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.
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).
FROM the Sonny & Cher show, here’s mom and Chastity (now Chaz) before the female-to-male gender transition. Is it wrong that I still find Cher sexy in a Tweety Bird outfit? Don’t answer that.
But do enjoy a handful of great publicity photographs from the 1960s – 1980s. Some are odd, some awesome – all are interesting.
PIES has spotted this wonderful tribute tio Liverpool and Uruguay’s highly entertaining Luis Suarez.
Take it away, Tom Rosenthal.
FLASHBAK to August 4 1967:
Actor Eli Wallach takes advantage of the studio lights on the set of “MacKenna’s Gold,” Aug. 4, 1967, to make some stills of tone of his co-stars in the film, Edward G. Robinson. Robinson plays the role of an almost blind prospector. Wallach adjusts the lights on his subject and takes pictures with his own Nikon F camera. (AP Photo/David F. Smith)
FLASHBAK to September 7 1973:
TV and radio star Jimmy Savile entertains schoolchildren trapped in a broken-down lift in London. The youngsters were being presented by Mr Savile with a £7,500 cheque for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
THE young students at Scargill School in Rainham, east London, are rehearsing for the end-of-year show Lights, Camera, Action!. We join the action as the school caretaker cahracter, a Mr Jim Fixit arrives. He is, as the notes sugegst, “ready for any challenge.”
He produces a letter. He reads:
“Dear Jim, could you please find time to retrieve my sixteen footballs from the roof of the school hall.”
“ROCK and Roll isn’t dead. It just smells bad.”
I am, of course, paraphrasing Frank Zappa’s famous response when asked whether jazz was dead. Who would have guessed that quote would be applicable to rock music just a few decades later.
There are many of you already feeling your blood pressure rise at what I’m saying. I can hear you now: “There are tons of great bands today! All you have to do is stop wallowing in the past you old bastard, and dig for it!” Problem is – if you have to dig it up, it’s probably dead.
SOCIAL MEDIA eh? People talking to each other about whatever they want? Dreadful isn’t it? How dare people have another conversational tool to add to the pen and paper, telephone, email and text message canon?
Anyway, social media’s chatter has apparently made up Prince’s mind about something, which shows a remarkable lack of backbone from the pint-sized genius.
Michael Eavis has said that Prince became “really upset” with Glastonbury organisers over what he called “social media rumours”.
THERE’S rumours floating around which suggest that Scientologist Tom Cruise is in talks to make a cameo appearance in JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: Epsiode VII movie.
Of course, this creates a flurry of amusing puns about Tom Cruise being a Scientologist and believing in aliens and following a religion founded by man called L. Ron Hubbard (L. Ron Buddha?) starring in an intergalactic battle film, presumably because he thinks it is ALL REAL and… we’ll stop now. Some Scientologists just parked up outside the Anorak office and have started shouting at everyone.
LATE breaking news on Anorak is that Justin Bieber has reacted to the footage of his adolescent self telling funnies about “niggers” by taking a bath.
The story goes that singer was ready to drop his pull-ups and get into the font for a re-baptising. But unable to find a church that would keep the event a secret, he arranged for New York Pastor Carl Lentzto to cleanse the Bieber soul in a bathtub.
A quick spritz and your alleged racism is vanished. Someone should can this stuff and sell it outside courtrooms and confession booths. Maybe the reverse is true and a free chamois leather could make the BNP or KKK massively popular?
THE songwriting behemoth Gerry Goffin, has passed away, aged 75 in Los Angeles.
If you don’t recognise the name, you’ll recognise some of the songs he’s played a part in – ‘The Locomotion’, ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’ and ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman’.
The Mozart of Teen Melodrama, Goffin started out in Queens and met and married Carole King. While together, they wrote some of the most evergreen music ever committed to a human ear.
In a statement King said Goffin was her “first love” and had a “profound impact” on her life. “His words expressed what so many people were feeling but didn’t know how to say,” she said.
We can all appreciate that. Goffin’s word have had a profound impact on everyone who has listened to one of his songs.
HIP HOP royalty, Dr. Dre, has shared details of the forthcoming NWA film ‘Straight Outta Compton’, stating that the biopic will see release on August 14, 2015.
The film will tell the tale of how NWA – Dr Dre, Ice Cube and the late Eazy E – came to be.
Dre and Eazy E will be played by newcomers while Ice Cube’s own son will play his father. You have to hope there’s no sex scenes with an actress playing his mother, because that would be weird.
Yesterday, Dre tweeted an image of the cast, and they really look the part, if better looking than the original members.
Ice Cube will be played by O’Shea Jackson Jr, while Dre will be played by Marcus Callender who has had some roles in Criminal Justice, Blue Bloods and Elementary. It is thought that Dre wanted Michael B Jordan, but he’s signed up for the The Fantastic Four franchise.
‘The Same Animals…Only Functioning Less Perfectly:’ The Five Most Underrated George A. Romero Movies
GEORGE Romero’s impressive movie-making career stretches back to the Pittsburgh area in the late 1960s and spans over forty years.
