February 24, 2013 by benmblackman
Do you remember when the Brit Awards were good? Well okay, I’m not sure if that was ever true but they were essential viewing for me and everyone I knew, not so long ago. The thing of tabloid dreams before a world of 579 channels; 24/7 rolling news and digital downloads.
The Times They Are A-Changin’ Bob Dylan sang back in 1964 (not at the Brit Awards – he was far too cool for that, and they weren’t invented yet). I wonder if he realised just how much.
In my mind 1993-2000 were the big ones. I guess, in reality, it was the middle few that were really anything to write home about. Blur; Oasis; Take That; The Spice Girls. Have there been bigger British bands since? Has anybody left a legacy as long as that lot? The fact that so many of them are still making music, sometimes together, is astonishing really. So imagine when they were in their pomp. I guess I was part of the BritPop generation (is that a thing)? Looking back, what times we had.
The Brits 2006 were monumental for two reasons. Firstly Michael Jackson and Jarvis Cocker both appeared on stage together (not wholly appreciated by the former). Secondly, it just so happened that the rest of my family were away for the week. They had gone to Washington for a wedding and, for some reason, a reflection of the thought pattern of a 17 year old boy, I opted to forego an all-expenses-paid trip of a lifetime, opting to stay at home with no money to my name instead. For legal reasons I cannot go into details of what occurred but the hangovers for me and a collection of friends were, I presume, as grandiouse as they were for the bands and execs who attended.
The summer that followed was, I am sure, the hottest and sunniest ever. I passed my driving test in June, my sister bought me Ocean Colour Scene on tape. I ruled (albeit in my Mum’s 1.1 litre Fiesta). Euro ’96 was in town and the country was pumping.
New Labour, New Britain followed hot on its’ heels in 1997. I’m not surprised we’re paying for it now, it was like money was growing on trees. I went to university that year, the last tuition fees would be paid by local authorities, we even got a grant for accommodation. Student loans were dished out, overdrafts and credit cards were pimped by the big 4 on every corridor of the Student Union.
Through all those years whatever gang I was in, we’d all tune-in to see what happened at the Brits.
In the days it was criticised for being an industry insiders event, not for the people let alone the music, it’s odd to think that’s when it rocked the most.
Those days have gone. I guess a corner was turned when Hear‘Say performed and got booed by their own (musicians; industry insiders). What right did they have to judge so badly? They made them but they broke them just as quick. Actually I was a massive fan and still think they woz robbed (compared to what followed after).
Fast forward to 2013 and I can’t imagine any groups of teens or students gathered around TV sets together watching as excitingly as we did. I gave it a go, like I usually do because, in my mind it’s still must see viewing whilst in reality it’s most certainly not.
What has become of the music industry and sport these days? Corporate, moneymaking machines like never before. In a world of media training even the anarchy is pre-arranged and rehearsed for maximum impact.
I can’t pretend it was all I crack it up to be though. Memories are often so much better than reality. I’m eternally grateful I grew up in the days before Facebook and YouTube. The shame of what you did the night before and whether anybody else would remember was bad enough, let alone the potential of videos and photos being distributed to the masses!
From memory, in 1996 Michael Jackson turned up and pretended to be Jesus whilst Jarvis Cocker basically stood on a corner of the stage and wiggled his (fully clothed) bottom a bit. At the time it was one of the most sensational rock and roll stories ever. To give a little context, it all happened in a country where Tony Blair was viewed as the savior and Gazza was mad, ‘but in a good way’. Perhaps we all were a little.
Still, it was exciting wasn’t it? If anybody can describe anything that happened at the Brits 2013 in another 17 years I’ll give you my Dawson’s Creek CD.