They say the jet lag’s easier going west than east. Either way, 8 hours is a heck of a time difference.
I’m back and (mostly) recovered from a week in London, and boy was it ever great meeting all of you who came out to the Carson Workshop, or the Skillswap in Brighton, or the Geek Dinner back in London.
Though it was my first time in the city, due to various suggestions and other circumstances I won’t get into here, it seemed like a good time to pack the week with social events. The hallmark of a good trip is the quality of people you meet, and London had it in spades.
Without delving into the minutiae of each day, I’ve mentally blocked out the trip into a few distinct chunks of days, which went a little something like this.
Of course, the main reason for going in the first place was to run a one day workshop with Carson Systems. Ryan and Gillian are top notch event organizers, with their ability of taking care of the little details, and making their guests feel like royalty. Seriously. Check out that hotel suite. It was unbelievable.
The first two days were preparation, mainly toward re-adjusting my body clock. I ended up going in completely sleep-deprived anyway, of course. C’est la vie.
The workshop itself went pretty well, I thought. A full day is a long time to get up and talk, but in the spirit of “it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared” I actually managed to run into time constraints. Now that’s a first for me. Feedback has been quite positive so far, I think it was a good experience for everyone.
What impressed me most were the questions and comments that came up later in the day. The last hour or so was pure Q&A-style discussion, and questions being asked were reassuringly sophisticated and clued-in. It’s great when really smart people come out, I end up learning a bunch myself.
Andy runs an event for the local new media community called SkillSwap, and tendered the invite to come down and talk to the local crew. Jeremy and the lovely Jessica have opened their home to my fellow countrymen in the past, and so I found myself the lucky recipient of a night chez J&J.
I think I’ll let Jeremy summarize the two days in Brighton, he’s already covered everything I’d have to say. Except for the Dave Shea/Dave Seah incident.
At some point Andy asked me if I had seen the “I Am Not Dave Shea” post. I had no idea what he was talking about, and during the SkillSwap, he loaded it up.
Now, I may be biased since it comes across as pretty complimentary, granted (thanks Dave). But the real point is, my god is that ever a clever piece of writing. I couldn’t resist commenting of course, and from what I read later, my UK IP address at the time was enough to flag it as a bogus comment. Whoops.
After Brighton, it was back up to London for a couple of days of playing the tourist. I managed to squeeze in lunch with Patrick Griffiths, but up until the geek dinner, it was non-stop sight-seeing. A brief list of what got crammed into two days:
- Liecester & Trafalgar Square
- The latter amid the Sunday morning bells from the nearby St. Martin’s-in-the-Field. Great time to go visit, wouldn’t want to live there.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- I walked in during the first half of a Sunday morning service. The choir was singing totally acoustically, and the way it bounced around the vaulted ceiling was breathtaking. This was the highlight of the day for me, even though they don’t allow photos/video.
- The Tower of London
- After reading Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, it was an absolute must, despite the $30 CDN entrance fee. The place is steeped in history, and if you’re into that sort of thing, England’s crown jewels are stored there as well. (No pictures allowed of those either.)
- Big Ben / Parliament Buildings
- I didn’t bother going inside any, but managed to get some nice evening shots along the waterfront and a few poor daylight shots.
- Westminster Abbey
- Worth the £10 admission, for the ornate decor, for the historical significance, and for the incredibly high dead kings per square foot ratio. Though I was never quite sure who was buried there, and who was simply memorialized. Cromwell? Chaucer? Tennyson? Olivier? I suspect it’s a little of the former, but most of the latter. Again. No photos.
- The British Museum
- The British Museum is an incredibly rich trove of world history, with artifacts from many important civilizations over the past 6000 years. Egyptian, Grecian, Roman, Chinese, Indian, and European to name a few. Anyone in the world can simply walk in and view this huge collection of mankind’s history without paying a cent. They’ve got the original Rosetta Stone, by the way. (I did the Tate Modern as well, which I didn’t enjoy nearly as much.)
There was much, much more, but those were the highlights.
Kudos to Ian for putting on such a great evening, and everyone else for coming out and saying hi, though I didn’t get a chance to talk to even half of you. The room was absolutely packed, so maybe if we’d had another few hours…
A fantastic trip. One of the best I’ve done yet. As always, it’s the people that really make it, and without exception everyone I met in England was simply Good People. Now I can’t wait for @Media. In the interim, I’m pulling a Molly and jetting off again tomorrow for yet another event. Honestly, I have no idea how she does it.