Sunday, November 18, 2007

Given up hope on Britney

Oh, by the way...just wanted to say that since my posting on Britney a little while back, I have changed my opinion on that whole custody battle. I now realize that I don't like either Kevin or herself (guess they deserved each other after all)

Britney doesn't even seem to be trying to turn things around. I would have done anything to get my children back. As a mother I am shocked and outraged. This woman is definitely not fit to be a mother. Until she learns to love her children more than she loves herself I have no hope for her. Poor kids!

MTV Arabia

I just read about MTV expanding into the Middle East with it’s own Arabic Music Channel. This is great news!

I was in Beirut, Lebanon with MTV in the nineties as MTV Europe launched there. It is one of my best memories as an MTV Veejay. I absolutely fell in love with this vibrant, fun-loving place. As a matter of fact, if it hadn’t been for it’s unstable nature (which is a sad reality), I would have wanted to move there when we left London six years ago. But instead we settled on Belize, Central America.

Anyway…I think that MTV can play a major part in the blending of Eastern and Western society, by joining young people all over the world through music. I think it managed to do that better when it was all still ‘one MTV’ (MTV Europe) & the channel was kind of forced to play music that would appeal to all the different territories & cover news stories from all the territories. But even so, this new Arabic MTV can give the young generation in the Middle East it’s own voice and may be able to help artists from one Arabic country to cross over to other Arabic countries. Music is such a great way to bring people together.

Back in my MTV days we attended Peace Rallies in Israel and Lebanon & we saw that most young people just want to live in peace. They want to go out, have fun, listen to music, dress up nice, meet with their friends, etc, all the normal stuff that everyone wants. They often were telling us that the wars they were forced to fight were the wars of their fathers. So if we want peace in the Middle East we can start by bringing it’s young people together. Make them feel more connected to each other, regardless of which country they were born in.

You know, this kind of stuff was always most important to me. In my 8 years at MTV I often felt like I wasn’t contributing anything to society. But finding ways to give young people a voice where they hadn’t had one before, like when the Soviet Union crumbled and the East joined the West in Europe, those moments made me proud of what I did. I felt that, in my own little way, I was contributing to bringing young people together. And I am still proud and thankful for that opportunity.

So peace! May MTV be with you!

Partying in Beirut. Fun, fun, fun!!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Brilliant new music video 'Dear Honey'

I've just been made aware of the debut track of Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, called 'Dear Honey'. It's a perfect mix of 'quirky' and 'catchy' and I love it!

This unusual and funny video really complements the track & it's the debut from Jurassic Technology, a directing duo from Los Angeles. They apparently spent six months building miniatures, designing mattes and animating characters. Hard work by the sounds of it, but well worth the effort.

'Dear Honey' and Dusty Rhodes and the River Band's album 'First you live' are available on Side One Dummy.

Music Videos - Dear Honey

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Simply Red are splitting up?

So Mick Hucknall has announced that Simply Red are to split up. But Mick, you’ve got me confused now, because who are Simply Red anyway? I’m sure I remember you telling me that Simply Red was basically you with some session musicians. And that on one album you tried to make it a more democratic process-like a real band- and that you were very unhappy with the result. So I thought that you had gone back to Simply Red basically being you. Am I wrong?

Anyway, Mick told me all this when he had invited me to his house for lunch one day. He had bought my best friend’s house, a magical country home called Southcroft, which was a place of many happy memories for me (I had always wanted to buy that home myself, but didn’t have the money), so I really wanted to see what he had done to the place. As a matter of fact, he hadn’t done much. Most the furniture was the stuff my friends had left behind, which was funny to see. Mick did make a wonderful games room, complete with old pinball machines (I love those) and tons of signed football shirts on the wall. And he had frescos painted around the indoor pool, making it look like an old Greek bathing house.

Mick made me a lovely lunch telling me that, if he hadn’t been a musician, he would have wanted to be a chef. I think he would have made a pretty good one. Especially his guacamole is phenomenal.

Now, unlike my other ‘old rocker’ friend Brian Adams who has always been a total gentleman & who I have had many lunches and dinners with (many at his house) and who never has hit on me in all the years that I've known him, Mick Hucknall did. He obviously had misread my intentions for coming to his house and when I was leaving he tried to kiss me. Nothing too uncomfortable though, just a normal guy ‘trying it on’ on the off chance. As soon as he realized that I wasn’t interested, he just laughed it off and that was that. I didn’t go back to his house after that though.

Anyway Mick, good luck with being ‘just Mick Hucknall’ now. Even though I have no idea what difference it will make.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Strange music, stranger man: Tricky

People often ask me if I ever had any famous boyfriends in my MTV days & generally I have to disappoint them as I always stayed clear of relationships with rock stars or other men who were in the limelight (too much ego and too many potential problems)

There was one exception though; I did have a relationship with Tricky for a while. Now, I’m sure that he seems like a strange choice to most people. Out of all the famous men out there, surely I could have picked someone better looking and appealing than Tricky? Yes, yes, yes, that’s surely true. Tricky does look like an alien and even after knowing him I sometimes wonder if he actually is one. He’s the strangest man I have ever met in my life & for a while he had me ‘hypnotized’ with his strangeness & I became quite besotted by him.

This is what happened. I had recently met Tricky as I interviewed him for the Partyzone. His album ‘Maxinquaye’ had just been released & was the breath of fresh air that I had been waiting for. I loved that album, as it had seemed to me that, at the time, no one was doing anything new in the dance music scene & this was finally something original. Up to that point I had been bored out of my skull with what was going on musically and was seriously considering packing in my job with MTV. So ‘Maxinquaye’ restored my faith in what was possible musically and re-ignited my passion for music.

A few months later I bumped into Tricky again. This time at a ‘Dazed and confused’ party. He pulled me aside from the dancefloor, sat me down and told me: ‘Listen, you’re not at all the way people think you are…’ And then went on telling me all about myself. He told me things that I had never shared with anyone, he told me about my fears, my hopes, my dreams…I mean, he knew everything, really weird specific stuff, like things that I did when I was a little girl. For instance, about how I used to pull the sheets up to right under my chin at night, so that I would wake up if a Vampire would try to bite me. And he knew that my wild confident persona was all just an act, that I was actually a lot more introvert and insecure than I pretended to be. And these were just two of the things he told me; the list went on and on. When I asked him how on earth he knew all of this, he just said ‘I’ve been observing you for a while’

I was in utter shock. On the one hand I felt flattered by the fact that someone bothered to look that deep into me and on the other hand I was just confused by it all. I didn’t quite know how to react when Tricky said: ‘Look, the real issue is this, you like me and I like you’
‘I do?’ was all I could answer. He really had me confused now. I had never even considered looking at him like that. ‘Yes’, he answered, ‘And so the question is, what are we going to do about that?’

Well, that was it. It was the start of our relationship. I fell for him in quite a bad way, probably because the guy was just so endlessly fascinating. His mind didn’t work like anyone else’s. Whatever was going on in the world, Tricky would see the issue from a completely different angle. I didn’t always agree with him, but I liked the fact that he made me question things that other people would take for granted. Being with Tricky was never dull as it really felt like being on a different planet. His life was utter chaos though. People would actually have to wake him, get him out of bed, drive him to the studio and stay with him until he started to get into the music, otherwise he would just walk back out again. And I remember packing his bag for him as he was walking out the door to go Norway or something, without even his passport on him. People were always looking for him & there was just this general sense of disorganization and the feeling of this dark past hanging over him. Still, in the midst of it all, there was always his inspiring creativity.

