The occasion of Michael Moorcock’s birthday got me thinking about a little known aspect of the extraordinary polymath ‘s award-winning career: The Jack Trevor Story Memorial Cup Award.
Maintained and awarded by Moorcock, The Jack Trevor was originally presented to the writer of the story in the Time Out series of London stories that he best liked. In more recent times, a special committee, organized by Moorcock, determines the winner, typically for excellence in humorous writing. The five hundred guinea prize is given with the following conditions: The entire award must be spent “in a week to a fortnight” and the recipient must have nothing to show for it. Most winners use the money for a big night or a foreign vacation. One winner, a trawlerman from Hull who spent the money with the expertise of a drunken sailor before he got home, had to spend the money all over again just to prove to his shipmates that he’d won it.
The unique terms of the award are based on Jack Trevor Story‘s famous words when asked at his second bankruptcy what happened to money from his films The Trouble with Harry and Live Now, Pay Later. The judge wondered how he managed to go through so much without having a thing to show for it.
You know how it is, your honour ‑‑ two hundred or two thousand ‑‑ it always lasts a week to a fortnight. You can spend a couple of hundred easy just going around the supermarket.
Past winners have included Fred Normandale, Steve Aylett, Nicholas Lezard, and Howard Waldrop (the only American so honored). The memorial cup is just that. A cup with the words Jack Trevor Story Memorial Cup written on the side in magic marker.