CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 12th October

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Sony chief defends SonyBMG boss Lack
- DMX in court over discharge violations
- Universal comment on collection societies complaint
- BPI legal man returns to IFPI
- BBC failed to consult industry before free Beethoven promotion
- BBC push for higher licence fee
- Glastonbury organisers praised by local authority
- Single review: Aberfeldy - Summer's Gone
- Towers Of London tour delayed
- We Are Scientists in-store
- Test Icicles in-store
- Sonic Youth working on new album
- Album review: Various Artists - Wicked Weekend
- Adventures In The Beetroot Field Hallowe'en weekend
- Real settles antitrust disputes
- Madonna iPod rumoured
- No More 4 for Freesat viewers
- GCap restructure station portfolio
- Pacha head to New York
- Slam release new CD
- Frank Black back in studio
- Live review: Superthriller
- Dylan and Hendrix stuff to sell at auction
- Liam loves Yoko, IDST
- Gallagher to release soul album
- Cowell accused of neglecting his kids
- Worryingly young rap star in the making
- Manson launches eau de goth
- Doherty hit security guard shocker

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THE TOP BIT

WIN A VIP TRIP TO THE ICELAND AIRWAVES FESTIVAL
From 19-23 October the annual Iceland Airwaves Festival takes over Reykjavik with a great programme of international bands ranging from hip hop heavies The Mitchell Brothers to hard-rocking Juliette & The Licks joining dozens of Icelandic artists, including the legendary Gus Gus and quirky electro poppers Bang Gang. London Now has teamed up with Icelandair to offer a lucky winner a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two to the Iceland Airwaves Festival. This terrific prize includes round-trip airfare to Reykjavik, four nights accommodation, plus hotel transfers, and of course a VIP pass to the Festival! To be in with a chance of winning it click the London Now button at http://www.virgindigital.com

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SONY CHIEF DEFENDS SONYBMG BOSS LACK
More on those previously reported allegations of a Sony / BMG fall out over at SonyBMG. As previously reported, the New York Times' Jeff Leeds this week alleged that senior BMG executives are unhappy with the way former Sony chief Andrew Lack is running the merged SonyBMG record company, adding that the BMG execs who make up half the SonyBMG board are suggesting that Lack's contract should not be renewed when it comes up for renewal later this year.

But yesterday Sony Corp chief Howard Stringer denied Lack's role at SonyBMG was in question, telling reporters: "Andy Lack has executed this very complicated merger between Sony Music and BMG brilliantly. The partners are in this together for the long term. And while quarterly performance and marketshare are important, overall performance, together with artist relationships and the development of new and creative talent, are paramount. Andy is exceptionally well-suited to manage the company in this challenging and ever-changing environment".

Elsewhere, however, the US media began running stories about specific grievances that BMG execs hold towards the SonyBMG boss. The New York Post said that BMG were outraged when Lack single handedly negotiated a recording contract with Bruce Springsteen that cost the major a reported $50 million. The LA Times say some BMG execs were shocked by Lack's unfamiliarity with the music industry, while others feel the SonyBMG boss consistently favours former Sony staff members when making appointments.

That last point may, in fact, be the most important. Lack supporters say that the BMG-led spin against their man is part of a campaign to ensure he appoints a BMG man to replace the departing Michael Smellie, the former BMG exec who stands down as the merged companies COO later this year. Others, however, say Smellie's departure is at the core of the current political tensions - but more because BMG execs reckon their man is quitting because Lack gave him a pretty much powerless role in the merged company.

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DMX IN COURT OVER DISCHARGE VIOLATIONS
DMX was in court on Tuesday to request an adjournment over charges that he has violated the conditions of his release following a car smash at John F. Kennedy International Airport. As previously reported, the rapper, real name Earl Simmons, pleaded guilty to charges of reckless endangerment in December last year and admitted that he was on valium at the time of the incident, in which he crashed his vehicle into an airport gate after telling a parking lot attendant that he was a federal agent. He was subsequently sentenced to a conditional discharge, but has twice since been cited for traffic violations, which are in violation of that conditional discharge, and is therefore, in theory, facing a prison sentence.

