The 2008 Brit Awards: Just Another in a Long Line of Disappointments

There’s absolutely no reason why I should ever even entertain the thought that awards shows of any kind could have any use whatsoever. Especially music awards shows. I know they’re all corporate brothels of mediocrity and drivel. I have effectively avoided most of them for several years now – I don’t even take note of who gets nominated or who wins or who performs. I think the last time I saw any portion of the Grammies was when it was a celebration of U2 (in all honesty, it could have been any year that U2 had an album out…or possibly any year at all because I’m fairly certain that they’ve won awards when they had no album out that particular year…or that they have collected awards over two years for the same album). Admittedly, the Brit Awards (the UK version of the Grammies) used to be a welcome relief from the bloated North American shows which featured more inane speeches than actual musical performance.

I know the Brits were definitely never the bastion of musical excellence either, but at least I used to see the odd band that I genuinely liked and the ratio of music to talking was the reverse of any North American slogfest of bland idiocy. There were also moments worth remembering (Jarvis Cocker waggling his backside during Michael Jackson’s performance in 1996 ultimately leading to the inspired “Free Jarvis” campaign, the Manic Street Preachers performing A Design for Life and also winning two awards in 1997, Suede performing “Animal Nitrate” in 1993, the Placebo-David Bowie duet in 1997, even the fabulously fun and over-the-top Scissor Sisters performance complete with giant puppets from Jim Henson’s Workshop in 2005). And last year, the Brits walked the fine line between credibility and vulgarity by choosing Russell Brand as host and it worked quite brilliantly. The Grammies show has such a very large stick up its arse it couldn’t even conceive of someone like Russell Brand let alone understand his jokes. And the MTV awards are too steeped in their own crap to comprehend anything less subtle than a fisting. Or a kiss between pop tarts of then and now. I will concede that the Brits are also filled with thousands of missteps (allowing flavour-of-the-year acts to perform or giving a lifetime achievement award to Oasis), but they were also the only watchable award show for me. However, judging from this year’s nominees and line-up of performances, I’m far more disappointed than usual.

British Male Solo nominees are: Jamie T, Mark Ronson, Mika, Newton Faulkner, and Richard Hawley. I tried to understand the Jamie T hype, but I still don’t get it. Hailing from the home of The Wombles and tennis, he smacks of the whole I-produced-an-album-by-myself-in-my-bedroom-and-write-true-to-life-lyrics-like-Mike-Skinner hype. At any rate, his music doesn’t make any particular impression on me – maybe because I don’t live the life he sings about. Then again, I’ve never seen a vicar in a tutu either. Mark Ronson is King Hype right now and the hottest producer going since his production of Amy Winehouse and the release of his own album of covers in which he mainly works on production and arrangement. Both utilize that sleazy big band retro feel, and have pretty much solidified his signature sound. Whether this particular sound will remain cool and popular in the future and whether Ronson will adapt or not remains to be seen. Mika…touted as a Lebanese Freddie Mercury. Well, he is from Lebanon. Anyhow, it was practically impossible to avoid his helium-inflected “Grace Kelly” for the better (or more appropriately worse) part of last year – it was like a saccharine viral brain worm. My only consolation is the fact he will one day take his place alongside Lieutenant Pigeon, Jilted John, and The Mock Turtles. I don’t know Newton Faulkner, but my assumption is that he’s that extra indie credibility artist thrown into the list for good measure, but who has no chance at winning anything. And Richard Hawley – the one I would want to win, but who very likely will not. He has been in two of my favourite bands (Pulp and The Longpigs), and he is a legitimate solo artist. Which means he will not win.

British Female Solo nominees are: Bat for Lashes, Kate Nash, KT Tunstall, Leona Lewis, and PJ Harvey. Bat for Lashes (real name: Natasha Khan) and PJ Harvey appear to be the token legitimate artists on this list. I haven’t even really heard much of PJ Harvey’s latest album, but I’m sure it’s miles better than that Mockney choking noise that Kate Nash produces. Even if PJ Harvey just stood there hitting a tambourine, it would be better than Kate Nash’s ramblings and pathetic rhymes (“bitter” and “fitter” anyone?). I’m more than just a little annoyed with Kate Nash because I’ve had to endure her music longer than other people in North America, having heard “Foundations” countless times over in the UK this past spring (and I never again want to see another featurette telling me that she found out she could write music when she broke her leg). KT Tunstall…hey, wasn’t she flavour-of-the-year a couple of years ago? What’s she doing back on the list? No one cares. Even her fans stopped caring after her two singles. And considering I don’t know who Leona Lewis is, I’m merely going to go with my gut and a visual rhetoric analysis of her photos and album cover and say she’s merely MOR/adult easy listening, and thus not worthy.

