Friday, 26 February 2016

The News: Popular Music / #BritsSoWhite

I've ignored the BRIT Awards for my health this year, because in the past I’ve suffered near-stroke experiences when writing about and watching the event take fold. Fortunately, I haven’t died from a James Corden induced heart attack, and I haven’t gauged out my ear drums because of statements like: "the best in British music." I, an aging music fan, have learnt how to ignore and divert music commercialism for a decade now. I've resisted buying in to a world where BBC Radio One is the foreground of ground-breaking new music; in fact many of us have. We're not the pretentious hypocritical hipsters we're made out to be by both the pop press and the actual hive minded pretenders Portlandia pokes fun at.

We don't wear Doc Martens shoes or wear skinny jeans. We wear glasses because we have bad eye-sight; we wear headphones for music, not to advertise Beats. But in this chaotic time period of technological advancements, those that listen to vinyl records are nothing but a niche market for record executives. Those that listen to music on the radio are seen as a few decades away from death, and the audience that will replace them are left waiting for stations to be replaced by Radio Spotify, and Tidal FM. Those that just want to discover, keep that unearthly feeling of experiencing something different - the new, they wait, wait for an even stranger tomorrow; one where the sub-genre of a sub-genre is so unique, even the original artist doesn't know where to categorise their music.

I’ve put up with N-Dubz at school and withstood all the girl bands thrown my way as a teen. I had the brain power to resist X-Factor’s brainwashing, and the BRITs commercialism. I signed my soul over to the angel of death just so I could listen to something new and fresh. But these days I don’t shout at Cowell, or the consumers in front of the box, because who am I to argue their perception, ruin their reality for the sake of my own? I am the living proof of music's evolution. I've been shaped by This Will Destroy You build ups, and Daniel Johnston break ups, Tim Buckley taught me how to write and The Antlers taught me how to fight. I've had Sigur Ros dreams and Slowdive streams. Cohen helped me pick up a book, and Mark. E. Smith stopped me giving a fuck. Neil Young's voice took me right to the ledge, and James Murphy's brought me back from the edge. We're defined by our taste, our likes, it's what keeps us company in the day, and it's what takes us gently in to the night.

So now I ignore the BRIT awards, I turn off Radio One, I keep my ear drums intact, and my heart beating, because there's nothing worse than hearing about that popular feeling. And if one day I write a tune that's number one, and the whole world knows my song; I’ll hide away like Syd Barrett, hoping for my work to shine on. Don't you see? Even in the unlikely event the BRIT awards snubbed you for being black, there's nothing worse than getting signed and being systematically awarded a plaque.
~Eddie Gibson

Grime has a place in British music, it does – but that place isn’t popular, and that place just isn’t marketable enough. Why do you think Dizzee Rascal turned a page with Tongue n’ Cheek? There’s a long list of British grime and hip-hop artists earning plaques and attaining popularity because of their style: Tinnie Tempah (four BRIT nominations,) Tinchy Stryder (One nomination,) Plan B (Five nominations,) the more popular you become, the more BRIT nominations you receive. The BRIT Awards have never been a merit of musical quality, there are awards for that; the biggest award an artist can have is their music forming an emotional attachment to an audience. The BRIT Awards are not racist, not in the slightest. These accusations are akin to the unpopular kid at Primary school running for class president, then losing because of the popular kid. Only difference is that in this real life scenario, the unpopular kid thinks he didn’t win because he is black. The ONLY reason the BRIT award nominations appeared ‘more white’ this year, and in years gone by, is because those nominations sell the most records, they are the most popular, and they have the biggest marketable audiences. The musicians fighting the BRIT awards with #BritsSoWhite are not even fighting the establishment, they just want to be a part of it.