Pop your cork this Christmas

As Les Patterson explains, at the office party it’s the human touch that counts.

The annual Christmas party at the Australian Cultural Legation in London, England, is going to be a ripper this year. My handpicked staff are already getting pretty excited, although funnily enough none of the young women in my office can remember last year’s event. I seem to have an enormous turnover amongst the opposite sex community, and most of the horny young ceiling inspectors which the Australian taxpayer has placed at my disposal, find the pace more than they can stand.

Speaking as the man who put the dick back into dictation, I think I can say, without fear of successful contradiction, that I have given gainful employment to more nubile research assistants with no qualifications than any employer on the planet. I guess I’m a handson diplomat in every sense of the phrase, and the festive season is when I really let it all hang out. My office shindigs are legendary, and most people who can still remember them, reckon they are better than the office party in that film Caligula, not to mention that allegedly raunchy bit in Eyes Wide Shut when, paradoxically, I briefly opened my eyes.

We all know that the water cooler is the focal point of any office, and come Christmas, I thoughtfully fill ours with a fine old Australian vodka.

You’d be amazed to see my loyal staff lining up for refills with a cigarette and plastic cup in one hand and a mince pie in the other. Thanks to my connections with the Australian wine and cheese authorities, there’s no shortage of good wholesome imported tucker at my yule-tide bash. The poor old Poms who occasionally score an invitation can’t believe their eyes when they see the roast haunch of emu, platypus and rillettes of bandicoot with a Queensland mango glaze and a kiwi fruit and macadamia coulis.

I’m pretty popular with the Oz government right now since I got the Games for Sydney, and they never query my expenses like they did in the bad old days.

No wonder the Patterson Christmas party is a 9½ week event; at least that’s what it feels like. The main problem in any office party is finding somewhere to sit. Last year we were packed in as tight as a fish’s freckle and my temporary executive assistant Zo' sat on the scanner in her leather mini and accidentally jpegged her map of Tasmania onto the global network.

People have been accessing her site ever since. Incidentally, any female fans out there are hereby invited to straddle the scanner and bitmap their Promised Land to my personal email address anytime they like.

In the spirit of the occasion and as the night wears on, I always like to dress up as Father Christmas, and the womenfolk find my realistic acrylic beard pretty exciting, even when I kiss them. I generally tuck a sprig of mistletoe in the top of my trousers over the old purple-headed warrior, and there is no shortage of lovely young interns eager to pucker up in accordance with that lovely old Christmas tradition.

But the sexual harassment law is a real bastard these days. That’s the Grinch that could bugger everyone’s Christmas. Do the dirty deed with a 16-year-old work-experience schoolboy in the executive toilets and you’re a hero, and in line with EU guidelines. But try putting the hard word on your 30-plus Girl Friday under the mistletoe and she could pinch you for SH and have you recalled to Australia to face a morals tribunal (mostly poofters and wowsers).

Incidentally readers, when Tony and his cronies pushed through the new pillow-biting age of consent we didn’t exactly hear a cheer go up from the 16-year-old kids.

The principal revellers were the abruptly-retired Scoutmasters and the scallywag padres of Irish orphanages.

One of the most popular games in my office, for which I offer a prize of a large case of vintage Wombat Creek Chardonnay, is Grope The Gregory (half Australian rhyming slang: Greg Dyke - an uncooperative member of the opposite sex community). Let’s face it, every office has got a Gregory these days.

They’re usually pretty easy to spot: black clothes, short hair, a few curtain rings in their eyebrows, and with an irrational aversion to an encouraging pat on the bum from a happily married senior executive.

They’re not all as ugly as a hatful of arseholes and some are even quite pretty, if dysfunctional. They give each other kd Lang CDs for Christmas and giggle over the latest Jeanette Winterson novel. It’s not easy, but on the rare occasion I’ve known blokes score with a Gregory, it’s been after a hell of a lot of hard work and hard liquor. It’s not a bad idea to tell them how much you abhor sexual harassment in the workplace and then add with a conspiratorial smile: “So how about my place?” Sometimes they’re grateful for a simple confirmation of what dirty bastards blokes really are and, speaking personally, that’s something I’m always happy to offer any woman, especially at Christmas.

I guess I’m a perfectionist and my Christmas parties are famous for certain lovely little touches.

This year I’ve hired a few Asian sweeties from my favourite Bangkok rub-and-tug shop, flown in by a friendly airline. They’re going to sing some lovely carols like Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, and my own composition, Give Her One For Christmas (which will be included on my forthcoming album, Les Is More).

After that, they will be the cheerful recipients of some typical Australian hospitality. Those little Sheilas will come to the party in more ways than one.

The best time at any party, especially mine, is towards the end when most people have passed out and there’s just a solid core of survivors in my inner sanctum. By then, I have usually loosened my Santa outfit considerably, and it’s time to show a few all-Australian hardcore adult entertainments on the DVD equipment, which the Australian taxpayer has generously installed. The multiple-angle feature has special educational appeal to some of my newer interns.

It’s about then that I usually get a call from my wife Lady Patterson in Sydney, who is often obliged, due to my heavy work schedule, to celebrate the festive season on her Pat Malone, God love her.

I always get my old Sydney drinking mate Dr O'Shaughnessy to double her medication as a Christmas treat and she sounds like she’s talking with a mouth full of cotton wool. If she hears any of the squeals and yelps from my video in the background, she’s never mentioned it, the Lord be good to her. I guess one of the very special joys of this time of year is putting in a long-distance call to a loved one.

It behoves me now to wish you all a Merry Christmas from the Australian Task Force in London. I hope you get what you want most of all, and I hope your wife never finds out.

Dr Sir Leslie Colin Patterson, an acquaintance of Barry Humphries, is Chairman of the Australian Cheese Board and Cultural Attach to the Court of St James.


Copyright Evening Standard (London)
December 18th

Sir Les


The online archive of Dr. Sir Leslie Colin Patterson. Wit, sage, raconteur, late Cultural Attaché to the Court of St James and Chairperson of the Australian Chapter of the International Cheese Board.

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