Brits Awards & NME Brat Awards - is there a need for both of them?

I always used to think that the Brit Awards meant something. I would really get into the event, trying to decide whom I wanted to win each category and took things seriously as though I were attending the Mercury Prize. Recently however, with its loss of important reasons to nominate people, its lack of unique and memorable performances and something that’s generally far too short of the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, the Brits ceremony seems to be declining in value.

Last year I watched the Grammy's before the Brits and realized just how much USA tends to out stage us. I know that Grammy's are given out like confetti, but that time almost all of the receivers were very much deserving of their awards. As well as that, the show itself was magnificent; it included an opening from the Gorillaz that successfully blended in to Madonna’s act and a half time super bowl style performance from Kanye West complete with band uniforms, row upon row of dancers and a full marching band orchestra. There was also an all-star tribute to Sly and the Family Stone led by Steve Tyler and Joe Perry and the show was finagled with a tribute to the music of New Orleans, which included Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen and Sam Moore. After that, the Brit Awards (which had about five average performances and nominations that hardly encouraged my support) seemed a major let down. Many thanks to Paul Weller, who saved things from getting worse by refusing the offer to duet with James Blunt, saying that he’d rather eat his own shit.

Now, after finding out that Russell Brand is presenting this year’s Brit Awards and the line up is mainly of the alternative genre, It has been asked: is there any need for having both the Brits and the NME Brat Awards?

It should be argued that the NME Awards provide an unconventional version of most shows where the awards don’t matter and people are only there for a laugh e.g. Last year’s event featured comedy sketches at intervals of Brand doing his sexually flamboyant yet tiresome routines backstage. Additionally Franz Ferdinand won an award, but were not there to pick it up, so Brand gave it away to the nearest table which just happened to have the Kaiser Chiefs sitting at it. They then called for the Cribs to come and collect the award, which encouraged the Cribs front man to dive onto their table. The Brit Awards on the other hand, should be more prestigious, but it appears to be sinking to NME level. The only attribute keeping the event respectable is its award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’. Last year’s winner was Paul Weller, this year the just as worthy Oasis will lift the title and it is almost guaranteed that for many years to come the honour will still be handed over to only the most commendable musicians.

Will Slater

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