Monday, December 19, 2005

Xmas in the Office

Disco Fever...highly contagious

Apologies about the lack of posts for the past week - the Christmas rush was combined with mysterious computer failure here, presenting difficulties with getting the blog updated. But, here we are, back to normal. As I promised on my last post this one is about the joys of the office Christmas party. As this time last year I wasn't yet working in Sydney (which thankfully seems to have calmed down recently, violence-wise), I didn't have an office party or staff night out or anything in 2004. This year, back in gainful employment I was determined to catch up on what I missed out on. Apparently what I missed out on was a party held at the local Masonic Lodge - for cost reasons I'm assured, although with our connections to the medical and political communities I bet there was more to it than that. The result, so I'm told, was a good night out - although I would have been more pre-occupied with finding hidden doors and paintings with holes for eyes and suchlike. TV has given me a pretty good understanding of what goes on at Masonic Lodges, I think you'll agree.

But it was not to be, as we were at a backroom of a large music venue/five-a-side football complex in the SE of Edinburgh. I won't name it - but let's just say you might go there to swap maize. We turned up at 7pm, fighting a bitter wind that was piling down from the Pentlands, and were promptly ushered out of a large ballroom with Champagne-toting waiters to a cramped disco round the back, with trays of sausage rolls. Ahh, the public sector. Having found the correct party, it turned into a pretty good night. I was expecting an unexciting wedding-like roomful of people sat at tables, slowly drinking - but give us credit - as soon as the music started everyone crammed onto the bathroom-sized dancefloor and went for it. I will freely admit to being the world's worst dancer - but even I was caught up in the heady atmosphere enough to put down some moves. Or it might have been the lager.

Actually I was still dancing when our pre-ordered taxi came at the end of the night. As usual, there were the serial dancers, who were camped in a small section of the wooden dancefloor all night. There were also the selective types who would rush on when they heard the first few beats of Dancing Queen, or something similar. The highlight of my night was watching what happened when the DJ played Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams, and to a man all the 40yr olds from the IT Department got up, creating a Buncefield-like haze of aftershave over the dancefloor. Aside from similar musical abbherations, the usual Christmassey music was on offer - including the songs where you have to do a special dance, like the bile-inducing Saturday Night by Whigfield. If this means nothing to you (Dad; Mum), then you are very, very lucky. YMCA was played too, of course, along with a few - yes - line dancing numbers I watched with fascination/terror. I'll say this - you put on a record that involves an organised, timed dance in a roomful of drunken statisticians - you'll witness a thing of beauty.

There was a raffle - the highlight of which being when the social club president (a rather portly woman) won a chocolate fondue set - and a semi-edible buffet. Despite there being about 150 people there, mostly we sat at large round tables, school disco-like, in our office sections. Ours had a drinks kitty, which we made full use of. To make life easier for the barstaff, not to mention ourselves, we wrote down each person's drink on a list and just presented it at the bar each time (statisticians, eh?). We had the ubiquitous Christmas crackers - I won what can only be described as a plastic moustache comb - and near the end of the night I realised that I was the last person in the room that was still wearing the paper hat. Festive to the last...