Celebrity news & gossip from the world’s showbiz and glamour magazines (OK!, Hello, National Enquirer and more). We read them so you don’t have to, picking the best bits from the showbiz world’s maw and spitting it back at them. Expect lots of sarcasm.
The Flying Circus Comes To Town: Python’s hidden gems
THE Flying Circus is back in town, for one last hurrah – or rather a string of them – at London’s O2. The famous old sketches will be enacted again, and the audience will be word-perfect even is the performers aren’t.
The story can be found in a special programme here…
In honour of the reunion, but in the spirit of discovery, we offer a selection of the Pythons’ most obscure back pages….
The album that never was
Monty Python albums weren’t just a way of reliving the sketches in the days before video recorders; they were classics in their own right. Far from being mere cash-ins, they were actually superior to the TV shows, and played a crucial but unsung role in establishing the Monty Python phenomenon.
Back in the day, a generation of schoolboys learned French verbs and poetry by rote, then spent their spare time committing Monty Python sketches to memory in similar dead-parrot fashion, using the tie-in albums and books for homework. Meanwhile in America, where the shows were virtually unknown, the records (on the ‘progressive’ Charisma label) became an integral part of the post-Sixties ‘stoner’ culture. FM djs gave them airplay, and rock stars championed them at every opportunity. They were known as ‘The Pythons’, which sounded like a rock group, and before long they were de facto rock stars themselves, with sell-out live tours and screaming fans. There was even a live album, replete with extra swearing. (The albums were quite risqué, in marked contrast to the strict censorship of the BBC at the time.)
JUXTAPOSITION of the day: Monty Python and the “scandal of dementia patients ‘cut adrift’ after diagnosis” in the i:
GWAR, the greatest band in the whole universe, have had a rough time of it, with key members of the group shrugging off their mortal coil to join the choir invisible.
However, things must continue and they’ve had a truly magnificent idea – GWAR BAR!
Gwar are looking for $50,000 through their Indiegogo page to open their own “gourmet junk food’ restaurant, which will be called, tremendously, ‘Gwar-B-Q’.
And the fun doesn’t end there, as this video will show.
The band promise that their establishment will “change the dining experience in much the same way that Gwar changed the concert-going experience (well, maybe, without quite as much mess).”
THIS weekend, Jonah Hill found himself being chased around by the paparazzi. Nothing new there. However, one of them started mocking him in a bid to provoke a response.
One of them teased Hill, saying: “I like the shorts though, bro. They are pretty sexy.”
It was during this that Hill found he’d had enough. So he shouted something. Something that wasn’t very clever. To the photographer, he spat: “Suck my dick, you faggot!”
Of course, Jonah wasn’t embracing the wonderful diversity of the world by saying that we’re lucky to live in a world where men can suck each other’s dicks, nor indeed, was his use of the word ‘faggot’ a bid to reclaim the word. He was saying: ‘Hey! You made me mad Mr Cameraman! So you know what? I’m going to imply you’re gay because being gay is bad!’
Not sure why you’d order someone you don’t like to fellate you though. That’s never made sense. Imagine if you shouted to one of your detractors – ‘HEY BUDDY! WHY DON’T YOU MAKE SWEET LOVE TO ME UNTIL ONE OF US ORGASMS, HUH?!’
Anyway, one thing is for sure – this whole episode is very disappointing, what with Jonah Hill seeming like a pretty nice guy. So fortunately for fans, he apologised on the Howard Stern show. But was it one of those mealy-mouthed ‘please – accept this! I like earning all these accolades and could do with you not turning on me!’ or was it more a case of ‘I really am sorry and my ears have not stopped burning with embarrassment ever since’?
“This is a heartbreaking situation for me,” said Jonah.
AFTER the mind-melting success of the Harry Potter books, JK Rowling is able to do as she pleases. She’s clearly still got a huge love for writing and, as we know, she’s got balls bigger than Godzilla.
So, in her next novel, she’s decided to have a go at those responsible for phone-hacking.
Rowling’s second crime thriller (which is written under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith) will use her own experiences under oath at the Leveson Inquiry after she suffered at the hands of press intrusion.
