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NME / 2nd March 1996


“Wanna Be Startin’ Something?” Jarvis, Jacko and the true story of the Brits

In an act of pure heroism or sheer stupidity depending on which side of the fence you are on, the 1996 Brits will forever be remembered for the time when Jarvis Cocker made a brave stand against the dubious Messianic posturing of the self-proclaimed King of Pop. Or some indie lout wiggled his arse in front of some stage school kids while pushing them around a bit if you believed the tabloids. We were spared the truth ourselves as the Brits organisation/ITV broadcast a heavily censored version of events like it never happened (which also applied to the truly loutish Gallagher brothers’ outbursts). In the days when the internet was purely a geeks only pursuit and social media meant watching the telly down the pub, it was far easier for airbrushing to take place. Now it would be all over Twitter and Youtube in an instant. It was fairly clear where allegiance lay with NME though with extensive coverage of the event, a lowdown of Pulp’s post-Brits Birmingham NEC gig (replete with custom-made “Jarvis is Innocent” T-Shirts modelled by the band) and the letters page demanding Sir Jarvis status.


Jarvis was arrested 30 minutes after the incident, accused of hitting and pushing the child actors from the stage. It turned out nothing of the sort took place and seeing the leaked video this is evident. Witnessing the quasi-religious performance of Jackson’s “Earth Song” unfolding he seized the moment to make a personal statement (that was apparently being felt by others at Earls Court that night). Anyway enough of my yacking, here’s Jarv to explain himself to Brits host Chris Evans a few days after the event…. (And is there anything more-era defining than “TFI Friday”?)

The rest of the show was dominated by Oasis, after the record-breaking four awards in one year landslide of Blur the previous year. Thuggish Testosterone is to shortly make way for, erm thuggish Estrogen though as Girl Power is just around the corner, when Sporty, Scary, Ginger, Baby and Posh burst on the scene that summer and the ’97 Brits is remembered for that Union Jack dress. More to come with that in a future blog and yes, the Spice Girls did make it on the cover of the NME, heralding the era of ‘New Ladette’ culture.

Back to ’96 Brits and memorably David Bowie received his Outstanding Contribution award from Labour leader (not yet PM) Tony Blair, while wearing high-heels and a dog collar. That’s David, not Tony. Then performs new single “Hallo Spaceboy” with the Pet Shop Boys.

Take That split!

Just a week earlier, young hearts were in such a state of distress that it resulted in the setting up of a temporary national phone helpline to ease their pain. Incredible to think that your average 13 year old then wouldn’t even have a mobile, never mind the relentless distractions of text, IM, Facebook, Twitter etc. that would follow. Hard to imagine a world like that now, wasn’t that long ago was it? Oh, hang on, it was 18 years ago. Jesus. Speaking of which, here is NME’s amusing take on things, reporting from the future – 2016 – when the reformed Take That release some new material. Well they got that about right.



The Charts


UK No. 1 Single: Oasis – Don’t Look Back In Anger

Never been much of a fan of the Gallagher brothers or their work personally, but anyone else remember this being the closing strains of the epic “Our Friends In The North” saga, starring a young Daniel Craig and Christopher Eccleston? I have to admit this is a great song.

However, we’re going to stop off at No. 4, last week’s No. 1 for probably the most forgotten about chart-topper ever: “Spaceman” by Babylon Zoo. You know, the one from the freaky Levi’s ad? Yeah? Speeded up vocals, drum and bass beats, suitably spacey synths, so far so good. Then 50 seconds in it descends into a turgid indie-rock grunge, thereby confusing the great British record buying public who bought it in good faith. Nice one Jas Mann! (That said I kind of like it. And I doubt anything this curious/fluky would happen now, more’s to the pity. See also: “Your Woman” by White Town (No. 1, 1997).

(Sorry about the subtitles, that’s the only version on Youtube)