Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Brits live, live

In a few moments, the Brits will be taking to the airwaves, live - LIVE, dammit. Anything can happen, promises ITV, although that's not entirely true, is it? After all, not being on television live hasn't meant rock stars couldn't perform badly in the last few years, it's just they haven't bothered. So if they do tonight, it's going to be playing up for the cameras, rather than genuine hedonism or excitement.

Added to which, the odd spot of bad behaviour that has happened has been edited out by the Brits producers (employed by the Brits) anyway - so it's not even as if not being live has in itself kept things tame: anodyne editing has been down to the organisers. Why should it be any different tonight? An hasty cut-away instead of a jump-cut, and the result would be the same.

The date is a bit rubbish, too: since the idea is to try and flog some records in a quiet month, what's the point of televising the awards on the night when young people with disposable income are all out disposing of their income, paying double at the Pizza Express? Last night, with the ad breaks crammed full of slots promoting Love Collections albums, it would have made sense. Tonight, the second most popular night of the year for going out, seems to be a bit of an own goal.

And that was without factoring in the performance of Oasis, who've just popped up on Channel 4 News looking like refugees from a 'come as a refugee' fancy dress party.

We'll be adding to the post as anything which is going to happen, happens.

Jason's just told Eileen that he bubbled himself to social services. There's a sense this might be as exciting as the evening is going to get. ITV is trailing The Abbey, which looks like the sort of programme deliberately placed to be dropped at a moment's over-running notice.

Continuity stress that anything could happen. Good lord, the break bumpers are YouTubesque bits of people miming to songs.

Scissor Sisters are on first - Jakes Shears is wearing the sort of gloves last seen on TV when James Herriot was inspecting cows' backsides. There's no muppets this year, but the gimmick is dancers where you can only see their legs. Oh, and more 1970s kids TV black-dressed puppetry after all.

I Don't Feel Like Dancing. That's the note to set things off on, then.

Ooh, they've got Tom Baker doing voice over and an animated skull. Brand's come on to The Smiths. Not wearing a scarf tonight, Russell? Afraid the ITV audience might not be ready for such effemecy yet?

He observes that the set looks like one of "Amy Winehouse's tattoos".

"Dear Robbie... he's gone to rehab. Let me entertain you? As long you don't need 60 red bulls to get in the mood..."

Russell is now getting the audience to "send love" to Williams -he's not being ironic - and now moving onto some business about David Cameron taking drugs and his "egg for a face."

First award: Keith Allen ("he produced Lily from his willy", before the watershed.)

Keith Allen tells us how incredible the response for his daughter was, although trying to wrap it up in a gag about Robin Hood.

Allen's here for the live act prize - Robbie's only shout of the night: Muse have been given it by Radio 2's audience. In Arizona, another can of vicodin is being cracked open.

Matt Bellamy thanks the fans, one of them tries to flirt with the idea of Courtney Love.

Oh, god, Snow Patrol. Chasing Cars. What a surprise.

"If I lie here, would you lie with me?"

No, but if you don't move, I'm going to drive my Mini Metro over you.

They've attempted to add some excitement by, erm, hanging some lightbulbs from the set. It looks a little like a health and safety officer's recreated that Police video with all the candles.

The front row is waving arms in co-ordinated movements - if we didn't know better, we'd assume they were placemen trying to whip the other seventy rows of stock-still people into making the event somehow televisual.

Still, kudos to ITV for not trying to pretend its shot on film, which is the sort of trick Channel 4 would play.

Now we're backstage with an excited Fearne Cotton and a not-so-excited Muse. Matt Bellamy has just said that Kasabian are great. Take back their bloody award.

We have the power to decide who wins the best single - there's a shortlist. Fearne says it's really easy to vote. Judging by the shortlist, Will Young, Snow Patrol, Take That, The Feeling (?) and Razorlight, it's already been too simple to rig. Will Young? They're bloody joking, aren't they?

British breakthrough ("and pierced the hymen") - it's Jarvis presenting. "Have you missed me?" asks Jarvis. He's got a job of work to do, it's not about nostalgia.

Radio One listeners voted for this one, so we know who to blame. In fact, Jarvis repeats that, with the air of a health warning.

Bloody hell, it's The Fratellis. Lily Allen is a step closer to a Craig David, as the band celebrate the capriciousness of the public by showering each other with Irn Bru. (They warned us anything could happen.)

The Fratellis thank the fans for being "in on this thing from the beginning... we'll never forget..."One of them looks like they couldn't remember their name. Oh, and it looks like they had the mic cut on them, so it's not as if anything at all will happen.

Russell suggests that we could avoid friendly fire incidents if the sides in war played shirts and skins.

Toni Collette has come on for international breakthrough act - she's excited to be here, although not as excited as Fearne Cotton. Nobody could be as excited as Fearne Cotton.

The winner, oddly, is Orson. They've turned up, which may or may not be connected. They think it's a fan-voted award. Shockingly, it's not. Tony Orson doesn't seem especially surprised.

