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Top Stories
Terra Firma v Citigroup to go to court
In The Pop Courts
Mrs Jackson sues AEG, Jacko doc sues Jacko doc
Charts, Stats & Polls
Mixmag to identify greatest DJ ever
Scotsman launch new talent prize
Festival Awards voting opens
Artist Deals
EMI Publishing sign Kevin Rudolf
In The Studio
New Cole album "techno-influenced"
Release News
QOTSA to re-release debut
Films & Shows News
Marilyn Manson film reportedly on hold for being too disturbing
Creation film maker on McGee
Album review: Kisses - The Heart Of The Nightlife (This Is Music)
Brands & Stuff
Gorillaz help Microsoft launch IE9 beta
The Music Business
IMPALA is ten
MU: lodges motions at TUC, comments on Scottish Opera
Renaissance label may be in administration
The Digital Business
eMusic to re-launch - may have remaining majors on board
Spotify close to signing up user ten million
The Media Business
Sky to shut Bravo and Channel One
And finally...
No New Pornographers for the Christians thank you very much

Influential post-punk band Swans was formed in 1982 by multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira, and they went on to release eleven studio albums before splitting in 1997. Subsequently, Gira formed a new band, Angels Of Light, and expanded his Young God record label, originally set up purely for Swans releases, most notably signing Devendra Banhart. Having reformed earlier this year, Swans are set to release a new album, 'My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky', via Young God on 20 Sep, while a UK tour is scheduled for October. Ahead of all that, we caught up with Gira to ask the Same Six.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I, like a million other so called "punk rockers" was in art school, when I heard The Sex Pistols on the radio. I quickly discovered there was a punk scene in LA, where I lived at the time (1977? 8?) and I went to a gig, which included The Screamers, X, The Germs, Weirdos, etc etc... Compared to the academic environment of the art school, there was no contest. I started a very vile magazine called NO Magazine, which was a fanzine, but worse - it delved into some pretty disgusting stuff. Then, when I got bored with that, I started my first band. What a waste! Ha ha!

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
Nothing in particular "inspires" me at this point, after thirty years of making music. One thing just leads to another. I have no choice in the matter. I do what I do. If you don't like it - goodbye.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
It's like writing a long entry in the dictionary on your stomach with a razor blade while eating vanilla ice cream. Or, it could be a long process wherein I think of various ways in which to place my tongue in your ear.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
I am very fond of Otto Dix, Francis Bacon, Willie Nelson, and Gorecki...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
I would say nothing. I would hug them very tightly, and promise them a reach-around.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
My only hope is to continue making music and to NEVER ever succumb to routine and the horrors of consumerism.

MORE>> http://www.myspace.com/swansaredead
Just nineteen years old, or thereabouts, Brad Oberhofer took the step of moving his musical project from the basement of his parents' house in Tacoma to New York after the aforementioned house above the aforementioned basement burned down. As a motivation for getting off your arse and making a go of something, not having anywhere to live any more is quite a good one.

Having released a limited number of handmade EPs, he's now making a grab for the wider world with a self-released seven-inch single, 'o0Oo0Oo', available in the UK through Rough Trade. Holding to the traditions of jangly American indie, and with ramshackle production, Oberhofer shows sharp songwriting skills and the sort of charm that can launch a guy away from being simple blog fodder to something bigger. The single is buried right near the bottom of a well-stocked MySpace player, where you'll also find my favourite track, 'Landline'.


So, were Team Terra Firma just a bunch of arrogant, delusional fools when they bought EMI in 2007, plunging their once prosperous equity outfit into three years of doom, gloom and bad press? Or, was it that a sleazy Citigroup banker, taking time off from improving his chipping technique and screwing over the world's economy, just gave them duff advice? Well, it's not for us to say, frankly. That's the question that will now be answered for us by a bunch of charming, I'm sure, New York jurors.

Yes, a New York judge yesterday gave the all clear for Terra Firma's lawsuit against Citigroup, in relation to their audacious 2007 acquisition of EMI, to go to a full court hearing in front of a jury. As previously reported, Terra Firma chief Gary 'The Guy' Hands accuses the bank he used to be very cosy with of providing bad advice ahead of his big EMI buy, possibly because of a conflict of interest on the bank's part, who were also working for the London-based major at the time.

