CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 13th March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- The Mess Hall win AMP music prize
- Alun Hoddinott dies, venue named in his honour
- Billie Jean arrested at Neverland
- McCartney protects kangaroos
- Radiohead stuff
- CSS YouTube vid viewed millions of times
- Subways announce free download
- Tellier on Eurovision
- Winehouse one of the decade's best sellers
- Final Triptych announced
- Latest Glastonbury additions
- SxSW kicks off
- Jimmy Page guitar up for auction
- NIN Reznor reveals some Ghosts stats
- Single review: Simian Mobile Disco - Clocks EP
- Astoria demolition confirmed
- Arthur Awards presented
- Anti-piracy news
- Slicethepie secures third round funding
- Universal UK outsource distribution operations
- Handleman revenues fall
- [PIAS] UK move offices
- Universal hire Accenture for digital supply-chain stuff
- Sirius chief hopes for ruling on XM merger proposal soon
- Paul Ross' new radio show to compete with Jonathan
- Payola fighter resigns amid scandal
- Larsson says Amy is possessed
- Lavigne not pregnant, it was all a joke
- Gene Simmons criticises rock
- Britney does sitcom cameo
- Nash not a room trasher, just a car park wee-er


I think it is traditional at this time of year to include a plug for our ThreeWeeks student programme, and as the deadline for joining the ThreeWeeks in Brighton team is looming I suppose I should do that now.

For those of you that are well trained at ignoring the blatant self-promotion bits we include here in the Top Bit from time to time, ThreeWeeks is CMU's sister publication, and the chief media at the Brighton and Edinburgh Festivals. Built on the back of a unique student education programme, ThreeWeeks provides the most comprehensive coverage of two of the UK's biggest and bestest cultural festivals, the Brighton Festival in May and Edinburgh Festival in August.

It's the student education programme I should plug. Each year we recruit and train 120 students from all over the UK who then form our review teams at these two festivals. These are voluntary positions, but provide an excellent skills-enhancing experience for anyone looking to work in the media, as well as the opportunity to see your work published in a well respected media and to experience these brilliant festivals in a totally unique way.

If you are, or know, a student or young person with media ambitions, then make sure you check this out. Full details and applications forms are available at the URLs below. The closing date for Brighton applicants is 28 Mar, for Edinburgh it is 16 May.



Cherry Red Records - a West London based independent record label - have a vacancy for a role which includes running the publishing division, helping with business affairs, and putting together new catalogue release projects. Previous publishing experience is essential as is a good knowledge of the 80s, 90s, and contemporary music scene. Candidates should also have a good initiative and be able to come up with projects ideas. Please send CV and covering letter to [email protected]

!K7 Label Group is an international music company based in Berlin comprising 5 record labels, publishing company, booking agency and fledgling events business.

!K7 is looking for a UK Label Manager to oversee all aspects of the record label and events business within the UK. The successful candidate will have experience running imaginative press, radio and marketing campaigns for releases across a variety of musical genres and a sound knowledge of the UK digital and physical marketplace. They will also have the contacts and expertise to set up a number of profit-making !K7 events. Based in the english-speaking Berlin office with frequent travel to London. Salary negotiable.

Please send all applications in writing to Nicola Agunwa by no later than March 31st: [email protected] or Nicola Agunwa, !K7 Records GmbH, Heidestrasse 52, 10557 Berlin, Germany



Yeti on what inspired their latest single: "All inspiration is taken partly from experience, partly from imagination and, where our own brains fail us, from art".

Yeti answer CMU's Same Six Questions online this week -



The next CMU recommended Remix All-Nighter takes over the seOne Club at London Bridge next month for a brilliant pre-Easter party.

There'll be three rooms of fun. In the Remix room you'll get live sets from The Whip and Vitalic, plus Remix chief Eddy TM on the decks and VJ Fay Buzzard doing visual stuff. Next up will be a room hosted by Orbital co-founder and general dance music pioneer Phil Hartnoll, named for and showcasing his new venture Long Range. And then, to top off all that, there will be a whole room of all things Ninja Tune, featuring no less than DJ Food & DK, Coldcut (Jon Moore DJ Set), Bonobo, Daedelus, The Qemists and VJ Mox. Oh, and they've just added Busy P (Ed Banger) to the bill too. This night is going to be storming.

