Saturday, May 26, 2007

Something to listen to: Editors

Streaming distressingly lovingly from a Sony Records server at the moment: Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors [Flash] by Editors. For you to listen to, if you like.

Stapp's wife asks judge to let her take her chances

The horrible mess of Scott Stapp's disintegrating marriage continues its public implosions. Last Sunday, Jaclyn Stapp called the police when Stapp threw orange juice at her. The OJ missed - it's been ages since Stapp managed a hit, after all - but the courts issued a restraining order against him nevertheless. Now, Ms Stapp has asked for the restraining order to be dropped - although, curiously, not because she is withdrawing her claims that he's a drug-addled violent danger:

"The filing of the voluntary dismissal was at my client's direction, but shouldn't be taken as withdrawing any of the allegations which were made in the petition," said Jaclyn Stapp's attorney, Michael Gora. "My client and her husband have been attempting to reach an understanding for the benefit of their marriage and child." Gora declined to comment further.

The terms of the bail on which Stapp has been released still mean he can't go to the family home - except to use the recording studio, which means we're all still at risk, then.

Stapp suggests that his wife's claims about violence and drugs are nothing to do with not wanting to be the victim of domestic violence, but more mercenary in intent:
Scott Stapp's attorney Robert Gershman declined to comment Friday but previously has denied there were any drugs on the couple's property and has said that Jaclyn Stapp's 911 call was motivated by money and custody of the child.

... and the carton of orange juice flying over her head.

Listen To Your Father: Feargal to the rescue

The Parkhill Hotel in Oulton is currently facing closure, as a council warning about noise has thrown its wedding business into disarray. The hotel's neighbours are still angry about the level of noise which comes from events held in the pub's grounds, and refusing to reach a compromise. So, erm, they're sending in Feargal Sharkey to play a Paddy Ashdown role:

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard also revealed he had been speaking to former Undertones frontman Feargal Sharkey, who is now the chairman of the government's Live Music Forum task force.

Mr Blizzard said he had put hours of work into trying to help mediate in the dispute.

“I've tried to broker some discussions and a meeting with Waveney to resolve this, as I've been involved in speaking to Mr Truman and trying to sort something for months and months,” he said.

“Feargal Sharkey is a key supporter of live music, so, after speaking to him about this, he was prepared to come to Lowestoft and sit round a table with the council to offer some ideas.”

The local residents assocation have approached That Petrol Emotion with a view to organising a counterstrike.

Do Linkin Park have some sort of wind-powered ship?

More care for the planet expressed through damaging it: Live Earth Tokyo is going to be headlined by, erm, Linkin Park. It's fairly safe to say their trip to the venue is going to involve some air travel.

Some people almost deserve to be ripped off

Normally, there's little point in a venue complaining about eBay ticket sales for one of their gigs - after all, they've already sold off their tickets and there's nothing they can really do about it. But The Liberty Stadium at Swansea has good reason for warning people off paying up to £117 on eBay for Who tickets. Because they've not actually sold out yet, and tickets are still available for £40.

Andrew Davies, Liberty Stadium general manager, last night said, “It seems to be the case with every major event these days that there are people looking to cash in and make a quick buck.

“But I would like to reassure anyone who wants to attend Friday’s concert who has yet to buy a ticket, that they are still available to buy from official outlets.

“There is no need for anyone to get ripped off paying over the odds for their tickets, it is as simple as that.”

Is it just that people have now got so used to events selling out within thirteen seconds of them going on sale that they just go straight to eBay without bothering to check the venue any more?

Sharon Osbourne threatens to push head up woman

The ever-charming Sharon Osbourne hasn't let the passing of what feels like several aeons dissuade her from responding to the last mutterings by Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed. They had attempted to try and raise some interest in their me-too faked-reality TV show by saying something or other about the Osbournes. Now, seemingly tired of waiting to come up with the perfect witty riposte, the woman ITV thought would make a charming teatime TV host has just shot out:

"His wife's s**** has been rubbed on every pole in LA. I'll fucking tear his head off and stick it up her!"

We're sure Gala Bingo will be delighted at seeing the person they're paying to promote their product is suggesting the correct way to solve a dispute is by murdering a woman's partner and then violating her body with part of the dismembered corpse.

Maybe we should ask them.

Jamelia drives away

Oddly, considering the way the 3AM Girls usually report everything that Jamelia does within seconds of it happening, they seem to have somehow missed the story about her driving off without paying a GBP20 parking fee.

The official line is that she'd "forgotten her purse" and so swerved round the car in front of her at the barrier, with every intention of coming back later to pay:

Her spokesman said: “She intended to return and pay. A row did occur. The fee has been paid.”

The odd thing though - even odder than "how come she didn't realise she had 'forgotten her purse' until the very moment she arrived at barrier, as if she'd run up a big parking fee surely she must have been doing something in that time which would have required a rummage in her handbag? - is: if she fully intended to return and pay, why did she not merely say to the bloke in the booth 'I am Jamelia, who had a minor hit or two a while back, I have suddenly realised I have forgotten my purse, I will go and get money' rather than swerving round the car in front and trying to flee without a word? Obviously, her spokesperson is a n honourable man and would never tell a fib, but surely even he must see that her behaviour, however pure her intentions, was 'driving away from a car park without paying'?

Victoria Newton introduces the do-it-yourself column

Even by the low standards of Bizarre, this morning's piece by Ms Newton asking for readers to do her research for her is quite something:

I NEED help understanding CHRIS MARTIN’s T-shirt.

It’s a mock-up of the Time magazine cover naming then New York mayor RUDY GIULIANI Person Of The Year 2001 — but that’s not Rudy in the pic.


People who can do her job for her are invited to send an email or phone. Newton, of course, will continue to keep the paycheque even though now she doesn't even bother to get research done in-house.

Coming next week: "Can anyone tell me something that I can put in my column?"

Friday, May 25, 2007

Arson about: Prison for Wayne Fontana

Wayne Fontana's decision to turn up at court for the hearing into his arson charges dressed sort of like Justice may not have worked that well:

The judge criticised the former lead singer of the Mindbenders, real name Glyn Ellis, for arriving at Derby Crown court dressed as the Lady of Justice.

He had to hand [in] a sword and scales to guards but wore a crown, cape and dark glasses, claiming "justice is blind".

The judge, Andrew Hamilton, wasn't amused:
: "He regards this whole procedure as a pantomime.

"He has come dressed as a fool and he wants to act like a fool - I hope they give him a prison uniform at Nottingham Prison to keep him warm."

Fontana has pleaded guilty to arson being reckless to whether life is endangered, but denies arson with intent to endanger life. Fontana had set fire to a car driven by a bailiff who visited his home.

The case is adjourned until July; Fontana has been remanded in custody and the judge has ordered psychological reports.

Group hug: The Police reconnect

There's something of a gushing piece in today's Mail, where The Police are gathered together and warned that anything they say may be taken down and used to make them look really fabulous. Chris Iley grants them a straight face for even the most eye-watering moments:

Coming back together is a hugely emotional deal.

Sting tells me that before they went on stage at the Grammys, they all huddled together. "I said: "Look, we are doing this for each other. We have to play for each other.""

After the Grammys, Sting told me: "We grew apart from a vortex of tension. We stopped connecting and I wanted to fix that."

All the ends that were never tied or severed are now being woven back together again.

Indeed, so flattering is Iley that the recent bit of unpleasant for Sting and Trudie is somewhat downplayed:
Trudie is always smiling when she's by his side. They seem truly devoted to one another.

Sting needs her loyalty and he has been equally steadfast with Trudie, who was recently taken to an industrial tribunal by their former chef who alleged unfair dismissal.

