Home Tags Posts tagged with "Cheryl Cole"

Cheryl Cole

Rupert Murdoch. <em>Picture: David Shankbone</em>

Rupert Murdoch. Picture: David Shankbone

Phew, thank goodness that’s all settled.

We can now draw a line under all the phone-hacking unpleasantess.

The News of the World has been shut down. And Andy Coulson has been arrested. We should just be thankful that they caught the one bad apple who caused all the trouble.

Never mind that 200 odd journalists have lost their jobs despite not being involved in the phone hacking more than six years ago.

Never mind that the then editor of the News of the World is still chief executive of News International.

Never mind that plans were already being laid for a seven-day Sun before this scandal broke: clearly the problem is the name on the masthead of the Sunday newspaper, not the company that runs it.

Never mind that phone hacking is rife in journalism.

Just you hush now, look at these pictures of Cheryl Cole’s burqini and be quiet while David Cameron’s government lets Rupert Murdoch get his claws further into BSkyB.

It all be sorted out by David Cameron’s judge-led inquiry.

Never mind how badly served we were by official inquiries into the Iraq war.

Never mind that David Cameron employed Andy Coulson.

Never mind that David Cameron is matey with the chief exec of News International.

Never mind that David Cameron pays frequent homage to Ruper Murdoch – as do nearly all our political leaders.

If you want a definitive account of how much this all stinks – and how cosy it is – I heartily recommend Peter Oborne’s excellent and courageous coverage in the Spectator.

Some thoughts to ponder:

  • This is a News International problem, not a News of the World one.
  • All the other newspaper groups should be subjected to severe scrutiny.
  • There should be serious jail time for those who have broken the law.
  • We should revisit whether Rupert Murdoch is a “fit and proper person” to control so much of Britain’s media.
  • Similar questions should be asked about the owners of any other media companies found to have practised phone hacking.
  • Hiding behind “deniability” does not make you innocent.
  • We don’t need further regulation: our civil rights are eroded enough as it is. What we do need is for the PCC to do its job and for the law to be properly applied.

    Antonio Banderas <em>Picture: David Shankbone</em>

    Antonio Banderas Picture: David Shankbone

    For those who missed all the coverage from the world’s most famous film festival, here’s an alphabetical string of highlights.

    A is for Arnie. The Governator wasn’t at the festival, but ten days ago he had let it be known that his agents were accepting film work for him. By the end of the festival, after other events emerged, the latest Schwarzenegger projects, including his cartoon, were all on hold.

    B is for Bob – what judges including Jude Law and Uma Thurman call the president of the Cannes Jury. He’s better known to most as Robert de Niro.

    C is for Carla Bruni-Sarkozy cameo. The French First Lady was given a few lines in Woody Allen’s latest film, Midnight in Paris.

    D is for Drive, the noirish-looking new flick starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan, about “a man who drives around Los Angeles at night listening to pop music” which has attracted comparisons to David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and Pulp Fiction. Gosling was so relaxed about the film’s success he attended the premiere in his pyjamas.

    E is for Emily Browning, the Aussie actress whose performance in the Jane Campion-produced Sleeping Beauty is enjoying rave reviews, unlike the film itself.

    Want to discuss other issues? Join the debate on our new Scottish Voices forum

    F is for Jane Fonda who, at 73, displayed on the Croisette’s red carpet the fruits of all those exercise videos.

    G is for Glasgow’s Lynne Ramsay, who is the Blue Nile of film-making. Her adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s high school massacre novel We Need to Talk About Kevin with Tilda Swinton has created major buzz after her attempt to film Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones ran aground. This is her first movie since 2002’s Morvern Callar.

    H is for Heathcliff & Cathy, Red Road director Andrea Arnold’s take on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, with a cast predominantly of unknowns (Skins alumna Kaya Scodelario is the big name) screened at Cannes.

    I is for Indian cinema. The Bollywood party is often regarded as the best on the Croisette, and this year was no different.

    J and K are for Jetsetting Koreans – Kang-Je-gyu and the cast of his war epic My Way, who flew in from the set in Latvia for the film’s party before their 6:30am return flight. K is also for The Kid with the Bike, the French film which shared the Grand Prix with…

    L is for Lars von Trier and M is for his latest Melancholia, starring Kirsten Dunst (the Best Actress winner) and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Unfortunately N is for Nazi, and the press conference that got the Danish director kicked out the festival and overshadowed all promotion of his film. Von Trier said “I am a Nazi” and that he “understands Hitler.” He also said his next project could be a four-hour long explicit “adult” movie – and with the film community’s current attitude to him, it could well be.

    O is for Kati Outinen, the 2002 Cannes Best Actress victor of Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki’s The Man Without a Past who is winning raves for his latest, Le Havre. It’s also for Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, the other Grand Prix winner, from Turkey.

    P is for Poliss, the French police drama which won the jury prize, and for Psychopaths. Seven Psychopaths (not in competition) is the latest reteaming of Colin Farrell and Martin McDonagh, after In Bruges. The cast includes Christopher Walken, Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell.

