Stop The Presses!

August 11-18: Talkin’ ‘Bout Shaft

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

Well, as usual a lot of fluffy stuff happened this week, involving the usual suspects like Britney Spears and Jennifer Aniston boytoy John Mayer. And we'll get to all that, of course. But first, the important story, the story by which all other stories of the week pale in comparison: We're talking 'bout Hayes. And we can't dig it. Because Oscar-winning Shaft theme man and all-around soul legend Isaac Hayes died this week, at age 65.

"Shut your mouth!" That's the "Shaft" line we blurted out when we first heard the horrible news that Isaac had collapsed--reportedly from a stroke--next to his still-running treadmill at his Memphis home. But it's true. Even sadder, Isaac died the same weekend as Bernie Mac, his co-star in the upcoming movie Soul Men. But he will always be remembered--

by older generations familiar with his early Stax-Volt era, as well as younger generations who think of him fondly as the Artist Formerly Known As Chef. (Isaac supplied the sexy baritone voice of the apron-swathed South Park loverman, until a dispute with the show's creators over a controversial Tom Cruise/Scientology episode caused his character to be brutally killed off. That episode would probably be hard to watch now...)

Rest in peace, Isaac Hayes. You were one bad mother and a sex machine with all the chicks...

OK, back to the fluffy news; it will help counteract the heavy Hayes story. So, it seems that Jennifer Aniston and her tabloid boyfriend of four months, singer-songwriter John Mayer, have broken up.

Yeah, not quite as sad as the news of Isaac's untimely death...but for fans hoping that Jen and John were helping each other respectively rebound from Brad and Jessica, it's still a bit of a bummer. However, according to one "source" who just spoke to Us Weekly, the It Couple are just "taking a break," and that this stage in their relationship "is really a cooling-off, not this big, dramatic breakup. It's just slowed down." Hmmmm...John just took trip to Cabo San Lucas without Jennifer. That sure sounds like a breakup to us. But hey, hopefully these two can remain FRIENDS. (Sorry, couldn't resist...)

Breakup rumors of another kind are also swirling around recently regrouped Britpop band the Verve, who made a triumphant return to the U.S. stage (after a 10-year hiatus) at this year's Coachella festival. The belligerent Brits have broken up twice before--the second and seemingly final time at the peak of their career, after their multiplatinum-selling Urban Hymns album. And although they're all set to release their comeback album Forth this fall, now their third reunion may be over before it's even really begun.

See, the band is supposed to headline Britain's V Festival this weekend, but an incident last weekend at Japan's Summer Sonic festival is starting to make this look like one of music history's briefest reconciliations. The Verve apparently had some sort of spat onstage at Summer Sonic, guitarist Nick McCabe fled the gig in a separate bus...and now one gossip site, Holy Moly, is reporting that "there's as much chance of them playing V as Isaac Hayes." Ouch. Talk about a bittersweet symphony.

One very public split that took place last year was the one between Britney matriarch Lynne Spears and Christian book publishing company Thomas Nelson, Inc. Thomas Nelson, Inc. was set to publish Lynne's memoir, Through The Storm: A Real Story Of Fame And Family In Tabloid World, in time for Mother's Day 2008. But when news broke of her teenage daughter Jamie Lynn's out-of-wedlock pregnancy, the company announced that Lynne's tome--which was originally marketed as a book of parenting advice--had been "delayed indefinitely." Gee, we wonder why? Maybe because no prospective mommy dearest should take advice from a book by Lynne Spears, unless it's titled something like What Not To Do: Learn From My Mistakes?

Well, now it seems that--possible unlike the Verve, or unlike Jen and John--Lynne and her publisher have reconciled. Her 272-page pageturner is now slated for a September 16 release, although now it's reported to be less of a parenting handbook and more of a juicy tell-all, of course. Apparently Lynne's done some rewrites to include coverage of Britney's breakdowns, Jamie Lynn's pregnancy, and the Spears clan's battle with Brit's ex-Svengali, Sam Lutfi. "The stories Lynne shares reveal the heart of a mother who struggles to keep faith at the center of her life through its many unexpected twists and serendipitous turns," a pre-review on the Barnes & Noble website reveals. But considering all the things that go on regarding the Spearses these days, Lynn might want to sign a book deal with Thomas Nelson, Inc. to pen a volume 2. Because we all know when it comes to Britney, the story is far from over.

One reunion that British authorities probably aren't too thrilled about involves former glam-rock god/convicted pedophile Gary Glitter. The singer of such inappropriate-in-retrospect songs as "What Your Mama Don't See (Your Mama Don't Know)," "I Dare You To Lay On Me," and "Do You Want To Touch Me?" has served three years in a Vietnamese prison on child molestation charges--but once he's paroled this coming Tuesday, the disgraced rocker will be troublingly shipped straight back to his homeland of Great Britain. Glitter has already publicly declared that he does not want to return to England--he's not all that popular there anymore, for glaringly obvious reasons--and that he intends to resume his singing career in either Singapore or Hong Kong. Singapore and Hong Kong, you have been warned...

And finally, on a much-needed positive note: One glam icon who's never shied away from controversy--but who is hardly disgraced, and is quite welcome in Great Britain--is celebrating a milestone birthday this week. Yes, Madonna turns 50 years young on August 16, and she's officially the hottest half-centenarian EVER. She's hot enough to jump out of her OWN cake!

So happy birthday, Madge...and to the rest of you out there, have a great week, and see you next Friday.

THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:

1) Isaac Hayes Dies - The legendary soulman was 65 years old.

2) Madonna Hits The Big 5-0 - The biggest pop star in the world turns 50 years young on August 16.

3) John & Jen No Longer Friends? - Sources say John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston are "taking a break."

4) Book 'Em, Britney! - Mama Lynne Spears finally gets a release date for her Britney-centric memoir.

5) Law School Musical - Vanessa Hudgens is being sued for $5 million.

6) Goodnight, Vietnam - Vietnamese officials are shipping dishonored glam-rocker Gary Glitter back to Britain.

7) Sean Paul Gets Busy With Cops - The reggae star is arrested in Sweden on pot charges.

8) World's Shortest Reunion? - Rumor has it the Verve have broken up. Again.

9) Peaches Geldof's French Kiss - Bob Geldof's tabloid-terror daughter elopes in Vegas with a member of up-and-coming pop band Chester French.

10) Kid Rock Talks - The cocky rocker speaks out against iTunes.

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