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.
Robin Williams: Mail, Express, Metro, Mirror And Sun Turn Killer Depression Into A Sensational Suicide
SO. How have the British Press reacted to the news that Robin Williams died? At first they lamented the passing of a favourite entertianer. Then Peter Samson told Sun readers that Williams had taken his own life. He stated this with the coroners court was stil investigating.
Mind, the mental health charity providing “advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem – We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding” – issued a media guide:
Robin Williams: Media briefing for journalists
As this story unfolds and more details are revealed about the circumstances surrounding Robin Williams’ death, we are issuing a brief reminder about guidance on media reporting around suicide and in particular a reminder that reporting specific details about the method a person uses can be very triggering for others experiencing suicidal thoughts. We urge you to avoid excessive detail about method of suicide and to report responsibly and sensitively. Evidence shows that copycat suicides can occur as a result of extensive media coverage – please avoid explicit details and sensationalist reporting.
The Samartians has more advice:
Avoid giving too much detail. Care should be taken when giving any detail of a suicide method. While saying someone hanged themselves or took an overdose is acceptable, detail about the type of ligature or type and quantity of tablets used is not…
Avoid any mention of the method in headlines as this inadvertently promotes and perpetuates common methods of suicide…
Vulnerable individuals may identify with a person who has died, or with the circumstances in which a person took their own life. For example, combining references to life circumstances, say a debt problem or job loss, and descriptions of an easy-to-copy suicide method in the same report, could put at greater risk people who are vulnerable as a result of financial stress.
Never say a method is quick, easy, painless or certain to result in death. Try to avoid portraying anything that is immediate or easy to imitate – especially where the ingredients or tools involved are readily available.
Avoid over-simplification. Approximately 90 per cent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health problem at the time of death. Over-simplification of the causes or perceived ‘triggers’ for a suicide can be misleading and is unlikely to reflect accurately the complexity of suicide. For example, avoid the suggestion that a single incident, such as loss of a job, relationship breakdown or bereavement, was the cause.
Some suicides attract intense media scrutiny. However, where possible, refrain from positioning a story too prominently, for example on a front page or as a lead bulletin, as this may unduly influence vulnerable people…
Take extra care with the selection and placement of imagery linked to a report about suicide. For example, question if a large or prominently placed picture of the person who has died is necessary.
And the Press respsonded thus:
Depression is an illness. It can be a killer. What other illness would get this revolting treatment?
ROBIN Williams has died. He was 63. The California coroner is investigating:
But the Sun’s Peter Samson has facts ahead of that autopsy:
So. It was suicide.
His loved ones will be relieved to have closure.
ROBIN WIlliams has died. He was 63.
ANOTHER young black man has been killed by the police in America and there’s the all too familiar narrative to it all.
Vigils, pleas to be heard and unrest has ensued after Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson. Eye-witnesses have likened the killing to an execution and the policeman in question has been put on paid leave while officials investigate.
Of course, the list of people killed in controversial circumstances by US police forces is depressingly long and, of course, pop-culture has tracked and chronicled what’s happened.
With that, let us listen to some of the most effective tracks about police brutality – some famous, some less so, and spare a thought for those who have been affected by the state killing their children.
Public Enemy ’911 Is A Joke’
Public Enemy are the most successful group to align politics and music together. In ’911 Is A Joke’, they expertly detail just how they the can’t trust law and order in America. A lot of things said by PE, even though the message is 20+ years old, are still appallingly true.
Hip Hop For Respect ‘A Tree Never Grown’
In February 1999, 23-year-old Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo was shot to death by four NYPD police officers after the wallet he withdrew from his jacket was mistaken for a gun. The officers involved were acquitted. A veritable supergroup of black musicians (including Mos Def and Talib Kweli) got together for ‘Hip Hop For Respect’, and in blue-collar rock, Bruce Springsteen recorded American Skins (41 Shots) for the same cause.
Black Flag ‘Police Story’
Black Flag have always had a problem with the police and in ’81, the hit out at the authorities with this one-inch-punch of noise.
