CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 23rd November

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Warner reach deal with Spitzer over payola
- More SonyBMG executive tensions
- Walsh quits X-Factor
- McGraw, Green Day and Destiny's Child all awarded at AMAS
- Fiddy shooting discussed again at Murder Inc trial
- Canadian MP wants to ban Fiddy
- Glitter denies sex allegations
- Ian Brown gig cancelled after venue floor starts to sag
- Bono at Mowlam tribute
- Single review: Devendra Banhart - Heard Somebody Say
- Idlewild are moving on
- iTunes one of ten biggest music sellers in US
- Will Young first British artist to release Dualdisc album
- V2 US takeover complete
- Turner way cooler than Doherty, official
- Coxon, Ashcroft added to Xfm's Wonderland
- Fightstar album and tour dates
- OK Go new album and tour
- Rizla presents new rock photography exhibition
- Get GLC to deliver a verbal message on your behalf
- Cole Porter's home to be a museum
- Dylan poems sell for $78k
- Tommy Lee's album stolen

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VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE TRACK OF 2005>>
You know how you love the CMU Daily and you really want to give something back? Yeah? Well, here's your chance, cos over the next few weeks were going to ask you all to help us out updating our membership records, label and PR directory and that kind of stuff. But this week something much more challenging. Yep, it's that time of year again when we ask you to look back at the music of the last 12 months and pick the one track that you think was the best. It can be a single release, an album track, a remix, a bootleg or even a cover version - as long as it was first released in 2005. Any music from any genre is eligible, except anything recorded by Westlife. We'll publish individual nominations each day of December and release an overall Top Ten just before Christmas.

TO VOTE just email the track your most rate from 2005, with short description as to why it is your favourite (about 50 words would be good) and your name/company/job title to 2005@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

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WARNER REACH DEAL WITH SPITZER OVER PAYOLA
What with all the hassle of being the first major to admit to payola, then all those rumours of tension in the board room, and then the whole 'rootkit' debacle, SonyBMG will presumably be pleased to hear that the spotlight has turned to the Warner Music Group this morning.

Yep, Edgar Bronfman Jnr's major has become has become the second record company to reach a settlement with New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer over payola allegations. As previously reported, Spitzer's team last year began investigating promotional techniques employed by the major record companies which, they claim, violate the strict American rules governing the provision of incentives to radio stations in order get airtime for a label's artists. SonyBMG admitted some of its promotional activities were wrong back in July, committing to stop such activity and agreeing to pay a fine for past violations. Warner Music yesterday made a similar admission and commitment.

Spitzer told reporters yesterday: "Warner is the second major player in the music industry to come forward and acknowledge that these practices are wrong. Unfortunately, other companies continue to engage in them. I applaud Warner's decision to halt this conduct, cooperate fully with my office and adopt new business practices."

In a statement, Warner Music told reporters: "We were pleased to work cooperatively with the Attorney General in resolving these promotion issues. The reforms we have agreed to with the Attorney General are consistent with the internal reforms that our new management team implemented earlier this year. We consider this to have been a valuable process. From our perspective, radio cannot be too consumer-driven. The music that people hear on the radio always should represent the highest quality the industry has to offer."

According to Spitzer's team, among the payola-style incentives provided to radio stations by Warner were premium prizes for listeners, gifts to radio programmers (including free travel, electronics and tickets to major music and sports events) and the use of independent promotions companies to mask the passing of payments to radio stations. In its commitment to Spitzer, Warner has said it will ensure all such activities stop immediately. As a fine for past activity, they will provide $5 million to not-for-profit organisations in New York which run music education projects.

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MORE SONYBMG EXECUTIVE TENSIONS
But enough of that, let's point the spotlight back at SonyBMG. Not that we want to, but US industry site HitsDailyDouble is still gossiping about those executive tensions at the merged major, and it would seem rude to ignore them.

