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.
KATE Bush once sang a song about Ken Livingstone, former leader of the GLC, Member of Parliament and the first democratically-elected Mayor of London.
Ken is the man that we all need,
Ken is the leader of the GLC.
Who is the man we all need? KEN!
Who is the funky sex machine? KEN!
Who is the leader of the GLC? KEN!
Who is the man we all need? KEN!
The Comic Strip revisited the tune:
NINETEEN years ago on this very day, all the way back in 1995, teenagers tuned into the chart rundown on Radio One to find out which of Britpop’s gargantuans were going to land the killer blow.
It was on the 26th August that Blur scored their first UK No.1 single with ‘Country House’ ahead of Oasis’ ‘Roll With It’.
Animosity had been high between the two camps, with Oasis hoping Blur would die of AIDS and generally dismissing them as Southern softies. Blur meanwhile sarcastically referred to Oasis as being like ‘Status Quo’, to which Oasis promptly started selling ‘Quoasis’ t-shirts.
It was puerile, pointless and a whole load of fun for people who like a narrative on their pop music.
Both acts released their new singles on the same day, both landing in the top two slots in a month that was erratic at best. While Britpop duked it out, the run-up saw Robson & Jerome’s ‘Unchained Melody’ at the top spot, as well as Outhere Brothers’ ‘Boom Boom Boom’, Take That’s ‘Never Forget’ and followed by Michael Jackson’s ‘You Are Not Alone’ and Shaggy’s ‘Boombastic’.
It was a weird and brilliant summer.
However, as everyone knows, the most irritating thing about the whole battle was just how poor both band’s singles were. ‘Country House’ was Blur’s vision of Great Britain gone too far; too bloated on lager. ‘Roll With It’ was Oasis dialling it in, from a body of work that had stronger LP tracks and B-sides. Oasis ploughed through and became stadium-fillers while Blur slowly collapsed under the weight of their own skewed look on the world, before retreating away, ready to unleash ‘Beetlebum’ and ‘Song Two’ at everyone from their follow-up, eponymous LP.
The release of the two records effectively killed Britpop stone-dead, with only Pulp and the Super Furry Animals managing to maintain any sort of quality control thereafter, with Elastica vanishing down a smack hole, Suede losing their grot-glamour and exchanging it for sickly, pristine Bowie tributes. Things were in such a bad way that Dodgy became headline acts.
The fallout from this Battle of Britpop opened the door for Embrace, Coldplay, Travis and a whole new dawn of overly sincere and overwrought indie rock, which in turn, transformed into something the NME briefly dubbed NAM (New Acoustic Movement) with the likes of Alfie, Turin Breaks, Badly Drawn Boy and Ben & Jason.
Britpop’s bombast reached the zenith 19 years ago, and the momentum kept Oasis going for a while, while Blur got a little lost, touring the very dubious ‘Great Escape’ LP. Of course, it being Blur, it had some fine moments, but so quickly they’d gone from sparky and sarcastic, to getting lost in their own creation, that you couldn’t see the boys who made ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ in the fug of Camden cocaine anymore.
Both Oasis and Blur suffered in the immediate aftermath of 1995, and would have to regroup to get their motors running again, while their Britpop pals all slid into the Andy’s Records 9p Bargain Bin. Oasis were almost certainly the more determined of the two, filling Manchester City’s old Maine Road stadium and Doing Knebworth in 1996.
However, it wouldn’t be too long before they released the pretty terrible ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘All Around The World’ and hauled the flabby ‘Be Here Now’ LP around the planet while hanging around with Tony Blair in Downing Street for a ‘Cool Britannia’ photo-op.
While Oasis soldiered on until 2009, when Noel finally left. The band were exhausted and going mental. Blur meanwhile, saw Graham Coxon throwing the towel in, leaving Damon to create numerous projects.
And here we are, in 2014, and still, Blur and Oasis have our ears. Be it Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds or wonderful DVD commentary where he’s revealing himself to be a pleasantly daft old curmudgeon or Damon Albarn’s magpie approach to music, with record labels (Honest John’s) and his million bands; Dodgy, Shed Seven, The Bluetones, Menswear, Powder, Sleeper and all the rest, have all but vanished apart from in the hearts of corduroy wearing thirtysomethings.
With Britpop celebrating a 20th anniversary lately, it can only mean one thing – teenagers are going to start fetishising it and starting up bands that sound like Octopus.
