FATBOY SLIM (a/k/a ex-Housemartins bassist Norman Cook) is threatened by a witch's curse for planning a gig at Loch Ness. And I'll take any excuse to turn someone on to Spike Jonze directing Christopher Walken in the fab video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice."
RAY DAVIES: The Kinks frontman gets an audio feature on his first solo album, along with clips from Other People's Lives and the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" (just because it's a great song).
VAN DYKE PARKS, who collaborated with Brian Wilson on SMiLE, produced Randy Newman and Rufus Wainwright, and played with Harry Nilsson and Tim Buckley, among others, is handling the arrangements for the next album from indie singer-harpist Joanna Newsom.
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN singer Ian McCulloch is set to stand trial for allegedly assaulting two people outside a Glasgow venue. McCulloch has denied the charges.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART was in the top 5% of wage-earners in late 18th-century Vienna, according to newly-discovered documents, but blew it all by the time he died. I await the new episode of VH1's Behind the Music.
THE BOY LEAST LIKELY TO: Their childlike pop wowed crowds at SXSW and their album got a US release this week, but the duo suffers from gadget envy opening for James Blunt in the US. Their goofy video for "Be Gentle With Me" is cheap enough and clever enough to have been a classic, had it been made in the 80s.
FLAMING LIPS frontman Wayne Coyne tells the Toronto Star that the band forces itself to try new things, "even if it's not something we're good at."
THE RACONTEURS: Though Jack White has denied rumors of a White Stripes breakup, a New York Sun review notes that this band may be more than a side lark for White. You can stream their single from the band's website.
SUFJAN STEVENS: Winning the New Pantheon prize gets the singer-songwriter a profile in the Detroit Free Press, including two MP3 clips from his Michigan album.
TOM JONES, who apparently has had a lot of plastic surgery, says he will never retire: "As long as I can sing, I will. I'm enjoying it now more than ever. I'm having more fun now. It's not as frantic. I get more respect from people and it's very gratifying."
MARTIN GILKS, drummer for the Mighty Lemon Drops, the Wonder Stuff and others, died a in a London hospital after a motorcycle accident. He was 41.
PETE DOHERTY-KATE MOSS UPDATE: For once, it's someone else in Babyshambles charged with drunken driving, though the troubled singer was trying his best to disrupt an airport in Austria. Meanwhile, the supposedly sober supermodel is reportedly going on vacation to Hawaii with Lindsay Lohan and Courtney Love for a celebrity version of Girls Gone Wild.
TOM-KAT UPDATE: Cruise is trying to force Holmes into labor by feeding her spicy Indian food. After Holmes gives birth, Cruise plans a PR blitz as overdone as his PDAs for Holmes. Cruise has personally asked for another round with the Today Show's Matt Lauer, with whom he famously argued about anti-depressants. Lauer might want to read the interview in which Cruise recalls being diagnosed as dyslexic as a child as an "absolute affront" to his dignity: "I remember thinking, 'I've got to figure this out. What's normal? Am I normal? Who's to say what's normal?' I didn't understand what 'normal' is. It still doesn't make sense." I'm sure it doesn't.
THANDIE NEWTON is writing letters to Tom Cruise, Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie; Coldplay's Chris Martin, Barry Manilow, Kevin Costner, Bill Murray, Meg Ryan, Jack Nicholson and Ben Affleck, urging them to ditch their SUVs. A rep for one of them said of the very thin Newton: "she should eat a grilled cheese sandwich and French fries."
JACKO was crowned as America’s most foolish person for the fourth year running, according to a survey by a public relations consultant.
REBECCA ROMIJN is settling down with her fiance Jerry O'Connell in an old brothel.
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY will be joined by Scottish actor James McAvoy in the film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement.
SCARLETT JOHANSSON is cast as a 14-year-old in Napoleon and Betsy, which has historians complaining that Hollywood is putting a salacious spin on a very innocent relationship.
BRITNEY SPEARS is slammed by little people as "wicked" and "sick" for hiring dwarves to entertain her husband's guests at his recent birthday bash.
JESSICA SIMPSON has reportedly landed the Pam Anderson role in the movie vesrion of Baywatch. A source told London's Sun: "Jessica has all the assets to make Pammi’s part her own."
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY, People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive, is beaten by a pair of 14-year old girls... in a 400-meter race: "Those little girls had very, very long legs."
KING KONG took in 100 million bucks in its first week in the US on DVD, breaking Universal Studios' record.
JOHN McTIERNAN, director of Predator, Die Hard, and many more, was charged Monday with lying to the FBI, becoming the first Tinseltown figure accused in the unfolding investigation of wiretapping and other alleged wrongdoing by Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS thinks modern American men look more like women. Which might explain his new Grizzly Adams look. And Douglas is particularly horrified by the male use of cosmetics. After all, real men have cosmetic surgery.
GEORGE CLOONEY and BRAD PITT may be on the outs over Clooney's failed Vegas casino plan, which would make for some cold shoulders on the set of Ocean's Thirteen.
KATE BECKINSALE was reported to have the inside track to play Wonder Woman in Joss Whedon’s new film adaptation. And why not? She looks the part more than Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Michelle Geller and Charisma Carpenter. Plus, she already has the costume. However, it seems that the IMDB fell for an April Fool's prank.
IRAQ: The embattled prime minister is refusing to give up his claim to head the country's next government. At ITM, Omar reports on death threats against newspaper sellers. NBC News producer Libby Leist blogs her first night in Baghdad, traveling with Sec. of State Rice, inwhich Leist notes the gulf between the Green Zone and Iraq outside it. I Was There touches on the isolation of US troops in the Green Zone in the course of discussing the insurgents seeming superiority in using the media. 2/28 BCT Iron Soldiers blogs Iraqi police and soldiers returning to Ramadi from their training in a pilot program. The L.A. Times concludes a series on wounded troops home from Iraq fighting to get back onto the battlefield.
IRAQ IN THE MEDIA: The New York Times reports on "the deadliest day for American forces since the beginning of the year," burying the following: "At least 13 American troops have died so far this month, setting a pace that could interrupt a trend of steadily declining casualties over the past five months. The monthly tally of at least 31 deaths in March was the second lowest since the invasion of Iraq three years ago." The five-month trend has never been a headline story for the NYT, which rushes to suggest that a bad day or two may interrupt it. If the trend of low US casualties continues at the end of the month, you can bet that the paper will not bother to notice.
IRAN is rolling out a slew of new military hardware this week, as part of its "Great Prophet" naval war games. The "Whale" missile is not the threat Iran claims, and the "flying boat" is a joke, but others are more serious threats to shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. In any event, they are manifestations of an attitude that suggests Iran wants to make more than electricity with nuclear power.
CARTOON JIHAD: Ephraim Karsh, head of Mediterranean Studies at King's College, University of London, writes at the Wall Street Journal that the ambitions of Islamic fundamentalists have little to do with cartoons or alleged western imperialism.
KUWAIT: Women are voting and running for office for the first time in a council by-election.
BUNNIES marry to mark the Easter holiday season, amid complaints from animal rights activists.
DONKEYS are better than wives, according to an Indian schoolbook.
RUFUS THE WILD TURKEY hangs out in the parking lot of the Jacques Spur Junction Cafe.
DON'T EAT CANADIAN BEARS: Sound advice from French health officials. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.
RISE AND SHINE, CAMPERS! It's Brown Kamchatka Bear Day in Moscow. The bear has ended his hibernation on hearing the voice of spring.