OK, I ‘fess up: professed Timberlake-hata that I am, even I warmed to him on the MTV Europe Music awards. I can see there’s something about him — the little boy lost looks and the floppy-limbed mobility — which is going to win over the women, but I was more impressed by his apparently easy rapport with the Neptunes. (Although obviously I could be being fooled by the smoke and mirrors of the production — check out Xtina and Kelly’s stagey faux bitch-fest) I’ve found myself in a laddish and male-dominated working environment for the first time in my life recently, and what I felt I was getting from JT was a glimpse of someone so comfortable in his shoes that women would love him and men respect him for being himself, rather than toughing it up like the preposterous Vin Diesel… but then if I had the money, and the press, that JT’s had over the last year, I’d be pretty damn comfortable too.

So when did Christina become such a star? I suppose the big clue was Britney ripping off *her* looks for her latest video (watching BS with Madonna is like watching your teenage sister’s best-friend copping off with your mum: unedifying for all concerned). I guess I won’t be surprised if she’s vanished without trace in eighteen months, but just for one night, she sassed and preened like she was born for it rather than made for it.

Low point of the awards was the attempt to ‘include’ the host nation in the glitz and glam of the televisual world. Where the Darkness can cut it in this modern-day neverland, Travis (Londoners anyway) really fucking can’t. Their piss-weak anti-war demo (in both senses of the word I suppose) was more memorable for the arses of the models than the slogans on the placards they were hiding their personals with. Certainly the Tartan Army’s run-throughs of the ‘best song’ nominatees trumped Travis’s half-hearted Thom Yorke-literock mannerisms. This was ‘issue’-raising tokenism at its worst: absorbing the horror of war into the other-world of MTV defuses it and reduces its scandalous reality.

For what is really nothing but a giant PR-stunt for all concerned, I don’t think Edinburgh came off as well as it might have done: a few pretty backdrops; a hideous ‘och aye the noo’ from Kelly Osbourne, whose accent is approaching Vicky from Eastenders levels of absurdity; the aforementioned TA singing their painted hearts out; Vin Diesel pretending to be a movie-star pretending to be a movie-star pretending to be someone’s idea of a Scottish legend by shouting ‘freedom’. But the virtual award-a-ganza was always going to win in a fight with any actual town it might have visited. Let’s hope the cabbies and hoteliers made a packet, because the thought of all this happening about ten minutes walk from my home just didn’t do much for me.