This is a curiously sketched version of events - a woman was sacked because she became pregnant, went to a tribunal and won her claim that Styler had broken the law in canning her. Why, I wonder, does Iley not detail this a little more honestly? Surely not because The Police had been given copy approval? Actually, that might be slightly less disturbing than the thought that perhaps Iley or the Mail had elected to take out the nasty truth for themselves.

How lucky I have a famous daughter

Forgive us for raising a questioning eyebrow, but would Paul McCartney really, as the Daily Mail seems to suggest, need his daughter Stella to effect an introduction to Natalie Portman to get her in his new video?

It's Paul McCartney. We'd imagine his name might open one or two doors on its own.

Celebrity Big Brother: Ofcom verdict

Some of the comments on the story we did back during Celebrity Big Brother insisted that Jo O'Meara couldn't possibly have been taking part in racist bullying, because, for example, she sang songs which meant she was "shy" (sorry, sensitively creative), she didn't appear to be doing any racist bullying in the backstage bits of S Club 7 live videos, and because she said she wasn't.

Now, Ofcom have published their findings following complaints about the series. What did they think?

Of course, their remit was not to decide on what was said, but how it was broadcast, but it did fall to Ofcom to investigate the nature of what was said in the first place. Their starting point is some of the transcripts:

I just don’t like that. I don’t fucking trust her.
No, I don’t trust her. I don’t trust her – at all.
No buts ay - she’s a dog.
What did she say? Danielle? What did she say?
I need a wee. I need a poo. I need a wee but I’ve got to wipe
her arse.
(Background conversation)
Jo (to Danielle)
Behave yourself, Mrs.
Danielle (in toilet)
She’s a dog.
No, but like me, you and Jade get on.

Friday 12 January 2007, transmitted on the main show on 13 January 2007

Channel 4 suggests that, while this is nasty, it's not racially nasty, and that Jo might have called Shilpa a dog, she didn't mean it:
There is no evidence, however, to suggest that the insult was motivated by racism or indeed had anything at all to do with Shilpa’s race.

Certainly the editorial team did not then and do not now view it as racist. That is not to say the remark was viewed as pleasant. In any event, at the time it is also clear that Jo, although she laughs at the comment, has some reservations about it - making the comment ‘behave yourself Mrs’ to Danielle.

It is also Jo later on that night and the following morning who makes it clear that she thinks the comments were terrible and urges Danielle not to drink again and to apologise to Shilpa. Accordingly, although not pleasant, the context of the show and the ongoing series made the inclusion of it totally justified by context and within the Code rules.

In addition, Channel 4 points to Jo's role in helping engineer a rapprochment between Jade and Shilpa the next day.

Ofcom suggests that "while offensive to some", this is pretty much par for the Big Brother course:
We therefore do not believe that in light of this backdrop, the term
“dog” would have gone beyond the Big Brother audience’s expectations. In the
context of the day’s events, the comment was clearly made by Danielle Lloyd in the
belief that Shilpa Shetty had somehow had a role in Carole Malone’s eviction. It was,
therefore, used by Danielle Lloyd as a generic term of abuse as opposed to a racial
insult, and would have given viewers an insight into the housemate’s character.

Then, there was the "Indians are thin because of their poor hygiene":
I said, maybe they cook them differently in India, might do mightn’t they?
They probably fucking cook it for, like…
That’s why they’re all thin, because they’re sick all the time, because they’re ill.
They’re ill off Shilpa’s cooking.
The thing that aggravates me with Shilpa is she fingers your food off your plate. You could see when she was picking the onions, just with her fingers, she’s just done it to Ian as well, she went ‘oh this chicken is fine’ [mimics Shilpa’s accent] and on his plate, started eating his chicken off-of his plate. That grates me.
Do they do that in India, eat with their hands or is that in China?
It’s in India isn’t it?
Not sure, I don’t like all that though.
I don’t know where her fingers have been.

Channel 4 suggested that this is merely ignorance, rather than racism:
Channel Four said that Jo O’Meara and Danielle Lloyd were clearly within their rights
to be concerned about potential food safety and hygiene issues if they perceived
there was a risk. By making a crude generalisation that all Indian people are thin and suffer from food poisoning because of the way they cook chicken – particularly in a way that suggests this is humorous – Jo O’Meara’s ignorance of Indian culture is made clear to viewers. Similarly Danielle Lloyd’s comment asking whether it is India or China where people eat with their hands highlights her clear ignorance of other cultures. Nonetheless, Channel Four considered that the comments “…stop short of being clearly motivated by actual racial prejudice”.

So, suggesting that a nation of people are unhygenic, and sick, and thin as a result is "humorous" and "short of being motivated by actual racial prejudice" - you have to wonder why the channel believes something as nasty as this can be excuse because it's humourous. NF literature used to include cartoons, which didn't make it any less repugnant.

Certainly, Ofcom didn't buy it for a minute:
This [the motivation[ may or may not be the case (and of course, it is not possible to know with any certainty what the motivation behind these comments was), but we considered whether the content of the words were such that they could reasonably be viewed as potentially offensive on the grounds of race, or any other grounds.

There appeared to be two elements to this material which viewers found offensive. The first was the exchange in which Jo O’Meara linked Shilpa Shetty’s cooking to people in India being thin and the second was in Danielle Lloyd linking this personally back to Shilpa Shetty’s cooking, which viewers perceived to be racist bullying. We agree that on the surface, the target of the women’s exchange appeared to be Shilpa Shetty’s cooking. However, their comments extended to generalisations about Indians as a race and therefore had the potential to be viewed as stereotyping Indians as a race and offensive by many.

In considering the exchange, we bore in mind the broadcaster’s response that the above comments needed to be viewed in the context of the day and the growing antagonism over the course of the preparation and eventual consumption of the lunch. However, Ofcom believed that there were other, more pertinent comments (about race and imitations of accents) being made in the House which should have alerted Channel Four to the potential for this exchange to cause offence and the need to apply generally accepted standards.

We agree with Channel Four that expressing a dislike for another person handling the food you are about to eat with their fingers or taking food from your plate with their fingers would not necessarily lead to offence being caused in the broadcast of this material. However, in the context of the remarks which surrounded it (“That’s why they’re all thin, because they’re sick all the time…”; “Do they do that in India?”) and bearing in mind the pejorative way in which such comments could be viewed, Ofcom is of the view that the conversation had the potential to cause serious offence.

Jo O’Meara’s quiet mimicking of Shilpa Shetty’s accent when saying “oh this chicken is fine” also added to the concerns about the offensive nature of this material. This focused the discussion further on race as the issue (and not simply their frustration over the un-cooked chicken), adding to the offence.

We agree with Channel Four that, in the context of a programme like Big Brother, “it was…important that this scene was presented to viewers as a further insight into these girls’ characters”. Notwithstanding that such comments may demonstrate cultural ignorance, the audience’s reaction to this broadcast was bound to be influenced more at this time by concerns that the two women’s comments had the potential to be offensive on grounds of race.

In other words: It might not have been that Jo and Danielle were having a spot of racist Indian-bashing, but it certainly looked like it.

In other findings, Ofcom shares the views of Jo's supporters - for example, that sometimes she managed to do an Indian accent that was just spiteful and vindictive rather than racist:
In Ofcom’s review of all the incidents in which the housemates were broadcast mimicking accents, we noted that many housemates did in fact imitate each other and this was mostly done in good humour. Shilpa Shetty, herself, mimicked others, in particular Jade Goody (for example, she mocks Jade Goody at one point on her pronunciation of the word “whale”). On the whole, where the mimicking was not good humoured, there was no direct evidence to suggest that the motivation was racist. For instance, when Jo O’Meara imitates Shilpa Shetty’s apparent “whinging” to Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd (transmitted Saturday 13 January 2007 on the main show), it is the tone and pitch of her voice that is singled out and made the main focus of the imitation rather than the accent.

