ALISON BOSHOFF: Bill Wyman is back on the new Rolling Stones album – despite teen sex shame
It’s perhaps the quietest move that the Rolling Stones have ever made. And possibly the most disgraceful, too.
Hackney Diamonds, the Stones’ new album which will be released on Polydor on October 20, sees the return of Bill Wyman, the bass player who left more than 30 years ago.
Wyman, 86, plays bass on the track Live By The Sword.
He dropped out of public view after the scandal in which he married girlfriend Mandy Smith, who was 18, in 1989.
They met when she was 13 and he was 47, and she subsequently said they first had sex when she was 14.
Wyman has not denied this but defended the relationship as ’emotional and special’. In a film about his life in 2019 he added that it had been a mistake to marry her. He also said he approached the police to discuss the relationship, but was told they were not interested.
Bill Wyman and Mandy Smith (pictured) met when she was 13 and he was 47, and she subsequently said they first had sex when she was 14
Ronnie Wood, Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards attend the launch event for The Rolling Stones’ new album ‘Hackney Diamonds’
Hackney Diamonds, the Stones’ new album which will be released on Polydor on October 20, sees the return of Mr Wyman
His pariah status is such that a documentary about him in 2019 was denied a UK premiere.
In the press interviews done so far by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, Wyman’s name has not been mentioned – the trio instead talked about collaborating with Sir Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga – and he did not attend their photocall in London.
Stones biographer Lesley-Ann Jones, who was there at the start of Wyman’s romance with schoolgirl Smith, tells me that she is sickened by this development. ‘When I heard that he had worked with his old band on their new album, my skin crawled.
‘Bill Wyman and Mandy Smith was an illegal and immoral relationship. It was accepted, and blind eyes were turned.’
Wyman reportedly first saw 13-year-old Smith at London’s Lyceum Ballroom. He said that she made him feel like he had been ‘whacked over the head with a hammer’.
The relationship was kept secret until she was 16. They were married when she was 18, and the wedding was attended by Jagger, Richards, Wood and their wives.
In an interview in 2010, Smith said: ‘It was kept from the Press and strangers, of course. For the first couple of years, I had to lie. When it actually came out, I was 16, so I suppose it wasn’t as bad. Although it was still bad. All hell broke loose.’ The couple separated in 1991. At around this time Wyman left the Stones, having joined the band in 1962 when it formed.
Rolling Stones band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood attend a launch event for their new album ‘Hackney Diamonds’
Wyman dropped out of public view after the scandal in which he married girlfriend Ms Smith, who was 18, in 1989
Jagger and the Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts spent two years trying to get him to change his mind. In an interview Wyman said: ‘Charlie and Mick would phone and say, ‘You’re not really leaving, are you? Have you re-thought it?’
Darryl Jones was officially announced as the Stones’ new bass player in March 1994.
Lesley-Ann Jones, whose book The Stone Age was published last summer, says she became friends with Wyman in 1984 when she was working on a Channel 4 rock show. She was there when he met Mandy, and in the circle of friends who would go clubbing with her.
On her birthday, Wyman threw a party and someone asked how old she was. The answer came: 15.
Jones, whose book about Sir Paul McCartney will be published this autumn, said: ‘The ‘friendship group’ disintegrated. We ran. We knew it was wrong. We didn’t do anything about it. We didn’t dare.
‘The minute he discovered her age, he should have ended the relationship, manned up, controlled himself, got legal advice, and run a mile — if not moved to another country.’
Wyman subsequently married model Suzanne Accosta and they have three grown-up daughters.
Minister for missing medical tape
Appropriately for a former health secretary, it was a roll of medical tape that seems to have preoccupied Matt Hancock while he filmed the Channel 4 series Celebrity SAS in Vietnam.
‘We had a first aid box in the corner of our dormitory containing basic equipment like bandages, plasters and medical tape, and whenever anybody went to it, looking for something to patch themselves up, it always seemed to be Matt who had taken the roll of medical tape for his own purposes,’ says comedienne and fellow contestant Zoe Lyons.
Appropriately for a former health secretary, it was a roll of medical tape that seems to have preoccupied Matt Hancock (pictured) while he filmed the Channel 4 series Celebrity SAS in Vietnam
‘We all suffered injuries – and trench foot, too – but Matt seemed to need bandaging up more than most of us.’
Celebrity SAS, which also features Danielle Lloyd, Melinda Messenger and Michelle Heaton, begins on Tuesday.
Episode one features a boxing match between former footballer Jermaine Pennant and Hancock, which does not end well for the disgraced one-time minister.
She’s a youthful 64, but actress Emma Thompson was in distinctly fogey-ish form at the Royal Television Society (RTS) Convention in Cambridge yesterday. She took exception to the word ‘content’ – even though it is a commonplace term – saying: ‘It makes me feel like the stuffing in a sofa. It’s just rude.’
Social media – the power of which was discussed by media cartographer Evan Shapiro, who had everyone nodding when he unveiled a media universe map the previous day – is also a no-go. ‘I won’t be involved in social media,’ Dame Emma said. ‘I don’t watch it or use it. I haven’t got a blue tooth or whatever it is. It would make me so ill to be on social media.
‘I would get very competitive and I would not rest until I had the magic number… is it a million? I would not rest until I was dead. And the dislikes! I would be in therapy for the rest of my life.’
