It’s shocking, sé, but an awards ceremony with at least 683 distinct categories, which takes roughly four days to get through and almost certainly has a gong for best backing vocals on a rap-classical crossover in the Portuguese language, has again run into trouble amid accusations of an opaque and complex voting system that some artists claim damages the integrity of the process.
There were no Grammy nominations this year for the Weeknd, one of the world’s biggest and bestselling pop stars, who headlined the Super Bowl half-time show in February for around 96 million viewers. After being left out, the Weeknd has announced that he will no longer submit his music for their consideration, blaming his exclusion on “secret committees” and a lack of transparency. His announcement followed tweets from Zayn Malik, who criticised the awards for allowing “favouritism, racism and networking politics to influence the voting process”. Drake y Frank Ocean have also been critical of los Grammy en años recientes; la New York Times points out that, staggeringly, the last black artist to win album of the year was Herbie Hancock, en 2008, por River – his tribute to Joni Mitchell.
After the week’s big interview, you know the one, David Baddiel astutely tweeted that the fallout is “what happens when an institution that has always relied to some extent on silence has to exist in a world that no longer does silence”. The sentiment fits far more than just the royal family. For all the fun and pomp and silliness, and I do love a good red carpet, plenty of award shows exist in a grey area of back-scratching and behind-the-scenes brokering and they have done for as long as they have existed. sin embargo, that relies on a silence that is starting to break.
People will always argue that anyone who complains is simply hurt because they’ve been overlooked, but the exclusion of the Weeknd is undeniably bizarre, if not downright belligerent. Such omissions devalue los Grammy, in the same way that failing to even nominate I May Destroy You devalued the Golden Globes. It makes the old institutions look outdated, creaky and unfit for purpose and that, Sucesivamente, makes the audience less interested. I’m sure the pandemic didn’t help, but the Golden Globes lost two-thirds of its viewing audience this year and had its lowest ever rating among 18-49-year-olds. Unless they adapt, award shows are in danger of becoming irrelevant.
During the very first lockdown, which now seems like years ago, still flush with a sense of newly free time that might be used creatively – rather than in a state of guilty, dribbling inertia – I set about trying to read the longlist for the Women’s prize for fiction. (I suppose that viewing awards as reading lists/film lists/playlists is one good argument against burning all of them to the ground.) I appreciated the guidance and managed a good portion, Gracias, in large part, to the excellent local library service. Until last year, I had no idea that libraries offered ebooks and audiobooks and, even though I don’t understand why there is still a waiting list for something with no physical form, it has been a godsend. I have become evangelical about telling people they can borrow ebooks – for free – so if you were not already aware, please consider this my gift to you.
This year’s longlist has been announced and it is an appetising selection, from Dawn French to Raven Leilani, from Ali Smith to Brit Bennett. It turns out that I’ve read three of the nominees already, y, of those, an early favourite is Patricia Lockwood’s witty, brilliant No One Is Talking About This, which has had me questioning my internet use on a daily basis, as well as alternating between belly laughs and sobs. When the list appeared, I screen-grabbed the nominees, went straight to my BorrowBox app and reserved eight of them, all thanks to the local library. At the very least, it should mean that some of my outrageous lockdown screen time is put to good use.
La semana pasada, Britain was a nation divided yet again, between young and old, royalist and republican, left and right, rich and poor, but there was at least one thing on which we could all agree: no Adam Driver look nice in his jumper? On Instagram, Lady Gaga shared a first look at her new film, Ridley Scott’s biopic, in which Gaga is playing Patrizia Reggiani, the wife of Driver’s Maurizio Gucci. The idea of anything or anyone upstaging a woman who will for ever be associated with the words “meat” and “dress” would once have been laughable, but there was something about Driver’s impeccable knitwear that drew the eye away from Gaga and straight to him.
The internet loved it, turning it into instant meme fodder; not since Chris Evans in Knives Out has one thick knit done so much for one man. I admired it from its high neck to its intricate pattern and it took me back to the knitwear glory days of Sarah Lund in The Killing.The only issue is that the weather in the UK is slowly turning springwards; it’ s cruel to remind us of the cosy might of a heavy knit, just in time to pack the jumpers away.