It all takes place on 20 Mar. Full info from:

CMU and Remix All-nighter promoters have teamed up to offer students a special price for the night of just £7. To get the discount you need a special code for when you order your tickets, and you can get the code by emailing your name and university name to [email protected] But do it quick - there are a limited number of discounted tickets available.


REM's new single has being doing the rounds on the internet for a week or so now, but if you haven't heard it yet then I strongly advise a visit to one of today's SNAP links. Indeed, despite the inevitable hype that surrounds each of their new releases, this forthcoming record, if 'Supernatural Superserious' is anything to go by, could well be their best in a good few years. Sure, we're joining the already almighty chorus of praise from the media and blogosphere, but take a listen at either their MySpace or the inventive video site set up especially for the single (both below) and try to fathom disagreeing.


So the winner of the third Australian Music Prize - sort of an Aussie version of the Mercury Music Prize - was announced last night, and well done to two piece drums/guitar outfit The Mess Hall who won it with their album 'Devil's Elbow'.

Confirming the winner, AMP Director Scott Murphy told reporters: "The Mess Hall are certainly deserving of this prize and following The Drones and Augie March, I'm sure they will find that on top of the $25,000 from our friends at PPCA, their career will receive a local and international 'kick'. I thank the judging panel for their many hours of listening and debate - It's not an easy job, picking a winner from so many great Australian artist albums".

The Mess Hall appeared in a short list of Australian albums from the last year that also included recent long players from Devastations, Midnight Juggernauts, Urthboy and Lisa Miller.


Composer Alun Hoddinott has died at the age of 78. The Welsh-born musician, who lived in Swansea, died at the city's Morriston Hospital, where it's understood he's been since undergoing major heart surgery last year.

Hoddinott had a long and successful career. Awarded the Walford Davies prize for composition at the age of 24, his 'Clarinet Concerto' was given a first public performance at the Cheltenham Festival the following year. Over the years, he received commissions from leading orchestras and soloists until, in 1951, he was appointed lecturer in music at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, later becoming a professor at Cardiff University, his old college.

During the course of his career, he won many awards, including the John Edwards Memorial Award, the Arnold Bax Medal for composers, the CBE, and the
Machynlleth Festival's Glyndwr Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Arts. An honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music, and a fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music, he was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arts Council of Wales in 1999, Fellowship of the Welsh Music Guild, and received a medal from the Queen when she officially opened the Wales Millennium Centre. Hoddinot also composed music for Prince Charles, both for his sixteenth birthday, and for his marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles.

The composer also enjoyed a long partnership with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and BBC Wales controller, Menna Richards, has confirmed that the orchestra's new home in Cardiff Bay is to be named after him, telling reporters: "All of Alun Hoddinott's friends at BBC Wales are very sad at the news of his death. He was one of Wales' most distinguished and influential composers with an international reputation. Alun Hoddinott's partnership with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales spanned seven decades. His work has been so significant and prolific that, in 2004, the orchestra undertook a year-long season of Alun's work to celebrate his 75th birthday. Later this year the BBC National Orchestra of Wales will move into its new home Hoddinott Hall [in the Wales Millennium Centre], named in honour of such a fine composer and distinguished Welshman".

Orchestra director David Murray said: "It is very sad he won't see the building, but we will make sure his spirit and his music lives on in that building".


You think I'm making it up, don't you? Well it's true. A woman named Billie Jean Jackson has been arrested at Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch for trespassing, according to reports. Sgt Martin Eberling of Santa Barbara police confirmed that Jackson, who claimed to own the property, was apprehended at the site earlier this week, taken to the county lock-up and bailed. It's thought that it's not the first time the woman has claimed a connection with the singer and his property.

As previously reported, the ranch, now unoccupied by its (real) owner for several years, could be auctioned off shortly due to Jacko's outstanding debts.


