searchABLE: why

A couple of people have asked what I am doing with searchABLE, a little event I am helping to put on next Monday at the Cross Keys in Leeds.

searchABLE is a reaction to the desire/whinges of a few people who are “lower down the food chain” in the Leeds search sector. Their boss won’t give them the time/money to go to events like, say, (and I’m not picking on them here, just illustrating) Think Vis and ionsearch. Those events are a hundred quid a ticket as well – to a lot of kids and kittens in the digital biz that from your own pocket is a lot of dough.

Also, we are talking about a sizeable workforce in Leeds (and the surrounding area) here. There’s nights in Leeds for Ruby, PHP, Javascript, there’s Creative Networks for, um, creatives, and the list goes on so why not try this? Given the number of people who work in Leeds search businesses it’s worth a go, to try to put a more lo-fi event on. There, in theory, should be the audience.

So, I’ve hoodwinked some of my colleagues in the sector to have a go at doing that (detail on who is over on the event’s Eventbrite page. We’re going to have a bash at putting that a right, to whatever degree. And thanks to the Cross Keys for giving us their upstairs room we can have a go at doing it for free to see if people fancy it.

It’s not a full-on conference – that’s not what this is about. It is about people who know search talking and sharing their insight and thoughts in a more intimate environment. Upstairs at the Cross Keys there’s a bar, there’s tables, there’s chairs, but there’s also a screen for the presenters to stand in front of.

The lucky few who have put their hands up to my calls are going to present on a number of search topics (there’s still room for a couple more!). And for a laugh I am going to be running SEO bingo through the event.

searchABLE might last an hour, it might stretch to two hours, and it might only happen once, but it’s a chance to get search people together and see where it goes. If it bombs, we won’t bother again. But if it works, there’s something to take forward for the city’s digital comunity – like those other events in Leeds for Ruby, PHP, Javascript and so on.

There are still tickets going (and it’s FREE remember – you’ll just need to buy drinks!) – and there’s also space for people to talk and present at. So, come along!

You can get a ticket to searchABLE by clicking here.


Give yourself to this film’s trailer

Here’s a trailer for an upcoming film. You may have seen it already. You may not. Have a watch and we’ll continue after that.

As trailers go it’s a beauty. The Universal studio card disappears into the first half of the trailer’s signature style, eerie bass strings under a battered man being interviewed, leading up to the question “Will you give yourself to this programme?”

“Yes”. Kenneth Kitson, blocked in, taking up a fraction of the screen, disappears into black. Cue a strike of sinister brass. The eerie strings are still there! We’re thirty seconds in. It’s an atmosphere that is ominous, that is foreboding. If you didn’t know what this trailer for, you’re about to get some great big fucking hints.

Drugs! A woman’s voice makes it clear they’re mending him! The eerie strings lurk with rasps of the sinister brass.

Cut to another scene, another voice: “There is nothing you wouldn’t do for this country.” A cut and… it’s Ed Norton! “You have the strength to do what’s necessary.” And still the strings and brass, building in intensity, building the tension.

Now we’re following an older bloke. There’s Kenneth Kitson all fixed. And then there’s Albert Finney! The audience gasps!

“Welcome to the programme,” he intones with gravelly menace as the penny drops for the rest of the audience: it’s another Bourne film!

The screen fills with the sight of the new “Bourne”, Jeremy Renner. We’re halfway through the trailer. Most trailers would leave it here with you already excited, leaving you on tenterhooks.

But not here. Now it’s time for what they’ve made him into, to show you Kenneth Kitson is no second rate Jason Bourne.

Running! Windows smashing! Hitting! Revelations! (But without giving too much away.) Improvised weapons! An explosion! More hitting! Jumping from a tree and then falling while hanging onto another tree! An aeroplane! A gun being put together! Renner taking aim with the gun! And all while the soundtrack builds up from nothing, more and more, until a shot silences everything.

Cue the film’s title.

I was made aware of the trailer on Empire’s website, so knew what it was coming in – which is a shame. If I was to see this at the cinema without any prior warning, if I’d been sent this as a link with “just look at this!”, as a fan of the three Bourne films so far, I wouldn’t know what it was already – I’d have been guessing what it was about 20 seconds in. I know Jeremy Renner is taking over from Matt Damon. The early reference to “the programme”. My God how exciting would that be?

The internet is brilliant at viral campaigns and all that, (and the fact I can actually watch this trailer without going to the cinema) but here is a time when I wanted to just have had that childlike surprise when I see something for the first time without any warning and just coming away thinking “WOW!” I wished I’d have seen it at the cinema, where the trailer looks like it really belongs, with those blocks of images in the first minute coming up from the massive screen at the front, the sound in the second half surrounding me to the point of frenzy.

The thing is, it is an ace trailer, it really is – it makes the Bourne Legacy look absolutely fucking ace, with oodles of style and grace (the editing is top drawer)! It’s grade A marketing – and does what trailers should do: make you want to see the film now – and at the cinema.

Level crossing

There is a zebra crossing just near to my workplace, on Water Lane in Leeds (above). I have to cross it every morning heading into work. I have to cross it every evening heading home. It is a zebra crossing that strikes fear into me every day, thanks to the drivers who use Water Lane.

There are times I have stood, clearly waiting for the traffic to stop – but it doesn’t. I walk onto the crossing and regularly cars on the other side of the road carry on. I have been halfway across and likewise cars have flown past behind me. Some days it’s fine – the traffic stops, I go across, no big deal. But I use this crossing ten times a week at least. I thought I was just being reactionary, but decided to record my experiences from the start of the year.

During the first five working days of this year three of the ten crossings I made were marred by impatient drivers who drove over the crossing while I was clearly still on it. Two other times drivers ignored me waiting to cross.

I am not alone in this fear. It’s an issue for a lot of pedestrians in the area. And there is no need for it to be this bad.

So, here’s a deal. Every morning, every driver that shows the courtesy to stop while I either wait to cross or while I am walking over I will thank. That’s drivers going both ways. And I will show similarly grateful gestures any other time I cross.

And if you don’t stop? I’ll do my best to not get angry, avoid injury, and get your licence plate number – and publish it online.