Tag Archives: Gadget Show Live

Black and Redline, Euro and Gamer…

A lifetime ago (well, three long years) I was asked to do something that changed everything and added around 20 years onto my forehead. My hair was uniformly orange back then and now it’s a mixture of citrus and snow.

I was asked to run a stand for the college at the World Skills Festival, to be held that year in London at London ExCeL.

To my shame I knew nothing about the World Skills Fest. I didn’t know it was the Olympics of education, nor that it had been running for decades all over the world. I didn’t know that students competed for a place to represent their country nor that they showed off the best of industry working with education. World Skills is a fabulous thing. Had I known how good the opening festival would be I would have taken my daughter with me, for example. It was a little less Olympics and a little more Eurovision and it was utterly brilliant. I fell asleep during the show once, but only because I was absolutely shattered. I had probably worked two 80+ hour weeks back to back and had one more to come.

I pitched for a space, with this picture, saying that we’d be happy to run a, say, 2 x 2 m stand showing off tablet artwork.

 

(which I drew on my trusty iPod touch using the very lovely – at the time – Brushes app v2).

They came back with a positive suggestion.

Could I do a slightly larger stand? 50 square metres or so?

How much?

This much:

and, when filled with people (as it frequently was) it looked like this:


… and if you don’t believe me, check this video out. Still makes me smile/gives me chills.

Since then the students and I have done a couple more events (BETT, BETT, BETT, Teentech, Teentech, Adobe, Adobe, Autodesk, Magic Summer, Eurogamer, MCM, MCM, Channel 4, Sky Arts, Bohunt, Barbican, Surrey Skills, Surrey Skills, Royal Academy, Digital Surrey, London Mac User Group, Art on the Street, London International Technology Show, World’s first tablet only life drawing session and so on…)

And, of course, the Gadget Show Live:

Which, at 120 sq m, almost broke me, I’ll admit. Organising 70 students, a residential and everything on the stand to an available budget of £2,500 was a ridiculous challenge but one that worked out beautifully in the end. Well. Not at the end, naturally, as the end saw me wrapped up in carpet and frog marched to the coach.

I mention all of this as I’m  deep in the heart of organising our next event: a 60 sq m stand at Eurogamer Expo. And you know what? I’m enjoying the doing of it, because I always do. So far it’s all moving along quite happily and mostly all the jigsaw puzzle pieces are in place. A couple are still left to do but it’s merrily ticking away.

I probably shouldn’t say that 🙂 but hey. Organising something like this I’m happy. I can’t wait to see the stand, there’s some ace artwork already coming in, I get to see the disparate pieces for the stand banner come together tomorrow and it’s just fun. Organising events? Yeah, I can do that.

Two weeks from now… Can’t wait…

And, for the first time, I’m going to Cosplay at one of the things we’re doing. All sorts of fun planned…

But why Black and Redline for the title? Well… The stand is entitled ‘Welcome to Guildford’ and we’ll be riffing on the Guildford games heritage. The original idea was to print screenshots of games from Guildford but that turned into a complete minefield so, instead, some tablet artists of fabulous note are going to change the history of Guildford games and create the titles that could have been… It’ll be amazing, trust me. I’ve seen the pictures as they’re coming in. It’ll be brilliant.

Two weeks 🙂

Gadget Show Live 2014 video 1.

Ahhhh the optimism in that statement. Video 1. That assumes I’ll have the time to upload more (there are a couple more videos that I could do, a couple of pictures didn’t make it into the video mix).

But anyway, video 1 from #GSL14 which I thoroughly enjoyed. Hope you like too.

Drawn on an HP desktop, a Lenovo 7 inch Win tablet, a Dell 11 inch tablet, an add on screen that turns any monitor into a touch screen monitor, a Sony Xperia Z, a Boogie Board (a simple magnetic sketch type slate) and a Surface 2 attached to a larger touch screen monitor using a Jot Script, a Pogo Sketch Pro, a Stylus Sock, a New Trent stylus and of course my trusty Nomad Compose short hair brush. Mainly using Fresh Paint app (although I did also use Sketches on the Sony).

