This weekend a friend of mine opened her new bar. There had been ten days of hard slog to get the place ready for the inauguration, for which, with a past of being a bar manager and cocktail barman, she drafted me in for the last couple of days for some cheap and cheerful consultancy.

I watched the painter and decorators lick new life in to the small bar, saw suppliers come and go, and her and her partner occupy themselves like ants in every corner and cubby hole getting the place right. Needless to say the level of stress that they accumulated. And I was pleased for her. After years of working for others, she finally had something that was hers. And how she relished it.

Saturday came and the bar opened with a flourish. During the evening, I was subject to her partner - with not even 21 birthday candles blown out - and his array of cocktails. He prepared them meticulously and proudly and wanted my opinion. His Cosmopolitan was chic and tasty, his Moscow Mule kicked. His Long Island Iced Tea still wasn't touching mine though ;-) They also have a friend who is a sommelier. Hence the impressive wine list and his presence and his fellow consultancy.

One thing struck me on Saturday night watching the three of them. Their passion. It took me back to my bartending days, putting together the drinks, flaring the bottles and entertaining the punters. It was a job I did passionately. Because it's the kind of job that requires it, it's a service. Without it, my friend would still not be doing it. I saw my friend's partner behind the bar and I saw myself at his age. I saw a guy who drives around all day working for a haulage company but in the evening can't wait to get to work with a corkscrew in to a bottle of wine and smell it, study it and pour it for the eager and appreciative customers. I saw my friend tired and drained, but with a smile from ear to ear.

I no longer bartend, but I still travel hundreds of kilometres around Italy to play hockey. I'm here writing. Whether it's a job, a hobby, a sport or a relationship or making love. It doesn't matter at what age or at what stage of your life you are or how tired you get doing it. Do whatever it is with passion. Let it run through your veins as thick and sweet as honey.

It was a hard week for them. A great evening when it opened. I had a great night thanks to them. Work hard, party harder.

For the record, we won 3-1 this weekend in an Italian Cup match. And in a 'Jesse' from the Paul Whitehouse show-stylee...this week I 'as been mostly listening te The Editors.


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