Hands says he may not have bought EMI at all, and certainly not at the price he paid for it, had his bankers not told him there was more competition to acquire the music firm than there really was. Since the purchase, while EMI's performance has improved, the whole company has been seriously dogged by the multi-billion pound debt to Citigroup that Terra Firma saddled the music firm with. Post credit-crunch, Citigroup was unable to split up and sell on that debt, making the major hole in the music company's finances all the more apparent. Covenants relating to the debt have also forced Terra Firma to plunge much more of its own money into EMI than it would ever have wished to do so.

Citigroup, which denies all of Terra Firma's claims in the lawsuit, tried to have the case dismissed last week. But, after hearing two hours of oral evidence on Friday, the judge in charge - Jed Rakoff - confirmed yesterday that he believed the equity group had enough of a case against the bank to warrant a full hearing. Not all of Terra Firma's allegations against Citigroup will be considered before the jury - Rakoff dismissed two of the equity firm's charges yesterday - but the allegations that the bank was guilty of fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment will be considered.

Needless to say, Terra Firma welcomed Rakoff's ruling, saying: "We look forward to the beginning of the trial on 18 Oct, when Citi will have to answer to a group of New York jurors". Citigroup simply said it believed it would still ultimately win this case when it gets to court next month.

It is thought Gary himself will take to the stand during the court case. I do hope his aunt Aida will have time to finish knitting that new jumper. I heard she's doing it in EMI's corporate colours of red and white. Charming.

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According to TMZ, Katherine Jackson has finally got round to suing AEG Live in relation to the death of her son Michael while he was, essentially, in their employ.

According to the gossip site, Mrs Jackson, who is suing on behalf of herself and Jacko's three children, believes that AEG should take responsibility for the actions of Dr Conrad Murray, the medic accused of killing the singer by negligently administering a serious anaesthetic drug as a cure for insomnia. Murray was hired by the live music conglom to care for Jackson while he was working on their planned 'This Is It' London residency.

The lawsuit says that AEG's contract with Jackson "created a legal duty for AEG to act reasonably toward the physical well-being of Michael" and that, in hiring Murray, "AEG did not provide a doctor who was truly looking out for Jackson's well-being and did not provide equipment". The lawsuit, which also names 'This Is It' producer Kenny Ortega as a defendant, adds that Michael's son Prince was caused emotional distress because he was present while his father died.

TMZ quote the lawyer working for the Jacksons on this case, Brian J Panish, as saying: "The purpose of this lawsuit is to prove to the world the truth about what happened to Michael Jackson, once and for all".

As previously reported, Michael's father Joe Jackson is suing Conrad Murray direct over his alleged role in the late king of pop's death. Mrs Jackson's lawsuit is possibly targeting AEG because, at the end of the day, they've got a lot more money than the doctor, who would probably have to declare himself bankrupt if any court awarded Mr Jackson megabucks in damages. Murray, of course, denies acting negligently while caring for Michael Jackson; his guilt or not will be assessed when the criminal case against him reaches court.

Talking of the Doc, he's just initiated his own bit of litigation. He is suing Dr Arnold Klein, Michael's longtime physician, friend and, according to some rumours, the biological father of at least two of the singer's kids. Again according to TMZ, Murray basically says it was Klein who got Jackson hooked on dangerous prescription drugs through a long period of over-medicating the singer, the implication being that had Klein not done so, Murray would not have found himself in the situation where his patient was demanding a shot of the anaesthetic propofol to help him sleep. He also alleges that one of the reasons AEG hired him in the first place was because of concerns about how much medication Klein seemed to be prescribing to the singer.

In a complicated bit of litigation, Murray basically wants Klein to be added as a defendant to Joe Jackson's aforementioned wrongful death lawsuit. He points out that in the wording of that lawsuit, Jackson Senior's lawyers make various allegations against Klein - including the line "AEG Live read Michael Jackson the proverbial 'riot act' to get him to stop subjecting himself to overmedication by Dr Arnold Klein" - but then Arnie is not named as a defendant himself. Murray's lawsuit concludes: "The plaintiff [Joe Jackson] does not explain why, given these allegations, Dr Arnold Klein is not a required party to be added to accord proper relief".

