JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation
Madonna falls

So award season, the never-ending cycle of self-congratulatory, sycophantic bashes held by the entertainment industry which is already built on self praise and obsequious falsehoods, draws to a close. In the true (blue) spirit of these events it would appear that the trending topic on social media seems to be fixated on a fifty-six year old woman taking a tumble, no worse than many other women half her age every Saturday night in towering skyscraper heels in any city in the country, at last night’s Brits. That this is the most talked about moment at this overlong and over inflated event speaks volumes in itself; not least about the blandness of the musical acts honoured and on display last night.
The Oscars at the beginning of the week were really no better and my surprise that ‘Birdman’ had won best film. Don’t get me wrong it is a totally engaging and well acted film –Michael Keaton and Ed Norton give great performances- but like many others at the moment it was in need of some serious editing as it dragged on at least half an hour too long.
It seems to be quite a thing in cinema at the moment that films have to offer value for money and extend beyond the two hour mark. Of all the films I have seen in the last year which have followed this trend the only one I feel has utilised the extra time convincingly and well was David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ which also probably had this year’s stand out female performance, Rosamund Pike’s interpretation of the psychopathic central character of the title, although nominated she eventually lost out to Julianne Moore however.
Unfortunately this trend of overlong films reminds me of many compact discs from the nineties when musical artists seemed to feel obliged to fill the extra time afforded by the digital technology to include bonus tracks, remixes and often material which should have remained as outtakes consigned to the studio floor. This was essentially a bid to utilise as many of the eighty minutes available to them- as well as resell albums people had already shelled out for in an earlier format- in a misguided attempt to provide value whilst over indulging their artistic endeavours in a way that the twenty minutes per side good old-fashioned vinyl prevented. In my opinion there are very few discs from this decade which have stood the test of time because of this and many albums could have upped their ‘classic’ status if few more artists and industry insiders had shown a little more restraint and foresight.
The music industry does however seem to have somehow reined their artists back in a little bit and albums nowadays rarely extend beyond the fifty minute mark although suspicions linger that this may be because today’s ‘talent’ can rarely summon up enough quality material to fill even this. In fact after last night’s showing at the Brits there would seem to be very few acts who can even sustain enough interest for a three minute single.
There were notable exceptions however and both Royal Blood and Paloma Faith made the most of their allotted time to provide something of interest and validity. The latter in particular seemed to be particularly grateful to be there and went on to give the performance of her life –she was also the only person to mention and thank the grafters in the background who never receive any recognition never mind acknowledgment-whilst the former were possibly the only act to even have a rock and roll edge to them although it would have helped if they had been a bit better looking!
However everyone was upstaged –although ironically it was falling off that upstage which did it- by Madonna who had a wardrobe malfunction and found herself dragged down a flight of stairs by one of her dancers who tugged at her cape before it had been unfastened. It certainly was a ‘gasp in for air’ moment although this quickly gave way to a nation of sniggering and ‘OMG’ing’ followed by remarks about Zimmer frames and Stannah Stairlifts.
Personally I thought she made a miraculous recovery and was back on stage straight into her routine almost seamlessly, certainly quicker than anyone who found it funny could have managed, although if she had just fallen apart and laughed out loud at her mishap it might have made her more endearing and almost human. However Madonna having a sense of humour would have denied a whole nation their schadenfreude moment and God knows we enjoy them way too much to allow her in on the joke.
I am sure she will be having the last laugh this morning however when she finds herself the subject matter on virtually every front page and being discussed on every talk show. She even made the national news-both channels- within half an hour of her tumble and this can only generate publicity for the lacklustre song she performed. In fact can anyone even remember what that was?
It does come to something that it took someone of her age and standing to cause a ripple at what was essentially a boring show and after last year’s ‘controversial’ moment when David Bowie waded in uninvited to the Independence debate, it would seem the bland on bland youngsters need to up their ante if they don’t want to keep being upstaged by the older generation. Even if that upstaging requires being tugged off the upstage and down a set of steps!

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