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Midlands Thing Report
Nothing is more difficult than writing a summary of a Woodcraft Folk or DF event for people who weren’t there. Events are something you have to go to, as opposed to reading some guy’s interpretation of what it was like. This isn’t like a review before the release of a long awaited film – this is more like me telling you how I had this really awesome meal at this really awesome restaurant last night. The fact of the matter is that you (assuming you, the reader, didn’t go to Midlands Thing) have missed out. Ha. I went, you didn’t. I had fun. You didn’t. We took part in DF democracy. You should’ve too.
And now for a blow by blow account of some of the things that happened…
Midlands Thing was in Birmingham. Birmingham has pretty good rail links but pretty awful signposting and we spent a good quarter of an hour finding our way from Birmingham New Street station to Birmingham Moor Street. We met Martha at the platform edge, after receiving mysterious texts from an unknown number of “when are you getting to Midlands Thing?”, which I helpfully answered with “soon bizzatch”.
We nearly didn’t get off at the right station. The snow was still about 1 or 2 inches think on the platform at Small Heath. There were hardly any lights, it was about 5pm and it was now very, very dark. We had no map, but I had my (nearly) new netbook with the event’s pack saved, which had tiny screen shot of the route on one of the pages. We would get lost, argue, discuss and take out the tiny computer in my bag and squint at it’s blinding screen, trying to make out if “we should cross the dual carriage way or break into an industrial estate or phone somebody”. When we finally reached the site there was no one to greet us as somehow, at 5.30pm, we were the first DFs to arrive. Everyone else did turn up eventually.
As you should know, DFs are lovely people and they are no less lovely people at a business event – they may even be more lovely. Friday evening, everyone had the opportunity to chat to each other and catch up on what people have been up to. Most conversations turned towards the Cuts and Fees protests and we all had stories to share about student occupations or kettling, or in my case, peacefully protesting outside the guildhall in Bath and arguing with portly “Mr Birling”-like Tories. When nearly everybody had arrived, Joe Bowler treated us to an epic quiz, which everyone really enjoyed (and as of that day, a collective noun of Elfins is known as a “Mistake”).
After morning hot beverages, business began. Apart from the room being quite gloomy and stuffy, setting off a few people’s asthmas, business was really productive and we managed to get nearly everything done before dinner.
Some things discussed were:
- an updated financial report
- which projects should stay and which should go
- DF electoral system
- land co-ops
- re-launching the Huge Ideas Pot
- and much more…
(Soon there will be some really awesome minutes up on Span That World – read them: minutes are awesome)
Food was amazing. Most of the ingredients were skipped and hence meant the food budget for Midlands Thing wasn’t fully spent and that we saved perfectly good food that would have been wasted. It was a real shame we had to buy most of the other ingredients for the food from an ASDA, because the nearest Co-op was 20 minutes drive away from the site and no one at Midlands Thing had a car.
This has been my first regional thing and I cannot wait to go to another. Not only was it a really great opportunity to see my friends and catch up with what people have been up to, but at a Thing, all DFs are empowered to take part in the movement. The only downside of the entire event was the lack of non-committee DFs at Midlands Thing – next time, everyone should bring themselves and a buddy and try and make SCOTTISH THING the biggest Thing ever. Ever.
EDIT: This has been Samir’s experience of Midland Thing. Have your own that you want to share? make a post on spanthatworld