Deborah Cohen attends the Periodical Publishers Association Awards

Ever thought the BMJ would be competing in the same publishing awards as Nuts magazine? To be fair, some of you probably did – not least because of the extensive coverage of anatomy. Said event was the 2008 Periodical Publishers Association Awards—dedicated “to upholding and celebrating the highest standards in all aspects of magazine publishing” – where two of the BMJ‘s authors, Jonathan Gornall and Iona Heath, were shortlisted for writer of the year.Held in the chandelier lit ballroom of the Grosvenor Hotel in London, the editors of the Chemist and Druggist sat table-to-table with the editors of Glamour. Impressionist John Culshaw hosted the proceedings with a spot of political parody and much razzmatazz.To the tune of house music with the accompanying video featuring thong clad backsides and large jiggling breasts beamed up on a giant screen, the host announced New Stateman‘s feminist Muslim writer, Shazia Mirza, was a winner. And so it set it the tone – red carpeted runways, semi-pornographic music videos, and ill-fitting dinner jackets – which all culminated in an explosion of glittery streamers and winning bravado from the blokes from FHM.Sadly, neither Jonathan nor Iona was triumphant – pipped to the post by James Thompson from Retail Week awarded as he’s “slap on the pulse-points of retailing therapy.” Other winners included the Building Services Journal “in terms of brand development, it’s BSJ all the way”; Grazia, “the sharpest reflection of what makes the modern female tick”; and, “outstanding results, a formula others would want to copy.” The biggest cheer from the BMJ table went up for for “an ability to bring the subject matter to life and engage its audience.”Wine flowed and then attention turned to how the BMJ could be victorious at next year’s awards. Conclusion: more style, less content. Readers, the march from Brain to Nuts starts here.