Friday, February 24, 2006

NME AWARDS: Cheek by jowls

Poor Russell Brand, given the task of presenting the NME Awards yesterday - his schtick wasn't so very bad, and he might have got away with simply pretending that the room wasn't set up well to capture the responses to his gags, were it not for the roars which the Arctic Monkeys managed when they suggested that maybe he was a little bit Wheeltappers with his north-south divide stuff. The bit of business with Carl Barat was quite amusing in a play-what-I-wrote way, especially because it's nice to see Barat taking the piss out of himself; the pointless stuff with the backstage masseurs less so.

It was a night of jowly Mancunians - Peter Hook came on to present the best live band prize; Pete Shelley handed out the Peel-themed innovation prize which Shaun Ryder collected; Ian Brown (okay, not especially jowly) was the lifetime achievement award. Indeed, they should have just gone the whole hog and got Fred Elliot in to anchor the whole thing.

Peter Hook instigated the only real bit of drama in a night which otherwise flowed from A to B to C: as Brand revealed that Franz Ferdinand couldn't be with them, Hook took it upon himself to rededicate the prize to the Kaiser Chiefs instead. Brand did rise to this, actually, giving a school-teacherly "do you think that's fair?" opportunity for the Kaisers to hand it back. They instead offered it to the Cribs who sent someone leaping into their table. Luckily, the Franzies had already accepted the prize on a bit of tape - from "Uncle" Iggy Pop - so no need to put asterisks all over your list of prize winners.

The Arctic Monkeys did well - not only taking three prizes but keeping just the right side of charming arrogance ("Best band in Britain? Well, who else?") to get away with it, but their Brazil style sweeping of all ahead of them did make the prizes seem less like a summation of last year and more like a snapshot of right now. This modishness on the part of the enfranchised NME reader was really underlined when Pete Doherty, last year's darling, came stumbling on to - eventually, eventually - play Down In Albion. Nobody actually said "oh, look, it's the skaggy ghost of Christmas past", but it was a polite sort of evening.

Apart from Bono's swearing, of course. When - confusingly - Live8 picked up the best DVD prize (despite not actually being considered the best event of the year) - they had a short film from Mr. Vox in which he was warm, amusing and very, very sweary indeed. Up until he started trying to get all holier-than-Bob on us. And then Bob Geldof came up to try and out microJesus Bono. Apparently, it seems every time someone buys a Live8 DVD, it puts a little bit of pressure on the governments to stick to the weak promises they made at the G8 (not to mention some profit into EMI's bottom line, of course). We love this idea of replacing democracy with purchases - we're going to buy three copies of Bob's Vegetarians of Love album today to see if it'll make the council put in a ramp outside the library.

The performances were pretty good - it would have been nice if there'd been some room for music fans to have a bit of a dance in front of the stage, rather than making the bands play to people caught in the perpetual embarrasment of being seated during a rock performance: "do we dance? should we jiggle our heads? maybe we should stare fixedly ahead and hope the camera doesn't focus on us... oh, rats..."

Johnny Borrell seems to have been reborn as an Andy Bell tribute act (when he was in Ride, not Oasis); Dirty Pretty Things still feel half-formed, but coalescing nicely. The hip-hop bloke with a guitar, who we seem to have written down as being Mark One, but that might just be a reminder to us to buy new socks today, was introduced as being a "British Eminem" (cue Brand making some weak joke about chocolates) but actually seemed to be a 2006 version of Lemm Sissay.

Conor McNicholas - who really has grown into his role - came on to do the headmasterly duties for the lifetime achievement award: apparently "Ian Brown is close to the heart of the magazine"; for reasons that were never clearly explained to us, Teddy Sheringham did the actual presentation before Brown said "it is an honour"" and thanked everyone who makes music, ever.

