I realised that my wife had been stuck in the country for too long when I saw her face glued to the taxi window. "So many people..." she whispered. "Magic lights..." she swooned as we sped past the brightly lit shop windows of the West End. I decided that I must bring her up to London at least once a year from now on, otherwise the next time she'd be marvelling at the horseless carriages and the wondrous moving picture boxes.
We were off to the Ivor Novello Awards. As a rule, I loathe award ceremonies. They are always full of bitter and jealous people behaving badly... well, that's what I do anyway. The Ivors are different somehow. They're not televised and are therefore immune from the shallow commercial tastes of television executives. It's a place where songwriters are honoured by their peers.
We found our table having nearly knocked Martin Fry, the legendary lead singer of ABC, flying down the stairs. It took me a moment to take in whom we were sitting with, as people that had been such a huge part of my youth kept wandering past. There was Trevor Horn, Noel Gallagher, Johnny Marr, Tommy Steele... I'll be honest – I wasn't that excited about Tommy Steele.
Eventually, I turned to peruse our table and was astonished to see Simon Le Bon and his frankly gorgeous wife Yasmin sitting right opposite me. I tried to remain calm but my wife was going quietly mental.
As a young girl in Toronto, her bedroom had been festooned with posters of Le Bon flashing his manly chest at her. She'd been a fully signed-up Durannie and it was immediately apparent that those hormonal feelings were resurging fast. I tried to distract her by pointing out that we were sitting just yards away from Don Black, writer of such classics as "Born Free" and "Diamonds are Forever", but I was dead to her.
I decided to cut my losses and watch the show. I've recently fallen in love with a band called The Leisure Society and was really hoping they would win. Last year, the band's songwriter, Nick Hemming, was working in a warehouse when he heard that he was nominated for the unbearably wonderful "The Last of the Melting Snow". They didn't win but had been nominated again this year. Sadly, he was up against Lily Allen and she swept everything before her. Somebody had very definitely decided that this was going to be Miss Allen's year and nothing was going to stop her multiple teary appearances on stage. Selfishly, I'm actually quite happy about this – I like having the band as my little secret, but they won't be one for too much longer.
Somebody came and tapped me on the shoulder – it was nearly my turn to give out an award. As a kid in a crap Goth band in the early Nineties, I'd dreamt of being on stage at the Ivors – finally being recognised for my moving Goth ballads like "Cold Dead Slab" or "Lying Here in My Coffin". The call never came, however, and now here I was giving someone else an award. Who was it going to be? Maybe I would be handing over one of the heavy statues to David Bowie? Maybe it would be Robert Smith, king of the Goths? Robert would accept the statue but then immediately hand it back to me, telling the audience that I was the true musical genius here....
I was presenting the award for Best Original Score for a Video Game. The Ivor "people" were very excited about this as it was a new award. I smiled wanly and strode on to do my duty. I looked out nervously over the sea of faces to see if I could spot my wife. Hers was the only chair turned away from the stage, staring slightly frighteningly at Simon Le Bon.