CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 2nd November
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Isley Brother faces jail over tax evasion
- More SonyBMG mumblings
- Universal get busy making mobile websites
- Mobile downloads reach the States
- Sony launch PC to PSP transfer software
- Billy Bragg releases cancer victim's song
- Bayside drummer killed in road crash
- Kate Bush never thought she'd finish her album
- Bestival reunites at Koko
- Charlatans nearly finish album
- Princess Superstar reaches Cargo tonight
- Kaiser Chiefs announce 2006 tour
- Survey reckons majority not aware of digital TV switch
- Lords diss government's BBC plans
- Homechoice says it's not for sale
- BBC back down on classical downloads
- Fiddy would like to own Interscope
- Stern on US radio post-Stern
- New Oasis video premieres on 4 tonight
- Legendary Dylan appearance gets DVD release
- Franz Ferdinand cover Air
- Super Furry Animals plead for their voicebox
- Eminem didn't return calls from Geldof and Bono
- Kano announces in-store
- Manson on new album and not quitting
- Crazy Frog says Westlife are has beens

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ISLEY BROTHER FACES JAIL OVER TAX EVASION
Ronald Isley, he being the lead singer of the Isley Brothers, is facing a rather severe sounding 26 year jail sentence after being convicted in the US of multiple tax evasion charges. The singer was found guilty of five counts of tax evasion and one count of 'wilful failure to file a tax return'. The prosecution claimed Isley demanded the millions he received from concerts and public appearances between 1997 and 2002 in cash. He also put homes and yachts into the names of his then-wife and various companies, to reduce his on paper wealth, and, prosecutors claim, he cashed royalty cheques belonging to his late brother and former band member O'Kelly Isley. Isley will be sentenced in January, but legal types say he can expect a long run behind bars given the nature of the charges.

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MORE SONYBMG MUMBLINGS
The Financial Times has published a report questioning the future of the SonyBMG partnership. The story follows those previously reported rumours of executive tensions at the merged record company where a board equally split between Sony and Bertelsmann is said to be at loggerheads over the future of the company. As you all surely know by now, former BMG execs are said to be pushing for the removal of SonyBMG chief and former Sony Music boss Andy Lack when his contract comes up for renewal.

According to the FT, the fall out over the future of Lack is simply one of many signs that the merger between the two major record companies has not gone according to plan. Referencing declining market share and internal power struggles, the paper quotes a number of industry insiders who say post-merger SonyBMG isn't working. One told the paper: "If you took all the music industry's ugly sisters and asked which would have the hardest time getting together, you'd choose Sony and BMG", while another observed, "At the Grammys, they couldn't bring themselves to applaud each other". The FT concludes: "SonyBMG has now joined a long list of high-profile joint ventures gone wrong".

Despite the rumours, and a reported emergency meeting between the bosses of parent companies Sony Corp and Bertlesmann to discuss the falling out at their shared company, Lack remains upbeat, in official communication channels at least. In a company wide memo to his US staff, he wrote this week: "As we move into the hectic holiday season and the industry's busiest time of the year, I just wanted to touch base with all of you on the solid performance of almost every part of our company and some of the great music that SonyBMG is putting into the marketplace. We are racing toward pure gold and platinum around the world with releases from so many amazing artists like Alicia Keys, Shakira, Santana, Rod Stewart, System Of A Down, Foo Fighters, Gretchen Wilson, Martina McBride, Barbra Streisand, Anastacia, OutKast, and Eros Ramazzotti, to name only a few. In the next 60 days, we will be coming out with more than 200 frontline releases worldwide, including debuts from at least 25 new artists. It's a fantastic challenge but that's the excitement of the game were in and there's no doubt we'll win it hands down".

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UNIVERSAL GET BUSY MAKING MOBILE WEBSITES
Mobile music news anyone? Well, Universal has announced a partnership with Graphico New Media and mobile billing service provider Bango to develop mobile sites for seven of its artists, including Girls Aloud, Sugababes, Rachel Stevens and the lovely McFly. These sites make use of Bango's 'browse and buy' technology making it even easier for pop fans to hand over their cash for digital gubbins like ringtones and wallpaper.

