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MUSIC; Bubbly Cerys is off the pop after gliding shock.

WILD Welsh rocker Cerys Matthews says she's turned her back on all-night drinking sessions after a paragliding accident nearly killed her.

"I lost control of my glider one morning after a heavy night out," says the blonde Catatonia singer, in the charts with The Ballad Of Tom Jones.

"I got in a bit of a tangle with the ropes. I didn't think I was in any real danger at the time but afterwards people told me how close I'd come," says Cerys, 26, who admits she once spent pounds 2,000 on a champagne binge to celebrate her first hit.

Pop gossip columns have been full of her legendary partying since the band formed five years ago.

After one drinking bout she disappeared - and turned up in France a week later

But her most famous headline-grabber came when she was a guest on a live BBC TV debate about Welsh devolution.

"I took advantage of the refreshments on offer and ended up asking the weather girl Sian Lloyd who she was sleeping with," says Cerys. '

"That's all in the past now, though. I'm fed up with reading about the silly things I've done. I don't think I'll get any respect for my music if I'm just seen as a brainless idiot ruled by drink.'

"My problem is I just can't sit down," she says. "I need something to occupy my time so I've taken up gardening.

"I know it sounds daft, and no-one believes me, but I really want to grow a championship marrow.

"I've been fascinated by them since I went to a garden festival. I've already organised the garden at my house in Cardiff."

Unfortunately, clearing the space for her marrows means Cerys is struggling to accommodate her other backyard occupants - a collection of gnomes.

"I know it's not very rock'n'roll but I've got about six hundred," she laughs. "They're starting to take over the house.'

"We've had to invent a game to try and get rid of a few of them. It's called Millennium Gnome and basically we put them on the garage roof and try and knock them off with champagne corks."

For the next three months Cerys is letting her mates look after the gnomes and the marrows while Catatonia tour the UK and Europe, where the band's last single, Mulder And Scully, is a big hit.

But there's a mystery attached to the success of the record.

"It's funny we've done so well on the back of that song," says Cerys. "I don't even like the X-Files'.

"I'm sure loads of people bought the record by mistake, but who cares?

"They should be flattered we wrote a song about them anyway."'

FINLEY IS A SHELL OF HIS FORMER SELF

LOOKS like Finley Quaye's varied upbringing has had a nasty effect on his dress sense.

The Brit award winner was in London's Met bar the other night wearing black shell pants and trainers with a striped Saville Row shirt and silk tie. He finished the outfit off with what looked like a bright blue leather jacket from Burtons' 1982 range.

And they say you can't buy it!

OASIS'S LIAM IS A REAL BOSOM BUDDY

I'VE long suspected Liam Gallagher of being less than clever but this one takes the mad for it biscuit.

Apparently our kid was puzzled by Cornershop's recent chart topper and asked frontman Tjinder Singh: "So, everybody needs a bosom for a pillow - that means boob right? Cos I thought it was some Indian word or something." So that's why Oasis' lyrics are so deep...

Best albums

THERAPY? - Semi-Detached (A&M). Hard rockin' Irish fellas can still deliver with a marvellous album. The current single Church Of Noise is on here, with guitar frenzies like Straight Life, Stay Happy and the brilliant Lonely, Cryin Only. Sorted my head out. 9/10

PULP - This Is Hardcore (Island). Should have been called This Is Hardgoing. I'm sure there are some classics on here somewhere but there's nothing to touch the peaks of their last album. I get the feeling the band are trying hard to shake off their young fans. Bad move. 6/10

CLANNAD - Landmarks (RCA). Shameless cash-in on the current fad for all things moody from the band who probably did invent chilling out. I suppose it's not a bad assortment of moods but as soon as the pan pipes come on that's it for me. And my mum would love it. 6/10

Best singles

SHOLA AMA - Someday I'll Find You (EMI). Old angel voice herself does Noel Coward proud with a sweet version of one of his classics. Her name means "dream come true", you know." 9/10

CONNER REEVES - Read My Mind (Wildstar). Some people claim they've never heard of Mr Reeves but after funk like this from the Brits nominee they'll be in no doubt. 8/10

FIRE ISLAND - Shout To The Top (JBO). Top dance tune which has been "making the floor burn" as they say in discos these days. I'm not sure about all that shouting, though. 8/10

BILLIE MYERS - Kiss The Rain (Universal): The radio bigboys are going crazy over her and I have to admit it looks like we've found the British Alanis. Hooray! 7/10
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Hyland, Ian
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 29, 1998
Words:873
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