So, erm, that's alright then.

The regulator also observed that Jo's reaction during the great stock cube row showed support for Jade's bullying of Shilpa:
This argument was certainly extremely uncomfortable viewing and at certain times shocking. It was made more so, by the comments of Jo O’Meara and Danielle Lloyd during and after the fight, which were regarded by some as supportive of Jade Goody’s behaviour:
“I suddenly feel better”
“Jade you’re hilarious”
“Got to say, made my day”

However, the decision on this was that, while the behaviour was "unpleasant", showing it wasn't an error of judgement on the network's part.

Ofcom also considered - along with the Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jackiey Budden incidents, the Jermaine Jackson "white trash" moment. This bit, where Jermaine supposedly applied the term to the Jade clan, has been seized on by some as some sort of "balance" to the behaviour of O'Meara and friends, or to suggest that the media has only been interested in the white racism in the house, while turning a blind eye to racism coming from the black housemate.

Even had Jermaine been behaving like that, it's hard to see why a single moment of the use of a common phrase would somehow be comparable to sustained gaggle of racist bullying, but Ofcom hit the dictionaries and watched the tapes and concluded it wasn't racist, Jermaine was only using the term in reported speech, it wasn't said with any side, and he only used the term while explicitly not applying it to anyone in the house:
Ofcom has noted various definitions of the term “white trash” in ublished, as well as online dictionaries. “White trash” appears to be a slang term that is usually used to refer to what some describe as poor and uneducated white people. Whilst we understand that the term “white trash” literally refers to a particular group (i.e. certain white people), we consider it generally accepted that the expression refers to a socioeconomic group, rather than a racial one. We noted that Jermaine Jackson referred to The Jerry Springer Show immediately after his use of “white trash” to expand on what he meant by the term (“Have you heard about the show Jerry Springer, where they bring people and tell all their business and they go crazy? They get people like that because they have no self-respect sometimes…”). Again, this indicated that Jermaine Jackson’s use of the expression did not appear to be concerned with race, but with class and culture.

Nonetheless, Ofcom does consider that the term “white trash” may still have the potential to be offensive to some viewers. However, we believe that the term was appropriately justified by context in this specific instance and therefore not in reach of the Code. It is clear from the scene that Jermaine Jackson was merely reporting the use of the expression by others and he explicitly states that he would not himself apply it to Jackiey Budden (“They brought up the word white trash …and I wouldn’t call her that because she’s a human being…”). Neither did Jermaine Jackson use the term in aggressive or mocking terms.

In all, Ofcom found that some of the material shown was inappropriate for broadcast, and that Channel 4 will have to apologise multiple times on air.

It's noticeable that, despite her press interviews complaining about the way she was "edited" to "look bad", Jo O'Meara doesn't appear to have made a formal complaint to Ofcom on that point. Odd, that.

Stone: They stoned the Stones, then they came for me

Over in the Rocky Mountain News, Joss Stone wails about how beastly the press is to her:

"They're so mean! They're so angry! . . . In England if you look at other artists that are successful – Robbie Williams, the Rolling Stones, whatever - if you go back in their lives, as soon as they become successful the press gets really nasty. All the while (the artists are) trying to become successful the press builds them up and builds them up so they can break them down. In a way I can deal with it. It's a compliment, it really is."

"As soon as the Rolling Stones became successful, the press got really nasty." Yeah, that bitch William Rees-Mogg, running an editorial in The Times condemning the pointless prosecution of Mick Jagger.

And, while Williams might get some bad press from time to time, the general stance of the UK media towards him is to treat him as some sort of multi-talented musical messiah rather than an over-promoted halfwit, running his press releases as fact and treating his trips to rehab as a worrying time in our nation's life rather than a staging post in the parade of fuck-ups. Good bloody god, when he was in having a holiday in one last time, The Sun was collecting 'get well soon' cards for him - if the idea is that they're just building him up so they can break him down, when do we get to the breaking him down part? I can't wait for it.

Meanwhile, Joss wanders off onto why her third album is called "Introducing Joss Stone":
It is like a re-introduction: 'This is me, hello.' There's nobody else's thing on here. This is what I wanted to do. Amazingly I feel like I've been through schooling. I hated school. . . . I couldn't keep that information in my head because it was boring. . . . Then without me realizing I enrolled in this new school. The first album was my first lesson. My second was my second. And my third is my graduation. I was learning how to make a record. This one I'm going to put my hand out and show you – 'Hi, I'm Joss. This is the person who has been created by these experiences.' And that's it."

So... why isn't it called Reintroducing Joss Stone? Or This Is The Real Joss Stone. And if we understand her not-entirely-thought-through metaphor correctly, her first two albums were like school, which she considered to be "boring" and not worth remembering. Well, we can agree with that.

But if these were sandbox affairs, then why bother releasing them? Could the people who bought them now ask for their money back as the person who made them seems to have disowned them as little more than practice runs?

Any stat will do

The team behind Grease Is The Word are trying to take comfort anywhere they can find it, in their battle with Any Dream Can Do:

"We might be behind in the ratings but our sales are best."

In other words: they're selling more tickets for the show their winners will appear in - five million pounds worth.

Well done, ITV. Of course, Grease is playing in a venue with a capacity of 1232 against Joseph's 1050. And it's booking through to the end of February, while sales for Joseph are only being made through to the 5th of January. And the ticket prices for Grease are spread between £20 and £55, while the Jospeh prices run between £15 and £49.50. So, in other words, Grease has managed to make more money by, erm, selling more seats, for more nights, at higher prices. Well done, everybody.

This is a news story, apparently

The Sun - who, we notice, have tried to quietly drop the "Remember Madeline" yellow ribbon from their masthead this morning - have run woman wears dress as a news story:

MONEY-GRABBING Heather Mills shows some front — despite being kicked off the US answer to Strictly Come Dancing.

Mucca, 39, flashed her cleavage in a low-cut frock as she returned to Hollywood for a reunion party of the Dancing With The Stars competitors.

And, erm, that's it. Now, we've got no great love for Heather Mills, but this is just pure spite - even down the implication that there's something immoral about going on the season-end show reuniting the contestants of a programme because she was "kicked out" - i.e. voted off, like all the others. Odd that the paper doesn't find room to make mention of her credible, half-way position, especially when it clashed with their pre-programme claims that she'd be humiliated in the very first week.

Shoegrazing: Martens drop Saatchi

Saatchi and Saatchi have taken the rap for Dr Martens dead pop stars adverts. The Daily Swarm is reporting that the shoe company has blamed the whole thing on the advertising agency and said it was very sorry:

Dr Martens is very sorry for any offense that has been caused by the publication of images showing dead rock icons wearing Dr Martens boots.

Dr Martens did not commission the work as it runs counter to our current marketing activities based on FREEDM, which is dedicated to nurturing grass roots creativity and supporting emerging talent.

As a consequence, Dr Martens has terminated its relationship with the responsible agency.

David Suddens
Chief Executive

So, Dr Martens "did not commission" the work - which, interestingly, isn't quite the same as saying they didn't approve the work. And, indeed, they did sign off on the campaign for publication, according to the statement from Saatchi:
Saatchi & Saatchi today (Thursday) said it was standing by the creative work for a series of ads created for Dr. Martens which has seen the agency fired by the client. The client approved the ads to run as a one-off in Fact Magazine in the UK.

Kate Stanners, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi said the four print ads which featured the late rock singers Kurt Corbain, Joe Strummer, Sid Vicious and Joey Ramone all in heaven wearing Dr Martens boots, were presented as a homage to the rock legends. All four punk-rock icons were known for wearing Dr. Martens boots.

