Security: Are you here for the “pro-Manchester” event?
Me: No, I’m here for the lecture.
Security: I’m afraid that you can’t entre this building. It’s been hired for a private event.
Me: What private event? Isn’t the lecture public? Can I go inside and ask about the lecture?
Security: No, you can’t. This is a private event.
Me: But I only want to ask the reception.
Security: You can ask the car park security next to this building.
Instead of having an argument with him, I asked the car park security about this lecture, and they confirmed that it was the same event that the security chap referred to. I entered MOSI, and found quite a few people (ca. 20) in suits and drinking. The receptionists saw me (in jean and t-shirt).
Receptionist: Hi. What’s your name?
Receptionist: Your name is not here. Don’t worry, we can make a badge for you right now. But it’ll be £35 to attend.
Me: £35? I thought it was a free public lecture?
Receptionist: If you are invited, then yes it’s free. But your name is not on our list.
[Meanwhile, I saw my colleagues from the Uni of Salford drinking and chatting.]
Me: How about these people from Salford Uni? Do they need to pay as well? You see, we got an email from our internal protocol telling us about this lecture, so my understanding was that this is a free event.
Receptionist: No, this is a high-profile event. You have to pay £35 if your name is not on our list. We can issue you an invoice so you can claim it back.
First the security chap, and now this receptionist who could not even read my title and affiliation on my business card. I wondered how high-profile this would be given these pretentious, snobbish, ridiculous procedures. Are they really that necessary?
I’ve made up my mind – no, I’m not staying. I am going to have the first-hand experience working at the MediaCityUK very soon anyway; I will be one of the people shaping and driving the MediaCityUK – who cares about a random columnist’s opinion about BBC’s move to the MediaCityUK?
This is not the only event taking place on a Thursday evening at Manchester. I said “thank you” politely to the receptionist and walked out of the MOSI building. I was off to MadLab for the Blank Media Collective “User Generated Content Exhibition” Launch Opening. I reckoned seeing an Arduino-powered Twitter drum at work or reading a status-stealing poetry would be more creative, more enlightening and more entertaining than this lecture by Steve Hewlett.