@Media 2006: Wednesday - the day beforeSunday, June 18, 2006
London Eye and the dotjay guy
Met up with Jon Gibbins (dotjay) and Jo at Liverpool Street for a spot of lunch, and a leisurely stroll to the Tate Modern gallery. Some unusual pieces on the ground floor - looks like a sadomasochist furniture shop. The third floor had a Surrealism display. Glad Jon was explaining some of the ideas/concepts in some of the pieces.
After a quick drinks stop we met up with Dan Champion and Blair Millen at Accessify Towers and onward to the London Eye. (They wouldn't let Dan on the Eye with his bag, so it was just Blair, Jon, Jo and myself). I thought I would mention I'm a little queasy on heights, and of course, had the piss taken out of me for most of the ride (which kinda worked until I decided to get a picture of the bubble car above us, where, as soon as I couldn't see the horizon or the ground I got all dizzy and had to brace myself against something solid for a few minutes). Took lots of pictures, and hopefully some of them won't be blurry.
Retreated to the Accessify Towers bar for an hour waiting for the dinner meet up we were joined by Karl Dawson and Jim O'Donnell, Alex Armstrong, Rob Whiting, and a surprise (but welcome) addition, Gez Lemon.
And off to dinner, with Jim in the lead we tried the Cubana which was full, so made our way to the Tas, down on the Cut, near Waterloo station. A Turkish restaurant, with Turkish beer. Managed to get a table (with a few contortions), and ordered a respectable dinner. Glad to see both Ann McMeekin (pixeldiva), and Paula find us.
Taking a detour to drop Paula's bags off at her hotel, we met up with John Greenaway at the hotel and meandered our way through Westminster to the Feathers.
Crowded. Paula lived up to her name as the Yum-Yum Girl by distributing Yum Yums to eager accessibilistas. The dangerously funny Bruce Lawson and Patrick Lauke appeared first. Great to (briefly) see Molly and Malarkey again. Spent most of the evening accosting bladder-bursting geeks by barricading the loo door. Caught up with Ian Lloyd (armed to the teeth with business cards promoting his new SitePoint book 'Build your own web site the right way using HTML & CSS'), Christian Heilmann and Norm Francis.
Very crowded and hot on the expansive balcony. Germany put one goal past Poland in a dreary sounding World Cup game, so Gez and I retreated downstairs to the mostly empty main bar.
Had a very interesting conversations through most of the evening with Gez. At last year's @media we finally met at the wind-down drinks and spent an hour or two in a widely-varied discussion. We connected well in that short time, and a year later connected again - as if we'd known each other for years.
I've been, and am, a great admirer of Gez's work in the field of web accessibility. He is one of the true professionals, balancing the technical guidelines and success criteria with technology, and more importantly, with the real human element of accessibility. His collaboration with Steve Faulkner has authored a milestone article in educating the web developer on the inner workings of screen reader software, and sets us on the constructive path to making AJAX applications accessible to screen readers.
I didn't complete my @media 2005 notes last year, and so missed out on reporting the two highlights of last year's event for me (apart from meeting Joe Clark): Andy Clarke's rousing closing presentation, and sitting down for an excellent chat with Gez Lemon during the wind-down evening drinks. I don't intend making the same mistake again!
So wrapped were we in the conversation I was very surprised to be interrupted by the bar-staff informing us to finish up our drinks and leave - it was closing time!
To Charing Cross
Homewards via Charing Cross took me past the Queen Elizabeth II Conference centre (where I needed to be in less than eight hours for registration), and through Whitehall. Had to stop off at Downing Street and ask the police patrol whether I was headed in the right direction for Charing Cross. Yeah, I knew where I was, just not sure where I should be heading to.
Still, took the wrong right at Trafalgar, and I was quite shocked to find that they'd moved the Sherlock Holmes pub to the same road as Charing Cross (The Strand), until I quietly figured out I wasn't on The Strand at all.
Managed to catch the last Caterham train from Charing Cross, and crashed into bed around one in the morning.