Ian Brown: When the wild rose grows

WHILE MANY A MAN’S reputation precedes him, Ian Brown’s has virtually had its own career. As frontman of one of the most influential bands of all time, the Stone Roses, he was called the saviour of a generation but became a laughing stock when his band split acrimoniously in 1996. Since then his disinclination to do interviews seems to have served only as proof that he is the original sullen Mancunian, a media-hater still bitter about the demise of the Roses, an ageing star living on past glori

'I don't fear death'

Anastacia has the sort of voice you hear long before you see her. I can hear her in the next room, wondering what she should drink (caffeine-free Coke), ordering a pizza and petting her terrier, Freak. She is petite, just 5ft 3in, but in her tight, bleached denim jacket, towering Gucci boots and trademark pink-tinted glasses, the 30-year-old singer is larger than life. She introduces me to the dog. "I take him everywhere! He's the only man who'll kiss me in the morning." Unimpressed, Freak dash

'We wouldn't sign you for a million dollars'

The man mountain at the door is frisking journalists as if they are entering a war zone rather than a playback of the new, hotly anticipated Linkin Park album, Meteora. Assuming (wrongly) that some of us have the wages and technical wherewithal to own mobiles capable of doing anything more than send a text message, he double-checks that we have left our phones behind before standing aside. Welcome to the music industry in the 21st century. Paranoid and more than a little delusional, the powers

Golden rule

'Yo," Ja Rule mumbles through a mouthful of food, eyeing me warily from beneath his baseball cap, and sinking down on the sofa far too comfortably for one who has been known to fall asleep during interviews. His air of suspicion is perhaps understandable. He is one of the world's most ubiquitous and bankable rap stars, having sold over 10m albums worldwide, but he is plainly aware that these are difficult days for the industry he has transformed with his chart-friendly yet credible brand of hip-