Friday, 23 July 2010


The shortlist was announced earlier this week, and it has now been revealed that the panel set to cast the final decision on which album will receive this year’s prestigious Mercury Music Prize will consist entirely of aurally challenged judges. The appointment of the hard-of-hearing jury is speculated to have been instigated in response to last year’s competition problems, during which several panel members were struck down with sickness and nausea caused by intense and prolonged exposure to Kasabian’s West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Further alarm bells were triggered in the process of compiling the shortlist for 2010’s award when several listeners contracted symptoms of bilharzial dysentery upon being forced to listen to the debut album of Mumford & Sons for the third time in a row.

The employment of deaf people in judging the prize may effect the criteria for winning the award, although nobody at the Mercury Prize has ever revealed what the criteria may consist of, or if there is any criteria at all. However, it seems that quality of the albums’ artwork will hold more sway than usual this year, as well as the quality of the lyrics (at least for those of the nominees who bothered to reproduce them in the liner notes). It is perhaps for reasons of aesthetics, then, that since the announcement of the deaf judges, the betting odds on the prize have changed rather dramatically. Previous favourites The xx have slipped to 200/1 on account of their cheap haircuts, visible zits, and inability to appear non-monochrome, whereas Laura Marling and Corrine Bailey Rae have shot up to joint favourites as the panel, although being all-deaf, is still ninety per cent male and are therefore expected to admire the view of both Marling and Rae’s seductively crossed, long, luscious, young legs as each takes her turn to timidly and unenthusiastically strum her acoustic guitar whilst sat atop the traditional female singer-songwriter quite-high-stool.

Fears that the panel might accidentally pick an album that might not in fact the best British record of the year on account of their deafness are said not be troubling the organisers of the prize; previous winners have included Suede, Elbow and M People.

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