Monday, 12 November 2007

Beating the hands in Barcelona

Into the groove

What an eventful day it has been, so much information and what one would do to absorb it all and be able to apply it to situations and circumstances one finds back in the wild jungle of work.

I arrived at the conference centre more or less better prepared for the journey and since the keynote address was in the afternoon, one did not have to run the gauntlet of rush-hour traffic or crowds.

I must say the issue of seating has really not been addressed, there were lots of people sitting on the floor and sometimes it was like a rush for seats, for a person like me who uses a cane, there are times one was tempted to put on a poor puppy face to create the compassion that allows others to yield their hard-earned comfort for my pleasure.

I saw some old work colleagues and even joined one for lunch which started quite early and in the middle of lunch a drummer team started a cacophony I initially did not appreciate.

Having lunch early was essential because the keynote speech was going to attract the largest audience of the conference and in our seats were these coloured "scroll-holders" which had me thinking we would be asked to look through one end and see the narrow perspective of our objectives - I found out a lot more, later.

Drums from Africa

The drummers then took the stage, I am always amused when African percussion is offered as entertainment in Europe without the accompaniment of dancers and I was quite impressed with the two Caucasians in the ensemble who gave quite a performance considering I have never thought my white brothers appreciated tribal or native rhythms - I must now disabuse that thought.

The drumbeats almost had me getting up to dance as I feared the gods might be angered at the absence of human frenzy and festive hysteria to what might have well been the call to animist worship, but with no Shamans, no witch-doctors around possible wrath loomed.

I recollect that the music playing before they arrived on stage had a Nigeria flavour to it, with some lines in Nigerian Pidgin English and other words in Yoruba giving that crude feeling of being at home but still far away in Barcelona.

The gods would have been pleased when those scroll things were inculcated in the entertainment as we held them in one hand and hit the other to a rhythm dictated (conducted) by one of the white drummers, then it began to make sense and rhythm too - there were six colours and of different lengths arranged along different columns of the auditorium creating a phonic atmosphere and the game began.

We could all have hit our hands sore in self-flagellation thorough the willingness to participate and it was great fun that came to a crescendo with an emphatic and loud YES at the end of it all.

Suddenly, you see that a lot of planning does go into these participatory things and the more fool for those who refused to join in the almost juvenile atmosphere.

Talk sweet talk hoarse

The keynote started off nicely with quite a number of demonstrations of the future as Microsoft presents it, then another session to detail how the implementation of the new server software would affect our infrastructure.

I felt sorry for the presenter of the session on Microsoft Forefront a security product which I strongly feel should be integrated in other robust security platforms, he must have had acute laryngitis, after many sips of water, it appears he just downed his cough syrup like I do; bottle-to-mouth and gulp till you have but a drop to spare. Well, not as much from what I could see.

The welcoming reception was in the exhibition area as we walked past another group of this time, Spanish guitar players doing Catalan folk songs where my lesson in yo-yo manipulation still had this old dog unable to learn new tricks, the canap├ęs and finger-food was quite nice and I think it is time to call it a day - tomorrow starts at 9:00 and it does not end will the sun is down.

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