However, Judge Dorothy Chin-Brandt has now granted the defence's request to adjourn the case until later in the month, and it's thought that the case might not now come to court as the star's lawyer, Murray Richman, is reportedly in negotiations with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown - negotiations which, it's speculated, may keep the case out of court. Brown's spokeswoman said, "The district attorney is trying to work out an agreement because he [Simmons] is in violation of his conditional discharge."

Following his appearance in court, DMX told reporters that the charges are "all ludicrous," and admitted that "It's been very stressful. Nobody likes to come to court."

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UNIVERSAL COMMENT ON COLLECTION SOCIETIES COMPLAINT
The Universal Music Group have issued a statement about the complaint they have filed with the European Commission against Europe's lovely royalty collection societies.

As reported in yesterday's Daily, this is all part of the disagreement between the recording companies and the agencies that represent the publishers and songwriters as to how the money made on digital music sales should be carved up. The collection agencies want 12% on digital sales, compared to an average of 8% on physical sales. The record companies think that is rather optimistic, given that the publishers and songwriters haven't had to invest in the costly infrastructure that allows digital music distribution, and they are trying to resist the collection agencies' demands. Here in the UK the BPI has taken MCPS to a copyright tribunal over the whole issue. Universal is complaining to the EU because, it says, the various collection societies around Europe are conspiring, and in doing so are essentially forming a monopoly in a bid to get their way.

In a statement issued yesterday, the major record company told reporters: "The Societies have collectively set a royalty rate which is excessive and imposed terms which are unfair and unreasonable. They refuse to allow record companies to sell copyright inclusive product, contrary to existing practice in the physical world. They insist on royalties being paid on the full retail price, which means that royalties are charged not just on the value of the download or mastertone etc, but to a large extent on the cost of carriage and other services". So, that's them told.

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BPI LEGAL MAN RETURNS TO IFPI
One now for all you fans of industry association legal representation. The BPI's General Counsel, Geoff Taylor, is moving over to global trade organisation the IFPI, where he will oversee all sorts of exciting legal nonsense, like suing non-British kids who share music on the internet. And other things too, I'm sure.

Taylor worked for the IFPI previously from 1997 to 2004, latterly as Deputy General Counsel, before moving to the UK association where he has been heading up the anti-filesharing litigation and the aforementioned copyright tribunal case against MCPS as well as a host of other anti-piracy and legal projects. In his new job he will oversee the litigation and licensing activities of IFPI on behalf of its record company members worldwide, as well as coordinating the association's internet anti-piracy strategy and regulatory matters.

Confirming the appointment, IFPI boss John Kennedy told CMU: "Geoff Taylor has proved a highly effective legal strategist with an almost unrivalled expertise in music industry litigation and licensing issues. His combination of national and international experience will be a great benefit to IFPI, as will his sheer zest for results. I am delighted that, having played a leading role in the numerous successes of the BPI over the last year, Geoff has decided to return to IFPI in a role that matches his abilities".

No word yet on who will replace Taylor at the BPI.

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BBC FAILED TO CONSULT INDUSTRY BEFORE FREE BEETHOVEN PROMOTION
The British Broadcasting Corporation (or the BBC, to their friends) has been dissed for not properly consulting the classical record labels before launching that high profile Beethoven download earlier this year.

As previously reported, some 1.4 million people downloaded the free Beethoven music that was offered via the BBC's website as part of a season of programmes dedicated to the composer. The BBC could run the promotion because Beethoven's music, of course, has no composer royalty, and the recording was made by the Beeb's own orchestra so they own the copyright. But while the promotion provided a PR boost for the classical sector, those labels who sell classical music argued that by giving away recordings of complete symphonies the BBC was damaging their record sales.

Now the chairman of the government's Culture And Media Select Committee, John Whittingdale, has given his support to the labels. Referring to comments made at the Edinburgh TV Festival by Beeb boss Mark Thompson that the BBC would "work with, rather than against, the market" when it comes to new media ventures, Whittingdale said this week: "In terms of market assessment it's right that you say you should tread carefully when it comes to new media. But in Beethoven week there were 1.4m free downloads at a time when record companies are saying that people should pay for music. The inference is that you are not treading carefully but having a dramatic impact on a number of small and fledgling concerns."

