Thursday, 6 November 2014

Back at the NEC - 'tis an odd place.

I'm here for the Lab Innovations exhibition. Chris came too for Hobbycrafts. Our halls are as far apart as possible.
The trades Union UNITE are holding a conference here too, and walking between the different venues I kept passing men trying to look like Ed Milliband (the Labour leader for non-brits). I did see a bunch of ordinary people go in - these are the ones who actually 'do' stuff - but there was a difference between them and the ones looking like they were holding power. Quite curious.
Dixon's Carphone were having their Peak event to keep the managers fired up, and the people emerging from that seemed mostly male, late 20s/late 30s and dressed all in black. There was the occasional 'older sales-type' but they were rare.
Hobbycrafts attendees were almost entirely older women, older than Chris. Not of any one type, though obviously well off.
And so to my own exhibition.
This years show felt a little smaller than last years (part of the hall was blocked off, which I don't recall previously) with nothing exciting or new to discover. The job title MD got me a VIP entry which was a much smaller deal than it might be, causing me to grin at the silliness of it.
Seriously though, the 'Lab Week' exhibitions in London Olympia in the early 80s were huge, with the world flocking to sell lab equipment to an innovating British science industry. That there was no show for a long time, and this one is so small tells me a lot about science in Britain now. There have been a lot of mergers, rationalising, downsizing etc. But as much as anything I wonder if the animal rights protesting has simply caused the work to go elsewhere with fewer restrictions and a workforce who are really pleased to work in something better than telesales.
As for me, I think the time may have come to get a proper job again.

I'm not sure posting from a phone is a great idea.

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