CMU Daily - on the inside Wednesday 29th November
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- EMI confirm takeover offer
- Universal may look for iPod royalty too
- Trail Of Dead Chap collapses on stage
- Country singer Gentry pleads guilty to hunting charges
- Snow Patrol best seller so far
- Slipknot album news
- New Hatherley EP
- New Albarn band single
- Field Music single
- Love to run 6Music for a day
- Borrell's pants to go on sale on eBay
- Grinderman let fans ask the questions
- Album review: Skygreen Leopards - Disciples Of California
- Abba museum planned
- Fratellis tour dates
- Idlewild dates, of the record and live kind
- Ashcroft dates
- New Pharrell tour date
- Amy Winehouse tour
- Cold War Kids, dates, instore
- Bat For Lashes things
- Fall Out Boy tour
- Young Knives at FROG for NYE
- Tourdates showcase night tonight
- Warner launch new video division
- Indiestore add MySpace functionality
- Music Ally to discuss all things virtual worlds
- GCap profits down
- Music channels to ask for more time to cut junk food ads
- Take That stuff, according to the Mirror
- Britney Spears needs to calm down
- Noel Gallagher says he doesn't want a knighthood


Email in song title, artist and a sentence on why it's your favourite to
[email protected]


So, those votes keep coming in for the CMU Track Of The Year poll, and not every single one for Hafdis Huld (who, as we've previously mentioned, is getting a lot of mentions - possibly because her people have been out there lobbying!). Here are some of the tracks tipped in the last week or so...

Simon Dyson, Informa: Supervinyls - Vinyl Exchange
Don't you just love it when you're wading through MySpace Music and you come across an artist-posting that makes you listen right the way though? Really great track, not well known, but still a classic of 2006.

Neil Blanket, Rykodisc International: Mika - Relax, Take It Easy
A dash of Freddie Mecury mixed with some Nilsson over a liberal dose of Scissor Sisters. Hands down brilliance.

Nik Moore, Moore Publicity: Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
I KNOW it's predictable, but...Gnarls Barkley's Crazy: absolutely perfect pop...

Kat Brown, Aloud Gig Guide Editor: Nelly Furtado - Maneater
It's got to be Maneater, hasn't it? Four minutes of dirty pop perfection that makes me happy as a new rave kid on aspirin. While ordinarily I couldn't give a toss for what Ms Furtado gets up to, this twisted bit of noise is so painfully danceable that it makes me want to attempt complicated movements with as many limbs as possible.

Anna Randles, CEC Management: Hafdis Huld - Tomoko
I am voting for Tomoko because I like to hear songs that mention shoes made out of crocodiles!

But what is your favourite? That's what really matters. This is your chance to vote for your very favourite song of 2006. You can vote for any song that first surfaced this year - including single releases, b-sides, remixes, album tracks and bootleg mixes. To vote, just email the name of the track, the artist and (if you can be bothered) a two sentence reason why it's your favourite. Email it in to [email protected] right about now (well, before 8 Dec).



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Another storming night for your diaries - the second edition of breaks fest Breaking Ground. All the big names are going to be on the bill - Pendulum (Live), Stanton Warriors, Rennie Pilgrem with MC Chickaboo, Splitloop (Live), Precision Cuts, Janette Slack, Breakfastaz, Deekline & Wizard with MC Ivory, Cltr-Z, Freshold, Si Begg, General Midi, Soto, Merka, Symmetrik, Dirtpop, Mr Sushi and Fyoog. Phew. It will all take place at London's seOne Club on Saturday 2 Dec, from 9.30pm to 6am. Tickets are £18.50 in advance - from - press info from Leyline.

