Gossip: Gorillaz; Belle; Student of the Year Award

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The Independent Online

THE ART OF APING AROUND

Gorillaz, the UK band starring former Blur frontman Damon Albarn, recently hit the headlines for entirely non music-related reasons. The less well-known half of the "Feelgood Inc" band has won a £25,000 Designer of the Year award.

Jamie Hewlett took the Design Museum prize for the graphics, website, animations and "live" performances of the "virtual band". It's an innovative concept and one that's justifiably brought Hewlett the admiration and respect - not to mention cash reward - of the creatively-minded masses. The prize was voted for by members of the public, along with four industry experts.

Other shortlisted nominees for the Designer of the Year award 2006 were furniture and lighting designer Tom Dixon, The Guardian newspaper's redesign team, and architect Cameron Sinclair.

YOUNG TALENT IS SURFACING

Too young to stun? Not if you are 16-year-old Devon-born singer/songwriter Belle. At just 14, Belle signed to Mercury - the record label that groomed Kanye West, Razorlight and The Killers. The rising star caught Mercury's attention with her simple style and honest lyrics. She has used her traumatic school experiences as inspiration for her debut album, Surfacing. Having successfully launched herself as a musician, Surfacing is also an international first: never before has a major label made a debut album from a new artist available exclusively online.

And Belle's fame is not internet-bound: she is also in demand for sponsorship deals with leading fashion names, having signed with ASOS, and with UK brand Fat Face.

Belle's debut single, "What The Hell" will be released on 26 June

STUDENT BOOKS HER PLACE

Susan Kerr of West Sussex, a student of Woodgrove Tutorials online distance learning centre for the International Association of Book Keepers (IAB) courses, won the Student of the Year Award at the Business Enterprise Awards ceremony. The awards, sponsored by Lloyds TSB, HM Revenue and Customs, Business Link and other major companies, recognise best practice in accounting and finance training, and individuals' efforts to improve their career prospects.

Sir Alan Sugar from the TV show, The Apprentice said of Woodgrove Tutorials: "A website which can assist people in learning about book keeping and accounts is exactly what a lot of people are looking for when they start a business - especially how to deal with PAYE, VAT and cash control."

Visit www.woodgrovetutorials.co.uk for details

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