CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 20th March
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Will iPods come pre-loaded with music?
- UB40 keyboardist quits
- Bjork says media exaggerated Tibet incident
- Jermaine on Neverland
- Busta Rhymes gets three years probation
- Ryan Adams launches new website
- Guillemot defends new album
- Stones soundtrack has two versions
- New Queen material on its way
- Coldplay album news
- Columbia sign Adele in US
- Fall Out Boy to play icy gig
- Tilly And The Wall announce untitled release
- Hersh announces UK shows
- Acts announced for Latitude
- Verve for Eden sessions
- Limewire beta download store
- Secondary ticketing debate gets heated
- Edge group launches new fund scheme
- Major US distribution firm faces delisting from NYSE
- Hungarian police seize infringing servers
- Magic London chief takes top marketing role at Bauer consumer media
- Cambridge Uni station takes control of Radio 1
- Express papers publish complete retraction of eight months of McCann coverage
- Teaching unions criticise web clip on Lily Allen show
- Bearsuit kept out of America
- Dahl on Cullum 'smear campaign'
- Keating on Boyzone break up
- Kasabian man wants band to wear perms


OK, a final final reminder that the CMU Recommended Remix AllNighter is tonight - yes, this very night - and that it will be Brilliant with a capital B, hence my use of one there.

All the details are below in the CMU Recommended slot, but if you like a concise list of why it will be brill, here it is... The Whip, Vitalic, Busy P, Fay Buzzard, Phil Hartnoll, DJ Food & DK, Coldcut's Jon Moore, Bonobo, Daedelus, The Qemists and VJ Mox. Plus, of course, you'll find Team CMU and the CMU:DJs hosting the VIP room - if you're a very important person do come and say hello - I'll be the one standing with the CMU-Tube camera guy.

We're anticipating that it will take four days to recover from the All-Nighter, so praise the Lord for Easter, which, if I remember rightly, is what you're meant to do at Easter, because it means four days off. That is to say, no CMU Daily tomorrow or Monday, so see you back here, in your inbox, on Tuesday. With some rather exciting news I reckon.



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]



The next CMU recommended Remix All-Nighter takes over the seOne Club at London Bridge tonight 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 and Busy P (Ed Banger) 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. And on top of all that CMU is hosting the VIP room, with the all new CMU:DJs on the decks.

It all takes place tonight, 20 Mar, book your tickets here:


After seeing The Xcerts play the launch of last night at London's Cargo venue I wasn't quite sure how I'd made the oversight of not including them as SNAP Of The Day before. Sure, they've got a pretty terrible name that may have put me off, but their delicately textured Biffy Clyro noisiness is just the right side of the type of commercial rock that I like to explore from time to time. 'Do You Feel Safe' is their best track by some way and could easily have slotted onto Biffy's 'Infinity Land' album, yet also features traces of At The Drive In and the whole second wave of emotional hardcore bands (Jimmy Eat World, Braid, etc). Check the MySpace link below for initial explorations.


Billboard is citing industry sources as backing up a report in the Financial Times that says that Apple is in talks with the major record companies, and especially Universal Music, about launching a "pre-loaded" iPod. Though Digital Music News question just how keen Apple really is on the idea, and also cites sources who say the whole thing could be blocked by the music publishers anyway. But whatever, lets look at what's being discussed shall we?

A pre-loaded iPod would basically be a reworking of the subscription model for digital music which iTunes have so far resisting dabbling in. The pre-loaded iPod would have instant on-demand access to all songs in the iTunes catalogue, including music from all four majors. A premium would be added to the cost of the device which would be passed onto the record labels in return for the access.

Unlike the normal subscription model, like that employed by Napster, there wouldn't be any monthly or annual renewal fee, access to the iTunes catalogue would last for the life of the device. The hope is, from the record companies point of view, that most people will replace their digital music players every 1-2 years, so although in theory the pre-loaded player offers ever-lasting access to the iTunes catalogue, in reality it's a 1-2 year subscription to a Napster style service.

The model expands the "comes with music" package offered by Nokia which gives consumers who buy special Nokia mobile phones unlimited access to the whole Universal Music catalogue for a whole year (and now to EMI music too - they having announced just yesterday plans to participate in the Nokia programme later in the year). That, in turn, is seen by many as a prototype for the Total Music concept, the proposed major label owned digital music service being touted around by Universal Music chief Doug Morris, and reportedly supported by SonyBMG.

