Did we like it?
With the revelation that most kids don’t pay for music, the record industry has adjusted its sights, and now devotes itself to satisfying the sterile imaginations of the human equivalent of whales washed up on beaches, casually scavenged by seagulls – everything musical about this ceremony was dead from the shrill, amorphous mass of teenblubber assembled to act as a dumb endorsement, to ‘the tables’ a group of 50something men who exhibited all the mobility and life of a column of Vlad the Impaler’s stakes, to the musicians who, by choice or edict, make music suited to the reception of an executive’s third marriage on the lawn of some Caribbean paradise witnessed by the cadaverous eyes of his peers.
What was good about it?
• James Corden and Mathew Horne made about as good a job as possible. The problem they faced was the teenblubber wanted to see Take That and Coldplay, and weren’t interested in comedians, while ‘the tables’ were a subhuman assemblage of cigar smoke, avarice, paunches and obsolescence, and far more interested in the colour of their shoes than music.
• The Ting Tings and Estelle at least tried to do something new, but it was hardly PJ Harvey and Bjork.
What was bad about it?
• Earlier today, we listened to U2’s Unforgettable Fire, a magnificent song full of awe and wonder. At the Brits, with all the grace of a bully hanging a gobbet of snot over a weaker boy like an ignorant mimicry of the Sword of Damocles, they played their appalling new single Get Your Boots. It sounds as if someone has passed Sonic Youth’s Dirty Boots through a Chinese Whispers bowel of Pete Waterman, Jeremy Clarkson and Louis Walsh, and this is result.
• If it wasn’t for the continued excellence of bands such as Radiohead and Nick Cave, we would aver a need for a Logan’s Run-type age limit on making music.
• And speaking of Radiohead, Katy Perry, and her miserable use of ‘deviant’ sexuality to tingle the sensibilities of the conservative morass, now has won more Brit Awards than one of the best bands of the past 20 years. This doesn’t particularly annoy as Radiohead don’t require the assent of the Brits, but it more reflects how jettisoned from music the Brits are – happy to dish out awards for what people play in their cars rather than what people play in their bedrooms.
• The Fearne Cotton vacuous adjective tally: “The heavenly Coldplay”; “The wonderful Coldplay”; “The gorgeous Girls Aloud”. Each time dragging the word outside by its greasy hair from the cell where it has been incarcerated before slitting its throat with a knife forged from the comments of YouTube users.
• “At least 22p of each call goes to charity!” – and the rest lines the pockets of ITV and the BPI, pampering with all the moral absolution of huntsmen who claim “the fox doesn’t suffer”. This was the ‘phone vote’ to ensure that a pre-packaged monstrosity like Girls Aloud could win an award, and persist with the facade of youth. Girls Aloud might be in their 20s, but the when they sing it’s like listening to a wicked grandmother all wrinkles, ice and spite, and made worse by the putrid collusion with broad-sheet music hacks who pander to this factory produce to champion the media obsession with all these worthless parasites and their collaboration with the “everything is good” populist dogma.
• “The Duffy v Adele head to head” – more evidence that young women in the media spotlight must be pitted against each other like snarling bulldogs.
• Watching Coldplay is like observing a child in from the 17th century who has broken a leg in infancy and can never quite run the same. There’s enthusiasm and a will to achieve, but it’s crippled by the mediocrity.
• Jamie Cullum still has the weirdest hair in the music industry, it appears as though he’s pillaged a muddy World War One battlefield for sods of grass and then stapled them to his head.
• The focus on the old was best exemplified by the award for Best Male. Already astonishingly weak, it was further enfeebled by the fact that all of the nominees were past their musical peak – Paul Weller’s in The Jam, Ian Brown’s in the Stone Roses, Will Young before he was usurped by more product placement, The Streets between albums one and two, and James Morrison before he first picked up a guitar.
• The announcement that Jamies Oliver and Cullum have “literally taken this nation by storm”. Has the nation been swept by blizzards howling discordantly with an overwrought jazzy mania, or do the winds taste of slightly past-their-sell-by-date Sainsbury’s produce?
• “The Brits are renowned for outrageous antics” – not since people who could think for themselves were banned. And when the Arctic Monkeys got a bit cheeky last year they were suppressed by the lawmakers who decree that everything and everyone is great.
• Duffy, Kings of Leon and Elbow are too average/quite good to either get angry or enthusiastic about.
• The Pet Shop Boys played a medley of some of their best songs – It’s A Sin, Suburbia, What Have I Done To Deserve This – but it felt more like an epitaph than a celebration. Not an epitaph to brilliant music, as that will endure for as long as people scorn txtspk, but more a Fall into the netherworlds of culture away from the mainstream that Top of the Pops for so long allowed it to trickle. It’s ironic that such a derided ostensible anachronism as TOTP has since revealed its crucial link in the chain. Now all that’s left are talentless shows parading turbid slush, people dancing to braindead ballads, or normal people trying to remember lyrics to songs they should have forgotten.