Rail (UK)

Stop & Ex­am­ine

- Cummerbunds · Black tie · White tie · Waistcoat · Court Shoes · Fashion · Fashion & Beauty · Suits · Outerwear · High-heeled Footwear · Network Rail Route 18 · London · Zoom Video Communications · Cufflinks · Accessories · Footwear · Pete Waterman

Host­ing a vir­tual con­fer­ence.

“And it wasn’t just the con­fer­ence. I was also co-host­ing the in­dus­try’s sup­ply chain awards cer­e­mony with pop im­pre­sario and rail en­thu­si­ast Pete Water­man, in­clud­ing a cock­tail-mak­ing mas­ter­class. This be­came one of the most bizarre things I have ever done.

“As we did a last-minute tech­ni­cal check, Pete caught me out by ap­pear­ing in for­mal even­ing wear, so I had to dash to the wardrobe in search of a black tie I hadn’t worn in nearly a year.

“Mo­ments later, we launched into the event - Pete at his home in Cheshire, me in my kitchen in Wilt­shire, fol­lowed by cam­eras and blinded by stu­dio lights, chop­ping a lemon and chuck­ing gin into an old jam jar - be­cause I don’t have a cock­tail shaker.

“But guess what? It ac­tu­ally worked. I didn’t think it would. Two Govern­ment Min­is­ters, a Shadow Sec­re­tary of State, both the Chair­man and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Net­work Rail, the new Trans­port Com­mis­sioner for Lon­don, and more top-ta­ble cap­tains of the rail in­dus­try than you could imag­ine, all joined me vir­tu­ally in my study at home, de­bat­ing ques­tions sub­mit­ted by a Zoom au­di­ence that none of us could see.

“For­tu­nately, I’ve known many of these peo­ple for decades. The rap­port was there, with­out the stilted false bon­homie and chasms of painful si­lence that on­line meet­ings so of­ten pro­duce.

“With­out ex­cep­tion, ev­ery­one stepped up to the plate. These peo­ple aren’t broad­cast­ers. They don’t talk into cam­eras for a liv­ing. This was well out­side their com­fort zone. If they can lead from kitchen ta­bles, spare bed­rooms and home of­fices in this pe­cu­liar brave new world, the rail­way is surely in safe hands.”

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