with Carey Jones

Building’s bowling trip with architect Carey Jones gets off to a shaky start – three of our reporters are late. When phone contact is finally made, they announce they’ve arrived early and are already at the bar.

Much confusion ensues until it’s established they’re at a bar in a completely different bowling alley in Russell Square, and are approaching random strangers to ask if they are the Carey Jones crew.

Once the wayward trio have hot-footed it across Bloomsbury, the fun and games begin. After a diner-style feast, the bowling is well under way. People are drinking wine out of tumblers and talk turns to corporate events.

Ben kicks off the chat: “They can be incredibly boring, can't they? But I’ve made some good friends through them.” He adds that events can be excruciatingly embarrassing, but refuses to elaborate: “Some I’ve been to weren’t embarrassing for me but certainly were for other people.”

Tim tells similar tales: “It can be worse when it’s an in-house do. We often play that dare game and people end up stripping, or someone will say, “Dan, you’ve got to snog Dave.”

“Tonight’s been pretty good,” adds Darren, still rosy from his strike. When asked whether the evening would have been as good without bowling or booze he thinks then shakes his head and says “no” very thoughtfully. “The bowling and alcohol were key, but it doesn’t have to be bowling. It could have been drag racing or test piloting.”

As the bowling draws to an end, we pick up our beer buckets and head back to the bar. The discussions continue but by now the Building reporters have resorted to scribbling notes on napkins, except for one technoboy who’s recording the chat on his mobile phone/mp3 player/dictaphone/radio/camera/video DJ/shaver/stun gun.

Suddenly, one of the Carey Jones’ PRs drops a bombshell. “These sort of events are good for networking, but let’s be honest, sometimes they’re a bit of a pain in the arse. At any event you always seem to end up talking to people you don’t want to be with.” Anyone for paranoia?

As the happy bowlers begin to complain of aching arms and blurry eyes, Ben, still fresh from demonstrating his bowling prowess, is eager to stop talking shop and start demonstrating his karate skills, having attended an entire two lessons with his children. But he hesitates: “I don’t know if I should. It’s like Hogwarts – it’s not allowed outside class,” he says, before changing his mind and crippling a reporter with a vicious arm chop. Then they win the bowls. Be warned, Carey Jones, we will have our revenge …

  • Chosen venue: All Star Bowling Lanes in Bloomsbury
  • Ambience: Bustling, trendy fun and games for the London office set 
  • Topic: corporate events
  • Drinks: Uncounted bottles of red and white wine, pitchers of Coors beer, vodka and mixers, gin and tonics and much needed water

Who went …

  • Paul Chapman director
  • Tim Tolcher director
  • Ben Chamberlain associate
  • Darren Newby project director
  • Simon Coles project director
  • Jenny Fitzgerald architectural assistant
  • … and most of Building magazine