CMU Daily - on the inside Monday 18th December
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Rose splits from management, promises march release for 'Democracy'
- Tributes pour in for Ertegun
- Mills-McCartney warned of threats
- Cunniff to release solo album
- The Arcade Fire name new album
- Arctic Monkeys join Flames onstage
- Dylan tops Billboard critics poll
- Attenborough beats music types in icon race
- Time magazine name you Person Of The Year
- CBS launch new record company
- Yahoo! beta test new video player
- MTV to add recommendations to Urge service
- NME formally launch US operations
- Many lack reading skills required for karaoke
- Chart update
- Total Rock world album chart
- Spears and Fed-Ex top viral video list
- Paris Hilton didn't defend Britney after all
- Leona wins X-Factor
- Bunton out of Strictly Come Dancing
- Gest to write autobiography
- Madonna to ban hunts because Stella said so
- Kate bans Pete's releases
- Kaiser Chiefs not pleased with Girls Aloud
- Peaches Geldof on Borrell and Turner

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IT'S THE END OF THE YEAR AS WE KNOW IT>>

VOTE FOR THE CMU TRACK OF THE YEAR - FINAL 10
OK, we've counted the hundreds and hundreds of votes we received for the CMU track of the year and, in a new twist (or, added complication, depending how you look at it) for this year, we are now inviting you to help us put the final ten in order of preference. Below are the top ten tracks of the year as voted for by you, in no particular order. What we want you to do now is email 2006@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk and tell us which of the ten you liked most. Just put the name of the artist in the subject line. You can vote until Thursday at 3pm. We'll then add up everyone's votes and publish the overall winners in our Review Of The Year edition on Friday. OK, here's the final ten...

Amy Winehouse - Rehab
Arctic Monkeys - When The Sun Goes Down
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Hafdis Huld - Tomoko
Jarvis Cocker - Running The World
Jim Noir - Eanie Meanie
Misty's Big Adventure - Fashion Parade
Nelly Furtado - Maneater
The Rapture - Get Myself Into It
Simian v Justice - We Are Your Friends

Which is your favourite from this ten? Email the artist name to 2006@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

FAVOURITE ALBUM OF 2006 #7: Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
I'll be honest and say that when I first heard of Amy Winehouse I wasn't bowled over; I'm not sure I even really remember what her first album sounded like, although I think I probably listened to it, and most definitely will have heard the singles from it. But I always liked the idea of Amy Winehouse because, if nothing else, she seemed like the antithesis of the likes of Katie Melua, one of my pet hates, and Jamie Cullum, another of my pet hates. So, there she was, just in the periphery of my vision, waving a bit, when I heard, on the TV, the first single release from the new album, 'Rehab'. It seemed to me to be terrifically gutsy to release a track in that style, and with that sort of subject matter, to an audience who perhaps would in fact be more at home with the blandities of Melua and Corinne Bailey Rae (actually, I don't mind her so much, but it is very future lift music). I also didn't see how anyone in the world could possibly not like that song. On the basis of it, I gave the full album a listen, not expecting every song to be as striking. I was wrong, of course. 'Rehab' is far and away the least of that album - the bravura of that single is replicated in every song, and more so. It's music which shows off its influences unashamedly, wearing its US soul and Motown influences proudly, but glorying in lyrics which probably wouldn't go down too well in the US itself - I can't see 'Me And Mr Jones' - "What kind of fuckery is this?" - managing to secure public radio airtime either there or here, and yet is so much deserves to. Every one of the tracks on this album has slowly become special to me, and the lyrics, I think, play a very important part. Everyone knows that I like pop songs with swearing in them (doesn't everyone?) but it's more than that. The words paint pictures, and can tear at your heart. But then so can the swinging tunes, the retro sound, and Winehouse's terrific, effective, affective vocals. I don't care if she appears on late night TV shows seeming like she might have had a jar or two; she's produced an album packed with around eleven of my favourite tracks of the year. Making it one of our ten top albums of 2006.

