Last Friday saw a cold blustery wind sweep the Thames
embankment as black cabs deposited the good, the bad and the smugly outside
London’s Supernova, venue for the Evcom Live Awards 2016.
There had been a lot of pre-event chatter around the disappointment of last year’s awards, would they fall flat again? Well, no they would not, because this is an industry that is used to dusting itself down and moving on to the next project with renewed gusto.
Well, there was plenty of gusto alright and a fair amount of seasonal cheer as the Supernova piled high with event industry gold. The chatter flowed as fast as the prosecco and before you could say ‘make mine a large one’, we’re been greeted and seated by EVCOM bosses Andy Smith and Andrew Winterburn.
There was a genuinely poignant moment early during the evening when the industry looked back on some of the leading innovators, thinkers and founders who had passed in 2016. It’s not an easy thing to do during an awards ceremony, but when it’s done, as it was last Friday, with such elegance, dignity and thought, then sorrow can turn to inspiration.
Guest MC for the night was comedian Simon Evans who managed to move things along at quite a clip, a feat that highlighted the sheer amount of awards being handed out (or that he hadn’t secured a decent hourly rate). Either way Mr Evans did a sterling job, neatly splicing the evenings’ courses with anecdotes and innuendo.
Now, for those of us brought up in the 1970s, it’s a sad fact of life that we can no longer, following Operation Yewtree, look back at our childhood TV heroes with much more than wincing disdain. However, Roy Castle, the all-singing, all dancing, trumpet tickling Yorkshireman and erstwhile host of Record Breakers, was the genuine article; an old-school entertainer with a tacit understanding and passion for TV as a power for good. It was a fun-filled half hour punctuated by hare-brained attempts by people to secure a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Who can forget the most socks put on one foot in one minute or the world’s longest sofa (thanks Dubai), just two worthy attempts.
Move forward 40 odd years, and there we were. Post-dessert, the final award already burning a hole in somebody’s Twitter feed, confronted by some bearded representative of Guinness and his clip-board wielding acolyte announcing that we too, would soon be attempting the impossible. To illustrate his point we all stood up and held our breath (not in anticipation) for as long as we could, some making it to a staggering 3 minutes before collapsing into their chairs to the whoops of joy from their fellow diners, not realising that in all likelihood they had just suffered an embolism.
Thankfully this was only a practice run, the real deal had us down on our knees wearing white gloves, gesticulating Al Jolson style towards the record-breaking largest ever group of people performing ‘jazz hands in one room.’ A roar of joy thundered across the embankment as our Guinness adjudicator announced that we had just waved our way into the history books. You had to be there.