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Jobs & Training Courses
CMU Info
Top Stories
Grainge to be Universal chair as well as CEO
In The Pop Courts
Pete Doherty accused of robbery
Ja Rule arranges jail time over gun charges
Pop Politics
50 Cent makes donation to Unicef after Gaddafi gig reports
Awards & Contests
Metal Hammer Golden God nominations announced
Release News
Broken Bells announce new EP
Okkervil River announce new album
Films & Shows News
Rihanna not starring in Bodyguard remake
Could Spider-Man musical opening be delayed yet again?
Books News
Shaun Ryder to publish autobiography
Gigs & Tours News
R Kelly announces tour dates
Rökkurró announce UK dates
Festival News
Festival line-up update
Album review: Katy B - On A Mission (Sony/Columbia/Rinse)
Talks, Debates & Conventions
Open day for TGE volunteers
Brands & Stuff
Lady Gaga ends relationship with Target over gay rights record
The Music Business
BMI website targeted by DDoS attack
The Digital Business
Epitonic relanches
And finally...
Lily Allen asks fans not to watch her new TV show

At the heart of 'gypsy rock' ensemble Religious To Damn is visionary Afghan-American vocalist Zohra Atash, who dreamt up the band during early live performances with the brilliant Tamaryn and Dirty Projectors' Emily Cheeger. The project subsequently gained momentum under the mentorship of Grinderman's Jim Sclavunos, who lent some percussive flair to 2009 single 'Falls Down Again', released by way of M'Lady's Records.


Flanked by new members Josh Strawn and Charlie Schmidt, Atash then finished work on a full-length album, 'Glass Prayer'. Mixed by Brandon Curtis of the Secret Machines and peppered with guest vocals from the aforementioned Tamaryn, the LP was released a matter of days ago to instantaneous critical acclaim for its elegant interweaving of rushy shoegaze backing with Zohra's fragile, eastern-influenced vocal touch.

We caught up with the lady herself as she basks in the glory of 'Glass Prayer' being named Rough Trade's Album Of The Week, posing our Same Six Questions for her deliberation.

Q1 How did you start out making music?

I was pretty lucky to have grown up in a house brimming with amazing records and instruments - guitars, mandolins, harmoniums, tablas, keyboards. I started writing when I was pretty young... you know, like one part at a time.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?

I wanted to make a really beautiful, transportive, dark, and moody record, where attention to songcraft was as important as creating an interesting soundscape.

Q3 What process do you go through creating a track?

A piece of music will come to me in my head, rather spontaneously. Sometimes in mid-conversation. I'm very precious about the process. I immediately hum the idea into my dictaphone that I carry around with me everywhere, and then I jot down in my notebook details about the metering, tempo, mood, etc. Later, I work it on a keyboard or guitar for hours until I get that intense, overwhelming feeling that it's worth keeping - the music has to prove itself to me. If it doesn't, I throw it out. My father's a scientist and musician, so I suppose that's how I developed such a balanced left and right brain approach to songwriting.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?

There are so many... Cranes, Black Sabbath, Kate Bush, Nick Cave, Swans, Roxy Music, Lush, Pink Floyd, Fairuz, Cocteau Twins, Fleetwood Mac, Hawkwind, the Stones, Sinead O'Connor, Townes Van Zandt, early Polanski, John Carpenter...

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
Play at loud volume.

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

To play for as many people as possible before we start recording the next record later this summer. I can't wait to come to England, I've always wanted to play there.

MORE>> www.religioustodamn.com

There's been much anticipation in the CMU office for the third Wild Beasts album, its predecessor 'Two Dancers' being a firm favourite. Entitled 'Smother', the new album is due for release on 9 May. The first single, 'Albatross', which precedes it on 2 May, has been streaming on SoundCloud since the weekend, but became available as a free download yesterday.