Responding, Thompson argued that BBC Radio 3 controller Roger Wright had, in fact, spoken to the main classical labels prior to the Beethoven promotion, adding that he had found no objection among senior players in the classical sector. But Whittingdale said the record companies he had spoken to, including EMI's classical division, had been "unable to trace anyone" who had been contacted by the BBC prior to the launch of the Beethoven symphonies.

Backing those allegations, both the BPI and SonyBMG say they only began negotiations with the BBC over this kind of download promotion after the Beethoven project.

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BBC PUSH FOR HIGHER LICENCE FEE
How the BBC operates in the download and webcasting space is particularly important at the moment, because the Beeb's bosses Mark Thompson and Michael Grade are pushing for an increase in the licence fee to fund their ambitions in mobile and broadband TV.

As with the BBC's investments in digital TV and radio, and in conventional websites, this all poses an interesting debate. The Beeb has the reach, resources and archives that enable it to be a pioneer in the development of new content delivery platforms - introducing the wider public to new media platforms. All well and good, except when the Beeb's licence fee funded reach, resources and archives means it has an unfair advantage over commercial players trying to build a business by developing the same content delivery platforms.

The BBC argues that if it didn't invest in these new platforms the chances are they'd never actually take off - meaning that without the Beeb's investment both the commercial players and the wider public would lose out. On that point, they're probably right, but the Corporation won't win too many political friends if they go around pissing off entertainment companies like the classical labels. And they'll need some good political friends if they want the licence fee up to £150 by 2013.

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GLASTONBURY ORGANISERS PRAISED BY LOCAL AUTHORITY
Organisers of the Glastonbury Festival have been commended by their local authority for the running of their 2005 event. The positive report, released this week by Mendip District Council, is a change from the criticism the festival used to receive from the local authorities, and suggests the new security and sound control measures introduced as part of the Glastonbury team's partnership with Mean Fiddler have paid off.

The report, presented by Mendip's Business Manager in Planning and Environment Charles Uzzell, said this year's festival was "more successful" than that held in 2004, noting that noise control improved and the impact on local communities lessened. The report also praised organisers for how they dealt with the torrential rain fall that hit the festival site at the start of this year's event, leaving some flooding. Meanwhile, with arrests down 14% and non-drug related arrests down 19%, the local police force also spoke positively of the event, saying: "Every Glastonbury brings new challenges, but this year we believe the festival was the safest ever, and the figures back that up." The only real criticism was that campsite space was insufficient for the number of tickets sold for the festival.

As previously reported, Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis, who believes in taking a year off every five years or so, has already announced there will be no festival in 2006. However, this week's report suggests there should be no problems securing a licence for a 2007 event.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Aberfeldy - Summer's Gone (Rough Trade)
Now that it's getting darker earlier, twee folkies Aberfeldy commiserate with us by releasing this single from last year's debut album 'Young Forever'. Its mixture of acoustic instruments and gentle percussion give it a cute kids TV theme tune feel (The Woodentops?) and should appeal to all those people who propelled the Magic Numbers into the charts. 'Summer's Gone' is very sweet but perhaps a little too idiosyncratic to be a major hit. JW
Release date: 10 Oct
Press contact: In House [CP, RP, NP] Anglo [CR, RR, NR]

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TOWERS OF LONDON TOUR DELAYED
Towers Of London's UK tour, originally scheduled to start last night at Hertfordshire University, will now start later than planned on Friday, after the band were forced to cancel the first three dates. Tonight's show at Cardiff Barfly and tomorrow's gig at Oxford Zodiac are the second two dates affected. A statement explained: "The band have had to prolong their current stay in LA to finish their debut album 'Blood, Sweat And Towers'. Towers Of London apologise for the inconvenience to ticket holders but promise to return for these shows shortly."

