And The Winner Wasn't

By londonist_mark Last edited 155 months ago
And The Winner Wasn't
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...favourites, the Kaiser Chiefs. So no surprises there then. In fourteen years the Mercury Music Prize Chiefs have only once voted in the populist choice, last year's Franz Ferdinand, instead opting for the muso-ically worthy (2000's Talvin Singh), the then obscure (2003's Dizzee Rascal) or the just plain odd ('94's M People).

Which is why, last night, one of the few remaining award ceremonies not chosen by viewers of T4, awarded the prize for Best British album, based on musical competency and not sales, to Chichester born, British passport holding, gender bending resident of New York, Antony Hegarty and his band the Johnsons (If he ever goes solo will he have cut off his Johnsons?) for his sublime I Am A Bird Now. Which leaves the losers, especially Ricky and the Kaisers to wonder how British he really is. Well he has a passport. Does that make him any less British than the Sri Lankan born MIA or even the Magic Numbers who's sound draws more from the US West Coast of the 60s than the Northern angst of Maximo Park, or the global conquering tones of Coldplay?

So arguments, condolences to the losers, congratulations to the winners will follow. Whatever our allegiances, we can console ourselves yet again that the reason our new favourite band lost was not because they were undeserving. Rather that the judging panel were a bunch of obtuse music critics this time round, instead of the usual bunch of dim witted tv viewers. The last word then to Antony who summed up the rest of the world's reaction by saying:

I think they must have made a mistake. I am completely overwhelmed. I think that's insane. It's kind of like a crazy contest between an orange and a spaceship and a potted plant and a spoon - which one do you like better?

Freddie would have been proud.

Last Updated 07 September 2005