Editor’s Comment Christmas 2015
09:34 05 November 2015
Editor Mike Lowe discusses the festive antics of the annual office Christmas party.
While I am the master of most functions on this magazine, I do not directly design the pages – that is the job of a very nice chap in Norwich. This means that I have no idea what picture might adorn these words although, given that this is our Christmas issue, I suspect it will be one of a grumpy old bugger in a Santa hat.
Now I am not anti-Christmas per se, but it’s just that after several decades on this planet, certain aspects of the celebrations begin to grate a bit. My colleague Adam Edwards eloquently details many of these a few pages further on, but please allow me to give a good thrashing to my personal bugbear – The Office Party.
[For legal reasons – and for the purposes of maintaining a harmonious office environment - Cotswold Life employees should note that none of the following applies to them.]
The Office Party is an annual ordeal at which people who don’t particularly like each other and who resent every minute they have to spend in each other’s company are subjected to an afternoon or evening of enforced jollity and suspect fruit punch. In a previous working life, on a newspaper far from these parts, this Noel nightmare was funded by a penny-pinching management to the magnificent tune of £5 a head, which meant that we were condemned to gather at a soulless city centre hotel where we were served cardboard turkey, yesterday’s warmed-up sprouts, bullet-like cocktail sausages and gravy of a puzzling origin.
Did I mention that it was fancy dress? I had argued long and hard against the notion in the management meeting, but was outvoted by the advertising department and a circulation director who was notorious for dressing up as a woman at any given opportunity. At home, most evenings, by all accounts.
And what is it with the Scots? Give them an invitation to the Christmas do and at the drop of a Tam O’Shanter they’re in the full kilt ensemble, complete with a dinky little dagger down their sock.
To be fair, it’s not all of them. The fiercest Glaswegian sub-editor I ever knew wouldn’t have dreamt of doing the Full Jock. It’s more often the so-called Shortbread Scots of second or third generation, most of whom have never been further north than Newcastle, who embrace this tartan tomfoolery with zeal.
Which brings us to a young trainee journalist whose father was a London lawyer and whose mother came from a moneyed family of Borders cattle rustlers. We will call him Brian, for that was his name. Brian seemed to have got it into his head that he was Scottish, except when England played rugby or football, when he mysteriously reverted to being the ex-Durham University stoodent that we all knew he was. He certainly couldn’t drink like a proper Scot and had clearly overdone the suspect fruit punch.
Once the disco was under way, Brian the Shock Jock, performed his party piece, as they all inevitably do once they’ve got a skirt on. He whirled into the musical melee, lifted his kilt at an unimpressed secretary and projectile vomited across the crowd. And that’s when the fight started.
Later, after the managing director had disappeared in a taxi with two tele-ad girls (it was always interesting to see who got a promotion and pay rise on the post-Christmas return to work) I decanted a comatose Brian into my own cab and sent him home. Which meant that I had to walk three miles across town to the office to sleep under my desk. In the rain. Dressed as Fred Flintstone.
Yabba Dabba Doo and a Merry Christmas to you!