Yesterday was my favourite day of the year … the Ivors.
It’s been my privilege to be involved in the production for a number of years and it’s always wonderful just to be in the room, let alone get to work on it. Awards shows often get a bad press and having watched many on TV over the years, I don’t think they make great television.
Apart from a couple years in its infancy, the Ivors has never been televised. As a result BASCA, which owns and runs the event, has sacrificed much potential PR profile and the Ivors remain largely a well-kept secret for the world outside the songwriting and composing community. However, it’s a sacrifice that should never be shirked, as it’s the intimacy of the event (if a show for 1,200 people can ever be called intimate) and the very lack of television cameras that keep it special.
Randy Newman, recipient of the Special International Award, said it was “inspirational” for there to be a whole day dedicated to a celebration of songwriting, while Songwriter of the Year Calvin Harris said it was the highlight of his career … and he’s had number ones in almost 30 countries.
One of the things that I find most gratifying about the Ivors is that it throws up endless connections, friendships and relationships that span generations. Marty Wilde presented the Ivor for Outstanding Achievement to Justin Haywood to complete a circle that started in the sixties when Haywood answered an advert in Melody Maker and ended up joining Marty’s band The Wilde Three. Noel Gallagher received his Outstanding Song Collection award from Ray Davies. Two absolute giants of British songwriting and as Davies pointed out, leaders of two rebellious bands and each having to deal with a brother in the group.
There was a kind of sibling connection between Chris Martin and Gavin Rossdale, as the Coldplay singer presented the Ivor for International Achievement to the Bush frontman. The friendship was there for all to see.
All around the room, old friendships were renewed. On my table was Vicki Wickham, former manager of Dusty Springfield and legendary producer of Ready, Steady, Go. Ray Davies came over to say hello, followed shortly by Peter Gabriel.
It was also a huge pleasure for me to meet the utterly delightful Nona Hendryx. It’s hard to explain the Ivors experience, but imagine being shut in a room with a good sprinkling of your heroes for company. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday in May.