CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 1st December

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Downloading no longer male dominated
- Summing up begins in Inc trial
- Riaa launch more anti-file sharing litigation
- Sneddon reportedly wants to get Jacko on drugs charges
- Schwarzenegger swayed by Snoop Dogg?
- DMX gets seven days
- District of Columbia sues SonyBMG over rootkit
- Italy pass act that will hinder anti-piracy action
- IOW festival latest
- Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs flag contest
- Fashion concert to raise funds for quake victims
- G4 head to head with Eminem
- Impala partner on events at MIDEM
- Victory Records boss lashes out at Apple
- Eels new album and DVD
- Yay! Advent calendar!
- Spitz One Man Band festival
- Rise Festival wins tourism award
- Ozzy to sell quad bike
- Costa missing Blue
- Pete and Kate latest

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VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE TRACK OF 2005>>
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 you 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.

THEN VOTE FOR THE RECORD OF THE DAY AWARDS 2005>>
Voting is now underway in the Record of the Day Awards for Music Journalism and PR, 2005. The Record of the Day Awards are the only UK event recognising excellence in music journalism and PR, voted for the people that matter. Have your say about whose writing you rate by completing the online survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=27680722369 Voting only takes a few minutes and one lucky voter will be selected at random to win an iPod Nano. Winners will be announced at a special event at London's Islington Academy on December 14. For more information email david@recordoftheday.com

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DOWNLOADING NO LONGER MALE DOMINATED
Another survey has shown that music downloading is becoming less of a male dominated activity. The fourth European Music Census from TV and online digital music broadcaster Music Choice surveyed a pretty impressive 45,000 people across Europe, and showed that while more men were buying music from legal download platforms, the number of women accessing digital music was increasing rapidly.

Here in the UK the increase in the number of females downloading music was 10%, compared to 5% for males. That means that while more men than women are downloading music, the difference between the sexes is declining. The survey also reveals that, in the UK at least, female downloaders access digital music sites more frequently and buy more tracks per month.

Music Choice's census also shows that the percentage of the population downloading is highest in Germany, where 69% of those interviewed were downloading music. Next highest was Norway with 62%, then it goes UK (40%), Sweden (35%), Italy (30%), Denmark (24%) and France (17%). That said, while lots of Germans are into downloading, they don't seem to be into downloading all that much. The percentage of users downloading more than fifty tracks a month is highest in Norway (32%), with only 2% of downloaders in Germany accessing that much music each month. 7% of downloaders here in the UK are buying that quantity of music each month.

Finally, the survey also looked at what factors are turning people off from downloading music. Needless to say user-friendliness was key - with 36% saying ease of use, or lack of it, would stop them from downloading. 34% said cost was a preventing factor, while 10% cited technical reliability and 18% size of music catalogue (though it's not clear if the problem was that catalogues were too small with certain key artists missing, or if they were just too damn big to navigate).

Commenting on the survey, Music Choice Music & Marketing Director Simon George, told reporters: "This year's Census has produced an invaluable insight into the digital music age, with the growth of downloading the most evident. The download phenomenon has advanced rapidly over the past year and is fast becoming a commonplace method for purchasing music. Our annual European Music Census allows us to track consumers' evolving attitude towards downloading. The finding that some people are still turned off by hard-to-use download stores supports our own approach to developing digital music services - to make them easy for consumers."

Press info on the survey from Lexis PR - nholmes@lexispr.com or sbranch@lexispr.com

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SUMMING UP BEGINS IN INC TRIAL
Well, it was perhaps ambitious to expect a verdict in the Murder Inc trial yesterday, though both defence and prosecution lawyers did run through their closing arguments. A number of hip hop stars were in attendance to show their support for the Lorenzo brothers at the centre of the case, with some commentators suggesting defence lawyers positioned the likes of Jay-Z, Russell Simmons, Ashanti and Ja Rule in strategic places in the court room to make sure the jury could see them.

