I attended the Logies without alcohol or chemical assistance. This is akin to attending the Grand Prix and disliking noise and the smell of petrol. It is madness on a high scale.
When I told friends and colleagues of my plan, they looked at me like “poor Tom o' Bedlam”. Why did I bother with a tux? Surely rags would've been more appropriate. A few friends gave me the kind of “good for you” that you'd give Stephen Hawking if he said he was going horseback riding.
I still have no idea what a beta blocker is. Wasn't VHS the main beta blocker?
I dressed alone, in a quiet room. I was Existential Man. Curse you, Sartre. You and your hell is other people and no exit. I was not at all comfortable or ready, and I was running late for, gulp, pre-Logies drinks at Club 23, the sometime hangout of owner S.K. Warne. “This,” I thought, as I wrapped a bowtie around my throat, “is my first test.”
I slid into the warm embrace of a black European automobile, looked up at the bruised and bloodied sky and made my way to that temple to mammon and libations, the Crown Casino. As we drove along, smoothly and inevitably, the autumn leaves fell as easily as bad language from a losing actor's lips. It was, in its own melancholic way, quite beautiful. And then I arrived.
I made my way upstairs and was immediately offered the choice of any form of alcohol yet created by the human hand. “Just a mineral water, thanks.” This was a sentence I was to repeat many times throughout the evening ahead. Later, when I was feeling a bit looser, I added “with fresh lime, please”. Loco Burro! Yep, a few too many mineral waters and I'd really speak my mind.
I was, of course, instantly questioned by various friends. Some shrugged, others were mortified. “But you're FUN to drink with!” I heard this a number of times during the evening. I assured them I'd still be fun.
I somehow managed to miss the cast photos that were being taken, which was a minor relief. And a temporary one. For now it was time to face that blood red river that was the red carpet. You'd call it a short red carpet in the same way you'd describe the Amazon River as a creek. It never ends. Just as you get to the horizon, you see it stretching out again.
Growing along this riverbank are a mangrove of microphones and cameras, some of which ask you to berth briefly. Dorothy Parker reviewed a play once called I Am A Camera. Her review was as follows: “Me no Leica.” Dorothy got it.
The first friend I saw on the carpet, I hugged (we showbiz types hug a lot.) “How you doing?” I asked. “Four beers and two Valium. Good.”
He smiled and pottered off toward his cast mates. I spoke to (and of course hugged) various friends along the way. I was told by a friend, not for the last time during the evening, that he had beta blockers. He offered me some. I declined. I still have no idea what a beta blocker IS. Wasn't VHS the main beta blocker?
I saw many people with eyes that said belladonna had made a big comeback in the pursuit of beauty. I saw much flesh squeezed into much less. I saw tans and teeth and all the colours Dennis Hopper probably saw every day of his life. What I saw was the WORK that goes into that red carpet. The abject terror of the participants, and the sacrifices made to ward off the demons of faux pas and déclassé. If you were ever to have an anxiety attack, surely this was the perfect destination to do it. At least there are others there. It's the only way anyone makes it.
After the red carpet, everything else is blessed relief. The heavy lifting part is over. Now I could relax. I think I went for an Orangina. Flavour. Freaky. Fulfilling. Fancy Fanta. Winning, but not in that Sheen way.
The show then began, and did what it does. Between the awards, there is music by bands I don't care for. I longed for an Australian band. Nup. I wish I could tell you Scott Cam was so jacked up on horse he had to be helped onto stage, but I can't. The show just did what it does. Then something shocking occurred to me. I had, despite my quibbles, been enjoying myself. I liked everyone on my table. We had collective fun.
This even extended to the always-notorious after-party. I had a few soda-pops, a few fun arguments about literature, then, at 1am, headed home to rest my clear head.
I am even now, dear reader, still in shock. Well hydrated, but in shock.