Award ceremonies: who cares wins?

There’s nothing more trivial that people waste their time attempting to seriously debate, rationalise, opine and psychoanalyse than award ceremonies.

Until the day arrives that every person wakes up with identically aligned tastes, you’re inevitably going to end up unsatisfied.

Since this is Brit Awards week, the annual celebration of the best that Britain’s music scene has to offer (ahem), we can look forward to finding out who triumphs among the 49 nominations featuring British artists… of which 48 are English, none are Northern Irish, none are Welsh and one is Scottish – Biffy Clyro, who are up for Best Group (and let’s not forget Simon Neil wrote Best British Single contender When We Collide for Matt Cardle, what a champ).

The cutting-edge talent that can be found in the rest of the world is also catered for at the Brits with categories such as Best International Breakthrough Act, which is contested this year by Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, The National, The Temper Trap and the cast of Glee. I genuinely thought I’d accidentally clicked on The Onion website when I first read that.

The whole event is so predictably desperate, from the laboriously unfunny presenters to the gyrations and exploitation of female pop stars whom young girls regard as role models. But that’s what happens when you put the control of such shows in the hands of a steering group made up of industry figures who want to maximise their own vested interests, namely: David Joseph, chairman (Universal Music), Jason Iley (Universal Music), Miles Leonard (EMI), Christian Tattersfield (Warners), Mike Smith (Sony Music), Ben Beardsworth (XL Recordings).

The Scottish broadcasting industry had the right idea, setting up the Scottish BAFTAs in 1997 after growing tired of seeing their film and television creations north of the border continually ignored by the so-called British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

So how can those involved in making music in Scotland get its rightful share of self-congratulation?

Now in its second year, the Scottish Alternative Music Awards aims to “award and recognise the best artists around the country”, with six different acts nominated in each of the five categories, although the Best Newcomer category seems rather redundant in a competition made up entirely of newcomers (in the grand scheme of things).

To be honest, I don’t think the SAMAs in its current structure is the magic answer to the wilful ignorance of Scottish music talent. Since few of the 30 nominees that the public are being asked to vote for could pull more than a couple of hundred punters to a gig, the whole event is unlikely to be appreciated outwith the local scene it exists to promote – if you’re trying to give relevance and purpose to an award ceremony then surely that objective is more important than any other.

But at least it’s a step in the right direction and if it helps more people discover the wonders of underappreciated bands such as Little Eskimos then it’s certainly not doing any harm.

You also have to take your hat off to SAMA founder Richy Muirhead for having the will, guts and determination to do something about the issue rather than writing 536 words discussing how trivial award ceremonies are in a blog post. I never learn.

Tickets are on sale here for the Scottish Alternative Music Awards show at Glasgow’s Classic Grand on February 25.

Little Eskimos – Legs

Little Eskimos – The Broken Heart Brigade

2 Responses to “Award ceremonies: who cares wins?”

  1. Alex Says:

    February 14th, 2011 at 01:29

    Simon cowell now controls the record industry get used to it. If you doubt what I say just look at the nominees!

  2. Murray Says:

    February 14th, 2011 at 10:08

    Broken Heart Brigade by Little Eskimos is class.

    I agree re the SAMA’s, good idea that needs some guidance and some financial backing. The Brit’s are ridiculous this year.

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