Hey everyone Welcome to the second tartantights awards and the question is how can I follow the success of last year’s awards which generated so much interest in the blog. Well I can but try. This has been a memorable year and believe me when I say that anyone who wins one of these awards will deserve to do win it. So I hope you are all dressed up in your black ties and ballgowns and ready to take a stroll on the virtual red carpet as I welcome you to the tartantights awards 2013.
My first award is for Politician of the Year. Last year this award was by a woman with a passion for Scotland as Nicola Sturgeon deservedly took the title and believe me she was very close to retaining it. However since I didn’t want to be accused of favouritism I decided that I couldn’t give this award to Nicola for a second successive year and believe me there were no shortage of suitable candidates ready to take her place.
One of the first to be considered was co-leader of the Scottish Greens Patrick Harvie who was right up there alongside other main contenders such as Joan McAlpine and Labour’s brightest star Kezia Dugdale whom I told a well respected author and friend of mine Carl MacDougall would one day lead her party and her country.
However I have to say that no matter whether it was on a cold wet night in a Glasgow hotel or a lovely autumn day where he electrified those who attended the March and Rally for Independence in Carlton Hill, there was one man who rocked the crowds everywhere he went. He is a brilliant orator and a wonderful ambassador for the independence movement and for the socialist vision he has always believed in and still does. He was amongst my first political heroes and he’s still a hero of mine today my politician of the year 2013 is the one and only Dennis Canavan.
My young politician of the year is someone of whom I think it is safe to say to say we will be hearing a lot of more of. A young man of quality and substance he stood for his party in the 2012 Glasgow City Council Elections in the Shettleston Ward and was very unlucky not to be elected as a second SNP councillor in that ward. Meanwhile he diligently carries out his duties at local activities giving all the time he can to his party for whom he is branch political education officer and the greater independence movement. He has even inspired me to a write a poem when he used the phrase A Great Scotland in one of his facebook postings during his election campaign. A man I am proud to call a friend my young politician of the year award goes to Adam Miller.
My vision of Scotland award is for a politician or member of civic society who is by their actions doing something to improve the quality of life for people in the country there were two outstanding candidates for this award but in the end it was Natalie McGarry who just shaded it from Jo Swinson. Both women are outstanding role models for others to follow and Natalie a founder member of Women for Independence believes in a more equal, fairer and socially just society and that Independence for Scotland can and will lead to that society quicker than would be the case if Scotland remains in the union. Whilst I suspect Jo Swinson may disagree with Natalie on the last point there is no doubt that both women would agree that we need fairer country where girls and young women are valued and respected for what they can do rather than judged on the way they look.
My next award is the Unsung Hero/Heroine Award which last year was won by Natalie McGarry. This year however it changes both gender and political colouring. The winner is not only a male he is a Tory and as everyone knows it is hard to be a Conservative in Scotland particularly when your party is outnumbered by panda’s but this young councillor wears his colours with pride and represents his party with dignity. The unsung hero award is given to a very deserving winner David Meikle.
The One To Watch goes to a politician who I believe has shown great potential in the last 12 months and Jenny Marra is certainly that. Over the course she has fought for a new bill on Human Trafficking, and her city of Dundee to be given the Scottish football academy she was also instrumental in pushing for her city to be the British city of culture nomination for 2017 and though the city lost out to Hull to be selected in this category it was the clear winner of the Scottish nomination in which it defeated Aberdeen and raised the city’s profile. So you have to say that 2013 was a highly successful year for a motivated and principled young woman whose star is most definitely on the rise. Indeed she was the other Labour candidate I tipped for stardom in my chat with Carl MacDougall who it has to be said shares more in common with her party than with mine, and whilst Kezia Dugdale was a new name to him he was far more aware of Jenny Marra and the work is she is doing. He even went as far to say to me that having known me for as long as he has, that I would be gutted someone of her talent was in what he knew I would consider the ‘wrong party’ and you know what, he isn’t wrong.
