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TODAY'S NEWS
Zavvi suspend website because of eUK situation

Boy George police interview played

Brother in law arrested in Jennifer Hudson case
Cowell's lawyers warn papers over tracking device
Kanye says Auto-tune helps him to improve
Keane on Kanye and blowing up mixing desks
Queen and Stevie added to Grammy Hall Of Fame
Single review: The Shortwave Set - Glitches N Bugs (Wall Of Sound)
Ronson to produce Elton
Hilton completes second album
Sergeant to release single, say reports
Faith No More reunion rumoured
Frank Black to produce new Art Brut album
Barker and DJ AM to play New Year party
MCR's Iero to release Leathermouth album
Lily Allen announces UK tour dates
Deerhunter announce UK & Ireland tour dates
Eavis says Glasto too important to lose licence
Live review: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds at The Corn Exchange, Edinburgh on 26 Nov
Live Nation to sell tickets via Blockbuster in the US
Black Friday sales down in US, but good week for UK album sales
Borders US to cut music floor space
Talk107 may be subject to MBO
Douglas discusses her "horrible" month
Barrowman apologises for radio exposure
Galaxy presenter suspended over Busta Rhymes track
All papers to be free, says Morgan
Mobile get their MySpace URL back
Britney snubs everyone
ON THE NETWORK...
CMU Daily Archives
Same Six Questions
CMU Directory
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TUESDAY 2ND DECEMBER

ROSE ELINOR DOUGALL
Rose Elinor Dougall is probably best known at the moment for her stint in girl-pop band The Pipettes, but now she's ditched the polka dots and gone solo. Best of all, she's playing the CMU Christmas Social on 9 Dec and we're possibly more excited than a child after Santa has been down the chimney.


 

Rose's retro sound does still have hints of her Pipettes past, but it's ruled by her own grown up style and great vocals. Her debut single 'Another Version Of Pop Song' will be released as a limited edition of just 500 7" copies on 8 Dec.

An album is also planned for 2009, and she's definitely one to keep an eye on. Oh, and did I mention she's playing the CMU Christmas Social on 9 Dec? More info on that here: www.cmusocial.co.uk.

Rose kindly answered our Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I always used to sing around the house from when I was very small, but it really started when my mum bought a piano when I was about seven. I had some lessons but before that I used to just bang around on it and make up little tunes. Nothing much has changed since then, really!

Q2 What inspired your latest single?
After being in The Pipettes, which was very much based around the idea of writing 'pop' songs, I was thinking about how those processes and ideas related to my own personal song writing now, being outside of that structure, and this is something that came out of that time. I suppose it is about the first couple of weeks that you meet someone you are interested in being around, not believing in forever but enjoying the experience all the same...

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Most of the songs I wrote for my album were made in my bedroom, with just me and my Casiotone 401. Sometimes I would come up with melodies or words in my head while I was at work or on the bus or somewhere and record them into my phone and try and work out music around it. But often I would just spend a few hours playing around, and a chord structure would just come out of the ether eventually. Sometimes I'll find myself singing words along without realising and then decide which bits are worth keeping, other times I'll use fragments of ideas scribbled down in one of my books and elaborate on them. Fundamentally, it is quite an instinctive process, but I always try and cut out any superfluity. I want my songs to be concise, and am terrified of over indulgence. Since I have been recording them properly with my producer, Lee Baker, the songs have gone through another editing process, and I have also had the chance to play around with rhythm and texture and develop the songs sonically which is something I am also very interested in...

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
There are so many, but to list a few, Broadcast, Bridget St John, The Cocteau Twins, Sandy Denny.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would hope for it to induce complete unadulterated ecstasy combined with a sudden, overwhelming morbid depression. And don't you dare tell me it reminds you of Kate Nash, cos I'll stab your eyes out. Sorry, don't really know how to answer that question!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest single, and for the future?
Well, as I am putting it out myself, and it's the first thing I have done on my own, I don't really have any huge expectations, everything that has happened so far is almost a bonus. I really just want as many people as possible to hear it, and just make people aware that I am making music again, that draws a line under what I have done in the past. In the end, I would really just hope that some people liked it!