Paul McCartney is backing a campaign to protect Kangaroos led by animal welfare group Viva!, who are attempting to prevent the animals residing on a military communications base in Canberra being culled. Macca calls the plans a "a shameful massacre", and adds: "There is an urgent need for action to protect kangaroos from a barbaric industry which slaughters them for meat and leather".


Radiohead have announced that the second single to be taken from their latest album 'In Rainbows' will be 'Nude', set for release via XL on 31 Mar. A 7" version will be backed by the track '4 Minute Warning', whilst the CD version will include the song 'Down Is The New Up', both of which were previously only available on the limited edition box set of the album.


According to reports, a homemade video for CSS's 'Music Is My Hot Hot Sex' has accumulated over 100 million views on YouTube. This would make it the most viewed clip of all time, and no-one believes that it's actually true, so possibly it isn't. People seem to be suggesting that there's an error in the YouTube system, or that the figure has been deliberately tampered with by a hacker. If the figure were in fact correct, and it does, admittedly, seem unlikely, it would surpass previous record holder 'Evolution Of Dance' by more than 20 million views.


The Subways have announced that they'll release the first single from their new album as a free download. 'Girls And Boys', taken from the band's second LP 'All Or Nothing', will be available on the band's website as of 15 Mar. The aforementioned album is due out in June. The band are due a UK tour, incidentally, dates as follows:

25 Mar: Falmouth, Princess Pavilion
26 Mar: Bristol, Thekla
27 Mar: Cardiff, The Point
29 Mar: Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
30 Mar: Tamworth, The Palace
1 Apr: Dundee, Fat Sams
2 Apr: Glasgow, Garage
4 Apr: Leeds, Cockpit
5 Apr: Manchester, Academy 3
7 Apr: Brighton, Concorde
8 Apr: Southampton, Brook
10 Apr: London, ULU
11 Apr: Colchester, Arts Centre


France's quite incredibly credible entrant for this year's Eurovision has been talking about how much he's looking forward to the event. As previously reported, Sebastian Tellier will perform his track 'Divine' at the song contest, plucked from his 2008 album 'Sexuality'.

Tellier says: "I am thrilled and excited about the prospect of performing in Belgrade in May. My recent album, 'Sexuality', is my attempt at relaying my vision of perfect love and I am therefore very happy to have been presented with an opportunity to express this idea to a wider European audience".


Amy Winehouse's 'Black To Black' has been confirmed as one of the biggest selling albums of the decade which, by date-o-logical coincidence, means it can also claim to be one of the biggest selling albums of the millennium. According to Music Week, UK sales for the album, which was released in October 2006, have now reached 2,467,575, with 318,350 copies being sold in just the last ten weeks after Universal released that deluxe edition. However the Amester's got someway to go to beat the best selling album of the decade/century/millennium, which is James Blunt's 'Back To Bedlam', which has sold 3,120,833 copies in the UK.


The line up for this year's three city Triptych festival has been announced. The Tennent's backed music fest will this year take place from 25-27 Apr, again in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. On the bill are Candi Staton, The RZA, Jamie Lidell, Four Tet, Mogwai, Derrick May, Malcolm Middleton, Model 500 and Clinic, among many others. The lager brand have also announced that this will be the final Triptych festival. After eight years, they will be moving their music supporting efforts to a new live music initiative called Tennent's Mutual.

Commenting on their music activity, Tennent's Lager's George Kyle told reporters: "Tennent's has a celebrated legacy of presenting, supporting, and innovating live music in Scotland: from T In The Park to T On The Fringe, from TBreak to Triptych, we've galvanised music fans across the land for over fifteen years. Tennent's investment in the Scottish music scene will thrive apace through 2008, and beyond. We're really excited about The Tennent's Mutual, and I'm confident Scotland's gig-goers will be equally excited when we announce details of our major new venture in early April. Music fans can sign up to get all the news as soon as we reveal it at".

For more details on Triptych check - press info from [email protected]


Goldfrapp, The Fratellis and Editors are amongst the latest additions to this year's Glastonbury line up, joining the likes of previously announced acts such as Jay Z and The Verve. Also added to the bill are Gruff Rhys' new project with producer Boom Bip, Neon Neon, The Enemy and reggae star Jimmy Cliff.

