Multi award-loser Emer Sugrue whinges about Student Media Awards

It’s April and the summer is finally starting to poke its burny fingers through the veil of Irish cloud. All week, students have been flinging themselves on the grass beside the lake like dying bumblebees, complaining about deadlines and watching naked mentalists. But it’s also the time of year where everyone in the media starts patting themselves on the back and passing around shiny trinkets in honour of the jobs they are already paid to do.

It seems to be a uniquely media-based endeavour – you never hear of awards for computer programmers: “Least error-filled code of the year” or “Most work done while simultaneously playing World of Warcraft”. Maybe a stable job and money is enough. We in student media however have no such prospects, with at best an Arts degree and no social life under our belt when we eventually leave the sheltered womb of full-time education, so to make it seem somewhat worthwhile, we have an awards do.

Last Wednesday was the annual Student Media Awards (Smedias) and we at The University Observer got all dolled up and ready to drink ourselves to oblivion. If you have never been to an awards ceremony, here is a trade secret: They are extremely boring.

Even when you are up for an award yourself you spend the night checking your watch and looking longingly at the bar. The glamour quickly fades as you realise you will spend the next few hours clapping while someone reads a list of names you’ve never heard of. I can only imagine how soul destroying something like the Oscars is for the audience, I have never made it past the halfway point of the show and that was with the benefits of a comfy chair and regular tea breaks.

Considering half the celebs haven’t eaten for several days beforehand, I wonder why they don’t just call in sick and post some pictures of themselves standing on their own carpet. They’re millionaires, they can afford a red one.

One serious disadvantage the Smedias have, over other awards, is that you have no idea who the other people are, or what they’ve done. With the exception of the winning short film (a hilarious Adam and Eve date rape scenario…it made more sense and less offence in context) we didn’t get to see or read anything and were denied a wealth of snark.

With the Oscars, you can revel in indignation when a terrible film wins something and shout loudly at the screen how that other film had much more poignancy and boobs but with the Smedias, you are just left to assume that everyone’s work was about the holocaust. If America has taught me one thing, it’s that Nazis mean prizes. But that’s not fair, America has taught me lots of things, like how to add bacon and luminous cheese to everything.

The Smedias was hosted again this year by Dáithí Ó Sé. Oh Dáithí, you silly mess you. During last year’s awards, I think it would be fair to say he was a bit of a state. He and co-host Kathryn Thomas were…how do I put this delicately…merry? Kathryn swayed and giggled, while Dáithí rambled on and complimented anything with a uterus.

After the ceremony, he confided that he had drunk two bottles of wine for lunch, slept through rehearsal and woken up about an hour after he was supposed to arrive. Considering he actually told me that, the situation clearly hadn’t improved over the intervening hours.

This year, they seemed to have learned their lesson; they blasted through the nominations at dazzling speed. There were no anecdotes, no speeches and no horrible comedians. No good comedians either, the speed at which the event took place was astounding. They just read the names and blasted music as the winner walked up to collect their prize, drowning out our plaintive cries of “fuck you”.

Maybe next year they can save the money and just post the list of winners on the door of Mansion House. Before we knew what happened or could even start weeping, we were out the door and on the way to the after party.

It was an incredibly fun night in the end, lots of drinking, dancing and fisticuffs with The College Tribune. Even though The University Observer didn’t get as many much as we’d hoped, three were won for from the main paper (You know, O-two’s wrapper, it has politics on it).

Whatever our success with awards, after a year of hard work and tirelessly putting together a free newspaper for the students of UCD, maybe you can argue that really, we’re all winners. But that night I lost two awards, my digital camera and at around 3am, my dignity. *Sigh* maybe next year.

In her next column, Emer talks about the holocaust.