Read our interview with Amy Winehouse later today at:
http://www.thebeatsbar.co.uk/albumsoftheyear

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CLASSIFIEDS>>

INTERESTED IN SELLING YOUR RECORD LABEL?
Music Gain is acquiring record labels and catalogue. If you are thinking of selling, or are interested
in a long term capital partner, please contact us. Introduction and spotters fees also paid. Please visit us - http://www.musicgain.com

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ADVERTISE YOUR SERVICES & PRODUCTS here for just £50 a week, or £150 for two weeks in the Daily and four weeks on the web. Email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk for details.

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MYSPACE OF THE DAY: SOUND TEAM
These guys are a great newish US indie band from Austin, Texas, who quietly released their debut album 'Movie Monster' on EMI earlier this year. There are seven of them in total (I thought there were only six, but their MySpace lists seven), and they not only make great tunes, but they have that DIY attitude we love at CMU, despite the major label record deal. Which means they make many of their own videos, design a lot of their own artwork, and remix a lot of their own tunes. That said, the reason I am mentioning them in MSOTD today, even though the album has been out a while, is because they have offered readers of the CMU Daily's sister e-newsletter the Remix Update the chance to remix two of their tunes, and I thought I should give it a blatant plug, just in case there are any bedroom remixers out there in the CMU Daily's readership. Basically, you can download the separate parts of two Sound Team tracks - 'TV Torso' and 'Your Eyes Are Liars' - from a Remix Update web page, and remix them in anyway you like. The band will listen to any remixes submitted, and the best one will get a proper release via EMI. So if you're interested in that, check out the Remix Update link below. Either way, give these guys' MySpace a visit, there are some great tunes, some of their own-made videos, some amusing photos plus they've somehow managed to make their friends counter read 6659 billion!

http://www.myspace.com/soundteam
http://www.remixupdate.co.uk/soundteam

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ROSE SPLITS FROM MANAGEMENT, PROMISES MARCH RELEASE FOR 'DEMOCRACY'
Despite all the talk earlier in the year that a release was imminent, Axl Rose has confirmed that Guns N Roses' long, long, long awaited new album 'Chinese Democracy' will not now surface until next March. He is blaming his manager Merck Mercuriadis for the latest delays and, as such, announced this weekend he was terminating his relationship with his management. In a lengthy letter to GnR fans, Rose said that he was now confident that the new album would be released in early March, and explained that the band were going to have to cancel four January gig dates to allow time for preparatory work for the album release.

Mercuriadis quickly responded to Rose's open letter by publishing his own, an actually quite measured response that disputed some of Axl's claims, but then went on to heap praise onto the Guns N Roses frontman. He concluded: "I believe 'Chinese Democracy' is one of the best albums ever made... I believe in Axl Rose. I will walk away knowing I have done my best and that next year will see Axl recognized not only as a great singer and rock icon but as one of the greatest artists of all time".

Given that it's the week before Christmas which means none of you will be doing any work today, here are both letters, the reading of which will probably fill much of your afternoon...

Axl writes...

"Guns N' Roses regrets to announce that the following concert tour dates have been cancelled: January 10th Sacramento, January 11th Bakersfield, January 13th Reno, January 16th San Diego.

Due to the schedule of these particular shows valuable time needed by the band and record company for the proper setup and release of the album 'Chinese Democracy' would be lost. Rather than delay the album yet again all involved have decided to remove these shows from GNR's schedule. We sincerely hope our fans understand and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused anyone. Tickets may be refunded at local point of purchase.

To say the making of this album has been an unbearably long and incomprehensible journey would be an understatement. Overcoming the endless and seemingly insanity of the obstacles faced by all involved, not withstanding the emotional challenges endured by everyone: the fans, the band, our road crew and business team has at many times seemed for all like a bad dream where one wakes up only to find they are still in the nightmare and unfortunately this time it has been played out for over a decade in real life.

The true ongoing behind-the-scenes triumphs and casualties are much more complicated than any negative speculation that media or otherwise has managed to hit upon. For much of the time some form or another of legalities have been taking place that really the best way to deal with publicly was to keep our mouths shut in an attempt to ensure the best outcome and especially one that wouldn't jeopardize the band or the album. One can easily point to how others have done things or how they themselves feel that they would were they in the same situations but without full knowledge of the various dynamics and circumstances involved, again these types of comments or commentary are uninformed, outside, generally useless and often hindering speculation.