NWA ‘Fuck Tha Police’
NWA were never going to shy away from taking on the long arm of the law. The song foresaw the mass resentment towards the police that later exploded in the LA Riots in 1992 after the death of Rodney King. NWA even alleged that black people in the police were worse than the whites: “Don’t let it be a black and a white one ’cause they’ll slam ya down to the street top – black police showing out for the white cop”
Dave Goodman & Friends ‘Justifiable Homicide’
Dave Goodman was the sound man for the Sex Pistols’ earliest recordings. However, Goodman put together a band and released ‘Justifiable Homicide’, which protested against the killing of 39-year-old Liddle Towers by British police. After arrest, Towers spent a night in jail where he was brutalised by police to the point where his injuries killed him. An inquest into the incident determined Towers’ death as “justifiable homicide.”
Bodycount ‘Cop Killer’
Ice T’s ‘Bodycount’ did not mince their feelings about the police. Looking at police brutality, Ice T tells a story of someone who can take it no more, and does something themselves. President Bush, Tipper Gore and Dan Quayle were unsurprisingly horrified at the song.
The Hates ‘LA Riots’
The Hates said of their song: “I wrote “L.A. Riot” after the Rodney King debacle and the resulting aftermath. It seemed incredible to me at the time that police brutality could even exist. We as people are supposed to be better than that. Even more incredible was the police trial. Justice seemed blind and it felt as if we had no power against a group who are supposed to protect and serve but end up using their authority to take their frustrations out on others. The riots after the police trial made me feel like we were all living in a Mad Max world.”
THERE’S a maid who worked at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch and – you’d think she’d have barrowloads of amazing anecdotes from her job wouldn’t you?
Just think of the amazing music that would’ve been made in their presence! Think of the wonderful and fun pop-cultural artefacts owned by The King Of Pop.
Instead, this maid has come out and said that Michael Jackson was “the dirtiest, most unsanitary person in Hollywood.”
A report newly in telling us just quite how bad the screechings of Justin Bieber are. So bad that they actually scare away the wild animals. so bad that they’ve just saved a Russian hunter from the maulings of an angry bear:
Igor Vorozhbitsyn had his life saved by a Justin Bieber ringtone, when his mobile phone went off during a potentially fatal attack by a brown bear.
The 42-year-old was pounced on as he was walking to a favourite fishing spot in northern Russia’s Yakutia Republic and firmly believed that he was going to be killed.
But as the bear began to claw at him, Igor’s mobile went off. The singer’s hit Baby rang out and the bear turned tail and fled back into the forest.
So now you know what to do. If you’re out in the wilds and a pack of ferocious animals are trying to eat you then start singing Bieber. Assuming you know any of his songs that is. Should work with wild boar in the Forest of Dean, wild bears in Yakutia and lions in Africa, no doubt about it.
Which leaves us with just one important question. What the hell was a mighty Siberian hunter doing with a Justin Bieber ringtone in the first place? Doesn’t, as with Bieber’s singing itself, sound quite right, does it?
TODAY, the world’s press heard about Britney Spears launching a new lingerie line, which just so happens to be called The Intimate Collection.
She announced this by posting a picture of her herself wearing the new range on Instagram. And she looked perfectly lovely in it.
Britter’s range will hit the shelves Stateside on September 9th and Europeans will either have to learn how to use the internet to buy things from abroad, or wait a few days and buy in European shops on September 26th.
That’s not the story though. It got us thinking about band merchandise – not everyone can be classy enough to release a range of tasteful undercrackers.
Most bands don’t veer too far away from t-shirts and mugs, but some go a bit mental. Tenacious D had a specially designated cum-rag fercryinoutloud.
So with that, shall we have a look at some of the weirdest (and therefore best) bits of band merch ever? Feel free to add you own in the comments.
Rammstein Dildo Box
Rammstein released a box-set with a load of dildos in it and, of course, they decided to base the sex toys on their own junk. That’s nice isn’t it?
