Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mercury Music Live 

8.59: Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Mercury Music Prize! Exciting stuff we're sure you'll agree. The bookies certainly do, although their interest has shifted from taking bets on whose going to win the prize to exactly how sozzled Amy Winehouse will be and exactly how many wineglasses she'll smash when she collapses in a spectacular heap over her table.
9.01: Jamie T reckons that "Everyone's a winner". Jamie obviously went to one of those special schools that don't believe in competition and gave everyone a prize for competing in the egg and spoon race, no matter whether their egg ended up smashed into the ground or not.
9.02: Jools Holland and Jo Whiley are hosting. It might only be ninety minutes but it's going to be a long night.
9.03: Opening the show are "The truly fabulous View", according to the lying Jo Whiley. If their album wins then you might as well give the prize to an indie anthems compilation album, such is the nature of their work. Even calling it derivative would be kind given that they so blatantly rip off the work of other bands, but without even managing to give their hooks the justice they deserve.
9.07: "A fantastic start to the evening, we've just enjoyed The View", announced Jools, from atop the stage, proving that lying isn't confined to Jo.
9.08: A run down of the nominated albums, along with some spectacularly trite observations from Jo follows. The audience, consisting mainly of record industry types who have an eye on the bottom line and little else, are encouraged to make some noise where they deem it necessary. If this has any baring on the result, Amy Winehouse or Jamie T are likely to claim the prize.
9.11: Maps doing It Will Find You. We have yet to investigate Maps properly yet, which may explain why we spend a large part of our life getting lost. Arf, etc. We like what we've heard, but there's about as much chance of this winning as there is of Maps blokey turning up in the Heat Spotted section.
9.15: They have let him come up on stage, however, to get his award for his nomination. Bless.
9.16: It's Jamie T. Lahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhn-daaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhn!
9.17: Oh well, he's not doing that one, plumpuing for Salvador instead. Which is perhaps just as well, given his current fondness for ruining Sheila whenever he performs it live these days. Jamie's probably in with a shout, and we should consider ourselves thankful that the shortlist came out when it did. Had they waited a month or so later then his slot would likely have been taken by Kate Nash. Shudder.
9.19: Jamie gives a speech when he receives his nomination award. Thanking the fans who had no input in his nomination whatsoever.
9.20: It's New Young Pony Club, who are still our tip for the prize, despite the bookies and, indeed, the public's lack of enthusiasm for them. And their belief that they can carve out a career simply by releasing Ice Cream over and over again. Here they show a bit of variety by doing The Bomb instead, with some slightly poor vocals. Presumably they think this is going out on a commercial network and Ice Cream'll turn up soundtracking half the adverts in the break anyway.
9.22: But she does have good hair. Not that the watching industry types look too impressed. The main thought thst appears to be crossing their minds is "Hmm, I wonder what's for desert?"
9.23: Ice Cream? No, please yourselves then.
9.24: Jo is joined by Charles Hazlewood, who does conducting, apparently, and is one of the judges, and Adrian Edmondson, who is there for no reason whatsoever, particularly as his appearance on Celebrity Fame Academy clearly makes him ineligible to have any opinion on music whatsoever.
9.26: Fortunately he doesn't get to say a lot as Jo is more interested in getting the inside skinny from the judge. "We haven't made any decisions yet". Hooray for insightful journalism!
9.27: Just like this. Ahem.
9.28: Ade wants to perform with either Young Knives or Bat for Lashes. We are finding out these exciting nuggets of information as Jo desperately fills by asking the first questions that come into her head, no matter how inane or dull.
9.29: The new Young Knives single sounds like Carter: The Unstoppable Sex Machine, the one they're performing her, The Decision, sounds like British Sea Power performed by people who don't really like British Sea Power that much.
9.31: If the judges have a desperate urge to appear quirky they might go for this, but it seems more likely they'll want the watching world to consider them a group of people who can actually get girl/boyfriends.
9.33: Bat for Lashes, who is lazily described by journalists as a cross between Kate Bush and Bjork, mainly because she sounds like a cross between Kate Bush and Bjork, is the sort of artist it's easier to admire than love. We saw her do a gig earlier this year and, while we appreciated it, we're not sure we actually enjoyed it that much.
9.35: She's dressed like a peacock. It's hard to know how such a blatant display of tail prowess will affect the judges decisions.
9.36: She's probably got a good chance, as it is a good album. Just not one that you'd actually want to listen to very often.
9.37: The Arctic Monkeys are speaking from Tokyo. They are being Northern. The crazy, one trick, pointless wags.
9.38: As they can't be there to perform, rather than blessing us with not seeing them do a track, we get Teddy Picker from their Glastonbury set. Apparently the sound was so awful at the festival that only those right down the front could actually hear them. We doubt the rest of the audience realised how lucky they were.
9.40: And surely any song that references Duran Duran's Save a Prayer which isn't actually Save a Prayer is awful by definition?
9.41: Ffion Regan is up next. Until now we thought he was a girl. This is why we should bother our arse and actually do some research.
