Monday, May 23, 2011

Ain't Nobody Know When You're Acting Right Or Wrong

Judges face what the press describe as 'a furious backlash from MPs' who have demanded a parliamentary debate over the widespread use of superinjunctions. One Tory MP has described the judiciary as 'an ass' for its behaviour in recent months according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Growing discontent at the ease with which celebrities have attained injunctions has previously led to members of the House of Commons and the Lords naming some of those who have been protected by such court orders, including the former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Fred Goodwin. Frustration in parliament reached new heights on Friday when the Lord Chief Justice, the fantastically-named Lord Judge (there wasn't really any other job he could've done with a name like that), took the unprecedented step of criticising MPs for 'flouting court orders' in the Commons. The ludicrous Judge Fudge also urged that ways to 'be found' to 'curtail' the 'misuse of technology' - although curtail by what means, and by whom this curtailing should be done, he didn't say - after the identity of a footballer hiding, some might arguing cowering, behind an injunction was widely leaked on Twitter. Judge Judge's series of - some might argue knobcheese and vaguely Stalinist - comments have brought a predictably swift and forthright response from many Internet users. Effectively 'you can't jail us all, pal.' Lawyers acting for the footballer - known as CTB in court papers - have since launched a high court action in an attempt to force the social media site to reveal the identity of those behind the leaks, but users of the social media site have responded by swamping the site with posts, all repeatedly naming one player as CTB. Lawyers for the Sun will reportedly ask for the injunction to be lifted today, the newspaper has said on its website. The former Tory shadow home secretary David Davis said it was 'highly likely' there would be a debate in the House of Commons on the issue of superinjunctions, adding that it was 'plain as a pike staff' that parliament needed to reassert itself and he hoped it would do so in a month's time after the recess. Tory MP Douglas Carswell said that he was confident the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, would ensure there was a debate. He said: 'I think the problem is that the judiciary is making itself look a bit of an ass. There is something poetic about both the Bill of Rights and Twitter pointing towards the supremacy of the people. The speaker totally gets this and I think we can trust him to ensure that there will be a debate.' John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat backbencher, who has previously mentioned several cases covered by superinjunctions in the Commons, has also promised to continue to bring up cases. 'Judges are not supposed to question the practices of parliament. It is not up to the courts to guide parliament as to what is said in parliament. This issue is creating a sort of constitutional mess.' However, Labour MP Chuka Umunna said he thought it was unwise for MPs to continue to flout court orders. In a posting on Twitter, he wrote: 'If MPs and peers use parliamentary privilege to flout court injunctions, that is a serious breach of the separation of powers in my view.'
Privacy rulings affecting newspapers are 'unsustainable' and 'unfair on the press,' the prime minister has said. David Cameron told ITV's Daybreak that the law should be reviewed to 'catch up with how people consume media today.' His comments came after Scotland's Sunday Herald became the UK's first mainstream newspaper to name the footballer in question. And, the most remarkable fact about the prime minister's comments being reported is that it proves at least one person in the country watches Daybreak. Who'd've thought it? Newspapers and websites in Spain, Latin America, the US and elsewhere have also named the footballer in the knowledge that they cannot be practically bound by injunctions awarded by courts in England and Wales. Cameron admitted that the current situation was 'unfair' on the press and said the government had 'got to take some time out' to look at the matter, but added that there was no 'simple answer.' He said there was a danger that judges' rulings were 'effectively writing a sort of new law – which is what parliament is meant to do.' The prime minister indicated that he knew the identity of the footballer involved, 'just like everybody else.'

