Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Gwen 'n' Gavin Spotted In San Fran

Our Man 'Paulo' In San Francisco reports:

"Yesterday evening I was strolling up the main street of Chinatown on my way to the Vesuvio and found myself walking right behind Gwen Stefani with husband (him from Bush), child in pushchair and, I guess, nanny. So close I could've touched her (which I know would've been "wrong"). Annoyingly it was the only time I left my camera at the hotel, otherwise it could've been the start of a great new paparazzi career."

Yes, Paulo. But Gwen's hubby Gavin Rossdale would probably have greeted you with a rude finger-gesture as in the 2006 pap pic above. Top class celeb spot, though - more, please...

Stalkers note, this happened over a week ago so Gwen and Gav are probably no longer 'in the vicin'.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

How The Hell Did That Happen?

Once upon a time, former Brookside actress Anna Friel was notable for just two things: a controversially Sapphic storyline in the aforementioned Scouse soap, and the fact that it sounded like Madonna was singing her name in the chorus to 'Ray Of Light'. But how things change. After marrying noted thesp David Thewlis, catching a lot of people's attention in Pushing Daisies and, presumably, selling her eternal soul, it appears that Anna Friel has joined Hugh Laurie in the How 'The Hell Did THEY Conquer America?' VIP lounge. Bravo, Anna!

Anna Friel's new film, Land Of The Lost, also starring someone called Will Ferrell, is released in the UK on 31 July 2009.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Holy F****ing F***!

When I first visited Toronto at the start of this decade, I noticed numerous flyers for bands with the word ‘F***’ in their names. Everywhere I looked there were acts called things like ‘F*** And The F***s, The F***-Offs’ and The F***ing F***s. My Canadian friend explained that local musos, spawned from a slacker culture of ultra-strong weed and near-sociopathic underachievement, never expected to make it in the wider world, so adopting rude names was a way of annoying the grown-ups and signifying their contempt for the whole notion of success – or even just a career – in music.

But now, well f*** me, but one of those aforementioned bands has only gone and broken through! Here’s a clip of “Toronto electro-rock terrors” Holy F*** earlier this month at Harbourfront Centre’s Beats, Breaks and Culture festival. They’re a highly appealing trancey, Krautrock-flavoured live act, like a slightly harder version of Britain’s Fujiya And Miyagi. God bless ya, Toronto! You f***ing f***.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

A little Piece Of Mischa Barton's Soul - Now Just £14

As Mischa Barton continues to 'do a Britney', some of our favourite gossip whores (step forward, Amy Grindhouse) have noted a curious phenomenon: the mainstream media simply doesn't care. It seems almost unbelievable, knowing the Tabloids' propensity for taking a shattered celebrity life and grinding it beneath their heels, but Mischa's arrest, enforced hospitalization and ongoing treatment have attracted hardly any coverage.

Hopefully this will allow the actress/fashionista to recover in peace before she supposedly joins the cast of The Beautiful Life: TBL on 31 July.

Meanwhile, in the UK you can buy a little piece of Mischa's soul - her range of handbags - at

"Who wouldn't want to nab a slice of Mischa Barton's fabulous style?" ask Secret Sales, who apparently haven't seen the recent pictures of the poor kid looking like insanity on toast.

Friday, 17 July 2009

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and the Honorary Doctorate

Speaking of Michael Nyman, the peerless film composer was honoured by the University of Leeds this week – the lovely Leodensians made the great man an Honorary Doctor of Music.

Here’s a pleasing video of time-lapse photography set to Nyman’s wondrous ‘Bird List’:

And a stirring live version of ‘Chasing Sheep Is Best Left To Shepherds’:

Michael Nyman, Cockroach salutes you.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Perverted Spanish Genius Quote Of The Week

“All fiction is dangerous and also therapeutic. That’s why we find it irresistible.” - Director Pedro Almodóvar on Broken Embraces, starring Penélope Cruz

Broken Embraces is released in the UK on 28 August 2009

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Lunar Tunes

I loved Moon, the glorious, gritty yet dream-like old school sci-fi thriller directed by Duncan ‘Son Of Ziggy Stardust’ Jones. It’s hard to describe the film in any detail without immediately giving too much away, but I will say that Sam Rockwell delivers a tremendous and, er, multi-dimensional lead performance. Now, admittedly the trailer makes Moon look very derivative – little more than an extended homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Silent Running 1972), Solaris (1972), Dark Star (1974), Blade Runner (1982) and more recent efforts like Event Horizon (1997), Solaris (2002) and Sunshine (2007). However, be assured that it DOES have its own thing going on as well. And where the Event Horizon-type films generally start well before veering off into tiresome gothic horror, Moon’s great strength is that everything in it happens for a reason. In that sense, it also reminds me a little of Gattaca (1997), in a good way.

