Of ARIA Awards, art and worker ants

The ARIA Awards went down in Sydney last night and, friends, that's just the way it goes.

As ever, when reporting on the results of the ARIA Awards, it's nearly impossible to suppress the urge to rail impotently at the glittering chatter that states a music industry's "night of nights" represents the pinnacle of Australia's musical achievements, and instead demand Tony Jones hastily arrange a panel to eviscerate a winners list that routinely collects the vested interests, political maneuvering and data crunching of those-who-are-very-good-at-their-jobs-in-the-machinery-of-the-business-that-has-the-music-in-it. While that would be excellent—and probably forge an equally convoluted collective over dinner, karaoke and business cards—we won't do that.

But it's something to consider when unpicking the language around an awards ceremony. When wondering what the two words "BEST GROUP" placed side by side could possibly hope to mean; pondering the thousands (millions?) of musicians blithely ignoring industry goings-on while also indirectly ensuring it runs; reading through the inevitable media-led charge that—to the passing page-turner—would suggest award winners were miraculously touched with some virginal seed of Shaman-esque wisdom and talent, who smashed their way to the podium—upending dinner tables in a haze of trailblazing and 4 million downloads—to sign-language to viewers at home that, despite losing a tongue to nights licking stamps and performing a server-crashing amount individual YouTube requests, anyone's dream can come true if you just get good and stick with it. And your Online Media Manager.

Of course, someone will probably do just that next year, in much the same way that self-made kids Gotye and the Jezabels smashed it this year. That possibility is a good thing. But for the sake of wildly pontificating: when can we wade past the artifice of awards as a front for evaluating art and get to accepting them for what they are -- a televised dinner for employees providing the light entertainment.



Yothu Yindi were inducted into the Hall of Fame by Peter Garrett and Paul Kelly. They played 'Treaty' alongside Kelly, Andrew Farriss, Dan Sultan and Jessica Mauboy.

Gotye won everything. Album of the Year for Making Mirrors, Best Australian Live Act, Best Male Artist and Best Pop Release - the last two of which he also received in 2011 for 'Somebody I Used to Know'.

The Temper Trap won Best Group and Best Rock Album for their 2012 self-titled. Kimbra won Best Female for Vows, while Breakthrough Artist went to 360. Best Urban album went to Hilltop Hoods.

Best Adult Contemporary Album was gifted to Missy Higgins for The Ol' Razzle Dazzle; Best Independent Release went to The Jezabels for Prisoner; Ivan Gough & Feenixpawl Ft. Georgi Kay won Best Dance Release for 'In My Mind; DZ Deathrays won won Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album for Bloodstreams.

Best Blues & Roots Album went to Jeff Lang; The McClymonts won Best Country Album; The Wiggles took home Best Childrens Album and Buddy Goode won Best Comedy Album.

Matt Corby's legion of fans jammed the lines to grant him ARIA Song of the Year for 'Brother', while One Direction were gifted the Best International Artist Award to the embarrassment of future generations.

Performers on the night included Timomatic and Justice Crew, Jessica Mauboy, Hilltop Hoods, Guy Sebastian, Taylor Swift, Missy Higgins, The Jezabels, 360, Kimbra, Temper Trap, DJ Havana Brown, and Ruby Rose.


(Photo of Taylor Swift at the 2013 ARIA Awards: Edwina Pickles)

profile of Marcus