Watching the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, I began to wonder why we don't have an award, an evening, and weeks of speculation, for the Arts Personality of the Year.
One reason that we don't, of course, is that it's quite refreshing to have a week without an arts award. There is no end of them, from the Booker to the Baftas to the Brits. There's probably a Best Mime Artist award somewhere too. The arts love prizes.
But, unlike sport, we don't group them all together, compare and contrast and pick an overall winner. It would be a mighty difficult task. Who do you pick between, say, Daniel Craig and Hilary Mantel? How do you compare Sarah Millican with Judi Dench or Damian Lewis with Bryn Terfel? But is that any more difficult than comparing Andy Murray with Jessica Ennis?
And then, should one include the people behind the scenes, the administrators who tend not to win awards reserved for visible stars? Ruth Mackenzie deserves some sort of plaudit this year for rescuing the Cultural Olympiad, when it looked like being a shambles. She might be in with a shout as Arts Personality of the Year. Well, a moderate whisper perhaps.
It's tricky, but if sport can do it, then it shouldn't be beyond the arts. And it would be a night of serious glitz, even eclipsing Beckham, Wiggins and co. It would, naturally, be televised, and TV could show highlights of some of the best shows of the year – theatre, dance, opera, pop, comedy. For some of those art forms, not least theatre, TV highlights would be a rare treat.
Let's not be afraid of some comparing and contrasting to find the greatest achiever of the cultural year. And since I've suggested the award, I will propose the first winner. With numerous Grammys and an album that has sold in numbers that left the music industry rubbing its eyes in wonder, the 2012 Arts Personality of the Year has to be Adele. With an image and looks that differ from the usual pop star, with some headline-grabbing slagging-off of the former boyfriend in song, and with a nice pregnancy and birth to round off the year, she ticks all the personality boxes.
So, it's not that difficult. Now it just needs a date in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's diaries. If sport can get one of them, the arts must trump it with both.
Sport is all about competition. Now its top award can have some real competition.
The Bourne ultimatum: get a real orchestra
Matthew Bourne's version of Sleeping Beauty, currently at Sadler's Wells in London, is a great Christmas show. It has all the invention, humour and originality one has come to expect of him. But it is a pity that he uses recorded music for Tchaikovsky's score rather than having a real-life orchestra in the pit. Some of the rich, lush sound, and indeed some of the drama, go missing. And at £60 for a stalls ticket, the audience is perhaps entitled to expect an orchestra for a major dance show. At least, though, it's an improvement on a previous show of his, The Nutcracker, which started at Sadler's Wells with an orchestra, then used recorded music for the out-of-London performances. This time there's equality for the whole tour. But next time, please, let's have equality and an orchestra.
Let's hear it for BlackBerry! Again!!! Actually, let's not
Girls Aloud and Pink performed at the Jingle Bell Ball at London's O2 arena. The event was sponsored by BlackBerry, who must have felt rather chuffed at sponsoring a major pop gig in the home of phone network 02. But that was no reason for the crowd to be continually encouraged by hosts Lisa Snowdon and Dave Berry to cheer for BlackBerry, or for said crowd to comply each time and cheer to the mast-tops. Those must count as the most uncool moments at this or any other gig.Reuse content