Meanwhile, the fiasco over Britain's secrecy laws escalated further on Monday with a number of celebrities joining thousands of non-celebrities in brazenly defying a gagging order against naming the Premier League footballer - CTB - who had an, alleged, affair with Imogen Thomas. Britain's privacy rules are also under assault by rambunctious journalists, Twitter users and even sports fans, as thousands defy a judge's order to keep the name of the player secret. The disclosure of the sportsman's identity has made a complete mockery of recently-introduced rules protecting public figures' privacy, raising questions about whether it was desirable - or even possible - to order journalists to keep a secret in an age where a single rogue tweet can be read around the world by anyone with access to a computer. Steve Doughty argues in the Daily Scum Mail that the footballer's court battle to keep his alleged affair a secret has provoked 'one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience in modern times.' Football fans mockingly chanted the player's name at a match with a worldwide television audience yesterday. Several choruses of 'Imogen There's No Heaven' could be heard, for example. And, he was mentioned more than thirty thousand times on Twitter, so anyone still unaware of his identity 'can discover it with a few clicks of a mouse,' the paper notes. The footballer, whose name has additionally been published in several countries, including the USA, in a national Scottish newspaper, widely on Twitter and on Wikipedia, turned to the courts to keep his name from being linked to that of Thomas, a former reality show contestant, with whom he is alleged to have had an affair. He sought anonymity, but the effort has spectacularly backfired - as just about anyone with half-a-brain in their heads could have probably predicted - as the case increasingly became a touchstone for arguments over superinjunctions; sweeping legal measures which ban journalists from writing about a person or a subject, or even writing about the fact that they can't write about it. As civil libertarians debated the wisdom of superinjunctions and Twitter users assert their right to talk about whatever the hell they Goddamn like, the player's name increasingly spilled out into the public domain. And every time his legal team have tried to plug a leak, several more sprung. Thomas went to the High Court to try to overturn the injunction. She was defeated, but a mysterious Twitter account allegedly revealed his name anyway, a move which swiftly drew national attention. With the name increasingly being bandied about on Twitter, on Internet football forums and in foreign publications, the media embargo was strained to the breaking point. On Sunday, the Sunday Herald became the first British newspaper to flout the injunction, publishing a thinly censored photograph of the player on its front page. Only his eyes were blacked out, and beneath the sportsman's clearly recognizable face, the Herald wrote that 'everyone knows' this was the man 'accused of using the courts to keep allegations of a sexual affair secret.' In an editorial, the Herald said that it was 'unsustainable' for newspapers not to be able to print information which is freely available on the Internet. The paper quickly noted that it was not accusing the sportsman of carrying out an affair - that's another matter entirely - but said that 'whether the allegations against him are true or not has no relevance to this debate. The issue is one of freedom of information and of a growing argument in favor of more restrictive privacy laws.' Certainly the law appeared to have less weight this morning, after the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, branded the current law 'untenable' and the attorney general confirmed there would be no legal repercussions for the Sunday Herald. PR consultant Max Clifford told Sky News: 'The whole thing is developing into a Whitehall farce because everybody knows who he is. The lawyers have made the situation worse by going after Twitter.' A well-known comedian, a self-styled 'TV superstar' and an international pop singer are among thousands of Twitter users to have published the identity of the person involved. The comedian - whom the newspaper did not name - told the Evening Standard: 'The whole thing is a farce. I wouldn't have given a shit before but now he's pursuing this legal action he's got me interested. Everyone I know knows about it.' The - again, nameless - international TV 'superstar' tweeted a quote from US President George Washington: 'If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.' Later, the celebrity began a Twitter discussion with another British TV personality, adding: 'This is about celebrities wanting their cake and eating it - and spineless judges allowing them do so.'

