Friday, September 15, 2006

Ivy League

If you're in showbiz - and I hear an unconfirmed rumour that I am - you're supposed to have lunch at The Ivy I don't feel very showbiz. I've had lunch at The Ivy on two or three occasions - each time because I was being a judge in the Guardian Student Media Awards and they hold their judging dinner there. It's very jolly. I was a judge again this year and so had my third (or maybe fourth, I can't remember) Ivy meal on the Guardian's tab.

The last time I was a judge it was for the best website category which was a right old pain. By the time I came to look at the sites half of them were out of commission and how many pages do you need to read before you feel like you've given them a fair crack of the whip. Myself and the other judge spent the whole time hunched over a laptop while everyone else was having hapy discourse over their fine food. You have to give every entry proper consideration because the awards are quite important and there are some serious prizes on offer.

This time I was judging the Travel Writing category. I was a judge in this category once before and it was incredibly easy because there was one stand-out piece. There were three judges and before the first course had come we'd all realised that we'd all read and hugely enjoyed that one article so much more than the others that there was no need for any debate. We sat around feeling smug and enjoying a very convivial meal while people in more hotly contested categories broke into a sweat and began to negotiate with one another.

Maybe it's something to do with the travel category because pretty much the same thing happend today. Before we'd even sat down, Victoria Mather (who amongst other things is the Travel Editor for Vanity Fair) mentioned how much she'd enjoyed a particular piece and the Guardian's Travel Editor, Andy Pietrasik confirmed that he thought it was the best one too. I (nobody's Travel Editor) reached into the envelope containing all the articles and pulled out the one they were talking about to reveal that I'd been so delighted by it at the time that I'd scrawled At last! across the top of it and a big number one to boot. No debate necessary. Nice lunch.

Unfortunately I couldn't dwell there any longer than strictly necessary as I've had a busy day. On Sunday I am flying to New York for 10 to 12 days and there are things to write and organise before I fly.

I also had some organising to do here at the site. The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed a few links popping up advertising the imminent release of Are You Dave Gorman? on DVD. I have to keep reminding myself that the series was actually called The Dave Gorman Collection but if I ever refer to it as that, somebody inevitably says, "Oh... I've not heard of that one... what's that then?" Weird that people seem to remember the show in such alarming detail but misremember the title. Anyway the series is released on October 30 but can be preordered now, just be clicking the banner at the top of this page or visiting the shop.

As with the Googlewhack Adventure DVD I found myself thinking a bit about what kind of extras to include. There isn't any extra footage lying around. A commentary hardly makes any sense because the show is a story... if I tried to add a commentary I'd just be repeating the story a second after the younger version of me had explained it in a funnier way and that wouldn't add much in the way of value. I still thought about it though ... just because the notion of one extremely long non-joke that not one person would see through to the end amused me ever so slightly. Not enough though.

I am however very excited because I've somehow managed to persuade another one of my favourite bands to contribute a special song. I love Misty's Big Adventure anyway, but I love them even more now. I've heard the song and I think it's fab. I've made a video for it because it deserves one. It probably deserves one better than the one I made but y'know, I did my best.

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