I attended the AMP awards the other day in Sydney. An event that was bathed in strangeness, desperation, and a need to be loved, well maybe just liked, by all in attendance and further afield despite the lack of substantial qualities that lend themselves to liking or love. AMP stands for Australian Music Prize giving off the deception that it is a reflection of what is to be regarded as good in Australian music. Instead it is an example of what can be done when a good publicist jumps into bed with media, industry, washed up rock starts pretending to be holders of some sort of knowledge and keen to be washed up rock stars all glittering and shiny in their rap around Ray Bans or T Shirts with designs from a previous decade emblazoned over them, and a tiny sample of talent.
The ceremony conveniently took place at the corporate offices of one of the major sponsors, an energy drink company that not only provided slabs of their gum decaying ridiculous ideas of a drink but also provided the gold colored girls wearing air hostess uniforms resembling an era long since past where to be an air hostess was to be sexy even if slightly plastic. It was there job to hand out the free slabs of Red Bull on offer and then wonder aloud “why isn’t anyone taking the drink” . Everyone instead had made there way up to the corporate nightclub, past the corporate basketball court, skate ramp and whatever other retarded idea some corporate designer thought would be appropriate to put in the offices of a corporation keen to represent energy and youthfulness as well as ensuring their employees had the BEST DAMN TIME at work.
The nightclub quickly filled with people, aromas and blazing afternoon sun pounding through the windows. Mixing in with the aromatic delightful musk of media types was the rotting sweat of young rockers together with the bland aroma of advertising people. The Presets were up for the award, not because they were likely to win it as they have gotten to large for something like this, no a decision would have been made in some small office by those who are running this award in conjunction with the major sponsors to ask them to be on the shortlist, maybe even pay them some money to be on it and show up. This would further legitimize these awards making it even more attractive to sponsors.
So many people with simultaneously so much to gain and lose in this room. So much in their own eyes so little in everyone elses.
A media type who had been at our gig the night before was gushing in his praise of our band and how sympathetically we played. I burst out laughing then realizing the inappropriateness of that action and how much of an uncomfortable situation it had paradoxically caused I excused myself and went to the bar and ordered a drink of the boutique beer company owned by one of the Industry types in attendance.
I was starting to feel a stickiness all over my skin and a claustrophobia not helped when a shrieking young representative /presenter from Channel V started squawking in the microphone espousing the greatness of her employer and her all round excitement at presenting this life changing award (that’s $30000 to change a life). Here was a girl who had entered the workforce to early in life therefore depriving her of the ability to compare it with any other from of reality, she seemed to truly love her company. Her shrieking was only matched by Renee Geyers loud and forceful attempts to speak for everyone while successfully speaking for no one screeching at the young presenter to Shut the F..k up and get on with it. Now didn’t that cause some confusion.
A performance by a clichéd riddled band with a confused front singer not old enough to know how to be the embodiment of cool from such a bygone era he was imitating was followed by the announcement of the winner. The confusion of all my senses was growing evermore extreme and the idea of violence had a soft fluffy type feeling to it. It was time to go. When the arts gets involved in money making, back slapping self deception it always makes for an intolerably boring occasion and subsequently an intolerably boring story. I apologize.