Meanwhile, as reported yesterday, a journalist at The Times newspaper is facing a possible prison sentence after using Twitter to name another footballer who was granted an injunction. The journalist, who also appears in a 'well-known BBC television programme' according to the Daily Scum Mail -  allegedly made a series of jokes about the player (known as TSE in court papers) just hours after the High Court granted him a gagging order to prevent another newspaper from revealing details of an extramarital affair. Yesterday, the offending Tweets had been removed from his page, but lawyers acting for the footballer – who is an England international, according to the Daily Torygraph – have successfully applied for the case to be referred to the Attorney General. If the journalist is found to have deliberately flouted the injunction, he could be found in contempt of court, meaning he could be fined, have his assets seized or even jailed. It is understood to be the first time a case involving a breach of an injunction on a social networking site has been referred to the Attorney General. In a statement James Harding, the editor of The Times, said: 'While The Times, like other newspapers, knows the identity of the journalist being discussed, we find ourselves in the odd position of being unable to comment, lest doing so should lead to the identification of the person.' The journalist last night thanked Twitter users for their support and noted there would 'won't be enough room' for everyone who had tweeted the controversial remarks in the same prison cell. On Monday morning, he speculated that he might go to prison. He then joked to a fellow Twitter user, suggesting an appropriate gift to him would be a cake or a bottle of wine containing a file. A spokesman for the Attorney General's office said the office was waiting for the referral to be made but that, if it was, it would be treated seriously. The spokesman added: 'As with all referrals, the Attorney General will, of course, consider the matter carefully and take action if necessary. At the moment, we do not think that we have had any other judicial referrals for breaches of injunctions.' Legal experts said that the journalist could be used as a high-profile scapegoat by the judiciary and as a warning to others not to mess with the judges. Niri Shan, head of media law at Taylor Wessing, said: 'It is very unusual for anyone to get imprisoned for this sort of offence, but it is clear that they are trying to make an example of someone in order to deter others so they could end up getting a substantial fine.' Most tweeters appear confident that they are beyond the reach of the legal system. But are they? In theory, if a court establishes that they have breached a court order, they would be guilty of contempt of court under the law of England and Wales and liable to an unlimited fine or even a two-year prison sentence. In practice, however, legal analyst Joshua Rozenberg told BBC News that he expects tweeters would find safety in numbers if enough of them defied an injunction at once. 'Certainly they are at risk, but clearly if there are a lot of them there's little chance of them being prosecuted,' Rozenberg suggests. 'I'm sure the attorney general would think very carefully before launching contempt proceedings against ordinary Twitter users in these circumstances - although if there was one individual who could be seen to have instigated the whole thing, that would be very different.' Ultimately it is not so much the letter of the law that is likely to protect Twitter users, but the sheer difficulty of singling out and tracking down so many offenders. 'It's the whole "I am Spartacus" effect,' noted one media expect. 'You have to think about the practicalities of successfully taking action against so many people.' Or, in other words, 'if we all spit together, we'll drown the bastards.'
Who has done well out of the superinjunction saga - besides the lawyers of course? The answer appears to be Twitter. Obviously the San Francisco-based site did not set out to be at the centre of a British media firestorm. But the result, according to recently released figures has been a huge surge in traffic. Experian Hitwise, which gets its data from Internet service providers, says that UK traffic to Twitter's website hit a new high on Saturday, as a footballer and his lawyer's attempts to use the courts to identify people behind various tweets dominated the headlines. The traffic was twenty two per cent higher than the previous day. The record before then had been set on 9 May, when the headlines were about the Twitter account used to reveal the names of those who had taken out injunctions - including some inaccurate information. Since March, Twitter's share of all UK web traffic, as measured by visits to sites, has risen from around 0.34 per cent to 0.54 per cent on Saturday. It may not sound that much but it represents many millions of people coming to Twitter for the first time. By contrast, Facebook accounts for 7.64 per cent of UK Internet visits, and the BBC News website for one per cent.
A leading tabloid journalist has joined those suing the News of the World for allegedly hacking into voicemails, reviving claims that the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper has been spying on its rivals to steal their stories. According to the high court registry, Fleet Street veteran Dennis Rice has issued proceedings against the NoW and its private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire. Rice, who is now freelance, was the investigations editor at the Scum Mail on Sunday when Mulcaire was at the peak of his activity between 2005 and 2006. A 'source familiar with Mulcaire's activities' claims that, acting on orders from an NoW editorial executive, he intercepted voicemail messages from Rice and half a dozen other journalists at the Scum Mail. They say that among other targets, the paper was keen to steal stories that Rice was filing from Germany, where England were playing in the World Cup in the summer of 2006, generating tabloid interest in the players' wives and girlfriends. The same source said that by hacking into voicemails, Mulcaire obtained a password which would have allowed him to access the Scum Mail on Sunday internal computer system, potentially disclosing all of its e-mail traffic and every story awaiting publication. Some journalists who have worked for the News of the World claim they were also attempting to penetrate the security of the Sun, the Daily Scum Mail, the Daily Mirra, the Sunday Mirra and the People. If proved, the claim could break what the Gruniad Morning Star describes as the 'alliance of silence' which has seen most Fleet Street papers refuse to investigate the scandal. Rice's legal action is only the latest in a number of indications that the claim may be correct. The original police inquiry in 2006 found evidence that Mulcaire had succeeded in intercepting the voicemail of the then editor of the Sun, Rebekah Brooks. The current police inquiry is believed to have discovered that Mulcaire also targeted the Sun's former editor and columnist Kelvin MacKenzie. Both would have been rich sources of intelligence about the Sun's activities. When he was tried in January 2007, Mulcaire admitted intercepting messages from the phone of the celebrity PR agent Max Clifford, who was boycotting the NoW and selling stories to its rivals. Clifford's former personal assistant Nicola Phillips is currently suing Mulcaire and the NoW for allegedly intercepting her messages. As one apparent example, notes kept by Mulcaire suggest his hacking of Phillips's voicemail allowed the theft in February 2006 of a story about an alleged affair between the actor Ralph Fiennes and a Romanian singer, Cornelia Crisan, which Phillips had sold for thirty five thousand pounds in a joint deal with the Sunday Mirra and the Scum Mail on Sunday, but which nevertheless turned up in the NoW. Rice himself was at the centre of a controversy twelve years ago, when he was deputy news editor of the Sunday Mirra. According to allegations made in the high court in August 1999, Rice had been contacted by Neville Thurlbeck of the News of the World, who had asked to meet him in a south London pub. Rice had been suspicious and gone to the meeting with a concealed tape recorder. He allegedly captured on tape Thurlbeck offering him a weekly payment of five thousand pounds for the Sunday Mirra's news list, plus a bonus of three thousand pounds for any story from the list which made a front-page News of the World splash. Rice rejected the offer and took the recording to his editor. The Sunday Mirra went to court seeking an injunction to order the NoW to stop trying to bribe its staff. The NoW denied Thurlbeck had attempted to bribe Rice and claimed the Sunday Mirra had approached one of its journalists in search of information. The case was settled out of court with the Sunday Mirra's then editor, Colin Myler, publicly denouncing the NoW and accusing it of lying. Myler, ironically, now edits the NoW. That case followed two earlier embarrassing disclosures after oily smug, full of his own importance twat Piers Morgan stopped editing the NoW in 1995 and moved to the Daily Mirra. Soon afterwards, its sister papers, the Sunday Mirra and the People, both discovered their news lists were being secretly sold to the NoW by a senior Sunday Mirra reporter and a secretary on the People. Both papers said they had been aware that some of their supposedly exclusive stories had found their way into the NoW. Rice's wife and sister are also named in the high court registry as claimants, suggesting their phones may also have been hacked. Rice's solicitor, Mark Lewis, of Taylor Hampton, said: 'I can confirm that Dennis Rice has issued proceedings in relation to allegations that his voicemails were intercepted.'

