Event #3: Liverpool

Two done, on to the third!  We’d be lying if we weren’t a little worn out by this point.  While we’re keeping the set-up on the night as simple as possible, we’ve got back home in the early hours after the previous events and getting in a full days work after.  There’s something compelling though about the reaction we’ve had about these events, which makes any moaning we might feel like doing meaningless – how cool has this been?

The people at Leaf Tea Shop & Bar were really helpful in helping us get set-up but we had to wait until non-Speak the Web folk had finished their food & drinks before we could get set-up.  The meant a slightly frenetic seating organisation session, turning the Chesterfields round and lobbing plastic seats around the floors.  Hopefully this rag-tag kind of set-up is in keeping with our DIY ethos on these events ;)

As the speakers arrived early on, you couldn’t help but notice how Colly wasn’t quite himself.  After a back problem has lead him to be on painkillers, he was a little out of sorts.  We’re really grateful he made it all the way over to Liverpool to do his session for us!

Each one of these nights has a different feel about them; the venue, the audience, I guess it’s obvious really but they have each had a unique feel about them.  While tonight’s crowd were maybe a little more subdued than Leeds, that’s not to say they weren’t generous with applause when Jake Smith took to the stage.  He’s not a ‘speaker’ and hasn’t done much of this kind of thing before. However, you would never have guessed.  What you got was someone who clearly knew their stuff that had clearly put a lot of effort into their presentation while retaining a mix of banter and facts.  Talking about typography could literally have taken all night but I think he gave us all a great overview of the journey we’ve taken to try and find a decent workable solution to having decent fonts available, which worked well for designers and developers alike.

Patrick Lauke (the third in our quest to collect UK based Opera staff it seems!) gave us a great sojourn through the winding roads of HTML5.  While the guys from Opera did have elements of their sessions that overlapped, I think there were enough different elements and certainly in the delivery from all 3 (Pat, Bruce & Chris) to keep you interested if you happened to catch all 3 talks.  We probably would’ve let him go on for a while longer but as we’d already overrun and the break was getting cut shorter, we had to wrap it up!

Through all of these gigs we’ve had cool stuff to give away from O’Reilly, No Starch, Paul Boag in terms of books and t-shirts and Ellie again made her way down from Newcastle to do a bit of promo for the upcoming DIBI conference.  She gave away a few t-shirts and also a free ticket – cheers guys ;)   Before Simon Collison took to the stage, we gave away 2 sets of Andy Clarke’s DVDs and a Transcending CSS book to some lucky people out there in the audience. We hope all the winners enjoy their prizes!

Despite his medication (mixed with a couple of beers), Simon’s journey through his rediscovery of the stuff he learned at Art College was lucid and engaging.  It wasn’t as though this was an opportunity to show off but how we can and should look back over how and why certain things work in design to help us to keep improving and moving forwards.  This worked well when we’re thinking about how relatively recently, discussion about grid systems used on the web is quote a hot topic – in part this may be because many people working on the web (such as myself) don’t have a background in the sort of thing.  His journey, briefly touching upon modernism and post-modernism, his personal experiences and how being quite reductionist with our design work can be difficult but can often lead to something that communicates more effectively – which is after all the point of the web.

Once again, we’ve been bowled over by the feedback we’ve had!  We know that there are things to work on and that every venue is different and can have it’s challenges.  Leaf provides access to the studios above, so I know at the back of the room there was some coming and going of people and gear.  Perhaps the volume of the PA needed to be higher?  We hope these things didn’t dampen your experience.  We’re certainly up for any constructive feedback you have for us so please get in touch!

Three down, one to go.  Back on home turf in Manchester, which promises to be the busiest of the lot and a little stranger as we’ll no doubt know most of the audience!

Cheers,

Dan & Rich

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One Response to “Event #3: Liverpool”

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