God help us all.
ROD Stewart, married to Panny Lancaster, has been talking about his sex life:
“I’ve still got plenty of lead in the old pencil. but I only write to one person.”
KATE MOSS’S has had a champagne glass modelled on her left breast. Quaffers at Mayfair’s 34 can purse their lips to the rim of one of British artist Jane McAdam Freud’s cups.
This honour was once extended to another sparkling white woman, the fabled Marie Antoinette.
IT has been announced that a brass sculpture of Amy Winehouse is to be installed at Camden market, London.
The memorial has been designed by Scott Eaton and will be erected at the Stables market, not too far away from where the singer died so depressingly young in July 2011.
Amy’s father Mitch said he was happy about the new lifesize memorial, and that it will divert people away from paying tribute at her old house, which has “bad memories for everyone”.
“It’s a great honour to have the statue in the Stables. Amy was an integral part of Camden and still is, so you couldn’t really think of putting a statue for her anywhere else, could you really?” he told The Guardian.
Of course, Amy isn’t the first pop star to be graced with a statue in her honour. And if history tells us anything, it is that some memorial statues are better than others.
Let us look at some of the best and worst.
Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott might not be the most famous musician in the world, but something of a working class hero, it is great that he was immortalised in statue form on Harry Street in Dublin. Sadly, the statue itself kinda sucks.
The Fab Four have a load of statues, but the ones in Houston are the best. Stylised and imposing, these giant Beatles were erected and, just to further the Paul Is Dead rumours, the Paul statue fell over after being blown at by some wind.
There’s a touching statue of MJ in a favela in Rio, but we’re not interested in that. We’re more into the ghastly effigy erected by Fulham FC outside their ground. An embarrassment to a lot of fans and the cause of much mirth elsewhere.
At the Albert Docks in Liverpool, there’s a great statue of British rock ‘n’ roll’s finest, Billy Fury. Of course, a lot of people walk past it and assume it is Elvis, but there you go.
One of the greatest voices to ever leap out of a human throat, Otis Redding passed away too young, just days after recording ‘(Sitting On The) Dock Of The Bay’. His sculpture sits in Gateway Park in Macon, Georgia. Here he is, being manhandled by a grinning white guy.
Jimi’s sculpture was unveiled in ’97 on Broadway Avenue in the Capital Hill/Broadway area of Hendrix’ hometown of Seattle. Sadly for Hendrix, they stuck him next to the road and had him grimacing at traffic.
In Sevierville, Tennessee, there’s a statue of a barefoot, young Dolly Parton with a guitar which is sometimes rubbed for good luck by locals and tourists. Dolly grew up in Sevierville. It is a reasonably nice statue of her, it has to be said.
The plaque on this statue of James Brown says: “Singer, songwriter and one-of-a-kind performer” and overlooks James Brown Plaza on Broad Street in Augusta, Ga. The person who made the statue, it seems, put a million teeth in The Godfather of Soul’s mouth. He looks a bit like a Critter.
The Ramones guitarist probably has the best statue in rock’s history, looking moody and cool while standing by the lake at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. His ashes are in the base of his statue, which is near the grave of bandmate Dee Dee Ramone. The Ramones – even cool in death.
Aberdeen Washington decided to pay tribute to their iconic son who fronted Nirvana and, regrettably killed himself. However, you have to assume that, having seen the tribute, Cobain may actually prefer to be pushing up daisies.
ON this very day in 1965, something brilliant, eccentric and hip was born – Immediate Records.
In what has to be one of the finest record label names ever – c’mon, it’s everything a teenager wants from pop music – and purposefully moddish, Immediate was the baby of Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham and his partner Tony Calder.
The launched the label with a hipster party, attended by some of pop’s great and good – Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton and Nico (not yet in the Velvet Underground) were all there, being thin and beautiful.
The label was the home of some very famous bands, such as The Small Faces, Rod Stewart and some ’60s favourites in The Nice, Amen Corner and Chris Farlowe. In their stable, they had a young guitar player and producer by the name of Jimmy Page too. Could a label be any more hip?
Obviously, being a bit tinpot, Immediate ran into financial problems and folded in 1970.
So with that, to celebrate one of the world’s most fabulous and frivolous enterprises, let us listen to some of the famous, and shouldabeenfamous, records that were found on Immediate.