When I agreed to do our recent North American tour I agreed with the understanding that I and my manager Merck Mercuriadis were in full agreement as to our strategy, touring plans and most importantly that any and all things needed to release the album at the latest by Dec. 26th were to be in place. Unfortunately this turned out not to be the case and not only do I regret to say that again the album will not be released by the end of the year but that though many things went extremely well and were very exciting there were in our opinion unnecessary and avoidable complications on our tour having to do with the tour routing, scheduling and album and video plans that played hell on all involved especially our crew. This was compounded by an overall sense of a lack of respect by management for the band and crew and each individual's particular expertise that has resulted unfortunately in the end of both Guns and my relationship in having a management or sense of band involvement with Merck Mercuriadis.

In regard to a release date for the album itself certain minor and by that I do mean minor things and or additions as well as contract negotiations need to be completed and barring any unforeseen complications these things have now been adequately scheduled. Both the band and I along with our record company feel that this record deserves the proper setup and promotion not the "13 Tuesdays left" and "it may just appear in your record store" approach offered by management. We believe this strategy may have been used in order for management to sell this latest tour to the various promoters. We feel that if this was so, this was obviously unfair to them. The stress of dealing with this situation has been considerable for everyone as well as to the band themselves as a whole but that this was more importantly in our opinion something utterly insane to do to our fans. Our apologies and please know we have been laboring over this with management for the entire North American tour.

It takes approximately 8 weeks for an album to hit the shelves once it has been turned in to the record company. For whatever reasons it appears it may have been mistakenly inferred by management that this could be condensed to three. That being said this is not a promise, a lie or a guarantee but we do wish to announce a tentative release date of March 6th. This is the first time we have done this publicly for this album. Any and all other dates have been made up by others for their own reasons. We would like to assure the fans that though tentative everything in our power will be done to meet this date. Once it is finalized and official you will be notified. If we are delayed for unseen reasons you will also be notified as soon as possible in regard to a new date and the album will be released as shortly thereafter as is possible. We thank you for your patience.

In the end it's just an album and one that I, the band, our record company and all involved believe and feel is a true Guns N' Roses album. Ultimately the public will decide and regardless of the outcome our hearts, lives and our passion has been put into this project every step of the way. If for no other reason we feel those elements alone merit your consideration. We do hope you can hold on just a bit longer and if not we hope you would please feel free to take a break and we'll be more than glad (if you so choose) to see you again later.

Once again, our sincere apologies and our deepest thanks, Guns N' Roses would also like to thank all the fans who attended the 70 concerts in 21 different countries for their support in 2006. All the best to each and every one of you over this holiday season, thank-you and God bless.

Sincerely, Axl Rose"

And this is what Merck wrote...

"Along with all of the other Guns N' Roses fans around the world I read 'An Open Letter To The Fans From Axl' this evening with much interest. About half way through it occurred to me that I had read much of this before. In fact, I had written the blueprint for it in an email for Axl's attention two days ago which I have copied below.

The reality is all of this year's touring was planned and agreed between Axl and myself, with a view to the album being in the stores before the 31st of December '06. This was confirmed by Axl in numerous interviews - most famously at the MTV Video Music Awards. We planned the tour in February, just after Axl's birthday and we were supposed to finish the album in May, before it started. We sent our engineers to New York, where we all waited, for over a month, for the muse to come but she never arrived. We then scheduled sessions in London in August and had our engineers meet us there at the end of the English tour. August came and went and once again the muse did not show. We postponed our proposed radio date of Labour Day for the first single and we came back to LA and tried to finish before the San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles shows but yet again she eluded us. Axl then asked me to postpone the North American tour which was due to start on 24th of September by a month and finally, early in that period after the euphoria of Inland Invasion, Axl made a break through and got two or three very productive days under his belt.

At this point we were very excited as Axl's feeling was that we had two or three days of work left to tidy things up and we still had three weeks before the tour started, so we were in good shape. Unfortunately the muse disappeared just as fast as she came and the tour started with no single at radio to support it and the album still needing two or three days of work. Despite this, it was a break through period as Robin, Bumblefoot and Frank had all made important contributions to the album that made it even stronger. By the way none of the above is meant as a criticism of Axl. It is the reality of trying to create something special under incredible pressure from the public - that wants and DEMANDS the record - and the record industry - that NEEDS it. The creative process is not something you can dictate and Axl is a true artist.

