Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Brit Awards 2005 

Right, lets do this then.

Proceedings were opened by Chris Evans who told us to expect some winners and losers tonight, before suggesting that there might possibly be a fight. "Hopefully", he added, "Between two girls", lest we forget that Chris Evans is not only a lad, but also an outdated anachronism of nineties culture. Fortunately his pointless mumblings were kept to a minimum and we quickly moved instead to the Scissor Sisters who, after Jake and Ana burst from two golden eggs dressed in feathers, performed Take Your Mama Out alongside a massive dancing pink bird, a singing and dancing farmhouse, 5 silver dancing eggs and a selection of singing watermelons, all supplied by Jim Henson's Creature Workshop. We love the Scissor Sisters, we really do.

After such an opening, the only way the show could go was down, but they really didn't need to hasten it's demise by going straight for the award for the best song from the last 25 years. This, apparently, is Robbie Williams Angels. Now, you could argue that a song which is so loved by the general population, popular with young and old alike and a favourite for wedding discos all over the country clearly has something special about it, such is it's appeal and, as such, fully deserves to get this award. You could argue that, but you'd be entirely wrong as all it proves is that the Great British Public, when presented with a smorgasboard of all that is great and good, will happily plump for the dull, wet lettuce every time, lest they actually challenge their sensibilities once in a while. Angels is shit, always was shit and always will be shit. Despite the fact that the prize was for the song and not for the singer, Robbie didn't actually bother thanking Guy Chambers on stage, doing it later backstage which was hastily edited in before the first break.

Franz Ferdinand were up next, doing Take Me Out, a song which goes a bit rubbish after the introductory part. For this performance, the role of Alex Kapranos was played by highly respected journalist and former host of Wheel of Fortune, Nicky Campbell. We were impressed by their use of the curtain.

Best British Breakthrough was the next prize to be given out. This was presented by Jo Whiley who quite egotistically introduced herself as "A champion of new music". This, lest we forget, is a woman who is partly to blame for Dido being foisted upon us. This went to Keane who announced that they were "a bit shocked to be standing up here". As are we boys, as are we. They also added "People say that it's not very cool to just be ourselves, but it's part of who we are", before being rushed off stage before they had the utter the immortal lines "we just do what we do and if anyone else likes it, that's a bonus".

Brian May found himself on stage next to introduce the award for Best British Rock. Brian was at the very first Brit Awards, back in 1976, and, coincidentally, had exactly the same hair. This went to Franz Ferdinand. "Blimey!", said Alex, who is unlikely to be troubling the compilers of the Oxford Dictionary of quotations any time soon.

Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield took the stage to perform their duet. This was a version of Chaka Khan's Aint Nobody with a full orchestra and the drummers from S Club 7's Carnival tour. Had they been boyfriend and girlfriend this would have been a fantastic performance, full of passion, enjoyment and sexual energy. As they're brother and sister it just made us feel slightly dirty. And not in a good way.

The Scissor Sisters then won their first award of the night, this one being for Best International Breakthrough. This was presented by Simon Pegg who walked on stage and asked the audience "Are you having a good time?" and they happily cheered in response. "That's brilliant", said Simon, although it was unclear whether he was referring to the fact that they were having a good time or their pavlovian response to the question.

Mike Skinner dropped his bottle at the start of his performance of Dry Your Eyes. This, we believe, was an attempt to be rock and roll. It failed. During his time on stage he managed to prove that not only can he not rap, which we were already aware of, but he can't bloody sing either, such was his atonal attempt at the song's chorus. He can't sing, he can't rap... it must be that bloke from the old Kit Kat advert who's managing him, it's the only explanation that makes sense. After seeing Kelly Osbourne in the audience we were quite disappointed that the organisers didn't take advantage of her presence and team the two acts up for one of the unexpected collaborations that the Brits are so fond of. "You're fat... but my gosh don't you know it?" perhaps. We'd certainly pay good money to se Mike Skinner shut up, that's for sure.

Best Live Act was presented by Shirley Manson, who we love dearly and were glad to see that she's still looking foxy, despite being far too old for us. This prize went to Muse. As singer blokey wasn't their the other two had a chance to take the limelight for a change. What did they say to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity? "Hello mum".

