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...|
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|