The motivation for Morris et al in supporting the pre-loaded device model is presumably that inkling that the real money in digital music is in the sale of hardware - ie digital music players and mobile phones - rather than in download sales. With the exception of Microsoft's Zune player, where the majors do get a cut of hardware sales, the record industry has so far not seen a penny from the booming digital music player market. A pre-loaded iPod package would change that.

According to reports Morris first suggested the pre-loaded iPod to Apple chief Steve Jobs late last year, but discussions have become more serious in the last month, though Billboard's sources stress that any deal is far from imminent.

Meanwhile, there has been much speculation as to what kind of levy the labels would look to get from the digital music player manufacturers in order for them to be 'pre-loaded', and more to the point whether said manufacturers would ever be willing to pay those sorts of sums - which in turn would depend a little on how much more consumers would be willing to pay for an MP3 player that comes filled with music.

There's been speculation also on what kind of technology will be used to deliver the music (ie to stop it being transferred to other non-pre-loaded devices) and just how unlimited the unlimited access to music would really be - some reckon the majors would actually look to limit the number of tracks accessed or the time the free access actually ran for - in the same way the Nokia package only runs for a year.

As for how the labels would repay their artists for music accessed in this way - well, that's anyone's guess. Probably pretty randomly.


Now the keyboard player with UB40 is quitting over concerns that the band's management aren't handling their finances very well, which adds some credibility to frontman Ali Campbell's claims that he was quitting the band because of mismanagement by the band's management.

As previously reported, Campbell announced he was quitting UB40 in January. The band's management, who initially announced his departure, said he was leaving the band to pursue solo projects, but he quickly released his own statement saying he was actually quitting because of concerns with the way the band's affairs and finances were being managed. Said management subsequently denied any wrongdoing, and insisted the rest of the band were happy with their work, and had been involved in drafting the original statement on Campbell's departure.

But now keyboardist Michael Virtue says he is leaving the group too, adding that he is "extremely disappointed" to have to do so, but that he is not satisfied with the way the band's finances have been handled. Campbell played a handful more gigs with UB40 after announcing his departure, but has now officially left the band. Virtue says he hadn't spoken to Campbell since the last gig, but that he has now got in touch with him and the lawyers representing him to discuss his own concerns.

Virtue: "I can no longer work with the management team and I am joining Ali Campbell in his investigation into the handling of the band's business affairs. I am very upset to be leaving the band, who have been like family for the last 30 years, but feel under the circumstances that this was the only option left open to me. I have been unhappy with the way things have been run for many years and wanted to get to the bottom of the band's business affairs, which I have been unable to do. Ali has had no contact with the band since the last UB40 concert in Uganda so I called him last week and asked to speak with him. I have now had a meeting with the same legal team, Hextalls LLP, who are representing Ali and are now also representing me".


Bjork has said that online media exaggerated the extent of her recent pro-Tibet 'outburst' at a concert in Shanghai, as well as the audience reaction. As previously reported, reports suggested that she had *shouted* "Tibet, Tibet" at the conclusion of a rendition of her track 'Declare Independence' at the concert, but that's all wrong, because she actually *said* "Tibet, Tibet, Tibet", in fact she whispered it, so that's entirely different.

She says: "When I said 'Tibet, Tibet', I whispered it three times. There was no fuss in the room. It happened afterwards on websites. It shows more than anything that China has become the next superpower in the world. And the issue is, how are they going to deal with Western moral issues like freedom of speech? Songs like 'Declare Independence' for me are about humanity. I stand by what I said".

As also previously reported, the Chinese ministry of culture condemned the singer's actions, and initially said that they would "further tighten controls on foreign artists performing in China in order to prevent similar cases from happening in the future", but backed down a bit sometime later, with vice-minister of culture, Zhou Heping conceding that it was "just an individual case".


Jermaine Jackson has said that the Neverland Ranch would never have gone up for sale, no matter what, despite reports that the property was due to be sold off if his brother Michael failed to pay up millions in property taxes by 19 Mar. It was subsequently reported that the pop star had made a deal with an investment group in order to be able to keep the property.

Anyway, Jermaine said: "It's very simple. It's not for sale. Not over my dead body. It's not for sale," and, asked if the property would be sold if foreclosed on, added: "That's a myth".


The seemingly always in trouble Busta Rhymes appeared in court in New York this week and was handed three years of probation in relation to four separate charges.

