Duckers & Diving: A Festive Frolic

THIS week our festive freelance braves life and liver to supply the lowdown on this season’s office parties – well someone’s got to do it.

A round up of the Christmas party scene for you. It’s not promising from the off as I fall into bad company early, courtesy of old chum Bob Warman.

We are pouring ourselves out of the excellent Lord Taverners Sporting Christmas Lunch at about 5.30 pm and pondering where to hit next. He is off to the legendary KPMG Christmas Party and I have to admit that for the first time in 20-plus years I haven’t been invited.

“Come on,” says Bob. “I’ll get you in.”

And he did. Hurrah.

Albeit I am sure I saw a few scowls (I thought that we had got shot of that Duckers fellow?) on faces of the security and marketing folk.

But the ghost of Duckers past is not that easily got rid of.

Two highlights of KPMG.

As we arrive in the foyer we bump into former partner Richard Boot. There are some choristers performing in a corner. Boot jerks round horrified before expressing his relief.

“Thank God,” he declares. “I thought I was a goner.”

Then I bump into employment lawyer Alan Jones just as we are pounced on by a conjuror. Both are deeply unimpressed by a copy of my book, The Amazing Adventures of the Silly Six, which I magically produce from my pocket.

Nevertheless our new friend asks Alan to pick a page and from there describe it to him. Naturally the conjuror comes good.

Caroline Coates, a partner in DWF across the landing to KPMG, takes the mick out of Jones.

“He always was easy to read,” she declares.

The Lords Taverners bash proved jolly good entertainment … particularly as compere Gary Newbon had virtually lost his voice!

But Newbon comes up with a good gag about Warwickshire captain Jim Troughton, the odd one out in a family of Shakesperean/DrWho actors.

“Once he could boast he was at least the best cricketer in the family. Except his wife’s sister has married Ian Bell so he isn’t even that.”

Ho, ho, ho.

Warman and Nick Owen are the ‘tossers’ doing heads and tails.

Owen: “Bob and I went to school together in 1955 though he was obviously much more senior than I was.”

Warman: “He had some horrible little habits.”

I am not allowed to tell you anything guest speaker Gary Neville said despite there being 480 people there, raising more than £20,000 for the Taverners. However, he was both amusing and erudite, and admitted that his one big regret was never winning anything with England.

But I can report Warwickshire head coach Dougie Brown as saying that he is convinced Jonathan Trott will make it back into Test cricket from his present woes.

Get better soon, Jonathan.

Comic and King of the Jungle Joe Pasquale was scathing of the Birmingham Press Club Christmas Lunch facilities.Duckers and Diving

“I’ve seen bigger women than this stage.”

Me too, but don’t tell the wife!

Pasquale admits to being hopelessly confused about the Press Club.

“I thought it was some sort of place where they accepted ironing.”

And he was scruffy enough to need an iron!

Baffled by his Jungle success. “I went out on a package holiday and came back as Elvis Presley.”

Compere Ed James quickly runs out of ideas and opens the occasion to incisive questions from the floor.

Kay Alexander: “Are you pleased to be back at the Birmingham Hippodrome?”

Pasquale: “Actually I’m in Sleeping Beauty at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton.”

Muddles anyone?

Happy Christmas.