Every now and again, usually towards the end of one of my reviews, I suggest that an artist has done something so remarkable, they deserve an award. So I give them one.

The Background

Where's Runnicles Awards aren't terribly typical. Most awards, be they the Oscars or the Nobel Prize (or others closer to our level), are awarded on a regular basis. This begs the question of what happens in a year when no remarkable candidates exist or when there is an embarrassment of riches? The result is unfair. The mathematical Fields Medal partially gets around this by awarding every four years to a variable number.

We here have adopted a different and altogether more ad hoc approach. If something brilliant arises deserving an award, it gets one there and then, and an absurdly specific one at that. It may never be awarded again; it may be awarded the very next week.

A Where's Runnicles Award carries no actual prize, physical or financial, and brings nothing more than the glory, or infamy (since they can also be awarded for bad things), of the title, whatever that may mean. They are always named after someone, usually their inaugural recipient, and have absurdly overlong and complicated names. But that's part of the fun.

So, if it's all a little slapdash, why have a whole post about it? Well, we've given out enough that I'm struggling to remember what there have been and who's had them, so this is as much an aide-memoire as anything else.

Since there isn't much structure, I will go through the awards in the order they were created, save splitting the good and the bad. There is a link to the review that gained them their title (the first recipient's review may explain any odd quirks in the name).

Last updated - 2009-11-07

The Good Awards

The Rachel Barton Pine Award for Encores that Alone Justify the Ticket Price
  • Rachel Barton Pine for Ernst's solo violin arrangement of Schubert's Der Erlkonig, 2008-10-28.
  • Sakari Oramo for his performance of Sibelius's Finlandia with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, 2008-10-28 (a retroactive award for this concert).
  • Frank Peter Zimmermann for his performance of Paganini's God Save the King Variations, 2009-07-06.

The Aaron Sorkin Award for Writing a Script That Makes Sport Compelling to People Who Couldn't Usually Care Less About It

We never actually officially gave one to Aaron Sorkin for Sport's Night, his genius show set behind the scenes of a TV sports news programme, so here it is.

The Peter Mew and Mark Wilder Award for Audio Remastering that Genuinely and Significantly Adds to and Improves upon Previous Releases
  • Mark Wilder for his work on Sony's series of Miles Davis remasters, 2009-07-14.
  • Peter Mew for his work on remasting Thomas Dolby's first two albums, 2009-07-14.

The Gary Walker Award for Stepping into Gargantuan Shoes at the Last Minute and Turning in a Fantastic Performance
  • Gary Walker for taking over from Charles Mackerras, 2009-08-27.
  • James Lowe for taking over from Frans Bruggen, 2008-12-19 (a retroactive award).
  • Alfred Kim for taking over from Jonas Kaufmann, 2009-09-27.

The James Lowe and Scottish Chamber Orchestra award for a Brilliant Performance of a Fiendishly Tricky Work
  • James Lowe and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for their performance of MacMillan's Tryst, 2009-09-29.

The Paul King Award for a Stunning, Meticulously Crafted, Poignant and Hilarious Odyssey through the Imagination
  • Paul King for Bunny and the Bull, 2009-11-30.
  • Joss Whedon for Restless, the season four finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 2009-11-30 (a retroactive award).
  • Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2009-11-30 (a retroactive award).

The Enchanted Pig Award for a Production Team who Inventively Transport the Audience to Another World and Should Never Be Out of Work Again
  • John Fulljames, Dick Bird, Bruno Poet and Philippe Giraudeau for The Enchanted Pig, 2009-12-12.

The Opera Group Award for an Ensemble who Quickly and Effortlessly Glide Through Countless Costume Changes, Portraying Myriad Parts to Perfection
  • The Opera Group for The Enchanted Pig, 2009-12-12.

The Donald Runnicles Award for Outstanding Placement of Offstage Instruments to Produce a Magical Effect, Unreproducible on even the Very Best Hi-Fi Equipment
  • Mariss Jansons for his placement of offstage horns, trumpets and percussion in Mahler's second symphony with the Concertgebouw, 2009-12-13.
  • Donald Runnicles, for his placement of the offstage horn in Mahler's third symphony, 2009-12-13 (a retroactive award for this 2005 concert).
  • Donald Runnicles, for his placement of the offstage brass in the Proms performance of Gotterdammerung, 2009-12-13 (a retroactive award for this 2007 concert).
  • And, once again, Donald Runnicles, for his placement of the offstage bells in Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, 2009-12-13 (a retroactive award for this 2009 concert).
  • Simon Rattle, the Berliner Philharmoniker, Stephan Dohr and Tashio Hosokawa for scattering a trumpet, trombone and two horns through the Barbican auditorium in for Hosokawa's Moment of Blossoming, 2011-02-22.

The Bad Awards

The Jose Serebrier Award for Inappropriate Encores
  • Jose Serebrier for playing anything after Ravel's arrangement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, 2008-10-28

The Niles Crane 'Sprinkling Hand' Award for Production Teams who Should Never be Permitted to Work in that Capacity Ever Again

This award, of course, breaks one of the rules, but since it was only the third ever created we'll let it off. Named, not for it's recipient, how could Niles Crane earn a bad award, but rather from a quote by the character.
  • Justin Way, Kim Kovac, Andrew Hays and Steve Elias for their production of The Beggar's Opera, 2009-01-25.

The George Lucas Award for Defectating on the Glorious Memories of a Once Fine Franchise

This award was mentioned in my reivew of Red Dwarf's ignominious return. However, it wasn't actually awarded. Doug Naylor tried his best, bless him, but in the end he simply wasn't in Lucas's league. Properly, though, I suppose the award should be given to Lucas for The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). If anyone is wondering why Revenge of the Sith (2005) is missing, it's only because I haven't seen it.

The Star Trek Award for Out of Place Product Placement
  • Star Trek (2009) for including a branded mobile phone, 2009-05-17.
  • Die Another Day (2002) for having James Bond use an electric razor, 2009-05-17 (a retroactive award).

Philippa Ibbotson Award for a Bafflingly Terrible Piece of Arts Journalism that Reads Like it was Written by Someone for whom the Arts are a Foreign Country and which was Inexplicably Unhindered by the Editorial Process
  • Pilippa Ibbotson for this piece in the Guardian on 2009-10-06, awarded in my response on 2009-11-06.
  • Charles Hazelwood for suggesting classical music can be saved by going outdoors, and that none before him have suggested this (a retroactive award made in the 2009-11-06 article).

The Future...

This list will grow and be added to as more awards are created and given away so keep an eye out.

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