Then the entertainment kicked off with a performance by Slagerij van Kampen, a group of percussionists world-famous in The Netherlands; and they were followed by a local band I'd never heard of, who were quite good though nothing out of the ordinary; and they in turn were followed by one of the many Björn Again-s (they're a franchise now, I understand. I remember years ago having seen the original tribute band at an hp party, when they were flown in especially: they were fab. This one wasn't). There were also performances by jugglers and fire-eaters and a strongman who kept lifting weights all night (honestly, why would anyone want to see that at a party?), there was a tarot-reader, and a DJ to take care of proceedings between the various musical performances; while the head of the HR department made a drunken spectacle of herself. The catering was fine, the buffet plentiful and tasty, there was a chocolate fountain...and yet I kept glancing at the time willing it to go forward, because the party was to end at midnight when we would all be taken home by taxi. As far as I was concerned, that was the best bit...I'd been up since 5:30am and not being as young and resilient as I used to be, by 11pm I was definitely starting to sag...Unfortunately for some not too steady on their feet, the local police turned finding one's taxi at the end of the evening into something of a game of hide-and-seek, as they kept directing the 28 minivans to move; Hilversum is a small town with a small pedestrianised centre, and whoever had organised the party had forgotten to notify the police that sometime on Friday just after midnight, there'd be an invasion of minivans all heading for and coming to a stop on the market square. They had also failed to take into consideration that there would actually be a market held on Saturday morning, as it has been for centuries, which meant there were also quite a lot of market traders coming in around that time to start setting up their stalls...in short, it was chaos. Having left the club at the stroke of midnight, I had been lucky enough to find my taxi before we were moved off, but we had to drive around for 3/4s of an hour after that to pick up waifs and strays going in the same direction, which meant I didn't get home before half two...but at least I got there, delivered right up to my doorstep safe and sound and free of cost!
All in all, as far as office parties go, I think this was one of the better ones I've ever attended, though I do thank God that with the credit crunch deepening, there's unlikely to be another one quite as big and exhausting any time soon.