I WRITE this on the eve of the Olive Press Christmas Party.
Being the upstanding group of elegant media professionals that we are, I can assure you that this newspaper’s annual event is a refined and sober soiree of charming conversation and sparkling wit. Having worked in publishing for over 30 years, however, I have been to some Christmas celebrations that have made happy hour with Pablo Escobar seem tame.
Over in the US a recent poll in the New York Post found that there were quite a few things you could predict about your company’s Christmas bash, with one in three party goers doing something immediately regrettable before the night ends.
“Anything can happen at an office Christmas party, which is why it’s no surprise that the majority of employees look forward to it every year,” Julian Clark, Evite’s in-house party specialist, explained in a press release.
Never mind the fact that ‘in-house party specialist’ sounds like a bad Tinder bio, Clark actually knows what he’s talking about. According to his research, a Friday night is the preferred time for a holiday party. In the aftermath of weekday bashes, 35% of employees will show up late the next morning and 17% won’t show up at all.
One of the most infamous of these ‘no-shows’ was former Radio 1 Breakfast Show presenter Chris Evans. In the wee small hours of his Christmas Party – and perhaps a little ‘over refreshed’ – he decided that it would be an excellent joke if none of the staff turned up to do the Breakfast Show the next morning. BBC Top Brass were not amused.
Some of the most memorable Christmas functions took place when I was working for a publishing house in Clerkenwell. The sales department tended to get a little bit ‘feisty’ after a few beers and there was normally a scuffle over something as the party moved on to whatever late night drinking den we could find, normally in Smithfield Market at some ungodly hour. Then there was the hugely boozy bash for 400 journalists for one of the leading property firms who erected a marquee in the underground car park just off Hanover Square. Private Eye Editor Ian Hislop was the speaker and it got predictably messy.
Not as messy as the time, however, that a sozzled journalist fell backwards over a table, showering guests, including a government minister, in festive canapés.
Having to write the festive apology with a screaming hangover the next morning was not one of my finest moments, though the minister involved thought it was hilarious. The mere sight of a voulevant is enough to bring on a savage flashback…
So enjoy your Christmas bash, try not to damage your professional reputation in some way and see you in the New Year!