September 04, 2014

The Weird And Wonderful GQ Awards

This piece was first published on the Independent

Knock knock. Who’s there? The GQ Awards.

Let me explain: the GQ Awards this year seemed like a bit of a joke. Tony Blair winning Philanthropist of the Year? I don’t have a problem with ol’ Tone. Just that ‘philanthropist’ might not be the first word that would spring to mind to describe him.

If the awards ceremony seemed like a joke, it’s because awards ceremonies are a joke. Because, let’s be honest, they are big fat publicity exercises, where a bunch of celebs are bribed with freebies to be photographed awkwardly together in order to promote the magazine hosting that particular canapé-fuelled bash. The cynic in me believes that this Tony Blair “controversy” had been pre-planned by GQ, as Twitter exploded in to one-liners, gags, rants, raves over this very strange, headline-worthy news.

There are more award events during the year than you can possibly comprehend, in which various magazines or companies get people together, celebrate them, and then drunkly sidle up to them attempting to make ‘connections’. Some are better than others. The Glamour Awards actually are as glamourous as they sound, with Victoria Beckham usually gliding down a red carpet in the middle of a posh hotel, and the Red Woman of the Year awards actually give awards to established authors, directors and mothers who have actually – shock horror – done something worthwhile.

But a lot of these parties have become so far-fetched and self-promoting that the awards themselves really don’t matter a whole lot. Just take a look at some of the gongs handed out last night for a prime example. In descending order of ridiculousness: first Benedict Cumberbatch received an award for being an “actor”, I’m sure he’ll be more chuffed with that than an Oscar. Then Peter Calpaldi was named “TV personality” after being Dr Who for approximately twenty minutes and two very odd episodes. Then Kim Kardashian-West won an award for being “a woman”. In answer to “How do we get KK to attend our party?” It seems the answer is very simple: “Give her an award. Any award”. So here it is Kim. Just take it. Congratulations.

The thing is, it’s totally fine for GQ to have an awards event that is a bit of a laughing stock, rubbish awards and all. In fact, that’s kind of the point. It’s entertainment. We enjoy it. You aren’t meant to take them seriously. You thought last year’s royal GQ mess-up of Russell Brand mentioning that the Hugo Boss sponsor made Nazi uniforms couldn’t bettered? Well, last night we had Jools Holland falling over, Cara Delevigne falling over, Pharrell in that-bloody-hat, Kanye West wearing a deep V tee worthy of JLS and Kim Kardashian wearing bubble wrap, receiving the wrong award and someone saying her name incorrectly. It’s Kardashian-WEST, thank you very much.

And that goodness for that. The hilarity of last night’s awards was actually rather relieving for us mere mortals viewing from the sofa – we were allowed to just laugh at the silliness of it all, thankful we don’t have to be part of the madness.

Emma Gannon is social media editor at The Debrief

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