Stanners said: “We believe the ads are edgy but not offensive. There has been blog commentary both for and against the ads, but it is our belief that they are respectful of both the musicians and the Dr. Martens brand.

“We regret that the controversy has led Dr. Martens to terminate the contract with Saatchi & Saatchi. We are investigating the circumstances and considering the ongoing employment of the individual who was in breach of instructions not to distribute the ads further than the original approved placement in Fact Magazine in the UK.

“While we believe the creative is a beautiful tribute to four legendary musicians, the individual broke both agency and client protocol in this situation by placing the ads on a US advertising website and acting as an unauthorised spokesperson for the company.”

So, it seems, Doc Martens were only unhappy with the idea of illustrious corpses being used to flog their shoes when people started seeing the ads - we're a little at a loss to how the idea was fine providing it only went into a little-read magazine; we're also not entirely sure how, if the ads only appeared in Fact magazine and, without authorisation, on a US advertising website, members of that Joe Strummer forum were talking about a poster that had been up on the streets.

The statement from the advertising people, though, does sound credible - "edgy but not offensive" is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect an advertising person to say when honking on about something the clearly don't really have a grip on. How could using someone's face to flog shoes without permission be anything other than offensive?

Winehouse: I've an Ivor

The Ivors, described by BBC News as "considered among the most prestigious awards in British music" - right up there with the Little Rissington Battle of the Bands and the TV Hits Readers Poll - have given out their prizes.

The winners, as ever, in full, then:



Writer: Scott Matthews

Performed By: Scott Matthews

UK Publisher: Universal Music Publishing



Writer: Amy Winehouse

Performed By: Amy Winehouse

UK Publisher: EMI Music Publishing


Ice Age The Meltdown

Composer: John Powell

UK Publisher: EMI Music Publishing


Broadcast: The Virgin Queen

Composer: Martin Phipps

UK Publisher: BDi Music Limited


I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'

Writers: Sir Elton John / Scott Hoffman / Jason Sellards

Performed By: Scissor Sisters

UK Publisher: HST Management Ltd / Universal Music Publishing / EMI Music Publishing



Writers: Madonna / Stuart Price

Performed By: Madonna

UK Publisher: Warner Chappell Music


A Moment Like This

Writer/s: John Reid / Jorgen Eloffson

Performed By: Leona Lewis

UK Publisher: BMG Music Publishing Ltd / Sony/ATV Music

ALBUM AWARD: Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not








Nice to see George Fenton - who combined his soundtrack work with a spell as Martin Gimbell in Emmerdale Farm - get an award; and it's slightly surprising to see Scott Matthews, who we'd assumed was there purely in a making-up-the-numbers capacity take "best song musically and lyrically". Winehouse cut short her not-actually-a-honeymoon to pick up her award for the "not actually any good musically or lyrically, presumably" contemporary song, while Jake Shears thanked Elton for his help:

"This is really special. I want to give a big shout out and thank you to Elton.

"About 18 months ago, I was so depressed and Elton was doing nothing short of tap dancing and pulling my eyeballs out to make me feel better. Elton came into the studio and we wrote the song.

"This is a great day to feel not just like a colleague of Elton's but to call him a friend too."

We're not entirely sure how having your eyeballs pulled would make you feel better - although if Elton John was tap-dancing in front of us it might seem a better option.

Meanwhile, Elton John seems to be lining up Alex Turner's eyeballs next:
"Alex, I'm off to Sheffield in the helicopter right after if you fancy a lift."

Dan Gillespie of The Feeling seemed relaxed picking up a prize amongst such august company:
"I normally get very embarrassed by awards ceremonies because you don't go into music to be in competition with people.

"The Ivors are a bit different because there is more of a sense of fellowship, like a weird club. And that's right up my street."

The tragedy of the evening? Poor Amy spent it dry:
"Thank you all very much, I didn't even have time to get drunk, I've only been here about 15 minutes."

Perhaps her handlers have finally got a technique.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Kelly O not again

We knew the supposed quitting of Kelly Osbourne from music was too good to be true: there are nasty rumours of a third album, perhaps levering Amy Winehouse in the same way the first one used her Dad for leverage.

The only piece of saving grace is that she's not going to do it until she's worn out her welcome as a TV host. So, that's starting a couple of months ago, then.

Together at last! Dogs and corsets!

This isn't an entirely gratuitous photo of Neko Case in a vintage 50s bustier. It's here because it's being auctioned on eBay, with ten per cent of the sale price going to help rescue greyhounds. Both the bustier and, we understand, a signed version of the picture itself.

Won't do a stroke til 2008

They're hardly the most industrious of bands, so I guess we should just be grateful they found someone to tell us they've decided that's it for the year: is offline while it goes under construction and will return with a brand new design. The message boards are still available to access. The website will return on May 29th.

The band are still enjoying some much needed 'off time'. I wouldn't expect anything to come out this year.

In the meantime, they are staying busy pursuing some other personal interests and are busy working/writing/rehearsing and all those things bands do in between albums. But, there are no immediate plans to release an album or tour for the time being.

Of course, it was a similar period of inactivity that led to Liberty X giving up the ghost, although, admittedly, the Strokes won't have to face the trouble of fitting into a PVC skintight jumpsuit after eighteen months of daytime TV and cup-a-soup.

Mystery Jets grounded

Is it just us, or does US immigration seem to be applying the letter of the law a lot more closely for band visa applications these days? The latest of a flurry of bands forced to cancel American dates is the Mystery Jets; apparently Canadians Handsome Furs have also been told they ain't coming across no border - although, of course, they could just sneak across if they were that bothered. What with there not being a big fence at the northern border.

Love throws shoes at Dr Martens

Courtney Love is having an angry at Doc Martens, the shoe company, who have slapped Kurt Cobain in a shoe advert, featuring him sat in heaven wearing boots.

Courtney is outraged that anyone (other than herself) should be milking Kurt's corpse but she does have a point this time. The tacky little campaign also features Joey Ramone and, even more cheerfully, Sid Vicious. Doc Martens - the boot of choice for all your heroin-addled woman-murdering needs.

There's also a poster featuring Joe Strummer, apparently. Funny that they couldn't find an celebrity endorsement with a pulse.

There's been a bit of a stench coming from Martens for the last decade or so - when it's not using corpses in its advert, it's using them to excuse making penny-pinching decisions. In 2002, it blamed the US terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001 for throwing 140 people on the dole in Northamptonshire when, really, the motivation was to exploit cheaper Chinese labour.

If only he hadn't had a cause for after 11, as well

Apparently, Mick Hucknall used to have a clause in his old contract which meant he wouldn't have to work before 11am.

Presumably it took him until that time to finish doing his hair.

Annie hides herself away

Annie Lennox doesn't bother overmuch with the real world:

"I've cut back listening to music, watching television or reading newspapers.

"I don't want an information overload."

Wasn't, erm, Annie one of the big draws at Live8, encouraging the world to get more involved and aware of the bigger picture?

McFly tours: the truth

Lil'Chris, who apparently hasn't yet worked out that he's being patronised for a living, has just got back from the McFly tour. They sound like, oh, such a laugh:

"McFly thought they'd take the mickey out of me and presented me with this plate of insects. I wasn't that scared and ate the scorpions, worms, crickets, caterpillars and some ants, but Danny ( Jones) was really scared to do it.

"The scorpions were crunchy, the ants bitter and like body odour. Danny ate some worms and ants then threw up on me."

"Tom (Fletcher) stole my wallet and Danny and Dougie (Poynter) photocopied my driving licence and the picture of me without a hat.

"They put 100 copies of it round the theatre we were in and left some custard in a condom in my wallet."

Chris is, what, seventeen years old, and McFly are even older. It's not entirely clear why they seem to have confused 'tour' with 'twelve year olds on an exchange trip'.