MORE>> www.myspace.com/roseelinordougallmusic

 

DEAD PIXELS
Sartorially elegant and stylistically macabre (or at least their MySpace is), London's Dead Pixels are cut from a cloth of 80's post punk and gnarly art rock, at times recalling the defunct Ikara Colt, but with closer leanings to synth-based grooves than straight-up punk. It's more about the skittering percussion on new single 'Words Are Poison', however, with lead singer Lone sounding like a cross between Garbage's Shirley Manson and Cynthia Sley from Bush Tetras, flailing her vocals over Wire-ish guitars. They've got just two dates on the horizon before the end of the year - both in London - so if you're outside the capital then head to their MySpace, linked below.

www.myspace.com/deadpixelsmusic

 

 



Don't forget you can now check out CMU favourites old and new on CMU-Tube, our online music video service powered by MUZU.

Set up your own MUZU channel, select tracks from the MUZU catalogue, and embed your own MUZU Player on your own website or blog - simple. Sign up here.

 

 

Here we go everybody, it's time for the CMU Track Of The Year vote to really get going. Thanks for all the votes that have been submitted already. We'll be featuring some of your votes so far here in the Daily each day until w/c 15 December, when we'll announce the overall top ten and let you vote a second time, for your favourite from that list. Today, to get things going, two more of Team CMU submit their votes...

MGMT - Time To Pretend
It's not often my favourite track of the year comes off my favourite album of the year, but this year MGMT top both my personal lists. This song may have been everywhere this summer, but I still get excited whenever the random mish-mash of noises with which it opens comes on the stereo. Given that this anthem of a song opens up album 'Oracular Spectacular', it's a testament to the overall quality of the long player that I normally listen on past track one. Though I do occasionally skip back to my track of the year half way through.
Chris Cooke, Overlord, UnLimited Media

Ben Folds (ft Regina Spektor) - You Don't Know Me
I've got to admit that I've had less time to seek out and listen to new music in the last year than I'd like, which is the result of having a high maintenance baby to look after. But one track that was always going to call for my attention was a tune featuring not one but two of my favourites. I love Ben Folds, and this is a very Ben Folds track, but at the same time, you can hear Spektor's influence, not just in her vocal contribution, but in the general sound. The result is a very nice merger of the two artists' styles, and a song I'll be listening to for some time to come.
Caro Moses, Overlady, UnLimited Media

If you haven't already, get your vote in. Just email us your favourite track released this year and a couple of sentences saying why you love it to 2008@cmumusicnetwork.co.uk.

 

 


ZAVVI SUSPEND WEBSITE BECAUSE OF EUK SITUATION
Zavvi have announced that they too are buying their CD and DVD product directly from suppliers - record companies and the like - following the news their principle supplier of such things, Woolies owned eUK, was in administration.

As previously reported, eUK was put into administration last week along with its sister company, the Woolies high street chain. With concerns eUK will not be able to supply high street retailers with CDs and DVDs in the busy Christmas period because of its current financial position, Asda announced last week it was already making moves to cut them out of the equation, in the short term at least. Zavvi have confirmed they are doing the same. The former Virgin Megastore chain has also announced it has reluctantly suspended its website because of eUK's situation - the distributor powering the online mail order service. That move is a blow to Zavvi, which recently announced it was stepping ups its online operations with the launch of an integrated download offer.

In an statement this morning, the high street chain told reporters: "In light of the recent news that the Woolworth's Group and its CD, DVD & Games distribution arm Entertainment UK have gone into administration, Zavvi (in the short term) is dealing direct with relevant suppliers to ensure stock of new release titles such as Take That's 'The Circus' and DVDs such as 'Hancock' and 'Dark Knight' are available to its customers in its 125 UK & Irish stores".

They continue: "However, Zavvi Entertainment Group has announced a temporary suspension of its website www.zavvi.co.uk - Entertainment UK is the exclusive fulfilment partner for DVDs, CDs and games for zavvi.co.uk. As a direct result, zavvi.co.uk is unable to fully guarantee the supply of DVD, music and games products ordered by its customers and as its customers remain its primary concern, particularly in the run-up to Christmas, zavvi.co.uk regretfully has decided to suspend taking orders for these products until the situation with Entertainment UK's administrators has been resolved. In addition, to avoid any uncertainty, zavvi.co.uk is cancelling all outstanding customer website orders. This will take place over the next few days and affected customers will receive an email confirmation, if a transaction has been completed, a full refund will be given".

