Did we like it?
In many ways we felt enlightened that a ceremony that once might have represented an accurate picture of the contemporary musical landscape was exposed as a feeding frenzy for redundant, anachronistic record companies. The show itself was probably the worst TV we’ve seen all year.
What was good about it?
• Grace Jones, who is utterly mad.
What was bad about it?
• The senseless and contradictory veneration of Barack Obama. Every single ‘artist’ present at the ceremony has flourished because of the music industry’s mimicry of right-wing politics far more affiliated with the Republican Party than the Democrats.
• Just like the Republican Party, the ‘artists’ have benefited from the calculated extermination of all resistance to their soulless, corporate sophistry – the breadth of ‘artists’ stretched all the way from the puerile tantrum pop of Pink, through the rock for morons posturing of 30 Seconds to Mars – Marilyn Manson for teens with pensions – onward past Kid Rock, formed from a tramp pissing on to a block of cement.
• Then there’s Beyoncé, a woman so manufactured to be ‘bootilicious’ that she has all the allure of anthrax, and host Katy Perry, who deliberately panders to the complacent conservative belief that there is something diabolic and deviant about homosexuality, while simultaneously availing to arouse the loins of that sub-human strata of devolved males who find faux lesbianism erotic.
• The few ‘artists’– a baleful term in itself as it attempts to ascribe cultural credibility to people who are little more than squawking, bleeding scabs – who briefly appeared worthy of note, The Cure, Grace Jones, are all over the hill. This isn’t to say that today’s music is rubbish and only old music is good. Far from it. The Cure and Grace Jones are merely frigid relics from an era when MTV wasn’t so manipulative, when its executives still liked music, when Music Television still played music instead of broadcasting arguing teenagers 24 hours a day.
• And this is what defines the conservative triumph most lucidly – the acts at the fringes, who will map out the future of music, have been cast into exile and have come to regard MTV as a carnival of grotesques. But it doesn’t matter as it once did because music has become atomised into a million separate tribes, each happy to innovate and create the next generation of music in their own little pocket, only occasionally crossing over into the mainstream.
• Sure, in time they’ll be pillaged as mercilessly as Nirvana have been to forge the horridly diluted 30 Seconds To Mars, Tori Amos and PJ Harvey for any number of ‘artists’ like Pink, Duffy, and The Smiths and The Cure for plastic parachutes like Fall Out Boy.
• And the ‘artists’ they unwittingly spawn will be press-ganged into the same mindless conflicts so beloved of the conservative ethos – see 50 Cent and Kanye West. But instead of guns and missiles, the ‘artists’ will be coerced, sometimes willingly, into aggravated disputes flog records to an audience who regard gossip as more appealing than music.
• Bono is an idiot. He implied that the real tragedy of the Irish potato famine was the exodus from Ireland of all the ancestors of the Beatles, and that the ‘Fab Four’ were Irish in spirit. As if exploiting the deaths of thousands of people, and enforced exodus of thousands more, to make a pathetic, hypothetical point wasn’t bad enough, he compared his drive through Liverpool with Paul McCartney as “like being in the Popemobile with the Pope driving”, and so compared his idol with an enduring historical identity responsible for as much suffering as the potato famine itself.
• And what’s more, if the Beatles are ‘Irish’, then at least two of U2 are ‘English’, given that The Edge and Adam Clayton were born there, but we have no desire to make any claim on the band’s nationality (largely because U2 have been an indulgent, bloated slug since the late 80s).
• The booing of Kerry Katona. Yes, she’s a reality TV parasite but she is also irrelevant, and appears to have become the nation’s punch-hag almost by default. Far more worthy of derision are the numerous ‘artists’ on display, and Perez Hilton, who resembles a corpse stuffed with wet sand stitched together with rootless spite.
• The realisation that ‘love’ probably doesn’t exist anymore, as the ‘artists’ expressed their ‘love’ to the audience with all the empathy of an answerphone. When Rick Astley improbably won Best Act Ever, the audience were assured that “Rick loves you all!”
• The voting, which had as much credibility as Saddam Hussein’s last victory at the Iraqi elections. Except for a couple of awards, the actual winner always seemed to be perched on a couch about 30 feet away from the stage.
• The conversations that were so stilted mummies buried deep within the Great Pyramid probably had more engaging discourse during the millennia of their entombment. Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars said of someone called Daisy Lowe, “You’re looking very dangerous!” Squatted next to Lowe was “R&B legend” Craig David.
• Leto also referred to the singer from the Ting Tings as “a witch, but a good witch like in the Wizard of Oz”, as the band made a cocktail in a moment of television so stupid and inept it made the 1989 Brit Awards seem like the militaristic professionalism of the Queen Mother’s State Funeral.