18 May 2009

INTA - post-Marathon

Hardly able to believe how well I felt, I showered and changed and headed straight off to a reception, with live African music. Not the best venue, because it was dingy and noisy while the music was playing: I couldn't tell, for example, whether the Chinese pair were the ones I was looking for, though I had a meeting scheduled with them for a little later anyway. I also had a little difficulty when Woon popped up as if from nowhere, just like Barbara had done the previous day, and I found myself trying to read her name badge, without my reading glasses, in a darkened theatre, while being held in an embrace. It was a relief to realise I knew her!

My rehydration programme was going well, though I had started using beer for the process. I saw Matt, who promised to come running sometime but never appeared, and introduced him to Woon. He was most impressed with my Marathon exploits, and given his running prowess that was especially gratifying.

I met my Chinese associates, then headed to the Gorodissky party - which in previous years had been a highlight of the confernce, with caviar and vodka in vast quantities, and the home team - numerous people from the firm - in costume. Today, it was a couple of rooms in a hotel suite, locally-sourced refreshments, and a handful of firm members, though both Viktor and Valeria were there. Their Russian costume was limited to scarves worn with standard business suits. The economic crisis must have affected them, though they still seem to be taking skiing holidays in France. I tried to get Valeria to provide me with a few choice phrases to use on queue-jumping oligarchs, but perhaps it wasn't the time or place ... I sat down to eat at a table already occupied by half-a-dozen others, and when the introductions were done it turned out that I was sitting next to another Peter and the striking Swiss lady next to him was Petra - who for some reason proceeded to reach under the table where I was sitting, perhaps for her handbag or something: "This isn't sexual harassment", she assured me, and I wondered whether to suggest that, in that case, she might try again.

The next event was the opening ceremony, with a keynote speech by Elle McPherson, who was brilliant. The same could not be said of the officers of the Association, who read without interest from the autocues. Considering how much this annual jamboree costs, you'd think they could spend a little money on coaching them. I caught up with Neil at this point, and we went together to the opening reception until a combination of tiredness following the exertions of the day and the imminent arrival of someone I was not anxious to see sent me off to bed. Not before we'd chatted to Ethan Horwitz, author of World Trademark Law and Practice and other works. "You're an author," I said to him by way of explanation for why I knew his name. "I write," he countered modestly. "No," I said, "I write, you're an author!"

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