Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How to organise a p*ss up in a Brewery

Blimey, is it that time of year again? Must be nearly Christmas. Yes, I was at the annual Plain English Campaign Awards in the City of London today (is it really a year since that odd photo of me with Lenny Henry?) and this year's awards were as worthy, and as funny, as ever. Quite apart from prizes for excellent use of plain English and the issuing of diplomas, there are the Golden Bull Awards given out for gobbledegook of the highest order, and the Foot in Mouth Award, which is awarded to a person who has excelled themselves in making the silliest or most confusing statement of the year. It's always a rollicking good laugh.

John Soanes, myself and Marie Clair, Plain English Campaign's PR Guru and Diana Ross lookalike

There were some hot contenders for the Foot in Mouth as usual but George W Bush walked it, even earning for himself a lifetime achievement award. Sadly, he couldn't be there to accept it but MC for the event, impressionist and satirist Rory Bremner treated us all to a reading of Dubya's greatest moments (or Bushisms as I believe they're now called). Things like:

'This thaw took a while to thaw, it's going to take a while to unthaw.'

'And they have no disregard for human life.'

'I can press when there needs to be pressed; I can hold hands when there needs to be - hold hands.'

Mr Bremner also gave a very funny speech before the presentations and had the crowd roaring with laughter. Mind you, the free wine and brilliant lunch helped (they always do us proud at The Brewery).

John's alibi photo - 'See Dear? I was at the ceremony and not with that woman after all ...'

My favourite award was for this Golden Bull winner from DC Site Services. It was a response to a question (about rates of pay) on their website:

'Many of you often ask for more information. specific rates for specific events. It would of course take some time to here detail the full financial logistics of running a company, especially one as modular as DC Site Services. What we mean by this is that we don't sell oranges.

The selling of oranges, one would assume is fairly straightforward. You buy your oranges, you place your oranges in a cart, you pull your cart to your preferred orange retail outlet, or if going for the maximum profit, your preferred spot in the sun. You sell your oranges on.

Rory tries to escape from me

As you may have guessed. our oranges are fairly involved, many have personal issues, many are in the midst of education, here trying to better their colour, many have families often requiring attention with little notice. All this and more we attempt to work with and sometimes even help with. As with our oranges themselves both our carts and retail outlets (or your and our preferred spots in the sun) are also fairly involved. the latter often chopping and changing with regard to both location and size up to the last minute.

We always try to get the best deal for our standard oranges, and it has also been known for us to give bonuses to our really fruity oranges. Although, with such a volatile market, with so many competitors quoting to the same grocers; from time to time we have to lower our prices to keep our juices flowing. Please keep in mind our oranges are well treated, stored in secure areas, fed (contextually) well, adorned with pretty passes allowing access to peachy areas often out of reach to the average veg ...'

But there is no escape. Just grin and bear it Mr Bremner. It will all be over quickly.

Wonderfully organised as ever, excellently hosted by John Wild and a very enjoyable event. I try to take different people along with me as guests every year so this year I took Dawn, John Soanes, Jon Butler (my editor and also the co-author of bestsellers Do Ants have Arseholes? and Do Bats have Bollocks?) and Amy Lines, my hard-working and very lovely marketing lady from Pan Macmillan.

I did unashamedly nick one of Rory's gags for the title of this post. Please don't sue.


doctawho42 said...

"It's always a rollicking good laugh."
hahaha! Do you realise you sound about 80 when you say that?

'I can press when there needs to be pressed; I can hold hands when there needs to be - hold hands.'

Is the best one, truly unbelivable that someone could be so...so SO!
Sorry I haven't been commenting, usual mix of lazyness and family getting in the way.
Sounds like an excellent sort of a night, much preferable to my expected party venue. A. Night. Club.

Leon Basin said...

Great information.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Hannah - D'oh! If my Zimmer Frame wasn't in for repaair, I'd teach you a lesson you young whipper-snapper! Yes, Bush was so, so so. Rory Bremner was saying that, as an impressionist, he's not suffering so much from the credit crunch (what the tabloid papers over here seem to lime calling the worldwide recession) as a character crunch as, all around the world, politicians are becoming blander and less interesting. Kind of mirrors the point of my blog a couple of posts ago.

Leon - Thanks. And welcome!

chris hale said...

I think I'd fit in with the Plain English thingy very well. I'm English, I'm plain, and, um...sorry, I thought we were talking about champagne.

Bland politicians? Surely not.

Stuart Peel said...

My that's a florid photo of Mr. Soanes, he still has those red cheeks I see.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Stu - Florid. Such a perfect word to describe Mr Soane's ruddy cheeks. I suspect he was suffering from a surfeit of risotto balls.

Sounds like an illness.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris - You'll have to come along next year to the 30th anniversary bash. Blandness is the new eccentric sleaze I'm afraid. Where are the Prescotts and the Blairs and the Hattersleys and the Bevans and the Benns? It's all Milliband and Balls, so to speak.

John Soanes said...

A public thanks for inviting me along, it was a lot of fun!
Did you have to loiter long to speak to Mr B?

Stevyn Colgan said...

John - Nope, just a few minutes after you slithered away. x

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Looks like an excellent 'do'. Rory used to be my neighbour when I was a teen in Chenies!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Sarah - It's a small world. But I wouldn't want to have to paint it. (Old Steven Wright gag)

chris hale said...

Stevyn, I'd love to come along next year!

Milliband and Balls? Sounds like (i) A Dickensian firm of crooked lawyers; (ii) One of those dreary American singing duos from the seventies; or (iii) an all-purpose oath along the lines of 'stuff and nonsense'.

Electronic Goose said...

Bush's thaw quote--LMAO.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris - You'll be there!

Goose - What will we do without him, eh? Obama is just too damn charismatic and intelligent.