The retailer concludes: "zavvi.co.uk would like to apologise for any inconvenience and would like to assure customers that this decision was not taken lightly. zavvi.co.uk firmly believes that this is the right course of action under the circumstances and customers can be confident that zavvi is doing everything possible to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. Zavvi would like to thank its customers for all their support and look forward to serving them again at zavvi.co.uk in the very near future".

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BOY GEORGE POLICE INTERVIEW PLAYED
The Boy George chained-up-escort case continues, and yesterday the court were played a recording of a police interview with the singer in which he set out his side of the story, which we've not really heard properly up until now, though we knew it involved his laptop.

As previously reported, George is accused of falsely imprisoning and assaulting male escort Audun Carlsen at this Shoreditch flat in April last year.

The two men met via the website Gaydar, and met in person at George's Shoreditch home twice. George alleges that on the first occasion Carlsen hacked into his computer. It was an argument about those allegations that seemingly led to the altercation on Carlsen's second visit to the singer's flat.

In the police interview, George says he believed Carlsen had obtained naked photos of himself off the singer's laptop. He restrained Carlsen (by handcuffing him to the wall) during an argument about the computer so that he could check something out while the escort was there.

George: "I asked him to come [back to my flat] because I wanted to find out if this guy had borrowed my stuff. I had a friend present to make sure he [Carlsen] didn't try to leave while I checked the computer and his phone. He was so smug and was lying, saying it wasn't me".

Admitting he then handcuffed the escort to stop him leaving the flat while he investigated things on the computer and mobile, he continued: "He struggled a bit when I was [handcuffing him] because he realised I wasn't messing around. I didn't tell him the reason I was doing what I was doing. I said I just wanted to check something. He was saying: 'Let me go'".

George admitted that on his previous encounter with the escort he had tied him up and hit him, but said he did so with Carlsen's consent. He denied hitting Carlsen with a chain during the second visit, a claim made by the escort.

The trial continues.

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BROTHER IN LAW ARRESTED IN JENNIFER HUDSON CASE
Police in Chicago investigating the triple murder of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew have arrested William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, who was previously only held as a 'person of interest'.

As previously reported, the bodies of Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, were found at the family's Chicago home on 24 Oct. The singer's seven year old nephew, Julian King, was discovered to be missing, and a reward was offered for his safe return. Sadly, his body was found three days after the initial shooting, in an SUV abandoned on the city's West Side.

Balfour was, of course, taken into custody the same day that the first two bodies were discovered, and held for 48 hours, which is the longest period he could be held without charge. He was subsequently handed over to the Illinois Department of Corrections because of a suspected parole violation. He has been held in prison over the parole violation ever since, but was arrested at the Stateville Correctional Centre on Monday and released to detectives, the implication being that he will be charged with the murders. He still hadn't been charged by mid-afternoon on Monday, however, according to a spokesman for the state attorney's office.

Balfour's mother Michelle maintains her son's innocence, but his alleged refusal to co-operate with authorities - he declined to take a lie detector test, anonymous sources say - won't be helping his case, nor is the fact that he's already served a seven year sentence for attempted murder. The police have found the gun that they believe was used in the killings, in a vacant lot not far from where little Julian King's body was found.

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COWELL'S LAWYERS WARN PAPERS OVER TRACKING DEVICE
Simon Cowell's lawyers have sent a letter of warning to the UK's national newspapers, after a tracking device was allegedly found on the SonyBMG exec and 'X-Factor' judge's car. Law firm Carter-Ruck sent the missive on Friday following a consultation with Cowell's publicist Max Clifford, apparently.

Clifford told Media Guardian that he knows who attached the device, and that the journalist in question has also been approached. "We now who he is and we have marked his card and told him to never do anything like that again", the publicist said. "We have always played the game and we are not precious but this is way beyond anything acceptable. So Carter-Ruck has sent a letter out to everybody warning them about this and making clear that it is unacceptable. Simon has been putting up with this for seven years, with people approaching him at all hours and we know that we have got to have working relationships with the papers but within acceptable boundaries".

Asked if Cowell is upset about matter, Clifford responded: "Simon is not getting stressed and not making a big drama about it but you know the game and he knows the game".

