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The 53rd Grammy Awards | Official Recording Academy Promo Poster

Covering award shows is a pain, but at least I got this nice souvenir out of the deal.

Since we’ve been talking about award shows a bunch this week, it seemed like a good time to peck out a few words to go with this poster from the 53rd Grammy Awards back in 2011. To refresh your memory, that was the year Arcade Fire surprised everyone by winning Album of the Year for The Suburbs. In hindsight, it was probably one of the best times I had at the Grammys. The year before, I had computer issues and was forced to cover the entire ceremony on my BlackBerry; the next year, Whitney Houston up and died and the whole weekend turned into a more insane pain than it already is. And make no mistake; covering award shows is work. At the Grammys, you have to be in the press room by about noon on Sunday. The non-televised awards take up most of the afternoon, and since you’re watching it on a TV feed at the same time as you’re trying to a) write a constantly changing story, b) compile an accurate winners’ list, c) post and update multiple social media accounts after every award, d) interview the winners as they bring them backstage, and e) monitor a separate feed from the other backstage media room in case something cool happens there, it’s a psychotically mad scramble at the best of times. Then, if you’re lucky, you get an hour break before the main awards, so you can wolf down a crappy box dinner with a lunchmeat sandwich and a bag of chips. Then you do it all again for the TV show, which always ends right on deadline, so all you can do is frantically dash off the first thing that pops into your head, hope it makes sense, throw up your hands, call it a night and start drinking. By comparison, The Junos are somewhat easier, since they divide the awards over two nights and give some reporters a list of winners in advance, so you can start writing your story before the show. Obviously, of the two, the Grammys are far more exciting and glamourous — one night you’ll be shooting the shit with Daniel Lanois or watching Emmylou Harris sing at a party thrown at the Canadian Consul’s ritzy mansion; the next day you’ll be interviewing Joe Walsh or watching Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys or Paul McCartney rehearse. One year — by coincidence, it was a decade ago today — I snuck into the MusiCares tribute to Neil Young, which you can read about HERE. Another year I ended up taping an online CBS video with NCIS star Pauley Perrette, after she walked by me during rehearsals and I tweeted that she looked like one of The Ramones. I’ll take that over the Juno Cup game any time. Plus, bottom line: It’s a week in L.A. instead of a weekend in St. John’s (nothing against St. John’s; I have family there and love the place. But the year I almost had to cover the Junos from a Halifax airport hotel because Newfoundland was fogged in for days easily counts as my worst award-show experience). So anyway, no complaints about the Grammys. Plus, I got this rare souvenir poster to boot. If you’d like to buy it, email me and I’m sure we can work out something.