NME Awards Work Experience

NME is starting to feel a bit like home. There’s kind of a warmth when I step into the offices and am greeted by Karen, the editor’s PA. But this week, the whole dynamics and very feel of this office is very different – it’s the biggest event of NME’s calender: the awards.

Day One

Having just been told that I’m on the guest-list for the NME after party AS WELL, I’m excited. Everybody who’s anybody in the music world will be there, rocking up in their designer gowns or suits. Last year, Brandon Flowers, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Marr, Foals, Biffy Clyro (… need I go on?!) graced the NME Awards with their presence. Me and the rest of the NME girls, who I worked with last time, are busy thinking about who could to be coming this year. Anique and I are desperate to meet Disclosure, Hope wants Queen of the Stone Age to come and Georgia is excited to see Blondie.

This year Arctic Monkeys are nominated for eight (!!) awards, Blondie, Metronomy, Sebastian and Belle and Drenge are performing, Paul McCartney and Damon Albarn are picking up an award and Huw Stephens is presenting… the full nominations can be seen here. 

Today is slow though, and there’s nothing for us to do despite the NME awards being just two days away. We’ve all done our rounds, asking the staff if we can help, but nothing! Feels weird to be so stationary at such a hectic time.  

** Just been offered a task of finding 10 questions to ask bands on the NME awards night as a sort of Trivia thing. At least we’re doing something!

Day Two

Today was a bit more packed of stuff to do and it was odd having a third of the staff not in the office – I assume they were helping set up the O2 Brixton Academy.

I did a transcription of a Zane Lowe interview, a re-write of an 80s NME article on Kylie and I carried on finding 10 questions for Paul McCartney, Arctic Monkeys, Disclosure and Damon Albarn.

Got an email confirming I’m on the guestlist for the after party – yay!

Starting work earlier tomorrow to get down n dirrrrty (with work) at Brixton Academy.


Day Three – The Day of the Awards!

Arrived at Brixton Academy early in the morning and were quickly set the task of making the press room look beeeaaautiful with loads of posters. We then stuck a few more posters around the venue. Next, we stuck labels to the top floor seats and put a magazine on each seat. There was a lot more sticking of posters and notices around the venue. It was so cool watching it all come together: the red carpet being laid down, the downstairs tables for the musicians being set up, people rehearsing on stage.


Anique and I left about 5, I think, to go to our hostel, drop off our bags, get ready, and get back out to the venue for 7.15. We had 45 minutes to get fully ready… bad times for when you’re getting ready to go to the only event with any celebrities you’ll probably ever go to.

So once we arrived at the Brixton Academy, there was piles and piles of photographers gathered like vultures, circling the steady stream of celebrities coming through the doors. Blondie was the first lot I saw. We moved on inside to see our two other work experience girls. We stood by the red carpet looking at all the celebrities coming through. I then helped myself to a lot of free tequila.


We then managed to steal a few photos with some people of the red carpet like Haim, who were lovely! Anique asked Lily for a photo but she declined – awwwkks! If I’m honest, I was probably most excited about seeing Sugarbabes in the flesh than I was Blondie or Johnny Marr. My bad.


The night began to an awful comedian. At this point, me and the work experience gals didn’t have AAA passes so we were stuck at an awkward space by the toilets. Georgia then went backstage and got us all passes which meant we could move to the very front of the venue by the stage – aceee. So we watched a few people get awards like Paul Mccartney winning Songwriter’s Songwriter, Disclosure winning best track with ‘White Noise’ and Arctic Monkeys winning a bunch of them.

Damon Albarn and Paul Mccartney hugging it out

Damon Albarn and Paul Mccartney hugging it out

We then milled around backstage a bit, helping ourselves to free alcohol and spotting a few celebrities at the same time like the Sugarbabes, Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen. Hope and I had a wander and got on stage, at the back, to watch Blondie from behind with Huw Stephens and his friend. Huw was SO lovely and so chilled – it didn’t feel like I had to prove myself or anything. It was just chilled and we had a laugh.

me and alex turner arctic monkeys

The event came to an end and we started making our way to the afterparty. Apparently it wasn’t far and we followed two girls to it. The entrance was so grand – it felt TOO weird to be actually allowed into Sketch with all paparazzi around. We walked in and went to the toilets which were soo beautiful and unlike anything I’d ever seen. There were these attendants darting around in 1940 nurse uniforms – it was just surreal. We then went to the bar in the main room to get a drink – of which everything was FREE. We danced for a bit in the main area, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lily Allen and Pete Crouch, talking to Swim Deep and Haim.


As we felt a little more comfortable in such a bizarre circumstance, we wandered around the place, checking out all the rooms on offer. It was like an intricate maze – we were wandering in a labyrinth that seems to just go on and on. One room was filled with old fashioned sofas, one room was like a massive bubble with a circle bar and a sofa surrounding it. It was just beautiful, really. 

sketch 1

The night gets a bit blurry after about 1am. Free drinks from 7pm was TAKING ITS TOLL. I remember speaking to Mike, the NME editor for a while, a band called Circa Waves, having Este Haim nearly cry on my shoulder for me to go and find the rest of Haim to take her home, I remember dancing with Peter Crouch and talking to Huw Stephens again. Oh, and Carl Barat coming up to me thinking we’re best pals. But apart from that, it’s a litttttlle fuzzy.

All I remember after leaving the venue was then dumping myself on the bed in the hostel, fully clothed, and sleeping straight away.

Day Four

The morning after. We woke really early, considering how little sleep we had had. 8am, to be precise.

The office was in a funny sort of way that morning. All the staff was sharing stories from the night before and people were helping themselves to the breakfast buffet NME had put on for free, complete with bucks fizz. Eve, NME’s deputy editor, thanked me for looking after Este, and Karen, the editors PA, laughed at my story about Carl Barat. 

I was set a really long transcription task that day. Not great with a hangover – but it was nice to be in the same boat as everyone else. You felt part of the team.

Day Five

Friday’s are always reaaally busy in the NME offices. We got handed a bunch of work and we powered through it, transcription after transcription and research after research tasks.

I hate last days at NME. It’s like the world that I got used to within the week, the world that I want to be in, is abruptly taken away from me. It’s returning to reality.

I knew that I needed to make another bold move to extend my presence in their office. Every time I have worked at NME, I have made a sort of continuous upwards slope in progress. The first time I worked there I was just starting out, trying to impress a little by carrying out tasks the best I could. The second time, I wrote an article for NME.com’s website, spoke to the editor and got on with a lot more staff. This time was the NME Awards – I couldn’t really have been luckier in being chosen to do that.

I walked up to Lucy Jones who gave me the job of doing the article for NME.com on Autumn songs and just sold myself a bit, saying I’d love to do more tasks like that for NME.com to show them what I can do. She replied saying, ‘Oh, I think you’re showing NME what you can do already’. She then suggested I come back to NME for a month next time and work as a journalist for NME.com’s website… OH, GO ON THEN!

So I sorted that out with Karen and I’m now booked in to work for NME in September. Apparently it’s ridiculously full on, I have to stay very long hours and do a lot of writing. How exciting – the fast paced, intense pace of journalism is one of the reasons why I love it so much.



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