Archive for October, 2010

October 13, 2010


It’s taken me a while, but I have finally confirmed a booking with the venue I had in mind for Boring 2010. I actually viewed quite a few places to try to find somewhere, some were community centres, some were hotels, some were dedicated conference centres, but finally I made my decision and have booked the Dominion Theatre:

OK, it’s actually the studio theatre at the Dominion rather than the main auditorium (the auditorium holds 2,163 people. I am not expecting to sell that many tickets).

I quite like the idea of having a Boring conference directly above We Will Rock You, a satirical musical written by Ben Elton and based on the music of Queen. According to Wikipedia, We Will Rock You is set in a dystopian future “where originality and individualism are shunned”. Over four and a half million tickets have been sold during the show’s London run, around six hundred thousand every year. And yet, we will be upstairs; a handful of people talking about dust and sneezes and how to arrange a collection of ties. Who is the more original and individual now, Ben Elton? Where is your satire now?

We are better than Ben Elton. Although he is richer and more successful, so it is a hollow victory.

Here are some things people have said about We Will Rock You but won’t be saying about Boring 2010:

It’s a perfect location and incredibly easy to find. Just come out of Tottenham Court Road tube station and look for the giant golden statue of Freddie Mercury. Actually, I might ask if on the day of Boring, they could swap the giant golden statue of Freddie Mercury for a giant golden statue of me. It’s about time someone built a giant golden statue of me, and if I have to be the person to do it, then so be it.

The Studio at the Dominion Theatre
268-269 Tottenham Court Road

Saturday 11th December 2010.

Tickets on sale soon.

October 11, 2010


The lovely people at Eat Natural have kindly offered to supply us with lots of Eat Natural bars for Boring 2010.

If you would like to supply us with anything else to eat or drink, email me here.

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October 8, 2010


Since first announcing my plans to hold a Boring conference, I have been quite busy sorting out all of the details. Things have developed since I first suggested the idea, and while I originally thought I’d try to find a venue which could hold about fifty people, this has grown a bit into something bigger. I’ll be announcing the venue details shortly.

In the meantime, I thought I’d give a bit of an update. The conference will take place on Saturday December 11th 2010, probably from about 11am-ish until about 5.30pm, or something like that. There will be lots of speakers, talking for either five, ten or twenty minutes, although the format could change.

Here is a list of just some of the people who will be speaking:

Rhodri Marsden
Rhodri writes about technology for the Independent, and writes about other stuff too for other people. He also appears on 6Music to talk about web stuff. He’s written two books, FWD This Link about the internet, and The Next Big Thing about things which seemed like a good idea at the time. He is a very nice man.

Greg Stekelman
Greg Stekelman is part-human, part-Twitter. He barely exists in the real world, and when he does venture outside, it is normally just to get a bus to take him to a room somewhere. He has written a book called A Year In The Life Of Themanwhofellasleep and is also some sort of an illustrator. In fact, he has designed a logo for Boring 2010 which shall be unveiled soon. I have no idea what he is going to talk about.

Naomi Alderman
Naomi Alderman is the author of Disobedience and The Lessons and has won all sorts of awards. She also writes about gaming for The Guardian and other stuff as well. I think she is going to talk about growing up in an household where the Orthodox Jewish Sabbath is strictly observed and you’re basically not allowed to do anything fun.

Peter Fletcher
Since Thursday the 12th of July 2007, Peter Fletcher has kept a record of every single time he has sneezed. He has logged, not just the time and date of each sneeze, but also where he was, what he was doing and how powerful the sneeze was. He recently spoke about the first one thousand sneezes at Ignite London but has something much bigger planned for his sneeze data. He won’t be talking about sneezes at Boring though, he’ll be talking about something else.

Leila Johnston
Leila is one half of the Shift Run Stop podcast which has previously featured both Naomi and Peter as guests, but I definitely didn’t just rummage through the Shift Run Stop archives looking for ideas. She has written two books, Enemy Of Chaos which I have read and enjoyed, and How to Worry Friends and Inconvenience People which I haven’t read but is probably very good.

