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The big news about this year's London Film Festival (2-19 November) is that it will host the international premiere of Martin Scorsese's Casino as its closing film. Robert De Niro stars in this gritty thriller set in 1970s Las Vegas. The real thrills, though, will come from seeing De Niro hold his own against co-star Sharon Stone, whose talent balloons by the hour. And no I'm not being ironic. She's a wheeze in Sam Raimi's brilliant comic western The Quick and the Dead (released here in a fortnight) and the news that she's taken the lead in the upcoming remake of Les Diaboliques is enough to make the calmest heart race. De Niro had better be back on Raging Bull form if he doesn't want to be acted off the edge of the screen.

Just in case you thought the dreary Blur vs Oasis shenanigans were behind us, the music press has been busy pointing out that both bands are set to play in Bournemouth on the same night, 18 September. Police would say only, "we will have the appropriate number of officers on duty to ensure everyone's enjoyment is not spoiled by the thoughtless few". Those thoughtless few being the reporters trying to start a riot.

From the over-exposed to the under-rated: the Auteurs, never ones to jump on a bandwagon when they could drive alongside it then run it off the road, have just finished their new LP (due for a January 1996 release). Any worries about it falling into that "difficult third album" trap have been subdued by the news that it was recorded at Abbey Road with the notorious producer Steve Albini. So what's it like? "Like an Auteurs album recorded at Abbey Road with Steve Albini producing," band-member James Banbury confirmed this week.

Albini, a sort of musical gym coach, had previously assumed beefing-up duties on winsome rockers The Wedding Present. Singer David Gedge may wish he'd never hired him: when The Wedding Present played at the 1994 Reading Festival, Courtney Love - not the producer's biggest fan - approached Gedge backstage and attacked him just for knowing Albini. Still, Auteurs singer Luke Haines is the one person who'd hit her back. So let's stir up another ruck. Here's to that Reading 1996 showdown: Love vs Haines. He's a safer bet for Britain than Bruno.

But who should you put your readies on for next week's 1995 Mercury Music Prize? Portishead and Oasis are favourites at 2-1, but if Tricky (4-1) doesn't win, they'll be rioting in the streets. Or at least in the smarter Hampstead cafes.

John Lyttle and Dickie Fantastic are on holiday

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