Finally in Jacko news, the Californian cemetery where the singer is interred have reportedly introduced a three dollar fee for anyone wanting to leave flowers at the king of pop's graveside. Fans who make pilgrimages to the Forest Lawn Cemetery aren't actually allowed in the mausoleum where the singer's body lays. Previously there was a staged area outside where presents could be left but, according to TMZ again, that has now been removed and fans have instead been told that staff will take flowers - but only flowers - inside the mausoleum in return for a three dollar payment.

It's not clear if the new fee system is really designed to deter fans from leaving tat at their hero's grave, or whether it is actually intended to raise funds. There were reports earlier in the year that cemetery bosses were considering stopping fans from getting too close to the mausoleum because of the costs of clearing up litter and graffiti. Perhaps the new 'leaving gifts fee' can pay for that cleaning up.

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DJ Mag may have their annual poll on best DJ in the world, but rivals Mixmag want to identify the greatest DJ of all time. They have got 35 influential dance music types, including other DJs and pundits, to nominate 35 contenders for the title of best ever deejay. You can see a video from each nominator bigging up their nomination on Mixmag's website. Clubbing fans are then encouraged to vote for their favourite. Voting is open until 15 Dec, with the overall winner to be announced in the February edition of Mixmag.

Here's the shortlist of DJs with their nominators in brackets...

2ManyDJs (championed by Jaymo & Andy George)
Alfredo (championed by Danny Rampling)
Andrew Weatherall (championed by Erol Alkan)
Andy C (championed by Sub Focus)
Carl Cox (championed by Yousef)
David Mancuso (championed by Dany Krivit)
Derrick Carter (championed by Raf Rundell of Two Bears)
Eddie Halliwell (championed by Judge Jules)
Erick Morillo (championed by Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia)
Erol Alkan (championed by David Dewaele of Soulwax/2ManyDJs)
Fabio & Grooverider (championed by Technicolour)
Fatboy Slim (championed by Hervé)
Felix Da Housecat (championed by Kris Menace)
Francis Grasso (championed by Frank Broughton)
Francois Kevorkian (championed by Mala)
Frankie Knuckles (championed by Terry Farley)
Grandmaster Flash (championed by Niall Dailly of Jack Beats/Scratch Perverts)
Hatcha (championed by Artwork)
Jazzy Jeff (championed by A-Trak)
Jeff Mills (championed by Slam)
Jimmy Saville (championed by Bill Brewster)
Kool Herc (championed by Dominic Butler of Stanton Warriors)
Larry Levan (championed by Arthur Baker)
Laurent Garnier (championed by Layo Paskin of Layo & Bushwacka!)
DJ Marky (championed by Smithy of Total Science)
Optimo (championed by Mylo)
Paul Oakenfold (championed by Above & Beyond)
Paul van Dyk (championed by Gareth Emery)
QBert (championed by DJ Yoda)
Ricardo Villalobos (championed by Craig Richardson)
Richie Hawtin (championed by Seth Troxler)
Sasha (championed by James Zabiela)
Sven Vath (championed by Loco Dice)
Tiësto (championed by Sander van Doorn)
Tony De Vit (championed by Fergie)

Voting starts today at: www.greatest.dj

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More new music awards, and Scottish broadsheet The Scotsman has launched a new gong for new musical talent based north of the border.

Organised via the paper's new music website Radar, and called the Radar Music Award, the prize will go to the best unsigned Scottish band according to a judging panel. The winners will get a day in the Chem 19 studios near Glasgow, a pro-account on SoundCloud for a year, a photo shoot, plus exposure through Radar and the Radar Presents live night.

Eligible bands should check this link for more details and, if they want to enter, to upload an MP3 of their best track via the drop box contained there: radar.scotsman.com/viewpost.aspx?id=199

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Voting is now open for the Festival Awards which, as previously reported, will take place alongside the now customary UK Festival Conference at the O2 Dome on 18 Nov. The longlists for each category will go live today at www.festivalawards.com. Everyone who votes will be entered into a draw to win tickets to the 2011 editions of every festival which wins a prize at this year's awards.

