Tune in, mouth off, walk out. Q Awards show bad side of industry

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A rock awards ceremony that is usually a highlight of the musical calendar descended into ill-natured crassness yesterday as the music industry showed its unpleasant underside.

A rock awards ceremony that is usually a highlight of the musical calendar descended into ill-natured crassness yesterday as the music industry showed its unpleasant underside.

At yesterday's Q Awards at the Park Lane Hotel in London, attended by the cream of British rock music, Oasis made homophobic remarks to Robbie Williams, which was confusing, as the latter is known for being a rampant heterosexual.

If the wit was as incomprehensible as it was sub-Wildean, it soon got worse, with Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and several others in the room of stars and record company executives shouting obscene remarks at Kylie Minogue when she came on stage to present an award.

The diminutive Australian singer and actress appeared too shocked to speak in response. But Robbie Williams, her friend and co-singer on a hit single, walked out as the abuse continued.

The audibility of the Gallaghers' table was in sharp contrast to the award ceremony's host, the television presenter Davina McCall, who often could not be heard at all.

The slanging match started when Liam Gallagher picked up the Best Live Act Award with his band. He told guests: "This one's for Robbie as usual - he stands for the letter Q."

Spelling out the joke later, Gallagher said: "He deserved the Q award - for queer."

When Williams collected his prize there were jeers from the Oasis table, but Williams refused to rise to the bait.

"I'm just going to keep my gob shut," he said.

After the ceremony, Gallagher said: "I've heard he's been mouthing off about me when I'm not around, but when he's sitting in the same room he shuts his mouth. It just goes to show who is the soft lad."

He added: "I don't dislike him, I don't hate him, I just think he's rubbish. If he slags my band off, he slags my girlfriend and he slags my brother off. I'll have him."

Other stars showed more of a sense of irony, taking their cue from the dispute.

Coldplay singer Chris Martin picked up his band's award for best album and said: "Let's get serious for a minute - Badly Drawn Boy, 20 quid of your money and 20 quid of our money and outside."

Before he made an early exit, Robbie Williams was rewarded for his writing abilities as he took the title of Classic Songwriter at a prestigious music awards event.

He shared the title with his musical partner Guy Chambers, with whom he has worked on all three of his solo albums.

Guitar band Travis were named best act in the world, beating acts such as the all-conquering force Radiohead, who became the first UK act to score a number one album in the US for three years earlier this month with their comeback album Kid A.

One of the godfathers of punk, Joe Strummer of the Clash, was honoured with the "inspiration" award by Q magazine.

Another chart veteran, Jerry Dammers, took the "merit" award for his two-decade career in music. Dammers was behind the various line-ups of the Specials. He also created challenging tracks such as "Ghost Town", which tackled the issue of inner-city deprivation, one of the causes of the urban riots of the early Eighties, as well as the anthem "Free Nelson Mandela", which helped to rally support for the jailed South African leader.

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