Prodigy Toilet Cover Seat
IN 1896, French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière‘s cameramen filmed life in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire. All 500,000 inhabitants were subjects of the Sultan of Constantinople.
…this year, we have something very special to show. In an antique shop, we have discovered 93 wonderful little camera negatives from c. 1897, all shot in the Middle East (Jerusalem, Palestine, Egypt.[...] etc), that would form an ideal 80 [minute] program of what could be among the earliest films shot in the region still in existence. … They are in wonderful condition … Not a scratch, no decomposition, and those little sprocket holes typical of the films of that year.
This clip is from documentary Palestine: histoire d’une terre 1880-1950.
Spotter: Sabotage Times
BELIEVE it or not, there’s a new age of psychedelic music upon us. Not so much the re-dawning of the age of Aquarius, but rather, a bunch of snotty brats all making experimental pop-music without the need to badger you about some awful political cause.
This is music made to frazzle your brains, rattle your eyes and shake your arse.
And it isn’t just ’60s revivalism either – these bands have managed to capture the ’60s counter culture’s lightning in a bottle, but mixed it up with meths and cough syrup, to make music that can veer wildly from inyerface hooligan garage rock, to Super 8 sunshine jangly pop, to cosmic prog-pop.
WHAT is France famous for?
Well, the French are well known for amazing food and booze, not to mention being some of the finest smokers on the planet. They’re great at art house cinema, having sexy accents and as the Tour De France has shown (see? Topical), some of the most incredible countryside on the planet.
However, often derided is French music. France, we’re told, is rubbish when it comes to making tunes. Ha ha! Says the world. The FRENCH? Pop music? SHUTTUP!
France has been making some of the best, funnest music on the planet for years! Novelty records and holiday camp europop isn’t solely what France is about, so with that, let us look at some of the greatest French music ever produced over the years.
C’est une musique à nos oreilles!
So, you know all about the robots and that, when they show up, we have a good summer. They control dancefloors just like they control the weather. Here is one of their earlier efforts.
Ace singer-songwriter Camille is definitely someone you need in your life. She makes music out of her own body parts and it sounds like brilliant pop and not at all like Bobby McFerrin.
Cult favourites, Stereolab, create a special kind of hush around people of a certain age. They mixed together space-age cocktail jazz, French library electronics (more on that later) and arch 60s pop to make for one of the most wonderful bands who ever lived.
Listen. Serge is more that That Song With The Orgasm In It. SG is a proper genius and madman and France rightly honoured his death with a national day of mourning. Here’s a cut from his utterly sublime ‘Melody Nelson’ LP, which saw Serge teaming up with another French powerhouse, Jean Claude Vannier.
Without anyone noticing, Phoenix became one of the biggest bands in the whole world, headlining festivals and generally conquering the world. Former bandmates of Daft Punk (they were in a band together called ‘Darlin”), they’ve applied their wry take on the world to some of the most gorgeous pop-rock music ever recorded.
Dutronc was one of France’s first pop heroes, cutting a suave, cheeky figure in the 60s. He was a bigwig at Vogues Disques (arguably France’s greatest record label), wrote songs for others, was a mean actor and Francoise Hardy liked him enough to marry him. Jacques Dutronc may not be a household name outside of French speaking countries, but that’s the fault of the rest of the world.
A new wave of garage punk/ye ye groups exploded around Paris which were known as ‘les bébés rockers’. Les Plastiscines were one of a number of bands that appeared on the excellent ‘Paris Calling’ compilation. Soon, they’d release their debut ‘LP1′ and they never looked back.
Another one of France’s first pop-stars, Polnareff tried his hands at loads of different styles, but his most classy joint is the incredible instro ‘Voyages’.
Another of the les bébés rockers, The Hellboys were greasy, leopard print garage punk straight out of the dirty daydreams of The Cramps and Link Wray. Sadly, the lead singer Nikola Acin (a very interesting man worth looking up) died aged just 34 years old.
