The Show Must Go On

We light it up, we won’t come down
And the sun can’t stop us now
Watchin’ it come true, it’s takin’ over you
Oh, this is the greatest show

The BMJ Industry Awards were supposed to be held on the 15th May this year. I know I wasn’t the only one looking forward to celebrating and rewarding the great achievements that the industry had made over the past year. As the only awards event in this sector that is voted for by people working in the industry, the BMJ Industry Awards truly reflects the best of what the merchanting supply line has to offer.

Alas, the lockdown and government response to the coronavirus pandemic means no social gatherings of more than six people and you must stay 6ft apart. Well, that’s never going to work in this most sociable of industries.

However, when we looked at all the investment that has gone into this year’s event – and I don’t just mean in terms of money, I mean the support, the nominations, the voting and the sponsor commitment as well as the hard graft of the BMJ team – we knew we had to come up with an alternative.

So, all you Cinderellas and Prince Charmings out there will get to go to the ball. Sort of. Thanks to modern technology, BMJ Industry Awards WILL go-ahead, as a pre-recorded live-stream.  On Friday July 17th, at 3pm, we would like to invite you to join our sponsors and our finalists on the BMJ Industry Awards website so that everyone gets the recognition and support that their achievements deserve.

From the comfort of your own office, living room, back garden, kitchen or spare bedroom – wherever you are currently working – you can log-on, kick-back and see whether you or your favourites will be getting one of our lovely sparkly trophies in the post.

We’ll have the most erudite and urbane of hosts to ensure it all runs smoothly so you won’t have to worry about watching me ramble on. We will even have a ‘social wall’, a live chat facility so that you can wave at your pals and colleagues through the medium of cyber-space, have bit of banter and congratulate the winners.  A BYOB event, you can (assuming you’re WFH!) open up a tinny and a bag of popcorn, pop the cork on some fizz and settle back in your shorts and fluffy slippers to celebrate the best that the merchanting industry has to offer in 2020-style.  It’s the BMJ Industry Awards – Virtually The Same (see what I did there?)

These are strange times. The furlough scheme has helped many, many businesses but the true effects of the lockdown will continue to be felt for some time to come. For many, the announcement that the Prime Minister made today (June 23), that the 2metre social distancing requirement would be reduced to a minimum of 1metre and that pubs, cafes and restaurants can open from July 4th means the lockdown is over. Which would be good for the economy.

However, so far, nothing has been said about mass gatherings. We can still only see up to five other people or the members of one other household at a time. Even weddings are limited to 30 guests. It’s incredibly frustrating that in an amazing people industry like ours, with some of the most sociable souls I know, we can’t do what we do best. But you only have to look at how many people have caught Covid-19 after the tennis tournament that Djokovic ran in Croatia last month to see that we still need to proceed with baby-steps.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate what we have and who we are. After all we’ve been through thus far, we blooming well deserve it. “See” you, online on Friday July 17th.

No, he isn’t the host. Sadly.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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