But what I didn’t know was that he was seeing Björk whilst he was also seeing me. They were already together when I first met him. When I finally did find out things had already gotten quite messy. Björk had apparently shouted out during a performance ‘Why won’t he love me?’ and was fuming with me and with Tricky. I never spoke to her about it, but it was obvious from that moment on that she hated me. And I can’t blame her. And things continued to get messy as Björk started to go out with Goldie who, at the time, wanted to kill Keith from the Prodigy, who I was hanging out with a lot, etc. It was all a bit of a crazy time. Tricky laughed it all off & didn’t see what the fuss was all about. He suggested that we would have an open relationship; free to see whomever we wanted. But that just wasn’t something I would ever be comfortable with. So that’s when I bailed out.

We did stay friends though and many months later he told me that he had not wanted to commit to me, as I had been too much of a stable influence on him. He was worried that without drama in his life he would not be able to create. He said that he needed to feed of this drama and that I was simply too ‘together’ for him. It reminded me of the time as a teenager when I got dumped by a guy for being too ‘proper’ & decided to see it as a compliment.

Now, looking back, I know that it was all the truth. I am too ‘together’ for a crazy, drama filled, rock & roll lifestyle. I opened the door, looked in, smiled at the interesting chaos and walked away. I’m just happy to be normal.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How many millions does one need to be happy?

Sir Paul McCartney and lady Heather Mills McCartney are back in court today trying to reach a divorce settlement. Isn't it funny how they have the very royal titles of 'Sir' and 'Lady', yet they are behaving in a less than royal way? Fighting over beggars scrapping over some loose change that has fallen on the floor. I find it all rather distasteful, to be honest with you.

Especially when you see the kind of numbers we're talking about. The former Beatle's fortune is estimated at £825 million & this may become the most costly divorce in British legal history.
Press speculation has suggested that the settlement could reach £60m (exceeding the record £48m businessman John Charman was told to pay his former wife).

And apparently Heather Mills has already turned down a financial settlement worth £32 million.

What I don't get is how much money do these people think they need? I mean, would Paul McCartney even notice the difference between having 800 million or 700 million? And does Heather Mills really think that her life would be lacking in any way if she was awarded 'only' 32 million Pounds? What's up with these people?

My respect goes out to all the single parents out there who manage to make ends meet without any financial support of their former spouses, especially if they refuse to share any of their burdens with their children.

As a child of divorced parents myself I know that it much more important to a child that his or her parents can stay 'friends' than to live in a huge mansion whilst your parents hate each other. Nothing is more heartbreaking to a child than to have to celebrate each birthday party without the presence of one or the other parent and to always have to split their life apart, unable to choose who to love more, yet always feeling forced to have to do so.

And what example are Heather and Paul giving to their daughter? That money is more important than trying to get on with each other for her sake? That they battled each other to the last million? And for what? How many houses does someone need? How many flash cars can you need?

Oh, it's all so sad. These stupid celebs have their priorities all screwed up. I should send my mother over to teach them a thing or two about the value of love, which is worth so much more than money.

Oh, and whilst we're still on the divorce subject...any news on Britney? Has she finally sorted her life out? I'm telling you, if that girl is still out clubbing then even I will have to give up hope for her.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Poor Britney

Oh, I do feel for Britney Spears. She's just getting one blow after another. Yes, many of these 'blows' are of her own making, but even so, it's sad. And of course the biggest blow must have been the fact that her children were taken away from her and that Kevin Federline has been given custody.

I actually think that one of the reasons that she's been flying of the rail so much has been the crippling fear of losing her children to K-Fed. Of course, with all this erratic behaviour she has actually ended up creating that what she feared most.

For instance, why did she shave all her hair off? I still believe that the most plausible explanation for that drastic action was her fear of her hair getting tested in the custody battle. That it is possible to conclude whether or not a woman used cocaine during pregnancy by testing her hair.

If that was the reason why she shaved off her hair then we'd have to conclude that yes, she probably did use whilst pregnant. Still, I know of women who used cocaine during early pregnancy as they were unaware of being pregnant. These women all lived in fear throughout their pregnancies, petrified that they may have hurt their baby in some way. As far as I am aware these children were all fine and the women have become good mothers (I'm not condoning this, I am just trying to explain that people do make mistakes)

I do also know of a celebrity who consciously continued to use throughout her pregnancies and the image of her walking around in a nightclub with a huge belly, begging people to please sell her some cocaine is edged on my brain forever (I won't mention any names, she's been through enough already and actually has been clean for years now). I do hope that this is not what Britney was up to.

But what I am trying to say is that maybe Britney took some drugs in the early stages of her pregnancy. And in that case, it wouldn't actually say anything about her capabilities as a mother. Yet K-Fed may have used that knowledge against her and freaked her out about it to the level that she shaved all her hair off.

Anyway, the girl does have some major issues and does not seem to be able to be a steady parent right now. But since when is K-Fed such a great dad?

The consensus seems to be that Britney was initially bringing up the boys mainly by herself whilst her hubby was out partying and spending her money (And who knows? K-Fed may have even have been the person who introduced Britney to drugs in the first place?)

K-Fed left his pregnant wife to get off with Britney (a better catch) and has the air about him of being a complete and utter user. That's my feeling anyway. He gives me the creeps. Britney seems to have been the fool to fallen for his tricks. It all reminds me of Mel B's story with that user of an ex of hers, that Jimmy Culzar. He milked her for all she was worth (But didn't we all see that coming when she announced that they were not going to have a pre-nup?)

Then of course there was the story of another female superstar falling from grace: Whitney Houston. Boy did that Bobby Brown mess her up. From style and grace and success to being a total cokehead. So successful women, be aware of scroungers and drug-users! Don't let them be your downfall.

So anyway, Britney Spears is down low right now. And was K-Fed what made her fall? My guess is that he was. Still, she has no one but herself to blame for going out without any knickers on, for hanging out with Paris Hilton, for crashing into another car without even having a license, etc.

But what do I think should have happened in this custody battle? I think that the kids should either have gone to their grandparents until Britney can sort her act out, or that she should be monitored more closely, with help from a good nanny, plus her mom living with her for a while. On top of that, visits from a social worker and education on how to become a better mom. Whilst we're at it, you could even throw in some regular drug testing. But I don't believe that the boys should have gone to K-Fed.

Britney never seems to have failed in loving her boys, she just is too lost right now to truly be there for them. The girl needs help. And where is her mom in all this? She doesn't seem to be in the picture too much. I find that rather strange.

Anyway, I do hope this story will have a happy ending somehow. And I just hope that Britney doesn't end up hurting herself in her desperation.

So let's stop giving the girl a hard time and give her the benefit of the doubt. And anyway, if Michael Jackson is deemed to be a fit parent, there must be hope for poor Britney.

Good luck girl!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Great music and a voice to fall in love with

On my way to the studio I was listening to James Morrison's 'Undiscovered' album & throughout the day I kept wondering how it must have felt to have been in that recording studio when James sang his first lines. I'm sure that who ever was present at that first session with him would have been grinning from ear to ear. My God, what a voice! And to think that he used to be out busking! I would have given him whatever I had in my wallet had I ever come across him singing out on the streets somewhere.

I find it funny seeing him on TV occasionally. He seems like such a sweet little boy, yet his voice is so masculine and his songs seem like a window straight into his soul. Beautiful!

Anyway, it's about time he brought out another album. I'm sure it will be great again.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mark Ronson music, Utube collection

He's just so bloody good, isn't he? That Mark Ronson. 'Versions' is definitely one of my favorite albums ever. So I thought I'd grab some Utube videos of that album and place them here together with the originals. Are the covers better than the originals? You judge!

Which version of 'Oh my God' is the better one?

Which version of 'Stop me' is the better one?

Which version of 'Just' is the better one?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tricks to getting backstage!

As I mentioned briefly in my posting about Tina Turner, I used to have a real talent for getting backstage and meeting famous people. And I'm not talking about the time that I worked at MTV, but way before I was part of 'the business'.
So, what's the trick to getting backstage? Well, you have to see it as a sort of game or as a military operation. Wander around at the back of the club or venue & try to figure out who 'the players' are. Pretend not to be too bothered about about what's happening on stage. Instead, just look at who's doing the sound, who's doing the lights & who seems to be having a say in what's happening on stage. When any of these people go over to the bar, start up a conversation with them. Not about the band, but something along the lines of 'So you guys got it all figured out then? Looked like you were having some problems earlier' or 'My God, it must be hot working with those lights, I'm miles away from them & I can feel how hot they are' or even a simple 'got a light?' (if you're a smoker) or 'know what time it is?'

Just try and start a conversation. Whatever you do though...don't act desperate! Pretend that you couldn't care less about everything that's going on. Be cool.

Once you've chatted a bit, move on and come back to that person a little later (again, part of the whole act of being slightly disinterested). When you approach that person again, act cool but familiar with them. You can (again) ask for a light, check if you can just leave your bag up where they are or ask for a pen, scribble something on a beer mat and pass it back (something funny works best)
At the end of the gig you should check what the plan is for afterwards with that person: 'Are you guys going anywhere afterwards? There is a good party on tonight' (of course, it helps if you know the owner/bouncers of the club and can phone through a guest list). Also check casually if the band may want to come along.

If the person doesn't respond to that though, try another trick of mine. Ask if you can use the toilets backstage as the ones out here 'are disgusting'.

By now, the person should have already invited you to come and meet the band (they usually love the fact that they can do this and impress). If it hasn't happened yet, say that your friend/sister (who ever you are with) is a big fan and would love to meet the band, could he please sort that out? Or, if you are alone, say that you got tonight's ticket from a friend who is the real fan but who's sick and couldn't come & then ask if you can take a picture for her of the band.

Enough tips for you?

Of course, this all works better if you're a woman. But I am a woman, so I can only tell you what's worked for me in the past. Also, in the whole process of this, try to meet more than one of 'the players/crew' there. You always need a back-up plan or plan B, just in case person 1 is not the most helpful. Oh, and as soon as you know the person's name, use it. Say 'Steve, can you pass me that?' or 'John, can I leave my bag here for a minute?' It is all about acting familiar with people, without it looking like you are trying too hard.

Anyway, good luck. Enjoy the game and send me some cool pictures once you've met the act you wanted to meet.

In my next post I'll share some of my own funny experiences of 'meeting the bands'.

Oh and by the way, there never is any need to do anything as desperate as this...licking someones staff/backstage pass ; )

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Spice girls reunion

Yep, it looks like those wild Brit-chicks have decided to set their differences aside for a while and to bombard the world with their 'girl power' message once again (even though these funky mommas are well beyond the 'girl' stage of their lives by now ; )

I'd love to be a fly-on-the-wall for that tour, as I'm sure that there will be a healthy mix of loving and hating going on backstage. If only one of them ran a proper blog (I know that Victoria runs a blog, but come on, that blog is just a load of nonsense, isn't it?)

I remember them coming into the MTV studio for-what I believe was-the first ever Spice Girls TV performance. They did a short interview and an acapella. It was before the release of 'Wannabe' and I'm not sure if they had even recorded any songs yet at that point. Anyway, they were a complete whirlwind. We had never seen anything like it in the MTV hallways. These girls were brash, loud, funny & super confident. Geri Halliwell ran into my dressing room and pinched my bum (so does that put me at one or two degrees of separation from Nelson Mandela, as my bottom was pinched by the same hand that pinched his bottom?)

Anyway, apart from the fact that we found these girls highly entertaining, none of us at MTV thought that they had much of a future. How wrong we were!!!!! We just couldn't imagine at that point in time (when boy bands ruled the world), how a girl band could have the same kind of impact. Especially as these girls were not all that talented to begin with. I mean, their acapella was okay, but nothing to write home about. I've often thought back of that first meeting with the girls and it always made me giggle. Especially once they got to the height of their fame. It really was something we could never have predicted.

Anyway, the Spice Girls have always been lovely to me. Unlike the girl band that tried to follow in their footsteps: All Saints. They were arrogant & mean, right from the start. Especially the Appleton sisters. They have always been complete bitches (I still can't see how lovely Liam Howlett ended up marrying one of them. Maybe they changed since I knew them? God knows)

Oh, another Spice Girls memory: I was having a drink with Victoria Beckham (way before she became a Beckham) and my dear friend Caroline Prothero, when the owner of the bar/restaurant decided to send us over some Champagne on the house. The waitress got so nervous that she ended up tipping the whole tray of filled Champagne glasses straight over Victoria.

Victoria was totally drenched, whilst the panicked waitress and ran off into the kitchen. Victoria was such a great sport about it. She just laughed and said 'Don't worry, it will dry off. It's not like it's red wine or anything'. She quickly followed the poor waitress into the kitchen and brought her back out, all the while comforting her, saying 'See, you can't even see it' (You could)

I know people often give Victoria a hard time and I know that she often brings it on herself too, but this experience showed me a very different side to her. A side that was totally down-to-earth and kind.

Anyway, if you're off to see the Spice Girls in concert, enjoy! Let these lovely ladies spice up your life once more.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Meeting Tina

I was eighteen years old, had recently started working for MTV & was about to do my first ever interview. In true MTV style, they had decided to throw me in to the deep end by making me interview Tina Turner. Still, I wasn’t worried. Famous people had never intimidated me. My older sister and her friends had been dragging me along to concerts from when I was about 12 years old, because I had always possessed the uncanny ability to end up backstage where ever we went. Therefore, taking me along to a concert meant an almost guaranteed introduction to the band (I’ll tell you about the system I had developed for that some other time)

Anyway, back to the story…I had spent the first part of the day arguing with my director as to what I could wear for the interview. He thought that all my clothes were inappropriate. He kept saying: “Simone, Tina Turner is an icon. She needs to be treated with the utmost respect. Interviewing her in those crazy patchwork trousers would be an insult to her status”. I had had my heart set on wearing my patchwork trousers and one of my wild multi-colored hats, convinced that Tina would love my crazy style as much as I did. But no, I wasn’t allowed. I was told to wear the plainest item of clothing that I had, which was a black Naughty-by-Nature T-shirt. I tried to add a little of my own personality by wearing a small leopard-print hat with it, but still…the overall affect was rather boring.

In the meantime, everyone else’s nervousness had managed to jump over on me. Maybe they were right? Maybe this was a big deal? Maybe this was like meeting the queen? Damn it, I had felt so good to start with, but now my legs had turned to jelly.

Tina was already positioned on one of the bar stools in the middle of the studio as I walked on to the set. Shy and self-conscious, I stood quietly away from the lit-up area. No one had noticed that I was there. My director was in deep discussions with Tina’s manager/boyfriend (or was he her husband?) & Tina was getting the last touches done to her hair and make-up. There were people fluttering about all over the place. I heard Tina’s husband/manager saying that he wanted to see the script before the interview.

