More than a BRIT of a letdown

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Is it any wonder the music industry is worried.


SRSLY! What just happened? The most trumpeted events in the musical calender on either side of Atlantic just whazzed by in a puff of yellowing smoke and all we’ve learnt is that MIA really was ready to drop and James Corden may be a decent comedy actor but he can’t present live TV for shit.
Tragically, 2009’s Grammys and BRITS will be remembered less for their music and more for Chris Brown‘s seemingly extensive use of brute force. Oh, and Tom Jones finally accepting defeat and exhibiting his grey locks.
On the one hand neither award show has held artistic credibility for some time. For where the Grammys excels in ridiculous pigeonholes – when was the last time you found yourself down the pub disagreeing over the finest Zydeco or Cajun Music Album in the Folk Field? – reducing the event to a farce (Coldplay clashed with Metallica and Kid Rock in the Best Rock Album category), the BRITS has championed sales as a virtue for artistic credibility.
This year, ludicruously, artists had to have had a single in the top 75 to register a nomination therefore the likes of irresistable UK talents Laura Marling and Neon Neon missed out while universally lauded oversees bands such as TV on the Radio and Bon Iver were conspicuous by their absence.
And yet on the other hand, both events have been watchable in terms of entertainment value. You didn’t watch for music tips – you watched for the unexpected and the fantastical spectacle of it all. Not anymore.
In fact, not since Jarvis waved his backside in Jacko‘s corroding face has The BRITS conjoured up that moment of spontaneous brilliance it so desperately wishes to capture. And that was in 1996!
But, what do they expect?
Both shows exemplied a deep rooted contempt for the viewers this year, chiefly by sticking to a leaden script and following a lack lustre paegent of performers more concerned with shifting units than dazzling ears. Imagination was zero. The sense of the spectacular, less so.
A fortnight ago U2 trotted out their hopelessly underwhelming new single to open The Grammys. Last week, The BRITS followed suit.
Minutes later deja vu underfolded again as The Chris Martin Band tossed out pap from Viva La Vida – once again sporting their multi-coloured outfits resembling Teletubbies about to embark in some form of homosexual rally.
Then Duffy arrived (again) and the nation went to make a brew. Or blew the lot and went for last orders.
It’s coming to something that a Kraftwerkian Take That instilled a sense of genuine excitement with their powerpop soundtracking a scene from Close Encounters. What the specs were about no-one could decide but it sure raised a talking point.
And then it was left to golden oldies Iron Maiden and the Pet Shop Boys to show how its really done while Lady Gaga pranced around in what can only be described as the remains of a Blue Peter build your own nautical landscape experiment. Still, it was better than Brandon Flowers‘ effort of strapping on a tight suit and draping a dead pheasant on his shoulders.
In between all this we had to bite our fists as carcrash television of the very worst kind unfolded as Corden and Matt Horne delivered Carry On Smutting with a weary-looking Kylie while shouty Ferne Cotton babbled unintelligible guff at F-listers like Alex from Blur and Gok Wan as they descended steps from a cardboard caravan.
It really was pitiful.
Ironically, tonight is Oscars’ night – and while the film industry is reknowned for its superficiality – perhaps even more so than its musical cousins – at least the pomp, reputation and credibility of their showcase night remains intact.
For where it’s undeniable that the big winners of tonight will hardly be low budget B-Movies at least Holloywood extends its reach beyond films you can pluck on the shelf next to the supermarket check out.
It’s time the music industry extended its artistic reach and did the same.

Take That: Greatest Day live at The Brit Awards 2009.

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