Cries & Whispers

AWARD ceremonies are seldom less boring on television than in person, but at least they're shorter. So I stayed in on Tuesday and watched the Mercury Music Prize shindig on The Late Show. Sure enough, the BBC - showing the Mercury for the first time - cut the claptrap and stuck to what we wanted to see: a couple of live performances, an idiot's guide to the runners and riders, and the announcement of the winner.

I went to the first Mercury event in 1992, and had trouble reconciling the winners (Primal Scream) with the dress code (tuxedos). The prize, for album of the year, claims to be open to 'both popular and classical' recordings, but that's disingenuous. In practice, one of the 10 shortlistees each year hails from the unpopular end of things. This time it was Michael Nyman's The Piano Concerto and MGV, which is great, but more of a hip film soundtrack than the best that 'classical' music has to offer.

As well as a panel of judges, there was a panel of Late Show pundits, including Tony Parsons, whose tendency to talk in headlines has not diminished during his summer break from our screens. We heard how Therapy? made sense within 'the sphere of noisy guitar rock' and The Prodigy's dance grooves spoke for the youth of today. I wondered what the youth would have said, if it had a voice of its own, about the Savoy, the chandeliers, the canapes and Shara Nelson in an evening gown. If the event spoke for anyone, it spoke for music-biz executives.

The pounds 25,000 prize - a fortune to some contenders, a new outfit to others - was won by M People, from Manchester. This was widely thought a good thing, on the grounds of what M People are not - not white, not all-male, not a guitar band. It wasn't just political correctness: white boys with guitars prevailed last year (Suede) as well as the year before, and they were in with a worryingly good chance this time (Blur).

What M People do was repeatedly described as dance music. Now may be the time to abolish this singularly unhelpful category. Most music gets somebody dancing. It might be hard to shake a leg to Michael Nyman, but not to Blur.

Two things need to happen. The DJs who rule clubland need to play a wider range of music. And both pundits and punters need to be precise - to say techno, gangsta, ragga, jungle, gangsta-ragga, jungle-techno, or whatever. To encourage us, Radio 3 is to run a bluffer's guide to the sub-sets of rock, presented by a 56-year-old peer, Lord Onslow. This is not a joke, at least not on my part. It's called Supertunes and it starts on 10 October.

HUGHES'S law of opera and advertising states that when admen use opera to sell things, it's fine; when opera companies use admen to sell opera, it's embarrassing. ENO is at it again now, trying to lure the uninitiated to Tosca. The tone of the copy is uncertain ('conveys the absolute essence of life and loss with manipulative ease'). That's perhaps understandable. The Coliseum is rendered as the Colisuem. That's not.

THE CLERIHEWS keep coming. (A colleague has a theory on this: he reckons that for the average poet, our pounds 5 prize is a fair fee.) A few are about me, which is flattering, but we did say they should be about a famous person. Last week's winner had nine syllables, and I wondered if anyone could do it in fewer. They have. Adrian Rondeau - almost famous himself, as Adrian of Adrian's Records in Wickford, Essex - scored eight:

Madonna -

Wanna-

be

Kylie?

Or should that be the other way round. Anyway, his winnings should be enough to buy at least a third of a CD.

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before