The Shits – sorry – The Brits took place this week. And for once that annual vom-fest of a music industry love-in was worth watching. For all of two minutes.

Yes, in among the excruciating Elbow, the underwhelming U2 and various other popular faves emerged a band for which the fabled Brit Award was surely intended.

Iron Maiden are about as patriotic a band as it’s possible to be in this age of political correctness gone mad, what with their union flag-waving zeal and love of UK history and tradition.

Not only that but Bruce and the boys are brilliant ambassadors for the home of rock, touring the world without a hint of controversy and delivering night upon night of ultra-professional and great value shows.

Now I don’t want to knock the Pet Shop Boys. I’ve always been a bit of a closet fan of their socially important synth pop but the very fact they got a long service gong on the same night Maiden got their ‘Best Live Group’ award raises more questions than it answers. 

First and foremost I can testify to the fact that Maiden are, by some considerable stretch, a better live band than the PSBs. Two grim-faced Northerners standing behind a mic and a keyboard all night while the occasional strobe light catches their glittery suits may appeal to my aged father. But as a live performance it’s almost deathly.

Maiden, on the other hand, give it everything they’ve got every time they step out on stage and what they’ve got really amounts to something these days. Huge pyrotechnics, giant Eddies and three guitarists ain’t bad for starters. Throw in a bulging back catalogue and the boy Bruce and it’s easy to see why they’re national treasures.

So maybe it should have been Maiden picking up the heritage award at the Brits. Maybe it will be one day but the portents aren’t good.

For starters they only got their award thanks to a Radio 2 vote. Yep, a Radio 2 vote. Now I can count on one finger the number of times I’ve heard Run To The Hills on Wossy’s Saturday morning show and just which Radio 2 listeners voted for the mighty Maiden is a mystery. But the point is that the best British metal band ever didn’t actually get their Brit via the judging panel.

Then of course there were the rock acts which didn’t get a sniff. And I’m not talking about the alleged Satriani clones Coldplay.

Nope. Where was the award for AC/DC – fronted by a Geordie (yes, we are British) and boasting six million album sales in 2008? Where were Robert Plant’s prizes just days after he swept the board at the Grammys? And what about recognising the resurgent Def Leppard, the evergreen Whitesnake (Cov counts as a Brit) or even born again NWOBHM pioneers Saxon?

Whether Maiden or any other metal band will ever be truly recognised or respected at the Brits remains to be seen but then maybe it’s best if they don’t share the limelight with Duffy, Girls Aloud and the Pet Shops. Maybe it’s best if we don’t let the world in on the little secret that’s classic rock. Imagine Maiden in the mainstream  – it just doesn’t bear thinking about.