The gossip at conferences usually comes down to:
1) Who's in?
2) Who's out?
3) Who's moved where?
With optional extras: weather, travel, children and who's got the best hotel rooms.
The Aromatics Conference was a good opportunity to meet some of the new faces in the business - new companies, and new players at the old companies. The group has a way of renewing itself.
The stories about people moves proved to be the most entertaining.
One guy who had moved from being a major buyer to a key seller said that he had switched from talking the price down to talking the price up in the space of one second. It hadn't given him a moment's doubt.
Others who had been required to move from their home city to Switzerland (a trend previously documented by the Blog) had not found the move so easy.
"You can take the boy out of X, but you can't take the X out of the boy," said one observer.
"It's like Stockholm Syndrome," said another, casually suggesting that the boys' previous employer had been the hostage-taker.
The hotel rooms for most of us in the conference hotel were charmingly historic, on split-levels with timber beams. However some rather eminent delegates had lucked out in the lottery which is hotel room allocation, and did not fare quite so well.
At the conference cocktail reception, kindly sponsored by Jeroen B of Vitol, and held on a chic balcony over the gothic ex-chapel conference room, copies of Paul and John's paperback book
"Boom, Gloom and The New Normal, Chapters 1-7" were given out. Paul and John were in their element signing copies for their readers.
Everyone was held up by the fog - even those delegates who live only a short drive away. The worst travel tale was from Ilona, who had taken 11 hours to get there.
Some of the delegates were already thinking about their plans for GPCA, which I noticed the locals were referring to as "Jip-ca" in the same way we refer to "Ep-ca" as a word.
At the end I had promises from two players to speak next year, and these will not be forgotten:
a) an ARA trader
b) a Middle East producer