Just back from LUGRadio Live 2007 – the annual weekend of geekery in Wolverhampton. As well as being in a different location to last year, it had a completely different atmosphere for me – last year was too hot to circulate much but this year, I chatted to lots and lots of interesting people.
Good & Bad points below but all in all, it was pretty cool (both in temperature – hurrah! – and as a quality statement) and we both had a great time.
- The venue for the event itself – The Light House – was much, much better than the Student Union last year. It was light and airy and generally pleasant to be there for many hours at a time.
- It was also very convenient – for the Novotel where we stayed and for the city centre – no need for taxis and stuff.
- After watching the entire first series of Heroes in the preceding week, finding other people to discuss it with at length in the pub on Friday night.
- We had a stall for our Geekz tshirts and sold enough tshirts to cover all the costs of the trip and then a little bit more. Which was nice (and more than we expected).
- I didn’t see many talks because I was manning the stall but Gervase Markham was as good as last year and I also saw Peter Stean talking about creative ways of using IT to tackle social exclusion – some cool things been done out there.
- As I said above, I chatted to loads of interesting people – especially of note for me, Glyn from the excellent Open Rights Group who we pretty much hung out with all weekend (mostly because he had a supply of Maltesers), our IRC buddy Mister RevTig, our fellow Planet WYLUGer Andy Davidson, Patrick from Sun (who we met there last year too and is a thoroughly nice chap), and the aforementioned Pete Stean.
- Fun moment: working on a new FOSS-celebrity tshirt design only to look up and see said FOSS-celebrity (Alan Cox) stood in front of me. I showed him the design and he seemed bemused that his face would be on a shirt in a couple of weeks time.
- Bacon toasties – something I only seem to eat at LUGRadio Live these days. The Novotel breakfast hash browns were pretty good too.
- And speaking of food – great kofte kebab (aka “lamb sausage that took forever to make”) on Friday night. John liked my post-kebab lamb breath and I could still taste it in the morning (although admittedly that was only a few short hours later – see below). Mmm, lamb that lasts.
- The cafe and restaurant owners of Wolverhampton seem to have found a way to super-heat water to above boiling point but keep it as a liquid. I burnt my mouth on a cup of tea from the Lockworks cafe and on the (very watery) tarka daal I had with our curry on Saturday night – and I know of at least two other people that were similarly injured.
- Lack of wireless on Sunday. Lockworks cafe had a wireless connection on Saturday so I thought I’d be able to connect on Sunday morning to work but no one (I spoke to) could connect to it. At the end of the day, it wasn’t the end of the world (I’ve done the work since we came home this evening) but still.
- And speaking of technical stuff: darling GPS device, thanks for breaking utterly on the way down but not telling us, thaaaaaanks. (Thankfully we happened to notice JUST before we reached the M6/Wolverhampton junction so we could use signs and my directional spidey-sense to get us there).
- Seeing 6.30am on Saturday morning as we had to be at the venue setting up the stall at 8am. We only got to sleep around 3.30 that morning and were up again until about 2 last night. TIRED. (Although it was amusing to descend in the lift at the Novotel pre-7am and see a group of similarly shell-shocked geeks slumped on the sofas in reception, wondering what they’d got themselves into.)
- Prevailing undercurrents of sexism and homophobia at various times from various quarters. Pah.
- Constantly crashing – either through low blood sugar or tiredness – because we ended up eating rather randomly.
- As great as the venue was for the exhibition/general ambience stuff, the acoustics in the Atrium were really bad – we were sat on the chairs for ‘Live and Unleashed’, only about two-thirds of the way back and could hardly hear what was going on (particularly what Adam Sweet was saying).
- Also, because the Lightning talks room was up and out of the way, I thought it was harder to just randomly wander past and get capture – you really had to make an effort to go up there for the talk – as bleugh as last year’s venue was in a lot of ways, I liked being able to flow in and out.