Saturday, March 28, 2009

Osbourne family addiction to drugs and alcohol

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sharon Osbourne lashed out on Thursday at suggestions that her family's history of drug and drink addiction made them unsuitable to host a TV variety show.

Osbourne, her Black Sabbath husband Ozzy and children Jack and Kelly -- who shocked and delighted audiences on their reality show "The Osbournes" -- make their return to U.S. television as a family next week as hosts of a show featuring, skits, audience pranks and a sprinkling of four-letter words.

Kelly, 24, recently completed a second stint of rehab for addiction to painkillers, while Jack, 23, has struggled with alcoholism and Ozzy has spoken frequently of earlier addiction to drugs and drink.

Asked in a telephone conference call if their past would prove controversial in their new roles on the "Osbournes Reloaded" show, Sharon said it was "most ridiculous question I have ever been asked in my entire career."

"I am really angry. Do you know how many people in this country alone suffer from addiction?

"All my family are examples of being truthful about their condition and working though it and trying to better themselves," she said.

"We are a real family and we don't pretend to be something we are not. I have taken real offense...probably half the people watching our show have someone in their family who has a problem with alcohol and drugs."

Osbourne said her son Jack had been sober for six years and that she viewed him as a "beacon of hope to every young person in this country who is struggling with addiction."

"We live in the real world, and this world is tough," she said.

"Osbournes Reloaded", which premieres on Fox on March 31 at 9.20 pm, features candid-camera style skits, occasional pie-throwing and a pair of "mini-Osbournes" played by British child actors who dress and behave as outrageously as Ozzy and Sharon themselves.

Sharon Osbourne acknowledged that some of the skits might prove controversial but said that none were mean-spirited.

"I don't care (about the reaction). As far as my barometer goes, we weren't being mean. It was all in good fun," she said.

The heavily-bleeped MTV reality show "The Osbournes" about the family's dysfunctional life in Beverly Hills ran for three years and won an Emmy award before ending in 2005. By Jill Serjeant

Monday, March 23, 2009

US video game sales increases

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. video game sales rose 10 percent in February to $1.47 billion, led again by Nintendo's blockbuster Wii console, as gaming continued to show resilience despite an economic downturn that has sapped consumer spending.

Video game software sales climbed 9 percent in the month to $733.5 million while hardware sales rose 11 percent to $532.7 million, research group NPD said on Thursday.

The Wii console led the pack as the top-selling hardware device in the month, moving 753,000 units.

Cammie Dunaway, executive vice president of Nintendo America, said Wii hardware and software each rose about 75 percent on a unit basis.

"The exciting thing is, despite a soft economy, Nintendo's business continues to grow really healthily."

Microsoft's Xbox 360 was the No. 2 console in the month, followed by Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2.

Capcom's Street Fighter IV was the best-selling game, moving a combined 849,000 units for the Xbox and the PS3, while the Wii Fit was No. 2 at 644,000. That was followed by Wii Play and Sony's Killzone 2.

"What it tells you about this economy is that there are a couple of categories of consumer that are just going to get what they want," said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter.

He said the success of Street Fighter and Wii Fit shows that the industry's strength lies at two seemingly opposite poles: the young, hardcore male consumer and families.

"I think that what this is telling you is that guys who buy video games have no clue that we're in a recession," he said.

Software unit sales rose 14 percent, but the average retail price for games fell 4 percent, NPD said.

One of the gaming industry's biggest events of the year, the Game Developer's Conference, will take place next week in San Francisco. An address on Wednesday from Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, will be a highlight.

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Gary Hill)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Clash guitarist and his rock and roll library

LONDON (Reuters) - As a young boy, Clash guitarist Mick Jones would chase his football idols all over London for autographs. Then he discovered music and dropped the autograph book but not his manic collecting.

Over the years, the 53 year-old co-founder of one of Punk's biggest bands has amassed a mammoth collection of books, magazines, records, posters alongside artwork, recording gear, stage clothes and song lyrics from his time with The Clash and his other bands Big Audio Dynamite and Carbon/Silicon.

Jones is finally showing this personal archive of popular culture at London's Chelsea Space gallery in an exhibit called the "Rock and Roll Public Library" that runs until April 18.

"I started collecting things when I was very young and I did not really know why. Then at the Millennium, the change of the century, it started to become clear. I realized I wanted to share it," Jones told Reuters.

"It's a fantastic collection people can take great pleasure from and also learn something," he added.

Jones, who went to Hammersmith art school before co-founding The Clash in 1976, says he thinks of the collection as "one big living artwork" that he is still working on.

Many of the items on display had been crammed into his west London recording studio for years and Jones would not guess how many pieces he owns.

"I have kept everything, if it exists it's probably there somewhere," he jokes.


An only child, whose parents divorced when he was 8, Jones says he started collecting odds and ends as a way to create his own world. Football and later music became escapes for a boy left "with little parental control."

"If you are like a young working class boy in London, you have to make a choice between sport or music. I made the choice for music," he says.

The installation, which seeks to recreate Jones' recording studio and adjoining store room, offers a rare insight into the life, times and influences of the musician.

Album covers dangling on threads from the ceiling like mobiles, books and films about Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash but also Frank Sinatra, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones testify of Jones's deep and obsessive love of music.

As a teenager Jones recalls "bunking" fares to follow his favorite bands like Mott the Hoople or Rod Stewart and the Faces around the country or standing outside Mick Jagger's house in London trying to get a glimpse of an idol.

"We used to stand outside like urchins. I was a stalker then. I never knew I would have my own stalkers one day."

The late Johnny Thunders was a key influence. The New York Dolls guitarist was the reason why a young Jones can be seen donning platform shoes on some pictures taken in his pre-punk English Glam days.

Many of the music magazines and fanzines on display have deep personal meaning. Jones recalls that his mother, who moved to America when he was a young boy, used to send him issues of "Creem" and "Rock Scene" magazines every month.

Creem's star writer Lester Bangs wrote about the early New York punk scene and artists such as Patti Smith or The Ramones.

"I was really up on that stuff while not many people here were. Bangs was one of their main writer. So it was such a joy to get to know him when he came to write about us," he recalls.

Bangs wrote a famous article about The Clash in a 1977 review for the New Musical Express (NME).

Also on display are Clash memorabilia such as the famous pink flight cases, plane tickets, access badges or a hastily scribbled note to Jones by Clash frontman, the late Joe Strummer.

True to his punk ideals, Jones hopes the collection can one day become a permanent and freely available resource.

"Ultimately I'd like to have a permanent place to exhibit the whole collection like a museum, like a library where you can come and see the stuff and maybe get a copy or sit there and read it. I also would like to bring artists there because it's history really," he says.

Jones would not pick a favorite item among the whole collection but admits that his old footballer's autograph book is now "one of my most treasured possessions."

"I have the whole England World Cup winning squad. The managers, the trainers, everything. That was 1966 when we won the World Cup. Biggest thing ever !"

"The Rock and Roll Public Library"

Chelsea Space
16 John Islip Street