Saturday, April 14, 2012

Blanco family, CPS unimpressed by Doherty NME interview

In the NME last week, Pete Doherty made some large claims about the night that Mark Blanco died.

It was a bit odd that the paper didn't attempt to push him a bit - particularly, on the idea that the Met Police has a video which shows Blanco falling to his death which clears him.

It was even more surprising that, having gifted a large chunk of space for Pete to put his case, the NME didn't bother to contact either the Met or the Blanco family to put a counterpoint. You know, in the interests of not looking so desperate for a Doherty exclusive that they'd let him say anything - however incredible - with barely a mutter.

The second part, in this week's paper, doesn't get much better. Doherty sounds off on the various qualities of London against Parisian heroin while "smoking something". When he tells Jamie Fullerton that in Paris, when you score

"it's like China White"
the response is a weak
It's a better class of heroin in Paris?
as if this was a bit with Alex James banging on about cheese.

Once the interview is over, in the epilogue, Fullerton suggests that Doherty's ongoing drug use is "disappointing", which is an odd choice of word for a man who has been brain-twanging all the way through his talk with the paper. Rather an understatement.

Meanwhile, Jamie Doward for The Guardian has been doing the research the NME chose not to, following up Doherty's tale of the night Mark Blanco died.

First, there's a perspective from Blanco's mother:
Blanco's friends and family have attacked the claims as a desperate attempt to rewrite the past. "Mark was a pacifist who would never raise a hand to anyone," said Sheila Blanco, Mark's mother. "Pathetic, tawdry PR stunts such as these strengthen even further my resolve: to secure justice for my son and to expose anyone who has obstructed the protracted investigation into his tragic death."
And then a quick call to the Met about the video which puts Pete into the clear:
The Met has referred questions about Doherty's claims of video footage to the CPS. Last year the CPS said in a statement that "CCTV footage did show several individuals later leaving the same building that Mr Blanco had fallen from and passing his body, but this evidence does not shed any light on how Mr Blanco fell or who, if anyone, may have been responsible".
So, no film, then. Quite an important point for the NME to not mention, surely?

Sometimes these write themselves

I'm not sure you can be a "star", "topping the bill" or doing an "intimate gig" if you're stood in front of the yoghurt machine in a Nandos.

One Direction fans really are charmers, aren't they?

Anna Crotti works at an Australian radio station and, during the course of her work, she came into contact with Zayn Malik. He's one of the trousers in One Direction. He was quite taken with Anna, and invited her on a kind-of date.

It never happened:

She is quoted by MTV as saying: "A security guard came up to me. I thought I was in trouble but he said, 'The lads want your number'. I got a text later saying hello. I asked who it was and it was Zayn.

"By the end of the day, it got a bit too scary. Random girls were abusing me on Facebook. Girls were calling the radio station and giving me s**t.

"Mothers even called me in tears, demanding to know if I knew where One Direction were because their daughters wanted to meet them.

"I didn't even want to walk home. It was so intense. I messaged Zayn and said, 'Maybe it's not a good idea we meet up'. It was just a bit too full on."
It's almost as if One Direction fans like the idea of their heroes being paranoid virgins, isn't it?

Coming a couple of days after the same group was sending death-threats to a man for having the temerity to ask Simon Cowell why he took a name already being used by a band, they're building a bit of a whiff around the band they supposedly love.

Gordon in the morning: Tea cups

I know it'd be almost impossible to resist running a picture of Liam Gallagher spinning around in a giant teacup, but I'm a little lost as to public interest reason for Gordon violating Liam's kid's privacy in so doing.

Maybe it's a national security thing?

(Also worth noting that Gordon chooses to describe Liam as "ex-Oasis star" rather than, say, "him out of Beaky Eye".)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Who saw this coming?

Pete Samson is, as we know, the grandly titled "US editor" of The Sun, although it's not entirely clear what that means. Especially since his contribution this morning is to report on death threats being made against One Direction.

That's the One Direction who had the name first, not the One Direction who Simon Cowell gifted a stolen name to. Just to make that clear.

