
* Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall
* I'm a Believer - Smash Mouth
* Get Ready - The Temptations
* Ready to Run - Dixie Chicks
* Rock This Country! - Shania Twain
* Beautiful Day - U2
* Right Here, Right Now - Jesus Jones
* I'll Take You There - The Staple Singers

Hilary, Hilary, Hilary - you can't use KT Tunstall, not unless you want a thousand "is KT Tunstall a lesbian - and does that mean Hilary is as well" aimless debates sparking up across the internet. The Dixie Chicks is an interesting and provocative choice, as they've actually had the balls to stand up to Bush. Which - besides U2 being a dull, predictable and bombastically empty choice - is precisely why Bono shouldn't be given a sniff.

Interesting to see Jesus Jones on there, with an actual, political song - albeit one which shares its central thesis with Francis Fukayama and, as such, was wrong and surely from the other team anyway? Perhaps you might consider the other tune written at the same time which also considered Francis Fukayama's claim that we were living through the end of history - now which Cathal Coughlan song was it that chanted a sinister, sarcastic "history is at an end - we've won" at the finish?

Or how about My Old Man Said Follow The Van?

Oh no: Bo

BBC news is reporting that Bo Diddley has been hospitalised - apparently seriously ill following a stroke.

Kelly Clarkson: the last desperate hours

Trouble is clearly brewing for Kelly Clarkson, winner of the Gong Show a few years back. There's already been leaks suggesting her label made her head back to the studio to re-record her next album; now, it looks like Clarkson has started taking her problems with her bosses out public, wailing they asked her to cover a song previously recorded by Lindsay Lohan for the collection:

"While Lindsay sings the song well, it's been on an album. I don't care what pop star it is."

Let's all keep our eyes open to ensure that Kelly never does any cover versions ever again - regardless of who the original artist may or may not have been.

The patience of a Saint

Not bothering to answer the pressing "yes, but why?" question, Shaznay and Mel from All Saints are still insisting the band is a going concern:

"We're still working closely together.

We don't know what next year holds but we could well do a comeback tour."

It's unclear if they mean the comeback tour that was originally going to happen at the start of this year, or if this is a comeback tour as a comeback from the collapse of the original comeback. After all, if it's meant to be part of the original comeback, doing it two years after the actual reunion might look less like a comeback, more like not taking a hint.

Mick Jagger denies being tight

Jerry Hall's suggestion that Mick is close to a pound note has upset Mick. Although we understand he waited until after six o'clock to put in a call denying it:

Mick, 63, called the remarks “absurd”.

He said: “I’ve always been more than happy to pay for the children as well as the lion’s share for her lifestyle.”

It might be slightly easier to believe that Jagger isn't a grasping tightwad if his band hadn't cancelled a whole slew of tour dates to avoid them falling into the wrong tax year.

Avril Lavigne finds way round self-imposed "skanky clothes" ban

Back in the January of 2003, Avril Lavigne pledged to ensure it was all about the music:

"I won't wear skanky clothes that show off my booty, my belly or boobs"

Presumably, she would be able to argue that she has kept to the letter, if not the spirit, of the pledge, for her naked Blender magazine shoot. She is, indeed, not wearing any skanky clothes at all.

Something kinda oooh, get you

Cheryl Tweedy out of Cheryl Cole and Girls Aloud hasn't, obviously, let Lily Allen's latest fume-funnel go by with a dignified silence:

“Yes, I was bitchy about her but I never mentioned her weight.

“Quite frankly I couldn’t care less if she has a dick or not.

“I have had enough of her and her big mouth.”

“Over the last few months she has called Nicola ugly, which I bit my tongue over. She called Sarah vile and my husband horrendous, but seems to have conveniently forgotten all of that.”

“I can’t stand people who give it but aren’t prepared to take it back.

“If that’s the case she should keep her mouth shut instead of feeling sorry for herself.

“I could go on but I left school a long time ago and have no time for this.”

Thank god she was able to make the time needed in her busy schedule to contact Newton with this, then. We wonder if, to allow for more efficient Allen baiting, she keeps notes so they're ready to hand, or has to Google 'allen +"girls aloud"' to remind herself of the grudges.

It's starting to increasingly resemble, if not quite Tanner and Sharples, then at least Sheila Grant and Julia Brogan going at it in the Close: "You know nothing about the Corrk-hills..."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Smoke gets in your eyes. Even if you're wearing rubbish wraparound shades.

Over at E's FirstLook News Blog (and could someone there sort out their permalinks, please?), they're reporting that Bono has made himself unpopular with his neighbours. No, not the ones in Dublin, forced to live in the shadow of the self-aggrandising U2 Tower. This time its the other people in the New York San Remo block. Bono has been complaining about smoke seeping into his expensive pad; the management board have banned fires in the building until the problem is sorted out.

But has Bono looked closer to home for the source of the smoke? Could it be his PR machine starting to smoke as he juggles photoshoots with George W Bush, the G8's failure, his hijacking of the Make Poverty History movement, the whole moving the band to the Netherlands for tax purposes, the trouser court case and the whole Red thing?

Britney preps for a visit from John Sweeney

Britney Spears has posted a fresh communication with a world she believes to have been locked in furious praying for her sanity, or something:

"The reason for this letter is to let everyone know that their prayers have truly helped me. I am so blessed that you care enough about me to be concerned and will continue to live in this brighter state with all of you by my side during this trying time. We are all the lights of the world and we all need to continually inspire others and look to the higher power. You are all in my prayers. Godspeed. Love, Britney."

We seem to have a vague memory of Britney announcing that her religion was, henceforward, Preston, which would seem to imply that she feels people have been offering up prayers to him - and, indeed, she's praying back to Preston. It's not clear when she says that "we're all lights of the world" and "all in my prayers" if she's working her way through a list. Surely not all six billion of us every night, though - that would be too much to expect. Perhaps she does the girls one night, and the boys the next? Or maybe she just asks Preston to "keep an eye on the market."

ZZ Top need a break to clear their ears

Dusty Hill has need of an operation to remove a benign growth from his inner ear; the upshot is that ZZ Top have pulled their European tour dates. In something of a first for No Rock, we bring you a statement from an otolaryngologist:

In a statement, Hill's otolaryngologist Dr Shawn Nasseri said: "In the near term, we plan to stabilise Dusty's hearing and symptoms with medication and a conservative management strategy."

We're not sure if the idea is to allow Hill to hear exactly what ZZ Top sound like these days.

BPI MTV please them, please them

The Commons Select Committee has considered the pleas of the likes of Cliff Richard, and come out in favour of extending the period of copyright in sound recordings. It's a moral decision:

The House of Commons culture committee said people had a "moral right" to keep control of their creations while alive.

The copyright term for sound recordings should be extended to at least 70 years, the committee recommended.

Which is all well and good, but since most of the rights in recordings sit with companies rather than the people who actually did the work, we're not quite sure the Committee is really talking about the moral rights of the workers at all. Because that would mean, surely, taking the copyrights away from EMI and Sony and giving them back to the artists.