    Q is for Qatar, the setting for Black Gold from Jean-Jacques Annaud (In the Name of the Rose), starring Antonio Banderas and Freida Pinto.

    R is for Reunion. Antonio Banderas is back working with Pedro Almodovar, after their collaboration in the 80s, with the magnificently creepy-looking The Skin I Live In. Helpful background knowledge – the Spanish for reunion is “la reunion”.

    S equals Sean Penn does comedy. This Must Be The Place sees him play an ageing rocker (closest resemblance: The Cure’s Robert Smith).

    T stands for Palme d’Or winner The Tree of Life – more Sean Penn in a smaller role alongside Brad Pitt in only the fifth film from Terrence Malick since 1973. In terms of churning ‘em out, Malick makes Lynne Ramsay look like Woody Allen.

    U is Un Certain Regard, the classiest award name since the Smash Hits magazine readers’ vote for Most Completely Useless Thing (Spiders edged out Margaret Thatcher, from memory). Winners for the second most important prize behind the Palme d’Or can be read here.

    V is for Very Unlikely Showbiz Pairing, with the W being Kanye West, who partied on Boris Becker’s yacht.

    X is for X Factor. Just when you thought France was the place to avoid unrelenting updates on Simon Cowell’s US and UK shows, Cheryl Cole tipped up at various parties to plug L’Oréal products. Which gives a new twist on the whole “Not tonight, I’m washing my hair” excuse.

    Y is for Your name’s not down, you’re not coming in, as the second Mr Jordan, Alex Reid, attempted to get into some parties.

    Z is for Andrey Zvyagintsev, whose Elena won an award in the Un Certain Regard category. Z is also for Zero. And Zip. What Mel Gibson said in the press conference for his big comeback, The Beaver, which he bodyswerved. Perhaps for the best.

    Want to discuss other issues? Join the debate on our new Scottish Voices forum

    Radio Beacon

    Radio Beacon

    The so-called Special Relationship. We give them hand-carved ornaments, they give us the DVDs they forgot to post back to LoveFilm.

    The currency exchange in pop is similarly uneven. The BRITs this year was a game effort by Universal Records’ David Joseph to return to the concept of being All About the Music. Unfortunately the newspapers preferred to concentrate on the important mattter of Cheryl Cole’s dress.

    The Blackpool pier fare on offer at London’s O2 will always take second place to the Bob Fosse razzmatazz of the Grammys. Here were the ten main differences between Sunday night and Tuesday night’s shows:

    1 The Grammys is longer. With a stiff breeze behind you and a decent fastforward on your planner, you can skip ads and do the BRITs in under 90 minutes. The American awards ceremony lasts three and a half hours.

    2 The Grammys had its best ratings in a decade. The Brits its worst in five years.

    3 Janelle Monae rocks a better quiff than Bruno Mars. But both rock a better quiff than Boris Becker.

    4 Perhaps it was understandable touchiness over Rodney King or concern about Ice T getting past security but The Grammys are more sensitive about keeping their riot police separate from the performers. Perfectly reasonable when Plan B is setting a rozzer on fire.

    5 Rock remains in trouble on both sides of the Atlantic as far as the mainstream is concerned. Arcade Fire did drag the Grammys into the 21st Century with their surprise win for Album of the Year. Although the Canadians won two BRITs, the main winners and stories in the UK were either pop (Take That, Justin Bieber), rap (Tinie Tempah) or alt-country (Laura Marling, the Mumfords).

    In the US, Muse, Jay Z and Alicia picked up awards but country MOR stars Lady Antellebum won the big one, for Record of the Year, and The Bieber also won two Grammys. Arcade Fire aside, no way could this ceremony be described as “rad.”

    6 At The Grammys, Mumford and Sons were joined by the Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan and an unnecessary yellow trucker cap. Not so much of a collaboration as acts on the same stage at the same time until His Bobness arrives to sing Maggie’s Farm.

    Only the yellow trucker cap crossed the Atlantic when the Mumford family business hit London.

    7 Stateside, things are just that bit slicker. BRIT award-winners Justin Bieber (yes, him again) and Tinie Tempah called for, respectively, his international bodyguard Mike and producer Labrinth to join them on stage. Cue: minutes of dead air, and only Mike responding to the call. The awkward silence could have been interrupted, although that might have involved Bieber singing.

    Small point: next time an entertainment figure clambers onstage to say “This means so much more because it was voted for the public”, just say: “Four words – Justin Bieber, Brits 2011.”

    The other telling stage episode was Arcade Fire’s Win Butler thanking all the British artists who have inspired him, mentioning Bowie, Culture Club and The Clash and chronologically only going up to New Order and The Smiths. No current acts. Like Adam Ant, he struggled to get past the ‘80s. Awards presenters Duran Duran and Boy George must have been secretly chuffed.

    8 Cee Lo Green’s Forget You performance
    At The BRITs: with Paloma Faith.
    At the Grammys: Dressed as Elton John meets Carmen Miranda, with Jim Henson’s Muppets and Gwyneth Paltrow.

