Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

What a Load of Brit 

So. The Brits then. Before the event we weren't exactly too optimistic about the excitement value of these awards. Some might say that it's a bit ignorant to have an opinion before the event, but we disagree as we find it saves time in the long run, something which was proved tonight by the 'entertainment' spectacle of what we just witnessed. So, lets have a post-mortem then, shall we?
Opening the evening's entertainment we had the Black Eyed Peas doing Shut Up. This started off with live strings, which was possibly the most excited we got during the show. The American 'street' scene which they were performing on was about as convincing as a dog dressed up as a housewife walking on its hindlegs. There was also, for reasons which were never adequetely made clear, a mini-basketball court at the far back left of their set. The only plausible explanation we have for it is that it was to give everyone sometihng fun to do during the rest of the event. Their performance was, to be fair, decent enough, but it's hardly a big sparkly, guns blazing start to what is supposed the UK's biggest music event.

After this Cat Deeley appeared sitting astride a giant champagne bottle. Reasons for her hosting the event were never adequately made clear either. We did consider offering commentary on the outfits that she wore over the course of the programme, but we'll save time by summing them all up in two words - "ill" and "advised".
Best International male

Damien Rice
50 Cent
Sean Paul
Justin Timberlake
First award and it's presented by Shania Twain. Jesus wept. As the nominations were being announced the crowd remained distinctly silent until 50 Cent got a mention which was about as surprising as discovering your foot hiding inside your shoe. Justin won, again, not a surprise given the mediocrity of the shortlist, and gave a speech which we were going to describe as the dullest ever, but was on a par with the rest of the speeches we have to come on this night of a thousand yawns.
Best British Group

The Darkness
The Coral
Presented by Martin Kemp, presumably because... actually, no, we can think of no reason why he was presenting this, and despite the geniusness of Gold we can't really see Spandau Ballet collecting an Outstanding Contribution to Music award, though we did see Tony Hadley collecting his dole money on a regular basis up until his appearence of Reborn in the USA. Sugababes should really have won this, but as the main point of the ceremony appeared to be to try and boost the credibility of the joke-now-worn-thin cod-rockers The Darkness, they were awarded the prize. Modest as always, they declared that they "probably are the Best British Group". The deluded fools.
Busted were up next performing their cover of Teenage Kicks, in doing so they completely managed to stamp their own individual stamp on it and... no, actually, it sounded much the same as the original, but with 3 people singing, somehow turning the song into a paean to a gang-bang. We were extremely disappointed that they never did their trademark Busted jump in time to the "alright" bit in the chorus. We'll be writing a strongly worded letter to their mothers as a result of this.
Best Pop

Christina Aguilera
Black Eyed Peas
Justin Timberlake
Daniel Bedingfield
There was clearly some sort of technical fault when this was broadcast, as not only did Girls Aloud not win this, but they didn't even appear to be on the shortlist. Clearly heads will roll once this mistake is discovered. Anyway, the current winners, until it gets taken off them, are Busted who dressed up smart in suits, what with it being on the telly, like, and all their family watching at home. They seemed quite chuffed, although no doubt serious indie rocker Charlie wasn't too happy with winning best pop and will be running home to put on his Fierce Panda sampler to make him feel a bit less embarassed about his choice of profession. Oh, this award was presented by Avid Merion dressed as Mel B. the humiliating silence around the auditorium at his attempts at humour should maybe tell him that it's time to get a new schtick.
Best British Dance

Groove Armada
Basement Jaxx
Lemon Jelly
Yawn. Who cares? Not much to say here. The most exciting thing was Dermot O'Leary informing us that "Dancing is ace". He's quite correct, but you'd be hard pushed to prove it using this lot as evidence.
Up next is introduced as a "once in a lifetime" collaboration between Outkast and Beyonce, though we're pretty sure that they teamed up for a performance at the Grammys, so it's an interesting use of the word "once". It's also an interesting use of the word "collaboration", as in these circumstances it apparantly means "performing one after the other with some slightly dodgy mixing between them". Crazy in Love still sounds ace, though Andre 3000's performance of Hey Ya! wasn't exactly ice-cold, more kinda room temperature. The skeleton suit he wore was rather ace though.
Best British Rock

The Darkness
Primal Scream
Alternatively known as the "Band least likely to get you strutting your funky thang and generally making you smile" award, we're actually quite glad that this went to The Darkness, mainly because it should piss off all the proper rock fans, but partly because any prize that doesn't go to the Stereophonics has some redeeming features. The crowd were distinctly unimpressed by this award, giving no cheers whatsoever to any of the nominees. Hooray!
Best British Male

