Tuesday, May 01, 2007

domino dancing

The launch party at the conference I'm attending, last night, was actually really good fun - the job of any exhibition at a big conference event is to make itself feel as warm and welcoming as possible - not so easy when these exhibitions are invariably held in airport-hanger style spaces, with blank featureless walls and banks of too-bright lights suspended over the breadth of the ceiling, like the white pieces on a domino board.

This time round the conference theme is 'reaching beyond', so to mark this the organisers have themed the evening around far-off cultures. The various stands offering food and drink are shaped like Hawaiian boats or Chinese dragons. Musical interludes punctuate the proceedings from the central stage - synchronised hula routines, far-eastern drums, and belly dancing. It all sounds terribly naff, but the overwhelming good mood of the participants combined with the availability of free alcohol gives the event a keenly good-natured feel, and myself and Sam have spent enough time pulling together a nice looking display from the chaotic piles of boxes we found waiting for us to have battered ourselves into feeling jubilant and proud of our efforts. Nice people come and say hello and we enjoy ourselves (as much as you can, when you're frantically trying to calculate how much California sales tax to add to each order, while eyeing the queue at the drinks bar looking for an opportunity to get another round in quick).

All of a sudden, however, it's ten o'clock and your stomach begins to complain - it's possible to work a stand and chat to authors with a beer in your hand, but harder with a plate of sushi - and you remember an early start is required the next day. Trying to be wise, I cried off a meal out and sought room service, which is OK but not as much fun as eating in a nice restaurant. Rising early this morning, however, I was on balance glad that I did.

This evening myself and Sam are heading over to the fancy part of San Jose, where we intend, despite our best efforts, to stand out like two sore thumbs.

No comments: