People talk 11/12

Monday, November 12, 2001

Clinton's old Oxford digs for sale at $1 million

OXFORD, England -- The house where former President Clinton lived during his time as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University is for sale -- for the very un-studentlike price of $1 million.

Clinton rented a ground-floor room in the building at 46 Leckford Road in leafy north Oxford from 1968 to 1970.

The building has since been converted into a four-bedroom, two-bathroom family home.

"We are pleased to be offering for sale a piece of contemporary Oxford history," said Giles Lawton, director of John D. Wood & Co. "The house is located in a very popular and convenient part of the city and we anticipate strong interest being generated."

Clinton is not the building's only link with history. Among his housemates was future deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbot, and the house reportedly was later rented by Howard Marks, one of Britain's most notorious drug dealers.

Mellencamp pleased with musical rebound

INDIANAPOLIS -- John Mellencamp is pleased with having something of a commercial rebound, but says that at age 50 he is "irrelevant" in terms of the charts and MTV.

His 16th studio recording, "Cuttin' Heads," debuted at No. 15 on Billboard magazine's albums chart last month. "John Mellencamp," his 1998 release, opened at No. 40 and slipped off the top 200 in a matter of weeks.

Mellencamp does measure success, however, by personal responses to the music.

"Did you like the record? Did you relate to any of the songs? I had a frustrating -- but good -- time making the record," he says. "That's how I feel about it."

After promoting "Cuttin' Heads" heavily on radio and television in recent weeks, the Indiana native is on hiatus until a 50-date arena tour begins in March.

The album has fared well critically, with many reviewers comparing it to his 1980s releases "Scarecrow," "The Lonesome Jubilee" and "Big Daddy."

"All of these records seem the same to me," he says. "That's why I'm so surprised when people distinguish that one record is better than another. I've been writing the same way for years. I go up to my art studio, I have an acoustic guitar, and I have nothing particular in mind that I want to write about until I start noodling around.

"I try to express a few things that aren't too offensive or, you know, too sappy."

Huey Lewis kicks off Mays' fund raiser

SAN FRANCISCO -- Huey Lewis and the News kicked off a fund raiser for disadvantaged youth with an a capella version of the national anthem.

The event Saturday raised money for Willie Mays' Say Hey Foundation, which supports community groups that work with youth and funds college scholarships.

"It's great hanging out with Willie Mays," Lewis said. "We were talking about golf and the '64 World Series."

The evening included a cocktail reception, dinner, and performances by Lewis, Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville.

Other notable guests included Sean Penn, Rob Schneider, Reggie Jackson, Barry Bonds and former President Clinton.

Some of the proceeds from the event, called a "Night of Heroes," will benefit victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Red Sox fan Damon admits rooting for Yanks

BOSTON -- First the Curse of the Bambino. Now this.

Boston's rivalry with the New York Yankees suffered another serious blow when native son and Red Sox fan Matt Damon confessed he rooted for the Yankees during the World Series.

"For the first time in my life, during the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series, I was shocked to find myself rooting for the Yankees," he said at the recent New York opening of the film "King of the Jungle," the Boston Sunday Herald reported.

"As a die-hard Red Sox fan who has hated the Yankees all my life, I thought I would never utter such words. But my flimsy logic is that the Yankees are from the same division as the Red Sox," said Damon, who grew up across the Charles River from Fenway Park in Cambridge.

The Yankees have dominated the Red Sox in the 80 years since Boston sold Babe Ruth to New York, bringing upon themselves the legendary "Curse of the Bambino."

"If word gets back to Boston that I said any of this I'm going to get strung up by my thumbs," Damon said.

George Harrison to release new song

LONDON -- George Harrison, whose battles with ill health have generated intense media speculation, has recorded a new song to be released this month -- and credited it to "RIP Ltd. 2001."

The song, "Horse to the Water," was recorded with British pianist and bandleader Jools Holland at Harrison's home in Switzerland last month, Holland's official Web site said.

The site describes the song as "a cross between 1960s' Bob Dylan and 1970s' John Lennon ... not a ballad and not rock."

Holland, former keyboard player for the band Squeeze, met Harrison during filming of the "Beatles Anthology" documentary in 1995.

"George suggested we do a track, and it was wonderful to work with one of the great, legendary artists in the world," Holland said in comments carried on the site.

The song, co-written by Harrison and his son Dhani, appears on Holland's album "Small World Big Band," which will be released in Britain by Warner Music on Nov. 19.

The song's publishing credit is listed as "RIP Ltd. 2001," apparently short for "rest in peace." Holland's site said the credit "reveals George's dark sense of humor."

Recent media reports have said the 58-year-old Harrison has undergone experimental cancer treatment at Staten Island University Hospital in New York.

-- From wire reports

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