Saturday, December 29, 2007

Allen refuses to be a role model

In the latest slurry of confused thinking from Lily Allen, she's - supposedly - turned down an offer to "design" a range of maternity wear because she's "not the best example":

"I've had a lot of offers from people to do my own maternity range but I don't think it is the right message to send to young Britain. I'm not the best example. I'm pregnant and a bit young, aren't I? My demographic is generally young girls, so I don't think a maternity line is suitable. It isn't the best impression to give them."

This seems to imply that Allen thinks that you're not setting an example until you've been paid to do some work - so, the actual pregnancy is neither here not there, but the kids won't be affected providing you don't pop up doing a photo shoot in Top Shop.

Mozzer helps the lads

As if to demonstrate that, you know, he's not such a grumpy old man, Morrissey has given twenty grand to Salford Lads' Club. Like the secret millionaire did in The Secret Millionaire, but without hanging about the place pretending not to be a millionaire. The club - which featured on a Smiths record sleeve despite not being Pat Phoenix or someone like that - is currently in the midst of a massive fund-raising drive to repair the fabric of the building.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Gordon Brown has time on his hands

It's nice to know that Gordon Brown had the time to send a note to Rhydiann. Downing Street refuse to say what was in the note - a "personal matter:, apparently - but we suspect it might be based on some sort of understanding what it's like to take second place to a bland but more charming man.

Gordon in the morning: Genius steals - and Doherty thinks he's a genius

To be fair, Gordon's column this morning does lead with a fairly alright-of-its-type slushy Rhys Ifans/Sienna Miller story - apparently Sienna's having an "age crisis". She's about to turn 26.

Even more surprisingly, there's a strong, almost journalistic piece, which reports that Pete Doherty seems to have lifted lyrics for a track on Shotter's Nation from a song by the Britanarchists. Oh, and the song, Baddie's Boogie, might also have had its music ripped off from Babyshambles' Mik Whitnall's former Ferryman bandmate Wayne Kenyon.

Now, it could all be down to coincidence, or maybe even homage. But Babyshambles' people seem to be somewhat reluctant to discuss the issue.

So, yes, two actual stories in Bizarre. Wonder if Gordon's on holiday.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

How did you spend Christmas, Shane McGowan?

You have to feel a pang of sympathy for Shane McGowan. Having reached his 50th birthday - against, it should be noted, enormous odds - on Christmas Day, he might have expected some praise. A reassessment of his career. Perhaps a South Bank Show special.

Instead, he ended up doing this. On his 50th Birthday. On TV:

And we know it's possibly being a little over-sensitive, but is it really all that funny to replace a woman who died in the sea with a person dressed up as a beluga whale?

UPDATE: This has returned to YouTube:

Punish Winehouse for drug use? The Norwegian would...

As if her legal troubles in Britain weren't bad enough, now the Norwegian drug possession case which everyone thought had been settled through a swift fine payment is flaring up again: she's been summoned to appear before a Norwegian court in February. Assuming, of course, she's not already having to deal with fall-out from the whole Blake-perverting-justice business. Nobody seems entirely sure why the Norwegian court wants Winehouse back, but we bet Bergen can't wait for the economic miniboost of the paparazzos and journos turning up en masse.

Albarn: celebrity culture is bad

Damon Albarn has launched a stinging attack on celebrity culture:

The current celebrity culture "sends out all the wrong messages", he said.

"I think it's creating a mindset that suggests you can get something for nothing and that it's easy to acquire status and fame."

The power of his message might only be slightly weakened by his platform, which was an edition of Today which he had been invited to edit due to, erm, his celebrity status.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas...

... to, as they used to say in The Beano at this time of year, all our readers.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas in 1987: Best singles, part two - top ten

10. I Am The Law - Anthrax

9. April Skies - Jesus And Mary Chain

8. Prime Mover - Zodiac Mindwarp And The Love Reaction

7. Here I Go Again - Whitesnake

Embeding made impossible by Geffen records

6. With Or Without You - U2

5. Animal - Def Leppard

Embedding made impossible by Universal records

4. Baby Turpentine - Crazyhead

3. True Faith - New Order

2. What Gives You The Idea That You're So Amazing Baby - Crazyhead

1. This Corrosion - Sisters Of Mercy

[Part of Christmas in 1987]

Xfm hires Berry

We might be getting confused as festive cheer starts to sink down over our ears, but is it a traditional career curve to move from a company's mainstream network to the younger, more left-field sister station?

Increasingly so at GCap, it seems. Richard Bacon did it - and now Dave Berry has been picked up by XFM after being dropped from Capital.

Apple tells iPods 'hush now'

The Daily Telegraph is quite excited about Apple's newly filed patent which will allow iPods to automatically lower their levels to protect hearing:

It is the first time that the company has explicitly expressed fears over the risk the device poses to hearing.

Apart from, you know, when it has before and when it launched the sound limiting software.

This is, however, a new idea:
A new patent reveals that the next iPods and iPhones could automatically calculate how long a person has been listening, and at what volume, before gradually reducing the sound level.

