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 music streaming service, Spotify, now allows unlimited free listening. This is seen as a great step forward: the company’s technology is getting better, they’re getting better at selling ads and all that sort of stuff. This may or may not be the actual reason they’re lifting their previous limits though:
Spotify’s advertising engine and paid customer conversion funnel are finally working well enough that today it eliminated all limits on free, ad-supported web listening in all countries. It’s an important milestone for the scalability and sustainability of Spotify’s business that contrasts with other streaming music services like Ex.fm and Rdio that are stumbling or shutting down.
EUROVISION gives and gives. This season it’s given us A Belarussian entry by TEO. It’s called Cheesecake. The video is by Robin Thicke’s less saucy cousin.
RECENTLY, a few well-meaning New Yorkers stopped to check on a crying baby in an abandoned stroller and got seriously spooked when a hideous demonic baby shot straight up from beneath the blankets.
FACE of the Day: Susan Boyle is unveiled as chieftain of the pipe band event at the Bathgate Partnership Centre in Scotland. The singer will take up the post at the British Pipe Band Championship 2014.
TOO frequently, the world of entertainment is very willing to pat itself on the back and gush all over itself about just how wonderful it has been all year.
However, with the shade that is the grisly business of an industry awards ceremony, comes the light of someone simply blowing a raspberry at the whole thing and waggling their arses.
Did Somebody Drop His Mouse? Harry Nilsson And The Pensioners Sing ‘I’d Rather Be Dead Than Wet My Bed’
FLASHBACK photo: Deborah Harry of the rock band Blondie visits David Bowie backstage at the Booth Theater where he is starring in The Elephant Man, Nov. 1980. (AP Photo/Nancy Kaye)
THE FAB FOUR had barely left Ed Sullivan’s stage before their songs were being covered like mad across the entire planet. You’d be hard pressed to find a single artist from the mid-sixties to mid-seventies who didn’t have at least one cover in their repertoire. Then royalty rates went up, and it naturally became harder to include a Lennon/McCartney track on an album…. and finally, in July 1978, The Bee Gees famously ruined the idea altogether.
Herein are fifteen from the Golden Age of Beatles Covers – when everyone from Deep Purple to Peter Sellers had a Beatles song to make their own. Enjoy.
NOSTALGIA is a wonderful thing, regardless of what idiots say. 90s kids remember the times they were thin, first started drinking, bought their first pair of flared cords, smoking fags in clubs and kissing people ill-advisedly who wore velvet blazers. Marvellous times, just like everyone’s teenage years.
2013 really was Kanye West’s year. He was brilliant, divisive, outspoken, produced a host of great tracks for other artists, self aggrandised, made a bafflingly good album, argued, made crazy videos, showed off his super hot wife, had a baby, tackled the idea of race head-on and generally gave the world world a shot of energy simply by being.
RECORD collector, artist and New York-based Beatles fan Rutherford Chang has collected 918 first-pressings of 1968’s The White Album, the band’s least butchered album in which George Harrison came into his own.
LETTERS of the Day: In The Daily Express, P. Norman from Liverpool ‘riffs’ on Justin Bieber:
The Sixties – when all Daily Express reader started to buy the paper…
HAYLEY Cropper was dying. Hayley Cropper is not a real person. She’s the work of dramatists at Coronation Street. And she’s dead. No. She’s alive. Hang on… No, Dead. But she could return for a retrospective or Christmas special. That’s the thing with people who aren’t real, they can do things the rest of us can’t. Sherlock can be made to live in today’s London, Tony Blair can be Prime Minister and Hayley can commit suicide rather than die slowly from cancer. It’s something to do with six-month contracts and a prior booking.
The Daily Mail’s paparazzo has “The Last Picture”. But no need to rush out and buy the newspaper because it’s not real news and, in any case, Hayley death is a primetime snuff movie.
THE funny thing about Justin Bieber is just how according-to-type he is. He started off life as a gyrating foetus and slowly turned himself into an enfant-terrible. We could all see it coming. He couldn’t. Gradually, he went from wholesome to brat, eventually landing at ‘troubled’.
In a week where David Cassidy got pulled by cops for drink-driving, AGAIN, Justin Bieber charges down that same path, being the archetypal boy pin-up who lost his way. Once a cutey Christian, Bieber spat and swore until now, where we find ourselves looking at the weirdest bit of criminal damage in pop history.
WITH cinema a feeble force in today’s world of Grab What You Want, When You Want It media, it seems those in charge are determined to make it all even weaker.
Cinema’s make you leave the house, sell you lousy food, half deafen you with badly mixed bass tracks on films, stink up your nostrils with bleach and, worst of all, force you to watch films with dreadful chattering strangers. All for a million pound per viewing.
