I haven’t watched MTV’s Video Music Awards in years. I don’t know what I thought was happening with it in my absence but I reckoned it would be pretty much the same as it used to be except with more hashtags and less plaid.
It appears I was quite wrong. I decided to watch it last night because I had a tube of Pringles to get through and I don’t feel as guilty when I accompany them with feature length things on the internet. It makes obscene Pringle consumption more of an accessory as opposed to a crime in itself.
As I got through the first 15 minutes of vague girl-on-girl action and bondage-themed outfits, it slowly dawned on me that I had no idea who anyone was. I know everyone says that when you get to my age but really, I barely recognised any of the names that won awards that entire night, I was genuinely surprised by this. Although expectantly weaker, I really thought I still had a grip on popular culture. I do not!!! Who the fuck is ‘Fetty Wap’??? And why does this person’s name sound like northern slang for a bit of cheeky masturbation?
Someone I did recognise was Britney Spears. She was there. Although she clearly had no idea she was there. Looking at her dead, fragile eyes blinking in the spotlight on stage, I think she was in a land created entirely by herself. One which featured double-denim sewn together with Justin Timberlake’s soft curls, a lifetime supply of fried chicken and possibly meth. She looked done, completely void, like she’d forgotten her child in a motel carpark and couldn’t quite decide if she could be arsed going back for it. It was quite sad really.
Another person I had heard of was Justin Beiber. Unlike Britney, he very much knew he was there. A harsh, jarring reality for him – it was as if he had suddenly realised how depressing his world was as soon as his performance started. I found it quite difficult to watch, I have more energy when I have one of my hangover-PMS combos. At the end of the song he literally broke down in tears, bawling his little eyes out because he is essentially a child and the entire world fucking hates his guts and wishes he had died in a fire as a baby. I give the poor kid 5 years.
Kanye and Kim. They’ve been done to death on the internet so I’m not going to talk about how they were dressed as if they were playing the part of foliage in a school play, or how Kim’s left breast is going to give me nightmares for the next 6 months, or how her face. Just her face. She’s younger than me, yet she looks like a permanently suspicious, swollen pensioner with chronic allergies.
No, what I will talk about is the “vanguard” award that Kanye won. I don’t even know what that award is or means or implies but the delusion of it all was bone-chilling. You see, Kanye West is a cunt. This is fact. He is a tantrum-throwing bully who thinks his job on this planet is to make empires cool again. He is comedy to the extreme. Before watching this year’s VMAs, I thought everyone knew this. I thought we were all in agreement like “Golddigga was an absolute smash of a song but let’s just make sure he never gets outside without being accompanied by an adult.”
I can’t believe how wrong I was. People are lapping this shit up! I know this because not nearly enough piss was taken out of him on the internet after his questionable, 11 minute acceptance speech. His ramblings were confusing yet dangerous all at the same time and preceded by an equally baffling introduction video which I have transcribed below:
“The artist aims for perfection. He wants to be the best. Every day is spent pursuing the images the artist dreams. When we see his work, we feel its energy. It transforms us. He advances culture by destroying what came before, so we can start anew. He doesn’t just feel. He follows his truth wherever it leads. If his honesty brings chaos, it doesn’t make him wrong, it makes him a person. It’s important to stay idealistic, to be vocal, to see the world through eyes of a child: free, open, full of wonder and imagination. He shares these dreams with us. We have to fight for our visionaries. We won’t go gently into victory. And we’re better for it.”
Well you can fuck off if you think I’m going to fight for Kanye. He wears ridiculous leather tracksuit bottoms and refers to himself as “God’s vessel”. Bear in mind that this was all pre and con-cluded by Miley Cyrus dressed like a dead clown-prostitute talking non-stop about how much pot she smokes like she’s the first person to ever try it. Completely surreal.
As the camera panned around the venue, the whole room looked like they were just holding it together and no more. None of them can walk unaided and they can’t move their faces at all. It’s like they know that at any minute all their collagen could expire simultaneously and they will fall to the floor en masse, smashing into a million pieces. “I’ve just got to make it through the next hour without melting, please don’t let me melt ’til I get home, people can’t see me in my true form.” The desperate, straining panic in their faces about the only thing the surgery can’t hide.
My experience of watching the VMAs after so long has left me feeling 20% sad that I’m so out of touch and 80% grateful that I’m so out of touch. I’m not going to lie, I feel a little bit like I’ve been discreetly booted out of a club that I used to be so knowledgeable and active in. I remember the good days when the ceremony was dominated by Beck, Rage Against the Machine, Tupac, Alanis Morissette, Tracy Chapman, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Blackstreet, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dr Dre, Missy Elliot, Prodigy etc. The majority of whom had things to say. Last night I watched Nicki Minaj punch herself in the vagina about 20 times whilst singing about ass and pussy, how she is better than everyone else and hates everything that cannot satisfy her sexually or financially.
I went to bed last night with distinctly uneasy and apocalyptic thoughts – but is this simply a case of natural progression? Am I just becoming my parents who in turn didn’t want to become their parents? Is the same thing going to happen to my unborn child one day or is there something genuinely wrong with the entertainment industry nowadays?
I need to stop ending my articles with questions. I’m starting to sound like Carrie fucking Bradshaw.