It states: "Since the damaging effects on users' hearing is both gradual and cumulative, even those users who are concerned about hearing loss may not behave in a manner that would limit or minimise such damaging effects."

So, the longer you listen to your music player, the less you'll be able to hear it. Which is, of course, the same thing that happens if you don't have this technology built-in to it.

There is a broader question, though: if this is such an important, humane idea - and it is - why are Apple patenting it, rather than sharing it for everyone's benefits? Do people with Zunes deserve to lose their hearing or something?

Igglepiggle Ella Guru

When we lived in Liverpool, reviewing bands for the mighty Ink magazine, it was always nice when Ella Guru turned up for a look-over, so it's great to hear the band are still a functioning unit.

Great, but somewhat surprising to find out that Nick Kellington from the band has a secret double-life as Igglepiggle in In The Night Garden. Perhaps the most surprising indie/kids TV crossover since the host of Blue's Clues quit to make an alt-rock album.

Blake taken to a place of greater safety

Once again, Gordon is kept apart from the big story of the day: that, having failed a drug test, Blake Fielder-Civil has been put on a less laid-back remand regime.

Curiously, the failed drug test was mentioned in Rav Singh's Amy Winehouse kidnap plot story in yesterday's News of the World, but Singh lost the point in his excitement to extrapolate the possibility of Winehouse being bundled into the back of a taxi and held in a barn in the woods.

Tartly, the Sun refuses to even mention Singh's kidnap plot tale.

Gordon in the morning: Beats as it sweeps as it cleans

Chris Martin out of Coldplay bought three Henry Hoovers in John Lewis the other day.

Yes, it might not seem much, but it's Gordon's big lead today:

IF you are a close pal of CHRIS MARTIN brace yourself for disappointment when you open your pressies tomorrow.


Explaining his buys as he left the homeware section of the department store on London’s Oxford Street on Friday, Chris said: “Some of them are gifts and one’s for me.

“I love to do the housework. I don’t really see the point of getting someone else to do all your day-to-day chores.”

Apart from disappointment, it's also somewhat ruined the surprise, hasn't it? The headline suggests that there's something tight about Martin's gifts:
£30m Martin's presents suck!

But Gordon doesn't know who Martin is buying for - it could be that these are gifts for vague friends-of-friends, for whom a fairly pricey electrical item could be considered almost over-generous. Or it could be an extra gift. Or it could be someone has asked him for a vacuum cleaner. And since when did the value of gift reside in how much it cost?

Gordon has also gone through the cuttings:
Henry is fast becoming the biggest name in the world of celeb vacuuming.

The jolly red appliance, which costs £100, is a favourite of sex-mad comedian RUSSELL BRAND. He used to pleasure himself with a Henry when he was a confused teenager.

Or, at least, he said he did as a joke.

Still, Gordon has other things to fill his page with, such as calling Girls Aloud "tarts", and having a go at the "ginger one".

Christmas in 1987: Best singles, part one - 20-11

As voted for by Sounds readers:

20. T'Pau - China In Your Hands (no, really)

19. The Cult - Love Removal Machine

18. The Smiths - Sheila Take A Bow

17. Fields of the Nephilim - Preacher Man

16. Suzanne Vega - Luka

15. Gaye Bykers On Acid - Nosedive Karma

14. U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

13. Metallica - Garage Days Revisited

12. The Mission - Wasteland

11. All About Eve - In The Clouds

[Part of Christmas in 1987]

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Napster: It's how you like it

Napster - it's all new. It's for you. It's unlimited. However you want it.

... erm, unless you use Safari. Then we'll tell you how you'll have to get it.

Sunday Bloody Sunday goes free

As a taster for the Saul Williams' Niggy Tardust work with Trent Reznor, there's an mp3 download on offer: Sunday Bloody Sunday.

The whole album is available through on an honesty box basis.

Grinch returns Christmas

This is something of a festive delight: Rich Aucoin has - inspired by the claims of the Dark Side Of The Moon being synced to The Wizard Of Oz - produced an album which syncs with How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Seuss re-sussed. It's on the YouTubes.

Tegan And Sara on our side of the Atlantic

Also bringing light to the gloom of the early new year: Tegan and Sara in Europe (with support from Northern State).

Dates in full:

Feb 22 Concorde Brighton
Feb 23 Met Leeds
Feb 24 Trent University Nottingham
Feb 25 Wulfrun Hall Wolverhampton
Feb 27 The Button Factory Dublin
Feb 28 Limelight Belfast
Feb 29 Queen Margaret Union Glasgow, Scotland
Mar 1 Academy 2 Manchester
Mar 2 The Point Cardiff
Mar 5 Koko London
Mar 7 Backstage Munich
Mar 8 Karlstorbahnhof Heidelberg
Mar 9 Fabrik Hamburg
Mar 10 Gloria Cologne
Mar 12 Lille Vega Copenhagen
Mar 13 KB Malmö
Mar 14 Nalen Stockholm
Mar 15 Stenhammarsalen Gothenberg
Mar 17 Postbahnhof Berlin
Mar 18Rotonde Botanique Brussels
Mar 19 La Maroquinerie Paris
Mar 20 Melkweg Amsterdam

Long Blondes return

Some more news coming through about next year's Long Blondes album: It's due April 7th, and going to be travelling under the name Couples.

