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16 October 2014
Modern Studies: The Scottish Elections 2007

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Voter Video Diaries - Transcript of Mick Cooke's story

Voting changed my life when Belle and Sebastian won best new comers at the Brit Awards 1999.

I’m Mick Cooke from Belle and Sebastian. The best new comer in 1999 was the first time that the fans were asked to vote for an award, and it was over the phone and it was on the internet and I think that was maybe the first time they had used the internet in such a big way for a music award. It caused a bit a scandal at the time because we beat Steps to the award. Pete Waterman kicked up a big fuss and we ended up on the front cover of the Sun on the Saturday…well it was the Scottish Sun on the Saturday morning so it really did kind of change our lives quite quickly. The day after the Brit Awards we were on the Big Breakfast, you know so were kind of dropped into this kind of media circus straight away. There was a kind of flurry of media interest, newspapers on the phone, there was actually a few tabloids camped outside the church hall where our singer Stuart and our drummer Richard were staying. They opened their door on the Saturday morning to a sea of journos hanging outside their house which I think was quite alarming for them at the time.

It was an absolutely fantastic night actually, it was Richard the drummer and myself that went down for the award, the rest of the band were holed up in the studio recording our fourth album or so. The whole thing was quite strange that we had been awarded best new comer when we had actually had three albums out and we had been together 3 years but I think there were still a lot of people at the awards ceremony that didn’t have a clue who were and the fact when we got up there was a lot of booing as well as the odd cheer from various sections of the audience but I think we upset a lot of Steps fans and Billie fans that night. It was an amazing thing on the night to win the award and we had heard rumours throughout the day that we had won this but it is only on the night that you find out so we were sat there not quite sure what was going on and then it was announced that we had won, it felt very surreal and pretty exciting. I think kind of long term it did have an effect on the band, increasing our profile. I think since then we have faired better in the cabbie test. Before if you asked a cabbie who Belle and Sebastian were they just didn’t have a clue but immediately after that any cabbie would tell you that was the band that cheated at the Brit Awards…..whither that is a good thing or not I’m not sure, it did certainly improve our profile. I think there was a call from the Sun for us to give back our award. Stewart was quite tempted to throw it in the Kelvin at one point or maybe even through the window of the Scottish Sun office, you know here is your award, if it means so much to you, you know here it is, you can have it but I think the Brit Award is now being used as a door stop currently, but it has been passed round the band you know it has sat on a few mantel pieces. It was gracing my mantle piece for a while.

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