'Pop’s hottest ho' really isn’t that shocking

Azealia Banks may be out to shock - but it's nothing we haven't seen before.

With the papers full of the antics of female pop stars, I was struck by Camilla Long's interview with Azealia Banks ("pop's hottest ho") in The Sunday Times.

The singer, said Long, is sitting on a sofa "in a see-through shirt and a one-inch skirt, but the fact that I can see both her nipples and nearly her front bottom is only a sideshow"; during the interview "she screams and giggles and whips her weave, finally bursting into howling, hysterical tears, saying that her mother is a bitch' and crazy' and a mindf***'".

Banks's debut track, 212, is a powerful electro-pop chant so "peppered with expletives" that it became known as "the c*** song".

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It caught the eye of Samantha Cameron and Banks was duly "dragged" to Smythson (she says), where "there was just this really big white woman staring down on my head She was like: this bitch better say hi. And I'm just like, Who's that?' Someone said, That's Samantha Cameron'. I'm like, Who's Samantha Cameron?' They said, David Cameron's wife'. I'm like, Who's David Cameron?'" At this, says Long, she gives a "big whoop" of laughter.

Just over a year ago, Banks was "mad broke", at one point so poor that she worked at a strip club and had her boyfriend pay her rent: her debut album was recorded in someone's bedroom; she made the video for $30 in a dirty top on the street, thought nothing would come of it and then got nearly 60 million hits. "I was like, shit! I'm famous,' she shrieks. I'm rich. I'm famous'."

The first thing she did was fire everyone. "You're fired... and you're fired You didn't wanna ride with me when I didn't have no hair weave and a dirty Mickey Mouse sweater on Go ahead. Kiss my ass." Banks is "now by far the most frightening thing in pop", says Long.

That's quite a claim, coming in a week when Annie Lennox and Sinead O'Connor have been criticising the likes of Rihanna and Miley Cyrus for what O'Connor calls "overtly sexualised performances". I doubt they'll take much notice.

Beautiful and talented, Cyrus was the most successful recording artist Disney has ever produced, says Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail; then the 20-year-old "shocked her legions of teen fans at the family friendly MTV awards by stripping to a gold bikini and waving her derrire in the face of Robin Thicke during a performance of his hit single Blurred Lines". It's a mystery, says Platell: why has she reinvented herself as a "soft-porn star"?

Who knows? Perhaps she feels the need to compete with Rihanna, who last week, in Platell's words, "released her most sexually explicit video yet, writhing about in water and touching herself provocatively while a stripper gyrates on a pole in the background".

Whatever the reason, I can't say I find it very shocking, especially having just watched Miley on YouTube. It would be nicer, I suppose, if she didn't stick her tongue out all the time, but Mick Jagger did quite a lot of that and let's not forget that Madonna, in her prime, hardly looked as if she were auditioning for The Sound of Music.

Tabloid money: US democracy is as wonky as Joe Hart's goalkeeping

If the House of Representatives and the Senate don't agree, the government "stops working". You'd imagine that the president "the most powerful man on Earth" would bang heads together. "But it seems he can't. And as a result, the government has shut down. Stopped. Eight hundred thousand government workers were sent home and I'm sorry, but how can you go around the world selling democracy when the democracy you have back at home is as wonky as Joe Hart's goalkeeping?"

Labour "has got itself into a frenzy over an article which was nasty about Ed Miliband's dad", says Rod Liddle in The Sun. "Ralph Miliband was a Marxist sociologist and he was attacked, rather crudely, by a bloke in the Daily Mail. The Labour Party is demanding an apology and thinks the whole thing a horrible smear on Ed. Maybe it is, and if so, I don't think it will work. You can't blame a son, because his dad was a bit of a left-wing weirdo who made Tony Benn look reasonable. But the truth is, Ralph held views that the majority of the British people would have found dangerously extremist. I don't see why a newspaper should be prohibited from saying this. Funny thing is, nobody gets worked up when the parents of right-wing politicians are attacked. Remember when it was revealed that Osborne's dad had bought a desk for £19,000? Everybody stuck the boot in me included. And there were no demands for an apology."

"Boris Johnson is the latest politician to get caught out by the how much is a pint of milk?' question, answering 80p instead of 40p," says Jane Moore in The Sun. "So what? To paraphrase Norman Tebbit, it's not knowing the price of a pint of milk that matters, it's... knowing that, emotionally, it's important to people."