Iggy's garden in the shade

A silver award at the Chelsea Flower Show is nothing to be sniffed at, but you can't help wondering if the first-ever punk-themed garden should have been aiming higher.

Iggy Pop, though, is delighted at the medal for the Lust For Life garden:

"It's awesome the Lust for Life garden won a silver medal. It's great to know my music reaches out to so many and inspires."

Claims that next year, a garden based entirely on home composting called We Are Not Talking About Commercial Shit, are probably all made up.

Liberty X "not cool enough for modern world"

Why did Liberty X split, then?

Michelle Heaton says they didn't change, pop did:

“There isn’t a place for our music any more.

“When we first started it was a proper pop era with Smash Hits and Top Of The Pops going strong.

“Pop’s all cool now, like LILY ALLEN and stuff.”

Good lord, how clunkingly uncool would you have to be to feel Lily Allen, with her comedy dad, public school education and New Look cheque somehow constitutes "cool"; added to that, if pop's so cool, how come McFly seem to be thriving? What are Scooch doing in the top ten?

Apparently, Michelle now dreams of playing a role in Chicago; we'd suggest she starts looking for something in delivery and considers moving to the kitchens if that works out. Good luck in Illinois, then.

Mark Knopfler doesn't forget his brothers in arms

Not that Knopfler actually fought in the Falklands, mind, but he's about to re-release Brothers In Arms to raise funds for a charity which takes soldiers who fought in the Falklands back to the islands to try and help with the PTSD.

It's interesting that this is being announced on the same day as Asda drop the CD single - Brothers In Arms was usually considered the first proper single released on the format. This time, though, it's just going to be a download.

Mills plans a life of education

She's the new Shirley Valentine: Heather Mills is planning to go to university. She wants to be able to argue with scientists - not, of course, that Mills believes there are any gaps in her knowledge, though:

intends to study for a degree “so that I can argue with scientists about global warming and meat and milk”.

Heather — dubbed Mucca because of her porn past — explained: “Even though I obviously know about all these things, if I’m not a full-fledged scientist nobody will listen to me.”

The Sun still hasn't grasped that if you have to explain a nickname every bloody time you use it, it's not actually a nickname at all.

We love, though, Mill's "obviously" - obviously she knows about all these things. And what scientists is she planning on having the "arguments" about global warming with?

Jacko comeback: Chances slim

Fancy that. The much-ballyhooed Michael Jackson comeback dates are looking unlikely to ever happen, after he he overestimated how much he was worth. Demands for a hundred million dollars have suddenly left Curtis Stigers back in the running to headline instead. Still no word on that Katrina Benefit single, either.

Ban Babs

The Italian Olympic Committee is being asked to can Barbra Streisand's Rome dates as the ticket prices are too high. Italian consumer groups Adusbef and Codacons are up in arms:

The 24,000-seat stadium "is public property and cannot be used for immoral deals that are shameful to a civilized country", Adusbef and Codacons said.

Which is a good point, but appealing to an Olympic Committee's better nature is a hiding to nothing - they're living in a world where money gets burned through to no good purpose every day, so they'd probably just suggest the fans who can't afford tickets get shirt sponsorship deals or something.

Asda kills the single

Faced with prospect of sales dropping away to nothing, Asda has dropped the CD single from its stores.

It says it can barely bring itself to do so:

"We're reluctantly saying goodbye to one of the most important products in music history," the retailer's music buyer Andy Powell said.

The CD single? Surely not? The 7" vinyl single, unquestionably, had an important part in the history of music, but the CD single... that was just a delivery method, surely?

Woolworths, meanwhile, says its remaining committed to the single:
"They are still an important part of the music business," said the chain's music boss Jim Batchelor. "If you give people what they want, they will buy it."

We don't know what marketing course he went on, but that was worth the money, wasn't it? Mind you, what Woolworths knows about giving people what they want is debatable - their teeny-tiny range and focus on selling just a few titles has helped strangle the singles market and - with about a third of all singles sold in the UK going through a Woolies till - has to take some of the blame for the dull charts we've grown used to. If the people who buy the most singles have the smallest choice, how can you ever hope to have exciting charts?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Coldplay bloke splits from his wife

Guy Berryman and his wife Joanna Briston have split. The couple, whose first child was born six months ago, had their break-up confirmed by a Coldplay spokesperson:

, "I can confirm that Guy Berryman and his wife Jo have separated. The decision was amicable."

"The decision was amicable" never seems believable when they're talking about a band breaking up; it's hard to imagine a marriage ending with a shrug.

KT Tunstall finally meets bloke she shared a bed with

Is it a million-to-one coincidence, or is it merely they must know the same sort of people and go to the same sort of places? KT Tunstall was spooked to bump into the bloke who played the man in the Other Side Of The World video - the one where, a bit like Stevie and Paul in Ebony and Ivory, they never actually met:

"We were freaked out, seeing someone so familiar that you've never actually met. It must have been more than two years ago we shot that."

Who would have thought that someone from two years ago would even be, like, still alive or whatever?

Noel wants to get James Blunt's head

Noel Gallagher has made a stab at Se7en/Salome rated humour, after being given a gift to unwrap on Soccer AM the other day. (We like they gave him a gift, like when they used to give the Blue Peter animals presents at Christmas.)

Noel "joked":

"It's not James Blunt's head is it? I hope it is."

Next time he plays live, then, fans will be throwing James Blunt's head onstage... or something... head... Gallagher... looking... it's no good...

Beckham buys dildo. Possibly.

Excitement in LA, as Victoria Beckham goes to a sex shop. An eyewitness, or at least, a bloke with a camera, tells all:

"Victoria was in the store for about 45-minutes taking a good look around.

"She couldn't stop giggling."

And was Victoria out looking for a cock-shaped hunk of whirring, vibrating plastic, or was David back in Spain playing football?

No, this, it seems, is just an attempt to try and interest a fly on the wall:
She was joined by a camera crew who were filming for the star's forthcoming Stateside reality show.

Oh. We thought that this had been canned already, hadn't it? Please tell us that she's not filming it anyway with the vain hope of flogging it to someone later?

Later in the day, there was another dull set-up designed to do little more than fill airtime?
Her security team took a blow-up doll that resembled Posh for a drive round the city before stopping at a jewellery store.

As snappers clamoured to get a shot of Mrs B, her minders opened the car door and pulled out the effigy, complete with trademark sunglasses and a blonde wig.

Eh? But since when did Beckham have "trademark" blonde hair? Besides, unless they'd not fully inflated her it'd be easy to tell the difference.

Still, it amused Victoria Newton:
The joke - which will also be featured on Victoria’s show - proves to the critics she can laugh at herself.

Well, if it counts for anything, we'd probably count as a critic, and, no, it doesn't "prove" anything of the sort - and it's barely even a joke. It's a lame prank that sounds like it was dreamed up by a director desperate to have something to film.

Kylie Minogue now, apparently, a five foot ten black guy with a beard

Hold the front page - possibly of every newspaper in the world. Victoria Newton has the scoop of the century:

KYLIE MINOGUE arrived in London from New York yesterday looking just like Eighties icon MR T.

Bloody hell - that must be steroid side effects, then? So, she's grown about six inches, changed sex, got a new skin colour, grown a beard...

Oh, hang on:
Wearing a gold choker and matching bracelets, she could have been starring in The A-Team.

So... "looking like Mr T" means "wearing a little bit of jewellery", then? Is this just a set up for some lame gags, Victoria?

Yes, yes it is:
Maybe this was her way of telling ex OLIVIER MARTINEZ: “I pity the fool”.

I just love it when a plan comes together.

Eh? What plan, Victoria? The famous wait-until-Kylie-buys-a-plane-ticket plan? And-then-write-about-it scheme?

