Amy Winehouse 1983-2011

I missed the inaugural meeting of the Amy Winehouse Appreciation Society; she was on MTV rotation before I’d heard of her. I always feel ashamed when I admit that, like it was remiss of me not to have caught the kernel of her talent, not to have been around to add to the heat that made her pop. The video was Stronger Than Me. The voice pricked my ears and swung my head and stopped my heart. I sat watching with my jaw on the floor, and as soon as the song stopped and I’d wound my jaw back onto its hinges, I found myself a copy of Frank and became a card-carrying member of that Appreciation Society, with special responsibility for Taking Amy’s Side Against Narrow-Minded Arseholes and Rolling My Eyes At People Whose Favourite Song Was Valerie.

Under The Covers

Like all drunken Irish balladeers, myself and my friends love a good yowling session of a Saturday night. At our most recent Singstar marathon, my cousin and I got up to sing Erasure’s A Little Respect, and were surprised (really, because we’re terrific singers) to get relatively low scores, until it occurred to us that we’d instead been belting our way through the version by American ridicu-rockers Wheatus. We’d been emphasising the wrong words, rushing through the wrong lines, because we were rocking out to synthpop. Funny thing how a good cover version can nibble its way through your beloved original. It’s not the custom for a cover version to outshine the original (fear not, Erasure fans! I’m not strictly referring to the Wheatus usurpers!), so when you do come across a particularly wonderful cover, it’s a real treat. There are those, like Wheatus’ version of A Little Respect, that … There’s more

Sweary’s Jaw

Surreptitiously fretting over Zach Braff death rumours, so you don’t have to. Y’know, it’s rare you’ll have a slow news day in the sphere of celebrity silliness. There are so many stars out there, and with the paparazzi/their PR people on their backs twentyfourseven, you’re bound to get an instant update whenever an A-lister falls over, or says something daft in an interview, or buys crack in a schoolyard, or whatever. Then you’ve got the B and C list celebrities getting snubbed by guestlist Nazis, the mid-alphabet types falling out with one another on Dancing With The Stars … all the way down to some tragic Z-lister losing her implants on a drunken night in. It’s a full and cutthroat world out there – if you want to be in the news, you’ve got to do something newsworthy. Maybe embarrassingly so, maybe something so seedy it trades your whole life … There’s more