Festival Awards MD James Drury told CMU: "It's been a fantastic season, which has further demonstrated the British love of Festivals. The UK Festival Awards is the chance for the public to tell the industry which were their favourite events. Last year 500,000 votes were cast and we're expecting even more people will get involved this time".

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EMI Music Publishing has signed up US-based songwriter Kevin Rudolf to a worldwide administration agreement. Although a recording artist himself with a deal with the Cash Money label, Rudolf is probably better known as a songwriter for other artists, having produced and co-written hits for the likes of Lil Wayne, Lifehouse, Cobra Starship and Selena Gomez.

EMI Publishing's North American Creative man Dan McCarroll told CMU: "Kevin Rudolf is a multi-talented musician who is writing songs that cross genre boundaries, and that's exactly why everybody wants to work with him. I'm really happy and honoured to have Kevin Rudolf join the EMI Music Publishing family".

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According to producer Starsmith, Cheryl Cole's next album is "techno-influenced".

The producer, who has written a song for Cole's new longplayer, told that new X-Factor magazine: "I can't tell you the name of it, but the song I wrote has a 90s house feel. It's fun and makes you want to get up and dance on the table. They told me the type of thing they wanted and we did it, because obviously you can't have an R&B song on a techno album".

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Queens Of The Stone Age will reissue their eponymous debut album on vinyl in late November and on CD in early December, according to BlabberMouth.

The new version of the album will feature three previously unreleased tracks which I think were recorded around the same time as their 1998 debut - 'The Bronze', 'These Aren't The Droids You're Looking For' and 'Spiders And Vinegaroons'.

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The Lewis Carroll-inspired film being directed by Marilyn Manson has reportedly been canned because of punter reaction to a trailer posted online.

Called 'The Phantasmagoria: The Visions Of Lewis Carroll', the film features 22 year old Lily Cole playing Alice Liddell, one of the children of the Liddell family befriended by Carroll and the inspiration for his iconic Alice character. The nature of the relationship between Carroll and the then pre-teen Alice Liddell has been the subject of much speculation over the years.

According to the Mail, some viewers were so shocked by the "disturbing clips" that appeared in the online preview of Manson's movie that the studio making it have put the project on indefinite hold. The tabloid quotes a source thus: "The trailer caused such a backlash that a decision was made to close down the project. It's unlikely it will ever see the light of day".

Assuming the rumours are true, and not just some elaborate marketing stunt, quite how a film studio can hire Marilyn Manson to lead a project and then be surprised when the results are a bit disturbing or shocking isn't entirely clear.

If you want to be disturbed and/or shocked, the offending trailer is at this URL: youtu.be/nsnVN6QnW-4

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Danny O'Connor has been talking about the documentary he has made about 90s record label Creation and its boss man Alan 'The Grump' McGee.

The film, called 'Upside Down', will be screened at next month's London Film Festival. Talking about his relationship with McGee at the festival's launch, O'Connor told Digital Spy: "Alan has been a great supporter. I hasten to add he's not involved editorially or financially, but he has held my hand over the last three years on this weird little odyssey. He is, by his own admission, a nutjob. Every day is different, every hour is different, but he's inspiring - he's got a real lust for life and an incredible passion for music without over-analysing it".

On the film itself, he continued: "It's a rock n roll film, it's a documentary, it details heady times in British culture... with, I would argue, some of the most colourful characters in British musical history. It's an independent film about an independent company - Creation obviously fought the law and actually won - they outsold some of the majors, they took it to them. It's indie without wearing a cardigan".

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ALBUM REVIEW: Kisses - The Heart Of The Nightlife (This Is Music)
Sometimes once can accurately judge a book, or in this case a record, by it's cover. 'The Heart Of The Nightlife' comes adorned in a sleeve depicting a swimming pool straight out of a David Hockney or Ed Ruscha picture and the music within is bleached out sophisto-disco-pop; Arthur Russell jamming with Chic whilst Jens Lekman watches shyly from the shadows. In fact, close your eyes and this could be a Lekman record, such is the similarity between Kisses' Jesse Kivel and the Swedish crooner.