Like many horror filmmakers of his generation, Romero has seen his share of big successes, like Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Creepshow (1982), critical darlings like Martin (1976), cult classics such as The Crazies (1973) and the occasional out-right bomb, like Diary of the Dead (2007).
But several of Romero’s finer films didn’t meet with financial or critical success, and deserve to have further light shone on them. Accordingly, my selections for the most underrated of his feature films are listed below.
Hungry Wives (1971)
George Romero’s self-described “feminist” horror movie, also known as Jack’s Wife and Season of the Witch, involves a bored suburban house-wife, Joan Mitchell (Jan White) who is only able to define herself in terms of her place in the suburbs as a married woman and a home-maker.
In an attempt to rebel against her “accepted” role in society, Joan delves into witchcraft and then adultery, but the movie’s crafty point is, commendably, that witchcraft is no more defining or self-actualizing for Joan than being a house-wife had been. She has merely changed her demographic affiliation or club, while everything else in her life remains the same
Hungry Wives is so powerfully-wrought because George Romero serves as both editor and director, and his editing flights-of-fancy make the movie’s point plain in terms of visualizations. Early on, for instance, Joan experiences a telling dream in which her husband leads her around on a leash, like a dog. One of the film’s final images reveals Joan involved in a coven ritual, a red rope looped about her neck, and the symbolism is plain: she has merely traded one trap for another. This visual counterpoint is underlined by the counsel of Joan’s therapist, who advises her that she is imprisoning herself, and must change that pattern if she hopes to make her life better.
Day of the Dead (1985)
Before 2007 at least, Day of the Dead (1985) was the least-appreciated of the famous Romero living Dead cycle. This lack of approbation was a result, in part,of the film’s overtly and relentlessly serious tone. For all its mayhem and violence, Dawn of the Dead — set at a shopping mall — also had a fun or jaunty side to it. But Day of the Dead proved a totally different animal: a solemn and extremely gory exploration of mankind’s last chapter as the dominant species on Earth.
Rather unconventionally, the movie ends with a committed and likable protagonist, Sarah (Lori Cardille) realizing it is all over but the crying, and essentially giving up the fight so as to live her last years (and the last years of humanity…) on a nice island beach somewhere with two decadent helicopter pilots.
But importantly, Day of the Dead also moves the cycle forward in significant fashion via its introduction of Bub (Howard Sherman), a zombie who has been domesticated, after a fashion, and reveals both rudimentary memory, and rudimentary humanity.
In fact, this lovable zombie shows more humanity than the film’s brutal military leader, Rhodes (Joe Pilato), and thereby suggests that the change in the social order might not be all that bad, if the zombies continue to evolve towards something…civilized.
Finally, Day of the Dead features an epic and awe-inspiring opening,:a view of a city in Florida completely overrun by the living dead. This moment is arguably the biggest in scope of the entire dead run, and establishes brilliantly the zombies’ numerical advantage. As this shot reveals, Day of the Dead is actually the Twilight of Man.
Monkey Shines (1988)
I still remember discussing this Romero horror film at length with visiting movie critic Molly Haskell at the University of Richmond in the late 1980s. We agreed that the critical community had virtually ignored what was a very powerful and very relevant film about human nature.
Monkey Shines involves a man, Allan (Jason Beghe) who is paralyzed in an accident and becomes a quadriplegic. As such, he is provided by his scientist friend (John Pankow) a capuchin monkey named Ella to act as his arms and legs. Before long, Ella and Allan form a close bond of friendship and dependence…but then each begins acting on each other’s emotional states and desires. Soon bloody murder is being committed…but is it at Ellas behest, or Allan’s?
Monkey Shines informs audiences that the “devil” is “animal instinct,” which acts by its “own set of laws,” and then asks the pertinent question: are we that different from the lower animals we treat as pets? Are we truly evolved, or — underneath the surface — are we just as violent and capricious as cousins in the jungle?
The scenes involving Ella in Monkey Shines are convincing and powerful, save for a few moments where an inert stand-in is clearly utilized, and the film’s debate about instinct (an avatar for the human subconscious in some critical way…) makes the film stand out in an era when rubber reality and slasher movies reigned supreme.
The Dark Half (1993)
Here’s a Stephen King adaptation that almost nobody loves, or even remembers. In The Dark Half (1993) Timothy Hutton plays Thad Beaumont, a writer grappling with his famous nom du plum, George Stark. When Beaumont elects to kill his famous literary name, however, the alter ego comes to life and threatens the writer and his entire family.
A deliberate and modernJekyll-Hyde story, The Dark Half is part of an early 1990s “meta” or post-modern movement in horror. Films such as Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) and John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness (1994) gazed at worlds in which the line between fiction and reality were blurred. The Dark Half treads meaningfully in similar territory, and gazes at the act of writing as literally a physical birth, as an independent creation that – much like a human child – can no longer be fully controlled by its creator.