INDIE. There’s a funny word. In music terms, it used to mean ‘signed to an independent’ label. That meant bands signed with Stock Aitken & Waterman would be in the weekly indie charts. However, at some point, ‘indie’ meant ‘a specific type of rock music’.
Indie credentials have never really been clear, but basically, what it seems to mean is this: Bands comprised mainly of white men or women, playing with one or two guitars, a bass, a drumkit and possibly a keyboard player – throwback 50s/60s haircuts preferred.
WHEN Wu Tang first exploded on the scene, they were smart, funny, dangerous, brutal, angry, fierce and not exactly entry-level hip hop.
However, after a dazzling run of solo LPs and the classic Wu debut ’36 Chambers’, they soon became rap royalty and no-one could touch the RZA, the GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah and the M.E.T.H.O.D. Man.
ROLF Harris is the sexual predator who hid in plain view. Everything the Australian artist/singer did is now shrouded in his crimes. You can read about his depravity here.
Rolf spent a lot of time with other people’s children.
He was educating them. Uncle Rolf, you see, just loved to help.
We’ve pulled together a gallery of 22 ways in which Rolf Harris presented himself as lovable man you could trust. But if you look now, it’s wonder he got away with for so long. He really is remarkably creepy:
ROLF Harris has been found guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault against four victims, including a teenage friend of his daughter Bindi and a seven year-old fan.
Everything he ever did in life is now darkened by his depravity.
Since news of Harris’s arrest emerged last year, the NSPCC has received 28 calls relating to the entertainer, 13 of which were from women who claimed to have been sexually abused by him.
At the height of his sexual offending, the disgraced star fronted an NSPCC-affiliated child abuse awareness video, which was widely shown in British schools.
He hid in plain view – right to the end:
Denying all charges, Harris tried to entertain the court by singing snippets of one of his well-known songs.
Hearing that, I thought of that scene in Neil Jordan’s Mona Lisa, where the underage girl forced into prostitution blocks out the pain of her horrific rape at the hands of a sordid old man by singing a nursery rhyme to herself:
There once was a man named Michael Finnegan,
He had three whiskers on his chinnegan,
The wind came up and blew them in ag’in,
Poor old Michael Finnegan (begin ag’in)
Harris is now redrawn as a saddist. The Times notes:
In week three of the trial, wearing one of his iridescent purple ties, he told a journalist that she was wearing a lovely blouse.
He sat doodling pictures of the jury. He regaled them with jokes. This was lovable Rolf who had just hugged young girls:
Harris had a “technique”, Wass [prosectuing] told the court. The indecent assault that he had inflicted in the towel and come-and-see-my-paintings incidents, for instance, had involved him inserting his fingers into the teenage girls’ vaginas, so unexpectedly they weren’t sure what was happening. Sometimes he would spit on his fingers first; always he would behave afterwards as if nothing had happened.
“We see that technique of yours, the hug followed by the indecent touching in many victims of the case,” said Wass: “Sexual molestation disguised as a friendly hug.”
Harris is a manipulative, predatory liar.
A witness who worked as an executive on Rolf’s BBC show Animal Hospital told the court: “Rolf is a hugger. Rolf is kind, he’s affectionate. [He'd tell a stranger] My God you’re beautiful in a non-sexual way.”
Uncle Rolf just loves praising women on their dress sense. He told the 13-year-old he really loved her bikini. He told a woman journalist outside the court, he just loved her blouse.
Had he sexually assaulted a girl in Cambridge back in 1978? He said he’d never been there. But one woman had a video recording of Harris appearing in a TV show called Star Games. It was filmed in Cambridge, back in 1978.
The video was played to the court.
Sasha Wass QC, for the Crown, had a question:
“When you told the jury with such confidence last week on Tuesday that you had never been to Cambridge until four years ago, that was a deliberate lie, wasn’t it?”
Harris: “It wasn’t. I had no idea. I don’t think any of us knew.”
Wass: “Nobody knew they were in Cambridge?”
Harris: “None of the stars knew. I was there but I didn’t know it was Cambridge.”