Luckily for the band, the songwriting on their debut album is just as strong as that on the records that clearly influence them ('Night Falls Over Kortedala', 'World of Echo', 'C'est Chic' to name but three). Kisses' music possesses a youthful innocence that manages to not stray into banal reminiscing, and it's this that elevates them above their chillwave peers.

The chorus of 'Bermuda', a track that sent the, ugh, blogosphere into mild spasms of joy has a chorus which finds Kivel sweetly intoning "I thought all my friends were over me" over uplifting staccato synths. 'Midnight Lover' finds him making a rather sweet proposition to the apple of his eye, "I would like to take you out for a nice steak dinner, just me and you".

Sweet, eminently listenable, a master class in modern pop, this is a record to take home to the parents after a day by the pool. JAB

Physical release: 11 Oct
Press contact: Darling Dept

Buy from iTunes
Buy from Amazon

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Gorillaz helped launch the latest incarnation of Micosoft's Internet Explorer, IE9 Beta, in London last night, a sign the IT company wants the entertainment industry to take note of its latest browser, and the result of a partnership deal put in place by the brands department at the cartoon band's record label EMI.

The Gorillaz boys had made a special little film to be screened at the launch event, and Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett were both in attendance. The film utilises HTML5 and other new IE9 Beta functionality.

EMI's Senior VP For Brand Partnerships, Rafael McDonnell, told reporters: "Gorillaz are renowned around the world for their innovation in music, visual concepts and animation. This partnership with Microsoft showcases Gorillaz's creativity and innovation and is a great example of how we can bring artists, music and brands together".

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While I was in Cardiff at the weekend helping celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Welsh Music Foundation, in Berlin they were celebrating the first decade of pan-European indie label trade body IMPALA. The celebrations followed the trade body's AGM and a week of discussions and panels in the German capital.

Rounding up the week, IMPALA boss Helen Smith told CMU: "The week has been a great opportunity to look at what we have learned over ten years and focus on how to get a better deal moving forward - for collective licensing, for online music services, for mechanical licensing, for talent development and for anti-piracy settlements such as Kazaa".

At the AGM it was agreed the trade body should, moving forward, remain focused on levelling the playing field for smaller music companies, and reverse market share trends so that indies start to account for an ever increasing amount of the music business over the four majors.

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With 6music saved, it's easy to forget the axe is still well and truly hanging over that other niche audience BBC digital radio service The Asian Network. But the Musicians' Union haven't forgotten and they used this week's Trades Union Congress conference in Manchester to say so.

They submitted a motion to the conference calling on the BBC to halt plans to shut down the station. They also filed a motion calling on the government to reconsider plans to force the Department Of Culture, Media & Sport to make budget cuts of 25%, arguing doing so will put jobs at risk in the UK creative sector. According to Music Week, MU General Secretary John Smith reported that both motions were well received by his comrades in other unions.

Elsewhere in MU news, members of the orchestra of the Scottish Opera have reluctantly voted to accept new contracts from the Glasgow-based company that will make more musicians part-time rather than full-time employees, working a 28-31 week year. The MU had been negotiating for its members in the orchestra who initially opposed the new contracts, arguing they would impinge the artistic quality of the opera group's output and leave many members in a difficult position professionally and financially.

Although accepting the new contracts in principle, MU officials will continue to negotiate for the best possible terms, while the union's Regional Organiser for Scotland told CMU: "We believe [Scottish Opera] needs to deliver more for the audiences and communities it serves. We urge the management to work together with its employees across the company to find different and innovative ways of increasing productivity and achieving financial stability, which won't compromise the company artistically, and will ensure the long-term future of Scottish Opera".

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According to Electronic Beats, there are rumours house music record company Renaissance - the spin off label from the club of the same name - is in administration.

The dance website reports that the label's creditors have received notice to that effect from an insolvency firm called ReSolve Partners LLP, while the Renaissance website is currently down "for maintenance".

In its heyday the label specialised in dance compilations and mix CDs. Given the entire compilations market has slumped big time in the last few years, it wouldn't be a total surprise if a label like Renaissance has suffered as a result.

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Subscription-based download service eMusic is reportedly close to signing up both EMI and Universal ahead of a relaunch planned for November.

