Media: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes ; You Have a Successful Satirical Website Exposing Celebrities' Foibles. So, Obviously, You Take It to Television. but Smoking Gun TV Is a Big Mistake, Says EDWARD DOCX

By Docx, Edward | The Independent (London, England), August 26, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Media: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes ; You Have a Successful Satirical Website Exposing Celebrities' Foibles. So, Obviously, You Take It to Television. but Smoking Gun TV Is a Big Mistake, Says EDWARD DOCX


Docx, Edward, The Independent (London, England)


Did you realise that the singer Christina Aguilera insists on "one (1) package of Soya Kass Soy Cheese full-fat mozzarella" to be placed in her dressing-room before she arrives to perform on stage? She also requires a police escort to be on hand with full authority to route her entourage through jams because she absolutely does not wish to "encounter any delays due to traffic". Oh yes, and "one (1) bottle of Echinacea capsules", please, and "twelve (12) solo cups", and, yes, an "assortment of power bars" and the cheese platter (organic), the meat platter (organic, must be deli) and the fruit platter ("raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, plums, bananas - organic") and "one (1) container of Coffee Mate Non Dairy Creamer" and...

Such wonderful things are to be discovered on The Smoking Gun (TSG to the cognoscenti), an American website famous for its extraordinary ability to track down almost any piece of documentation in the States. TSG was founded in 1997 by the former Village Voice reporters William Bastone and Danny Green; and although it was bought by the US station Court TV in 2000, the website is still run by a cabal of journalistic nerds who specialise in uncovering legal documents, police reports, contracts, divorce papers, court records and so on.

They have different freedom-of-information laws in America, and so they are indeed able to procure some interesting documents. For example, TSG reports that - according to a Los Angeles Superior Court complaint - the octogenarian parents of Jim Morrison are suing two of their son's former Doors bandmates. And, ghoulish perhaps (but no less fascinating for that), TSG brings us full coverage of Katharine Hepburn's will. And the autopsy report detailing the cause of death of the Bee Gee Maurice Gibb (a congenital condition).

TSG also carries a wonderful gallery of police mugshots - the just-been- arrested, face-and-to-the-side-please photographs of all your favourite celebrities.

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