Full info>>



Ah, good old Hanson. Surely very much overdue for the MSOTD accolade. But especially relevant this week, because they have just released a new single called 'Great Divide', which was inspired by the band's recent trip to South Africa where they visited communities who have been devastated by the AIDS/HIV epidemic. The release - via iTunes - has been timed to coincide with World AIDS Day (which is Friday, of course) and all the profits go to an organisation called PHRU, a hospital in Soweto that helps reduce the transmission of pre-natal HIV/AIDS. You can preview the song here on the MySpace, or watch the video that goes with it, or follow the link to buy yourself a copy. Or all three, if you wish. Then you can check out the other songs available for preview and read through the really rather active looking Hanson blog. So, worthy and good.


That EMI Group yesterday confirmed it had been approached regarding a possible takeover. The major music company told the London Stock Exchange in a statement that it had "received a preliminary approach for the company which may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company".

EMI chiefs did not reveal the identity of the company who had made the approach, but Reuters has reported that a "person familiar with the situation" has named the possible buyer as private equity firm Permira Advisers. The FT also reported that both Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Goldman Sachs have reportedly shown an interest in acquiring EMI, although other reports suggest it is definitely not KKR who have made the approach in this case.

Of course, the latest talks of a takeover follow attempts by New York based Warner Music to acquire the London music company earlier in the year - a move that followed EMI's attempts to acquire Warner. While senior players at both majors were not keen regarding the other's takeover proposals, in the end it was concerns over whether a merger of the two majors would get regulatory approval, following the EU court ruling overturning approval of the 2004 Sony BMG merger, that brought ongoing negotiations to an end.

EMI bosses are expected to be less resistant to a takeover offer from an external third party, especially if it would reduce the potential of Warner staging a hostile takeover at some point in the near future.

Yesterday's announcement followed a boom in EMI's stock price, caused by earlier rumours of takeover approaches.


Universal Music chief Doug Morris yesterday said he might look to secure a royalty fee on Apple Computer's iPod sales when his company renews its contract with the IT firm in the New Year.

Universal was the first major to secure such a royalty off the sale of Microsoft's new iPod rival, the Zune player. Microsoft agreed to pay a levy on its digital music hardware sales as part of its negotiations to licence Universal's content for its Zune Marketplace download platform.

Speaking at the Reuters Media Summit, Morris said: "It would be a nice idea. We have a negotiation coming up not too far away. I don't see why we wouldn't do that... but maybe not in the same way. The Zune [deal] was an amazingly interesting exercise, to end up with a [cut from a] piece of technology".

On other matters, Morris said that he expected to reach an out of court settlement with News Corp's MySpace, which Universal sued earlier this month alleging that the social networking site allowed and encouraged the illegal distribution of its content. Speaking about the litigation at the Reuters event, Morris implied certain confidence in his company's legal case by suggesting MySpace wouldn't want the dispute to go to court. He said: "I think it will settle. It would be a horrible case for them to lose".


According to reports, and reportedly some blurry clips on YouTube, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead guitarist Kevin Allen collapsed several times on stage at a recent gig in Florida. The gig subsequently ended early but not before some onstage shenanigans from vocalist Conrad Keely, who announced the last song, but then went on to smash his guitar and physically attack his bandmate, the aforementioned Allen.

Pitchfork quote a gig-goer as saying: "[Conrad] smashed his guitar into a speaker. The crowd cheered thinking it was a part of the show. He quickly walked away, stopping to say 'thank you' in a nearby mic, and as he passed Kevin he gave him a hard shove, sending his guitarist into his stack of amps. The amps toppled under his weight. The fall looked quite painful."

And a second as saying: "Conrad keeps going right off stage and onto the bus (it was a courtyard venue, [and] the stage exits to the front gate, where the bus was parked). The rest of the band looked shocked and bewildered."


Country singer Troy Gentry has pleaded guilty to falsely claiming to have shot dead a bear in the wild, when in fact it was a captive bear, shot in a tiny three acre private enclosure, in a practice known as 'canned hunting' - a trophy hunt in which a customer is guaranteed a kill as the animal in question is captured, or is domesticated, and is released into a small space with no chance of escape. I don't quite understand the law on this, but a bill was introduced into the US Senate last year which basically requested that the practice be made illegal. This incident happened in 2004, however. I suspect that the main reason he fell foul of the law was simply because of the erroneous claim that he had killed the bear in the wild.