Phillip Schofield has admitted that 'The Cube keeps me up at night.' Odd that. Piles keep yer actual Keith Telly Topping up at night. I wonder if soothing cream is also available for The Cube sufferers?

Top Twenty shows week ending 15 March:-
1 The Eurovision Song Contest - BBC1 Sat - 9.68m
2 EastEnders - BBC1 Mon - 9.47m
3 Coronation Street - ITV Mon - 9.12m
4 The Apprentice - BBC1 Tues - 8.79m
5 Britain's Got Talent - ITV Sat - 8.61m
6 Doctor Who - BBC1 Sat - 7.97m
7 Emmerdale - ITV Mon - 7.21m
8 Film: Pirates of the Caribbean - BBC1 Sun - 6.83
9 Countryfile - BBC1 Sun - 6.11m
10 Waterloo Road - BBC1 Wed - 6.01m
11 Vera - ITV Sun - 5.90m
12 Holby City - BBC1 Tues - 5.76m
13 Strangeways - ITV Mon - 5.65m
14 BBC News - BBC1 Sat - 5.52m
15 Have I Got News For You - BBC1 Fri - 5.35m
16 Inside The Human Body - BBC1 Thurs - 4.61m
17 Long Lost Family - ITV Thurs - 4.58m
18 The Graham Norton Show - BBC1 Fri - 4.43m
19 Six O'Clock News - BBC1 Mon - 4.40m
20 Watchdog - BBC1 Thurs - 4.26

