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CMU Info
Top Stories
Live Nation takes complete control of Front Line, Azoff becomes chair
Prince benefit in aid of George Michael foundation axed last minute
In The Pop Courts
Is Universal employing delaying tactics in FBT case?
Reunions & Splits
Girls Aloud will never ever split
Cathedral split
Release News
Saint Saviour announces new EP
Pharoahe Monch drops renegade new album
Gigs & Tours News
Best Coast announce UK tour
My Dying Bride announce 20th anniversary tour
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Album Review: Cut Copy - Zonoscope (Modular)
Talks, Debates & Conventions
BASCA to hold commissioning seminar
Brands & Stuff
Parade become the sound of Rimmel
The Music Business
MIA welcomes Gove's music education commitment
The Digital Business
Porn and films dominate illegal file-sharing
Last.fm mobile streaming to go subscription-only
Guardian releases barcode enabled Streets app
Mobile Roadie launches Beatles love app
And finally...
Christina Aguilera issues statement after shaming America
Jessie J planning to sing BRITs acceptance speech

Originally hailing from Bridgetown, Australia, Emily Barker came to the UK aged nineteen and formed The Low Country with guitarist Rob Jackson in 2002. Having released two well-received albums as part of the duo, Emily embarked on a solo venture, the result of which was 2007's critically acclaimed 'Photos. Fires. Fables'.

She then founded rootsy folk quartet The Red Clay Halo, who released their debut album, 'Despite The Snow', in 2008 on Emily's own Everyone Sang label. Lead album track 'Nostalgia' was chosen as the opening song for BAFTA-winning BBC series 'Wallander', and later honoured with a Royal Television Award for best theme.

New album, 'Almanac', is out this week, and represents a collection of stories touched by love and heartbreak, the light and shade of which are played out in Emily's expansive yet frail vocals, and augmented by engaging group harmonies. They are now set to headline a series of UK dates beginning on 9 Feb in Leicester. In the relative lull before the tour, we caught up with Emily to get her thoughts on our Same Six.

Q1 How did you start out making music?

I've been singing from a very early age thanks to my mum who used to sit us four kids down and sing us songs whilst playing guitar. She taught us how to harmonise and we'd all join in on the old country and folk tunes. I started to play piano when I was fifteen and then picked up an acoustic guitar when I was eighteen and immediately started writing songs.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?

Musically the album is inspired by Neil Young, Carol King, Laura Veirs, Johnny Flynn, Peter Broderick, Joanna Newsom, Joni Mitchell... the list goes on and on! Lyrically, inspiration comes from renewal, cycles in life, love and loss, darkness and light, the importance of community, indigenous Australians, our relationship to the earth and a woman who was accused of being a witch.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?

It really varies, sometimes I sit and write a track almost in its entirety, other times it's bits and pieces, some lyrics whilst sitting on a bus, a melody when I should be sleeping, some chords when sitting on the couch. Mostly I like solitude and winter to write in, I turn off my phone, shut down my computer, close the curtains, make a cuppa and experiment until I come up with something I'm happy with. The Red Clay Halo and I arrange all the songs together. I play the girls the song and we have a very open and fluid way of experimenting with arrangement ideas. It's one of our favourite aspects of playing together ...the sitting and arranging a song.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?

Neil Young is forever a huge influence. Also Low, Laura Veirs, Ted Barnes, Nick Cave, Sun Kil Moon, Grizzly Bear, Calexico, Gillian Welch, Aretha Franklin, Rikki Lee Jones...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

Find a quiet-ish moment to listen to the album in. Maybe an armchair, your favourite tipple, a fire place etc and please do have a look at the booklet with the lyrics and beautiful artwork by Daniela Terrazzini - she's so talented. One of my mates says he loves to cook to this album!

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?

