For many of us Saturday night at the annual RNA conference is all about shoes. This year was no exception.
After a day of interesting, informative and humorous talks and workshops, it was time to get glammed up for the Gala Dinner. I left my room in full control of my footwear and went off in search of friends, and wine, in the bar.
It’s a long-standing joke that we’re often reduced to peering at the boobs of others – not because we’re interested in their cleavage – but in an effort to read their name badges. So much of our communication is done by e-mail or on social networking sites, we have to peer to make sure we’ve got the right person to fling our arms round before letting them know how wonderful it is to meet them in the real world.
In future I’m going to wear my badge on my back. People can then happily confirm it’s me – with the added bonus of being able to walk away if they don’t want to talk to me, as I’m not the cyber friend they thought I was. Nothing worse than, as is my case, myopically peering at someone’s name only to find it’s a case of mistaken identity.
Along with the conversation at the dinner the wine flows. In the past I have abandoned my killer heels, flinging them over my shoulder as I’ve surrendered in the battle of the bunions to walk bare foot back to my room.
The worse case scenario is being seduced by one of the many kitchen parties. The pain of the bunions forgotten as yet more wine flows. Walking home in killer heels should be policed – with friends removing your shoes if they deem you unfit to be in possession them. I’m amazed I haven’t been involved in multiple pile ups at various campuses around the UK as I’ve tottered home, arm in arm with new friends and old, all thinking we’re totally in control of our heels.
Then, of course, the next day there’s the hangover. Help is on hand to remedy this with housemates sharing alka seltzer, copious amounts of water and breakfast being provided by the venue. It’s a time to share the woes of others – and join in hunt for much loved and admired shoes that, in a moment of euphoria at having pitched successfully to an agent or publisher, were thrown in the air in celebration to end up hanging in a tree or buried in a bush.
But it isn’t really all about heels and hangovers. It’s about friendship, fun and learning. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate our love for the RNA and what this wonderful organisation means to us.
PS I must add I got off lightly this year. I walked back to my room in perfect control of my footwear, didn’t get lost and didn’t wake with a hangover!