Monday, October 14, 2002


Blow Monkeys. Never underestimate the power of music. For instance, the very name 'Blow Monkeys' is able to make me feel slightly queasy, and the song 'Doesn't Have to be This Way' can actually induce a full-blown hangover. Not because I object to the music particularly; in fact, it's quite a lot of fun in a mid-eighties, politically-influenced Scottish pop music kind of way, but because it reminds me of Falkirk.

One of the side-effects of thrashing round the byways of northern Scotland flogging books was that I worked for a company which made an effort at having proper Christmas parties; everyone was encouraged to bring partners to some high-class venue like the Park Hotel in Falkirk, and party the night away. Now, I am not by anyone's standards a party-the-night-away kind of guy, but in the right circumstances, and the right company, I may dip my toe in the water... So, we had this Christmas party, and most of us 'field based' people were staying overnight, so there was very little thought given to being careful or not enjoying ourselves too much. Indeed, I'm pretty sure that there was a level of debauchery beyond the normal end-of-year blowout. There was some interpretive dance - probably unintentional; there was goings-on in the lifts; there was about 15 people in our room at one point; I have a feeling that we actually drank the bar dry. And there was a song. The song which everyone had to join in with. The song which got replayed a dozen times, just in case anyone had missed it. The song which had the good fortune to have a loud 'Hey!' in the chorus. You're ahead of me here, I can tell.

When they wouldn't play it any more, a gigantic conga formed in the reception area, and we (oh, yes, me too...) staggered around for what felt like hours, yelling: "Hey! What did I hear you say?". We must have gone to bed at some point, because I remember waking up with an appalling hangover. No problem normally - just take it nice and easy the next day. Except we had to drive back to Inverness. It took all day; it was certainly the slowest I ever did that journey, and contained a ridiculous number of stops along the way. And every now and then, this song kept popping into my head, and with every 'Hey!', I had to pull over again...

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