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KANYE SAYS AUTO-TUNE HELPS HIM TO IMPROVE
Kanye West has responded to people who have criticised him for using vocal manipulation software Auto-tune on his vocals on his new album, '808s & Heartbreaks'. I'm not quite sure why critics have been singling him out amongst all the other major pop stars who use the software to put their otherwise terrible vocals in tune. Perhaps because he's meant to be a credible hip hop star.

Anyway, West says that he uses Auto-tune because it makes him sing better. He said: "I get a lot of backlash for using [Auto-Tune] because it's a tool people use when they can't sing. What it does for me, if I sing off-key, it really points that out. It points out the bad notes. So what I have to do is sing more perfect".

So, just to clarify, Kanye West has Auto-tune on his vocals, but he doesn't actually need it, because his singing is perfect. He could take the processing off his voice, but you'd be so amazed by his actual singing voice that you would probably fall down dead. He's really doing you a service.

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KEANE ON KANYE AND BLOWING UP MIXING DESKS
And talking of Kanye West, Keane's keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley has been writing on his band's website about the group's interesting week featuring the rap star.

Rice-Oxley writes: "What a strange week in the life of Keane. Exactly a week ago I was sitting on the Eurostar half-sleep, having just played the last gig of our European tour in Paris, and then I spent the entire night in the studio with Kanye West. He played us the whole of his new album, which sounded truly awesome - the bass was so fat that eventually the mixing desk blew up".

The Keane man seems to have failed to ask Kanye about his use of Auto-tune, though the did discuss some of his own songs. Rick Oxley continues: "I was especially pleased when he picked out a line from 'Spiralling' ("When we fall in love, we're just falling in love with ourselves") as being a personal favourite, as it's my favourite line I've ever written. Hurrah!".

Aside from the chit chat, West also did some work on one of Keane's recent tracks. Rice-Oxley: " Kanye did some work on one of our tracks, and after that I sat in a corner and watched him do his thing on a song for Jamie Foxx. The whole thing was a real privilege and I learned a lot. I wish I had Kanye's energy...and his dress sense!"

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QUEEN AND STEVIE ADDED TO GRAMMY HALL OF FAME
Songs from Queen and Stevie Wonder have been added to the Grammy Hall Of Fame which, unlike the US's Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame, recognises classic songs rather than classic artists. Tracks have to be over 25 years old to be eligible for inclusion. 28 recordings have just been added, including Queen's 1977 double a-side 'We Are The Champions'/'We Will Rock You' and Wonder's 1968 hit 'For Once in My Life'. The latest additions bring the number of songs in the Hall Of Fame up to 826. An exhibition about the songs will be included in the new Grammy Museum, which opens in LA this week.

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SINGLE REVIEW: The Shortwave Set - Glitches N Bugs (Wall Of Sound)
Taken from their 2008 album 'Replica Sun Machine' and produced by high profile fan Danger Mouse, 'Glitches N Bugs' is a dreamlike affair, lathered in vocal effects and electronic quirks. Although not completely original, and sounding a bit like a plethora of other electronic pop acts from the Beta Band to Athlete and everything in between, it impresses nonetheless with its creativeness. The juxtaposition between the female and male lead is a treat, and creats a wonderful dynamic change that lends itself to the pop sensibilities carved into this blurred and skewed pop song. Sadly however, there are only a few treats to be gleaned from this song, what is on offer is good but lacks any real depth; it feels fleeting and throwaway and not nearly enticing enough. SJS
Released 8 Dec
Press: WoS IH [CR, CR, RP, RR, NP, NR] Motion PR [O]

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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RONSON TO PRODUCE ELTON
According to reports, Mark Ronson will produce Elton John's next album, to be released via Universal imprint Republic Records. The producer, who recently completed The Rumble Strips' second album, has also been linked to Slash's upcoming solo outing, and is said to be working with Amy Winehouse on a track for a Quincy Jones tribute album, despite the fact that he's supposed to be pissed off with her over the Bond theme fiasco, according to recent reports.

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HILTON COMPLETES SECOND ALBUM
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, silence the pianos and with muffled drum, etc. For Paris Hilton has finished her new album.

The pointless celebrity heiress says: "I wrote all the songs. It's very dance, like Kylie Minogue", but continued: "I'm not sure which label I'm doing it with". Which sounds promising.

