TODAY'S TOP STORY: Fabric has responded to Islington Council's decision to revoke its licence, saying that it is too soon to say what the club's next move will be, but that forcing the venue to close down "sets a troubling precedent for the future of London's night time economy". "We are extremely disappointed with Islington Council's decision to revoke our licence", says the statement... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: The debut album from Kelly Lee Owens that was promised for this summer when she first appeared in this column last year has not been forthcoming. But she has announced that she's signed to Smalltown Supersound and will release a new EP, 'Oleic', on 21 Oct, which will more than make do for now. The first single from the EP, 'CBM', went live yesterday and sees... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Fabric says its closure "sets a troubling precedent"
LEGAL Spears family settles with Britney's self-declared former manager
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Diversity and education the key themes at BPI AGM
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Apple unveils new iPhone sans the headphone socket
MEDIA Zayn Malik making boyband TV drama
RELEASES Mel C announces new solo album
GIGS & FESTIVALS Danny Brown announces UK tour
AWARDS Rated Awards presented
ONE LINERS Alissa, Sentric Music, Dice, more
AND FINALLY... Azealia Banks is having a clear out
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Fabric says its closure "sets a troubling precedent"
Fabric has responded to Islington Council's decision to revoke its licence, saying that it is too soon to say what the club's next move will be, but that forcing the venue to close down "sets a troubling precedent for the future of London's night time economy".

"We are extremely disappointed with Islington Council's decision to revoke our licence", says the statement. "This is an especially sad day for those who have supported us, particularly the 250 staff who will now lose their jobs. Closing Fabric is not the answer to the drug-related problems clubs like ours are working to prevent, and sets a troubling precedent for the future of London's night time economy".

It continues: "We want to also say a huge thank you to the support we received, 150,000 of you signed the petition to support us and London's nightlife. All of our community - fellow promoters, artists, venues, friends, magazines, blogs, ravers, all our family have backed us online offering up their platforms and resources - we have been deeply touched by seeing you all rally together behind us".

On the future, the statement concludes: "It's too early to comment on what our next step will be, but for now we have asked Resident Advisor to issue refunds for all the upcoming events we have sold tickets for".

As previously reported, after a lengthy hearing, Islington Council's Licensing Sub Committee ruled at 1am on Wednesday morning that the venue's licence should be revoked because "a culture of drug use exists at the club which the existing management and security appears incapable of controlling".

But in a speech to the committee, Fabric co-founder Cameron Leslie said that the suggestion that staff at the club "provide a safe haven for drugs is frankly insulting to the considerable efforts we have put in over the years ... and the notion that we somehow shield this activity is shameful and I would go as far to say it is libellous".

He also commented on a report presented to the committee that was based on an undercover police investigation - so-called 'Operation Lenor' - which did not seem to uncover any actual drug taking but suggested that the vast majority of people in the club were under the influence, and that an at least attempted trade in drugs was happening within apparent earshot of security staff in the venue's smoking area. But this view of a club where the sale, purchase and use of drugs was willingly allowed to run rife did not chime with the club's own undercover surveillance.

"I should like to point out that since 2012 we have had arrested in the region of 80 drug dealers identified at the front door; [but] there has been only one prosecution", he continued. "So perhaps if the police want to start levelling criticism of how these so-called safe havens exist they should start by looking at themselves and the CPS, because these individuals come back the following week laughing at us".

He then questioned how the club went from being praised in recent years as an example of best practice in tackling drugs, by both police and a judge, to the situation in which it now finds itself. "In as late as June this year Islington Police sent the management of another London venue who had suffered a fatality to us to see how we did it, citing our procedures as the best in the business", he said. "Yet a matter of days later we are damned in a central licensing report".

The recent investigation was, Leslie asserted, "an entirely premeditated exercise to find the evidence required to be able to serve a summary review. This team started from the end point and gathered evidence accordingly".

He concluded: "In a climate where pills are circulating the UK with almost four times the dosage of MDMA of most found during the late 90s, what is absolutely urgent in order to prevent more deaths is not the closure of one venue, but the systematic education of young people on the risks and repercussions of the drugs they are taking, up to date and accurate information on dangerously potent batches in the current market, education on recognising warning signs of overdose amongst friends and how to respond".

You can read Leslie's full speech (and we really urge you to do so) via Resident Advisor here.

Although the closure of Fabric last month pending the latest licence review came in the wake of two recent drug-related deaths, the aforementioned Operation Lenor was actually triggered under the auspices of confirming that the club was adhering to new licence conditions implemented last year.

As previously reported, that previous review was also prompted by concerns over deaths in or near the venue. Fabric successfully fought off in court orders to implement ID scans and to use sniffer dogs at the door - which was "the only time we stood up to the police in seventeen years", said Leslie this week. It was during that appeal that Fabric was described as "a beacon of best practice" by the judge overseeing the case.

