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international librarian of mystery

Thursday, October 28, 2004

APRA Silver Scrolls 2004

Ahh, another night, another awards ceremony.

Tuesday was the Silver Scrolls at the Wellington Town Hall. This is the big songwriters' awards ceremony, organised by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), and which is specifically geared up to reward good song-writing in a number of fields, as opposed to commercial success, or the hottest looking video, or the biggest marketing team.

As such, it's quite prestigious and highly regarded, and all the music big-wigs tend to come out of the woodwork for a good old hooley of a time, which, for the first time in ages, took place in Wellington instead of Auckland.

Which was good news for me. Noizy had scored us some media tickets, so we bowled along at 6pm to get stuck into the infamous open bar that accompanies the event. I had my Voon frock on again, but noizy had decided to wear his ridiculous Scooby Doo and Shaggy brown corduroy jacket, which has a picture of the said cartoon anti-heroes on one pocket, and the Scooby Doo logo in big gold letters on the other. Needless to say I 'lost' him in the crowd as soon as we got in the door.

And what a crowd it was. Unlike the b.net awards, which are a bit more indie/alternative and bring out only a small smattering of stars, the Silver Scrolls gets a much more successful breed of music celebs out and about. Not that any of the readership from outside NZ will recognise any of these names, but within a short time I'd variously managed to spill my champagne on Dave Dobbyn, clocked Jordan Luck in the side with my elbow as I swung around to see if it was indeed Shayne Carter who'd strolled past me going the other way (it was), and knocked Scribe's baseball cap slightly askew as I pushed past him on the way to find another drink. He left it that way all night, much to my amusement.

I didn't really know anyone there other than noizy, so I did my usual wallflower thing, quietly drinking my champagne and noting the clothes the celebs were wearing. Most of the older lads had made a bit of a jacket and pants effort, but, as is the way with the rock'n'roll crowd, the less mature boys were all sneakers and jeans and t-shirts. It made the women, who were almost all dressed up in party frocks look even more beautiful (and there were a fair few lovely ladies there, I can tell you).

Eventually the guests started making their way into the downstairs auditorium, and those of us with press passes got shunted to the upper floor, where we were to watch the 'proper' guests eat their dinners, and take in the live performances that were planned. I met up with noizy, who was aghast to discover that the media weren't to be supplied with free booze for the duration of the ceremony, disappeared for 5 minutes, returning with a dozen beers from the off-license down the road, which he then proceeded to share out amongst the small posse of media people that were settling in around us.

Making vague pretences at maintaining the media charade I was there under, I dutifully got out my pencil from my purse, borrowed a bit of paper from noizy, and proceeded to make notes on the night's happenings. My notes ultimately ended up being nothing more than a list of the winners, and of the performers who played the songs that had been nominated for the big Silver Scroll award, and which I could have just seen online here, later on. I did make a cryptic note to myself about 'Arthur Baysting's story about Trevor Mallard', but I have no idea what the story was now.

Scribe, much to the surprise of everyone, including himself, won the top award (with p-money, who wasn't there), and in a quite gracious and endearing acceptance speech, said something along the lines of...

"Well, I really didn't expect to win this. Shit. I haven't got a speech or anything. Shit. Even to be nominated in the same category with such great songwriter's as Warryn from TrinityRoots, and, uh, those other guys..."

This got a great laugh from the rest of the media contingent.

"...well, shit, it's great. Cheers."

Everyone had, it seemed, expected Warryn Maxwell from TrinityRoots to win the award for his amazing song 'Home Land and Sea' off their equally excellent album of the same name that was released earlier in the year. Despite being a totally self-funded, self-produced and self-marketed (ie. not really marketed at all) effort, the album has managed to go gold and led to the band being able to do sell-out gigs at venues as large as the Town Hall we were currently sitting in. The song itself is one of the most heart-felt bits of music you're ever likely to hear, so it was the favourite (amongst people I talked to, anyway) to take the gong. Ah well, no denying Scribe, who has won everything else there is to win this year on the nz music circuit. As the NZ Herald so nicely pointed out: "The Herald understands there are no more awards Scribe can win this year."

After that, the official bit of the evening was over, and the media hacks were allowed back into the downstairs area to get post-match interviews with the winners and losers.

Or, in my case, to drink and eat as much of the complimentary wine and food that was literally piled onto each of the score or so tables that were arranged around the main auditorium. It appeared that many of the attendees were industry big-wigs who had to be up early for work the next day, and hadn't touched a drop of their free wine, so the remaining musos, hangers-on and media spent the next few hours getting completely and utterly trousered. Well, I did, anyway, and judging by the increasingly loud volume of conversation that was going on around the place, I suspect it was probably true for everyone else.

This is when I really should have been making notes of what was said, as some if it, I'm sure, would have been absolute blog gold. But with a glass of wine in one hand, and the other required for the constant frock re-aligning that my new dress requires, note-taking was problematic. I do recall one conversation I had with one of the guys out of goodshirt, that was pretty typical of all my chats that night...

"Hi, um, I'm Natalie. I love your Good album. I listen to it constantly. Well, not constantly, but, you know, quite often. Maybe about once a month?"
"Errr, cheers."
"Yeah. I used to borrow it from the library where I work, but then it got nicked, and we replaced it, and it got nicked again, so I got forced to go out and buy it."
"Wouldn't want to force anyone into buying our music."
"Oh, no, didn't mean it like that. Anyway, that bit in that song, where you go baby baby baby yeahhhh! You sing that don't you?"
"Um, yeah, I think both Rodney and I go a bit nuts at about that point usually."
"Ahh, I love it. Love that bit. Great song. What's it called?"
"Yeah. Mousey. Great."

Ahhh, so drunk, embarrassing myself in front of rock stars. Thankfully, noizy, who has a remarkable ability to pace his drinking over a long evening so as to stay (technically) under the drink-driving limits, came and rescued me from further blush-inducing memories and gave me and a couple of other people a lift home. We stopped by someone's house on the way for some post-function wind-down, and I discovered one of the other people being shuttled by noizy was Dave Long, ex-Muttonbirds and who is now a bit of producer extraordinaire about town.

"Ohhh," I said, "I love your Envy of Angels album."


I eventually got home about 2am, having sworn to myself earlier in the evening that I'd try and be in by midnight. I checked the phone - no messages from Josh, not that I was expecting any, and tumbled into bed, steeling myself for an 8am start in the morning.

Thank god the awards season is nearly over. Only one more geek event to go I think - the NetGuide's in a couple of weeks - and I'm now working under the assumption that I won't be getting a nomination, and thus will have no excuse to go. Not that that would normally stop me from trying (or getting noizy to organise it), but I think I've just about had my fill of the whole thing. Librarian's just aren't cut out for this sort of schmoozing action.

Besides, I've already worn my Voon frock out to two ceremonies, and someone's bound to notice my lack of wardrobe eventually.