After a perusal of the folk awards nominations pages on the BBC website it's a treat to discover that the corporation has done exactly what it said it was going to do when Fergus Dudley contacted me - and named the panel of judges who will be deciding two of the awards.
I look forward to hearing what manner of expensive inducements Genevieve Tudor and the rest will be (wo)manfully resisting in the name of impartiality. In fact, after all the curmudgeonly talk of how naming the judges will corrupt the process I'd be disappointed if their usually level heads haven't been completely turned by February.
Here's a scene I may have imagined.
ME: (At the folk awards in Glasgow, waving one arm in the air while trying to bat Seth Lakeman away with the other using a programme): "Genevieve! You look well! You're all aglow. Have you been away?"
GENEVIEVE TUDOR (looking around, slightly panicked, for an escape route but seeing only half-pissed folkies in Show of Hands jerkins blocking her way at every turn) "Darling! How lovely to see you! (She's faking) Yes. Er. I've been away."
ME: "Wow. Where've you been? That's a pretty tan."
GENEVIEVE: "Oh, you know. Around...."
GENEVIEVE: (Crumpling visibly) "Oh god. I can't bear it. The shame of the thing, I mean." (Tugging at her flaming tresses distractedly.) I thought I'd be OK but... I'm sorry.
ME: (Concerned) Oh dear. What is it? Are you OK?
G: It's those devils from Proper.
ME: (Sharp intake of breath)
G: (Determined to get it out now) I told them I didn't care about any of it but they wouldn't listen... It started simply enough with the limited edition of Broadside, hand-pressed by Rachael McShane and her groupies during the same ouija board session that produced the album. (Genevieve's biting her fist.) Judging from the shimmer I think they made it using polycarbonate scraps left over from from Paul Sartin's wardrobe of Barbarella onesies. But I didn't *mind* that. I don't even mind the music. But then they started in with the unsolicited gifts. First it was an entire Welsh dresser full of diamond-dusted mead tankards and the barrels of oak-aged Hobgoblin from Chris Wood's subterranean vaults on the Riviera. And then...
ME: (Appalled) What? What happened next?
G: (Desolate now) Before I knew it they'd whisked me off to Alan Bearman's faux renaissance castle in Antigua staffed mainly by superannuated members of The Mediaeval Baebes. And I was lying by his infinity pool - you know, the one with the tiny little fishes to nibble off the hard skin on your feet, like at Bristol last year - and being fed these teeny tiny cornish pasties by Sam Lee and an entire phallanx of young men dressed as bare-chested angels.
ME: (Caught between horror and sympathy) Oh God, no!
G: And then I knew...
ME: (Caught up) What? What did you know?
G: It's going to have to be a lifetime achievement award for Roy Harper this year.
ME: Oh Genevieve! How could you?
(Wailing, fade to blackout)
Let's hope they name all of the judges next time, not just a small panel of five.
* No Radio Shropshire presenters were harmed during the making of this post.
* If this post makes very little sense to you, here's some background.
* And here's a link to a piece about the 2013 awards that was published by The Spectator.
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