Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Dear ARIA Awards...

Will there even be a 2011 Awards?

Dear ARIA Awards,

 I've been meaning to send this letter since your 2010 awards ceremony, but I just haven't had the time. With the announcement earlier in the month that Channel Ten had passed on televising the 2011 25th Anniversary edition, I thought I should get around to sending this off. Last year's ceremony was a pile of s*it. Everyone knows this. It was a train wreck of an awards show, more akin to a European MTV Awards ceremony than the Australian Grammys it's meant to be. Why would you do a music awards show outside? Did you really think the performances wouldn't sound like crap? Megan Washington was amazing, but everyone else? No. We haven't even touched on how disorganised the evening was, how awkward the presenters were or how Angus and Julia Stone somehow managed to get higher and higher as the evening went on.

 Now, don't get me wrong,  the blame isn't squarely on your shoulders. This goes out to the Australian musicians that treated the ceremony like it was nothing special from the start. You couldn't hire a suit for the evening, Angus Stone? You couldn't learn how to pronounce debut, Jessica Mauboy? You couldn't learn to host, Natalie Bassingthwaghte? So, you've got to do something to make people care about the ARIA Awards again AND you've got to do something to honour the twenty-five events that have preceded this one. Whatever could you do?

 * Get a good host. Seriously, one that can work a crowd and keep the show moving at a quick enough pace. The rumour was that you were looking at Elton John. This works on two levels; he was the host of the very first ARIA Awards ceremony and he's entertaining in a bitchy way. That's always fun.

 * Don't just give awards to the most popular artists. Did Angus and Julia Stone really deserve to win Album of the Year, or were they awarded the prize due to sales? Tame Impala and Sia had much better albums in the running.

 * Move away from Channel Ten, but don't go to pay-TV. That first one isn't really a problem since they, you know, dropped you first. But the second one? Don't go to Foxtel! Channel 7, Channel 9... please step up! This is Australian music's night of nights and the best way to promote homegrown music to a massive audience. Everyone needs to be able to watch it live. You'd better get on this quick, because right now... you're homeless.

* Have some of these artists perform to celebrate quality Australian music in 2011; Gotye and Kimbra, Seeker Lover Keeper, Gurrumul, Boy and Bear, Washington, Emma-Louise, Pnau, The Grates, Regurgitator, Howling Bells, Bag Raiders, Art Vs Science and Architecture in Helsinki

* Have some of these artists perform to celebrate quality (or at least really popular artists with international appeal) Australian music of the past 25 years; The Presets, John Farnham, Kylie Minogue, Missy Higgins, Ben Lee, Kasey Chambers, Midnight Oil, Delta Goodrem AC/DC, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and The Avalanches.

* Have these artists win awards; Gotye and Seeker Lover Keeper.

If you really can't use your imagination, follow a plan like this...


Opening: 'Holy Moses' by Washington

Start with a bang, but don't give away your best performance too early. By November, this song will hopefully be quite popular too.

'Feeding Line' by Boy and Bear

Give them the chance to show they're more than just Australia's answer to Mumford and Sons.

The Veronicas

Performing their new single. They have recent international name value. They're super pop. They're young and skanky. This makes good TV.

AC/DC Medley

If you really want, have Eskimo Joe, Daniel Johns, Bernard Fanning or some other Aussie rockers do some AC/DC songs before the actual band comes out to blow everyone away.

'Even Though I'm A Woman' by Seeker Lover Keeper

Contender for performance of the night #1. They can perform this just before they win Group of the Year.

'Where the Wild Roses Grow' by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue

Two of Australia's most notable acts performing one of Australia's most notable songs. Yes please.

'Mala Rrakala'  by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

Contender for performance of the night #2.

The Presets

Another exciting comeback performance to promote their new album.

'I Feel Better' leading into 'Somebody That I Used To Know' by Gotye
with a special appearance from Kimbra

Contender for performance of the night #3. Probably the actual best performance of the night. Gotye can perform this before he wins Song of the Year.

Closing: John Farnham singing whatever he wants... because he's John Farnham.

It's that whole paying homage thing. I'm fairly indifferent to Whispering Jack, but the public will love this.

There. Do all this and I guarantee this year's ARIA Awards will be a great success. Any other suggestions?

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