Brats hand sweet success to the Verve

Brats hand sweet success to the Verve

It was less a bitter sweet symphony than a victory march for Britpop stars the Verve last night as they swept the board at the Brats - the music industry's alternative awards ceremony.

The band trounced close friends Oasis who failed to win a single prize at the NME music awards - nicknamed the Brats in protest at the mainstream Brit Awards next month.

The Verve won Best Band, Best Single, for "Bitter Sweet Symphony", and Best Music Video. Radiohead's acclaimed album OK Computer was voted Best Album while Best Solo Artist went to Beck. The Prodigy won Best Dance Act.

Since Jarvis Cocker infamously mooned at Michael Jackson at the Brit Awards two years ago, the street-cred Brats have rapidly been taking over as the award ceremony respected by the music business.

While many of the big name Britpop bands, including the Prodigy and Radiohead, are refusing to attend this year's Brits in protest at the event's commercialism, they were more than happy to see and be seen at the Brats.

Most of the aristocrats of Cool Britannia put in an appearance at the ceremony at the Brixton Academy in south London, including Zoe Ball, Sleeper, Sean Ryder and Republica.

Oasis, who caused a stir at last year's awards when Noel Gallagher proclaimed taking drugs was as common as having a cup of tea, were safely tucked away on tour in America.

The event is gaining respectability; for the first time it is being broadcast on Channel 4 as well as Radio One. But its trademark award - in the shape of a two-fingered salute - has been kept.

Aqua's infuriatingly awful "Barbie Doll" triumphed in the Worst Single category, beating off close competition from Elton John's "Candle in the Wind '97" and "Spice Up Your Life" and "Mama" by the Spice Girls.

The Girls being booed off stage in Spain was nominated as Musical Event of 1997 but lost out to the Glastonbury Festival.

- Rosa Prince