Hatchet Job Announced
Last night was the Hatchet awards at the Coach and Horses in Greek St, sponsored by the Omnivore. I'd been shortlisted for my (mildly donnish, finger wagging) review of Robert Hughes' Rome. But wasnt remotely expecting to win against the illustrious competition... which made the evening all the more enjoyable, as there were none of those anxieties of anticipation, or of "what am I going to say if I win" (or, more to the point, of 'if I have another glass of wine I wont be able to say anything if I win").
The well-deserved winner was Adam Mars Jones for his review of Michael Cunningham's By Nightfall (who was presented with a gilded hatchet, a cake in the shape of a book (into which the hatchet went) and a years supply of potted shrimp, that well known omnivore (supplied by the Fish Society.. who also did the food all evening).
But the highlight of the evening for me was the dramatised reading of the cautionary tale of contemporary reviewing ... a "boy who cried wolf" riff -- performed by the young ladies of omnivore (in my wobbly photo above).
You can probably guess the plot . . .young reviewer starts out on his trade, he has a book which he doesn't much like but has got all kinds of connections with the author, so says that it is dazzling etc... his reviewing career goes on and he's always saying the books are dazzling...then he gets a book to review that he really does think is dazzling, but by then no one believes him.. it sells 70 copies, the author kills himself and the publisher goes bust, and....
In truth a good time was had by all. As you can see from the pics. Spot Lachlan Mackinnon, one of the others on the shortlist.
And as so often, I cam away with a classical puzzle. If you were opening a motorbike and moped shop (mostly maintence not sales) and wanted a nice classical name for it... but not too abstruse, one that might resonate widely...what would you go for?