This Scumbag

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Musician, engineer/producer and former employee at Beer Ritz in Leeds. Enthusiast of extreme metal and beer, which happily go extremely well together. Follow @BenCorkhill

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sense and Sociability

The Importance of Social Interaction

Bloke Walks into a Pub...

Over the past five years or so I have been meticulously developing and honing my social and conversational skills out of equal parts necessity, natural conditioning and, more simply, the love of social interaction. Let me introduce you to the old me: aged 17, I was still doing my A Levels and working part time as a pot wash at my local. Not being old enough to drink in the pub or work the bar, and at the time still a very shy lad, entering the bar area (especially the tap room) was always rather daunting - even though I knew who a few of the drinkers were and they knew me, we have never conversed, as back then age difference remained entirely relevant. This continued until the pub was taken over by a new management team. Not the kind of management team that ruin (ahem, typo, run) city centre pubs, this was a lovely family from Leeds who had taken on the lease and genuinely wanted to make a go of a village watering hole. Although they knew I was under age, they invited me to stop for a couple of pints after every shift; initially I would shuffle nervously into the tap room and try not to make eye contact with anyone, but it was only a matter of weeks before I was singing and dancing (seriously) away with the local boozers at silly o'clock in the morning (seriously). The average age in the room was probably about 36, but already in those short few weeks I had learned that age was just not important anymore.

The Half Moon, Collingham - where it all began...
So there the tale begins: in the pub. This was my awakening period as I transcended into the adult world. After my A Levels, me and a couple of my best friends avoided reality for a while by travelling the world for three months. This was a secondary wake up call as to just how important and enjoyable socialising is. I'm not talking all the "So what are you going to study? Oh really, sounds good (mental note: does not sound good at all)" bollocks, I mean forging real bonds and friendships that would continue to be relevant outside of the confines of overtly forced friendliness.

Mixing Business and Pleasure

For my musical/production aspirations, interacting with people is now probably the most integral part of my career progression. As a fan, I have tried contacting artists and bands before, and when I have gotten no response I have truly lost a little respect for the musicians in question. Fair enough, you won't get the time of day from a band plastered all over the magazines, but there have been much, much smaller acts I have contacted and received nothing from - I don't think that's on really. When someone from some far corner of the world contacts me with words of praise and support, it truly is a humbling experience and I make every effort not just to respond, but to stay in touch with them. Being in touch with fans on a personal level is an amazing thing. I have also met alot of people at gigs and festivals, whether I've been playing or just attending. Most of these people I now consider friends and am still in touch with regularly, and it certainly helps for getting gigs in and out of town. On the 'business' side of things, here at Beer Ritz we have a good relationship with our regular customers as well as more far-flung enthusiasts who like to stop by every so often. This is helped massively by the fact that Will and Zak both run very popular blogs and Twitter feeds (Twitter and its partner in crime, Facebook, of course play key roles in modern networking), which serve well to attract custom to the shop.

Don't be that dick
Suffice it to say, the old saying 'it's not what you know, it's who you know' is absolutely 100% true! Meet people, don't be a knobhead (unless you're genuinely just a knobhead, in which case you're a bit stuck), find some common ground, establish a bond, keep in touch and you'll open yourself up to a world of opportunities. Some fantastic things have happened to me over the years as a result (mates rates and so forth...), and it's now something I thrive off. My mum always tells me I'm just like my old man: among the various traits I've inherited from him, I now realise I am developing his ability to seemingly be able to bump into someone he knows no matter where he is in the world. So, I encourage you all to socialise, interact and network as much as possible because it really does come with a whole load of benefits. But be sure to make it genuine and on a personal level. Don't be the person that appears to know everyone but blatantly doesn't feel the need to make time for them, displaying thinly veiled false delight upon bumping into them, ignoring their messages and such. No one really likes that person.


  1. And its the "not what you know, but who you know" saying as to how youve found your place within BeerRitz! Yours truly. @jamessalt

  2. Precisely, Salty! One of the reasons I wrote the piece!