It's coming up to the registering-for-tickets deadline, of course. See


So, that there South By Southwest thing has kicked off in Austin, Texas, and a stack of bands took to stages around the city hoping to excite the opinion formers, industry execs and media types in the audience. The bands that have got our friends there most excited so far include rather loud New Yorkers A Place To Bury Strangers, and Does It Offend You, Yeah? who were briefly joined on stage by Joe Lean of Jing Jang Jong fame. The Whip also impressed with what was their first ever US show, which is rather exciting, what with them headlining the CMU Recommended Remix All-Nighter next week. But quote of the day goes to Van Morrison, who, according to the NME, having told the venue that they had to shut the bar during his set, told his audience: "We'd like to do the next album [now]. If someone turns off that mobile phone we can start it". And hurrah to that. The convention runs until Sunday.


Jimmy Page has donated a personalised guitar to ChildLine Rocks, who are going to auction the item at a VIP event to be held following the charity's benefit gig at the O2's IndigO2 tonight. The guitar in question is an original 'artist proof' of the Jimmy Page Signature Double Neck EDS 1275 custom guitars, one of the 29 reproductions of the guitarist's own instrument, and will be signed for whoever buys it.

Other items on the auction list include guitars donated and signed by Noel Gallagher and Status Quo, and tickets on the famous Flight 666 piloted by Bruce Dickinson for a trip to see Iron Maiden play live in Lisbon with an opportunity to meet Bruce backstage.

Acts appearing at tonight's gig include Roger Daltrey, Lulu and Marillion. Tickets may still be available, if you have a look here:


Nine Inch Nails man Trent Reznor has checked his stats on the previously reported 'Ghosts I-IV' download promotion, and has revealed that he has had just under 800,000 transactions in the first week which has brought in $1.6 million in revenue. I think that money includes the $750,000 of revenues created from the sale of 2500 $300 CD/vinyl box sets, so that would be $850,000 from the sale of other physical versions of the album and the five dollar download package. There is presumably a maths equation that can be done to work out how many of the 800,000 fans opted for the free download package, but I don't know what that equation is. Either way, I think that's all pretty good going for week one.


SINGLE REVIEW: Simian Mobile Disco - Clocks EP (Wichita)
With an awesome debut album (last year's 'Attack Decay Sustain Release') under their belts and high profile live supports ticked off the list too, James Ford and Jas Shaw have decided to showcase their more experimental side on this EP; these four instrumental tracks lack the killer pop hooks of 'ADSR' but make up for that with some diverting electronic experiments. The pulsing 'Clock' is positively Kraftwerkian, a lovely slice of minimal, metronomic electronica, like 'Autobahn' decked with glitterballs. 'Simple' is an epic piece of Trentemoller-esque progressive house/techno, with nice rave stabs, precise 80s electro beats and what sounds like a dog barking through a vocoder. '3 Pin Din' and 'State Of Things' press the button marked Retro Futurist; whilst the former sounds like they were having fun pissing about but forgot about the tune, the latter is a melodic piece of spacey disco with nods to Gershon Kingsley's 'Popcorn'. MS
Release date: 10 Mar
Press contact: Bang On [all]


It seems that the demolition of central London music venue the Astoria is now a certainty, though quite when the venue will close is not yet known.

There has been speculation for years that redevelopment around the Centrepoint junction to make way for an extended Tottenham Court Road tube station - which would also be a station on the proposed cross-London crossrail network - would require the removal of the Astoria, which fills one corner of the intersection.

Originally building owners Festival Republic (then called Mean Fiddler) denied that the venue would disappear, but more recently have admitted its long-term future was not assured. However, they recently told Billboard that they were "reasonably certain" the venue could continue to operate on that site until 2010 or 2011, though is was assumed that the reason the Astoria was not part of the sale of the Mean Fiddler venues to the MAMA Group last year was because of the uncertainty regarding its future.

