Join the 'Q' to hang out with Blur and Grimshaw at the music party of the year

Man About Town
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The Independent Online

There is an official party every year for the Q Awards, but I've never been. That's because each year, after the music magazine has given gongs to its favourite musicians, everyone leaves the refined surrounds of the Grosvenor House Hotel on London's Park Lane, and heads to the pub. The particularly persistent usually end up in one of the members' clubs of Soho later on, but the first stop is always the pub.

The big stars usually lead the way and the hacks and hangers-on follow. In an age of velvet ropes and VIP areas, the pub offers a great leveller and previous sessions have included everyone from the Arctic Monkeys to Ke$ha and the assorted media. For the past few years it has been the modest Market Tavern, which quickly bursts at the seams with revellers. One year I found myself at the bar standing next to what appeared to be the delegation from Wales: Tom Jones, Cerys Mathews and the Stereophonics.

But this year it moved – after a whispering campaign going on throughout lunch – to the nearby The Audley. Although slightly bigger, this week it was barely capable of dealing with a sudden influx, leaving the overwhelmed bar staff having to deal with the equivalent of a Saturday night crowd on what had been a quiet Monday afternoon.

Blur were the centre of attention this year, firmly in the elder statesmen category with artists from across the spectrums of style and age all seemingly keen to pay homage to the master reinventor Damon Albarn. Meanwhile, Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw was playing host at a table of rising stars such as Rizzle Kicks and Professor Green.

Like a small handful of magazine awards, the Qs have become a firm fixture in the calendar. Not necessarily because of who wins what – who is named a "icon" and who is an "inspiration" is quickly forgotten and left unquestioned – but because of the simple fact that famous people like picking up awards and rooms full of people like watching them do so.

For many in the music business and press, it offers the perfect excuse to spend all Monday afternoon drinking. For others, it just formalises the process.

Although if they ever scrapped the awards, I suspect that there would still be a large contingent willing to meet at the pub every year on a set Monday in October.