And if she was like Mr T, she wouldn't have got in no plane, would she, Victoria?

Still, at least Victoria worked the Hannibal theme, by dressing up as seamonster for her byline picture.

Big music gets that little bit bigger

The EU has said "oh, alright, then" to Universal and BMG's publishing arms merging together. Universal has promised to sell off some of its catalogue, convincing Europe it's a good idea. They're going to trade as Universal. This is great news, unless you're a songwriter, or musician, or like music.

Elton cans tour

Elton John has pulled his Red Piano tour (which, to be honest, sounds more Rod Hull than Elton John) after the promoter got cold feet and said it might not be able to put the shows on after all.

This is the show that was developed when John was sitting in for Celine Dion in Nevada; the flop of the attempt to bring the same show to Europe proving that what plays in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Carlos D: Classics stole my shoegaze years

Carlos D out of Interpol has confessed - not that there's anything wrong with it, like - that he spent his teenage years listening to classical music rather than rock:

When I got bored of banging my head and pumping my fists as a teenager, I turned to the opposite extreme, which for me at the time was listening to classical music. I was looking for a sound that would take me away from my surroundings and transport me to places that the four or five-person rock band ensemble simply wasn't equipped to do. Because of this, and somewhat regrettably, I missed the boat on a lot of excellent 90s rock like shoegaze, Britpop, and even some grunge that I've come to adore over the years. I had immersed myself so much in the structure and history of western classical music that I was painfully ignorant about modern rock's state of affairs.

Curse you, Ludwig... I could have been listening to Feral all this time.

Now, it seems, Carlos has returned to his first love, having tired once more of rock. Which is fine, but there is a hanging question that, if you don't cant stand to eat burger and chips, is it right to be running a McDonalds franchise?

As if the loss of X isn't bad enough...

It's hard to believe, but 5ive's comeback is over, too. It's harder to believe that they bothered to officially announce that they're not bothering any more, though:

"It is with deep regret that FIVE today announce that their comeback is no more. The band have decided to call it a day, seven months after reforming. They would like to apologise to all their fans throughout the world for any disappointment caused. Despite considerable broadcast interest in a reunion television series being secured, an album being half-way completed and a world tour in the final stages of confirmation, Ritchie, J, Abz and Scott feel that they cannot continue together.

A huge amount of hard work and effort went into the band's reformation, but with the state of the music business as it is and with decent record deals being so difficult to procure, the band were really left with no other option than to split."

So... in other words, nobody wanted to release the record, nobody wanted to make a programme about them, nobody wanted them, so even the four who had turned up can't be arsed to do it any more. It's lucky 5ive were already a bit of a laughing stock, otherwise they'd have had a legacy to piss away.

Becoming X

No seriously, Liberty X were still going? In what sense?

Anyway, the second-chance Popstars leftovers that got themselves formed into a Bernard Matthews style unattractive shaped meat product (they even came wrapped in plastic at first) have now officially called it a day. I don't think they bothered with a press conference or anything.

[EDIT: Now with added correct link]

Why must we always roll over for football?

Football has forced the cancellation of tonight's datarock gig in Liverpool. Apparently, Liverpool FC playing in the Champion of Leagues Champion Leagues Champions Final against... oh, some other team, has been enough for the gig to be axed. Even although they could probably have filled the place out with Everton fans if nothing else.

Band announce plan to kidnap own fans

Sonny Marvello have decided to turn their June 2nd gig into a magical mystery tour - they're inviting fans to turn up in the middle of Glasgow, where they will be blindfolded and driven to a secret venue, where they will be entertained in some form. It would be both cruel and unfair to suggest that they might be better off providing earplugs, so we won't.

Borrell changes alone

Despite his love of showing off his chest at the drop of a hat, it seems Johnny Borrell is quite shy. He refused to share a changing room during the weekend's soccer sixes competition (celeb football thingy) and wanted his own space. The 3AM Girls have the story:

DATING Spider-star Kirsten Dunst seems to have puf fed up Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell's ego. At the Soccer Six tournament at West Ham on Sunday, the 27-year-old, snubbed the changing areas used by other celebs to change on his tour bus.

That is so unfair. Borrell's ego was pumped up to maximum long before he started dating Kirsten Dunst.

Bees! Bees! Millions of bees!

According to Julien Temple, Mick Jagger apparently once covered his penis in bees. The idea being, apparently, that they'd sting it and make it bigger.

Well, of course they would. It's hard to see why he would be surprised by that.

Temple suggests it was an early viagara-like idea:

“It involved putting bamboo over the male member and filling it with stinger bees so the member attained the size of the bamboo. Mick spent months in the jungle in Peru. He was going mad out there I think.”

While it might be bigger, surely a stung cock would also be painfully unusable?

Last week, Janice Dickinson had been telling all and sundry that Mick's bits, with or without the aid of bees, aren't up to much:
Mick has been ridiculed by old flame Janice Dickinson, 52, who told interviewer Jonathan Ross last week that Mick “has a very small penis”.

But, to be fair, Janice Dickinson would make anyone shrink a little.

Oh, look... now this joke has gone too far, too

What might have been remembered as an amusing Eurovision evening is now being dragged out too long, as Lordi announce plans to make a horror movie:

"Lordi goes to the twilight zone is what you can say," said the singer, whose real name is Tomi Putaansuu.

"All of the influences of this image comes from the horror films and the horror genre, so it is kind of natural for this band to have our own horror film," said Putaansuu.

But the reason why Lordi worked at Eurovision was the juxtaposition of cheap horror masks in a glitzy context. Putting those cheap masks in a horror movie just throws away the joke, surely? Now, a screwball romantic comedy... that, we'd pay to see.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Less Than Jake break contract

Warners/Sire have let Less Than Jake go - apparently the band asked to be let go, and the label said OK. Presumably even Sire had forgotten they'd even existed. Vinnie from the band has posted a microrant online, in which he preempts criticism and rather ham-fistedly reminds the world that this is the second major in a row to discover that there are Fewer Less Than Jake fans than you might hope:

A few days ago it became “official” we left Sire and Warner bros to go
it alone for the moment. A few months back we talked as a band and
decided to ask Warner to release us from our contract and the one last
record we owed them. It became obvious to me and everyone else that its
time to move on and in a new direction as band.
So cue the comments from the .net and .org crowds “they made a shitty
last record”, “maybe they’ll have more horns on the next record”, “they
haven’t done anything good since pezcore anyways”, “they should have
played more ska”, “maybe they’ll find a label that promotes the record”
I’ve heard it and read it all before when we left Capitol records way
back when. Hell, I could go point by point and defend or agree with
everyone of the above statements but its not the right time to do that.
The time right now is to look at things with a fresh prespective, look
to the future- remember your history - move on. It seems obvious but
sometimes when you’re reaching for the other shore you drown in the
middle somewhere.
Thanks to everyone involved in the last few years, that gave their time,
understanding and energy to less than jake.

He forgot, though, those of us who say "now, which ones were Less Than Jake and which one was Better Than Ezra"?

Method Man Maryjane Manhattan mischief

Well, whoever would have thought that if you - the you in this case being New York police - stopped Method Man, you might find a little bit of blow on him. It's impossible to believe, isn't it?

Even the cops can't take it seriously: the police spokesperson commented on Mr. Man's quiet agreement to go downtown by suggesting "he probably felt pretty mellow."

Apparently, we're still fighting the war on soft targets ("war on drugs").

In common with every other blog in the known world...

We thought we should mention the free Adult Swim download compilation, Warm And Scratchy. It's something to do with cartoons, apparently, and includes The Rapture, Broken Social Scene and that band which everyone calls The Good, The Bad and The Queen because that's their name.

