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.
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.
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.
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.