Thursday, 21 February 2008


Capturing the zeitgeist with frightening accuracy, the theme of last night's Brit Awards appeared to be 'Money/Death', as if someone behind the scenes had gotten completely the wrong end of the stick about Damien Hirst's 'Diamond Skull'.

Like a cross between Beverly Hills circa 1982 and an Edgar Allan Poe short story, the stage featured a gargantuan memento mori disguised as a cartoon of co-host Ozzy Osbourne, a fixture which rhymed neatly with the gurning, synthetic hideousness of his wife's actual face.

Appropriately, those cultural altruists at MasterCard provided, in Kelly Osbourne's eloquent phrase, 'association for' the night, in what, if I'm being generous, may have been a knowing wink at the unabashed corporatism of the whole thing, but was probably nothing of the sort, the digitised red-gold hues of their logo after all providing an apt symbolic lynchpin for the pervasive sense of orgiastic decadence.

Props to the Arctic Monkeys though for arriving like a band of irreverently iconoclastic (and pretty pissed) spectres at the feast, sending-up the quasi-aristocratic nature of the event by dressing as country gents (though you can bet the British fashion press will overlook the irony here), taking gloriously-slurred pot-shots at the omnipresent BRIT School alumni, and generally exhibiting the kind of behaviour you might expect from sane, talented people amidst the absurd, gem-encrusted panorama of vanity.

They might have a bit of a way to go before the music is on a par with the maturity of the lyrics, but their hearts are clearly in the right place, and they stood out like heroic subversives last night.

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