Arts awards I!1 the flrmg lme
How much more industry
back-slapping can we take? Words: Doug lohnstone
Awards in the arts — don't you just love ’em? Well no, because they're all self-indulgent, self-congratulatory, pretentious, back—slapping twatfests while Simultaneoust being very thinly-veiled industry promotional tools, that’s why.
There’s nothing qune as irritating as seeing some half-brained egotistical mu5iCian, author, actor or artist standing on stage, clutching an ugly little statuette while prattling on oh- so-humbly about how they c0uldn’t have done it without so-and-so, and really art’s the winner, while all the time their publiCist is haVing multiple orgasms off stage.
At the moment, we're slap bang in the middle of the Whitbread Book Awards, the annual barndance for British middle-class twits to try and punt books that no one ever reads to a thoroughly uninterested general public. They’ve picked the winners for four categories (Novel, First Novel, Biography and Poetry) and later this month these four illustrious tomes will go head to head to win the ‘prestigious’ Whitbread Book Of The Year.
Would anyone like to -tell me what the hell is the point in comparing a novel with a biography or a collection of poems? You might as well compare sirloin steak, your granny’s home made soup and Fruit Pastilles for the right to be called Best Food Ever.
Don't get me wrong, I’m not saying that any of these books are necessarily bad (actually, I am because I've unfortunately read a couple of shortlisted donkeys), it's just the process of judging one against another is about as worthwhile as trying to enjoy a Radiohead record.
And just look at the ’distinguished’ panel of judges. Chaired by everyone’s favourite simpleton lyricist Sir Tim Rice no less, the ten-strong meeting of minds also includes Alan Davies (that funny-haired bloke off the telly) and Matthew Pincent (yes, Steve Redgrave’s mate). And a bunch of idiot journalists who misguidedly think their opinions are worth anything whatsoever.
Alan Davies: one of the great minds behind the Whitbread Book Award
What is the point in comparing a biography with a collection of . “'29
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I suggest for next year’s award, the panel should con5ist of Inspector Gadget, my mate’s dog Biff and that Maureen off Driving School. Wouldn’t be any more stupid, let's face it. But do not think for one minute that the ridiculous process of comparing chalk with cheese is restricted to the highbrow world of literature. This embarrassing desire for some kind of elitist group of experts to tell us, the punters, what work is of artistic merit is of course found across the arts.
In music, the Mercury Music Prize is an absurd middle-class, middle-aged, white male idea of what ’the kids' should be listening to. Tokenism is rife, as the Guardian-reading judges nominate a folk artist, an ethnic one, a dance one and a classical one, then pick the most obvious indie one as the winner. Then there's the BAFTAs, the Oscars, the Booker Prize, the Grammies, umpteen television awards, and don’t even get me started on the yearly publicity farce that is the Turner
The only way to treat these charades is with the contempt they deserve. Praise is due here to Bill Drummond and Jim
Cauty of the KLF and K Foundation. Not only did they award 40 grand one year to the Turner Prize winner for ’The Worst Art In Britain’, but as the KLF they played havoc at the Brit Awards by dumping dead sheep in the lobby, pretending to shoot everyone and driving around on stage as geriatrics in wheelchairs with massive horns on their heads.
Now, someone should award them a prize. Can I be on the judging panel? I Disagree? react©list co. uk
The Pipeline Coming quite soon. ..
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