TGTF Does ARIA Week 2012: The Red Carpet at the 26th ARIAs

By on Friday, 7th December 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

I suppose it’s quite possible to do the same in London for a similar awards show. But for an American, it felt very surreal having Indian food (and really good Indian food!) at a food court for lunch right before reporting to the Sydney Entertainment Centre to cover the red carpet at this year’s ARIA Awards, the 26th year for the Australian music industry’s highest honours. While it may seem like quite a hike from Washington DC to Sydney, I had booked my flight – a birthday present to myself – to the Land Down Under before I found out the inaugural ARIA Week and the famous awards show was taking place the exact same week. When in Rome…

Covered in a high SPF suncream, I thought I was covered when it came to standing for a couple hours outside with the late spring sun blazing down. (Ehh, not so much: I saw later after everything was over, when I went to the ladies’, that I had an unattractive unilateral sunburn on the right half of my body, with tan lines around a ring and a bracelet I was wearing. The battle scars are now unattractively peeling…) As noted through photographic evidence at a Filter Magazine showcase at SXSW, I always wear a hat when it’s sunny, and this was no different: I brought two hats for the occasion, thinking that I better have a fetching looking one while on the red carpet, chatting effortlessly with the celebs, and one for when I was off duty, getting boiled by the Australian rays.

Well, the first half of that plan didn’t really come together. Maybe I had made the wrong fairytale assumptions of “working the red carpet” from all the years watching local girl Giuliana DePandi of e! News on the red carpet at the Oscars. First off, the red carpet wasn’t even red, it was black. (Eh?) Second, we were corralled behind metal barriers for the duration of the red carpet portion of the event. I never wear high heels – with my clumsiness, I always worry I’ll fall – but I had to laugh internally in my sandals thinking about all the precarious, multi-inch footwear I’d seen coming in with all the other members of the media. From behind the metal barrier, I could have been wearing jeans, sweatpants…no-one would ever have known. Ah well. (For the record, I tried to glam it up with a gold skirt.)

Fits of screaming would erupt at one end of the carpet or the other, making us wonder if someone famous had arrived. There were of course loads of false alarms, but also there were some ‘canned’ moments when the official tv crew asked the young fans, who had been standing there for hours for their favourite artists and were therefore severely dehydrated and also sunburnt, to scream wildly for the cameras. We watched as presenters from various shows were shepherded through to the carpet to make their introductory appearances for their corresponding programmes and then later, snagging some artists for impromptu interviews as they headed down the carpet.

Probably the most exciting moment at the beginning was when a table was set out on the carpet and someone with a ball cap (not sure who) on did a one-handed stand and other physical tricks. The weirdest moments? Bananas in Pajamas came by and wanted to take pictures with or pose for everyone, as did Dorothy the Dinosaur.

As explained by our AU Review friends in their report here, some other members of the media were less than, shall we say, thoughtful. We were on opposite sides of the aisle of carpet, so we had different challenges for the afternoon. I was a little weirded out by other people taping my interviews with their recording equipment (aren’t there journalistic rules against this?), so if you hear my voice on an Australian Web site, they’re one of the offenders. When event staff determined a disabled section was to suddenly encroach our side of the carpet, I totally understood and was ok with this decision, since the area would be to my left.

However, with the media to my left forced to decamp when the area was widened, what ended up happening? We were practically on top of each other, having to fight for real estate at the barrier. Being a single person, without large camera equipment, I probably should have kicked up a bigger fight and not gotten pushed out by other media, but I wasn’t too pleased having earlier being talked down to by someone who I think was from a fashion blog. I wasn’t pleased when a video crew were practically on top of me when our friends the Temper Trap passed by and I couldn’t get a word with any of them, I was able to see them later in the media room (stay tuned for that report).

All things considered, getting a brief interview with Example, who was attending with his new fiancé, Australian model and presenter Erin McNaught (the woman in the green dress with her back to us; a better photo of her is after the Soundcloud widget below), was a coup. I had hoped he would speak more about his new album ‘The Evolution of Man’ but I think he was more interested in having a night off, basking in the celeb glow of his woman being photographed by a million flashbulbs. I also would like to point out that the man must not sweat, as he was wearing a leather jacket and looked cool as a cucumber as he made his way down the carpet. Thanks, Example, for being my first interviewee at the ARIAs!

As a bit of a joke, I nabbed two loudmouths, waiting for their wives (whose famous identities are still unknown), for some off-kilter comedy.

I also nabbed an interview with the chaps in sleepmakeswaves, an instrumental, post-rock band that I guess could best be compared to Mogwai and Sigur Ros. Really nice guys and although one of them was really, really excited to see Taylor Swift perform (the most anticipated performer of the night, judging from the screams when Ms. Swift went quickly past us), they seemed just really pleased to have been nominated for Best Hard Rock / Heavy Metal album. (Unfortunately, they lost to popular Brisbane thrash band DZ Deathrays.)

Matt Corby, who I caught at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary at SXSW and I had hoped to talk with, was a no-show. So that was a bit of a disappointment. All in all, while it would have been great to have I think it was a good introduction to the madness of the ‘red’ carpet and I think we’re in much better position, just with my own experience from the ARIAs, to cover the BRITs in the future. Fingers crossed!

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[…] grabbed my tube of suncream and slathered it on liberally. After the ARIAs red carpet experience, I wasn’t taking any changes at becoming another walking warning advert for sun overexposure&#823…the Joy Formidable. It’s always the best feeling to see your friends go from being virtually […]

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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