Yes, the Cowell variant's fanbase have decided to "help" the delicate legal process involved in deciding who owns a trademark:

The US band’s frontman Sean O’Leary said the worst had been aimed at his dad Dan, who manages them.

Sean, 18, said: “There has been so much hate mail, like people threatening to cut our b***s off.

“The one that stands out for me is a girl saying she wanted to kill my father.”
Surely if cut the bollocks off the American band, it'd be even harder to tell the difference between them and the British version?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bookmarks: X-Ray discs

As far as I can tell, what we have here - Пластинки "на рёбрах" - on LiveJournal is a collection of records from the former Soviet Union which have been created by etching the tracks onto old X-Ray sheets by a studio operating underground in St Petersburg. Presumably to cope with the difficulty of getting proper records - or proper vinyl - at the time. This one's Heartbreak Hotel...

[via HardFormat]

James Corden appeals for calm over Adele truncation

Although nearly everyone in the world has forgotten the bit at the Brits when James Corden punched Adele, threw her awards to the ground and yelled "it's ALLLLLL-BAAAAAAARRRRRRN", Corden hasn't.

He wants us to remember, so that we can heal and forget:

"She's fine, I've never known such a non thing to become a thing, ever."
It's such a non-thing he had to mention it while presenting Sport Relief, and now is at it again. But it's a non-thing.
"I've done a lot of press [in the US] in the last few weeks and no-one's mentioned it. I think they realised that someone didn't get to say 'Thank you' long enough and maybe thought it wasn't huge news."
It's possible that all that press you've been doing in the US might have been with people not considering it to be a non-story, but people who are unaware of the Brits Awards, and unaware that this James Corbind they're talking to might have been something to do with it. It's a bit like Cameron trotting home thinking the Burmese press not asking about Peter Cruddas means the scandal has passed.

Murison off to the Sunday Times

So, it looks like Krissi Murison has left the NME for a better position, having taken a role at the Sunday Times. She'll be joining the paper's magazine as features editor later this year.

So who'll take over? Everett True has thrown his hat in the ring.

Gennaro Castaldo watch: Vinyl throw of the dice

Here's something we haven't had for a while: a positive story about HMV. Gennaro Castaldo has been able to take a break from trying to put on a brave face to hail the return of vinyl to the Swansea branch:

Initially Swansea will carry a stock of 1,500 vinyl albums.

HMV head of PR Gennaro Castaldo added: "We are initially embarking on a 12 store trial. If the trial proves the success we hope and expect it to be we will extend it to up to 30 stores and thereafter we'll consider rolling it out to many of our stores in our 240-strong chain."
Or, he might have added, wait until our chain shrinks to just those 30 stores. Whichever comes sooner.

Still - lovely to see HMV doing something that might tempt music fans back into their shops.

Peter Andre, wash your hands

Remember Peter Andre's cafe that he opened up in East Ginstead a while back? It's had a pretty unimpressed reaction from Mid Sussex District Council who came to see how clean it was. The East Grinstead Courier and Observer reports:

Danny Andre – Peter's brother – said everything is now up to scratch.

"Everything is spotless in there," he told the Courier & Observer.

"It always has been. It was just a couple of things, that got rectified the same afternoon."
Hmmm. The coffee shop scored just one star out of a possible five - which under the rules means "major improvement necessary" - hardly the sort of thing you could "rectify" the same afternoon.

Andre's puppetmasters didn't seem to have got the 'pretend it's a couple of things' memo:
Gemma Wheatley, from Peter Andre's management company, said: "It was nothing to do with any problems with dirtiness or cleanliness, it was purely mechanical.

"They asked us to put cladding around the back of the tiles and the sink was in the wrong place."
Is moving a sink something you can rectify in an afternoon?

Anyway, everyone's certain that the next time round they'll get a four or a five.

Beachwood Sparks: Re-sparked

Look, look! Beachwood Sparks, who haven't done a new record since the century was still blinking and yawning like an adorable chronology-koala cub, have gotten back together. The classic line-up, too: Chris Gunst, Brent Rademaker, Dave Scher, and Aaron Sperske.

