“And the prize for the dullest awards ceremony of 2013 goes to .... The Brits!”
Yes, in the middle of the season of bland, back-slapping gatherings, this was the most corporate and well-behaved of the bunch.
Sponsored by a credit card company, it was a celebration of everything from the manufactured - One Direction, to the posh - Mumford & Sons. It’s what we’ve come to expect since the organisers and ITV imposed a zero tolerance policy on any vaguely erratic swearing or bum-baring rock star behaviour.
Good then to see a truly talented singer-songwriter, Scotland’s Emeli Sandé, triumphing with two awards, for Best Album and Best Female Solo Artist. She also stands out from her peers because she’s not the product of one exclusive school in particular.
I’m not talking about any of the expensive private establishments that the Mumfords, Lily Allen, Chris Martin, Florence Welch, Laura Marling and many other chart-topping performers attended.
No, the school that’s giving many aspiring pop stars a leg up and an unfair advantage over the less privileged, was mentioned several times during the awards night - the BRIT school itself.
Its name is misleading - implying a UK-wide agenda - but its proper title is The London School for Performing Arts & Technology. So to attend this Croydon school, you have to live in the catchment area - Greater London. Off-limits then to the majority of young Brits, and, to rub salt in the wound, if you’re a music fan who, say, travelled down from Scotland and forked out £100 for a ticket to the ceremony, you’re subsidising this London school.
That’s because the show is organised by the BPI, the UK recorded music industry’s trade organisation. Substantial proceeds from the BRIT Awards and the Classic BRIT Awards go to the BPI’s charitable arm, the BRIT Trust. It then distributes the millions to good causes - the two main beneficiaries being Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and, yes, The BRIT School.
Graduates include BRIT & Oscar-winning Adele, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Katie Melua, Jessie J, The Kooks, The Feeling - are you feeling a certain blandness creeping in? .... all part of a music biz-subsidised inner circle that’s as exclusive as any private school.
There’s not a trace of blandness about my top theatre tip this week- a mix of drama, radio and cracking music - what’s not to adore? You may have seen the BBC TV series, Takin’ Over The Asylum, back in the ‘90s - notable, among other things, for an early screen appearance by David Tennant. Now writer, Donna Franceschild, has adapted it for the stage, and her tale of a hospital radio station in a psychiatric unit and the patients who come up against skewed perceptions of mental illness, has been brought to life by a brilliant Scottish cast headed by Iain Robertson.
It’s on at the Citizens in Glasgow until the 9th of March, and then Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre from the 13th of March until the 6th of April. Don’t miss it.