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SERGEANT TO RELEASE SINGLE, SAY REPORTS
Reports claim that former political correspondent and recent Strictly Come Dancing star John Sergeant is to release a single for Christmas. The track has apparently been written by Squeeze man Chris Difford, and will also feature 'One Show' presenters Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley. It's called 'Let's Not Fight This Christmas' is out on 8 Dec. Not sure whether I can approve of this. Although, not fighting any time of the year is generally a good thing, in my book.

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FAITH NO MORE REUNION RUMOURED
Finally, a reunion rumour we can get excited about. Although, I should probably point out that this is very much a rumour at the moment and might not happen. Okay, it almost certainly won't happen, but I can dream, can't I?

Anyway, cutting swifty to the chase, Kerrang! report that several UK venues have been placed on hold for shows that would form part of a Faith No More reunion tour next spring. A number of festivals are apparently also trying to secure the band for next summer.

But how likely is this? The band's dislike for each other, particularly in the lead up to their split in 1998, is pretty well documented. But then, they never really liked each other, by all accounts, and it was that hatred that made them such a great live band. It's possible that in 10 years they've mellowed to each other. But if they got friendly, would they actually be any good?

Bassist Billy Gould says all the speculation is pointless, anyway. He told Kerrang!: "If anything like this were to happen, it would have to come from the band, and I haven't spoken with any of them in over a year. So as far as I know, there isn't anything to talk about, and I'm pretty sure that if you were to contact [frontman Mike] Patton, he would tell you the same thing".

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FRANK BLACK TO PRODUCE NEW ART BRUT ALBUM
According to reports, Frank Black is to produce the next Art Brut album. Frontman Eddie Argos says of the new record: "We've written about twenty songs. We've been playing quite a few of them live; 'Alcoholics Unanimous', 'Summer Job', 'Art Brut Versus Satan', 'Rebellious Henchman', 'Moved To LA' and 'DC Comics And Chocolate Milkshake'. I can't wait to start recording". Yay.

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BARKER AND DJ AM TO PLAY NEW YEAR PARTY
Travis Barker and DJ AM are to perform together on New Year's Eve, for their first gig since the one that preceded their involvement in the previously reported South Carolina Lear Jet incident that claimed four lives and left the pair suffering from second and third degree burns. The duo will headline the New Year Nation party in West Hollywood.

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MCR'S IERO TO RELEASE LEATHERMOUTH ALBUM
My Chemical Romance's Frank Iero has been talking more about the first album from his side project Leathermouth - to be called 'XO'.

The guitarist says in a press release: "I think there is a void of bands that are outspoken on things that actually matter. There's too much bad hair and white belts. Sometimes it nice to turn your brain off and just listen to someone sing about girls. I'm not knocking it. I do think there is a time and a place. But Leathermouth isn't like that...it's about hate. Hate that boils up inside and eats away at you, if you don't vomit it up you know it will eventually destroy you."

Yikes. Great song titles though, so here's the tracklist for your amusement. It's out in January, I think.

5th Period Massacre
Catch Me If You Can
This Song Is About Being Attacked By Monsters
I Am Going To Kill The President Of The United States Of America
Murder Was The Case That They Gave Me
Sunsets Are For Muggings
My Lovenote Has Gone Flat
Your Friends Are Full Of Shit
Bodysnatchers 4 Ever
Leviathan

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LILY ALLEN ANNOUNCES UK TOUR DATES
That Lily Allen has announced UK tour dates for March next year, which will follow the release of her second album, 'It's Not Me, It's You' on 9 Feb. The first single from the album, 'The Fear', will be released on 26 Jan.

Tour dates:

14 Mar: Glasgow, Academy
15 Mar: Manchester, Academy
18 Mar: Bristol, Academy
19 Mar: Southampton, Guildhall
20 Mar: Brighton, Dome
22 Mar: Norwich, UEA
23 Mar: Birmingham, Academy
24 Mar: Leeds, Academy
26 Mar: London, Shepherd's Bush Empire

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DEERHUNTER ANNOUNCE UK & IRELAND TOUR DATES
Ambient punks Deerhunter have announced another set of tour dates for UK and Irish fans, following on from their sold out London in September. The dates, which are part of a wider European tour, will coincide with the release of the band's next single, 'Never Stops', on 2 Mar.

