‘We crashed the NME Awards red carpet by pretending to be a band called Skullcandy’
The guy from Foals is really nice
There are many myths about the best way to crash an exclusive party.
One suggests that you take a caterer’s uniform. Another suggests a bribe. A third suggests carrying an empty champagne glass and standing in the smoking area – when you enter, the door staff will assume you’ve just popped out for a cigarette.
But most of those who do it just take a brazen attitude and an undeveloped back story. This was Charlie and Julian’s tactic when they crashed the red carpet at the NME Awards at Brixton Academy on Wednesday evening.
Those in the ‘industry’ scoff that the awards ceremonies are not what they used to be in the 90s, when guests had to plough through carpets of cocaine to get to the loos and everyone was shagging under chairs, probably. And so many use them as a grand, extended metaphor for the status of an industry in the vicegrip of advertisers and in thrall to mass-marketed blandness.
But if you’re not in the ‘industry’, awards ceremonies are a chance to get drunk on someone else’s dime and take the piss out of po-faced tryhards. “The mission was to act more rock ‘n’ roll than anyone here,” Charlie says.
The pair had been invited last minute to the awards with a mate, as civilians. However, when they arrived they reckoned they’d try and walk the red carpet. “We’ve done a few things like this before,” they confess, “though this was the best one yet”.
They called themselves Skullcandy, which is a brand of headphones – a knowing nod the music industry apparently did not notice. The pair walked to the entrance of the red carpet, at which point the usual girl with a clipboard told them, “I think you’re meant to be in the other queue”. They assured her they were in the right queue and flexed their band name for size. She let them proceed.
Once on the red carpet, they navigated the flashbulbs of paps and punters with smartphones.”We were being proper arseholes – saying ‘we’re Skullcandy’, and waving at people, and taking selfies. We did a little interview. Then – not wanting to push it – we said we had to leave, as we were in a bit of a rush. We had our pictures taken and then walked up the back of the red carpet.”
The bands at the ceremony sit at tables that are cordoned off from the regular audience. Julian and Charlie sat with their mate during the ceremony – she was amused and incredulous – but decided “at some point we’re going to go and sit in that bit”, Charlie recalls.
“So we did – we went under the barriers, grabbed a bottle and got on an empty table at the front. Everyone was high-fiving us and we were downing bottles of wine. We grabbed some blondes up with us, stole some drinks, danced about being dickheads during the Coldplay performance. We were in the middle of the tables, so people assumed we were important. A bouncer told us to get down as we were ‘in the way of the camera’, though we didn’t really play ball.” Julian interrupted the Coldplay acceptance speech, though Chris Martin insisted “you’re alright, mate”. Other celeb encounters include sitting next to the guys from Foals. “Yannis Philippakis is really sound.”
They went to an afterparty – Julian grabbed a selfie with Michael Eavis, who was in town to accept the Best Festival Award – though by this point Charlie admits we were “so drunk we couldn’t really see”. The pair declined to mention that last year they’d broken into Glastonbury.
Mission accomplished, until the next ‘gig’.