Thursday, January 19, 2017
There's a strange atmosphere at the 15th anniversary event. Canned music metallically wafts through the dingy hall, some kind of royalty free cover versions of "The Greatest Hits of the 2000s." Faded garlands hang limply from the ceiling, revealing barely legible strings of letters - "Com-e -es Gar-ons: I--ense" - somebody in controlling probably got them second hand for a song. There's stale peanuts and crisps - leftovers from JC Ellena's going-away party? - and too little to drink. Most of the naturals department staff haven't even shown up, just a few indivuals from the citrus project group sitting forlorn on the hard wooden benches, throwing embarassed glances at the main table set up in front of the small stage. That's where Iso E Super and Cashmeran are pulling off their act, duly intoxicated (so that's where the drinks ended up) belting along to the hits of yesteryear with smeary drunken voices, cig in hand, unshaven, in sweaty shirts and spotty suits. "They've really let themselves go in recent years," a pale and somewhat sickly looking Mrs. Vetiver from accounting whispers across the table to Mr. Nutmeg from the PR department, decent fellow, not too smart, but with a perfectly tended suntan. At some point the music is abruptly cut off in the middle of a godawful rendition of Robbie Williams' "Millenium." The Managing Director takes the mic and after seemingly endless moments of amplified crackling and ugly feedback screeches delivers a stammering attempt at a speech patched together with the kind of tired clichés you'd find on a hectic google search twenty minutes before you're on. "Being diff'rent means staying diff'rent," he concludes amidst sputtering coughs. Not that anyone has been listening; and the drunks are still having at millenial rock and pop. At around eleven a merciful fate releases the staff into a greyish-damp night, the smell of a failed party hovers over the deserted scene. The janitor trundles across the hall with a rattling key chain, locking up and turning off the lights. He doesn't notice the two inebriates under the table, though he briefly sniffs and grimaces. He lights a fag and mutters something like "what's the point of all this?" and exits. Curtain.