Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bentleys, bands and Byng

The stage is set: Richard & Judy on stage at last year's Galaxy British Book Awards

Bookings for the Galaxy British Book Awards, which takes place on Friday, 3 April, are, inevitably, down on last year. Publishers cannot make people redundant, then take two tables at £295 plus VAT a head. But it promises to be another glitzy affair nonetheless, with some authors - notably Sebastian Faulks - being ferried to the Grosvenor House in Mayfair by Bentley (because of Faulks' reinstatement of Bentley as the car of choice for James Bond).
This year, for the 20th Nibbies - so called because of the pen-shaped trophies the winners receive, and hosted once again by the UK's Oprahs, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan - the organisers have announced a first. Canongate Publisher Jamie Byng is to DJ at the post-Nibbie party, 'blending funk and jazz and rare groove and soul and hip hop and Latin and rock'. You certainly wouldn't get this at the Man Booker. "And now here's Booker Prize Administrator Ion Trewin with some more of La Traviata." (no offence meant, Ion).

One band who certainly won't be on his playlist is Ken Follet's Damn Right I Got the Blues. At the Nibbies in 2003, Byng said he'd rather put knitting needles in his ears than listen to them. Mind you, when the band played Mustang Sally and other such classics the dancefloor was packed.

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