Music awards: Roughing up The Brits

Tuesday's awards ceremony was anodyne and uncomfortable. Andy Gill offers his 20-point plan to inject a bit of danger back into the show

Andy Gill
Thursday 23 February 2012 01:00

More awards As in more categories. The Grammies dole out awards for such things as Best Cajun Duo and Best Hawaiian Guitar Instrumental, reflecting the diversity of American culture and its breadth of musical genres. Our own music industry has, by contrast, reduced its awards to a few core categories, believing this makes them more important. It doesn't. It just makes them more mainstream. Bring back the Thrash Metal Award, the Folk Group Award and the Free Jazz Award.

No speeches by winners Instead, each nominee gets to list their thanks beforehand on a website, that interested parties (their mums and managers) can consult at their leisure. Just pick up your award, wave it in the air, and clear off. Next!

Better voiceover trivia Less of the tedious, easily manipulated statistics, and more truly interesting stuff – artists' phobias, peccadilloes, PIN numbers. Even their real ages.

Bring back the howling throng of punters in front of the stage Make it seem like an actual gig again. I'm sure the performers would prefer it that way.

No VIP table area If anything were guaranteed to kill an atmosphere stone dead, it's the VIP area and its ambience of overweening smugness. And come to that...

No suits This is the music industry, isn't it? Not some sales convention. Loosen up!

Get a better presenter Someone who can think on their feet. Someone who can do what Ricky Gervais does for the Golden Globes, i.e. make them fun. If he's not available, a good comic persona such as Alan Partridge would at least be entertaining. I suggest Count Arthur Strong, whose gift for malapropism would serve the event well.

No rehearsals Not even a soundcheck. Let's see who can really busk it old-school style.

Some kind of award expressing the general relief that such-and-such an act has finally called it a day and shut up shop It could be called the Phil Collins Award.

Fewer dancers getting in the way Let the dog see the rabbit, for pity's sake!

Less prostration at the altar of commerce And a greater regard for art. We all know what sells, but it's so much more interesting to find out what's good.

Wider nomination lists As in: lists which don't offer us five different varieties of the same kind of cheese. Let Stilton win over cheddar sometimes.

No foldback That's ear monitors to you and me – the headphones that help keep singers in pitch. Live music is so much more memorable when it's clear the frontperson can't carry a tune in a bucket.

Some sort of jeopardy element introduced into the system Maybe the nominee that doesn't win gets dropped by their label. Oh, silly me, that already happens.

No acts connected to Simon Cowell Either nominated or performing. No reason for this, it just makes sense.

Mandatory performance by Lady Gaga Or Björk, or Marilyn Manson. Some- one guaranteed to do something so utterly bonkers, and preferably revolting, that your mum has to go and lie down for a while.

The permanent presence, stage-side, of Mr Jarvis Cocker Like the man with the hook at the talent-show, ready to turn his arse on the deserving under-achievers and waft an imaginary fart their way.

More accountability Let the faceless BPI functionary who chose the winner for a category come on and explain why, without using the words "money", "sales" or "industry". Not easy, eh?

No chummy interviews with celebs Unless they're absolutely blotto and likely to say something outrageous, rather than just thank their fans, who are invariably the best in the world, and all the people at their record company, and... oh, you know what I mean. More Oliver Reed, less One Direction (who wouldn't be allowed in because of their Simon Cowell connection).

More stimulants It's a proven fact that music was better when its creators were all out of their gourds, rather than nibbling tofu. But I'm not referring to the musicians here. I think you'll find they probably have plenty of drugs already. I mean more stimulants for the poor audience, to get them through the night without wanting to slit their wrists from boredom.

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