Initially the song is slightly underwhelming, stripped of the theatrical structures the band have become famous for it seems to plod along aimlessly until disappearing into nothingness. But, if you persevere and explore the subtleties of 'Albatross' you uncover many layers with just as much power and tension as the band's more bombastic work. The entwined guitar and piano, and the delicate and beautiful way various vocals work together, hint that the new album could be something very special indeed.

It was also in a live setting that the songs on 'Two Dancers' really came to life for me, so I look forward to hearing this at gigs and festivals over the coming months.


"The best music business training event I have attended; relevant and up to date, your knowledge of and enthusiasm for the industry is simply exceptional" from delegate feedback

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 23 Mar 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 6 Apr 2011

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

So, with Doug 'What A Traitor' Morris quitting his back seat Chairman role at Universal Music to go knock heads at Sony, who is Universal parent company Vivendi going to recruit to be the chair of its music business?

Hmm, how about that lovely Lucian Grainge chap? But surely he's already CEO of Universal Music? Yes, but surely he could do two jobs? I mean, with the restructure and head count cull rumoured to be upcoming at Universal, it would look good to have the top dude doing two jobs.

And so it came to be that Vivendi chief Jean-Bernard Levy yesterday announced that Universal Music's CEO would now also take on the additional title of Chairman, reporting directly into him. Says Levy: "We are delighted to appoint Lucian to the top position in music worldwide. His track record over the last thirty years in the music business is impeccable. He is perfectly qualified to lead UMG through the digital era across the globe".

But I know what you're thinking, two jobs, ha, I could do that in my sleep, why hasn't he got a third? Well, Grainge has also just taken a seat on the board of Vivendi's gaming business Activision Blizzard, so ha back at you.

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Pete Doherty has been accused of taking part in a robbery at a German record shop in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The Libertines and Babyshambles frontman is currently in the town of Regensburg to film the movie 'The Confession Of A Child Of The Century', in which he stars. A guitar and a number of records were reportedly taken from the shop.

A witness told a local paper Mittelbayerische Zeitung that she saw three men, who were all drunk and speaking in English, standing outside the shop in question at the time the break in is believed to have taken place. She added that she saw one of them reaching through a broken window and that "it was Doherty, I clearly recognised him".

As previously reported, 'The Confession Of A Child Of The Century' tells the story of nineteenth century writer Alfred de Musset and co-stars Charlotte Gainsbourg. It began shooting in Paris at the end of last year. Though, to the best of our knowledge no record shops were broken into there while Doherty was in town. But I'm not sure they actually have record shops in France any more.

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So rapper Ja Rule, real name Jeffrey Atkins, has had a good look at his diary and discovered a window on 8 Jun later this year where he reckons he might be able to slot in a two year prison sentence, so that's good of him.

As previously reported, Atkins and fellow rapper Lil Wayne were charged for possessing illegal weapons in 2007. Wayne served eight months of a one year sentence last year relating to the charges, while Atkins reached a plea deal in court last December.

In a court hearing this week Atkins agreed to surrender himself to New York authorities on 8 Jun to begin his jail term. He's actually expected to serve about sixteen months in total.

If all goes to plan the rapper will be able to put his new album to bed and complete filming on his new reality show before his prison stint begins, possibly using the publicity around his incarceration to help get some media coverage for both.

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50 Cent is the latest pop star to have earned from a private party organised by the Gaddafi family to announce he is donating his fee to charity.

Well, he wasn't that specific in his statement, but following news reports that he was paid to play at a party held by the Gaddafi family at the Venice Film Festival back in 2005, the rapper has announced he is making a donation to UNICEF to help fund its humanitarian work in war torn Libya where, of course, friend of the stars Muammar Gaddafi is busy turning his army on his own people.

Other artists to have played at Gaddafi family events include Beyonce, Nelly Furtado, Usher and Mariah Carey. The first three have all confirmed they have donated their respective fees to charity since political unrest began in Libya (Beyonce had already done so), while Mariah said she was embarrassed that she unknowingly agreed to play at a Gaddafi family party while her press rep stressed she already gives loads of money to charity.

