MTV News Round-Up 23/03/2004
*** Robbie Williams has reportedly arrived in Scotland to commence his 30th birthday celebrations. The star, accompanied by his mum and dad, his sister Sally, and his best mate Jonathan Wilkes, are all staying at the famous Skibo Castle, where Madonna and Guy Ritchie tied the knot in 2000. Amongst the birthday plans is a special version of 'Family Fortunes', hosted by Ant N' Dec.
*** N.E.R.D have been joined on stage by Jamie Cullum. The collaboration - at a gig within the South By South West music convention in the US " comes about following the release of Cullums' cover of N.E.R.D's 'Frontin', which was the track he sang with them on stage. According to an audience member: "Pharrell went on about how cool Jamie was and talked about how he hoped to work with him in the near future."
*** Aretha Franklin is being treated in hospital, it has emerged. The soul legend is said to be in a stable condition but details of her illness have not been disclosed. A spokesperson has confirmed only that Franklin was taken into hospital on Saturday (March 20) but would not reveal any other details at this time. Aretha, who won a Grammy last month, turns 62 on March 25.
*** The Libertines are to play at The Coronet in London as part of a night organised by filmmaker/reggae DJ/member of Big Audio Dynamite - Don Letts. The event, taking place on April 10, will see the showing of Letts' music movies Dance Hall Queens and Punk Rock Movie in addition to DJ sets and live bands. Tickets are 20, or 15 if you only want to see the DJs and bands.
*** REM's Michael Stipe has reportedly turned down the offer of a collaboration with supermodel Helena Christensen. Apparently, Christensen pleaded to duet with Stipe but he flatly refused, instead offering her the opportunity to join the band on their next tour to take photographs. Stipe is said to have told her: "No to the duets. We'll save those for hotel rooms late at night, when we all drink too much."