Tour dates:

3 Mar: Scala, London
4 Mar: Deaf Institute, Manchester
5 Mar: Stereo, Glasgow
6 Mar: The Black Box, Belfast
7 Mar: Whelans, Dublin
8 Mar: Korova, Liverpool
9 Mar: Audio, Brighton

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EAVIS SAYS GLASTO TOO IMPORTANT TO LOSE LICENCE
Michael Eavis says he's confident Glastonbury would never lose its licence because the music festival is now too important to the local economy.

There was a time, of course, when Glastonbury's annual licence application to Mendip District Council was always a nail biter, and not always approved on first hearing. Since Mean Fiddler (now Festival Republic) got involved on logistics and security, though, Glasto hasn't had so many licensing problems, and in 2007 got a four year rather than one year licence, meaning the festival doesn't have to reapply to the council until 2011.

Speaking on Radio 4's 'Desert Island Discs', Eavis said he didn't foresee any problems regarding the festival's licence post 2011, observing: "The local economy gets £100m a year. So there's no discussion about not allowing the festival a licence any more. They won't stop it now". Part of that local economy boost comes directly from the Glasto operation itself, because Eavis has to rent land off seven other farmers in order to stage the uber-fest.

Talking about his late wife Jean Eavis, and their intention prior to her death in 1999 to stop doing the Glastonbury Festival in 2000 so that they could retire from all the work that came with it, Michael continued: "We'd agreed we were going to retire. But unfortunately Jean never made it. So I was more determined to carry it [the festival] on because I didn't have a girlfriend or anything. And of course all the kids were very keen on it. So it was like my new lady friend in a way, the festival".

Among the songs picked by Eavis on the Radio 4 show was The Stone Roses' 'Waterfall', The Grateful Dead's 'Uncle John's Band', Coldplay's 'The Scientist' and The Smiths' 'Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before'.

Remembering The Smiths appearance at Glastonbury in 1984, he remarked: "We'd been having hippy stuff up 'til then, and suddenly we had the Smiths, who were very cool, and very fashionable. And it just changed the whole event. It suddenly became a big pop festival then".

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LIVE REVIEW: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds at The Corn Exchange, Edinburgh on 26 Nov
Edinburgh's Corn Exchange is certainly no Glasgow Barrowlands. However, Mr Cave and his Bad Seeds certainly did their bit to liven up this least lively of venues. They opened with the brooding 'Hold On To Yourself' and 'Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!', both from this year's latest album, though this gave something of a false impression, because new material didn't feature too much at all in the rest of the show. Instead old favourites like 'The Weeping Song', 'Red Right Hand' and 'The Mercy Seat' were chosen for playing; an astute move, if you ask me, from an artist with such a long-ranging career. Strutting around on stage like some macabre villain, Cave exudes a slightly threatening stage presence, although his self-deprecating wit and warmth serve to entertain. Sadly, despite his best efforts, and they were considerable, it wasn't the most exciting gig on Earth. Blame the recession, or perhaps it was because half of the audience don't usually venture out on a school night, but it wasn't enough to excite a lacklustre Edinburgh crowd. PJD

Buy from iTunes
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LIVE NATION TO SELL TICKETS VIA BLOCKBUSTER IN THE US
Live Nation US has signed a three year deal with Blockbuster which will see 500 of the latter's video rental stores across America sell tickets for the live music conglom's events. The deal will give Live Nation's much previously reported new ticketing venture a high street presence in America. Previously all of Live Nation's tickets were sold by Ticketmaster, who have their own retail presence in the US. The live music firm says about 8% of all its concert tickets - about a million each year - are sold through retail outlets. The deal will include a lot of co-promotional activity, and may provide Blockbuster members with priority access to some tickets.

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BLACK FRIDAY SALES DOWN IN US, BUT GOOD WEEK FOR UK ALBUM SALES
Staying in America, it was Black Friday last week, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday often seen as the first big Christmas shopping day in the States - ie it's the day everyone in America goes to the shops. Given this trend, sales figures on Black Friday are seen as a key indicator as to how the US retail sector will fair during the most important period of the year, Christmas.

Many US media are reporting that, despite all the economic doom and gloom, the retail sector generally performed quite well on this year's Black Friday. However, indications are that's not so true for music retail, where sales were down between 10% and 30% on last year.

Certainly some of the big album releases expected to perform well didn't shift anywhere near the number of units expected. Some thought Kanye West's '808s & Heartbreak' would top 950,000 units but it sold closer to 450,000. The expectations for Guns N Roses' long awaited comeback album 'Chinese Democracy' were also high, maybe as much as 750,000 units, though early stats suggest sales more like 250,000.

