The last time I went to an awards function I lost my luggage, my prize money and my mind. My publicist, the police and the Hells Angels were looking for me. I went missing for three days. My lawyer eventually found me.
I went to the Canons with the trepidation of a man who knows the dangers of awards evenings.
I was not there, however, for my considerable genius. I was there as Beck Eleven’s partner. She was up for best feature writer. Her piece on the death of a homeless man was incredibly good. I was a proud plus one.
The head of news at The Press and I warmed into a couple of beers in the afternoon. Wise to get in some drinking before the main event. Don’t want to run on a cold engine, we reasoned. Smart move.
I had a list of people I was looking forward to seeing: Steve Braunias, Giovanni Tiso, Toby Manhire, Anthony Byrt, and David Fisher. I looked around. I saw many beautiful people but none I cared about. I had a drink.
Hilary Barry hosted the event. She told us she was a poor substitute for John Campbell. I like John, the man knows where to get a good Asian soup, but Hilary was great, warming into her role. The journalists continued to drink.
The Fourth Estate always fills me with mixed emotions. The role they play in society is so important. Hold to account politicians and shed light where ordinarily there might be dark. A noble profession, indeed.
The reality, however, is often a mind-blowingly stupid just-out-of-journalism-school sop who writes with the intellectual dexterity of a kid with a crayon.
Not here, though. Line after line of greatness poured on stage; Braunias, Wall, Fisher, Anderson, Cropp, McCrone, McGregor, Taylor, Boyer. One, because the talent was so good and two, because there seemed to be an award for all things known and unknown. Best feature, best multi-media, best photo, best use of lizard in a sentence. Blah blah. The journalists continued to drink.
Then there was Cameron Slater. He won best blog for Whale Oil. If Slater wasn’t such a wanker, we’d probably respect what he does. But he is a wanker. I Tweeted after his acceptance speech: “You could have been graceful. Instead you were a cunt. What a shame.”
The real shame, of course, was that I wrote ‘graceful’ instead of 'gracious'.
The journalists continued to drink.
The pesky awards thing out of the way it was on to the Shakespeare Hotel. A place that has been propped up by Herald journalists for generations. I nestled into a drink and conversation but I could feel a familiar madness creeping in. Time to go home, I thought. The wheels, I feared, may come off. I was a plus one on best behavior. The rest of the night, then, is a mystery.
But the journalists continued to drink. And drink.