At the hearing this week, Fabric said that it would now be willing to voluntarily test the use of sniffer dogs, as one of several proposed concessions in an attempt to remain open (another being the bizarre proposal to lower the BPM of music played on Friday nights). This despite a key concern that while sniffer dogs are not actually very effective at finding drugs, they are likely to frighten people queuing for entry to take all of their drugs in one go before they get to the door, thus putting them at greater risk of harm.

Following Leslie's allegation that forcing Fabric's closure was a "premeditated exercise", a number of conspiracy theories have emerged. One simply being that Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police are less interested in fighting drugs, and more in shifting the blame for their own inability to tackle the problem, in part due to massive budget cuts thanks to the UK government's ongoing austerity measures.

Then, of course, there's the expectation that if Fabric is permanently closed down, it will be the latest building in the capital to be turned into luxury flats unaffordable to almost anyone who actually lives there. And should any investor actually take over Fabric's property for that purpose, they will have a nice view of the redeveloped Smithfields Market nearby.

Whatever the truth is, any claims that it's about improving safety in London's clubbing community are likely to backfire as people move on to events - legal or illegal - where security, properly trained staff and access to medical support are not nearly as abundant as they were at Fabric.

If this is simply about boosting safety though, Vice has compiled a list of other things that should be shut down in order to reduce the risk of anyone in London ever coming to any harm.

Spears family settles with Britney's self-declared former manager
Lawyers for Britney Spears' father have confirmed that a settlement has been reached with Sam Lutfi, a close friend of the singer during her public breakdown in 2007 and 2008, who also claimed to be the popstar's manager during that period.

As previously reported, after James Spears took over responsibility for his daughter's financial affairs, and Lutfi had basically been pushed of the singer's life and career, he sued. A number of legal claims were made, for defamation, assault and breach of contract.

Defamation over a book written by Spears' mother that accused Lutfi of escalating her daughter's very public mental breakdown. Assault over an altercation between Lutfi and Mr Spears in 2008. And breach of contract in a bid to win a cut of the singer's earnings from 2007 and 2008, on the grounds Lutfi was her manager during this time and therefore was due a management commission.

The case was dismissed in late 2012, but some elements of it were subsequently restored on appeal, and a hearing was expected to kick off next month. But, according to TMZ, attorneys for Spears Senior filed a notice with the LA Superior Court last Friday stating that a settlement had now been reached with Lutfi, specifics of which were not shared.

Diversity and education the key themes at BPI AGM
Although the streaming boom and the bloody value gap got their customary mentions, education and diversity seemed to be the big themes at the Annual General Meeting of record industry trade group the BPI yesterday.

BPI Chair Ged Doherty began the formal proceedings by acknowledging the criticisms made about the BRIT Awards earlier this year in terms of the annual back-slapping bash's failure to recognise many of the stars of the UK's vibrant urban music scene.

Doherty conceded that some of these criticisms were valid, adding that he hoped the solution was to ensure a more diverse BRITS Academy, the big block of industry and media types who vote for most of the awards. To that end the Academy is being overhauled, updates on which were promised soon, and - Doherty added - the impact of that should be seen in next year's nominations.

BPI CEO Geoff Taylor also talked about the need to assure a more diverse music industry, backing UK Music's previously reported work in this space, and also calling on government to ensure that all young people had equal access to a good creative education, expressing concerns that recent education reforms were doing the opposite of this.

Indeed, he said, changes in education funding were creating challenges for the BRITs School, the BPI-backed South London facility that has educated a long line of popstars and leading names across all the creative industries, and which remains proud of one of its key USP, ie that the education it provides young creative people is free of charge.

The AGM's keynoter, the UK's new Minister For Digital And Culture, Matt Hancock MP, in a supportive if commitment-light speech, also honed in on the diversity point. He said that we need to "spread opportunity to all, not just the privileged few, and in my view it is the very real responsibility of everyone in this room to be a force for social mobility in Britain. No one should be excluded because of their accent, or their postcode, or the colour of their skin".

He went on: "On stage talent is often diverse, but let's make sure not only that it remains that way, but that it's matched by equal diversity behind the scenes, in the boardroom as well as backstage. I feel incredibly strongly about this agenda. There is already some great work going on, but this is still not enough, because music can't be the preserve of the privileged. Are you doing all that you can to blast open the doors to this industry? I want the answer to that question to unambiguously be yes, because the music industry is not just an industry in the economic sense, it defines how we're seen as a nation, and how we see ourselves as individuals, as communities and as a country".