Well, we all hope it's received really well by press and radio. We hope we have a great tour in February and sell lots of records whilst out there. We hope for festivals in the summer time, a tour in Europe at some point in the year, another tour in the UK, a tour in Australia, plus many more things! But mostly we hope people like what we've created. For the future, we've been building our profile for about four years now, it's been steadily increasing cottage-industry style. We'd like to see this continue with the new album and to be able to create a sustainable, long-lived career as a band and as individual musicians/composers/arrangers.

MORE>> www.emily-barker.com
Bands are supposed to have an interesting back story to make themselves stand out these days; like the drummer was saved by the bassist when he was attacked by a rabid swan, then they met the singer in the hospital waiting room and the guitarist was the doctor in the hospital and he mended all their injuries with medical guitar solos, or something. But, actually, it's quite nice to learn that Balkans just grew up together and decided to form a band one day.

Since then, they've spent a couple of years crashing around their home town of Atlanta, Georgia, playing gigs and releasing the odd seven-inch on a variety of local labels. Somewhere along the way, their slightly shambolic sound got noticed by people who lived in other cities and other countries. And that pretty much brings us up to where we are now. The band release their new single, 'Edita V', which hints not a little at a Walkmen influence, on 4 Apr via Double Phantom Records, followed by their debut album on 10 May. If you head to their website, you can hear the single, and if you dig around you'll also find some free downloads, including a fabulously disinterested cover of 'Kids In America'.


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We are currently taking bookings for the following CMU TRAINING courses:

How to make money out of music - both now and in the future, with a look at alternative investment and revenue streams, and a new approach to monetising artists and their music. Wed 9 Feb 2011

A beginner's guide to music copyright - everything you need to know about copyright law, licensing, monetising copyright, the fight against piracy and the future of the music rights industry. Wed 23 Feb 2011

For more information or to book visit www.theCMUwebsite.com/training

Live Nation yesterday announced it had taken complete control of Front Line Management, and that its founder, Irving Azoff, would become chairman of the wider company's board of directors.

Ticketmaster bought a controlling stake in Azoff's management organisation back in 2008, before it then merged with Live Nation in 2010. Azoff, who retained a minority stake in Front Line, took a senior executive role at Ticketmaster as part of the 2008 deal, and then became Executive Chairman of Live Nation after the 2010 merger.

Yesterday Live Nation announced it had bought Azoff's remaining shares in Front Line, plus stock owned by another minority shareholder, the Madison Square Garden company, in a $116.2 million deal which saw the live music conglom hand over both cash and stock.

As part of the deal Azoff becomes chairman of the Live Nation board. Although he has had the job title of Executive Chairman since the Live Master merger, to distinguish himself from the merged group's other top man Michael Rapino, who has the title CEO, Azoff did not actually chair the board of directors of the company.

As previously reported, originally Barry Diller, one of Ticketmaster's main shareholders, fulfilled that role post-merger, although he stood down last year and quit the board completely last month. Then John Malone, the boss of Liberty Media, another big Live Nation shareholder, and sometime rival of Diller, took to the chair on an interim basis. Azoff will now take over from Malone.

At the same time Liberty increased its shareholding in Live Nation, and their CEO, Greg Maffei, joined the group's board.

Confirming all these changes, the aforementioned Rapino told reporters: "Through this transaction we will further simplify and consolidate our operating structure. By acquiring full ownership of Front Line, we expect to benefit from substantial savings related to cash taxes, the elimination of the dividend and operating synergies resulting in an increase in our free cash flow in excess of $20 million annually. Front Line is a tremendous asset and a key component of our live entertainment and marketing platform. We look forward to Irving's ongoing contributions as we continue to focus on increasing the growth potential of our combined operations".

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A Super Bowl Weekend benefit concert in Dallas, set to feature performances from Prince and Erykah Badu, and held in aid of George Michael's Goss Michael Foundation, was cancelled at the last minute on Friday after promoters ran out of cash.