Commenting on the development of mobile sites for their artists, Universal Music Mobile's Francis Keeling told reporters: "We want to ensure anyone with a phone can engage with our artists from their mobiles. This direct-to-consumer route to market is very important for Universal".

Graphico's Graham Darracott added: "We are ensuring we make the sites as relevant as possible to the artist's fans by not only providing paid content to personalise their phones with, but also free news, tour dates, and other relevant tips, such as the fashion and make-up tips on the Rachel site, to make fans come back on a regular basis".

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MOBILE DOWNLOADS REACH THE STATES
More mobile nonsense. A company going by the slightly sinister sounding name of Sprint Nextel has launched a mobile download service in America which is the first service of its kind in the US (they're very backward there you know). The downloads retail for a bargain $2.50 a track, and their catalogue will apparently feature "hundreds of thousands of full length songs in stereo sound", with all the major labels on board. The download service comes as part of the Power Vision multimedia service which will also offer a range of TV services to mobile phones.

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SONY LAUNCH PC TO PSP TRANSFER SOFTWARE
Sony have launched a new bit of software which lets owners of the PlayStation Portable transfer media files from their PC to their portable console via a USB connection. The PSP Media Manager is apparently easy to use, emulating many features from Apple's media management packages. The technology can be downloaded for $19.95 - a boxed version for $29.95 will arrive in the next few weeks.

Commenting on the software, Sony Media Software's Dave Chaimson told reporters: "With the release of the new PSP Media Manager software, we're providing Sony technology that lets users easily optimize and transfer their content from the PC to their PSP system using a familiar drag-and-drop interface". So now you know.

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BILLY BRAGG RELEASES CANCER VICTIM'S SONG
A single with lyrics by a terminal cancer sufferer, put to music by Billy Bragg, went on sale at the start of the week. The collaboration, 'We Laughed', released through Cooking Vinyl, came about when Bragg took part in the Rosetta Requiem project, a scheme which teams established artists with chronically and terminally ill people so that they can express themselves via the medium of song, film, and poetry.

The lyrics were written by Maxine Edgington to celebrate her relationship with her sixteen year old daughter Jessica, inspired by photographs taken of the pair, one of which appears on the cover of the CD. "In our first one-on-one session, she pulled a framed picture out of her bag and said 'Look, I've been given six months to live. I don't want to mess about. I want to write the song of this picture'," Bragg explains. He went on: "determined that Jess should have positive memories of her after the grieving was over, Maxine commissioned a professional photo shoot which produced beautiful images of mother and daughter smiling together, looking as if they had not a care in the world. This was how she wanted to be remembered."

He continues: "She wrote reams of words, pouring her feelings out onto the page. My job was to take the words that best expressed the sentiments in the photograph and shape them into a song. I provided the melody, but the words are Maxine's alone."

Two other songs resulting from Braggs work at the Trimar Hospice in Weymouth also appear on the on the CD, 'The Light Within' with lyrics by Lisa Payne and 'My Guiding Star' with lyrics by Veronica Barfoot. Bragg says "that there is not a shred of self-pity or morbidity in any of these songs is a testament to the spirit of these three women. I found the experience of collaborating with them to be inspirational."

Profits from sales of the song with go to Rosetta Life, the Trimar Hospice and Cancer Care Dorset. Press info from Cooking Vinyl.

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BAYSIDE DRUMMER KILLED IN ROAD CRASH
John 'Beatz' Holohan of US band Bayside has died after the band's tour bus crashed on its way to a gig. The incident occurred on Monday as the band and their crew were en route to play a concert in Salt Lake City as part of the Never Sleep Again tour they were undertaking alongside Victory Records label mates Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein and Aiden. Bayside's van hit a patch of ice and overturned just outside Cheyenne, Wyoming, resulting in the death of Holohan, 31, and the hospitalisation of several other members of the band and crew.

A spokesperson for the Victory label said that bassist Nick Ghanbarian and drum tech Dan Marino are still in hospital awaiting surgery having broken their backs. Singer Anthony Raneri, guitarist Jack O'Shea and the singer's cousin Will Raneri were treated for minor injuries and released. The band's upcoming tour dates have been cancelled.

