31 August 2012

“Here come old flat top”

Now I know that many readers will be thinking, “This guy’s meant to be an author, yet the grammar in his post title is awful!” But then it’s not my grammar: it’s Lennon and McCartney on the subject of meetings. ‘Come Together’ really is an amazing piece of music, and I have always imagined that it describes a conference for a profession that time forgot... like the annual penguin shepherding convention, which sounds silly but is something I’d like to attend just for the banter value.

This year I’m attending my first TCUK in Newcastle and – having just filled out my workshop preferences form – I’m looking forward to great things. Of course as a theme tune we could never use ‘Come Together’ by the Beatles, as we’d suffer minor apoplexia due to the grammar (and anyway, we’re not that ugly). I was half thinking about the Beegees’ ‘I’ve just got to get a message to you’, but then I realised that, as conference themes go, it’s quite morbid. (It’s sung by an individual on the way to the gallows who’s looking for a chance to apologise rather than being technical communication based.) In fairness, it may be fit for a political party conference, given the current state of affairs.

So what piece of music could work for the TCUK conference? I wracked my brain and have two suggestions. The first is ‘Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft’, which I feel is a song that could well have been written by a technical communicator, given the precision of the lyrics and the range of vocabulary used. I’d like to think that if ever we did encounter aliens, there’d be at least one technical communicator on the scene to stop some boffin or politician saying something that’d get us assimilated, exterminated or made the subject of some ritualistic predation.

Option 2 is a cool yet understated instrumental, like the Bond theme played on a harp (I wrote the blog before discovering someone had actually done this!). This would work because, firstly, tech comms is an extremely cool profession, and – like 007 – we tend to find ourselves working in many different sectors. Secondly, whilst 007 may be able to diffuse a wide range of explosive devices and pilot any vehicle known to man, he’ll only be doing so because a technical communicator has done it before him and documented how it’s done.

So, I’ll see some of you at TCUK. Some of you will just be missing out by not going, and some of you will be reassured that Clearly Stated are staying up to date and at the forefront of the profession, no matter what theme tune is playing in the background.


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