The tour will now kick off on 14 Oct at the Tunbridge Wells Forum, just ahead of the single release of 'How Rude She Was'. Full tour details as follows:

14 Oct: Tunbridge Wells Forum
15 Oct: London Frog
17 Oct: Nottingham Rock City
18 Oct: Glasgow Nice N'Sleazy
19 Oct: Manchester Night & Day
20 Oct: Lincoln University
21 Oct: Huddersfield Storthes Hall
22 Oct: Southampton University
24 Oct: Coventry Coliseum
26 Oct: Leeds Joseph Wells
27 Oct: Birmingham Barfly
28 Oct: Stoke Underground
29 Oct: Aldershot West End Centre
30 Oct: Wolverhampton Little Civic
31 Oct: Bucks Chilterns University
2 Nov: London 100 Club
3 Nov: Loughborough University
4 Nov: Hull University
5 Nov: Bangor University

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WE ARE SCIENTISTS IN-STORE
We Are Scientists are to play an intimate in-store gig in London on Monday to mark the release of debut album 'With Love And Squalor'. The event takes place at 5:30pm at Selectadisc on Berwick Street.

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TEST ICICLES IN-STORE
And talking of in-stores, the very buzzy Test Icicles are planning a last minute in-store to celebrate John Peel Day on Thursday. The event, which will be filmed by Channel 4 for their Digital Music Awards show, takes place at City16, Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, at 7pm.

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SONIC YOUTH WORKING ON NEW ALBUM
Sonic Youth are about to begin work on their next album, currently entitled 'Sonic Life'. According to Belgian mag De Morgen, the group say that the new LP will "very song orientated", whatever that means. Unconfirmed rumours are also suggesting that guitarist Jim O'Rourke, who joined Sonic Youth in 1999, is not involved in the recording of the new album.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Various Artists - Wicked Weekend (Slip 'N' Slide)
S'N'S put out compos like there is no tomorrow. This one is 'party based' and manages to be non-poppy enough to get away with that appellation, but delivers a fair share of rough and smooth. The what I can only describe as 'funky' remix of DeLacy's 'Hideaway' gets us off to a bad start, but things improve with the upbeat 'Raindance'. The tune of the album is without a doubt Kerri Chandler's brilliant 'Bar A Thyme' - it's an absolute stormer and if you listen to pirate house stations (not that we do here at CMU of course) in London you will know it well. 'Precious Love' featuring B. Tuckers larger than life vocal is good but the rework of Paul Johnson's 'She Got me On' falls down a bit, whilst Kucho's 'Stop Playing' seems slightly misplaced. 'No Love' by Parisound is overly Euro for me, along with PK's 'I Never Knew', but the collection ends in true party style with 'Right now' by Klemmenti. I probably wouldn't rush out and buy it, though, though for 'Bar a Thyme' alone, possibly: that is a real nugget of a track. PV
Release date: 10 Oct
Press contact: Slip N Slide IH [all]

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ADVENTURES IN THE BEETROOT FIELD HALLOWE'EN WEEKEND
Those Adventures In The Beetroot Field people are planning a four day event over the Hallowe'en weekend. 'Adventures In The Beetroot Field: A Beetroot Camden Happening' takes place from 27 - 30 Oct at a few different venues (Koko, Barfly, The Lock Tavern), featuring performances over the four days from a host of great acts, Kid Carpet, The Victorian Gentlemen's Club and White Rose Movement to name but three. Line up as follows...

Thursday 27 Oct
The Seated Club LIVE - Adem (Domino), George Demure (Output Recordings), Pop promos from Arctic Monkeys, The Rakes & Warp Records vs Creative Review, waitress service, spoken word, book stall, jumble sale.
18:00 - 23:15 Koko, 1a Camden High St, Camden £9 (advance) more on the door, 50 early bird NUS tickets at £6.50 from the Lock Tavern only

Friday 28 Oct
AITBF New Bands Night: LIVE - Kid Carpet, Good Shoes, The Victorian Gentlemen's Club, Sunshine Underground,Trabant - DJs Birthday Party DJs Deven Miles, Christine (Cassette), Domino Records.
19:00 - 03:00 Barfly, Camden £7/£8 50 early bird NUS tickets at £5 from the Lock Tavern only

Saturday 29 Oct
LIVE - Zongamin, White Rose Movement, Long Blondes, !Forward Russia!, Komakino, Jamie T, DJs The Filthy Dukes, Simian Mobile Disco, Modular DJs, Rory Phillips (Trash)
20:00 - 03:00 Koko, 1a Camden High St, Camden £8.50 (advance) more on the door

Sunday 30 Oct
The Lock Tavern - A Beetroot field Garden Party - Clor DJs, Cut Copy DJs, Deven Miles.
15:00 -23:00 The Lock Tavern, 35 Chalk Farm Road, Camden, Free!

