1993. The Brit Awards. Simply Red won Best British Group. Annie Lennox won Best British album. Tasmin Archer won Best British Newcomer. Nirvana seemed to be every ‘alternative’ music fans favourite band, except mine and picked up Best International Newcomer. But all of that has thankfully faded from memory, only restored by the power of Google.
However the 1993 Brit Awards stay ferociously embedded in my brain because of one moment. It was a performance that signalled the populist arrival of what Melody Maker (R.I.P) had already headlined as ‘The Best New Band in Britain’ before they had even released a single. It was a two fingered salute from a group that had more energy and charisma than Tasmin Archer would ever have and yet they hadn’t been nominated. Thankfully the NME began a campaign to get the band booked to perform on the show and it worked, the result being a recklessly joyous celebration of everything that was wrong with the British music industry. Brett Anderson, with his androgynous arse spanking sexuality, girls haircut, pale torso and spit charged sexual lyrics stood out like a sore thumb at a ceremony that apart from these three minutes was the ultimate in bland. As Anderson posed, strutted and pouted in front of an audience of dumbstruck dickie-bow wearing toffs (pictured above), Suede became brutally and brilliantly out of place – a hard suck of aggressive fresh air. Yet for people like me, sat at home watching the group storm of the stage at the end Suede held out a hand to the future; a future of excitement, passion and rawness that was lacking in music right then. I was incredibly glad I could reach out and grab that hand.
For me this is the time that Brit Pop started. Suede’s performance was a huge f*ck you to the establishment. Several years later that genre had (arguably) pulled the soul out of indie music, but at this moment, with this song, anything seemed possible.