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KATE BUSH NEVER THOUGHT SHE'D FINISH HER ALBUM
And frankly, neither did we. Kate Bush has told the BBC that there were times when she thought her latest album 'Aerial' would never get finished. Speaking to Radio 4's Front Row programme, she said "There were so many times I thought I wasn't going to have the energy to see it through. I was so fed-up making it."

The interview, in which she admits that she is difficult to work with, is to be broadcast on Friday. She also talks about the difficulties she faced with juggling a music career and her role as mother to her seven year old son; "I felt my work could wait, whereas his growing up couldn't," said the singer.

Bush also denies any suggestion that she is something of a recluse, saying "I am a private person, but I don't think I'm obsessively so. It's more that I choose to try and have a normal a life as possible. I don't like to live in the glare of publicity."

The new album is out on 7 Nov.

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BESTIVAL REUNITES AT KOKO
One for everyone who went to Bestival this year (or those, like me, who really wished they had). Sunday Best are holding a Bestival Reunion at London's Koko on 3 Dec. It'll be hosted by the Cuban Brothers, with Bestival favourites Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and Son Of Dave both performing, plus Rob da Bank on the decks, and loads of other guests tbc. Tickets are a tenner. More info at http://www.bestival.net, press info from Get Involved.

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CHARLATANS NEARLY FINISH ALBUM
Some nearly finished album news for you now. The Charlatans have, er, nearly finished their new studio album 'Simpatico'. Bassist Martin Blunt wrote on the band's official website that the group will reconvene in November "to compile the album and to finish off exclusive tracks for forthcoming singles."

He also revealed that the band will shortly announce details of a tour, as well as album and single release dates.

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PRINCESS SUPERSTAR REACHES CARGO TONIGHT
The unstoppable Princess Superstar will take over Cargo in London tonight as she wraps up her five date UK tour, preceding the 5 Dec release of her excellent new single 'My Machine' which comes, of course, from the album of the same name. She is being supported by CMU favourite favourites The Loose Cannons, so this should be a great night - doors open 7pm, tickets are £8.50, press by Outpost.

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KAISER CHIEFS ANNOUNCE 2006 TOUR
Fresh from their involvement with the NME Rock 'N' Roll Riot Tour, which ended on Sunday, Kaiser Chiefs have announced a final series of 'Employment' gigs for 2006. A news item on the band's official website reads "thanks to everyone who came to see us on the UK tour just finished. These were some of our favourite gigs ever, you proved there's no place like home! When we announced them [the NME dates] back in July our message board was full of venom within hours as all the dates sold out immediately. So we've decided to play one final run of 'Employment' gigs in April 2006."

The statement added that Graham Coxon and Polysics will join the band on the new dates, tickets for which go on sale this Saturday at 9am. And those dates are:

19 Apr: Glasgow SECC
21 Apr: London Alexandra Palace
24 Apr: Plymouth Pavilion
25 Apr: Brighton Convention Centre
26 Apr: Birmingham NIA
29 Apr: Leeds Millennium Square

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SURVEY RECKONS MAJORITY NOT AWARE OF DIGITAL TV SWITCH
A new survey reckons that two thirds of the UK population are not aware that analogue TV signals will be turned off between 2008 and 2012, meaning that if you don't have digital telly by then, you won't have any telly at all. Now, you could argue that the ignorant people have only themselves to blame - if only they'd subscribed to the CMU Daily they'd be fully up to speed on all things to do with television signals. But it is a worrying statistic for the government, who are very keen indeed to flog off, sorry, I meant turn off the analogue broadcast spectrum.

The survey by retailer You Met TV found that only 37% of those interviewed were aware of the analogue TV turn off. 73% didn't know when analogue signals would go in their area (if you live in the England/Scotland border region, the answer to that question is "very soon"). And only 30% of the over-60s knew about the change at all (and if my Dad is anything to go by, those over 60s with digital still turn back to analogue all the time, because they prefer the old fashioned teletext). Once aware of the change, nearly two thirds said the government or the BBC should help viewers meet the costs of making the switch to digital (ie buying the right bit of kit for their area).

