Monday, December 3, 2012

1991: A miracle has happend tonight*

Once upon a time, the office Christmas party was the highlight of my working year. Now it's way down the list as probably the lowest of lowlights, somewhere after announcing news of redundancies or going to focus groups.

But back in 1993, before my work took a far more exciting and glamourous turn, where functions and dos are so prolific as to be turned down more often than accepted, the work Xmas party was the zenith of fun.

They were usually well done. This particular year we found ourselves in a bar with a view of the ice rink in the (then) swanky Bishopsgate development near Liverpool Street. There would be food and a raffle and of course dancing, and back then once i got on the dancefloor I didn't get off. I wasn't one of those swinging their sweaty shirt around their head come 9.45, or dirty dancing with Jean from accounts, but I did go for it.

This year though, the festivities would be rudely interrupted by something I hadn't banked on at all, the result of which, though not the worst thing in the world, still makes me cringe even now.

Things had started off well. We all got drunk and took to the floor as the first song of the evening, Michael Jackson's Black Or White, took hold. Suddenly this rather difficult girl from marketing who had - at least, as rumour had it - escaped an arranged marriage, dragged me up to the DJ booth and before I knew it we were on the microphone singing Summer Nights together over the actual record, like a mixed race Arthur Mullard and Hilda Baker.

Of course, this was pre-karaoke, so there were no words. It was all from memory, and I didn't really know the words. But as I looked out onto the dancefloor and the whole company was formation dancing and doing the backing vocals to this universally loved and ingrained hit from their youth, and I realised it didn't really matter. In fact, I thought it was rather fun.

So how do you follow that? By staying on the microphone solo, and asking to do It's Not Unusual. With the Tom Jones moves. 

I tanked almost immediately. I only knew the first few lines and trying to sing over a record on a microphone and fluffing my words saw the room turn their back on me and more or less exit the dancefloor. Someone put another record on, quick! The magic had died.

At least I won a beauty voucher in the raffle. And the next day everyone still liked me.

Note to self: Never, ever do that again. Until karaoke is properly invented of course.

*I finally realised I was a twat


  1. Ouch. I feel your pain. Carried away on a the crest of that beautiful moment, only to watch the adoration and goodwill evaporate before your eyes. It could have been worse, though. At least you didn't try and do a move-perfect impression of Prince to 'Kiss' like an eighteen-stone fifty-year old Borough Valuer I once witnessed at a Christmas bash. It was in 1993 and he's still apologising for it.

  2. I shouldn't worry if I were you - as long as you weren't a Manager. Staff can do as many cringeworthy things as they like and it's fine and dandy and forgivable and allowed and there-but-for-the-grace-of-god etc... But a Manager should be shot.