DISASTER struck the Spin Doctor nerve centre this week with the news that English rock band Muse is being sued for $US3.5 million ($3.3m) on the basis that its song cycle was ripped off from a rock opera of the same name by American composer Charles Bollfrass. What’s upsetting is that SD has spent several months working on just such a rock opera, one that, by a weird coincidence, is based like Bollfrass’s on ‘‘humanity’s impending doom as the planet breaks down, and the exploration of space to spread human life to new planets’’, to borrow from his synopsis. Amazing that two people could come up with such a brilliant idea completely independent of one another. Muse fans will be all too aware that the group released its album in 2009, on which are the tracks and all penned by guitarist Matthew Bellamy. The album’s liner notes describe the trilogy as ‘‘a story of humanity coming to an end and everyone pinning their hopes on a group of astronauts who go out to explore space and spread humanity to another planet. Part 1 is a jaded acceptance that civilisation will end. Part 2 is a desperate hope that sending the astronauts to find and populate other planets will be successful alongside the recognition that this is the last hope. Finally, Part 3 is when the astronauts realise that it is just one big cycle, and recognise that unless humanity can change it will happen all over again.’’ Might have been worth SD reading those at the time. Whoever of the two parties is in the right, the sci-fi idea has had to be ditched here at SDHQ and the project will be hastily reworked as a surf musical based on the premise of a great white shark being washed up in a shopping mall by a tsunami. At least no one else will be crazy enough to come up with that storyline. ROBERT Forster, who has been lying low from the demands of the stage for a while, has announced his return for performances in October and November. The Brisbane-based former Go-Between will be plowing the depths of his considerable back catalogue of solo albums on the tour, which begins in his home city on October 23. We hear the singer, who earned acclaim for his column in during and before his absence from performing, will pepper his set with material ‘‘old, recent, borrowed and new’’, although there’s no mention yet of a new album. SOUL diva Macy Gray rolls into Australia this weekend for a series of shows to promote her album of covers, on which she interprets the work of Radiohead and Arcade Fire, among others. The Grammy-winning singer is making a habit of reworking other people’s material this year. Next month, to mark the 40th anniversary of Stevie Wonder’s
Gray is releasing her version of the album, which features the classic tracks
and Gray describes as ‘‘one of my top five albums of all time’’. With that in mind, Gray will be going on the road to perform it in the US once she’s done with Australia. And it’s not just with music that Gray, whose hits include and
all from the landmark album has been keeping herself occupied. She also appears in — and narrates — Lee Daniels’s film which made its debut at the Cannes film festival and stars Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and John Cusack. MARC Bolan died on September 16, 1977. He made some sublime pop records.