Commenting on survey, You Met TV boss Daniel Green told reporters: "We discovered the majority of people don't know about the main issues surrounding digital TV. The government and the BBC face a big task to educate the British public about the switch-off, especially amongst those over 60."

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LORDS DISS GOVERNMENT'S BBC PLANS
Staying with the telly, and a House Of Lords select committee that has been reviewing proposals for changes in the BBC's Royal Charter has said the Corporation will remain vulnerable to political pressure despite the government's planned changes, adding that commercial media regulator OfCom should be given a role monitoring the Beeb's services and output.

Committee chairman Lord Fowler described the government's plans to scrap the BBC's board of governors and replace it with a BBC Trust and executive board as "ill-conceived", adding: "The BBC cannot be truly independent of government if government alone has the power to decide its charter. The Green Paper - A Strong BBC, Independent of Government - fails to live up to its title. Crucial decisions affecting the BBC are taken by the government alone. [The proposed] model fails to separate governance and regulation of the BBC, allowing the corporation to remain judge and jury in its own case. Ofcom should provide independent regulation of the BBC's activities".

A spokesman for the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "We thank the Lords Select Committee for their contribution. We will consider it in detail before we ignore it". Well, something like that anyway.

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HOMECHOICE SAYS IT'S NOT FOR SALE
TV on demand company Homechoice has insisted it is not for sale, despite those previously reported rumours that BSkyB is considering making an offer for the firm as part of its bid to grab a share of the broadband-delivered entertainment market.

The Guardian reports that some inside Homechoice say they will soon run out of money if new funding is not found, but the company's chief executive has denied funding problems. He told the paper: "It's a no-brainer that [Homechoice owners] Video Networks is incurring losses. We've planned to do so, since we're in the middle of rolling out our network and we're investing strongly for growth. We're able to do so because of the strength of commitment of our majority shareholder, who is fully supportive and fully aware of the business plan. Since we restructured in January 2003, we have completely redeveloped the Homechoice service, relaunching it in 2004. We've now doubled our initial footprint from 1.25m to 2.4m, introduced new infrastructure and middleware, and substantially upped our marketing. We're very confident about our future."

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BBC BACK DOWN ON CLASSICAL DOWNLOADS
More BBC news. The Corporation has backed down in its row with the music industry over the distribution of free classical downloads.

As previously reported, the classical music industry expressed concern when the BBC made full recordings of Beethoven's work available to download for free via its website. The downloads, which were accessed by over 1.4 million classical music fans, were part of a wider Beethoven season on the BBC's TV and radio stations, and were possible because the music had been performed by the Corporation's own orchestras, and therefore they owned the recording rights. But the main classical record companies argued that by making Beethoven's music available to download the non-commercial BBC was damaging their businesses.

Facing increasing pressure from the music industry, the BBC has now confirmed it will not replicate its Beethoven download promotion during the ten day series of programmes it will dedicate to Bach over the Christmas period. If downloads are included on the web component of the season they will be of highlights only - and the BBC might drop downloads completely from the promotion.

Having been criticised by both the music industry and certain politicians for the scale of the Beethoven promotion, the BBC, who say they themselves were surprised by the uptake for the Beethoven downloads, are keen to stress they will not stage any future download promotions without first consulting the record companies who may be affected. A spokeswoman for the BBC's main classical music channel, Radio 3, told reporters: "We only envisaged the Beethoven downloads to be a trial to see what the response would be. We are in communication with the [UK record industry trade body] BPI and record companies to assess and analyse what the response was and we are still at that stage. Nothing will happen without consultation and, should it happen, it will be nothing on the scale of Beethoven."
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The BPI told reporters: "If the BBC has decided that free downloads will not form part of Bach, it is encouraging that they are willing to take on board comments made after Beethoven ... and they've given us the opportunity to engage with them".

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FIDDY WOULD LIKE TO OWN INTERSCOPE
50 Cent has said he'd like to own Interscope Records, the Universal division that releases his music, claiming that he already makes the company 70% of its rap revenues. Fiddy told Maxim magazine: "I'd really like to be able to afford Interscope Records. I'm making 70 per cent of the black music at Interscope, and I'm growing. If I keep the pace I'm at now for the next three years, eventually I'll own it...Once you make the right offer, everything is for sale."