Fleur De Lys ‘Circles’
Killer mod-pop from FDL, with a track that The Who wrote and intended as a single called ‘Instant Party’. While Townsend & Co. dithered, the Fleur De Lys stuck the record out. It contains one of the most mental lead guitar lines in the history of pop.
ON this very day in 1968, the last episode of The Monkees TV show aired in the States. Almost every US TV station re-ran the show, with the ’69-’71 being more popular than the debut bow.
The show was shipped out across the world and The Monkees found a load of British fans when it was repeated in the summer holidays in the ’80s and ’90s. While the band themselves have mixed feelings about the show, it simply won’t go away, unless of course, you’re the kind of sneering prick who doesn’t like The Monkees because you could see the business behind them.
CAN we feel sorry for Cliff Richard? When the police raided his home in the full glare of the BBC cameras, did you wince? Or did you pat yourself on the back and congratulate the Beeb and the police on their sound work in investigating allegations of historic sex abuse and, most vitally, showing us all how they have moved on and are no longer ignoring victims, employing the depraved and failing to report their crimes?
The worthy South Yorkshire plods must have known Cliff was on his summer holidays.
FORTY-FIVE years ago, the Woodstock Festival kicked off. Not the first of it’s kind and certainly not the best – but most iconic? Probably.
500,000 gathered on Max Yasgur’s farm in New York’s Sullivan County, and that weekend in August 1969, the the “3 Days of Peace & Music” was captured on film and a legend was born.
Days after the first man set foot on the moon and in the middle of the Vietnam war, optimism, hate and politics all melded together with pop culture.
On the bill that weekend, were Sly & The Family Stone, Joe Cocker, the Grateful Dead, Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Santana, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and more.
However, the line-up at Woodstock could’ve been very, very different. There were a number of bands who were asked and turned it down. There were bands who never really considered it.
So let us look at some of the acts that could’ve been at Woodstock and you can weigh-up how brilliant or awful it would have been to have them alongside the other groups. We’ve chosen footage that is from around the time of Woodstock, so you can get a real feel for what the bands could’ve added (or subtracted) from those that appeared.
Zep’s manager Peter Grant stated: “We were asked to do Woodstock and Atlantic were very keen, and so was our U.S. promoter, Frank Barsalona. I said no because at Woodstock we’d have just been another band on the bill.” Zep went and watched Elvis instead.
Dylan lived in Woodstock at the time, but didn’t enter serious negotiations to play as he was setting off to do the Isle of Wight festival instead, travelling on the QE2. Dylan was also apparently annoyed at the hippies hanging around his house. Thank god The Band were there.
The Beatles/John Lennon
There’s some rumours that the Woodstock organisers asked Lennon to play, but lost interest in the Beatle when he demanded that Yoko Ono get a slot too. However, what is far more likely is that Lennon fancied a slot, but Richard Nixon wouldn’t let him as he was madly paranoid about Lennon being in the States.
Arthur Lee and Love
Arthur Lee declined the invitation thanks to him and his band basically fighting with each other all the time. Love’s appearance would’ve made the band a household name and given their masterpiece – ‘Forever Changes’ – a chance to be a household name. Alas, they were consigned to record-collector obscurity.
Joni was all set to play Woodstock and indeed, wrote a great song about the place. However, she cancelled her appearance on her manager’s advice who thought she’d be better off playing her scheduled appearance on The Dick Cavett Show.
The Jeff Beck Group
Jeff Beck said of Woodstock: “I deliberately broke the group up before Woodstock. I didn’t want it to be preserved.”
The Doors cancelled their Woodstock gig at the last minute, because they thought the festival would be a “second class repeat of Monterey Pop Festival”. They spared a generation of Jim Morrison’s dreadful lizard routine.
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
It has always been weird that Zappa wasn’t at Woodstock, seeing as he presided over 60s counterculture like some mad professor, but on a TV show, Zappa said: “A lot of mud at Woodstock … We were invited to play there, we turned it down.”
The Byrds were, of course, invited to play Yasgur’s farm, but declined the offer because they figured Woodstock would be no different from any of the other music festivals that summer. There were money concerns as well because, as you know, hippies like to get paid and it looked like McGuinn & Co might not, so they stayed away.
