It doesn't seem like a year since last year's inaugural Slugger Awards, but tonight we all squeezed into the Black Box to see who would pick up this year's plaudits
Biggest cheer of the night went to Dawn Purvis who collected MLA of the Year, with BBC Hearts and Minds' Julia Paul winning Journalist of the Year. The full list can be found on Slugger and UTV have an online video report of the main awards.
This blog was only ever intended to last for a couple of months, I was planning to stay anonymous, and the topic of politics was going to be completely avoided.
So standing on stage last night as the rather surprised winner of Political Blogger of the Year, I failed all three of those targets!
The prize was a personalised sketch by Martin Rowson, completed in the corner of the stage while the next award was being made. And a personal highlight has got to be compère Tim McGarry's rant about this blog's unimaginative name. (Davy Sims' podcast of the night covers the slaggin' in detail!)
My thanks to Mick for his encouragement over the years, to the Commissioner for Public Appointments in NI (Felicity Huston) who sponsored the category, to those who nominated AiB and to my fellow nominees.
If like me you sometimes struggle to think of Alan in Belfast as political, then you should probably turn back to the posts in the early summer that covered the European Election process, a series on how local councils and other public bodies make themselves accountable online, and a more recent set of interviews with East Belfast politicians to see discover how they view their local community, their party and the level of public engagement with politics. There are a fair few posts tagged with politics ...
As a local blogger who tries to remain independent and steer clear of making party political comment, I really didn't expect to win ... but am quietly chuffed.
Update - And having bumped into Patrick Corrigan at the airport this morning (Tuesday) I'm reminded that not everyone has the freedom to express their opinions online.
Bottom image taken by the most excellent Moochin Photoman.