Over here, however, and despite the lack of turkey dinners and united calls to shop, last week was actually a good week for music retail. According to Music Week, new releases from Rhydian, The Priests, Only Men Aloud, The Killers and the aforementioned Guns N' Roses and Kanye West albums meant last week's album sales were up 39.4% week on week. Which is nice.

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BORDERS US TO CUT MUSIC FLOOR SPACE
More from the file marked 'slumping CD sales in the US', and news that books and CD seller Borders has cut the amount of floor space it sets aside for music. Following financial results that saw both revenues and profits (though also debts) fall, the retailer says it is reducing the floor space dedicated to less profitable product lines, which includes CDs. CEO George Jones told reporters: "We have reduced floor space dedicated to music in all of our stores by about a third on average. Music now occupies about 7 percent of our total floor space. The space previously occupied by music was reallocated to growth categories such as children's books and bargain books".

The move shouldn't effect Borders stores in the UK which are essentially a separate business, although the US company does own a minority stake in it.

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TALK107 MAY BE SUBJECT TO MBO
UTV Radio have confirmed they are considering a possible management buy out at Edinburgh based talk107. The TV and radio firm announced its intent to sell off the Scottish licence in October. Station Director Matt Allitt is reportedly in talks with the parent company about acquiring the Edinburgh enterprise and its FM licence.

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DOUGLAS DISCUSSES HER "HORRIBLE" MONTH
More radio news, and former Radio 2 boss Lesley Douglas has spoken about the Sachsgate affair that led to her resignation from the BBC, and her new previously reported job at Universal Music, in an interview with Music Week.

She described the last four weeks of her life, and the fallout from the on-air routine where Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross left lewd messages on the answer phone of Andrew Sachs, as "horrible". An internal investigation at the Beeb found that Douglas had personally approved the airing of the pre-recorded routine, though without personally hearing it, and on the back of advice from her colleagues, and under the misapprehension that Sachs had okayed such a thing.

She admits in the interview that she's not good at courting journalists, and says she had "singularly failed in that" over the past few weeks as the press launched their assault on the BBC over the Brand/Ross routine. That said, and somewhat ironically, many of the publications and journalists who were highly critical of the BBC expressed sorrow when Douglas resigned - their anti-BBC campaign having aimed for the sacking of Ross rather than the resignation of Radio 2's respected Controller.

Remarking that "it's hard for me to talk about the past, which is why I'd rather talk about the future", Douglas revealed she had started talking to Universal about her new role there - helping the major expand its TV business - just two days after her BBC resignation. She adds that the music industry had been supportive throughout, and that she immediately new that her new job should have music at its heart.

She tells the trade mag: "The support I got from the music industry was amazing. I've always known whatever I did, at whatever point, I wanted to continue working with music really because I love it".

The full interview is in this week's Music Week.

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BARROWMAN APOLOGISES FOR RADIO EXPOSURE
Talking of outrage over BBC broadcasts, Torchwood star John Barrowman has had to apologise for exposing his genitals during a Radio 1 show aimed at teen listeners.

Barrowman was asked about his apparent predilection for 'exposing himself' during interviews by Switch presenter Nick Grimshaw. That's to say, the presenter asked "You're famous, we're told, for getting your willy out in interviews. Is this going to happen today?". In response Barrowman did just that.

Although it was a radio show (and before you ask, no, the exploit wasn't caught on the show's webcam), the BBC issued a apology for the routine, saying "we do feel the programme overstepped the mark".

Presumably wary of suffering a backlash from the print media, who seem to be looking for any excuse to further knock the BBC post-Sachsgate, Barrowman himself also issued a statement saying "I apologise for any offence I have caused", adding: "I was joining in the light-hearted and fun banter of the show and went too far. I was wrong to do this and it will never happen again".

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GALAXY PRESENTER SUSPENDED OVER BUSTA RHYMES TRACK
More radio apologies, this time in the commercial world, and news that Global Radio have suspended Galaxy presenter Steve Sutherland for playing the Busta Rhymes track 'Arab Money', which some have criticised for being offensive to people from the Middle East. Rhymes himself has denied the song is racist in the way it talks about Arabs, but a number of listeners complained when Sutherland played the track across the Galaxy Network on Saturday night. He and his producer have been suspended pending an internal investigation.