    9 There is one area where we Brits are ahead of the game. Brits 2010 starred Lady Gaga, and Florence and the Machine who won Best Album. Both were at Grammys 2011. Brits 2011 starred Adele and Tinie Tempah. Expect the pair to try and gatecrash Grammys 2012. Cheryl Cole might be more reliant on a plus one from Simon Cowell. The BRITs is also more cutting edge generally than the Grammys. In the same year (1995) Blur’s Damon Albarn screamed “Wake up, America” at their fourth victory speech, the best Grammy album was Tony Bennett: Unplugged.

    10 No-one at The Grammys said anything as jaw-droppingly inane as James Corden’s introduction: “Be upstanding for the legend that is…Dermot O’ Leary.” To recap: he’s ordering a standing ovation for a presenter. He’s dropped the L-word. In connection with… Dermot O’ Leary. Our proud nation can at least console itself that no-one spent three days in an egg preparing for The BRITs. Yeah, exactly. Wake Up, America.

    Donate to The Caledonian Mercury

    Picture by: Daniel M King

    Picture Tinie Tempah

    How’d that happen?

    The rapid but almost imperceptible rise of Tinie Tempah to the extent that he could now be legitimately considered the biggest thing in British music.

    Production credits for Gorillaz, two chart-topping singles and a No 1 album, patronage from P Diddy, Snoop Dogg  and Rihanna, Simon Cowell signing Tinie’s producer Labrinth to his own label, and recognition at the MOBOs had created a buzz but the four BRIT nominations seem to represent the tipping point.

    Not that many South London rappers make the front page of The Times newspaper.

    In fairness, success in music is almost always principally about the music and Tinie’s records, like his persona, cut past the hype. They are direct, smart and infectious.

    Awards are nicer to win than not but there’s a reasonable chance that the man known to his mum as Patrick may end up empty-handed next month. Plan B is widely fancied for Best Male, Mumford and Sons and Take That are probably ahead of him for Best Album, the young fans of The Wanted and Olly Murs mean he may not win Best Single and his best chance, The Breakthrough Award, could slip away to The XX or the Mumford family business, on the basis that most voters in British music awards remain resolutely white and middle class in their tastes.

    Having attended the BRITs where Craig David was nominated for six awards and won none, it wasn’t a disaster for him – he left with a huge amount of good will. His subsequent records, rather than a bad night at the BRITs, are what slowed down his momentum. That, and chilling on Sunday.

    Whatever his haul on February 15th, two sterner challenges lie ahead for Patrick Okogwu Jr.

    Breaking America in 2011 as Florence Welch has done in 2010 and maintaining longevity in one of the toughest marketplaces of all – the music industry, kept alive by its constituency of floating voters.
    Signs are good on both fronts.

    Okogwu is pencilled in for an appearance on Matt Damon’s favourite chat show host Jimmy Kimmel,  he’s on the Coachella festival line-up with his debut album, Disc-overy out on May 3rd. The album itself features tracks cut for the US and with hip hop’s mania for patronage – Dr Dr introduces the world to Eminem who introduces 50 Cent who introduces Lloyd Banks etc. – it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were big names.

    The longevity is more difficult to hint at as in Britain at least there will be many more stars like Tinie Tempah and Dizzee Rascal (kids from the fringes of the big cities who have grown up with hip hop rather than wanting to be in a band) and so you’re more likely to see more great British rappers before you see more Arctic Monkeys and Radioheads. So competition will heat up.

    In his favour, he’s already been taking notes on hanging around from Kylie.

    Find out about donating to The Caledonian Mercury

    Enhanced by Zemanta

    A is for 'Aron, if you'd told someone where you were going you'd still be able to juggle'

    A is for 'Aron, if you'd told someone where you were going you'd still be able to juggle'

    2011 will be the year of…well, who knows what? We never knew that Lady Gaga and Slumdog Millionaire would conquer all before them in 2009 or that Leonardo DiCaprio would make sense of dreams, Scott Pilgrim would take on the world or Kanye West would receive the best reviews of his career in the past 12 months.

    So to make as accurate a guess as the calendar allows, here’s an A to Z of some potential cultural highlights from 2011.

    The great adventurer Aron Ralston and his life story, 127 Hours, as filtered through the vision of Danny Boyle and the performance of James Franco . It’s a full-on year for the Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire director, who’s also picking up a Bafta fellowship and directing a play for the first time since his days with the Royal Court and the RSC in the 1980s. Frankenstein stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. That could have been S in this cultural alphabet – Sherlock Holmes and Sick Boy in the same production.

    Black Swan opens on 21st January. What you need to know: It’s about a principal ballerina who lands the lead role in Swan Lake, stars Natalie Portman, is from The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky and is jaw-droppingly good.

    Christian Bale goes method again. In The Fighter, he plays the crack-addled brother of Irish fighter Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) in a real actor’s performance, and he’s destined to have awards lightly thrown at him through the first part of the year. Best way to describe his character is a coach for whom the wheels have well and truly fallen off. C is also for Celtic Connections, a January jamboree of acoustic pleasures in Glasgow with everyone from Richard Thompson to the equally venerated Mavis Staples.