MEREDITH Hunter. He was the 18-year-old stabbed to death by a Hell’s Angel at the Rolling Stones’ Altamont Free Concert on December 6 1969.
The show took place just four months after Woodstock. This time peace and love did not win out. But it might have done.
Michael Azerrad sets the pre-show scene:
…a scene at a helipad on a pier on San Francisco Bay. The Grateful Dead are there, cavorting in zonked-out hippie fashion, waiting for an overdue helicopter. Jagger comes sweeping in, surveys the unruly scene. and says with amused disbelief to no one in particular, “What is going on?” He gets the lay of the land from a chuckling and ultra-mellow Jerry Garcia, attired in an outtasite lavender wool poncho, and chats warmly with Ian Stewart. The vibe is sweet and playful.
The chopper won’t arrive until 2:00. “Right, film people, let’s do something!” Jagger proclaims. “We’ve got ten minutes.” He pulls some hippie chick aside and imperiously directs the cameraman (probably Albert Maysles) to go “Tighter tighter tighter tighter tighter tighter” on her face, adorned with a groovy beaded headband and massive square shades. He plants a kiss on her forehead and steps away. Then he orders Charlie, poor, long-suffering Charlie, “Do the same thing as I did. Kiss the young lady, please.”
Watts demurs. “Love is much more of a deeper thing than that,” he replies, with mock hauteur, although he clearly kind of means it too. “It’s not flippant, to be thrown away on celluloid. No.”
Jagger laughs at his disobedient drummer. “OK,” he says sheepishly, straight to camera, “we cut.”
And then they headed off to Altamont.
Golden Globes 2014 Highlights: Elisabeth Moss’s Finger Cam, Tina Fey Rocks Clooney And Bono Disses Diddy
THE Golden Globes 2014. Here are the highlights from last night’s Hollywood AGM:
Hats off to Amy Poehler, winner of Best Actress in a Comedy TV Series.
Two hats off to Tina Fey for her Gravity joke that George Clooney would “rather float in space than spend a minute with a woman his own age”. And a big cap off to her for her line: “Like a supermodel’s vagina, let’s give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio!”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus looking devilishly bitter puffing on her e-cigarette.
As Hitler’s Boxer Said To The Actress: Silent Anny Ondra Was Hitchcock’s Star Of Britain’s First ‘Talkie’
IN1929 almost everyone in the British film industry was convinced that the newfangled talking films would be nothing but a flash in the pan. But as the director Michael Powell once said of that time, “some flash, some pan”. Hitchcock knew before most that the era of silent films was over – “nobody wants ‘em,” he said to the aforementioned Powell, “they’re a dead duck”. So Hitchcock borrowed some German equipment and halfway through directing Blackmail he started to make a sound version of the same film and this, subsequently, became Britain’s first ‘talkie’.
ROBERTA Ashley’s 1967 Singers and Swingers in the Kitchen is the “scene-makers cookbook”. The cook book features “The Scene Makers Cookbook Dozens of Nutty Turned On Easy-To-Prepare Recipes From The Grooviest Gourmets Happening”. Ready for “hip, mod, delicious recipes”.
Theses cats were the original celebrity master chefs. With recipes from The Rolling Stones, Leonard Nimoy, The Byrds, Leonard Nimoy, Omar Sharif (Southern Fried Chicken), Barbra Streisand, Peter Tork, Liza Minelli, Simon & Garfunkel, the Mamas & Papas, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Paul Anka, Party Spaghetti and The Buckinghams (if you have to ask, you just weren’t there).
As Roberta noted: “Give it a try, the recipes are mostly easy ones and remember a year ago, Barbra Streisand couldn’t cook at all”.
Not all stars are into Extreme Dieting, like The Who’s Keith Moon was.
THIS animated interview with late great 1970s singing love walrus Barry White, throbbing growler of such bedroom-of-kitchen-sofa- you-name it-friendly hits as Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Baby, You’re the First, the Last, My Everything, It’s Only Love Doing It’s Thing, Love Theme and the puntastic Love Making Music is a soothing appeal to our loving souls. Says Barry: “When a man is making love, the last thing he thinks about is war! The last thing he thinks about is ‘how can I blow up a nation?’.”
ELIZABETH Cotten wrote Freight Train, the song for which she is best remembered, in her early teens. Libba” Cotten (January 5, 1893 – June 29, 1987) was an American blues and folk musician, singer, and songwriter.