Martin Freeman has suggested that Sherlock is 'the gayest story in the history of television.' Speaking to reporters after winning Best Supporting Actor at the Philips British Academy Television Awards, Freeman explained that John Watson 'isn't just a sidekick. It's a cliché to put it on someone else's shoulders, but it's really, really good writing and it's fantastic directing, and when you're not being written or directed to perform like a sidekick, you don't,' he said. 'Obviously it's Sherlock's show but there's far more parity than I think there often is in that relationship. I know Steven [Moffat] and Mark [Gatiss] primarily wanted the show to be about that relationship as much if not more than anything else.' Freeman continued: '[It's about the relationship] and how it develops and how it changes and the things that wind each other up, the things that they genuinely sort of love about each other as well. It's the gayest story in the history of television. People certainly run with that which I'm quite happy with! But we all saw it as a love story. Not just a love story, but those two people who do love each other - a slightly dysfunctional relationship sometimes, but a relationship that works. They get results.' Freeman also revealed that he just heard 'a bit of white noise' when it was announced that he had won Best Supporting Actor. 'It's a strange thing,' he said. 'I'm really, really chuffed. I'm very, very proud of the show and to be honest I'm proud of the work I did on it, so I'm very pleased.'

Jo Brand has confirmed that Getting On will return for another series. Earlier this month, Alan Davies claimed that the comedy had been axed by the BBC. But, as with much else that Alan says when he's on Qi, that turned out to be complete bollocks. After Brand won Female Performance In A Comedy Programme at last night's BAFTAs, the Digital Spy website asked if the rumours were true. 'No, it's not true,' she said. 'It's just been recommissioned actually. It was a misunderstanding between some of our friends.' The BBC's controller of comedy commissioning Cheryl Taylor has now also confirmed that the show will be returning for a third series, saying: 'We are thrilled that both the superb comedy performances and wonderful writing of Getting On have recently been recognised by both BAFTA and the RTS. Fans will be delighted to hear that the show has been recommissioned for BBC4.' Brand also told reporters at the awards that she 'genuinely was flabbergasted' when she won the BAFTA. 'I've never trained as an actor,' she explained. 'I've always thought I'm not a good actor. I've been told I'm not a good actor by a lot of people. I think actors go along a continuum from Simon Callow down to kind of Ross Kemp, and I like to think of myself as the Ross Kemp of comedy. He's very good in EastEnders because he plays a version of himself. I think I can play a version of myself - that's about all I can do. Although now that I've got this [BAFTA], I'm getting big ideas. I'm thinking Hollywood, lose forty seven stone, have some work done on my face, get rid of seventeen of my chins and I'm off!' Brand also said that she hasn't thought about where she will put her BAFTA yet, joking: 'I live in South East London so I presume I'm going to hit a burglar with it!'

Daniel Rigby has admitted that he never expected to win Best Leading Actor' at the BAFTAs. Rigby picked up the prize for his role as Eric Morecambe in Eric & Ernie and told reporters that he was just pleased people were happy with his representation of the comedy legend. 'The most daunting thing about the job was the pressure, the weight of expectation of so many people holding Morecambe and Wise in such great love, which is the difference between them as performers and other performers,' he said. 'People actually genuinely love them because they associate them with family and Christmas, so the pressure was immense. As a result I worked incredibly hard, trying to get it as right as I could, and when it came out it was a relief people didn't stone me in the streets for ruining his memory.' Rigby admitted that he 'genuinely felt' he didn't have a chance of winning the BAFTA as he was against Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and Doctor Who's Matt Smith. 'They're brilliant,' he said. 'They're brilliant and they're really famous, which is more than can be said for me! It feels good to have won but they're incredible actors. They do amazing jobs in very high-profile things, so I never expected that.' Rigby also joked that he would love the Doctor Who job in the future and revealed that he already has plans for his BAFTA gong. 'I've actually just left it by the salmon downstairs,' he joked. 'When I get home I will put it on the pillow next to me and talk to it as if it were my partner!'

At the BAFTAs, one of the highlights of the evening was Gillian Anderson presenting the award for Best Actor in a Comedy after she had earlier lost out in her own category, best Supporting Actress. The result? Ninety seconds of comedy genius. First, she gave a shout-out to her designer - who also happens to be her friend. Then, she preceded to poke fun at herself for losing the award. Finally, she closed things off by making a witty joke about Steven Coogan who was nominated for the Best Comedy Actor award. You can absolutely bet that everywhere he goes from now on, people will laugh at him and say 'oh look, there's Steve Coogan!'

