THE stars were out that night but the real glitter of the 1995 MTV Europe Music Awards belonged to the work of environmental group Greenpeace . . . and flamboyant bad boy of fashion, Jean-Paul Gaultier, who hosted this year's event. Besides the music awards given out last Thursday night was MTV's annual Free Your Mind Award, based on the channel's similarly named campaign around the world which aims to 'encourage freedom from all kinds of intolerance and prejudice'. Singer George Michael presented the award to designer Agnes B, who accepted on behalf of the environmental group. It might have seemed slightly incongruous for MTV Europe to have presented their annual Free Your Mind Award in Paris, in view of the insistence of the French Government in continuing its nuclear testing in the South Pacific, but a representative from Greenpeace said: 'In recognition of the work we do in this country and around the world, the award is very encouraging.' Daryl Upsall, International Marketing Director of the 24-year-old Greenpeace International said: 'I think what is wonderful is that throughout our campaign [to raise awareness of the issue of the nuclear testing], we have had the support of the French people. Greenpeace's friends have always grown in size during this campaign. 'Greenpeace is honoured to accept this award on behalf of everyone around the world who has protested against French and Chinese nuclear testing. We also accept this award on behalf of peoples around the world who have suffered or are suffering environmental atrocities.' The EMA awards also provided the opportunity for artists to be vocally critical of the nuclear testing although popular British band Blur refused to comment because they didn't have 'strong convictions', and lead singer Damon Albarn petulantly asked: 'Why are you asking us these questions when we've had plenty to drink?' But other young bands such as Take That voiced their token disapproval but probably none was as succinct as U2's Bono who accepted his award for Best Group with a speech that went: 'What a city. What a crowd. What a night. What a bomb. What a w**ker you have for a president. Next year let's not give this award to Jacques Chirac.' Incidentally, it was Bono who presented last year's Free Your Mind Award to Amnesty International. A total of 10 awards - including Free Your Mind - were presented on Thursday night at Le Zenith. These comprised Best Male Singer, Best Female Singer, Best Live Act, Breakthrough Artist, Best Rock, Best Dance, Best Group and Best Song. There were no hitches and no big dramas except for Blur straggling into the press conference room swigging huge bottles of champagne and beer and sounding totally incoherent, eliciting the question: 'With Kingsley Amis now dead, do Blur intend to become Britain's most famous alcoholics?' It provoked a 'don't be stupid' from Albarn. Unlike the scenes at the venues of other international MTV awards ceremonies such as the Video Music Awards in New York City where hordes of fans resulted in streets being closed off, Le Zenith did not offer much of a spectacle because it was situated smack in the middle of La Villette park, which could probably also have successfully doubled as a maze for the uninitiated had it not been for the 50-metre graphic projections on the side of the building. A 300-strong production team had been working at the venue since the start of November to turn it into a sprawling MTV village that included offices, restaurants, dressing rooms and a 'weather-control tent' for the party after. The choice of Gaultier, instead of a singer, as a host was perhaps one of the best decisions of the night - he provided as much star quality as any of the other guests, with his flamboyant style and nine flashy costume changes. He opened the show in a flared knee-length skirt, a striped T-shirt and glittering boots, and worked his way through a dazzling wardrobe which included a long leather skirt, a wide array of satin and silk, and ended up with sequinned briefs, a diaphanous top and shiny boots. 'I am having so much fun,' Gaultier declared in heavily-accented English as he swept through the press room in briefs and a see-through top. 'This is almost like a fashion show except that it [changing] was slower. I've never done a fashion show in my life. This is my first time. 'Some clothes I took from my own collection. These are made for beautiful models . . . and I am not a beautiful model. So I choose some styles that are easy for me. With the others, maybe need a little changing to fit my beautiful body.' But, as a designer, he must have been a trifle disappointed with the fashion that he saw on stage. Except for the stunning Carla Bruni, who appeared in a PVC outfit with a see-through circle around the abdomen, there were no eyebrow-raisers on stage except for The Cranberries' singer Dolores O'Riordan, with her new skinhead look. Little wonder, then, that Gaultier was heard to mention later that the people he fancied most were in the audience. Rock band Bon Jovi led the awards with nominations in three categories - Best Live Act, Best Rock and Best Group - and walked away with the Best Rock award, having been pipped at the post by teen heartthrobs Take That as Best Live Act and U2 for Best Group. The guests were certainly impressive enough to keep any music fan in heaven. Some of the big names who performed included Bon Jovi, U2, The Cranberries, Diana King, MC Solaar, H-Blockx, surprise inclusion David Bowie and Simply Red, who opened the show with Fairground. AWARDS presenters were as much a crowd-puller with stars such as the Edge, Bjork, Michael Hutchence, Kylie Minogue, erstwhile Take That member Robbie Williams - who still remained a favourite in the papparazzi tent - Catherine Deneuve and Belgian action star Jean Claude van Damme, who raised hoots from the floor when he announced the winner of the Best Female artist as 'Jorg' (Bjork). The one disappointment of the night was perhaps the non-attendance of Best Male artist winner, Michael Jackson. Presenter the Edge of U2 hazarded a guess that the 'gloved one' might have been kept away because of some necessary repairs to one of his machines in Neverland. While the onstage action was live and hot, the scene backstage at the press centre was no less so as artist after artist was hustled through the interview and photo room with the haste of a production line in a Chinese factory. Five minutes with petite and bouncy Icelandic singer Bjork - who spent most of the time prancing on stage looking like an errant schoolkid playing truant - and she was whisked off into the next room; three questions with Bon Jovi and they were gone; an animated conversation with Gaultier and the power goes off . . . only Take That broke the pace by refusing to leave despite frantic attempts by staff who had to keep Bon Jovi waiting in the wings. After a rousing closing act by Bon Jovi, it was time to trudge off to the 'after-party' - at the hotel for some of the stars and to the special tent for the rest of the invited guests, where booze flowed freely and music pounded non-stop through the night. Bono was right. What a party. What a night.