The singer, one half of duo Montgomery Gentry, appeared in court earlier this year to face the accusation that he had killed the tame bear, named Cubby, and bought from Minnesota hunting guide Lee Marvin Greenly, in an enclosed pen. Both men then agreed to 'tag' the bear as a wild kill, then arranged for the editing of a videotape of the incident to appear as though it had indeed happened in the wild. A trial was due to start this week, but Gentry's plea agreement means it will not now go ahead. He will pay a $15,000 dollar fine, give up hunting, fishing and trapping in Minnesota for 5 years, and forfeit both the bear hide and the bow he used to shoot the animal.

Gentry said in a statement on his website: "I did participate in improperly tagging the animal I shot, without realising the seriousness of what I was doing. For that I am truly sorry. This has been a humbling experience for me, and one which I deeply regret."

Doesn't care about poor Cubby, though, does he? What a wanker.


You know, if you'd said to me yesterday, "so, then, what's the best selling album of the year so far?", I have to say there is next to no chance I'd have said, "well, Snow Patrol's 'Eyes Open' obviously". Though Caro says the news "doesn't surprise her", whatever that means. Still, it's a long way from the days when the words "Snow Patrol" were always preceded by the line "Belle & Sebastian label mates" - days when CMU and Eddy Temple Morris (then an MTV presenter) seemed to be the only people with any air time for Mr Lightbody et al.

So, well done them, because, yes, 'Eyes Open' has apparently just snuck (yes, that's right, snuck, not sneaked) past the Arctic Monkeys' 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' to become the best selling album of the year, having sold over 1.2 million copies since its May release. Not that we wouldn't prefer an indie signed band to have the 'best seller' title, but let's not forget, the Snow Patrol boys put in a lot of work before they got their Polydor deal and deserve their more recent success.

Elsewhere in Snow Patrol news, the aforementioned Gary Lightbody and the band's guitarist Nathan Connolly have both confirmed they are considering solo projects, but both stress this does not mean the end of the band. According to the NME, Lightbody is considering a more electronica project, which could be interesting. But despite solo ambitions, he stresses: "We'll always be together - just like the end of Grease". Yes, just like that.


Slipknot's Shawn 'Clown' Crahan has told MTV that they won't be back with a new album until 2008, but that they are working on it - they're writing, but probably won't get around to recording until next summer or thereabouts.

The drummer explains why they don't work a bit more quickly: "I don't think a lot of people understand this, but we're not a normal band. We are the kind of band that - because of its magnitude, it's nine people - believes in taking time off between conceptual cycles. So, we just got done with a three-and-a-half-year thing, and we played over 240 shows in 34 countries, and now, we get a break from each other - a spiritual, mental, physical break. And when we get back together, it's business, man. We're all alive today, so things are good. Do we want to get together and make a fourth record? Why wouldn't we?"


Charlotte Hatherley is planning to release a new EP on 17 Dec, preceding the release of her second solo album, 'The Deep Blue', which is expected out in March next year. The EP, entitled 'Behave', and consisting of four tracks, will be available by download only from the singer's website.


I kind of feel bad for constantly calling The Good The Bad And The Queen things like 'Albarn band' or 'Albarn Project', or whatever, but the group's full name is a bit long for a headline. Anyway, The Good The Bad And The Queen are to release a new single, 'Kingdom Of Doom', on 15 Jan. Their eponymous debut album is out on 22 Jan.