The Impact award goes to the politician who has I believe made a name for themselves and gained due recognition for their good work to such extent they are now beginning to be noticed and in a year where her party continues to struggle in the polls with regard to the Holyrood elections Kezia Dugdale continues to make quiet but effective progress as one of Labour’s most articulate new voices. I was I have to say particularly impressed by her conduct when representing her party on the BBC election night panel during the Aberdeen Donside by-election. Not for her, the usual petty points scoring slanging match so often seen on these occasions. Not for her the talking over opponents so often associated with Labour politicians of the past. This is a different kind of politician who is confident enough in her own beliefs to let others state theirs before picking them up on particular points and asking pertinent questions. I have to say I am big fan of her relaxed yet considered style of politics and their are many politicians of all parties who would do well to look at Kezia Dugdale and think maybe this is the way to engage with the public.
Last year I had my blog of the year award in the politics section but this year I have decided to have a political blogger of the year award and a more general blogger of the year of the award in the communities section well the more I blog the more I realise what a wide selection of bloggers and topics there actually are. With so many talented blogger and sites to visit, all giving there own unique take on the world there are plenty of candidates to win this one. However despite some excellent posts from lan Smart and the ever readable and thought provoking Caron Lindsay at Caron’s Musings and Wings Over Scotland It came down to which blog just kept calling me back and saying read me and for that reason the winner of the tartantights political blog of 2013 is National Collective.
Now it’s time to focus on the community and in this a year where I have edited Scottish Round Up on more than a few occasions until time and circumstances caught up with me, I have to say that this was one of my hardest decisions. Well apart from the ever excellent Burd and thought provoking Caron’s Musings I have discovered several other bloggers who are always worth a read. Amongst there number I include the ever entertaining Geraldine Coleman gym or gin Amy Dickson The Violet Review National Collective We Are National Richy Black the only boy in the house and the ever entertaining Angeline Dickson Brunnel with Daft Mamma, but for making me wish I cook much better than I’ll ever be able to the winner of the 2013 blogger of the year is the original Foodie Quine Claire Jessiman.
My next award is for the activist of the year. Now before our readers say that this award should be awarded in the politics section, I say that activism is not confined to politics but is also about those people who commit themselves to assisting and empowering others in any number of communities be they christian, cultural, or social. So bearing that in mind for all she does in organising events the spoken word community including publishing Poetry Scotland, opening her home to poets and storytelling communities, and putting together the magnificent and legendary three day Callender Poetry Festival. My activist of the year is known to poets and politicians alike as that one woman force of nature that is Sally Evans.
My young activist of the year is also from the spoken word community. A teacher by day a poet by night and a friend by act of God, she has taken in active role in campaigning for a yes vote for an independent Scotland. This shining star of the poetry community is very involved with the pro independence group for artists and creatives at National Collective. With her event Rally and Broad which she co-hosts with her good friend Rachel McCrum she has created one of the best spoken word nights in Scotland or anywhere my tartantights young activist of the year is the brilliant Jenny Lindsay.
Still on the subject of poets and poetry it is time to select my poetry performance of the year. In a year of many highlights this one was a difficult call but on a night when she won the Scottish slam, a gabby young American stunned those in attendance with the quality of her work and was a truly deserving winner of that event and of this award. The best poetry performance of the year goes to Carly Brown.
My next few awards are new to the tartantights awards and I decided to introduce them because I attend so many different events during the course of the year and I want these awards to reflect the variety of my life. The first of these for the best show of the fringe. Last year was a vintage year for really greet shows during August and Robin Cairns and Viv Gee really produced by the goods as I knew they would. However though there were top quality shows from Sophia Walker, Monkey Poet, and Jim Higo there could only be one winner and when you go to see a show for the first two nights of three night run and gutted beyond belief that you couldn’t do the hat trick then you know it has to be Show of the Year and believe me there was no better show this year or any year than the tale of love, loss, and lipstick that was After My Own Heart by the amazingly talented Sophia Blackwell.