As the Brits is designed to celebrate UK talent and show that we can come up with tunes just as good, if not better, than the Americans, it seemed only natural that the next act on stage should be, ummmm, Green Day, an American punk band doing a song called American Idiot about how Americans have a tendency not to question the information that is presented to them by the media. They had flames on the big screen behind them. This was the closest their performance actually got to being on fire.

Will Young found himself accepting the award for Best British Single from Minnie Driver for the really rather ace Your Game. As he walked up to the stage to receive his prize, the voiceover informed us that Keane were in the lead for the majority of the time and it was only a last minute surge of Will votes that pushed the trophy in his direction, so it was nice to see them accept his win with good grace and not imply that it was in any way a fix.

Jodie Kidd presented the award for Best Pop. We have absolutely no idea who she is, but she gave the prize to McFly, despite the fact that Girls Aloud were nominated and were quite clearly the deserving winners. McFly had put on suits for the evening, which we don't think was a success, unless they genuinely were going for the "school leavers on their way to their first job interview" look. Chris Evans happily told us before the award was announced that he wanted them to win as they were "his boys", and we're sure his patronage is something that the McFly boys are excited about, especially when you consider that the other cutting edge music acts that he's backed in the past include such groundbreaking groups as Stereophonics, Texas, Bon Jovi and Ocean Fucking Colour Scene.

Judging by her performance of Right to be Wrong, Joss Stone seemed to be under the impression that she was performing on Later... With Jools Holland, rather than at the glitz and glamour of the Brits. This may explain why she didn't bother getting dressed up for the occasion, preferring instead to convert a curtain from her dressing room into a make-shift skirt for the evening.

Best International Female was presented by someone who may or may not have been called Charlie Creed Miles, but as we have never heard of this person before in our lives we might have got it wrong. Whoever he was, he had the honour of giving Gwen Stefani and her entourage of Harajuku girls - dressed as sailors - her prize.

Natalie Imbruglia took time out from her busy schedule on the tills at Netto to remind us that she still exists and isn't as pretty as she used to be. She was presenting the prize for Best International Male which went to Eminem who, unsurprisingly, had better things to do with his time than turn up to collect his award.

Next up we were treated, in the dental sense of the word, to Robbie Williams bellowing his way through Angels with all the joy and passion of someone who's done it a million times before and just wants to get his money and get out of there. For the second verse he was joined by Joss Stone, again, who oversang everything as usual, but at least she'd put a decent pair of trousers on by this point.

Best British Male was presented by Naomi Harris who, once again, we must admit our ignorance of. We're beginning to reckon that they just plucked random people off the street and are wondering if anyone's going to notice. This went to The Streets, but Mike couldn't actually be arsed to collect it himself, so instead some random members of his band went up instead and implied that he was taking drugs in the toilets. This makes him even less rock and roll than he was after the bottle dropping incident.

After some awkward and embarrassing banter with his ex-wife Billie Piper, Chris introduced Keane. It's hard to what to say about Keane really, as we do quite like them, but they're not the sort of band anyone would ever get excited about. Even if you'd never even heard music before and nothing else to compare it with, you'd still listen to a Keane album and come up with the verdict that it's alright, but nothing special. Their performance of Everything's Changing can essentially be summed up as they came, they saw, they sauntered.

For reasons best known to someone else, Lisa Stansfield presented Joss Stone with her prize for Best British Female - or "Best Pop Totty" as Chris so hilariously described it, seemingly unaware that the year is now 2005 and TFI Friday isn't on the air. We wanted the Bedingfield to win this as, whether you judge it on musical ability or on looks, Natasha will always come out on top.

Next we had a performance that Chris described as "Awesome", but left us wondering "What exactly was the point?". It was Lemar and Jamelia doing Addicted to Love. It was good enough, we guess, but we can't really see why anyone had the idea that those two dueting was something the public were desperate to see. Indeed, it seems to us that the idea was thrown together at the last minute when they realised they still had some airtime to fill, certainly we're not convinced that Jamelia was given prior notice of it given she clearly hadn't had time to finish dressing and hadn't even had a chance to do her blouse up properly.

