Friday, 7 November 2008

Thoughts on the recent voting

I might fill this in more later, but through the haze of a champagne hangover brought on by partying with a bunch of Welsh farmers all night (let it never be said that I don't live la vida loca), I was mildly heartened by the results of this year's MTV Europe Music Awards.

Not meaning to get overly serious about it, but they're basically a fairly grim piece of cultural imperialism, wherein an American music channel comes over to Europe in order to give awards to American pop stars, in a ceremony hosted by an American pop star (or very occasionally Sasha Baron Cohen) and filled with live performances from American pop stars (excruciatingly that generally includes the host). It's kind of sold back to us as if it's 'our' event, but the reality of it is (as I can attest from having had US cable while living in Canada) is that it's basically made as American as possible so that it can be syndicated back to North American TV, and obviously nobody'd watch it if they didn't know who the bands were.

So yeah 2008 ceremony: the categories had names that were so odd names as to basically be meaningless ('Rock Out', 'Most Addictive', 'Ultimate Urban', 'Ultimate Legend' - sound like types of energy drink) and were generally swept by Britney Spears, Lil Wayne, etc etc.

You probably know by now that an elaborate internet voting campaign entirely powered by the British sense of irony saw Rick Astley deemed 'Best Act Ever'. This is funny, obviously, but I think more than "LOL RICK ASTLEY WUN HES CRAP LOL", it's worth thinking about why it's an 'upset'. He was up against U2, which is sort of fair enough, they're the type of band who win awards like that, but then the other three contenders were Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Green Day. Quite manifestly none of them are the best act ever: MTV know that, the acts know that, next year different people will be up for the same award and it'll be equally meaningless. Nah, what Astley's win represents is Europeans fucking with MTV and fucking with it good.

This hit what I'd consider the true apex with the 'Headliner' award. No idea what that means (they might as well have called it 'Purple' or 'Hibiscus'), but the losers were a bunch of MTV-friendly veterans - Metallica, The Cure, Foo Fighters... er, Linkin Park. The winners were a German band called Tokio Hotel, who I gather are a fairly shitty emo thing, but still, I'm really, really certain they were chucked in as a token sop to Europe and never actually expected to be voted to victory.

I'm not trying to say any of this is life-changing or even that important, but for whatever reason the MTV Europe Awards always really get on my tits, and like a very very very very minor guerrilla campaign, the good people of Europe have slightly ballsed it up, and that is not a bad thing.

Speaking of voting, go to this - www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/poll/2008/nov/06/firs-album-award-vote. You know what you need to do. Unbelievably as I write this Fuck Buttons are actually in the lead.

Oh yeah, and there was another thing to do with America that some people voted for earlier this week. That turned out pretty well.