This has little to do with morality, and much more to do with business, and the hand of copyright holders sitting on the shoulders of the Committee.

To be fair, Paul Farrelly, Mike Hall, Rosemary McKenna and Alan Price haven't taken anything from the copyright-owning industry. And Alan Keen's participation in a cricket team which receives some money from Microsoft isn't probably going to sway him overmuch.

Phil Davies, though, has been enjoying trips to the horse races at the expense of Channel 4 for a couple of years and, although Channel 4 don't have much direct interest in the copyright status of 1950s records, its position as a major publisher of copyright material makes one wonder if an MP supposedly taking an independent view on copyright questions should also be taking their charabanc trips to Cheltenham.

Even more curiously, Janet Anderson and Nigel Evans both enjoyed a jolly to Copenhagen for the MTV Awards, paid for by MTV. Viacom, MTV's parent, has a lot of opinions about what should and shouldn't be allowed to happen to copyright material.

Helen Southworth, Adrian Sanders and committee chair John Whittingdale all had a lovely night out at the BPI Awards this year, paid for by the BPI and, indirectly, through the BPI, by the record companies. And who holds the largest amount of copyrights that are due to expire under the fifty year rule? What a strange coincidence - it's the BPI companies.

More than half the committee, including the chair, has been given recent treats by the copyright-owning industry. Now, it's giving something back. What a virtuous circle that is, providing you ignore the slightly unsavoury stink of MPs guzzling record company's drinkies before deciding on issues that directly affect them.

One for the industry

It might seem that there is no way to keep track of the burgeoning world of music industry conferences, seminars and get-togethers. As they grow at an alarming rate - third-world manufacturers of hand-stitched swag bags can hardly have children fast enough to keep pace with demand for their products - the organisers of Musiikki & Media have come up with a simple solution: an open Google calendar which will collect them all.

(Also handy for planning those 'Free the Clare Grogan solo record' protests, too, of course.)

Bono and Bob shown up by their mates

Oh, the weakness of metaphor - somehow, it seems, that Bono and Bob Geldof's defanging of the Make Poverty History campaign has bitten them in the arse. Having redirected the efforts and energies of the MPH campaign into watching a pop concert in London instead of actually campaigning, the pair are now discovering that the promises made over golf and brandies at Gleneagles might have been as empty as a late-period U2 chorus:

Bono last night called for an emergency session on Africa at next month's G8 summit in Germany as it emerged that rich countries are using the sympathy felt in the wake of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London to justify their foot-dragging on meeting aid pledges made at Gleneagles two years ago.

"It's not just the credibility of the G8 that's at stake," Bono said in an interview with the Guardian to coincide with the release of a report from his Data organisation detailing the slow progress since the Gleneagles summit of 2005. "It's the credibility of the largest non-violent protest in 30 years."

No, Bono. It's your credibility that's at stake. You weren't elected to be spokesperson for MPH - you took that on yourself. And your self-granted mission to represent the masses who offered support for MPH one way or another, to become their mouthpiece, to talk to your friends on our behalf, has failed.
The rock star warned there was a risk of a return to the violent street protests of Genoa and Seattle at the turn of the millennium unless the G8 acted next month.
"Nobody wants to go back to what we saw in Genoa, but I do sense a real sense of jeopardy."

Doesn't this sound a little like Bono saying "C'mon, Pals, we drew the sting of popular protest two years ago, but if you don't give them common folks a bone, they might turn nasty."

Lets not forget, of course, that the violence at Genoa was sparked by heavy-handed policing - 200 police crashing into a school where campaigners were sleeping, beating journalists, and killing one of the protesters with senior Italian police tried for their part in events. Nobody wants to see a return of the violence of Genoa in 2001, but the best way to avoid that is to not treat people exercising their right of protest as targets for testing out brutality. It's hard to have any respect for Bono at the best of times, but for him to imply that it was the protesters who turned the 2001 G8 meeting into a bloodbath has taken him to new levels of humbug.

Since he's entirely self-elected, it's not clear how we can unseat him - but isn't it about time someone started a "Bono and Bob do not speak for me" campaign?

The Earth dies screaming

Madonna has written a big, important song about how the Earth is dying which she wants us all to learn and sing back to her at Live Earth. Available as a download - she's pledging all cash will go to LiveEarth somehow - it's an early sign that Madonna is hoping to seize the event and is treating Hey You (sadly, not Hey You, The Rocksteady Crew) as a Feed The World for the event.

Bet you can't wait, eh?

Hat's entertainment

If we're reading this correctly, Victoria Newton seems to be suggesting that Justin Timberlake would have been better off wearing a Liverpool hat to the Manchester United end of Old Trafford.

Victoria, you see, loves soccerball and her favourite team is Liverpool:

[H]e was also snapped wearing an awful United beanie hat as he cheered them on.

All right, I might be a bit biased because I’m a Liverpool fan and Man U have just won the Premiership.

She really, really loves the Liverpool United. She's even, as we've seen, got a Liverpool scarf - apparently, she tried to buy a Liverpool Pashmina but JJB Sports was completely out of those. And this isn't a desperate plot by the paper to try and claw back support on Merseyside after it lied about real Liverpool fans after Hillsborough.

Greatest living Briton: Wilson on the hustings

While, as I think was established beyond reasonable doubt earlier this week, the nomination of Robbie Williams for The Sun's Greatest Living Briton was a bit of a joke, you could make something of an argument for Paul McCartney at least being seriously considered.

Trouble is, they've invited Ricky Wilson to promote his cause, which leaves McCartney not that seriously considered:

FOR those among you who are unaware, Paul McCartney used to be in a band called The Beatles, who played out of Liverpool.

Hahahahahahahaha. Did you see that? That's yer actually drollery, that is.
During his time with the group they changed the face of popular music, wrote some of the world’s most recognisable tunes and inspired generations of kids to form bands and make music.

He says that last bit like its inarguably a good thing. If it wasn't for the Beatles, the Pigeon Detectives - by their own admission - would have been putting their efforts into playing football.
To be a critic of The Beatles and what they achieved is to be a knob-head.

Wilson can be expecting the call from Tory central office pretty soon with this level of rhetoric. The Beatles, certainly, made some actually, truly memorable music. They also knocked off a fair bit of so-so stuff. But to suggest that only a "knob-head" could even consider any criticism - like the nasty taint of racism that hangs over some of their studio work, for example; or the slightly Madonnaesque films; the subsequent solo careers; even their part in the creation of a music industry where the photos are as important than the records. Even the bloody Look-In "Story of The Beatles" comic strip I read when I was a kid managed to slip in a few critical frames into the hagiography.
I have met people who claim not to like the band. Most of them do this purely for effect (and will usually try to convince you that their favourite, obscure Sixties band Snake-legs were far superior).

Actually, there are some people who are left cold by The Beatles. And, frankly, nearly everyone I've ever met who likes The Beatles argues with more passion that other bands were better.
For me this only helps to solidify the truth. The Beatles were, and are, the greatest band ever.

What helps solidify the "truth"? You've effectively just said "because I think you're a knob-head if you disagree with me, and I don't believe people who disagree with me, makes me even more convinced that I'm right" - that's not evidence, unless you're being prosecuted by Kafka.
Other critics of Paul McCartney often try to belittle the role he had in The Beatles. To have one great songwriter in a band is a good thing, to have two is lucky, to have more than that is phenomenal.

And a group full of great musicians and songwriters can only help to make a better band.

We seem to have slipped from trying to argue that McCartney is better than Julie Andrews and Thatcher, and started to try and defend Ringo as a songwriter.

"Having people who can play their instruments and write songs makes a good band" is blindingly obvious and somewhat meaningless in trying to determine if Paul McCartney is a great man.
You would think that when The Beatles came to a close Paul McCartney would want to put his feet up. But, like all great musicians, it seems that making music is just something he HAS to do, and something he has done ever since.

Yes. Can you imagine how he would have tossed and turned, unsettled and unfulfilled, had the theme from Spies Like Us been left unwritten?
Whether it be with his post-Beatles band Wings, or as a solo artist, he has continued to write fantastic tunes.

And some absolute clunkers. In fact, probably more clunkers than fantastic tunes. (I probably can't convince Wilson on this one; maybe I should add '... and if you say not, you smell.')
The nomination of any other musician in the Greatest Living Briton category is nothing but a joke.

Aha! Common ground. If this is a pop at Robbie Williams. Although we'd suggest David Bowie has more right to be here, for although he shares many of Macca's faults, he surely has a more interesting hinterland, and a better back catalogue.
I tried to think of anyone else non-musical deserving of the label and I honestly can’t think of anyone who doesn’t sound silly next to Paul McCartney.

Really? Tony Benn? Sarah Tisdall? David Attenborough? Eric Sykes? Steven Hawking? Richard Dawkins? Shirley Bassey?
I believe that to be Greatest Living Briton you should be self-made, but at the same time not do what you do simply for personal gain. I know that his music has made him a very rich man, but it certainly isn’t the reason he gets up in the morning.

Is this entirely true? Many of the post-Beatle activities of the Beatles have seemed to involved trying to scrape in money, and it's certainly arguable, although not, perhaps, provable that the publicity surrounding his divorce could have been avoided if he hadn't been so keen to hold on to so much of his money quite so tightly.
Outside music Paul McCartney has been able to use the fame and respect he has earned for many noteworthy causes.

He is well known for his animal rights work and anti-landmine campaign, as well as for putting his weight behind the Make Poverty History campaign, Live Aid, Band Aid and many, many others.

Hasn't he pulled out of the landmine thing now?
You also get the feeling that everything he does is genuine, not to increase his popularity or sales.

Well, that's true. The whole fighting with his own publicist for having publicised him thing was purely to add to the gaiety of nations.
He continues to make music not to fulfil any contracts or prove he’s still the best. He simply does it because he wants to — always the best reason.

He's not the best, Ricky, he's simply in a position where anything he does - Give My Regards To Broad Street - will find an audience simply because of his profile.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wilson crosses the Atlantic

Moving location, as seasoned Jump The Shark watchers will know, is a sign of an attempt to pep up a dead horse. A thought that may or may not be in the back of our minds as Tony Wilson announces plans to do this year's In The City in New York.

Frankly, it looked a bit wobbly when it biked thirty miles up the M62 to Liverpool a few years back, and is New York really going to be as excited by what, to them, is yet another music festival. Only this time with the British involved?

Sure, everyone talks about the British Invasion, and its impact on US popular culture, but it wasn't really an invasion, it was more the Americans co-opting a few British acts who'd already turned themselves into acceptable fare for American teens. The Beatles didn't get onto Ed Sullivan because they'd tied his wife to a chair and threatened slapping sessions unless they got a slot. British invasion? American invitation, surely?

Since then, periodically, British music gets the urge to go and repeat an invasion that's never happened. You suspect this latest effort is somehow hoping to piggyback on Lil and Amy's stateside adventure. But does New York really need some British hoodrats?

"The fact that [the Sex] Pistols were never taken to any of the major markets, I've always regretted especially because punk is my love," Wilson says. "They just went to minor markets like San Francisco, never to L.A. or New York. So for me, taking a major new British band to New York is very exciting."

The bands?
Enter Shikari, the Pigeon Detectives, Blood Red Shoes alongside the Rakes, Biffy Clyro, and the Happy Mondays.

The Pigeon Detectives? Why not get the whole thing sponsored by Marmite and have done with?

Next time: A Very Special In The City, with Ted McGinley interviewing Howard Marks.

[EDIT/UPDATE: In The City have been in touch and pointed out that they're not relocating to New York; this is an extra event which is part of an international expansion - with an event in Perth next year. And it would somewhat churlish of me not to add that while the bands might not have been who I'd have taken to New York, the planned panels chime pretty much in tune with the sort of things we bang on about here, day-in, day-out.]

Somethings to listen to

Be amongst the second thirty thousand to listen to Two, a forthcoming Ryan Adams single featuring Sheryl Crow on backing vocals, through his MySpace.

Meanwhile, Today interviewed Jarvis Cocker this morning about his Meltdown festival. [Real Audio link, permanent, but they've stopped parceling up the show into pieces, so this is the 8.00 - 8.30 chunk; Jarvis appears about 25 minutes in]

Violent outbursts across America

Brooklyn Vegan has posted tour dates for this year's Violent Femmes jaunt around the US. They're spending the 4th of July playing Red Rocks.

Lily perks up

We don't think the original posting about gastric surgery was a PR move, but today's follow up clearly is. Can you spot the subtle plug for one of Lily's business opportunities?

Hi guys , I'm sorry if I worried anyone with the blog I wrote yesterday . I was feeling pretty sorry for myself , I've been reading all your comments and they have made me realise there is more to life than being thin ! So thank you . I think I was just having a hard time last week . After reading cheryl tweedys comments branding me a "chick with a dick". I was feeling pretty low and aswell as that, some of you might know I launched my clothing line for new look last tuesday , and seeing my picture in so many newspapers next to kate moss' , made me feel grotesque momentarily .

I know its a silly way to feel and I am incredibly proud of myself and my achievements over the past year, there are so many good things about my life . I really am incredibly lucky . I guess it shows how much of an effect the media can have on us young ladies . As for the amy winehouse bit , someone sent me a link to a picture blog where there were some paparazzi shots of my brother and I , and there were hundreds of comments from mean sad people , saying I was a fat ugly bitch and how much better amy is than I . Usually I ignore these things , but in my heightened emotional state I let them get the better of me . My mum has come out here to keep me company and I feel much better now , I sha'nt be getting any surgery , instead I will be eating lots of bread and pasta and thinking about what to write about for the next album . I really am touched and was quite surprised at the reaction the blog received and it definitely has restored my faith in humanity .

I know I've said bad things about people in the past , though the majority of them have been blown wayyyy out of proportion , but this i mean
Cheryl if you're reading this , I may not be as pretty as you but at least I write and SING my own songs without the aid of autotune . I must say taking your clothes off , doing sexy dancing and marrying a rich footballer must be very gratifying , your mother must be so proud , stupid bitch .

