LUG Radio Live USA (Part 3)

We were at the venue for 8 o’clock the following morning. In the UK, this is the busiest time of the event. The whole crew descend on the venue on the Saturday morning and put out chairs, tables, stuff nutsacks, set up video cameras, rig PAs and so on. For the USA event, it was already done. There were a few things to test and set up and the volunteer crew to train on the door procedures, but it was pretty straight forward.

One of my duties for the weekend was as volunteer crew head. I was really pleased to have had half a dozen or so volunteers, which I thought was good for a show without an established community. We even had a couple of people turn on the door and volunteer to help out. Some had helped set up the day before, but I met Bryce, Nicholas, Jordan and Ken that morning. We even had time to do a coffee run! Realistically we could have done with another three or four crew members to make sure everyone got some time off and to cover all the bases, but we did pretty well with the people we had. That was my perception anyway. I didn’t have time to supervise the volunteer crew very much, so I was pleased they were able to get on with what was needed of them.

I was running around most the weekend, although I did find time to have some of the free fruit and chocolates that Google were providing. Google were great hosts and kept the crew fed through the weekend too. Little things like that can make a big difference to how much you can enjoy an event, even when you’re working at it.

I didn’t get to see too many talks from start to finish, although I was recording the talks on the main stage so spent most of the time when I wasn’t interviewing, fixing problems elsewhere or talking to the crew hanging out there. I did get to speak to most of the exhibitors I wanted to though, especially the Trinity Audio Group. I did get to watch the Gong-a-thong because I was operating the sound desk and of course the live show.

The live show. Two hours before I think it’s fair to say we were bricking it. The day had been fairly busy but we thought that everyone might have come for the day-time speakers and clear off home before the live show. If anyone stayed would they get the show’s style and humour? Could Adam resist not swearing in front of the minors in the audience. (No.) We needn’t have worried. Over 100 people packed the main stage seating area, and more lounged around on the beanbags and the surrounding area. (OK, Dice giving out free beer might have encouraged people to stay too.) And they were obviously fans of the show, the ones who wanted to see the pasty Brits shamble their way through an hour of sub-par knob gags. It went down really well and it was cool to be in charge of the audio, playing in the stings and monitoring the recording. I don’t think Jono had quiet believed I could play the stings in on cue though. Of course, there were some things I could have done differently with the audio recording but with the pressure of time I think it’s a reasonable job.

Among my highlights of the two days: Frets on Fire stand, BSD stand and OLPC stand attracting lots of interest for very different reasons. Asking for a Diet Coke and getting a bucket of the stuff. Jono and Adam persuading security to let them take 4 stools from the ground floor for the live show. Emma’s voice on the Sunday, squeaking and doggedly making her point in both the Mass Debate and in small hours of Monday morning. Tyson and Kynan making a “dress” out of… god knows what. Erica barely making it through her lightbulb talk flanked by a skinny man in his taped up pants. And Aaron being a start for doing it. The bizarre irish shanty that won the gong-a-thong. Meeting the SCALE guys on the Saturday night. Having cheap chinese food in the diner opposite the hotel with Adam before heading off to the Saturday night bash. I interviewed Chris somewhere funny and smelly – sorry! The awkward two-way between Jeremy and Miquel which formed the bulk of the Mass Debate and the poor microphone which was pulled between the two of them. (Hey, the AV specification said four mics and that’s what we had. I didn’t know that the two people who seemed keen to share would spend the entire time arguing.) Waiting for Tedddd and his magical mystery ‘mobile in the loading dock with Shona, Tyson, Adam and Eddy and somehow managing to pack more stuff into the car than came out of it. Kynan not slowing down, even at 10pm on the Sunday night, and performing karaoke backup dances to Tyson. In fact, all the geek karaoke performers were so keen and many something of a revelation, I’m going to suggest “Geekeoke” as a brand new geek social event.

The event didn’t feel quite the same as a UK event. But that’s not a bad thing. It was always going to feel a bit different, not least because it’s in a different country. But it shared enough of the same vibe (there I go again, talking about the magic “vibe”) to be a proud and impressive part of LRL event history. One thing that impressed me was how many non-LUG Radio fans were in attendance. From the handful I spoke to, people were so impressed with the speaker line-up that they came for that reason. But all those who did seemed to get the idea and went away promising to download the entire show archive.

Over the course of the weekend I interviewed Jono and Chris for the video. (Aq I interviewed on Friday, Adam followed on Monday.) I’ve never done interviewing quite as formally as that before, so it was a good learning experience. But I felt I got mostly honest answers and sometimes some surprising ones. It helped I was able to take each gent off somewhere quiet for half an hour or so to record; none of them felt they were performing for an audience. At least, I hope not.

Thanks to Shona for some of the photos in this post.

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    3 Responses to LUG Radio Live USA (Part 3)

    1. Hugo says:

      We’ve had talent nights at work — in a computer science department — and the array of musical and artistic talent on display was *far* beyond the archetypal semi-autistic introvert scientist. Now… where are all the artists with interests in the sciences?

    2. Tony says:

      Sciences or scientists? 😉

    3. emmajane says:

      Just because no one could hear me, doesn’t mean I wasn’t making excellent points. 😉 Somewhere Laura’s got a hilarious bit of video of me “screaming” at the camera saying what I thought of the weekend. She didn’t even /try/ to keep a straight face. 🙂

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