Press info from Darling.

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REAL SETTLES ANTITRUST DISPUTES
This is actually a really important story, and we'd have put it higher up the Daily if it wasn't so dull. Real Networks have announced a worldwide settlement of its long running and costly antitrust disputes with Microsoft. As I remember it, Real argued Microsoft abused its dominant position in the wacky world of PCs to give its Windows Media Player an unfair advantage over everyone else's multimedia systems, and especially Real's. Anyway, that's all settled, and Real has now entered into three partnership agreements with Microsoft worth an about $761 million which will see the two companies working together on certain technical and digital media / music projects. So, well done them.

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MADONNA IPOD RUMOURED
Word has it, and word is only occasionally wrong, that Madonna has entered into a deal with Apple which will see the launch of a special edition iPod akin to that U2 player that coincided with the launch of 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb'. The Madonna iPod, to coincide with the launch of her new album 'Confessions on a Dancefloor', will apparently be a pink coloured iPod nano preloaded with her entire music catalogue. If true, the promotion will be quite an achievement for Apple, given that Madonna has been reluctant to make her music available through digital platforms in the past.

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NO MORE 4 FOR FREESAT VIEWERS
Channel 4 is being accused of misleading viewers for saying its new digital channel More 4 is completely free-to-view. On satellite you can only receive it if you have a Sky Digital subscription, meaning that those who access digital telly via Sky's free-to-air satellite system can not watch it.

The BBC has published complaints from loads of affected viewers desperate to watch More 4 (well, two I think). But Channel 4 say the problem lies with Sky, who have the right to decide which of their channels are free to air, and which come as part of their standard Sky Digital subscription. A spokesman told the Beeb: "More4 is positioned as a public service channel which we are providing for free and for which we are receiving no subscription income. We would obviously like it to be made available to the widest possible audience. However, contractually the decision to place More4 in a basic subscription package rather than on their Freesat service is one that lies in Sky's hands."

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GCAP RESTRUCTURE STATION PORTFOLIO
The GWR takeover of Capital Radio continues, with a restructuring at GCap which will essentially replace the Capital system with a GWR one. That sees the company structured more by 'region' than 'brand' - so rather than each station brand having its own strategy (so there's a Capital strategy, a Capital Gold strategy, an Xfm strategy), each region will be managed as one portfolio (so the London bits of Capital, Capital Gold and Xfm would make up one portfolio). Whether this change will have any impact on air remains to be seen, though it will mean that at least one and possibly two more senior Capital players will be out the door, furthering GWR's status as the dominant partner in the merger.

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PACHA HEAD TO NEW YORK
Pacha owners Hugo and Panchi Urgell are joining forces with Subliminal supremo Erick Morillo to launch a New York club. Pacha are hoping that long term Pacha Ibiza DJ Morillo will be able to use his vast knowledge of New York nightlife to help get the clubbing brand established there.

Talking about the New York venture, Pacha's brand manager Danny Whittle told reporters: "It has been the dream of the Pacha brand to open a New York venue. We believe New York is the spiritual home of discos and nightclubs and we are excited to part of this great history".

Morillo added: "Pacha is a brand that has distinguished itself from other nightlife venues and has limitless possibilities. They effortlessly put VIPs and celebrities in the same room as clubbers and that's what we want to achieve in New York."

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SLAM RELEASE NEW CD
Scottish DJ duo Slam are to release a new two disc mix CD. 'Nightdrive' features a mix of electronic house and techno and includes tracks by Slam, Luciano, Blackstrobe and James Holden. They're launching a new microsite this week to celebrate at http://www.slam-nightdrive.com, where you'll also find a lovely free MP3, a version of the new Slam single 'Kill the Pain' featuring Dot Allison. Hurrah.