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STERN ON US RADIO POST-STERN
Howard Stern yesterday read out a memo that he claimed Clear Channel had sent its US radio stations regarding the opportunity offered by the shock jock's departure from his Infinity syndicated radio show.

According to the New York Post, the memo read out by Stern ran thus: "Listeners won't necessarily gravitate to our shows just because [Stern replacement] David Lee Roth pulled an all-nighter at Scores and came in drunk and stupid again. We already know most male listeners are a pissed-off group to begin with. This audience, lightning-quick to judge and critique, will be very difficult to win over. Howard's audience will have their BS meters set up on super-sensitive. It may be a mistake for your developing morning show to suddenly go from a seven-song clock to three songs and attempt to appeal to Stern fans unless that show is truly ready to deliver quality material with a reduced-song-count structure".

The not entirely impartial Stern didn't seem convinced Clear Channel, or his current employers Infinity, would be able to win over the audience he hopes to take with him to his new channel on the less government-regulated satellite radio network Sirius. Commenting on the memo he said: "What they leave out is that all of the Clear Channel DJs-and the Viacom DJs-all have to bow to the FCC. It ain't happening".

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NEW OASIS VIDEO PREMIERES ON 4 TONIGHT
Quick, set your alarm clocks, cancel your hospital visits and send word you're not going to that party. The video for new Oasis single 'Let There Be Love' premieres tonight on Channel 4 at 11:05pm. Well, you might want to bother if you've attended an Oasis gig recently, as the promo includes footage of recent dates at the City of Manchester Stadium and Hampden Park, and who knows, there might be a shot of you in it.

The single, the third release from Oasis' rather pedestrian new album 'Don't Believe The Truth', is backed by 'Sittin' Here In Silence (On My Own)' and a live version of 'Rock N Roll Star', and is out on 28 Nov.

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LEGENDARY DYLAN APPEARANCE GETS DVD RELEASE
Bob Dylan's notorious 1967 appearance at the Newport Folk Festival is to become available on DVD due to its inclusion in the 'Festival!' documentary shot by Murray Lerner. The documentary, which also features performances by Joan Baez, Donovan, Peter, Paul & Mary and Johnny Cash, is finally getting a DVD release, although as yet no official date has been set.

Dylan's performance that year was famous because it was the first time he performed with an electric guitar, backed by rock musicians, a move that aroused the derision and displeasure of the folk-loving crowd. Murray Lerner recently told Billboard that other musicians, as well as the fans, were upset by Dylan's performance that day.

Lerner said: "Pete Seeger said he was upset because of the sound quality. Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) was worried - I have other scenes of Peter where he's all rattled and asked the crowd to call Bobby back to play a 'normal' set. I think he was worried that it was something so new that crowd didn't get it. They probably didn't get it; I think they were stunned."

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FRANZ FERDINAND COVER AIR
Are these boys never out of the news? I have to type the words 'Franz Ferdinand' at least twice a day, I'm sure. It's quite an effort. Anyway, FF (see what I did?) release their new single 'Walk Away' on 5 Dec and the CD and DVD versions of the release feature a cover of Air's 'Sexy Boy'.

The band are also set to release a 12" Erol Alkan mix of 'Do You Want To' on 21 Nov and a new DVD featuring live performances backstage footage and a documentary on 28 Nov. Of course, McFly are also releasing a live DVD - of their Wonderland tour - on 28 Nov, if I recall correctly. Just thought I'd mention it.

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SUPER FURRY ANIMALS PLEAD FOR THEIR VOICEBOX
Super Furry Animals have appealed for the return of an item of equipment that went missing when singer Gruff Rhys played a low key gig at Bangor's Greek Taverna at the start of August. A statement on the band's official website explains: "This was given to him by a friend from Japan and therefore is very difficult to replace and Gruff desperately wants it back."

I'm not accusing any of you, but if you've got it, please return it to PO Box 610, Cardiff, CF11 9YG.

