Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 17/8/2006 What a day. For reasons too immensely dull to go into, the afternoon is taken up with a mammoth four-hour editorial meeting.

Thursday 17/8/2006

What a day. For reasons too immensely dull to go into, the afternoon is taken up with a mammoth four-hour editorial meeting. I try to play nice, but towards the end I'm wishing for sweet death to drop from the grey and graceful skies above the Thames, which rolls past the office window in serene indifference.

This is followed by organised sports, an activity which I regard with baleful malevolence. For virtuous reasons, ZDNet's own Andrew Donoghue and silicon.com's Will Sturgeon have organised a hacks vs flacks rounders competition in Hyde Park. The two young bucks, who are among the more competitive testosterone jockeys in the company, don't quite understand those who aren't keen to engage in the joys of throwing balls at each other while running around in circles, but promise beer to all who arrive in the role of cheerleaders.

Of course, the PR companies are keen. PR companies are always keen. And so two teams from ZDNet and silicon (bulked up by ringers from Gamespot and CNET.co.uk) are joined by Cohn & Wolfe, Hotwire, Lewis, Inferno PR, Berkeley PR and Brands2Life. In exchange for handing over £200, they get to throw balls at each other and run around in circles — and also get the chance to mingle with the cheerleaders.

It is as gruesome as you might imagine or as much joyful fun as you could wish, depending on your point of view. That may depend on whether you spent your adolescence experiencing sport as a weekly ritual of institutionalised humiliation, or whether you quite enjoyed it at the time. Or even still do — Lewis PR wore identical T-shirts and were so inexcusably young they resembled a school outing.

Brands2Life won, mostly by dint of accurately propelling the ball into low earth orbit. This tended to be in one of two directions — one of which saw Graeme "Scoop" Wearden scurrying off into the distance on a regular basis, and one of which was directly towards my head. After the second such incident, when I was saved purely by a lithe young chap from Inferno barreling into me at speed, I made my excuses and left.

Fortunately, Edelman — another PR company, m'lud — had set up shop in town for its regular Third Thursday pub meeting, and I soon soothed away the cares of the day with a spot of competitive drinking. Far more agreeable, especially when I learned that the company had indeed taken on maverick Floridian wireless communications company XG and was able to reveal some background of which they'd previously been unaware ("The CEO has his own merchant bank, you know..."). The evening ended in a Soho tapas bar to recitations of Blackadder scripts and ineffective protestations of early mornings to come.

Now, that's more like it.

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