Meeting Martin: Getting drunk
The other week, CN ran a blog about the events industry and its predilection for a cheeky tipple (read: some of us need to wind our necks in). You can read it here when you're finished on my blog.
I love a pint: the whole pub experience is something that matters quite a lot to me. Give me a 17th Century pub decorated with crusty old barrels and horse brasses and I’ll swoon with nostalgic levity. Sitting by the open fire in the throes of winter listening to old men at the bar ramble on about Brexit is as close to heaven as I could conceivably imagine.
It stands to reason, then, that at evening events – to which I receive hundreds of invites a year – that I would enjoy the bottomless bottles of Prosecco, vintage reds and, if the host is feeling particularly bold, a entire bottle of single malt whisky. The truth is that, however, I don’t.
Oh sure, I’ll have a couple of glasses of bubbles and a drop of red and, please, do bring over a bottle of lager should you have the inclination, but remember that I am technically working.
Journalists have a responsibility: we are the ones who get the messages out; we have to be correct. This means we have to speak to people, and people are best spoken to when a mutual trust exists. This trust can only be built over time and usually starts at an evening event. As such, is a key industry stakeholder going to want to talk to – or trust – a journalist who is lying on the floor in a pool of dribble? Unless they are insane, I doubt it.
To get scoops – and to remember them – is a fundamental part of our job. If we can’t remember who we were speaking to, where they work, or even what they said, what use was the night?
We too, of course, have a duty of care to our own titles. Commercially, there is a lot that can harm a magazine, and as journalists we sometimes have very little control over that. What we can do, though, is not get leathered and vomit all over the host.
In previous jobs I have had the misfortune – or fortune if you prefer it that way – to witness many a drunken journalist. There was the time, in a popular Middle East destination no less, when a peer goosed a waiter and politely expelled his dinner in a teapot said waiter was carrying. There’s a time and a place, and 1am in your bedroom is probably it.
Sigh. I grow tired of my virtue signalling, but I leave you, venues and event planners that are inviting me to parties, with a request. Take the labels off your non-alcoholic beer. I don’t want anyone to know I’m sober, or they won’t tell me anything good…