The 61st Ivor Novello Awards took place this afternoon at the fancy Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair. The annual celebration of the UK’s songwriting talent was a typically star-studded affair, with the likes of Damon Albarn, Craig David, Happy Mondays main man Shaun Ryder and, um, Monica from Friends, all showing up to sip lunchtime beers and tell each other how excellent they are. Here’s what we learned from the ceremony, hosted by Paul Gambaccini – who was sporting a purple shirt and socks in tribute to Prince.
1. You can’t take Shaun Ryder anywhere
When asked by NME what he likes about the Ivors’ Songwriter of the Year, Adele, his simple answer was “her tits and her knickers”. Keep it classy, Shaun.
2. Happy Mondays were worthy winners
Winners of the Ivors Inspiration Award, The Happy Mondays received a standing ovation from the crowd. “In 1988 music was really boring – the Mondays changed that,” said manager Alan McGee on stage with the band, before Shaun did some more swearing. Jim Kerr of Simple Minds later took exception to this. “It’s a good just you weren’t on our table when you said that because I would have chinned you. I’ll see you in the park!”
3. James Bay played George Martin’s memorial
Paul Gambaccini revealed that James Bay, the winner of the Most Performed Work award played ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ at The Beatles producer George Martin’s private memorial service last week.
4. Looking at the score for ‘Shutdown’ is ace
Every Ivors attendee gets given a hefty song book featuring the notation and score for all of the major songs nominated. Meaning that amongst the rather more trad likes of Adele’s ‘When We Were Young’ and James Bay’s ‘Hold Back The River’, there’s Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’. Turns out there is little more satisfying than looking at the breakout grime hit of 2015 laid down in traditional notation.
5. Jamie Lawson evidently was expecting that
For some reason Jamie Lawson didn’t open his thank you speech after winning the award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for ‘Wasn’t Expecting That’ by saying “I wasn’t expecting that!” Missed opportunity there, mate.
6. Villagers did the best speech
Conor O’Brien’s Best Album acceptance speech for ‘Darling Arithmetic’ paid tribute to the Irish marriage equality law. “I finally discovered what it felt like to be made an equal citizen,” he said. Lovely stuff.
7. Adele didn’t show up
Despite winning the big one, Songwriter of the Year – for a second time – Adele didn’t show up because she’s on tour. She did send in a video message from Germany though, in which she wished the other winners well and finished it off with her trademark cackle.
8. Skepta didn’t win
Best Contemporary Song went to Snakehips for ‘All My Friends’. In a category that ‘Shutdown’ was also nominated in. Utter madness. Skepta left before the end of the ceremony, which is fair enough.
9. Damon didn’t tell us anything about the new Gorillaz stuff
Lifetime Achievement winner Damon Albarn was handed his gong by Blur bandmate Graham Coxon, after strolling onstage with a bottle of Becks in his hand, dressed like a super dapper west Londoner. “Our relationship is a like a pot plant, not a ‘pot’ plant, a house plant,” said Graham in his speech, which had Damon in stitches. “It’s gonna be random,” said Damon at the beginning of his speech. And it was, with Damon talking about his and Graham’s first gig at school assembly, “connecting to the spirit” and other such things. But no news on the new Gorillaz album. Soz.