On the 20th October, under the Deaf Institute’s giant glitterball, the great and the good of Manchester’s blogosphere gathered for the 5th annual Manchester Blog Awards. Once again, records were broken as over 200 local bloggers received nominations, whittled down to the very best by the judges and then, for the first time, opened out to a public vote.
The strength of Manchester’s blogging scene is truly something to behold and perhaps the organisers missed a trick in not inviting blog-o-phobe Andrew Marr along to witness it. They got all other aspects bang on the money however as the audience were treated to a bevy of excellent live readings and music provided by one of the shortlisted blogs, The Pigeon Post.
The ever-professional Jon Atkin kicked off the night by diving straight into the entertainments. First off were readings from four Manchester writers, Dave Hartley (that’s me!), Sarah-Clare Conlon, Benjamin Judge and Tom Mason whose work features on the excellent 330 Words blog.
They were followed by former double-winner Emily Morris who read an account from her highly praised blog My Shitty Twenties. We were treated to the story of Gandhi (not Ghandi) the Gerbil and the little problem of how to make his passage into Gerbil Heaven all that more easy for everyone involved. It was a welcome reminder of why Emily’s blog has proved so award-winning!
And thence followed Chris Killen, another former winner, now published novelist and all round good egg. With a little help from willing volunteer Fat Roland, Chris produced a hefty document and offered a new experience in live literature reading; Choose Your Own Adventure (Extreme Romance). Chris took Fat Roland on an awkward blind date in a nightmare world of an empty restaurant with a dodgy menu and no escape route. Fat Roland tried to wriggle his way out of the date. Chris dragged him back in with no mercy. With romantic music playing in the background and a shock revelation concerning the ending, it was truly the highlight of the pre-award preamble.
But then it was down to business. The atmosphere was electric as the audience hushed to await the results. Nominees readied their humble congratulation faces. Hopeful acceptance speeches were hurriedly prepared. All eyes fell on Jon as he announced the winners one by one to a chorus of cheers and involuntary whooping.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls; The results:
Best City and Neighbourhood Blog: Love Levenshulme
Best Arts and Culture Blog (sponsored by Creativetourist.com): Ribbons and Leaves
Best New Blog: 330 Words
Best Writing on a Blog: Fat Roland on Electronica
Best Personal Blog: mightaswell
And finally, chosen by the judges from all the categories, the Blog of the Year was awarded jointly to…
Love Levenshulme and Fat Roland on Electronica
Check the website to see what the judges had to say about the winners and to remind yourself of the other excellent blogs that missed out on the top spot.
All the winners proved to be both worthy of the award and humble in acceptance and their high quality reflects the equally high standard of the blogging scene in our fair city, no matter what subject, no matter what style. And with smiles planted firmly on faces, the gathering turned to the bar to commiserate, congratulate and celebrate a job well done by all.
by Dave Hartley