“What, exactly, is business development?” asks Lance
The question is directed pointedly at Francine (Forcia’s business development director), who opens her mouth to speak but immediately is prevented from doing so by Bernard, who says: “It’s just drinking isn’t it?”
Francine: “Er, well, that’s part of it, but – "
Bernard: “Yeah, and the rest of it is eating and socialising!”
Francine is looking rather offended now but Terry comes to the rescue: “Ah, come on Bernard, where would we be without Francine?”
That’s just a polite way of saying she works with a load of bald guys
“Oh stop it Terry, I’m feeling sick,” says Bernard, looking straight at Francine with his eyes narrowed into a squint.
All this vitriol would seem a bit much if it wasn’t for the fact that Bernard is Francine’s brother and they have known the two other directors, who are gathered here in the pub next door to their office, since they were all at school.
Once Bernard and Francine leave off having a go at each other, we get round to a meatier discussion on the predominance of men in the industry – which brings us straight back to the thorny subject of Francine’s job. She says part of it involves “spending a lot of time with intelligent men, talking about business”.
“That’s just a polite way of saying she works with a load of bald guys,” says Terry.
Mulling over Swayze’s back catalogue, we agree we liked Point Break, but not Dirty Dancing (please don’t write in...)
Diplomatically, Francine switches the conversation into a less controversial area: Patrick Swayze (a man with a fine head of hair), of whose death the world has learned today. Mulling over his back catalogue, we agree we liked Point Break but not Dirty Dancing (please don’t write in …). We’re divided on Ghost, however, which brings us to Demi Moore. Lance asks, “Hasn’t she had loads of surgery?”
Terry has a less painful explanation: “She’s definitely been on the Oil of Ulay, that one.”
“It’s called Oil of Olay these days,” Francine informs him, which prompts a collective moment of nostalgia as we remember the Avon lady and Tupperware parties. But just as Terry is warming dangerously to the subject of Anne Summers gatherings, the food arrives and distracts him.
This being a non-gastro pub, most of the nosh is deep fried and as Bernard piles in, Francine warns him, “This isn’t good for your health”. This has absolutely no effect on Bernard, who continues ploughing into the chips with gusto, dipping a choice few in not only ketchup but also mayonnaise. Francine threatens, “Bernard, I’ll tell -” and you’re half expecting “Mum” - but she actually says “your wife”.
Then she notices the time and informs the lads that, speaking of wives, it is in fact high time they went home to their other halves. Lance thinks he may have finally worked out what business development is. “Is it the job of saving our marriages?”
- Venue: The Grey Goose, Clapham
- Ambience: Artfully dishevelled (both the punters and the decor)
- Topics of conversation: The meaning of business development, Patrick Swayze, Anne Summers
- Drinks drunk: 12 bottles of lager, 4 rosés, 4 gin and tonics
- Lance Bonner director
- Bernard Roccia director
- Francine Vella business development director
- Terry Crawford director
- Roxane McMeeken Building