Entertainment behind the scenes
About 30 reporters and TV presenters packed into an east London courtroom earlier this week to hear the sentencing of Amy Winehouse’s husband for attacking a pub landlord and then trying to cover up the crime.
Blake Fielder-Civil pleaded guilty to both charges, so the story was whether he would be handed a jail term or let off with a warning. He had already spent about nine months behind bars awaiting the judge’s decision.
So when judge David Radford began reading his ruling, we all strained to hear the decision. Trouble was, no one really understood it. One colleague of mine back in the office said a leading British broadcaster rushed out the news that Fielder-Civil had been handed a suspended sentence and so would be free to go. Judging by the happy hug Fielder-Civil gave to co-defendant Michael Brown at one point, he also got the wrong end of the stick.
In actual fact, the judge gave him 27 months, which was the headline figure most reporters phoned through to their desks. But that was also misleading. Keen to get to the bottom of what this really meant, I spoke to Fielder-Civil’s lawyer who explained that the real amount of time his client had left to serve was actually nearer four and a half months. Apparently you divide the sentence by two (equals 13.5 months) and then subtract the amount of time he has already spent in prison for the crimes (equals 4.5 months).
Amy Winehouse hits the headlines more for her private life – battles against addiction, health and the odd fracas with members of the public — than she does for her music. So it was refreshing to see the media focusing on that aspect of her life again after the 24-year-old appeared at Nelson Mandela’s tribute concert on Friday night and at the Glastonbury music festival on Saturday.
While neither was a disaster, in the opinion of people watching, neither was great either. At the Mandela concert, she showed flashes of her ability and charisma but they were only flashes. Overall she looked lost on stage before the 50,000 crowd, and her voice sounded strained on the higher notes. Tabloid reports picked up on her altering the words to the anthem “Free Nelson Mandela”, which rounded off the tribute to the elder statesman before his 90th birthday. “Free Blakey, my fella”, she sang, referring to her jailed husband Blake Fielder-Civil. To be honest, I couldn’t tell her exact words when watching, but several reporters said they could.
OK, they may not be Prince in terms of their importance and popularity, but youthful band McFly are a pretty big deal in Britain, boasting seven number one singles and two chart-topping albums. So when they announce they will be giving their new album away for free with a Sunday newspaper, perhaps they should not be ignored.
The band is following Prince’s lead to the letter. The U.S. star also issued an album free with the Mail on Sunday last year in a move that enraged retailers and record labels, for obvious reasons, but which was seen as a commercial success when the tour he was promoting sold well.
The little-known Creaky Boards just became a little less little known thanks to an accusation of copying against mega-band Coldplay via a Youtube posting.
The video cuts snippets from the Boards’ song “The Songs I Didn’t Write” (oh, the glorious irony of it all) with clips from Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”, the title track from the group’s new album which is selling fast in the UK. The posting even claims the band thought they spotted Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin in the crowd at a gig last year when they performed the song, hence making the link between the two.
British pop star Lily Allen was back in the tabloid spotlight this week with what reports described as a very drunken appearance at Glamour magazine’s awards. Her hair dyed bright pink, the 23-year-old was photographed being carried out of the venue, suggesting her condition could be fairly described as “legless”.
In a blog on her Web site shortly after the event, the singer of 2006 hit “Smile” who has a reputation for partying hard admitted she had gone too far.