Duff denies song nobody knows about is about a split nobody cares about

Hilary Duff is telling anyone who'll listen that the song on her new album Stranger is about her break-up with Joel Madden. It's about her parents breaking up, apparently:

"I made it seem like this was a relationship that I was in, but it's actually about my parents and about their relationship. "I didn't want people to know that."

But since nobody was paying her any attention, she thought she better mention it.

Allofmp3 voucher site closed down

It's interesting that the RIAA-IFPI insists Allofmp3 is operating illegally, and yet, instead of actually, you know, testing that in a court of law, it chooses to fight its battle by trying to throttle off other arms of its business, by persuading credit card companies not to deal with it, or, as today, getting cops to raid a London business selling vouchers for use with the service.

It's a little like believing a man is having an affair with your wife, but instead of bursting in while they're doing it, you ask the local garage to stop selling him petrol so he can't drive to your house.

Apparently, the bloke selling the vouchers has been arrested on suspicion of fraud - we presume on the complicated basis that he's selling vouchers which you could use to buy downloads which profess to be legal but aren't. Which would be fraud, but that does assume that allofmp3 is illegal - and that hasn't been tested in court anywhere. At the moment, rather than a legal ruling, we have the RIAA and IFPI and BPI's claim that it is - which, surely, is no more or less legally valid than the equally untested claim of to be licensed under the terms of the law in the territory in which the operate.

The question is: if the IFPI is so certain of its stance, why is it sending the British Police to close down a subsidiary operation rather than taking on Allofmp3 in court, face to face?

Shaky ground? EMI seeks sanctuary in Terra Firma

So, EMI is set to disappear from the stock market - at least for a while, until it's been eviscerated, loaded up with debt and sent back. Private Equity group Terra Firma has bid GBP3.2 million, including debt pay-off, which EMI has grabbed like a starving man offered a Ginsters Pasty. Despite a bad cheese allergy.

"Terra Firma's offer delivers cash now, without regulatory uncertainty and with the minimum of operational risk to the company," said EMI chairman John Gildersleeve.

He said the deal would enable EMI to "build on its current position as one of the world's leading music companies and accelerate the development of its digital and online strategy to fully exploit this long-term growth opportunity".

So, what companies will EMI now be sitting alongside?

Tank And Rast, the German motorway grease-and-toilet stops; here, Terra Firma has "refinanced" the company along the lines of a UK Private-Public Partnership (in other words, flogging the property and forcing the company to dribble away money in years to come to access the buildings its business relies upon.)

Odeon/UCI, bought by Terra Firma in 2004, is currently seeing unions fight plans to change the working conditions for projectionist staff, including revising down their pay and conditions and reducing overtime to just a single-time payment. Elsewhere, staff have been laid off at call centres.

East Surrey Holdings includes a company called Phoenix Natural Gas, which is the only supplier of natural gas in Northern Ireland. Terra Firma bought ESH in April 2005. In September 2005, , Phoenix put gas prices up 30%. And then another 17% in January 2006. And then another 14.5% the following September. To be fair, it did cut prices a little last month, but only by 14%. So, if you're wondering where the money to buy EMI has come from - a chunk has been provided by pensioners in Northern Ireland choosing to not freeze to death over the winter.

Avril Lavinge "not really naked"

Avril Lavigne has attempted to explain the Blender cover to MTV News:

Truth be told, Lavigne revealed to us before taking the stage last night, the photo shoot was a little more innocent than you think. "Actually, I'm not topless on the cover," she said. "I was wearing a tube top, and they just kind of put a banner on top of it."

Even if she's not topless, the 22-year-old is still flaunting her inner bad girl. "The Blender shoot was really fun because it was super rock and roll — we had a bottle of [whiskey] and ate cupcakes," she said. "Everyone was super cool. It was definitely a different kind of photo shoot for me."

So, it only looks like she's lame enough to whack her tits out for Maxim. That's, erm, alright then.

And there were cupcakes there. Evidently she was the lead cupcake.

Sour sours

Unwanted offshoot from largely unwanted Slipknot, Stone Sour, have pulled their European tour dates, on account of an unexpected "family commitment."

Presumably one of the family asked them why they were bothering to go to Europe to make themselves look dull, when they could stay at home and do the same?

Oh dear, what can the matter be...

Kelly Clarkson was so far from keen on meeting her fans - and who can blame her - she locked herself in the toilets. Still, she's got a song out of it:

"It was literally the lowest point I've had in my life... I was just so burned-out.

"I was really struggling at getting somebody out of my life and finding people that really cared.

"The whole song is a prayer. I wrote it in a bathroom of the venue after the show... It was just a really, really bad night."

It explains the chorus, which is someone yelling 'You gonna be in there all night/some of us gotta pee/what, you got the runs?/how long's it take a girl to pee?'

Staging posts

It's never easy coming back, is it? Tina Turner forgot the words to What's Love Gt To Do With It during her out-of-retirement charity date; obviously she could remember Simply The Best as she's probably as sick of hearing that on adverts every five bloody minutes as the rest of us.

Meanwhile, Britney Spears' latest comeback special had a problem when the "backing" tape (i.e. all the music) got stuck, and then her headset fell off. Apparently, Britney was especially upset by all this as she'd been busy learning when to open and close her mouth in time to the words for weeks.

Paul's daughter

Those of you old enough to remember when music came on vinyl played by DLT will remember Bettina Hubers. Hubers was the daughter of a German waitress who claimed Paul McCartney was her dad.

We went through this in 1983, when paternity tests proved it wasn't true. But now Hubers is back, having decided the only way the tests could have been negative, and her belief that Macca's her dad could be right was if Paul faked his test.

So she's starting the process all over again:

"The signature on the documents he signed at the time were false. The signature is from a right-handed person and he is not. I want a new paternity test. It's my right. It's taken so long because we have been fighting to find out the truth."

She's presumably also going to rely on how Paul faked his own death by crossing the road without shoes on to prove he's got form at this sort of thing. We're a little lost as to why, if you got someone to take the test for you, you wouldn't bother to even sign the form, but we're sure there's an explanation for that, too.

Lily Allen confuses self with Beth Ditto

Considering that last night Lily Allen was saying she didn't have the time for worrying about Cheryl Tweedy no more, she's spent a lot of time talking to the Mirror about her. The trouble is that Allen is now trying to remake a showbiz-glitz spat into something more serious. She's fighting for women with eating disorders:

"There's nothing wrong with the way I look. I'm not overweight. I'm just not really, really thin.

"I don't feel that I over-eat, I'm just not someone who wants to live on a diet.

"And I haven't got time to go to the gym for 90 minutes every day.

"You see Girls Aloud in their skimpy outfits - that's the only image of women we ever see - so you start to assume that that's the correct way of looking and actually it isn't.

"There are a lot of young girls up and down the country still sticking their fingers down their throats and not eating anything.

"I've never had any eating disorders but I've had lots of friends who have and I think it's really sad.

"I'd rather encourage people who are reading all this stuff in the newspapers and magazines that they shouldn't feel bad about themselves. Everyone looks fine.

"What people like Cheryl Tweedy say isn't important.

"As far as I was concerned," says Lily, "I was trying to do something positive 9at New Look], you know, promote women of a larger size and make people feel better about their physical appearance."

All very laudable. Although, as Allen says, she's not overweight - she's not even chubby, so it's just as (if not more) dangerous for a woman of a normal body size to keep telling the media that she represents a "larger" body size - because most girls know the stick-thin look is unhealthy, but if you're comparing yourself to Allen, and she's saying she's chunky - what hope do you have?

And, if Allen is so empowering, how many of the dresses in her New Look range will fit a girl size 16 or above?

And to the point: Tweedy didn't call you fat - she said you looked like a tranny. Different thing entirely.

