We just watched the Blur man pay tribute to his 'best friend'
Andrew Trendell
16:25 19th May 2016

Today saw Damon Albarn pick up the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Ivor Novellos 2016, and we were there to see his long-time friend and Blur guitarist deliver a brilliant and moving speech about their relationship and ongoing collaboration. 

Other winners on the night included Bryan Adams, Simple Minds and James Bay, but the truth is that the highlight of the prestigious ceremony, celebrating songwriters, came when a rather overwhelmed and seemingly inebriated Albarn stood up to take his award - introduced wonderfully by Graham Coxon. 

Known for their often fraught relationship, especially in years prior to Blur's recent reunion, his words marked a celebration of a long-lasting friendship, and artistic respect. 

"This award is a bit premature for him, but he's written about two lifetimes of work so far. The first time I saw him, he was shouting 'I've got a social disease' in a school as he gave a very energetic performance in a school assembly. I thought 'this boy's got some nerve'. He told me that I had crap shoes, but as you can see I got my own back today.

"The second time he met me, he told me as the only sax player in school to play a sax solo. So I did, it was a good little song called 'when you meet a beautiful alien'. At this point, I'd never met anybody at the age of 13 to even attempt to write a song - but writing songs always seemed to come naturally to him. But that's not to say that he doesn't have a good work ethic. He's very disciplined, and he doesn't take it all for granted."

Coxon continued: "Our friendship and working relationship has been a bit like a pot plant - well, y'know a house plant. They need to be re-potted from time to time, and there's always a certain amount of anxiety concerning whether it will wither and die, but it never has and I think that house plant is doing pretty well right now.

"He has written some of my favourite songs, and what's great about that is that I got to play on a lot of them. They always display the mischief of a mind that isn't interested in what's expected, but sees music and the world in general as something to process and use, and nothing is wasted. There you go, that's one of yours isn't it?

He added: "He is my really talented, horrifyingly honest, embarrassingly honest and ridiculously funny (although he doesn't always mean to be) best mate - Damon Albarn."

Speaking to Gigwise last year on whether or not there would be new material from Blur, drummer Dave Rowntree said: "The issue isn’t ‘shall we do material’, it’s ‘why should we do new material – why should we do anything?’ We all do this, but we all do loads of other things."

He added: "We tend to do whatever seems most interesting at the time, The Magic Whip was interesting because we had a week off and we thought it would be fun to see how much new material we could do in a week. We're not really in a position now where we make plans for an album in 2017 and a tour in 2018. It doesn't work that way any more. If someone has an interesting idea and we're available then we'll do it."

Blur released comeback album The Magic Whip last year - one of the best albums of 2015.

Meanwhile, Damon Albarn is currently working on a new Gorillaz album - which is said to feature Noel Gallagher