    Don’t Fight It, Feel It: the nostalgic album played-in-full tour, that is. For those who didn’t see Primal Scream’s trip down memory lane at London’s Olympia, but have tickets for the SECC in March, expect a greatest hits set in the first half and Screamadelica in full after a short intermission.

    Elbow are back. You can see one of the tracks from Build A Rocket, Boys! here. The version on the album has the Halle Orchestra playing on it, but the internet can only deliver so much.

    F is for Fringe, Festival and because “E” is for Elbow rather than Edinburgh and Aron Ralston had taken the “A” which could have been for August.

    Everything’s gone Green at London’s National Theatre as four of its most promising writers, including Moira Buffini and Matt Charman wrestle with the eco issue. Both Charman and Buffini’s last plays (Welcome to Thebes, The Observer respectively) were both knocked into shape by former NT director Sir Richard Eyre, which suggests neither is a playwright to be taken lightly.

    H is for Here Come The Girls, not a reference to an irritating Boots ad but because some of the world’s biggest female-selling artists are back, back and indeed back. An Amy Winehouse album is expected. So is one from Britney Spears. And Debbie Harry is back with Blondie. Laura Marling hopes to have her third album ready for February. If you’re really attentive, Lady Gaga is revealing the title for hers on her own site on Hogmanay – or may have done it by the time you read this.

    Everything in Appleword starts with an “i” – Gorillaz released an album, The Fall, on Christmas Day made almost entirely on the iPad (well, other non-robots like The Clash’s Mick Jones and Bobby Womack helped out) while Damon Albarn was on tour in the States, and once Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive conjure up the iPad 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and once iTunes sorts out the distribution, there could be interesting big name acts trying the same experiment this year.

    In March, Sir Derek Jacobi will give Glasgow his Lear which like Jude Law’s Hamlet and Ewan McGregor’s Iago was first staged at London’s Donmar Warehouse, the theatre which also debuted Frost/Nixon, Gwyneth Paltrow in Proof and Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room.

    Kelly MacDonald following up No Country For Old Men with a telly show? Yes, but it’s not just any telly show. It’s Boardwalk Empire with Steve Buscemi, Stephen Graham (so good in BBC1’s Occupation) and Michael Pitt, created by Sopranos writer Terence Winter and on network-of-note, HBO. That not enough for you? Martin Scorsese directed the first episode. MacDonald makes another appearance in film rom-com The Decoy Bride with David Tennant and Alice Eve but even though that’s set in Scotland, Scorsese didn’t direct that one.

    After his all-male Swan Lake and The Picture of Dorian Gray, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures in Dance company always create thought-provoking dance shows. The latest is Lord of the Flies, heading for Glasgow’s Theatre Royal in March.

    M is for Men Should Weep, Ena Lamont’s widely-praised play which elicited raves at the National Theatre in London, and which the National Theatre of Scotland bring to Glasgow’s Citizen’s in 2011. Furthermore, Patrick Stewart is in talks with his Macbeth director Rupert Goold to do a turn as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice for the newly re-opened RSC at Stratford. If Jean-Luc Picard receives half as much acclaim as he did for playing the Scot, this will be worth catching.

    Neds: Peter Mullan follows up 2002’s The Magdalene Sisters with a riff on Glasgow in the 1970s. Hard not to imagine this film as a hot talking point.

    Oasis: Where were you when they were getting high: Team Liam or Team Noel? You’ll get your chance to decide this year as Liam’s band Beady Eye are expected to give the world their debut album, as is big brother with his solo album. If you were Team Bonehead, probably can’t help you.

    Period dramas: You may have missed Upstairs Downstairs on TV over the Christmas holidays. The first series of Downton Abbey, the brainchild of Gosford Park writer Julian Fellowes, may have passed you by. But the second series, after it landed 10m viewers, is unlikely to escape your notice or the notice of drama commissioners who will be ordering fresh class-obsessed period dramas buoyed by the success of Downton Abbey and, possibly, our new-ish government.

    Quadrophenia is on tour. Mods and rockers may have to familiarise themselves with the ways of Ticketmaster by spring 2011.

    The return of Roxy. Everyone bar Brian Eno is present and correct.

    The Specials: Too much, too old? On 18 October at the SECC, you can decide for yourself, although Jerry Dammers will not be there. The rest of the original line-up should be, barring any musical differences or bust-ups at the summer festival appearances.

    Appropriately enough, this is the year Geoff Ellis and co are said to be turning it up to 11 at T in the Park, as the Foo Fighters and Blink 182 are confirmed with Biffy Clyro and the Arctic Monkeys strongly rumoured. Those – like previous headliner Pete Townshend – with tinnitus issues, are advised to stand well back from those Marshall Amps.

    U is for The Ukulelele Orchestra because they’re playing Glasgow in 2011 and U2, The Undertones and Ultravox aren’t

    Cheating a little on V, it stands for VIKing George VI which isn’t the long awaited follow-up to that other blockbusting “sequel”, The Madness of George III, but The King’s Speech. The Damned United and Longford director Tom Hooper’s latest film where King George VI (Colin Firth) conquers his stammer with help from Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). If The English Patient and Shakespeare in Love can scoop up wee gold statues, it wouldn’t be the biggest shock to see this do the same. V could also be for Vixen , as in Janacek’s Cunning Little, infectious one on its way to Glasgow in the spring.

