A is for: Awards ceremonies (and Alcohol). Every year, my company held an in-house awards ceremony at a swanky venue in town. On the Big Day, the excitement and tension were palpable and, as soon as was decently possible, we all left our desks to crowd into the loos, which had morphed into highly-scented changing rooms where our party outfits were duly admired (or not). A fleet of coaches whisked us all off to the venue and drinks and canapes were served as soon as we arrived, followed by a sit-down three-course dinner and raffle, a celebrity compere announcing the awards and a disco to round off the evening (my favourite part. I didn’t get out much). Awards ranged from best art director, best feature writer, best use of design, best campaign and many more, culminating in the Lifetime Achievement award, which the recipients used to joke meant the kiss of death for what remained of their careers.
A colleague who liked a drink or three had ignored earlier warnings to tone it down by those who had seen it all before and ended the evening on the floor under the table, shouting to any passing young waiter: “You just want to have me.” It took several men and women to wrestle her into a taxi, then some kind soul thought it best to make sure she got home safely and tossed a coin as to who should go with her. In the end, after much huffing and shoving (she was a well-built lady), they had to leave her in the stairwell of her block of flats. There was no lift and no way they would have been able to get her up to her flat, which was on the top floor. She turned up late for work the following day, apologetic and contrite, but no one was very amused.
While waiting for my taxi home from the venue one year, I spotted two men having a scrap outside. They were from opposing music magazines and one had the right hump because the other had received an award he felt he was more entitled to. “It should have been me!” I heard him wail.
The same evening, I overheard the editor of a notorious lads’ mag giving a taxi driver his address. I had imagined he must live somewhere really edgy and “hard” (in those days) – the Elephant and Castle, Hackney or Peckham, say. Not a bit of it. “Primrose Hill,” he chirruped, as he climbed into the cab.