Despite setbacks earlier in the trial, prosecutor Carolyn Pokorny seemed upbeat as she ran through her case that accuses Murder Inc bosses Irv and Chris Lorenzo "Gotti" of laundering money through their record company for convicted drug lord Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff. According to SOHH.com, Pokorny seemed to focus much of her closing argument on the actions of Chris Lorenzo rather than his brother Irv, the actual top man at The Inc, suggesting that the prosecution will be happy if they can make just one brother take the rap for the alleged money laundering.

Pokorny opened her address by getting straight to her point: "They laundered money. They took dirty, filthy street money from the drug trade. They took Supreme's dirty money and gave clean money back. This is what this case is about. Bad money going in, clean money going out. You heard all this talk about hip-hop, Jay-Z and Russell Simmons. This talk about street credibility. The defense wants you to look at that because they don't want you to see the money laundering."

She then summarised her case so far - the payments made to McGriff's Picture Perfect Entertainment company, and the payments the Inc made to Holloway House Publishing on McGriff's part. The large cash withdrawals made by Chris Lorenzo, the number of McGriff's criminal associates with connections at the label, the four witnesses who claimed to have seen drug money going through the company and all those possibly incriminating text messages. One of those text messages seemed to arrange a meeting between McGriff and The Inc's book keeper. Pokorny: "What in God's name is the biggest drug dealer in New York doing interacting with their bookkeeper?"

It was a question not answered by the Lorenzo's defence lawyer Gerald Shargel, though, to be fair, that was possibly because he was too busy picking holes in the prosecutions case. "I'm not going to talk about Russell Simmons, Jay-Z and Ja Rule. I'm not going to talk about Hip-Hop", the lawyer said at the start of his opening address, "I don't want to stand here for two hours to make my argument. This case is so weak that it's a shame that these two men are standing here". Shargel claimed that there were many contradictions in the testimonies of the prosecution's main witnesses, inconsistencies the prosecution had chosen to ignore in a bid to build a case. Not only did the testimonies contradict with each other, but sometimes with the facts - one, Donell Nichols, claimed that $500,000 in cheques went into the bank account of the aforementioned Picture Perfect Entertainment, when the bank statements say only $65,000 was paid. Citing those contradictions, McGriff again questioned the credibility of the witnesses on which the prosecution's case arguably depends - in particular dissing Nichols and one Phillip 'Dalu' Banks, citing the latter's criminal record and the former's reputation as being a "pathological liar".

As the case now reaches its conclusion it will be left to the jury to decide on the future of the Lorenzo brothers - they could face twenty years in jail if found guilty.

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RIAA LAUNCH MORE ANTI-FILE SHARING LITIGATION
Loads of legal news today. Next up, the Recording Industry Association Of America has launched another 754 lawsuits against suspected illegal file sharers. This happens so often these days it's hardly news, which again proves the stupidity of the RIAA's approach. A key point of suing individual file sharers is surely to get media coverage that reinforces the message that illegal file sharing is wrong. To be fair, the BPI have been good at timing their litigation splurges to secure maximum coverage in the UK press. The RIAA, however, have completely lost control of the news agenda by launching huge numbers of lawsuits on an almost monthly basis. Given that research suggests P2P usage is, if anything, up in the US, despite the lawsuits, the RIAA's litigation approach is achieving little, except for the nominal payments they receive from those filesharers who settle. There's a chance they will have to sue every single PC owner in America to actually stop people from file sharing.

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SNEDDON REPORTEDLY WANTS TO GET JACKO ON DRUGS CHARGES
Possibly proving claims by Michael Jackson's laywers that Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon just really has it in for their client, there are reports today that Sneddon's department is investigating the singer in relation to a number of drugs offences. Officials found a stash of prescription drugs when they raided Jacko's Neverland ranch as part of their investigations into the child abuse allegations, as well as traces of cocaine on the singer's underwear. They reckon Jackson got many of those drugs using false prescriptions, and that he is now getting the drugs sent to his new Bahrain residence, which could amount to illegal drug trafficking. Sneddon and co are now reportedly considering whether they have enough evidence to charge Jackson. The Sun quote sources close to Jacko as saying they are not sure the singer could cope with another high profile criminal court case, with some adding that Sneddon knows that and that's why he is pursuing the new case. The source said: "Michael would fight this in court. But none of us know if he could cope with another investigation. Sneddon is obsessed with bringing him down. This is not justice, it's a witch hunt."