Could have bought so much at the Show 🙂 As it was I only bought an Olloclip but that makes me smile muchos too. Back to work now though… Sigh…

Painting at the Gadget Show Live.

A year ago (and a week, last years setup started on April the 1st) I was doing this:

This year? Well. There was a lot of talk about doing a stand again, and the students and I were certainly keen… But with some tech problems hampering student output, with an EQR just before and another to go back to, not to mention the dreaded O word coming up soon (and in ed that only means one thing) it just couldn’t be worked into the calendar. Very sad but the stress levels are high enough at the moment, ta.

So instead a friend and I went up to do the show together (to just, you know, walk a show floor without being in charge of 40 students and 20 screens for people to draw on 🙂 ) and excellent fun it was (and is, being on until Saturday I believe).

Too much to blather on about now but I shot a lot of video, which I’ll edit when time allows (but soon I hope) and I’ve got a pile of marking I’ve got to get to at some point. But here are some of the bits I enjoyed most. You know they’re going to be about screen art before you scroll down though, right?

I bought an Olloclip! Well. I bought my third Olloclip (having had a 4S version, a 5S version and now a multi macro version 🙂 ) Expect more macros. Here are a couple of 21 x shots of a 3d printed selfie 🙂


((ironically the above pic is my favourite of the 3d Selfies… Less in focus* but something about it makes me smile.. *the less in focus is more to do with the fact that I took the pic on the train from Watford to London Euston 🙂 ))

So, yes, that also meant I was 3d scanned and printed 🙂


I drew on little screens (a Nokia 1320 and another one but can’t remember what number it was…)


Less little screens (Lenovo 7 inch Windows tablet):


and bigger machines (Dell Venue 11 tablet):


Slightly bigger desktop screens (HP desktop):


…and bigger than that screens:


… and bigger than that screens 🙂


In short? Lots of fun 🙂 Drew quite a few Stylus T. Frogs and Marmite jars, chatted to loads of people, including a few friends from other trade shows and last years Gadg-a-stravaganza and did a lot of demo-ing a range of styli on a range of screens ‘cos I’m more than happy to multi task and chat when someone asks me a question…

Now my feet hurt so I’m sitting and blogging and drinking a cup of coffee 🙂 and, in my mind, I’m sort of planning next years stand, really hoping we do one.

And finishing up with the obligatory Olloclip picture of my lunch:

Macro Sushi seaweed. Yum 🙂

The Frog, The Flamingo and the Gadget Show Live. Behind the scenes and initial thanks.

Oh my golly, oh my goodness.

It’s been a week. I fully intended to blog throughout but… Well, we’ll get to that. This is NOT the blog about the show. That’s to come.

A few short weeks ago, in the middle of February, the idea was mooted that the event co-ordination we did for the World Skills Festival could be replicated at the Gadget Show live. It seemed a HUGE amount of work at one of the busiest times of year (academically) but one that would be far too cool to turn down.

So I did. Exams and time and pressure and money won. But fortunately for me (and, hopefully, others) the Gadget Show Live team were persistent and somehow we managed to find a happy middle ground that saw me saying yes to 64 square m of space in one of the coolest tech hubs in Europe.

So far so good. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Then, at one point, we were ROYALLY done over by Travelodge (quoted just under £3k final bill nearly £5k. Long post about that to come) and, despite support from Microsoft, SMART board, Autodesk, ArtRage, Sampli, Wise and others it all seemed like it would all come crashing down. On one of the planning days – the worst planning day – I managed to catch a glorious 3 hours sleep – mainly because I fell asleep within ten seconds of sitting at the laptop with a coffee perched in my hand. Fortunately I didn’t move I was so deep asleep and the coffee was removed from my hand as soon as my wife realised I was solid gone. This has been a month of 18 hour days and, ironically, it told during the Gadget Show week itself, although hopefully no-one but me noticed…

Somewhere along the line (I’m looking at you Sally) I received an email that, I quote, asked us to take on a “small bump” in space. From 64 sq m to 84 sq m. And then, somehow, it turned into 119 sq m. I should learn to say no. But my inner egozilla believes I can do anything so I didn’t.