But what do they sound like now they're older?

Ah... like this:

Nine years since they last did something. Nine years too long.

Breaking news: Krissi Murison leaves NME

Krissi Murison, editor of NME since 2009, is stepping down.

Axl Rose makes a lot of fuss about something unimportant to him

When asked why he accepted an OBE, John Peel would say that part of the reason was that he didn't want to be the sort of bloke who stood in the pub going "you know, they offered it to me. I turned them down."

Something to think about as Axl Rose writes a long letter explaining why he won't go to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony this week:

Speaking about why he has made this choice, Rose wrote: "This decision is personal. This letter is to help clarify things from my and my camp’s perspective. Neither is meant to offend, attack or condemn. Though unfortunately I’m sure there will be those who take offence (God knows how long I’ll have to contend with the fallout), I certainly don't intend to disappoint anyone, especially the fans, with this decision."

He continued: "Since the announcement of the nomination we’ve actively sought out a solution to what, with all things considered, appears to be a no win, at least for me, 'damned if I do, damned if I don't' scenario all the way around. In regard to a reunion of any kind of either the Appetite… or Illusion… line-ups, I've publicly made myself more than clear. Nothing's changed."
The option of simply ignoring the event and not drawing attention to it seems to have passed Axl by. Although then, of course, there would have been no publicity for his oh-so-antiestablishment not going to a party.

Gordon in the morning: Two directions

Given how Cowell attempted to bully a charity - a charity - into handing their name over, it's probably not surprising that it turns out there's another One Direction.

And the other One Direction aren't happy:

Manager Dan O’Leary told The Sun: “I don’t care how powerful Simon Cowell is. He’s mad if he thinks we’re going to lie down, sit down or back down over this — whatever power and money he has behind him. We’re not going to be pushed around by some music mogul.

“The British One Direction have Mr Cowell’s enormous resources behind them. We on the other hand do not. In our view, we were here first. We have rights, we have talent, and we have heart.”

O’Leary, who is the dad of his group’s lead singer Sean, added: “My boy’s dreams and the dreams of the band are just as important as the dreams of Cowell’s group.”
The Sun's Aaron Tinney reports that the US One Direction have been going since 2009, have filed trademark papers before Cowell, and that Cowell appears to have been aware of their existence.

You'd think that this would make it a pretty clear win for the original, US One Direction. Only Tinney seems to imply that it is they who should roll over. Why? Because they're ickle:
[The US One Direction's] sales are tiny in comparison to their UK namesakes
The UK One Direction have stormed America this year, sparking frenzied fan stampedes not seen since the Beatlemania days.

But the US group that shares their name have had only pitiful sales on iTunes and play charity gigs and bars in the States.
It's The Sun. Of course they're going to side with the big, money-making business over the small guy. That's what they do.

More misery from Cowell world, as Colin Robertson reports how Britain's Got Talent contestant Analiza Ching is in pieces:
BRITAIN’S Got Talent sensation Analiza Ching was in tears last night after naked pictures of her spread like wildfire in her native China — and brought shame on her family.

The violinist told how her dad now faces losing his job as a music teacher after angry parents spotted the snaps and pulled their kids out of class.
Nasty. And where might they have seen the pictures?

Er... all over the Sun website on Monday:
STUNNING violinist Analiza Ching shows she’s as fit as a fiddle — as she poses naked with her instrument.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Madonna steals Lady GaGa's chart record

There's good news and bad news for Madonna today. The good news is that she's stolen a chart record back from Lady GaGa.

The bad news is that it's the record for the biggest tanking of album sales in the second week ever. In America.

Billboard will be our Richard Osman here:

This week, Madonna's "MDNA" earns the distinction of the largest second-week percentage sales drop for a No. 1-debuting album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. The album slides from No. 1 to No. 8 on the Billboard 200 with a 86.7% sales decline (falling from 359,000 to 48,000 according to SoundScan).
Those trying to put a brave face on things suggest that the bundling of the record with concert tickets accounted for the higher opening, and then the massive drop in week two when there were no tickets.

Maybe. But there weren't a third of a million tickets on offer.

