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Ivor Novello Awards – Art V Commerce

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Yes, let hosannas ring out and deities be praised, it’s the Ivor Novello Awards nominations time of year again. The longest running and, we are told, most prestigious award that it is possible for yer average overly hirsute long-haired layabout to win, because it is about the songwriting. That most indefinable of all skills, that most difficult of arts – the marriage of a melody which soars and lyrics which capture your soul. Hell, on their webpage, they even have Macca waxing wistfully about the time him and the boys sat at their first Ivor do, picking up their awards and no doubt smoking a joint in the toilet or wanking about the Queen later.

This years nominees are quite left-field in an obvious way, with one genuinely interesting choice. The Last Shadow Puppets – Alex Turner’s side band that nobody likes but no-one’s quite got the heart to tell him yet – receive their now-traditional nomination for ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You’. Elbow’s continued push towards ubiquity continues with ‘One Day Like This’, which will win. We love Elbow round these parts, as long-term readers will know, but we are starting to experience ‘Hoppipolla’ syndrome with this song now – I’d appreciate it a hell of a lot more if I heard it a hell of a lot less. Thirdly is ‘The Last of the Melting Snow’ by the Leisure Society. If you haven’t heard this yet, you will soon, as Jo Whiley tries to pretend she liked it all along but that isn’t actually a bad thing; it’s not bad.

And it isn’t a bad idea, honouring the art – and it is an art – of songwriting. But then you remember that Robbie Williams owns an Ivor Novello award, and not one he got from Ebay either. No, he actually won one of the bloody things. It’s easy to laugh at Robbie Williams, and I hate doing it to someone so obviously in turmoil and fighting his true self (just admit it Bob, no-one will care) but this is not a man who should even be on the invite list to a songwriting bash. As Steven Stelfox so accurately, if cruelly, put it in ‘Kill Your Friends’, Robbie is a ‘song and dance spastic who got lucky.’

And then you look down the awards and see that you can win one for ‘Most Played Song’ and, best of all ‘Biggest Selling Song’. This takes the idea of artistic merit, slips it some GHB and does unmentionable things to it. While both of these are undoubtedly achievements – of sorts – they aren’t anything which should be rewarded by anything other than cold, hard cash. There is no meritocracy in achieving the biggest selling single. Bob the Builder did it a few years ago, but you wouldn’t want him on the front of Mojo. These are achievements marked in Gold Discs and huge whopping PRS cheques, not peer recognition. Imagine it? ‘Well done Duffy! After a marketing spend three times the aid we give Africa, six appearances on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Abortion and that Winehouse turning out to be a wrong ‘un, you are the thinking Tesco shoppers CD of choice 2008!’

So, in the end, it’s just the music industry giving itself a day out to snort coke and tell each other they are surviving, like a Tyrannosaurus and a Pterodactyl shooting the shit and speculating on what the future brings. Good luck to the Leisure Society, and I hope they make a few quid from it, but let’s spare ourselves the notion that any of these baubles mean anything.

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5 Responses

  1. Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.

  2. It is as pointless as all music awards but presented more smugly.

    At least the Nordoff Robbins things is for charity and helps people.

  3. Yes. It’s boast is that it has been going for decades. So has prostitution, doesn’t mean it’s something to boast about.

  4. Not if you’re the prostitute. If you’re the pimp then…..ach this is too philisophical for a Friday!

  5. Okay then, so has acne and….so on and so forth!

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