9.42: It's pleasant enough. If you like being bored to tears by acoustic guitar dullness, that is.
9.43: His hair is providing some entertainment, looking much like the Winehouse's would if she was too lazy to actually put it up. A male version of Amy's do... Would that be a He-hive then?
9.45: Seriously! It's like he's got a loaf of bread on his head!
9.45: He thanked them for providing him with a drawbridge. The award is small, he must have a tiny moat.
9.46: Jo is with The Young Knives and Natasha Bat for Lashes. There's always a good reason why musicians sing and play rather than speak.
9.48: One of Young Knives is debunking the celebrity experience. This would be more interesting if it was coming from someone who had actually experienced the celebrity experience.
9.49: Nat reckons that Ffion was really brave for going on stage with just a guitar. She must have a high cowardness threshold.
9.50: Dizzee Rascal is doing Flex with a badly moustachioed horn section. Of course, calling it a badly moustachioed horn section implies there's such a thing as a well moustachioed horn section
9.51: There isn't, of course.
9.52: Could Dizzee do the double? Probably not, but the Mercury organisers do like to make a vague nod towards being street each year and the Lethal Bizzle album came out to late to be included. It's a shame that his inclusion does smack of tokenism, though, as the album is ace. Even the track with Lily Allen on. We know! What are the chances!
9.53: Although for some reason tracks that involve Lily Allen are always better than those by Lily Allen. Probably her lack of creative input.
9.54: But we digress, Lily wasn't nominated. Thankfully.
9.55: It's Amy! And she's actually performing! Or fiddling with her micstand at least.
9.55: And looking slightly terrified. Unsurprisingly.
9.56: Although it's hard to tell as she's so emaciated she's practically hidden by the stand.
9.57: But she's performing Love is a Losing Game with a delicate touch and a voice that reminds you why she sold records before she became a car-crash.
9.57: The room is so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Or a popstar collapse.
9.58: She did seem unsure what to do after she was given her award though.
9.59: Basquiat Strings. Jazz. Urgh. More impressive hair though. We thought these awards were sponspored by Nationwide these days, not V05.
10.01: It's still going on.
10.02: And on.
10.03: Finally!
10.04: We love the Klaxons more in principle than in practice, but Golden Skans is still all kinds of aceness. And you have to admire anyone who'll go on telly dressed like they're on their way to a Star Trek convention but who can't afford to buy official replica uniforms and have had to make their own versions using their mums' old dresses.
10.05: We bet they'll be hopping mad if they don't win though! Arf!
10.06: Because, umm, Jamie's broken his foot and is wearing a cast. Just in case you didn't know.
10.07: Jo is back with Ade and Neil McCormack who writes about music for the Telegraph and once attempted to release a single called People I Don't Know Are Trying To Kill Me shortly after the 7/7 attacks in London, thus making him even less qualified to discuss music than Ade.
10.08: And he's happily proving that point every time he opens his mouth.
10.09: Although, of course, as a Telegraph journalist he does represent the target audience of the prize a lot better than we do. Because we actually like music.
10.10: A look back at past winners of the prize. Yes, they did give it to M People one year. We'd skip over that particular decision if we were them.
10.11: We'd forgotten that Gomez won in 1998. Or, indeed, that they'd even existed.
10.13: We have more sympathy for Neil's song now. We don't know him but we'd really like to kill him, a feeling which grows more and more with each utterance that drops from his mouth.
10.15: Rupert, who knows the odds, looks exactly like you'd expect a Rupert to look like.
10.16: He claims that Bat for Lashes are the favourite, with Amy, Jamie and the Klaxons following closely behind.
10.17: And we're back with Jools, ready for the big announcement.
10.18: And we're reminded, again, of the nominated albums. Do they think we're goldfish?
10.19: Well, there always is something a bit fishy about these awards.
10.20: And the winner is... Klaxons!
10.20: Good thing we never actually put a bet on NYPC then.
10.21: "This really is too much!". They look extremely happy to have won the prize. How MDMA-zing.
10.22: One of them is wearing a phone on his head, and they've resorted to whooing into the microphone in lieu of making a speech.
10.22: Jo has just used the word 'fierce'. Oh dear.
10.23: They're cheering on the steps, successfully drowning out the nonsense spilling from Neil's mouth. Truly they deserve an award for that alone!
10.23: Judge Lauren Laverne attempts to explain why they won, but was disturbed by a Klaxon, who merrily pushed her out of the way, despite being a bit pregnant.
10.24: Lauren, that is, not the Klaxon.
10.25: They still seem overwhelmed by the whole thing, and are unable to hold a microphone properly, let alone string a coherent speech together.
10.26: And another chance to see them do Golden Skans. From earlier, it seems unlikely they could hold an instrument right now, let alone hold it together.
10.28: And apparently Amy Winehouse won the Popjustice Music Prize for Rehab. She'll probably pop down to their party later and put the twenty quid straight behind the bar. And why not.
10.29: And that's that. We're happy with their choice. Which is something of a first.

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