Confirmation that the venue will go has come in a report on the redevelopment of the area published by the office of London mayor Ken Livingstone. It formally confirms the Astoria will have to go to make way for a new tube/crossrail station, but adds that the new complex built on the site will include a live music venue.

The report also set out plans for a review of live music provision in the capital following the closure of the Hammersmith Palais and the Spitz last year and the pending doom of the Astoria. Commenting on that commitment, Feargal Sharkey, former chair of the Live Music Forum, of course, said that while the closure of the Astoria was "a blow" that he found the mayor's comments on live music in the capital "heartening". He concluded: "We await with interest his proposals for a live music strategy".


The live music biz amassed on London last weekend for the International Live Music Conference, and in amongst all the proceedings the Arthur Awards for live music types were presented. And the winners were...

The Venue Award - first venue to come into your head: The 02, London

The Promoter Award - the promoters' promoter: Andre Bechir, Good News Productions, Switzerland

The Festival Award - liggers' favourite festival: Rock Werchter, Belgium

The Booking Agent Award - second least offensive agent: Emma Banks, Creative Artist Agency, London

The Service Sector Award - services above and beyond: Rock-It Cargo

The Best Tour Award - least painful tour: The Police

The Production Award - plumber of the year: Andy Franks

The Young Professional Award - tomorrow's new Boss: Lucy Dickins, International Talent Booking, London

The ILMC Bottle Award for outstanding contribution to live music: Michael Chugg, Chugg Entertainment, Australia


More anti-piracy news for you all. First up, in a landmark court decision the owners of an open air market in Bovingdon, Hertfordshire have been ordered to pay £300,000 after being found guilty of allowing and profiting from the sale of counterfeit goods at their market.

Wendy Fair Markets Ltd and its directors Nicholas Hobday and Sally Ward were ordered to pay back the £250,000 in rent money it was estimated they had taken off the owners of market stalls that sold dodgy pirated goods, and pay it, in addition to £50,000 in legal fees, back to the intellectual property industries that had lost out because of the bootleggers.

The ruling was important because it was the first time the owners of a market that enables bootleggers to reach their customers have been successfully prosecuted for IP crimes. It is hoped the ruling will make other market owners more vigilant in ensuring the stalls they host do not violate any intellectual property rights.

Welcoming the ruling, David Wood, anti-piracy man at record label trade body the BPI, told CMU: "Until now, we have only seen prosecutions against the sellers themselves. This is the first time a market owner has been prosecuted and stripped of income made through the sale of counterfeit CDs and DVDs on their premises. So it is a hugely important ruling for music and the wider creative industries. Whilst illegal downloading remains the biggest threat to the future of the music community, CD piracy still deprives us in excess of £160 million annually. This precedent-setting result will dramatically enhance the authorities' effectiveness in tackling commercial counterfeiting. Furthermore, the £300,000 that Wendy Fairs will now have to pay to the Court should send a clear message to market owners nationwide that they cannot expect to duck responsibility for this illegal activity whilst generating income".

Elsewhere in anti-piracy news, two Scottish music pirates have been ordered to pay £400,000 under the Proceeds Of Crime Act, a verdict which labels hope will deter others from getting involved in the illegal distribution and sale of bootleg CDs. The two men, Peter Cruickshank of Glasgow and Wilfred Siddle of Dundee, were found guilty of copyright offences at Stranraer Sheriff Court last week, and were ordered to pay back the vast wealth they had amassed by trading in counterfeit goods. Local police said the order was the largest sum anyone prosecuted under copyright laws had been asked to pay back in their region.

Commenting on that ruling, Wood said: "It is simply not acceptable for people to line their pockets at the expense of the music community. The creative endeavours of others should be respected and paid for. We're delighted with the outcome of this case and hope that it will serve as a deterrent to others".


Organic music investment website Slicethepie, which exists to allow music fans to discover and invest in new music talent, has got some serious investment itself. The web firm has announced it has brought in third round funding of $2 million, with Microsoft UK director Mark Taylor, Mears Group chairman/CEO Bob Holt and Datacash founder Gavin Breeze among those backing the venture.