Britain has the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. France had people like Cecil Leuter to test the limits of early electronics and synthesizers. Some of his music is eerie and spacey… others, like the one below, is unhinged bubbling synth funk. The best bit? His real name was Roger Roger. Leuter, along with other French Library music makers helped to shape pop the world over by showing what was possible with electronic music.
Air took over the world with ‘Moon Safari’ with their retro-futuristic take on pop music. They continued slightly under the radar, by including prog and doing film soundtracks… but they’re still brilliant.
Klub Des Loosers
French hip hop usually means people lazily linking to MC Solaar. Of course, MC Solaar is great, but seeing as he’s guested on Missy Elliot records, he doesn’t need further promotion. So here we are, with Klub Des Loosers, who really should give you the bug to find more French rap.
You may remember Oizo as being that guy who gave the world Flat Eric with the Levi’s ad which included ‘Flat Beat’. However, Oizo is one of the most innovative, ferocious music producers on the planet. Check out the incredible, jarring, cut and paste jackhammer that is ‘halfanedit’.
Missed out your favourite French song or band? You know where the comments are.
COMPARE and contrast the news of Cheryl Cole’s womb in the Daily Star:
The Star’s Meg Jorsh wrote:
All bets off on newlywed pop beauty’s nappy news
WAY back in 1973 Woody Allen did a movie called Sleeper, from which comes this little scene above. The idea was that he went to sleep for 200 years and thus has to learn how to deal with his new world that he wakes up in. Sorta a Woody Allen take on Rip Van Winkle.
WHO wants to hear David Bowie’s isolated vocals for Ziggy Stardust? We do. And you should, too.
Spotter: Brain Pickings
MOSTLY, The Beatles are not a live band.
Sure, they cut their teeth around Britain and Germany for years, before blowing everyone’s brains out in Australia, Japan and America, but when people think of the Fabs, it is all about the studio.
We’ve seen endless documentaries with George Martin talking about ‘the boys’ and the madcap studio ideas they had (Lennon wanted to be swung from the ceiling, trying to recreate the sound of a thousand monks of a hillside, slice tapes and throwing them in the air to stick them back together again, and all that great stuff), but on film, their live prowess has been somewhat neglected.
Liverpool Empire 1965
And now, Ron Howard – a long term Beatle nut and Academy Award-winning director, has been tasked to direct and produce an authorised, as-yet-untitled documentary about the touring years of the Fab Four.
RECENTLY, the BBC rated the most influential artists in Radio 1Xtra’s Power List. The “UK’s leading black music station” (their words) gave the top honour to Ed Sheeran, who you might recognise as being absolutely not-black and not really making black music.
Wiley, number 16 in the poll, went nuts, accusing Auntie Beeb of representing a “backwards” music industry in Britain. “We influence a man and all of a sudden it turns he has influenced us… Lol,” he wrote.
That’s called Columbusing.
WHEN you think of children being in bands, you immediately think of the Jackson 5 or Hanson. They’re slick, pro-outfits that have been tutored and taught within an inch of their lives.
That’s not to say they’re bad in any way, but they’re basically making music by adults, aimed at kids. The youthful joy is there, but what about the abandon and awkwardness which makes children such a fascinating prospect?
WE’RE getting to a special time in rock ‘n’ roll where the pantheon of Peter Pans is looking more mortal than ever. The music of the babyboomers is finally creaking with age.
Lennon, Joplin, Redding and Gaye all had the decency to die young, thereby making them immortal. The babyboomers did not feel worried. We’re the rock ‘n’ roll generation! That’s exactly the kind of exciting thing that happens to us! I HOPE I DIE BEFORE I GET OLD, MAN! Just like Keith Moon! Just like Brian Jones!
All the while, the rest of rock ‘n’ roll survived and got old. Just For Men, Facelifts and increasingly younger partners plastered over the cracks in the wall.
Then everyone started dying of old age.
Initially, Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee left and the babyboomers (and their kids) all felt bad, but brushed it all off with “well, they had a pretty crazy life! It was always going to catch up with them at some point! Shine on you crazy diamonds!”
