'My phone got wet' and other terrible excuses

Empire of the Sun's Nick Littlemore wins the award for Biggest Cop-Out Ever with his explanation for 'disappearing'. But what other lame reasons have pop stars given for failing to deliver?

We've all told a few white lies to get us out of a "situation". I once told my maths teacher that "guinea pigs ate my homework". But the news that Empire of the Sun's Nick Littlemore hasn't spoken to bandmate Luke Steele in five months because his phone got wet surely takes the biscuit.

Then again, pop stars are particularly prone to the odd tall, if not outrageously Pinocchio-nosed, story. Here, then, are a few of our favourites.

1) Andrew Ridgeley's "nightclub assault"
In one of his more careless whispers, George Michael's former Wham! partner was plastered over the tabloids in the band's 1980s heyday with his face covered in bandages. Fans winced as the Ridge regaled them with a terrible tale of how he'd been attacked in a nightclub by a maniac wielding an ice bucket. Public sympathy vanished, however, when the more prosaic truth emerged: he'd had a nose job.

2) Joe Strummer's "disappearance"
On the eve of the Clash's 1983 American tour – and amid much band infighting – it was announced that Strummer had gone missing. Fans worried for the well-being of the frontman for weeks. It later turned out that manager Bernard – "Don't call me Bernie. I'm not a fucking taxi driver" – Rhodes had suggested Strummer hotfoot it to Texas, while a "vanishing" story could prove an effective marketing scam. The stunt became a farce when it was later revealed that Strummer simply got a train to Paris, where he grew a full beard and competed in the city's marathon.

3) Morrissey's "wrong type of snow"
We could fill an entire blog with excuses for gig cancellations. Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty are regular offenders – we wouldn't possibly like to speculate why. But the king of the bizarre excuse is serial canceller Mozzer. The former Smiths singer has called off so many shows citing illness and voice issues that his more unusual excuses stand out. At various times, he has pulled shows claiming problems with the water mains, central heating and having discovered the venue was a former abattoir (which would rule out Meat Is Murder). Our favourite is (we can still barely believe anyone fell for this one) ... snow on the venue roof.

4) Boy George's heroin denial
Similarly, pop stars have long found various ways of saying: "I am not on drugs." Former Culture Club singer George O'Dowd's response to a 1986 Sun story in which his own brother claimed "Junkie George has eight weeks to live" was simple stone-faced denial, which he managed to keep up until a music producer overdosed and died in his house. George is obviously still with us, although he continued the theme in 2005 by denying that cocaine found in his New York apartment was his. "He is a very social person," insisted his lawyer, prior to a guilty verdict and community service. "He has a lot of people in his apartment."

5) Lindsay Lohan's drug-addicted trousers
Few drugs excuses come as lame as Lohan's. The actress (and some time singer – well, she has at least performed Amy Winehouse's painfully appropriate Rehab) was pulled over by police and found to be carrying Colombia's finest export in her pockets. She swore that she had borrowed someone else's trousers, which just happened to have a mountain of charlie in the pocket. Now what kind of person leaves a pocketful of gak stuffed in their jeans? The kind of person Lohan hangs around with? Perhaps.

Have you got your own favourite pop star excuse?


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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