Oh, yes, and a tour, too:

London, Amersham Arms – March 11
York, Fibbers – 18
Edinburgh, Cabaret Voltaire – 19
Hull, The Lamp – 20
Sunderland, The Independent – 21
Wakefield, Escobar – 22
Leeds, Faversham – 24
Exeter, The Cavern – 25
Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach - 26

Cerys life now little more than a punt

There might be a growing suspicion that her appearance on I'm A Celebrity hasn't exactly done much for Cerys Matthews' gravitas. Indeed, now her sideshow romance with comedy figure Marc Bannerman has turned into something akin to a game of Totopoly. Bookies are taking bets on the chances of her getting married.

Oh, and divorced:

Marc, who dumped his long-term girlfriend to hook up with Welsh singer Cerys Matthews, has odds that he will marry the Catatonia star next year are 9/1. And there are similar odds for a subsequent divorce - at 8/1.

"The jungle drums haven't stopped beating since Marc ditched his girlfriend and started looking for a house where he could set up a love nest with Cerys," said Dave Metcalf, from Betfred.

So, in effect, Betfred's odds are suggesting that Matthews and Bannerman are more likely to divorce than they are to get married. We're not sure that's entirely possible.

A heart-warming tale for Christmas

Aw, bless: Sinitta has become a mum, just in time for Christmas. And - somewhat surprisingly - her adoption process was a standard, slow, careful consideration.

Although Sinitta does admit that she tried to pull a string, in a half-hearted way:

Around that time Madonna came back from Malawi with baby David and her own adoption plans, and Sinitta became even more desperate for a child. "I rang the social worker in tears," she recalls. "I said, 'I know I am not a big, big celebrity like Madonna but please can you speed it up?'"

NOTW does some good in a grubby world

The News of the World, it's only fair to say, does sometime manage to do the right thing, if only by accident. It's discovery that Mel B pocketed a ten grand cheque from the Make-A-Wish foundation for a fundraising event has managed to prick the Spice Girl's conscience:

When the News of the World contacted her Agents ICM at 5pm Friday, they took four hours before calling back at 9pm to say she would not comment.

By 11.30am Saturday there'd been a rethink. Her British spokeswoman contacted us to say the fee would be donated to kids' hospitals in America, adding: "The cheque's in the post."

Of course, the ten grand is still ten grand that the Make-A-Wish charity doesn't have - that's something like nearly three thousand packs of Father Christmas cards to make up.

Christmas in 1987: Cover versions

As voted by readers of Sounds

10. Let There Be Rock - Onslaught

9. Wheels On Fire - Siouxie And The Banshees

8. Maggie's Farm - U2

7. Born To Be Wild - The Cult

6. Never Can Say Goodbye - The Communards

5. Ghost In My House - The Fall

4. Bang Bang - Crazyhead

3. Love Missile F-11 - Pop Will Eat Itself

2. Bohemian Rhapsody - Bad News

1. Mony Mony - Billy Idol

[Part of Christmas in 1987]

Amy Winehouse "kidnap plot"

Last week, the News of the World revealed how Amy Winehouse is going to kill herself in prison as she serves a life sentence. This week, Rav Singh has an 'exclusive' about the kidnap of Winehouse, carried out by a gang of "jailbird villains":

GANGLAND mobsters are threatening to KIDNAP troubled rock star Amy Winehouse unless they get a ransom of £100,000.

Usually, of course, the ransom demands come after the kidnap, but then the news story usually follows the actual kidnap.

It's very brave of Rav to publish a "pop star at heart of kidnap threat" story in the News of the World after the last one. You might recall when the Victoria Beckham to be kidnapped story came to court, the whole thing collapsed when it turned out the paper had paid £10,000 to a convicted criminal for the inside details:
The judge said on Monday he was minded to refer the whole matter to the Attorney General "to consider the temptations that money being offered in return for stories concerning celebrities give rise to".

Still, we're sure that Rav's impeccable sources - "our man on the inside" of the jail where Blake Fielder-Civil has supposedly been getting these threats - has got all the facts straight and hasn't cooked up the whole thing for a cash payment.

This fortnight just gone

The last two weeks on No Rock & Roll Fun

The most-read individual posts over the two weeks:

1. Mc Fly naked, after 18 months, finally hits the number one spot
2. R Kelly's sex video
3. Lily Allen slips out her slip
4. Heather Mills, porn and videos
5. Casey Calvert: Cause of death announced
6. Beth Ditto strips for NME
7. 2007 best of lists
8. No Nelly Furtado nude pictures for Playboy
9. RIP Dan Fogelberg
10. RIP Joaquin Tavares

These were amongst the scanty releases:

Happy Mondays - Bummed A 'two disc collector's edition', apparently

Top Of The Pops 1979 Sadly, not actually taped off the tv by a cassette recorder with a built-in microphone

Heroes Oddly, nobody thought to produce a soundtrack option without Mohinder's voiceovers

Tamara Drewe - Posy Simmonds Thomas Hardy crossed with teen fans of boybands and weekend authors