At this time I seriously considered postponing the start of the tour, again, as the album was of paramount importance but the reality was that our historic track record left us with very little good will with you, the fans, and we needed the money to be able to complete the album and keep the band alive. We scheduled sessions in New York and once again sent the engineers there for the first two weeks of November while the tour was based there - but the hectic touring schedule meant nothing got done. The record company refused to conclude the renegotiation until we were ready to hand over the finished album and refused to prepare a marketing campaign or commission video treatments until they had it in their hands. This is still their position as of this week.

At this point despite the success of many of the dates on the tour the pressure on all of us became unbearable. While some of Axl's letter is disappointing - As John Lennon once asked Paul McCartney "How Do You Sleep?" - until you have walked a mile in his shoes you cannot begin to comprehend the pressure he is under. I know I sleep well at night in the knowledge that when 'Chinese Democracy' hits the streets in March that it is in large part down to my efforts over the last almost 5 years. I found the money and the motivation to keep Axl and the band alive and get the record made when everyone else had given up and walked away. We worked as a team united to make 'Chinese Democracy' a reality. In the end the album will speak for itself but our relationship could not survive the pressure.

I have no regrets. I believe 'Chinese Democracy' is one of the best albums ever made, Axl Rose is one of the greatest vocalists and front men and the new Guns N' Roses (which kicks the shit out of the old) is one of the greatest bands. What we accomplished in 2006 only hints at what is to come.

I believe in Axl Rose. I am the artist's manager and it is my responsibility and job to take the heat. I promise you 'Chinese Democracy' is worth it and you should keep the faith. I will walk away knowing I have done my best and that next year will see Axl recognized not only as a great singer and rock icon but as one of the greatest artists of all time.

Merry Christmas and all the best to you for 2007! Merck Mercuriadis

PS I apologize to all the fans irked by my facetious comments regarding the release date to Rolling Stone magazine. They were meant to poke fun at a magazine that had announced a definitive release date, causing us all lots of grief, when none had been set. Unfortunately many of you took them to heart and for that I am sorry."

So there you go, that's that sorted. And perhaps 2007 will be the year where we finally get to report "'Chinese Democracy' is out today". Though I'll believe it when I see it myself.

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TRIBUTES POUR IN FOR ERTEGUN
Unsurprisingly, the tributes have been pouring in for Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun who, as reported on Friday, died last week from injuries caused by that fall back stage at a Rolling Stones concert in October.

Mick Jagger, whose band was signed to Atlantic by Ertegun in the seventies, led the praise for the late music mogul, telling reporters: "He was a marvellous man, very witty, a great raconteur. He will be fondly remembered by all who knew him... I will personally miss our warm and long friendship".

From a different Rolling Stone, Jan Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine said: "Ahmet was perhaps the most revered, respected figure in American popular music of the modern era".

Fellow label exec David Geffen told the New York Times: "Few people have had a bigger impact on the record industry than Ahmet and no one loved American music more than he did. Ahmet started me in the record business just as he gave many independent entrepreneurs the chance to start their own companies".

And Jerry Greenberg, a former Atlantic Records President, said: "Ahmet and I worked very closely together for over 20 years. It was a father-son relationship sharing great music and making great memories together. Atlantic Records was one of the greatest family record companies that ever existed. Last year we put together an Atlantic Records reunion in Las Vegas which Ahmet attended and spoke, bringing tears to everyone's eyes. My memories of Ahmet and his loving wife Mica will live with me forever".

An Atlantic Records spokesman has confirmed that Ertegun will be buried in his native Turkey, while a memorial service will be held in New York in the New Year.

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MILLS-MCCARTNEY WARNED OF THREATS
Police have warned Heather Mills that they have uncovered a "non-specific threat" to her safety, but have assured Paul McCartney's estranged spouse that there is no "imminent risk". Mills herself has recently spoken out about receiving death threats in the wake of her separation from the former Beatle, claiming that the "very scary" situation had caused her to suffer from serious depression.