Elsewhere in Jacko news, and more woes for the singer, this time from his ex-wife, who famously proved an unexpected ally to Jackson when asked to testify for the prosecution. Debbie Rowe has now reportedly said that Jackson is not the real father of their two children - Prince Michael Jr and Paris. She has told an Irish newspaper that the children were conceived with semen from a sperm bank, and that she has no idea who the father will be. The Sunday World quotes Rowe as saying: "Michael knows the truth - that he is not the natural father of Prince Michael Jr and Paris. He has to come clean. I have no information whatsoever about the identity of the semen donor for either child. As such [semen] was obtained anonymously from a semen bank under an agreement of confidentiality."

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SCHWARZENEGGER SWAYED BY SNOOP DOGG?
Former movie star turned governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has, it would seem, been at least a little swayed by that campaign publicised by Snoop Dogg and other celebrities to save the life of Stanley 'Tookie' Williams. As previously reported, the rapper has appealed to Schwarzenegger, and appeared at a recent rally to campaign for a stay of execution for Williams, the former leader of notorious LA gang the Crips, convicted on four counts of murder back in 1981. He is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection on 13 Dec.

Schwarzenegger appears now to have responded to the appeals, as he has met with Williams' legal team to discuss clemency, with a further meeting to come on 8 Dec. Williams' attorneys are expected to stress what has been stressed thus far in the high profile campaign to save him; not that he is innocent, or that he deserves clemency, but that the continuing work he does in dissuading young people from involvement in gang culture is invaluable, ie, he's more useful alive than dead. The lawyers' petition states: "This is a petition which seeks to spare the life of one man who has lifted himself up from the furthest depths, and whose redemption is a beacon of hope to others." Schwarzenegger has already refused two petitions for clemency during his time in office, however, and granting a stay of execution in this case would not necessarily be the best move for Schwarzenegger politically, given the pro-death sentence bias amongst the republicans that elected him, and his falling popularity rating amongst that constituency.

Whether Snoop Dogg himself has met with the governor himself regarding this issue is not entirely clear - some news sources suggest that he has. Either way, with stars such as Elliott Gould, Danny Glover, Laurence Fishburne, Ted Danson, Mike Farrell, Russell Crowe, Richard Dreyfuss, Gabriel Byrne and Bianca Jagger adding their voice to the campaign alongside political and religious figures such as former governor of New York Mario Cuomo, former state senator Tom Hayden, Jesse Jackson and Desmond Tutu, the case is guaranteed to continue to generate a lot of publicity. Whether the political winds shift in Williams' favour remains to be seen.

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DMX GETS SEVEN DAYS
DMX has been handed a seven day prison sentence by a judge in New York who rejected a plea for probation on the grounds that he is "a violation waiting to happen". That said, the new prison sentence will run concurrently to DMX's current incarceration, so there's a chance he won't notice.

The rapper, real name Earl Simmons, appeared in court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to driving with a suspended licence in the Bronx neighbourhood last April after his sport utility vehicle struck a car that in turn hit a police car. He has also been fined $500.

The rapper is already serving a 70 day jail sentence over an incident that occurred whilst the rapper's driving licence was suspended following that incident at JFK when he pretended to be a federal agent and crashed into an airport gate. As we said, judge George Villegas, will allow that and the new sentence to run concurrently.

Concluding the case, Villegas joked that his children, fans of DMX, "are not talking to me anymore".