“We don’t like surprises. Tina performs best when she is well-prepared,”
“Of course, not a problem,” the director answered. “Let me get Simone”

I swallowed hard, put a huge smile on my face and walked up to them before anyone had a chance to shout my name.
“Hi, I’m Simone. Nice to meet you” (My strategy of dealing with nervousness was to pretend to be 100% confident at all times. And it generally did the trick. People sometimes even thought that I was over-confident. If only they knew….)

“Hi Simone, Tina needs to see the script so she can prepare her answers”
Tina’s manager reached out for my paperwork.
“Okay, but I may not stick to the script exactly” I said as I handed it over.
My director shot me a dirty look.
“Well…I’ll try. But I may not ask things exactly the way they are written”
“ That’s fine dear. As long as you stick the basic questions that we discuss ahead of time”

“Okay…Tina” he called out as he walked me on to the set, keeping his eyes on the script. “This is the girl who will be interviewing you”

“Oh hi, how nice to meet you. I’m Tina” Her eyes were warm and her smile so welcoming, that it melted my nervousness almost immediately.

“Hi Tina, I’m Simone. Nice to meet you too”
Whilst her manager continued to look at the questions, I whispered to Tina: “This is my first ever interview. I hope it will be okay”

There was that great big smile again. She whispered back: “Don’t worry, we’ll have fun” and winked at me.

Wow, what a lovely lady and what a great presence she had! I was struck by her beauty & couldn’t believe that this glowing, tight-skinned woman was old enough to be my grandmother.

Tina’s husband/manager turned to Tina, told her my first question and how she was to answer it. Before I had too much time to think about the strangeness of that, Tina snapped her fingers and shouted: “Right then, let’s get this show rolling!”

Everybody shot into position. The microphone leads were being pushed inside our clothes, followed by a quick “One two, one two” sound check. Tina’s loose strands of hair were sprayed down one last time & the director called out:
“Simone, don’t forget; Tina is an icon. She deserves to be treated that way,” followed by a “Coming to camera in five, four, three, two,…”

“Hi, you’re watching MTV’s afternoon mix,” I smiled at the camera (Cameras have always had a calming effect on me. When I look at them, I feel like I’m talking to an old friend) “With me today is a rather special woman, who really doesn’t need much of an introduction…”

Tina and I started chatting & the interview flowed well, but the two men next to the camera were kind of bothering me. My director looked pissed off and Tina’s manager was acting rather strangely. He stood by the side of the camera, pouting his lips, playing with his hair, turning his face this way and that and occasionally throwing his head back completely, pretending be laughing, but without any sound. It took me a while to realize what was actually happening; Tina was looking at her manager from the corner of her eyes and was mimicking every move he made whilst answering my questions. And the freakiest thing of all was that she was looking completely natural as she was doing it.

‘So is this what showbiz was all about?’ I wondered to myself, ‘To be a star you have to turn into someone’s puppet?’ I was absolutely baffled by the whole situation. Especially as Tina Turner is known as a former battered wife & had come out on the other end, stronger and more powerful than ever. Well, strong as she might be, here she was acting like she was being controlled by another man yet again.

Now, maybe I was reading the situation wrong. Maybe she wanted his assistance. Maybe she thought that it was easier for him to judge what would look good in any given situation & maybe they were just working as one tight unit.

I really don’t know. I just know that I found the whole situation rather unsettling. And it definitely influenced the way I viewed showbiz from that moment on. I instantly lost my faith in the ‘reality’ of it all & vowed never to become a puppet to anyone, even if it meant losing my career over it.

“Damn it, Simone. Stop interrupting Tina! You need to treat her with more respect. I told you that she is a super star. You don’t interrupt superstars!” The director shouted. His outburst startled me. What was he on about? I didn’t interrupt her. All I had said was the occasional “Right…exactly…Really?” You know, the things one says in any normal conversation.

Tina looked at the director & surprised me once again that day, as she stuck up her middle finger and shouted: “Oh, fuck off! Super star nonsense! We’re just having a nice girly time here” She nearly killed me with that comment. What a woman! My poor director kept quiet for the rest of the interview.

Tina’s manager continued to check each question before it was asked and stopped the interview whenever he wanted to pass on some more answers to Tina.

So anyway, the overall experience was pleasant, strange but pleasant. I had managed to work my way through my first ever interview. And I also got treated with another little gem of a moment as Tina and her entourage walked past my dressing room on their way out. Tina looked inside at the clothes that were piled on to my suitcase and ran straight up to my colorful patchwork trousers with a delighted “Oh my goodness, these are absolutely fabulous!”
As she held the patchwork trousers in front of herself, I turned to my producer and smiled a satisfied smile. It was the last time I ever took fashion advise from anyone who wasn’t a stylist.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Making music festivals drug free...yeah, right!

So apparently the police are trying to crack down on drug use at the Isle of Wight festival. The local force has worked for months on an operation which will "deter hardened drug addicts and criminals from attending the family event". They will be armed not only with sniffer dogs, but also with social workers who will be giving the drug users on-site counselling straight after their arrest. What a load of crap!

As a person who's used a fair amount of illegal substances in the past (not these days, I'm as healthy living as they come now), I can tell you that this approach will not do any good. Kids will find ways to get drugs on to the festival site anyhow & listening to a social worker preaching about the dangers of drug use will-yes of course-be a total come-down, but probably not have any lasting effect.

I can tell you now that most drug-takers do not see themselves as 'hardened drug addicts or criminals' & being treated like that just makes them feel that 'us against them' feeling, that feeling that those in power (police, social workers, etc.) do not understand them in the slightest. These 'hardened drug addicts' are simply someones daughter, someones son, your next-door neighbour, the girl at the back of the class...they are just normal kids and most of the time they grow out of their rebellious stage. No one can tell them to change their ways until they are ready to do so.

In Holland we used to have a support system set up at festivals for those on drugs who wanted it. I'm not sure if that program is still going. It was a stand where you could get advice, sometimes you were even able to get your E tested on purity, and you did not risk getting arrested in the process. An approach like that can actually safe lives. Because nobody wants to get judged, patronized or risk arrest. So if someone on drugs is having a problem at a festival you want them to come forward and not hide away in the dark, afraid of 'getting caught'.

Anyway, I hope that the festival-where Snow Patrol played on Friday & Muse and the Rolling Stones headline the remainder of this weekend-will not be any less fun because of it.

Party on!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Paul McCartney's mess-up

Oops! Hundreds of sold copies of Paul McCartney's new album 'Memory almost full' will not be eligible for the UK chart. Sir Paul's 21st solo album (!) was released on the newly formed Starbucks label Hear Music, but now it turns out that the 533 Starbucks stores in the UK are not registered with the Official Chart Company, so all the albums sold at those stores will not count towards the charts. Major Oops!

'Memory almost full' will still make it into the charts through the sales on the high-street stores and downloading services, but even so, I assume that McCartney will be well annoyed with Starbucks for this mess-up. Maybe the chain should have stuck with what they do best...making coffee.

I have always been a huge Beatles fan and in my MTV days I had hoped to meet Paul McCartney (obviously, it was no longer possible to meet my real hero John Lennon), but the closest I got was meeting Ringo Starr (the boring Beatle) and watching George Harrison go into Jools Holland's house, who lived across the road from us.