Orson attempt to tickle Russell's cock with their prize.

Amy Winehouse - with half a beehive (a wasphive?) sounds bloody awful and is dancing in a way that suggests she thinks the floor isn't quite as fixed down as you'd expect. She's doing Rehab, of course. The performance isn't helped by a backing band who sound like they'll be the Hawaiian bar at Minehead Pontins all this summer.

Best British Male is being presented by Joss Stone, who has come dressed as TV-am's Mad Lizzie. Joss sends "big love to Robbie Williams for what he's going through right now." That'd be two boxes of Vicodin and a can of red bull, presumably.

When Tom Baker says "Paolo Nutini" it sounds more amusing than anything he ever had to say for Little Britain.

James Morrison has won. This means, somehow, people have concluded that he's better than Jarvis Cocker, which is plainly nuts.

He actually looks like the love child of James Blunt and Johnny Borrell. He can't believe he's here. Nor can we, pal, nor can we.

Back to Fearne, with Orson gathered around her, stressing again how "easy" it is to vote, although her instructions are different from last time. Did she just call James Morrison Richard?

Back from the adverts, Erin O'Connor and some fashion designer bloke are dragged on to flirt with each other and present International Male Solo artist. Who from the indistinguished list (and Dylan) will win?

Justin Timberlake. He's sent a thank you video telling us he's "flattered".

The Killers are introduced with a giant bedsheet with their name on it dropping away to reveal them. They actually sound a lot better than we were expecting - certainly there's a bit more about them live tonight than they usually manage on record. The effort seems to have gone into the performance rather than the gimmicks - we bet it was even a work experience boy at the record label who did the bedsheet thing.

So far, then, the closest we've had to edgy is the bloke from Orson wearing a hat that looked like it was stolen off a trucker on his day off (in place of his usual pork pie proper musician hat) and Russell Brand making a joke about a photo of the Queen's private parts. If they're not careful, they'll have made it past the watershed without outraged calls to Ofcom.

Jo Whiley has been given best British Female to present; she's doing a bit of career teacher bit about how there are more "girls" making music than ever before.

And yet they've still had to give a prize to Amy Winehouse. Two-nil down, Lily. To be fair, Lily doesn't look too bothered, although the screen froze when they cut away to her. Not as much as Amy does, though, during her rambling acceptance speech, in which she manages to make a list of names sound confusing.

Best international female falls to Ricky Wilson, who calls it best "international girl" - Nelly Furtado is there. Sorry, the winner. (Presumably, then, none of the international males had turned up, which would explain how Justin won in absentia.)

Nelly seems genuinely thrilled to be winning a Brit. And sober, which is quite a surprise.

Take That have chosen to do that new one for their performance, and their all-black matching outfits don't make them look sexy, just like Kwik Fit fitters gone to help out Oswald Moseley after work. Mark Owen has got his hand all done up like Gary Lineker during that World Cup; perhaps he'd trapped his hand in a mincing machine. Gary Barlow might dance like a middle-manager at a Christmas show, but they still sound great.

In Arizona, another box of Xannax and a can of Jolt cola are ordered from room service.

Back stage with Fearne, who is now babbling anything that sounds like it might be a link somewhere in her head. The light is flashing off her bracelet; we like to think it's sending porn stories out in morse code.

Best British band: Giles is giving this one out. Anthony Stewart Head anyway. He doesn't, sadly, come on to Coffee Advert Couples.

The Arctic Monkeys have won, but they're not there. They've filmed themselves dressed up as the Wizard of Oz, and wonderfully don't make any attempt to explain why.

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and their new film are presenting best international album. The Killers get the prize as a thank-you for turning up. Well, even the least cynical would have smelled a rat if they'd given it to the Scissor Sisters.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have, of course, removed some of their shirts for their performance. It's meant to be a real big deal for them to be on the bill tonight, but they've played Moe's Bar, so clearly they'll turn up anywhere.

Doesn't Anthony Kiedis look like Posh Spice these days?

They're advertising a Harry Potter chess set - collect week-by-week with some sort of magazine. It's all very exciting. And Microsoft are trying to claim that Windows Vista is on a par with the fall of the Berlin Wall and discovering an elk has moved in next door to you, whereas it's more like seeing the first edition of Metal Mickey and someone walking a cocker spaniel in the path. ITV are also desperately pushing The Abbey in every break, and evey trail makes Buzzcocks seem more and more attractive.

International Group is being awarded by the Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwoodesque pairing of Sophie Ellis Bextor and Steve Tyler. Tyler criticises Brand's hair while Sophie utters a businesslike "indeed..."

If Red Hot Chili Peppers win, it'll show the event up for a farrago.

Blimey, it's the Killers. Hurry up on stage, lads, for Fearne Cotton is filling in while you walk to the front with some words she has thinking in her head about rich rewards.

Good lord, it's shaping up for "Killer's night" headlines.

