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.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I can't believe it, Utube has banned several of my clips. My music videos, my interview on Harald Schmidt, etc.

Why? Because of copyrights? But I'm actually the person in those clips & I personally paid for the making of those music videos (out of my royalties). So whose rights are we talking about here?

And anyway, no one would ever want to use any of these old clips again, so why can't they be posted on Utube for those few people who have an interest in being nostalgic? I mean, come on! It's so bloody greedy, this 'we're just holding on to everything until the end of time with no interest of ever using it' stuff.

I think that after x-amount of years these things should become public property and Utube could be like a public museum. But no...the big guys are not interested in sharing. All they want is money! (Sorry, I'm getting carried away here. But I just get so annoyed with these bloody corporations and their rules and regulations)

Hmmm...I'll have to get creative and find another way to get this stuff back on my blog. So watch this space.....

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sounds of the tropics

We've just come back from San Pedro on Ambegris Caye, one of the Belizean islands. With blue skies, white beaches, dolphins playing off the coast in the afternoons, what more could you possibly wish for? Well...maybe a fully equipped recording studio? But of course, you won't be able to find that on a little Caribbean island like Ambegris Caye? Haha, that's where you're wrong!

Mata Grande Studio has just blown my mind. I'm absolutely in love with it. Not only is it a professional, fully equipped music recording studio, it's actually one of the nicest I have ever seen. All these overpriced London studios are just boring, dingy places in comparison to this. Now, there were no recordings going on whilst we were there, but I've been told that the acoustics are second to none & I can believe that, because it's obvious how much thought has gone into the whole place.

So the set-up with this studio is that the bands or artists recording there get a whole private resort thrown into the deal, with 2 swimming pools, a private beach, etc. And it's totally tucked away (only to be reached by boat) so no one should ever bother them there. Ebbe, one of the owners, totally understands the rock & roll mindset too, proven by the fact that he's buying tons of silly 'boy toys', like radio controlled helicopters, boats and off-road cars for the bands to race with in between takes (this next to the well-stocked beach bar, of course)

As you can see, my little boy Lucas loved being in the studio too.

Anyway, I'm very excited about this new gem of a place here in Belize and I'm sure that I'll be spending a lot more time there in the future.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Play with the changes

4 Hero have done it again, they've released another beauty! 'Play with the changes' is a just a fantastic album. I've always loved these guys. Their music is so diverse and composed so well. If you haven't heard 'Play with the changes' yet, go do it now!
Oh, and just for old time's sake, some classic 4 Hero for you all....

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

You've come a long way baby!

I've always been a sucker for Drum n Bass. There's nothing like the full body work-out you get when dancing at a good DnB night. When the DJ was really good, I didn't even want to intoxicate myself in any way as it could get in the way of my dancing (you never know how things might 'fall' from time to time, know what I mean?)

Some of the most memorable club nights I have ever attended have been DnB nights, with a vibe that is impossible to explain to anyone who wasn't there. It was a mix of danger, decadence (at a later stage) and explosive devotion from its followers. Instead of putting their hands up in the air, people would throw flames up or just hold up their lighters on the highest setting (DJ Hype told me that on some nights people were even firing guns in the air, although that would have been a bit too much danger and excitement for my liking). The crowd on the dance floor and around the DJ booth would just go insane on some tracks, demanding several 'rewinds' to keep them happy.

The Partyzone was around at the early days of Jungle, which over time became Drum and Bass. I remember interviewing the likes of Goldie, Roni Size, DJ Krust, DJ Hype, Zinc, Fabio, Grooverider, etc. on a regular basis. Now, it took a fair while to get accepted by those in the jungle/ Drum and Bass scene. Many were very anti media and thought that we (James Hyman and I) were just jumping on the bandwagon. So some of my hardest interviews have been with DJ's and producers from that scene. My God some of them were moody. Although none of them ever beat Rebel MC. He was the biggest s**t I've ever had on the show.

Still, like I said, I did love the DnB scene. And the best set I ever watched was by DJ Hype. I can't remember the name of the night, but it was somewhere in Germany. When Hype played the stage was full of other DJ's, producers, etc. Normally people would leave after their set was done, but here they had nowhere else to go, so everyone stayed and watched Hype. And they all just freaked out when they saw him play. The guy is a bloody genius & he mixes with an ease that I have not often seen in anyone else, he even looks slightly bored or disinterested whilst doing it. It's such a turn-on to see such a genius in action. So I did end up have a slight crush on him back then. Not that the guy was particularly good looking, but just because he was so cocky and talented. I never told him or anyone else, though : )

I've always had a soft spot for geniuses. I can't help it. It's just so bloody sexy to see that kind of confidence and skill. Guess that's why I ended up marrying a genius myself (no, not a DJ, but a man with many talents including football, search engine optimizing, other 'nerdy' computer stuff, plus an outlook on life that's genius in itself ; )

Anyway, I'm digressing...back to DnB.

The minute I moved to another kind of jungle (the one here in Central America) I stopped looking at what was happening in the DnB scene. I literally haven't looked back since that November in 2001 when we moved away from London. I still listened to my old DnB music when working out, but that was it. But recently I decided to take a quick peek at what's been happening in that world.

And it's great to see things like DnB TV , to see all the old faces still doing their thing & to see the talent that has emerged since I disappeared from the scene, like Logistics and of course Pendulum. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

Oh, I do miss a good dance now and then.....