We know, we know, one minute she's saying how it's heartbreaking that people can be so mean to each other on the internet, the next she's calling Cheryl Tweedy a bitch. Let's hope Lily Allen's "faith in humanity" doesn't get boosted any further, otherwise Amy Winehouse is going to wake up with a horse's head in her bed.

Madonna tells people what to do

The 3AM Girls have spotted Madonna making her film director debut:

MADONNA left nothing to chance in making sure her directorial debut goes with military precision.

How? Carefully pre-drafted plans? Clear storyboarding? A team of people who actually know what the hell they're doing?

Erm, no:
The pop queen donned an army-style hat on the set of her comedy Filth And Wisdom in London's East End.

Ah, yes. It's a little known fact that Hitchcock's success was down purely to his Reg Varney style cap, worn across all projects from first location scout to last edit.

The film is going to be a comedy, which means that Madonna's not bothering to stick to what she knows...
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, husband Guy Ritchie is returning to movie-making with another gangster film.

...unlike Guy.

Eve: never mind about hip-hop, what about, y'know, stuff and... I dunno, shit

In a long and somewhat rambling digression, Eve nearly managed to form an opinion on the 'clean-up hip-hop lyrics' before suddenly misplacing it again:

"I feel like there are so many other (more important) things going on in the world.

"I barely say bitch. I do say it. I usually don't say ho.

"The N-word, more than anything, holds a negative connotation. It's a word I grew up with and that's a word that's never threatened me and I've never used it in a threatening manner. I feel like if that's a word that's going to be removed, it has to be a movement and we all need to do it at the same time.

"I still haven't decided where I stand all the way.

"It's not just hip-hop, and that's the thing that makes me mad. Those words have been a part of everyone's vocabulary at some point in everyone's life. Black, white, whatever. Hip-hop, pop, rock. So it makes me mad that the fingers are being pointed at hip-hop for those certain words.

"There are movies that come out every year where a woman is being smacked up and beat down by a man. Let's talk about domestic violence. No men will stand up (for that). They want to say, 'I want to take these certain words out of a song.' But a lot of men that are hitting women won't stand up and say, 'You know what? I'm gonna stop hitting my women today.'

"That's what we need to be fighting. Stuff like that. There are a lot of different issues."

So, erm, is that clear? Something about how if wife-beaters don't stop hitting women, then there's no reason to take out the n-word, which has never been threatening but simultaneously has a negative connotation.

We're not sure if Eve has heard rock or pop songs which drop "nigger" into their lyrics, but - unless she goes shopping for tapes at BNP fairs - we're fairly sure she hasn't; and if she had, she wouldn't be quite so laid back about it.

Still, the "why should we clean up our acts if other people don't clear up theirs" is identical to the White House's line on pollution, which means if she can sort out the DUI trouble, Eve could fit in easily into front line politics.

Jet save the seals

In common with most people who have ears, we're not big fans of Jet, but it's pleasing to see them joining forces with The Vines and PETA to try and stop the Canadian seal hunts.

Of course, all they've done is sign a petition, which, frankly, is a working definition of "the least they could do". Still, they've got plenty of coverage for a little bit of writing, which must make it all worthwhile.

Blunt wants more money

James Blunt has issued a high court summons to try and get the issue of royalties for Back to Bedlam sorted. Since Lukas Burton claimed that he'd been diddled out of a proper production credit on the album, the flow of cash from the record has been frozen. Now Blunt wants to get things sorted.

The High Court, of course, might decide to keep the cash for the government, as why should anyone profit from torture?

Justin Hawkins: It should have been me

Naturally, enjoying Scooch's desperate result on Saturday night was Justin Hawkins:

"I think Scooch lost because they were rubbish.

"The BBC shouldn't have put it forward. It was supposed to be different this year. The clues in the title, Eurovision Song Contest. It should have been a song."

It's all very well for Justin to condemn Scooch as rubbish, but it is worth remembering that, when given the chance to vote on potential entries, the British public decided that Hawkins was worse. Even Malta might have found it hard to hold its collective nose and swallow that one...

Lemonheads unplugged

Last night's Lemonheads gig at KoKo got pulled, as the whole of Camden had electrical problems - possibly as the result of local people destroying substations to try and avoid the sound of Evan Dando drifting across their homes.

They're going to try again tomorrow.

Drug use is Taboo; Taboo "is a drug user"

Taboo, the one out the Black Eyed Peas, not the spirit drink that was launched at the same-time as the less popular Mirage, has been charged with a couple of minor drugs offences.

The Black Eyed Pea has been accused of "possession of marijuana, prescribed medication and driving under the influence." Prosecutors hit out at California Law, under which it is impossible to charge someone simply with being a member of the Black Eyed Peas.

A musical joke

It's probably a little unfortunate that Richard Younger-Ross is picking up so much coverage for his idiotic, timewasting early day motion about the Eurovision Song Contest. Since his dogged and determined Parliamentary lobbying against the Iraq War tends not to be reported, the casual observer might just assume that Younger-Ross is a bit of twit trying to draw attention to himself, which isn't the case at all.

Anyway, he has taken time and effort to bring the matter to the government's attention:

That this House believes that voting in the Eurovision Song Contest has become a joke as countries vote largely on narrow nationalistic grounds or for neighbour countries rather than the quality of the song; and that such narrow voting is harmful to the relationship between the peoples of Europe; and calls for the BBC to insist on changes to the voting system or to withdraw from the contest.

Actually, not only is treating the song contest as something worthy of the expense and time of processing an Early Day Motion a shocking waste of our money, but it's clear that Younger-Ross didn't pay any attention to the contest at all.

After all, following the last month or so of tension surrounding the resiting of a Soviet war memorial in Tallinn, isn't Estonia's gifting of twelve points to Russia less "harmful to relationships" and more an affirmation of friendship between the peoples of the nations? And that Serbia can win, despite having been so recently fixed as the centre of evil's gravity in the continent, and entering a rubbish song, says more about the restoration of a sense of normalcy in the Balkans than any number of biographies of Paddy Ashdown.

All this talk of countries doing favours for their friends and neighbours being bad just smacks of the unpopular child trying to wreck relationships because he's got nobody to play with at lunchtime. Is Younger-Ross really saying he wants the BBC to pull out unless they can guarantee Bosnia won't make any conciliatory gestures towards its neighbours ever again?

At last: An MP asks about booking fees

It's taken god knows how many months of people trying to make the point whenever the government experienced a fit of the vapours about people selling tickets on eBay, but finally, an MP has raised the issue of booking fees with the DTI:

Labour's Ben Chapman said costs added to the ticket's face value should be spelt out, as should alternatives to buying through an agency.

In the House of Commons, Mr Chapman said huge demand had put venues and agencies in a "powerful position".

Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Hodge said the industry was examined by the Office of Fair Trading in 2005.