Oh well, I guess Paul McCartney will just be added to the stars I haven't met yet. This list of 'want to meet but haven't yet' also includes The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beasty Boys & Stevie Wonder. I think that apart from these I have pretty much met everyone I wanted to meet when I was at MTV. So I didn't do too bad. Shame that so many stars were a let-down though. I'll have to dig into my (rather bad) memory and blog about many of those meetings in the coming months or so.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Lindsay Lohan's drink driving

I don't get it. First it's Paris Hilton and now Lindsay Lohan is out drink driving, with cocaine being found in her car as well. I mean, is she trying to copy her rather moronic 'frienemy' Paris? (scenes of them shouting 'Coke head!' and 'Fire crotch!' to each other in public were both pathetic and hilarious)

Anyway, it all just doesn't make any sense. These girls will spend fortunes on handbags, but they don't have money for a driver or even a taxi? What's up with these high-living low-lifes? Do they think they are above the law?

Lock them up, that's what I say. Not just because they could have hit an innocent bystander, not just because they (sadly enough) are rolemodels to millions of young girls, but also for their own sakes. Some time alone, without any luxuries may be just what these girls need. They may come to the realization that their current lifestyle is not serving anyone, not even themselves. They could use their fame and fortune in so many postive ways, but instead all they do is waste millions (dollars and braincells). Currently, their only use is to fill the tabloid magazines. People enjoy watching trainwrecks, especially when those in question are rich and succesful. We place them on a pedestal & then the cheering crowd takes great pleasure in knocking them off again ("Ding-dong, the witch is dead", yes it's the modern-day equivalent of witch burning sessions)

Anyway, I wish them well. These misguided souls. May penitentiary do them good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My family 'on tour'

We've been 'on the road' with our two little kids for the last month now (England, US, Belize and Aruba) and with all this traveling I'm still not in the mood for much blogging. Still, I just wanted to share with you which songs really did it for me when we were in the UK two weeks ago. Okay, so these were it:
  1. Brainstorm by the Arctic Monkeys (crazy music style, a kind of punk, metal, pop mash-up...absolutely genius. Guess there was substance behind all the hype over this band)
  2. Your love is not enough by the Manic Street Preachers and Nina from the Cardigans (Nina's vocals are hauntingly beautiful. I hope that she's more fun these days though than she was in the nineties when I interviewed her band the Cradigans and rated it as my most boring interview ever!)
  3. Get down! by Groove Armada (brilliant party tune! Love Groove Armada! And I would love, love, love to see these guys play live one day. Everyone seems to agree that they are a great live act)

And my one-year-old's favorite track was NYC Beat by Armand Van Helden. Yep, he's a little raver already. Well done my boy! Mummy is proud of you!

Anyway, in June we'll be back in Belize and that's when I'll sit down and write some 'proper' posts again.


Friday, May 04, 2007

The English music scene

After all these years, I still have to say that the English music scene is by far the most exiting in the world. We're in the UK for two weeks and I am loving the barrage of new music that gets thrown at you here. It does also make me feel a bit sad though, as I miss being part of that world these days. I hear my old colleagues on the radio here (Edith Bowen, Sarah Cox, Zane, etc.) and I have to admit, I do feel a tat jealous. Still, I know that I have an amazing life too, quite different, but amazing none the less. I life in paradise, I'm happily married, have two great kids, we're financially secure, we're healthy, we have a fun business...what more could you want really?

Anyway, I'll blog again when we get home next week.

Adios amigos!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Snoop dogg's troubles

Snoop Dogg has just been given five years probation and 800 hours of community service on gun and drug charges. He could have gone to jail instead, so he must be pretty happy with the verdict.

Still, I don't get Snoop. I mean, why is he still living like this? I interviewed him years ago, shortly after his dear friend Tupac had been killed & we had a good chat about gangster life and about his feelings for Tupac, etc.

We really hit off, because he realized that I actually understood what he was talking about. In my teenage years (before MTV) I mixed with some pretty shady characters myself in Amsterdam and witnessed things young girls wouldn't and shouldn't normally witness. Even so, my earlier experiences into the darker side of life did help me in situations like this Snoop Dogg interview. Because I understand that there are worlds within worlds, where normal rules and reasoning don't apply. It's hard to understand unless you've witnessed it from within.

Snoop totally opened up to me and I could feel a level of trust that is unusual in many interviews. Afterwards he said to me: 'You know, I thought that we would be the total opposites of each other, with you having grown up as a rich white European girl, and me a poor black guy from the hood...but we're not so different after all, are we?'

And he was right. I totally 'got where he was coming from'. But what I don't 'get' is why guns, drugs, etc. are still part of his life. There just is no need for that anymore. He is a successful artist, a father, a business man and he is enormously rich. There is no need for him to still be going round in 'those circles' where you can't be safe unless you're armed & also..didn't he give up drugs before? He really needs to start thinking about what he could be throwing away.

I do wonder if these rappers understand that you don't actually have to keep living a gangster life to be able to rap about or relate to gangster life? And anyway, what's the public's obsession with this lifestyle anyhow? It's not a lot fun and it actually is not tough or even clever. Most 'gangsters' I've met haven't been the sharpest tool in the box and that's why they all end up killing each other. As soon as there's a disagreement or misunderstanding, they shoot. It's dumb and it shows the level of fear that's actually underneath it all. Kill before anyone gets the chance to kill me. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

So Snoop, sort your f***ing life out. Be an example to your children and all those misguided wannabe gangster kids out there. Even if it were to cost you your career. Even if no one wants to listen to you anymore when you start sprouting out some more uplifting lyrics (you may even want to try rapping about women in a more respectful manner) I believe that it's better to have no more hit records then to be a successful inmate. And I think that your children will agree with me on that.

Good luck Dogg!

P.S. After the interview I went on to kick Snoop's arse at a game of pool, which I thought was pretty cool. I'm normally crap at pool, but for some mysterious reason I played really well that day : )

Monday, April 09, 2007

This email made me laugh..

I received this great email titled 'my mum and Simone'. I wasn't sure if it was some kind of spam, but opened it anyhow. And this is it...isn't it funny?


A strange title for an e-mail I know but I must explain I am from the UK and now live in Australia. My mum was clearing out my old room and came across three video tapes which she proceeded to send to me in Australia with a message saying, I thought you may want what is on these rather than me throw them out.

Anyway the other night I put one of the video tapes in the player and it was, wait for it, MTV's Party Zone from 1992 / 1993. It was excellent to watch it back and the opening line from you is "Hello I'm Simone, I'm a little bit fluey today but that's what you get when you go out clubbing a lot (chuckle) and of course you're watching the Party Zone" I laughed my head off. I used to watch your show every week back then and used to hate it when you were off on holiday and Lisa I'anson would present instead as she would attempt to dance around the studio but not very well and simply end up rocking from side to side and clicking her fingers.

My girlfriend at the time always used to say I was going to run off and marry you instead of her as I would be glued to the screen when you came on. Ironic really seeing as I have been living very happily with my boyfriend Phil in Australia for the last few years.

Also on the tape was the video for your song "Let This Feeling" With you and Ray Cokes dancing in front of it when you appeared as a guest on Most Wanted.

I remember once being a student and absolutely wasted bumping into Paul King at a 120 Minutes gig in London where the Ozric Tentacles were playing and hassling him about how I could become an MTV presenter. Needless to say he took one look at me wasted and brushed me aside.