And now everyone is dropping like flies. The sheer volume of dying rockstars over the past decade has been astonishing. Not a week goes by without someone tweeting RIP to one of their favourite musicians dying. They’re all in the 60s and 70s now. They’re old. There’s no escaping it.
This week, Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone shrugged off his mortal coil, leaving zero original Ramones left. Even punk is getting old. No-one is safe.
Of course, there’s a good number of rockstar legends knocking around the circuit, such as Mick ‘n’ Keef, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, but there’s something gnawing at the back of fans’ brains about their idols.
They’re nearly dead.
This weekend, fans in the UK watched Neil Young roll back the years. The sad fact is, that is statistically likely to be the last time they see him in person. Neil Young may have said that it is better to burn out than fade away, but fade away he will – he’s not got long left.
The babyboomers are going to watch every single one of their idols die. The Woodstock Generation… the Mods… the dadrockers… for the first time in their lives, they’re faced with the very real possibility of every single thing they like turning into compost before their eyes. And with them will go their own youth.
We’re in the middle of rock music’s retirement, with only bands like The Black Keys, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys still clinging on to the old fashioned idea of ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ to be played in huge stadiums, revering the blues.
This all sounds desperately negative, but if you want to cherish these acts, do it now. Watch their final flings and roll around in nostalgia because, like it or not, the people who invented the teenager, the people that shaped what popular music could achieve, are all this close to joining the choir invisible.
Magazine will beatify these men and women, but soon, they’ll stop being in the present, and soon become very much of the past. And that, for the true spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, is incredibly exciting indeed.
THERE’S quite the kerfuffle in musicville, after it turned out that a number of wealthy musicians were ferreting their money away in tax avoidance schemes.
Lazy people are vomiting into their hands about how awful it all is, while even lazier fans of said bands are saying “CUH! LIKE YOU WOULDN’T AVOID TAX IF YOU COULD!”, despite the fact most people can’t, don’t and wouldn’t.
All four members of Arctic Monkeys, George Michael, Gary Barlow, Katie Melua have been named as hiding their millions from HMRC.
WITH the Tour De France in full swing, nearly killing riders with wet cobbles and craft ale enthusiasts thrilling at the warring riders like teenage Hollyoaks fans, it got us thinking about cycling music.
Of course, the great music to cycle to is anything Kosmiche from Germany. Neu! albums are pretty much designed to sound like streamlined engineering, powered by human muscle.
However, we’re not talking about the things you’d listen to while powering your pedals (besides, you might not want to ride around with earbuds in, for fear of being hit by a combine harvester or something), but rather, the songs dedicated to those that cycle and the magnificent machines themselves!
There’s surprisingly few songs about bikes (seeing as they’ve been around for so much longer than cars and planes, which have endless ditties in their honour), but we’ve waded through them, missed off ‘Daisy Bell’ and the terrible Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Katie Melua numbers, and found some gems!
Have a listen and do add your own in the comments.
Tomorrow ‘My White Bicycle’
Ace British psychedelic band, Tomorrow, made one album and saw their guitarist running off to form Yes. However, while they were around, they made this tribute to the free bicycle movement that took place in Holland in the ’60s. Please note the cute bell ringing sound effect.
Kraftwerk ‘Tour De France’
The greatest tribute to cycling comes from Kraftwerk, and Ralf und Florian are total and utter cycling nuts. During one Manchester show at the Velodrome, when they played ‘Tour De France’, the Team GB cyclists appeared and everyone got a bit emotional.
Pink Floyd ‘Bike’
The Syd-era of The Floyd loved whimsy with an edge. They took mundane things and made them B-movie. ‘Gnome’ should be nice and it isn’t and, likewise, ‘Bike’ is a pleasant ditty with a knife between its teeth. Please don’t ride a bike with a machete in your gob, thanks.
