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Not long ago, Angelina Jolie said she hadn’t been acquainted with Madonna, even though Jolie’s partner, Brad Pitt, is good friends with Guy Ritchie. Now, we have some insight into the “why.” Miss Jolie has spoken out about Madonna’s adoption in a way that isn’t quite favorable to Miss Ritchie. The Daily Mail quotes the Oscar-winning actress:

‘Madonna knew the situation in Malawi, where he was born,’ said Miss Jolie, who has adopted two Third World youngsters of her own.

‘It’s a country where there is no real legal framework for adoption.

‘Personally, I prefer to stay on the right side of the law. I would never take a child away from a place where adoption is illegal.’

That’s not quite right. Adoption isn’t illegal in Malawi, it’s simply an incredibly difficult and convoluted process. But there’s a kernel of truth in Jolie’s claims. After all, why adopt a child in a nation that has such iffy laws, when there are a host of nations where the rules are clearer? Say, Cambodia? Or Ethiopia. (Note that, of the three, only Malawi requires that the adopting parent be a resident of the country.) Otherwise, it becomes sadly apparent that she’s trying to jump the system. The usual suspects unleash major haterade on AJ for her comments (“Perhaps she would like to comment on adultery and marriage before passing a potentially harmful comment re Madonna’s situation.”) Madge has given major fodder to critics with today’s story: she’s paying for a Malawian man’s education in Britain. The catch: he works for the nation’s adoption ministry.

Is the lead singer of vaunted indie band, Bloc Party, following Dan Gillespie Sells out of the closet? That would be a crackin’ way to launch their sophomore album. Kele Okereke gives an interview with The Guardian in which he comes off, at turns, hopelessly glum and tortured. Craig Maclean suggest one of several reasons:

In a musical form that is usually beerily, boorishly white, male and heterosexual, Okereke was a refreshingly different kind of indie icon. The possibility that he was not just unusual but unique – a black, gay role model for indie kids – meant that for many fans the focus seemed necessary rather than just prurient. Nonetheless, just as he hated being reduced to ‘black guy in indie band’, he refused to be drawn either way on his sexuality.

Well, maybe, he’s pushing the door ajar, nudging his nose out to see if it’s safe. But unlike artists who cloak their interests or desires in abstraction, Okereke seems to be laying it on the line. Maclean goes on:

A Weekend in the City is a record full of intriguing lyrics and scenarios. Two songs, ‘I Still Remember’ and ‘Kreuzberg’, seem to explicitly explore homosexuality. The former is about a crush between two schoolboys (‘We left our trousers by the canal’). The latter is about gay promiscuity. So has Okereke decided to talk about his sexuality?

Push, push, Mr. Maclean. Okereke does seem to clam up at the prodding, avoiding the “G” word (“There are songs on this record that do feel like they’re about desire, longing.”) while opening the door for another line of questioning. But more power to him if Kele does come out.

Where are all the ch-ch-ch-changes that were supposed to happen to the UK charts? On Sunday, we got a new chart, but it was the same as the old chart, except for the re-entry of Snow Patrol‘s “Chasing Cars.” Blah. We did get rid of our Iron Maiden problem, though.

1. Leona Lewis -A Moment Like This
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2. Eric Prydz vs. Floyd -Proper Education
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3. Take That -Patience
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4. U2 -Window In The Skies
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5. Akon Ft. Eminem -Smack That
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6. Booty Luv – Boogie2nite
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7. Cascada– Truly Madly Deeply
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8. Sharam – PATT (Party All the Time)
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9. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
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10. Chris Cornell – YouKnow My Name
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The Goodys are the new baddies on Celebrity Big Brother. Jade Goody; her mother, Jackie; and her lover, Jack Tweedy all ambushed the popular UK celebrity series on Friday, with matching slapped-ass faces to boot. Mutiny shortly followed: Ken Russell and Donny Tourette both walked off the show. The Sun blames Ken Russell’s departure on a row with Jade over cheese. In any case, they’ve shaken up a show that needed a bit of shaking. Oh but it doesn’t stop: now there’s controversy over claims that Donny Tourette schtupped Leo Sayer‘s wife while Leo was playing ping-pong. OK, did Donny actually say that, or is this The Sun stirring the feces as usual?

In other news:

  • It had to be done: VickyWatch, a blog dedicated to the factual blunders of The Sun’s Victoria Newton.