Slicethepie, which itself lets anyone of any financial means invest in new music, has so far financed 13 artists so that they can record an album. The first album release from a Slicethepie funded artist was released this week - coming from Greenwich four piece The Alps.

Artists sign up to the service by paying twenty quid. Users of the Slicethepie website are then invited to invest in signed up bands. When a band gets £15,000 of support from users they are ready to start work on an album. The site's owners reckon that if backed artists sell 1000 albums then those who invested in them will have recouped on their investment. They will continue to make an income from album sales, though the rights to the master recording and songs remain with the artists.


Music distribution news everybody! You know, getting CDs to record shops, and all that jazz. Universal Music UK has announced it is outsourcing its distribution operation to Arvato, the business services and logistics company owned by SonyBMG parent Bertelsmann. Most of the staff who previously worked for Universal UK's in-house distribution function will move over to Arvato, who recently sold their own UK music distribution outfit Pinnacle. Universal says the shift of distribution from in-house to Arvato will help them "better serve" their artists, while enabling their in-house teams to concentrate on "the development and promotion of its artists and their music".


More distribution news, and US based music distributor and retailer Handleman has admitted that it had a tricky third quarter with net income down 43% to $2.41 million after revenues slipped 28% to $346.9 million. The company's financial position wasn't helped by the previously reported decision of ASDA to use E-UK instead of Handleman's UK division for its provision of entertainment products.


And even more distribution. Independent distributor [PIAS] (formerly called Vital, of course) has announced that it is moving its UK HQ from Ladbroke Grove to a new base in Fulham. Most [PIAS] UK divisions will move to the new premises, though Indie Mobile, in which [PIAS] has a 50% stake, will remain in Bristol and the company's record label Wall Of Sound will stay in W10. For those of you wanting to update your address books, here are the addresses you need:

[PIAS] UK, Unit 24, 101 Farm Lane Trading Estate, Fulham, London, SW6 1QJ

Wall of Sound, Unit 1/2, Grand Union Centre, West Row, London, W10 5AS


More Universal Music outsourcing supply chain management news for you now, you lucky people. Universal Music Group International has announced it has hired Accenture to provide digital supply chain services, which is apparently a real thing. Accenture, through its Digiplug SAS company, will help the major label develop a "more consolidated, efficient and flexible technology platform to continue growing its digital services revenues". If you have any idea what that means, I think you should really get out more.


The boss of US satellite radio network Sirius, Mel Karmazin, has said he hopes American regulators will rule later this month on whether the previously reported merger between Sirius and rivals XM can go ahead.

As previously reported, various political and media owner types have expressed concern at the proposals to merge the US's only two satellite radio firms, though Sirius and XM argue that they really operate in the wider broadcasting industry, which is so competitive it shouldn't matter if there is only one satellite radio company.

Speaking at a media conference in the US this week, Karmazin said he "took heart" at recent comments by the chair of US media regulator the FCC, Kevin Martin, that indicated that the long drawn out investigation into the merger would finally reach a conclusion later this month.

He also told the conference that he is hopeful that the drawn out nature of the FCC's investigation was a good sign, because, he says, if the regulators thought satellite radio should be treated as a stand-alone industry - a viewpoint that would block the merger - they would have concluded their investigation much sooner.


Paul Ross will go head-to-head with brother Jonathan with a rival radio show - though only if you live in the bit of the country serviced by BBC Southern Counties. The local station has just announced the slightly irritating presenter will host its Saturday morning show from April, a move which will put him up against Jonathan Ross' award winning weekly show on Radio 2.

Commenting on his new show, Paul said: "We'll be doing features like Weekly Weird News as well as raiding my celebrity contacts book. Plus we also want to give people an idea of what to do with their weekends, and get them involved in the show. And the great thing is that for the last two hours of the show I'll be up against my brother. I am not nervous, but I think he's a bit worried!"


It's not really a music news story, but there were presumably some smiling faces in the HQs of the US major record companies yesterday at the news of the fall from grace of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, the man who, as New York Attorney General, exposed the modern payola practices of major record companies and radio stations.