    What Winslet did next: Like Kelly Macdonald, Kate Winslet has followed up an Oscar-winning film with a telly show, but this ain’t Hollyoaks. Mildred Pierce is on The Sopranos network, HBO, directed by Todd Haynes who gave us Far from Heaven with Julianne Moore, I’m Not There with about six “Bob Dylans” and, before The Carpenters’ legal estate intervened, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story with a bunch of dolls.

    X Factor: Love it, loathe it, this year will be a game changer for anyone with an opinion on Simon Cowell’s karaoke colossus.

      Fans’ dream scenario:

    another run from August to December, of auditions, boot camps, live shows and Cheryl Cole takes America by storm when she sits next to Simon over there. (Expect will.i.am drafted in to talk her up.)

      Haters’ dream scenario:

    The X Factor US flops, the press ignore the X Factor UK as they can’t find a mentally ill asylum seeker they want to vilify, Matt Cardle ends up as a cautionary tale on The Jeremy Kyle Show and everyone watches Strictly, Merlin and Casualty on BBC1 instead.

    X could have stood for The xx, but 2011 might be a stretch for their next album as they were still partying from their 2009 success in the past year. 2012 more likely.

    You know they’re out to get you: The Adjustment Bureau means more paranoid conspiracy thrillers at the cinema which means we might be getting back to the film-making days of the 1970s (The Parallax View, The Conversation and Three Days of the Condor) which is A Very Good Thing Indeed. Y stands too for You Know It’s Inevitable. Brad Pitt is in talks on the rights for the Chilean miners’ movie.

    Finally, Zoolander’s comeback, the Anchorman sequel, the Arrested Development movie and other films which were promised to commence production in 2010 but never did. If you like sequels, the third Transformers movie, the second Hangover film, the follow-up to Kung Fu Panda and fourth Pirates of the Caribbean offering and fifth Fast and the Furious flick (try saying that with your teeth in) are round the corner. So Z could also be for Zzzz….

    <em>Picture: BLH Photography</em>

    Mount Kilimanjaro. Picture: BLH Photography

    With the trend for taking on even more demanding challenges in the name of charity – or personal ambition – climbers had better take note of a new study from Edinburgh University.

    According to researchers, many climbers are taking unnecessary risks at high altitude by failing to acclimatise.

    The study centred on Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, which has, the researchers say, become a “popular destination among novice climbers”. In 2009 more than 25,000 people climbed the 5,895-metre peak, which is the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Its profile was also raised last year with a celebrity Comic Relief charity climb*, in which Cheryl Cole, Take That’s Gary Barlow and others took part.

    The researchers, led by Stewart Jackson, tested levels of altitude sickness among 200 climbers who were ascending Kilimanjaro.

    They found that almost half were suffering from altitude sickness, which can kick in at over 2,500 metres and is caused by climbing too fast. Symptoms can include headaches, fatigue and sleep disturbance and, in extreme cases, can prove fatal due to a build up of fluid on the lungs or brain.

    The researchers camped at 4,730 metres on the mountain for three weeks and studied climbers for symptoms of the condition. They found that neither the drugs taken to prevent altitude sickness, nor taking a rest day during the climb, had a major effect in protecting the climbers, and concluded that the climbers were going up so steeply that drugs could not combat the harmful effects of the altitude.

    But those who had managed to acclimatise prior to the climb – for example, on Mount Meru, which is 4,566 metres high and handily close to Mount Kilimanjaro – were less likely to suffer from altitude sickness.

    Stewart Jackson spoke of the levels of ignorance and lack of experience of many of the climbers tested. “We found that many climbers knew little or nothing about altitude sickness and did not have previous experience of being at high altitude. This research emphasises the need to increase awareness of the risks of altitude sickness and the importance of taking your time to acclimatise. Undertaking an acclimatisation trek before attempting to summit Mount Kilimanjaro offers climbers the best chance of a safe, successful summit.”

    The researchers have published some advice on how to climb safely and avoid altitude sickness, available at altitude.org.

    The study is published in the journal High Altitude Medicine and Biology.

    *According to the Comic Relief website, Cheryl Cole and TV presenter Fearne Cotton collapsed with exhaustion and altitude sickness on their climb, and had to have anti-sickness injections, while singer Alesha Dixon nearly didn’t make it to the top, arriving two hours after the rest and collapsing in a heap, due to “severe muscle pain and the effects of altitude”.

    <em>Picture: Chris R Snyder</em>

    Picture: Chris R Snyder

    Harry Hill may know how to sort out an argument, but in the music industry, the battleground is more of a moveable feast.

    What was interesting about the latest pop feud between Dumfries’ answer to David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and Chris Brown (or more to the point, Chris Brown fans) was where it was conducted – on Twitter.

    Brown’s new single Yeah 3X bears more than a passing resemblance to Harris’ No 1 from last year, I’m Not Alone.

