Nadia Elkharadly: Free -Alcoholics Anonymous

Nadia LogoIf there’s one thing I’ve learned at this whole music journalism thing, it’s that us journalist types LOVE our free liquor.  That’s right.  My name is Nadia, and I’m a Free-Alcoholic.  And I’m not ashamed to say it.

Grey-Goose-Cherry-NoirI came to this realization as I caught myself face deep in a burger from Gourmet Burger on Adelaide street.   I had just left a part at the exclusive and very chichi Soho House, an event promoting Grey Goose Vodka’s new Cherry Noir flavour (that’s black cherry in French – doesn’t everything just sound better in French?).  Since the party was promoting liquor, it stood to reason that the liquor was free flowing – FREE being the operative word.  The event was geared towards us journalist types – the writers, the bloggers, the photographers, the who’s who of people in the media industry who love a good free drink and aren’t ashamed to hover at a bar for 15 minutes waiting for said free drinks to be provided.

And indeed, that’s exactly what happens at these parties.  Media type after media type give each other sidelong glances, sidling up to the bar, surreptitiously asking for whatever the cocktail du jour is.  That’s how it works, you see.  These events, especially the ones sponsored by a specific liquor company, always have some sort of fancy cocktail that you have to order lest you actually be forced to shell out money for a drink.  And that, of free-drinkscourse, would be ludicrous.  So every person at the bar requests the least noxious sounding cocktail, sips it as quickly, yet as politely, as possible, so that another can be ordered in, well, short order.  That’s another noteworthy thing about parties like this; they are time sensitive.  Normally the media/invite-only portion of these events only run for an hour or two, from 6-8, 9-11, that kind of thing.  And with so many of us crowding the bar, getting a drink takes about as long as it does for me to get Bob to listen to the next greatest band I want to book for The Bobcast (love you Bobert!).  So you wait at the bar as patiently (or impatiently in my case) as you can, sometimes teaming up with a fellow free drink lover to order multiple drinks from the surely beleaguered bartender, to increase your chances of beverage procural and subsequent inebriation.

It’s a sociological phenomenon that I’ve come to witness multiple times since joining this low paying workforce we call music journalism.  One of the most obvious instances came a few years back at a party that Bob MC’ed and musically curated, putting together an incredibly stellar lineup of bands that including, if I remember correctly, Courage My Love (who have a new album coming out next week!), Gloryhound and the always entertaining jumpleand artfully attired Jumple.  I showed up early, to support Bob, to make sure I didn’t miss a moment of music, and to take advantage of the drink tickets and roving appetizers that the invite promised.  When I arrived at the event I realized very quickly that my last intention had been adopted by many of my industry peers, as all over the room networking, chatting, schmoozing and most of all, noshing and boozing were happening.  The free grub and drink tickets were a limited-time-only type thing, and sure enough, the moment the clock clicked to (select arbitrary time for drink tickets and food to stop circulating), there were only cartoon clouds of dust where my co-journalists once were in the room.  Thank goodness for actual music lovers, and supportive musicians, or that room would have been bereft of bodies entirely.  And it’s too bad really, because those free loaders missed a great night of music and fun.

Why is it, you normal, fine-with-paying-for-drinks-types may wonder, that some of us are so enamoured with the idea of not paying for booze?  On the one hand, it’s the industry that we happen to work in, and the general lack of free flowing cash generated by said industry.  Journalism, in this day and age, is not only a thankless, but an often pay-less career choice.  Sure, it’s great that every wordsmith with a laptop and access to the internet can join the media foray and contribute their thoughts, words, and images to the constant flow of content.  It’s basic economics; supply and demand.  With such a proliferation of content and content providers who are already working for free, the demand for quality content that would normally fetch an actual dollar figure fizzles down to practically zero.  Therefore, the unfortunate reality for most journalists is that we simply don’t have the funds to pay for simple things like a good drink at a great bar a lot of the time.  It’s actually come to a point that media types like myself become incensed when we’re invited to events and discover that there ISN’T an open bar.  Such an incident occurred very recently when a friend and I went to a party held by a prominent indie music label (that shall remain nameless), expecting free flowing libations, tasty treats and the requisite networking disapointmentopportunities.  It was a big label party, we reasoned.  There MUST be an open bar, we concluded.  And so we went, hopes and thirsts high.  Imagine our disappointment at being handed a single drink ticket each upon our arrival.  Thank the party gods there was a lovely cheese board available to drown our booze related sorrows.

So what’s the lesson here, kids, adults and party throwers of all kinds?  If you’re going to have an event and invite the media, make sure the booze is flowing!  If it is, you can expect happy returns, happy reviews and a good press turn out at any future events you have.  Extra points if you can provide food to prevent over-drunkeness as we all try to consume as much booze as our bodies can (even if they shouldn’t) hold.

Speaking of parties and booze!  I’m going to take this opportunity to do some shameless self (sorta) promotion to all of you fine DBAWISers.  If you happen to live in the fine city of Toronto and have no plans this Friday, consider coming out to Genres (see poster here).  Sponsored in part by Addicted Magazine – the fab online magazine I write for when I’m not producing columns for Mr. Segarini – this shindig should be a good one.  Food, prizes, gift bags and of course BOOZE…that costs money, but the rest of it is free free FREE!  Come on out if you can, say hi and maybe I’ll buy YOU a drink!  (No, I’m not kidding, I really might *wink*)

Until next time,




Nadia’s column appears every Wednesday

Contact us at:

DBAWIS ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

addicted mag

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: