Thursday, 10 June 2010

Are Parties Important?

OK this topic puts a smile on my face. When anyone who works in events is asked what they do for a living, the reactions are usually amusing, ranging from "Wow that's unreal!" to "...that's actually a job?" and everything in between. From a personal perspective, I've always absolutely loved the career choice. As the old adage goes, "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" and I couldn't agree more. However, when I was 27 I actually had a crisis of conscience wondering whether what I did held any value at all, probably brought about by spending time with a couple of friends who have real, 'grown up' jobs. One is a criminal lawyer with the DPP and the other is a kidney transplant surgeon - a far cry from the lipstick wonderland I had always frolicked in. And as Carrie would say, I couldn't help but wonder...

I have always had great dinners with Bec the lawyer, one of my oldest school friends. We work in such polar opposite worlds that we are perpetually fascinated with each other's jobs. Our conversations usually go something like this: "Wow Bec, your job is so amazing tell me something you've worked on lately" at which point she will download some horrific homicide case and all the grisly court details (She worked for the prosecution on the Bilal Skaf gang-rape trials, so the importance of her work cannot be underestimated.) At the end she'll go "Wow Tiff, it's all just so full on, please tell me about something fun you're working on", at which point I will regale her with some party goss and the like. When finished I invariably say "But Bec it's all just fluff, tell me more of the serious stuff" and she will, then follow with "But Tiff it's boring, tell me something fun" etc - back and forth, back and forth until we are both exhausted! The grass is always wilder, right?

So back to my crisis of conscience: after 6 years in the biz I started thinking, is what I do important? Will I be proud on my deathbed? Will my children be proud? All the big, ludicrously self-indulgent questions we occasionally find ourselves pondering on our individual journeys. And during my deliberation which probably spanned a few months, I found myself at the very first event I produced under the banner of my fledgling agency Breakfast PR & Events - the 100 year anniversary of the world's first wristwatch by Cartier. It was a 2 day bump-in, so by the time guests arrived I was exhausted and took a step back to observe from the shadows. Guests met, they mingled, they drank and they danced. Some kissed.Without sounding too deep, it was a spectacular visual display of life and love, and it suddenly got me over the negative thoughts I'd been having. No, parties aren't going to cure cancer or fight crime or save the world...but damn, they sure do make the world a sparklier place for a little moment in time! And that could be regarded as vaguely noble, right? Whether you agree (or strongly disagree), this revelation certainly set me back on my path and gave me a newfound appreciation for the humble party.

It could also be argued that while an actual party won't cure cancer, without question they can raise a phenomenal amount of money for countless charities. Not only are they a great forum to communicate a profound message to a captive audience, there's nothing quite like plying guests with bubbles and witnessing just how generous they can be!

Whether you think parties serve a greater purpose or are a frivolous waste of money is everyone's personal opinion. I have no doubt that some people scanning the social pages think it's all superficial froth and have no idea just how serious this business can be and how important for charities, brands and the industry as a whole. And obviously there are a wide range of opinions on parties from a guests' persepective - some people absolutely live for them and for others being in a room full of buzzing strangers is their worst nightmare. It's pretty obvious which sort of person I am...! I have no idea why I was born to do this type of work, the same as a surgeon doesn't need to question it - they just go forth and, um, surge? And thanks to my Dad's advice when I was young: "work out what you love doing, then work out how to get paid for it", I luckily did.

As touched upon in my previous blog, many of my friends have met, fallen in love, gotten married, and had babies after meeting at mine and other people's parties. (Needless to say many have also had their egos shattered, their hearts broken and their dignity all but wiped out, but that's for a future (saucier) blog.) Claudia & Jamie met whilst Claudia skated and Jamie DJ'd at the "Pimps n Hoes" party back in 2001, and are now married and living in LA with two sons. Jenny & Ash had their first kiss at our Spin Events "Go Rio" Party back in 2002, and are now married and proud parents to the gorgeous Scarlett with another bun currently in the oven. One of my Topless Events boys even fell in love with a Social Diary member at the 2006 Winter "Hello, Sailor" Party! Countless people over the years have called me to say thankyou for having them at an event because they met a lovely guy or girl, reunited with a long lost friend, or landed a great job.

So with endless respect and admiration I'll leave the great doctors and lawyers and fighters for justice to their incredible work, and send them all an invitation to kick up their heels at a party when they've finished for the day. We all play our part, no matter how insignificant it can seem.

xxx Tiff

PS Bec writes a fascinating blog about murder cases in Sydney:

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