Detective Chief Inspector Michael Orchard, who led the investigation against Harris, told media:
“Rolf Harris has habitually denied any wrongdoing, forcing his victims to recount their ordeal in public. He committed many offences in plain sight of people as he thought his celebrity status placed him above the law.”
Stefanie Marsh writes of Harris’ abuse of his daughter’s freind, which had begun when she was 13:
In his second statement to the police, Harris conceded that it had happened more than once — in the dock he explained that he’d been too embarrassed to discuss such matters in front of “two very attractive” female members of his legal team. But the “affair” — barring the fact that he’d hidden it from his family for umpteen years, and that he’d been 40 when it had started — had been thoroughly above board and, he said, “stemmed from a feeling of love”: the alleged victim had definitely been over 18. Besides, she was the one who had “started it”, he would later say with the faint air of a victim. One morning, as was his habit, friendly old Rolf had innocently brought her a cup of tea in the bedroom she was sharing with Bindi, and she had grabbed his elbow and pulled up the covers to show him her bare leg. “I touched her leg. My heart was thumping like mad . . .”
“If you can put this Mills & Boon scenario into context,” Wass interrupted tartly, “In 1983 Mr Harris was 53, he had known [the alleged victim] since the age of 2.”
“Did it occur to you you could be misreading the signals?” she asked Harris at one point.
“One doesn’t think about the alternatives,” Harris had said.
TERRY-Thomas had arrived. It wasn’t exactly overnight but most people thought so. It was 1946 and he was compèring a revue called Piccadilly Hayride at the Prince of Wales Theatre. The revue, its star Sid Fields and the gap-toothed compère were a tremendous success – critically and with the paying public. Within three or four weeks of the run the newspapers were already reporting that Terry Thomas (the hypen was to arrive the following year) was to appear in that year’s Royal Variety Performance.
IF the Seventies proved a fertile time for imaginative horror filmmakers, the 1980s very much represented a new age of plenty, a span wherein every idea that had worked in a movie once before was hauled out a second, third and sometimes fourth time.
And because of the home video revolution and VHS technology, new filmmakers had the opportunity to get their movies seen by more eyes than ever before.
In terms of the decade’s horror then, there was more of everything to enjoy: more slasher films, more Jaws films, and more holiday-themed horrors too.
STING, as we know, is an incredibly smug man. Not surprising really, given that he’s got shedloads of money, a talented and “occasional aviation-fuel” using wife and everyone thinks he’s really good at the sex. It’d be nigh-on impossible not to think highly of yourself if you take all that into consideration.
However, his kids might not think much of him as he’s showing them the meaning of money and achievement by cutting them out of his will.
Sting’s sat on £180m and he doesn’t want his children to have it.
MOST people who don’t like gays are religious, or at least, religious sympathetic. They think homosexuality goes against nature or some kind of cosmic order.
Some are violent or abusive toward gay people, because presumably, they feel the need to serve up justice because they don’t believe their god is up to the job, cometh the hour. The inherent weakness of deities must be a constant concern for the praying sorts.
Or, maybe it is something to do with deities being into homosexuality?
Elton John reckons that Jesus Christ would approve of gay marriage. In an interview with Sky News, Sir Elton added that he’s meeting up with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a bid to try and improve Russia’s gay rights record.
YOU may have missed it, because she’s so tragically dull, but Lana Del Rey recently said she was tired of living and basically glamorised singers who had died too young.
She said these words in the Guardian, which she then refuted by saying she was lead-on. The Guardian then published the audio of the conversation, which shows she wasn’t.
And that’s the long and the short of it.
However, saying you want to die; that’s catnip to anyone with a passing interest in outrage. A series of op-eds have appeared and everyone is tying themselves in knots. The real winners are Lana Del Rey’s publicity drive for her new album and The Guardian, who find themselves in a minor ‘NME/Richie Edwards/4REAL‘ scenario.
IT’S not nice to fool with Mother Nature.
In the seventies, science fiction and horror filmmakers were certain that mankind was going to soon face his comeuppance for polluting and over-populating Mother Earth. And more so, that this comeuppance was going to be delivered at the paws, claws, talons, webbed fingers, and teeth of our former friends: the animals.