She added that current regulations would be strengthened by the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive in 2008 which would require consumers to be able to make an "informed purchasing decision".

Of course, this is way to weak - it's not that people don't know they're being hung upside and shaken until their pockets are emptied; what Hodge is offering is the opportunity to be mugged in an informed way: "I'm now going through your pockets with the intention of removing any cash; I'll also be taking your credit cards, and later in this session I shall threaten to poke a knife into your kidneys unless you reveal the PIN number..."

What the law should say - and be explicit about - is that the booking fee, if charged at all, must only cover any extra legitimate administrative costs incurred - so instead of a percentage of ticket face value, it would have to be a fixed price, and one levied per transaction rather than per ticket; the price of booking online would have to reflect the reduced costs of processing, and so on. It's not information that we need, it's fairness.

Sun exclusive: Doherty wobbly

In news which will come as a shock to the easily shocked, a top graphologist has told the Sun Pete Doherty "shows signs of instability."

They ask this chap to have a look at pages of Doherty's journals, and to say what the handwriting reveals. Originally, they were going to do his tealeaves instead, but apparently Doherty uses bags. This is the graphology verdict:

"We look at stroke measurement, not what he's written. The size and depth of the writing and any slants.

"Pete Doherty's handwriting shows him to be a quick and fluent conversationalist who can rapidly absorb other people's ideas.

"He also has an enquiring mind, yet at times he can be mentally lazy.

"Pete's writing shows a level of emotional instability.

"He tends to have a constant state of internal chaos and may have a difficulty separating reality from fantasy."

Now, even if there was a scientific basis to assigning character type on the basis of if they draw a circle to dot their Is or not - and, frankly, it's only a step away from deciding who might be a mass murderer according to how they lace their shoes - since he clearly knows he's looking at a page of Pete's writing, doesn't that throw up the merest hint of a possibility that the expert could be influenced by factors other than the downstroke on Doherty's Ps? "This double underlining hints at being part of a chart-topping double act based on a strong friendship which has, to judge by this exclamation mark's angle, been superseded by a comedy double-act with a person in the fashion industry."

Victoria Beckham worries about her cupcakes

We're sure that all British parents this morning - as they pack their kids off to school with body armour, a sack full of turkey twizzlers and the faint hope they'll learn something, anything - will sympathise with Victoria Beckham's struggles to get her kids even the basics of an American education:

“I’ve had to turn myself into Bree. It’s so bloody hard getting into a private school in Beverly Hills. As a parent you feel like you are on trial.

“I’ve been having to promise to do loads for the school and David has offered to give the pupils some football lessons.

“I’m just worried that my cupcakes won’t be up to standard!”

Goodness, you're not telling me that the school expects you to be involved with your kid's education? You'll be telling me next they insist on you actually attending parents evening, rather than filming an "I'm sorry I can't be there" insert and sending Dane Bowers to pick up the report in your absence.

We should point out that when Beckham says she's "turned herself into Bree", she doesn't mean the smart talking horse from the Narnia books. Which is a pity, as she'd have less work to do then, although the "smart" and "talking" bits might prove challenging. No, she means Bree from Desperate Housewives.

Helpfully, Victoria Newton's team helps Sun readers understand what this might mean:
My design wizards have mocked up how Posh would look if she really did turn herself into MARCIA CROSS’s uptight character in the hit Channel 4 show.

Actually, they've just photoshopped Beckham's face onto Cross's body, confusing "turning herself into" with "disguising herself as".

But it is better than the first try they had, which we've reproduced here.

Beckham has also had a tough time trying to settle in LA:
“David has to be in Madrid to play football so I’ve been sorting out the house myself. It was a nightmare finding a place, I’ve lost count of the number of houses I saw."

So, more than two, then.

The problem is that some people in LA don't have Victoria's quiet good taste:
“A lot of the houses I looked at were really garish — lots of gold, all very Versace.

Believe it or not David and I do have good taste. I like everything to be simple and plain.”

Which we believe is known as "sticking with your own".

Some of you might remember Vix and Bex's wedding, where they were so simple and plain in their tastes they drew the line at dying the swans purple to match the crushed velvet theme.

Topically, Victoria also touches on Scientology:
“Everyone says Tom Cruise is trying to convert us. That’s not the case. When we spend time with them it’s just not discussed.”

Wasn't last night's Panorama on the subject wonderful? It's interesting because people are, generally, well disposed to even the most outlandish of beliefs, but it's like the Scientologists don't want people to like them - so much effort expended on trying to stop John Sweeney even mentioning the word "cult" anywhere near them. And the celebrity interviews, where they all pulled double-takes when asked about the aliens-and-nuclear-bombs bit, as if they'd never, ever heard of that before. If you accept their claim they're just a good-old fashioned religion what does no harm to anyone, you'd not help but notice their efforts to ensure nobody thinks they're a sinister, controlling organisation do make them look somewhat like a sinister, controlling organisation.

But, it turns out, one with no interest in Victoria Beckham. We can sleep more soundly in our beds tonight.

"She's like that Derek Harry"

Kylie Minogue is currently sporting shortish blonde hair and sunglasses, which is enough for Victoria Newton to say she looks like Debbie Harry. Although since when were sunglasses a Debbie Harry signature? If you're casting around for anyone with blond hair who sometimes wore dark specs, you might as well say that Kylie is looking like Andy Warhol.

Monday, May 14, 2007

No wonder she was reduced to doing Bovril adverts

It turns out that, despite carefully exiling himself from all but the lightest of taxes, Mick Jagger remained close to his pound notes. That's what Jerry Hall reckons, anyway:

"He always wanted me to pay for everything to do with the house and children, which I didn't mind doing, I guess, because I had the money. He's generous with presents, but yeah, he's pretty tight with the day to day stuff."

She doesn't say if, when he goes to have coffee out, Mick collects the little sachets of brown sugar to use at home.

Where your booking fee goes

At least when you fork out your hard-earned quids in booking fees to the likes of SeeTickets, you at least have the comfort of knowing you're investing in a top-quality service provided by an international company with a fine reputation. (The dodgy misuse of Glastonbury registrant's data aside, of course.)

Or maybe not. The Klaxons have had to apologise to fans who were locked out of last night's Manchester gig after Ticketline and SeeTickets screwed up and sent the wrong tickets out:

"We would like to apologise to any genuine ticket holders who did not get in. If anyone had a valid ticket for either show but was not let in, we ask that in the first instance they should contact the ticket agent from who they bought tickets with ticket numbers and booking reference. The ticket agent will then be able to check if tickets were sent out and how they slipped through the net."

Actually, shouldn't SeeTickets and/or Ticketline have details of what they sent to who? Shouldn't they be the ones who are contacting their customers and sorting out their mess, rather than the other way round?

Swing 'em for Sting

We're not sure if the weekend reports of Sting and Bowie opening a strip club - sorry, burlesque joint1 is actually the story that Cait first alerted us to over a year ago, or if they're reporting it again because the pair have found a venue, and some women who can take their clothes off, but with dignity.

