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Party night fever.

Byline: By Bob Cuffe

And so the Christmas party season is upon us. The photocopiers at work prepare for their busiest, and most unusual, time of the year. It's a time for fun ( even for us, the Region That Likes To Say No. But it's also a time for reflection, and planning ahead. If I was you, I'd reflect on how you behaved last year, and plan not to do that again. You haven't been able to go into accounts all year, have you?

As we all know, the Works Christmas Party can be the most enjoyable night of the year. If that's what you're thinking during the party ( beware. You are the drunkest person there. This is the game played by all the other boozers. As long as you can find someone noticeably drunker than yourself, you're safe. They'll be getting gossiped about ( so you're in the clear.

A good idea is to stand near them for as much of the evening as possible. You look as sober as a judge (always an amusing simile that one, what with the entire legal profession being completely pickled).

You made a fool of yourself last year. Never again. This time it's going to be different. You didn't go too early. You may have even ducked around, what with it being 7pm, and you having already had three.

Plenty of others are starting to get giggly. The music is terrible. The ugly women are still looking ugly. You know you're sound. You know where you left your coat, and you're still wearing your jacket.

You decide to eat some of the appalling buffet. The chicken drumsticks and pork pies went down a treat with your fifth pint. You haven't danced yet ( this is a very good sign. But you're starting to tap along to the beat. You're talking more than listening, but you're still fine.

You've spotted the couple of lads who are already putting their arms around each other and singing to the music. You inform everyone how drunk they're looking. After last year, you want to make absolutely certain you're completely anonymous. People will wonder if you were even there. It's the lads from sales who will be gossiped about. You move closer to them.

Two hours pass. You have no idea where the time's gone. You feel fantastic. You feel so good, that you're not quite sure how many drinks you've had. And you must be fine anyway ( look at the lads. They're in a right clip. They're dancing with each other, and they're really terrible dancers.

You're hips swaying to the music. The lasses from accounts are looking nice tonight. "Fancy a short?" "Why not, it's Christmas." You spend the next hour telling people that "It's for the kids, isn't it ... the television this year is absolutely dreadful isn't it ... do you remember Morecambe and Wise on Christmas Day? ... do you know anyone on the Band Aid song?"

They're playing all of your favourite songs. Just one dance. They put Billie Jean on. Wonder if you can still do it. The Bee Gees! Saturday Night Fever ( it was like it was last week. The dancing gives you quite a thirst. Where the hell is your jacket? You scrounge a pint off your boss. You must have a word with him. You've got some really good ideas ( now's as good a time as any.

"Another drink?" he asks, who yet again is drinking water all night. "Cheers, I don't mind if I do. Great night, isn't it. Fantastic. Listen ... listen ... do you mind if I'm completely honest? ... I'm really ambitious you know, and I don't think you're being fair with me ... I've heard that Linda is on more money than me ... what do you have to say about that?"

Your boss says his phone is ringing, and has to go. Never mind, you'll catch up with him later. The women have all really scrubbed up well tonight.

You're leaning on the bar. Everyone seems to have moved. You can't see the lads any more. The music is absolutely brilliant. You can do YMCA. And, absolute bliss, New York, New York. No wonder you fell over, you kicked far higher than anyone. Shame that your boss took one of your high kicks right in the backside.

You go to the toilet. People go quiet when you get in there. You tell all of them that it's been a great night, a really great night. Great. None of them know where your jacket is.

You know you didn't bring your coat. You look in the mirror. The waste paper bin on your head does look funny. Your boss doesn't seem to quite get the joke. You tell him a couple of home truths, and set off for a taxi. Christmas party tales?
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 17, 2004
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