Wednesday brings us the annual BRIT Awards, an event I have watched in eager anticipation since 1985, when it was first broadcast by the BBC. Known then as the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) Awards, and held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, the ceremony that year was hosted by Noel Edmonds. Like many of those presenting and receiving awards, he wore black tie for the occasion. Even champions of double denim, Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi, were suited and booted.
Set against a backdrop of silver and white sparkles, the message to the viewers was this is where the glamour was to be found. Any doubts we may have had were dispelled as soon as Prince took to the stage, to receive his award for Best International Solo Artist. What he lacked in words, he more than made up for in fur and frills. No wonder I fell in love with the ceremony, and have watched it every year since, albeit with a diverse variety of memories.
Despite surviving on approximately two hours sleep a night, due to my daughter being only 9 weeks old, I remember the 1994 ceremony as being mainly about Take That. Although this could be because they still had hero-like status in my eyes, having topped the charts with “Babe” on the day she was born, saving my little girl from being born when Mr. Blobby was at Number 1. This was no mean feat, as the pink prankster had occupied the top slot both the week before she was born and the week after.
My son arrived at the beginning of 1996, and as my world increasingly centred around the likes of the Telebubbies and Tots TV, The Brits became almost symbolic for me, a reminder of my first love – music. However, with acts like the Spice Girls and All Saints featuring heavily, the latter half of the Nineties saw me mostly interested in the Outstanding Contribution award, the winners of which included David Bowie, Eurythmics and The Bee Gees.
I continued to tune in each year, even when I was pretty clueless as to who half the nominees were. By the mid-Noughties, the kids were helping me differentiate between Busted and McFly (I was obviously ahead of the bands with the McBusted idea!). When the 2008 awards came around, I found myself enjoying parts of the event almost as much as I had back in the day. Okay, so Earls Court was never going to measure up as a venue. Ditto to the sweary Osbornes as hosts. However, the look on Paul Young’s face as the Arctic Monkeys, dressed in country squire attire, walked past him to collect their award for Mastercard Best Album was priceless. Then there was Mark Ronson’s performances with Adele, Daniel Merriweather and Amy Winehouse. The Brits was getting its act back together.
Whilst I may never view The Brits with the same enthusiasm I did in the Eighties, this year I will be rooting for James Bay, whose ‘Chaos And The Calm’ album is a current favourite of mine. I shall also be enjoying the combination of nominees, the strangeness of which remains reassuringly unchanged over the years. Perhaps the best example this year is those nominated in the British Group category: Blur, Coldplay, Foals, One Direction, and Years & Years. I can’t wait to discover who emerges victorious from that curious ensemble.