Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn given citizenship of ­Iceland as one of only 30 to get a passport

DAMON ALBARN once sang about living in a very big house in the country, but now he has upped sticks to reside in a very different location.

I’ve learned the rocker has been awarded citizenship of ­Iceland and is one of only 30 foreign citizens to make the cut.

He asked officials how he could join the country last March during a holiday there and finally had his wish granted on Thursday.

The Blur and Gorillaz frontman has spent 25 years as a frequent visitor to the geyser-filled island, which is 1,200 miles from where he grew up in Essex.

He has a home in a suburb of capital city Reykjavik.

A source said: “Damon is thrilled to now officially be a citizen of Iceland because he knows the country so well.

“It has been a constant source of inspiration for him and it is a safe haven right now.

“Apart from anything else, Iceland has just a handful of Covid cases so being there is far better than staying in the UK where he would be stuck inside.”

The ruling means he now has the right to live and work in Iceland permanently, without any immigration restrictions.

The star said he was first inspired to take a trip there in the mid-Nineties after learning the country had black sand.

Damon explained at the time: “I used to have a recurring dream, as a child, of a black sand beach.

“And one hazy, lazy day, I was watching the TV and I saw a programme about Iceland, and they had black beaches.

“So I got on a plane. I was on my own — I didn’t know anybody.

“I went into the street in Laugavegur, where the bars are, and that was it.”

Blur then recorded their self-titled 1997 album there, featuring hits Song 2, On Your Own and Beetlebum.

In 2006 he described himself as “a frequent visitor, a sort of migratory bird” to the country.

If I were him, I’d feather my nest and stay put there for now till things settle down.

FROM BLUR TO BRRR

  • This Is a Low Temperature
  • Parkylife
  • Beetlenumb
  • Iced Coffee & TV
  • Song-2°
  • There’s Snow Other Way

RITA'S TWIST IN THE TALE

RITA Ora’s new film – a reimagining of Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist – has been ­absolutely savaged by critics, but she’s still got the popcorn out to watch it.

And Rita is convinced the author himself would have been a fan of the flick, which came out on Sky Cinema yesterday.

Speaking about the movie, simply called Twist, which features a graffiti artist, parkour scenes and Rita ­pretending to be the most unconvincing police officer of all time, she said: “I think that this would be what Charles Dickens would have probably done.

“It was, what, 1839 when Oliver Twist came out for the first time. It was his interpretation of street slang and life on the streets.”

Speaking to Fleur East on the Hits Radio Breakfast Show, she added: “For us now, shooting it in this time, it’s our interpretation of life on the street. So I really love that I was a part of that progression.”

Er . . . if you say so, Rita.

WEEKEND GRAM SLAM

THE WEEKND insists his three Grammy awards “mean nothing” to him after his album After Hours was snubbed in the nominations for this year’s ceremony.

He moaned: “Look, I personally don’t care any more.

“I have three Grammys, which mean nothing to me now, obviously. It’s not like, ‘Oh, I want the Grammy!’ It’s just that this happened, and I’m down to get in front of the fire, as long as it never happens again.

“I suck at giving speeches anyways. Forget awards shows.”

In November he called the ceremony “corrupt” for not nominating him.

Sounds like he’s still not over it.

JORD'S GAFF

Jordan North made a right dog’s dinner of a fundraising quiz.

The I’m A Celeb finalist hosted the quiz this week on Facebook Live for the Pendleside Hospice in his native Burnley but he gave out the wrong text number for donations and the cash went to a dog charity instead.

Speaking on Radio 1 yesterday, he said: “This greyhound charity all of a sudden got loads of text donations and the charity that I was trying to raise money for didn’t.”

Asked what was going to happen, he added: “Put it this way, I think I’m personally going to be out of pocket.”

I thought his antics on I’m A Celeb were about as hapless as possible, but this is a real howler.

It hasn’t put the BBC off his fellow campmate Vernon Kay, who will cover for Rylan Clark for two shows next month on Radio 2, following his surge in popularity from the ITV show.

As one of the few interesting people in that Welsh castle, they’d be mad not to give him a permanent slot.

SMALL TALKS

HEATHER SMALL has new music on the way, 15 years after her last album was released.

Fresh from a trip to Barbados with her pal Sinitta, the M People star looks amazing on the cover of February’s Diva magazine where she talks about an upcoming charity single.

She has recorded a track to raise funds for the Rio Ferdinand Foundation which helps tackle inequality.

On her decision to sit down with the mag, the 2008 Strictly Come Dancing star said: “Some people have always thought of me as a diva, so when Diva magazine came along, I couldn’t say no.”

JOE'S ON A WIND-UP

JOE Wicks is still making himself the butt of every joke after letting rip in front of 800,000 people during one of his live PE classes earlier this month.

He dressed up as a whoopee cushion yesterday for his latest online workout.

The personal trainer, who’s a multi-millionaire thanks to his popular weight-loss books and apps, is back teaching three classes a week after he modelled himself as the nation’s PE teacher during the first ­lockdown.

Normally I think stuff like that is just a lot of hot air, but he’s done a great job.

Given the creativity of this ­costume, he’ll soon be teaching farts and crafts, too.

After months of working out in front of the nation, the star is eager to have his jab and get back to ­normal.

He said: “I’m nervous about it but I’m not an anti-vaxxer.

“I’ll get it in my arm, in my bum, wherever they want to put it as long as it means I can see my nan.”

He’ll be left feeling deflated if he does it in this costume.

KATY’S NEW DRESS CODE

KATY PERRY used to be obsessed with shopping but has now vowed to stop. She said the birth of her daughter Daisy, who she had with actor Orlando Bloom in August, has made her rethink how she lives.

She said: “I used to be so addicted to shopping. I have become so aware of how wasteful I have been as a consumer with clothes. In my personal life I have pledged to myself that I am not really going to buy. I want to only buy out of necessity.”

On an Instagram Live for Coca-Cola’s Open To Better campaign, she added: “Clothes are in the top five of the most polluting things for our planet and I cannot be a part of that like I was. Especially knowing my daughter is going to grow up in that.”

TOM'S ON A MISSION

THE latest travel restrictions have sparked a fresh row on the set of Tom Cruise’s new Mission Impossible film.

Determined to get the project finished, Tom has flown the cast and crew out to the Middle East for the ­latest run of scenes.

But many of the production staff are now up in arms at the prospect of not being able to return home to their families.

Before Christmas, Tom had lost his temper when crew members were found breaking the movie’s strict Covid protocols.

Five staffers had walked out after Tom’s rant.

Now sources say there are fears more crew will lose patience and head home.

The seventh instalment in the big-budget franchise has faced delays due to the pandemic and is set to be rel­eased on Nov 19 – four months later than planned.

An insider said: “This is starting to feel like a real nightmare of a production – and of course a lot of that is totally unavoidable.

“But the hope was that after the pre-Christmas rows and delays, filming out in the UAE could give the crew more freedom to make headway without hold-ups.

“Sadly that has come at a price after the UK shut its borders, and now many of the production team – ­especially the more junior staff who aren’t on big ­salaries – are up in arms and just want to go home.”

One tells me: “It feels like everything is against us at the moment and morale is really down.

“A lot of us would love to cut our losses and leave things for a while, then pick up when we can.

“But Tom is completely obsessed with finishing and nothing will stop him.

“He’s the most determined person. It’s impressive, but a nightmare.”

I desperately miss big new movies – so it’s amazing stars like Tom are so committed to getting things back up and running.

Let’s just hope the finished product is worth all the grief.

MARIAH ON THE MENDES


MARIAH Carey took inspiration from Shawn Mendes as she recreated one of his posts.

He shared a photo this week with the caption: “Grateful. The sun, coffee, my health, my family, old Mariah Carey songs . . .”

Posting a similar shot of herself, Mariah wrote: “Grateful. The sun, tea, my health, my family, old Shawn Mendes songs . . .”

CHARTS

SINGLES

1. Drivers License –         OLIVIA RODRIGO
    2. Without You – THE         KID LAROI
    3. Wellerman –         NATHAN EVANS ft         220 KID &         BILLEN  TED
    4. Don’t Play – ANNE- MARIE, KSI &         DIGITAL FARM         ANIMALS
    5. Paradise –         MEDUZA ft         DERMOT KENNEDY
    6. Sweet Melody –         LITTLE MIX
    7. Anyone – JUSTIN         BIEBER
    8. Afterglow – ED         SHEERAN
    9. 34 + 35 – ARIANA         GRANDE
    10. Whoopty – CJ

WHILE Olivia Rodrigo spends a third week at No1, postman turned TikTok star Nathan Evans has gone to No3 with a remix of his sea shanty Wellerman. It’s the highest-charting debut single by a Scot in a decade.

ALBUMS

   1. Post Human:     ­    Survival Horror –         BRING ME THE         HORIZON
    2. Isles – BICEP
    3. Greenfields: The         Gibb Brothers’         Songbook (Vol 1) –         BARRY GIBB
    4. Shoot For The         Stars, Aim For The         Moon – POP SMOKE
    5. Light For The         World – POOR         CLARES OF         ARUNDEL
    6. Fine Line – HARRY         STYLES
    7. Divinely Uninspired         To A Hellish Extent –         LEWIS CAPALDI
    8. Evermore –         TAYLOR SWIFT
    9. Greatest Hits –         QUEEN
10. Confetti – LITTLE MIX

BRING Me The Horizon have scored their second No1 with their EP Post Human: Survival ­Horror despite it being released three months ago. It shot to the top spot this week after being released on physical formats.

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