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FRANK BLACK BACK IN STUDIO
Pixie Frank Black has been back in the studio to further collaborate with the musicians who helped him with his last solo effort, 'Honeycomb'. The sessions, which took place in Nashville last month, have resulted in the recording of 25 new songs, most of them written by Black himself. No release date has been set for the new collection, but it's expected to be out some time in 2006. Producer Jon Tiven said "Until we decide how many and what tracks will make it onto the new album we won't know for sure what the musical direction will be. But it's going to be great."

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LIVE REVIEW: Superthriller at the Shunt Vaults on 10 Oct
I really liked Superthriller's album, 'Superthriller 1', from the first minute I put it on to play. In fact, I played it with (possibly unnecessary) frequency in UnLimited's temporary Edinburgh office this August, making it one of the albums that made up my summer soundtrack. But then someone told me that they hadn't particularly enjoyed seeing Superthriller live, and my heart sank a little (not much, just a little) because I wanted them to be good. So? What did I think they were like? Honestly? I thought they were very good, except, as my colleague and I concluded on the way to London Bridge station following the set, they do need a little more direction; of the theatrical kind I mean.

Their appearance on stage was eccentric, to say the least. They arrived, four of them dressed in flasher-type macs, a fifth, a drummer, dressed in some sort of athletic, shorts and vest, headbanded tribute to John McEnroe, the main singer, contrastingly, as plainly dressed as if he'd been at home watching a video and just remembered he had to go sing a few songs at a gig. They kicked off the set with the track that lured me into the album so successfully, 'Ahjustwannadance', and from then on it was a chaotic mix of music and performance that was just ever so slightly geeky. Scratch that. It was very geeky. But then, as my aforesaid colleague and I later discussed (by this time we were on the train), it's no problem in today's music climate, in fact, it might be just the image they're going for. Just take a look at Franz Ferdinand and Coldplay, not to mention superstar DJs the world over, if you want proof of the success of the geek-chic formula.

And anyway, the music is great; the ever-so-slightly-awkward lead singer (sorry, don't know his name) supplies the kind of funky, dirty vocals you just wouldn't expect from someone that looks like he does; and the tunes, well, they're as good as, sometimes better than, they were on the album. Especially 'I Know How To Treat A Lady', and 'Mary Mary'. Added to that, it was a multimedia experience; a screen was in place at the back of the stage with visual imagery perfectly timed for each of the songs.

On top of that the group (there were seven on stage, I think) interact with each other a lot, changing their clothes, and play acting a bit; which brings me back to my earlier point; their stage antics are amusing; but it doesn't quite gel. If a director marshalled it properly, I think it would be a far more engaging performance. I'm not saying they need to be boyband slick; they do, after all, come across as not taking themselves terribly seriously (always a good thing); but a little control over what they're doing up there would bring a tightness to their performance that would make this truly a visual treat as well as an aural one. That said, the band finished (well, almost, before doing one last track) on a visual high with 'Upgrade', during which one of the female members of the band (again, don't know her name) threw off her raincoat and indulged in some aerial acrobatics on a rope suspended from the ceiling. You know, like in those BBC things. But this was better, because she was right there in front of us in the air above a very hard concrete floor.

Anyway, my conclusion is this: that if you haven't yet laid your hands on a copy of 'Superthriller 1', you ought to, not least because it's deliciously funky and easy to listen to, but because it also has songs on it that have interesting/amusing lyrics. And those people out there getting all serious and making damning or unfavourable comparisons with Beck and/or Jamiroquai want to relax and get a sense of humour. Oh, and the second part of my conclusion is this: loved the gig, loved the music, loved the antics. I just think they could appeal to a wider audience if they made the set a little bit smoother. CM

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DYLAN AND HENDRIX STUFF TO SELL AT AUCTION
Hurrah. Music celebrity auction news. Some poems written by Bob Dylan whilst he was a college student and a medallion worn onstage by Jimi Hendrix are to be auctioned this November in New York. On the Dylan poems, which are expected to fetch in the region of £40k, a Christie's spokesperson said "While some of the poems are rooted in his daily university life and reference his Jewish heritage with Yiddish phrases, the wit and irony pervasive in his later songwriting are already evident."

