The 2011 GQ Awards, Royal Opera House London

September 6th, 2011.

Okay, so you may be wondering why would I, an every day guy, head over to the Royal Opera House for a GQ Men of the Year Award ceremony? To photograph male stars? Well... I don't really discriminate either way, but realistically (for me) it ended up not being about the Men of the Year as much as the Pretty Women who hand out those awards.

So.... down to Covent Garden I went, battery charged, umbrella in tow.

Here's how it went down:

It started off quietly. The torrential downpour that lasted half an hour kept crowds at bay at least for a little while, too. I found a place next to two Spanish tourists who'd been waiting for four hours without an umbrella. I became their new best friend.

It started off quietly. The torrential downpour that lasted half an hour kept crowds at bay at least for a little while, too. I found a place next to two Spanish tourists who'd been waiting for four hours without an umbrella. I became their new best friend.

The Spanish couple standing next to me (and who sheltered under my umbrella during what we're calling "Torrential Downpour 2011") were big U2 fans. How big? The guy had tattoos of Bono and Larry Mullen Jnr on his left arm.

The Spanish couple standing next to me (and who sheltered under my umbrella during what we're calling "Torrential Downpour 2011") were big U2 fans. How big? The guy had tattoos of Bono and Larry Mullen Jnr on his left arm.

... and The Edge and Adam Clayton on his right. Dude.. I don't even have all of their *Albums* and I consider myself a fan.

... and The Edge and Adam Clayton on his right. Dude.. I don't even have all of their *Albums* and I consider myself a fan.

This is The List.... and ... OMG IT IS A LIST. Are all these people seriously going to be coming to this thing?? (apparently so...)

This is The List.... and ... OMG IT IS A LIST. Are all these people seriously going to be coming to this thing?? (apparently so...)

The first arrival? Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, who I was disappointed not to see getting out of a Ferrari or McLaren after a powerslide that risked the life and limb of himself and much of the (slowly) building crowd.

The first arrival? Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, who I was disappointed not to see getting out of a Ferrari or McLaren after a powerslide that risked the life and limb of himself and much of the (slowly) building crowd.

Attendees 2 : The Saturdays. They've had some half-decent songs (and there's not a single male among their goup - all good)

Attendees 2 : The Saturdays. They've had some half-decent songs (and there's not a single male among their goup - all good)

This is Tommy Hilfiger. No offence to the man, but he looks vaguely creepy. Also... wealthy. Powerful. Strong sense of humour. In fact.... forget what I said earlier.

This is Tommy Hilfiger. No offence to the man, but he looks vaguely creepy. Also... wealthy. Powerful. Strong sense of humour. In fact.... forget what I said earlier.

John Legend. Awesome name, not so much a fan of the music.

John Legend. Awesome name, not so much a fan of the music.

In contrast, Pixie Lott. Okay name, and I'm not a non-fan of inoffensive pop. (That's as much of an endorsement as I'm going to give)

In contrast, Pixie Lott. Okay name, and I'm not a non-fan of inoffensive pop. (That's as much of an endorsement as I'm going to give)

Jimmy Carr is a comedian. He once attempted to beat a 7 year old in a radio quiz, and when he figured out it was rigged so the kid would win he goaded the kid by saying that no matter, at least HE could drive 8) And, as a friend has noted _"he has creepy alien hands"_ in this picture. Also true....

Jimmy Carr is a comedian. He once attempted to beat a 7 year old in a radio quiz, and when he figured out it was rigged so the kid would win he goaded the kid by saying that no matter, at least HE could drive 8) And, as a friend has noted _"he has creepy alien hands"_ in this picture. Also true....

There's some manly hugging going on, and I don't know why : they haven't even given out any awards yet! (the security guy's expression says it nicely)

There's some manly hugging going on, and I don't know why : they haven't even given out any awards yet! (the security guy's expression says it nicely)

If you're only going to post one photo of "House"s Hugh Laurie, I say make it one where he's looking at you kind of funnily. (This was the second-funniest)

If you're only going to post one photo of "House"s Hugh Laurie, I say make it one where he's looking at you kind of funnily. (This was the second-funniest)

"Check out my dress!  It costs 45c per hour to run and six hours to recharge!" Yay, hybrid dress!!

"Check out my dress!  It costs 45c per hour to run and six hours to recharge!" Yay, hybrid dress!!

Bradley cooper was voted "International Man Of The Year 2011" by some kind of arcane GQ Methodology I'm not privy to (I suspect it centers around "a. he's cool and we'd like to meet him; and b. if we invite him, would he come; and if we gave him an award would that make it much more likely he'd come?". See also : U2).

Bradley cooper was voted "International Man Of The Year 2011" by some kind of arcane GQ Methodology I'm not privy to (I suspect it centers around "a. he's cool and we'd like to meet him; and b. if we invite him, would he come; and if we gave him an award would that make it much more likely he'd come?". See also : U2).

Bradley Cooper poses for the Paps. At this moment I can not recall having watched a single movie he's been in, and can name only one (and that's because a guy near me wanted him to sign the DVD cover for it). Snappy dresser, though.