More likely, though, is that Madonna's fanbase has now been eroded to the granite heart; there are still thousands who'll dash out in week one to scoop up a record, but very few people left with any curiosity beyond that.

Kasabian think they're a bit like Radiohead

Tom Meighan, bless him, thinks Kasabian are a bit like Thom Yorke and friends:

We always try to reinvent ourselves in the way that a band like Radiohead would do. Or we come at things from another angle.
That's actually a little bit heartbreaking, isn't it? It's like a pacamac manufacturer revealing they're trying to be couture.

What would "coming at things from another angle" mean for Kasabian? Do they move the drums to a different part of the recording studio?

Surely the important thing about Radiohead is that they don't set out to sound like anyone else, or else make a different-sounding record for the sake of it? And isn't the failure to grasp that pretty much the reason why Kasabian will never be a band like Radiohead?

Joni Mitchell: These insects crawling on my skin, why can I never find them?

Turns out that Joni Mitchell wants to quit music to concentrate on helping people with Morgellons.

People with Morgellons feel as if they have bugs or threads on their skin - yes, your first thought is the one they usually get from their doctors. Joni did when she went for help for the condition:

“In America, the Morgellons is always diagnosed as “delusion of parasites,” and they send you to a psychiatrist,” she added later. “I’m actually trying to get out of the music business to battle for Morgellons sufferers to receive the credibility that’s owed to them.”
Some people believe there are actually bugs or threads or something there; and from there it is but a short step to deciding that it's something to do with nanotechnology and chemtrails and government experiments. And nothing helps you get people to take something serious than having symptoms that sound like an acid flashback and a community fixated on an X-Files style conspiracy.

So Mitchell is going to try and get the condition properly investigated.

But she still has time for a quick pop at Bob Dylan:
“Bob is not authentic at all,” Mitchell said. “He’s a plagiarist and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I.”
No word yet on if Dylan has been manufactured using nanotechnology.

Gordon in the morning: Keep quiet, friends of Tulisa

Gordon reports that Tulisa has learned the hard way:

Tulisa gags her new friends
I think this is meant to be a blowjob joke. It doesn't work, does it?

We're asked to believe that Tulisa is going to make any new friend sign a legal document to stop them sharing:
She has decided to gag any newcomers to her inner circle – friends and colleagues as well as boyfriends – to stop anything like the sex tape leaking out again.
This sounds somewhere between unlikely and unworkable - at what point would you judge someone has moved from acquaintance to intimate? If she gets on with the man who comes to fix her boiler, would the lawyer get a call at the point where she decides to break out the good biscuits?

Or would the signing happen before a social arrangement - a lunch or a quick drink? A pre-sup rather than a prenup?

Gordon doesn't seem to realise, if the story is true, it merely reinforces how he and his trade have so undermined people's privacy that a young woman no longer feels able to trust anyone, not even her own judgement.

And how does he know of this supposed attempt to block leaks coming from camp Contostavlos?
A source said...
Unclear if the source had signed a document forbidding them from revealing details of Tulisa's life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weller: No talent showing

Paul Weller has drawn a line. You won't find him going on a talent show:

I'd be too embarrassed to be on those shows. You get some of these kids who think they're a little bit 'edgy', got a bit of a Pete Doherty haircut. You're not edgy, really, mate. Otherwise you wouldn't be on an effing talent show, would you?
Hey, Paul - you don't have to be so spiky. One of the Pearsons out of Five Star had a go on The Voice a couple of weekends back, and she did alright. You'd deffo be in with a chance of getting through to the second round.

Hang on... let me read that again...
Would I be a judge? Would I hell.
Oh, he's turning down a fictional offer of being a judge. You're alright Paul, I think even Simon Cowell might baulk at the idea of your special brand of wasp-chewing misanthropy on a Saturday teatime.

Gordon in the morning: Where is Beckham band?

A bunch of long-lens, creepy-peering over the bushes photos of small children. For most people, that would be the reason they'd never be able to take their computer to PC World for fixing; for The Sun, it's a lead story on the showbiz pages.

Still, Gordon must have an important story that makes it worth ignoring the rule about not publishing photos of kids simply because their parents are famous, right?

WE’VE had The Bee Gees, Hanson and the Jonas Brothers – now it’s time for The Beckhams.
No, it's actually just a load of made-up stuff about the Beckham kids supposedly forming a band, most of which relies on a throwaway comment from Victoria Beckham in another publication and two other bits of fluff from other Bizarre columns. (When Gordon told Justice Leveson he made sure all his stories are true, it turns out he means he cross-references with his other columns. Sometimes.)

So what is this band?
Brooklyn, who has been repeatedly strumming The Beatles’ Here Comes The Sun, plays guitar while Romeo is on drums.

Cruz, who is also mad on ballet, is the Bez of the group because he breakdances along to their efforts.
Apart from calling a child a Bez online being on a par with Facebook bullying, this is some kids hitting instruments. One of them not even hitting instruments, but dancing. At different bloody times.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The illustrated Friends: Terence Stamp

And so, with the bank holiday weekend nearly over, we reach the last of Adam Ant's friends. Terence Stamp - actor-turned-breadmaker; former flatmate of one of the other Friends (he shared with Michael Caine for a while); and voice of the Prophet Of Choice in Halo 3.

Interestingly, Stamp's Wikipedia entry makes no mention at all of his Terence Stamp wheat-free bread product range The Stamp Collection; it seems to have vanished in the last couple of years although you can still get cookbooks under the name.

What does get mentioned on Wikipedia - and, thus, repeated here - is Stamp's guest appearance in a Bright Eyes video. This one:

With which, I think that's job done. Thanks for following this over the weekend. Maybe one bank holiday weekend, I'll get really brave and try Hot Topic...

[Concluding the illustrated Friends]

The illustrated Friends: Bryan Ferry

An obvious choice for art school kid turned popstar, here. But if we're going to do Bryan Ferry, we're bloody going to have Kevin Eldon lip-synching to him:

[Buy: Big Train]
[Part of The illustrated Friends]

Michael Buble: A puck in every port

It's easy to characterise Michael Buble as a dull, dull man. But surely that can't be true, can it? He has crazy times on tour, right?

Ice hockey enthusiast Michael Buble takes his obsession on tour with him by asking for a local team's puck in every venue he plays.
God. He's even duller than he appears at first.

Everyone loves Public Radio

We're quite lucky in the UK as, despite the Tories and Lib Dems' best efforts, we still have a fairly decent public radio service in the BBC.

America's public radio is also pretty good, but needs a lot more support, which is why they're spending a month celebrating their musical achievements.

As part of the events, a whole bunch of artists have signed a love letter to public radio, as Rolling Stone reports:

A group of musicians including Jack White, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie, MGMT, M. Ward, the Roots, Tony Bennett, John Mayer and members of Pearl Jam, Phish and Fleet Foxes have penned a "love letter" to public radio as part of Public Radio Music Month.

"Thank you for taking chances," the letter reads. "Thank you for playing our music even when – especially when – it doesn't sound like everything else on the radio dial. Thank you for inviting us into your studios and asking us intelligent questions. Thank you for introducing us to some of the most important music in our lives, music that made us who we are."
It's really easy to take these things for granted. Let's try to value them, shall we, whichever country we're in?

The illustrated Friends: Erich Fromm

Fromm was a member of the Frankfurt School of critical theory; amongst his ideas was a belief that once you got the freedom you supposedly desire, you'd be begging for someone or something to offer you rules by which to live.

Surprisingly, he made a guest appearance on Darts' cover of Reet Petite in 1979.

Oh, alright; he didn't. But he does get a namecheck in Kamala's Too Nice by Screeching Weasel. As did Enchiladas:

[Buy: Kamala's Too Nice]
[Part of the illustrated Friends]

The illustrated Friends: Stevie Wonder

He has made enough missteps during his career to have tripped uplesser men - anytime Paul McCartney started faxing him ideas; the Woman In Red soundtrack; I Just Called To Say I Love You; enough mawkish sentiment to water a Tory minister's lawn with tears. But he's still Stevie Wonder.

Here's a two-for-one, as he's joined by Ray Charles for a stomping Living For The City:

[Part of the illustrated Friends]

The illustrated Friends: Big John Wayne

Oh, you know where this is going. And, yes, yes, we'll get there in time. But first, let's let give the one-time Marion Robert Morrison a chance to try singing himself, shall we?

Ouch. Okay, okay. We might be better off with someone singing about John Wayne.

Billy Idol, claiming to be John Wayne. Some... er, nice effects on that video there, then.

Oh, alright. I know what you're waiting for:

Proving, if nothing else, that professionals can go a bit nuts with the effects buttons.

[Buy: Battle Hymns For Children Singing: The 'best' of Haysi Fantayzee]
[Part of illustrated Friends]

Pete Doherty: The Mail catches up with some reading

Today's Daily Mail has a piece about Pete Doherty sort-of talking about that party where Mark Blanco died:

Troubled rocker Pete Doherty is ashamed of the way he abandoned a dying man at a party, admitting CCTV footage of him fleeing the scene of Mark Blanco's death makes him 'sick to the stomach'.
What's a bit strange is that this is lifted from the NME. The one that came out last Wednesday.

Perhaps they just read very slowly at the Mail. Or maybe they've been so dazzled by Samantha Brick they've only just got round to reading it.

Maybe that's why they only pick up half the story from the NME, too - they lift the bit where Doherty says he feels sick when he sees footage of himself stepping over the body, but not the bit where he insists the Met Police have video of Blanco falling - unaided - to his death. Which surely, if only in the interests of balance, would have been worth mentioning? (Even if you're convinced Doherty was involved in the death, surely his claim that the police have such footage is significant?)

The Mail also seems uninterested in Doherty's words to the NME where he appears to suddenly correct himself:
[Blanco] was out of his mind. So we got him out of the flat, or rather Paul bundled him out of the flat.
To be fair, the NME's Jamie Fullerton also seemed to be unbothered by this; and the paper gives Doherty an incredibly easy ride considering his explanation for stepping over a dead man was he didn't want to get caught with his pockets full of drugs while on bail. But then there's a two-part fawnathon interview to protect, a cover story; why bother challenging Doherty on this?

[Thanks to Michael M]

The illustrated Friends: Stanley Spencer

Spencer was the reason why Adam Ant studied art - a huge inspiration to him. And, wonderfully, the two men's paths did cross, as Adam told BBC News earlier this year:

"I actually saw Stanley Spencer when I was about four," he said.

"I saw him coming over the bridge with his umbrella and his little pram. We thought he was the bogeyman and we hid."
I was going to hide too - Spencer never collaborated with a beat combo; didn't record an album of Christmas songs; never even created a tumblr with pictures of Jellyhead in it. He never even made it into A House's Endless Art.

Luckily, though, Ant isn't the only art school bopper inspired by Spencer. Luke Haines gives him a namecheck on English Southern Man:

[Part of the illustrated Friends]

The illustrated Friends: Michael Caine

Michael Caine is a lovely man. Not withstanding the way he released two books of trivia called Not A Lot Of People Know That before going on to complain that people associate him with the phrase Not A Lot Of People Know That. And his support for Thatcher. And George W Bush. And his constant whining about having to pay tax. And... you know what? Let's just say he's a man.

James would be disappointed if we didn't kick off with this:

But you know what? I don't just want to hear someone singing about Michael Caine. I want to hear him sing. Sort-of sing. Quick! To the Muppets Christmas Carol:

[Buy: Complete Madness
Muppet Christmas Carol]

[Part of the illustrated Friends]

Gordon in the morning: Again with the Kitten fights

Another story about behind the scenes trouble at the negotiations to bring back Atomic Kitten:

Lead singer Natasha [Hamilton], 29, has told managers she will walk if Jenny Frost, 34, and Kerry Katona, 31, are both in the new line-up.
Lead singer? I'm not sure either word there is correct.

Is the world really that interested in what might or might not be happening behind the scenes; or is The Sun trying to convince us that we should be?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The illustrated Friends: Charles Hawtrey

As a Carry On regular, Charles Hawtrey is guaranteed a place in any history of British cinema. But he didn't start his career as an actor. In fact, his name was originally made as a boy soprano; and, luckily, as puberty didn't over-trouble him with gruffness, was even hitting the high-notes as late as fifteen years old.

That's him doing Hush, Here Comes The Dream Man with Eveleyn Griffiths, a track released in 1930.

He was - if a story in the New Statemsn is to be believed - offered a later crack at musical fame when he was given first refusal of vocals for this:

He refused, which is why Sandie Shaw was approached. (And, to be honest, I'm not sure the song would have quite managed to take the novelty heft of a Hawtrey lead.)

[Part of illustrated Friends]

The illustrated Friends: The Woodentops

There's a rising note of panic as Adam attempts to argue his way in - having tried an alien from the future and a doctor from the past, he's now hoping these are the names to drop:

But it's a great excuse for us to enjoy this:

[Buy: Woodentops BBC Sessions]
[Part of the illustrated Friends]

The illustrated Friends: Dr Kildare

More singing actors, then. Richard Chamberlain wasn't the original Dr Kildare - the character had been taking temperatures and countersigning passport application forms for quarter of a century on radio and in the cinema before Chamberlain pulled on his white coat on NBC in 1961. But he is the definitive Kildare.

And, as was the custom at the time, he couldn't resist having a go in a recording studio:

But in the singing-fake-doctors stakes, Chamberlain was never anything more than a junior. Rick Springfield managed to hold down a proper acting role in General Hospital, while also being a more-or-less proper Pop Star:

You can't picture Charlie Fairhead getting a top tenner, can you?

[Part of the illustrated Friends]

The illustrated Friends: Mr Spock

William Shatner's records are more-or-less a cultural commonplace now - partly due to the way Shatner has reverse-engineered a knowing wink on to what was, originally, a deadly serious endeavour. Leonard Nimoy's musical adventures, though, are perhaps a little less well known (although nothing like as obscure as David 'The Man from UNCLE' McCullum's albums. There's a thing for another time, though.)

Originally, Nimoy stayed roughly in character, with the first album tortuously titled Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock's Music From Outer Space. The second album was a bit different though; one side was Spocky, Trekky stuff, and the other a Yarwoodesque 'and this is me' collection of covers. Hence Two Sides Of Leonard Nimmoy.

First, then, let's have him with the ears on - these are Spock Thoughts, although the lyric is actually Max Ehrmann's Desiderata. I guess by the time Spock is born, it'd have been out of copyright:

Now, though, let's get you out of that clingy spacesuit and discover the real you, shall we, Len? The real you, that is, if you'd been a murderous Korean War vet:

[Buy: Mr Spock's Music From Outer Space]
[Part of the illustrated Friends]

The illustrated Friends: Michael Jackson

Imagine that, eh? A self-important type popping up trying to convince us he's friends with Michael Jackson:

Let's go back, shall we? Back to 1971, and a Goin' Back To Indiana TV Special:

[Part of the illustrated Friends]

This week just gone

The most-read new things this week have been:

1. The illustrated Friends
2. The illustrated Friends: Shirley Bassey
3. The illustrated Friends: Michael Miles
4. Stabbing at Jessie J's Blackberry party
5. Sonisphere axed
6. Gordon Smart claims U2 are going boyband
7. A new song from Marcella Detroit
8. Gordon Smart's complex possible April Fool
9. The illustrated Friends: Friend of a friend...
10. Mel B goes Australian

Julia Holter - Tragedy

Download Julia Holter

The Wave Pictures - Long Black Cars

Download Long Black Cars

The Futureheads - Rant

Download Rant

Johnny Cash - Bootleg Volume IV - The Soul Of Truth

Download Bootleg Volume IV

Lightships - Electric Cables

Download Electric Cables

Seth Lakeman - Tales From The Barrel House

Download Tales From...

Elvis Costello - The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook

Download The Return Of...

Turin Brakes - The Optimist Live

Download The Optimist Live