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Office Christmas Party
by Malcolm Evans| Brighton, UK
Thursday, 9 December 2010
tags: consumer culture, culture, europe, experts & agencies
Thanks to ace cultural and semio-sleuth Stephen Seth (pardon the alliteration – a tongue-twisting test of Christmas sobriety) for the link to Adam Curtis's blog and this 1969 UK TV documentary about a London advertising agency's office Christmas party. Try not to view this at work if anyone's watching. It's 30 minutes long.
Go on then.
This is a fascinating piece of social history which from one angle shows our parents and grandparents involved in rituals and behaviours exactly and uncannily like what we do in UK today, but with slightly different signifiers – like an office functionary in charge of a big reel-to-reel tape recorder (which has to be switched off at 8 pm precisely) rather than a DJ. But from another angle these scenes from a few decades ago are stranger and more defamiliarising than something we might watch in a documentary on some tribe in the New Guinea Highlands today. The past is another planet. The older Baby Boomers once lived on this one – many of them still do.
Cue The Office Party…