RUNNING AN awards show is, to be sure, a funny old business. And, whilst we’re being free with the cliches, it is too a business that can have you over the moon one minute, as sick as a parrot the next.
The primary reason for all this emotive to-ing and fro-ing? Ah, how to put this delicately?… Well, the success or otherwise of awards such as Q’s is almost entirely dependent on the ‘talent’ in the room on the day – specifically, the amount, quality and exclusivity of said talent. Patently, Madonna could be seen dry-humping Elvis Presley in the cloakroom, but if a catering faux-pas resulted in a rapacious outbreak of Botulism, then no one would go home calling it the Day Of Their Lives. But the latter – fingers crossed, knock on wood, etc – is as unlikely as the former.
And the difference between rubbing shoulders with, say, U2 or Oasis or Kylie or Kate Bush (all of whom have graced the Q red carpet in the past, and who knows, may do so again), and being forced to engage in small talk with – let’s pluck some names at random, shall we, no offence intended and all that – the bassist from Kula Shaker, Toploader’s drummer and someone who finished fourth in a regional heat of Pop Idol is a cavernous one. It’s make or break, baby, as someone or other once probably said.
Hence, we depend on those we lovingly refer to as the ‘talent’ (and not so lovingly, on occasion, by other words beginning with ‘T’). And therein lies the rub. As we have previously seen, their acceptance to our in-no-way grovelling invites can see us turning merry cartwheels around the office. But then, invariably, come their requests and demands. And whence they do, Lord help us.
This week, KT Tunstall has said she would love to come to the awards, having enjoyed her gong-grabbing debut appearance so much in 2005 (Best Track, for Black Horse And The Cherry Tree, since you ask). We like KT, we really do. There’ll be no hissy fits, no diva-esque list of requirements, no nothing likely to have us waking in a cold sweat with KT. All things being equal, she will come, have a good time, and be as charming as a very charming thing indeed.
Unlike Another Very Famous Star this very week. Who, upon accepting Q’s hand, immediately decided that a private boat, stretch limos, a very specific kind of finger food and many other luxuries besides should be placed at his/her disposal by way of ensuring his/her day goes swimmingly. One’s preferred instantaneous response to such things would be to re-arrange the words ‘Yourself’, ‘Pluck’ and ‘Go’ (or something similar) into a sentence, but alas, in these cases diplomacy is always called for. So we begin with a, ‘Let’s see what we can do’, which given the brutal contraints of our budget, will subsequently become a, ‘Finger food, not a problem’ in due course. Wherein, Very Famous Star will either flounce off in a huff, or his/her ‘people’ will have simply been trying it on all along, and all will go back to as it was before the silliness ensued.
Such has been this week. Such will be next week, and the week after, and in all probability every one up to and including 8 October, the Awards day itself. Then, there will be no surprised yelp from me when Press Officer A calls to inform me that her charge has decided he’d really rather not present the award he’d proviously agreed to today, because he’s washing his hair or something, or when The Killers (destined to win an award) are stranded in Las Vegas because their flight is cancelled. No, because all that happened last year.
It really is small wonder that we in the business they call awards invariably have less and less hair (on our heads, at any rate) and an increasingly gloomy disposition. The only way to get through it is assuredly to laugh about it. As I did when, whilst editing Kerrang!, I was on the receiving of a fax from Slipknot’s management pertaining to their planned appearance at a Kerrang! Awards. Quoting from memory, I believe it said of the gimp-ish Iowan nonet (as few have ever called them): “They must be provided with nine drinking straws, black in colour, no more than 1.5cm in circumfrence.”
What was at issue here was the foolishly masked metal men being able to lubricate themselves during the ceremony. I believe I was still chortling right up to the moment one of them – The Clown, I am led to believe – threw a shot glass at me during my introductory speech. Go Pluck Yourself, indeed.
This week’s category of choice is Best Video, the penultimate one for us to debate at length. Now, when I say at length, I have a small confession to make… There’s only one video I would like to mention here, and naturally only one I would like to see win. Sure, there has been the odd striking promo this year (tip of the hat to Bjork and the Kaiser Chiefs, to name but two), but to my mind nothing has compared to The White Stripes’ extraordinary Icky Thump short film. At a time when videos, like much else, follow set formulae, this is a piece of art: striking, memorable, bizarre, utterly in keeping with the spirit of the song, and with the The White Stripes themselves, without simply replicating it word-for-visual.
In the unlikely event that you haven’t seen it, please do. Then vote for it. Not that this will tip the talent equation for the Q Awards – The White Stripes don’t ‘do’ awards.
At times, I’m moved to think that they have a point.
Paul Rees – Editor, Q
3:36 PM | 10/08/2007
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