Lewis Dryburgh
Lewis is a sort of genius experimenting in the field of loveliness. He is currently leaving little messages around Aberdeen for strangers to find. He also posts his mobile phone number on Twitter and invites strangers to call him for a little chat. I think he’s going to talk about car park roofs, as he often goes to eat his lunch on them and recently shared his lunch with a falcon. I think it was a falcon. It might have been a hawk.

Geoff Lloyd
Geoff presents the Hometime show on Absolute Radio and is misguided enough to have invited me on the show twice. The first time was on the night of the election and I got drunk and told a very long, rambling anecdote about nail bombers, the second time was after this incident. I’m not sure what Geoff will be talking about. Possibly drunk men who tell long, rambling anecdotes about nail bombers.

Lee Rourke
Part One of Lee Rourke’s critically acclaimed novel The Canal is headed “Boredom”, so he seemed like a fairly obvious choice for Boring 2010. He has also written a collection of short stories called Everyday. He writes for The Guardian and the Independent and is the contributing editor at 3:AM Magazine.

Joe Moran
Joe Moran is a writer and academic, who teaches at Liverpool John Moores University. He has written several books, including Queuing For Beginners and On Roads, and regularly writes for the Guardian and the Financial Times. Joe’s particular interest as a cultural historian is in the everyday. He will be talking about motorways.

That sounds quite good, doesn’t it?

October 8, 2010


Boring 2010
Saturday 11th December
Not sure where yet (somewhere in London)

October 8, 2010


For the last few years, Russell Davies has organised a conference called Interesting. I went to the first one in 2007 and I also went to the one last year (I missed the 2008 one because I was on holiday). I was looking forward to this year’s Interesting, but then, on Friday, I saw this:

For various reasons, (none of them involving personal tragedy, so don’t worry) we’re going to have to cancel Interesting this year. Very sorry about that. I’m writing to all the potential speakers right now, but if you see it here first, huge thanks for volunteering and many apologies for the late notice. We’ll do another one next summer.

Sad news. I mentioned this on Twitter, and said maybe I should organise a Boring conference instead. I’d actually mentioned this before, just as a joke (I think the idea was to hold it on the same day, maybe in the phone box outside Conway Hall). This time, however, I was a bit more serious, and quite a few people said they’d be interested in Boring. So now, I’m tempted to actually do it.

I’m not really sure what I’m getting myself into. I’ve never organised anything like this. Stationery Club has always been fairly shambolic, with planning kept to an absolute minimum (the one time that we had a proper venue and a projector and stuff only happened because some grown ups offered to help).

So now I am having to think about numbers and venues and things. Interesting is held in the lovely Conway Hall. The first year they limited the tickets to 200 (which sold out immediately – I was lucky to get one) and I think they increased that to 350 for the later ones (which also sold out immediately – I was lucky again). The tickets were £20 each. Boring will be smaller, much smaller. I doubt we’ll sell more than fifty tickets, and I don’t think we could charge more than a fiver. That doesn’t give us (I keep saying “we” and “us”, at the moment it’s just me, I’m sure other people will help though, right? Guys? You’ll help, won’t you? Guys?) much money to play with. We’ll need a small-ish venue, preferably with some sort of projector to connect to a laptop. I can’t really think of anywhere suitable off the top of my head. I had considered The Mission Room in Exmouth Market as I once went to a thing called Crispival 08 (“the world’s first ever crisp festival”) held there and it was quite a nice place. Unfortunately, their website seems to have died and the place might not exist any more. Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club is probably too expensive. There must be other places. I don’t think it should be a pub though. This is a conference, after all. If you know any good venues, let me know.

I also need to think about who is going to talk, and what they are going to talk about. I have a few ideas, and might start emailing people soon, but if you want to talk about something boring, email me here.

It might be nice if we could get someone to film it, or record it in some way. Maybe even stream it live on the internet. I am not sure how complicated that would be.

If any grown ups want to get in touch with sponsorship ideas, or financial backing or whatever, I would be very grateful. Of course, it does mean your brand will be associated with the word “Boring”, which might not be ideal. Also, if any journalists or media type people want to get involved, please do.

Basically, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. If you can help in any way whatsoever, please do. I’m an idiot and this whole thing might be an awful idea, but let’s try and make something good.

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