Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Press days
When George was in hospital I wrote in this blog that I was restricting my ipod listening to happy songs… It would be a while, I said before I played any Bob Dylan. Well, I’m in a good enough mood – so I played some today on the way to the Autodesk press event I attended.

This was an event to promote the new releases from Autodesk – primarily from my point of view, 3ds max – the main 3d package I use. As I write about the software for various magazines, I get asked to go to these events and see what the company’s up to.

What they’re usually up to, and this was no exception, is renting some rooms in a very posh hotel, and spending the day going through powerpoint presentations about market sectors and growth opportunities. They soften the blow with a nice lunch and a bag of promotional pens.

On this occasion, it was a 2 day event involving a stayover in the very posh hotel (this was on Hyde Park Corner). I only went for the 2nd day, and didn’t take them up on the hotel offer. I thought it would be a bit cheeky to ask for a family room for George and Lisa – but maybe next time!

Most of the day was spent listening to customer testimonials -which was more interesting than it sounds, because they were actually people like top architects, games designers and film effects people talking variously about the fact that the cars in TV commercials are almost never real cars (because the real cars often haven’t been made when the commercials are put together!) and the fact that new buildings can now be made more environmentally friendly because the architects can know exactly how much glare they’re going to get from the sun in any room before the building is built by using a light meter in a 3d model – so workers in the buildings don’t have to close their blinds and turn the lights on.

The day ended with someone demonstrating the features of the new release of 3d studio – he was very apologetic and thought we all wanted to go home, although in reality, it was his part of the event that we’d all come to see.

The event started at 9am so going to it involved me joining the shuffling hoards of commuters on the London underground. A daily migration I’ve successfuly arranged my life to avoid.

As a single, paranoid body, we shuffled an inch at a time through Bond Street Station, each worrying that everyone else in the crowd was planning to barge us, pickpocket us or
Blow us up.

I changed trains and got off a stop later at Marble arch expecting the same crush there, but instead, the platform was all but empty. The stairs and the escalator stretched away in front of me with just a couple of travellers dotted over it.

Marble Arch is a short walk from Bond St, so why do people not just get off there and avoid the crush?

We get so used to following the tracks of our habits that we follow them without thinking – and never look up to see if there’s a different way or something else going on. Nowhere is this more obvious than the London train networks…

A couple of weeks ago, a famous children’s TV presenter hung himself in Paddington Station. It’s one of the busiest places in one of the busiest cities in the world and yet nobody noticed him going in, and his body lay undiscovered for a week.

A million people didn’t see him.

Maybe I shouldn’t listen to Bob Dylan on the tube.

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