Friday, September 08, 2006

Network, darlings, network!

Network, network: that's a main piece of advice for aspiring writers nowadays. Time was when you could despise the idea: God, if a writer is good enough he/she will get through anyway! And who wants that horrid doubt scratching away at the back of your mind: am I really only published/broadcast because of whom I know, how can I know if I'm really talented? Pish. None of that pious stuff nowadays. Darlings, you won't get anywhere, however talented, unless you network, network!

Well, I try. An invitation last night to the relaunch of the Circle Club, Manchester's club for media bods. The perfect opportunity!! It's to be a burlesque party, apparently, so I don my high black heels and off we go, John and I, and in to the beautiful Barton Arcade with its glass-domed ceiling and intricate ironwork balconies, 'floor girls' (as I hear them calling each other) running around in burlesque satin bodices and full net skirts, and the place heaving already with guests.

A girl sweeps up to us immediately with drinks on a tray - bright pink and frightening luminous green. 'What's in it?' I ask. 'I don't know,' she replies. We look around, sipping and wincing, ready to begin the networking. Do I know a soul to get going on? Do I hell. We wander off to try a different corner of the arcade. 'There's someone, isn't there?' I say to John, nodding towards a blond bloke who looks amazingly familiar, yet whom I can't place. Maybe he was in one of my radio plays... 'No,' John tells me, 'he's the gay hairdresser in Cutting It.'

Oh.

We concentrate instead on fighting to the bar to get a proper glass of wine. Everyone laughs about the crush, but before you can get talking they're gone, spilling their drinks as they go, off to their own little networking clique... Also, I must stop staring like a writer at all the clothes, and all the gestures, and listening to the fascinating snippets of conversation, and remember to push myself forward...

Wait - there's someone we know! Kirsty who runs Croma restaurant in Chorlton. 'Kirsty, what a fantastic white trenchcoat!.' 'I call it my lab coat. I can only wear it one more time.' Why? Because after a certain date in September, she tells us, according to American tradition, it's unlucky to wear white... Really? Well, I never knew that...

But this is chatting, not networking. Must get on with the task in hand. Although we're side-tracked just then: a burlesque strip tease begins on the stage. Call me sheltered, but I have seen few (call that none) real-life burlesque strip shows in my time, so I was fascinated and my eyes were glued. Very tasteful, actually, and I wonder where she got the costume made, and did she design it herself, and whoops, there was a sticky bit when she got ahead of the music, but altogether very professionally done... But why were so few people really watching, like me? Had they seen it all before? Oh no, that's it, they were too busy networking...

'There's someone,' said John, nudging me as a guy took his place beside me in front of the show. 'Isn't he Paul Oldham, who was in your vampire serial?' No, John, I can see what you mean, but in fact it's Baz who was in Celebrity Big Brother...

And then suddenly Joe Moan, the Circle Club Membership Secretary, for whose company, Glasseye Productions, I may be writing a script (the reason, I presume, I'm invited tonight), appears with a tray of searingly yellow drinks and a big grin on his face. I rush forward, but several others beat me to him to grab the drinks, and, tray emptied, he turns and is gone before I can call him.

Hm. It's half-ten. My high heels are starting to make the balls of my feet ache. We've had enough to drink if we want to write tomorrow. Come on, we said simultaneously. And went home without a single new contact netted.

1 comment:

Bournemouth Runner said...

That's Manchester! I fell asleep in the Circle Club once. But it was late.