Daniel Bedingfield
David Bowie
Badly Drawn Boy
Will Young
Dizzee Rascal
Normally we'd be expressing shock at the fact that they gave Daniel Bedingfield a prize, but we were still in a state of mild disbelief after Kerry McFadden walked on stage and happily announced to the watching public that she'd just farted. Though this was probably no more of a bad smell than that caused by a Bedingfield related victory.
Should Cat Deeley's lack of presenting skills ever be discoverd, and it's not like she does a lot to keep it a secret, then she should consider a career in acting, as she showed a similar level of talent in that field as she informed us that we had to go to the news room for some breaking news. Cut to an embarassing skit involving claims that 50 Cent had been detained on his way to the Brits for questioning and would be unlikely to be performing at the event. We then see a police interrogation room where 50 is being questioned about what he's doing in the country. We suspect, and if true this makes the whole sorry sequence one of the most humiliating ever seen on television, that the coppers doing the questioning were cast members from The Bill. 50 attempts to explain that he's just here to rap, cause it's all about the music, man, though the foolish police people don't believe him, thinking he's up to no good. And given the constant furore over race-relations in the Police force, we're sure they're ecstatic about being portrayed in such a way. Anyway, naturally 50 is a bit pissed off about this, so he busts out and goes to perform anyway. Had any of this actually been real, we're not sure that performing on national television in front of a massive backdrop spelling out your name is really the best way to remain undercover and avoid re-capture.
Best British Urban

Big Brovaz
Dizzee Rascal
Amy Winehouse
Or alternatively the "Lets throw all the vaguely black sounding artists into a group to try and make people think we are with it" award. Lemar won, we'd have prefered Mis-Teeq, but we found it hard to get too excited over this one. We look forward to them introducing Best British Rural act next year, as we already have a fiver on The Wurzels.
Best British Single

Dido - White Flag
Mis-Teeq - Scandalous
Jamelia - Superstar
Rachel Stevens - Sweet Dreams: My LA-EX
Gareth Gates - Spirit in the Sky
And once again, this list appears to be lacking in Girls Aloud-ness. We'd claim it was a fix, but Phixx aren't even in this either! Something is very much amiss when a crappy charity cover gets into the shortlist but one of the greatest pop record of recent times doesn't even get a sniff of the glory. This award was won, for reasons that will escape us, even if we devote the rest of our lives to trying to find out why, by Dido. In her acceptence speech she informs us that she was "pretty surprised to be winning", something which we easily related to. She also claimed that White Flag was "not the easiest song to write or to sing". Which is a big coincidence as it's not the easiest song to listen to either.

This award was present by Doctor Fox who, for those of you who aren't aware, is an amusing comedy character in this country. His gimmick is that no matter what he says, it's always completely wrong, with hilarious consequences. Who could forget him on Pop idol telling Michelle "You're a great pop star, you're gonna go far", or on his chart show telling the listeners "We've got a great number one for you this week", despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. He surpassed himself tonight by saying "These are the best Brits ever". Oh, the crazy loon!
As if to prove his point, next up on stage were Jamie Cullum and Katie Melua who decided that the best thing to do on national television was to take Lovecats by The Cure, a great little pop song, and murder it, then fuck the corpse, before setting fire to it, and then, as a final act of indignity, piss all over it. While laughing. This was, without a doubt, the worst thing we have experienced in all our years of listening to music. We were close to tears at what they decided to do to it. Surely someone must have heard their version before it went to air and could have told them just how painfully dire and horrible it was? We've still not recovered from the mangling we experienced and probably never will.

Seriously, it was really fucking bad.
Following them, and we can't imagine that anyone wanted to follow that, quite how people managed to resist throwing things - eggs, fruit, glass bottles, their own limbs - we don't quite know, but it was fortunate for Muse as it meant they dind't have a slippy slidey stage to contend with. What they did have to deal with, though, was the fact that the show's organisers feared for the ugly-factor of rock's most proggy sons, and insisted of flooding the stage with green and white light so that you couldn't make out the wasted facial features of a life devoted to guitar histrionics. A blessing, we feel.
Best International Female

Alicia Keys
Christina Aguilera
Kylie Minogue
Missy Elliot
Certainly a better shortlist than the scraped together group we get for the British list, this should have gone to Christina as, and we cannot stress this fact enough, and we're going to put it in italics to try and hammer this point home, Beyonce only has one good song. To claim she's the best female because of that is like trying to claim that The Bloodhound Gang are the finest songwriters of their generation on the basis that The Bad Touch was really quite good.
Best International Group

