LUG Radio Live USA (Part 2)

Friday was the prep day. The entire troupe of Britons walked to the venue from the hotel, which was a reasonable walk. Not so far as to be impossible, but far enough not to be much fun with a load of equipment. Fortunately Google were providing breakfast for their staff, the AV contractors and us Brits. This meant a long table and lots of unhealthy food. Fortunately Dan or Eric (sorry gents, can’t remember who the phone belongs to) streamed it up to youtube where any idiot can see it.

The venue not opening until 10am, there followed a short hiatus. The Google people went off on a supplies run, Aq went off to find a printers and I think Adam went back to sleep. Laura, Chris and I wandered round the neighbourhood for a while to see what else was about.

Let me describe the Metreon. It’s pretty big. It covers an entire block, so it’s impossible to see it all at once. It contains a shopping centre (with book shops, coffee shops, book and coffee shops and the usual assortment of bars, a multi-screen cinema including an IMAX screen and the City View exhibition space. We took the lift to the fourth floor of the Metreon, where City View is located. It’s big. It’s easily the biggest space a LUG Radio Live event has ever occupied. Firstly the length of the venue hits you. (After a while you start to realise it’s not all that wide and you panic less.) Then the view hits you. The long side of the venue gives out onto a balcony which was probably the reason the words “sun” and “soaked” were first pushed together. It was unusually hot (record-breaking heat, yadda-yadda) and the balcony provided no shelter whatsoever. But from anywhere in the venue you looked out across a vista (j.p.c) of San Francisco. There was no denying it: LUG Radio had arrived in the U.S. of A.

Most of the “stuff” (a catch all word to describe AV equipment, beanbags, and exhibitors) were due to arrive from 2pm so we absorbed the ambiance for a while. Every so often someone new would turn up to gawp at the space, including Ted, Emma and Eddy. We used the time to fetch nutsack goodies from offices (sadly the sight of Adam, Laura and Ian “Gandalf” McKellar wheeling trolleys of shot glasses through the streets of San Francisco is undocumented) and I went off to buy a USB hard drive on to which to record the live show.

Friday was a day of lots of surprises, most pleasant. The venue crew rigged lights to show the fantastic gobos. Tables and chairs appeared. Google provided lunch too! Being at the back of the goods lift with Jono as Adam, Warren, Kynan, Shona, Emma and others loaded the branded beanbags until I could no longer see the far end of the lift. Then realising that the doors would open behind me and I would be holding back all said beanbags on my own. Jono and Adam being inordinately pleased to be given walkie-talkies and then spending half an hour swearing at each other over them. Having an A/V crew do all the major jobs of providing ‘net access and PAs and projectors. Seeing curtains surround the stages to cut down the ambient light (with mixed results). Watching Adam walking backwards and forwards counting and recounting tables. Interviewing Aq for the forthcoming video. Being shown how to use an 8-way firewire interface and logic to do a multi-track recording of the live show. Shona providing much needed acerbic witticisms. Tedddd arriving in his mad car full of stuff. Adam and I just looking at the car wondering how much AV kit can fit in one vehicle. Poor Chris spent several hours waiting in the loading bay for people to arrive. The rock’n’roll life of a LUG Radio presenter, eh? I bet they didn’t tell him about that when he signed up to join the show. 🙂 Kynan worked as hard as… well, as hard as I used to before I grew old and cynical. (Long time LRL attendees may remember Kynan from LRL 2005 and 2006. In 2005 he told us all everyone in Neighbours had been killed with a shovel.) Seriously, there wasn’t anything that guy didn’t do: Stuff nutsacks, rig lights, carry boxes, load bean bags into the lift, unload Tedddd’s car and so much more. He was the first port of call if something went wrong too, which says a lot.

Any way, we sweated and taped and shifted things all afternoon and in to the early evening. Things were more ready on a Friday evening than they have been for any previous LRL event. The gents disappeared somewhat earlier to make the evening drinks event, yet we still managed to beat them to it. Rumour has it that Adam was doing his hair, hence the delay.

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