Songs, gongs and pongs

The stars were all out at this year's Ivor Novello awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel yesterday afternoon: Esquire managed to spot Rolf Harris, ooh ooh Gary Davies, Paul Gambaccini, Mike Rutherford and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. To be fair, there were some more impressive names: Damon Albarn, Duffy and Smokey Robinson.

The recession has obviously hit the music biz though as there were no rock'n'roll antics and nearly everyone donned a suit: one middle-aged guest wore his with a plastic tie filled with sand. It certainly wasn't Dolce e Gabbana. In fact, the event looked more like a conference of carpet salesmen than a music fest - they were certainly all too old to appreciate a warming bump of ketamine and a sweaty spitroast. 

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Gongs went to the Ting Tings, Elbow, Coldplay (nobody bothered to pick up the award), Massive Attack, Edywn Collins and Smokey himself. The old charmer told an inspiring story. He's often asked what it takes to write a good song. "It's hard to say," he told the audience. "It's like being in the toilet. Sometimes something comes; sometimes that something's a song". Nice.