Tom Waits ‘Broken Bicycles’
Rainsoaked Tom wouldn’t write a song about a perfectly functional working bicycle he’d just bought for loads of money from Evans, which leaves us with this dollop of pathos.
Junior Reid ‘Poor Man Transportation’
Junior Reid is one of the finest voices in reggae and provides this lovely paean to the prole’s best vehicle.
Vivian Stanshall ‘Terry Keeps His Clips On’
When Stanshall wasn’t causing mayhem in the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, he was… well… causing havoc all by himself. And here, we have the wonderful nonsense of ‘Terry Keeps His Clips On’.
Deerhoof ‘Midnight Bicycle Mystery’
One of the more unusual bike songs, but that’s Deerhoof in a nutshell. They’re mental. And we should cheer from the rooftops about bands like this because we need their shade in the light of commercial rock.
Ballboy ‘Olympic Cyclist’
This song does exactly what it says on the tin and is wonderful for it.
Livingston Taylor ‘Bicycle’
This is the most straightforward bicycle song in music history, even down to the cutely dull description of what his helmet is made of.
The Bouncing Souls ‘BMX Song’
Bicycle songs aren’t all commuting and aerodynamism – The Bouncing Souls were all about popping wheelies and buying bikes that are less practical and more fun.
Julie Doiron ‘When The Breaks Get Wet’
A lovely, plaintive song which paints a picture of riding through drizzle. A wonderful snapshot.
Dukes of the Stratosphear ‘Bike Ride To The Moon’
Neo-psychists, Dukes of the Stratosphear were XTC in disguise where they got to play with the dressing up box. Here, they ape Floyd and take a bike ride to the moon. Worth checking those guys out.
JIMMY Savile, the dead knight of the realm and the papal church accused of being the world’s worst ever sex attacker, the man who knew Charles and Diana’s greatest secret, who invited us to sing-along to the jingle-jangle son, who blow cigar smoke at children trapped in a lift, was a wizard.
KILL an animal on the web and you get hunted down by the police. Kill an endangered species and pose with the carcass and you get something worse: you get shamed on Facebook.
THE Insane Clown Posse are an odd bunch. For starters, they think magnets are powered by witchcraft or something. And their fans? Well, their fans are VERY devoted (seriously – they make fans of The Smiths look like rational, reasonable people without a worrying neediness that burps out of their every pore).
As such, the ICP and their Juggalos are well known.
They’re so well known that the FBI started sniffing around them. Were Juggalos violent and mental and doing all manner of criminal stuff. Probably, but only as much as any group of people who come under any bracket are able or willing to engage in criminal activity.
ROCK biopics are always fun, even if they’re not always good. There’s been mixed movies, from The Runaways to The Doors, from Ray to What We Do Is Secret. Even the crappy ones are still worth a look because, even if the storytelling and acting is lousy, at least the music will be great.
And so, we’re looking down the barrel of a Jimi Hendrix biopic and there’s a lot riding on it.
Why? Well, Hendrix was a smooth, fascinating character with a preposterous talent and a gentle soul – that’s not easy to capture. Moreover, Outkast’s brilliant Andre 3000/Benjamin is playing the title role. There’s no-one on Earth who wants this to fail.
LESS than ten years ago, bad album covers suddenly became a “thing”. Sure, there had always been people like me: longtime vinyl enthusiasts who cherished these unholy creations; but, it took the Internet to really generate a widespread appreciation for the “bad album cover”.
So, as the years went on, and collectors far and wide shared their vinyl oddities, a few particularly bad ones rose to the top. To say they went viral would be a stretch; however, it’s safe to say certain albums gained notoriety. Unfortunately, we only had the covers to mock. The actual recordings remained a mystery. You could only imagine what they sounded like, since the owners of these rare gems generally didn’t share the recordings.
But now we have YouTube, where no stone in the vast pop culture landscape gets unturned, no matter how obscure. At last we can not only look, but also listen. So, come along and take a tour through some well-known bad album covers and get a taste for the music they hold. Be prepared: it’s often breathtakingly disappointing….