The latest HitsDailyDouble reports on problems at the top of SonyBMG centre on who should take the blame for the PR disaster that has been unleashed by the use of that dodgy rootkit anti-piracy software on 50+ Sony releases. As previously reported, those former BMG on the SonyBMG board wanting to push top man Andy Lack out of his job, are reportedly trying to make him take the rap for the whole rootkit thing. But others argue that if anyone at the top of the major is responsible for the use of the rootkit technology, it is COO Michael Smellie, the highest ranking former BMG man at the merged company.

In its latest gossip round up, HitsDailyDouble confirms that, while it was Lack who wanted a quick fix solution to the problem of punters making multiple copies of music from SonyBMG CDs, it was Smellie and his team who set about picking which copy protection technology to use. The website says: "One of Smellie's direct reports is Thomas Hesse, President of SBMG's global digital business, who in turn passed the job of finding a solution on down to a techie functionary with a Senior Director title named Adam Sosinski. According to urban legend, Sosinski was the SBMG employee who was responsible". They say that rival camps within SonyBMG are know busy blaming Lack or Smellie for the rootkit fiasco, which is further heightening the Sony v BMG tensions within the company. HDD continues: "Never before have we seen such a public display of internal company badmouthing. Most have been expecting Sir Howard Stringer to do something to stop this horrific train wreck. Will he make a move to end one of the ugliest music business dramas before the year's end? Most insiders agree that corporately the company is a disaster and has become totally nonfunctional. Clearly, something's gotta give". So there you go. HDD will presumably report on any news in this area (though we hear they're taking an extended Thanksgiving break, so not in the next few days).

Staying with the rootkit anti-piracy software for a few more lines, latest reports from the tech community suggest that there is a simple way to stop CDs containing the technology from buggering up your computer, though you have to do it every time you use the CD. Two tech types from Gartner Research - Martin Reynolds and Mike McGuire - say that if you put a tiny bit of sellotape on the outer edge of the CD your computer will ignore the 'second session' that contains all the anti-piracy software, and will therefore treat the CD as if it is a normal unprotected release. Reynolds and McGuire: "The user simply applies a fingernail-sized piece of opaque tape to the outer edge of the disc, rendering session 2 - which contains the self-loading DRM software - unreadable. The PC then treats the CD as an ordinary single-session music CD". Of course SonyBMG won't want to publicise this cheap solution to the rootkit CD problem, because it also shows how easy it is to crack the vast majority of these DRM systems.

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WALSH QUITS X-FACTOR
According to the Sun, pop manager Louis Walsh has quit pop reality show The X Factor after a number of run-ins with his fellow judges, Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne. Walsh is apparently annoyed that Osbourne threw three glasses of water over him on last week's show, and that Cowell called him "an idiot" on Monday.

The tabloid quote Walsh as saying: "I have been totally humiliated and undermined by both of them. This has caused me nothing but stress. I have had enough. I'm going back to Dublin. I'm not putting up with it any more."

Cowell has reportedly been begging Louis to come back to the show, telling the paper: "I've been called all sorts of things but I have taken it in the spirit it was meant. I have known Louis for years. I know what a success he is. If I offended him, I apologise. We want him back."

Of course there has been rising on-screen tension between the three X-Factor judges in recent weeks, with a number of evicted contestants claiming that whatever judge had the casting vote to drop them from the show did so simply to piss off a fellow judge, and not based on their genuine opinion of different finalists' musical abilities. Walsh's departure might be the conclusion of these rising tensions. Or it might just be a publicity stunt from a show that has always marketed itself around the competitiveness that exists between its three judges. Either way, Walsh's much hyped departure, even if it proves to be short lived, is sure to boost ratings for the reality show this weekend.

Elsewhere in X Factor news, Journey South are now equal favourites to win the overall competition. Ladbrokes have set their odds at 7/4, the same as long time favourite Shayne Ward whose chances, some bookies say, are now declining.

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MCGRAW, GREEN DAY AND DESTINY'S CHILD ALL AWARDED AT AMAS
No one artist dominated at last night's American Music Awards, with Tim McGraw, Green Day, Destiny's Child and Black Eyed Peas each taking home two awards. Mariah Carey, who started the night with the most nominations, just won one award - for Best Soul/R&B Female Artist.