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SUES SONYBMG OVER ROOTKIT
The District Of Columbia is the latest to sue major record company SonyBMG over the release of CDs containing the good old 'rootkit' anti-piracy software which, IT experts say, makes users computers more susceptible to virus attack. The legal action has been launched by an individual record buyer, Nicholas Xanthakos, but he is using a mechanic in the state's Consumer Protection and Procedures Act which allows his to act as a 'private attorney general' and to seek relief on behalf of the general public and not just himself.

Xanthakos seems to want to force SonyBMG to withdraw offending CDs from sale - though the major record company began a recall of 'rootkit' infected CDs a couple of weeks back, so its not clear if the lawsuit just aims to speed this process up, or if it is also looking for compensation payments for those customers whose computers are affected.

Xanthakos' action follows separate lawsuits by the state of Texas and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and after a statement earlier this week from New York District Attorney Eliot Spitzer in which he urged retailers to act quickly in getting rootkit infected CDs off their shelves after hearing that some of his city's record stores were still selling them despite SonyBMG's recall.

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ITALY PASS ACT THAT WILL HINDER ANTI-PIRACY ACTION
The Italian Senate has passed the so called Ex-Cirielli Bill which, the music industry claims, will make it harder to fight music piracy in the country because of the time involved in putting together legal action against those who manufacture pirated CDs.

As previously reported, the new law is concerned with how quickly criminal cases pending trial are automatically dismissed. The change will see the maximum period allowed for cases to get to court cut from seven and a half to six years. This is a problem for those dealing with anti-music piracy cases which, as a general rule, seem to take a lot longer than six years to get to court - especially in Italy. The change would mean of the 471 music piracy cases that were pending in 2004, 382 would have been dismissed.

But despite lobbying by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and other trade associations representing the IP industry, the Italian Senate passed the law on Tuesday. It should now be signed into Italian law by the president before the end of the year.

Enzo Mazza, president of the Federation Of The Italian Music Industry said that the new law marked "the end of Italy's war on music piracy". IFPI chair John Kennedy, meanwhile, stressed to Billboard that the new law was primarily a problem because Italy's chaotic legal system makes cases against music pirates so complicated and time consuming. He told Billboard: "If the wheels of justice were working more efficiently and more smoothly, this law would have less impact on us. It's because the process is so slow and so painful that this new law has such an impact."

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IOW FESTIVAL LATEST
Placebo and Goldfrapp are the latest acts to be added to the bill for next year's Isle Of Wight festival. Both acts will appear on the opening Friday night, with Placebo co-headlining with The Prodigy. This year's event takes place from 9 - 11 Jun, so get your tickets. They're on sale now, you know.

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CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH
That's not an order, it's the name of a band, in case you had forgotten. Following a recent UK tour, buzz band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have announced another tour for the new year. Here are the dates:

3 Feb: Belfast, Queens University
4 Feb: Dublin, Ireland
5 Feb: Edinburgh, Liquid Rooms
7 Feb: Manchester, MDH
8 Feb: Norwich, Waterfront
9 Feb: Brighton, Concorde
11 Feb: Sheffield, Leadmill

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YEAH YEAH YEAHS FLAG CONTEST
Talking of bands with 'Yeah' in their name, Yeah Yeah Yeahs are to have a flag contest. You may be wondering what a flag contest is. I initially wondered what a flag contest was and now I know. It's a thing where the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are running a competition for fans to design a flag to be used on the cover of their new album.

The rules say it can be any size, any colour, but it has to be recognisable as a flag as well as "embodying the symbolic essence" of the band. Budding flagmakers need to get a move on, however, as the closing date is 8 Dec. Go here for info: http://www.fictionrecords.co.uk/

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FASHION CONCERT TO RAISE FUNDS FOR QUAKE VICTIMS
A fashion show and concert is to take place on 13 Dec at the Royal Albert Hall to raise funds for the devastated regions of Pakistan. As you all know, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit the area on 8 Oct, killing an estimated 87,000 people and destroying the homes of more than three million people. Thousands of people made homeless by the disaster could die as winter sets in unless relief efforts are stepped up.

