So I went to FOSDEM Part 2

So we left off in part 1 that I was munching on a particularly nice burger from Manhattn’s. Having finished the food and downed the bottle of Coca-Cola, because they don’t serve hot drinks in there, do they! I started to make my way to Delerium Cafe where the Pre-FOSDEM party was to be held. Now I have to say that Google maps were a Godsend throughout the weekend, how on earth did we all get around before with paper maps and street signs before Google Maps? TBH I didn’t even follow the road names which are all mostly seven million letters long anyway! I just followed the little blue scope dot as it moves along your route. Now it wasn’t till later I discovered that the area I was heading to is called Delirium too, that’s an important bit of information that I was not privy to before setting off.

Do you know where you’re going?

Arriving in Impasse de la Fidélité, I saw a bar with a Delerium neon sign. “Ah, this must be the place.” I entered a kind of Bavarian looking ‘small’ establishment, and there were a few people who sat at the bar making it almost impossible to get a drink. I looked around and thought “Wow this place is small?” but in my defence, there are two bits of information you need to know. Firstly my Mate Ade had said to me “You need to get there early Pete because it gets packed solid.” ah! That’ll be because it’s small then won’t it? And secondly, I saw a group of FOSDEMITES sat at a table, so this must be the place, right? I managed to get the bar dude to stop flirting with the two girls for a second so that I could order a beer “I don’t suppose you serve Bitter here do you?” I won’t bore you with the ten minutes of him suddenly pretending he no longer understood the English which he was speaking fluently two minutes previously but suffice to say they only serve Lager. They may well like to call it beer, but it’s Lager! Anything that’s a golden coloured, pumped full of 60% Carbon Dioxide and 40% Nitrogen more commonly known as 60/40 mix is LAGER! So I bought a large Lager of some description and tried to find a seat in the cramped seating area. After a few minutes the FOSDEM people got up to leave, I figured maybe they were going for food or something and took one of the seats they’d vacated. Sipping my Beer Larger, I started to feel a bit uneasy: “This doesn’t seem right?” I thought, How are they going to get a few hundred people in here? It was then I noticed a sign saying Delerium Camp or University? I can’t remember. Clearly, I was in the wrong damn bar!

Token Price.

Fortunately, Delerium Cafe was next door. Two guys sporting FOSDEM teeshirts were dying to stamp my wrist with blue dye “What’s your favourite distribution?” the one said to me. He caught me unawares, I admit it, I was in a bit of a flap having been in the wrong place: “LINUX!” I proudly replied to which he said “Well that’s not really a distribution is it?” oh god, he’s not going to let me in? I quickly responded with “Fedora, Ubuntu and Arch Linux” Arch seemed to do the trick as he seemed suitably impressed I made my way to the bar. “Pint of Bitter please sunshine.” well, there’s no harm in trying is there? After being offered Heidi’s armpit ale (Larger) and cherry blossom soap on a rope Larger I just pointed at a tap and said “Give me a pint of that.” of course we’re in Europe aren’t we, so I suspect it was a Litre although your choices are small, medium or large, how quaint. The barman placed the drink in front of me, and I offered him €10.00 “NO! You must have a token.” Token? What’s he talking about, Token? Out of the blue Chris Ellis from Wolves Lug came to my rescue: “You need to buy some FOSDEM Tokens from the front Pete.” sure enough two guys were sat with a price list near the entrance “Go on, I’ll have 5 Tokens for €20.00” I said and hurried back to the bar to retrieve my drink, I gave the barman one Token, and we were back to square one again: “NO! Two Tokens.” TWO TOKENS? Jesus H that means two drinks, and I’ll have to buy another Token if I want a third! Chris explained that while it made the drinks a tad expensive, the proceeds went to FOSDEM so muttering under my breath I went for a wander to see if there was anyone else I knew.

Billy-no-mates.

Delerium Cafe is spread across two levels and pretty big, and at eight o’clock, which is still pretty early, it was packed. I pushed my way around a bit but couldn’t see anyone I knew so made my way down a side section past the photo booth (I bet some interesting photos are taken in there after a few drinks?) and managed to find a seat right at the back. Sat there like some saddo I waited for Adrian and Ilka to arrive. Fortunately after only a few minutes and mouse-sized sips of my drink in an effort to make it last Ade sent me a text “Which floor are you on?” I could, in fact, see him across the room and so sent him a text saying as much. Ade was starting looking around, and I had to stand on my chair so that he could see me across the sea of geek heads filling the room. Because it was so full we decided to go upstairs which turned out to not only be a little bit quieter but also the bar took money! This is where I discovered that Ade and Ilka drink by alcohol content. As they studied the various drinks on offer, they would first look at what the flavour was and then the alcohol content, too low or too high they rejected each one until they where in the 8% -10% range. “Beers are a lot stronger here Pete; you need to pace yourself,” Ade said and so I did and slung as much down my neck as possible.

I didn’t see that many people I knew upstairs although Sem Schilder, who looks nothing like his Mastodon avatar, messaged me on Telegram “Where are you?” after telling him we were in the perfect location i.e. the bar on our left and the toilets in front of us Sem showed up for a chat and a picture. Sadly one of his friends was taken ill, and he had to leave. Still, saved me buying him a drink. Ilka and I had a brilliant chat about how our respective partners cannot understand how come we are tired when we get home because all we’ve done is sit on our bums all day apparently. I totally empathise with her when she said “Sometimes I just want to sit quietly staring at the TV” I’m exactly the same, some nights I don’t want to hear family talking, I’ve heard enough talking throughout the day!

Here comes Liverpool.

Finally, my good friend Dan Lynch turned up Dan was late arriving as he had been occupied trying to steal the hubcaps off the Eurostar. I can’t remember much of what we talked about, by now I had consumed a fair amount of 11% glasses of very dark stuff. I do remember Dan leaving before us and the very next Day asking me what time we left given he left at 1 am. I must have done a lot of talking because my throat felt like I’d been singing all night at the top of my voice the next day.

I have missed out the ‘Blue Tonge’ incident, but if you look on my social media accounts, you should find it there.

In part 3 we’ll hear about taxis, snow and overpriced food at FOSDEM

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