A spokesman for 50 Cent told The Associated Press yesterday: "In light of the ongoing events in Libya, 50 Cent will be making a donation to UNICEF, which is providing vital relief supplies to meet the needs of women and children at risk during this crisis".

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The nominations for the ninth annual Metal Hammer Golden God awards have been announced. This year's ceremony will also mark the magazine's 25th anniversary. Leading the way this year are Rob Zombie and Skindred, who both receive two nominations.

Metal Hammer publisher Chris Ingham told CMU: "A whole quarter of a century ago, Metal Hammer magazine began and in that time we've worked with some of the biggest and best names in metal and rock music. Some of those names will be joining us for the Metal Hammer Golden Gods and, whether they're icons or rising stars, their tireless efforts to stay true to the most loyal fanbase around is a massive achievement and one we are thrilled to honour".

For more information and to vote, head over to www.metalhammer.co.uk/goldengods

The ceremony takes place on 13 Jun at IndigO2 in east London.

Here are the nominations in full:

Best International Band: Avenged Sevenfold, Dimmu Borgir, Stone Sour, Children Of Bodom, Down

Best UK Band: Iron Maiden, Bring Me The Horizon, Skindred, Architects, Bullet For My Valentine

Best Live Band: Cancer Bats, Devildriver, Rob Zombie, Skindred, Machine Head

Best New Band: The Defiled, Kvelertak, Tesseract, The Damned Things, Letlive

Best Underground: Watain, Kylesa, Primordial, The Dead Lay Waiting, Clutch

Best Breakthrough: Parkway Drive, A Day To Remember, Sylosis, Sabaton, Volbeat

Shredder(s): Gus G (Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne), Mark Tremonti (Alter Bridge), Alexi Laiho (Children Of Bodom), Mark Rizzo (Cavalera Conspiracy, Soulfly, Il Nino), Synyster Gates (Avenged Sevenfold)

Metal As Fuck: Slayer, Behemoth, Slipknot, Zakk Wylde, Deftones

Event Of The Year: Rob Zombie's return, Manowar's return, System Of A Down reforming, The Big Four UK announcement, Beavis And Butthead's resurrection

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Broken Bells, aka The Shins' James Mercer and Danger Mouse, have announced that they will release a new EP, entitled 'Meyrin Fields', on 18 Apr. Arriving just over a year after the release of their eponymous debut album, the record will be available on vinyl and download.

You can pre-order 'Meyrin Fields' now from www.brokenbells.com.

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Texans Okkervil River have announced that they will release their sixth album, 'I Am Very Far', via Jagjaguwar on 9 May. The band will also play a one-off show at Heaven in London on 16 May, following a solo show from frontman Will Sheff at St Pancras Church on 28 Mar.

Of the new album, Sheff said: "The goal was to push my brain to places it didn't want to go. The idea was to not have any idea - to keep myself confused about what I was doing. I produced it myself so that I could extend the songwriting process all the way through to the very last second of recording, so the songs would never really stop changing".

You can download the album's first single, 'Walk And Be Fine', for free now at www.okkervilriver.com. It will also be released on seven-inch vinyl on 21 Mar.

The album's tracklist is as follows:

The Valley
Lay Of The Survivor
White Shadow Waltz
We Need A Myth
Hanging From A Hit
Show Yourself
Your Past Life Is A Blast
Wake And Be Fine
The Rise

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Rihanna has denied claims that she is starring in the upcoming remake of 'The Bodyguard'. The 1992 original version, of course, starred Whitney Houston.

Asked by OK! Magazine if she would be taking on the role, the singer said: "Absolutely not. I hate it when singers do singing movies all the time, because you can never look at them as anybody else. I want to play a character; my whole life is playing 'Rihanna', being a singer won't be a stretch for me. I like challenges and being an actor is playing a role, being able to step into somebody else's shoes, that's the excitement".

As previously reported, Miley Cyrus has been touted to take the lead part in this film, while Taylor Swift's name has also been mentioned. Rihanna, meanwhile, will be appearing in a non-singing role in the film, 'Battleships', which is due for release next year.

