Yes I know I shouldn't reproduce an entire article – but this is so succinct and right that I hope The Times will forgive me…
Here's Richard Morrison on the ridiculous choice by the Brit Awards to confer on boy-band Il Divo the Classical Artist of the Decade prize – yes that's right, ‘decade':
How funny. There was I thinking that the past ten years had been fantastically strong ones for classical music in Britain, and then comes this kick in the bassoons.
The Artist of the Decade is deemed to be a bunch of photogenic crooners, manufactured by Simon Cowell, who are to real classical music what Russell Brand is to the Mothers' Union. And not one of them is British anyway.
Let's put this in context. In the past decade we've enjoyed fantastic recordings from the London Symphony, City of Birmingham and Hallé orchestras, among others. We've seen British conductors — Rattle, Elder, Davis, Ticciati, Harding, Wigglesworth — in demand all over the world.
We have a clutch of serious but brilliantly inspired composers — MacMillan, Adès, Weir, Dove Anderson. And we have two opera companies in London that are pioneering sensational ways of reaching new audiences.
Any of those would have deserved to be Artist of the Decade. Instead, the Classic Brits confirm their status as the Classic Naffs with a choice so ludicrous yet so pathetically predictable that I want to ask whether any of the judges has ever stepped inside a British concert hall or opera house.
Doubtless I'll be told I'm out of touch.
The truth is that the major record label that controls the Brits as firmly as Eric Morley controlled Miss World, with about as much taste, long ago lost the plot.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.