I find it such a curious thing how the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency can unexpectedly thrust you into all sorts of adventurous situations.
For instance, shortly after arriving in London yesterday, I found myself tucking into a free Cornish pasty on the Rik Mayall memorial bench in one of the most splendid parts of the capital that many visitors forget about – the vibrant and oft-overlooked Hammersmith.
I’m a country boy at heart. A paid-up Yorkshireman more at home in a field surrounded by nothing and no one than I am engulfed in a swirling mass of strangers – each one daring to burgle my oxygen or ruin my view with… well, their actual presence.
Yet there I was. Tolerating the noise and the smell – that rancid stench of impatience that washes over you each time you walk a little slower than they would like you to be going. It was, after all, almost 7pm and I had been getting in the way of their journey to one of the many stylish-looking health suites peppering the streets that were, no doubt, once lined with local boozers and the odd pie shop.
It’s the time of night when they dash toward their micro-gyms with all the determination of an angry hamster desperately craving its wheel.
Gazing down at the remnants of my own pie, I was suddenly reminded of the last time I was in this part of our glorious capital. Of course, it was Calvin Ayre’s magnificent party. Samurai dwarves, caviar, Champagne, naked models pretending to be sushi tables, ice sculptures the size of my car, an indoor circus and a 6ft 5in drag queen.
This time, however, I was sharing a park bench with some eastern Europeans as they addled themselves on strong lager while I triumphantly feasted on a free Cornish pasty having taken back the Ginsters chicken and mushroom slice that was out of date.
I suddenly became very aware that my latest visit to the smoke was not up-scaling my rock and roll.
In a lame attempt to bring my sensation of awesome back up to where it belonged, I headed to catch the sunset off Hammersmith Bridge.
It worked, albeit briefly.
Back at my painfully disappointing hotel, I tried hard to map out what the following day (today) – BlockchainLive at the Olympia – would bring and how I was going to work the room like a boss, visiting each stand, having coffee with lots of important people, and taking in some of the terrific talks that were being lined up by an array of great speakers.
Eventually, drifting into a sleep that would be broken by four parakeets (I know. London, right?) enjoying the sunrise from the aching guttering above my hotel window it was time to get my schizzle into gear and head off to Olympia.
By 9.30am it soon became apparent that my fanciful idea of taking coffee with the CEOs and founders of all the great companies there or interviewing some celebs of this industry was about to turn to absolute dust.
Before lunch had even considered suggesting its own arrival, there was a queue of nine people waiting to talk to us about what Coin Rivet does.
I arrived with about 250 business cards, and suddenly I was down to one. I clung to it as if I was personally incubating the only surviving egg of a glorious species that was staring down the unforgiving barrel of extinction.
Now, the people of blockchain are a remarkably resourceful bunch and, after overhearing my announcement that I had but one business card left, someone suggested taking a photo of my card. Genius! There was then a small queue of folk lining up to hover their phones over the battered remains of my final card.
By 2pm I had already met around 40 amazing people – including some of our own fantastic contributors like Jon Walsh and Dominic Frisby.
It was also around this time that I realised I hadn’t eaten anything, had a coffee or even managed a trip to the gents since 7am. Frankly, I hadn’t even escaped the 3m x 3m confines of Stand A46!
Remarkably, there was no escape. No lull in the endless queue of people keen to hear more about Coin Rivet and how we bring real journalism and quality original content into this rather niche space of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
It was relentless and, frankly, knackering. I’m writing this now aboard the last train home out of Marylebone and I feel mildly destroyed, yet unwaveringly victorious.
Thank you to everyone who came up and engaged with us, thank you for all the brilliant comments, and thank you for your superb company.
In all my years in journalism I’ve never encountered such a clamour for a publication I’ve been involved in.
I also can’t remember ever going so long without food, coffee or a pee!