So last night after all the fun had been endured, at the compulsory fun day at work, we reconvened in town. Now the actual fun could begin. And this would be genuine fun as it involved barbequed food and frosty beverages.
The day itself was as toe-curlingly awful as anticipated. On the fourth round of applause I was giving myself; I felt bereft of hope. Luckily that was to be the last, self-given ovation of the day . We were told how amazing we were, one last time, by the facilitators, and released back to our desks. I don’t think my stubby little legs have ran so fast in a long while. The highlight of the day was the music being played over the speakers. All the usual uplifting songs were pumping. Those peppy beats of Pharrell and Black Eyed Peas were setting the tone. very forty minutes the playlist would start again. And the first track on the tape was ‘Jenny from the Block’ by Ms Jennifer Lopez.
I adore this song. Multi-millionaire J-Lo’s pronouncement that she’s just like you and I, is a song of inspiration for the ages. I’m not fooled by the rocks that she’s got, she’s still, she’s still Jenny from the Block. She used to have a little, now she has a lot, No matter where she goes, she knows where she came from (The Bronx.) She is indeed the Girl Next Door – if you live in Monte Carlo or Beverley Hills that is. It is so utterly ludicrous, yet infernally catchy. And I like my pop music the way I like my TV – lowest common denominator.
In the evening a gathering had been arranged in a venue on Leeson Street called ‘House’. It’s called ‘House’ – I suspect- because from the outside it looks like a standard Georgian House on a street full of Georgian houses.
But if you look a little closer you’ll notice a pair of garish looking greyhound statues at the entrance. And two well dressed bouncers. They are disguised to look like hotel staff but there’s that unmistakable air of ‘security’ about them.
I was wearing torn jeans and a red checkered shirt – we’d been warned to dress down that day as it would accentuate the FUN. I felt a touch underdressed as I spotted the well groomed punters indoors.
‘Do you have a reservation?’ she asked.
‘No’ I gulped and then gave the name of the company. It was like the Red Sea had parted. The security demeanour was dropped in favour of a sunny smile.
‘Oh welcome – your party is in the reserved area in the garden at the rear.’
This is a luxurious bar. Plush is the best description. At great expense it’s been made to look like a 19th century manor house interior. The wood effects and carpets are all in keeping with the exterior of the building. I’m sure that the rodent Barry Egan of the Sunday Independent’s Lifestyle section has done a feature on this place.
The garden out the back was where the barbeque was being held. I was handed my drinks vouchers.
It was going to be like that then was it?
I had decided that I was going to be butch this evening. So I made eye contact with the barman and asked for a pint of Guinness. He smiled, nodded and started pouring. Now as any connoisseur of stout will tell you, when the glass is three quarters full (or one quarter empty if you are a pessimist) you need to let the drink settle and he head to form at the top. Only at this point do you fill the rest of the glass. This can take several minutes.
I looked away. I looked back. The barman was looking at me and asked ‘Can I get you a drink?’
‘What kind of fuckery is this?’ I thought to myself.
‘No – I ordered a Guinness from you only a minute ago.’
He appeared a bit confused but then broke out in a smile and said ‘Oh you ordered from my colleague, we look alike.’
I looked at his colleague and it’s true. They were clearly not blood relatives but they were almost identical. Well the uniforms were the same obviously. But both had the same hairstyle, with one side shaven and the other side windswept and moody. Both had tastefully bland tattoos on their inner wrist. And both looked like they were on day release from Model Academy.
I looked around at the other bar staff. Male or female – they were all stunning looking.
Where was I? Had I inadvertently stepped onto the set of Zoolander 3. Where were my people? Where were the Uggos?
This is confusing to me and probably in contravention of all employment equality laws but how come certain bars only have gorgeous staff – with nary a Plain Jane or a Bland Billy among them?
Did these people freebase eyeliner? Is it a case of mascara wands at dawn when they have a tiff? Do they pray to Naomi Campbell before bedtime? Is there a connecting door between this bar and a model laboratory next door?
The clientele in the bar was as plush as the décor – plenty of accountants, lawyers and high powered people among that lot.
Well I was inside. I had my vouchers. And the food was being served. No point overanalysing this. It was barbeque time.
As I left at about 10pm I passed by the kitchen door and caught a quick glimpse inside.
So that’s where they keep the ordinary looking people. I wonder if they pray hard enough to Anna Wintour, and if they model hard enough, whether one day, they too will be allowed to face the public.
I hope so. It’s important to have a goal.