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Mu­sic needs women-only awards, says Anthea McTeirnan

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Opinion -

They tried to make me go to re­hab, but I said . . . wait a minute I’ll just fin­ish the vac­u­um­ing, turn off the cooker and put the kids to bed. Rock’n’ roll enough for you boys? Ob­vi­ously not.

So, big up to Amy Wine­house, Janis Jo­plin, Bil­lie Hol­i­day, Mama Cass, Karen Car­pen­ter and whole rockin’ girl crew who have proven that we ladies can turn it up to 11 in the self-abuse stakes as well as the next guy. Great. They have won the sneak­ing R-E-S-P-E-C-T of the boys who write the his­tory of rock.

Those same boys are cur­rently mid-cli­max over the emer­gence of the latest tranche of lady tal­ent. I give you Kate Nash, Adele, Duffy, even Lily bloody Allen. Girls, we are told, are now “of­fi­cially” on top.

In fact, dou­ble X chro­mo­some car­ri­ers are so in the as­cen­dant that, here’s an idea (thanks Mr Brian Boyd, writ­ing in last week’s Ticket): there is no longer any need for sep­a­rate awards for male and fe­male artists at mu­sic in­dus­try love-ins.

“Fe­male is not a genre” de­clared Ms Kate Nash at the re­cent Brit awards. You bet it’s not a genre, Kate. That’s what makes it so easy to ig­nore, which is what would hap­pen if you dropped the dis­tinc­tion. And in case you didn’t no­tice, there were seven other Brit awards that weren’t gen­der-spe­cific. None was won by women.

They gave out 20 gongs at last week’s NME awards. Four went to women. Kate “Ger­maine” Nash picked up best solo artist. I am so bit­ter. But the other three lady tro­phies went to Amy Wine­house (Worst Dressed), Brit­ney Spears (Worst Album) and Kylie Minogue (Sex­i­est Wo­man). Case closed.

And feel the shame. This pub­li­ca­tion isn’t im­mune. Last week The Ticket of­fered up our top 40 Ir­ish al­bums – ever! Guess what? Only one was by a fe­male solo artist. Sinéad O’Con­nor, take a bow.

Very few women get a pass­port to that boys’-own world of rock’n’ roll. Those who do are the gals the male-driven mu­sic in­dus­try ap­proves of. Kate, Amy, Adele et al are not in the van­guard of some sort of fem­i­nist revo­lu­tion. There’s noth­ing new about the mu­sic busi­ness push­ing a bunch of fe­male solo singers. The in­dus­try loves a girl who can belt out a dirge. It’s less keen on women who wield a bass, smash a cym­bal or dis­play a pen­chant for crowd surf­ing. (Thanks, Beth Ditto, for putting your­self on the radar).

As for girl power, yes, The Spice Girls were a male-con­structed sham. D’oh. We got that bit. So’s the whole in­dus­try. At least I was able to vote for the mem­bers of Girls Aloud on TV. They weren’t hand-picked from The Brit School by some beardy mogul.

Never mind the bol­locks. Next year let’s have our own women-only awards cer­e­mony. Oh, and Kate Nash . . . you’re not get­ting one.

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