An important component of the film’s success is the atmospheric original music by Clint Mansell. Once the hell-raising frontman with ‘80s Black Country ‘Grebo’ pioneers Pop Will Eat Itself, Mansell has this year reached the first rank of film composers. His work on The Wrestler (2008) was the culmination of a decade-long partnership with director Darren Aronofsky, but Mansell is probably best known for the epic Lux Aeterna from Requiem For a Dream (2000), which most people recognise as the Lord of the Rings trailer music.

Have a listen to ‘Welcome To Lunar Industries’ at – Moon's thrilling main theme, it sounds like Michael Nyman jamming in space with Eno-era Roxy Music and, yes, David Bowie. It’s a ten-minute track that really kicks in around the 2 minute 45 seconds mark.

Moon is released in the UK on Friday 17 July 2009.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Silly-Named Actress of the Month

With a name like Tallulah Sheffield, the chances are you're going to end up in showbiz. I mean, otherwise how will you ever get to hang out with the likes of Tuppence Middleton (our previous SNAOTM), January Jones, Moon Bloodgood and Honeysuckle Weeks?

Anyway, suitably striking model-turned-actress Tallulah appears alongside Ben Barnes, Colin Firth and Rebecca Hall in the new Dorian Gray film, having previously survived a sweaty clinch with your man James Nesbitt in TV's Jeckyll. Remember, you chuckled at her name here first...

Dorian Gray is released in the UK on 11 September 2009.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Rattle Those Bones

Bones At The Bottom Of The Barrel / Rita Lynch

The Junction, Bristol

Saturday 4 July 2009

She may be forever doomed to have her name prefixed with the tag ‘Veteran Bristol Rocker’, but there’s something heroic about Rita Lynch. Clad in her usual gig attire – spray-on jeans, peroxide birds’ nest hair, lipstick, Fender guitar, no shoes - she is joined tonight by John Langley, the Blue Aeroplanes/Strangelove drummer who is quite possibly her musical soulmate. As they blast their way through tracks from Rita’s self-released new album Good Advice, it becomes apparent that she is an artist – outsider or otherwise – at the top of her game. If Iggy Pop was all about Raw Power, then Rita’s territory is Raw Pain, and the desperate catharsis of her performance is something to behold. For well over six months now we’ve been hearing that 2009 is the year of women in music. An admirable thing, sure, but neither Florence (gap-year Kate Bush), Little Boots (shiny, disposable Topshop pop) nor Bat For Lashes (the Natasha Bedingfield of pseudo-goth tosh) possess one smidgeon of the ravaged innocence and torturously earned experience that Rita distils into her music.

Headlining tonight are the amusingly eccentric Bones at the Bottom of the Barrel. On graveyard guitar and throat-disease vocals, John is a lanky, eyelinered, string-breaking, attention-demanding frontman. On keyboard, melodica and backing vocals, Anna is a natural comedienne and a perfect female foil to John’s boyish exuberance. Migrating to Bristol from Sheffield last year, the duo quickly made an impression as an acoustic act, but their ‘we-like-dressing-up-and-every-song-is-about-pirates’ schtick got tired quicker than your parrot could say ‘Long John Silver’. Well, the good news is they’ve changed. Going electric, and adding bassist Joe Clark and drummer Alice Hyde, the Bones now shake and roll where before they merely rattled. Their new songs are like a trolley-dash through the murkiest aisles of some Trash Rock supermarket, while Anna’s uber-cheesy synth lines suggest their own imaginary version of the early ’80s. The Bones offer little in the way of intellectual endeavour or emotional sustenance, but if it’s a borderline-demented party band you’re after, they’re just about the best in town.

Photography by David Hammonds