10 December 2012

Utility Industry Achievement Awards 2012

It is about ten years since i last went to a Utility Week Dinner and then I got the dress code completely wrong.

The last one came on the back of a two day conference (normal business dress) and I assumed that the dinner would be black tie so that is all that I packed. I then discovered that we would have free reign over all the amusements at the end of Brighton Pier for which neither suit was appropriate so I made an emergency trip to Next to buy some casual clothing.

This time it was a traditional formal dinner in one of the many Park Lane hotels that specialise in large events like this.

The "black tie" bit worried me a little as while I have thirty or forty bow ties they are mostly floral ones from Liberty.

I assumed that I had a plain black tie but when I came to dress I discovered that was not the case. I settled for the nearest that I have, which is also one of my very favourites, and that is the grey on black Crash design hand-made by Cyberoptix in Detroit.

The evening started with a drinks reception and I was careful to only drink three glasses of bubbly.

We were then called to dinner and finding the table was something of a challenge as tables filled the enormous ballroom and spread out to the mezzanine floor above. There were over 1,300 people there!

Dinner was excellent and was served with great efficiency, if not always strict adherence to the silver-service code, e.g. give from the left, take from the right. I can forgive them for that though as the closeness of the tables meant that it was hard to manoeuvre between them.

Dinner over we had a short cabaret from Siren an energetic all-female string quartet who entertained well enough with some classic tunes played over a loud backing track. They also tried to be a little sultry but were less successful at this.

Then came the awards themselves with Miles Jupp doing the compère role. He made it clear that he know little about utilities or their achievements and managed to be very funny in doing so.

A steady stream of people fought their way to the stage to collect their awards and have their photos taken as proof.

I headed home not long after the awards finished, as I had my alarm set for an early start for Cardiff the next day, but the event was scheduled to run until 2am. Perhaps another year.

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