The fundraiser, called TheEvent, was staged by a new company called the River Alexander Group, and a spokesman for the Foundation - which was founded by Michael with his partner Kenny Goss - says they were assured throughout that all was going to plan for the show, even when the venue was changed relatively last minute.

But then on Friday it was announced the show had been cancelled. The Associated Press cites sources who say some of River Alexander's investors had pulled out resulting in the promoter running out of money, to the extent that they couldn't afford the travel fees to get Prince and his entourage to Dallas for the gig.

Joyce Goss, Executive Director of the foundation, told Dallas News: "We faced a disappointment that is immeasurable for us, our scholarship recipients and our supporters. Both Kenny Goss and I are extremely disappointed that TheEvent featuring Prince was cancelled. It continues to be our understanding that River Alexander Group, the event organiser, was unable to fund and produce the evening. Up to the very last minute they assured us the 'show would go on'".

The promoter is yet to comment any further on the cancellation.

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According to Digital Music News, some artist lawyers in the US are accusing Universal Music of devious delaying tactics in the ongoing and previously reported Interscope v FBT Productions royalties dispute.

As previously reported, FBT Productions worked on the early Eminem recordings, and have a stake in the copyrights in those tracks, getting their royalties via Slim Shady's label, the Universal-owned Interscope. Their contract with the major, as is often the case, pays out a bigger share of royalties on licensing deals as opposed to record sales.

FBT argues that Universal's relationship with services like iTunes should be considered a licensing deal, whereas labels always treat a la carte download stores as if they were record shops, and therefore any download revenue as record sales money rather that licensing income. That means, of course, that the labels pay the smaller royalty share to artists (and in this case producers), while FBT argue they are due the bigger cut on download money.

They weren't the first artists with pre-internet record company contracts to make this argument, but whereas most other similar claims failed in court, with this case FBT won, the Ninth Circuit Court ruling in their favour last year and then refusing to hear the case for a second time.

While Universal insists there is no precedent set in this case and it only applies to the specific wording of the Interscope/FBT contract, lawyers representing various artists with pre-internet record company agreements are watching the case closely, believing their clients could also have a claim to a higher pay out on iTunes royalties based on the Ninth Circuit Court ruling in FBT's favour.

But Universal, of course, is taking the matter to the US Supreme Court. Officially the company believes it can win this one, though some lawyers have told DMN they believe the latest appeal is as much about delaying tactics as anything else.

No other artists are likely to sue for their bigger royalty cut while the Supreme Court case is pending, not wanting to incur legal costs until there is a firm precedent set. But, DMN's sources say, they fear Universal will drag this one out for as long as possible until there is a case for arguing any subsequent claims for bigger royalty cuts are invalid under the so called 'statutes of limitation', which obligate aggrieved parties to sue within a fixed time after their grievance first arises.

DMN says "opposing lawyers will certainly try to work around that mess, but this could represent a serious roadblock for some", while quoting an unnamed music lawyer who says "it'll be different in every case, but it's certain to make everything more complicated".

Of course, if FBT were to win in the Supreme Court, and if it was to set a precedent, and assuming the statute of limitations wouldn't stop other heritage artists taking action, then this case could be devastating to Universal and their competitors whose budgets assume they are paying out the lower royalty on catalogue recordings sold via iTunes.

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Take this, you people who are always banging on about Girls Aloud's imminent split. They will NEVER split. Never ever. Never ever ever. Not even when they're really old. Not even when they're dead. Not even when the Sun expands and swallows the Earth. Not even when the universe collapses in on itself. Girls Aloud are eternal and will outlive everything that ever has or will exist. That is the power of Girls Aloud.

Putting this slightly more succinctly, the group's Kimberley Walsh told Cosmopolitan: "I don't think we'll ever officially break up, to be honest. It'll be more a case of having breaks to go out and do little things we want to do, then coming back again. We'll definitely tour again. We're a live act; that's where we come into our own".

Girls Aloud have, of course, been on hiatus since 2009, while the five members dabble with various solo projects. They are also the world's foremost experts on the gradual expansion of the Sun.