McGraw won Favourite Male Artist in the country section, while his album 'Live Like You Were Dying' won Best Country Album. Green Day won Favourite Artist in the alternative category, while their long player 'America Idiot' won Best Album in the pop/rock genre. Destiny's Child won Favourite Soul/R&B Group and Best Soul/R&B Album for 'Destiny Fulfilled', while Black Eyed Peas took the Best Group title in both the rap/hip hop and pop/rock genres.

With short lists based on record sales, and overall winners chosen by a survey of record buyers, other artists taking home awards on the night included 50 Cent who took best Rap/Hip Hop album with 'The Massacre', Missy Elliott who won Best Rap/Hip Hop Female and Eminem, who won Favourite Rap/Hip Hop male.

While a number of the high profile winners were not in attendance - including Green Day, Black Eyed Peas, 50 Cent and Eminem - a number of big names were included on the live music line up, including Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani, the Eurythmics and the Rolling Stones.

Stefani was also named Favourite Female Pop Artist, though the award was presented so soon after her performance she seemed a little confused as to what she had won, telling the AMA audience: "What did I win? I guess whatever I won, I just want to say thank you to the fans, especially all my girls. Imagine what it feels like to be me all these years and have your support."

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FIDDY SHOOTING DISCUSSED AGAIN AT MURDER INC TRIAL
More discussions of text messages and the 2000 50 Cent shooting at the ongoing Murder Inc trial yesterday.

As previously reported, Murder Inc bosses Irv and Chris Lorenzo "Gotti" stand accused of using their then Universal affiliated label to launder money for notorious drug dealer Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff. The 50 Cent incident is relevant because the prosecution claim McGriff arranging the shooting for Irv Lorenzo, who was pissed off that Fiddy had dissed him in a rap. McGriff did that, the prosecution say, as a thank you for all those money laundering services. The Lorenzo defence maintain that the 50 Cent shooting is completely irrelevant to this case.

In a busy day of accusations and counter-accusations, the following claims were made at the trial:

- The prosecution presented a series of text messages allegedly sent by the Lorenzos around the time of the 50 Cent incident which, they claim, implicate the brothers as being involved in the shooting. One went to Murder Inc artist Black Child urging him to get in touch with the label - the prosecution said that Black Child had previously stabbed 50 Cent, and the Lorenzo's wanted him briefed on the Fiddy shooting knowing he'd be a suspect. Another text message was sent by Irv Lorenzo to his wife assuring her she was safe. Why, the prosecution ask, is Lorenzo's wife safety in doubt if the brothers weren't somehow involved in the shooting.

- The defence hit back by cross-examining John Ragin, a former McGriff associate who, as we reported yesterday, claims that the drug dealer funded his straight-to-DVD movie 'Crime Partners' using drug proceeds. Crucially, he has also claimed that he knew McGriff gave money to Murder Inc. However, the defence told the court yesterday that Ragin admitted he had no direct knowledge of this - rather he had only "heard" that McGriff passed cash to the label.

- The prosecution then called a special agent for American's inland revenue, who was part of the team who raided Murder Incs' offices in January 2003. He said he had see accounts sheets that indicated McGriff would receive a payment of $100,000, although he owed the label $35,000. What, the prosecution asked, were those payments referring to?

- Finally, the prosecution returned to the credibility of Donell Nichols, their last minute witness who claims to have first hand knowledge of the financial dealings between Murder Inc and McGriff. The defence have been portraying Nichols, who worked with the Lorenzo's for a while, as an unreliable witness who is known for lying about his status at the label. In particular, the Lorenzos deny Nichols' claims that he was once an A&R chief for the record label. But why then, the prosecution asked yesterday, did Chris Lorenzo and Nicholls appear as a partnership in a list of the top 20 A&R representatives in the US music business?

And so the case continued.