    Cue a tweet from Calvin Harris last Tuesday: “Choked on my cornflakes when I heard new Chris Brown single this morning”.

    After a barrage of abuse from Brown fans about not being on the same level as their idol, Rihanna’s very ex-boyfriend, Harris responded: “Listen if anyone ever sees me on the same level as Chris Brown, let me know and I’ll stab myself.”

    The Harris-Brown face-off was the latest platform for that age-old duel known as the pop bust-up. Here’s where some (you may have others) have been conducted over the years:-

    On-stage bust-up

    “Take it outside!” doesn’t work when you’re effectively the boss of your manager and you’re performing on stage in front of 10,000 screaming fans. See: Sting vs Stewart Copeland (The Police), Brandon Flowers vs Ronnie Vannucci (The Killers), Dave vs Ray Davies (The Kinks) Andy Burrows vs Johnny Borrell (Razorlight), Carl Dalermo vs Johnny Borrell (Razorlight)…

    In song

    The upside of John Lennon and Paul McCartney breaking up the most successful song-writing partnership of the 20th century (with apologies to Richard Rodgers) was that John Lennon and Paul McCartney continued to write songs … often about each other. How Do You Sleep was the most memorably cruel. See: John Lennon’s How Do You Sleep, 2Pac’s Hit Em Up (about Biggie Smalls), Nas’s Ether (about Jay-Z), Pet Shop Boys’ How Can You Expect to be Taken Seriously (about, principally, Sting)

    Thin line between love and hate

    Break-ups begat more break-ups. It wasn’t just The Beatles and Spinal Tap, where love got in the way.
    See: The Rolling Stones falling out over Anita Pallenberg, George Harrison and Eric Clapton both falling for Patti Boyd – though this was hardly a feud, Blur’s Damon Albarn and Suede’s Brett Anderson falling out over Justine Frischmann, and Mick Fleetwood dating bandmate Lindsay Buckingham’s ex Stevie Nicks.

    In court

    This is normally between band members or after someone is seen to have lifted a song. Mike Joyce suing Morrissey, Tony McCaroll suing Oasis, Kris Novoselic and Dave Grohl taking on Courtney Love

    Award ceremonies

    “I’d like to thank my agent, my stylist and God. Not necessarily in that order.” Boring. “10 grand of my money, ten grand of his – who wants to see me fight Liam?” Slightly more interesting. See: Noel Gallagher taking down Michael Hutchence at the BRITs, Robbie Williams challenging Liam Gallagher at the BRITs, Kanye West making an enemy of Taylor Swift at the VMAs.

    New Musical Enmity

    The rock press, particularly weeklies like Sounds, Melody Maker and NME used to be the playground where rock stars liked to bully each other. Morrissey was the sultan of sour, from threatening to have Robert Smith and Patti Smith shot (NME), “If met Vic Reeves, I’d have no desire other than to smack him in the face.” (Q), “Brett Anderson will never forgive God for not making him Angie Bowie”. (Vox)

    Tim Burgess called Morrissey “a fool” in – where else? – NME. Morrissey versus the NME key points, 1984-1989, 1992-1994, and 2007-present. Recent examples include Fiery Furnaces on Radiohead, M.I.A. on Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, and Kasabian on Test Icicles.

    The not-very social networks

    Calvin Harris doesn’t plan to sue Chris Brown’s people – he just wanted to make a point on his own social network. The fact that Twitter exists means he could do that to his fans without the need for journalists, PR or even leaving his own bed.
    See also: Courtney Love vs Taylor Momsen and Jess Origliasso (Twitter division), Lily Allen versus Cheryl Cole (on MySpace) and rather inevitably Lily Allen vs Courtney Love (Twitter).

    <em>Picture: Yisris</em>

    Picture: Yisris

    Plastic bowler hats. Union jacks. Land of Hope and Glory. Audience nodding out of time to the music.

    It might sound like the more regrettable aspects of a Morrissey gig but is inevitably the entertainment for Saturday night’s BBC1 schedule after Dale Winton and Casualty – the Last Night of the Proms.

    Organisers get top marks for pushing the boat out with fireworks, parties in Dundee, Hillsborough, Swansea and Salford. The Caird Hall concert in the City of Discovery featured Leslie Garrett, Nicola Benedetti and the BBC SSO.
    The Prom in Hyde Park gave punters Sir Terry Wogan, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and the light entertainment of Neil Sedaka (Barry Manilow and Katherine Jenkins played last year) and musical theatre leading lady Kerry Ellis.

    All things considered, the Last Night of the Proms makes The X Factor look like a model of restraint, discernment and understatement.

    The second Saturday in September is the culmination of a summer of music and is, for many people their only contact with the event.

    That’s a great shame.

    Because to judge the Proms by its last night is like judging Stevie Wonder’s recorded output by I Just Called To Say I Love You or remembering the late Sir John Gielgud’s acting career purely from his performance in Arthur. (The Daily Star actually did this. Their headline on Gielgud’s passing – “Butler in Dudley Moore movie dies.”)

    The Last Night may be the favourite prom for some, but the rest of summer of concerts are a triumph of organisation, variety and, most of all, music.