A statement from the station reads: "On the evening of Saturday 29th November at Nine fifty eight pm Galaxy broadcast a song that has caused offence to some of its listeners. Galaxy would like to apologise to all our listeners for the airing of this song, it was never Galaxy's intent to offend its listeners and never will be. A full internal investigation has now commenced. Galaxy would like to apologise for any offence however unintentionally caused".

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ALL PAPERS TO BE FREE, SAYS MORGAN
Piers Morgan reckons that every national newspaper will be free within a decade. I hope they don't all have their own street teams handing copies out at stations, it can be hard enough getting out of Liverpool Street station already with the four free titles that are distributed there some mornings.

In an interview with the British Journalism Review the former Mirror editor turned talent show judge spoke about the position of his former employer, as well as suggesting they and their rivals go free to ensure long term survival. Morgan: "I would make the Daily Mirror free tomorrow, because I don't see any future for it otherwise. If The Sun were to go free tomorrow it would kill the Mirror. It's a horrific position to be in and I'm sure that if Sly Bailey could find a buyer at the right price she'd sell the national titles like a shot".

He continued: "I think within ten years every Fleet Street paper will be free. Look, if you gave away a free cup of coffee to every commuter in every city in Britain, eventually nobody is going to buy a coffee because their perception of a cup of coffee is that it's worth nothing. Free papers are being bombarded on to people in every city and they are getting better and better. The quality is improving week in, week out, and when they get as good as the paid-fors, it's the end of paid-for newspapers".

Morgan concedes that there will still be a niche market for paid-for newspapers, maybe for as long as 30 years, but he reckons longer term that market too will disappear, mainly because the population who hangs onto print media will die out, and an increasingly web-savvy generation will rely on increasingly portable online media.

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MOBILE GET THEIR MYSPACE URL BACK
Montreal-based indie band Mobile have had their MySpace URL reinstated after it was commandeered by the social networking site. As previously reported, MySpace took the band's URL, www.myspace.com/mobile, which the band had been using for two years, and redirected it to the page for their new MySpace Mobile service at www.myspace.com/myspacemobile.

In a statement, MySpace said: "MySpace has reinstated the registered URL www.myspace.com/mobile to the band - this was an error on our part and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. The band's profile has not been altered in any way".

After the rapid spread of this story on the internet, and all the online criticism of the original decision to steal back the URL, I assume that MySpace hope that people will now think they're not so bad, after all. Though given that many in the independent label community are already on unfriendly terms with the site, it might take a while for people to forget.

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BRITNEY SNUBS EVERYONE
Britney Spears has reportedly confessed she is desperate to get married again, she having been hitched twice before, of course, if you count her two-and-a-half day marriage to Jason Alexander. Despite the fallout at the end of her marriage to Kevin Federline, and the drawn out child custody battle that followed, Spears says she's not been put off marriage. She's told Glamour magazine: "In five years I would like to be married and have a father figure for my kids, someone who is a provider and can be really stable. It's hard doing it on your own".

If Britney really is looking for another Mr Right she should probably make more effort not to piss everyone off. According to reports, she wasn't exactly sociable during her first appearance in the UK for four years this weekend.

As anyone who saw her appearance on 'X Factor' on Saturday will know, she got a massive ovation from the studio audience there. But, as is demonstrated every week, they'll applaud any old rubbish. And Britney's performance consisted of her miming quite badly for three minutes to a song that is far from her best work before rolling out a few sound bites that only vaguely related to the questions Dermot O'Leary asked her. Reports claim that backstage the singer was a bit of a sour puss, insisting on rehearsing separately from everyone else and admitting that she hadn't actually heard any of the contestants covering her songs (although that's possibly a good thing).

But it's at G-A-Y, where the singer was due to perform on Saturday night that Britney has really upset people. Her live appearance at the London clubnight, billed as a "Britney Party", was much anticipated and the club was apparently heaving with fans. And while Britney did make it to the venue, she refused to go on stage once she was there. Instead, after a long wait, fans were told that she would meet them in small groups in another room, which seemingly failed to placate many and was met with boos from the assembled audience.

One fan told The Independent: "She could have just come on and waved, and everyone would have been happy".

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