It is hard to believe it but 10 years ago, the first G-Awards kicked off in Birmingham.
It was a brave decision by the organiser, Tony Higgin, who showed more faith than the previous owner of the awards scheme, Emap, when it took one of many woeful decisions and shut down the Glassex Awards. While they saw no future of it being viable, he sunk his money and efforts into the G-Awards.
It took a number of years to turn in a profit but it immediately hit the right nerve with an industry that warmed to it.
Awards are a funny business – they are meant to celebrate and recognise excellence but handily, they massage egos along the way. The combination makes for a heady cocktail with people at tables either whooping with joy, or issuing dark mutterings about being cheated of the ‘ultimate’ prize.
The venues might have changed but the event remains the same. This Friday the G-14 Awards will be held again at the London Hilton on Park Lane and hundreds will gather for the usual round of back slapping and networking.
There have been critics of these Awards and in certain respects, I have been one of them when aspects have not been entirely clear or satisfactory. But then this is the case with almost any such scheme you can think of, from the Oscars and BAFTA downwards.
For example, I have bemoaned a string of so-called comedians who rake in a fortune for a night’s work that obviously is an off-the-peg act, tweaked to suit the audience. (Notable exceptions were Rory Bremner at the old Glassex Awards and Andy Parsons, who stood in for the late withdrawal of the foul-mouthed Frank Boyle.) One can only hope that this year’s celebrity, Kevin Bridges, does better than most. Just because Billy Connolly says he’s “brilliant” is no necessary commendation as it appears to be a declaration he would make for just about anything he sees, especially a reflection of himself.
That’s not to say that the industry should refrain from getting behind the organiser and his efforts to run an Awards scheme that highlights the very best in the glass and glazing sector.
Not only would there be a hole in the calendar. The event helps to show to the outside world that, despite a small group of rogues, the vast majority work very hard to deliver a quality service to the end user.
And we now have an additional factor – the National Fenestration Awards. Begun last year, there’s an element of Strictly Come Dancing with how the awards are given, except the results are based entirely on voting. As with the G-Awards, it has its critics but with sponsors like VEKA, Solidor and Distinction Doors, it cannot be dismissed. Whether it will have the ‘legs’ of Tony Higgin’s event, time will tell.
Caption The G-14 Awards will be at its usual venue at the London Hilton on Park Lane this Friday.