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JOHNNY ROTTEN's mansion burnt down. A tragedy, but made sadder still by the fact that it happened two weeks before the riots, denying anarchists in the UK the chance to properly thank him for appearing in butter commercials and licensing official Sex Pistols perfumes.

Elsewhere in Dear Old Blighty, NOEL GALLAGHER's solo career has now commenced. The big question: is it better than little Liam's Beady Eye project? Yes, but so is stepping barefoot on a cigar-sized slug. Lead single "The Death of You and Me" is friskier than its title sounds, meeting your Noel solo expectations within best-case-scenario range. Its B-side, "The Good Rebel," doesn't fare so well; Noel writes a passable tune, but overestimates his vocal charisma and becomes locked in a caterwaul. With Liam on the mic he could have made a single out of it — but then we'd be listening to an Oasis single, and what the fuck good is that?

I've written about celebrity fragrances plenty of times recently, and I'm amazed I never realized how disturbing the concept of "launching a fragrance" is until I saw the Billboard headline "KEITH URBAN Launches Fragrance." Just let that phrase bounce around in your head awhile. Anyway, the country heartthrob isn't just another celebrity with a branded stink. He's serious about his art:

"I grew up with a father that had great taste in music, cars, and colognes," said Urban in a press release. "So the idea to eventually create my own fragrance seemed natural. I've always loved the feeling that comes from finding the right scent and the way it can say so much about a person. We created Phoenix to express just the right blend of masculinity, mystery, and sensuality."

Wait, before we move on, let's also let this phrase ricochet around the ol' skullbox for another few seconds: "the idea to eventually create my own fragrance seemed natural."

BIG BOI has been arrested for possession of ecstasy and Viagra — a cocktail known as the Wham! because it's chemically identical to George Michael's urine. Well, lemme just write the phrase "hmmmmmmmm" on a little piece of paper and put it in my pocket until such a time as I'm fully prepared to ponder the implications.

But, come on, they really arrest people for having rodney pills? Are they worried Big Boi was going to abuse them and wind up with unauthorized or, God forbid, medically unnecessary boners?

If you're ready to have the shit scared out of you — and if you were also a child in the mid-'70s — I've got just the thing for you: ALICE COOPER is about to drop his long-awaited new . . . MAZE? That's right, dude: "Alice Cooper: Welcome to My Nightmare," a "shocking new maze" based on the works of the scary rocker, is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood. It'll premiere in late September, just in time to coincide with Welcome 2 My Nightmare, the sequel to his classic album.

"We'll be creating this living horror movie within screaming distance of the sound stages where horror movies first began, so there's no place more appropriate to offer a preview of the new Welcome 2 My Nightmare," says a marketing d-bag given authorization to pretend to be Alice Cooper for the purposes of a press release. "This will be a nightmare that will haunt visitors' dreams for a long time to come."

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ARTICLES BY DAVID THORPE
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