Bradley Cooper poses for the Paps. At this moment I can not recall having watched a single movie he's been in, and can name only one (and that's because a guy near me wanted him to sign the DVD cover for it). Snappy dresser, though.

Kelly Brook is a model / actress who was in such movies as....erm... _I'm not entirely comfortable naming on the grounds that it might imply I've actually watched any of them._ (Oh, very well. Piranha 3D. It sucked.)

Kelly Brook is a model / actress who was in such movies as....erm... _I'm not entirely comfortable naming on the grounds that it might imply I've actually watched any of them._ (Oh, very well. Piranha 3D. It sucked.)

"Left... and right." (Feet... she's walking people. Get your heads out of the gutter)

"Left... and right." (Feet... she's walking people. Get your heads out of the gutter)

Keith Richards! Pirate King and Rolling Stone, and my first possible/ likely Photo for the Day candidate!

Keith Richards! Pirate King and Rolling Stone, and my first possible/ likely Photo for the Day candidate!

"Or second" very well, then

"Or second" very well, then

Oh, look (yawn), it's the band "One Direction", and I don't care if I'm the 8 billionth person to have noted the stark linguistic similarity between how you say their name and how you'd also say "Wand Erection" depending on your accent or how juvenile you are. (Yay!!!). They look to be about twelve years old each.

Oh, look (yawn), it's the band "One Direction", and I don't care if I'm the 8 billionth person to have noted the stark linguistic similarity between how you say their name and how you'd also say "Wand Erection" depending on your accent or how juvenile you are. (Yay!!!). They look to be about twelve years old each.

More of them. I assume they're a franchise?

More of them. I assume they're a franchise?

Fine. One more photo of 1Direction. You know... just in case they ever get famous (comment written in 2014)

Fine. One more photo of 1Direction. You know... just in case they ever get famous (comment written in 2014)

In case you want to get a handle on One Direction's fan base.. I think you get the idea of where the noise in the crowd was coming from...

In case you want to get a handle on One Direction's fan base.. I think you get the idea of where the noise in the crowd was coming from...

It's model Lara Stone! (I have a more edgy black'n'white photo of her, but this album is already very large and I need more space for other celebs)

It's model Lara Stone! (I have a more edgy black'n'white photo of her, but this album is already very large and I need more space for other celebs)

It's my website and it's 2014.... apparently this is what counts as "edgy" back in 2011. No wonder I'm still single.

It's my website and it's 2014.... apparently this is what counts as "edgy" back in 2011. No wonder I'm still single.

I don't know who this is ... but I feel like I'd like to.

I don't know who this is ... but I feel like I'd like to.

I'm a fairly conservative person in most things, however I do believe that certain people should be allowed and/or encouraged to wear some kind of zipper/lace dress out in public. And here is one! (Model Abbey Clancey is married to soccer/football player Peter Crouch. The Paps on the other side were backlighting her at the same time as the Paps on MY side were photographing her from in front, so this photo is kind of compromised) (That said, is it a Photo for the Day candidate over Keith Richards? Yes... yes it is!)

I'm a fairly conservative person in most things, however I do believe that certain people should be allowed and/or encouraged to wear some kind of zipper/lace dress out in public. And here is one! (Model Abbey Clancey is married to soccer/football player Peter Crouch. The Paps on the other side were backlighting her at the same time as the Paps on MY side were photographing her from in front, so this photo is kind of compromised) (That said, is it a Photo for the Day candidate over Keith Richards? Yes... yes it is!)

Bil Nighy (far right) is always cool.

Bil Nighy (far right) is always cool.

I'll be frank - when the movie 'Avatar' finished with a closing credits song sung by Leona Lewis, I found an excuse to leave the cinema rather than pay tribute to the makers by sitting through the credits. Then, when she next turned up singing the closing credits to the computer game Final Fantasy XIII it was even less welcome, as they usually have a post-credits scene you need to keep watching for. Whimper. (I know it's not Leona's fault, but still....)

I'll be frank - when the movie 'Avatar' finished with a closing credits song sung by Leona Lewis, I found an excuse to leave the cinema rather than pay tribute to the makers by sitting through the credits. Then, when she next turned up singing the closing credits to the computer game Final Fantasy XIII it was even less welcome, as they usually have a post-credits scene you need to keep watching for. Whimper. (I know it's not Leona's fault, but still....)

This is Mario Testino. He's a photographer from the "women who are both amazingly gorgeous and spectacularly under-dressed" school of fashion and style. Well done, sir. (Hopefully my overly jagged and high-contrast work suits? I apologise.)

This is Mario Testino. He's a photographer from the "women who are both amazingly gorgeous and spectacularly under-dressed" school of fashion and style. Well done, sir. (Hopefully my overly jagged and high-contrast work suits? I apologise.)

While everyone in the crowd sees "Matthew Smith, the current Dr Who", I can't stop thinking he's actor Crispin Glover's doppelganger - Marty McFly's Dad in Back to the Future.