The mic fades down while Russell is introducing Corinne Bailey Rae - probably because of technical failure rather than outrageous rudery. Bailey Rae is standing looking like she's just got out of bed, and would rather still be there. Which may account for why she appears to be wearing a pillowcase rather than an outfit. Rather than employ dancers, the budget seems to have been blown on hiring a bunch of people to stand around the back of stage looking bored. Oh... hold on, they are moving slightly. One of them is on a bicycle.

Has there always been a middle eight in this song? They've celebrated its arrival by firing glitter over the stage and the standers turning into dancers. Heavy glitter has almost obscured the stage. Blimey, Corinne's swallowed some. Could this be the "anything" they promised? Someone choking on glitrer? Live on TV?


What has been the outcome of the poll for best single? Alan Carr will tell us. Yes you do, Alan Carr. We can only thank god Justin Lee Collins hasn't turned up.

They've been busy counting, and the winner is Take That. Which is the least worst possible outcome. (It's worth noting that Lily didn't make it fromn longlist to shortlist here.)

Gary Barlow says it's unbelievable, and then the mics fail again while Mark Owen is trying to talk. Nobody mentions, you know, former friends who might be on hard times.

Best British album is time for Sean Bean to come on stage - presumably he's still got some sort of contract with ITV that he's working through? Maybe we'll see Caroline Quintin and Rebekah Wade's ex-bloke before we hit ten o'clock.

Will Lily break her duck?

Nope, it's gone to the Arctic Monkeys. Sean Bean mentions how he's from Sheffield seventeen times in his three minutes on stage. This time, the Arctic Monkeys are dressed as the Village People. Excellent.

Fearne's got Take That in her boudoir. Ver that tell her they're going to rotate who gets to look after the award, two weeks at a time. "What's your favourite moment of the Brits so far?" asks a keen Fearne. "Winning" says a Mark Owen, clearly bemused at such a lame question being asked on a flagship show.

Fearne then trails "a blistering set" by Oasis, which, erm, hasn't happened yet - so it's not clear how she can be so sure it's blistering, unless they had large sun lamps on the stage during rehearsal or something. What's left? Has Lily Allen run out of chances?

Great, Blogger is doing its trademark "verification letters not showing" bug. Trident, Cadbury's attempt to break into the less-peanut-allergy-and-samonella-laced chewing gum market, have just made their big launch under the slogan "Mastication for the nation". Do you get it?

Russell introduces another "really important" award, which he's said about them all. It's time for Oasis to be given they're "Your best years are behind you" prize. Brand does at least remind us of Noel's hanging out with Tony Blair. "When I first met liam, I didn't know if he was going to headbutt me or kiss me..." Apparently "football fans love them because they write poetry for all of us." Oh, please.

Wasn't Ringo meant to be giving this prize. Liam does a trying to look couldn't care less "this'll have to do" and Noel says something that can't be heard because the mics break again.

There's ten minutes to fill. That's a lot of Oasis.

Liam is stood, singing Cigarettes and Alcohol, arms behind the back like he did when they seemed a band full of possibilities. But he's singing it like he's a John Culshaw impersonation of himself. Noel stands with the air of a man thinking deeply about something, like he's waiting for a bus and wants to concentrate to avoid to avoid having to talk to the people around him. The sound dips out for a moment - for a second, it seems that they are about to confound us: could it be they're going to pull something a bit more Mudhoney on us? But no, it's just the sound problems ITV have been having all evening. It happens again and again - when they kept promising "anything could happen", who knew it meant the big headliners having their set screwed up by the broadcaster?

And that's it, then - a Brits without much in the way of a story to it, none of the promised excitement, and even watching Lily Allen not win anything wasn't as much fun as it could have been. It's ironic, though, that after all that time protesting that she didn't want to be known as her father's daughter, he was the only member of the clan who made it onto stage all evening.


Ian Pointer said...

It was very curious how the sound problems coincided with most of the swearing…

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

But some of the bits that were munged during Oasis were instrumental

if said...

Yeah and you could still hear Russell Brand saying just 'Corinne Bailey Rae' through the fuzz when introducing her, which I don't think is a swearword yet.

Anonymous said...

Point Of Fact : Orson did win a viewer vote. The viewers of MTV were asked to text in for International Breakthrough.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Chris... I'd forgotten that. Did they mention MTV on air at all, though? Surely ITV weren't tetchy about mentioning a rival network, were they?

Anonymous said...

When the nomination clips were shown they had a little banner at the bottom in white writing (always easy to make out) saying it was voted for by viewers of "MTV Spanking New Music". Interestingly enough I watch MTV a bit too much and the pimping was done in the format of a promo video for the inidividual artist with their text number coming up at the end, without even telling you who else was nominated. Even with all my hours of watching I only saw pimps for Ray Lamontagne, Wolfmother and Orson. Not that I'm suggesting undue influence or anything...

Anonymous said...

You're bitter.

brian gladys said...

Thank you, your article is very good

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