Wednesday 18 July 2007

(have pity on the working man)

I was at my desk the other day when my mobile phone rang. A quick look at the display revealed that it was my the head of my department.

"Hello. Do you want to go to the Test Match on Friday 27th?"

As you know. I like my cricket. I have bought tickets to go to the Saturday and Sunday of the same game. So why was I suspicious?

"Is there a catch?"
"No. You'll just be going with [insert name of one of our outsource partners here] and a couple of other guys from the office"
"Um. Okay then"

And that was it. I was going. Not because I'm especially important (ha!), but more because everyone in the office knows that I like my cricket and that there were some seats going.

So it goes.

I have something of an ambivalent view of corporate hospitality. I know that they pump lots of money into the sports that I love, but as someone who puts his hand in his own pocket and actually pays to go to matches, it's a bit galling when large swathes of the crowd don't appear after lunch because they are too busy being entertained over lavish meals that take longer than the designated break in play. It's almost as if the people being entertained aren't actually interested in the game itself..... Mind you, as I spend one day every year at the Test match getting plastered whilst wearing fancy dress, perhaps I shouldn't be so quick to criticise.'s just that corporate hospitality isn't something that really happens to me.

Still, this is a game that is taking place a 5 minute walk from my house; my ticket and all of my meals and drinks for the day will be completely free; I will be getting paid for my time; I won't have to go into the office... and - most importantly of all - it's a match I would happily have bought a ticket for myself and taken a day off.

What can you do?

I've just seen the menu:

Lunch (13:00-13:40)

Caesar Salad with a twist!
Topped with a Roasted Fillet of Chicken and Crispy Bacon

Melon opera served with Summer Berries & Fruit Compote


Peppered Sirloin Beef

Smoked Haddock, Salmon & Spinach Roulade

Filo Tartlet of Creamy Brie, Cherry Tomato and Pesto
Sat on a Rocket and Herb Salad.
Roasted Vegetable Kebab with a Spicy Scented Rice Timbale

Cherry Tomatoes with Balsamic Syrup & Spring Onion Salad
Pasta Salad with a Honey & Mustard Dressing
Hot New Potatoes


Cup of Rich Chocolate Mousse
Topped with Fresh Rasberries
Accompanied with a crisp biscuit.


Selection of Cheeses
Accompanied with Grapes, walnuts and cheese biscuits


Freshly Brewed Fairtrade Coffee
And Mints


Afternoon Tea (15:40-16:00)

Freshly Brewed Fairtrade Tea

Mini scones
Served with preserves and clotted cream
Assorted Fruit Frangis

(pedant's note: capitalisation and line breaks all as found)

Now, I know I probably won't get to eat all of that, but I still reckon it's going to be quite a tall order to get through that lot and not miss any cricket. Forty minutes for lunch? Are you mad? On a normal day at the cricket it takes me pretty much that long to get a sandwich and a pint, nevermind sit through a table-waited 5 course meal with coffee!

Do you think it would be rude of me to excuse myself from those vital corporate conversations at the meal table and take my plate out to my seat?

Yeah. Not going to happen is it?

Do you reckon I can turn up in shorts, with a Test Match Special Radio and a copy of Wisden?

No. That's not going to happen either.

I wonder how I'll cope?

Safe to say that my Saturday at the same game will be a somewhat different experience.

(Although please note that we are now going to the game as vikings. Zulu is being saved up for next year when it will apparently be more politically palatable to be wearing the uniform of the colonial aggressor when playing the South Africans....yes, yes. I know.)

1 comment:

  1. I don't much care for cricket, as well you know, but I am as pedantic as you about grammar and punctuation. Or perhaps even more so. I just received an annual report from a company who are tendering for some business with us and it is full to brimming with typos. They also seem to have no knowledge of apostrophes.

    It's a good job I'm not the only one on the selection panel, that's all I'll say.