So after watching the video I decided to Google you and low and behold your blog came up. It's been fascinating to see what you and other ex VJ's have been up to. MTV was great in those days, they actually played music rather than the really bad U.S. "reality" shows that dominate the channel these days. We only have one MTV channel in Australia and it just isn't that great.

Thank you for your blog and all the best with your family and The Belize Jungle Dome.

Cheers, Stevie

Love it!!!!

James Hyman played this Dan Le Sac VS Scroobious Pip track recently on the Rinse. I nearly crashed the car trying to follow what the guy was saying. Great pop culture references. Very clever.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Is it even possible to improve on the original?

Whenever I've heard any attempt to re-record Sgt. Pepper, It's been a let-down. So will the same be true for this 40th anniversary makeover? The line-up is good ( I especially love James Morrison), but I still can't imagine that anyone can make the tracks sound as good as the Beatles did.

From the brilliant NME music website:

Oasis & The Killers to record new version of 'Sgt Pepper'

The Beatles classic gets a 40th anniversary makeover
(10 hours ago)

Oasis, The Killers and Kaiser Chiefs are to cover songs from The Beatles' 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' to mark the 40th anniversary of the classic album's release.

The original album was released on June 1, 1967 and to mark the event the big names will all be covering tracks from the record for a BBC2 special to be aired on June 2.

Razorlight, James Morrison, The Fratellis and Travis are among the other acts taking part.The BBC reports that Geoff Emerick, the engineer in charge of the original sessions will use the same equipment to record the new versions.

Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas said: "This will be not only a unique radio event, but a very special musical moment."The range and quality of artists involved ensure that this will be a fitting tribute to one of the great albums of all time."

There is no news yet on which track the artists concerned will cover.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What the Belizean press had to say about the recent Norman Cook/Andy Palacio recording

The Channel 7 report: Fatboy Slim & Andy Palacio: Garifuna Meets British Dance

One of them is a British producer who draws thousands to all night raves; the other is a Barranco boy who recorded his latest album in a thatch house on Hopkins Beach. Put them together and what do you get? A little bit of international dance musical sensation Fatboy Slim, and a little Bit of Garifuna superstar Andy Palacio. The two recorded last week in San Pedro and courtesy of Stonetree Records we have the videos from the four day session. Here's what it looked and sounded like.

Jules Vasquez Reporting,The Stonetree Crew flew out so San Pedro to Mata Grande Studios, four miles north of San Pedro Town to meet Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim. His idea is to marry dance music popular in Europe with Garifuna instruments, styles and singers. Add a little of the Grandmaster to that and you've got….something.

Fatboy Slim,"See what happens when English music met Belizean."

And from his end, Fatboy Slim brings a lot. As a vastly popular British DJ and much sought after remixer, he's played to tends of thousands, sold hundreds of thousands of records, and won an MTV Best Video Music Award for this song weapon of choice. But now, he's in Belize looking for new inspirations and experimenting. On what? He doesn't know.

Fatboy Slim,"You can't really explain experiments or experimental."

And that experimental urge led him to the Garifuna Collective. He wanted to see how their sounds would work on his records.

Fatboy Slim,"We arrived here with no real songs, no real ideas. I came here with a CD with beats and bass sounds from England and about half an idea of what to do and over the last four days we've hang out with the local musicians, listen to what they do, try to match the two and see what happens."

But how does Garifuna music with its African rhythms that go back centuries intersect with electronic music pioneered over the last two decades? Well, right here. In fact, this could be the textbook study. Joshua Arana playing the Primera Drum showed Fatboy how he could slow the pace, and seamlessly ride his electronic rhythm track.

After getting the percussion pattern from Cook, Giovanni Chi did pretty much the same for the turtle shell and it hit the spot for Fatboy Slim. And while Lugua Centeno was circumspect, Grandmaster felt it, right off.

You could call it roots funk - and to make it even funkier, how about putting a wah pedal on a drum? To our knowledge its never been done but between Stone Tree's Al Obando and Fatboy, they weren't afraid to try. For those who don't know the wah pedal is made for a guitar, and alters its tone. Here's how it sounded in the Fatboy track.

A murky mystery of a tone - but that's where the spirit of experimentation took them. And its that kind of experimentation that made the tracks starts to come together to the satisfaction of artists from both traditions.

But while he may aspire to play the drums, Andy isn't ready to go into electronic dance music at least not just yet. He did write a song, worked it out with Fatboy, and delivered. Backup singers Cella Torres and Deseree Arana also got in on tracks. And if that sounds plain, this is how it sounded in the mix.

After a few days of that, Arana too was made into a believer. And by the time, Fatboy Slim had finished four days of recording, he, the Garifuna Collective and the engineers had put together three tracks - which he says is just a start.

Fatboy Slim says that definitely two of the tracks will make his next album. He may also do a remix of one of the tracks from Watina. After that session, Andy Palacio headed to Europe, where he will make a live television appearance in France in support of his new album Watina.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Swimming with sharks and playing turtle shells, yes it's another hard day at the office...

Well, we're back from the jamming sessions with Norman Cook and Belizean the artists Andy Palacio, the Grandmaster and the Garifuna collective. It was just the nicest week ever with night time drumming sessions on the beach, snorkeling trips, jamming, fishing, recording songs, sunbathing and walking barefeet on the beach. It really couldn't have been any more perfect.

The first day was a bit chaotic as there were so many people at once, but things soon slowed down and good music was made in the process. Norman recorded 3 songs whilst he was here, with my favorite being a slighly more down-tempo track with Andy Palacio and the Grandmaster, which I think will be called 'GMT'. The stuff that was recorded here will not be released as Fatboy Slim, but as the Mighty Dub Katz on Norman's label Southern Fried Records.

One of the things that was interesting to see was the interaction between someone like Norman, who is of course a big time DJ/producers & these local musicians, none of which are professionals (even Andy Palacio, the biggest Belizean star, is a diplomat as well as an artist). Norman was surprised to see how all the Belizeans just froze the minute the recordings started in the studio. The whole set-up was just too alien for them & they struggled to create a vibe like they had the night before when drumming on the beach.

Ivan Duran from the Belizean label StoneTree Records explained that this was a common problem and that all their albums are therefor recorded in people's houses, with the singer set up in the kitchen, the drummers in the bedroom, etc.

Still, Norman patiently persevered and eventually managed to get some great stuff out of everybody.

Setting things up.

Norman trying to figure out where 'the vibe' has gone:

We were all so sad to leave. Maybe the following pictures will help explain why...

Caroline Prothero from Prohibition, Nathan from Southern Fried, Norman, Andy, the kids and I on our way to Shark Ray Alley, where we snorkeled with nurse sharks, sting rays, eagle rays, turtles and more.

One of the daily fishing sessions at the end of the pier (hoping to catch dinner). Much was caught, including a crab, but nothing big enough to feed us.

The biggest fish of the week was caught by Aidan. Sadly though, it was made of fabric. Lucas' 6-year-old friend Justin kept telling people that he had caught 'a slapper' the night before, which we believe was the snapper that the boys had caught (we didn't correct him as we all found it too funny)

Drummer playing the turtle shells. Norman loved the sound that night, but was less keen on them when he got awoken at 7 am the next morning by the 'tuning of the shells' outside his bedroom door. Still, it's all part of being in the tropics.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Belizean music

A while ago I wrote about the lack of a music scene in Belize. Well, that posting was not totally accurate. There is a lot of music being made in Belize, but you just don't get to hear much of it when you live here. It's a bit like the chocolate, really. See, some of the best organic chocolate in world is grown in Belize (the 'Maya Gold' from Green & Black), but it's impossible to buy any of it in this country. The cocoa beans get exported to Italy for processing, after which they're send to the UK for packaging.

