Lloyd Webber pulls back from brink of excesses

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Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber must have believed he was striking a blow for family values and exposing the Bacchanalian excesses of the music industry.

In an outburst against the annual international music industry convention, Midem, held at Cannes every January, the composer denounced it as full of "music business B-list executives bingeing on massive expense accounts, far from their loved ones... Manufacturers of medallions and chest wigs are rubbing their hands in rapture."

He added that he had only been once and had witnessed a massively overweight head of a record company dancing naked on a table with "two nymphettes massaging his thighs".

Now, to Sir Andrew's embarrassment, it has emerged that this year's Midem was attended by the cream of the music industry, including Rob Dickins, the head of the Warner Brothers record label, which has just taken the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice soundtrack of Evita to the top of the charts.

Now, in an article in Music Week, the industry trade journal, consultant Tilly Rutherford retorts: "Perhaps the man who discovered Madonna [US mogul Seymour Stein], and the man now making [Lloyd Webber] even more money with Evitawere just there for the nude dancing?"

A spokesman for Sir Andrew said: "These were light hearted remarks. And nobody was meant to take them personally." David Lister