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Thursday, May 01, 2014

In parts of the third world, people often have to walk for half a day to get access to food and medicine. Here in the first world, our equivalent is to trek for half an hour across London for a free lunch at the RSM.

To be honest, I don't visit London very often, but when I do, I like to go on a day when the underground staff are striking, transport links are crippled, and thousands of people have to trudge across the royal parks like refugees in a zombie movie. So I was particularly pleased to be given the opportunity to journey up to our nation's great capital yesterday to spend seven hours in this room...

That's the Guy-Whittle Auditorium at the Royal Society of Medicine. I was there for a one-day conference entitled 'Integration - Where Do I Fit In?'. And having seen those seats, I felt the answer was 'Here'. They were actually very comfortable. It was like being at a 3D cinema. The speakers almost looked real.

Anyone seeing that picture might be forgiven for thinking that someone's left their mobile phone on the armrest, but as it happens, that's the "in-seat audience-response and voting system". The Society's website states that "Rather than waiting for a roving microphone, the audience can vote electronically or text their comments, and the results can be projected instantaneously on-screen in a range of different formats". It's heckling for the 21st century.

In reality, of course, it just meant that we spent seven hours watching people do this...

The ability to speak into the correct part of the wireless handset whilst holding the correct button and orating in such a way that the rest of the room could hear you, was undoubtedly an acquired skill. And one that nobody seemed to have.

But despite that, it was an excellent day. I concluded that where *I* fit in is with my ability to come up with titles which make our conferences sound less like UKIP rallies and more like eye screening seminars, but that aside, there were some very good speakers, including one who summed up I.T. departments by stating that they respond to his requests by saying "The answer's no. The reason is security. What's the question?".

I liked him. But not as much as I liked the chocolate pudding at lunchtime. I have to say, there's nothing like a rich chocolate dessert at a diabetes conference. It really hits the spot. I suspect the menu was sponsored by one of the insulin manufacturers. This one was particularly good, and appeared to have been prepared in heaven by sweet angels of goodness. And then chopped up by the work experience girl. I was tempted to go back for seconds, but was concerned I might end up belching into my wireless microphone. Not that anyone would have heard me.

As it happens, the building was designed by a belcher, so it's what the architect would have wanted, but the advantage of a tube strike is that it gives you the chance to walk off your excess puddings. And having done a 70-minute round-trip on foot from Victoria to Wimpole Street, I felt fully justified in pigging out. I just wish I'd stopped off at number 57. According to Wikipedia, it's where Jane Asher lives. It's no wonder their cakes are so good.


Big Sis said...

I was in London yesterday as well, but I spent 60 mins in the taxi queue at Paddington station before driving past your building!

Phil's Mum said...

Maybe you should have walked as well!

Poirot said...

Sadly I spent 60 minutes trekking and found myself at Edgeware Road which was not the destination on the Monopoly board I was aiming for (AND I didn't see Everest) The choc pud was delicious though!