The long established digital music service offers a set number of MP3 downloads a month in return for a set subscription fee. Originally the service provided music exclusively from independent labels, partly because as an MP3 service it couldn't engage with the majors until they dropped their digital rights management demands. Since they did, Sony and then Warner have come on board, so deals with EMI and Universal would mean all the majors would be involved in the service.

According to Reuters, which has spoken to boss man Adam Klein, the new look eMusic will make more of the company's website, which includes lots of editorial content around featured albums, open to the public - you will no longer need to enter credit card details to get inside. Klein and his team hope that being able to get a sneak preview of the eMusic platform will persuade more people to sign up. Previously eMusic's marketing was based primarily around a free trial promotion which involved giving away downloads.

Klein has also told Reuters his company is looking into offering a digital locker service for his members, so they could listen to music they own on any net-connected device. As previously reported, such a service is thought to be at the heart of Google's planned music platform, too.

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Spotify is close to recruiting its ten millionth subscriber, with a party being planned in London later this month so everyone can dance a little jig to celebrate this fact. The landmark has led various commentators to review the streaming music service's other stats, and again assess just how this company is going to make money in the long term.

Earlier this summer Chief Spot Daniel Ek told Music Week his company had 500,000 premium users signed up to the ten euro/pound a month package, which would be a 1 in 20 conversion rate from free users to pay-to-use users; though that 500,000 figure doesn't include any new subscribers that signed up over the summer, or, we think, anyone who has signed up to the newer cheaper five pound a month subscription service.

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Sky has completed its takeover of the Virgin Media telly channels and will kick things off by shutting two of them down.

As previously reported, Sky acquired Virgin's proprietary channels - Living, Challenge, Bravo and Virgin1 - back in June, though the takeover was subject to a competition review by the Office Of Fair Trading. The takeover has now been approved and Sky confirmed yesterday that its first act as the four channels' owners will be to shut down Bravo and Virgin1. The latter has only just rebranded, as Channel One, because Sky did not acquire the rights to use the Virgin brand as part of its deal with Virgin Media.

According to Digital Spy, Sky bosses feel that lads channel Bravo has too much crossover audience wise with Sky One but without the "same audience reach or prestige". Prestige? Are we talking about the same Sky One here? While Bravo was never known for its classy programming, there's probably more love for it than Sky's tacky main channel, which doesn't even boast the same level of US imports that it once did. But still, I don't suppose they were ever going to shut down Sky One.

Virgin1 - or Channel One - it is apparently felt, has too many similarities with Sky Three. Which is probably true; both are full of shit with the occasional teaser of what better programmes you can see on the other Sky and Virgin (that were) channels. The teasers are there because both Sky Three and Virgin1 air on Freeview, so have the underlying message of "get proper multi-channel telly if you want to see our decent stuff".

Anyway, all of this means that what Sky is really interested in from its Virgin Television acquisition is the female-orientated Living brand - indeed they've renamed the company the Living TV Group. That said, it's thought that quiz show channel Challenge will take over Channel One's slot on Freeview.

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Best 'And Finally' of the year? Possibly. A Christian college in Michigan has had to cancel a gig by The New Pornographers because too many people thought the educational institute was staging an event showcasing gentlemen from the porn industry. And new gentlemen at that, presumably.

It wasn't management at Michigan's Calvin College who were confused as to what had been booked to entertain their students - in fact they were rather complimentary about the band - but apparently enough local stakeholders expressed concern to justify canning the event.

A statement from the college's activities office said: "We believe that the decision to invite the band fit our rubric of engaging culture through a Christian lens. The band makes good, thoughtful music, and we invited them here based on their artistic merit. However, after weeks of discussion and consideration, the irony of the band's name was impossible to explain to many. The band's name, to some, is mistakenly associated with pornography".

And just in case there was any doubt, the college added: "Neither the college nor the band endorses pornography".

We don't know whether the school actually double checked with the band's members regarding their thoughts on real pornography before making that statement, but we do know they've been very apologetic to the group, who seem to have accepted the mix up and cancellation without complaint. They're probably too busy surfing the net for porn to notice.

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Lady Gaga
Costumes & Catering
George Michael
Driver (suspended)

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