James Goldsmith once said “if you see a bandwagon, it’s too late.” He was right, but the line is worth updating. I’d say that if you a see a bandwagon you should run in the opposite direction.
A great deal of the storytelling that we do here is based on this idea. Counter-intuition is one of the best and most powerful ways of stopping an audience in its tracks and getting it to think again.
That’s why it’s such a pleasure to work with James Ward on publicising the Boring Conference, which happened again yesterday for the fourth time in five years (I could bore you with the reasons for four out of five years, but I’ve already done that in the various press releases that I’ve written to drum up interest).
Well, alright, briefly:
James Ward, conference organiser, said: “Many will recognise May 31st as the date in 1977 when the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System was completed.”
He added: “I’ve adopted a new naming convention for the conference this year. In place of the established suffix, the year in which the conference was taking place – for instance, Boring 2011, Boring 2012 – I am going to use a sequential Roman numeral expression this time around. Consequently, this year’s conference will be known as Boring IV. I realise that this may seem somewhat controversial and unsettling, but I wish to reassure potential attendee that the conference will be otherwise unchanged. My admin assistant, just before she left the office in a hurry last month, suggested that I call it Boring IV England as, I assume, a way of signalling my international aspirations, but I’ve decided to take things forward one step at a time.”
He continued: “There wasn’t a Boring conference last year because life was, if you’ll forgive my levity, quite interesting for me. I won an all-expenses weekend at a hotel in Croydon in a coupon competition with my favourite packet of snacks. It was on the weekend that I had earmarked in my planner, so I had to postpone.”
Anyway, yesterday was once again a sell-out, despite the absence of the delicious buffet that I laid on last time.
There were some truly great speakers. My favourites (difficult to choose) were Eric Clapton’s bookshelf, ice cream vans, cookery books from the 1950s, similarities between national anthems and how to cook elaborate meals with the equipment in hotel bedrooms.
Here’s some of that cooking. Note the use of Gideon’s bibles as a griddle rack.
The Guardian and the Independent have written the conference up here.
There’s some talk (based on the success of the idea) of taking the conference to other countries. Amazing, eh?
There’a motto above the stage at Conway Hall, the venue for yesterday’s event. “To thine own self be true.” The age of authenticity.