Sunday, 21 June 2015
18 May 2015, 5 pm
Today is the day. The day of the Annual General Meeting. By 5 pm I am a gibbering wreck.
The meeting is as exciting as only a CIPA meeting can be. One by one the Pee reads out the spine-tingling, seat-gripping motions and each in turn is proposed and seconded and voted for and ultimately – SURPRISE!! – carried. The suspense each time is hard to bear. But the genuinely seat-gripping stuff is the Annual Report, which Mr Lampert has designed to look like a proper Annual Report with a cover and pictures and whizzy coloured graphics and even a font size that normal adults can read. This is a great report, people say. It is very professional. And I don’t think they can quite believe it is CIPA’s.
Half-way through the meeting, Mr Davies announces the election results. (Luckily they are in English, which he is relieved about because last time he checked CIPA’s Survey Monkey® account he was in Portugal drinking port (apparently this was to do with a CNIPA meeting, yeah yeah, like we can’t tell CNIPA is just CIPA with a spelling mistake) and when he logged on again back in London everyone’s manifestos were in Portuguese. Mr Davies does not speak Portuguese, even after five glasses of port, though he will have a go at anything and therein lies the problem.)
And then as if by magic, the Pee is not the Pee any more, she is the EyePeePee, and the EyePeePee becomes the EyeEyePeePee and we have a new VeePee who is a proper one this time. And suddenly I am the Pee. Just like that.
There follows some ceremonial argy-bargy. Last year’s Pee opens a box and politely shows me the Presidential swimming-gala medal. I look politely interested in it for a moment, and then we look at each other as if to say Thank Goodness we don’t actually have to wear this thing. She knows there is no way I am going to let anyone put that round my neck because it absolutely fails to match my posh frock, and she looks mightily relieved about this. Then we play musical chairs on the ceremonial dais, and the new EyePeePee moves along one to make room for me. There is probably some Latin we should be saying at this point but we have accidentally on purpose shredded all documents with Latin bits in.
I take my seat next to Mr Davies, look at the notes he has prepared to stop me being totally incompetent on this most important of occasions, and promptly forget what I am supposed to do. So instead I have a go with the Ceremonial Gavel, which I have never been allowed to do before. What an honour it is, to be able to wield the Ceremonial Gavel at last! I feel as though my whole life has been spent preparing for this moment.
Mr Davies wishes I had spent a little longer preparing for this moment, and then I might actually have remembered what to do next.
After I have banged the gavel a few times and messed up a few procedural motions, I make a little speech and drop some straw again. In summary the speech says that CIPA Presidents are a bit like the Three Little Pigs and there is a Big Bad Wolf out there who wants to nick our straw before we have finished building CIPA but I will not let him because CIPA is FAB and anyway Mr Davies hasn’t done the plumbing yet. I say I am proud to have been able to cadge biscuits off people last year and I hope I can continue to do so for another twelve months. I say that the new VeePee and I will make a good team because he knows some stuff about IP, which complements my skill set nicely. And I thank everyone I can think of who is even vaguely connected with CIPA because it seems wise at least to start the year with some friends.
It is an inspiring speech, as you can tell, and exquisitely structured. There are not many chartered institutes that get to listen to speeches on children’s fairy tales at their AGMs. And although Mr Davies is standing by with the ceremonial gaffer tape, he doesn’t quite manage to get to me in time.
Then we have a proper inspiring speech by the Detective Superintendent who chases Cybermen, and everyone wishes she was our new President instead.