Andrew Curry writes: Naming new meeting rooms is one of the under-appreciated arts of office life, walking the fine lines between platitude, pretension, misjudgment, and irrelevance. You can like John Lennon’s music without feeling inspired by the Imagine room. And nothing says “mainstream creative services business” quite like the Gandhi room.
Which is a long way of saying that we had to name a new meeting room recently when our EMEA business moved into our new shared office space on London’s South Bank, and ended up with the Chaplin room, at the suggestion of our office manager Bridget Wood. The name combined local relevance (he was born and grew up nearby), humour, entrepreneurship and a cultural and political edge.
As a result, we’ve been collecting Chaplin stories, like the one about re-inventing the silent movie banana skin gag. There’s another good one in Confabulations, the last collection of articles and essays published by the critic John Berger before his death earlier this week:
While his team were shooting The Gold Rush in 1923, there was an agitated discussion going on in the studio about the story-line. And a fly kept distracting their attention, so Chaplin, furious, asked for a swatter and tried to kill it. He failed. After a moment, the fly landed on the table beside him, within easy reach. He picked up the swatter to swipe at it, then abruptly stopped and put down the swatter. When others asked, Why?, he looked at them and said: “It isn’t the same fly.”
The Berger room? I look forward to the day I have a meeting in that.