Sussex police have now risk assessed the situation, and acted accordingly. Bernie Murphy, of Sussex Police Force Command and Control Centre in Brighton explained: "Police can confirm that Mills McCartney was spoken to by officers and was fully informed of all the information, including details of the names of individuals involved. In addition, Mills-McCartney's estranged husband was also spoken to. Local officers have been fully briefed regarding the circumstances and provision has been made for an immediate police response should this be necessary."

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CUNNIFF TO RELEASE SOLO ALBUM
Luscious Jackson frontwoman Jill Cunniff is set to release her first solo album, 'City Beach' on 20 Feb in the US, with a UK release to follow shortly afterwards. Cunniff says of the album, which apparently has some Brazilian influences: "I chopped-up samples, hid them slightly, turned them around... fiddled with and re-worked sounds and vocals. I learned how to record my voice better. When you record yourself it's a very un-self-conscious process."

Luscious Jackson broke up in 2000, but recently announced plans to reunite, and according to reports the band are currently working on an album of children's songs. A greatest hits compilation is to be released in February next year.

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THE ARCADE FIRE NAME NEW ALBUM
The Arcade Fire have revealed the name of their new album. It's to be called 'Neon Bible'. As previously reported, it'll be out in Spring next year.

Er, that's it really. Oh no, a first track from the long player, 'Intervention' was given an airing by Zane Lowe recently.

That really is it. Unless you're not aware that they're playing five shows in London in January, all of which sold out very, very quickly.

Really, now. That's it.

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ARCTIC MONKEYS JOIN FLAMES ONSTAGE
According to NME, Arctic Monkeys joined The Little Flames onstage at the Deltasonic Christmas party in Liverpool at the weekend. The Monkeys helped out on a rendition of The Little Flames' final song of the night, 'Put Your Dukes Up John'. Announcing their appearance, Little Flames singer Eva Petersen told the audience: "We're going to be joined now by our little cousins. This one will sound better with the Arctic Monkeys."

Also appearing at the Deltasonic night, a charity event raising money for Alder Hey children's hospital, were The Coral, who debuted tracks from their new, as yet untitled album, as well as a number of their biggest hits. Other bands playing that night included The Dead 60s, Tiger Kicks and The Suzukis.

As previously reported, Arctic Monkeys recently announced that they will play the fifty thou capacity Lancashire Country cricket ground in July of 2007.

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DYLAN TOPS BILLBOARD CRITICS POLL
Ha, CMU has an Albums Of The Year top ten, so Billboard has to have one too, typical. They've listed their top ten in order of popularity, based on the votes of over 50 of the US trade mag's staff members and writers. Bob Dylan's much acclaimed new long player 'Modern Times' came top, ahead of the 2006 albums from Bruce Springsteen and Gnarls Barkley. The highest rated British artists were those Arctic Monkeys who, despite not getting quite the OTT critical response in the US as they did here, came in fourth. The full top ten runs like this:

1. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
2. Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
3. Gnarls Barkley - St Elsewhere
4. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
5. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
6. Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards
7. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
8=. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
8=. Dixie Chicks - Taking The Long Way
9. The Beatles - Love
10. Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae

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ATTENBOROUGH BEATS MUSIC TYPES IN ICON RACE
Well, neither Paul McCartney nor Steven Patrick Morrissey managed to win The Culture Show's Greatest Living Icon poll. It was in fact naturalist David Attenborough who garnered the majority of viewers' votes. On learning that he'd won, he said he was "flattered and amazed".

He was championed for the award by Bill Oddie, who says this: "David has affected the lives of people and wildlife for many years. With his amazing amount of knowledge, his achievement is to recommend life, wildlife and human life to the people of this earth".

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TIME MAGAZINE NAME YOU PERSON OF THE YEAR
Well done everybody, you've been named 'Person Of The Year' by Time magazine, and can I just say, you really deserve the honour. Yep, the US news weekly has named the population at large as its 'Person Of The Year' or, rather, anyone in the population at large who has been utilising new internet platforms to speak to the world. The award has been made in recognition of the importance of the likes of YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia and Facebook (the latter of which I'm still trying to fathom) in the news and media world of 2006.

The magazine's Lev Grossman explained: "It's about the many wrestling power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes. [The web] is a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter".

Of course, before all you bloggers and wiki contributors get too excited about being named Time Magazine's Person Of The Year, remember who else has shared the honour over the years. In 1979 it went to Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini while in 1938 it was given to one Adolf Hitler.

