Tag Archives: London

London and SitC

A trip to London and SitC 2011.

Went down to London for a week recently. Got down there at the tail end of that period of rioting. However all I saw was Londoners (and tourists) all just getting on with life. The reason for heading down from Glasgow; to attend the three days of Summer in the City YouTube Gathering (SitC) and also have a few days in London of just being a tourist.

SitC was good. I don’t know how many attended over the week-end, perhaps six or seven hundred. A bit of Hyde Park, a bit of Regent’s Park and a bit of Jubilee Gardens; and in the evenings some music sessions. Nice to see some familiar faces and nice to make some new contacts. For a few people this is the only time throughout the year that they get the chance of face to face meetings with their internet social contacts, especially when these people are located in different countries.

One area that seem to have become a surrogate home for many YouTubers is Camden. An interesting area of shops and markets, lots of food places and the canal going through the middle. Walking around there the day after SitC had ended and I was bumping into many I knew, all just winding down.¬†Although not really my style of clothing, heading off into The Stables market area and a wander around CyberDog is always fun. A few years ago if someone had asked me if I’d like to live in London I’d probably have said ‘no’, however I’ve going down there to Gatherings over the last three years my attitude to the city has changed, and if I could afford a property there, then I would happily move there now.

Back to SitC – an amazingly friendly get together. Yes, with that number there there will be personality clashes and the like, on the other hand it is so large it’s easy enough to avoid those you may not wish to see. No barrier to gender or age, many there in their early teens, others there retired. Spread across Friday – Saturday – Sunday some just turned up for one day, but what did surprise me was the numbers there at the start on Friday lunchtime. Walking into Hyde Park and seeing in the distance this huge crowd of people was just amazing. I’d expected (and we got) large Saturday numbers, but to see so many there so early at the start was great.

This was the third SitC and at least this time YouTube bothered to send some representatives which was nice. Provisional dates for 2012 are for the 17th – 19th of August. I hope to go.

Winter Gatherings

Tired.
We recently had a YouTube winter Gathering up here in Glasgow. About a dozen people attended so an okay sized crowd. However there was a bit of a personality clash between two of the people there which added a bit of unwanted tension to the day. Well, you can’t go through life liking every single person you ever meet, and you can’t expect every person you meet to like you too. What goes to make up your own character is how you handle these sorts of situations. If there’s someone there you don’t like do you let it get to you (and your negativity influence those around you) or do you have the strength to accept such situations and enjoy the fact that there are more people there that you do like than you don’t.
This was very quickly followed by a run down to Manchester and a Gathering there. I like Manchester. It does have the advantage of being centrally located and relatively easily accessible to the majority of the country’s population. A bit over a couple of hours on the train up from London. Close enough to Glasgow (and Edinburgh) to make day trips from these places practicable.
That was then followed the next week-end by a hop across to Dublin. Was quite surprised how expensive the ‘little things’ were across there. More expensive items were not really that hugely different, it was things like paying twice the price for a cup of coffee in Dublin than in Glasgow or Manchester that caught me out.
The week-end after that was Tom Milsom’s Painfully Mainstream album release event. Not a typical YouTube Gathering, but an evening music session in the upstairs room of a central London pub. However just about everybody there was YouTube connected, and had ‘gathered together’ in one place; you can make up your own mind if you want to call it a Gathering or not.
Before Tom’s evening session there was for me an interesting diversion in the shape of meeting a group of Deviant Art types who were holding a DevMeet, starting at lunchtime in Tate Modern. A really nice crowd.
Then this last week-end and the London Festive Gathering. At one stage a quick head-count counted 35 people. Assume a few were missed, so say a bit over 40, but the count was done after some had left, so we’re talking around 50 to 60 people there at one time or another. Note to Gathering organisers; If you are going to do a middle of winter Gathering, make sure you have the option of meeting in a location that has at least some level of cover and shelter. Standing for an hour or so exposed out in the freezing cold on grass that was rapidly turning into mud is foolish.
Then on the way back from that a very pleasant diversion via Manchester and meet a (YouTube) friend. Yet another example how internet contacts can become Real Life friends.
All great week-ends, one after another, but there comes a time when enough is enough and some alone-time is needed. Things can get tiring, often more mentally than physically. However it is coming up to Christmas which is not really an alone-time period.
A period that also does show how lonely it can be even when you are in large crowds of others.

Gatherings. Friends & Relationships.

A few thoughts on Gatherings, friends & relationships.

So, three Gatherings over three consecutive week-ends. First a run down to Birmingham and the ‘Boomingham’ birthday gathering. The last one a run down to Bristol and Jacob Dyer’s gathering. With in the middle the Summer in the City gathering in central London.
Every Gathering has its own style and character, but this SitC was something different. An event spread over three days with people coming from all over the world to attend. On the Saturday I counted just over 200 people that had formed one large circle. Add to that those not in the circle, those who turned up later, those who just attended on the Friday or Sunday; I will guess overall something around 300 there at one time or another. I only met a very few of those I had hoped to meet, but with so many there with different groups forming doing different things, that was only to be expected.

