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Thursday 29th October, 2020

Bizarre Thought for the Week, w/c 24th February 2003
Tony Dobson

Hi all,
Given the media attention that they have generated, I thought it only fair to give some feedback on the Brit Awards.

For anyone overseas who doesn't know (or indeed any Brits who don't care), "The Brits" take place every February and celebrate the best in British music. In other words, shameless sell-outs with little talent are given shiny trophies to take away, and the words "Brit Award" are rendered worthless by having categories like "Best International Newcomer".

The event has a chequered history, most infamously shown up from 1989 when Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood hosted a disastrous show at London's Royal Albert Hall. It was my first memory of a live television event going badly wrong, and yet for some reason my biggest memory of it is Rick Astley not winning the award for Best British Male (don't ask).

With the previous year's event all too fresh in the memory 1990's awards show had to be a huge success, and Jonathan King was brought in to both present and organise the awards. Amazingly the Brits actually improved for a while, despite being under the control of someone who is now a convicted paedophile.

Live performances were becoming became a big part of the show. Who can forget the ABBA medley, the Spice Girls with Geri in the famous Union Jack dress (1997 - when thankfully I was out of the country) or a heavily pregnant Beverly Craven singing "Promise Me" while trying desperately to breathe (at least it seemed like that, maybe the line "You light up another cigarette, And I pour the wine" had been rehearsed too much in her home. Haven't pop stars heard of the effects of passive smoking on unborn children?).

There have been many infamous moments in the history of the awards as well. Noel Gallagher insulting a soon-to-be-departed Michael Hutchence, Chumbawamba dousing John Prescott, and Hear'Say performing live despite not having released a single yet (How many Brit Awards did they win in their short lifespan? As many as I've won for creating board games, I believe.)

Most notably there was 1996, when Michael Jackson's popularity was taking a big nose dive, so much so that he actually deemed it necessary to not just show up at the Brits, but also to give a live performance. While performing his blasphemous song "Earthsong" Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker jumped on the stage, took the mickey a bit, and then ran around the massive set before jumping off stage in front of a giant illuminated globe. Very funny to watch, especially as Jackson was taking himself far too seriously. For some reason Cocker was arrested, officially for the possible assault of children, but more realistically for ruining Michael Jackson's performance and stealing the headlines. As someone suggested at the time, there's Michael Jackson, and yet Jarvis Cocker is the one arrested for abusing children? TV footage showed that Cocker never touched any of the children on stage, and no charges were ever filed.

(Not particularly relevant tangent: I lived in North London at University when the above events occured. Some of the children on the stage that night were interviewed in a local free paper. The journalist took all their words along the lines of, "He was really nice," and "He gave us lots of sweets," to produce a totally slanted article that insinuated that Jackson was a dirty old man. One of the funniest things I've ever read, genius reporting. I really wish I'd kept a copy of it.)

So what happened this year? Well, Justin Timberlake did a song with Kylie Minogue, from which pictures seemed to be all over the papers the following day. There were also the "Justin and Kylie" stories, along with the "Justin and Dannii (Kylie's sister) stories. What is it with Justin Timberlake? Why must he always be in the news? Why must his songs always be on music channels? He is the new Enrique Iglesias - someone who you can't avoid, but isn't worth listening to. Please disappear back to where you came from.

I thought this year was pretty poor actually. Among the winners were Liberty X and Will Young, both well past their original best before dates. There was too much of them, too much war protesting, and far, far, far too much Tom Jones. By the way, what is the deal with Tom Jones' goatee? It looks ridiculously jet black for a man of his age, like it is a stage prop. Can someone give him a hat, a wooden leg, a hook and a role in a panto somewhere?

The star of the show? It seemed to be Ms Dynamite, both judging by the countless awards she picked up (sorry, was I meant to be counting?) and number of people who were unwittingly singing the words, "Ms Dynamite-tee-eee!" at work the following day.

And the best moment of the night? When Davina McCall introduced the presenters of the Best British Male award - Eminem and Charlotte Church! Only of course it wasn't, it was a couple of guys dressed up as Eminem and Charlotte Church. After a few seconds of looking I got past the Charlotte Church costume and realised who I was looking at. It was Matt Lucas, a.k.a. George Dawes from Shooting Stars. Absolutely brilliant, the best moment of the night. They'll be hard pressed to beat that next year, or any other year for that matter.

Have a good week!

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