Open season

Yesterday I went to two openings. In the morning it was the opening at the Sky Garden at the infamous Walkie Talkie building (exotic-coloured smoothies, tiny cups of coffee, huge glasses containing eye-watering grapefruit juice). In the evening, the opening of the Building Centre/ Landscape Institute’s show ‘Rethinking the Urban Landscape’ (beers, cheap wine, paper cones of chips). Whatever the difference in the catering and the budget, the two events had much in common.

Yesterday I went to two openings. In the morning it was the opening at the Sky Garden at the infamous Walkie Talkie building (exotic-coloured smoothies, tiny cups of coffee, huge glasses containing eye-watering grapefruit juice). In the evening, the opening of the Building Centre/ Landscape Institute’s show ‘Rethinking the Urban Landscape’ (beers, cheap wine, paper cones of chips). Whatever the difference in the catering and the budget, the two events had much in common. They were far more about meeting and talking than about seeing what you came to see. In the case of the Sky Garden, there was an opportunity to walk around before the event really kicked off, and gawping at views is compelling at all times. But the exhibition, like almost all such exhibitions, there were far too many bodies to make it possible to read the excellent displays, let alone sitting down to watch videos amid the hubbub.

Which leads to the question, what are such events for? Well, they are partly a medium for thank yous. They can allow you to pick up snippets of information (we were told all about the growing habits and uses of the loquat tree at the Sky Garden), they can be used for speech making. But more than anything they are a chance for people to mix and mingle. I met old friends, new people and even a neighbour I had passed in the street and never spoken to. For the attendees it is definitely worthwhile. And for the organisers? A warm glow, a sense of goodwill towards them and, of course, publicity. Which I am, in a small way, providing now.

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