New Yorkers Grab Mercury Prize
It’s kind of like a crazy contest between an orange and a spaceship and a potted plant and a spoon – which one do you like better? was how ex-patriot Englishman Antony Hegarty reacted to winning the Mercury Music Prize.
“I think they must have made a mistake,” said Chichester-born Hegarty, after
The New York-based band only qualified for the competition, which is for the best album of the year by a British or Irish act, because Johnson was born in the U.K. The prize is voted for by a panel of industry experts, journalists and artists, and is said to reward originality and creativity rather than sales success.
The band performed at the award ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, as did fellow nominees
Simon Frith, chairman of the judges, said Antony & The Johnsons won because they produced “such an extraordinary album.”
“It’s not like any album I’ve heard before or since,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to have any obvious place where it’s coming from – and yet play it to anybody and they’re arrested.
“Some of them hate it, some of them absolutely love it – but nobody can ignore it.”
Kaiser Chiefs were the bookies’ favourites.
— John Gammon