As not seen on TV


"I'VE NEVER attended a Brit Awards as exciting as this," gleamed Tina Turner on Monday, and who had? It turned out to be a memorable evening - not that you'd know it from the bowdlerised TV version. The fun started when Michael Hutchence presented Oasis with the prize for Best Video (not one they deserved, incidentally). A dishevelled Liam Gallagher picked a fight with Hutchence, and Noel Gallagher sneered: "Hasbeens shouldn't give awards to gonnabes." When Oasis received the Best Album Award, Liam's speech started off politely, but improved when he sang Blur's "Parklife" as "Shitelife" and attempted to shove his Brit up his bot. An appropriate gesture, considering his opinion of the ceremony: "This is all crap. They told us we were gonna win beforehand." And receiving the Brit for Best Group, Noel declared: "There are seven people in here who are givin' hope to the young people of this country. Me, our kid, Guigsy, Bonehead, Alan White [Oasis], Alan McGee [boss of Oasis's record company]

Not only were these the least boring speeches in the Brits' history, they constituted Oasis's best-ever live performance. Drunken and childish? Definitely maybe, but at least the band were being themselves. They weren't going to put on their best behaviour - let alone their best clothes - for anyone. It always gets a bit horrible when writers start decreeing what rock'n'roll is all about, but what it is definitely not about is decorum, modesty, or respect for your elders.

Not one of the Gallaghers' speeches quoted above made it on to the televised ceremony the following night. But in an uncensored segment the presenter Chris Evans crassly introduced DJ Jo Whiley as "the person at Radio 1 most likely to give you the horn". So, degrading sexism is allowed, party politics are not.

This year's Brits nominations were so close to those of NME's alternatives, the Brats, that it appeared that the music industry was getting hip, and rewarding young, interesting and sometimes original musicians. But no, they were just acknowledging the groups who sold best, as usual. Oasis won Best Album because theirs was last year's second-biggest seller. Why else would Prince and Annie Lennox have been winners? Their sales, past and present, dictate that they will win Brits whatever they do. At the press conference, the withered, bleached-blond cadaver of Iggy Pop explained why he thought the music industry was healthy: "There's some good people and a lot of assholes, so it makes a good clash. The money and corruption make it all the more delicious and disgusting." True words, Iggy, true words.

The event's climax came when Chris Evans announced that Michael Jackson would be singing his "Earth Song", and that those who had witnessed the staging's rehearsals had had their breath taken away by its scale. Presumably he was talking about the King of Pop's ego. The performance was a ludicrous, appalling testament to Jackson's gobsmacking narcissism. He was surrounded by sobbing, stricken waifs in rags, like the combined cast of Oliver! and Les Miserables. Swathed in celestial light, he stripped to white silk pyjamas. Not, I hasten to add, because he planned to go to bed with any of the youngsters, but so that he could look Messianic. As he stood in crucifixion pose, he suffered the little children to come unto him and hug him, and in trembling tones he told us that "three million children die every minute". Really? That's 4.32 billion a day. But what can you expect from a man whose relationship with reality is as abnormal as the nose on his face?

Bob Geldof then let us all down by announcing, with a sad lack of irony and swear words, that Jackson had the voice of angels - even though he was miming here - and presented him with a special new award: "Artist of a Generation". Yet more repulsively, the award is a reference to Pepsi ("The Choice of a New Generation"), the product that Jackson used to advertise.

Geldof had betrayed us, but Jarvis Cocker of Pulp registered his protest by joining Jackson, uninvited, for a dance. They didn't hug each other. The battle lines were drawn boldly: Jarv v Jacko, the Gallaghers v Geldof, Iggy v Annie, good v evil. And Cocker proved himself once again to be a hero of the common people.

In 10 years of residencies at the Albert Hall, Eric Clapton has played to an amount of people that even Michael Jackson would be hard pushed to overestimate. The last few years' shows have been serious academic lessons in blues history, with a written test afterwards on the textual ambiguities of Willie Dixon and Leroy Carr. This year, I expected to have to resit, but school was out.

Towards the end of the gig, Clapton descended into blues hell, jamming with such frictionless ease that he might as well not have played at all. But before that was a Greatest Hits package wrapped in colourful arrangements: "I Shot the Sheriff", "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", "Wonderful Tonight", "Sunshine of Your Love", an acoustic, laid-back swing through "Layla", a charming "Tears in Heaven", a white hot "White Room", and more. Clapton looked to be enjoying himself almost as much as his two backing vocalists, who were as cheery and prim as National Lottery presenters. In the audience, ties were loosened, knees were slapped, heads were nodded, and someone very nearly stood up. That's the Albert Hall for you. Great show, Eric, now how about trying a few different venues?

Not Eve's, though. A West End club as trendy as it is uncomfortably cramped, Eve's was where Moloko played songs from their album Do You Like My Tight Sweater? (Echo) on Wednesday. Moloko are a deranged, spooky, funky, poppy, trip-hop cabaret combo. Got that? They sounded fabulous but I couldn't see them, so I'll review them properly when they perform somewhere more sensibly sized. I mention them now only because they are Britain's best new band.

Eric Clapton: Royal Albert Hall, SW7 (0171 589 8212), Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun. Moloko: Southampton Joiner's (01703 225612), tonight. Jarvis Cocker profile, see main paper, page 19.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

    £25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas