Last night, while sipping on some 80 year old Bowmore whisky and puffing on a 100 dollar Cuban cigar, I found myself ruminating on the nature of prizes and competitions in general.
It seems to me that Competitions exist on a spectrum that ranges from the worthiest to the tawdry. From the Nobel Prize at the apex, which generally attempts to celebrate mankind's highest achievements, right down to newspaper competitions like Spot the Ball which reward nothing but the grubby desire for monetary gain without the application of any kind of skill or effort whatsoever.
Part of the problem I think is financial. There is no doubt in my mind that the introduction of money - or equivalents such as holidays, diamonds, trophies, vouchers, trinkets and bawbles - totally devalues the prestige and value of a competition that aspires to celebrate the highest achievements of Mankind.
Which brings me to the Pundy House Literary Blog of the Year Awards. Where do they sit on the spectrum? Let me say unequivocally that I see the Awards as nudging the Nobel Prize in terms of prestige and respectability. And so it was that last night, after a second whisky, I determined that at all costs I would not taint the ideals and purity of the Pundy House Literary Blog of the Year Awards with the introduction of generous monetary prizes as I had originally planned to do. I am sure you agree with me that this has to be the correct decision. We do not want our competition tainted by Mammon. We dare not run that risk - it wouldn't be fair on the winners.
Instead, the real rewards of the Competition will lie in the genuine pleasure and unstinting admiration that the winners will receive from their peers, those unfortunate and less talented losers who have not quite cut the mustard.
As Henry James once said, our maxim must be "Be generous, be delicate, and always pursue the prize".
Pass the whisky, someone.