A fun night at the e-learning age awards, especially as our table (LINE Communications) won the top award of the night - can't remember what it was called, but something along the lines of 'Fastest growing, leading, best e-learning company in the universe'....it was getting late and the cabernet was flowing like wine!
Awards nights have an odd effect on me. Held in hotels I'd never dream of staying in, stomachs popping out of tuxedos that have seen better days (as have their owners), strange dresses (taffita confections with well buttressed bosoms oozing out at the top) and food to die for (literally). There was the predictable 'terrine' easy to slice for the assembled hordes, chicken (makes a change from the salmon steak), then a surprisingly tasty lemon tart (better than the usual drum-shaped chocolate mousse with plastic-tasting chocolate shavings). Why do they give you a printed menu when there's never any choice?
There were some 'quotes' and 'anecdotes' told by the compere that were well past their retirement date. "You may be surprised (we weren't) to learn that, in 1947, the CEO of IBM predoicted that there would be a market for SIX computers" - cracked me up that did.
Led some of us to reflect on our greatest ever award ceremonies. My favourite was the ill-fated BIVA Awards (Biritsh Interactive Video Awards) held in the Brighton Metropole when Willy Rushton stood up, looked out across the room, and said "BIVA - the last person who had a view like this was Joan Collin's gynacologist". Some laughed but almost all of the women in the audience rightly booed and the night quickly descended into anarchy. The next year they changed their name to BIMA!
But my favourite tale of an awards ceremony, also held in the Brighton Metropole, was of a training manager from that sober company Alliance & Leicester, who won an award and treated her table and the production company (Convergent I think) to a bottle of brandy and a crate (yes crate) of champagne which they took to the producer's room. There they proceeded to drink the champagne from her shoes (always wanted to do this) and a night of debauchery ensued. The next morning DA (his initials) woke up to the sound of the housekeeper knocking on the door. He was still in his tuxedo, shoes on his feet, and looked around to see smashed lamps, broken bottles strewn across the floor, an overflowing bath and torn curtains. He apologised profusely to the housekeeper, who replied 'Don't worry, I've seen worse!'. Stephenie, the client, paid for the damages. Those were the days!