Sunday, 5 October 2014

Adventures at Congress

3 October 2014, 2 pm

It has been quite a morning.  I had to make my VeePee speech to a roomful of hungry delegates.  There was a timer on the lectern, counting down the minutes till lunchtime, in case I was in any doubt about how long people wanted to listen to me for.  I ignored it.

Embarrassingly, I spent a significant chunk of my allotted time unpacking my rucksack in order to find my notes.  I unpacked quite a few other things as well, including a fair amount of straw which is now strewn around the panel discussion area.  Finally I located my notes inside a copy of Farmer’s Weekly that I had brought for the EyePeePee because it had a picture of a big green tractor on the front. 

The straw was not mine either: it belonged to Mr Davies’ chickens.  It smelt a bit funny.  

The key learning outcome from my talk was that you can buy CIPA Vice-Presidential medals from Tesco®.  They are only £1 a pack, which is excellent value considering that if you are wearing one of these, you can tell anyone at CIPA what to do.  Apart from Council, obviously. 

I also talked about what’s on the horizon for the IP profession.  I only mentioned pirates once.  The rest of the time I told people that they will have to learn to do new things and open their hearts to other professionals, even those who are not mega-beings, and now and then ask their clients what type of industry they are in.  I said they will have to face horrible, horrible new competitors the like of which they cannot even imagine right now but who probably have terrible tusks and terrible claws and poisonous divisionals at the ends of their noses.

I exhorted them to be bold and brave and to forge ahead relishing the new challenges.  Then I told them IP is like water and they must build dams to harness its power.  But it is also like a growing plant.  And they should not sit in ivory towers.  By the end we were all totally confused.  But I spoke with power and conviction and authority even though I actually said very little at all, and also I spoke with quite a loud voice, so I think I may have got away with it. 

Afterwards someone said I ought to be a politician.  So perhaps I did not get away with it after all.

Now they are making me do an interview on camera.  The man with the hairy sausage-dog-on-a-stick microphone is there again.  I had problems with him when I went to Congress two years ago, but this time I am ready for him.  This time I stare him straight in the eye, ignoring the hairy sausage-dog-on-a-stick, and tell him that Congress has been the best thing that’s happened to me all year.  He says can I point to any specific highlights?  I say no, I cannot.  I cannot remember any of the speakers’ names or topics or where they came from or what they said.  But it was nice to see them all.  The sausage-dog-on-a-stick exudes disappointment.

The final session of the day is the CIPA open meeting about SILC.  I sit on a panel with Mr Davies, the Pee and the EyePeePee and also our youngest Council member (who is only allowed here because he spotted his first grey hair this week).  We are surrounded by straw.  The EyePeePee is still reading Farmer’s Weekly.

I am clutching the control box for my radio mic.  Despite the fact that I have had proper media training, and therefore know all about sound engineers, I have still accidentally worn a frock for the day.  There is nowhere on this frock to put the control box.  For my speech earlier they attached it to my collar, and I walked on stage looking like a Cyberman.  The very patient sound engineer somehow managed to drip-feed the wires down my back, which was an unusual sensation but not entirely unpleasant, and which may have gone some way to explaining the enthusiasm in my voice. 

Now, however, my collar is drooping due to the earlier chai tea session, and the box and collar have parted company.  The sound engineer did offer to lend me his belt, bless him, so that I could look like a Cyberman with a bum-bag, but I did not like the thought of his trousers falling down during the panel discussion and distracting the EyePeePee from his tractors.  So I opted to clutch the control box in my sweaty little hand and hope it did not give me an electric shock every time the electromagnetic control rays arrived.

The open meeting is live online webcasted so we have questions from the internet as well as the delegates in the room.  The ones in the room have seen the swanky printed three-year strategic plan: they probably nicked it from the CIPA stand while they were browsing through the CIPA tat I mean memorabilia and doing guess-the-age-of-the-Council-member and having their faces painted (it was a really good stand). 

They say: This strategic plan looks a bit ambitious.  I say: We must be bold and brave and forge ahead relishing the new challenges like a growing reservoir by an ivory tower.  Mr Davies says perhaps it is time to go for drinks. 

And thus does Congress 2014 come to a bold, brave and forged-ahead end.

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