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CANADIAN MP WANTS TO BAN FIDDY
And whilst we're on subjects related to Fiddy, a Toronto MP has contacted Canadian immigration minister Joe Volpe to ask him to prevent 50 Cent from entering the country. Fiddy is all set for a Canadian tour beginning in Vancouver on 3 Dec, but Liberal MP Dan McTeague says he promotes gun violence and shouldn't be allowed into the country and points out that a shooting coincided with the rapper's last appearance in Toronto back in 2003. McTeague says "I don't think people in Toronto or any urban centre need or want to hear Mr Jackson's message right now. I think it's time we send a message of our own to those who glorify violence that their gratuitous violence and movies are not welcome in our country. We need to do a better job at protecting Canadians from people whose message runs counter to all of our efforts of trying to curb gun violence."

Joe Volpe's spokesman said that he was unaware of the communication, but that it would be inappropriate for the minister to comment on an individual case anyway. Because Fiddy has a criminal record, he needs to obtain a ministerial permit to enter the country, and the spokesman, Steven Heckbert, says the permits are issued with a fair degree of regularity: "It's permission that's granted typically about 12,000 times a year. In many of those cases the minister does not intervene directly. The department has delegated authority to make such decisions."

All this comes on the back of sustained criticism of the rap star, who is accused of celebrating the drug and gun culture irresponsibly, and of course, those previously reported complaints about the posters promoting Fiddy's film 'Get Rich Or Die Tryin', a number of which were subsequently removed from billboards. There is a growing movement in Toronto at the moment to attempt to curb the escalating gun violence in the city. A coalition of African-Canadian groups met with Prime Minister Paul Martin in Ottawa last week regarding the issue.

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GLITTER DENIES SEX ALLEGATIONS
Gary Glitter denied those accusations of sex with underage girls during questioning on Monday, say the Vietnamese police. The former glam rocker is still in custody whilst investigations continue into the allegations that he had sex with two girls, one of them just twelve years old, at his Vung Tau home. Reports conflict over whether the second girl was actually underage at the time of the alleged liaison with Glitter, as she appears now to be eighteen, that being the legal age of consent in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese authorities have decided to extend Glitter's detention for another three days whilst they continue their investigations. As previously reported, Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, is receiving support from the British consul, who confirm that the star will have access to lawyer as soon as formal charges are made, and describe the Vietnam authorities as "very cooperative".

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IAN BROWN GIG CANCELLED AFTER VENUE FLOOR STARTS TO SAG
A spokesman for the Academy Music Group has said that they plan to reschedule the Ian Brown gig that was cancelled at their recently opened Newcastle venue on Monday night after concerns over the building's structural safety.

The former Stone Rose's gig was cancelled at the last minute on Monday night, with all 2000 gig goers asked to vacate the Newcastle Carling Academy, after the floor at the venue began to sag. It is believed that happened after four or five joists under the main dance floor came out of their springs. However, bosses for the Academy Music Group say that the decision to vacate the premises was made because of fears that the sagging floor might move slightly, which could have some minor safety implications. They stress there was never any major risk such as the floor collapsing.

Stressing that the incident had been investigated and that no further cancellations are expected, Academy Music Group Operations Director Steve Forster told reporters: "Whilst nobody was in any danger, there was a possibility there would be some movement of the main floor. So we had to make the decision to pull the show and that's what we did. We are speaking to Ian Brown to see if the gig can be rescheduled at the back end of their tour. If so, people will be given the opportunity to keep their tickets and go to the next concert, but if they can't, or if we can't rearrange it, they will definitely get their money back."

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BONO AT MOWLAM TRIBUTE
Bono was amongst the many celebrities and politicians that turned out to pay tribute to late former cabinet minister Mo Mowlam in London at the weekend. The U2 man spoke of Mowlam's efforts in the Northern Ireland peace process and of her strength in the face of her illness. The event took place at the Drury Lane Theatre in London and also featured appearances from Lulu, and three members of the late Ian Dury's group The Blockheads, who altered the words of the song they performed to make unflattering references to cabinet types who clashed with Mowlam.

