I love technology but I can never forgive it for ruining the annual end of year party!

During the 1980s and 1990s the year end parties were epic. These were the days before political correctness. These were the days before cell phones and cell phones cameras!

Let me take you back in time.

The idea was sound; give staff a free lunch and an early afternoon and then they can catch the bus and go home a bit early. It was a celebration of another hard year of work and usually took place in mid-December.

It may come as a surprise to some but companies never used to close at the end of the year, only builders closed. Businesses stayed open throughout the festive season. Given the plethora of public holidays and that we were smack bang in the middle of summer and everybody was in a party mood anyway.

So everyone went off to the local restaurant for the end of year party. The local restaurants all happened to full of other companies doing the same thing. The party was well and truly on!

The food was never a highlight because the restaurant owner usually had to coerce his mother, father and anyone else they knew who could help to cook, clean and serve to cope with the business. Lunch proceeded according to a set pattern. The old ladies in the admin department would wash down their meal with a glass or two of Grunberger Stein, before leaving as soon as possible.

As the women with floral dresses and sensible shoes left, a dark mist would descend onto proceedings. This was usually signalled by the arrival of the first round of flaming Zambuccas. The mystical blue flame and obligatory three coffee beans seemed to send moral compasses into a tailspin and all bets were off. The volume would get louder and people who never usually smoked would be lighting up.

As the music got turned up, the inner John Travolta emerged. Those long conversations that would take place in the office at the water cooler between the young sales trainee and the accounts clerk would become a lot more intimate and smart people would suddenly think that the rest of the team had become blind to their intimate discussions.

One by one and often two by two people would leave until only the sloppy drunks and senior management remained. The boss would be holding court as a few budding managers would try to impress him, laughing a little too hard at the old jokes.

Somebody would always suggest that it was time to move to another pub or club and there was always surprise that it was dark outside. The party would carry on until late, men wearing their ties as bandanas and the quiet sales clerk behaving like a stripper, and as was done in the 80s and 90s, everyone got into their cars and drove home!

How are you seeing out 2014?

Here’s an idea, join Barry Hilton, Nik Rabinowitz and Tumi Morake for some fun and then listen to music from Matthew Mole and The Hip Replacements at Emperors Palace for lunch on the 9th December 2014. Beers, wine and soft drinks are free, but this is not the 80s or the 90s so let Uber or the Gautrain take you home. Besides, it gives you more time to have fun. Go to www.yearendlunch.co.za to book.


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