The legend of the phoenix, all ends with beginnings

Written by @marcemarc on Monday, 05 October 2020

It was National Poetry Day in the UK last week, and I’m reminded of my Umbraco poem of a few years ago, and how that earned me the semi-official title of ‘Umbraco Poet Laureate’ or I think we decided on ‘Umbraco Artist in Residence’ - because it’s more than just the poetry isn't it?, remember: the watercolour package-icon paintings, the #umbracostreetbingo / #iseeumbracologos photos, the panini sticker album, hack the merchandise, the puppet shows, umbanksy, Umbraco Man, the performance art of festival non-attendance… and ‘Codegarden: The Musical’ that sadly lies unperformed due to Covid.. etc etc

I say semi-official as it was a joke in a conversation, but it came from the mouth of Niels Hartvig, so how much more official can it be? (although, he also has described me as the ‘Mario Balotelli** of the Umbraco community’… and I’m not diving about the place and un-fulfilling my obvious potential on the world stage in response). But hey I got the business cards printed all the same.

Anyway, with any kind of ‘official artist position’ in an institution, you get to well, have a very loose and undefined job description - do ‘artistic things’ whenever you fancy (hey, where’s my bursary?) - but every now and then because of a momentous event, you get coerced to write something commemorative… a birth, a wedding, a sad parting of the ways...  for the official record...

… and it’s really hard …

And I don’t have the words for THIS poem, fortunately, however, somebody else did…

So this is 'Niels Hartvig Festival Keynotes Opening Lines Refactored', a rudimentary cut-up poem in the style of the Fluxus art movement, taking lines from the first 3 minutes of any Umbraco Festival keynote that Niels has delivered***, and reordering, repeating etc, to try to capture well 'something'... to commemorate his hiatus:

You should try to be up here

clumsy, ok thank you for waiting
Let's see if we can get this up and running
umm we gotta a lot to cover over the next one and a half hour
so errr, Say cheese, ahh awesome, what a wonderful day

Thank you very much for coming errr
welcome to the biggest Codegarden ever
without a doubt our biggest ever
the biggest err ever Codegarden
we are more than 380 people err today,
which is err about a little more than twenty times the people at the first Codegarden
err this year there is more than 700 people,
which makes it more than 30 times bigger than the very first one
err so awesome to be back at the err the err Umbraco festival

Hey, before we start I just want to be the first one to use the 'hi-five I suck' tag
the only thing that makes this very different from my normal Christmas Eve
is that I don't get sweaters like these from my inlaws which makes it even better...
so the book will be a little delayed, and that's my fault

ahhh it's amazing to be back
umm I've really been looking forward to this
I love Codegarden is because we're all together
all the people you talk to on the forums, maillist people suddenly you see them in real life
this is fantastic
but we just have so much to share

You should try to be up here
it's scary and awesome at the same time

so let's err let's start
perhaps always people say
Doug has this weird thing on my machine, I can't see anything
aha he has notes, he's been preparing
which I have of course...

You should try to be up here
I was here I think as the slide says quite a number of years ago
We have slides and we have demos and there is so much that can go wrong
err which is awesome

So back in the day Per and I did demos and they failed
and then we were told you can't fail in a keynote
so then we made boring slideshow demos
and pre-recorded videos
and almost no dangerous demos
and we are so bored
we need stress
we need panic
we need to smell bad afterwards
and then Pete Duncanson isn't here
so we are going to have a buffet of Yellow Screens of Death

You should try to be up here

those hats are still in use, err at the HQ you have to wear the hat
if you forgot to log out of the computer
and someone gets to post in Slack that you are giving out free beer,
you have to wear the hat.

I am really excited that so many people have come here
it's pretty wild to just stand up here
one of the reasons I love Codegarden is because we're all together
all the people you talk to on the forums, maillist people
suddenly you see them in real life and for me, that's kinda like Christmas Eve

just think about it for a second
people gathered here
all passionate about Umbraco
travelled across the world to share our ideas, our thoughts and maybe even umm... some code
I really think it's crazy

you should try to be up here
it's the most awesome sight ever

Are you ready?

I don't know if you can see the slides now?

Community and Infinity
Are you ready?
don't worry it's not as abstract as it sounds

there is a long break after this one so err

and now I have transitions

* He didn't want a song...

** Strangely, this wasn’t the first time I’ve been compared to a footballer. When working with Kevin Jump at Liverpool City Council, he once described me as ‘The Eric Cantona of the team,  he reckoned all the work of the team on a particular project seemed to pass through and be linked by me.... And previously when I worked in the comedy industry at Avalon Management, the comedian Frank Skinner described me as ‘The Roy Keane of Avalon’ always busy, popping up to fix things and organise different parts of the business, keeping things going when it was least expected, and it seemed like all was lost. Anyway, I’d just like to say that with these three particular talented footballer comparisons, flattering though they are, that, well - I DON’T HAVE AN UNDERLYING PROBLEM WITH ANGER MANAGEMENT OK?

*** Since, all these words are all available in keynotes videos, somebody, with a lot of time on their hands could stitch together a video for this poem - editing all the bits together from the source videos :-P sorry if I've made you inspired to do that...