Confessions of a Logies Virgin


12:45pm Very senior ABC figure texts me with wise advice: "imagine you’ve taken half a tab of LSD and are at a very bad performance art installation".

I am interrupted by my better half while attempting to explain my planned schmoozing with Australian TV celebrities technique. She says that I sound like I am in an episode of Extras.

Arrive at ABC pre-Logies party.

Sidle into conversation between The Chaser‘s Chris Taylor and Jonathan Holmes of Media Watch. Chris: "Yeah, we probably deserved it" (or something to that effect), Holmes: "I wish everyone was this easy going." Where is the bloody conflict?

Resist urge to ask Jonathan Holmes if he doesn’t call himself John Holmes for the obvious reasons.

6:25pm Limos arrive.

In limo en route. Elaborate discussion about pranking David Leckie as he awakes from his finger-induced coma by pretending it is three years into the future.

Red carpet arrival. A spotter peers in the window to see who of any interest is in the limo. "No one!" they call back to red carpet show director crew.

6:44pm Three hundred metres of red carpet and I’m stuck awkwardly between screamers and the screamees. I try waving enthusiastically and pretending to be famous in the hope that someone will think they recognise me. I’m spotted by ABC managing director Mark Scott while doing this – he observes that my approach isn’t very "ABC arts". I wonder whether that’s a bad thing. (See photo here.)

Make my way up the magic escalator and discover I’m sitting at table 66. Yes they are ranked more or less in order of importance.

6:59pm Arrive at table. We are further back than SBS and most of Foxtel. We aren’t quite at the back but there is no one that I have ever seen before behind me, and I watch a lot of bad and obscure television.

7:05pm See old friend now SBS news reader Janice Peterson at neighbouring table. We haven’t seen each other for about 10 years and would have probably given odds of a billion to one that it would be at the Logies.

7:10pm Dinner is served.

7:18pm Dinner is quickly whisked away again finished or not. Dinners – unlike the future or the revolution – will not be televised.

7:21pm Large opening number dance thing. I hope it looks less RSL Club on TV.

7:25pm Third Todd McKenny joke.

7:41pm Fourth David Leckie coma joke.

7:50pm Winners have one minute to deliver their acceptance speeches. Apparently this can be extended indefinitely provided you don’t draw breath.

8:02pm Highlights of 50 years of Australian television montage plays. A thought along the lines of "if that’s the best of it" occurs to me. I need another drink.

8:20pm Bindi Irwin is tiny and genuinely cute from about 100 metres. She is also almost certainly the only sober person in the room.

8:30pm WE WIN! Well, ok, I have nothing to do with it but the telemovie Curtin takes out the award for Most Outstanding Drama. I have been chatting to producer Andrew Wiseman for the last 15 minutes because he is also at table 66. I feel some tenuous but genuine sense of warmth and achievement that my friend of 15 minutes has walked away with a gong.

8:40pm New friend Andrew Wiseman returns with gong. I ask why he didn’t thank me in the speech. I text family and friends with photos of myself posed with the statue.

8:50pm Head outside to the toilets and experience the Logie lockout. No returning to the seat until next ad break. It’s actually alright out here. There is no bar so I am stranded without a drink. If there was a bar out here I’d consider not returning at all.

8:52pm Spot Liberal Party power broker and ABC board member Michael Kroger talking on his mobile phone. It inspires me to try and get my photo taken with as many of the barely recognisable and not famous people in the room as possible.

8:54pm Inspiration wanes before getting around to taking first photo.

8:55pm Chat with James O’Loghlin and take to calling him Kochie. Apparently the only attention he gets at gigs like this is when people mistake him for David Koch. I contemplate my own potential future as a middle-ranking ABC network personality and look forward to the day when I too am familiar enough to be mistaken for someone more popular on a commercial network.

9:00pm Re-enter the room via the front to see how the other half lives. Hang briefly at the Chaser table (second row). Shocked to discover that Michael Veitch and Fenella Kernebone from Sunday Arts are sitting even further up in the very front row. You’ve got to be kidding! Up until now I’d assumed that I’ve been relegated to the "arts end" of the room by virtue of genre. Bastards. I decide that our fierce rivalry begins here – I’ll get you Veitch and Kernebone!

9:06pm Chris Lilley’s "Mr G" musical performance makes my night and my life worth continuing. He sings The Smell of Life. I await inevitable Troy Buswell reference.

I single-handedly try to start a New-carse-all, New-carse-all, New-carse-all, chant when Channel Nine’s news story on the Pasha Bulker is nominated for most outstanding news story. It doesn’t take. Lucky Mark Scott can’t see me all the way back here.

John Clarke wins the lifetime achievement award. There’s genuine respect, warmth and appreciation in the room almost sufficient to bust my cynical facade. Almost.

9:53pm They announce the nominees for the Graham Kennedy "Most Outstanding New Talent" Award. This is the award that I was put up for by the ABC but not shortlisted. Who the f*ck are these people? Surely if they’re giving out awards to people no one has ever heard of in shows that no one has ever seen WHY NOT ME?

9:54pm F*ck you Tammy Clarkson. Actually you seem quite nice, genuinely excited and more than deserving of the award. Damn. One fierce rivalry a night is probably enough and I’m struggling to maintain the rage towards Veitch and Kernebone.

10:06pm Molly Meldrum is talking up Westlife. I want to die. How did my life come to this?

10:08pm Westlife are playing and I am trapped by the lock in. I’m already dead. This is hell. Are there fake tans in hell?

10:09pm I imagine I’ve taken half a tab of LSD and am at a very bad performance art installation. It works.

10:13pm The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 narrowly defeats 3 Mobile Ashes Series, Fifth Test for the you’ve-got-to-be-f*cking kidding with the product placement Most Outstanding Sports Coverage award. Strachnie does 17th Todd McKenney joke of the evening.

10:25pm For some strange reason Kieran Gilbert and David Speers from Sky News at the next table both look genuinely disappointed when Kate Ritchie takes out the Gold Logie. I speculate as to why.

10:26pm Obviously Gilbert and Speers saw her speech notes in advance. She thanks Sally Fletcher. Kill me <hiccup> Kill me <hiccup> Kill me <hiccup> Kill me <hiccup> Kill me <hiccup> Kill me. When she says she feels like she has had her right arm cut off since leaving Home and Away I too feel like I’ve had my right arm cut off.

From here my notes disappear. The next few hours are a blur of cleavage, Todd McKenney and David Leckie jokes and a unique confusion that comes from drinking too much and being surrounded by the familiar faces of people you’ve never actually met before. It gets to a point where I am looking at the world through a big blur and reminding myself that I don’t actually know Larry Emdur – I’ve just seen him on tellie.

It is like an episode of Extras as I concoct all manner of schemes to ingratiate myself with the great and the good which never quite eventuate as planned. Man mountain and Newcastle Rugby League legend Paul "the chief" Harragon hugs me unexpectedly when I tell him I’m from Newcastle but doesn’t offer me a gig as the Melbourne correspondent for the NRL footy show. Andrew Denton and I compare notes about being short, dorky smart arses but he sadly doesn’t offer to take me under his wing and teach me everything he knows.

Against all incredibly sensible advice I end up at the ABC after party rather than trying to sneak into a commercial network’s one. Sadly, I miss out on the gratuitous lines of coke apparently doled out by network publicists at such events and find myself flagging. Some time around 3:00am I’m propping up a wall by a snooker table where Chas Licciardello and Jennifer Byrne are locked in fierce competition. I lean forward far enough to realise the wall is the only thing holding me up and decide to call it a night.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.