There's no question that Sting would be taking advantage of the women who work for him at this venue. It's not like he'd sack them for getting pregnant or anything. Probably.

1: What's the difference between a lap dancer and a personal burlesque show? About fifty quid a throw.

Rupert Murdoch's online strategy dictates our youth

Be vewy, vewy qwiet... it's a secret Gossip/CSS gig organised by MySpace.

CSS explain the frankly overblown rules for getting into the event (Friday in Manchester Roadhouse):

To be in with a chance of getting into the night, you need to sign up to the Secret Shows profile at, and to our MySpace profiles at and, and put all three profiles in your MySpace 'Top 8' friends.

You then need to show a print out of your MySpace profile to staff at Fopp on Brown Street, Manchester at 6pm on Thursday. The first fans to arrive in store will be able to exchange their profile for a wristband which will get you into the gig and the club night.

They don't say what happens if you don't have any wrists, or if, say, Beth Ditto decides to refuse your new friend request on a whim.

Bjork in New York: Security talk

You probably read Brooklyn Vegan anyway, but in case you don't, the BV coverage of Bjork at the United Palace included a fairly mild grumble about security being a bit of a buzzkill:

The crowd ended up disappointing me a little though. Unlike at Bloc Party and the Stooges (Bjork was my third time at the new venue already), the United Palace security was making sure people stayed in their seats (and out of the aisles). I thought for sure everyone would disregard sercurity, and just fill the aisles and rush to the front during "Declare Independence" ("Don't let them do that to you!!"). I thought maybe we'd get a mini-revolution going (Create your own flag!). I was wrong. Show ended peacefully. Everyone gave a collective "that's it?", and then we all went home quietly and riot-free.

Surprisingly, there was a response in the comments from a member of the venue's staff, sounding midway between wounded and annoyed:

I am a security guard for the United Palace Theater. I was working the night of the Bjork show. First of all, let me point out that we (the security guards) are guest of the church. Yes, the United Palace is still considered a church (no matter how many vegans/hipsters go there for shows). Second, there are two teams of security, one is the "house" security, and the other is the company that I work for. The house security are the tall men in suits with earpieces. Whatever these guys do or say goes because they work for Rev. Ike and the church. Third, the United Palace one of the largest venues in New York. If people are blocking the isles the fire department will shut us down. The theater is old and if there ever was a fire or a structural collapse there would be a stampede. As security we are responsible for 3800 people's lives.

As for a "mini-revolution" or starting a riot...are you serious? It's a Bjork show. If any number of people started a riot security would just call the NYPD and leave the building. Just because a singer is saying something in his/her lyrics doesn't mean you have to take it literally. When Iggy Pop sang, "My idea of fun is killing everyone", did you think that it would be fun to kill everyone?

Next time you go to a show and decied to write about the staff you should first consider who they are and what they do. The staff keeps you, Brooklyn Vegan, safe. If you are into shows that get shut down by the fire department, by all means block the isles. Then maybe you can start a "mini-revolution" out on the sidewalk against the FDNY. Good luck with that one.

Good lord. Of course, security do perform an important job, their role is vital and it's probable that anyone who's ever been to a gig where the crowd has been larger than just the bassist's mates has been in a situation where, without the presence of some people in black tshirts, we'd have been hospitalised or worse. Mostly, we're not even aware of that thin, scary line we balance on when we wade into a mosh pit or cram ourselves into the middle of a 2,000-people crush, or the work being done to keep us on the right side.

But that's the way it should be. Sometimes, security is too heavy-handed. And that helps nobody - a security team which over-enforces and over-reacts isn't going to have the respect of a crowd. Telling someone not to stand up and dance in their seat because it would cause the horrible, burning deaths of thousands of people isn't going to win respect. Posting a hectoring response to someone jokingly suggesting that over-emphatic security had killed the chance of a revoution isn't going to win respect. And security that has lost the respect of the people it works for is, ultimately, security that has lost the confidence of the people it works for. That's as true in a semi-converted church as a broken nation.


VH1 have created their own answer to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, presumably thinking that anything that doesn't involve a trip to Ohio has to be a bonus. And it's a way of tempting back groups who would consider themselves above that series where they try to reunite groups for a bit of a laugh.

So it is that the first ever VH1 Rock Horrors was born. Sorry, that's Rock Honours. Agreeing to come ("Chosen for the honours") were ZZ Top, Ozzy Osbourne and Genesis, who did agree to play together for the first time in fifteen years, but sadly drew the line at calling themselves Genezzis to make it a hattrick of double-z bands.

Nickelback showed their respect for ZZ Top by doing a cover of Sharp Dressed Man - presumably they thought it would be too risky for sometimes-soused driver Chad Kroeger to drive onto the stage in the ZZ Top car, although it's arguable he'd have done less damage than he did on the Top back catalogue.

Keane also turned up to do something; and the whole thing was held together by Robin Williams as host - presumably chosen as he was last culturally relevant at roughly the same time any of the winners were.

Ozzy Osbourne advertises an oily butter replacement.

The forgotten wars

Did you know Fergie and Nelly Furtado are currently caught in a war of words? Nope, us neither. But apparently Fergie has reneged on a ceasefire agreement, causing Furtado to appeal over her, erm, lovely lady lumps direct to the people:

"We spoke about it face to face... We kinda cleared it up about a month ago... I thought it was water under the bridge.

I threw the first punch, technically, thinking she had thrown the first punch. She told me she did not and then I said, 'You know what, I'm sorry...'

I'm sure we'll be friends again in the future.

I'm not a bully, I'm just an artist and when you're an artist you have a certain artistic license and when you feel things intuitively and you feel like you've been insulted or hurt you just react."

Although, of course, it seems that Nelly doesn't extend that artistic licence to Fergie.

About as popular as Scooch in Albania

Of course, it might be a brilliant comedic triumph, but we have to wonder: if someone sets out to make a movie which is a parody of the Eurovision Song Contest, haven't they missed the event's ability to send itself up perfectly well with no outside help?

Global Looza

Lollapalooza, the regular chance for young Americans to see some bands which are teetering on the edge of retirement, is going to go worldwide, says Perry Farrell:

"I'm going to look to take it global."

Blimey. But don't start to dream of making a fortune scalping LollapaEarth tickets on eBay just yet. He's talking about some time before, erm, 2017:
"I want to put together an event around the world in the next 10 years that will refashion, redress, and transform. It's something I'm looking into now, and if it happens, it will happen quick. That's my ambition."

We're not quite sure how something can take ten years and be quick, unless it's a Brian Eno project of some sort, but we're sure he's got it all planned. We're also not sure how an event which had to abandon traveling around the US is suddenly going to be shifting from nation to nation. But we're sure he's got that planned, too.

Trent Reznor: Nine Inch Nails fans are being ripped off.