Memphis Industries have confirmed that the next single from Field Music, 'A House Is Not A Home', will be released on 22 Jan. It will be the second single release from forthcoming second album 'Tones Of Town' and is, we hear, much more pop-like than recent single release 'In Context', despite having no chorus and being based on a piano bit borrowed from Beethoven's 'Pastoral Symphony'! Press info and all that gubbins from [email protected]


Courtney Love is to take over BBC 6Music for a day next month. The singer will take charge on 11 Dec, picking favourite songs, and also discussing her relationship with late husband Kurt Cobain, apparently. She's the latest music star to be drafted in as a temporary programmer - Oasis and Moby have already been confirmed as controllers-for-a-day, following the success of the project in previous years.

Love will choose tracks that include those by her own band Hole, and rare Nirvana session tracks in addition to some old classics from the likes of The Beatles, Elvis Presley, New Order, REM and The Bangles. She says: "I'm doing a teaching exercise. I want people to learn things. I've made a list, checked it twice, and I found myself living in the past."


A pair of Johnny Borrell's white jeans are to go on sale on eBay to raise money for charity, alongside other Razorlight memorabilia, including guitars and a signed copy of their eponymous second album. The Money Can't Buy auction is organised by children's cancer concern CLIC Sargent. Other items set to go on sale as of 30 Nov have been donated by the likes of Motorhead, Jamie Oliver and the late Steve Irwin.


Nick Cave's new project Grinderman are to let fans 'interview' them by calling and leaving questions on an answer phone that will then be answered by the band and posted on the group's website.

On their MySpace, the band write: "It's a good idea to keep your question brief as we have limited time with the band, who will answer as many questions as possible, although we can't promise they'll answer every question asked. If you have a question you'd like to ask the band then we want to hear from you. You can either Skype it to us on the link below or call and leave a message on 020 7043 9787."

Grinderman release their previously reported eponymous debut on 5 Mar.


ALBUM REVIEW: Skygreen Leopards - Disciples of California (Cosmos Recordings)
Serendipitously, I first listened to this record while peeling potatoes and sipping Bourbon whiskey on a bluish, melancholic evening. From the first (title) track to the album's final cut, the music was, to my ears and then my mind, like a homeopathic salve or remedy is to a physical ailment: soothing, healing, and effective in a manner that far exceeds its appearance, its texture, and the expectations one may form from such physical considerations. As such, it reinforced the life lesson that what is good for you is not always, on the surface of things, appealing. The faint, crude, Lo-Fi hissing of the reel-to-reel recorder and the captured atmospheric noises are as much a part of the sound as the muffled trap-kit, steel-guitar or woody, resonant bass. But whereas, in this age of crisp, digital recording and sparkling mastering, such a reversion to the tools (and sonic sensibilities) of a previous generation might raise flags and invite charges of pretension or disingenuousness for other acts, the Skygreen Leopards, in all of their organic, pared-down, countrified simplicity, seem quite at home with the sound of yesteryear. Like The Band, Uncle Tupelo, or even, at times, The Counting Crows, the Leopards evoke images of simple places and complex relationships - interpersonal, naturalistic, divine. While subsequent releases will hopefully feature more variety in terms of song structure, this Californian collective has nevertheless achieved an excellent and beautiful sound. If you appreciate urgency and honesty in music, this disc is well worth a listen. [BH]
Release date: 13 Nov
Press Contact: Hermana PR [all]


A museum dedicated to all things Abba is to open in the Swedish capital of Stockholm in 2008, and will display instruments used and outfits worn by the bands as well as items such as handwritten song lyrics. The museum is the brainchild of Ulf Westman and his wife, Ewa Wigenheim-Westman, who came up with the idea following a visit to the Beatles museum in Liverpool.

The band apparently took some persuading that this was a good idea, but agreed eventually, and now say: "It is nice someone feels compelled to take on our musical history". They will donate material for the exhibit but will not get involved in any other way.

Stockholm mayor Kristina Axen Olin apparently took a lot less persuading that this was a good idea, and believes the museum will attract half a million people each year. She says: "We are convinced that this is important both for Stockholm citizens and for marketing the city".