Next up is the award for the most original show of the year. I am proud to say this one occurred in the wee back room at Sammy’s on April fools night and the only fools that night were those who didn’t attend. Combining the featured writers slot and the featured music slot was not only a history making event which had never happened before it was also an act of genius. So the award for the most original show goes for not only for entertaining us, in a truly unique way but making the anniversary of my late Gran’s and Words and Music’s birth such a fantastic and memorable occasion to last year’s man of the year Jim Monaghan and the best band of 2012 San Fran And Sisco’s.
My next new award is my Equality Champion award. This one is for the man or women who has really made a stand for equality in this last year and there are lots of excellent candidates for this one. Patrick Harvie, Labour MSP Drew Smith, Stonewall’s Sophie Bridger and the Equality Network’s Tom French were all major contenders but in the end I went for someone who may not be in the public eye but who has been a great support to me on a personal level and when her work asked her to write an article for the company’s in-house magazine this very private woman shared her thoughts about what it means to be a lesbian in post millenium Scotland not for personal recognition but to make a real difference to those LGBTI co-workers who may struggling with their sexuality or gender identity. It gives me great pride to say that my first ever Equality Champion award goes to Lisa Tait.
My final new award is for quote of year of the year and this one goes to Manchester lad Matt Panish also known as Monkey Poet. Now Matt can be a cheeky monkey sometimes but when your reading an anti-racist poem then I think that’s ok by me, especially when you say at the end of it that if the BNP had to get elected somewhere it’s better it is was to European parliament as ‘they should travel and learn that other countries bloody exist’. A great quote from a great guy and a worthy winner of my first ever quote of the year award.
Back to the more traditional awards and it’s time for musician of the year. This one was particularly difficult as they had to follow in the footsteps or should that be flute steps of Patricia McArdle so believe me this wasn’t an easy call. Eventually however I settled on a winner and this guy can not only play he also has a quality singing voice. I saw him at the St Patrick’s festival and was very impressed by his talents. My musician of the year for 2013 is Connor Markey.
My vocalist of the year which an is award I always keep separate from musician of the year is always a highlight for me I have always loved good singers ever since the days of Donny Osmond and Les McKeown.
Yes I know they were my first crushes which meant I thought they were good as well good looking. Anyway this year’s winner as a man I’m proud to call a friend and has a link to one of my heroes. Regulars at Words and Music will know where I’m going with this one, it’s the man my flatmate calls Ribena Man and I call the Scottish Donny Osmond, my tartantights vocalist of the year is Billy Pryce.
The event of the year brought a challenge from political opponents to fill the hill. We didn’t just fill one hill we fill all seven as Carlton Hill rocked for freedom. The Event Of The Year and this will be the least surprising winner of all, is the March and Rally For Independence.
One of the reasons the hill rocked on that glorious September day was the performances of the acts who gave up their time for free to give us quality entertainment. It was at this event, I found my winners of the best new band of the year and they really are worthy successors to San Fran And Sisco’s with a blend which can best be described as patriotic indy pop they have produced a song in the excellent Scotland Is Ours which I believe must be on the shortlist for Scotland’s National Anthem. My best new band of 2013 are the phenomenal Amber Road.
As for the campaign of the year. Well you know it’s a winner when it unites the SNP the Greens the SSP and even the Labour Party and also inspires a song which got so many hits on the internet you eventually just stop counting. Let the Tories tremble when they hear this announcement. The campaign of 2013 is the Anti Bedroom Tax Campaign.
The bedroom tax leads me in to my choice for song of the year. Well when a song goes viral on the internet it kinda selects itself. My winner of song of the year is yet again Scotland’s own satirical miracle Alan Citizen Smart with You Cannae Hae A Spare Room In A Pokey Council Flat.
My venue of the year is a club in Edinburgh’s Royal Mile where I’ve spent some top quality nights of spoken word including a slam and the after party for the March and Rally for Independence and that is why the Bongo Club is the winner of the tartantights venue of the year.
Now I move on to the discovery of the year and this was two way contest not only between youth and experience but between poetry and music. In the end however, whilst our runner up told us that the world came to Springburn and Bob Leslie proved it’s never too late to be discovered, there were no tangled webs for our discovery of the year, a poet with unique style and a very big future Craig Scott.