We're by no means experts on Enrique Inglesias' cock...

... but hasn't he done the "I have a small penis" schtick before?:

“I’d change my penis if I could. It’s way, way, way too small.”

Enrique also revealed he has no plans to wed Anna [Kournikova], 25, as “it wouldn’t make a difference”.

Enrique, if it never makes it any bigger, you might need to think about moving on entirely.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Now, let's see: Tweedy's turn, is it? Or Allen?

It's actually Lily Allen to throw next in the world's most stultifying argument - nobody outside Britain know who the combatants are, and precious few inside care enough about either to take a side. For the record:

"I'm just an artist trying to write and sing songs, and get on with my life, and she's attacking me for the way I look! Thank you very much for that."

Yes, how dare Cheryl Tweedy have an opinion on how you look - it's not like you've signed a deal with a high street chain to flog clothes that are based on your look, is it?


Then Lily responds to Tweedy's 'you don't play big venues like me' jibe:
““I played twice at Wembley Arena last year and I'm playing Wembley Stadium in a couple of months.”

Um... yes, as part of the Princess Diana tribute, though, isn't it? Which actually makes Allen's other pop at Tweedy a bit misjudged:
“All she does is sing songs that aren't hers and do some sexy dance moves, and marry someone rich.”

Wasn't marrying someone rich what Di was famous for?

Still, like Andrew who has so many better things to do than read this blog, Lily has decided this is all a waste of time:
"If she comes out and slags me off again I'm not going to retaliate. I haven't got time," she says.

Which we make Tweedy winning by default.

Now, let's see: Tweedy's turn, is it? Or Allen?

It's actually Lily Allen to throw next in the world's most stultifying argument - nobody outside Britain know who the combatants are, and precious few inside care enough about either to take a side. For the record:

"I'm just an artist trying to write and sing songs, and get on with my life, and she's attacking me for the way I look! Thank you very much for that."

Yes, how dare Cheryl Tweedy have an opinion on how you look - it's not like you've signed a deal with a high street chain to flog clothes that are based on your look, is it?


Then Lily responds to Tweedy's 'you don't play big venues like me' jibe:
““I played twice at Wembley Arena last year and I'm playing Wembley Stadium in a couple of months.”

Um... yes, as part of the Princess Diana tribute, though, isn't it? Which actually makes Allen's other pop at Tweedy a bit misjudged:
“All she does is sing songs that aren't hers and do some sexy dance moves, and marry someone rich.”

Wasn't marrying someone rich what Di was famous for?

Still, like Andrew who has so many better things to do than read this blog, Lily has decided this is all a waste of time:
"If she comes out and slags me off again I'm not going to retaliate. I haven't got time," she says.

Which we make Tweedy winning by default.

Daltrey calls LiveEarth unenvironmental

Roger Daltrey does, of course, have a point when he points out that Live Earth might hurt the planet rather than heal it:

"The last thing the planet needs is a rock concert... I can't believe it. Let's burn even more fuel. We have problems with global warming, but the questions and the answers are so huge I don't know what a rock concert's ever going to do to help.

"My answer is to burn all the fucking oil as quick as possible and then the politicians will have to find a solution."

Um... but if that would actually help, then surely Live Earth is the right thing to do, and, indeed, they should make all the Australian acts fly to London to play and boil some kettles on stage.

The trouble is, though, even if you decide to set aside Daltrey's suggestion, having a pop at Live Earth for harming the world while in the middle of your own world tour, as that doesn't exactly help with the global warming, either, does it?

Daltrey also isn't that impressed by what Live 8 did with the band's assistance, either:
"What did we really achieve at Live 8? We got loads of platitudes and no action. Who were we kidding there?

"At least with Live Aid, Bob Geldof was willing to work the trenches and they did save a lot of lives. We could see what we achieved at the end of it."

Politics, of course, is often invisible. Like carbo dioxide, actually.

U2 in 3D

As if Bono turning up and spoiling international political events and charidde singalongs wasn't bad enough, now he's ruining Cannes, too.

For reasons we can only think have something to do with making the largest sum of money possible, U2 have launched a 3D movie of bits of their gigs strung together. Apparently it's very effective; you feel as if Bono's ego is really about to swamp you at any moment.

You have to wear one of those stupid pairs of coloured glasses wrapped round your head to experience the 3D effect, but at least with U2 you're looking at someone else with an even more stupid pair of coloured glasses wrapped round his head.

That would be an actually happy ending, then

Having been written off as missing, presumed dead, during the bursting of the New Orleans levees and the bungled relief attempts following Hurricane Katrina, it's great to hear that Fats Domino returned to the stage in New Orleans last night.

Catchphrase and wig and the jokes are lame

Ricky Gervais hangs out with David Bowie for real: The Bowster, as nobody ever calls him and we promise we'll never call him again, did the MC duties for Gervais' New York stand-up show. Apparently Bowie sang a song, but presumably not Sad Little Fat Man.

EMI offers peek under its skirts

EMI is now apparently seriously looking for someone to take away its pain - it might only be at a "preliminary" stage, but people with money are being given the chance to rifle through the company's books with a view to a takeover. Reuters reckons the oft-mooted Warners merger is now a total-write off (too many regulatory worries, too little money) but EMI could bend over for a private equity buy-out.

What that would mean for the company's staggering steps towards towards selling un-DRMed downloads (staggering in both senses) is anyone's guess. It depends, of course, on the buyer.

Spice Girls Reunion - it's on. Off. On.

Curiously, if Rav Singh is the king of gossip for the News of the World, why has tha paper's Spice Girls reunion story been farmed out to James Desborough? Is Rav not trusted with the big ones, or is he merely keeping away from the story in case it turns out to be like all those other Spice Reunion stories?

This time, it's claimed the girls are working away in a strange basement recording the song they believe will be the Christmas Number One:

Our exclusive snap shows Geri Halliwell and Emma Bunton emerging from a top-secret recording session in a Brighton basement studio this week.

So, erm, that's two of them, then, perhaps having been recording. What about the others?
Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham, and Scary, Mel B—who are both in Los Angeles—will fly to England to record their parts in a few weeks.

Oh. This is one of those reunions which, erm, doesn't actually involve them getting back together, then?

But what of Mel C, and her firm insistence there will be no reunion?
Mel C, 33, is thought to have been there.

Aha. So, we have two on the other side of the Atlantic, a vague "perhaps Mel C has swung by", and a photo of two women leaving a Brighton basement (not an unusual site in Brighton.)

Is that all we have to go on, then? Not even some vague, unattributed quote?
A Spice insider said: "It's phenomenal news for them, and the girls are really excited."

We're sure Cliff Richard is already fuming, as he can sense the Christmas number one in the bag already.

Robbie Williams is not gaily leaving LA

Having gone to all the trouble of installing a fool-sized (sorry, full-sized) football pitch and everything, and banged on about how LA was great because, you know, nobody knew who he was (despite his best efforts), Robbie Williams is returning to the UK to live.

Well, so reckons Rav Singh anyway.

So, what has tempted Robbie back to Britain? Those new Tetley Tea adverts? Work? The cricket season?

Nope, according to Rav, it's to "set up home" with Jonathan Wilkes. We should stress, of course, that the phrase "set up home" is Rav's, not ours. We're sure this is nothing more than a spot of Morecambe And Wise style flat sharing. Although, obviously, in their sketches they shared a bed, one of them had no visible job and the other laboured under the misapprehension that their pisspoor work was great art. So, different in every respect then.

Mudder, Fadder, kindly disregard this letter

The News of the World is calling its photographs of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills have a friendly meal and smiling in each other's presence "the photos you thought you'd never see - certainly, if you've been reading the tabloids and its constant suggestions that they were one step away from killing each other, any way.