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“Making a trip across the pond in a few weeks to see @chattyman and all my lovely UK fans…can’t wait! xo,” someone presumably from Team Britney tweeted on her behalf a few weeks ago; announcing her whistle stop promotional London visit and much-anticipated appearance on Channel 4’s Friday night chat show.

With the small matter of a two-year Las Vegas residency, a produced eighth studio album and ‘Work Bitch’ single all on the pop icon’s immediate horizon, the Britney Jean machine is full swing. Those Maseratis and Lambourginis won’t pay for the themselves, kids. It’s clearly a well-oiled machine with the only potential spanner in the proverbial works being Spears herself. Her every choreographed and where-possible, edited, public appearance seems to see the cogs creak and the whole thinking threatening to come to a gibbering, shuddering halt. Her team must be ever thankful to be doing this in a social media world where with tools like Twitter, Spears can reach an audience of 33 million in an instant, without having to utter a word.

“I love your show. Your show’s great,” she meekly told Carr, he having just held her nervous hand en route to his sofa. While some guests might pander to the home audience with a similar crowd-pleaser, I believe her when she has seen the show before. One can imagine Britney’s team showing her tapes of Chatty Man in frantic preparation and rehearsal for her one select major UK public engagement. It’s just as we can imagine the strict instructions to Channel 4 to swap the Lambrinis and WKDs in Alan’s trademark drinks cabinet for some soft options only.

Sadly, nothing with a post-meltdown, ‘rehabilitated’ Spears has the air of casual ease anymore. She stuttered and spluttered through the interview, with responses such as, on the British accent: “I love it when you guys, um, talk. It’s really nice.” Alan Carr was forced to live up to his chatty man name, responding to his own jokes in what was for the most part, a sit-down stand-up routine for an audience of one. Britney can wave, smile and giggle like a pro, just don’t dare ask her about her new single.

Though one guesses that’s why Alan Carr got the gig over Graham Norton or Jonathon Ross. Large weekend audience? Check. An informal host with the ability to ad lib at length? Check. One-on-one format with no interaction with other guests? Check.

Increasingly with Spears, she is visibly uncomfortable in interviews, perhaps bored of answering the same old questions in a decade of similar appointments or perhaps fearful she won’t know the answer to what’s happening in a career where she is still not fully in control. Let’s remind ourselves that Britney’s father Jamie remains in conservatorship of the star’s pop fortune. Yet, here she is, hitting the promo one more time, thrust back into the fray on another jaunt. If Spears follows her track record with previous albums ‘Circus’ and ‘Femme Fatale’, this new album itself will no doubt be praised while the associated live dates will receive less than favourable reviews. She’s good recorded, she’s poor live.

Britney comes alive when she is distracted from the artificiality of the interview scenario. She uncomfortably regurgitates sickly sweet responses about her live shows/single/album, but take the conversation off piste to, in this case, her love of bargain 99 cent stores and she forgets she’s there and opens up. Alan Carr discovered, as Mario Lopez did in a recent US interview, the use of physical item as a distraction brings out the best in Britney. She’s authoritative, funny and engaged in a Larry Sanders-esque sketch that sees Alan take his celebrity guest behind the scenes to literally crack a whip at his production team and order them to: “Work Bitch.”

Expect more awkward interviews as the Britney bus rolls on in advance of the daunting workload ahead of the popstar. My advice to those asking the questions: bring a prop.



Shame, the successor to British artist turned director Steve McQueen’s acclaimed Hunger – and his second Fassbender collaboration – is another boundless portait of the extremes of human behaviour. Where Hunger gave us an unflinching view of iconic IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, Shame introduces us to attractive Manhattan corporate bachelor Brandon and his private world of pick-ups, prostitutes and pornography, often in succession, usually in the same afternoon.

Much has already been written about the movie’s ‘uneroticised’ sexual scenes and the accompanying Oscar-dooming US NC-17 certificate. The sex is graphic and there’s lots of it but complimentary critics seem at pains to point out that they weren’t aroused in the slightest by any of it, so that’s all very well then. ‘This is art, not porn’.

Film critics not finding Hollywood’s most handsome leading man attractive aside, it is not in fact the sexiness or unsexiness of the sex itself that is particularly worth speaking about, or even all that interesting. Rather, the illicit circumstances and addictive patterns that begin to show around it that are the most gripping. If anything, the sex scenes, for the audience as for Brandon, are a relief from the tense scenarios in which he finds it. Regardless, if you’re looking for a film where there’s just lots of sex with little emotional connection this season, there’s always American Pie: The Reunion. This certainly isn’t that, arguably it’s less a study in sex addiction than it is about the nature and isolation of male addictive behaviour.

The routine of Brandon’s, compulsive but controlled sex (with a capital S) life is interrupted by the arrival of his self-destructive
and self-harming ne’er do well sister, Sissy. Sissy is the visceral ying to Brandon’s emotionally absent yang. Her need for tactile
affection is suffocating to her estranged Brother and her insistence on addressing their relationship ultimately derails Brandon’s carnal
crisis towards a somewhat inevitable conclusion. She tells him “We’re not bad people, we just come from a bad place”.