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Yeah, I don't know if this 'Spider-Man' musical is any good, but I do hope someone's been filming a 'making of' documentary. That I would like to see.

The long long delayed official opening of the stunt-filled Broadway musical 'Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark', scored by Bono and The Edge and produced by legendary tour promoter Michael Cohl, is due to finally have its press night next week. But the New York press are speculating that not only will that not happen, the show, which has been in preview since late November, will actually be shut for several weeks for a radical revamp.

Gossipers say that while it has been problems with the ambitious stunts and high-wire routines that have caused most previous delays, there are now concerns about other elements of the show after some critics, bored of waiting for press night, bought tickets to a preview performance and panned the show's script and music. Some are even suggesting director and co-writer Julie Taymor might be pushed out and a new director brought in to give the whole thing a revamp.

That said, a spokesman for the production refused to comment on these reports, and officially the show is still due to properly launch on 15 Mar. Even though it is still in its extended preview period, where tickets are presumably quite a bit cheaper than originally intended, 'Spider-Man' is still one of Broadway's most popular and highest earning shows.

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Shaun Ryder has decided to take everything he remembers and put it in a book. Possibly a very short book, but a book nonetheless. Transworld has announced that it has signed the Happy Mondays frontman up to publish his autobiography.

In a statement, Ryder said: "I've been mithered for years to write my autobiography, but I've always said no because the timing never felt right. Plenty of other people have had their say on Happy Mondays and Black Grape, and now just felt like the right time to tell it like it really happened".

Transworld editor Sarah Emsley added: "Shaun Ryder is a living legend and his is one of the great untold stories of a life lived through the highs and lows of rock n roll excess. We are absolutely thrilled to be publishing the raw, undiluted autobiography of one of the UK's most beloved rock stars".

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R Kelly has announced two UK tour dates for next month, which is nice of him. They're billed as intimate shows, though I think we might define 'intimate' differently. Tickets go on sale on 18 Mar.

Tour dates:

22 Apr: London, Hammersmith Apollo
23 Apr: Manchester, Apollo

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CMU Approved Icelandic lovelies Rökkurró have announced that they will play two shows in London at the start of a wider European tour next month. The band last played in the UK at excellent Nordic showcase night Ja Ja Ja in October.

To get you in the mood, you can download a free track from the band here: rokkurro.bandcamp.com/track/augun-opnast

Tour dates:

13 Apr: London, The Windmill
14 Apr: London, Queen Of Hoxton

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EDEN SESSIONS, The Eden Project, Cornwall, Jun - Jul: The line-ups so far announced for this year's Eden Sessions events are Primal Scream and The Horrors on 23 Jun, The Flaming Lips, The Go! Team and OK Go on 30 Jun, Fleet Foxes and Villagers on 1 Jul, and Brandon Flowers and The Mystery Jets on 12 Jul. More are yet to be announced. www.edenproject.com/sessions/

ENDORSE IT IN DORSET, Sixpenny Handley, Dorset, 12-14 Aug: New Model Army, The Dub Pistols and Zodiac Mindwarp And The Love Reaction top the first acts to be announced for Endorse It In Dorset. Also in the bill are The Wurzels, Citizen Fish, UK Subs, The Vibrators and Tragic Roundabout. www.endorseit.co.uk

GARDEN FESTIVAL, Petrčane, Zadar, Croatia, 6-13 Jul: Newly added to the bill for this festival on the Adriatic coast are Different Drummer, Incarnations and Crazy P, who will all play live, plus there'll be DJ sets from the likes of Wolf And Lamb, Julio Bashmore, Fila Brazilia, Qool DJ Marv, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Kon and Amir. www.thegardenfestival.eu