    It really is the BBC at its best.

    Last month, I attended the Minnesota Orchestra, led by Finnish conductor Osmo Vanska, once of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. The group lived up to their billing from New Yorker critic Alex Ross as the world’s best orchestra. Their setlist was Barber, Shostakovich and Bruckner. Seats were £12, a third or even quarter of what you’d pay for a concert at the SECC.

    The summer has seen a BBC World prom, Sondheim’s 80th birthday celebrations with Simon Russell Beale and Dame Judi Dench, a day of Bach and orchestras from Russia, the US, Germany, Norway, Australia and Czechoslovakia. Composers range from Thomas Arne to Hans Zimmer. The children’s prom included works by Satie, Prokofiev and Rimsy-Korsakov.

    BBC4 screened the Welsh National Opera’s tremendous concert performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger with Bryn Terfel in the role of Hans Sachs.

    The concerts reaching out to new audience such as the Dr Who prom, the Rodgers and Hammerstein evening and Jamie Cullum curating an evening won’t have pleased everyone (I prefer Rodgers & Hart) but the BBC has to justify its public service credentials with a dash of populism as well as the world’s greatest classical musicians.

    Radio 3 has streamed all the Proms as well as the recitals from the Cadogan Hall, but BBC4, BBC2 and the iPlayer have served up the concerts too. If there’s a better argument for the Beeb’s public service broadcasting credentials than the Proms, difficult to think what that is.

    At a time when the phrase “national treasure” is lazily attached to Cheryl Cole and Richard Hammond, the BBC Proms may deserve that description.

    The Royal Albert Hall when full is a tremendous sight. And the sounds ain’t too bad either.

    But when it gets to the only bit of the summer’s concerts they screen on BBC1, they certainly haven’t saved the best ‘til last.

    <em>Picture: Fabio Ikezaki</em>

    Picture: Fabio Ikezaki

    Impersonating Michael Jackson is like playing rugby union. Only in the past few years has it really turned professional. In the year since MJ left us, there are nearly as many Jackson impersonators as Elvises. And no wonder – few pop stars have sold more records and created such indelible images.

    But being a Michael Jackson impersonator isn’t really a good look for actual bona fide pop stars who can only suffer in comparison. For the current song ‘n’ dance stars, here are some lessons learnt from the life and death of Michael Jackson.

    Keep your nose clean – even if it’s not your first nose
    Michael Jackson became a pop star in an era where it was possible to make clear distinctions between your public and private personae. The Jackson Five’s first hit was only ten years after Liberace successfully sued The Daily Mirror for claiming he was gay.

    By the later years of his career, the volume of tittle-tattle about his private life, together with the paucity of recorded output, had made it difficult for most of the public to regard him as a current pop star.

    What did George Michael do when he was caught in a compromising situation? Immediately recorded a single about getting caught misbehaving, the al fresco anthem Outside. That turned things around for him.

    Only a chorus from his army of devoted fans (the kind of folk who release doves outside courtrooms) drowned out the murmurs of discontent about Jackson. He was unwise to be so cavalier with Martin Bashir about the cloud hanging over him. As the likes of Chris Brown and Britney Spears know only too well, the public can be unimpressed by either bad behaviour or even just the perception of it.

    If you can, retain some mystique
    Now the supermarket magazine frenzy culture from America has landed here with Heat/Closer/Grazia/Now! the modern pop star, from Lily Allen to Cheryl Cole does not have her (and it often is a ‘her’) troubles to seek.

    Before she sold in the multi-platinum region, Amy Winehouse could joke in her songs about her chances of rehab being no no no. By the time she checked in, she was selling bucket-loads and the world’s media could afford to staff photographers at both entrances of the clinics.

    Michael Jackson was at his most successful, creatively and commercially, before the 24-hour news celebrity gossip-machine held him in its grip.

    Lady Gaga is everywhere right now, but her supposed on-off boyfriend is a good deal less visible. Jay-Z and Beyonce are a megawatt couple but it’s very rare they talk about their relationship. The least interesting thing about will.i.am as an artist is, if you believe current coverage, that he fancies Cheryl Cole. Being part of Planet Grazia is unlikely to sell him any more records.

    24-hour news coverage does not necessarily make your records interesting either. The rolling news networks had a round-the-clock watch on Susan Boyle, but the record itself was pretty pedestrian stuff.

    Churn out the hits
    Jacko took too long to produce Bad, a near half-decade after Thriller. Because Off the Wall and Thriller were choc-full of singles, plus his collaboration with Paul McCartney (bizarrely, Say Say Say was recently estimated his most successful single) it felt like you were never far away from an MJ hit.

    Look at pop stars when they were really on their game from George Michael, Madonna and Prince in the ‘80s to The Beatles in the ‘60s – the hits just kept on coming.

