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llirt; Neonatal t;ll(: explores at! angles of runolxrntg: from pro and anti smoking; lol)l>r(2:; and innokrnt; glamour photography to the ll|53l()l\' of tobacco, It's; lurid of crowd and ()l):§(?t;§;r‘.(: lrut has some interesting links to intriguing

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6 THE LIST .33 Sop? Oct '


Fn in high places

Franz are feeling the

Mercury already

Franz Ferdinand were deserved winners, but is the Mercury more promotional opportunity than high-minded accolade?

s milsic a competition'.’ Depends who )Ull ask.

Musicians will sit} it‘s not and that thevre just

doing their own thing. and there‘s enough room l'or everyone in the hig old music lltdllslt‘_\.

But we all like a good scrap. don‘t w e'.’ We need winners and losers. we deep down love those irritating Top Ten lists. and we‘d happin have a harney over what should he the hest air guitar anthem ever.

And so to the Mercur} l’ri/e. liarlier this month liranx Ferdinand won the ch annual Mercury l’ri/c and there couldn't have heen a more popular winner. especially here in Scotland. The (ilasgow hand have enjoyed phenomenal success with their epon_vmous dehut alhum this year. and are a hreath ol‘ liresh air in an ever more cynical milsic indiistr}; liven hetter lot‘ Scotland. they were one ol’ three Scottish (specifically. (ilasgow) hased hands on the shortlist and. along with Belle and Schastian and Snow Patrol. their success signals a homegrown music scene that is in rude health.

But underneath it all. what reall} is the point ol'

the Mercury l’ri/e'.’ lt‘s awarded h} ‘an independent panel ol'judges'. with some sort ol' vague remit to award the {MN on the hasis ol' artistic merit or creative talent. How the hell do )Ull judge that‘.’ Putting .-\m_v \VinehoUse. Snow Patrol and Rohert Wyatt up against each other in competition is delicioust meaningless. But it was ever thus. ln

I‘M}. when Primal Scream picked up the inaugural ;l\\ill'd littl' St‘I't'rllllrlr/r'Ht‘rl. lltc‘ sllot'lllsl ltlltl included Simpl} Red and the Jesus and .\lar_\ (‘hain

.-\nd )et the {MN docs haxe merit. It‘s the one that most l'ls' artists would admit to wanting to win. pi‘ccisel} because it seems to ha\c kudos attached to it that a pri/e hased purel} on sales and Miles like lllc‘ Bl'lls L‘itll ttL‘\Cl' llith‘.

()l course these da_\s it's more ol' a commercial and media-lricmll} c\ct‘cisc. Last week. ll.\l\' rushed out a press release proclaiming that sales ol l’ran/ lierdinand’s alhum had rocketed alter the} won. So much tor artistic merit.

The glow ol' puhlicit} and the commercial henelits that l'ollow are sweet. hut the longer term impact til the .\lercur_\ on careers is tlccltlctll} duhious. .-\ quick scoot over past shortlists rexeals a mixed hag. Amongst the winners. acts like (iome/. l’ortishcad and ’l‘alx in Sinin ha\en't e\act|_\ hecomc glohe-straddling gods. while other shortlisted hands such as ('oldpla}. Oasis and Blur ha\e done rather nicel}. despite not walking oll with the pri/e.

.\'one ol‘ which is to detract l'rom l'ran/ l‘erdinand's most deserx ed success this )car. Whatever the reasons and motnalions hehind the \ler‘cur} l’ri/e. it is a jo} to see the music (it such charming and talented homegrown lads celehrated. ls mirsic a competition‘.’ Yes and what‘s more. this time at least. we won.

Post-Eclectic Pre-Man - My Little Soldier at Arches Live! the Arches. Glasgo Fri t’j Aug