Rousing stuff, hey, even if he did ruin it slightly by then quoting Bono. But, Hancock added, a truly diverse music industry was more important than ever now we have bloody Brexit. Because, in the post-Referendum era, he said, "it is more important than ever that we are, and that we are seen as, and that we insist on being an open, outward looking, progressive, global country; that's what Britain does when we're at out best, and we can do that from government, and we can make this case, but by God you can make this case as well, and people are going to listen to what you say and what you do because you can reach all parts".

Concluding, he said he liked the idea of Britain's creative industries being the country's "global calling card", urging the industry to "find all the raw talent in our nation" and to communicate "our positive story out to the world. Everyone in this room, you move us, you thrill us, you make us dance and sing, you are some of our finest ambassadors, so let's spread these opportunities to everybody, let's make UK music go from strength to strength, and in that goal I'll be on your side".

So there you go. Let's educate. Let's be diverse. Though obviously, more than anything else, please don't try doing anything too creative and interesting in the London borough of Islington.

Apple unveils new iPhone sans the headphone socket
So, as expected, Apple has dropped the traditional headphone socket from the next iteration of the iPhone, reckoning that wireless headphones are the future, or alternatively audio can be delivered via the lightning connector you use to charge the device.

If you happen to be really attached to your current headphones which have a 3.5mm headphone jack at the end of the cable, you know, like what Grandad used to use, well you can always get an adaptor that will let you plug those into to the lightning connector. And isn't that one of the joys of being an Apple customer - being able to constantly carry round a little bag of over-priced adaptors with you everywhere you go?

Though for those of you ready to embrace the now, there's a great opportunity to spend even more money here. Apple, of course, has a long history of making mainly shitty headphones, and now that we are officially in the wireless headphones age, why not buy yourself a pair of Apple's wireless Airpods for your ears? I've not tried them, so can't comment on their shittiness - they may be entirely lacking in shittiness - but either way they're a steal at £159 a pair. Especially if you steal yours.

Other things were announced at Apple's latest product launch bash yesterday, though much more fun is this summary of The Register's attempts to get into said event.

Zayn Malik making boyband TV drama
Zayn Malik is developing a new TV drama about a boyband with producer Dick Wolf. Titled 'Boys', it will focus on the excitement and pressures of fame as a pop group's star rises, and is set to air on NBC.

"It's exciting to be diving into this project with such passionate and prolific producers", says NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Zayn certainly brings an authentic point of view to this world where kids are catapulted into fame at a dizzying speed. On top of our excitement around the creative ideas being discussed, we have a lot of respect for the musical and digital ambitions behind the project".

"Dick Wolf is a legend and the opportunity to work with him and NBC to create a compelling drama series is awesome", adds Malik.

"We were intrigued by the synergistic potential that Zayn brings to the project", says Wolf's co-producer (and wife) Noelle, and who wouldn't be? "'Boys' will be a show that's totally integrated on broadcast and digital platforms. Casting and original music will be major components, giving the show promotional potential on multiple levels".

The show will be a co-production between Universal TV, Wolf Entertainment, and Len Blavatnik's Unigram and Malik-managing First Access Entertainment.

  Approved: Kelly Lee Owens - CBM
The debut album from Kelly Lee Owens that was promised for this summer when she first appeared in this column last year has not been forthcoming. But she has announced that she's signed to Smalltown Supersound and will release a new EP, 'Oleic', on 21 Oct, which will more than make do for now.

The first single from the EP, 'CBM', went live yesterday and sees Owens' trajectory remaining firmly in the upward position. Musically, the track seems to play from somewhere in the distance, while at the same time completely enveloping you. And despite the lyrics consisting almost entirely of just three words, she still manages to paint an incredibly vivid picture.

As well as two more new tracks, the twelve-inch release of the EP will feature Owens' excellent rework of Jenny Hval's 'Kingsize'. She'll support Hval at Oslo in Hackney on 19 Oct too, which is a line-up well worth any journey.

Listen to 'CBM' here.

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Mel C announces new solo album
Melanie 'Mel' C(hisholm) has announced that she will release a new solo album, 'Version Of Me', on 21 Oct. The first single, 'Anymore', will be out on 14 Oct.

"I wanted to make an album that I would listen to now", says C(hisholm). "I'm not a leftfield artist, I never will be. I write pop songs. But my aim this time was to approach every aspect of them differently, to be more creative with structure and sounds. Whatever felt right, I went with".

As previously reported, the former Spice Girl recently wrote an essay for Love Magazine explaining why she planned to remain a former Spice Girl and have no part in any reunion. One of those reasons being that she was planning to release a new solo album, which, as you can now see, was not a lie. Hurrah for the truth.

Danny Brown announces UK tour
Danny Brown will be in this United Kingdom and also Ireland in November, to do one of those tours that are so popular now. Touring all over the place, he'll be. I imagine on a motorbike with a sidecar. You don't see enough of those these days, do you?

