As we prepare to sup the last dregs of 2009, the awards season reaches a well-deserved anticlimax as two or three people gather for the annual "stodgies" - the awards from this blog backwater.
Song of the Year: a better year for music than 2008 and two or three lively contenders most recently Black Eyed Peas "Meet Me Halfway" and the Cheryl Cole single "Love's Worth Fighting For". However, although I've enjoyed catching up on vintage Carly Simon and the haunting "You Better Tell Her", I've little hesitation in selecting the infectiously catching "Not the Loving Kind" by Girls Aloud which shows that the Pet Shop Boys have an influence far in excess of their own not inconsiderable sales.
Word of the Year: an easy choice though it's technically two words. Remember H1N1 or to give it the popular designation "swine flu" which was supposed to be the big new threat ? Well, to date, it's not and while it would be unwise to be complacent, the doom-sayers have been as wrong about this as they were about some other predictions this time last year.
Analyst of the Year: it's not been a good year for analysts to be honest but I've no hesitation in giving this award to Mike Smithson, host of politicalbetting.com. He moves in lofty circles thesae days but he's always good company and while our politics don't always coincide, they're quite close. He has made the site a daily "must-lurk" and is no fool on the betting front.
Read of the Year: this goes to "Racing +" which most people won't have heard about. It's a newspaper produced only at the weekends but which carries the Saturday and Sunday racing cards (in time order) for a fraction of the cost of the overblown Racing Post.
Bet of the Year: Having watched the Bumper at the first Sandown NH meeting on November 4th, I noted one Stoney's Treasure making headway into sixth. At Lingfield three weeks later, it had its first run in a novice hurdle and I lumped on at 12/1 and watched it oblige. There's no substitute for going racing and seeing the form for yourself - I don't go as often as I once did and don't do as well betting as I once did.
International Man of the Year: no single winner this year but an organisation. Mrs Stodge and I flew off to New Zealand in August and we received faultless service from the staff from Air New Zealand so they get the award.
International Numpty of the Year: plenty of contenders including Glenn Beck and Barack Obama who contrive between them to show why the rest of the world doesn't "get" America but the clear winner is Hamid Karzai, whose tainted re-election as Afghan President must make people wonder why we have committed 9,500 troops to bolster his corrupt and ineffective administration.
Blogger of the Year: it's hard to distinguish between those who have their own blogs and those who write on other people's or organisations sites. This year's winner is Nick Starling, aka the Norfolk Blogger, who is a Lib Dem and Norwich City supporter which are two good points and whose contributions from the Norwich North by-election were insightful.
British Numpty of the Year: once again, another packed field made up of intellectually challenged right-wing bloggers, inept newspaper editors and columnists and the moronic Bob Crow. We also have the MPs who tried to brazen out the expenses furore and failed to appreciate how angry and disillusioned people had become. Gordon Brown would be the obvious and popular choice but I don't think he's done much to deserve the award this year. The winner is Douglas Hogg for no other reason than I remember his response when door-stepped by journalists about his expense claims.
Person of the Year: as always, down to the final three in reverse order:
3. Mike Smithson: 2009 has been a good year for Mike and 2010 promises to be every bit as exciting with a General Election to keep the politicalbetting.com servers happy. He also became a grandfather this year so well done to the Smithson clan.
2. Boris Johnson: I'm not usually a fan of the Mayor but his hugely-pragmatic response to the whingeing business community when London was closed by a blanket of snow in February illustrates how much the office has improved the man. He rightly pointed out that spending for a once in twenty or twenty-five year event wasn't and couldn't be justifiable in the current climate.
1. Usain Bolt: I suppose I could have picked a politician or an economist but my abiding memory of 2009 (apart from the February snow) is watching Bolt shatter the world 100m record at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. In my lifetime, I have seen the 100m record fall from over 10 secs to 9.58 which may not be much but which represents a huge advance. Having watched the drug-addled Ben Johnson pervert the sport it's a huge pleasure to see the wonderfully-gifted Bolt move so effortlessly.
The 200m record is also Bolt's with an incredible 19.19 secs shattering Michael Johnson's brilliant time. Yet Bolt remains a cheerful and humble soul perhaps as in awe of his gifts as we are.
Finally, New Year greetings to one and all.