The rap star, real name Trevor Smith, was accused and convicted of assaulting a fan in August 2006, assaulting his former driver in December 2006, two driving charges, and a weapons possession charge. In addition to the probation, he will perform ten days community service, pay a fine of $1250 plus court costs and enrol on a drunk drivers course. The judge in the case, Larry Stephen warned the hip-hopper that he'd end up in the klink if he didn't stick to the straight and narrow, however, telling him: "If you mess up, you're going to jail. I've given you a chance".

Outside the courtroom, Rhymes told reporters: "I have no trouble being a good dude because that's what I am. I couldn't feel better, and this couldn't have happened at a better time. I thank the judge for giving me a chance and I thank everybody for being supportive".


Ryan Adams has launched a new website and blog entitled 'Totally Bored The Musical', which will document the progress of his next album. The musician says he's on the second draft of the album, and adds "by second draft I mean, this is a whole new batch of tunes. The last batch was fine and maybe even some of it was rad. But my head did not catch on fire... so off to work I go".


Guillemots man Fyfe Dangerfield has defended the band's second album 'Red', which has apparently come in for some negative criticism, which is a bit of a turnaround, given that their earlier material made them a critics' favourite. The frontman told 6Music that his band were "bemused" by the reaction to the new LP, adding: "It certainly seems fashionable not to like us at the moment. Maybe that's just me being paranoid." He concludes that the band are "just a bunch of misfits. We're not a band that looks cool".

Dangerfield adds that the band's propensity to be a bit crazy might not help: "We either sound like we're wacky, quirky people that just run around going 'I'm mad me!' or 'Lets use a biscuit tin!' or we sound like we're prog-obsessed idiots".


The soundtrack to the much previously reported Rolling Stones movie, 'Shine A Light', will be released as both a single and a double CD, both of which will feature guest appearances from Jack White, Buddy Guy and Christina Aguilera. The tracklistings go as follows...

Single Disc Edition:
Jumpin' Jack Flash
She Was Hot
All Down The Line
Loving Cup (with Jack White III)
As Tears Go By
Some Girls
Just My Imagination
Faraway Eyes
Champagne & Reefer (with Buddy Guy)
You Got The Silver
Sympathy For The Devil
Live With Me (with Christina Aguilera)
Start Me Up
Brown Sugar

Two Disc Version:
Disc One
Jumpin' Jack Flash
She Was Hot
All Down The Line
Loving Cup (with Jack White III)
As Tears Go By
Some Girls
Just My Imagination
Faraway Eyes
Champagne & Reefer (with Buddy Guy)
Tumbling Dice
You Got The Silver

Disc Two
Sympathy For The Devil
Live With Me (with Christina Aguilera)
Start Me Up
Brown Sugar
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Paint It Black
Little T&A
I'm Free
Shine A Light


A new Queen studio album is on its way, the first studio album from the band since 1995. It has already been recorded and features Brian May and Roger Taylor, plus that Paul Rogers fella who has been fronting the band at live shows since 2005. Original bassist John Deacon, who formally retired from the world of music in the late nineties, is not involved. The album will be called 'The Cosmos Rocks', and will be followed up by a European tour which will include six dates in the UK in October.


According to Rolling Stone, Coldplay are set to name their new album 'Viva La Vida', which means "long live life".

The name possibly illustrates that the new long player, recorded in Spain following a Latin America tour, has been influenced by Hispanic sounds (which the band revealed late last year). Though Chris Martin says the planned title was inspired by a painting by late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, in which the phrase appears, carved into the flesh of a watermelon.

"I just loved the boldness of it", he says. "Everyone thinks it comes from Ricky Martin, which is fine. I have absolute respect. I've been through this before, naming something or someone and everyone saying that 'That's a terrible name'".

I'm sure he has. But that's what you get if you call your kids Apple and Moses.


SonyBMG's Columbia Records have signed up Adele, the Brit Award tipped singer who was snapped up by Beggars' XL Recordings here in the UK. Her debut long player '19' will be released there in the summer.


Fall Out Boy are to end their nine month tour on 25 Mar with an Antarctic gig. The band are to play a ninety minute set in the gym of the Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva, a Chilean research facility, for an audience of scientists and a Guinness Book Of World Records adjudicator who will confirm that they are the only band to play all seven continents in less than nine months. Apparently it was the band's Pete Wentz who came up with the idea whilst just "sitting around" and immediately e-mailed manager Bob McLynn saying "Let's be the first band to play all the continents".

