Sou’westerly

Posted by Steve in the wee hours on Thursday the 6th of March, 2008

Given that I’m sitting [or was, at the time of writing—Ed.] in a large, metal tube at about 35,000ft., and Ben is writing for his blog, I’ve been gripped by the desire to write for mine, too. Miracles, apparently, will never cease.

For the third year running, now, I’m on my way to Austin, Texas for SXSW.

Past

The first year (2006), travelling with Fatty (whom I had met but once before), was an incredible experience. I got to make lots of new friends and, generally, learn a huge amount and have a brilliant time.

Fast-forward a year to 2007 and Fatty and I were joined by Ben, and I got to share a room with the inimitable Faruk. There were lots of complaints, from others, of the conference becoming too big for its own boots, of too many panels with too little content, and so forth; generally, there seemed to be an air of malaise about SXSW.

Socially, for me, it was bigger and better than my first year: I went to more parties, spent time with more people, and generally made more friends than in 2006. It was good.

Present

I fully expect this year to continue that trend given that, at the airport this morning, Ben and I (alas, no Fatty this year) bumped into Stuart Colville before we had even checked in, Paul Duncan over breakfast, Cyril Doussin and Tristan Turpin (who, along with Stuart, are on the same flight as Ben and me) just after breakfast, and Gareth Rushgrove in the departures lounge.

All this, mark you, before we had even left Gatwick Airport.

Granted, this was aided in no small part by the magic of Twitter (and generally being better acquainted with more people in the web scene), but there was also a certain amount of serendipity thrown in for good measure, too.

Near-Future

Compared to the last two years, my aims have ever-so-slightly changed, too. Rather than, as last year, placing the focus on attending sessions and parties, my focus this year will simply be on “am I making the most of this time?”. I intend to be rather mercenary about this, in fact: last year and the year before, there were times when I stayed at a party for fear of not knowing anyone at another. That shan’t happen this year.

Further, I intend to be very much, to use an NLP phrase, “in the moment”. Also, in a change to normal programming, I shall be drinking alcohol (although hopefully not to the levels of excess seen at d.Construct 07).

The biggest change, though, is that I shall, finally, be attending SXSW music. The past two years, I’ve lusted after that extra week of partying and gigs (and envied Keith horribly when he’s stayed on); this year, I get to partake myself (along with Ben, Alex Lee, and Lindsey Mooney). Not only that but, thanks to contacts in Yahoo! Music UK, I may have wangled access to closed recording sessions for Yahoo! Music with Ben, Alex, and Lindsey.

I’m looking forward to it all more than you can possibly imagine.

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Five

Posted by Steve in the wee hours on Thursday the 11th of January, 2007

How, exactly, does one write a post that purports to list ‘five things you don’t know about me’?

No matter how it’s written, someone out there will probably already know most–if not all–of the items (hi, Mum!). Should it be written for the person asking the question, in which case it might be a different list to that offered to new friends which, in turn, might be different to that offered to fresh visitors from search engines. Maybe I’m just over-thinking the whole thing.

To make this a little more interesting (for me, at least) I’m going to change the game a little and write in detail about one thing (and one that I often have to explain, at that), along with a shorter list of a further four things.

Non-alcoholic

For seven years or so, I’ve abstained from drinking alcohol.

Yes, you read that correctly: a 24 year-old guy that doesn’t drink. No need to alert the media.

On a friend’s birthday (I believe it was his 18th), all those years ago, I got heinously drunk. A bottle of Bacardi, bottle of Jack Daniels, multiple lagers, and an amount of vodka by 10 o’clock and being unable to recall the rest of the drinks consumed until midnight kind of drunk.

Needless to say, I stumbled back home (which, thankfully, was just around the corner) by about midnight and after attempting to sleep and—being troubled by the fact that my room had, apparently, been relocated to a turntable—decided that being violently sick with my head down the toilet for the next six hours was a smart course of action.

Over the next two days, I came to the conclusion that taking a break from alcohol was a good idea. I never intended this break to last very long–much like anyone with an awful hangover–but I held out for a week or two. The next thing I knew, it was a year later and I was telling this story to new friends at university. 7 years on, and I still don’t drink.

I’m often asked if I miss it, or if I’d consider drinking again. I’ve certainly thought about drinking again, but every time I find myself wondering exactly what I’d gain from it. Who knows: maybe one day I’ll give drinking another try.

…and the rest

Pass

Rather than passing this on to the usual suspects (who are, incidentally, very suspect—and welcome to take this as passing to them, if they like), I thought I’d try to pass this on to a different bunch:

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