Stop The Presses!

Sept. 8-15: Massive Attacks!

Lyndsey Parker
Stop The Presses!

Well, the week started with British comedian Russell Brand simultaneously alienating fans of John McCain, the Jonas Brothers, purity rings, and Jordin Sparks at the 25th annual MTV Video Music Awards. But personally, we were more annoyed with all the propaganda surrounding the VMAs' supposed comeback queen, Britney Spears. All we heard during the week leading up to the awards (and in a series of VMA promos starring Britney, Russell, and a 900-pound elephant) was hype, hype, hype about how Britney would be opening the show. But then all she did was sleepwalk through a teleprompter-assisted skit with Jonah Hill and then introduce an awesome performance by Rihanna. Delivering an awesome performance herself would have made for the ultimate Britney comeback, of course...but after last year's Britney debacle, we assume MTV didn't want to take any chances.

Then later in the night, Britters won her first MoonMen ever--three of them, for the little-seen "Piece Of Me"--a PR stunt that was obviously just a make-good peace offering from MTV's execs (after Britney's disastrous "Gimme More" performance at the 2007 VMAs nearly ruined her career). It was sort of the VMA equivalent of giving Whoopi Goldberg an Academy Award for Ghost when she should have won one for The Color Purple, or giving Charlie Chaplin an honorary Oscar to apologize for his blacklisting from Hollywood for decades. Just a little apology gesture, that's all it was. But hey, maybe her VMA victory is another sign of the alleged "Britney Spears Comeback" we've been hearing about for, um, five years now.

Last Sunday's VMAs concluded with a rather sedate and uneventful performance by Kanye West--surprising, since he won nothing this year again, and he was so mouthy about being shut out at last year's VMAs (he'd threatened never to attend the awards again). But four days after this week's Video Music Awards, Kanye was back to being his old cranky self. Thursday morning at the Los Angeles International Airport--yes, on September 11th, no less--the famously ornery rapper and his bodyguard were arrested after getting into an altercation with the paparazzi in Terminal 4. According to TMZ, Kanye allegedly confronted a photographer trying to snap a pic of his shuttershaded mug, grabbing the guy's $10,000 camera and smashing it on the ground. A struggle then broke out between Kanye, the bodyguard, and a TMZ videographer who was capturing the whole photographer incident on camera. This resulted in the TMZ employee's video camera being smashed to bits as well. It reportedly took eight LAX police officers to stop the fight and apprehend Kanye, who was then placed in handcuffs and taken into custody along with his bodyguard.

Many witnesses claim it was Kanye who started the entire brawl, according to TMZ. But don't you worry, concerned readers: It's been reported that, as of this writing, Kanye will be released in time to catch another flight to his original destination, Honolulu. Phew! That's justice for you...

Another big assault that took place this week involved another famously surly star, Noel Gallagher of Oasis. The Britpop guitarist was shockingly attacked onstage in Toronto--and no, readers, the culprit was not his Glastonbury Festival nemesis Jay-Z, but some 47-year-old miscreant named Daniel Sullivan.

Daniel bumrushed the stage while Oasis were playing Canada's V Festival and pushed Noel from behind, causing bruises to Noel's ribs and hips. As a result, Oasis had to postpone their gigs this week in London, Ontario and New York City, so the elder Gallagher brother could recover. Meanwhile, Daniel Sullivan is scheduled to appear in court on assault charges on October 24. You know, if Daniel had pushed Noel during some filler song off, say, Standing On The Shoulder [sic] Of Giants, he might have had a good defense here--but his attack occurred during the Oasis classic "Morning Glory," so we say the judge ought to throw the book at him!

But hey, at least Oasis have the solace of knowing that their music soundtracked Russell Brand's grand entrance on the VMAs. That was the first time Noel Gallagher had been played on MTV since 1997, seriously. So Oasis had some good news this week.

Other '90s acts were in the news this week, for reasons both good and bad. Metallica returned with Death Magnetic, their first album in five years that has been widely heralded as a return to form after the much-derided St. Anger; Lilith Fair pioneer Sarah McLachlan announced her divorce from her husband of 11 years; and R&B star Usher revealed that his wife Tameka Foster is pregnant with their second child. We send our congratulations to Metallica and Usher, and our condolences to Sarah.

Meanwhile, in other offending-people-onstage news, while Russell Brand was making little Jonas Brothers fans cry and Noel Gallagher was busy defending himself against drunken stagecrashing Canadians, Madonna was topping them all by offending--who else?--the Pope himself. While performing over the weekend to a 60,000-strong audience in Rome, she declared: "I dedicate this song to the Pope, because I'm a child of God. All of you are also children of God," before singing her surely Vatican-approved hit, "Like A Virgin." Hey, it could have been worse--at least she didn't play "Erotica" or "Justify My Love," right?

One G-rated show more likely get Papal approval (despite its Mormon stars) is the new Vegas revue by squeaky-clean sibling act Donny & Marie Osmond. Yes, the former '70s variety show stars are determined to fill the need for a "family-friendly show" in Las Vegas, with a 26-week stand at the Flamingo Showroom kicking off this week.

Guess the Osmonds are still a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll...and a whole lot of dinner theater.

All right, and on that shiny happy note, thus concludes another week in music. Come back next week for more headspinning headlines--and until then, goodnight and good music.

THIS WEEK'S TOP 10 STORIES:

1) Kanye Doesn't Like Cameras' Flashing Lights - West allegedly attacks paparazzi at the airport.

2) Oasis Concertgoer Looks Back In Anger - A spectator attacks Noel Gallagher onstage in Toronto.

3) Britney Gets Back In The VMA Zone - MTV gives her three token MoonMen to make up for last year's disaster.

4) Twisted Logic - Billboard magazine puzzlingly declares Chubby Checker's "The Twist" the most popular single of all time.

5) Usher Says "Yeah!" To Fatherhood Again - His wife Tameka is pregnant with baby number two.

6) Metallica Finally Return With Decent New Album - Apparently all that group therapy actually worked.

7) She's Only Got 4 Minutes To Offend The Pope - Madonna gives a typically controversial concert in Rome.

8) Sarah McLachlan, Fallen - The songbird's 11-year marriage comes to a "pretty gross" end.

9) The Osmonds Do Vegas - Donnie & Marie get their very own show.

10) Elbow Win The Mercury Prize - Manchester's perennial underdog mope-rockers beat out Radiohead for British music's biggest honor.

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