Coogan himself has admitted that he felt 'vulnerable' while filming The Trip. Speaking after winning Male Performance In A Comedy Programme at the BAFTAs, Coogan explained that he wasn't sure about the series at first. 'I didn't like the idea,' he said. 'When I see celebrities playing themselves, often I find it irritating. It's faux-self-deprecating.' However, he explained that the show became 'very personal' to him, adding: 'Although we're playing versions of ourselves, you put a lot of yourself into it and you make yourself quite vulnerable sometimes with the way you portray yourself, and Rob [Brydon] and I both did that. To try to do something different you have to make yourself vulnerable and if it doesn't work then you look foolish as well as being vulnerable, so it's a risky business.' Coogan noted: 'If you want to do something worthwhile and not just treading water, you have to take a risk. If something makes you feel uncomfortable or there's some risk element or I think, "This could go terribly, terribly wrong," it attracts me to it.' Coogan also admitted that it 'felt a bit sort of wrong' to be nominated for The Trip when Brydon wasn't. 'It was very much Rob Brydon and I collaborating all the way through,' he said. 'It was like a game of tennis. You can't play tennis on your own, and Rob was a fantastic partner. We had some great rallies. He was a great person to work with. I couldn't have done it without him. I do really owe him a lot.'

The BBC has rightly been proud of its award-winning science series presented by everyone's favourite pop-star-turned-particle-physicist, Brian Cox, welcoming praise in the same way that Jupiter attracts gravity and moons. But his breakthrough BBC2 show The Wonders of the Solar System nearly didn't happen, Foxy Coxy told the House of Lords communications committee last week. 'I know that it was quite difficult to get off the ground, and it was particularly difficult I believe for them to have an academic presenter rather than a more established presenter,' he said. 'The science unit there pushed very hard for that format with an academic and got it. I believe it was quite a difficult commission to get.'

Sir David Attenborough has confirmed that he has no plans to retire. After Attenborough and his team had won the Specialist Factual award for Flying Monsters 3D at the BAFTAs, he was asked if he is planning to stop working any time soon. 'I certainly can shed a lot of light on that,' Attenborough said. 'I have no plans at all! I never, ever said I wanted to retire or would retire, and as long as I can stand up and people want me to do things I shall most certainly go on doing them.' Attenborough also told reporters that filming in 3D has 'a lot of problems' at the moment. 'The cameras are huge,' he explained. 'I'm sure they'll get easier but it's quite hard, and to solve the problem, get it on the air and now get this [BAFTA] is a dream come true.' He continued: 'They take four men to carry. That's not how you actually make wildlife films these days - creeping up on some shy little beast with four men is not the aim of the game! No doubt it will get easier. There will be advances which will allow you to use long-focus lenses, which are very difficult to use at the moment. Wildlife [in 3D] in the end I'm sure will be fantastic, but at the moment it's very difficult.'

Executives at The X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing have reportedly agreed that their shows will not be scheduled against one another. The Sunday Scum Express reports that the primetime talent show rivals have reached an 'unwritten agreement' which means the two shows will not clash when they both begin new series later this year. An 'industry insider' allegedly told the newspaper: 'It's neither in the interests of the viewer or the broadcaster to go head-to-head. Strictly Come Dancing will go out slightly earlier, The X Factor will go later.' ITV's director of television Peter Fincham also told last year's Edinburgh International Television Festival delegates that the channel was keen to develop a scheduling plan with the BBC. It was reported last week that veteran entertainer Bruce Forsyth will return to host Strictly Come Dancing alongside Tess Daly this autumn.