Lots of actors and comedians were there too, although not all could be there in person: Tony Blair's message of tribute came via a video link.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Devendra Banhart - Heard Somebody Say (Beggars/XL Recordings)
Devendra Banhart's new single is the sound of Wayne Coyne wandering alone through some sparse moonscape crying, "I've lost my band", or the ditty Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's keyboard player dolefully tossed off while the others went outside for a fag. Despite some intriguing lyrics and restrained but effective gospel-like backing vocals, it's still Flaming Lips without the space cadet grandeur, as satisfying as half a chicken nugget after a night on the sauce. Better is rockabilly B-side Chicken, but who needs B-sides when even the elderly are downloading their singles? As slight as a Nano. WP
Release date: 21 Nov
Press contact: Beggars IH [all]

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IDLEWILD ARE MOVING ON
Idlewild have parted company with their label after close to a decade. A statement on the band's official website reads: "Idlewild would like to announce that after eight years and four albums they have parted company with their label Parlophone/EMI. The band had fulfilled their record contract and it seemed like a good time to move on. More news regarding a new label and a new record will follow. Here's to the future!"

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ITUNES ONE OF TEN BIGGEST MUSIC SELLERS IN US
More good news for Apple. iTunes is now one of the top ten biggest music sellers in the US - in fact it is at number seven. And that's based on the maths that every 12 downloads sold via iTunes equals an album sold in a traditional music store - which probably works against the download platform (the average number of tracks on an album is surely less than 12). According to the survey by NPD, the digital music seller is now selling more music than traditional retailers Tower Records and Sam Goody, although mail-order CDs still dominate in the online music space, with Amazon.com coming fifth in the overall top ten.

The full NPD top ten US music retailers runs thus:

1. Wal-Mart
2. Best Buy
3. Target
4. Amazon.com
5. FYE
6. Circuit City
7. Apple iTunes
8. Tower Records
9. Sam Goody
10. Borders

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WILL YOUNG FIRST BRITISH ARTIST TO RELEASE DUALDISC ALBUM
According to SonyBMG, the new album from Will Young, 'Keep On', which is out this week, is the first UK artist album to be available in the previously reported DualDisc format - with CD stuff on one side, and DVD nonsense on the other. On that landmark, Young told reporters: "I'm excited to be the first UK artist to be involved with DualDisc. I not only get to deliver an album that I'm proud of, but I also get further opportunities to push myself creatively and deliver something extra for my fans."

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V2 US TAKEOVER COMPLETE
Just in case you're following this one, we hear that Sheridan Square Entertainment has finalised its acquisition of the American bit of Virgin's record company V2. As previously reported, Sheridan will incorporate V2 into its music division, which already includes Artemis Records, which is acquired last year.

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TURNER WAY COOLER THAN DOHERTY, OFFICIAL
Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner has been named the coolest man on the planet in NME's yearly poll on the subject, knocking last year's joint winner, one Pete Doherty, from the top spot. The Babyshambles frontman has fallen to sixth place, and Carl Barat, who shared that top spot with him last year, is now at number nine.

NME's Alex Needham said: "Featuring both elder statesmen and thrusting young turks, the NME Cool List is the one every musician wants to be on. Last year Pete Doherty and Carl Barat were joint Number One and 2005's list looks set to stir up even more controversy."

I want to make some amusing pun about how Turner is, or ought to be, definitively cool, given his Arctic origins, but I can't think of a good one. Gutting.

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COXON, ASHCROFT ADDED TO XFM'S WONDERLAND
Graham Coxon, Richard Ashcroft and the rather buzzy Kubb have all been added to the acts appearing at Xfm's two 'Winter Wonderland' shows in aid of Shelter. The Kooks and Magnet have also been added to the bill, joining a lineup that includes Supergrass, Kaiser Chiefs, Hard-Fi, Maximo Park, Editors and The Dead 60's, Athlete, The Go! Team and Morning Runner. The gigs take place on 11 and 12 Dec at Brixton academy, and are completely sold out.

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FIGHTSTAR ALBUM AND TOUR DATES
Do Fightstar never stop touring? I'm sure I report new tour dates once a week. Anyway, this time they have a very good reason to be on tour, because it will be in support of the long promised album that they are finally, finally going to release.

