A weary word about the Mercury Music Prize, which took place on Tuesday night. (NB: I never normally take any notice of dreary industry back-pats like the Brits and Mercury, but this year I was mildly curious for reasons that become apparent.)
Just how predictable was it that student bores the Arctic bloody Monkeys were going to win? When, as all the critics and writers seem to quite rightly suggest, the group that should have won was Scritti Politti.
Scritti frontman and musical genius, Green Gartside has been steadily and consistently producing timeless music since the 1970s, and his latest album, ‘White Bread, Black Beer’, is the best album I’ve heard all year.
I first heard Scritti Politti (‘The Word Girl’) in 1985, while sitting on the floor of a cricket pavilion at Brother Number Two’s school in Somerset. I might have been only seven, but I remember it so well. As a result, my school days were soundtracked by Scritti long-players ‘Songs To Remember’, ‘Cupid & Psyche’ and ‘Provision’, and my university years by the unexpected release of ‘Anomie & Bonhomie’. And this year I was thrilled when ‘White Bread’ followed a repackaging of Green’s 1970s output on his own St Pancras label, called ‘Early’.
PS: Brother Number Two currently lives in Dalston and informs me that Green not only pops into the local pub for a few drinks… but is ALWAYS in there – apart from on Tuesday night, when he pulled on a suit and headed out to the Mercury Awards to play one of his very rare live performances in the past 25 years. Good on him.