Bits and pieces

Life I've just returned from seeing Aleks Krotoski's talk at the FACT regarding social interactions within virtual worlds and their implications within the real world. To a degree I was approaching it in the same way as I might go to a book signing or a concert, to meet the person. Or if I'm being honest I just wanted to see in real life someone who in my mid-twenties I had a terrible crush on.

Fandom is a curious and puzzling thing. I think everyone has a list of people they would like to meet if the opportunity arose. This list generally includes people in the public eye. So off the top of my head, Kate Winslet, Woody Allen, Alanis Morissette and Michael Palin plus many others. There are also those who are prominant in whatever hobby or academic field you're following. Then there are some which you've just kind of followed for no readily connected reason but because you like their work, whatever that is.

So there I was tonight, two rows back from the person I'd watched on Channel 4's Bits in the middle of the night and whose weblog I still read on a daily basis. Like anyone in this kind of situation I was nervous before I went in and sat for the first ten minutes in utter disbelief that she was there. It makes no sense at all because the chemical reactions had dissipated years ago. But somewhere in minute eleven I forgot she was someone I'd wanted to meet for years and began to listen to what she had to say. I've written about that here. At minute twenty I asked a question and by minute forty-five I was involved in a discussion about social unrest within gaming environments telling an anecdote about Star Wars Galaxies, which Aleks then later used as an example when talking about something else.

It's probably not very flattering, but it was almost like the time I bought a Walkman. This was a way of giving that younger me in the past something, nourishing the soul. I wonder if when Aleks looked out at the sea of heads tonight she imagined that anyone was there for the nostalgia of it as much as the academia and just grateful that she turned up in Liverpool tonight.

Updated: Saturday, 5 February. Aleks has mentioned one of my discussion contributions in this post at The Guardian Gameblog. She says: "As an example, one member of the Liverpool audience brought up the mass movement in Star Wars Galaxies against a designer-led decision. The result was a gathering of thousands of people and a crashed server." Very odd feeling seeing something you said somewhere written about in this way. Actually it's hilarious.


  1. Although wierdly there is now the remote possibility that she'll read this weblog post and ...

  2. ... now I'm slightly embarassed. And commenting on my own post. Oh well.