Elsewhere in Fall Out Boy news, the aforementioned Wentz is extending his involvement in fashion and such things by creating a strand of t-shirts, sweatshirts and denim for clothing shop chain Nordstrom. It's an extension of the bassist's already established Clandestine Industries apparel collection. "I am stoked to collaborate with Nordstrom", says Wentz. "We've always aspired to create one-of-a-kind garments with an aesthetic that warrants national exposure and Nordstrom is the perfect fit".

And finally, in our Wentz report, the Fall Out Boy star has admitted that he was once so depressed he took an overdose of prescription drugs in an attempt to commit suicide. And during a successful period in his life, too. Wentz revealed his secret as part of the Jed Foundation's Half Of Us campaign, which aims to lower suicide rates amongst the student population. The likes of Mary J Blige and Billy Corgan have also shared their depression tales for the venture.

Wentz says: "The darkest moment was when we had just finished recording our major label record and two days later we were going to go to Europe and I felt completely lost and out of control. At that point, I'd seen some doctors and they were Hollywood doctors so they gave me a cocktail [of prescription drugs] but I was kind of the drugstore cowboy, so I took the cocktail the way I wanted to take it. I got in my car. I remember I was listening to Jeff Buckley doing Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' and sat there and took a bunch of Adavan in a Best Buy parking lot".

Wentz explains that he then called for help, and was taken to hospital, continuing: "I came home and we realised that we needed to do more than just keep [my] head above water. It's not really about keeping your head above water, it's about feeling alright and feeling safe in your own skin. It's not about keeping your head above water and barely keeping going".


Tilly And The Wall have announced that their third album will be out on 17 June, but it won't have a title. Publicists are apparently nick-naming it 'O' because of an oval shaped frame on the artwork for the LP, which will be filled by different limited edition runs of handmade prints by artists local to the band.

Anyway, it may not have a title, but it's got a tracklisting. Here it is:

Tall Tall Grass
Pot Kettle Black
I Found You
Chandelier Lake
Dust Me Off
Falling Without Knowing
Blood Flowers
Poor Man's Ice Cream
Too Excited


Former Throwing Muse Kristin Hersh is bringing her new project to the UK next week. 'Paradoxical Undressing' is a spoken word performance that includes music, projected images, essays and excerpts from the singer's upcoming memoirs, all performed by the star herself. Hersh says: "I thought I'd have to be dead or at least very old before I wrote 'memoirs', but re-reading diary entries from my teenage years, I realised I wanted to hear these essays voiced. They're my stories, so my choice of actors was limited!"

She appears at St Andrews In The Square in Glasgow on 25 Mar and London's Queen Elizabeth Hall on 26 Mar.


Franz Ferdinand, Sigur Ros and Death Cab For Cutie are all set to play at this year's Latitude Festival. And it doesn't end there. Oh no. You can also catch Elbow, MIA and The Breeders.

As you'll know, the festival, now in its third year, is as devoted to comedy and literature and whathaveyou as it is to music and some of my favourites are going to be there in a non-music capacity. The likes of Bill Bailey, Simon Amstell, Ross Noble, Rich Hall, Phill Jupitus, Miles Jupp and Lucy Porter are on laugh-provision duty, whilst the literary and performance stages will be replete with acts like Rachel Pantechnicon, Aisle 16 and Carol Ann Duffy, and writers such as Iain Banks, Jenny Colgan and Hanif Kureishi.

Organiser Melvin Benn told Billboard: "the festival is growing and building organically, and we've covered all the right bases to make it an amazing experience this year".

All takes place from 17-20 Jul at Henham Park, Southwold.


The Verve are to headline this year's Eden Sessions. As you all know, the band reformed for live dates last year after a decade apart and are this year taking on a load of festival dates. Their Eden Project gig will take place on 27 Jun, tickets go on sale next week, 27 Mar.


What is still, I think, the world's favourite source of illegal music, LimeWire, has beta-launched a legal download store, which is selling music from those labels who recently entered into previously reported licensing arrangements with the P2P firm - mainly Redeye Distribution, Iris Distribution and Nettwerk Music Group.

