The Boat That Rocked – ITDF 2014
All aboard ITDF 2014!
I can’t believe another year had passed and we were heading down the M3 to board the MV Aurora for another IT Directors Forum. Boarding would have been uneventful had I not arrived at check-in with another Steve Smith checking in alongside me. The check-in staff clearly suffered a melt down and I almost escaped having to spend three nights in a cabin with our MD Mr. Hodges, time for me to act dumb. I conceded in the end when I found out that my account had been linked to Mr. Hodges credit card, there was now an incentive for sharing the cabin I am sure you will agree!
With the check-in staff totally confused, we were now heading for security. I walked through the security gate but the security officer did a double take when he saw the other Steve Smith walk out the other side of the gate. He must have seen me enter and the other Steve Smith (Steve Smith asked me to make sure I go on record to say that he is the younger, better looking Steve Smith) walk out. “Excuse me sir!” “What do you think you are up to?” A minor hitch, soon resolved, but that was check-in and security staff now totally confused.
Supplier meeting (Astro welcoming the delegates on board our ship)
As soon as we were on board we headed for the suppliers meeting area. We bumped in to our old friends Anthony and Ben at Chorus and grabbed a round table (stick with me, round is relevant). Within an hour the table had expanded and expanded until we were all satellites in orbit around the original table – about 12 people around a four seat table. Then more friends arrived, they said… “We just looked for the biggest, noisiest gathering and we knew it would be Astro”. We had more customers and friends on board than ever before and it was a fantastic start to ITDF. Then the alarm went off for the emergency drill a quick dash to our cabins, grab our life jackets and to our muster stations. Emergency drill complete, a quick change and we were under starters orders for the speed meetings – the start of many interesting meetings.
A night in the casino part 1
Speed meetings and first dinner over, we headed for the bar and the casino. Mr. Hodges can be a bit of a demon in the casino… unfortunately, to the detriment of his pocket. On this epic return to the casino, the first of a three night tour our own Cool Hand Luke was down by £350 in an hour. Returning to his cabin with tail between his legs at 3.30am he made the call of shame to the long suffering Mrs. Hodges. We managed to get through breakfast which was more of a confession time for Mr. Hodges to share his woes with our unsuspecting early riser guests.
Mr. Hodges was walking around like he had lost £350 and had found a penny. Only in his case he hadn’t found a penny. We arrived at our meeting location to prepare for our full day of meetings and while sorting out the contents of his pockets Mr. Hodges found £270. “Amazing!” “I didn’t lose £350 after all!” “I am up!” At this point I am thinking maybe I should get the company figures re-checked. This was a puzzling episode because Mr. Hodges was clearly in a state of shock at his loss. After a thorough investigation a key witness was found – a regular ‘Team Hodge’ casino spectator. After several hours of getting our witness into the witness protection scheme with an identity changed and a new address he agreed to appear before the court. It appears that Mr. Hodges did in fact lose the £350 but this was due to the fact that his two guardian angels Stephen Field and David Combes were not in the room. Just before Steve was about to leave in a dejected state, he threw his last remaining chip morsels on 00 and he won. I can only assume that one of his guardian angels must have just walked into the casino in time. There is sufficient evidence from past cruises to verify that Mr. Hodges cannot lose when either Stephen or David are in the casino. Case closed.
Having finished in the bar at a respectable 3.30 Thursday morning it seemed really sensible to spend the pre-lunch hour catching some sleep in the cabin. Just as I was leaving one of the excellent Richmond Events team said fancy a drink and immediately put an end to any thoughts of sensibility. As the day before, the table grew in numbers until it was taking on a similar form to Glastonbury. This set a precedent for Friday so instead of grabbing some sleep we hit the bar and combined forces with the Richmond team again. Only today the conversation took on a life form all of its own. The conversation got onto music (the names have been removed to protect the not so innocent – you know who you are!).
Richmond person 1: “Do you like Chris Rea”
The older less better looking Steve Smith: “Yes, The Road to Hell was a great album”
Richmond person 2: “It’s such a shame about Chris the Rhea”
Shocked Richmond person 3: “Why?”
Richmond person 2: “He’s dead!”
Shocked Richmond person 3: “When?”
Richmond person 2: “A couple of weeks ago… he got shot.”
Richmond person 3: “Oh no, I didn’t know. Such a shame, I really liked his music”
Mr. Hodges: “Aaaagh will someone stop the channel hopping?”
Now that’s magic
We had the great good fortune to be on board with one of our customers Mark Jeffries of TGI Friday’s. He is a brilliant magician, a great all round entertainer and great fun to be around. Late one night… sorry, early one morning – about 3am in fact, my afore mentioned name sake Steve Smith (sorry – the younger, better looking Steve Smith) was minding his own business on deck in amongst another gathering of Astro friends including Mark. Mark, always prepared with some magic to hand was about to pull off what could be one of his finest moments. Mark addressed his audience… “Name a card!” Someone volunteered “Nine of clubs”. With ultra-fast sleight of hand the chosen card vanished from the deck, no-where to be seen. Several people checked the deck to make sure there was no skullduggery (or indeed piracy) on the high seas. Having baffled the audience Mark asked our hero – the younger, better looking Steve – to take off his shoe. “Which one?” the obedient Steve asked. “Any, your choice. Mark replied.” Now this seems like a very simple task, but… having been drinking for the best part of the last two days untying shoe laces is rather challenging. Having fought with a double knot and finally got his shoe off with an exceptional display of skill and iron man effort our hero handed his shoe to Mark. Mark said “It’s not in there then!” and the audience erupted! In fact one member of the audience (another friend of Astro) was so wrapped up in the occasion he offered Mark £100 to throw the younger, better looking Steve’s shoe overboard – REFEREE!
More to come in in part 2 of The Boat That Rocked – ITDF 2014, next week, same time same channel!
In the meantime we would like to thank all the delegates that took time out to see us while on board. We had many interesting and memorable conversations. The majority of the interest this year in terms of technology was:
- Cloud video conferencing
- Managed wireless networks
- SIP services
- WAN services
- Unified Communications
- LAN Infrastructure services (cabling and switching)
We hope to see you all again next year on board MV Arcadia, 13 – 16 May 2015.
- Mark Jeffries http://www.mjaymagic.co.uk/
- The IT Directors Forum http://www.itdf.com/
- Richmond Events http://www.richmondevents.com/