Not by him, of course - by the record label. He's posted an angry dig at Universal:

As the climate grows more and more desperate for record labels, their answer to their mostly self-inflicted wounds seems to be to screw the consumer over even more. A couple of examples that quickly come to mind:

* The ABSURD retail pricing of Year Zero in Australia. Shame on you, UMG. Year Zero is selling for $34.99 Australian dollars ($29.10 US). No wonder people steal music. Avril Lavigne's record in the same store was $21.99 ($18.21 US).
By the way, when I asked a label rep about this his response was: "It's because we know you have a real core audience that will pay whatever it costs when you put something out - you know, true fans. It's the pop stuff we have to discount to get people to buy."

So... I guess as a reward for being a "true fan" you get ripped off.

* The dreaded EURO Maxi-single. Nothing but a consumer rip-off that I've been talked into my whole career. No more.

The point is, I am trying my best to make sure the music and items NIN puts in the marketplace have value, substance and are worth you considering purchasing. I am not allowing Capital G to be repackaged into several configurations that result in you getting ripped off.

We are planning a full-length remix collection of substance that will be announced soon.

Still, it must be nice for NIN fans to be considered so hardcore they'll pay for their devotion.

Gore blimey

We're not certain, but there's a gentle lapping of rising waters of desperation in Al Gore rolling up his sleeves to beg for participation in the Brazil part of Live Earth:

"I want to invite every person who cares about the environment in Brazil to come to the event here in Rio," he said.

Since the country is four and half thousand kilometres long and four thousand kilometres wide, you might think that the kindest thing for the environment would be for people living outside Rio to not make a massive trek across the nation, burning fossil fuels on the way. Gore threw open his invitation during a visit to Rio, part of a whistle-stop tour of South American capitals to warn the world against needless consumption of scarce resources. Don't worry, he made the journey in a coracle, powered by the burning of uncounted Floridian ballots.

Meanwhile, Bob Geldof has had a go at Gore. He's less than impressed with Live Earth, and not only because none of the seven nation's organisers have yet to offer him a slot to do I Don't Like Mondays:
"I hope they're a success," De Volkskrant newspaper quoted Geldof as saying in an interview.

"But why is (Gore) actually organizing them? To make us aware of the greenhouse effect? Everybody's known about that problem for years. We are all (expletive) conscious of global warming,"

Unlike, of course, the African debt crisis, which was known only to fourteen sub-Saharan finance ministers and Bono and Bob prior to the Live 8 concerts.
"I would only organize (Live Earth) if I could go on stage and announce concrete environmental measures from the American presidential candidates, Congress or major corporations," he told the newspaper. "They haven't got those guarantees, so it's just an enormous pop concert or the umpteenth time that, say, Madonna or Coldplay get up on stage."

Unlike Live 8, of course, when the umpteenth minus one time Coldplay and Madonna got on stage had almost magical effects.
Geldof also criticized the former vice president's choice of the name Live Earth.

"It sounds like Live 8," he told the paper. "We're getting lots of responses from people who think we are organizing it."

Of course you are, Bob. And Peaches is having to turn down all sort of djing jobs left, right and centre.

If we were Al Gore, we'd invite the rump of the Boomtown Rats to play. Without Bob.

[Thanks to Joe for the tip on the Geldof stuff]

Newcastle Brown trails

And it's not just Newcastle, as that's just the start of a mammoth Ian Brown tour:

Newcastle Academy (September 27)
Hull City Hall (28)
Sheffield Octagon (29)
Middlesbrough Town Hall (October 1)
Lincoln Engine Shed (2)
Halifax Victoria Hall (3)
Leeds University (5)
Warrington Parr Hall (6)
Dundee Caird Hall (8)
Motherwell Civic Hall (9)
Edinburgh Corn Exchange (10)
Llandudno Venue Cymru Arena (12)
Preston Guildhall (13)
Derby Assembly Rooms (15)
Nottingham Rock City (16)
Reading Hexagon (18)
Birmingham Academy (19)
Cambridge Corn Exchange (20)
Southampton Guildhall (22)
Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall (23)
Bristol Academy (25)
Liverpool University (26)

That's a load of gigs - it must be in the back of his mind that a Stone Roses reunion, he could do three nights at the Manchester Apollo and make twice as much as for the whole of this tour. The state of the Cambridge Corn Exchange changing rooms is exactly equal to the price of integrity.

Allen decides to abandon role-modelling

We've never quite bought Lily Allen's protesting-too-much about body size schtick: it's always been somewhat laughable that the slim Ms Allen has tried to suggest that she's a normal body shape. Sure, she's closer to an average size than Cheryl Tweedy, but the way she's always spoken of herself as if she was only a Jammy Dodger away from turning into Beth Ditto has always smelled of publicity seeking rather than honest self-assessment.

Even so, her I'm fat post brings us no pleasure:

"Fat, ugly and shitter than Winehouse - that is all I am. I'm on my own in America again.

"I used to pride myself on being strong-minded and not being some stupid girl obsessed with the way I look. I felt like it didn't matter if I was a bit chubby 'cos I'm not a model, I'm a singer.

"I'm afraid I am not strong and have fallen victim to the evil machine. I write to you in a sea of tears from my hotel bed in Seattle. I have spent the past hour researching gastric bypass surgery and laser liposuction."

The trouble with taking up the banner to fight for the outsiders is that, even if you're only really doing it as a marketing ploy, you might find yourself identifying with those outsiders a little too much.

Kylie tries to move in; house prices rocket; whole area could blow sky-high

Kylie Minogue is, apparently, thinking of following in Julie Burchill's shoes. No, no, not Tony Parsons. Moving to Brighton, along the seafront. Shoreham, actually. Quite near Zoe Ball and Norman Cook, in fact, and the recently vacated home of Heather Mills.

Sadly, it's also near a proposed store for chemical fertilizers, like the ones they were going to use to blow all symbols of the louche Western sin-society up with the other year.

Kirstie and Phil would suggest this an excellent bargaining chip to get some movement on the price. If you don't mind the risk of dock worker body parts raining down on your exclusive sun terrace at some point in the future.

Having been born in Brighton, I still can't quite get used to the idea of Shoreham being talked about as a cool, groovy, property hotspot. Good for second hand car parts and chips, yes, but home to genuine pop royalty? Isn't that Kemp Town's job?

Elvis Cost Hello

Elvis Costello has always nurtured his reputation as valuing his work, if not above rubies, then at least above jingles for cornflakes. Sure, his pappy might have taken the R White lemonade shilling, but that wasn't a route Costello would go down.

Jim McCabe has just pointed out to us that now, though, Costello is doing adverts. And for Lexus, the carbon-emitter of choice for Alan Partridge.

Even more seedily, he's doing gigs for which you can only pay using a specific brand of credit card. Now, we can understand smaller, less rich acts reluctantly signing up to do gigs where fans get excluded if they happen to be on the wrong, or no, mobile network. But when you're rich as Costello, doing gigs that exist solely to try and shore up one credit card over another? It's one thing to sell out, but to sell out with a "We accept Visa" notice hanging around your soul is quite another.

English women now Shaggy enough

We might be a nation cowed by having to choose between the Grantham Grocer and the Stoke soak for our icon, we might be the home of Scooch, but at least there's good news from one corner. Shaggy has deemed English women fit to date:

“English women are starting to look better now.

