Allison Types: Back to Start, Introductions & Bar Etiquette

Mon, February 3rd, 2014 at 2:58pm PST

Comic Books
Allison Baker, Contributor
16

Back to Start

Rare photo of me on a shoot in Seattle, 2010

While I was trying to decide on a topic for this week’s column, I realized I hadn’t properly introduced myself to all you fine folks. So in an effort to remedy such impolite behavior and bad form, I decided to do exactly that.

For most of my life, I’ve been behind the scenes. Assisting and managing the life and corporate entities of a famous film director, pulling the logistical strings behind political media campaigns, advising and facilitating every aspect of my husband’s writing career. I live inside baseball, behind the curtain. I’ve been The Wizard’s bookkeeper, producer, and chief strategist. Privy to all kinds of confidential information, industry gossip, back channel secrets, and skeletons residing in closets. And while I have some great stories and have been in the company of many amazing individuals, I was always standing to the side of the spotlight. Hidden from view.

When Chris and I launched Monkeybrain Comics in July of 2012, I made a conscious effort to stand on equal ground with him. In the beginning, most of the focus was on Chris since he already had an established name in the comics business but over time, that changed. I built a name for myself. Doing interviews and press, running panels at conventions on my own. It was my idea and business model that started the whole thing in the first place. It was time for me to come out of the shadows.

I’m not a writer. Writing is what Chris does. So when Jonah Weiland asked me to write a column for CBR last December, I didn’t quite know what to think and wasn’t exactly sure how it would all work. It would be the first time I would really stand on my own, by myself. I was terrified and so of course said yes.

I’m still not sure what shape this column will take. I could try to make some kind of mission statement about what I think this part of the internet is going to be, which doesn’t really matter cause I’ll just end up breaking any rules I set up for myself. I have a habit of doing that.

So instead, just think of it like we’re having drinks at a convention. I’m going to tell you what I really think. I’m going to say things you will like, won’t agree with, will misunderstand, and that will ring true. We might even learn something new. I’m going to be all over the map. My main goal is to get you thinking and talking. If you smile, I’ll be over the moon.

Always know that what I say here is MY opinion, MY thoughts. This is not something I’m doing for anyone else. It’s for me about an industry I love. It’s my voice.

Chris and I are interviewed in USA Today, 2013

So now that we’ve been properly acquainted, we should really discuss another point of order which I take very seriously. Get it out of the way so we don’t get off on the wrong foot.

What we really need to talk about is British Bar Etiquette.

Did you know that the majority of business is done in the bar? Not just comics, or publishing or whatever, ALL business.

I’m sure I have a TON of anecdotal evidence to back me up around here somewhere.

Now those of you from or in the UK already know this stuff (Aussies too).  But my goal in sharing this, is to also teach us ugly Americans a pub tradition that really should be used everywhere social drinking in large groups occurs. Chris and I learned it while drinking with the Brits at various Worldcons and World Fantasy conventions. But after having a few disappointing experiences at some comics shows, I am ready to spread this knowledge so everyone wins.

It is very simple.

You are in a bar with a group of friends/ colleagues/ etc. and the lot of you is thirsty. Someone (maybe even you) offers to go to the bar and gets drink orders from everyone. Then that person orders, pays and helps bring over the drinks. Once it is time for another round, someone else (maybe you if you weren’t first) goes and gets and PAYS for all the drinks. And then it goes 'round to every person in the group until everyone has paid for a round of drinks for everyone. Then starts over with the first person again. This also works with table service, just tell the waitperson the round is on your tab.

Now you might wonder, “What happens if I don’t get a turn?”  You simply are first in line to get the group drinks the NEXT time you are in the bar. Which during a con, might be in the next 6 hours.

Don’t ever offer money in exchange.  This transaction only works in trade.  And don’t try to weasel out of a turn, especially if you are drinking with a Brit.  I’ve seen many get really pissed off when proper etiquette was not followed. But they won’t tell you, 'cause they are British. Now I welcome anyone actually from the UK to disagree or clarify any statement I have made here.  I am still an ugly American and could have gotten something wrong. Anything is possible. But here is some backup info in case you doubt me.

When this is put into action, it is a thing of beauty. So let’s make the world a more beautiful place. Follow British Bar Etiquette. It’s the polite thing to do.

Kisses.

I was Lt. Governor Bob Bullock’s aide on the floor of the Texas Senate, 1995

Rosario Dawson nibbles on my daughter’s feet, 2004

Vice President Biden, a fellow co-worker and myself at the Biden Family Party prior to the Inauguration, 2008

Behind the scenes. Very familiar territory

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