Call it the Circle of Death.
Between 1970 and 1979, more than a dozen genre films involved Mother Nature striking back against man for his mis-use of pesticides, his damage of the ozone layer, and for polluting previously unspoiled terrain.
ROBERT Popprer presntes the world’s greatest dem o tape cioompilations. He explains:
In the late 1980′s, my cousin gave me a cassette that instantly became an obsession of mine. It was a tape, compiled by a UK record company – and made purely for internal use – featuring the worst songs they’d ever been sent from the thousands of demo tapes they received each year.
There were no details of any of the ‘artists’, and it’s all quite mysterious, but as someone who has heard loads of terrible demo tape complilations, this one is definitely the best/worst. Get ready for the dullest rendition of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, a spooky lady singing about ‘Alfreston’ while playing the organ, and the genuinely terrifying end track, ‘All the People With the Money’. By the way, I lost the tape years ago and thought all hope was lost, until my buddy Peter Serafinowicz found it last week in a box in his office. We celebrated with a listen and a good ole sing-a-long. Hope you guys sing along too…
You can see more wodnerfuyl singers in the World’s Got Talent archives.
IN 1990, Sir Jimmy Savile talked to Q Magazine of his sexual interst in fresh corpses.
To the HuffPost this is:
Jimmy Savile Interview From 1990 Reveals Disgraced Star’s Apparent Fetish For The Dead
DO you know this man seen at Glastonbury, looking sorrowful stood in the rain?
What is he looking at?
PAUSE for thought?
Hello… and… uh… welcome to… er….welcome to… uh… this… uh… article… in which we, er…. will be… uh… touching… on… an issue which… er, which is… uh… becoming increasingly prevalent in… the…uh… in the… broadcast… media.
Listen to Radio 4’s Today or PM flagship current affairs programmes and you will hear the mellifluous Scottish tones of two presenters in an increasingly intensive competition to break the world record for dead air by the simple expedient of… pausing… between… almost every… other… word.
But this phenomenon is nothing to do with uncertainty, or nervousness, or an inability to string two words together. These are assured, experienced, eloquent, senior journalists.
So why do they do it?
THE great Barry Humphries has made a rule for the comics appearing at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
“I have found, without wanting to sound prudish, that too many young comedians — many of great brilliance — still resort to the F-word to get a laugh. So there’s only one rule: I’m banning it. It will be a good discipline for them — and it might be a relief to members of the public. Festival is the only F-word we’re using next year.”
THERE’S been a lot of talk about Terry Richardson lately. Basically, a number of models have said that he’s a sexual predator, to which the celebrity photographer dismissed.
And now, pop starlet Sky Ferreira has defended ‘Uncle Terry’ in a long post on her Facebook page.
1. The Carpenters
Everyone remembers that scene in Tommy Boy where Farley and Spade declare their distaste for The Carpenters. After all, The Carpenters are “lame”. Only the biggest loser would actually like The Carpenters.
Fast forward a bit, and they’re singing their little hearts out to “Superstar”….
The fact is, The Carpenters are awesome. I’ll admit it. I’ll also admit to 4 others… but don’t let me stand alone. Join me in pronouncing once-and-for-all that it’s “okay” to love these artists. Don’t carry these secrets with you any longer. Shout it from the rooftops. Your soul shall be cleansed.
2. Barry Manilow
In similar fashion to Tommy Boy, there’s a scene of sweet release in Family Guy. After a news report on Barry Manilow airs, the gang at the bar vigorously denounces the singer, but can’t contain their shameful secret for long. Within moments, all four giddily come out of the Manilow closet…
They end up drifting into Manilow’s “Ready to Take a Chance Again”, as well they should. Manilow rules.
3. John Denver
I remember when the Silver Fox (Charlie Rich) protested John Denver’s award at the CMA’s by literally lighting the ballot on fire on live television.
The incident made Rich look like a drunken douchebag, but the damage had been done; Denver had been publicly denounced. He wasn’t accepted in the country genre, and he definitely had no friends in the rock world. Denver’s cool points equaled zero.