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CBS LAUNCH NEW RECORD COMPANY
US media company CBS is launching a record label to be called CBS Records, which will be slightly amusing to all those old timers out there who used to work for CBS Records back in the olden days before it was sold off to Sony Corp in 1988 to create Sony Music. The all new CBS Records will initially operate not altogether unlike the SonyBMG owned SyCo Records (although probably with more of a digital focus), releasing music by artists who gain profile through the media company's own TV programmes, both those aired on CBS' channels, and those made by CBS Paramount Television for other networks. And that's not the only Sony link - former Sony Music exec Larry Jenkins has been involved in developing the new label, and he told the Associated Press last week that the aim is to sign eight artists to the new operation in the first year. Singer/songwriter Will Dailey, who had a track used in a recent episode of CBS' 'Jericho', is the first confirmed signing.

Confirming the launch of a new CBS Records, Les Moonves, President of CBS Corp, told reporters: "With more consumers choosing the online download model as the preferred way to purchase their favourite songs, we have an opportunity to use our unique and broad collection of media platforms to create a new music label paradigm for a small price of admission".

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YAHOO! BETA TEST NEW VIDEO PLAYER
Yahoo! have beta launched a new version of its proprietary music video player that is used by the Yahoo! Music platform. The new version is Mac and Firefox compatible for the first time, and also reportedly provides higher quality streams, as well as an enhanced playlisting system which will enable users to programme what videos they listen to in a similar fashion to Yahoo!'s existing audio streaming service.

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MTV TO ADD RECOMMENDATIONS TO URGE SERVICE
More digital enhancements for you. MTV is reportedly adding recommendation functionality into its Urge digital music service. The music network will use a system developed by US firm MediaUnbound, a company who provides similar technology to the likes of Napster and HMV. It will mean MTV's digital music systems will be able to recommend tracks to users based on mood, genre and favourite songs and artists.

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NME FORMALLY LAUNCH US OPERATIONS
NME formally launched its new US operations on Friday with a reception at the British Consulate in New York. The party, which included an acoustic performance from We Are Scientists, was designed to mark the previously reported expansion of NME into the US, which includes the establishment of East and West coast news desks and the launch of a Club NME offshoot in NYC.

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MANY LACK READING SKILLS REQUIRED FOR KARAOKE
A slightly depressing bit of research for you now. People behind the Get On literacy campaign reckon that millions of UK adults would struggle to take part in karaoke sessions because they wouldn't be able to read the lyrics on the karaoke machine autocue. The campaign body got literacy experts to rate the lyrics of the ten most popular karaoke songs and to work out what level of reading skills someone would need to be able to read the lyrics (assuming they didn't know them off by heart, obviously). The experts said that the lyrics to Robbie Williams 'Angels', a karaoke favourite, require 'level 2' reading skills (about the kind of reading skills required to pass five good GCSEs) but that 17.8 million adults do not have that level of reading abilities. Meaning a large percent of the population would struggle to sing along with Williams at a karaoke event. Similar skills would be required to sing along to Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive', The Commitments' 'Mustang Sally' and Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now'. Singing along to 'Summer Lovin' from the Grease soundtrack, Elvis' 'Suspicious Minds' and Abba's 'Dancing Queen' would required just level 1 reading skills, though that would still leave some 5.2 million people struggling.

Commenting on the research, Skills Minister Phil Hope told reporters: "Whilst we might think we know these tunes inside out, it's only on reading the lyrics properly that we realise that some of our favourite numbers are complicated. There are many pitfalls involved in public singing, but once you've got the mic in your hand you don't want your reading skills to let you down. Anyone who is a wannabe Elvis or a secret Olivia Newton-John who sometimes struggle with the words should think about brushing up their skills in the New Year. After all, getting help with your reading and writing could help you get on in your job, as well as improve your turn in the spotlight".

See, that's where education bodies have been going wrong all these years. If only they'd promoted reading lessons by promising "learn this to avoid embarrassment at the karaoke" everyone would have been queuing up. Though that said, I know people with incredibly advanced reading skills, and it's still pretty embarrassing when they do karaoke.