If Lisa Stansfield was an unexpected choice to hand out an award, the next guest found them heading even further down the path of randomness when Jazzy B from largely forgotten dance act Soul II Soul. He was there to give out the prize for Best Urban and no doubt believed he'd been given the wrong envelope when he opened it and discovered that the winner was, ummm, Joss Stone, for whom the wrong side of the tracks is simply a euphemism for having rubbish seats at the Derby.

Best International Group was presented by Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook from out of New Order. An incoherent and rambling Hooky muttered something about killing everyone before looking at the envelope and announcing "Fuck me, it's the Scissor Sisters", and it was, and quite right too. Ana Matronic dedicated it to everyone who said they wouldn't do it. "Nyaaaaaah!", she yelled, "We did it!"

Gwen Stefani was up next, romping her way through What You Waiting For with her Harajuku girls dressed up in ballerina-esque outfits and basically proving to the viewing public exactly why she deserved her prize for Best International Female. Those who were wondering were the concepts for her video's come from may well have found their answer thanks to a number of large mushrooms which were dotted around the set.

The Best British Group was next to be announced, with Chris announcing that this year it was dedicated to John Peel for all that he'd done in support of British music. A nice touch, but one which was spoilt somewhat when Kelly and Sharon Osbourne came down to present it. This was Franz Ferdinand's second and final award of the night. Alex announced that to get a Brit Award he would happily walk 500 miles and that he would equally happily walk 500 more, so for that we have to salute him.

The final international award of the night was presented by Souixsie Souix. As she came on stage Chris asked her "How much fun is it being in a rock and roll band?", expecting an answer of the "lots!" variety. Souixsie answered "Miserable", which threw Chris, seemingly unaware that Souixsie and the Banshees were a bunch of grumpy goths. The prize for Best International Album went, unsurprisingly, to the Scissor Sisters, who fully deserved their hattrick of awards, and hopefully really pissed off U2 in the process.

The final attempt to sell this show to an American network came when Pharell and Snoop Dogg came on stage to do a performance of Drop it Like it's Hot which started off a bit rubbish, but gathered momentum as the track progressed. You have to take your hat off to them and, indeed, Snoop did just that, chucking his own titfer into the crowd, whereupon a scrum more suited to a swedish owned furniture shop no doubt descended upon where it landed. Somehow we can't see the US Media types wanting the footage of Keane's performance after that shizzle.

The last proper award of the night was the Best British Album and was presented by Clive Owen - presumably because Jude Law wasn't available - although we did hope that with the randomness of some of the guests it might actually have been Clive Dunn instead. This went to Keane for Hopes and Fears, which is quite frankly a nonsense. Even the most rabid Keane fan in the world wouldn't claim it was the best album in the world. Hell, even our aforementioned musically deprived person who's only contact with the world of recorded tunage is the Keane album would suggest that any of the other shortlisted candidates had probably done something a bit better than this.

And so, finally, we come to the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, although this year it came with the addition of And saving starving Africans as Bob Geldof was given it. Unless they genuinely want us to believe that writing one memorable track and one decent intro counts as an outstanding contribution to music. Midge Ure must be kicking himself. As, for that matter, must the rest of the Boomtown Rats who didn't even get a look in, who surely deserved to share the stage, unless the Brit organisers are actually honouring him for his godawful solo stuff. After accepting his prize from Jools Holland, Bob took to the stage and performed his memorable track, I Don't Like Mondays, before following it up with The Great Song of Indifference Rat Trap, which was quite nice of him as, once the intro was out of the way, it meant the audience could bugger off early and catch their tube home, safe in the knowledge that they wouldn't miss anything exciting.

That's it. Overall it wasn't a bad show this year. Fair enough a lot of people that should have won, didn't, and the final list of winners is so white that it might even cause Michael Howard to raise an eyebrow, but it was certainly better than the travesty that was last year's show, and besides, no matter what you think of the final outcome, neither Kasabian nor Jamie Cullum won any of the prizes they were up for, and ultimately that has to be a good thing for music.