There was one occasion when I got to use three different skill sets at the same event. Which, as it happened, was slated to take place in the basement of the DTI, just off Parliament Square.

The event was to do with the future of banking, and Mervyn Pedelty, the CEO of the Cooperative Bank, was the first speaker. As it happened – thanks, as usual, to Lucia Bird – I’d written his speech. I’d also prepared his PowerPoint slides. And – again as it happened – Debbie Adderley and the One Stop team were in overall charge of the event.

As I quickly discovered, the first thing they’d done was to install a decent sound system – considerably better than the one provided by the DTI. As I took my place at the control desk – not for the first time – I began to enjoy myself. It wasn’t often I got to do speechwriting, audiovisual and show controller roles simultaneously.

When Mervyn stepped up to the lectern I was more than ready. But just a couple of minutes into his speech the fire alarms went off.

I looked at Debbie, and she looked at me. We both shrugged and grinned, and Debbie picked up the microphone to announce that everyone should quietly and calmly leave the building and gather on Parliament Square.

Where we stood around for about 45 minutes. Before the message came through that it had been a false alarm…

Back inside we went, and Mervyn restarted his presentation. Only to be interrupted, once again, by the fire alarm.

He did, eventually, get to deliver the whole of his presentation. But it’s the only event I can remember where a speaker got interrupted twice by a false alarm…