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Coventry metallers Cathedral have announced that they plan to celebrate their 21st anniversary by splitting up. Miserable bastards. The band will head out on a farewell tour at the end of this year, followed by their tenth and final studio album in 2012.

Frontman Lee Dorian said in a statement: "It's simply time for us to bow out. 21 years is a very long time and it's almost a miracle that we managed to come this far! We've had a great time during Cathedral's existence and it has literally been our life. It's just time to move on and leave our recorded legacy to linger".

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Solo artist and some time Groove Armada vocalist Saint Saviour has announced that she will release a new EP, entitled 'Anatomy', on 21 Mar.

You can also catch her supporting Claire Maguire at The Borderline in London on 11 Feb as part of HMV's Next Big Thing festival.

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Pre-eminent hip hop stalwart Pharoahe Monch has announced details of his third solo LP, the politically-charged 'WAR' ('We Are Renegades', if you're wondering). According to the accompanying press release it is "scheduled for impact" on an unspecified date in April via Duck Down Music Inc/WAR Media. Thanks for the heads up, PR guys.

Following a chronology of "vivid stories" and "epiphanies" as introduced by Idris Elba (aka Stringer Bell of The Wire renown), the album features collaborations with, most notably, Jill Scott, Jean Grae, Styles P, Citizen Cope and Vernon Reid.

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Having brazenly thieved her drummer from Vivian Girls, surf-pop princess Bethany Consentino returns to tour our shores as Best Coast, playing a string of spring dates which go something like this:

26 Apr: Manchester, Academy
27 Apr: Glasgow, The Arches
28 Apr: Sheffield, Queens Social Club
29 Apr: London, Koko
1 May: Bristol, Thekla
2 May: Brighton, Coalition

In the meantime, here is the video for current single 'Crazy For You', which really was directed and shot by a crew of actual cats: youtu.be/u8_aQjT5SKI

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Yorkshire doom metallers My Dying Bride, as the headline above would suggest, have announce a 20th anniversary tour, which is nice. The tour consists of three whole dates, so get in while you can.

Tour dates:

18 May: London, The Electric Ballroom
19 May: Manchester, Academy 2
20 May: Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall

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2000TREES, Upcote Farm, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, 14-16 Jul: This eco-friendly fest is celebrating its fifth birthday with Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and riot-rock youngsters Los Campesinos! playing the main stage. Also on the guestlist for the birthday bash are Imperial Leisure, And So I Watch You From Afar, Amplifier, Your Demise and The Travelling Band, amongst a host of others. www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk

BLISSFIELDS, Woodmancott, Hampshire, 30 Jun - 3 Jul: Organisers have announced headlining acts Frank Turner and SixNationState, with Andy Burrows, Dub Pistols and Gold Panda also set to perform at the miniature family-friendly festival. Cheeky Ikea homeboys Man Like Me will also make an appearance, as will David E Sugar, Subgiant and others. www.blissfields.co.uk

WIRELESS, Hyde Park, London, 1-3 Jul: Following an accidental leak by Ticketmaster, it is now 'official' that Black Eyed Peas are to make their only UK festival appearance this year headlining the Friday of this Barclaycard-sponsored event. Providing more than solid support to Fergie, Will.i.am and co will be BRIT heroes Tinie Tempah and Plan B, and oh... Example. Newly announced Saturday bill-toppers The Chemical Brothers will debut a spectacular live show, while Pulp are already confirmed to lead the Sunday line-up. Also set to play are Chase & Status, Aphex Twin, Janelle Monáe, Battles, Chromeo and The Whip. www.wirelessfestival.co.uk

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ALBUM REVIEW: Cut Copy - Zonoscope (Modular)
'In Ghost Colours', Cut Copy's last long player, was one of the albums of the noughties, an unexpectedly heady collision between Balearic euphoria and indie-rock that marked it out as a more suntanned cousin of New Order's 'Technique'. This follow-up thus has a lot to live up to, and whilst it would be unfair to call it a crushing disappointment, it's fair to say that it underwhelms.

