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What’s the point of the NME Awards these days?

10,000 Maniacs had a song back in the day called ‘Planned Obsolescence’. One wonders if it’s time to dust down that concept and usher it towards the NME Awards after this years awards. As Muse and Kasabian swept the boards, much as they had at the Brits, it’s tough to offer up much argument for the venerable old mag’s awards being anything other than just another excuse for a party.

Muse and Kasabian are popular. Mystifying, yes, but factual none the less. However, they were amply rewarded for their success at the check-outs of the UK at Earl’s Court last week. The NME crowed for years that their awards were the real deal, the tough kid from the streets in a room full of middle-class pansies.  They even called them ‘the Brats’ in an inelegant if effective attempt to distance themselves from their more corporate cousins.

But how distant can you be when you are rewarding the same thing?

That the Brits recognises those who have made the industry some money is nothing to be ashamed about; that is their purpose. But the NME, smug as it has always been, always maintained it was after something purer. It was about art, art that meant something. Of course, the NME of any era is always somewhat of an irritating pain-in-the-arse – think Lilly Allen lecturing us about global warming but about Delphic instead – but that’s its job. It represents youth, and youth is bullish and filled to the brim with utterly unshakeable self-confidence. It can’t, however, marry that persona with Kasabian and Muse.

The NME may point to several other awards it handed out last night. Paul Weller was given their version of the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is fair enough. He can, however, sit it next to the similar one he got four years ago from the Brits. The NME is now not even a pioneer, it is slipping in the wake of a corporate whore of an event.

So what can the NME do? A panel would work best, as the mainstream has shifted and the ease of voting is such that those who would never dream of buying their music anywhere other than Tesco or iTunes clearly have too much say. Democracy doesn’t work, clearly.

That apart? Just be honest, report more extensively from the Brits and have a night out the next week without all the awards palaver. Because the NME Awards dies on their arse last night, and unless they do something rather revolutionary, they will simply slip further into a big hole marked ‘irrelevance’.


One Response

  1. whats the difference between winning the vote for an NME award and winning the vote for X-factor ?

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