CMU favourites The Fratellis have announced a headline tour for the new year. They are, as previously reported, also supporting Kasabian on their upcoming arena tour. Here are those headline dates:

16 Feb: Nottingham Rock City
17 Feb: Nottingham Rock City
19 Feb: Manchester Apollo
20 Feb: Manchester Apollo
22 Feb: Glasgow Academy
23 Feb: Glasgow Academy
27 Feb: Birmingham Academy
28 Feb: Birmingham Academy
3 Mar: London Brixton Academy
4 Mar: London Brixton Academy


Some Idlewild dates for you. The band, of course, have just signed to Sanctuary, and they have a single out next week, 4 Dec, called 'If It Takes You Home', while new album 'Make Another World' will follow in February. If you ask very nicely, they might play some songs off it at some, maybe all, of the upcoming live dates...

29 Nov: Sheffield The Plug
30 Nov: Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
1 Dec: Bristol Fleece
2 Dec: Manchester Academy 3
4 Dec: London Scala


Some Richard Ashcroft dates for you. He's also got a single out next week - and a double a-side one at that. The single will feature 'Why Not Nothing?' and 'Sweet Brother Malcolm', both coming off recent album 'Keys To The World'. And hey, he's also on tour this week. Spooky coincidences all round.

30 Nov: Manchester Evening Manchester Arena
2 Dec: Newcastle Arena
3 Dec: Birmingham NIA
5 Dec: London Hammersmith Apollo


Pharrell Williams has added an extra date to his upcoming UK tour, and will now perform at Birmingham Academy on 21 Dec.

The full list of dates is now as follows:

14 Dec: Manchester Apollo
16 Dec: Glasgow Academy
20 Dec: Brixton Academy
21 Dec: Birmingham Academy


Amy Winehouse has announced a new series of tour dates, which is good, because this time around I might get to actually see her play. The gigs will follow the release of a new single, 'You Know I'm No Good' on 8 Jan. New dates as follows:

17 Feb: Cambridge Corn Exchange
18 Feb: Southampton Guildhall
19 Feb: Cardiff University
21 Feb: Birmingham Academy
23 Feb: Liverpool Academy
25 Feb: Manchester Academy
26 Feb: Northumbria University
27 Feb: Glasgow Academy
3 Mar: Sheffield Octagon
5 Mar: Nottingham Rock City
8 Mar: London Shepherds Bush Empire
9 Mar: London Shepherds Bush Empire


So many dates for you today. Here's another. Those Cold War Kids play a headline show at Birmingham's Jug Of Ale tonight and at London's Borderline tomorrow night, 30 Nov. Before the London gig they'll do an instore at Sister Ray on Berwick Street at 6pm.

If you're so, like, out of touch to not know what these guys sound like, then I'd suggest a visit to Press info from V2 IH.


The not-to-everyone's-taste-but-I-quite-like-them Bat For Lashes have confirmed they will release their next single, 'Prescilla', on 19 Feb. Meanwhile they'll play the Scala next Wednesday, 6 Dec, alongside Josh T Pearson and Johnny Flynn. I'd be there, obviously, if there wasn't the matter of that McFly Tiscali Session over at ULU. Perhaps I could nip down to Brighton for the same line up at St George's Church on 7 Dec? Maybe. Press info on all things Bat For Lashes from Dog Day Press.


Fall Out Boy have announced three UK shows in January to coincide with the release of a new single 'It Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race' on 29 Jan, and their second album, 'Infinity On High', out 5 Feb. A full UK tour is planned for the spring, but here are those confirmed winter dates:

27 Jan: Bridgend Recreation Centre
28 Jan: Glasgow Garage
29 Jan: London Hammersmith Palais


The Young Knives are to headline live acts appearing at the FROG night at The Forum on New Year's Eve. The band are joined on the bill by buzz bands Larrikin Love and The Rumble Strips. The event takes place on, er, 31 Dec from 9pm until 4am.