Although 'Zonoscope' does suggest the Australian four piece have attempted to broaden their sound, the template is initially as expected - hands-in-the-air rave synths and dreamy rushes of psychedelia sitting side by side with more traditional band aesthetics.

Opener 'Need You Now' has lyrics straight out of Bernard Sumner's 'Will This Do?' book of clichés, but it carries a decent pop tune. Elsewhere there is everything from rousing glam rock ('Where I'm Going') to slinky Detroit techno-pop ('Pharoahs & Pyramids'), but the shoegazey echo-laden stadium indie of the last few tracks just lacks the deft melodicism that was shot through 'In Ghost Colours' so effectively.

That said, the best tracks (such as expansive fifteen minute closer 'Sun God', which veers between clattering DFA nu disco and spacey electronica) tantalisingly offer a glimpse of where they could have taken things.

In truth this is a decent album, with no lack of ideas, but it could have been so much more. MS

Physical release: 7 Feb

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Aspiring songwriters, composers, and musically-inclined people might be interested to know that BASCA (the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) is to hold its inaugural 'Score' seminar on 2 Mar. The session will provide information and advice on all aspects of music commissioning, and will include talks from such guest speakers as BBC Radio 3's Andrew Kurowski, Endemol UK's Amelia Hartley, and Ivor Novello Award-winning media composer Martin Phipps.

The seminar will be held in the PRS For Music boardroom from 6pm, and is free to members and £30 for non-members.

If you would like to attend the event, contact Graham Jackson on [email protected]. Or for more information go to www.basca.org.uk/news/events/score-commissioning/

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Rising girl group Parade are to soundtrack the next Rimmel London advert, hawking the new Glam'Eyes eyeshadow. The ad will run for three and a half weeks from 28 Feb, with the song in question, 'Louder', then released as a single on 14 Mar via Warner Music.

You can watch the video for the single on YouTube now: youtu.be/BI62NlMa5V0

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The Music Industries Association, which represents music instrument sellers, has cautiously welcomed a government review of music education and the response of the Tory's freakish education man Michael Gove, who has pledged £82.5 million to fund instrument tuition for school children.

Gove made the announcement alongside the publication of the Henley Review, the previously reported government review of music education led by Classic FM boss Darren Henley. Gove said yesterday: "Access to the best musical education is not universal and the opportunity to benefit from great instrumental tuition is not shared equally. Many disadvantaged children are denied the music education they deserve. And that's why we need to bridge this musical divide. All young people should have the chance to benefit from the opportunities that music can bring - not simply those pupils from wealthy backgrounds whose parents can afford to pay for lessons".

Paul McManus, the boss of the MIA, told CMU: "It is extremely encouraging to read the continuing supportive comments being made by Michael Gove concerning the importance of music education for a child and the wide-ranging benefits it brings to a child's development. The Review itself is very positive and highlights a large number of areas that the MIA would whole-heartedly endorse, including the specific recommendation to maintain music in the National Curriculum and the additional requirement to maintain the statutory entitlement for a child to learn a musical instrument. The MIA naturally looks forward to the government response to the Review and will offer all support to both government and the educational sector to realise the aspirations of the report".

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I don't know what you want to make of this, but according to some research by anti-piracy firm Envisional for US media giant NBC Universal, while the music business may be suffering from online piracy, it is getting off lightly compared to the porn industry.

Or, that is to say, a lot more porn is pirated than music.

The Envisional report reckons that nearly a quarter of global internet traffic infringes copyright, that a majority of BitTorrent traffic is moving unlicensed content, and that 86.4% of traffic on file-sharing networks like eDonkey, Gnutella and Usenet amounts to piracy.

But in terms of what that illegally shared content is, only 2.9% is music, with TV programmes accounting for 12.7%, films 35.2% and porn 35.8%.

