Celebrating cocktails and community

Back in 2003, when my blog looked very different to how it does today, I posted some very short musings pondering the joys of meeting people you don’t know off of the internet. The comments thread then played host to the beginnings of a small Manchester blogmeet. That was when I first met Lyle and Sevitz, and was the beginning of many years of meeting other folks who had their own little corner of the internet on which to host their idle ramblings. Things went up a notch in July 2004 when three of us headed from Manchester to London for Sevitz’s Bloggers Braai, which is I think where I first met Ann, Karen and Pete. Since then I’ve attended two blogger’s weddings (one of which was where I first met Gordon), and several pub gatherings that turned from blogmeets into simply ‘catching up with friends’.

Now, while this was all going on, Karen and Pete were doing a regular virtual gathering on their blog. Pete described it in a recent post as “the long-standing tradition of the cocktail hour – a weekly occurrence in which Karen would invite readers to place drinks orders on Friday morning and then basically spend her entire day using this to compose a funny and charming post.” I remember joining in, and waiting to see how Karen would weave my usually rather ordinary drink request into a tale of joy. Little did we know that a virtual cocktail hour was going to be resurrected in a new format for 2020. Over to Pete again:

Back at the end of March we decided to throw a little online Zoom-based cocktail hour. It was, I think it’s fair to say, a bit of a success, so the weekly cocktails have been resurrected into a regular “sesh” which I think has been a pleasing salve during lockdown.

It has indeed been a wonderful marker of time during these strange and ‘samey’ lockdown times, and I have very much appreciated having a group of friendly faces to greet me on my laptop as I put the working week to bed. I had planned on taking notes during last week’s gathering, but completely forgot so have had to rely on my (clearly sub-par) memory for the following. In attendance on Friday 26th June were Karen & Pete, Lyle, Mike & Susan, and some weirdo called lipsticklori. We spent a little while chatting about thunder storms, scaffolding, G&Ts the size of your head (but not really, it was just close to the camera), camping, socially distanced garden chats with friends… and then Gordon joined us from his dog walk in Glasgow! Perhaps inevitably, because none of us have travelled more than a short distance from our homes since March, we all got completely distracted by the view from our roving reporter’s phone and so basically forced him to give us a guided tour of the local area whilst Dave the Staffy insisted on keeping the pace up.

Although I’m sure the weekly nature of the Zoom ‘cocktail hour’ will change once we’re no longer working from home, I do hope this format continues to bring our little community together when it’s not possible to meet up in person. Perhaps I should try organising one for my little gang of friends who I met through a shared obsession with Lomography? We’re scattered all over the globe so time differences may make scheduling it tricky, but it would be good to catch up again. In the meantime, I need to get Zoom on my phone so that I can join the cocktail hour from somewhere other than my desk in future weeks!

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