The Boat That Rocked – ITDF 2014
The continuing story of Mr. Hodges goes to seed (…sorry sea) – for part 1 of this epic two part adventure on the high seas click here.
Meanwhile, not a million miles away in the night club the bar staff served notice that the bar was closing at 3.30am. At this news our Mr. Hodges suffered a near fatal anxiety attack. For medicinal purposes he ordered six bottles of wine to share between four of us. The wine was delivered in minutes and Mr. Hodges breathing restored almost immediately. It took a minute or so for the waiter to get the cork out so there was some delay. Our wine supply served us well into the next hour but in the morning there was some confusion as to what happened to the remainder after we left the bar. Mr. Hodges eventually got the news from a reliable source that about half remained. Mr. Hodges was now on the war path in search of three bottles of wine that should be available for dinner. When I pointed out that it was in fact half a bottle remaining out of six, the wind dropped from Mr. Hodges’ sail immediately and it collapsed and joined his tail between his legs. Easy mistake!
The Karaoke Kings
Thursday and Friday nights start with Karaoke. I have no qualms about being the first up and nor do I have any qualms about trying out new material. So, the Karaoke is ready to go and I am first in the queue of one. No problem, I had an agreement that between Astro and the team from BBC Wales that we would be the fall guys to gain crowd momentum. A mix of renditions followed from my BBC Wales Karaoke colleagues and me, including a duet with the entertainments officer taking on the role of Mel C to my Bryan Adams (auditory rather than visually I hasten to add). Crowd participation was so slow, as soon as I finished my rendition the entertainments officer asked me what I was doing next. I thought I had joined the ships team…
But then… some movement in the crowd… then a respectable looking, grey haired gentleman in his 50s wearing accountant’s glasses appeared and took to the stage. The bar was full of people trying desperately to make a connection between what they were seeing and what they were hearing but our brains were having none of it. Our accountant looking gentleman (not sure whether IT, finance or HR) was singing his version of Pass Out by… yes! Tinie Tempah! The room erupted! The younger, better looking Steve Smith passed fair judgement on the situation before us… “This is what YouTube was made for.” Our on-board Tinie Tempah knew all 25,000 words in the song by heart, and …he had all the gangster moves. Pure brilliance! He received a standing ovation from the entire audience… and then… disappeared. I returned to sing some more songs with the thought that Mark Jeffries – our excellent magician must have pulled off his greatest illusion to date.
The presentation, do or die …on the platform
IT Directors Forum suppliers have the option of bidding for a presentation slot. The presentation must be a case study and educational rather than a sales pitch. Mr. Hodges received sufficient votes to be given a presentation slot at this year’s event. Our presentation slot was Friday 16 May at 11.30am with a presentation submission deadline of 14 May 4pm. In early March this seemed like plenty of time. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this preparation period happened to coincide with an exceptionally busy period for us and when Mr. Hodges boarded the ship on Wednesday 14 May at 2pm the presentation was nowhere to be seen, not even in his head. No problem, we still have two hours …don’t we? That would have been the case had we not been hosting the largest, noisiest, informal greetings table on the ship. As I mentioned above, we just about had time to get to the safety meeting to hear “MAN OVERBOARD” – not to be missed! Any new and seasoned attendee at the IT Directors Forum will tell you, time flies once you get on the ship. There is no time for sleep let alone anything else. When I finally left the night club at 4.30am on Friday morning the presentation was still deep inside Mr. Hodges’ head.
When I wake up, I don’t know where I’m gonna be…
When I woke up at 7am (lie in), our dedicated Mr. Hodges was sitting up in bed looking like he had just escaped from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. He had already showered and was sitting up in his thong with his shirt on and buttoned up, his tie (with matching socks) neatly tied but no sign of any trousers so he had his quilt over him to keep his little leggies warm (ah bless). His laptop – on his lap – was steaming! Fingers going ninety to the dozen and by the look on his face there was some form of direct memory access going on, because clearly, he was in no position to think. Mr Hodges was racing to the wire at an extremely fast rate of knots but then the alarm sounded. Time’s up!
The breakfast call at 7.30 put an immediate end to Mr. Hodges’ presentation outburst. The organisers showed some mercy and gave us an extension to 10am and Mr. Hodges just about met the deadline. Ninety minutes later and our star presenter is on his feet delivering what must have been the freshest presentation content on the ship. Fast forward one week and we received Mr. Hodges feedback from the audience – an outstanding and unprecedented 5 out 5! Our friends at Richmond Events are convinced we achieved these scores through vote rigging. I assured them our voting was as stringent and effective as the Eurovision Song Contest.
A Night in the Casino Part 2
The last night in the casino was a rather more successful event for our hero the younger, better looking Steve Smith. He was watching others (including our afore mentioned Mr. Hodges) lose and boredom set in – a dangerous moment for anyone in any casino. He decided on a little flutter risking a few pounds on the spin of a wheel. After 15 minutes down and hundreds of pounds up he decided it might be a good time to stop while in a profit and go back to watching others lose. Alas, boredom set in again and despite me issuing words of caution he decided on another little flutter. 10 minutes down, and another profit that went into hundreds (placing chips on single numbers!) and it really is time to stop. Amazing! A short while later I was heading back to the cabin at 4.30am, IT Directors Forum 2014 is done.
I’m on the road to nowhere… well Manchester actually…
The Aurora docked back at Southampton sometime around 5.30am Saturday morning. At 6.30am our intrepid Mr. Hodges was heading off the ship to catch a train to Manchester via London. I had another lie in until 7am and woke up covered in a pile of ships slippers, very useful! I was collected by car with the younger, better looking Steve Smith and while mid journey back to London I received an email from Mr. Hodges “One pint of Guinness and a full English. Done! And I am back in the game.” He joined a stag weekend with 17 rugby players and dodge ball for Saturday afternoon ‘fun’ before heading home to the long suffering Mrs. Hodges on Sunday.
Before I forget…
Please excuse the constant use of Mr. Hodges, as this article features three Steve’s including me it would be wrong for me to mislead you into thinking I am talking about the younger, better looking Steve when talking about Mr. Steve (Thriller) Hodges.
Richmond Events never cease to impress me with their slick and professional organisation of the entire event from booking through to post event follow up.
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/