However it did get me thinking as to what actually is a ‘friend’, and where do you differentiate between acquaintance, friend, and good friend. Now, I know how I see others, with various people I know falling into any one of these three groups (a bit arbitrary perhaps just having three groups, but you have to start somewhere), but how do others see me? Or more importantly from my perspective, how do *I perceive* their relationship is to me. If everything is on an equal level, then no problem. Even if it is on a lopsided relationship – I’ve watched their many YouTube videos (both entertainment and personal vlog stuff), seen them on BlogTV or Stickam, maybe even met them briefly at a Gathering – I may see them as a ‘friend’, however I do realise that their only contact with me is probably by a couple of chat comments on BlogTV and the brief Gathering meeting, so to them I will be no more than ‘an acquaintance’. That gives me no problems what so ever. So long as I know where I stand and can act accordingly and know what level of action I expect from them.

However what happens when you believe they see you on one level, but ‘things happen’. Say a group activity of some sort where you know everyone in the group and believe that they see you as a friend, but when you ask to join in, they turn their backs on you (and for no apparent reason). Or you help someone or do them a favour as friends do, but at the end they just walk off as if you meant nothing to them. How do you handle that sort of thing, and what in the first place led you to think that they saw you as a friend? No answers for you I’m afraid. It’s no good saying that they probably are not the people you want as friends anyway, it’s too late, the (emotional) damage has been done. The only thing you can do is to lick your proverbial wounds and just get on with things as best as you can.

Ah, getting on with things as best as you can brings me back to SitC. People have said that it has been the best time of their life / most wonderful week-end ever / etcetera, but I’m going to buck the trend and say that though it was a good gathering, I have been to better. I definitely have no regrets in going and though next year’s is 11 months away I’ve already been looking at flights down for it. However if I change as much in the next year as (because of YouTube!!!) I have changed over the last year, I will be a very different person at the next SitC (and I kind of hope one or two others may have changed too).

Something else I must say – Sometimes life is not always what it seems.

Nerdfighter Gathering

Attended the Nerdfighter Gathering last week-end. (27th June.) Including this one, I’ve now been to 10 gatherings that have required long distance travel. Sat down and worked out an overall approximate cost – and nearly required a change of underwear!!! Travel costs plus accommodation plus general spending; it all came to a rather scarily large amount. All I can say is that it has been worth it.

However this last gathering I did find a little different, and I must confess, not really my style. The previous ones have been dominated not just by YouTube users, but by YouTube video ‘producers’ or makers. People who find (need?) the method of communicating and expressing themselves through things like YouTube to be important to them. A specific type of character who might not find directly talking to strangers and those they are not familiar with particularly comfortable. Far easier to initially talk to others from the safety of the camera (and so of remoteness and distance). Make your own video, in your own time, no one pressuring you, and if you don’t like what you’ve said, then re-record it. No one else will be any the wiser. Likewise people can respond in their own time, safely from a distance. So on any first eventual encounter, you are not total strangers.

On the other hand this gathering had a large number of purely ‘user types’ there. A different character of person. Many principally there to see Maureen Johnson, an American author of novels and short stories aimed at young adults. This certainly gave the gathering a different atmosphere. A large group which was not one of active two-way communication, but of ‘principle participant’ with a relatively passive audience, and a second group of more interactive people. Overall, as a middle-aged adult, I did not find things totally comfortable, and for a first time ever at a gathering, found myself with feelings of stress.

I guess the day generally was an okay day. Re-established contact with one or two familiar faces. Met one or two new ones. Ended up going to a Julia Nunes gig; but I’ve got to ask myself was it worth the cost of the train fare, the travel time involved, and then the cost of overnight accommodation for two nights in London. Ummm…. need to think on this. If it had not been for two, no, three people, then definitely NO. On the other hand can I really expect *every* gathering I ever go to to be brilliantly wonderful? To be muttering about only one out of ten is not bad going. Also it itself was not ‘bad’, just ‘okay but…’.

Anyway, another time, another place, and another gathering will happen. Already thinking on my next one.

Be There!

YouTube Gathering

Had some awesome week-end. Wanted to go down to London just for Saturday, so thought I’d try the Megabus down overnight Friday night, getting to London around 7:30 in the morning (so solving any accommodation problems), have the day in London, returning on the Saturday midnight run back up to Glasgow.

Well, it may have been cheap, and it may have solved the problem of paying London overnight hotel prices, but basically it was crap. Uncomfortable cramped seats in a vehicle that did not lend itself to encouraging sleep. Shit, an interesting experiment, but not one to repeat.

As for London, it was for a YouTube Gathering. A cross-section of YouTubers, some famous with thousands of subscribers, some just everyday users, all meeting under the London Eye at lunchtime, just to chill-out with each other for the rest of the day. Spent time around the Eye area, moved to Trafalgar Square (and suitably invaded the lions), across to the Science Museum (got in a little before closing time- just), then back to the Eye, the party generally splitting up around 10:00 pm. Met some amazing guys and girls. Managed to do some live uploading to BlogTV, though screwed up on the sound. Made various videos, now up on YouTube. A ***totally brilliant*** day out.