IF YOU’VE EVER had the extreme pleasure of calling Daily Variety on a music matter, you may get the mellifluous sound of phone mail.

While some of my colleagues favor the feet-up-on-the-cracker-barrel style of laconic speaking as their introduction to the world, my outgoing message is, well, terse. As in: Leave a message.

Some say it’s the New Yorker in me. Others say that I’m drinking too much coffee. Others say that I’m not drinking enough coffee.

But you’d be driven to drink something stronger than coffee, and probably would be just as abrupt on your message, were you to sit here and get some of the phone calls and faxes that wend their way to this desk.

Submitted from your approval from a day’s random pile:

Important celebrity news: “Billy Idol is concerned as to the exaggerated reports regarding his health and well-being.”

Haven’t read any reports anywhere, but it seems that Mr. Idol wants the world to know that his self-reported collapse in a nightclub parking lot after having “two beers” was not related to anything other than hard work.

According to the release, he has been working an average of 14 hours a day for the last nine months to complete his upcoming recording, which undoubtedly will feature many three-chord songs.

From the financial desk: Sony Music achieved its best third quarter and best December ever, the company claims.

October, November and December 1992 were nearly 10% better than 1991’s third quarter, while Sony achieved the best third quarter and best December sales month ever in the history of the company.

By now you’re asking the Journalism 101 questions: What did they do before? And what sales did they post to set these records? Nowhere to be found on the press release. A Sony spokeswoman said no figures were available.

What was that line from Sony’s own Bruce Springsteen? “It takes a leap of faith …”

More important celebrity news: “In the new issue of Penthouse, Marky Mark once again struts his stuff.” The Markster on women: “Being a little, pimple-faced, ugly kid, knowing that women want you–that’s a great feeling.”

Funny, but those bus shelter photos don’t show a little pimple-faced kid. Is it possible the real Marky Mark is locked up in a studio and his body double is pulling a reverse Martha Wash? Considering that Marky’s latest album is a stiff, Mae West seems to be right–goodness has nothing to do with it.

Proposed road trip: “Hi, we’re announcing the upcoming (BIG HUMONGOUS DEAL) tour Monday in Memphis. We’ll hold two tickets for you. How many do you want on the list?”

Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness” revisited: Publicist: “Hi, would you be interested in talking with (BIG HUMONGOUS PRODUCER)?” Me: “What’s the angle?” Publicist: “I’ll have to get back to you.”

The age of instant information: Press releases announcing American Music Award winners and Grammy/Soul Train nominations arrive weeks later in the mail. A tree died for this, we sadly note, as we cast them into the waste basket.

INSIDE STUFF: A friend calls up the other day, mentions “The Bodyguard.” Notes that Whitney Houston’s son in the film is named Fletcher. Her dog’s name is Foster. Arista’s West Coast head of publicity is Fletcher Foster. Asked said friend if anyone else caught the joke. “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know anyone else who will admit to seeing the film.”… Best unsigned band this critic has seen in many moons was caught live last Thursday at the Troubador. Mr. Ectomy is a 12-piece Los Angeles band playing originals in the Frank Zappa/Oingo Boingo mode. Catch them this Saturday night at Raji’s … Hot rumors of the moment: Derek Schulman to get his own imprint, distributed through Giant Records; Bob Buziak to an alternative A&R post at Sony Music; director John Singleton to get his own record imprint through Epic Soundtrax; Beggar’s Banquet ends its relationship with RCA Records; rumblings concerning forthcoming executive shifts in the EMI Music empire.

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