SXSW Day 1 | March 12, 2005
Or maybe this should be day zero as today was registration day and the festival proper doesn’t start till tomorrow. Despite being knackered, I work up at 6am on the dot and couldn’t get back to sleep. Coming down for breakfast I sat outside in the morning heat and wrote up the previous days adventures. Once the others were up and suitiblty fed and watered, we went for a morning stroll around downtown Austin and then down to the lake.
Austin seems like a very cool and friendly place. However despite being twice the size of Brighton, the downtown area feels extremely quiet. Walking around town, there was hardly anybody around. There were bars and restaurants aplenty but I couldn’t quite figure out where people bought stuff. In Brighton there is a shop on every street corner and I was expecting 6th street to be full of shops as well as bars. However apart from the odd drug store and tattoo parlor, the shopping opportunities were conspicuous in their absence.
The lake area was nice and peaceful. People were rowing on the lake, riding their bikes and jogging. After strolling around for a couple of hours we headed off to a coffee shop by the convention center to meet up with Dunstan. Dunstan was having coffe with Molly Holzschlag and Tantek Çelik amongst other people and this was our first of many introductions of the day.
After tea and a chat our enlarged party headed off to register. Getting into the convention centre and seeing everybody milling around suddenly bought home the fact that I was going to be speaking in front of some of these people the following day. Blimey!
Jon Hicks and Andy Clarke finally showed up after having various travel dramas, and our steadily increasing party headed off to grab some lunch. Tantek lead us to a local Mexican restaurant, although at one point I wondered where the hell we were going as we were walking right through the kitchen. The food was good and we spent the majority of lunch teaching our American hosts British slang and trying to explain our compulsion for not making a fuss.
Back to the convention center we met a bunch more people and then checked out where we would be speaking the following day. After more coffee and chatting we decided to head back to the hotel to test our talk out on Rich, Andy and Jon who probably wouldn’t be making it to the real thing.
With that out of the way it was time to grab some food. Along with Ethan, we hit 4th street and ended up in a micro brewery and restaurant called The Bitter End. After much eating and drinking it was time to do some socializing, so Jeremy suggested going to Break bread with Brad which is apparently the tradition pre SXSW.
The place was packed and everywhere I looked there were well known web celebrities. We were joined by two more Brit Packers, Ian Lloyd and Simon Willison almost completing the scheduled British invasion. I chatted to lots of cool people although I’m gonna avoid the temptation to name drop as it could get very tedious very quickly. I successfully managed to talk myself horse, something I’m really going to regret in my talk the following day. Despite my good intentions, we ended up leaving pretty late and didn’t crash till gone 2am. So that’s me gonna be well prepared for my first SXSW talk!
Posted at March 12, 2005 2:24 PM