So that's the story with the chocolate...then there's the Belizean music & on the local radio stations you only get to hear 'Punta' and the artist Super G!!!! (they always shout that name). I'm no fan of Punta, so I don't listen to the radio stations much. And I thought that that was the only music that was being made here. Well, I was wrong.

See, Norman Cook wants to jam with Belizean artists. So I started to do some research for him and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of music that was actually being made here. The best stuff can be found on the label StoneTree Records. Check out their site and click on the album artwork to listen to the tracks.

I will let you know next week how the jamming sessions are going.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oh my GusGus!

The weird and wonderful Icelandic collective GusGus is at it again. They started out an arty supergroup in the 90s, with roughly ten members, including a former male model, a pilot & a mish-mash of the some of the finest in Reykjavík's art scene; actors, singers, photographers, etc. Some left, others came, the band faced bankruptcy along the way & through it all they continued to make great music.

Does anyone know if their stage shows are still as visually exciting as they once were? If you've seen them live in last few years, please let me know what they are up to on stage these days.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fatboy Slim jamming sessions

Very cool! I'm setting up some jamming sessions with Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) and a bunch of Belizean artists. We're gonna have a blast! I'm sure Norman will love this place!!!

And we're planning to document it all as well. James Hyman may even come and do this with me. Which means that we'll have the old Partyzone team back in action. I really hope he can make it. And of course, as soon as I am able to share any footage of all this, I will. Just keep checking in on this blog....

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Madonna v. Timbaland?

So apparently Madonna considers recording a Timbaland track for her new album. I wonder if he's willing to produce the track for her though without featuring himself on it. Good old Timbaland...he obviously had enough of just being a superstar producer. These days he wants the groupies to scream for him and not just for the artists he's producing & so now he demands to feature on virtually every track he produces and to be seen in all the videos for the tracks too. He's becoming a bit like modern-day Puffy, isn't he?

For instance, it was so odd seeing him perform 'Wait a minute' with the Pussycat Dolls at MTV's New Year's Eve show. He looked totally out of place in between these long-legged dancing & pouting ladies. It didn't even seem like they enjoyed sharing the stage with each other to be honest. But it looks like Timbaland has made his mind up, he wants a bigger piece of the pie and that's it. Take it or leave it.

But anyway, he's a marvelous producer and, judging by some behind the scenes footage that I've seen of him, he's quite an entertaining exhibitionist too.

I guess this whole Madonna thing will be part of his 'collaboration' album that apparently features artists such as Dr. Dre, Elton John, Fall Out Boy, Nelly Furtado, Ludacris, Chris Martin, Björk, Missy Elliott, and more. Do any of you know when that's meant to come out?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

How's this for a wake-up call?

Want to get some goosebumps? Then watch this, it's bloody brilliant! If it doesn't make you sad, mad and/or inspired to take some kind of action, I don't know what could. It makes me want to cry out to the world:


It's the track 'Eyewater' by Cassius and Pharrell with a video directed by Kincaid.

Please, share this video with everyone!!!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Celebs in rehab

Celebrity & addiction, they seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? I know that many celebs have a bad influence on each other (Think Paris & Britney, Kurt & Courtney, Kate Moss & Pete Doherty, Whitney & Bobbie, etc.) but occasionally, people in ‘the industry’ reach out to others when they think they need it.

I was a bit of a wild child too back in the MTV days & strangely enough, I got lectured to by two of the biggest addicts in music history; Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Boy George.

Steve Tyler (who’s a lovely man, by the way) once gave me a long lecture on addictions before handing me a bottle of whiskey. We were at a party somewhere in Scandinavia to celebrate MTV’s birthday (can’t remember which one) & at this party they were only serving wine, beer and soft drinks. I didn’t drink beer or wine & wanted to drink alcohol, preferably vodka. So I was ‘on a mission’ and when Steve saw that I wasn’t going to give up until I found some hard liquor, he went to look for some on the Aerosmith tour bus. He returned with a bottle of whiskey, but looked rather worried & wouldn’t hand me the bottle until I’d given him the chance to tell me about his life, his struggle with addictions, etc. Obviously, I told him he had nothing to worry about. I was not addicted to anything and was only having some fun. I have to admit though; I did drink way too much that night and got into a bit of a pickle, so Steve’s advice didn’t really do that much for me.

And years later, I was lectured again. This time it was in a hotel room where we were continuing the night’s party. Hotel rooms have always been the real ‘VIP’ rooms to get in to, not the ones at the club. Most parties only really got going once people got back to the hotels (this is why hotel managers often weren’t too keen on ‘industry people’ staying with them, they caused to many complaints by other guests)

Boy George sat me down that night, away from the others, and gave me a long lecture on the dangers of addictions. I can’t remember exactly what he said, as I was a bit trashed at the time. But I do remember thinking: ‘Cool, I’ve now been lectured by two of the worst addicts in music history. All I need now is for Keith Richards to lecture me & I’ve done the whole list’
(Boy George, by the way, is an absolute doll and is also incredibly funny. I love him. We've had many fun adventures with over the years)

In the end, it wasn’t any lectures that stopped me from doing what I was doing, it wasn’t rehab & it wasn’t nicotine patches or being ‘born again’. I simply grew up, my lifestyle changed and I decided that the hang-overs just weren’t worth it anymore. Guess I never really was addicted to anything then, but because I seemed so wild, people assumed that I was.

So does rehab really work? Often it doesn’t. Just like nicotine patches and diets often don’t do the job. I believe that you have to make some drastic lifestyle changes & change your own self-image to make the other changes last. Once your self-image has evolved, you’ll notice that certain behaviors no longer fit this new image. As long as I saw myself as a rebellious teenager, I could go out, get trashed, make a fool of myself occasionally and be grumpy whilst I nursed my hang-overs.

These days, I see myself as a responsible & loving mother and wife, and as a professional, healthy and out-going resort owner. So obviously, I live a healthy lifestyle. It’s been many, many years since I’ve been intoxicated in any shape or form & I do not miss it in the slightest.

But what I do not understand though is how women like Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, Whitney Houston, Courtney Love & Kate Moss (amongst others) could see themselves as loving and responsible mothers whilst going out and getting hammered all the time. I just don’t see how that works. How on earth do they deal with their kids the next day? Or do they not see their kids until after lunchtime? And when their toddlers throw temper tantrums, do the mums simply join in? I think that’s what I would do if I had to deal with a tantrum whilst being hung-over. They are hard enough to deal with sober.

Part of the problem, I believe, is that our culture makes many women in the spotlight feel insecure about ‘just being a mum’. It’s like they somehow need to prove to the world (and themselves) that they are still young & ‘with it’. What these young mothers could do with is their own support system. They should start hanging out together and with some other ‘super star mums’ that can actually be a role model for them, those in the limelight that are not scared to be a mother and a woman.

Anyone out there who wants to start this support group for these poor mums? They can get together once a week, with their toddlers (and nannies?) in tow, share their experiences, swap Gucci bags, teach their toddlers how to pouch at the cameras, etc. (sorry, I’m making fun of the whole thing again)

No seriously, these women need help. Maybe Dr. Deepak Chopra should jump in here. He has some wise things to say about addictions and might be able to help these women change their lifestyle in more ways than one.