As previously reported, Spitzer sent his investigators into the major record companies and radio firms and showed how the former bribed execs at the latter to playlist their artists' music, a breach of US broadcasting rules. The majors were forced to agree to pay multi-million dollar fines in relation to the dodgy promotion tactics.

As you may have seen, Spitzer has been forced to resign as New York Governor after the New York Times revealed he had seven sessions with thousand dollar an hour call girls working for NYC based Emperors Club VIP. Though to be fair, I don't think anyone is accusing Spitzer of bribing the call girls to plug his, erm, legal rulings.


Seasoned US exorcist the Rev Bob Larsson has said that Amy Winehouse needs his help. Yes, he thinks the trouble is that she's possessed and needs to be exorcised.

He's quoted by the Daily Star as saying: "She is obviously suffering from drug addictions and other problems but the likelihood is that is not all. People are more susceptible to being possessed when they have bruised souls and I think Amy is a classic example. This is obviously just a long-distance diagnosis and I'm not passing judgment. But in her case there are a lot of similarities to possessed people. I would love 15 minutes with her to see whether I could help her. A lot of the time people appear utterly ordinary to the outside world but inside they are in living hell".

Someone once offered to exorcise me, you know. I'd steer clear, Amy, if I were you.


Avril Lavigne has explained how previous reports about her having shopped at baby boutiques in LA came about. The singer says that she and her husband, Sum41's Deryck Whibley, responded to constant rumours of a pregnancy by teaming up with Ashton Kutcher to trick the paps into thinking they were right as part of a stunt on the Hollywood prankster's new TV show, 'Pop Fiction'.

Lavigne apparently put on a fat suit and the two went baby shopping in Beverly Hills. She explains: "It's kind of like punking or spoofing the media. And it was their first episode and they asked us to do it and so we just kind of ran with the baby rumour. ['Pop Fiction' has] their camera crews embedded in the paparazzi, so we went on Robertson Boulevard for literally like 45 minutes, went to two baby stores, Baby Kitson and Lisa Kline Kids, and then it was everywhere. It was confirmed that I was pregnant. It was crazy. And the show is great because it shows the viewer how out of control the rumours are, how quickly things get spread and it's funny".

She continued: "We're just having good fun, we're getting [the media] back and obviously not in a mean way, we're just showing you guys what it's like and how out of control the rumours can be. But I thought it was a lot of fun and funny".

I should point out that although CMU reported on these rumours, we treated them with much scepticism, because we're very clever.

Elsewhere in Lavigne news, the singer's hit single 'Girlfriend' has inspired a 92-page comic book entitled 'Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend: Sleight Of Hand And Heart'. It tells the tale of Dylan, his girlfriend Layla and misfit Marta who knows about Layla's dark side. It's on sale at Lavigne's gigs, as well as at


Kiss's Gene Simmons has criticised the state of today's rock bands again. Speaking ahead of his own group's performance this weekend at the Australian Grand Prix, he told the Australian Herald: "Bands think they can get up on stage and strum their guitars and then download it - it's useless and pathetic. We're sick and tired of seeing bands getting up on stage and not giving value for your buck".


Britney Spears is apparently to guest star in an upcoming episode of US sitcom 'How I Met Your Mother'. The singer, who'll play a doctor's receptionist who becomes obsessed with the show's main character, has already been to a script reading and will film her scenes this week.

One of the show's stars, Neil Patrick Harris, told Entertainment Tonight: "I was shocked that Madame Spears was willing to come and do some acting, she hasn't acted in a while. This is a very interesting role - it will be very unlike any Britney we have seen before, and we have seen a lot of Britney recently".


Kate Nash says she can't see the point in indulging in traditional rock n roll style destructiveness. "Trashing hotel rooms is so lame" she says, "some poor maid has to tidy up just because you're arrogant and ignorant".

She admits she's not always so good, however, admitting that she "threw a kettle out of the window once and some batteries and a spoon", plus explains that she once got caught relieving herself in a car park. She elaborates: "I was once weeing in the middle of a car park when the lights of a car in front of me suddenly came on".

Well, we've all been caught short I suppose. It's just that most of us would try and locate a bush.

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