I know the best way of boosting blog ratings is to write about something really contemporary and if I were to scribe-up an entry on the release of the title song for Skyfall by Adele, it would attract all sorts of readers. But I don’t like Adele or her music and find her dressing room demand for five teaspoons and a lighter to be rather…peculiar (according to the Beeb).

Goddam ninety-niners – I decided not to go to Ceajay’s last night for Games Night in the hope that Mr Solomon would adhere to his vague guarantees that he would be amenable for a catch-up. He never answered his phone or responded to my text messages so he’d better have been abducted by aliens. As a result, I had my usual walk and ended up back at home having picked through a sixth of my cheese and tomato quiche and a Weighwatchers pizza (reduced to ¼ of the original price) which was effectively pitta bread topped with cheese.

So rather than regale you with tales of sin and debauchery – not that I would have much as I’m not drinking this week apart from that single Orange Crabbies had at the quiz – I’m going to have to resort to a musing, rant or blatant rip-off to fill the rest of this entry. As a civil servant in DfT, I cannot offer comment on the whole West Coast competition (Freedom of Speech is a myth) though I do note the unfortunate sense of timing; the story broke the same day that Private Eye was released. Now Hislop’s magazine will have to wait two whole weeks to hit the news stands and comment on the story by which time it’ll be a history lesson. Though I can say that it gets really disheartening when commentators rip into us and we are deafened by the silence of rejoinders.

Let’s stick to something safer then: Xmas parties. Yup, we’ve just put the finishing touches to the annual office lunch; Zeitgeist with special menu and all-day happy hour for our party (Lots of Jever and Schnapps for Joe). We were thinking back to the heady days of the office party and before any Daily Mail types are reading, we pay for our own refreshments so knob off. Back in the day, Directorate parties were either organised in-house (which meant at least one person had to remain sober) and the catering was strictly of the beige buffet variety. But for those few hours, the boundaries between grades had been dissolved and people were able to speak…frankly to each other without fear of repercussion (unless you made a tit of yourself).

The parties themselves were utterly naff but that was the main part of their charm; you want warm beer, below mediocre food and music played from a lousy set of speakers mainly because that’s kinda what you paid for. It’s no different from being gouged at a theme park or being rained on the one day you want to go to the beach… However, these parties haven’t been held for quite some time as they seem to have fallen out of collective favour. Going across the road to the Barley Mow used to be popular as you could hire out the upstairs for a modest rate and it was away from desks, PCs et al.

Of course the parties did have their downsides – it wasn’t as if you could escape the geeks and the downright dull more easily because everyone had an automatic invite (and given the lack of amiability amongst some people, this was probably their only social activity of the year). There’d be the real ale twats sulking in the corner because although you’ve provided six different real ales, they don’t “enjoy” any of them for the must spurious of reasons. And there’d be the sneerers who even if you could afford to recreate the Oscars after-party in detail would still find fault with everything you do. On the other hand, you could enjoy yourself immensely by laughing at these stunted individuals, pointing out their brown loafer/white socks combo or their adherence to fashion rules which fell away several decades previously.