It was pride – my pride – that caused some of the issues we had in the final two weeks… I was so determined to make it not cost any money for the College I work at that I should have asked for money earlier. As it was I didn’t and tried all other avenues but time, by this point (far) less than a month away, and Travelodge seemed the enemy. Well. Travelodge mainly, but the clock was certainly ticking.

And then, somehow, despite all worries to the contrary, it all came together. The College I work at put in £2.5k which means, on a budget on less that £8k we managed to run, very successfully, the 10th largest stand at the show (if you exclude the speaking stages, 18th if you include them…) You can check out the floorplan here: http://www.gadgetshowlive.net/birmingham/files/gadget_show_final_201327.032.pdf

I absolutely could not have done it without the staff who helped on the stand and looked after the students as I did my thang: Dave, Kath, Helen, Terry (stand and minibus) and Chris (also a fabulous minibus driver who’s also a new dad, hurrah Team Chris).

Nikki was, of course, fabulous. She did all of the risk assessments as a: she’s one of those strange people that likes paperwork (sorry, still doesn’t compute) and had an interest in doing so as 5 of the students we took were Aspergers or Autistic and she is the ASD specialist in the college. She was on the stand every day an ASD student was in need of her skills but also ran everything brilliantly as I ran from one side of the NEC to the other when we needed a camera or similar.

Nick Thatcher was, of course, (cue the A Team soundtrack) the person behind the Tablet Eye Stand, the easel security system and much more and, sadly, the only thanks I could give him was a 15 sq m stand for him to show off his AMAZING one wheeled Raptor arduino controlled “Segway” like device. He is amazing, you should check him out.

The visiting artists were brilliant: Kyle Lambert rocked every screen he came into contact with and Stefan Marjoram – who I found out a couple of years ago that I went to college with – was as awesome as he is modest. It turns out I was also at college with is wife who is as lovely and generous as Stefan is. They’re a good match.

Paul A was a brilliant in house film maker and I can’t wait to see what he puts together of the week.

Fiona from (cough: the Marmaraiti :cough) was a brilliant visitor as was Ewen Rankin from the British Tech Network.

Sally, Helen and Anne were fantasticaly helpful, patient and kind. I spoke to some of the other exhibitors and their teams, and their 10 x my paltry budget, were, I’m sure, far less bother than I was. But we all managed to come together with something magical in the heart of the show and loads of people started their questions to me with ‘yes, but what are you selling…?’

We were joined brilliantly by the lovely Lumilyon. If you don’t know her name you should – she is one of, if not the, most prominent and fabulous phone photographers I can think of. No-one shoots more diverse images and cleverness than she does and integrating her into the mix was one of my dreams come true. And, of course, when you have a world famous Phoneographer in the house, a Lumen Prize Finalist, a world exhibited artisan of high regard, you can’t not have her on the stage, so, on the Saturday and the Sunday, without fanfare or prior notice, hundreds of people were given an explanation of her artwork and working process. Lucky people! I was so busy I only caught a quarter of an hour of the two 45 min sessions 🙁 But if I could afford her for every event I would do so – she is a star and, in this case, I was lucky.

But the biggest thanks goes to the students. Without them it would not have worked. 40 of them spent 3 – 7 days holed up in a Travelodge (more on that later*) and the Birmingham NEC without complaint, without pause, without hassle.

DO NOT DISS STUDENTS. Some can be, yes, moany alcohol fuelled brats I’m sure. We all were weren’t we? But  I took 40 to the Gadget Show for a week and they were awe inspiringly amazing. I shall write more of them later I think. But to spend a weeks residential, working 12 -15 hour days, walking around 8 miles a day or so, showing them off as possible work experience stars? Never anything less than a pleasure. I like my students a HUGE amount and if you need digitally literate IT or graphics work exp kids give me a shout..

Only at one point did I have to tell anyone off for noise past the 11pm curfew and, it turned out that it was a non-College Travelodge user. Still, after I gave him my patented death stare

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. But… not just yet ok? I’ve honestly never been so tired.

More to come – pics, vids etc… but for the moment – that was the College at the Gadget Show Live 🙂