There was a moment last night when the Brit Awards came tantalisingly close to subversiveness. Oasis had just won the award for British Album Of 30 Years for ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’. Liam had just proved how blasé and indifferent to the whole thing he is by giving up his Tuesday night with the kids to travel in the rain to Earls Court Exhibition Centre, pick up the statue and throw it in the crowd.
With it went his microphone and by the next ad break organisers were pleading with the crowd for its return. “We need that back now please” a runner demanded with the intensity of a harrassed headmaster “or the next act won’t be able to perform”. (Did they really think the crowd would fall for that? The idea that something as stage-managed as the Brits would have just the handful of mics, asking Liam if he wouldn’t mind passing it to JLS if he saw them during his backstage travels?)
Unfortunately, whoever got the mic duly returned it and relinquished all hope for hi jinx. Which is a shame, as the possibilities for mayhem were infinite. Some extra live vocals during Cheryl’s mimed extravaganza? Naughty shout outs to the naughtiest Spice Girls? Passing it to Dizzee so he could shout “boobs” every few minutes? Hell, even some squeaky fart noises from time to time would have done. It would have beaten Peter Kay’s end-of-the-pier air horn pranks and hilarious misnaming of the acts.
But despite the organisers’ attempts (booking rent-a-blunder Sam Fox, putting Courtney in a room with free alcohol and microphones) this year went without a ‘moment’. And Liam’s pathetic two fingers to a brother that was too blasé and indifferent to be there (or probably even watch) was the sharp end of indie rock and roll’s painfully poor showing.
Yes the yanks trounced us. Gaga, despite blubbering like a spoilt child in need of a slap as she picked up her third award, retooled her set at the 11th hour and still made Cheryl look like a contestant not a judge, at the same time introducing us to the world’s greatest instrument.
Alicia Keys stomped all over every single one of our Big Female Hopes without every trying, and Jay-Z was out of the room by the time Robbie hit the stage, dancing to his own records at Chinawhites while our Outstanding Contribution to Cabaret was plodding through his hits.
But it was rock’s piss-poor showing that really stood out. Liam‘s outburst was so inevitable they probably had it on the backstage running order, Florence gibbered and thanked everyone in her life from her mum’s midwife onwards, and Kasabian – who threatened before the show to splatter JLS with fire extinguisher foam – celebrated their award by Tom falling over on the stage. And their “incendiary” run through of ‘Fire’ was little more than a row of bunsen burners lit by orange spotlights that had nowhere near nothing on this.
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OK so Animal Collective were never going to trump Gaga, but The Brits gave credible artists a handful of chances last night, and they blew them. An embarrassing night for us Brits, yes. But an even more shameful affair for rock and roll.