Yesterday's man, today's hot spot

Share
Related Topics
At a glittering ceremony in the Canary Wharf Ballroom Suite last night, the prizes were awarded in the 1995 Independent Awards of the Year during a presentation that will never be forgotten by those who stayed awake until the end. As the waiters passed among the star-studded tables doling out generous office sandwiches from their rural baskets, the chairman of Independent Newspapers, Lord Shareholder, rose to address the audience and spoke as follows:

"My lords, ladies and gentlemen, and workers in the press media. This is not a ceremony like other ceremonies. For one thing, we will not be presenting a prize to any Personality of the Year.

"To be a Personality is a dreadful thing. Whenever I hear someone greeted as a Sports Personality of the Year, for example, I feel sorry for that person, for I know that he is doomed to stop being a personality at the end of the year. How dreadful to see 1 January approaching, and know that you have only a few days left as a personality!

"Indeed," continued Lord Shareholder, to appreciative chuckles, "I myself, if nominated as a Personality, would be very worried indeed. Not just at the prospect of becoming an ex-personality, but also at the prospect of not surviving much longer. I do not know how many of you listen to the Radio 4 programme called Today ..."

Here the noble Lord looked round the Independent Ballroom 'n' Conference Suite, but it was far from obvious from the glazed faces whether the guests had taken in his remark. He continued:

"Let me tell you, then, that recently the Today programme has been organising its Personality of 1995 Listeners' Poll. There were six people on the shortlist to succeed last year's winner, Roy Castle. These six were as follows: the Princess of Wales; HRH the Queen Mother; Yitzhak Rabin; the murdered headmaster Philip Lawrence; John Major; and Tony Blair."

A murmur of incredulity swept round the Independent Heritage Banqueting Suite (audiovisual facilities available).

"Think about it. Last year's winner is dead. Two of this year's nominees are already dead, and one is very, very old. I am no actuary, but it seemed to me either that the death risk among Personalities is very high, or that people think that dying confers Personality on a person. Either way, I would be worried if I were told that I were being considered for a Personality shortlist, and I would adjourn to a health farm until it was all over."

A brief chuckle raced through the throng and expired.

"But do you notice another thing about that shortlist for Personality of the Year? Do you notice that none of the nominees is famous for their personality, and that at least one or two of them are famous for being deficient in personality? My lords, ladies and gentlemen, may I suggest to you that if we are giving out prizes for personality, we might as well select people who are all personality. I think of people such as Janet Street-Porter, Paula Yates, Jeffrey Archer ..."

At this there was a friendly heckle from the audience when someone called out: "Have you read any of his books?"

"Yes, I have," replied Lord Shareholder, "and that is why I tell you that Archer is all personality. There seems to be no other contributory factor to his success."

After the laughter had died down, he continued:

"If we are to award prizes for personality to dead people, why not give them to real personalities? Why not to the late Peter Cook? Or Robert Stephens? Why not to John Lennon?"

"Because he didn't die in 1995," came another cry.

"And nor did Henry Purcell," retorted Lord Shareholder, "but he for my money was the musical personality of 1995 ...

"However, I have spent enough time telling you why we are not choosing a Personality of the Year. Let me tell you instead which areas are in the running to win the coveted prize as Trouble Spot of the Year, for which Brixton, south London, has made such a spirited late bid."

Which place will win the Trouble Spot of the Year Award and take over the trophy won last year by Haiti? Will it be Northern Ireland? Bosnia? Rwanda? Wherever Manchester United play away? We bring you the climax of the ceremony tomorrow!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A solar energy farm in France  

Nature Studies: For all the attractions of solar power, it shouldn’t blight the countryside

Michael McCarthy
Supporters of New Democracy wave Greek flags during Antonis Samaras pre-election speech.  

Greece elections: Where does power lie? This is the question that ties the UK to Athens

Steve Richards
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project