Tuesday 26 February 2008

The Office (Party)

Well you live and learn. I've always had a problem with planned entertainment. Spontaneity makes me happy and when I was informed that we were having our office party some weeks in advance and that a 'committee' was being formed to organise entertainment skits for different account teams I thought it was going to be more of that teeth pulling obligatory presence that I put up with a couple of months ago at the 4A's advertising awards in December.

I filmed that particular fanfare they put us through for each award, including say best banner ad in B2B public infrastructure project tenders - you get my drift. Here it is because you can't make this stuff up when it comes to the levels of delusion in the advertising business.

So that's my view on organised fun. However our annual party morphed into everything I could have wished for. We headed for the great wall of China via coach and stayed in some architecturally really interesting lodgings called the Kempinski Commune. The proceedings began after a meal that was perfectly balanced and proportioned for an event of this nature (I loath wasted food at events) and then the skits began. As a rule we Brits have to get lathered up on the juice to have a good time but in general the Beijingers know how to have really good fun with just a glass or two to help things along, and this they did promptly with all their entertaining.

I expected amateurish good humoured attempts to entertain but what I saw was a transformational effect both by and of the people who I work with on a daily basis. It was pure planning porn and that included the film parody of the Hong Kong star who kept pictures of naked starlet conquests that were subsequently discovered by those guys who fix broken notebooks. So I learnt lots and had heaps of fun too. There was some senior management dough giving ritual thing that I didn't fully understand but that too turned into a kind of competitive egalitarianism and I was close to giving it all away right there and then, because I loved my colleagues so much in that moment being an emotional sort. You can't buy that kind of passion even if you neck a Red Bull or Three.

So at the end of it all my colleagues started to sing this song and I don't know why but it was sung with the sort of pride that is not about solipsistic nationalism but about a collective and mutual respect for each other and an optimism for the future. Well that was the feeling of it for me and I'm sure there is more but it just felt good and I got it on Qik so here it is if you don't mind me giving you a quick slice of Beijing life which has so much more substance than Shanghai in many ways.

Sorry about the sound quality but that is live to the net streaming so it's still being improved. I've got lots of footage of the entertainment skits but I'd like to leave you with what really is the moment that sinks in deeper than any other so far which is The Great Wall of China. The folks after the descent told me that you aren't a man until you've visited it, but I was unaware of that when I arose early to climb a section of it where it's evident that despite stiff competition from Bagan in Burma, Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobodur in Indonesia is easily the most lasting and physical testament to what a people can achieve with brute force, vision and resources that put the goal way ahead of the cost of its execution. I look forward to the day when we collectively apply that determination to reducing consumption, applauding frugality and worshiping that which we are blessed with for an infinitely short time in the big scheme of things. The chance to live a life on this speck of a seemingly lonely planet. So here is the Great Wall and Great it really is.


  1. Love how you can't keep a straight face while the epic music booms


  2. Dude. That is one crazy award show. ;)