Well, we all know about the “Adele” incident. Fireworks began the show, and a different kind of fireworks ended it.
It was so unfortunate because up until then it had been a glorious, beautifully produced evening, brilliantly organized by the BPI’s Maggie Crowe and her team – and masterminded by David Joseph, Chairman of Universal, UK. I should declare an interest, in that I am Deputy Chairman of the BPI, the organization that presents the Brits, but I rarely have much to do with the awards. I was privileged to be there there on the night, sitting having dinner with our CEO, (Geoff Taylor) Jeremy Hunt , Secretary Of State For Culture, John Whittingdale MP, Chairman of the select committee for Culture, Media and Sport, and also Katie with her new Fiancee, motorcycle double world champ James Toseland. So I can actually say I had a ringside seat, probably about 30 feet away from the action.
These situations often arise out of perfectly good intentions. On the way into the backstage area at the start of the awards, I ran into Ray Winstone – (with whom we became friends when he starred in “Sexy Beast” with my wife Julianne, who played Ben Kingsley’s love interest –in Kingsley’s dreams!) - and Ray was with his lovely wife, Elaine. I introduced them to Katie and James, and we said we’d see them later at the dinner. Well, it was all very big and busy at the dinner so I didn’t get a chance to chat with Ray and Elaine, so the next time I saw him he was striding down the catwalk to give his friends, Blur, a great introduction before they joined him on stage. I don’t know whether Ray had been warned about timing, but somebody with an eye on the clock ought to have told him there was precious little time, – so that he didn’t introduce the band naming each one of them individually! Then Blur themselves took RATHER a long time accepting their awards (you’d have hoped a floor manager would have seen the train crash coming, at THAT point, but I don’t know what actually happened). However, for James to be instructed, presumably through his earpiece, to get Adele off stage asap, 40 seconds into the most important acceptance speech of the night, -was outrageous, and incompetent. I’ve read reports that the instruction came from very high up, but trust me, very high up execs don’t sit in the gallery giving orders. Directors do.
So what started with Ray kindly trying to “big up” his mates, followed by themselves taking time to enjoy the moment, the deed was done. The irony was that the cutting off of Adele was caused by Blur, but the call was made by the production team to save Blur’s performance rather than to save Adele’s acceptance moment. A terrible choice, putting the (no doubt cherished and rehearsed) TV camera shots and presentation before the comfort and glory of the biggest selling female artist in the world.
It’s what’s known in the business as a cock-up. At the BPI we have what we darkly call a “post mortem” meeting after every BRITS show. I often think it should be called a de-briefing meeting, but this year, it’ll definitely be a post mortem!
Such a pity, when so many people did such a brilliant job. And hats off to Adele, whether she flicked the finger or not – she’s a stunning singer and she deserved better treatment.
Lovely to stop and chat with Christopher Dean and Jayne Torvill on the way out. I’ve known them for a long time, since I wrote the music for their successors (Karen Barber and Nicky Slater) as UK Ice Dance champions, all those years ago
Note:This is a personal view, and does not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the BPI or any of its staff