GLADE FESTIVAL, Winchester, Hampshire, 10-12 Jun: Having been forced to cancel last year's event, Glade returns fighting fit at a new site this year. Among the first acts to be announced are Eskmo, Shitmat, Gaudi, Echaskech, Atomic Drop, Dickster, Tristan, Richard Devine, International Observer, Spongebob Squarewave, Koreless and more. www.gladefestival.com

HARD ROCK CALLING, Hyde Park, London, 24-26 Jun: Stevie Nicks has been added to the bill for this year's central London MOR fest, performing before Sunday night headliner Rod Stewart. Also on the bill are Bon Jovi, who will headline the Saturday night. www.hardrockcalling.co.uk

LONDON FEIS, Finsbury Park, London, 18 Jun: Bob Dylan will headline Vince Power's latest festival venture, which is sort of a relaunch of the old Fleadh Festival that he used to promote during his Mean Fiddler days, and which therefore has a bit of an Irish theme going on. www.londonfeis.com

OXEGEN, Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare, 8-10 Jul: Coldplay, The Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, The Strokes, The Script, Deadmau5, The National, Arctic Monkeys and Paolo Nutini have all been announced for Oxegen. As have the likes of Bruno Mars, Chase and Status, Eels, Bright Eyes, Leftfield, Friendly Fires, Calvin Harris, House of Pain, and more. www.oxegen.ie

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ALBUM REVIEW: Katy B - On A Mission (Sony/Columbia/Rinse)
Hailed as 'the first lady of dubstep' - a fairly spurious claim if you've heard anything other than her breakthrough single 'Katy On A Mission' - Katy B was one of 2010's most unlikely underground stars, she being another of the seemingly ubiquitous alumni of The BRIT School. 'Katy On A Mission', produced by Benga, was a big success; an infectious club track, garnering hundreds of thousands of YouTube views in the matter of a few weeks (YouTube views being today's equivalent of being featured on 'Top Of The Pops', I assume).

So, what of the full length LP? It's good, but perhaps not as good as it could have been. Katy obviously has a great talent for creating enticing vocal melodies, and these are what shine through the most. But while the vocal work stays consistent, the tracks, created with a variety of producers, including Benga and early collaborators Geeneus and Zinc, sometimes don't quite fit. Latest single 'Broken Record' is evidence of this, a song that would be suited to a more simplistic backing is heavily layered with breakbeats and synths. But mostly it triumphs. 'Go Away' is a darker departure to the rest of the record, and previous single 'Lights On', which features Ms Dynamite, is irresistibly funky.

All in all, I'm impressed. It will be interesting to see how Katy progresses from here, and who she chooses to work with in the future. JJB

Physical release: 4 Apr

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Organisers of The Great Escape will stage a drop-in session at The Queens Hotel in Brighton next week for anyone interested in being a volunteer at this year's festival.

Volunteers help make everything happen, and in return get free access to some of the festival. It's also great experience for any students or young people considering a career in the music industry.

Anyone interested in being a volunteer can drop in at any time at The Queens Hotel next Tuesday, 15 Mar, from 3-6pm, and find out about the different roles that need filling, including venue staff, branding and sponsorship, festival runners and technical support staff.

The Great Escape, of course, runs from 12-14 May in Brighton. More at www.escapegreat.com.

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Lady Gaga has ended a partnership with US retailer Target over the company's donations to a politician who campaigns against gay rights.

Last year, Target was criticised for donating money to MN Forward, a political action group that supported Tom Emmer, who failed in a bid to become governor of Minnesota with various anti-gay policies. Something Gaga herself brought up when entering into her partnership with the company earlier this year.

At the time, Gaga told Billboard: "That discussion was one of the most intense conversations I've ever had in a business meeting. Part of my deal with Target is that they have to start affiliating themselves with LGBT charity groups and begin to reform and make amends for the mistakes they've made in the past".

It seems things have not gone as planned, though. Yesterday a spokesperson for the singer told The Advocate: "Lady Gaga and Target came to a mutual decision to end their overall exclusive partnership a few weeks ago".

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US collecting society BMI is the latest organisation to have its website hit by those Operation Payback dudes who get their kicks by over-running the servers of pro-copyright organisations. Well, it takes all sorts, I suppose.

