I like to go to conferences and sometimes to symposia
They're mostly meant for scientists and others even nosier.
Like doctors and professors representing academia
And press and politicians and others even seamier.
There's coffee, tea and orange juice to drink on your arrival.
And plates of chocolate biscuits to assist with your survival
There's folders full of papers, and even better yet
A badge that has your name on, in case you should forget.
The keynote speech is given by some pillar of society.
Their speech is written for them to avoid all impropriety.
They'll stay for coffee after and a chat with me and you.
Especially politicians cos they've not much else to do.
Speaking of refreshments, you usually have to queue.
First to get your coffee and then to use the loo.
Then bells are rung to tell you to go back to your seat
But you can't really hear them from the pub across the street.
But lingering too long in the pub might give the wrong impression.
You're really meant to show your face at every lecture session.
The speakers came from far and wide which ought to be respected
To face them with an empty room would make them feel neglected.
What's more the main event is soon, and being more explicit.
They're setting up the buffet lunch, you really mustn't miss it.
There's meat free, dairy free and food that's free from wheat
With much more of this freedom there'd be nothing left to eat.
The sleepy afternoon begins, you're dozy as can be.
You shouldn't eat and drink so much - even when it's free
But organisers have a trick to combat food and drink
They put you in discussion groups thus forcing you to think.
At last the day is over and the Chairman summarises.
You find that what he has to say has very few surprises.
But no-one really minds too much, cos it's becoming clear
He's reading from the speaking notes he uses every year.
And then before we all go home  they stage a drinks reception.
As chances go for networking it's quite without exception.
We talk about our absent friends, without exactly slagging
And talk about what we've been doing, without exactly bragging.
There's lots of wine of different kinds, enough to make you sick
And spicy stuff on bits of toast and haggis on a stick.
You're loaded up with food and drink, you can't hold any more,
When someone tries to shake your hand it ends up on the floor.
And then it's time to travel home, you're sozzled and you're tired.
You ate a lot and drank your fill with payment not required.
You met with friends both old and new and chatted with the Minister.
He smiled a lot at your remarks which felt a little sinister.
But then you try to think about the subject of the day.
Then quickly see the pointlessness of seeing things that way.
The subject matter of the day is not what it's about.
A conference is simply this: a cracking good day out.
Copyright Allan Bantick January 2018