With nominations accruing over the period that I spent working in China, we ended up with a bumper crop of 22 posts this time round. As no-one in their right mind could be expected to plough through 22 posts in one go, I duly whittled this down to a shortlist of 12 for the benefit of my co-judges: Martin and patita.
As it’s an untypical week, I’m going to break with convention and list the top three – because in any typical week, any one of these could have been the winner.
In third place: qarrtsiluni: An Indian Scale. To a backdrop of cellos, stinking shit, crap hotels, street vendors, Indian scales, cookery classes and Ayurvedic massages, the story of a deeply personal journey is beautifully spun. As one judge commented, this was a great examination of a critical transitional time.
In second place: feeling listless Review 2005: Gary Hollingsbee. This is a piece about an anxious father who is trying to do the right thing, a young son who might (or might not) be struggling at school, and an education system which might not (or might) be working in their best interests. Here’s another comment from one of the judges.
He keeps talking about guilt, but it’s the gnawing sense of inadequacy that chases him through the events described that’s so gripping. It’s a story I want to follow to the end.
So, who is our winner? Why, it’s Zinnia Cyclamen, with Real E Fun: Sam and Felipe. Originally published on the day when the first same-sex civil partnerships could be celebrated in the UK, this is a timely reminder of a recent past in which things were not always so straighforward.
When you read this – and read it you should, if I might be so very bold – please don’t do that horrible short-attention-span skim-reading thing, which can so easily affect our enjoyment of good writing on blogs. This one deserves to be read at a steady pace. You know, like a good book or something. Remember books?
Onto this week’s nominations, which can be placed in the comments box below. Rules of engagement are here. In particular, please remember the following: you can’t nominate your own posts, you can’t nominate any of my posts (but bless you for the thought) – and while it’s OK to nominate more than one post, please don’t get carried away.
I’m also going to introduce a new rule, to lighten the load for my judges. From this week onwards, you’ll only have to vote on a shortlist of ten posts, which I shall select at the end of the week. (This won’t be made public, to spare any blushes.)
(nominated by mike)
Now you might think I’m being a little hard on this woman’s hubby. Maybe the guy’s closing the biggest business deal of his life and he’s a bundle of nerves. Maybe he’s madly in love with his wife and I just caught him on a bad day – we all have ‘em. I only get to see a small slice of a person’s life when they’re in The Bistro. I’m well aware there are other slices that I don’t see. But what I do see is often very revealing.
(nominated by Ben)
Being like a pencil mislaid behind England’s footballing ear, Barrow are able to attract a decent size crowd for their level, with no pro club within a 50 mile radius (particularly in that wet bit to the left).
(nominated by mike, via Rachel)
You are standing inside a White House, having just been elected to the presidency of the United States. You knew Scalia would pull through for you.There is a large desk here, along with a few chairs and couches. The presidential seal is in the middle of the room and there is a full-length mirror upon the wall.What do you want to do now?
> INVADE IRAQ
You are not able to do that, yet.
(nominated by Rob)
Sometimes people tell you to close your eyes and imagine a time when you were happy. It’s the meadow you think of, and it never works. You know the sky was blue, the grass was green, the sun was warm. You know you felt euphoria. But all you can see is CLICHE CLICHE CLICHE and all you can think is that even if you were lying in a topaz-skied emerald-carpeted field right NOW you would probably be complaining about an itchy back, a lack of sunglasses or just a general fidgetiness. And anyway, you’re not. You’re in some boring grey room and you feel like shit.
(nominated by mike)
It’s that time of year again. Your blog performance review is now due. This important annual procedure encourages improved achievement by identifying key objectives and core competencies against an agreed framework of developmental targets.
(nominated by Zinnia Cyclamen)
I didn’t know that a creature that weighs barely 100 grams could make such a loud noise. I didn’t know that he would be afraid of every new thing he saw, and screechily skitter in terror when the new object would be brought near him. I didn’t know that a bird could look into your eyes and listen, nodding after everything you said like it was important.
(nominated by Zinnia Cyclamen and Clare)
He stop twiddling with options and connection settings and turn to tell me, “Those women are the most subjugated in Guyana. They are cane-cutters’ wives. People say that suicide in Berbice high but they don’t stop to examine why.”