The London concert, supported by such stars as Michael Palin and Goodness Gracious Me actress Nina Wadia, will feature performances by a variety of South Asian musicians, including Ghulam Ali - one of the world's most influential ghazal singers, the Nizami Brothers and Taufiq Niazi, a qawwali group from Old Delhi.

Dr Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan's High Commissioner to London, praised the British public's response to the disaster, but said that a better and more effective global system of response to such emergencies is required. "We are in Pakistan in a race against time because the harsh Himalayan winter is setting in," she said, "We need to get enough life-saving resources to the mountains and to the valleys so that people are able to get though the very harsh winter, and if we can get people through the harsh winter, we can help them rebuild their lives and also we can help them rebuild their homes."

You can get tickets, from £10 - £35, from http://www.royalalberthall.com.

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G4 HEAD TO HEAD WITH EMINEM
Yawn. Popera boys G4 are apparently going to be top of the album chart this weekend, unless Eminem steps in to save us all. G4 are currently way ahead of The Darkness in the mid-weeks, but Eminem releases that greatest hits album 'Curtain Call' on Friday, and with any luck, he'll keep high-pitched screeching from the top slot. I reckon he can take 'em.

HMV's Gennaro Castaldo agrees with me. "Eminem is by far the biggest recording artist in the world, so it's a massive deal whenever he releases a new album. I fully expect 'Curtain Call' to sell more copies in just two days than any other album will manage in a week of trading, to give Eminem yet another number one. We also expect him to go on and top the charts at Christmas."

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IMPALA PARTNER ON EVENTS AT MIDEM
The pan-European body representing independent labels, IMPALA, have announced a partnership with MIDEM which will see the trade organisation stage events specifically aimed at the independent sector at the industry junket next month - in particular an 'international indie summit' on 23 Jan and a workshop on digital distribution on 24 Jan. Information from http://www.midem.com.

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VICTORY RECORDS BOSS LASHES OUT AT APPLE
This is fun. The boss of American independent rock label Victory Records Tony Brummel has reportedly sent a strongly worded email to Apple exec Alex Luke after failing to reach an agreement with the computer firm to sell his artists' music via the iTunes Music Store. He accuses Apple of being "anti-entrepreneurial, anti-creative and anti-America" in the way it runs its download platform, and predicts that the music buying public will soon learn that iTunes is bad news for music fans.

US website HitsDailyDouble has a copy of the email which was probably written as much for public consumption as for that of Apple chiefs. It reads: "The inflexibility on your side is mind boggling. This is art, if you have not forgotten. Do you think Michelangelo punched in and out when he painted the Sistine Chapel? Music consumers would look at your tactics as worse than those employed by the major record companies. I am surprised that Apple operates in such an authoritarian manner when its public image is that of a company run by creative types."

He continued: "This "take it or leave it" stance is anti-entrepreneurial, anti-creative and anti-American. My staff and my artists are asked every day why Victory's content is not on iTunes. When the explanation is given, people understand why we are not in business together. In fact, it bothers them. The power of word of mouth is undeniable, especially in the age of the internet. It may take awhile to resonate but when it does, people typically react accordingly. I passed an olive branch. Instead of embracing it, you whack me in the face with it. This is bad business and sets a very unfortunate precedent. iTunes is not providing the public the alternative that it claims to be."

Other senior execs in both the independent and major label sector might not express their concerns quite so emotively, but Brummel is not alone in expressing such views about the iTunes model and the effect it will have on the music industry if Apple continues to be so dominant in the digital music space.

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EELS NEW ALBUM AND DVD
Eels have announced details of a live album and DVD, to be released on 21 Feb. 'Eels With Strings Live At Town Hall' was recorded in New York on 30 Jun, and follows the band's double album 'Blinking Lights And Other Revelations', released earlier in the year

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YAY! ADVENT CALENDAR!
Boo Hoo, I said this morning when I awoke, realizing that I have no advent calendar. Here, however, is a reason to dry my fat, hot tears. It's a lovely screensaver advent calendar from Rollo Armstrong's Dusted, combining the music from the 'Safe From Harm' album with the illustrations from the accompanying book. A single is released on 19 Dec.