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CHART UPDATE
Say what you like about Cliff, and I know most of you do, but he can still shift some records once Christmas is in the air. Though not quite enough to knock Take That at the top spot. Because singles chart wise Take That's 'Patience' is still number one this week, with Cliff's 'Christmas/Move It' the highest new entry at two.

The other new entries go like this: Katie Price & Peter Andre 'A Whole New World' at 12, Crazy Frog 'Last Christmas' at 16, Andy Abraham/Michael Underwood 'December Brings Me Back To You' at 18, Matt Willis 'Don't Let It Go To Waste' at 19, El Chombo 'Chacarron' at 20, Lily Allen 'Littlest Things' at 21, Ricky Tomlinson 'Christmas My Arse' at 25, Shakira and Carlos Santana 'Illegal' at 34 and Snoop Dog & R Kelly 'Love When You Call' at 38.

Albums wise, no change at the top which still goes Take That, Oasis and Westlife, in that order. Very few new entries too, with Neil Diamond's hits album at 30 and Gloria Estefan's hits album at 40 pretty much all there is to report.

PS: No Student Radio Chart or Subshot playlist this week, the Christmas vacation now up and running. Both will return in the New Year.

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TOTAL ROCK WORLD ALBUM CHART
As counted down on Total Rock over the weekend - http://www.totalrock.com. New and re-entries marked with a *

1. Evanescence - The Open Door (SonyBMG)
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium (Warner Bros)
3. Incubus - Light Grenades (SonyBMG)
4. My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade (Warner Bros)
5. Killswitch Engage - As Daylight Dies (Roadrunner)
6. Aerosmith - Devil's Got A New Disguise (SonyBMG/Columbia)
7. Foo Fighters - Skin & Bones (Roswell)
8. Nickelback - All The Right Reasons (Roadrunner)
9. Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell III (Universal/Mercury)
10. Tenacious D - The Pick Of Destiny (SonyBMG)
11. Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist (Warner/Maverick)
12. Razorlight - Razorlight (Universal/Mercury)
13. Billy Talent - Billy Talent II (Warner/Atlantic)
14. Guns n Roses - Greatest Hits (Universal/Geffen)
15. Muse - Black Holes & Revelations (Warner Bros)
16. Audioslave - Revelations (SonyBMG/Epic)
17. Stone Sour - Come What(ever) May (Roadrunner)
18. Rise Against - The Sufferer & The Witness (Universal/Geffen)
19. Queen - Greatest Hits 1,2,3 (EMI)
20. Tool - 10,000 Days (Volcano)*

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SPEARS AND FED-EX TOP VIRAL VIDEO LIST
Britney Spears is the subject of the number one celebrity viral video of the year, and her soon to be ex husband Kevin Federline is just behind her at number two. In first place, viewed more than three million times, was a recording of Britney belching and talking incoherently about her belief in time travel, whilst at number two, with nearly two million hits, was the footage of Fed-ex apparently receiving a text message informing him that Britney had filed for divorce.

And just in case you're not familiar with the term 'viral video', it basically means film clips that gain momentum by being posted via blogs, emails and instant messages. Chart compilers ViralVideoChart.com say they scan several million blogs to compile their lists.

Also on the list was Seinfeld star Michael Richards' recent racist outburst at a Hollywood comedy club, Lindsay Lohan bitching about Paris Hilton, Paris Hilton crashing a Bentley, plus Katie Price and husband Peter Andre's video for debut single 'A Whole New World'. What a treat.

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PARIS HILTON DIDN'T DEFEND BRITNEY AFTER ALL
Paris Hilton claims that she didn't write that previously reported entry on her MySpace page, in which she defended Britney Spears current party lifestyle. Elliot Mintz, a spokesman for the inexplicably famous heiress, said that whoever wrote it "crafted a very nice piece and the sentiments that were expressed were extremely articulate", but went on to say: "Did she write that piece? No, she did not. I have no idea who did."

He continued: "There are dozens and dozens of people that use the web, that write things and post pictures and identify themselves as Paris. There are at least 80 of them. The web is a bit like the Wild West - somewhat uncontrollable".

