(Meetings of the Online News Association are governed by the Chatham House rule with a strictness that makes the Bilderberg Group look like the Liberty AGM. So rather than blog it, I’ve fictionalised it. Names have been invented to protect me from accusations I was too pissed to realise what was going on.)
I arrived late to the ONA IC gathering at the BBC’s TVC (oh, we do love our acronyms) having decided to indulge myself in one of those slow-moving saunas laid on by Transport for London. Mercifully, it was pissing with rain when I alighted so I was able to cool down.
What I found there was, depending on your point of view, either the brightest and best of British online journalism or the usual collection of jaded hacks, desperate gadget freaks and blog fanboys/girls looking for somewhere dry to shelter. (As for me, I must say TVC is far more comfortable than the Embankment.)
Two awfy clever chaps from yer Auntie Bee were explaining the trials and tribulations of creating video for the web when you’ve only got limited time, a tight budget, oh, and 200+ interactive journalists and a worldwide collection of bases that would put the People’s Liberation Army to shame. (This was briefly interrupted when Miss Kiss twittered about being Twittered about getting hold of the must-have gadget de nos jours.)
Next up, using the BBC’s up-to-date web kit, an awfy clever consultant presented a series of “you do not have the necessary plug-in” screens. The Beeb’s technology was then tested further while David loaded Viewmagazine.tv. The lights flickered and dimmed as the TVC power supply failed but this caused only a small break in transmission on the main channels. This was mostly restricted to viewers in Scotland and, as we know from the Beeb’s weather map debacle, nobody really gives a toss about that part of the world anyway. (Isn’t it near Hull or something dreadful?)
We then repaired to the BBC Club after only a small scuffle to get to the bar. For those of you who read the Daily Mail and have not been to the BBC Club in TVC, it’s decorated with thousands of pictures of licence fee payers each with the caption: “The drinks are on this sucker.” We drank Krug from gold goblets while nude dancing girls offered us a wide array of narcotics. All gratis. Well, all paid for by you. (Thanks, the Cristal was almost as good as the crystal.)
Sadly conversation was somewhat impeded because it appeared that a small al Qaeda cell had stormed the stage (yes, there’s a stage, too) and was using some kind of aural terror device to induce nausea in the crowd. Faced with such a threat, my training in the French Foreign Legion came into its own. (This is a lie.) Using my mastery of key anti-terrorist phrases in a dozen languages, I was able to scream: “Do what you want to the women, but let me go.” It was at this point that security politely but forcefully asked me to leave the band alone. Sadly the music was so loud that they could only communicate through sign language, pointing and savage beatings. But they were very nice once they removed the electrodes.
It was all too much for some. Miss Kiss and the awfy clever consultant broke cover and headed off for
some Godforsaken wankfest of London new media luvvies the biggest get-together of folk the new media sector in the UK has seen this year.
The survivors passed the time debating the future of moblogging, discussing the needs of journalism training in a post Web 2.0 age (although the assembled experts were far too, err, expert to use that hackneyed phrase) and passing round unusual home movies involving farmyard animals (pictured right).
(Actually, I’m a bit hazy about that last one as I had by that point discovered that the BBC Club bar sells Deuchars IPA which put everything else into comfortably vague perspective.) All in all, it was a useful and enjoyable night, organised by Paul with military precision, humour and an acute understanding of the importance of beer.
The meet-up yielded some fascinating nuggets of information which I’m not going to share. I certainly plan to attend the next one – assuming my defence team can overturn the relevant court order.