Tonight I went to the fourth Public Address Great Blend shindig. This one was at Hopetoun Alpha, which is a splendid old building with panoramic views of the city sweeping over to the North Shore.
Anyway, the theme of this Great Blend was something along the lines of television and the internet and intellectual property – a few of my favourite things.
The special guest was Ashley Highfield who is the BBC’s director of new media and technology (yeah, I cut n paste that), who had apparently been flown out here courtesy of the British Council especially to talk to New Zealanders who spend too much time in front of computers.
The evening started with a short performance from Ladi Six. It was just her an an acoustic guitar and it was generally lovely, but she seemed a bit apologetic and unsure of herself, even after she’d warmed up and had people in the audience stealthily grooving in their chairs.
Next Russell Brown did an interview/discussion with Ashley Highfield. It was very interesting, because the BBC are doing some very interesting stuff. Fo’ example, they are trialing a system where viewers can download TV programmes to watch up to seven days after they have screened.
This sort of thing really excites me because I miss out on so much excellent TV that isn’t on at a time that suits me. There is no longer this massive urgency to watch TV show. In 1986 I might have made sure that I was in front of the TV to watch an episode of Macgyver because if I missed it, that was it – no DVD release, no BitTorrent, and certainly no ability to download a missed episode from the broadcaster.
But now, missing an episode of, say, “Lost” doesn’t bother me so much because I know that sooner or later it’ll come out on DVD and I can watch it at my leisure.
After that was a panel discussion that went into those topics of discussion a little deeper and with more relevance to New Zealand. It seems that the wheels of progress and innovation can move rather slowly around these parts, but there are some really good ideas and people to want to do good things, so that makes me glad.
The evening’s entertainment concluded with a performance from Pitch Black, but it seemed that most people ended up moving outside to engage in some debate and discussion about the night’s events.
I was so caught up in too many interesting conversations that I didn’t even get to do the rounds and say hello to everyone I wanted to. A sign of a good evening, I think.
I’m amazed that such an excellent and informative event can take place at no cost to the audience – and not only that, but there were free sausages, which, in my book, is the hallmark of a good time. A bloody good time indeed.