A self-taught left-handed guitarist, Cotten developed her own original style. Her approach involved using a right-handed guitar (usually in standard tuning), not re-strung for left-handed playing, essentially, holding a right-handed guitar upside down. This position required her to play the bass lines with her fingers and the melody with her thumb. Her signature alternating bass style has become known as “Cotten picking”.
ON January 11 1992, Paul Simon kicked off his South Africa tour. He’d visited the country before, back in 1985 in defiance of the UN-sponsored cultural boycott against apartheid. On 2 December 1968, The UN General Assembly requested all States and organisations “to suspend cultural, educational, sporting and other exchanges with the racist regime and with organisations or institutions in South Africa which practice apartheid”. Sportsmen and music acts were encouraged not to play in South Africa.
The ANC and Artists Against Apartheid were outraged. Why hadn’t Simon consulted them before arriving?
Said Simon: “You went to South Africa but you didn’t ask us. You need to ask the ANC. So that’s the kind of government you’re going to be? Check our lyrics? F*** the artists like all kinds of governments have done in the past?”
Simon’s foresight introduced much of the world to the music of black South Africa. That first trip led to his groundbreaking Graceland album, featuring South African musicians Hugh Masekela, Simon and Miriam Makeba and the Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Joe Berlinger followed Simon on his trip. In his documentary Under African Skies, we hear Dali Tambo, founder of Artists Against Apartheid and son of the late African National Congress (ANC) president Oliver Tambo. He says: “At that moment in time, it was not helpful. We were fighting for our land, for our identity. We had a job to do, and it was a serious job. And we saw Paul Simon coming as a threat because it was not sanctioned by the liberation movement.”
Simon found it absurd that artists should be viewed in the light and shadows cast by politicians. Art, said Simon, would endure.
In 1987, Simon performed his Under African Skies Concert in Harare:
When Simon returned in 1992, that boycott has been lifted. This time the ANC backed him.
Of the show in Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium, The New York Times noted, “Most black South Africans could not afford to pay up to $30 for a ticket, or, lacking cars, to travel to Johannesburg from the outlying black townships.”
Entertainment Weekly surveyed the scene:
While Simon opened his two-week South Africa tour with such gentle songs as ”The Obvious Child,” ”Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and ”The Sounds of Silence,” armored police vehicles, bomb-sniffing canines, and even a surveillance helicopter patrolled the stadium. Outside, clusters of angry black protesters, representing leftist fringe groups that ferociously oppose the lifting of international sanctions against South Africa, were handing out leaflets, waving anti-Simon signs, and threatening to disrupt his concert with violence.
Not everyone could make it. One month earlier, Ladysmith Black Mambazo co-founder Headman Tshabalala had been shot dead by a white security guard. The guard had been arrested. He’d been released on $300 bail.
The day he arrived, two hand grenades exploded outside the offices of a Johannesburg company that helped arrange the tour. Complaints were also aimed at Whoopi Goldberg and the production of Sarafina!, which she is filming in South Africa.
The Baltimore Sun reviewed the show:
A small group of black activists, as many as 100 at one point, marched outside the entrance of Ellis Park Stadium in east Johannesburg with signs that said the singer had come at the wrong time with his “Born at the Right Time” tour.
The hand-lettered placards read: “Simon Go Home,” “Yankee Go Home,” “Don’t Delay Our Freedom,” and “Liberation First, Entertainment After.”
Members of a radical black group known as the Azanian Youth Organization had threatened to disrupt the concert with violence, saying that the American pop star was wrong to come to South Africa before the country’s political problems were solved.
“Artists should come after we have a democratic government,” said Kgomotse Modiselle, a 20-year-old high school student who described himself as a spokesman for the left-wing youth group. “Right now is not the right time for sanctions to be lifted.”
He said that only whites were attending the concert because blacks were opposed to Mr. Simon’s presence in South Africa. “The stadium is filled with white people,” he proclaimed.
Violence was never far away.
About a half-dozen tanks painted in camouflage colors sat near the front of the stadium.
CHERYL Cole has ago but role of “nation’s sweetheart”. But now thank to Max Clifford Solution, you can hark back to those halcyon days of Princess Diana and Jade Goody in “Together Forever” – features “two Princesses from opposite side of the track, joined forever in happiness in the hereafter.
“From the authentic matchplay-grade table tennis table, to the bats backed with genuine dimpled rubber, to the intricately sculpted angel wings, every details of this collectors’ heirloom figurine is designed to give you joy”
TOM Mix – January 6, 1880 – October 12, 1940 – was an American silent film actor who starred in hundreds of films.
* In all, he made 336 feature films, produced 88, wrote 71 and directed 117. Tom made only 9 sound feature films and the 15-chapter serial “Miracle Rider.”