Friday, 20 January 2012

A Lesson in Etiquette

Every year the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists hold a dinner for Freemen and Liverymen who have been admitted in the previous twelve months. They are a large Company with 700+ members so every twelve months there are a lot of new Freemen and Liverymen--it was a big dinner.
As a guest I was intrigued to learn that the essence of these evenings is essentially, and in a humorous and light-hearted way, to provide instruction in all the etiquette involved in Livery dinners. This includes everything from how to sing Grace, how to perform the Loving Cup Ceremony, the Rosebowl Ceremony, how correctly to handle toasts, not to leave the table during dinner, and much more besides. All new Freemen and Liverymen have to listen or watch demonstrations and then perform themselves. They are scored out of 10 by the Clerk holding up a 1-10 score card. Less than a score of 6 requires that the exercise is repeated. It is very amusing and very instructive for those who need to know.
Sitting next to their Master he referred many times to the excellent work the Marketors had done in the branding and marketing of the new, digitally focused, Hammersmith Academy which they and the Mercers have co-financed. I don't know whether I felt vicarious pleasure or reflected corporate glory. The glory of course goes to Court Assistant Peter Rees who made such a major contribution to the successful launch of the Academy, including staff and student recruitment
The guest speaker was Alderman Fiona Woolf who, having stepped down from being Aldermanic Sheriff in 2011, is biding her time now before she becomes Lord Mayor in a few years time. She was as always, and as befits a senior lawyer, both incisive and witty. Altogether a very enjoyable evening

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