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Babel: Awards dinners are multiplying. Why do so many people attend them, even while grumbling about them?

By Winston Fletcher   January 1999

Unless you’re a hermit-or remarkably wise-you have probably been inveigled into attending awards dinners from time to time. If you haven’t attended in person, you’ll have seen them on television: Oscars and Oliviers, Bookers and Baftas, Whitbreads and Turners. Naturally, only the galas adorned by stars and celebs get on to the box, but more modest awards dinners flourish in every chandelier-spangled hostelry in Britain-probably in the western world.

Nobody knows how many awards dinners there are each year, but everyone knows that there are more and more of them. At the moment we’re in the middle of the season,…

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