Yet, all this derision was unfounded. Denver wrote about the Earth and an appreciation for the natural world better than anyone. While most bands of the Seventies were singing about f***ing, Denver was singing about the inner peace one only can find deep in the woods.
Sure, he didn’t look as cool as Ritchie Blackmoore twirling his guitar or Robert Plant thrusting his junk every which way… but must we always have the twirling and the thrusting? Sometimes it’s okay to just take the rock theatrics down a peg, and just stand there and sing your songs.
4. Bee Gees
I think we may have reached a point in our society where it’s okay to admit to liking the Bee Gees. However, for a couple decades after the fall of disco, you didn’t dare. In fact, Barry Gibb had to literally go undercover to write his music. You didn’t know Kenny Rogers (“Islands in the Stream”) or Dionne Warwick (“Heartbreaker”) were singing Gibb tunes, but they were. The Bee Gees were, frankly, too reviled to dare release these songs.
But, damn, Barry effing OWNED the late Seventies…
Starting in 1976, when Gibb discovered his flair for the falsetto on “Nights on Broadway” it was off to the motherf***ing races. He gave a few gems to his brother Andy (“I Just Want to Be Your Everything”) then the trio released “Jive Talking” and a string of hits that would continue unabated until 1980. The Gibb’s made the Billboard charts their bitch for about 4 straight years.
Barry was a hitmaker for everyone: With Streisand (“Guilty”), Samantha Sang (“Emotion”), Yvonne Elliman (“If I Can’t Have You”), Frankie Valli (The theme song for Grease) and Andy (“(Our Love) Don’t Throw It All Away”, “Shadow Dancing”, and “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water”).
Add in the hits he recorded with the Bee Gees, and it’s truly astounding. In 1978, the Bee Gees owned 5 of the US Top 10 (a chart dominance not seen since The Beatles in ’64), and Barry became the only person to ever record 4 consecutive US number one hits.
Then came the disco backlash and the Brothers Gibb were the prime casualties. True, their massive Sgt. Pepper fail didn’t do them any favors, but the venom they received was undeserved. They were the poster boys of disco, and disco was considered an embarrassment for many years to come.
Well, I say “no longer”.
5. Neil Diamond
Poor Neil has never been cool. But like Manilow, he had a following in the 70s almost exclusively consisting of white thirtysomething females, which certainly didn’t add to his street cred. Wear a Neil Diamond concert shirt to school, and expect to be punched repeatedly in the nuts. Schoolmates didn’t take kindly to public expressions of Diamond fandom.
Diamond’s early hits were respectable enough “I’m a Believer” and “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” became hits for the Monkees, and Diamond followed them up with count’em 10 number one hits in the US. “Cracklin’ Rosie”, “Cherry, Cherry”, “Sweet Caroline”, “Song Sung Blue”, “Red Red Wine” and “Solitary Man” are all stellar.
The problem is, Diamond jumped the shark. Somewhere along the way, he started dressing like Liberace and attracting hordes of housewives to his concerts. A cheesy duet with Streisand (“You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”) followed up by the cheesiest song ever recorded, “America” just made matters worse. Then the nail in the coffin: the song inspired by the movie, E.T. There was simply no going back….
Good God, that is awful. But just as Vegas Elvis shouldn’t cloud our memory of early Elvis, I won’t let Sequined Jacket Wearing Diamond cloud his early work. I will wear my Neil Diamond concert tee with pride. Viva la Diamond!
OZZY Osbourne may have taken a leak on The Alamo, but Phil Collins has a different connection with the famous Wild West battle that took place 180 years ago.
When Phil isn’t making muscular pop and stadium-filling music as a solo artist, or with Genesis, he’s diving headlong into the world of Davy Crockett and has amassed an incredible collection from the Battle of the Alamo. It has been under his watchful eye for many years, but now, he’s donating his artefacts to a Texas museum.
BILL Gates once had a window with bars on it:
Microsoft boss Bill Gates was photographed by the Albuquerque, New Mexico police in 1977 after a traffic violation (details of which have been lost over time).