Backtracking: In which Beshemoth accidentally infiltrates FOSDEM as one of those Fake Geek Girls you hear about. Day two.

By morning I was madly paranoid about this conference, which was not helped when we stepped out of the overflow hotel to see people being told to drink up at the bar next door. Was it or was it not seven a.m.? My brain got seasick.

After breakfast, the remaining stragglers were still being evicted from the bar.

Our party had assembled, by this time – I was the only woman, and the only one who did not have a clue about Linux. Marvellous. The Bossman included me in the conversation by informing everyone that I could be a Booth Babe for their product. I grinned weakly and hoped he was joking, because I had dressed as unisex as possible, and did not even know what their product IS.

However, the conference turned out to be rather less of a mystery than I expected. One of the Bossman’s mates had made a big pink spider that could be programmed to do the Gangnam Style dance, and when I got hold of a programme, I discovered that loads of the stuff on display here was stuff I actually use – Firefox on which I do intensive Wikipedia-based research for this ill-advised novel, and sometimes stay up all night investigating the possible life-supporting capacities of nearby star systems for Background; Libre Office, on which I am writing the ill-advised novel; and GIMP, on which I am failing to get anything I want done at all because I am Cursed.

So I went to a talk on storytelling, which sounded promising, and it was indeed; the guy was talking about the importance of narrative and giving the media a narrative they can take hold of, for which you need characters and a plot, because otherwise the narrative is owned by the big companies who copyright everything, and meanwhile here are all these wee people running wee start-ups or, a lot of the time, volunteering for free just to be part of making something. I started to perk right up, although possibly this was the coffee. I mean, not saving the world or anything here, but it sounded downright cooler than a lot of other stuff people (myself included) spend their time doing. I was at a conference of people Doing Stuff For the Hell of It! Woo!

Again, the ratios of white folks to people of colour were pretty much 95:5 – even with people being here from all over the world – and which, to my shame, I might not even have registered if it wasn’t for the ratio of folks in the street. I have no idea why this was how it was, but I don’t imagine only white folks like programming. I also imagine that at this particular sort of conference, the folks would welcome more people who aren’t like them, but share the same passions, because they all seem so lovely. Also, and I might not have read so much into this either but for the fake Geek girl furore in certain parts of the internet, but there were about twenty guys for each woman, and one of the women was me, who shouldn’t be here.

I did have a conversation with one of the other women, who was on stall duty; the Bossman told her I was an artist, and she was all, ohmygod, wanna contribute to this project on representations of gender in media? So we passed the Bechdel test with flying colours, but on the other hand… two women meet at a massively male-dominated conference and.. instantly talk about gender. On some level, this is total fail.

On the other hand, of course we would do that.

I woulda contributed, too, because I was delighted to be asked, except I could not think of any damn thing cool enough, and also; sci-fi romance novel. Which I have been busting a gut trying to rip out before I lose steam and it just fizzles and dies. One thing at a time, my new motto for 2013.

After that we wandered around the stalls, where to my great delight they served beer, and we had a very cheap and downright delicious ale on the steps of the building, in the brief ray of sunshine before the snow came on. And then we went back to the hotel for a nap.

Apres nap, we met up with the Bossman’s friends/colleagues and we all went out for a few beers and a meal. Which was bad planning, because our party numbered more than six, and six is the maximum number of people to make any sort of decision about where to eat within the time frame where everywhere to eat is actually open. Eventually, we roamed straight into a Chinese restaurant that was delighted to serve me ‘leftovers in soup’ as I think the menu translated; and I was delighted to eat them because the soup was fantastic and the leftovers consisted of everything else on the menu.

It was good to retire to the hotel. The Bossman fell asleep and I sat in bed beside him, writing sex scenes to the gentle sound of his snores. God, I love that man.


About beshemoth

Mainly making art, making wine, writing and gardening. Having a life only as the above allows.
This entry was posted in adventures Abroad, backstory, feminism and other isms, social events. Bookmark the permalink.

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