For absolutely everyone on Australian television, as well as some people who watch Australian television, the Logies is the event of the year. It’s our very own version of the Oscars; all golden and puffy and expensive-looking, but somehow a bit 80s, as though its organisers still get misty-eyed thinking about Kylie Minogue's wedding on Neighbours.
The other thing about the Logies, aside from all the parochial glamour, is the cocaine. There’s a lot of cocaine at the Logies, and we know this because lots of celebrities joke about it. Actor Samuel Johnson once even admitted he’d skipped the Logies after-party because he didn’t need to be “doing blow with all the Home and Away cast.”
But most people would love to do blow with the Home and Away cast—or, at the very least, to hear about what it’s like to do blow with the Home and Away cast. But unfortunately it’s all just jokes and innuendo. No celebrity has ever just come out and said exactly what it’s like to do rails at the Logies.
Naturally, I figured the only logical course of action would be to ask celebs about it on the red carpet. And as conversation bait, I decided to offer them some cocaine purity testing kits, just as a little gift to get them talking.
Cocaine purity testing kits are basically just small test tubes full of chemicals. When a small dose of coke is placed inside, the chemicals change colour, providing a pretty clear indication of how strong your gear is.
In theory it was a simple plan, but I hadn’t taken into consideration the chaos on the red carpet. Arriving at the Gold Coast’s Star Casino, all media personnel were placed in pre-designated positions along the carpet, like zoo animals awaiting feed time. The idea was that publicists would approach journalists, asking if they wanted a word with their clients. You might say yes, and never once get an allocated time with a celebrity, or you might say no, and end up with a contestant from the Block in front of you anyway. It was really confusing.
There, wedged between a crowd of cameramen, journalists, and producers, I slowly came to terms with just how badly my coke mission could go. Trying to speak to a high profile guest about drugs could ensure I came across as either a cop, or a really keen drug dealer. But I pushed on.
As the red carpet slowly became inundated with celebrities, the media got excited. All night, I was continuously surprised by how little eye-contact I got from those on the carpet. Every now and then, an Osher or Carrie would stroll by, but usually wedged into large groups of what I could only assume were reality TV stars. That and people in weird costumes.
Finally I grabbed the attention of Matt Okine, former presenter at triple j. Not beating around the bush, I asked Matt if the Logies really were as coke-themed as everyone said.
“Yes,” he replied. “Actually, I reckon the Logies is the loosest. I’ve been to the ARIAs, the Actors, the Comedy Awards, and I reckon this is definitely the loosest. We have a lot of people here who take the industry really seriously, but also a lot of people who have been in the industry for about a year and aren’t worried about embarrassing themselves in front of industry people.”
These people, he assured me, are the ones who “get on it.”
I handed Matt a kit and asked him to enjoy himself. “Oh, thank you,” he said—then, after a fleeting moment, put the kit back in my hands. “I can’t take this man. I have a kid now.”
Next up was Laurence Boxhall from Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation. He was telling me he was pumped with the success of his show, but suggested he’d take it pretty easy when I showed him a coke kit. “I have to fly back to Melbourne first thing for a play I’m doing,” he said. “It will be more of a sophisticated night for me.”
Regardless, I handed him the kit as a gesture of good faith. “You shouldn’t have!” he gushed, then hurried away.
Throughout the evening a surreal mix of celebrities briefly stopped to ignore me. Hamish and Andy, Delta Goodrem, Sam Neil: they all stopped for 15 seconds to speak with representatives of the larger media outlets nearby, and then moved on.
Finally, host of the Project and Gold Logie nominee Waleed Aly stopped to talk. He was feeling “chuffed” and “surprised” about his nomination but I didn’t really care and asked him about partying. I asked him, as an observer, whether the attendees on the carpet were getting on it. “I think so, but I understand that most of it happens in the bathrooms,” he said with a smile, confirming my hypothesis. I gave him a kit and told him he might need it inside. “This is amazing," he said, "what does it do? Also can I suggest that you might be giving this to the wrong person?”
Tom Gleeson seemed reluctant to talk, but took the time nonetheless. Referencing his Go Away segment, he mentioned Sydney’s cocaine use and I asked whether everyone was high. “People try to keep it on an even keel when they are out here on the red carpet,” he told me. “But once they get through that door over there, it's like a Northern Christmas.”
I wished Tom luck and sent him on his way with a brand new purity testing kit, which he promptly handed to his publicist, whom I saw carrying it about an hour later.
By this point I was none the wiser about who exactly was tucking into those cubicles, and just how good their coke was—but people were doing blow, and I was sure I’d confirmed that much.
As the crowd thinned out, I moved to a bar inside where a few other media people were enjoying a drink. I told them what I had been trying to do, and they laughed, until one of them finally looked at me and said: “Mate, they don’t call it the ‘Coke-ies’ for nothing.”
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