Category: Opinion

BRIT AWARDS 2017 commentary – Evening Standard, 23 Feb 2017

After being criticised for a lack of diversity in 2016, this was the year that the Brit Awards welcomed grime into the house but kept it in the hallway. Nominees Skepta, Stormzy and Kano all went home with empty pockets, and although Stormzy’s surprise rap during Ed Sheeran’s meek Shape of You was a welcome surprise, Skepta’s incendiary performance of… Read more →

POP MOMENTS OF 2016 – Evening Standard, 22 Dec 2016

It’s traditional around this time of year for the Evening Standard’s rock and pop division to celebrate the year in music by handing out an array of pretend awards. After agonising over whether this was even possible in 2016 – a year that, rather than being celebrated, ought rightly to be incinerated, padlocked in a steel box and buried 400… Read more →

BBC MUSIC AWARDS, Excel Centre – Evening Standard, 13 Dec 2016

Superficially similar to the BRITs, with 768 fewer categories than the Grammys, the BBC Music Awards returned for a third year and didn’t carve out a space of its own in the crowded field of trophy giving. Mainly it seems to be the awards ceremony with hardly any awards. Just five were handed out, of which three were to no-shows.… Read more →

THE BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2016 – Evening Standard, 8 Dec 2016

Other musicians had to up their game when it came to putting pen to paper in the year that Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s all very well ‘fessing up to your drug, alcohol and marriage problems, but what about the prose style?   It might be the success of Dylan’s first Chronicles volume in 2005… Read more →

COMMENTARY – London Mayor’s favourite songs – Evening Standard, 7 Dec 2016

On this occasion, when Sadiq Khan says he’s a big fan of The Police, he isn’t talking about a new crime initiative. The Mayor of London follows a long tradition of politicians revealing their musical taste and then getting stick for it. Though his six song choices are blindingly obvious, at least he’s avoided cosy Desert Island Discs and spoken… Read more →

BRIT AWARDS commentary – Evening Standard, 25 Feb 2016

Ordinarily too boring to be remembered for anything other than its unscripted mishaps, the BRIT Awards 2016 will go down as the year in which Adele won absolutely everything. British Female, British Single, Global Success and British Album – as I recall, she won International Group too.   The Tottenham singer even took home the unofficial award for unplanned moment… Read more →

BRIT AWARDS 2016 preview – Evening Standard, 19 Feb 2016

Next Wednesday the great and good of British pop music will don gowns and gather at the O2 Arena, patting each other on the back and celebrating the fact that the BRIT Awards are 17 hours shorter than the Grammys. Who’ll win? Who’ll lose? Who’ll cry? Who’ll send a half-arsed acceptance video over from America? These are the things we… Read more →

POP AWARDS 2015 – Evening Standard, 18 Dec 2015

There are no ballgowns, red carpets and fancy meals for us here at the Evening Standard Pop Awards. No, we’re the kind of ceremony that concentrates on what really matters: summing up the music year with an array of hastily made-up categories, and listening to that Justin Bieber album just one more time for research purposes. If you’re after a… Read more →

BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2014 – Evening Standard, 4 Dec 2014

Who better to represent the true spirit of this season of excess than a bunch of rock stars? This year’s crop of music biographies, auto- or otherwise, sometimes follow a path we know so well: miserable obscurity/glittering success/druggy tarnish/boring old redemption.   Joe Perry’s Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith (Simon & Schuster, GBP20), like his music, has… Read more →

RAY DAVIES BIOGRAPHY book review – Evening Standard, 26 Feb 2015

Johnny Rogan – Ray Davies: A Complicated Life (The Bodley Head, £25)   When I interviewed Ray Davies I found him to be awkward, irritable and not in the habit of giving straight answers. Veteran music biographer Johnny Rogan’s exhaustive exploration of the Kinks man’s life has reassured me that it wasn’t my fault.   It suggests that Davies has… Read more →