Every year the spoken word scene not only produces brilliant new stars to enjoy there are also comebacks from those had taken a break for a wee while and decided to re-engage with their muse. Last year Steve Allan won this award and following him is no easy task especially in a year where we saw plenty of talents returning to the fold. Most noticeable amongst them were Audrey Marshall, and Peter Callaghan both of whom are warmly welcomed back to the spoken word family. However for moments of madness, genius, insight and insanity the comeback of the year has to be John McGlade.
My award for best sporting moment has to be that magical moment in July when according to the British press a British male won the Wimbledon Men’s title for the first time since Fred Perry in 1936. I prefer to describe historic day as the day a Scot won at Wimbledon for the first time in 117 years but regardless of how you describe it my sporting moment happened on the centre court at Wimbledon when boy from Dunblane beat both Roger Fedderer and the odds. His name is Andy Murray.
As for my team of the year like Andy Murray it kinda selects itself. This time the team concerned had a successful tour of Australia. No I do not mean the England cricket team who were recently reduced to ashes as they were trounced 5-0 by the Aussies. I mean a team who comprised players from all four home nations and as a rugby girl I say loud and clear they are the only British team I will ever support, my team of the year are the heroes who made history and made me very proud that they won the test series 2-1. My team of the year are the 2013 British And Irish Lions.
Now I move on to the I think I Must Be Mad Award. This award is given to those brave souls who talk me in my virtual village during the hours of darkness when most sane people are in bed. So this award is for someone who has been there to support me above and beyond the call of duty. This year’s winner is a chatty but lovable character who funny feisty and an encouragement to me whenever required. My winner of the I Think I Must Be Mad Award 2013 is the lovely Joanne Reid.
My next award is the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is not given lightly and it recognises the work of the individual concerned in their particular field. This year I focus on a man who I know well. My former parish minister, he came out of retirement to take up a temporary post at Baillieston St Andrew’s at a difficult time and after 18 months he was finally able to re-enter his retirement having steered our parish to a better place. His words of comfort and guidance were invaluable to my spiritual growth as a Christian and it is with great pleasure I announce that my lifetime achievement goes to the Reverend Roy Tuton.
Now we come to my final awards of the year and it is time to name my man and woman of the year. These are the only awards which pre-date my blog as I started them in the year before tartan and as tradition dictates I will start with my man of the year.
There were I have to say a good few candidates in this one, with Marc Sherland and Matthew MacDonald being amongst the main contenders. The work these guys do is appreciated by poets and performers not just in their local areas but the length and breadth of Scotland and beyond. However in a break with tradition it is the world of politics which provides us with our winner this year. A firebrand left winger he is a real team player and an asset to our country in our fight for a better, fairer, and more equal Scotland. He is also a man of honesty, integrity and principle who has the courage of his convictions and the belief to see them through. In many ways he is my political wee brother as well as a valued comrade and friend. A worthy successor to my first man of the year Kevin Cadwallender, and my first tartantights man of the year Jim Monaghan he is not only a political friend but a personal friend. My 2013 man of the year is Chris Stephens
My final award of the evening is my woman of year and in the closest call I have ever had to make, emotion swung it for a local lass. However I have to say this is no ordinary local lass, a very talented photographer and co-owner of KK Snaps she even managed to get a mention at the March and Rally for Independence despite not being there. Well I was at the Business For Scotland stall and couldn’t resist plugging the business of the girl who has always and will always call me auntie gayle. A reliable friend who is always there when I need her, she is the perfect successor to my first woman of the year Laura McLachlan, and my first tartantights woman of the year Althea Maxwell My Woman of the Year for 2013 is the amazingly talented and even more lovable the one and only Katie Walker.
So there you have it , a year which gave me wonderful memories, brilliant friends and even more amazing award winners. I wonder what 2014 has in store for us all?. I think I’ll know by the time of the next tartantights awards in January 2015 but until then you can be sure of one thing, I’ll enjoy finding out.
Love And Best Wishes