As you know, we are a company that moves in the highest circles -- even if our activities might sometimes set off alarm bells in corporate HQs around the world. So I wasn't too surprised on Tuesday afternoon when Graeme 'Scoop' Wearden and Ingrid 'Open Source' Marson dashed into the nearest telephone box and came out dolled up to the nines. A swanky do was on the cards. After the event, I asked for a full report. Ingrid muttered something about a breaking Linux story and concentrated pointedly at her keyboard, so it was left to Scoop to fill me in.
"I went to the British Computing Society Awards on Tuesday night in the excellent company of BT Exact," said Scoop. "Look, can we leave it at that?"
I tut-tutted. Although we might be part of an American media empire, the Fifth Amendment doesn't run on Airstrip One. "Incriminate yourself, and quickly." I said. "Or I'll find out from someone else."
Well, said Scoop. I got there a bit late after covering a late-breaking and slightly liquid story with the PR man. There were 22 different awards to get through: good taste and courtesy demanded that we toasted each winner with the fine wines so copiously provided. And it would have been rude not to appreciate the lovely Philippa Forrester who handed out the gongs.
Then, at the end, it was up to the top-floor bar for a couple of strong Belgian beers, just for a nightcap and to say thanks to our hosts for a splendid evening. However, even though we weren't on the BT Tower, I was a little surprised when the room started to gently revolve. Clearly, my duty had been done and I could leave without appearing ungrateful -- in fact, to stay any further might result in certain centrifugal effects that might be misinterpreted as the consequences of over-refreshment.
So, I gently spiralled all the way back to the basement to collect my stuff, and then to the way out. But where was it? I went up the wrong stairs, and soon found myself in the concrete bowels of the place. Luckily, health and safety is there to look after the unhealthily imperilled, and I caught sight of some helpful exit signs -- even greener than myself.
I followed them, taking me past a couple of confused cleaners ('evening!' says Scoop), and into a rather swish area. No exit yet. So through another door [note the switch into the present tense as the narrative warms up. The lad's a natural. Ed]
A loud alarm goes off. "Everyone stay in your sector. Security is on its way," booms out a scary voice over the tannoy. I retrace my steps (flashing a winning smile at those cleaners), but the sirens continue. [At this point, our hero slips into the third person: he's enjoying it far too much. Ed]
Our DJ-clad hero fears the worst (how will those dashing braces go down in the Paddington Green high-security cells?), but then he spies a lift. Pausing only to borrow an apple from a complimentary (he hopes) fruit bowl he hammers on the button, leaps in, and he's soon racing out of the building and home -- leaving behind him, in best Bond tradition, a scene of chaos and confusion.
But has this ruined his reputation with BT? Hopefully not, as he accidentally dished out Michael Parson's business cards rather than his own. Even the cleaners got one.