Award season. We’re less than a week away from the 2013 Brit Awards, the highlight of the UK musical calendar, and to say the excitement is building is an understa…
Oh, come now; you didn’t really think I was going to write something in praise of this corporate clusterfuck, did you? The bond between these Grammys for Limeys and an appreciation of recorded sound – it’s about as robust as your average ocelot’s relationship with string theory.
Because – aside from providing yet another platform for that odious Adele creature – record industry awards exist to shift product to those with no concept of what music entails. There’s an entire subspecies of homo sapien that requires precise direction when picking up a compact disc at the supermarket. They need help when it comes to selecting the audio wallpaper for that next dinner party, or what to insert into the CD player of their mid-range family saloon car during any trip to the garden centre – and its this demographic that relies upon the Brits to adjudicate on their behalf. Because anything else will involve independent thought, and that way darkness lies.
All of which is the reason why I can’t get too worked up about the Brits. Or the music award industry in general, for that matter. I’m very much not the target market here, and just as I don’t have it in my heart to pillory the Bathroom Supplies Salesperson of the Year ceremony with any great enthusiasm, so it is when some mass-market wibble ascends to the podium to collect that misshapen statuette for Best Vocal Performance In Skimpy Attire, or whatever the categories are these days.
And should you be expecting misanthropic vitriol at this point… well, worry not; any mild and uncharacteristic ambivalence isn’t to excuse the whole corporate machine from shitting all over music’s creative core, every day and on purpose. It’s just that self-congratulatory award ceremonies are but a thin component of how music is continually exploited for nefarious ends, reduced to base matter then spoon-fed to an ignorant public. At which point my ire tends to be directed towards those who allow themselves to be so cheaply bought – understanding the Brits as anything other than an irrelevance.
Below the words – one of the few decent things to result from a music award ceremony (hence it’s a live recording at the event in question; don’t think a studio version ever surfaced). Not necessarily the most imaginative cover version ever to see the light of day, but there’s an energy behind all this that’s spellbinding.
Beth Ditto & Jarvis Cocker / Temptation (Live)