Sydney is hot stuff
It has been a long, desperate summer for many striking actors – but it seems the fun never ends for Sydney Sweeney.
She’s done the Venice Film Festival, where she attended a fashion party and steered out of trouble by keeping her mouth shut – actors are not supposed to do any promotional work during the strike.
Then she plugged her performance in the video for the Rolling Stones’ new single, Angry, at a UK press conference, which was permissible because the Stones are not a ‘struck company’ (ie a movie studio).
And last weekend she celebrated her 26th birthday in Los Angeles at a party hosted by the shop Revolve – who also dressed her.
It has been a long, desperate summer for many striking actors – but it seems the fun never ends for Sydney Sweeney (pictured)
Sir Tim Rice has been reflecting on his favourite lyric, a line he penned for Aida: ‘Too many choices tear us apart.’
The musical, based on the opera of the same name, also featured music by Sir Elton John.
Unfortunately, Sir Tim says the one he always gets reminded of by fans is from Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: ‘All these things you saw in your pyjamas/Are a long-range forecast for your farmers.’
Is Barney the next Barbie?
After the success of Barbie, Mattel has been mulling film projects based on pretty much everything they have ever made, with a Polly Pocket picture and a Hot Wheels movie already announced.
Executive Kevin McKeon said that they were considering films based on Uno and the Magic 8 Ball – and even Bob The Builder.
Perhaps most disturbingly, they have green-lit a Barney the dinosaur movie, which McKeon describes as ‘surrealistic’.
It will be produced by British actor Daniel Kaluuya. McKeon said: ‘We’re leaning into millennial angst, rather than fine-tuning this for kids. It’s really a play for adults.
‘It’ll focus on some of the trials and tribulations of being thirtysomething, growing up with Barney – just the level of disenchantment within the generation.’
Most disturbingly, Mattel have green-lit a Barney the dinosaur movie, which McKeon describes as ‘surrealistic’
YouTube this week suspended Russell Brand from earning advertising revenue, but they won’t be following the BBC and Channel 4, who have scrubbed their sites clean of the celebrity.
YouTube executive Pedro Pina said: ‘Just to be clear, we don’t tolerate harmful content, but right now we don’t have harmful content.’
And as to diverting viewers away from Brand’s conspiracy theories, that won’t happen either. ‘Our recognition engine is designed to find the content which you are looking for,’ he said.
My genes are a blessing, and a curse… Linda’s life lessons
Supermodel Linda Evangelista dazzled an audience of friends and colleagues in London – making a rare appearance to promote a new book of photographs.
Evangelista, 58, was sharp, witty and occasionally wicked in conversation, covering everything from regrets (marrying model agent Gerald Marie… ‘I was too young – and he was the wrong person’) to that controversial Vogue all-supermodel cover. (She blames the use of strobe lighting for the peculiar appearance of herself, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford.)
She spent years living in isolation in New York after a disastrous reaction to fat-freezing jabs in 2016. More recently, she has suffered from breast cancer, undergoing a double mastectomy in 2018; and further surgery, chemotherapy and radiation this year to combat cancer of the pectoral muscle.
But now she is out and about again – and receiving adulation from her fans, including designer Susie Bick.
Linda Evangelista attends the Steven Meisel New York X Zara Collection Launch At Dover Street Market London on September 15
A crowd of 500 gathered outside Cadogan Hall, where Evangelista gave a talk on Sunday.
She reflected of her health: ‘I have said in the past that I am genetically blessed, because of my eye shape or my nose or my teeth or my height. So it’s ironic that I have had two genetic diseases.’
She continued: ‘I have never had a cavity in my life – but I have had holes in my lungs, from a genetic mutation.
‘I had the career I wanted, I was successful beyond my dreams, but along the way I had these struggles.’
She wept when she reflected that some of the audience had flown to see her and revealed that her new motto was: ‘Youth is not for ever, but beauty is.’
The fashion world is still talking about Vogue World in London last week – although some of us are struggling to get over the traumatically unfunny skit with James Corden, Sienna Miller, James McAvoy and Damian Lewis.
But for Vogue’s global grande dame Anna Wintour, it wasn’t about the clothes, or the supermodel finale, or asserting her power in the UK. It was about the charitable giving to the UK arts.
Some £2million will be donated – dwarfed by the £10.5million raised for the Metropolitan Museum in New York by the Met Gala, but still a punchy start.
Anna, 73, is determined to carve as big a philanthropic legacy as she can. Meanwhile it’s said that the event – for which tickets started at £150 – made around £2.5million net for Conde Nast.
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour poses upon arrival to attend the Vogue World: London event at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Wild thing widdy rocked Craig’s world
It’s over a decade ago now – an eternity in television – but Craig Revel Horwood says that his favourite Strictly Come Dancing performance of all time was… Anton Du Beke dancing the paso doble with Ann Widdecombe to The Troggs’ Wild Thing.
Revel Horwood said: ‘When he did the aeroplane move I just went: “I cannot believe this is actually happening in front of my very eyes!” That will stay with me until my death – for all the wrong reasons.’
On the night, he told Ann: ‘I only have three letters my love, OMG.’ And for the record, he gave her two points.
Craig Revel Horwood says that his favourite Strictly Come Dancing performance of all time was… Anton Du Beke dancing the paso doble with Ann Widdecombe to The Troggs’ Wild Thing
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