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It’s quite enough to hear Russell T. Davies admit he was gagging for Britney Spears to appear on Doctor Who, but are we ready for Breastica Simpson to jiggle her way through scenes with David Tennant? Perhaps some prankster over at Starpulse is having some fun at our expense…at least, we hope they are. Their source says, “It’s a great idea. Having Jessica on the show will help sell it to the US.” Uh, do the Brits know what we think of Ms. Simpson over here?
Former Utah Jazz and Orlando Magic center, Nigerian-Brit John Amaechi, is now the first former NBA player to openly admit he’s gay. The gay sports portal, Outsports, was the first media outlet to pick up the story, and now mainstream outlets like The Times in London are reporting it. Later this month, ESPN Books is releasing his autobiography, Man in the Middle, which details Amaechi’s hard childhood and his struggle to come out. The book has already fomented its share of controversy: many fear that Amaechi will name names when discussing other gay players in the NBA. Also, Amaechi strongly criticizes his former Jazz coach, Jerry Sloan, whom John claims is homophobic, and the management of the Orlando Magic.
Amaechi is said to be a rising influence in British athletics and culture, as he’s known for his devotion to child psychology and the multimillion-pound basketball center he funded in his hometown of Manchester. But The Times‘ Ian Whittell says Amaechi has become a divisive figure in UK sports. Whittell remarks that while Amaechi was the first British NBA star to “start a game and play meaningful minutes in the best league in the world,” John’s vocal personality rubbed some Brits the wrong way:
The reaction in Britain to Amaechi’s announcement will be equally mixed. His outspoken nature ensured that he made as many enemies as friends in British basketball, regardless of his sexual orientation. He had, and has, little time for diplomacy. You were either with or against him.
Whittell later voices fears Amaechi’s announcement will overshadow his accomplishments. I beg to differ – I think it will give him a profile outside of basketball he’s never had, at least in America. It’s yet another act of bravery in a life that seems full of them. P.S.: go to his website and watch his publicity video, you’ll find that he speaks so well. He’s such a good speaker!
Everybody’s Crappy Nowadays: Kaiser Chiefs‘ drummer Nick Hodgson is sick of the same old indie guitar bands following in the wake of the Arctic Monkeys. From NME:
“There’s so much sh*t in guitar music at the moment. You imagine an A&R man seeing this bandwagon, jumping on it and signing any old sh*t with a guitar around its neck.
“I was watching this film about The Ramones. It got me thinking how everything was so average nowadays.”
Hodgson suggests that The Twang could be rock’s salvation. Maybe. One of rock music’s biggest goofs, whether in Britain or here in the States, has been its resistance to the innovations in black music that have been happening, oh, for the past ten to twenty years or so. The Twang certainly owe a certain debt to hip-hop, with lead singer Mike Hunt spitting his lyrical landscapes like Everlast or Mike Skinner. But a band like The Klaxons aims to do something more groundbreaking: they want to make a proper R&B record:
In response to the number of high-profile urban-rock collaborations of recent months – including Chris Martin and Jay-Z – the band’s singer James Righton said, “I think it’s exciting that white boys can work with big R&B producers.”
Talking in more detail to MTV, the singer added: “We would very much like to make an R&B record. If we could afford it.”
Hell, I think it’s worth the risk. Look what it’s done for Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake. An R&B record produced by Dr. Dre could be what it takes for the Klaxons to break America. Meanwhile, UK rock veterans Madness have teamed up with rapper Sway for a new single. Check it out here.
In other news:
- “London is the best cocktail city in the world right now” say bartenders in today’s The New York Times.
- Britain has its own Unabomber-like terrorist on the loose.(BBC)
- Kirstie Alley is set to play Dawn French‘s role in the American version of The Vicar of Dibley.Get some British reaction over at The Daily Mail.
- Shilpa Shetty says she was snubbed from the Celebrity Big Brother wrap party.(Daily Mail)
- The Mirror has undergone a makeover to look a bit more like its biggest competitor, The Sun.
- Instead of just shutting up about his sexuality, which I gave him credit for, Mika is currently asking Mirror readers to play matchmaker for him.
- Kylie Minogue tells the Mirror that there are no tears on her pillow in regards to her breakup with Olivier Martinez. Girlfriend was looking hot hot hot at the opening of her photo exhibition in London.
- Shocker: Kylie’s exhibition caters more to drag queens than Ph D’s, says today’s Telegraph. “Taking place in the V&A, you expect a scholarly examination of Kylie’s cultural and artistic significance…it’s a shock to find it more akin to walking into the kind of unbranded ladies’ boutique that caters for dancehall divas looking for something Lycra, sequined, and barely there to wind the night away in.”
- On the other end of the spectrum, Madonna was looking a bit sh*tfaced last night. It appears that she and Guy Ritchie gave Prince Harry a night on the town – and made him cry.”The 21-year-old prince reportedly had tears in his eyes as he spoke to Ritchie at length about the orphans he has befriended in Africa. Harry has founded his own charity, called Sentebale, to help millions of Aids orphans in Lesotho.” Behind his Nazi armband, old Hare is a big softie.
- Lily Allen‘s dad, Robin Hood villain Keith Allen, is forcing his daughter to go to the Brits, claims the Sun‘s Victoria Newton. Lily’s convinced she’s gonna lose to Amy Winehouse. In what has to be seen as a bad sign, Old Vicky can’t even get Lily’s album title right. “She deserves the Best Breakthrough gong because there’s no doubt her hit debut album Alright Now brightened the pop scene in 2006.” The title of the album is Alright, Still, just so you know
- The Salford Lads Club (made famous by the Smiths) and Coronation Street, namesake for the British soap, may be granted conservation status.(BBC)
- This year’s Ozzfest will be free, Ozzy Osbourne has announced.(BBC)
- Novelist Jackie Collins tells Victoria Beckham to beware of Los Angeles’ “predatory” man-stealing slags.
- What happens when fine British actors follow the lure of Hollywood success? The Guardian calls it “The Richard Burton Syndrome.”
- The Guardian looks at a real-life Notes on a Scandal.
- Julia Baird tries to right the wrongs written about her brother, John Lennon.(The Independent)
See more posts by Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.