StatusNet London meetup 

Last night saw the inaugural meeting of the StatusNet London user and support group.

The event was attended by two gentlemen from London and two people who flew in specially for the event from sunny California.

The venue was the Cleveland Arms hostelry in Bayswater which was an excellent choice by Frank; a traditional English pub with a wooden bits, a great selection of real ale (Sussex Best, Greene King IPA, Adnams and Timothy Taylor) and a jukebox that played ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog (remix)’, R.E.M and The Cure.

So, if you live in the UK (or Wales for that matter) and use identi.ca, hang your heads in shame. Yes – we’re looking at you rpcutts.

Attendees were:

  • Frank Jones (frankenspock) – Fall fan, creative writer, Dyson AirBlade evangelist.
  • Robyn Fantastica (robynfantastica) – not a pseudonym – she really is ‘fantastica’.
  • David Marsden – (davidmarsden) – arrived 30 minutes late as he’d come all the way from North London. London Pride T-shirt.
  • Andy Cowling (andyc) – Wore a deckchair shirt. Not a drug crazed zombie caked in flour. Loves quizzes.

Frank immediately impressed us with his retro style, original identi.ca T-shirt which drew gasps of admiration.

We had a good chat about our backgrounds, how we got onto identi.ca in the first place, our favourite posters and the best one-liners.

Robyn and Frank were slightly perplexed about the tipping etiquette expected in London’s cafes, restaurants and bars. Robyn then confessed to tipping the barman the princely sum of £1.20 for pouring out 4 pints of beer which made David and Andy laugh as the only tip they give to anyone is ‘Hey mate, never eat yellow snow’.

Frank then dispensed his stack of StatusNet booty and amused us with his custom business cards (‘Usenet celebrity’, ‘Types with both hands’, ‘Novice Lumberjack’ and best of all ‘Not Aligned With Vampires’).

In turn, Andy was perplexed at Frank’s description of Ohio as the ‘bread basket of America’. David pondered for a while and concluded the UK equivalent was ‘Devon’.

Frank owned up to attending a Fall convention on Saturday where 20 people drank beer and exchanged cryptic Fall quotes.

Robyn was a lovely lady who does a lot of good work for ‘charidee’ but doesn’t like to talk about it. She also drank pints and stood her round.

The chat continued and the advent of a pub quiz with the MC shouting the very simple questions into a microphone hastened the call for food.

Bizarrely, we happened to chance upon an Italian restaurant that Frank had previously identified on t’Interweb. Even more bizarrely, the restaurant was called ‘Bizzarro‘.

The food was decent enough and reasonably priced given the central London location. The group awarded ‘Junior Programmer of the Year’ to reality for all his sterling efforts on Python utilities that start with ‘Identi…’.

As ever, the simple matter of paying the bill and division by 4 caused problems which were traced back to the rounds in the pub not being equalised meaning Andy had insufficient change to make this contribution of £12.50 so ended up owing David 60p (or was it 90p ?).

Despite buying David a quick, final pint for the road (or train in this case), Andy will forever be tarred with the worst insult known to an Englishman – ‘That tight fisted bastard doesn’t stand his round. Plus he owes me 90p.’

Still, it didn’t stop Andy looking deliriously happy at this outcome – ‘A great and cheap night out’.

It was a great night and fantastic to meet up with people and chat face to face and one that would never have happened if Evan hadn’t started up identi.ca back in July 2008.

As I said many times during the night, identi.ca and the people on it have given me so many laughs over the years, it’s hard to imagine living without it.

So to Evan, the StatusNet team, David, Frank, Robyn and all the people who make identi.ca what it is – thank you !

Viva La Community !

PS. David – DM me your address and I’ll pop a postal order for 90p in the post.

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