Black Eyed Peas
The White Stripes
Kings of Leon
The Strokes
We dunno what Jack White is on, but we'd quite like to have some, given their acceptence video. Other than that, there's not much to say about this category, other than "what the fuck are Kings of Leon doing being nominated". So we will. What the fuck are Kings of Leon doing being nominated?
Up next to try and take this awards ceremony out of the level of rubbishness which, thus far, has been equivelent tof "waking up to discover your nose has fallen off", are Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani and Missy Elliot. They give us a version of Kiss which, to it's credit, featured kissing noises leading up to the "Kiss!" bit. To it's discredit though, there was no "I think I'm gonna dance now" bit, and the change from the "girl/world" rhyme to "boy/toy" was very unsatisfying. Still, it was better than Melua/Cullum, but then eating slugs would be better than that.
Best British Breakthrough

The Darkness
Jamie Cullum
Dizzee Rascal
Had Jamie Cullum actually won this we would currently be a gibbering wreck sitting in a corner of a room rocking slowly back and forth muttering "thrown into the sea" over and over again, possibly even including a few snatches of "do-do-de-do-do" skatting as well, while sharp objects were kept well out of our vicinity. Fortunately though, insanity was kept at bay as Busted won this one. Though we're not quite sure whether they strictly count as being a breakthrough act, being, as they are, on their second album.

This award was presented by Chris Moyles. The twat.
Best British Female

Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Annie Lennox
Amy Winehouse
Not so much a case of scraping the bottom of the barrel, but more scraping the bottom of the barrel that you used to hold all your previous barrel bottom scrapings in, which you've now emptied. This is a very sorry list of contenders, we wanted Sophie to win by default really, and that's only because we loved Murder on the Dancefloor. We'd have rather seen Amy Studt on there anyway. As it turned out though, Dido won, which is another nail in the coffin for good pop. Though the Brits seem to be not only providing the nails, but a special power hammer and is cheerfully banging them in without any care for anything that gets in the way, be that glitter, excitement or thumbs. Everything gets flattened into blandness with them around.
Outstanding Contribution to Music Award is up next, and while we were holding on the slim thread of hope that this might be the year that B*Witched finally get the recognition they deserve, it ended up being awarded to Duran Duran. Justin Timberlake presented the award, giving a speech that he was in no way reading from an autocue. The band themselves seemed suitably humble, though not hugely impressed at having Justin present their award to them, before launching into a 3 song set that did not include Reflex, so was therefore immediatly slightly rubbish. Instead they did a good version of Hungry Like the Wolf, a piss-poor passionless version of Ordinary World and an OK version of Wild Boys, which is a lot less convincing when performed by a bunch of middle-aged men. We were pleased to note, however, that they had electric pads on the drumkit. That is a sound which really needs a comeback, we're fed up of realistically synthised beats, we want to be reminded that it's fake. We like fake.
Best International Breakthrough

50 Cent
Sean Paul
The Thrills
Kings of Leon
To be quite honest, we'd begun to lose interest at this point, though we did briefly get interested when we thought that Lemonescent were up for an award, though this dissapated quickly. We don't really understand the excitement about 50 Cent - if we wanted to hear someone slur their way through a song, we'd head to a karaoke bar at midnight - but he's not Kings of Leon so we fully support his victory.
Best International Album

Justin Timberlake - Justified
Beyonce - Dangerously in Love
Christina Aguilera - Stripped
The White Stripes - Elephant
Outkast - The Love Below/Speakerboxx
Nothing unexpected here, prize went to Justin. Fair play to him, we say. It's good to see that someone he's managed to carve out a successful career after playing Screech in TV's Saved by the Bell, unlike the rest of his co-stars, who went on to form 2wo Third3.
Final performance of the night and it comes from The Darkness. They do a decent enough version of I Beleive in a Thing Called Love and end it with Justin astride a massive pillar which rose out of the ground. Unfortunately though, the same lighting effects that Muse had were not used here, and we had to deal with the ugly fizzogs in terrible close-up detail, each wrinkle and line clearly visible. Fortunately it was after the watershed otherwise small children may have been freaked.
Best British Album

The Darkness - Permission to Land
The Coral - Magic and Medicine
Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This
Blur - Think Tank
Dido - Life for Rent
A list containing absolutely zero inspiring titles, there are two good things about The Darkness winning though. Firstly, and most importantly, they aren't Dido, and secondly their success tonight should hopefully send the value of our copy of the original release of I Believe in a Thing Called Love through the roof. Please send all offers to the usual address.
And, with that, the show came to an end, The Darkness performed a second song, so clearly there was no plan to give them as many awards as possible right from the planning stages, then the credits rolled and we sat back and wondered just why we put ourselves through the torture. Have we learnt anything from this? Well, no, other than the fact it took us longer to type this all up than it did to watch the show. We never learn from our mistakes, we can only hope that the organisers do. British pop is in a healthier state than these awards make out, and it's depressing that this is a showcase for the rest of the world to see our wares. We need to highlight our gems and stop showcasing our coal. Pop is precious, don't lets see it go the way of our film industry, we already have Dido as the equivelent of Love Actually. Don't let it go any further.