We'll Meet Again....and Again

I’ve been putting it about recently.

There have been more sightings of me in clubs and bars than Johnny Walker, although I hasten to add I’m much smoother, and a lot cheaper. Come to think of it, maybe Johnny and I do have a couple of things in common. I don’t like ice or being drowned in water either, and you can get a headache if you have too much of us.

Anyway, the reason I’ve been out so much is that I’ve decided to do the dreaded networking thing – meeting people in the same industry and swapping business cards. So far, it’s been a ball.

These networking nights are an adventure because you never know who you might meet. I’ve come to know a great photographer who has had her pictures of Mohammed Ali shown all over the world, a guy who took Rage Against The Machine to number one and stopped the X Factor winner getting there, two jazz singers, loads of old friends, and some really interesting people who I would normally have missed.

I guess these evenings are organised to let people mingle and check out work opportunities, but they work on another level too as they are just great fun. I’ve always avoided them but now I’m wondering why.

Last night I met an old friend who was the first person I ever interviewed when I was on student TV at Glasgow University. Maggie Reilly went on to sing the vocal on Mike Oldfield’s global hit Moonlight Shadow, and I’ve spoken to her loads of times since. But it’s only at these networking evenings, when you have time for a proper conversation, that you find out things you never knew. I found out last night that she co wrote the hit Family Man that Daryl Hall and John Oates took in to the chart. Why didn’t I know that already?

I love playing spot the star at these evenings, but trying to explain to younger colleagues that Rusty Egan was in Visage and The Skids, when their musical knowledge started with One Direction, is a bit futile. “Look there’s the guy who plays guitar in Eric Clapton’s band” is usually greeted with “Who’s Eric Clapton”. Youngsters, eh?

Of course there’s always the chance you’ll get stuck with someone who is trying to get a first class M.A. degree, where M.A. stands for Mostly Annoying, and you quickly realise they’re doing field work for their module in Boring People before hopping off to a tutorial in Self Importance. It’s a skill in itself pretending you care about what they’re saying while wondering how the hell to get away. One guy I met last week is renowned for being self obsessed. If I casually say it’s “unseasonably warm” to start the conversation,  he’ll follow that with “it reminds me of my holiday. I’ve got some pictures on my ‘phone. Want to see them?” As soon as he comes in to one of these networking events, I miraculously lose my sight and fail to notice him waving across the bar. Strange that.

All human kind comes to these get togethers, including a man who is Britain’s oldest Elvis impersonator. He is in his late Seventies, still working, and has one unfulfilled ambition. To collect all of the hundreds of albums the King released. You may laugh, but it’s a lot less boring than showing holiday snaps.  

So if you’re having a night out, chances are I’ll see you. Like my pal Johnny Walker, I’m in every bar at the moment. Don’t leave me on the shelf.