Those winners - as ever - in full, then, including the ones that they didn't show on TV (George W Bush's acceptance speech was just too rude for even E4):

Best British Band
Arctic Monkeys

Best International Band
The Strokes

Best Solo Artist
Kanye West

Best New Band
Arctic Monkeys

Best Live Band
Franz Ferdinand

Best Album
'Employment' - Kaiser Chiefs

Best Track
'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' - Arctic Monkeys

Best Video
'The Importance Of Being Idle' - Oasis

Best Music DVD

Best Event
Carling Weekend: Reading And Leeds Festivals

Best TV Show

Best Radio Show
Zane Lowe (Radio 1)

Best Film
'Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire'

Best Website

Best Venue
Brixton Carling Academy

Hero Of The Year
Bob Geldof

Villain Of The Year
George Bush

Best Dressed
Ricky Wilson

Worst Dressed
Justin Hawkins

Worst Album
'Back To Bedlam' - James Blunt

Worst Band
Son Of Dork

Sexiest Man
Pete Doherty

Sexiest Woman

Some of these are just plain curious - either because they're wrong (Gorillaz? Innovation? Maybe - if you'd never heard The Archies - the first album might have had a smack of novelty about it) or what they say about the NME readership right now: they fancy Madonna, watch Harry Potter and... they still give a bloody prize to Oasis. You might imagine the paper is drawing a large slew of support from younger teens these days; the polls suggest if you factor in people voting on the website, the average age of the NME user is about 50.

One last observation: Shockwaves, the hair stuff that sponsored the awards, were too tight to sponsor the E4 awards show.


Anonymous said...

Apparently (according to 5live this morning)Teddy Sheringham presented Ian Brown's award because Brown insisted that a member of Man U's 1999 treble winning team should do the honours!

Anonymous said...

best website, well FUCK MY HAT!
Bloke from the Cribs who backflipped onto the table hurt himself, got taken to hospital apparently.
The Cribs, The Kaiser Chiefs and The Franz Ferdinand are all managed by the same company (Supervision).

Ashley Russell said...

I've written my comments over at my blog. You have a nice blog here.

The Cribs guy was hilerious but stupid, he went to hospital and got let out at like 5am apparently or something like that.

Dirty pretty Things were brilliant.

Simon & Nick rock!!

Simon said...

I've been getting search hits since last night's E4 broadcast for 'nme awards russell brand bob geldof', which seems odd because the only place they'll have known about Geldof calling Brand a cunt was by watching the programme. Interesting that the edit kept in his Gary Glitter joke from his introductory spiel but bleeped out both the set-up and punchline, presumably to make him look 'edgy'.

Also, Gonzo? No wonder that award got cut out, it'd have taken far too long to explain.

Anonymous said...

Sexiest woman?!?! It's interesting to see that gerontophilia is rife amongst the readers of new musical express. Then again they don't really seem to know much about the ladies of music, given the fact that the nominations included an outstanding level of equality. Yes that's right : 1/2 of the magic fatties and.... oh a sixth of the arcade fire. Maybe they just don't like girls.

And villain of the year: George W. Bush Jr! (i'm presuming here that norockandrollfun mistyped George Bush since that boy's done little wrong) Besides the lack of imagination from the NME readers (which was made obvious by the "innovation" of Gorillaz) in that one they miss the fact that the NME put forward nominations for about 99% white people. Yeah Kanye would've been feeling right at home last night, right next to the criminally overlooked Kele. Let's face it, in a country where we have more and more young black talent (not that I think colour, or gender for that matter, should remotely be an issue here) we have a section of society in the NME readers who are more closely related to George W. Bush and co (let's not forget that whole Bono dancing merrily with Bush and Jesse "I'll sing dixie till you cry" Helms) than they will ever realise. Next time Conor "Operation : Let's kill music journalism!" McNicholas defends hoodies remember this - he's talking white hoods!! Then again I suppose these are the same NME readers who'll probably go out and vote tory at the next election because of that whole call me Dave thing. This has all happened quicker that you can say "establishment"

Admittedly I may have made less of a comment and more of something else which I probably should've put elsewhere. Sorry... got a bit carried away and yet still clicked anonymous? A strange one indeed!

ian said...

I look forward to Johnny Burrell as an Andy Bell tribute act from his Erasure years.

What is Contor's role? Is it the grim reaper of music journalism?

evan said...

I'm with em on a lot of this, but isn't it time for everyone to forget about Doherty? The Arctic Monkeys are making better Libertines music than the Libertines ever did.

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