Feature: Monkeying around at awards
Published Nov 2 2006, 17:05 GMT | By Ben Rawson-Jones
Scissor Sisters / Brits 2005
With Arctic Monkeys guitarist Jamie Cook being ejected from the Q Awards for trying to fiddle a few free drinks on the sly this week, we thought we’d have a look back at past instances of wacky behaviour at British musical ceremonies. As we’ll see, the Q Awards look like playschool compared to the antics over at The Brits…
The Brit Awards may have a reputation as a backslapping industry event, but with the free bubbly flowing this event has been a hive of naughty activity for stars over the years.
Most notorious was Jarvis Cocker’s drunken taunting of Michael Jackson in 1996. The Pulp frontman simply had enough of the self-proclaimed King of Pop’s Messiah-like antics during his performance of ‘Earth Song’. So Cocker sneaked towards the front of the stage and mocked Jacko from the front of the stage, via the medium of bending over and flailing his arms about.
Instead of the knighthood many felt he deserved for mocking Jackson, Cocker was hauled away by security and rewarded with a night behind bars amidst unfounded allegations that he’d assaulted some of the child dancers. In a surreal turn of events, comedian Bob Mortimer helped to secure Cocker’s release from custody thanks to his previous legal training. Presumably Vic Reeves was too dizzy to help out.
Who can forget the glorious face-off between sizzled DJ Brandon Block and Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood in 2000? The millennium bug certainly wasn’t the culprit – it was the old sauce again.
Mistakenly believing he’d won an award, Block staggered onto the stage as Wood – no stranger to booze himself - was preparing to dish out an award for Best Soundtrack alongside actress Thora Birch. Now, men are territorial creatures at the best of times, and drink doesn’t help their negotiating skills.
Whatever hellish concoction Block had in his glass sadly went to waste, as he hurled it over Wood’s wrinkly visage. Bizarrely, instead of hurling vicious insults or fists in each other’s faces the pusillanimous pair decided to trade verbal blows by taking turns on the podium’s microphone.
Alcohol is not the only substance that fuels confrontation at these ceremonies. Political conviction can be fairly potent too, as John Prescott can testify. Chumbawamba member Danbert Nobacon was so incensed by the Labour government’s policies that he opted to pour an ice bucket over the Deputy Prime Minister’s head. Despite his fury, Prescott didn’t give Nobacon a quick jab. It seems that only dairy products elicit that response.
Still, many think the biggest crime in Brit Award history was the performance of Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood as presenters. Muddling their words, misreading the autocue and announcing the wrong acts due to appear on stage – this was a proper televisual car crash that was strangely compulsive, yet painful viewing. Fox and Fleetwood may have gone unslapped and unsoaked, but their careers didn’t quite remain unscathed after that debacle.
If you believe that UK music events have a tight grip over bizarre music star behaviour then think again. A moment utterly devoid of violence or aggression – but laden with astonishing peculiarity – occurred at the MTV Video Awards in 2002 courtesy of Michael Jackson.
With Britney Spears on stage to present a random award, she made an ad-lib about Michael Jackson being her favourite artist of the millennium. Cue Jacko jumping out of the crowd and heading down the aisle under the belief that he was due to pick up this imaginary award. In front of a stunned crowd, the Dangerous
singer delivered a speech thanking the various folks for his non-existent gong.
"When I was a little boy in Indiana, if someone had told me that one day I'd be getting the Artist of the Millennium Award, I wouldn't have believed it,” gushed Jacko. Neither could we.
Only in America, eh? Over in old Blighty we need a bit of booze to get us going first…