    Pick your collaborators wisely, but take control over your own music
    Michael Jackson and super-producer Quincy Jones (The Dude, The Italian Job soundtrack) led to pop heaven. Jackson and Teddy Riley (Blackstreet’s No Diggity) and Rodney Jerkins (Destiny’s Child’s Say My Name, Brandy & Monica’s The Boy Is Mine) were less successful. Sometimes a successful producer can mean a singer struggles to find his or her own voice, as Timbaland has done with Justin Timberlake’s recent work. Timbaland with Nelly Furtado was a big success, but the same producer rather swamped Justin Timberlake’s and Madonna’s recent work. So the mix has to be right.

    Whingeing about your critics is boring
    Leave Me Alone – tagged on the end of Bad – was OK but by the time he recorded Tabloid Junkie, Jacko had fallen for the oldest trick in the book – The Poor-Me number.

    You might feel better sticking it to your critics but the public generally don’t want to hear a multi-millionaire whine about their lot. See also The Stereophonics’ Mr Writer (about an NME hack), Britney’s Piece of Me, Madonna’s Human Nature.

    The exception to this rule is The Pet Shop Boys’ Yesterday When I Was Mad from 1993’s Very, which is witty, waspish and well catchy.

    Music, music, music
    Moonwalk and The Wiz aside, Jackson didn’t really distract himself with movies.

    Justin Timberlake and Madonna, to name two, seem to think their fans want to see them acting on the big screen instead of in concert. They are in a minority when they think this. In his heyday, Michael Jackson stuck to making records and performing live. It was only latterly he was building theme parks, and looking at buying castles.

    Once the focus moves to other things like organising golf tournaments (hello Justin Timberlake) or fragrances (Usher and Britney), making great pop records gets tougher.

    There are several reasons why P Diddy doesn’t make the same iconic records his friend Michael Jackson did – clothing ranges, private parties, name changes, movie acting, reality shows….

    Play live, play often
    Why have the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Dylan lasted as long as they have? They are often on tour. So is Madonna. Why was Michael Jackson’s comeback so keenly awaited? It was a live comeback. There really is no substitute for this.

    There can be only one….Thriller
    Seriously. So don’t make a dance video with scary monsters.

    The Backstreet Boys, Chris Brown, Nelly Furtado, Rihanna and now Miley Cyrus have all done it, prompting the same response the world over – “it’s OK, but it’s not Thriller.” When they have a prison from the Philippines recreating all the moves for their videos, then we’ll talk.

    Don’t hang out with Uri Geller
    You don’t see Rihanna doing this, do you? Or Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga.

    Princess Diana: Alive and Tweeting apparently. <em>Picture: Floyd Nello</em>

    Princess Diana: Alive and Tweeting apparently. Picture: Floyd Nello

    One of the many interesting aspects of Twitter is that it contains the greatest amount of identity theft since Christian Slater stole Jack Nicholson’s act in the early ‘90s.

    Gary Caldwell and Cheryl Cole as well as the late Princess of Wales have all had their names appropriated in the Twitterverse.

    Celebs have to insist on a big blue tick on their profiles to prove it’s really them or their handlers, as everyone from David Miliband (on Twitter) to Ricky Gervais (not on Twitter) has had tiresome copyists.

    When Twitterers move beyond celebrities (dead or alive) and on to fictitious characters, things take a decidedly nutty turn.

    Someone who may or may not be in the Chicago area has just adopted the Twittername @ferris_bueller_ and recounted events of the film in real time including messages to @jeaniebueller and @sloanepeterson_ , skipping school, borrowing his mate’s dad’s Ferrari, getting involved in the Von Steuben Day parade and, well, no need for further spoiler alerts.

    Beyond the two and a half hours of larks had by all those following, the interest in Ferris Bueller on Twitter and Foursquare tells us that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is as trendy, or trending, as it ever was.

    Writer-director John Hughes’s death in August 2009 was of course a factor, but recently, they tried to recreate the parade scene in the Windy City as an art installation in New York, it’s been heavily referenced on The X Factor and Charlie Sheen can’t stay away from police stations.

    Classic movies, not just a certain kind of ‘80s comedy, never go out of fashion, and Twitter is the latest way to pay tribute.

    Charles Foster Kane has six assumed identities, from Hamburg to Milan, the 19 Keyser Sozes are all over the place from Bucharest to Martinique and there were, at last count, 20 Tyler Durdens.

    The first rule of Fight Club may have been that no-one talks about Fight Club but on Twitter, everyone talks about everyone and anything. And if they use a simple “@” symbol and your Twittername, and you’re on Tweetdeck, you can see what they’re saying behind your back, just as Stephen Fry did.

    If this extended to all film characters, the spoiler alerts would be out of control. Expect the following Tweets some time soon (and do suggest your own underneath)

    • colesear @dr_malcolm I see dead people
    • OdaMaeBrown he said you’d know what that means RT Samwheat @mollywheat ‘ditto’
    • maximumdecimus @commodus I will have my vengeance. In this life or the next.
    • travis_bickle @travis_bickle You talkin’ to me?
    • colnathanjessep @ltdankaffee You can’t handle the truth!
    • HenryV – Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or….(twit longer)
    • charliecroker -@MiniCoopers You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off
    • codyjarrett @MaJarrett Made it. Top of the world!!! :)
    • Martin_Brody @samQuint You’re gonna need a bigger boat