Moaning about the Brits being bland is like moaning about it raining in the UK. It’s kind of pointless but kind of inevitable.
So, because we’re British, here’s our moan and an apology to the rest of the world….
The Brits are all about applauding / selling what’s great and successful in British music, right?
So what is it that makes great British music? Is it the new boring of Emeli Sandé, Ben Howard etc ?
We don’t think so.
What makes Britain great is the weirdos, the oddballs and the quirky characters in pop that spark influence across the world. They may not always sell well but their root is much deeper and long term. But the Brits is ultimately a ceremony that celebrates sales success. It has never been about great artistry or originality. The new boring at yesterday’s ceremony are just replacing the old boring. Their performances were to please the masses, just as it has always been. Yet with rose tinted spectacles we remember the glorious exceptions such as The KLF with Extreme Noise Terror, Bjork with PJHarvey and Suede’s arse belting, microphone spanking, shirt ripping sexy glamour in 1993. They were the show-stoppers that resonated with us far more than Chris de Burgh doing Lady In Red or The Beautiful South performing A Little Time. Do you remember those? Exactly, that’s our point; the best moments of the Brits always come from the freaks.
One year at the Brits Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers wore a t-shirt that declared his love for hoovering. Here was one of those freaks making a statement about how his band had entered the mainstream and the blandness of it all in a way that only someone like Wire could. Again the point is we remember that t-shirt, just like we remember Gerri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress at the Brits. These were important pop culture moments. Now, who can tell us what Ben Howard wore last night? I wonder if we’ll remember that (or him) in ten years time?
If it hadn’t been for Adele getting cut short last year, the 2012 Brit Awards would have been a sleek, well-polished entertainment show. But that moment was the biggest 'highlight'. In 2013 we got the 2012 show with even the smallest of errors removed. Gone are the days of Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood not having a clue what they were doing or Jarvis Cocker showing his arse to Michael Jackson. These were moments when TV was infiltrated with the eccentrics we spoke of. But they’ve been ironed out for the sake of professionalism and the chance of appealing to the majority. It's the new boring of not just music but popular entertainment full stop.
On behalf of British music fans that really care, we’d like to apologise to the rest of the world. Not for who won the Brit Awards, not for the glossiness of the ceremony itself, because the Brits will always be that way, but for not demonstrating to you in even just one single up your arse firework moment of brilliance that amongst the bland we’re still capable of producing outsiders and mavericks full of crazy-pop eccentricity.
We hang our heads in shame.