There’s nothing flashy or expensive about The Dark Half, and the ending is a bit of a bust, but otherwise Romero crafts a thoughtful, low-key horror film that possesses some electric jolts. One early scene, set in an operating room is downright terrifying, and another — with a woman broaching an invader in her dark apartment — also gets the blood flowing.
More than anything, however, The Dark Half explores the idea that the creative act of writing represents a violent assertion of will. “The only way to do it is to do it,” one character notes, and this same determination indeed is what wills the Dark George Stark into the world.
Survival of the Dead (2009)
Survival of the Dead is yet another Romero living dead movie, and another seriously underrated work of art. Since the very beginning of his career in 1968, director Romero has used his zombie saga to explore political and social issues of the time.
For example, Night of the Living Dead speaks to the political violence and upheaval of 1968, and to race relations in America. Dawn of the Dead very much concerns conspicuous consumption and the “Crisis in Confidence” Carter Age. And Land of the Dead (2005) explores post 9/11 territory.
Similarly, Survival of the Dead is a thoughtful, point-for-point allegory for American involvement in the Iraq War. Unfortunately, horror movie fans were too busy complaining about CGI blood effects to notice the movie’s clever thematic framework.
In short, Survival of the Dead involves a refugee, O’Flynn (Kenneth Welsh) — the fictional equivalent of Ahmed Chalabi — who tricks American armed forces into fighting his war for him, and ousting his enemy, Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) — a Saddam Hussein figure – from the land that he would like to lead, paradise-like Plum Island.
Obligingly the National Guard moves in — guns blazing — only to find that matters aren’t so straight-forward. The soldiers have become involved in a pissing match that, ultimately, doesn’t concern them or their well-being.
The film features an Old West sort of milieu on Plum Island, with rivals O’Flynn and Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) wearing cowboy hats and riding horses while zombies (here called Dead-Heads) are trapped in the nearby corral.
Again, Romero’s thoughtful set-up makes it impossible not to think of the post-911 “dead or alive” rhetoric from the Bush White House. The film’s final imagery — which depicts cowboy zombie versions of O’Flynn and Muldoon trying to kill each other under a bright moon — makes one despair that human nature is ever going to change.
With neo-con dead-enders everywhere on cable news stations this week attempting to re-enlist America in the war in Iraq a decade later, Survival of the Dead is more relevant than ever. Accordingly, this Romero film is really about discredited zombie ideologies that have long outlived their usefulness, but which keep coming back from the dead to threaten the rest of us.
THIS record is proof of a glitch in the Matrix. Life is an illusion, a computer simulation, created by aliens to harness our biologic energy…. it’s literally the only explanation for this record.
Apparently, in 1968 the Milton Bradley Company tried to market their new “Bump Ball” by issuing a corresponding record. The rules of the game: (1) Throw the Bump Ball into the air, then (2) you and your partner attempt to catch it between your bodies.
YOU may not know it, but The Beatles split-up in 1969. Since then, they’ve released more albums than when they were actually together.
Of course, most Beatle-nuts can’t help it and will fall salivating onto just about any Beatle release. They’re still capable of fun surprises – no-one expected the ‘Love’ album (with Cirque du Soleil) to contain a stone-cold banger like the Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows mash-up.
It also featured on a video game with a load of fun psychedelic effects.
There’s been a host of radio session LPs, outtakes, ‘naked’ versions and, of course, remasters. One thing all fans of the Fab Four can agree on is that the original stereo versions of their famous LPs are a pain in the arse.
JEREMY Paxman has taken his quizzical expression and sardony to pastures news. The BBC’s Newsnight will find a new bullshit wrangler.
Paxman became the best thing on Newsnight. He set its knowing, sneery tone. He’ll be missed by many.
So. Let’s see his best 8 moments:
The Michael Howard Loop
JLS have gocen to the EU’s Boyband silo. But you can keep the magick alive with your…
…PERSONALISED ASTON JLS BIRTHDAY BADGE /FRIDGE MAGNET/MIRRORS
SONGS are composed of various different structures: the chorus, verse, bridge, etc. If they’re put together right, it sounds like one cohesive unit. Today, we’re looking at one section in particular – that last piece, the coda. It’s basically a separate section which brings an end to a song. In popular music, it’s sometimes referred to as an “outro”; the opposite of an intro.
It’s not necessarily long- for instance, “cold outros” as in “What I Like About You” by the Romantics end abruptly (and are a DJ’s worst nightmare). I’m speaking more of the “fade-out coda.” The most well-known example in popular music is probably the “Na Na Na” ending of “Hey Jude”.
THE BBC has long eyed up ITV’s pop-cultural weight with envy. ITV has The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. The BBC have got the rather stuffy Later… with Jools Holland and the even stuffier Strictly Come Dancing.
One big hitter in the TV calendar is ITV’s coverage of the Brit Awards and now, trying to muscle in, the Beeb are launching a rival to it, which will no doubt be like the musical equivalent of the incredibly dry Sports Personality of the Year.
RIP Casey Kasem. You were the great radio DJ who counted down the Top 40.