Traditionally, award ceremonies are terribly boring affairs, consisting as they do of the losers simpering (with varying degrees of graciousness) that it’s an honour just to be nominated, and the winners rambling on about the honour of being chosen from such a great selection of nominees.
Good to see, therefore, that the Arctic Monkeys, Britain’s most exciting musicians (or so I’m reliably informed), are bucking the trend. Accepting the NME award for Best British Band, the lead singer, Alex Turner, asked, “Who else was going to be the best British band at the moment?”
I’m sorry, did I say “good”? I meant, of course, “how obnoxious”. I find false modesty as irritating as the next person, but out-and-out arrogance is just plain distasteful. (Yes, it may be that Turner was simply making the point that, having been glorified to such an extent by the musical press, it was inevitable that they would win; but if that’s what he meant, then he didn’t make it all too clear. He sounded more like a man who believed all the hype.) I’m never going to win any awards, so I can’t know for certain, but I do believe that it is possible to give an acceptance speech that is neither insincerely humble nor a withering assessment of fellow nominees.
Anyway, more to the point, why was Turner so self-satisfied? “We did the triple”, he declared, as if the NME awards were the very pinnacle of the musical calendar. Well, let’s keep in mind the fact that Pete Doherty was named ‘Sexiest Man’ at the same event; yes, Pete Doherty, he of the drug taking, the pasty face and the disturbingly skinny legs. (“He probably smells”, said one of my housemates helpfully.) How he won, unless it was meant ironically, is beyond me, though I suppose that going out with Kate Moss must somehow make you more attractive. However it happened, it seems to me that this farcical award rather devalues what the Arctic Monkeys won.