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LEONA WINS X-FACTOR
So, ever the diligent reporter, I watched the last ten minutes of X Factor on Saturday night just so I could let you know who won. Fortunately there were four young children running rampant in the room at the same time, so I was sufficiently distracted to really notice Kate Thornton doing her presenting bit which, as we've explained before, is the reason no one at CMU can normally watch X Factor for more than five minutes. But, despite the flying furniture, I wasn't too distracted to notice that bookies favourite Leona Lewis was the overall winner, which was good news for said bookies, who stood to lose out big time if fellow finalist Ray Quinn, previously an outsider to even get that far, had be crowned overall winner. I'm also pretty sure I heard Simon Cowell say after Leona's victory that he was the "most proudest" he'd ever been, which makes you wonder how well he'd do at the karaoke. Leona's debut single is now in manufacture ready for a Wednesday release and a late entry into the race for Christmas number one.

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BUNTON OUT OF STRICTLY COME DANCING
Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton has been eliminated from 'Strictly Come Dancing' at the semi-final stage of the competition. I don't mind because I want Matt Dawson to win. Not that I've watched it. But you know, Matt Dawson a rugby player, and I like rugby. And I was most impressed that he won Celebrity Masterchef and I'm hoping he can score some kind of celebrity reality contest hat-trick - perhaps he could do 'The Games' next.

So, anyway, it's now down to him and his dance partner Lilia Kopylova and cricketer Mark Ramprakash and partner Karen Hardy. So you know whose side I'm on. Not that I actively dislike cricket, or anything. Final takes place at 5.40pm on 23 Dec, if you care.

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GEST TO WRITE AUTOBIOGRAPHY
David Guest has agreed to write an autobiography following the success of his sojourn in the jungle, and has signed a £500,000 contract with Simon & Schuster. The publishers think that UK readers will want to read his humourous anecdotes, as well as details of how he made it in the music business. A source told the Daily Star: "David's got no obvious talents. He can't sing or dance - but he is absolutely charming. The book will reveal what his secret is."

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MADONNA TO BAN HUNTS BECAUSE STELLA SAID SO
Madonna has apparently decided to ban shooting on her country estate, and, reports suggest, it's because Stella McCartney had a go at her when she heard that the singer and hubby Guy Ritchie were letting out their grounds to hunters for £10k a day

A no doubt reliable source told The Sun: "Ashcombe's become a hunting factory and the Ritchies like playing rich landlords. Stella wasn't pleased when she heard about them releasing pheasants and spoke to Madonna. She's the reason Madonna is stopping shooting next year."

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KATE BANS PETE'S RELEASES
According to reports, Dot Allison says Kate Moss has banned Pete Doherty from releasing duets he recorded with her when they were in a relationship two years ago.

Allison told the Sunday Mail, "Pete and I wrote a batch of great songs together two years ago. He's a very good writer and poet. But they can't be released at the moment. The situation is Kate has banned him from releasing them. That's what I've been told. Most of them are strummed on acoustic guitar, really beautiful duets. We were going to release an album of duets but it has been put on ice because of what's happened to him since. He's not well, is he? Our single, 'I Wanna Break Your Heart', was just about to be released but now it's not. Hopefully we'll be able to release it one day."

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KAISER CHIEFS NOT PLEASED WITH GIRLS ALOUD
Kaiser Chiefs are not happy with Girls Aloud due to the fact that they changed the words of 'I Predict A Riot', when covering the song on tour recently, substituting the lyric "borrow a pound for a phone call" for original line "borrow a pound for a condom".

Chief Kaiser Ricky Wilson is quoted by the Daily Star as saying: "I don't give a shit if they don't change the words. But they did change the words. I'm gonna cover a Girls Aloud song and change all their words but make them really filthy. They said 'Borrow a pound for a phone call'. What? It's illegal, Girls Aloud. We're after you."

Drummer Nick Hodgson praised Lily Allen for asking for permission to cover the track, saying: "Lily asked our permission for the song. Girls Aloud didn't and then they changed the words. It's embarrassing because people think we have been asked and we haven't been."

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PEACHES GELDOF ON BORRELL AND TURNER
Peaches Geldof has had a bit of a go at Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner over the fact that they are arrogant and changed by fame.

According to The Mirror she said: "Razorlight disgust me... [Johnny] comes across as a bit of a knob", while on the chief Monkey she observed: "I don't think there's anything special to warrant how cocky [Alex] has become".

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