Silly Season

The London Paper  –  19 Dec 2008

The problem with trying to arrange a Christmas-themed party in the City these days is that it’s virtually impossible to find three wise men and a virgin – although there are without doubt plenty of donkeys.

Of course, the real reason for this month’s tedious absence of parties is that many City firms like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sucks and Barclays Capital have cancelled their office Christmas shindigs this year. I imagine they’ve done this mainly because it would be a potential PR disaster if banks were seen to hold expensive soirees whilst City jobs are being scrapped willy-nilly.

Photographs of smug City boys quaffing champagne when they’re seen as having caused a global recession are also unlikely to go down too well with the general public. Indeed, it would be even worse if the banks that had been bailed out recently could be shown to be spending taxpayers’ cash on Moet and canapés. That really would cause riots on the streets!

Still, Christmas was always my favourite time of year in the City as drinking and eating replace working as the principal activity. Hence, I’m pleased to hear from my former peers that they are taking matters into their own hands and organizing little festive parties, which they’re paying for themselves. Simple booze-ups involving about twenty or so colleagues in restaurants like Taberna Etrusca or bars like The Fine Line now seem to be the order of the day.

Whilst boozing and eating is always more pleasurable when some faceless corporation is paying for it this Dunkirk spirit makes me proud. From the Outer Hebrides to Lands End we Brits will always booze – be it to celebrate good times or drown our sorrows and we mustn’t let silly things like a credit crunch ruin this grand tradition!

So, here’s to all the revellers out there who won’t let the buggers grind them down. I raise a glass to anyone who doesn’t simply succumb to this supposedly inevitable depression. Let’s party precisely because Rome is burning!

A merry Christmas and happy new year to one and all.

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