Last night I stripped in a car park in Mayfair. As I stood there in the freezing cold, naked from the waste up, I glanced up and saw a CCTV camera smiling down at me - whoops!
There was a reason for this moment of madness, trust me. Following a days worth of back to back meetings up in London, I had to do a quick change in my car into "black tie" so that I could attend the annual British Computer Society Awards event at the Dorcherster, Park Lane. I was in two minds about attending at all but Garlik was up for awards in two categories and a couple of Garlik colleauges were attending with me so I wrestled with the suit in the back of the car, slipped on the cufflinks and strode out of the carpark, across the road and into the warm embrace of abut 1,000 luminaries of the UK computer industry.
The compere was Gyles Brandreth, and he was amazing. Hilarous. I laughed so much, I actually had to clutch my belly with delight. He controlled a crowd of over 1,000 people effortlessly and punctured any pretentious characters, including himself. If you are ever organising a big event - BOOK GYLES ! He's brilliant.
After a good, solid dinner (including mash potato so it couldn't go wrong) the awards part of the evening kicked off. Gyles, who knew nothing about the industry, seemed to be filled with pure joy as the name of every winner was read out. He did tease almost every winner as they went up to get their prize and I had my fingers crossed that we wouldn't win, as I could only image the fun he would have at our expense with a name like Garlik.
So it was with a mixture of surprise, delight and trepidation that I heard him saying "oooohhhh, you'll like the taste of this one" when our first category came up, the best Web-based Technology Project. Sure enough, we WON! Hurray. We strode up, collected our prize and went off to have our official photos taken. What a lovely surprise.
We had only just sat down back at our table when the big prize of the evening, the BT Flagship for Innovation, was being announced. We were down for it, but having won the earlier one, we didn't expect to win this one too. Amazingly, we did! I was genuinely shocked and really, really pleased.
In fact I was so pleased, that I found myself dancing to Abba songs and waving my hands in the air like I just don't care (and so on and so forth). One of my colleagues attempted to down a glass of champagne in one, only to discover that the effect of the bubbles renders this near impossible and quite entertaining. The other colleague regaled me with the benefits of undergarments of a magical nature in the context of award ceremonies.
All in all it was a tremendous evening and a big pat on the back for the Garlik team. We started the year as winners of the World Economic Forum, Davos Technology Pioneer 2008 award and we are ending the year as winners of the British Computer Society's flagship innovation award. We've done okay :)