It's the ISPAs! Each year, the Internet Service Providers' Association throws away its M&S suit, discards its anorak and pops down to Moss Bros to make like a penguin. We dispatched a three-strong team of editorial hard guys to keep an eye on events and possibly on each other (I'm in no way reminded of the old Bulgarian joke: why do policemen go around in threes? One who can read, one who can write, and one to keep an eye on the other two intellectuals).
The evening does not disappoint. For a start, there appears to be some strange animosity towards BT from the rest of the industry. We can't explain this. Nevertheless, each time BT was announced as a nominee for a prize there was scattered yet persistent booing from around the hall. BT was having none of this, and soon started to cheer themselves. Alas, the gang got so into this that they gave a rousing screech of approval for their nomination for Internet Villain Of The Year -- an award subsequently won by the European Union.
There was more dark muttering at the tables as a curious coincidence unfurled. Axiom Systems: sponsored one award, was nominated for one award, got one award. BlueYonder: one sponsorship, one nomination, one award. Wanadoo: one sponsorship, five nominations, three gongs. The table at which our spy sat: no sponsorships, four nominations, no prizes. "That's OK," said one of their number. "We're sponsoring one next year." Of course, the whole thing breaks down when you notice that Demon was a sponsor yet walked away with nothing for the silverware cabinet
Can the Oscars compare?