Also in the sale are a drum used by Paul McCartney and some handwritten Jim Morrison lyrics, penned on The Doors stationery for the song 'Not To Touch The Earth', and expected to raise around £30k.

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LIAM LOVES YOKO, IDST
Well, as you may have read elsewhere, Liam Gallagher had his angry face on at the Q Awards on Monday, apparently, heckling Chris Martin for saying nice things about Oasis, calling the Coldplay frontman "a plantpot" and later calling the band "wankers". CMU cannot possibly approve of such name calling, obviously.

Anyway, the point of this story is not Coldplay, actually, it's Liam's love for Yoko Ono. Gallagher's well publicised respect for John Lennon apparently extends to a great affection for his kooky widow, because he said: "I love this woman. I love Yoko. Every time I see her I just want to give her a hug and protect her."

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GALLAGHER TO RELEASE SOUL ALBUM
Talking of Gallaghers, this time the lovely, funny and not-at-all-gobby-or-foulmouthed Peter Gallagher, star of lots of good films ('The Player', er, 'While You Were Sleeping') and, more importantly, star of one of CMU's favourite TV programmes, The OC. The actor is to release a whole album of soul songs, called '7 Days In Memphis' having been signed up by Sony label Epic after he impressed them with a performance of 'Don't Give Up On Me' in a second series episode of the show.

Gallagher told E! Online: "I know for a fact that there will be people who won't take my music seriously because I'm an actor on a TV show. But while I'm a newcomer to the recording business I've been singing my whole professional life and have put together some great songs so hopefully there will be some people out there who will enjoy them. Plus, there is no response in the world that could lessen the really wonderful experience I had singing these songs with these amazing musicians."

I can, in fact, testify to the fact that Gallagher has been singing his whole career, just never on a record. So give him some respect, okay?

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COWELL ACCUSED OF NEGLECTING HIS KIDS
Simon Cowell has been criticised again, this time for apparently not spending enough time mentoring the acts in his X-Factor group. Cowell is filming the new season of American Idol and will not be returning to the UK until two days before the live shows begin. Fellow judge Louis Walsh told The Daily Star "That's a bit late, isn't it? I have been working with my acts for three weeks now and I often text them and chat on the phone. Sharon flew into the country last week to be with hers. It looks like Simon only has a couple of days to get things right."

Meanwhile, contestant Shayne Ward (no, I don't know which one he is either) is tipped as an early favourite to win the glorified talent show this year. William Hill are giving him odds of 5/2, with Cowell's boyband 4tune second favourites at 5/1. A spokesman for the bookie said "It is very early days but fans seem very keen on Shayne to go on and win the series. I still think Marie is the most talented but as we know the majority of voters tend to be women and therefore it makes sense to bet on a male contestant."

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WORRYINGLY YOUNG RAP STAR IN THE MAKING
Is this a joke? And did everyone see that Mini Pops documentary last night? Anyway, the youngest ever rap star, Remedy2, who is six years old, has apparently signed to LuvWorx Records and has a distribution deal with Universal. His first album 'Ahead Of The Game' is due out at the start of next year, with a debut single expected to precede that at the end of this year. His second album is expected to also be released in 2006, presumably to capitalise on his youth, because, let's face it, by 2007 he'll be losing his edge. Yikes.

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MANSON LAUNCHES EAU DE GOTH
The lovely, er, Marilyn Manson is all set to launch his own fragrance, apparently. Manson allegedly told Women's Wear Daily: "I'm in the final stages with one of the major companies". He also plans to expand to a whole range of Manson cosmetics apparently, which is good, because I really need something to make my face look a bit whiter.

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DOHERTY HIT SECURITY GUARD SHOCKER
And you thought we'd got through a whole Daily with no Doherty news - oh no. Mr Pete is to be sued by a security guard, according to a report in The Sun. Mark Robinson claims Doherty hit him with a microphone during a gig in Leeds, leaving him with blood pouring down his face. The bouncer, who was at the front to stop fans getting up on stage said "It's crazy when you're attacked by the man you are protecting. He's not all there." Doherty has made no comment but a spokesman said: "We are investigating this."

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