The movie is nonetheless a achingly captivating, arrestingly shot by Sean Bobbitt, and as Brandon’s teetering stack of cards begins to crumble around him, the two leads deliver the most explicit performances of the film.

Shame is in cinemas on 13th January. 

Lykke Li thinks touring is a bit of a pain in the arse to be honest

Under-appreciated-Swedish-popstar-that-isn’t-Robyn, Lykke Li has spoken of her dislike of touring.

Li told The Irish Times in a pre-Electric Picnic interview, “I hate mentioning her name because people always take it up the wrong way, but I remember seeing ‘In Bed with Madonna’ and she was in this amazing suite and hanging out with her dancers. That’s what touring meant to me: big suites, walking around in a silk komono, waiting for my movie-star lover to show up and then strutting on stage”, she admits “I had no idea what I was actually getting myself into”.

While she has learned the hard way that life isn’t a rollercoaster of deep-throating bottles and tonguing your harem of gays, Lykke is realistic about what it takes to be a popstar. “I realise that touring allows me to do so much of what I want to do. I wouldn’t be able to make a record without touring”.

In a break from the usual ‘performing live feeds me’ popstar narrative she claims, “You can’t really do what Kate Bush does and not play. No one gives a fuck about you if you retreat. I survive on touring but my dream is to retreat and just do a few shows every so often”.

Being a popstar is such a chore.


Ronika has spoken about her pop music beginnings

Ronika has spoken about her popular music song-making origins.

“I first started writing soul tunes on the guitar when I was about 14 and then went on to sing and make electronic music with two brilliant computer geeks at school. Then I got into DJing and making my own tunes and have been a bedroom pop producing hermit ever since”.

In an interview with, the Nottingham native described how she is following in the footsteps of other bedroom-producing greats like Daniel Beddingfield and Craig David.

“It’s DIY in that I write, record and produce everything in my bedroom”. In fact she didn’t even leave her bedroom door for her ‘In The City’ collaboration with Citizen which she says was made “via music ping-pong, sending each other bits of music back and forth”.

You can read the parts of this interview that we haven’t copied and pasted here, here.


Britney’s next single will be ‘Criminal’

Britney Spears has chosen medieval recorder jam ‘Criminal’ as her follow up single to ‘I Wanna Go’ and the fourth single from ‘Femme Fatale’.

She told MTV “I don’t if I’m at liberty to tell. But I will anyways. It’s Criminal.”

The Michael Jackson Video Vanguard recipient claimed that she already has the visuals in mind. “I was thinking of a really cool concept for the video just to make it interesting,” she said, “You’ll have to see.” TRANSLATION: “Not a clue”.

‘Criminal’ recently topped a poll on Spears’ Facebook page, proving twice as popular with the 80,000 fans that voted as the other potential single choices ‘(Drop Dead) Beautiful’ and ‘Inside Out’.

Spears added “Actually the song, when I first heard it, it’s really different and it’s not anything I’ve heard like this before. So I really wanted to deliver this song”.

The Femme Fatale Tour arrives in the UK on October 25.


David Sneddon has written songs for the Matt Cardle album

Fame Academy alumnus and Leon Jackson prototype, David Sneddon, has reportedly ‘penned’ (CO-penned, surely) some songs for ‘serious musician’ Matthew Cardle’s debut album, ‘Letters’. Guy Chambers and Gary Barlow have also written tracks for the ‘Travis meets Snow Patrol’ sounding record.

In 2009, the ‘Stop Living the Lie’ hitmaker was hired by Sony/ATV Music Publishing as a songwriter for Syco and Universal Music. Since then he has written somes songs for Julian Peretta and (you’d better have a sit down) the Hurts album including ‘Illuminated’ (yes, way), ‘Silver Lining’ and ‘Blood, Tears and Gold’. Well done, David.

You’ll be able to hear the Sneddo-collabo when Letters is released on October 17, just in time for Matt to perform Barlow cast off ‘Run For Your Life’ live on that X Factor programme.

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Cheryl Cole has done a tweet.

Popstar and ‘ lodger‘ Cheryl Cole has done her first tweet.

Cheryl, possibly possessed by her fingers at the time, ‘took to Twitter’ to say “It’s me CC! WHERE MY SOLDIERS AT…….?!!! I can’t believe what my fingers are doing but yes I’m tweeting :-s so here goes…X”

The tweet came at 3:17am LA time where Cheryl is currently filming a cameo role as, wait for it, a ‘reality TV talent show judge’ for new movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting in between erecting a flatpack futon in’s spare box room.

Opera singer and fellow Peter Beardsley fan Joe McElderry was the first celeb to welcome CC to Twitter saying “@cherylcole welcome to twitter!! :D ”. That is one very pleased smiley face.

As yet, Cheryl’s follow count is at 0 and the whereabouts of her soldiers is sadly still unknown.


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