Observations from last night at the O2 Arena
Yeah, let’s start with Dave. Dude comes out, plays his chilling diatribe ‘Black’ – made even more beautiful through judicious use of tumbling piano arpeggios – and throws in an extra verse at the end, free-form, standing up to give an unambiguous throwdown to our racist Prime Minister and his racist advisers. Inspirational, brilliant. Fuck your Ricky Gervais and his amoral breed who believe that entertainers shouldn’t speak out. This was about seizing the moment. Pure emotion, pure truth.
“It is racist whether or not it feels racist. The truth is our prime minister is a real racist. They say, you should be grateful we’re the least racist. I say, the least racist is still racist.”
Yeah, let’s continue with Billie Eilish. I left soon as she finished, not believing that the night could transcend her, stupidly forgetting about Stormzy and Celeste – damn I’m an idiot for missing Stormzy – but in actuality found myself a little underwhelmed by Our One True Star in 2020. Too much going on – Johnny Marr on zingy guitar, a full live orchestra, that bloke who soundtracks all those films, a suitably explosive set – and all this detracted, distracted. I expected too much from one song, frankly. Sounds way better on YouTube.
Also, she wasn’t Dave.
Her wonderful opening performance gave me an unrealistic expectation of what was to follow. What actually happened was a spot from Harry Styles that threatened to break into a song but never did, some lachrymose constipated whining from within a Curtain of Light from the New Prince of the New Boring Lewis Capaldi, and a brief onstage appearance from my old drinking buddy Courtney Love that a Facebook friend summarised thus: “She’s definitely mellowed but unfortunately not in an interesting way. More cheap standard Portuguese rose than fine wine.”
Still, say what you like about Courtney, but I bet you she didn’t get on her bicycle later and cycle home in freezing cold rain from Haywards Heath station.
Fuck yeah! I got to see Lizzo, a real live Lizzo on a real live stage! Now, that HAS to make you feel good.
Mostly, the whole affair reminded me of why I have never been to whole affair like this before. I have no idea who won what, and could care even less. The bit I liked most was Dave, and meeting a BIMM lecturer who’s into Joseph Spence, Daniel Johnston and Serge Gainsbourg.
I missed Celeste. Shame.