Stop The Presses!

May 5-12: Anarchy From The U.K.!

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

Blimey, what is in the Thames water these days? Seriously, there was a time when the adjective "British" was synonymous with good-mannered, Mary Poppins-style, olde-world charm: tea, crumpets, chip-chip-cheerio, and the like. But nowadays Englishness is more associated with Lily Allen's mouthy MySpace blogs, Lady Sovereign's onstage temper tantrums, Oasis's famously feuding Gallagher brothers, and the multiple drug-related arrests of Britain's ultimate bad-behavior poster children, Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty. And crikey, this week is no different.

First, Amy--who's basically the British Britney (or "Brit-ney," if you will), in terms of how much tabloid ink she amasses on both sides of the pond--made news this week not only for saying no, no, no to an opportunity to record the next James Bond theme, but for getting arrested. Again. This latest arrest was connected to the viral video exposed in January by British gossip rag The Sun...a video that depicted the Grammy-winning, rehab-resisting soul star inhaling from what appeared to be a small crack pipe.

"Amy Winehouse voluntarily attended a London police station today by appointment," the singer's much-beleaguered spokesman, Chris Goodman, confirmed in a statement Wednesday. "She was arrested in order to be interviewed and is cooperating fully with inquiries."

Let's hope Amy cooperates more fully in this case than she did when she entered rehab shortly after that pipe-smoking video hit the Internet. Because Amy doesn't seem to be very rehabilitated yet...considering that just last month she was cautioned by police for assault, after slapping a man during a typical wild Winehousian night on the town.

Meanwhile, babyish and shambolic Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty is hopefully on his own way to rehabilitation, now that he's been released from prison. Yes, the former Libertine got a taste of liberty on Tuesday, after serving just 29 days of a 14-week sentence for drug and driving offenses. However, more stints in rehab and/or prison are probably still in his future, since he told reporters gathered outside the jail that he was looking forward to celebrating his release with "a rum and Coke." Hey, at least that's a legal vice...let's just hope, for Pete's sake, that he says no, no, no to the harder stuff, since he also complained to those reporters that British prison "can't cater for the average junkie."

In other news, Madonna--a woman who mysteriously and abruptly adopted a British accent some years ago--created a bit of a scandal herself this week, although in this case neither drinking nor drugs were involved. No, it seems Madge prefers to get her illicit kicks from girl-on-girl kissing. See, this week, in a seeming recreation of her infamous Britney Spears liplock at the 2003 Video Music Awards, Madonna smooched one of her female backup dancers during a private show at the Olympia in Paris. Talk about a French kiss! ("I love to French the French," she told the tres delighted crowd.) However, longtime Madonna publicist Liz Rosenberg said she "didn't see any full-on makeout session" at the Parisian concert, so Madonna probably won't serve any Winehouse-style big house time for indecent behavior after this little stunt.

Speaking of Britney--and let's face it, when it comes to this column, we speak of Britney quite often--Madonna's former spit-swapping partner/Amy Winehouse's American equivalent was also in this news this week. But unlike Amy, this "Brit" actually seems on the road to real rehabilitation. See, at her most recent child-custody hearing this past Tuesday, Britney was granted expanded visits with her sons Sean Preston and Jayden James, as "recognition of the progress that has been made, a progress in structure and stability," accord to her ex-husband Kevin Federline's attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan. "We are so pleased with Britney's progress and we are very appreciative of the court's recognition of this progress," Britney's long-suffering parents, Jamie and Lynne Spears, added in a hopeful statement.

Britney's oft-derailed career also seems to be back on track, as she just taped a second appearance on How I Met Your Mother (the episode is set to air next Monday). "We're thrilled to have Britney joining us once again," the sitcom's executive producer and co-creator Craig Thomas declared.

All we can say is...maybe Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty ought to consider submitting themselves to the conservatorship of Britney's father, Jamie Spears, too. That may be all the rehab any troubled "Brit" needs!

And thus concludes another amusing and somewhat Anglophilic week in music news. Come back next Friday for more bloody good headlines, and until then, goodnight and good music.

THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:

1) Winehouse Off To The Big House? - Amy is arrested again in London.

2) Ex-Libertine Tastes Liberty - Pete Doherty gets an early release from prison.

3) Madonna's French Kiss - Madge swaps spit with a female dance in Paris.

4) Sean & Jayden Re-Meet Their Mother - Britney Spears gets extended custody visitation.

5) Hey Hey, You You! I Don't Like Your Cancellations - Avril Lavigne is forced to postpone six concert dates due to illness.

6) Clay, Remolded - Clay Aiken adopts a blonder, but not necessarily better, new image.

7) Phishing For A Comeback - Phish reunite to accept a lifetime achievement Jammy Award.

8) Liv Tyler's Rock Marriage Rolls Away - The actress and Aerosmith daughter separates from her Spacehog-frontman husband, Royston Langdon.

9) Joaquin Phoenix Walks The Walk - The Johnny Cash-impersonating actor is now recording his debut album.

10) Frank Zappa Gets Plaster-Casted - A bronze bust of the late rock eccentric is being erected in his hometown of Baltimore.

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