Welcome Drink – Crucible Bar

Posted on: Wednesday 03 July 2013 7:32pm


Blogger: Niel Bushnell

“It’s great that the children’s media industry can come together in one place.” Alison Hume, Sparticles Productions.

Top ten take-aways, direct from the bar.

  1. Leave yourself enough time to find the location – it’s only a short walk but you can easily get lost if you don’t know Sheffield.
  2. Keep cool. These events get very hot, very quickly. Be prepared.
  3. Bring some business cards. The social events are where most impromptu networking happens. You’ll make new friends here!
  4. Go steady! It’s been a long day and you’ve probably not eaten yet, so don’t blow those great first impressions you’ve worked so hard to make by becoming the party drunk!
  5. Beer before wine makes you feel fine, wine before beer makes you feel queer!
  6. Remember Jeff, who you met two years ago? No? Just smile and pretend you do – it’ll all become clear eventually. That’s what the name badges are for!
  7. Wear your name badge!
  8. And don’t presume Jeff will remember you either – tell him your name and where you’re from. It’s OK to sell yourself a bit.
  9. Mine’s a pale ale.
  10. OK, you’ve twisted my arm; I’ll have a red wine as well.

I’m not sure if I should be flattered or offended that I’ve been assigned blogging duties at two different drinks events! It either means I’m a notorious alcoholic or I can keep my head in a social situation. The jury’s out on which one it is!

The CMC social events don’t have the safety of the formal structure of the talks that have been going on all day, there’s no Producer or Speakers to guide the conversation. That’s why these gatherings can often be the most rewarding. It’s a chance to unwind, relax and meet some old friends and compare notes on the talks that day. But first I had to find the venue.

The helping hands of the CMC guide me to the right place.

The helping hands of the CMC guide me to the right place.


It shouldn’t have been difficult; there were many helping hands along the way – giant foam hands! The team from the CMC were there to guide us towards the Crucible Bar but some of us – me – still managed to get slightly waylaid. Eventually I stumbled upon the Crucible, situated in a lovely modern square, and found the bar. (Sheffield has a surprisingly beautiful and open centre.)

By now the bar was already buzzing, and after fighting my way to the front of the thirsty delegates I found a seat amongst the laptop-tapping fringes. But you can’t remain anonymous at this sort of event for long, and I was quickly drawn into a conversation with fellow drinkers.

The Crucible Bar, full of delegates.

The Crucible Bar, full of delegates.

There was a buzz about Frank Cottrell Boyce’s keynote speech, which was due to follow immediately after the drinks in the Crucible Bar, but the main topic of conversation was, well… there wasn’t one! As with any gathering of like-minded folk the chatter flows from subject to subject, like beer over peanuts.

The hour flew by but I still managed to introduce myself to four or five new people, hand out one or two business cards, with the threat of continuing the conversation in the Millennium Bar after the keynote had ended.

Even outside I bumped into two rebellious smokers who, like naughty school children, planned to skip the keynote completely and return to the bar, trying to tempt me to join their tiny rebellion. It seems there is something happening in every corner of the venue, stories waiting to be told, and the night is still very, very young.