In Defense Of Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner And That ‘Pompous’ Speech

February 22, 2014


On Wednesday night at the Brit Awards, whilst accepting their first award of the night for ‘British Group’, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner essentially stuck two fingers up to the man. Rallying against accepted formalities, Turner eschewed the usual tiresome roll call of names in his thank you speech, choosing instead, to joke that losing the award to One Direction had cost them! “There’s that 15 quid we put on One Direction to win down the drain” he quipped.

But that was a mere appetiser of the fun that was to follow, for upon accepting their second award of the night for ‘Best British Album’, Turner turned the anti-establishment hyperbole up a notch saying:

“That rock ‘n’roll, eh? That rock’n’roll, it just won’t go away. It might hibernate from time to time, sink back into the swamp. I think the cyclical nature of the universe in which it exists demands that acquiesce to some of its rules. But it’s always waiting there, just around the corner, ready to make its way back through the sludge and smash through the glass ceiling, looking better than ever. Yeah, that rock’n’roll, it seems like it’s faded away sometimes, but it will never die. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

A cynical person might suggest he’s taking a pop at the One Direction’s of today’s popular charts, after all, they’re not so rock and roll. But I have a feeling it’s the industry in general and the constant need to ratify an artist’s existence through ‘award’ shows that largely play into the hands of record company bosses, that he’s tired of.  Moreover, the small select panel of judges who decide who should be rewarded for this year’s hard work.  One wonders how touring artists feel when given a pat on the back for their year away from their families, sweating through gig after gig, because how many musicians are working for that?  Those are not the smiling faces staring back at you in the crowd and they’re not the ones buying your albums and the tickets.

Turner represents artists who are in it for the music and the long haul, not just one night of glory. He wasn’t the only one feeling a little jaded by it all, David Bowie sent Kate Moss to collect his award on his behalf because (as Noel Gallagher put it) “he’s too cool for that”. Let’s also not forget a certain Mr. Harry Styles who appeared to have something more important to attend to in the gents toilets when One Direction won the ‘Global Success Award’ for the second year running.

Regardless of what people think about the speech, the performance of ‘R U Mine’ the Artcic Monkeys gave at the start of the night was incredible, and isn’t that all that matters in the end?

-Lucy Jenkins.


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