Monday, December 22, 2008

Party fodder

PEOPLE vowing everlasting love to their colleagues and threatening to leave their wives and children, others snogging people they shouldn't be, people falling over in the street, others ranting and raving at their best chums... ah, my good readers, it must be Xmas party time again.
Never let it be said that the good people of Meeja Wales couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery. In fact, judging by the Xmas work rotas and the complete confusion surrounding who is doing what, I would suggest it is about the only thing we CAN organise.
You may have noticed that it has been two weeks since I last added an entry to this much-loved real-life serial of everyday newspaper folk.
A brief explanation.
The first week I spent away from work doing my Christmas shopping and recovering from copious hangovers. If the truth were told I was barely coherent enough to get my thoughts together, and my hand shook so much I was in danger of pressing three computer keys at once.
On the second week I came back to work and was so busy sorting out the delightful pile of Eggo letters in front of me that I didn't have a chance to scream, let alone think.
In which case, I have a lot of catching up to do and shall attempt to split this blog up into different sections running on different days to give you the full feel of how we humble folk spent the festive period.

It's probably best to start on the first Wednesday night when the usual suspects - Smashy, Paps, the Fugitive, the Prince of Darkness, the Wonderful One and I met up for a few sneaky ones in old O'Neill's. It was a generally decent night, from what I recall, and even the Fugitive managed to enter into the spirit of it without foaming at the mouth too much and repeating the words "kill, kill, kill..." as his mind focussed on the head honcho at the Welsh Rugby Union (If I was he I would be bolting my doors and windows and employing former SAS men as security guards this Christmas).
In fact, it's fair to say we were all in a pretty jolly mood, even my best man the Wonderful Withers, who was looking pleasingly coy when people started asking him about his apparent tryst with some mystery beauty at the Equinox do. Did I say mystery? Well, it was certainly a mystery to him the next day when the Boss chimed up: "Aye Withers, I hear ye were snoggin' that girly Rhiannon at the Equinox dooo". Apparently, onlookers tell me a terrible expression of doubt crossed the Wonderful One's features and he was later heard muttering to a colleague. "Who did I snog last night?"
Fortunately, Stormin' Norman put him right. His memory hadn't failed him, the boss had just identified the wrong girly.
The rest of the night passed pretty pleasantly, although I must admit it took some powers of recovery to be ready for The Big Event on the Friday night.

Come the Meeja Wales do and we all packed into the upstairs cupboard that represents the Function Room of O'Neill's. In a year's time, with the rate of redundancies and departures, it will probably feel like a grand hall to us, but at the current time - with three newspaper staffs all now incorporated under the same roof - it was a tight squeeze.
The company had contributed £20 a head to the affair behind the bar and the little Bowling Ball didn't help matters by inviting his entire entourage of cronies from the Boar's Backside to join us.
We only realised this fact when I was talking with Chalkie White and Picture Editor Rob Roy and glanced over to see this unfamiliar character, resplendent in red flashing nose and reindeer headgear tucking into our sandwiches with great gusto. "Who's that?" I inquired of my colleagues. They both shook their heads in denial.
Shortly afterwards this strange creature, tucking into his free pints and free food, was joined by our friend the Bowling Ball. Ah, I thought. I raised the question with the rotund one himself.
"Oh, yeah," he said. "My friends bought me drinks over the road (in the Boars) and I decided to use my £20 behind the bar to return the favour".
"So as soon as they finish their drinks they're leaving?" I asked.
He looked at me sheepishly. "I imagine so," he said.
Only the richest man in the building could have come up with such a cheepskate idea of treating his friends to a christmas drink (I'm sure the Greek, Steve "Ned Flanders" Jones and maybe even the wonderful One will soon catch on).
Later in the night and Steffan Ap Glyndwr Rees, our token rabid nationalist, turned on his erstwhile pal, cockney cheeky chappie snapper Rob "Kneeseupmuther" Brown.
"Bye Steff," ventured Rob as he set off for home.
"Don't speak to me you English @!*!@!" ranted Kommandant Ap Rees, stamping his Swansea jack boots up and down and making strange salutes in the air.
He was a little bit on the sheepish side when he turned up for work the following Monday to be told that the English-speaking side of the office had sent him to Coventry, a place he would never dream of going of his own accord (too far from Aberystwyth).

Meanwhile, the Boss was doing his usual job of geeing up the staff with motivational Christmas one-on-ones. "Oi, ya wee wassack. Ye've not doon anythin' good for a month, ye lazy Sassenach. Yer resting on yer laurels," he said in his soothing Irish brogue to one of the hardest working reporters in the building.
Still, the reply from The Barrow Boy was priceless. "F*** off! I don't care, it's my last day next week. I'm leaving to do PR."

And, off we trotted to the City Arms. Well, I say trotted. Withers was last seen stumbling. I had to hold the poor dab up to stop him hurting himself irreparably in the teeth region once more. "Lezzgoshittyyams," he spat at me, his eyes rolling in his head, his trouser buckle for some unknown reason hanging lower than his knees.
It took me five minutes to interpret before I got him to stand reasonably straight and concentrate like a grand chess master on getting past the two bouncers on the door. Later I poured him into a taxi and dropped him off home... just to save the Heath hospital nurses the time and trouble of trying to patch up his dental work again.
Next stop, the Wos Not Wos do, and more scary revelations...

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