The Astoria Wins NME Awards Best Venue


The late, lamented Astoria won Best Venue at last night’s NME Awards. Tribute has already been paid by Pop Junkie and the campaign to prevent its demolition continues. If you have not already done so then please throw your weight, however slender you may be, behind the Facebook campaign and sign the petition.

A cursory glance through the NME site finds it awash with the usual suspects; Oasis (Best British Band – Noel won Best Blog), Winehouse (Worst Dressed!), Muse (Best Live, Album Artwork), Kings of Leon (Best Album) and Doherty (yawn!) (Best Solo Artist). Newcomers MGMT won er, Best New Band, but also Best Track for Time to Pretend.

Hero of the Year was Barack Obama (no argument there), but Noel Gallagher was the runner up. Now, let’s take a year at random from NME’s ‘golden era’ of CSM, Paul Morley, Danny Baker, Ian Penman et al ~ 1979. Now, can you imagine in a year in which London Calling, All Mod Cons, Remain in Light, Grotesque, Three Imaginary Boys were released (don’t pick me up on the dates, I’m in the right ballpark) that Paul McCartney would be runner-up in the Hero of the Year? What is going on with today’s kids? Noel is your grandad, just as Pete Townsend and Ray Davies were ours. Our hero of the year would have been Tony Benn with runner up Strummer, Mark E Smith, Costello, Devoto, Lydon or Byrne.


The Cure were given a Godlike Genius award, with Robert Smith looking like a rather scary pub landlady (perhaps you’ve never been drinking in Medway?) and was presented with the statuette by Tim Burton. I’m not a fan, but cannot deny them one of the all-time greatest debut albums (more of which another day). (By the way, this software’s spell checker doesn’t recognise the word ‘debut’! How bizarre!)

The night featured an apparently awesome performance of This is a Low by Damon Albarn & Graham Coxon. I love them both but again, how would Eric Burdon and Alan Price have been greeted 30 years ago if they’d been called up for an acoustic rendition of House of the Rising Sun? A sign of a more tolerant (or apathetic) time?

Jonas Brothers won both Worst Band and Worst Album so here’s a track from it. It’s harmless candyfloss, but way better than MGMT’s dirge. Hence the award, I guess. Good luck to ’em I say.


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