Here's where you get your advent calendar, depending on what sort of system you're operating:
http://www.dusted-music.com/screensaver/pc.zip
http://www.dusted-music.com/screensaver/osx.zip
http://www.dusted-music.com/screensaver/os9.zip

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SPITZ ONE MAN BAND FESTIVAL
That previously reported One Man Band Festival at the Spitz starts today, opening with Bob Log III tonight at 7pm, so make sure and check http://www.spitz.co.uk for details.

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RISE FESTIVAL WINS TOURISM AWARD
London's Rise Festival won a Cultural Event Gold award at the Visit London Awards in London on Tuesday night. The annual festival, that is staged by the Mayor Of London's office to promote the anti-racism cause, was this year rebranded London United at the last minute, in a bid to show that the capital was united against the then recent 7/7 terrorist attacks on the capital. Commenting on the award, mayor Ken Livingstone told reporters: "I am particularly proud that the Rise festival should be honoured in this way because it is an event where young people come together with other Londoners to listen to great music and celebrate this city's diversity. It embodies everything we are doing to try to give every Londoner and every community a stake in this city and their fair share of its growth and prosperity". Of course a cynic might point out that tourism body Visit London is partly funded by the mayor's office, making it slightly biased in these things - but we like the Rise Festival, so well done them anyway!

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OZZY TO SELL QUAD BIKE
Ozzy Osbourne is vacillating over what to do with the quad bike that he had that nasty accident on a couple of years back. He can't bring himself to use the bike again himself, but worries that the bike might carry his bad luck on to a new owner. According to reports, Ozzy said: "I don't know whether to auction them off and give the money to charity. I virtually killed myself on one of them, so I'd feel really bad if someone bought it off me and then they killed themselves."

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COSTA MISSING BLUE
And it's not surprising, because as far as I can see, he's the only one who never signed a big solo deal, unless someone can put me right on that. Anyway, those of you watching 'I'm A Celebrity' might know this already, but former Blue singer Antony Costa has apparently told fellow contestant Bobby Ball that he misses the band and would like to work with them again, saying "I'd love to get back together with the band and make another album". He would not respond, however, to the comic's questions as to why the band split.

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PETE AND KATE LATEST
Well, everyone is saying that Pete Doherty, lead singer of the band Babyshambles, has been dumped by his supermodel girlfriend Kate Moss, apparently because, quelle surprise, Doherty has walked out of rehab after just a week. As was widely reported, the singer agreed to attend the same clinic in Arizona that Moss recently attended for a four week course of therapy, in order to save his relationship with the model. The Sun reports that Doherty is now back in London, and was seen out drinking with friends at the Brixton Academy on Tuesday, and was apparently arrested at some point earlier in the week on suspicion of possessing crack. According to a friend: "Kate is absolutely fuming. She'd hoped they'd spend Christmas together."

Doherty, meanwhile, cites different reasons for being ditched. According to The Sun, he says "I can't buy her diamonds and my dick is too small. I never know where I stand with her. It's either a black eye or a love-bite. It's like being in Afghanistan with her. I wish I could find some middle ground. I thought I'd be able to do five weeks. But if I'm honest, my head would have exploded. I only stuck at it because she paid for it."

Elsewhere, Doherty has been dissed by George Michael over that shambolic performance at Live 8. "I don't know what Elton was hoping to achieve by doing a duet with Pete Doherty at Live 8. It was almost like it was Doherty's duty to be wasted and stumble about on stage. He's a very intelligent man. It's sad to watch his heroin addiction being glorified. He hasn't written a memorable pop song."

On Kate Moss's recent troubles he added: "She didn't deserve all the flak she got because she doesn't court publicity. But the press was doing her a favour in the end because she has a child and you can't hang around with heroin addicts and dealers when you are a mother."

yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

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