British Group nominees are: Arctic Monkeys, Editors, Girls Aloud, Kaiser Chiefs, and Take That. Arctic Monkeys already won last year, and I still like their first album much more than their latest effort. Maybe that pub/clubbing lad poetry of the everyman zeitgeist thing just gets old after one album. Editors are in the same boat as the Arctic Monkeys as far as I’m concerned – I quite liked their first album (a more melodic and danceable Interpol), but their new material leaves me underwhelmed. Kaiser Chiefs…see Arctic Monkeys and Editors. What’s odd is the one band that I think did just as well on their sophomore album as on their first album and fits into the same timeline as these bands is Bloc Party. For some reason, A Weekend in the City just didn’t get the support it deserved. Compare “The Prayer” to “Ruby” and you’ll see what I mean. Girls Aloud aren’t really worth discussing. Take That, on the other hand, are the perfect example of nostalgia gone rabid and mad. What I want to know is who is supporting Take That – if they’ve gained new fans, these fans must be insipid or under 18 and into watching old men perform dance routines, and if their old fans are the balustrades, they are having a serious attack of regression, which must cause blindness and deafness. It seems everyone likes a warm and fuzzy comeback story. Just not real music fans.

British Album nominees are: Arctic Monkeys’ Favourite Worst Nightmare, Leona Lewis’s Spirit, Mark Ronson’s Version, Mika’s Life in Cartoon Motion, and Take That’s Beautiful World. And so the repetitive nominee feature kicks in. Arctic Monkeys, Leona Lewis, Mark Ronson, Mika and Take That again. How wonderfully varied.

British Breakthrough Act nominees are: Bat for Lashes, Kate Nash, Klaxons, Leona Lewis, and Mika. Out of this nearly completely sorry group my only possible votes could go to Bat for Lashes and Klaxons. Considering the Klaxons already won the Mercury Prize, they probably won’t win this one. And let’s face it, if Bat for Lashes wins, it will only be because someone in the academy wanted to appear hip and credible. And I still don’t know who Leona Lewis is. But I still instinctually despise her.

British Live Act nominees are: Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Klaxons, Muse, and Take That. All acts that have already been nominated except for Muse, who seem to be nominated in this category every single year. They also tend to win. Out of this bunch I actually wouldn’t mind Muse winning again. Although I’m glad I got to see Muse play an intimate venue in Winnipeg rather than some space invaders extravaganza at Wembley. I got to see Arctic Monkeys live this year in Cardiff and for me, they didn’t really sustain the excitement for the whole show. In fact, their finale was so anti-climactic I can’t recall what it was. Kaiser Chiefs are getting old pretty fast for me. I don’t think anything surpassed “I Predict a Riot” for me, and seeing them live probably wouldn’t save them at this point in my opinion. I saw them on every other British festival show on the BBC this summer anyway (merely proving the Radio One conspiracy that strictly promotes a specific list of bands decided upon at the beginning of the year), and I was forced to use the red button. Take That – four sad men in their 30’s attempting to dance (except for Gary Barlow who seems glued to his piano bench).

British Single nominees are: The Hoosiers’ “Worried About Ray,” James Blunt’s “1973,” Kaiser Chiefs’ “Ruby,” Kate Nash’s “Foundations,” Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love,” Mark Ronson’s “Valerie,” Mika’s “Grace Kelly,” Mutya Buena’s “Real Girl,” Sugababes “About You Now,” and Take That’s “Shine.” Has nobody but me noticed that “Worried About Ray” sounds like a sped-up version of The Turtles’ “Happy Together”? Oh, and James Blunt…pulling a KT Tunstall by being in this list. I didn’t even know he had released another song recently (until I had the misfortune of hearing it in a Quiznos yesterday). A friend of mine said that James Blunt made cardboard seem spicy and I agree wholeheartedly. All I can hope is that one day James will replace berk in cockney rhyming slang. My heart skipped a beat when I mistook Sugababes for saying Sugarcubes – then I realized that would be ludicrous with Bjork being a successful solo artist for many years. Although not as ludicrous as the Sugababes actually being nominated. And wasn’t Mutya Buena one in the long line of Sugababes casualties? All I can say is that “Real Girl” made me physically ill while I was in the UK last year. It’s sad when the best song out of all these is one that isn’t written or sung by the person nominated: “Valerie” featuring Amy Winehouse on vocals is of course a Zutons song, but it is better than the rest of the songs on this list. Take That’s “Shine” is even looking pretty good. That cheeky little Mark Owen. How he pried vocals away from Gary Barlow’s chubby hands, we’ll never know.

