One month to go until the Q Awards.
This is the psychological tipping point. One instantly becomes acutely aware from now that the event is looming upon the horizon, and that any number of things can, and invariably will, happen over the next four – gulp! – weeks. If you’re a glass-half-full kind of person, this will mean keenly anticipating yet another VIP RSVP-ing in the affirmative, and everything will have bells on it. If you’re me, doom is lurking around every corner from hereon in.
The Q Awards 2007 will be my fifth – again, gulp! – as Editor of the magazine. I am ever mindful at this time of my first. Back then, we had locked in the grand crowning moment of the ceremony – a proper British icon being presented to by another proper British icon of the opposite sex – months in advance. How we laughed when the latter attempted to take us to court, wholly stupidly and wholly unsuccessfully, for something we had written, and the former decided that he had to wash his hair that afternoon instead, a mere week before our big day.
This left us with Duran Duran. And Baby Spice. No offence to either, but it wasn’t quite the same. Indeed, I believe I spent much of that afternoon weeping like a baby and tearing out what’s left of my hair. As I may have mentioned, during a previous bout of Olympian name-dropping… Awards, I’ve done a few. And long experience has taught me one sure-fire thing: they never go strictly according to plan, for good and ill.
Case in point: whilst editing Kerrang!, back in the day, we hit upon the slendid idea of having veteran Scandinavian saucepot Britt Ekland present an award – a golden K, no less – to the Antichrist Superstar himself, Marilyn Manson. What a wheeze it would no doubt be. On the day in question, I was handed the crucial role of standing on stage like a spare part while someone else hosted the show, there solely to attempt to shake the hand of each winner and presenter, each of whom proceeded to ignore me. Brilliant.
From this elevated point, I could see, when her time came, La Ekland striding towards the stage – or, more precisely, tottering along on ill-advised high heels. These were, in a very real sense, her downfall (although dark talk later suggested that a rogue slice of melon, skidded across the floor, did it for the Swedish thesp). One minute she was there, a vision in pink chiffon and much make-up, the next she had gone, splayed in an undignified heap across the floor.
It later transpired that ‘our’ Britt – as we were, legally, never allowed to refer to her afterward – had broken her ankle in the tumble. We knew this not at the time. So, when she was finally carried onto the stage, and set upon a chair thoughtfully provided for her by someone other than myself, I thought this a good opportunity to do more than simply stand around having glasses thrown at me by Slipknot (long story: one involving an ill-advised joke on my behalf during my brief introductory speech and a nine-man humour bypass on behalf of the masked berks). Hence, I skooted over to Ms Ekland, threw a concerned arm around her once nubile shoulders, and asked with all due seriousness, “Are you alright?” To which she replied, “No I’m not, now fuck off.”
Remarkably, the day got worse. As Editor, I got to have my picture taken with Marilyn Manson. Lucky me. Especially when the evil one decided it would be tremendously funny to grab my testicles for the occasion. He was, I quickly realised, sporting false fingernails, sharpened to a point they could extract pickles from a jar. One of them punctured my scrotum. I may have screamed, I certainly keeled over. I did, too, spend the rest of the day and night limping about with all the grace of a wooden-legged drunk on the prow of a sailing ship caught in high seas.
Which is not to say that all my awards experiences have been similarly grim. No, often they have been spectacular. I will always remember, for instance, looking around the Q Awards photo room at the end of one such event, seeing Bono, The Edge, Bryan Ferry, Elton John, Nancy Sinatra, all of Keane, all of Muse, and Jonathan Ross mingling merrily with one another, and thinking it really couldn’t get any better. Until, that is, Miss Sinatra came over to tell me how well she thought I had drummed on the last U2 album which, since I look as much like Larry Mullen as I do Lindsay Lohen, was somewhat troubling.
Likewise, having been deeply fortunate enough to have personally presented an award to Jimmy Page, and to have now very much enjoyed three consecutive years of Jonathan Ross’ pre-show celebrity gossip-fest (all of which, sadly, is wholly libellous), I continue to look forward to the awards day with much relish and a tingle of excitement.
These are the good things. They never make for good after-dinner anecdotes, though. No, that always falls to the catastrophes, the pratfalls and the sheer madness that seems to engulf such events like an ominous black cloud. Shane MacGowan setting fire to Bono’s hair; Liam Gallagher attacking photographers with a steel pole; Robert Smith coming over all tired and emotional whilst serenading a bemused Q staffer at the piano; the members of the Prodigy crowding into a single toilet cubicle and repelling all who knocked at the door with a hearty, “Fuck off, we’re having a business meeting!”; Paul Weller doing something so unmentionable we are still unable to mention it, even amongst ourselves.
These are the things that make the Q Awards what they are. One month to go, you say? Bring ’em on…
PAUL REES – Q, Editor
10:09 AM | 03/09/2007
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