AND THE BACKSLAPPING AWARD FOR 2011 GOES TO….
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Last night what was supposed to be a celebration of Polish music, perfectly summed up it’s current state – comatosed and with doctors seriously considering switching off it’s life-support machine. Poor old Fryderyk Chopin is fortunate to be in the land of the dead rather than seeing miniature imitations of himself being dealt out at the Polish Backslapping Awards Maybe he would have chosen another profession if he’d known he would face this fate - become a doctor, a banker, a street cleaner, anything rather than finding those little bronze statuettes of himself gathering dust on undeserving victors’ living room mantelpieces. Back to the music itself. While I’ve been wasting my time composing, arranging and recording new songs, it seems that in the “Academy’s” opinion, Polish music is not yet ready for neo-retro music, and that the brave new world they envisage can be reached by digging up tired old formulas and rewarding those artists who basically play covers of covers – pure unadulterated retro with nothing neo in sight. After sitting through the first 45mins of the award’s ceremony, it became clear that by pressing ahead with our original songs, we should abandon all hope of success in this incestuous little backslapping world that the average Fryderyk nominee lives in and unless we too become a glorified pub cover band we will be destined to fail. Therefore, in light of yesterday’s schmoozefest, I’m seriously considering repackaging and rehashing a classic Beatles song and selling it as “Love Me Don’t” following that with some second-hand Sex Pistols resold as “Conformity in the UK”, and if we want to be really brave, tackling Lady Gaga and throwing her hit back at an unsuspecting audience as “Pancake Face”.
One of the most tiresome parts of the whole tedious evening was to see the same old farts that have been murdering Polish music for the last ten years somehow being applauded for having given birth to a music industry that is on it’s knees. And as the show paid tribute to musicians who had passed away over the last year, yet another “son of a famous old fart” took the stage to bellow uncontrollably over what should have been a sombre, reflective moment. A minute’s silence was replaced by a minute’s hollering. Could it be a coincidence that the “son of a famous old fart” has a single out at the moment – Christ, he wasn’t even nominated for an award! Finally, the gall of the Academy to encourage award winners to say a few words against illegal downloading was amazing. The “Academy” seems to harbour the belief that the average person who downloads cds would actually dip into their pocket to buy a cd if illegal downloading became impossible. True fans in general already buy their beloved group’s albums (if they have the financial wherewithal), fickle fans or “yet-to-be-convinced” fans don’t. The fact that many people don’t buy Polish cds is unfortunately a sad reflection on the state of Polish music. If you walk into a greengrocer’s to buy some tomatoes but find that all of the best ones have gone, you don’t normally buy the rotten ones that are left. Such is Polish music and the human-institutions that are running it at the moment – one big clique of rotten tomatoes and not a consumer in sight. *
* with the exception of Monika Brodka who last night gave momentary freshness to the overall staleness of the ceremony.