The performance line-up makes me even more depressed than the nominations: Kaiser Chiefs, Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Mika, Kylie, and Mark Ronson. I’m certain the Kaiser Chiefs performed last year – is it even allowed to perform two years in a row? They didn’t even let Robbie Williams do that. And I can’t bear to hear that “Umbrella” song again – it makes me want to use the handle of an umbrella like an ancient Egyptian brain extractor and self-lobotomize through my nose. At this rate, the only performance I’ll be okay with seeing is Kylie. The Outstanding Contribution Award will go to Sir Paul McCartney this year – they should just rename the award Old Overrated Git Award. And who is the host this year? The Osbournes. I thought the Osbournes were popular several years ago, but apparently this year has taken all the musical detritus from recent years and repackaged it, so it makes sense after all.

If I were in charge, which I’m not and never will be, I would have nominations for Patrick Wolf, Johnny Boy, Puressence, Siouxsie, Gruff Rhys, Bloc Party, The Good, The Bad and The Queen, and of course the Manics. And in the international category: LCD Soundsystem, Of Montreal, Bright Eyes, Justice, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Digitalism, and Interpol.

The only way Brits 2008 will be palatable for me is if during Macca’s performance, Jarvis Cocker ran on stage and shook his bum. Other than that, nothing can save them now.

The Prayer – Bloc Party

Drop Down to Earth – Puressence

Joyriders – Pulp


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Gigs Attended

Arcade Fire w/ Bell Orchestre + Wolf Parade (2005)

Arctic Monkeys w/ Reverend and the Makers (2007)

Austra w/ Young Galaxy + Tasseomancy (2011)

Big Audio Dynamite (2011)

Billy Bragg w/ Ron Hawkins (2009)

Billy Idol w/ Bif Naked (2005)

Bloc Party w/ Hot Hot Heat (2009)

Buzzcocks w/ The Dollyrots (2010)

Damo Suzuki (2012)

David Bowie w/ The Polyphonic Spree (2004)

Diamond Rings w/ PS I Love You + The Cannon Bros. (2011)

Diamond Rings w/ Gold & Youth (2012)

Dragonette w/ Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees (2009)

Frank Turner w/ The Cavaliers (2010)

Frank Turner w/ Into It Over It + Andrew Jackson Jihad (2011)

Franz Ferdinand w/ Think About Life (2009)

Gang of Four w/ Hollerado (2011)

Good Shoes w/ The Moths + The Envelopes (2007)

Hot Hot Heat w/ The Futureheads + Louis XIV (2005)

IAMX w/ closethuman (2007)

IAMX w/ Coma Soft + The Hourly Radio (2007)

Interpol (2007)

Janelle Monae w/ Roman GianArthur (2012)

Joel Plaskett Emergency w/ Frank Turner (2012)

Jonathan Richman (2011)

Keane w/ Lights (2009)

Lou Reed w/ Buke and Gass (2011)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Fear of Music (2007)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Bear Hands (2009)

Manic Street Preachers at Wanaja Festival (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Old Folks Home (2009)

Mother Mother w/ Whale Tooth (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Hannah Georgas (2012)

MSTRKRFT w/ Felix Cartal (2008)

Muse (2004)

Nine Inch Nails w/ Death From Above 1979 + Queens of the Stone Age (2005)

of Montreal w/ Janelle Monae (2010)

Owen Pallett w/ Little Scream (2010)

Patrick Wolf w/ Bishi (2007)

Prince (2011)

Pulp w/ Grace Jones, TV on the Radio, The Hives, The Horrors, Metronomy, Devotcka, Vintage Trouble (2011)

Rufus Wainwright w/ Teddy Thompson (2010)

Snow Patrol w/ Embrace (2005)

Snow Patrol w/ OK Go + Silversun Pickups (2007)

Sons and Daughters w/ Bodies of Water (2008)

Stars w/ Thurston Revival (2006)

Stars w/ The Details (2008)

Stars (2010)

Steven Severin (2010)

Stroszek (2007)

The Antlers w/ Haunter (2012)

The Flaming Lips w/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (2010)

The Jesus and Mary Chain w/ Nightbox (2012)

The Killers w/ Ambulance Ltd (2004)

The New Pornographers w/ Novillero (2008)

The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats (2010)

The Ordinary Boys w/ Young Soul Rebels (2006)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart w/ Suun (2011)

The Rakes w/ The Young Knives (2006)

The Raveonettes w/ Black Acid (2008)

The Stills w/ Gentleman Reg (2009)

The Subways w/ The Mad Young Darlings (2006)

Tokyo Police Club w/ Smoosh + Attack in Black (2008)

TV on the Radio w/ The Dirty Projectors (2009)

Yann Tiersen w/ Breathe Owl Breathe (2011)

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave


So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun


Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head


Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away


Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners


Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away


You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender


I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding


You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black


Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side


Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb


Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape


Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah


And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning


My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it


Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love


We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's


Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south


Running on


As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different


LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can't...call the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell


Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are


You must let her go

She's not crying



Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times



Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone


Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't


So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need


The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest


Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know


No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more


All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids


Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome


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