The download store is offering music in DRM-free MP3 formats on an a la carte basis and an eMusic style bundled-track-subscription model, and is presumably an attempt by the software firm to move into the legit digital music market and to turn its massive membership of users - who access free music via LimeWire's P2P service - into customers of digital music rather than pesky thieving file sharers.

Whether they'll ever persuade their users to use their pay-for store over their free-to-access P2P network remains to be seen - the store is likely to struggle given that they are unlikely to get permission to sell major label music, the major labels still working their litigation against LimeWire through the US courts in what could be the last big major label/P2P company court battle.

The service is very much in beta stage and is not yet linked to from the LimeWire P2P software website.


The chairman elect of the much previously reported Resale Rights Society, an artist management founded body that seeks to regulate the resale of tickets by touts online, and the websites that facilitate the sales, told the previously reported MusicTank debate on the issue that ticket resale sites were at risk of doing to live music what download sites like iTunes did to recorded music - ie taking pricing control out of the hands of the people who actually make the music.

According to Billboard, RRS man Marc Marot, also an artist manager with Terra Firma Management, warned that: "Live music is having a fecund time now. But that's how the record companies felt around 1998; they could not see the technology revolution coming. If we don't get our act together, we're going to be in deep trouble too". As previously reported, RRS is offering to give so called secondary ticketing websites official approval in return for a commitment to pass a cut of their profits back to artists and gig promoters.

But the boss of one of those sites, Viagogo's Eric Baker, called Marot's comparison flawed, observing: "The reason why live music is prospering is that you can't pirate a live event; you're either there or you're not. The tickets have already been paid for; so the primary people, the artists, have already been paid. Therefore, the analogy is misguided". Baker maintains that because artists and promoters receive their pay from the face value price of the ticket, it is unfair for those people to then expect an additional cut from any mark up earned by a seller on his website.

Some in the live music industry have in the past said the solution to secondary ticketing is to look to government to ban it, and while the Concert Promoters Association recently gave its support to the RSS proposal, the National Arenas Association said in a statement provided to the Think Tank that they still oppose the resale websites, arguing that they provide a front for serial ticket touts who are "steeped in fraud" and linked to "organised crime". But Carl Leighton-Pope of talent agency Leighton-Pope Organisation said he thought the live sector needed to find a way to work with rather than try to quash the ticket resale sector, telling the MusicTank audience: "Now that secondary ticketing is here we have to embrace it. Nobody is going to be able to do anything about it, especially if the public wants it".

Marot admitted that the RSS model still needed some work to address the concerns of all players in the live music industry, and the whole thing has clearly got some way to go before getting the support of the Viagogos of this world. Whether the Think Tank helped move things forward in anyway I don't know, but the heated debate and opposing views on show there certainly showed that this is and will remain a hot topic.


Entertainment investment outfit the Edge Group has announced it is launching an scheme that is looking to raise £10 million for investment in the live music industry. The fund will then invest in at least four established live entertainment companies who produce and promote music, theatre, exhibitions or other live events. Bigging up the opportunities for investors in the live music space, Edge Group founder David Glick told reporters: "Live concerts are unique events which unlike sound recordings cannot be replicated or downloaded at home. The public is demonstrating a continuing appetite for unique experiences and the live music industry offers that". Glick adds that last week's budget from Chancellor Of The Exchequer Alasdair Darling proved favourable for investors looking to invest in Edge style projects - and given that I don't understand anything in the budget past how much has been added to a bottle of whisky or packet of cigs I'll have to take his word for it.


More city type news, and US based music distribution and retail company Handleman, who recently announced disappointing financials, partly because of Asda's decision to no longer use their entertainment product distribution services, have admitted that they expect to be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange because their '30-day average market capitalization' will fail to meet the $25 million minimum. CEO Al Koch said in a statement yesterday: "The suspension of trading by the NYSE was the result of a quantitative calculation of the company's market capitalization and not a reflection of its current liquidity position".


Hungarian police have seized a cluster of high speed servers which were allegedly being used to illegally distribute free downloads of albums ahead of official release. The servers were owned by a Hungarian company called Sigmanet, and reps from the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry and Hungary's anti-piracy body ProArt said that they have infiltrated the computers and observed mass copyright infringement.

Welcoming the seizing of the computers, the head of the IFPI's internet piracy division Jeremy Banks told reporters: "These raids are an excellent example of how the recording industry can work with law enforcement authorities to combat cybercrime. A new album sells the bulk of its copies in the first few weeks after its release. If the music it contains is leaked onto the internet prior to that it can have a devastating impact on sales. This is not a victimless crime - it can ruin an artist's career and it reduces the money available to invest in the next generation of talent".