  • Amy Winehouse only managed one song at London’s GAY before leaving the stage to puke. Victoria Newton speculates that it’s because she was out boozing with Kelly Osbourne.(The Sun)
  • The Guardian‘s Hadley Freeman doesn’t get the hype around Ugly Betty but loves America Ferrera. “Without this lovely, impressive and appealingly sympathetic actress, this show’s essential silliness and predictable clichés would be so overwhelming as to make the program not only unwatchable but veritably laughable considering that all the pre-broadcast publicity suggested that we, lucky little backwater Brits we, were about to be blessed with the coming of a televisual messiah.”
  • The Guardian‘s Gareth McLean reviews Gordon Ramsay‘s NYC restaurant and says it’s not as expensive as reported. Well, for Brits, at least. “Like much in New York – though, curiously, not hookers or crystal meth – eating out is something of a bargain if you’re visiting from the UK. To dine in one of Gordon Ramsay’s UK restaurants requires either remortgaging your flat or selling one of your children. To eat at Gordon Ramsay at The London in NYC does not. (Unless you want it to.)”
  • Alicia Keys, who plays a lesbian in her first acting role, talks Dylan and socialism. (The Guardian)
  • Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet step out in – gasp – the same color. I’m in much more interested in what’s wrong with Winslet’s face? We’d hate to have to induct such a pretty girl into the Bad Plastic Surgery Hall of Fame.(Daily Mail)
  • Another soap sex scandal in the UK: Eastenders‘ Robert Kazinsky is accused of sending lewd text messages to a woman.(Daily Mail)
  • Joe Strummer of The Clash left behind £945,132 in his estate.(Daily Mail)
  • Emma Thompson joins Ioan Gruffudd in speaking out about the closing of a Burberry factory in Wales.(Daily Mail)
  • The Sun reports that loony Eddie Murphy fans are harassing Scary Spiceat her L.A. home. “She is extremely lonely in LA and her life is being made intolerable by Eddie’s fans camped outside. They shout insults and give her abuse all the time. The police have decided to place an officer outside to keep an eye on things.”
  • Tara Palmer-Tomkinson says Robbie Williams has finallybeaten his depression. “He’s told me he’s over his stress now. People have a go at him for being ratty but it’s no wonder because he’s always surrounded by so many people wanting a piece of him.” Herself not included, we presume…(Mirror)
  • Ian Brown wants Sir Paul McCartney to play bass on his album.(Mirror)
  • Kaiser Chiefs‘ new album will be called Yours Truly, Angry Mob.(NME)
  • Alan Rickman joins the cast of Tim Burton‘s Sweeney Todd.(Guardian)
  • Eva Green, Ben Whislaw, Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, and Emily Blunt are up for BAFTA’s Rising Star award. Isn’t Cillian a little tooestablished now to be “rising”? Hasn’t he already risen?(The Sun)
  • The Times has a preview of British TV in 2007,including our upcoming Jekyll (starring thehumpy James Nesbitt) and JenniferSaundersThe Vivienne Vyle Show.
  • Is comedian Lenny Henry a bit peeved with RickyGervais about a gag in Extras? He’s askedabout this in Saturday’s Times. “Ricky Gervais’character is asked by a racist Keith Chegwin to name agood British black comedian – and can’t, even when wesee a Lenny Henry poster right next to him?” Henry replies, “‘Um . . .I think Ricky Gervais is a fine comedian. And in TheOffice we took some stick too, for Comic Relief. So wesort of know that we’re the butt of the joke now. Iwas asked to be in the show, actually, but couldn’t doit. That might have given Ricky a bit of impetus. So,you know, fine, I guess. What, you want me to breakhis legs? You want me to park outside his house andhowl?'”
  • The swordsman is also a mythmaker: Russell Brand pens his life story in The Times of London. “With me there seemed to be no other option: I had,and have, a pathological need to be a performer. Theonly place I feel safe to be myself is on stage.”
  • The Telegraph charts a writer’s progress over thecourse of a year, starting with Louise Doughty. Firstshe has to find a setting for her novel, and shenotices a flaw in the world of British literature. “On the whole, contemporary British fiction seems lessgood than North American fiction at featuring wholetowns. Where are our equivalents of such novels?”
  • From Telegraph: Dame Eileen Atkins is ticked that her film version of Virginia Woolf‘s life but was spurned in favor of Stephen Daldry‘s TheHours. She wound up with a part in The Hours, but that doesn’t mean the wounds have healed. “It’s not that the portrait of her [in The Hours] is wrong, but it’s only her depression. It came as a real thrill to me that I made people go back and read [my script] and see how witty she was.When I first got the script, I threw it from one end of my apartment to the other. I thought, right, OK, you’ve had your temper. It’s going to be done anyway, so grit your teeth, take the day’s filming, have a day with Meryl Streep and f*** everybody. And that’s what I did. It’s over and it was a success and that’s fine. But I just wish somebody would do my script,” she says. “We’re on the edge of getting the money, so I’m waiting and hoping.” Oh, please, someone make this film and wash the rancid taste of Nicole Kidman and her nose away.
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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.