The annual motor trader awards on Wednesday was very well attended as always, so much so in fact it felt a little more like being at a rave for penguins such was the din and the uniform black and white tuxedo’s.
The glitz and glamour unfortunately was not matched by the awards themselves and if there’s one thing we didn’t need to come to the awards to find out it’s that there’s certainly no room for the beautiful people within the motor trade! In fact some of the sights I witnessed looked more likely to be found on Blackpool seafront than the plush Grosvenor House Hotel.
Anyway the food was my particular highlight and although my dry white sauvignon washed it all down rather nicely, it is however quite difficult to be a guest on a table where you don’t know anyone at all, especially at a “trade” function such as this.
Once you are introduced there is usually a business card thrust into your hand and the sales pitch follows shortly after. Although I am sure the awards given, many and varied though they were, are very well deserved they did seem to go on a bit and were greeted with an underwhelming reaction in the main. This makes me wonder how relevant and necessary these awards dinners actually are. Are they genuinely representative of the motor trade as a whole? I somehow doubt it. Many dealers I spoke with said they weren’t even aware how to qualify for an award and you can be sure all the sponsors were promoting their particular favourites. Let’s just admit car dealers in the main do not need an excuse for a good piss up. Being let off the leash at a posh hotel dinner dance when every day in the trade is like living in a pressure cooker needs no second invitation and, from what I saw, there were a few serious casualties even before the main courses had been served.
So maybe perhaps it should be re-jigged, called a “celebration of all things good in the trade” where there is music and dancing, food, wine and glamour but without the boring bit in the middle where, by popular opinion, there were far too many awards. So many in fact that I wouldn’t have been surprised had someone come on stage to announce the winner of the cleanest showroom floor and watch as a middle aged cleaning lady clutches her award and everyone politely applauds.
This brings us on to the entertainment, Jake Humphreys the compare was in the main very good however he did look like he had been out celebrating a bit too hard the night before. However he kept the crowd listening with a few F1 anecdotes which, as this was a car awards show, shouldn’t have been that difficult. The disaster struck though just after dinner and although perhaps not all the fault of the comedian who had to contend with a tanked up crowd which had been stuck at their tables during at least an hour of presentations he was I’m afraid appalling. If ever there was a case for being investigated under the trade’s descriptions act this “comedian” Seann Walsh should be banged to rights as he was anything other than the name suggests. I am told he has some impressive TV credits to his name and I’m sure with the right audience he may appeal but apart from the opening joke about the “vagazzle” which some of us laughed at, it was downhill from there on in I’m afraid with hardly anyone noticing that he had actually left the stage at the end of his “act” (no doubt muttering to himself “tough crowd, man” and “I had corporates”).
The verdict, well if I said the highlight of my evening was being offered “favours” for £250 by a young eastern European lady, and declining I might add, then you will get some idea.
Later on, after cramming in to the motor dealers late night drinking den the Dover Street Wine Bar and being charged £6.50 for a bottle of bud, I realised that perhaps it wasn’t going to be my night.