While everyone in the crowd sees "Matthew Smith, the current Dr Who", I can't stop thinking he's actor Crispin Glover's doppelganger - Marty McFly's Dad in Back to the Future.

"My dens... my density... My Destiny". If a pickup line works, it doesn't matter how bad it is : it's great

"My dens... my density... My Destiny". If a pickup line works, it doesn't matter how bad it is : it's great

This is Emma Watson, who no longer plays Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films because that series is finished... and Warner Bros are presumably keeping a discreet quietness around when they'll attempt a reboot.

This is Emma Watson, who no longer plays Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films because that series is finished... and Warner Bros are presumably keeping a discreet quietness around when they'll attempt a reboot.

Emma Watson. Again. She's been photo for the day on two prior occasions.... could I really award her a third? (This photo was recovered from a nearly pitch-black image caused by too many Paparazzi flashes overwhelming my poor K-5!)

Emma Watson. Again. She's been photo for the day on two prior occasions.... could I really award her a third? (This photo was recovered from a nearly pitch-black image caused by too many Paparazzi flashes overwhelming my poor K-5!)

U2 have arrived, and though they haven't released an Album in the past year (or the one before) they still won best band in the awards!? (Hey, I still love the band - they're awesome. Just because I don't have a tattoo of them doesn't mean I'm not a fan!)

U2 have arrived, and though they haven't released an Album in the past year (or the one before) they still won best band in the awards!? (Hey, I still love the band - they're awesome. Just because I don't have a tattoo of them doesn't mean I'm not a fan!)

"Hate the glasses" "Hate the beanie" "I hate this stinkin' band" "I'm quitting and taking up professional windsurfing. Deal with it"

"Hate the glasses"
"Hate the beanie"
"I hate this stinkin' band"
"I'm quitting and taking up professional windsurfing. Deal with it"

You know how sometimes when you wonder 'whatever happened to Holly Valance?' but you're just too far away from wikipedia to find out, and by the time you are, you've forgotten? Well... interesting you should wonder. Because here she is, still.. you know. Blonde. Ish. (Apparently she's going to be in some celebrity dance competition show)

You know how sometimes when you wonder 'whatever happened to Holly Valance?' but you're just too far away from wikipedia to find out, and by the time you are, you've forgotten? Well... interesting you should wonder. Because here she is, still.. you know. Blonde. Ish. (Apparently she's going to be in some celebrity dance competition show)

Believe if or not, but there was a time (eg. back in 2011) when I hadn't heard of Benedict Cumberbatch. More fool me. Still... just because I didn't know who he was didn't mean I wasn't going to photograph him.

Believe if or not, but there was a time (eg. back in 2011) when I hadn't heard of Benedict Cumberbatch. More fool me. Still... just because I didn't know who he was didn't mean I wasn't going to photograph him.

My first guess would be somebody from Michael Jackson's Thriller Video who has aged exceedingly well. (Actually he's one of the guys from Duran Duran) (I'm going to pretend I'm too young to know who Duran Duran are)

My first guess would be somebody from Michael Jackson's Thriller Video who has aged exceedingly well. (Actually he's one of the guys from Duran Duran) (I'm going to pretend I'm too young to know who Duran Duran are)

I only have a brief moment to wonder who Jamie Callum is, before nobody else arrives for twenty minutes _and yet_ none of the paparazzi on either side leaves. That usually means something good is going to happen.

I only have a brief moment to wonder who Jamie Callum is, before nobody else arrives for twenty minutes _and yet_ none of the paparazzi on either side leaves. That usually means something good is going to happen.

Kylie Minogue! Photo for the day candidate? Sure... for about two minutes.

Kylie Minogue! Photo for the day candidate? Sure... for about two minutes.

Charlize Theron!! On a broader note : she's still unmarried, and *_I'm_* still unmarried! (And if you remove all the guys who are married, and don't speak at least one of (a) English (b) Afrikaans on the planet, that means we're not even talking about it being a 'what if we were the last two people on Earth' type hypothetical situation!!

Charlize Theron!! On a broader note : she's still unmarried, and *_I'm_* still unmarried! (And if you remove all the guys who are married, and don't speak at least one of (a) English (b) Afrikaans on the planet, that means we're not even talking about it being a 'what if we were the last two people on Earth' type hypothetical situation!!

You know, that high-five coulda oughta have been mine... (I was impressed that Ms Theron didn't dignify him with a response)

You know, that high-five coulda oughta have been mine... (I was impressed that Ms Theron didn't dignify him with a response)

Just as the lighting gets all moody and awesome and it seems like there's only two people in the world, me and her, her and I... I notice what appears to be shadow puppets on the wall behind her. And now all I see when I look at this photo are : shadow puppets. Damnit!

Just as the lighting gets all moody and awesome and it seems like there's only two people in the world, me and her, her and I... I notice what appears to be shadow puppets on the wall behind her. And now all I see when I look at this photo are : shadow puppets. Damnit!

But to summarise : not a bad event. See you next year!

But to summarise : not a bad event. See you next year!

So that was that.

I'm not going to assume photo for the day tomorrow will be quite as pretty!

Until next time!