According to TG Daily, the Anonymous group which instigates the so called Distributed Denial Of Service attacks against pro-copyright groups issued a statement saying: "We have seen BMI consistently legislate copyright and consequently have decided to take action to show the people will not stand for its crimes against the public. As of the time of the writing of this letter, BMI has been taken down by our successful attack".

It continued: "This is a message to you and other corporations like you: We will not stand this abuse anymore. No company shall take advantage of our government to churn out profits and censor information in any form. This is unacceptable and will be dealt with accordingly by Anonymous. We are not pirates, we are not hackers in our mother's basement. We are Anonymous. We do not forgive, we do not forget, you should have expected us".

It is probably true that copyright rules do need reforming, and it is certainly true big copyright owners did react in a dumb way when the internet first arrived on the scene, but assuming this statement is really from a key player in the albeit informal Anonymous community, they do come across as a bunch of self-important tossers, don't they? And more to the point, they hardly help the cause of those lobbying for copyright reform through more legitimate channels.

Anyway, the not-for-profit BMI issued its own statement yesterday saying: "In a protective measure, BMI.com has been temporarily taken down due to a denial of service attack reportedly launched by a hacker group. The attack slows down external access to BMI.com. There has not been a breach of security into our systems in any form and access has not been obtained to any secure content".

It added: "We believe that this attack is part of their misguided campaign to attack creative rights. Other than the website, operations are not impacted by the company's protective move. BMI plans to resume full service of all online services for its songwriters, music publishers and licensees shortly".

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Music discovery site Epitonic.com has relaunched, following its previously reported round of fundraising via fan-funding platform Kickstarter.

Set up in 1999, the site worked with record labels to provide free MP3 downloads. Tracks were hand selected by the site's team of writers, who attached the music to impassioned editorial content and also made tracks available via streams, all of which was highly unusual at the time. As traffic grew, the site hit hard times though, and was bought by Palm Pictures before falling quiet in 2004.

Co-founder Justin Sinkovich and his original team regained ownership of the site last year and began raising money to get it back up and running again, which it has done this week.

Speaking to Mashable about the challenges of launching in a space now dominated by sites such as The Hype Machine and RCRD LBL, Sinkovich said: "I had to sit down and look at those sites and really think about what everyone was doing and how I was going to become interesting and compelling to users. [Back in 1999], the difficulty wasn't in the competition, it was in getting the licenses to offer the music, because for a lot of the labels, this was their first foray into giving away music".

He continued: "Today the challenges have changed. Now it's filtering through all the free music to find the very best. There's still no ultimate destination for all of that free music within a certain aesthetic, and that is what I feel like we're back to doing".

At launch the site is already filled with artists offering free downloads, from the likes of Jay-Z and PJ Harvey to Smith Westerns, Starfucker and Braids, plus features on labels such as Matador and Stones Throw.

Take a look for yourself at www.epitonic.com.

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Lily Allen has said she is "embarrassed" by her new TV show, 'Lily Allen: From Riches To Rags', the first episode of which airs on Channel 4 on 15 Mar and follows the singer's move into fashion as she sets up a boutique clothing shop, Lucy In Disguise, with older sister Sarah Owen.

Allen said via Twitter: "We started filming it a year ago and I feel like a completely different person to the one that features in the programme. I'm inclined to ask you not to watch it cos quite frankly I am embarrassed. On the other hand I want you all to watch it so you can see how the press coverage of it has been totally sensationalised and quotes taken out of context. I should probably know better than to write this here but I feel it's the only place that my words don't get minced".

In statement, Channel 4 said: "The series is an observational documentary that follows Lily and Sarah as they plan the opening of their vintage store and all personal issues are portrayed sensitively".

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Andy Malt
Chris Cooke
Business Editor &
Caro Moses
Eddy Temple-Morris
Paul Vig
Club Tipper
Charlie Sheen
Head Of Winning

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