I’m getting to a certain age and I think I’ve been to enough crappy conferences and events in this lifetime.
I am all for adventure and risking failure. But I’m also in favour of learning from experience.
So I’m not taking too many chances with future events that appear to fit my personal notion of crappy: ones that assume the audience are there to fawn at the feet of a select group of appointed experts.
Of course, I could just politely avoid them and not make a fuss. But where’s the fun in that?
I could be mistaken, but this looks like a case in point:The Conference for the Post-Bureaucratic Age.
Like so many of these events, the title excites and enthuses me. I would love to see us getting less bureaucratic as a society, and I see some signs of this happening. I would be happy to spend a day chatting to others who share my excitement, even if it’s misplaced.
And then I read the depressing detail, which really puts me off.
I don’t want to listen to a 30 minute lecture by David Cameron. I can download a Youtube of his stuff or read it online if I’m interested.
And let me take a wild stab in the dark here: I don’t suppose Cameron will stick around for the rest of the day to engage in impromptu conversation. Almost certainly he will conform to the mediocre standard for all leading politicians. Show up, say what a marvellous and important event this is… and then rush off. Tell me I’m wrong.
I don’t want to sit in claustrophobia while oversized panels of people every last one of whom appears to be at the top of at least one bureaucracy bore me to death.
I don’t want to listen to the chair doing the standard flattering introductions of the glitterati.
I don’t want to listen to the panellists waffling away.
I especially don’t want to wait for the few minutes of question time when the audience is instructed not to waste time by talking too long.
In a post-bureaucratic age, no one will run conferences focussed so obsessively on celebrity.
Perhaps the organisers are merely being highly ironic. But I doubt it.
So I hope they’ll forgive me for pleading a subsequent engagement. There is a patch of wet paint somewhere in London that I want to see drying.