It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m still fuming about something that happened more than 36 hours ago. Allow me to vent, if you will. On Friday night we had a “farewell” celebration, it’s complicated because around a third of the office are being made redundant. The remaining two thirds are being TUPE’d to another employer but doing the same job. I’m one of the “lucky” ones being TUPE’d.
The evening was great, we had a 70’s/80’s theme and everyone made the effort to dress up. Paul and myself were in matching outfits as we were meant to be members of a moderately successful 80’s boyband “Summer of Sunshine”. Will I post a picture here? Our silver jeans deserve a mention I suppose, ok here you go.
We had the whole back-story going, how we’d shortened our name to Sunshine when the other 2 members split in ’86. How we’d been most recently going down a storm playing the clubs in Benidorm. How we’re hoping to appear on the next series of “Re-born in the USA” but can’t say too much about that. It was a lot of fun, during random songs I’d be like “OMG I love this one, do you remember, we covered this one on our third album!”
So anywho, back to this story. We had the “150 people allowed” room in the Pub to ourselves and you needed a ticket to get in. However, towards the end of the night a few colleagues turned up with friends in tow and they were allowed entry. One of said colleagues, a black guy of African descent, had brought along a blonde haired, blue eyed type that struck up conversation with me. Although a little worse for the numerous sex-on-the-beach cocktails, (what else would an ageing boyband member drink?), I started to feel uneasy about the conversation.
He is talking and seems a nice enough guy, I agree with him on several points about music and other random nonsense. Perhaps sensing my approval on these minor points he presses on to more important issues, immigrants, blacks and other things I cant even repeat here. First off, I’m asking myself if I’m hearing him right, next I’m convinced that I’m in a scene from This is England! I’ feel like I’m in the middle of a B N P training video 😦
Now, bearing in mind I’m stood with this guy on one side and on the other side of me is Paul and 2 very good friends and colleagues who happen to be Indian nationals, I’m getting annoyed. Really very annoyed. Not wanting any trouble I made some vague noises and go to chat to someone else that “I just have to talk to!”
Shortly afterwards I pay a visit to the toilets and find the the same white guy pacing up and down talking animatedly into his mobile phone, “get down here it’s gonna kick off” and other scarey words. He’s accompanied by a couple of mates, including the colleague I mentioned, strange that a black guy is hanging with them but who knows whats going on there.
I left the gents as quick as I could and went straight to my Indian mates, drunkenly trying to explain that we should leave now. One of said friends decided to nip to the loo to check it out and when he re-appeared, also agreed that we should leave now. Outside, we grabbed a passing black cab and dropped them off on the way to our house, so all ended well.
It annoys me that this happened. Perhaps, all the more because we were enjoying a 70s/80s night, a time when Race was a major issue. The harsh reality is that in 2009 it is still a major issue for some people.
I probably should have some sort of profound point to make here at the end but really I’m just ranting about an unfair situation.
I’m left with these questions.
My priority was to safeguard my friends, without causing confrontation, was that wrong?
I worry that I should have done more, confronted them about their attitudes but what would that have achieved and what would have happened?