Making the right Choice

This blog has its roots on the campsite in Larch Hill, sometime in the early 90s. There’s me, a step in my hair and a record number of badges on my sleeve.

Our Cub Scout troop (14th Kildare) had just won some award and there was furious debate about who should pick it up. Brian Duffy and Paul Kirwan were both insisting that it should be them and, even as our win was being announced, their positions remained entrenched.

So I did what any self-centred 10 year old would do and simply walked up and collected the prize myself.

Far from saving an argument, this actually inflamed it and, newly united, Duffy and Kirwan directed their anger towards me.

Ever since then, I’ve been wary of award ceremonies.

Think about it for a moment. How can one piece of art – in this case an album – be any better than any other. Every album ever released is, to someone, somewhere, the greatest album ever. It might be the musician themselves who holds that opinion but who are we to disagree?

It was for that reason that I was reluctant to take part in the Digital Socket Awards earlier this year. I appreciated what it was that the organisers – who did tremendous work and deserve nothing but applause – were trying to achieve but I couldn’t help but ask myself ‘who am I to judge which is better?’

In the end, I made my decisions based on which records/videos/artwork were my favourite, rather than which I thought were best.

I’m not sure if that negates my judging or not but it is something to keep in mind before the inevitable bitching and moaning begins when the winner of this year’s Choice Music Prize is announced tonight.

No more than you can, the judges tonight cannot possibly decide which Irish album was the ‘best’ of 2010. Instead, they can simply explain which was their favourite and hope to come to a clear consensus. Remove any single judge and you may get an entirely different result. It really is that arbitrary.

Likewise, the bands taking part shouldn’t feel in anyway deflated should they not win tonight. The Choice is, afterall, about:

(Stimulating) debate and interest in Irish artists and in Irish Music and to increase public awareness of music from Ireland annually.

For those who believe passionately that Irish music has the ability to punch well above its weight – and I count myself as one of them – this is a very worthy cause. Somehow though, it loses some of it’s gloss when the Twitter machine and comment boxes get clogged with ‘my particular favourite band should have won’ type messages.

Whoever wins, if winning is the right word, shouldn’t effect what you feel about your favourite album on the list no more than The King’s Speech winning an Oscar should change your opinion on what your favourite movie of 2010 was.

So relax, maybe even put a bet on but, most importantly, accept that other people have different opinions than you do.

Whoever loses, Irish music wins.

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4 Responses to Making the right Choice

  1. Elaine says:

    I voted in a similar fashion for the DSAs!

  2. queenelvis says:

    Nice sentiments, totally agree, it is all down to personal choice at the end of the day and if they choose there favourites on that basis, then it is fine. Lets hope that is how they choose the winner….

  3. Karl says:

    Is there a difference between favourite and best though? That’s a whole other minefield.

    I think there’s a gap between the people the Choice is for and the people who pick the Choice at this point (i.e. they’re running out of knowledgeable judges), but yeah I agree with your ‘doesn’t really matter who wins’ conclusion.

  4. Great write-up, well put.

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