I was determined to keep a lid on it, but somehow it all got out of control.
A few weeks ago, I got wind that a team I have nothing to do with, in an area I know nothing about, was planning a modest presentation to a few selected guests to celebrate the completion of a project which had gone live online just recently. I am not sure what induced my boss to mention it within my earshot, possibly the fact that he has not had much to do with me because he more or less lets me get on running what I am supposed to be doing, but he did and within about half an hour I had six windows open in my browser as I gathered information, had spoken to three different people to scope getting certain jobs done and with that, had suddenly become involved.
To be fair, I did kind of try and back out a little as letting me get hold of these things has pretty much the same effect of handing the baton to Usain Bolt. One minute I am just getting a phone number for you, the next we have a school choir and local press involved. Usually, there is another member of my team around who will sense when I am getting carried away and suggest that she ‘just looks after this’ so we can all keep the lid on crazy, but she is 4000 Kms away at the moment, which left me totally left in charge of my brain.
Despite my protests, I was invited to a meeting to discuss the launch event (as I renamed it) with a team that comprised a very personable new guy, who was up for a challenge, a very capable lady, who had done much of the ground work in liaising with a venue (which was actually a huge hall on the ground floor) to get it for nothing, and a miserable boss, who looked like she had been slapped in the face with a large acquatic creature. Her default answer to everything was, ‘no’.
I think it was the volley of, ‘nos’ that cranked me up. My intention had been to stay quiet and take notes, but after the third explanation from the aforementioned manager about how impossible this all was and how it could not be done, something inside me snapped and I started talking. It was just when they got to the bit about a PowerPoint presentation, I jumped in.
‘I haven’t seen the venue yet, of course,’ I started, ‘but I am thinking if it is as big as everyone keeps saying, then perhaps we should consider other ideas… I mean – and I am just thinking out loud here – if we can use the space and give it an art gallery vibe, then perhaps we can use installations to support the message.’
The minute I finished I knew I had gone too far. Even I thought I sounded like a lunatic – ‘Use the Space’??? ‘Installations’??? I was talking like a character from Absolutely Fabulous for God’s sake.
I looked up to a group of faces trying to work out which planet I had dropped in from.
‘We’ve got our own urn,’ one of them said.
Things didn’t get much better when we actually did go down and see ‘the space’. It is beautiful. A big area with a gorgoeus parquet floor and high ceilings. My first thought was of that wonderful transformation scene in The Fisher King when Grand Central Station becomes a huge ballroom. My second was the lack of power point plugs and my third, the acoustics which will make speeches difficult. The main problem, though will be filling it and ensuring that that public traffic (as it is a thoroughfare) does not impact on the event.
I managed to keep my mouth largely shut as I ran through a number of ideas to block off access and zone it for the event, then got back to the office and started searching for giant topiary trees to hire.
It is going to be fabulous, darlings.