Seville. 2011. What a trip. I was here for possibly the most pathetic senior management conference I have ever attended. Jeesh.
Just as I can't understand why the Khmer Rouge documented their atrocities, I struggle to grasp why dysfunctional management enjoy changing directions every two months, endlessly chatting about the format of the presentations and, most importantly, how to assign even more resource to the headquarter office volk to laser print out and distribute their Powerpoint company in demise analyses.
I can only suggest that documenting the stock price decline and ultimate death of a company is "travails pour les garcons." I looked at the dozens smarming around Seville and to my untrained eye there seemed little else that was occupying their collective HAL in the Singapore regional office. I may be wrong, someone please tell me otherwise, but maybe putting one's head up the corporate backside for an internal look see was regarded as good wholesome "busy work" for the Bismarck's deck chair Konteradmirals.
Throughout the country by country and region by region bollockings I couldn't rid myself of the picture that our quick witted, yet quite, quite bland leader was just an anorexic Jay Leno who's wife had been trapped inside a main branch of Burtons for the weekend, and with the company credit card.
Fortunately, there were saving graces at the big wig Spanish pow wow.
Uno. Senor Robert Swan, MBE, the first man to walk to both poles of the planet. Robert was the conference's delegated light relief and motivational speaker. Bob motivated me to get out the door and distance myself from the energy black hole at the centre of that uninspiring bunch. Bob's sixty minute chat and endless photographs of frost bitten noses put my life back into perspective. His chat reignited my appetite for more travel, freedom and another adventure; more particularly a stomp on the Antarctic.
Conference saving grace Dos was the opportunity to get out to a bull fight on a pleasant Spanish evening... but only if I skipped out the wrap up for a team slash our wrists session and gave the cocktail party the flick.
Bull Fighting versus talking shit in a Cash and Carry drinks party. Was it ever in doubt as to who's will would triumph?
Ernest Hemmingway, Death in the Afternoon. 1932.
"... I suppose, from a modern moral point of view, that is, a Christian point of view, the whole bullfight is indefensible; there is certainly much cruelty, there is always danger, either sought or unlooked for, and there is always death, and I should not try to defend it now, only to tell honestly the things I have found true about it."
"To do this I must be altogether frank, or try to be, and if those who read this decide with disgust that it is written by some one who lacks their, the readers', fineness of feeling I can only plead that this may be true."
Park to one side the fair comment that bull fighting is bull slaughtering and choosing to use only the choreographed visuals then I will remember Seville's bullfighting spectacle as nothing short of Picasso splashing about in his palette in the real in the evening.
Without a company conference I would probably never have seen it. How motivational is that Mister Bob?