From a young age, I’ve always loved music.
Top of the Pops, Radio Luxembourg, NME, Old Grey Whistle Test…they all played an influential role in my music education as my ‘tastes’ went on a rollercoaster ride through phases of pop, glam rock, new wave, prog rock, heavy metal, trip hop…the list goes on.
And to satisfy my thirst for new music, I would spend many Saturdays in my youth in the local branch of WH Smith, riffling through the albums in the vague hope of finding something that hadn’t been there the previous weekend.
Over that time I managed to acquire a hefty collection of vinyl which I lugged all the way to Australia and then back home again where, thanks to the passage of time, it has now acquired a certain old school level of authentic street cred (although, to be fair, if anyone looked through the albums, that aura might rapidly fade) .
When I first moved away from home, my musical experiences expanded still further to take in live gigs, first in Bristol, then London and latterly in Sydney.
Over more recent times, I’ve found it harder to keep my finger on the musical pulse as work takes a hold and kids come along, but I have always tried to remain fairly up to date.
I’d regularly listen to ‘independent’ radio station Triple J and take in the odd concert, often featuring up-and-coming (usually British) acts that I had discovered via the music media.
Over that time I maintained the view, perhaps patriotically-fuelled, that British music is frequently the most creative and interesting output from anywhere in the world.
And now living back in the motherland, I had the chance to test that theory last week as I settled down to watch ITV’s screening of the 2013 Brit Awards – British music’s night-of-nights and their answer to the Grammy’s.
So did the class of 2013 live up to my billing?
Well, the big winners on the night were a varied bunch – likeable folk-rockers Mumford & Sons, the ubiquitous Emile Sandé (I’m sure there must be more than one of her), the richly talented (and very young) Tom Odell and the little known (to me anyway) Ben Howard.
Hey, even Coldplay and Adele got a look in.
A special achievement award was handed out to One Direction who also played a live version of Blondie’s “One way or another” blending into the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks”.
Not sure I totally get the magnitude of their appeal, but I guess I am the wrong gender and (considerably) too old which probably helps explain my feelings of faint bemusement.
Their global success is amazing though and probably contributes to the extra layer of smugness on the face of their record company owner that night – a suspiciously smooth faced, perpetually gum-chewing Simon Cowell.
The general flow of the Awards night itself, with its ‘too cool for school’ audience, was predictably stilted in places, despite the best compère efforts of cheeky chappy James Corden to jolly things along.
Meanwhile, the individual award presenters generally kept things simple (apart from an embarrassing attempt at blokey humour by Sharon Osbourne).
The papers the next day were full of pictures from the various after parties, commenting on all the buzz and intrigue, leaving me to ponder whether the night before lived up to my (high) expectations?
I’d say that, whilst compared to the lofty standards of years gone by, it was maybe not a vintage year, nevertheless, it was a pretty strong showing and further evidence that when it comes to music, Britain still rocks.
Now, where did I leave those Genesis albums?