The Young Knives' Henry Dartnall says: "We are really chuffed to be playing FROG on New Year's Eve. Besides it being a great vehicle for our ever growing egos, it also means we won't have the ball-ache of trying to plan New Year's Eve. We just get a ready made party at which we are one of the guests of honour! What more could we ask for?"


The November edition of the previously reported Tourdates A&R Showcase takes place tonight at the London Borderline. Apparently last month one of the bands playing got a deal backstage after the show - and it was the first gig they'd ever played outside hometown Derby! Tonight Circus, Music Roll Exchange, Dandelion Killers, Lahannya and Perfect Machine fka Subdivine all play. Doors open at 7.30pm, tickets are £7.50, guest list queries to [email protected]


Warner Music International yesterday announced an expansion in its video content operations with the launch of a new division called Warner Music Entertainment.

The new division will see Warner's existing commercial video division merge with The Rights Company, a UK based DVD and digital production business which Warner has just acquired. Warner chiefs say the new London based unit will create music-related programming formats, acquire content rights from third party producers and generate programme opportunities around Warner's catalogue and artists.

Announcing the new venture, Warner Music International boss Patrick Vien told CMU: "The explosion of new distribution platforms has created an unprecedented opportunity for us to significantly enhance the menu of multimedia content we deliver. This acquisition supports the ongoing transformation of our organization by strengthening our capacity to create rich video material around our core recorded music business, as well as allowing us to explore new formats in the pop culture space. The Rights Company has a successful track record of devising creative, compelling and popular vehicles for the brands and personalities they represent and we look forward to applying that same approach at Warner Music Entertainment".

The Rights Company's founder, Conrad Withey, who will lead the new Warner division, added: "We believe that combining music expertise with a wealth of experience in developing and producing new formats creates a powerful proposition that will deliver benefits to artists and consumers alike".


7Digital has launched a new 'plug-in' which allows artists signed up to their indiestore platform to sell music via their MySpace pages (or their pages on other social networking sites).

As previously reported, indiestore is designed for use by independent and unsigned artists, enabling them to sell their music online without any real set up costs. The new plug-in allows users to add a Flash device to their MySpace page through which visitors to said MySpace page can preview and, if they want, buy tracks.

MySpace will launch their own sell-through service next year, of course, but the 7Digital system is working now. It is also unclear as yet what fees MySpace will charge artists who use their sell through platform - artists get 80% of revenues through the indiestore platform.

London band Temposhark have been trialing the new service, their lead singer Rob Diament told CMU: "We are delighted with the indiestore Flash Player on our MySpace page as it has helped increase interest in our music, both in the number of plays of our songs as well as helping increase the number of downloads sold. It really makes it easy for our fans."


The Music Ally people will stage a networking seminar next week looking into the potential of so called 'virtual worlds' like the Second Life 3D community, which has been used by the likes of Duran Duran, Chamillionaire, Susanne Vega and Ben Folds, but which still has a relatively low profile in the music business. The event will included a demo of Second Life, followed by a discussion about the whole are led by a panel including EMI digital chief Barney Wragg, Radio 1 interactive editor Daniel Heaf, IBM labs Roo Reynolds and PVG Virtual Concerts's Paul Van Gerven. It all takes place next Tuesday, 5 Dec in London. Full details at


GCap Media admitted yesterday that their underlying profits fell by almost a third in the first half of the financial year, as the radio group continued to suffer from that ever difficult advertising market. Sales income was also hit by that previously reported change of policy at flagship station Capital Radio, where the amount of airtime given over to advertising was cut in a bid to make their programming more attractive to listeners (the long term aim there, of course, is to increase the relative value and therefore price of what airtime is available). Overall, profits for the six months until the end of September were £8.4 million, down 32% from the same period last year.

In a statement the group was cautious about promising any quick turnaround, saying: "The current advertising market remains very difficult and visibility poor. We anticipate tough trading conditions will persist over the next quarter". However, the group said that they remained confident that Capital Radio, key to improving the group's overall performance, would eventually recover its valuable 'biggest in London' status, citing the various changes that had been made in a bid to boost the station's performance. They said: "Listeners now benefit from more London-specific content, more current chart hits in the playlist and a tighter structure for each programme".


