LugRadio Live 2005 is over

Well, the weekend of LugRadio Live 2005 is over. It was brilliant. Really. If you missed it then you should be gutted, because it was brilliant.

Ade, Jono, and I had a fun-filled day on Friday driving around the place to buy loads of odd bits like ink pads and potatoes, and then Matt arrived on Friday night for the big drinking session. That was the first amazing thing: we turned up at the Hogshead pub in Wolverhampton to be greeted by about 20 people who were already there. Twenty! That’s about how many I was expecting to turn up at the actual event, and they were there the night before! Lots of drinking went on that night; we ended up in a dire nightclub called the Lighthouse. Funny story there: I was wearing this T-shirt which says on the front “Rape is no laughing matter“, and on the back “Unless you’re raping a clown“. I personally think it’s hilarious, although I concede that some people think it’s exceedingly offensive. Anyway, we go into the club, and there are two women on the door. The first points at the front of my T-shirt and gives me the thumbs-up—right on, brother! The second, obviously a bit wiser as to the perfidious ways of men, asked me to turn around. I politely refused, not wanting a knee in the testes. Anyway. A good night had by all, I thought.

The day arrived. I got woken up by Jono at about 7.30am, ouch. Packed all the shit into his tiny, tiny Micra, and off to the Molineux stadium to set up. Jono spent the next three hours rigging up the audio (he did a fantastic job!); myself and the Bald put up the magnificent LugRadio Live banner on the outside of the building. I was dead proud of how good that looked, especially since the letters were just printed on A4 paper, laminated, and stuck on the back of Jono’s vinyl Seraphidian banner. El Baldo de Maximo should be justifiably proud of how the banner stayed attached to the building all day, since he worked out how to tie it up and all I did was piss and moan about how he was doing it. Good work bald man. I also got to carve out the official LugRadio Live 2005 potato stamp with which to stamp people’s hands as they entered the door, and sort out loads of other little bits before the doors opened at 11am. And people flooded in. Did they ever. We think (and it’s a bit difficult to tell) that we had 250 people or so at peak point. That’s something like double what we were expecting, and was a very pleasant surprise indeed. We opened the show, and I got my first taste of fame: I finished off the opening speech with “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome…to LugRadio Live“, and everyone cheered. That’s a rush, that. Jono, being an actual famous person who plays gigs all the time, was dead blasé about it, but I’ve never performed in front of a cheering audience before; all the public speaking I do is presentations and the like, and no-one cheers at them. It was cool.

The day went really well. Big thanks to Rufus Pollock, who stepped in and did a main stage talk about software patents and threats to freedom on about 30 minutes notice after Sarah Ewen pulled out. Adam Sweet and his horrific suit did a marvellous job running the lightning talks room. I caught bits of a lot of talks; Simon Willison’s talk on GreaseMonkey and Gerv Markham’s phishing talk were apparently highlights, and I really enjoyed Drew McLellan’s talk about fixing your open-source project’s website. I missed Colin Watson’s Ubuntu installer talk, which is very annoying. In fact, I missed loads of things: I didn’t see a single talk from start to end, I missed meeting up with loads of people I wanted to speak to, like Mike Hearn and Omahn and loads of people from the forums, and I didn’t get a chance to have a go at the LAN gaming. I did get a chance to chat to Brian Teeman about Mambo, though, and both he and Josette from O‘Reilly seemed to have a laugh and sell loads of things, so they were all pleased too :-) Matt chaired the Mass Debate, which got lots of good responses; someone remarked at one point that Mark Shuttleworth barely mentioned Ubuntu, while Kevin Carmony mentioned Linspire in every sentence, but I think that contrast was what made them both good additions to the panel.

I had a total blast, and from what other people were saying they did too. LugRadio Live and Unleashed was fantastic fun, as well; we got to give out many silly awards, thank lots of people, call one another names, and get cheered again. Great, great fun. It was such a good day, and we’re definitely doing it again next year, especially if we can get Mark Shuttleworth to hold a sign again. Oh, and do some more T-shirts; the four of us each had custom LRL2005 T-shirts with BALD, BEARD, GING, and ANGER on the back. Quality.

The curry in the Standard was…complex, on the grounds that we had way more people than we were expecting and the Standard totally couldn’t deal with it. There were people who hadn’t even been served a starter by the time that we’d finished our main courses. Red Hat paid for some of the meal, which was great: they got a lot of good PR from that, for an amount of money that they’ll probably make back by selling one copy of Red Hat Enterprise Server, so everyone’s a winner there, I think. I also got to meet Bastard No Sierra who is a deeply funny bloke. Good night out, despite being marred by the Standard’s poor performance. Next year we’ll have a better idea of numbers and will go somewhere better able to cope with the crowd, I think.

On Sunday there was paintball, which lots of people really liked; me, not really, because the mask almost broke my cheekbones every time I put it on and I spent that day and all of the next day with a splitting headache because of it. That aside, though, it was a really good addition to the weekend; a group of people all doing stuff together, and that’s what LRL was all about; the community having fun. A few of us sloped off for a dinner in a pub, while the bald and Scott James Remnant both turned into lethal gritted-teeth superkillers. I noted to Monsieur Bradshaw that his Rambo-esque hypersoldier attitude was not exactly compatible with the Buddhist unparticularised love for all things and he instructed me to fuck off. :-) Seems like people had a great day, though!

We (by which I mean Jono) are putting together both the video and audio of the talks and LugRadio Live and Unleashed, and should hopefully be releasing those for download in the next few days. That should be great; Sooz and Craig did a superb job with the videoing, Jono’s audio stuff seems to have come out perfectly, and I want to listen to it all again.

We really had a few goals for LRL: we want to show people that a Linux event doesn’t have to be a big corporate-dominated selling thing like the Linux Expo is, and I think we succeeded. I want people to think, next year, “yeah, let’s go to that, that’ll be really good!” When I go to the Expo, all the good bits are in meeting people and having a drink with them, not in looking round a stand while a guy in a suit tries to sell you Veritas Backup. I appreciate that there are a lot of people who do want that from an event, and the Expo is the thing for them; those people who go to the Expo to meet others and enjoy themselves can hopefully think of LugRadio Live as an alternative next year. Another major goal was to get the LugRadio community together, and I think that that happened really well too. Lots of people from the forums were there, and there was beer and curry and paintball to share. It’s quite moving, how everyone pulls together in times like that, and I’m really pleased (and stunned) at how many people turned up and that they (almost) all seemed to enjoy it a great deal. Roll on next year.

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