I am not, and never have been, fond of mass participation events. Mass in my book being any number over and beyond me and my beloved. I’m a goat (Capricorn) rather than a sheep. However, there are times when you cannot do exactly as you please. By working for myself, I have sought to minimise these. However, while I was a wage slave, there were occasions when I toed the party line, notably the office Xmas party. Words guaranteed to strike terror into the heart of every manager. However, if you are a manager, then these are MUST attend events. Nothing short of death should excuse you.
By their very nature, they are organised, or should be organised, to appeal to everyone else and, to keep the taxman happy, generally to a per capita budget. I have long accepted that what constitutes a good night out for most is my idea of hell. I found the trick with office parties was to put in an appearance, eat and drink very little, be seen by as many people as possible, make a point of speaking to all my staff and thanking them for their efforts, but not to overstay my welcome and ruin everyone’s enjoyment. After all, few want to get off their face when the boss is around. Generally, leaving money behind the bar was also well received.
As the Club Treasurer and Secretary, I’m pretty much obliged to put in an appearance at all club events. However, here my role tends to be organisational rather than participational. In truth, I mind this less as I’m in charge. Events also follow a traditional pattern, although the annual dinner and dance has fallen by the wayside. Next year, we’re combining the AGM, which is being held on 6 January, with the Galette des Rois. Largely, it must be said, from necessity as the much in demand municipal venue isn’t available again until March.
In recent years, thanks to enlarged premises with a garden, we’ve also added a few events to the club agenda: Pancake night, Chocoholics evening and summer BBQs. These cost the club very little as it’s generally the members and their wives who prepare everything. Everyone mucks in and a good time is had by all, including me. But then that’s because I like nothing better than cooking for an appreciative crowd and proving that, contrary to popular belief, the English can cook.