A previously unheard interview with Bob Dylan has revealed that the singer was once addicted to heroin. After a concert late one Saturday night in March 1966 Bob Dylan, while on tour in the US, boarded his private plane in Lincoln, Nebraska bound for Denver with his friend the journalist Robert Shelton. Over the next two hours Shelton taped an interview with Dylan which he later described as 'a kaleidoscopic monologue.' At one point the singer, who turns seventy this week, admitted that he had been addicted to heroin in the early 1960s. 'I kicked a heroin habit in New York City,' he confessed. 'I got very, very strung out for a while, I mean really, very strung out. And I kicked the habit. I had about a twenty five dollars-a-day habit and I kicked it.' There have been rumours that Dylan was involved with heroin. But Mick Brown, a writer on the Daily Telegraph who has interviewed Dylan, says he has never heard the singer confirm the speculation. 'It's extraordinary that he should be talking about it quite so candidly,' he remarked. Elsewhere on the tapes, Dylan reveals he contemplated suicide after people started calling him a genius. 'Death to me is nothing as long as I can die fast. Many times I've known I could have been able to die fast, and I could have easily gone over and done it. I'll admit to having this suicidal thing but I came through this time,' he says. Shelton describes Dylan as 'twisting restlessly' during the interview - animated at times, despondent at others. The next day, Shelton recorded another interview with Dylan, which lasted an hour and forty minutes, at the Motel de Ville in Denver. Wearing a faded old shirt and jeans, Dylan gets angry when talking about people he thinks are taking advantage of him. 'I'm sick of giving creeps money off my soul. When I lose my teeth tomorrow, they are not going to buy me a new pair of teeth. If it's not the promoter cheating you,' he adds, 'it's the box office cheating you. Somebody is always giving you a hard time.' Shelton was a music critic and in 1961 he saw Dylan play and wrote a review that described him as 'a bright new face in folk music.' The next day Dylan was offered a record contract by CBS. The two men became close and Dylan gave Shelton unprecedented access - to him, his friends and his family. Shelton's biography of Dylan, No Direction Home, took twenty years to complete and first came out in 1986. The tapes were uncovered during research for a revised and updated edition, which has been published to coincide with Dylan's seventieth birthday.

Rastamouse is set to release his debut CD this July, plus a new single in June to coincide with his forthcoming live debut at Glastonbury. The BBC children's TV favourite will release Makin' A Bad Ting Good, on 4 July. A new single, 'Hot Hot Hot', will be released on 26 June - the last day of the Somerset festival. Fans of the reggae-making rodent can post clips of themselves dancing online, the best of which will make it onto the video for 'Hot Hot Hot'.

A woman has been taken into custody in the US for allegedly trying to sell a piece of moon rock for $1.7 million. BBC News reports that the unnamed woman was caught after an extensive sting operation during a meeting with a NASA investigator in Lake Elsinore, California. NASA officials have yet to determine whether the rock itself is genuine or not, and the individual could face charges of theft if it is genuine, or fraud if it isn't. 'It's possible this is a moon rock, but it has to be tested first,' NASA's deputy inspector general Gail Robinson told the Los Angeles Times. The woman is being held in custody at present, but has yet to be issued with any formal charges. The sale of moon rock is illegal in the US, where the mineral is seen as being a national treasure. Several hundred kilograms of lunar rock were collected during a string of missions to the moon during the 1970s.

The latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day is a cracking slab of good old fashioned rock and roll still used as a chant at English football grounds. And I've always had a soft spot for Danny Kustow's solo as well.

1 comment:

Joel R said...

Great summary of recent events regarding the Giggs case, Keith. Thank you. I feel there is much misinformation in the media about this case (lest we forget that their often laudable support for free speech is nevertheless inspired by commercial self-interest). In a way, your summary reflected this. David Cameron's comment to Daybreak to the effect that judges' rulings were 'effectively writing a sort of new law – which is what parliament is meant to do' is a case in point. The law utilised by Giggs is a law created by the Parliament. As it states on the Government's website (directgov): “The Human Rights Act 1998 gives further legal effect in the UK to the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. Your human rights are [among other things] the right to respect for private and family life. If any of these rights and freedoms are breached, you have a right to an effective solution in law.” Judges did not create a privacy law - indeed the judge-made common law never recognised such a right before the Act. Now that the right to privacy is there, what are the Courts to do? Without guidance from Parliament, work it out as they go, case by case. Another misconception is that Giggs obtained a superinjunction (which admittedly is a curious species of legal remedy in a democracy based upon open justice). He was able to maintain his anonymity (which makes sense given the nature of the right he was seeking to enforce) - but that is not the same thing. The various media outlets to which you have referred have flagrantly ignored Giggs' right to privacy as given to him by Parliament and upheld by a Court. The Twitter angle is fascinating, as is witnessing the power of civil disobedience via social media. But one thing I keep coming back to is the concept of public interest - has anyone actually identified the legitimate public interest in revealing Giggs' identity in this case. Certainly not the sanctimonious 'superstar' who quoted George Washington. Does revealing the personal life of a professional footballer who - as far as I have seen - never sought celebrity status and limited the rare interviews he gave to football topics really preserve freedom of speech? Or - dare I say - does it sell papers?