The Brit nominations are out!! Another year, another pointless parade of utter mediocrity. The Brits organisers have attempted to refresh its bland, corporate image the past few years yet as the nominees prove, what the organisers regard as ‘The Best of British’ would sit comfortably on Dave Cameron’s ipod.
That’s not to say that the increasingly tired ‘alternative’ awards such as the NME’s appalling ‘Shockwaves’ awards are any better. 2011’s NME winners included Muse, Laura Marling, Dave Grohl, My Chemical Romance…..yawn! Increasingly these awards are just excuses for self-congratulation and money spinning ‘tours’ – is the NME’s Shockwaves Tour any less credible than the X-Factor Tour? At least the X-Factor doesn’t crack on to be cutting edge and y’know ‘rock and roll.’
If there’s one aspect of British culture that I actually get proud about, it’s the musical heritage of the past 50 years. Sadly, even the supposed credible radio/digital stations like 6music and Xfm have become little more than retirement homes for former NME writers and minor ‘indie’ musicians. Guess what, the campaign to save 6music was orchestrated by the very DJs who no doubt sincerely believe that they are providing a valuable public service but who pick up a lovely cheque every week for playing an increasingly mainstream mix of ‘rock and indie.’
The odd specialist show such as Maconie’s (Not very) ‘FreakZone’ may delve a little deeper than Nemone or Shaun Keaveney and where else would you hear Crass on a Sunday afternoon but listen long enough and you’ll hear a playlist as obvious and timid as anything on Radio 1 or 2. Listen to Peel’s lad giving it the big un for example
“I just play records for people to listen to”
Yeah we know you do lad. I wonder if you’d just be playing records for people to listen to if you weren’t er, the son of John fucking Peel though. Nepotism, croneyism, elitism, the usual BBC isms and let’s not forget that what is essentially a niche digital radio station receives a gobsmacking 6 million quid per annum (based on 2008-09 figures) so where is all that licence fee dough going?
The BBC Trust contained the following advice:
a) 6 Music’s audience is growing but the station is still reaching only a small percentage of the population and there are relatively few visitors to its website. To realise its potential the station must raise awareness and increase its reach. 6 Music is intended to appeal to all enthusiasts of popular music outside the mainstream since the 1960s. However, the station currently appeals less to older people, to listeners from lower income households, to women and to ethnic minorities. The station should increase its appeal to alternative popular music enthusiasts from groups which are currently less likely to listen. In particular the station should seek to attract older listeners, given that the average age of its audience is 36.
Maybe I’ve missed the point but, if anything, the station has become even more generic ‘indie’ and its presenters are overwhelmingly drawn from a small pool of middle aged, white, university educated people. Diverse, it’s not even with the odd token ‘northern’ or ‘Welsh’ voice thrown in. The Trust wants 6music to appeal to a broader range of listeners which the station commissioners have interpreted as ‘go more radio 2’ and so any of the below Brit nominees would fit in easily into the station’s playlist.
Best Male Solo Artist
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (solo?)
Best female Solo Artist
Florence & The Machine (solo?)
Chase & Status
Outstanding Contribution To Music
There’s a whole world of interesting, exciting, progressive music being made out there in Britain (and elsewhere of course) and there’s no platfrom for it, other than on niche digital or pirate radio stations and websites. There’s also a vast archive of brilliant non-indie and non-rock music that deserves celebrating every bit as much as Blur and the usual Brit/NME/6music contenders.