“Back in the day I had a couple of restrictions here and there. You know they weren't great.

“But I think they're evolving over time.”

Yeah, we hear they've even got prehensile thumbs in the West Midlands now. Still, the rest of the world's women can take comfort, as Shaggy thinks they've all done very well:
"Women in general are getting better looking because you can now buy your looks.

“You can go out and buy a boob here, buy a boob there, get liposuction."

We're not quite sure why Shaggy dreams of a woman with four breasts; but if that's the way he thinks about them it's probable he's never seen one naked so maybe he doesn't know what number to expect.

A spokesperson for all the English women welcomed Shaggy's generous comments, but declined the offer: "It's great that Shaggy thinks we now come up to his standards. Unfortunately, since he still is as greasy as the mechanic who fixes the deep fat fryers in the local chipshop, we'll pass, thank you."

A spokesperson for Women In General added: "Shaggy's suggestions that we have taken a great leap forward in being able to mutilate ourselves in order to live up to his expectations have been noted. In the same spirit, we shall be forwarding on a number of emails we've received this morning which offer help to gentlemen with erectile disfunction."

Robbie Williams is not dead, or from outside the UK

It's not often we'd find ourselves seriously thinking about supporting Robbie Williams in anything, but when he's up against Thatcher, you'd have to consider it.

This is The Sun's Greatest Living Briton thing (we're not sure 'competition' quite fits the event), which somehow has managed to come up with a shortlist of The Queen, Thatcher, Williams, McCartney and, erm, Julie Andrews. With that line-up, we should perhaps make it clear they're talking about Margaret Thatcher, and not Carol, or even Mark. It's interesting that the paper didn't feel comfortable about alienating the readers in the nations of the Kingdom by calling it 'Greatest Living Englishperson', but then went with an all-English shortlist anyway.

You might think that finding a way to justify a self-pitying, drug-and-drink sodden silly arse who prefers to hang out in LA than the UK being on the shortlist would prove a challenge. But the paper has managed to find a justification - he used to be patron of a charity. They even find a little boy to claim that he wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for Williams:

“Robbie is the best because he’s helped to make me better and he’s helped lots of other children too — and his songs are great!”

So, did Williams meet with Rhys?

Erm, no:
“I’d like to meet Robbie and say hello."

You might ask why, if he's so great, he's the ex-patron of the charity.

On the other hand, Robbie Williams hasn't ever attempted to crush the right of working people to have collectively-bargained wage settlements, or flogged off the water companies. So he's not all bad.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ferry docked

His "goodness, I merely meant I liked the cut of their suits, not the thrust of their policy" apology seems to have been too little, too late: Bryan Ferry has been dropped from the Marks & Spencers campaign.

An M&S spokeswoman said none of its models are on an ongoing contract, and that it would be "really unusual" for any of them to work with them for more than two seasons. She added that "no further executions are planned" of the Ferry campaign.

Bryan, of course, will be disappointed by that - after all, someone who has expressed his admiration for the way the Nazis got across their message would have been hoping for an ongoing series of executions. Possibly until an entire village had been wiped out.

Ferry's minister for propganda has denied he's been dropped. Merely not reinvited:
Stephen Howard, his manager, denied that Ferry had been officially "dropped" and said that the original deal signed with the retailer had only been for two photo shoots for two campaigns.

"Technically he fulfilled the obligations of the contract when he did the last photoshoot," said Mr Howard. "It was a successful association for both parties."

Well, until Bryan started doing the funny walk. If only he'd done the Jimmy Cagney.

Baker has a go at Mills. Again.

Geoff, give it up. You're not going to get back into Paul McCartney's good offices by slagging off Heather Mills. If that was going to work, Victoria Newton would be the third Mrs McCartney by now.

Geoff fumes:

"I don't like Heather. She knows that, although she was always pleasant enough to my face.

I'm sure she'll be a huge act in America. She doesn't have one particular talent but she doesn't need one. "Fame isn't predicated on talent anymore.

To some extent I do admire her. But I don't like her."

C'mon, Geoff. We've all seen the German 'education' books. She's got at least one talent.

Brown: I'm the Daddy

Having clarified yesterday that Bobby Brown has no sense of humour when it comes to suggestions of even the mildest boy-on-boy action, we today discover that he does like a good laugh, nevertheless.

Despite his seemingly constant periods spent in jail for falling down on fatherhood when it requires little more than sending off a cheque every month, Bobby is suing Whitney to get more access to their daughter, Bobbi Kris.

Brown is keen to beat down the suggestion that he's a deadbeat dad. Although his reasons for seeking a change in the terms of the custody agreement don't entirely inspire confidence:

After Whitney and I separated, I had nowhere to go and very little money to live on. I was, for all intents and purposes, homeless." That's why he failed to respond to Whitney's petition for custody in time, and why she was ultimately deemed the primary parent.

Yes, his case is "sorry I didn't say anything at the time, but I was living like some sort of tramp in a lay-by". That'll work.

Paris Hilton gets some motherly advice

What Paris Hilton really needs in her life, of course, is someone who can offer some good, honest, open advice. We're not sure we'd have suggested that Tori Spelling's mum would be the ideal person for the role, what with her track record and everything, but Annie Sugden's dead and wasn't real to begin with, and Victoria Gillick is remaining uncharacteristically quiet. So Candy Spelling it is, then:

Dear Paris,

As someone who has known you for most of your life, I pay special attention to your press coverage. (Apparently, I'm not alone, based on the responses every word about you creates on and elsewhere.)

Paris, I'm very worried about you. The last week has not only been an obvious roller-coaster for you emotionally, but your strategy went from blaming employees and stating silly excuses like, "I don't read," to your new lawyer's tactic to have you sound mature and take some responsibility. In between, the paparazzi continue to follow you shopping and taking self-defense classes (to protect yourself in jail?), and some over-zealous friends staged embarrassing protests (three people?), and wasted taxpayer funds with a petition to pardon you.

People who are rich and famous are not treated like "regular" people, even though you claim to now be just like everyone else. In most situations, your privileged life works to your benefit. You have opportunities, access and resources like few others; and frankly, you can get away with more bad behavior and excuses than most people could even imagine. However, as the real possibility of jail approaches -- whether it's 21 days or 45 or whatever the latest report is -- it's time to get real. It's time to find "a Paris" somewhere between "heiress" and a character on "The Simple Life." I know she's there, and I know she can be a good citizen and maturely face consequences other people would have to face under the same circumstances.

I am sorry you have been sentenced to jail. I can't think of too much that would be worse. But since you let this happen, use the next couple of weeks preparing not only by publicly learning to fight (not a good message to fellow inmates), but by looking around, realizing that you are not as truly entitled as your money implies. You are a young woman who can add more to her community than establishing new definitions for infamy.


Candy Spelling

Sorry, did we say this was motherly advice? What we meant was "the equivalent of one person asking another at a dinner party, with all the sincerity they can muster 'is there anything we can do to help your grandchild out of jail and off those damn drugs?'"