The Cribs really rock!

From rhubarb to rock in one giant leap

Guess who's my current favourite West Yorkshire band? The Cribs, of course! I met them last week when they played at HMV in Leeds and signed their CDs for fans.

Wakefield wasn't exactly on the map of rock and roll folklore - but it is now. Who'd have thought the city that's more famous for rhubarb than anything else could produce such a hot, pop act?

I chatted to the charming trio before they got down to the serious business of making some noise for the throngs of studenty-types who'd turned out to see them. This notoriously nonchalant demographic acted like awestruck nine-year-olds when The Cribs took to the stage - getting all over-emotional, throwing themselves around and generally having to be restrained by security.

All in the usually sedate environs of a record shop personal appearance, rather than a sweaty after-hours club, too. What a band, what a buzz!

They're such nice ordinary lads - I'm sure I say that about virtually any famous pop star that I meet, but I really mean it. The first thing I noticed was that Ryan, the singer, was wearing the same red stripy top that he had on when I saw him last, at the Carling Weekend in Leeds last year.

I said: "I'm not being funny but is that your favourite jumper?" He told me he's sponsored by Ben Sherman so he gets his shirts free. Can't be bad. But presumably they supplied him with more than one.

Ryan told me he lives in an apartment near Kirkgate Markets in Leeds his brothers still live in Wakefield. They love going out in the city are The Faversham is their favourite haunt. They've regularly toured with the Kaiser Chiefs and the two bands like covering each other's songs.

As we chatted, the lads were scouring the aisles of the store - their payment for the gig was �50 in vouchers to spend on CDs! Ahh! You'd think they'd have commanded a bit more than that, the crowds they enticed.

When Gary struggled to find anything he wanted to buy, picking out one solitary CD I joked with him: "Why don't you buy five copies and put the spare ones on eBay?"

He replied: "I do that with my promo CDs, I sign them and upload them!" I think he was joking ... but I'm not 100% sure!

The band also told me how much they loved playing in America where they're becoming huge - no mean feat, look how hard Robbie Williams has tried to engage an audience across the pond to no avail.

Apparently their fans go even crazier over there ... and Japan, well! They've got an incredibly devoted following in the Far East but there's certainly an element of Lost In Translation ... or rather, no translation at all.

"They react so differently," say the lads. "And you can't communicate with them between songs ..." Looks like there's a cultural divide between West Yorkshire and the Far East but if anyone can bridge it, it'll be The Cribs!

Call for Mr Merrick ...

When I heard Michael Jackson was staying at the Dorchester in London, I rang up and asked to speak to him. Why? Because that's the sort of thing that entertains me. And of course, as everyone knows, I knew him as a teenager.

"We don't have a Michael Jackson staying with us," said the receptionist. Course they didn't. I'd need to crack his code name if I wanted to talk to him. What moniker would he be booked in under?

John Merrick, the real name of the Elephant Man? So obsessed was Wacko with this legend that he once tried to buy his bones ... Bubbles Taylor? An amalgamation of the names of his ape and his favourite actress Liz? No, too easy.

I'll have to really think about this one, then if he turns up at the Cedar Court, Ainley Top, I'll get straight through ...

Elton and his image

Well done to Elton John and the Scissor Sisters for their Ivor Novello songwriting award - scooped with I Don't Feel Like Dancing, possibly the catchiest hit of the 21st century.

I love Elton, despite the fact that when I photographed him at his Huddersfield concert and uploaded the pictures to WireImage, a website through which the media can buy pictures by a wide range of photographers, his 'people' immediately got in touch and made the website staff remove them.

Why? Was it something do to with falling foul of copyright? No, it was that the photos of Elton were 'not flattering enough'.

Clarkson's latest clanger

Jeremy Clarkson, the most obnoxious celebrity around, has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons again - this time he's in trouble for using the term 'ginger beer' to mean queer, and complaints about him have been upheld by Offcom - so he hasn't got away with it for once!

I'd love to meet Clarkson, and send him up a bit. I'd pinch him on the bum and say: "Ooh, has anyone ever told you you've got a lovely bum? If they did, they were lying!" He'd be absolutely horrified!