Brown's new album, 'Atrocity Exhibition', is due out on 30 Sep, of course. The record will be his first for Warp.

Tickets for the shows go on sale on Friday, and these are just some of (by which I mean all) of the dates on offer:

10 Nov: London, Electric Brixton
11 Nov: Manchester, The Warehouse Project
12 Nov: Glasgow, ABC
14 Nov: Dublin, The Academy
15 Nov: Leeds, Stylus
16 Nov: Birmingham, Rainbow Warehouse
17 Nov: Brighton, The Old Market
18 Nov: Bristol, Marble Factory

Rated Awards presented
It was GRM Daily's Rated Awards in London last night celebrating "the best in British urban music". Fortunately they booked The Roundhouse for the proceedings, in the borough of Camden, rather than a venue in the neighbouring borough of Islington, where fun is now famously outlawed, and anyone seen vaguely enjoying themselves is put in a cardboard box and pissed on. Or something like that.

But with the joy killers of Islington Council denied jurisdiction, a fun time was had by all at the Rated Awards 2016, and especially this little lot, aka the winners...

Best Album: Kano - Made In The Manor
Best Track: Abra Cadabra feat Krept & Konan - Robbery
Best Video: Skepta - Man (Gang)
Best Mixtape: 67 - In Skengs We Trust

Best Artist: Giggs
Best DJ: Charlie Sloth
Best Breakthrough: AJ Tracey
Producer Of The Year: Rude Kid
Personality Of The Year: Poet & Vuj

KA Get Rated Award: Big Figures

Alissa, Sentric Music, Dice, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Napalm Records has signed Arch Enemy frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz to a new solo deal. "With Angela Gossow as management and Napalm Records just as passionate as I am about this new project, I'm fortunate to have found a home amongst friends and colleagues who are supportive and encouraging of my full musical spectrum", she says. Her debut solo album, under the name Alissa, is set for release next year.

• Music-publishing-for-everyone pioneer Sentric Music is ten years old. They grow up so fast, don't they? There will be parties in Berlin, Hamburg, London and Liverpool - the latter two both taking place on 29 Sep, at the 100 Club in London and The Merchant in Liverpool.

• Top ticketing whatnot Dice has confirmed twelve new venue partnerships with The Dome, Boston Music Room, Birthdays, Kamio, The Lock Tavern, The Moth Club, The Shacklewell Arms and The Waiting Room in London, Belgrave Music Hall and Hedrow House in Leeds, and the Night And Day Café in Manchester. "This is just the start", says CEO Phil Hutcheon. "We're ready to talk to any venue who wants to truly innovate".

• PWR BTTM have signed to Poly Vinyl and will release their second album through the label next year. Here's 'New Hampshire' from the first.

• Drake is opening a strip club in Houston. Not one of those seedy strip clubs you get though, no, not that, one "where the women are on a pedestal and the surroundings are unforgettable". It's going to be called The Ballet.

• Jack White has stuck an interactive timeline thing looking back at his whole career up on his website. So that's nice. Look here.

• Preoccupations have released a new eleven and half minute song called 'Memory'. Make yourself a cup of tea before hitting play on this one, I'd say. And then try to remember everything you hear.

• Dream Wife have released the video for new single 'Lolita'. They've also announced that they'll play a headline show at the Moth Club in Hackney on 31 Oct.

• Skream will be touring the UK in October, November AND December. "The tour itself is a conscious effort to resurrect the 'back to basics' element of club culture to the forefront again, forsaking elaborate, extravagant production for the eyes-down, music focused selection of a pure clubbing experience", says the producer. He'll get things kicked off at London's Village Underground on 28 Oct.

• Jimmy Eat World will be touring the UK in November. What fun.

Azealia Banks is having a clear out
Hey guys, do you want to buy some old tat that Azealia Banks found lying around? Well now is your chance. She's having a big clearout.

"One day I woke up and decided I wanted to change", wrote Banks on her Facebook page earlier this week. "I took a look around at my surroundings and realized that similar to my emotional tendencies, I was holding on to so many things that I had no use for. Clothes I could no longer fit, pieces of unfinished business ideas, etc".

Linking to an online store page, she added: "I have SOOOO MANY RANDOM THINGS/clothes from when I was a wannabe Spice Girl with A cup breasts! So many things that a 25 year old woman should not be wearing. Come check out what may be in store for you!"

So, unless you're a 25 year old woman, feel free to take a look around. As well as the odd item of genuine Azealia Banks memorabilia, there are indeed random items of clothing, herbal remedies, books on tarot and witchcraft, contact lenses (unused, I think), rubber ears, and a fuck of a lot of candles. No half finished business ideas actually seem to be on offer though, sadly. Unless she was thinking of setting up a candle shop at one point.

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Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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