I wanted to do this last year. In fact I did start one last year, which I might publish in unedited form just to see if it works. If I remember rightly the core was a blast at Sheeran and Sam Smith. Because they’re both a bit shit. Actually, sorry, Sheeran’s a bit shit and Smith is very shit. Anyway, another Brit Awards have come and gone and this time I’m going to make a fist of it. And then fist it, because, to be honest, the whole thing says rather a lot about how crappy British popular music and the media are. Right then, let’s get cracking.
For starters there are the nominees. I’m surprised Adele didn’t get nominated in every category but then I imagine she was too, as she spent most of the night being surprised. Or at least pretending to be. Best British Male – Aphex Twin?! Really?! Did the people who came up with that list not think to put in someone anyone under 25 has actually heard of? I like a bit of Aphex Twin (ambient style, not head-fuck) but it seems strange to put him on a list next to, for instance, someone as wafer thin and student twat friendly as Jamie XX. Best British Female – Amy Winehouse. Please. ‘Unfortunately Amy can’t be here to collect her award because she’s been dead for 3 years and hasn’t released anything new since. She hasn’t done any concerts but she has been the subject of a film and we feel sorry for her and a bit guilty that we contributed to her sad demise, so let’s give her a nudge’. What a bunch of pricks. I suppose they could have said ‘Amy is here to collect her award but she might be a bit smelly’. Best International Male – Justin Bieber v Father John Misty. Very funny. One is a 9 year old girl and the other is a real musician who can, and does, grow beards. The look on Misty’s face when the award was announced was great; he didn’t bother to pretend to look gutted, yet pleased, for his opponent, his face just said ‘what a little cock’. Deep down he knows how grindingly false the music industry is. Final nominee gripe: Best International Band – Eagles of Death Metal and U2. Call me cynical but you can’t put a band up for an award because lots of people were killed by terrorists at one of their gigs. You put them up because they have made a consistently good impact on music that year. You may as well have a category called ‘Best tragic fan death at a music venue award’. And no, I haven’t heard them, and it wouldn’t matter if I had. I care enough about good music to have heard Tame Impale and that’ll do for me. As for U2, the Stephen Fry of Irish music, why do they always have to prop up the international band category? ‘Er, quick, we’ve only got four acts and just need one more, any ideas? Er U2’ And that happens every year despite U2 not releasing anything relevant, or good, since 2001. Or before, probably. And they did that overly sincere rim-job in Paris after the terrorists. You’re famous AND you were in Paris at the time. Well get you.
Phew, that all just came out in a clot. Let’s slow down and take a look at the whole TV package now and see if we can’t pull at a few shitty little threads of contention. Let’s say 10 shitty threads because I haven’t done a list in a while.
- The Brits. All Brit Awards are inherently crap. They are bound to fail and there are bound to be mistakes. Also remember that while some musicians are highly intelligent (like some writers) just as many are quite thick and socially hopeless (ditto)so if you put a load of ‘em in a big room with some oily industry types and multiply by ego and alcohol you are bound to get a mess. There is somehow an unwritten law that the Brits count for something, that they are great and you’d be a fool to miss them. Actually you’d be a fool to watch them thinking you’re watching a serious reflection of good music, not a large scale update of Some Mothers Do Ave ‘Em. Without the laughs. Channel 5 rated Madonna’s poor attempt at a backflip last year as the most outrageous celebrity moment of 2015, but only because it happened at the Brits. If it had happened at the Alban Arena nobody would have given a fuck.
- Coldplay. Bless them, aren’t they lovely. I used to love Coldplay (secretly still do), couldn’t wait for the next album. Nice bunch. Good on him for a. pulling Gwyneth Paltrow and then b. realising she was crazy and getting out, relatively unscathed. However, it was when they started collaborating with hip (hop) people that the shit (music) began to hit the fan. White folk latching onto black folk and vice versa just to corner either end of the market isn’t a great idea if you can’t put together a decent tune between you.
- Ant and the other one. Bless them, aren’t they lovely. Yes, but isn’t it a shame we can’t find anyone anymore to host this or anything else on ITV. You may say there’s lots of talent out there but if there was they would be OUT THERE, DOING IT instead of them! And no, Stephen Fry is not the solution to this problem.
- Adele. Bless her, isn’t she lovely. Dressed in an artfully arranged bed sheet she swept the stage, gratefully clutching every award, huge smile lighting up the place as she ran the gamut of emotions from joy to distress. She was touched, honoured, ecstatic and most of all surprised. I would be surprised too because her campaign, and it was a campaign, was just so poorly planned. I mean, it’s not as if they held radio silence as the MOR listening population gasped for more songs, more product, more appearance, more Adele. It’s not as if they deliberately waited until the end of November and the stupid Christmas market to rub Adele in our face. It’s not as if they held back from streaming just so people would buy a nice big shiny version all to themselves. Oh but hold on, that’s exactly what they did. Everyone knew that everyone else would be gurning for another Adele album so that’s what they did, so there really is no surprise. And, much as I like her, the reality remains that 25 is an album which hovers beautifully in the bracket we call mediocre, ‘When we were young’ is nice, the rest are just songs and the video for ‘Hello’ is one of the worst ever made. For anything. Which is why 978 billion people have watched it, 4,782 billion times. Just to make sure. Also, I quite liked the bed sheet look, so why she changed into a playing card at the end was a bit of a mystery.
- Rhianna and the Sex Games. In the same way that sex films (that’s porn to you and me) have bad music, so music these days is usually accompanied by bad sex. Or rather bad, fake sex, which is often awful anyway, at least until you start to think about it too much. Watching Rhianna (whose popularity befuddles me) sing some bland ditty then simulate sex with someone called Drake is about as arousing as changing a tyre. And yes, I have changed a tyre, once, and I only had an erection at the very beginning. I hope someone else has noticed that good songs generally sell themselves but that we are now following a generation that needs either violence or sex to compensate for unimaginative music.
- Medley moments. It doesn’t matter who does it – James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Jess Glynne, The Who, Madonna, Pat Boone, Bucks Fizz, Lorde. They are instantly cast amongst the worst moments of recorded music history.
- Justin Bieber. Because he started out so well that night with James and his Magical Hat and then threw it all to shit by thinking that a lame song could be covered up by a line of dancers and then some fireworks. Fireworks, like pretend sex, are the cover-up for bad music and bad musicians. I hope it won’t always be this way. With Ant and Dec or without.
- Justine Bieber again.
- The Bowie Tribute. I didn’t know Gary Oldman was his friend (and I have a great respect for both) so I have deleted the diatribe I had first written but I will go on record to say I just don’t understand why Annie Lennox is still famous or why she ever became close to being a ‘national treasure’. Just taste, I guess. The end. The Brits always go over time and they’re always packed with useless adverts. Sadly, the adverts always go back to the Brits. Except the one time I’d like to see the end, by which time I’m asleep and raging with anger. Ho hum.
- I’m asleep.
G B Hewitt. 26.02.2016
Ps, who’s the most successful Brit Award winner? Robbie Williams. Robbie Williams. Robbie Williams. Shall I pause?