Tuesday, 16 September 2008

All Must Have Prizes

Awards season is well on the way, with the Booker shortlist being announced and Elbow winning the Mercury Music Prize. I haven't read the Rushdie (the Joseph O'Neill is the only thing I've read from the longlist), but the dissing by Hardeep Singh Koli will probably not give Salman Rushdie any sleepless nights -- no, I'm not sure why he's on the panel either. Interestingly, in a recent report of previous Booker judgings, Midnight's Children apparently only just won by 3 votes to 2 -- but is now seen as the Booker of Bookers. All of which confirms my long held opinion about literary awards -- they are arbitrary bollocks, unless your book wins, in which case they are prescient and on the the money.

The Elbow win, meanwhile, I found interesting as it is only the fourth time in the Mercury Prize's history that a non-debut album has won the award. Like publishing, music is more and more sucked into the excitement of someone new, rather than rewarding an author/ writer for learning their craft over a number of years. The sad fact is that if you don't deliver saleswise on day one, you might not get your chance to fully develop to your full potential (and ironically, that's saleswise as well as creatively). Elbow, who have been dropped by their record label in the past, and faced the situation that this particular album might not even be released, fully deserve their moment in the sun. I just hope this breaking out of common sense isn't a one-off.

(I know Salman Rushdie isn't going out with Padma any more, but any excuse for a gratuitous photo)

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