I slept well last night.
Consequently I was full of beans this morning. Metaphorically speaking of course. In reality I was full of two creamy scrambled eggs served over toasted baguette slices by the redoubtable Monsieur Francois Armand of the venerable La Plage Barriere Le Majestic.
Fortified thus, I was willing to brave the dullest of speakers on the drabbest of subjects. ‘Bring ’em on!’ was my war cry. Nothing was going to faze me today. I was going to be the Lord of the Lumiere. They would crown me the Dabangg of the Debussy.
It didn’t last long. Two hours of sessions with titles like ‘Covideos-film making in the New Normal’, ‘Who needs creativity', 'Client expectations in the new normal’, ‘In the zone with Dexamethasone-The rise of Pharma in the New Normal’ and I staggered out of the Palais to have a beer, soothe the nerves and feel normal.
A pint or six of the ever dependable ‘1664’ and the calming company of my friend Satbir Singh at the Gutter Bar healed the broken spirit somewhat. The down side of all the laidback tranquillity, however, was that we got late for the award show. Hurriedly paying the bill we rushed out to join the queue for the show. We needn’t have bothered. Owing to social distancing it had reached the Gutter Bar.
We were just in time to catch the exciting 'Sustainable Development Goals' and 'Creative eCommerce Lions'. It was a unique experience to watch the show in the Debussy theatre with every alternate seat vacant. Juan, the witty Master of Ceremonies, was dressed like an astronaut in a Hazmat suit. And bubble wrapped lions were being handed over with rather mechanical smiles by Artificially Intelligent robots to the winners, who were being sprayed with disinfectant upon ascending and descending the stage.
After the show, the red carpet was abuzz with masked creatives excitedly talking about the winners. I caught snatches of muffled conversation. ‘That Fernando Machado man! I wish I had him as a client!’ ‘I knew that rotten burger was going to win everything bro, but how does a print ad win an Entertainment Lion for Music?’ ‘Next year dude! Next year I’m going up on stage for a Grand Prix. Watch me!’
An Indian agency’s work for the benefit of cancer afflicted rag pickers of Dharavi had won a Glass Lion. Another agency’s entry titled ‘The Diabetic Pen’ had picked up an Innovation Gold and a Pharma Bronze Lion. The winners were dancing in frenzy to the beat of dholaks that they had brought from India in anticipation of the wins.
It is going to be a long night.