The band's famous member, Charlie Simpson (formerly of Busted, in case you forgot) says: "It's always been a dream to play the kind of venues we're playing on this tour and we're just really glad to have the opportunity to showcase an album that we're really proud of".

Not really famous band member Alex Westaway says: "Making the album with Colin (Richardson) has been a fantastic experience and taking it out & playing the songs live properly for the first time is going to be very special for us".

Here are the dates:

11 Mar: Southampton University
13 Mar: Norwich UEA
14 Mar: Leeds University
16 Mar: Birmingham Academy
17 Mar: Manchester Academy
18 Mar: Glasgow Barrowlands
19 Mar: Newcastle University
21 Mar: Bristol Academy
22 Mar: London Astoria
25 Mar: Dublin Temple Bar Music Centre
26 Mar: Belfast Spring & Airbrake

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OK GO NEW ALBUM AND TOUR
Yay, another band with a new album and tour dates. This time it's OK Go. Their second album, 'Oh No' is set for release on 6 Mar preceded by a single 'A Million Ways' which will be out on 20 Feb. The band go on tour in January to promote those releases, dates follow:

9 Jan: London Islington Academy
10 Jan: London Metro
11 Jan: London Brixton Windmill
13 Jan: Birmingham Academy II
14 Jan: Newcastle Academy II
15 Jan: Glasgow King Tuts
16 Jan: Manchester Night & Day
18 Jan: Leeds Joseph's Well
19 Jan: Bristol Fleece & Firkin

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RIZLA PRESENTS NEW ROCK PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION
A new exhibition of rock n roll photography will open at the Exhibition Gallery in London next month. The exhibition, staged as part of Rizla's inspired-by programme, will showcase the work of music photographer Andy Earl, and will include pictures of artists and bands like Graham Coxon, James Blunt, Roots Manuva, Nine Black Alps, Mylo, Hard-Fi, The Magic Numbers and Tom Vek. Each photo will be accompanied by a quote from the relevant band. Press info on the exhibition from Exposure.

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GET GLC TO DELIVER A VERBAL MESSAGE ON YOUR BEHALF
Well, if you're looking to waste some time today, you could do worse than this. To celebrate the release of new single 'RnB', Goldie Lookin Chain have launched a new make-your-own-rap website. A little bit like that previously reported Roots Manuva website, you go online and pick from a library of words to create your own rap which you can email to a friend or post online. You can pick words as spoken by a number of GLC members and, needless to say, if you're looking for an innovative way to offend someone by email, this might be a good place to start. The site is at http://www.glcrnb.com

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COLE PORTER'S HOME TO BE A MUSEUM
Cole Porter's childhood home in Peru, Indiana is to be turned into a museum by a group of music enthusiasts led by the town's mayor, one Jim Walker. The group have raised cash to fund the project mainly via donations, and plan to refurbish the house, which reportedly needs major renovations, and open it to the public next summer. Porter is said to have composed some of his earliest songs in the house, living there until he was a teenager. The Guardian reports that some of the songwriter's family still live in the town and have agreed to donate memorabilia.

Unusually, the museum will be offering tourists bed and breakfast at the house. Jim Walker says "being able to stay in the home will be a nice attraction. The room he was born in will be much sought-after."

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DYLAN POEMS SELL FOR $78K
Those Bob Dylan poems we reported on a couple of weeks ago have fetched $78,000 at auction in New York. And that's your lot. Geddit?

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TOMMY LEE'S ALBUM STOLEN
To lose all of them looks like carelessness. According to reports, all UK-bound copies of Tommy Lee's new album were stolen recently in a heist. The incident took place at a warehouse in Germany, when thieves turned up in a transit disguised as the official exporters and made off with thousands of copies of 'Tommyland: The Ride'. Label bosses must have whipped up an emergency box, though, because a spokesman says that the robbery has not affected the album's release, and it is said to have hit the shelves on Monday, although I can't make visual confirmation of that, as I haven't looked at any shelves since Saturday.

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