TV channels aimed at a teen audience, including the MTV and EMAP owned music stations, are set to accuse media regulator OfCom of "moving goalposts and steamrolling through" those recent new rules regarding the advertising of junk food to teenage TV viewers (or, rather, rules banning such advertising).

The problem is that the likes of MTV and EMAP were under the impression OfCom's new rules would not directly affect them, so few plans had been made as to adjusting sales and business plans to cope with them. But OfCom unexpectedly expanded their anti-junk food plans at the last minute, meaning the music channels are now very much affected, and with, the broadcasters claim, too little time to adapt to new regulations.

MediaWeek quote the Advertising Association's Suzanne Edmond who says: "There's a strong feeling within the broadcast industry that the goalposts have moved and that Ofcom has reinvented its regulatory objectives in response to political pressure".

Despite their annoyance in the last minute expansion of new regulation, it is unlikely MTV and EMAP et al will try to have the rules overturned, especially given all the media coverage surrounding the advertising of junk food to young people. However, the broadcasters, who have until 15 Dec to tell OfCom how they plan to comply with the new rules, are expected to say OfCom should have consulted them more before announcing the regulations, and that as a result of that fact they should be allowed more time to cut junk food advertising from their output.


According to The Mirror's 3AM girls, Take That still have the power to get girlies queuing and screaming. Which is nice, because we like them. Fans camped out, apparently, for the chance to meet the boys at their recent signing sessions at HMV stores in London and Manchester.

The band's Gary Barlow said: "It's mental, I can't believe so many have turned up today. This comeback has been bigger and better than anyone imagined. When we released tickets for our tour we thought we'd only sell out about six dates - we were overwhelmed with the response." Bandmate Jason Orange added: "Everything's been amazing. I hope you all think it was worth the wait."

A crazed fan said: "We got here at 6am on Sunday but it was well worth it. I couldn't speak when I met them, especially when I got a kiss from them all. It's a dream come true."

HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo says: "It's been an amazing turnout, reminiscent of scenes from 1994 when we had Take That fever first time around. The album's flying off the shelves - they look likely to take the No.1 spot from Westlife."

Elsewhere in random Take That quotes from the 3AM page, Gary Barlow had a go at their old rivals: "East 17 were one of our biggest rivals. They were always slagging us off, but where are they now?"

The band's Mark Owen admitted that they're nervous about their upcoming 'Audience With' on ITV: "We're scared about the questions as we're not allowed to see them beforehand. We just hope everyone's gentle with us."

And Gary said that a reunion with Robbie Williams wasn't out of the question: "It would be nice for the fans to see us all reunited. They're dying to see it, so never say never."

Oh, do say never. I like Take That much better without him in it.


Britney Spears needs to calm down in my professional opinion. All this hanging around with needless celebrity heiress Paris Hilton and actress/paparazzi fodder Lindsay Lohan just isn't doing her image any good, because it just makes her look even more trashy. And she will keep going out with no knickers on and letting everyone see right up her skirt. Don't believe me? See pretty much any gossip blog on the web for pictures.

Anyway, everyone says that the girls are doing it to court publicity. Which is, of course, untrue. Or so says Hilton's publicist Elliot Mintz, who says that Britney and Paris "have become like sisters", and adds: "What I've observed is that we have three extraordinarily powerful women who generate a tremendous amount of attention, money, and adulation and they're tired of other people trying to ride on their coat tails and create false dramas."

What I've observed is Britney acting more and more like Hilton. And that can only be a bad thing.


Which is a relief, because if people started calling him 'sir' I think I might vomit. The singer has apparently been mentioned as a possible contender for a New Year's Honour, for his 'contributions to music'. Asked what he thought about it, he said: "I don't think I'd go for one of those."

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