The Week in Arts: These over-dedicated followers of fashion

Share
Related Topics

It's tempting to devote this space to querying how the Devon teenager Joss Stone won the urban music award at the Brits last Wednesday. But deconstructing the state of urban music on the mean streets of Paignton might cause the brain to implode.

It's tempting to devote this space to querying how the Devon teenager Joss Stone won the urban music award at the Brits last Wednesday. But deconstructing the state of urban music on the mean streets of Paignton might cause the brain to implode.

Besides, there's a Brit award - not as outlandishly surreal as Miss Stone's triumph admittedly - which is more interesting to explore. It is the Outstanding Contribution to Music award, the climax of the evening. This year's winner was Bob Geldof; he, like Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Van Morrison and others before him, is clearly deserving of the accolade. Other past winners such as Duran Duran might divide opinion more.

But I am more surprised by the names that have failed to be included over the awards' 25-year history. Ray Davies of The Kinks is one of the quintessential English songwriters of the past 100 years. Some would add that the crashing chords of the group's first hit "You Really Got Me" invented heavy metal. Have The Kinks really made less of a contribution to British music than Duran Duran or other past winners such as Fleetwood Mac or Tom Jones?

If this award was genuinely for influence on British music, then the distinctly non-household name Richard Thompson ought to be on the stage. A massive figure in British folk rock, a historian on disc of British popular music and a hero to two generations of musicians, he would never in a million years be considered for the award.

The reason is that he isn't prime-time telly. This important sounding award is not really for outstanding contribution to British music at all. It is for outstanding contribution to British music by someone who'll go down well on ITV. That factor, I know, is always taken into consideration. And that rules out many of the more deserving candidates - though why the Brits committee and ITV think The Kinks wouldn't have viewers singing along is beyond me.

Outstanding contribution, lifetime achievement, call it what you will - such awards have got to start acknowledging genuine contribution and achievement, and not simply take into account current fashion. Mark Knopfler has not been in fashion for some time, and few people put their Dire Straits albums on display when company is expected. But they were massive sellers and won huge critical acclaim in their time.

It has to be wrong that fashion and the whims of television entertainment executives decide who has been important in British music. Let's see Ray Davies and The Kinks up there next year, and a disregard for the dictates of prime time.

It's history - but not as we know it

We all know what happens when Americans make Second World War movies. They win the war with very little help from their friends. But now it's the turn of a defeated nation to do a little cinematic revisionism.

One of the more curious movies at this week's Berlin film festival was Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean. The Japanese film tells the story of a submarine chasing after an American bomber taking off from a South Pacific island on a mission to drop a third atomic bomb on Japan, this time on Tokyo. The U-boat causes havoc among the US fleet before gunning down the threatening bomber as it lifts off from the Pacific island.

The film's star Koji Yakusho, left, commented: "There are so few war movies in Japan these days, so it was exciting to have this opportunity. It's not so much about nationalism, but about patriotism."

In America, Variety magazine wonders with its inevitable and inelegant abbreviation whether "auds will buy the far-fetched story". My hunch is that auds will not.

¿ The next Star Wars film is scheduled for release on 4 May. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith will doubtless be the blockbuster of the summer. There may be many reasons why the producers and distributors want to release it on May the fourth. It is a bank holiday weekend so there will be an extra day when schoolchildren will be able to crowd into the morning and afternoon performances. It will also still be in the multiplexes for half term a few weeks later.

There are, no doubt, other reasons I haven't thought of. But please, please, tell me it's not because the distributors are going to have a marketing campaign with the line "May the fourth be with you".

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song  

Ukip Calypso by Mike Read? The horror! The horror!

Patrick Strudwick
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past