The MD of the London version of Magic radio has been promoted to the role of Chief Marketing Officer for parent company Bauer Consumer Media, which will mean she will oversee the marketing for all of the media firm's print, radio, online, mobile and TV activity. Andria Vidler, who already had a second responsibility for expanding Bauer print brands like Heat, Closer and Q in the digital radio domain, will take on the company wide brief later this month, taking over from previous CMO Simon Stewart who left the firm back in January, not long after Bauer's acquisition of what had been EMAP Consumer Media. An announcement of a new chief for Magic London is expected shortly.


Students from Cambridge student radio station CUR1350 will get to take over Radio 1 on Monday, albeit in the early hours of the morning. The student DJs will get a two hour show on the nation's favourite as part of their prize for being named Best Student Radio Station at the Student Radio Awards last November.

Commenting on the prize, CUR's former Station Manager Michael Brooks told reporters: "The level of quality [at CUR] is evident through the fact that the BBC is letting us loose on one of their biggest national radio stations BBC Radio 1, and we very much look forward to demonstrating to the rest of the UK what university students, staff and researchers from Cambridge University and Anglia Ruskin can listen to on CUR1350".

The college station's newly elected SM, Martin Steers, added: "It's good to see both students from Anglia Ruskin and Cambridge University going to Radio 1. Both universities have students wishing to pursue a career in the media, and we actively recruit, support and encourage these students at CUR1350."

The CUR team will be in control of Radio 1 from 5-7am on Monday morning.


It's not a music story, but it's a pretty big media story. The Richard Desmond owned Daily Express and Daily Star have been forced to publish a grovelling front page apology to Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing Madeleine McCann, for publishing over 100 stories which the couple claimed were "seriously defamatory".

Representatives of the McCann family claimed the two papers had started running ever increasingly suggestive yet speculative stories about their alleged involvement in the disappearance of their daughter, their conduct in trying to find their daughter, and other random claims about their private lives, ever since last summer. While most of their competitors remained non-committal and open minded on the story after the Portuguese authorities announced they were making the couple a kind of suspect in the case, the Express group papers gave increasing coverage to what was generally wild gossip about the couple's alleged guilt.

A number of media commentators had become increasingly critical of the papers' editorial standpoint on this story in recent months, though it was legal action undertaken on behalf of the couple by leading media law outfit Carter-Ruck that persuaded the tabloids to back down. They announced they would pay the couple £550,000 and publish the apology ahead of a High Court hearing on the matter. The money will be paid to the fund that is funding activities to try and find Madeline.

The apology posted on the Daily Star's website reads thus: "The Daily Star has made a wholehearted apology to Kate and Gerry McCann for stories suggesting the couple were responsible for, or may be responsible for, the death of their daughter Madeleine and for covering it up. We now recognise that such a suggestion is absolutely untrue and that Kate and Gerry are completely innocent of any involvement in their daughter's disappearance. As an expression of our regret we have now made a substantial donation to the Madeleine Fund in the hope that it helps efforts to find her. We sincerely apologise for any additional distress we have caused the family".

The McCann's legal man Adam Tudor confirmed to the High Court yesterday that an out of court settlement had been reached, saying: "There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Mr and Mrs McCann were responsible for the death of their daughter or that they were involved in any sort of cover-up, and there was no basis for Express Newspapers to allege otherwise. Equally, the allegations that Mr and Mrs McCann may have 'sold' Madeleine, and that they are involved in 'swinging' or wife swapping were entirely baseless. Naturally, the repeated publication of these utterly false and defamatory allegations has caused untold distress to Mr and Mrs McCann. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of a more serious allegation than to be falsely accused of being responsible for the death of their own daughter".

A statement from the couple, who weren't at court, said: "We are pleased that Express Newspapers have today admitted the utter falsity of the numerous grotesque and grossly defamatory allegations that their titles published about us on a sustained basis over many months. The exceptional publication of these apologies, together with today's statement of full apology in open court before Mr Justice Eady, was the only just and proper response by Express Newspapers following our complaint".

The media commentators who had been most critical about the Express group are now speculating on the impact the complete editorial u-turn could have on the newspapers, given that it is basically an admission by their editors of gross misjudgement and over sensationalisation of serious stories. Such an admission probably won't really affect the Daily Star, but is a major credibility blow to the already struggling Express, which could see its readership and revenues further fall following the admission of fault. Time will tell if they're right.


The BBC has been criticised by teaching unions over a bit on the Lily Allen TV show in which an internet video clip of a teacher being "kegged" - having his trousers pulled down, apparently - was shown. Introducing the web vid, Allen told her audience: "Now it's my favourite, it's kegging - pulling someone's trousers down in public when they least expect it. It's very childish, but very funny. CJ from London has sent me one, it's kegging a teacher".

Said audience found the clip very funny, but Andy Brown of the Association Of Teachers And Lecturers was less impressed, calling the screening of the clip on the BBC "completely and utterly irresponsible". He added: "If she [Lily] doesn't understand the responsibility of what she is doing in the media world, then she should not be allowed to do that".

Chris Keates, General Secretary of NASUWT, assed: "We can only imagine what that teacher must feel about what happened to them at the time. Then [it has been] made hundreds of times worse by the fact that it is posted on the internet - and has now been shown on the BBC".


Fantastic Plastic signed Bearsuit had to rejig their SxSW plans last week after only half the band managed to get through customs in the good old US of A. There were seemingly visa issues when the band got to the States, and only half of the six piece got through. The others were interrogated and then sent home, leaving their bandmates to do radio interviews and a few acoustic sets on their own-some.

Recalling their time with US custom officials, the band's frontwoman Lisa Horton, who was one of the Bearsuiters sent home, told CMU: "We were interrogated at immigration for three hours and ended up having proper finger prints and mug shots done, and they threatened to put us in Guantanamo Bay style orange jump suits if we didn't get on the first plane back to the UK. Thankfully no cavity search was conducted, however the immigration officials did usher us into their offices while pulling on a pair of rubber gloves to freak us out! Then we had to pledge our allegiance to George Bush and the lord our saviour and what not. It was all a bit like being in a Coen brothers film. Problem was that there wasn't enough time for visas to come through, but they said they could have banned us for five years so I guess we got off lightly".

Despite being "gutted" to miss out on the SxSW appearances, designed to promote the US release of their album 'oh:io', Horton says the band hope to get visas sorted for another visit to the US later in the year. Though before that she says: "Tomorrow night we're building an effigy of George Bush to burn, along with some American flags, on the bit of waste ground by our flats. Big time party action will ensue, after which I'll try and sell a kidney on eBay to pay for the wasted airfares. Bloody Americans!"


Sophie Dahl says she and her boyfriend, jazz goblin Jamie Cullum have been the subject of a smear campaign because she's taller than he is. Much of the press comment on their relationship has centred, apparently, on the height factor, and model Dahl compares it to racial discrimination.

She says, "I have watched with a mixture of bewildered horror and amusement the super-strange reaction to the fact that I'm quite a bit taller than my boyfriend. Height is one of those things that you can't do a whole lot about. It's a bit like colour. I doubt very much there would have been such a vocal response to our coupling because that's out of bounds. Yet the image of us together has been treated like a carnival show. It's sad because what is lost in the sniggering is that we happen to be two people who met, fell in love and will probably produce fairly average-sized children".

Well, well done her for not letting that whole height thing get her down. I went out with someone who was 5'6" once, and I developed a pronounced stoop. I hasten to add that it wasn't Jamie Cullum.


Ronan Keating says it's untrue that he caused the original split of Boyzone, which is almost certainly so, surely the 1999 split of Boyzone was an act of God. You know, one of those occasional good acts of God. Anyway, now reunited with his former boybandmates, he's told Hello! Magazine: "A lot of people felt I was the reason Boyzone broke up. But it was the five of that decided Boyzone was taking a break. Yes, I led the break-up, but I fully intended to come back; we all did. And then my career took off. I wasn't expecting it to be like that. It went crazy for me and it was an amazing time - I was riding the crest of a wave and I couldn't drop it".


Kasabian's Serge Pizzorno wants his bandmates all to get perms, the reason for this being that he wants them all to have great mops of curly hair like Columbian goalkeeper Rene Higuita. Why? Well Higuita is famous for inventing something called a 'scorpion kick', and, Pizzorno explains, the band's new album "sounds like a scorpion kick". So there you go. If you don't know what Rene Higuita looks like, and would like to, try this:

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