For the sake of their children, I wish them well & I hope that not more of these women will go the way of Anna Nicole Smith or Paula Yates. And I hope that they can start by forgiving themselves for the mess they got into. They can start anew today.

So good luck ladies! May love be with you.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My Robbie Williams paparazzi hell.

Whilst I'm on the subject of Take That, I might as well tell about the whole 'Robbie Williams Paparazzi trap' that I walked into all those years ago. This is what happened:

I was at the MTV office one day, when several people started telling me that Take That were in the studio and that Robbie from the band was dying to meet me. He, apparently, was looking all over the studio for me. Now, I wasn't much of a Take That fan at the time (I was mainly into underground stuff back then) & I wasn't sure which one of the guys was called Robbie. But anyway, I made my way down to the studio to say 'Hi'.

As soon as I walked in, Robbie shot towards me. He shook my hand and said:
'Oh my God, I'm such a big fan of you' & 'Wow, my legs have gone all wobbly'.

I was gobsmacked. Here was a guy who was obviously quite gorgeous and quite famous (understatement!) & he just told me that he was a fan of mine???? I didn't know what to say.

After a short awkward silence, he asked me:
'Is that a throat sweet that you're eating?' (It was)

He followed me to the dressing room, where I gave him a sweet & where we chatted for a few more minutes. I can't remember what on earth we talked about, it must have been silly chit-chat. We were both very nervous and neither of us had the courage to ask the other for a phone number or anything else, but we both walked away grinning from ear to ear.

I was very excited about it all. He was one of the cutest guys I had met for long time & I was dying to tell someone about it. So I phoned the girl at my record label's press office as she was always going on about Take That. I had been spending a lot of time with her recently as my record was about to be released (I used to make the mistake of thinking that all those I worked closely with were actually my friends, which is a very dangerous trap to fall into in showbiz), and I told her what had happened.

I also told my best friend/manager (who also was quite into Take That) and she did ask me: 'Can I tell people about this?'

I saw nothing wrong with that. I mean, it wasn't a secret that I met him. But I guess I just didn't fully understand what was involved in this 'telling'.

So anyway, I just continued my life, doing what I had been doing. My single was about to be released and I was going up and down the country promoting it. Of course, a lot of interviews were lined up too.

And this is what happened in one of the first interviews: the journalist asked me a few questions about me and my single, but at the same time he didn't seem that interested in anything I said. I was starting to get confused, when suddenly he asked: 'So what about you and Robbie Williams?'

I wasn't sure what he was talking about, as I didn't even realize that Williams was Robbie's last name. I actually thought he was talking about the actor Robbin Williams.

When he saw how confused I looked, he said:

'Robbie Williams. The guy from Take That'
'Oh, him. Yes, we met recently'
'So is it true that he is a fan of yours?'
'Well, yes apparently so.'
'What did he say when he met you?'
'Oh, not much. Just that his legs had gone all wobbly'
'So have you guys been going out since?'
'No, I only met him that one time'
'Has he phoned you since?'
'No, he doesn't have my number'
'What would you say though, if he asked you out? Would you say yes?'
'Yes, I think I would. He's a very cute guy'

And that was it, that was all I said. But it was the start of a bloody tabloid nightmare. Suddenly everybody started writing stories about me and Robbie & about how I was 'The most hated girl in Britain'. The whole thing was just a pile of crap. I started to receive some pathetic death threats from Take That fans (I was never scared that anyone would ever actually hurt me though) and when the press got a whiff of how angry all these Take That fans were, they started saying that I had two 24-hour security guards with me and that I was fearing for my life. Again, a load of crap. I have no idea where all this nonsense was coming from.

Anyway, Robbie obviously thought that I had run straight to the tabloids to sell my story and to get publicity for my single. Okay, so my name was now in the news, but I was deeply unhappy about the whole thing and extremely embarrassed. This so wasn't me. I had never experienced the Tabloids before and had no idea how that whole sleazy world operated.

I never did have the courage to bring any of this up again with Robbie, even though our paths crossed repeatedly. I was too embarrassed about my gullibility at the time and was worried that Robbie wouldn't have believed me anyhow.
So from that moment on he kind of gave me the cold shoulder. We'd talk to each other, but only as much as we had to. We both ignored what happened and I would watch him pick up several girls in front of me over the years. Did he do that on purpose or couldn't he have cared less? I have no idea.

Still, I guess it was a blessing in disguise. Because I liked him at the time, he liked me...something might have happened between us if it hadn't been for all of this. And let's face it, the guy does not have a particularly good track record when it comes to relationships. So maybe I did get some public humiliation out of it, but at least I was spared the possibility of a messy relationship with a guy who has major personal problems.

So, there you have it. That was one of the most infuriating & embarrassing experiences of my life. Nothing compared to what celebrities go through these days with their own paparazzi hell, but humiliating for me none the less.

So how is Robbie these days anyway? Did I hear he's in rehab again? I hope he'll find his peace, the guy seems to always be looking for 'something' in all the wrong places. Obviously, LA is not really a good place for finding peace & neither is London. Too many hanger-ons & too much temptation. The boy should take a leaf out of my book and spend more time in nature. I think he needs it.

Anyway, I wish him well.....

Friday, February 23, 2007

Take That!

I'm delighted to see that Take That have managed to make such an amazing come-back, because they're just the nicest guys ever. The thing that always impressed me about them was how genuine their interest was in their fans & how much time and energy they put into signing autographs, taking pictures, etc. Whatever it was the fans were asking for.

Most artists that I've met over the years have been very selective in who they were being nice to. So whenever we filmed with them, they would be very friendly to me, the director, the producer & whoever else who seemed 'important'. But Take That were an exception. They would treat everyone equally. They would spent time with and afterwards even remember the name of the person bringing the teas and coffees. And when they came to the studio repeatedly, they would ask after people's sick family members and whatever else they remembered from the conversations they had last time. This was all the kind of stuff that happened behind the camera and something the larger public never got to see, but it's something that really impressed me and always stayed with me.

Their overall attitude also rubbed off Robbie Williams, even when he was in the midst of his 'rebellion'. I remember stumbling out of a Paris hotel after a particularly heavy night with a small group of people that included Robbie Williams & Brian Cannon (The slightly insane photographer of most of the old Oasis album covers and the inspiration for the lyric 'Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball')
Anyway, Brian and I legged it into the car as fast as we could, we did not want to look at and/or talk to anyone. We just wanted to make it through that day without puking or collapsing & I know that Robbie felt as bad as we did. Still, Robbie stopped to talk to each and every fan outside that hotel, with us cursing him and telling him to get his arse in the car or we were going to miss the bloody train (there was a general strike in France that weekend that included all the airports, so we all had to take the Eurostar back to London)

Still, back to Take That. I'm just happy that after all this time they are back. And I love their new track 'Shine' and the video for it, in which Mark Owen looks a bit like the Artfull Dodger. Very cute.

It is kind of bizarre though to think of them as a boyband these days and pictures of them pouting at the camera make me laugh. They just seem to old for that now. Still, if anyone deserves renewed success, they do.

Now, I still need to write down the whole stupid tabloid trap that I walked into back in the Take That days. Where the newspapers branded me as 'The most hated girl in Britain' for allegedly going out with Robbie (which wasn't true). Anyway, it's a long and embarrassing story so I'll have to really sit down for that one.