Still known as the Chicago Transit Authority, the band had been signed-on to play Woodstock, but thanks to contractual wranglings, Santana got their slot instead. That’s got to be a kick in the teeth.
Tommy James and the Shondells
Declining the invitation, Tommy James said: “We could have just kicked ourselves. We were in Hawaii, and my secretary called and said, ‘Yeah, listen, there’s this pig farmer in upstate New York that wants you to play in his field.’ That’s how it was put to me. So we passed, and we realized what we’d missed a couple of days later.”
Free were asked to play, but declined.
Spirit, and the dazzlingly talented Randy California, were asked to play Woodstock, but turned it down because they had already been booked to play some other shows. They had no idea what they were turning down.
Jethro Tull turned down Woodstock. Frontman Ian Anderson said he knew it would be huge, but didn’t fancy it because he didn’t like hippies and thought they wouldn’t get paid enough.
IB were booked to appear and are even listed on the Woodstock poster to play on the Sunday, but sadly, they missed their show because they were stuck at an airport. That’s gotta suck.
PART Kermit, part hipster, Michael Cera is loved by many (and he probably irritates a fair few too, but that’s normal) and has starred in a bunch of films that make people in Converse Chuck Taylor’s go weak at the knees.
So it isn’t very surprising that Michael Cera has released folk album called ‘True That’.
The actor released the material on August 8th via his Bandcamp page. Not many people noticed it, but then, Superbad co-star Jonah Hill posted a link to it and now everyone is cooing and clucking about it.
Of course, he’s not the first actor to have a go at singing and making music. In fact, the movies are filled with actors who have decided to have a go at making sweet melodies. The results, obviously, have been mixed and sometimes, downright baffling.
Mostly though, they’ve been a bit bland. Remember Minnie Driver’s album? Of course you don’t. Was it bad? Sadly, it was competent so no-one could get mad.
Some actors have been pretty good, but they’re no fun – we’re interested in the weird ones. Dudley Moore’s fine jazz and J-Lo’s ace pop aren’t for us.
We’re here for the lousy and oddball.
Cinema legend Robert Mitchum was swept away by the infectious music of the Caribbean and thought he’d make a calypso album. His deadpan delivery is funny, but is it a bit racist doing what is tantamount to a comedy black voice? Judge for yourself.
ON the day police search Cliff Richard’s home in connection with an alleged crime against a minor – he denies any wrongdoing – the Huddersfield Examiner reports:
Former Longwood resident, Kytsun Wolfe, will perform in the region for the first time since he left to pursue his entertainer dream
Book now and book often…
Police are searching a Berkshire property belonging to Sir Cliff Richard in relation to an alleged historical sex offence. A number of items were removed from the property in the Sunningdale area for further investigation, but no arrests have been made.
A police spokesman said the allegation involved a boy under 16 and dated from the 1980s in the South Yorkshire area.
DID you find the death of Robin Williams entertaining? Fox News sure did:
LOOKEE here: Marianne Faithful must have a new album coming out. For the aging diva has decided to drop the bombshell that she knows who killed Jim Morrison. Nothing like a bit of gossip from 40 years ago to revive interest in a singer from 40 years ago, eh?
Marianne Faithfull, the singer and actress, has claimed her drug dealing ex-boyfriend “killed” Jim Morrison after accidentally supplying him heroin that was too strong.
Faithfull, who has a new album out in September, told a music magazine she was now the only person alive “connected” to Morrison’s death, after travelling to Paris in 1971.
The truth being that we’ve all known all along who killed Jim Morrison. It was, of course, Jim Morrison. The combination of the drugs, the booze and the food (yes, don’t forget that he was by no means that svelte figure by the time he died) meant that he simply wasn’t long for this world even at the age of 27. Not unless he’d made a determined effort to clean up his act.
Which brings us to the subject of that 27 club, the young stars who manage to kill themselves at that age. Winehouse, Cobain , Morrison, Joplin and so on. One way of looking at the membership of that club is that perhaps it’s not all that wise for an 18 or 19 year old to have access to vast amounts of money and thus anything and everything that can be inhaled, ingested, drunk or injected. Another way of looking at it is that it does seem to take some years, 5 or 6 perhaps, of that lifestyle to actually kill people. And these people really were going at it full tilt too, which shows us that the human body might be a bit more resilient than we generally assume that it is. It takes years of it to do you in, not the odd dabble.
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.