Goulding and Clyro get lucky, but where were Bowie and Daft Punk?

Q magazine award winners raise a cynical eyebrow


All concerned in the music industry have been merrily galloping their way to hell in a handcart for the past few years. We’ve now arrived at our destination.

We know this to be true because of what happened at the annual Q music magazine awards this week. The best solo act of the last year? Why, that would be the overly breathy and really not much good Ellie Goulding (above), whose only real hit to date has been an awful cover version of an already awful song by Elton John. Goulding also provided the live musical “entertainment” at that vulgar British royal wedding two years ago, something which should rule her out of winning any music award – ever.

The best album of the last year? Step forward so-so Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro. The Best Act In The World Today? That’s a difficult one – except for the Q awards people, who went straight for Vampire Weekend. The New York indie band do have moments of brilliance and can put together a tune or three. But on no account would they, even in their most drunken state, consider themselves to be anywhere near the best act in the world today.

And it gets worse: The Best Live Act of the year? Foals. Granted, they can hold a note, play chords in the right order and do put on a good live show. But that’s the problem – Foals are just a “good” live act, certainly not the best.

The world and its significant other knows that the track of the year is, whether you like it or not, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. But not at the Q awards. They went for Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys, which would struggle to be in the top 10 tracks of the year.

It’s only really when you look at who these winners were nominated with that the full egregious picture emerges. Ellie Goulding won ahead of David Bowie. Biffy Clyro won ahead of David Bowie and Daft Punk. Vampire Weekend won ahead of – and there’s a pattern emerging here – David Bowie.

It’s probably nothing, but upon being originally nominated for the award, Goulding piped up: “It means so much to be nominated for a Q award. I have read and loved Q magazine for as long as I can remember.” Only a cynic would claim that her press officer wrote that reaction quote for her.

At least Vampire Weekend acknowledged the ridiculousness of it all. Accepting their award, they said: “Are we really the best band in the world today? We did a Battle of the Bands competition once and came in third out of four bands.”

Biffy Clyro got direct to the point when accepting their best album award: “Thank fuck David Bowie isn’t here.” If he had been, Biffy and Ellie would probably have found their tables (and their awards) cancelled to make way for Bowie’s entourage.

Interestingly, Q magazine itself gave Bowie’s album a far better review than Biffy Clyro’s. Furthermore, the Clyro album was dismissed as “the ultimate rock cliche” by the Guardian. The other surprise losers on the night – Daft Punk – were similarly absent from the show.

Q magazine say the public vote decides who wins in some of the categories. That’s interesting. I was once on the voting panel for one of these awards (not Q). The person we put in fourth place (and this was a big award) came in first because the better three acts couldn’t make it on the night. Just saying.

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