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EMINEM DIDN'T RETURN CALLS FROM GELDOF AND BONO
I'm not sure I'd return calls from BonoBob, either. Although of course, I might if I thought the story would get out that I didn't. According to a variety of sources, Eminem refused to return any calls from Bob Geldof or Bono about performing at Live 8, even after they sent the rapper pictures of African kids wearing Eminem and D-12 t-shirts.

Bob is reported to have said: "Bono called me while I was in Africa and said 'he's [Eminem] not calling me back. I've got these pictures of kids wearing Eminem and D-12 t-shirts and we got them sent off to Eminem's office but did we hear anything? It's sad. If people don't want to do anything, then it's cool, I'm OK with that, but I wouldn't mind if they got back to us."

Of course there's a chance Eminem was struggling with that drug dependency problem that stalled his European tour in August. And, to be honest, despite the fact that I'm a hugely compassionate individual who lies awake at night worrying about the world's poverty stricken and disenfranchised people, if it was me, the one thing guaranteed to make me not perform at Live 8 would be someone trying to emotionally blackmail me into doing it with pictures of African kids dressed in my t-shirts.

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KANO ANNOUNCES IN-STORE
Kano, who, as previously reported, was forced to cancel a gig at the Astoria last week due to safety fears, has announced that he will perform three love tracks and sign copies of album 'Home Sweet Home' at Selfridges in London tomorrow at 5.30pm. Unsavoury characters need not attend.

The event apparently celebrates the launch of the store's Christmas wrapping season. What? Already? Yikes.

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MANSON ON NEW ALBUM AND NOT QUITTING
Marilyn Manson has finished a sixth studio album. It's as yet untitled, expected to see a Spring release, and Manson has been talking about it. Indeed. He told MTV.com "This record has a very unpleasant attitude toward itself, and I expect it to be - without sounding like someone who says this every time they make a record - something above and beyond and different - sonically, emotionally - than anything I've done."

He continued: "The lyrics have the most romantic feel to them. This is a desperate and crippling desire for romance - not in the romance sense of a Reese Witherspoon movie, but in the sense of living your life like a film and enjoying it that way. I've found a woman I can relate to. That's something - and I don't even feel sappy saying it - that, if anyone has that, don't lose it, because it's probably the only thing that you can ever really find any satisfaction from."

He also dispelled rumours that he is planning to retire from music entirely and pursue a career in film making, saying: "I might have had to defuse people with a smoke screen of weakness and the idea that I was going to run away from music when I was really just trying to find the bullets for my gun - metaphorically, of course. But I was contemplating giving up entirely. It's a sort of philosophy that I find to be true that if your life is collapsing around you, sometimes you have to be willing to let go."

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CRAZY FROG SAYS WESTLIFE ARE HAS BEENS
The Crazy Frog has labeled uberboyband Westlife 'has-beens', following the news that Westlife & Diana Ross are current favourites for a Christmas no.1 with their joint effort 'When You Tell Me That You Love Me'. The Crazy Frog's Christmas single is yet to be named, but the annoying amphibian says "I'll be revealing it soon enough. But you can expect it to be everything a perfect festive single should be and, without a doubt, it will be THE song at parties and in the playground this Christmas."

The yet-to-be-named single is slated for a 12 Dec release. On the Frog's chances, HMV's Gennaro Castaldo had this to say: "Westlife won't have forgotten that they came off second best to Bob the Builder in Christmas 2000, so they may not relish a chart encounter with the Crazy Frog this time around. It might be an irritatingly catchy tune, but novelty songs always sell well at Christmas and you'd be foolish to write off the Crazy Frog's chances."

Crazy Frog is also confident that Westlife can be batted away from the top slot. "Those has-beens haven't had a number one since November 2003," he croaked. "People have moved on now, life doesn't stand still and nor does the record buyer - it's all about loving frogs now."

Of course it doesn't do to doubt the word of the Frog. He did, after all, have the power to keep Coldplay off the top spot. We should however point out that although Westlife may be even more tedious than Coldplay, not to mention musically bankrupt, we don't feel that they can as yet be described as 'has-beens'. They are, after all, number one in the singles chart. Right now, in fact.

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