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From next week, Last.fm's various mobile streaming apps and home entertainment device integration whatnots will only be available to paying subscribers. Though their streaming radio services will remain free for users in the UK, US and Germany on the Last.fm website and through it's desktop software, as well as on Xbox Live and Windows Mobile 7 phones in the UK and US.

The company's Matthew Hawn explained: "On the Last.fm website an ad-supported, free-to-listeners model is what supports our online radio services in the US, UK and Germany. In other markets and on emerging mobile and home entertainment devices, it is not practical for us to deliver an ad supported radio experience, but instead, we will migrate to what we believe is the highest quality, lowest cost ad-free music service in the world".

He added: "You'll see that this change brings us in line with other music services that already charge you to listen to music on mobile devices. For the cost of a fancy coffee, a Last.fm monthly subscription allows you to listen to radio across all platforms, on all your devices, and without commercial interruptions".

While it's true mobile options from Last.fm's rivals are only available to paying subscribers, they do generally offer more functionality, in that Spotify and We7 users have complete control over what tracks play when on their mobile apps, rather than just offering an albeit personalised radio-style service.

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The Guardian has released an iPhone app as part of a week of promotions around The Streets' new album 'Computers And Blues', out this week. It will give readers access to free music from Mikey Skinner and friends providing they run their app-enabled phone over the barcode of that's day's paper. There are five tracks to access, one for each day's barcode.

You'll find info on the app and a bunch of other Streets nonsense at www.guardian.co.uk/music

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Talking of apps, Mobile Roadie has released a Beatles iPhone app this morning. Well, the official app for the Beatles soundtracked Vegas-based Cirque de Soleil 'Love' show. You get streaming samples of tracks featured in the show, videos of the performance and clips from a spin-off documentary. Yeah, sounds pretty tedious I know, but hey, it's The Beatles, so everyone's taking about it.

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Christina Aguilera sang the American national anthem at that Super Bowl thing on Sunday, but much to the dismay of Americans everywhere, she ballsed it right up. Like a total idiot, she got one line slightly wrong and now America is tarnished for all time.

For those who've somehow missed this major international crisis, she sang: "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last [and then something ending in 'eaming' that no one can agree on]", when she should have sung "O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming".

Coverage of this, in both the US media and on the Twitter, has been widespread, with many commentators wondering how such a thing could possibly have happened. A few 'friends' of the singer rushed to the tabloids to claim that the whole calamity was down to Aguilera's wild drinking, adding that she has become completely out of control since she split from her husband last year. All because she fluffed one line of a song.

Aguilera yesterday issued a statement to try to calm the situation, saying: "I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place. I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through".

That seems fair enough, though some people are still moaning on about it. Okay, how about this: I'm not sure what any of the lines of the UK's national anthem are after the first one, and I'm a little hazy on that. I am almost certainly a terrorist.

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Hey, how about this for a bad idea? Singing your acceptance speech for the BRITs Critics Choice Award. Or any award, for that matter. But, hey, that's what Jessie J is planning to do. Okay, she's probably not, she was probably joking, but I'm trying to manufacture some outrage here, please leave me be.

She said these words to Notion magazine: "I'm actually thinking of writing a song for my speech, instead of doing a speech. Just cos no one's ever done it, and I think it would be quite entertaining for people. I reckon it's quite boring, innit, people just getting up and going: 'Yeah, thanks to my fans'. You know what I mean? I think it'd be more interesting to do a really funny song".

Hmm, actually, she does sound a bit like she means it. Jessie, if you're reading, have a little think about this. Have a think about how excruciating it would be if someone else did it. That's how bad it would be if you did it. No one's done it before because it's a terrible idea. And there's no need to thank your fans anyway, they didn't vote for this award. I suggest you simply nod to the audience and then leave the stage. That would be best. Or don't turn up at all. I'm not sure you can be trusted not to do something silly.

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