Mercury Music Prize 2005, BBC4

by | Sep 7, 2005 | All, Reviews

Highlights

• Folk violinist Seth Lakeman was one of the better unknown nominees. His film about life on Dartmoor was punctuated by glorious scenery, intriguing anecdotes which inspired songs on his album (a serving girl who committed suicide and was buried on unholy ground, a road junction, and arduous copper mining), but most importantly of all, his songs were tuneful and original.

• Antony And The Johnsons won, and would have won even if it the criteria had been based solely on the evening’s performance as his Hope There’s Somebody was stunning. Imagine if all the discordant chatter from the rude record companies non-entities who swell bulbously the audience at the ceremony had been condensed, warped and put through an auditory car-crusher before being sprinkled with raw human emotion and you have a pretty good idea how unique Anthony’s voice is. Truthfully, he could have been listing examination marks and it would have been just as beguiling.

Lowlights

• Kaiser Chiefs delivering I Predict A Riot with the same glum duty as a paperboy shoving oversized supplement-bulky broadsheets through narrow letterboxes. Their jaunty optimism, that just three months ago, made them quite appealing has already stiffened like old cheese.

• Jo Whiley committed journalistic blasphemy when she used the word “eclectic”, which has long been consigned to the very lowest pits of human anguish – the NME letters page.

• In the same way that eunuchs cannot feel sensual pleasure since being relieved of their genitalia, so, because of our lack of coffee table and compulsive addiction to hold impromptu dinner parties, admitting only those of our friends who have brought with them a suitably pricey bottle of wine, we are bereft of appreciation for KT Tunstall. By the way, if you’re having a dinner party, don’t invite us as we’ll sit sullenly in the corner all night; in fact, don’t invite anyone as isolated in the gloom of your fake décor you may gain a fuller comprehension of your utterly worthless contribution to evolution.• Bloc Party performed So Here We Are from their Silent Alarm album, but it was so familiar it was like shuffling through a pack of childhood photographs taken during an idyllic trip to London.

• The futile presentation of the little statuettes to each nominee as if at a child’s party where the most crucial focus is on ensuring nobody is made to look like a “loser”.

• Polar Bear are jazz, and jazz is the musical anomaly which, like the crocodile surviving the extinction of the dinosaurs, lived through the rock and roll comet which hit earth in the 50s wiping out most established musical species. And much like the crocodile, jazz is leathery, cumbersome and an unwanted anachronism.

• The Maximo Park singer looks like the Childcatcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

• And now a safety bulletin: Coldplay’s Fix You – if played in an enclosed space please ensure all windows and doors are open to prevent the concentrated conceit becoming densely toxic as it will cause unconsciousness, coma, death and in some rare cases a delusional belief in your own talent fostered by a fawning media. Thank-you for your attention.

• The Go! Team – Pixies fronted by the lasses from the local aerobics centre delivered a chaotic, amorphous cacophony which perhaps destroyed any lingering chances they had of winning. It was a shame, because by the end an engaging tune had emerged from the morass.

• When people were asked who they would like to win, most of the over-40s plumped for KT Tunstall.

• The seditious betrayal by Jo Whiley, Conor McNicholas (NME editor) and Mark Radcliffe who spent much of their time blithering on about how much they would win

on their respective bets, which when combined with the MTV awards obsession with subsidiary, irrelevant pursuits such as cars, fashion and diamonds, is very worrying. Of course, it’s not too shocking the NME editor would rather brag about earning money rather than talk about the music given that his paper is now far more concerned with Pete Doherty’s London gadabouting than the best new acts.

• And despite lauding Antony And The Johnsons’ album, McNicholas quickly backtracked when Whiley asked if the winner would be on the front cover of the NME,

claiming it “wouldn’t be something would want at the moment; it’s a bit too weird”. Perhaps we’re getting old, but the job of the last surviving weekly music paper should be to introduce their complacently conservative readers to something innovative and new. Oh, sorry Pete Doherty’s fallen over a box in Camden Town – quickly blow up the photo and emblazon it on our cover. Nothing must preclude King Peter from his metaphorical throne of the NME!

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

07/09/2005

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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