July 2010: It was a year ago this week, we had #CozyTweetUp in the Queeens front Garden – St James Park, the blog post from that night is below, it was awesomeness, a lot of love, really. This year we are gathering at Regents Park, and celebrating Glenn @Lesanto 50th Birthday. See you in the park around 7ish – Baker Street tube entrance – somehwere around there. Just tweet #CozyTweetUp.
Skip to the first photo below of a Picnic if you’re not interested in a *Totally* indulgent section about me, it could be be a waste of your time and I wouldn’t want that.
If you know me from Twitter, you can also skip to the picnic photo if you want, as you probably know all the stuff below already.
Where to start, erm…I’m a very fortunate man, discounting monetary value, I believe I am quite rich, certainly in 2009 anyway, who knows what might happen in 2010 though ?
Why and how am I rich? (you maybe thinking, oh please)
- I don’t have to work the 9-5 (does that exist?) five days a week , but I do have to work, which I love because, I love my work, so it doesn’t feel like work (most of the time).
- I have three sons, the age spread is 21, 16 and 8 – all three have different natural talents and they know what unconditional love is. Jayne my partner loves me (still) too. I’m surrounded by love.
- Physically, despite my best efforts (I smoke too much), I have good health, I am not impeded in anyway, hearing, sight, touch, smell, no disfigurements and all my limbs function.
- Mentally, I invest in the fitness of my mind. I’m paid by some to think ( others to talk), so it makes sense for me to spend money on servicing my mind. I am blessed with a two forms of intelligence, the “normal” ( i.e. measured) IQ and Emotional Intelligence (CISCO rate it, I like CISCO, but not academia really, I could be wrong though?).
- I’m trusted, respected, quoted and I’ve been “missed” (being “missed” is I think the greatest compliment you can receive) both on a personal and professional level.
- I know how to love men as well as women and I’m not afraid to cry. ( I cried the heaviest for many years a few weeks back when Richard Mitchell died, Richard was just 28 and a truly exceptional young man).
- I may have another 20 years on the planet with my good health.
- I know how to use the internet, Wifi and some other mobile devices. I can have a good Mac and when I need to I can buy “Game Changing” gadgets like the iPhone.
- I’ve worked (and still work) at a senior level in industry, I really get about For example: I’ve been with Bill Gates in a meeting for over the usual hour. (please… it’s not a brag, just trying to frame things for later). And right now, my embryonic business is starting to progress beautifully into it’s next stage.
- I can dance and I love music. But I’m not big on Rock, not sure why, I think because I can’t dance to Rock, I feel stupid when i try to dance to it.
- Because of Twitter, the number of wonderful people that are a part of my life has blossomed like a great big like a sunflower over the last 12 months.
- I belong.
If you have listened to my tweets ( I say listened, because a tweet is a noise right?) over the last year or so, you would know all of that
If you haven’t listened, I don’t blame you I’m noisy, and it’s a bloody noisy place, full of all sorts including Porn Spammers (that’s the internet I’m afraid)
I haven’t always been rich, I started life very poor (maybe one day I’ll cover the poverty story, this is about life’s richness) which is why this week has been such a special week and I just wanted to share it.
I went to a #CozyTweetUp Picnic this week, I missed the first one (#CozyTweetUp) in the restaurant, because Joe(21) had SwineFlu. But @mazi asked me where we should do the next one, I said a picnic in St James Park London SW1 (Her Majesty the Queen’s Front Garden) and @ilicco agreed. Then as he does @mazi made it happen, even securing a drinks sponsors because of Twitter conversation with @hedgewhytch (pic below)
Sponsor 1. #Magners… who delivered 7 cases (84 bottles) of Pear Cider to my flat in Westminster. Thank you #Magners ( and their London based digital marketing agency), it was delicious I loved it. I don’t drink pints of anything usually. so here’s to Pear Cider
Sponsor 2. #Media140 who I went to the Tesco’s with to grab some wine, plastic glasses, black bin bags and some ice. Ande (#Media140 Founder) picked up the bill out of his own pocket as well as the Black Cab fare to the park. “Well Played” Ande thank you very much.
So… We arrive at the park and someone is “on” Ande within seconds, literally as we were getting out of the cab, nice guy was congratulating Ande on his London and Sydney events being confirmed. Anyway, walking up to the picnic area there are loads of people (scarey to walk up to) under three big and beautiful shady trees, it 30 degrees in London. Thankfully ( I get really nervous entering any kind of gathering, just the entrance bit.) I was greeted by Izzy who had also invited Olie. Olie had decided to do a wonderful spread of food, enough for 5/10 people maybe (see first pic in this post). Amazing! he also brought along some nightlight candles to take the edge of the darkness. I had never met Olie, so Olie was, you could say, a total stranger! from Twitter!
Has that ever happened to you ? Someone you’ve never met before, creates and serves food for you by candlelight for no other reason than kindness and a desire to connect. It’s weird stuff some might say, for me, it’s a new age of computing and communication. The art for me will be, how we you use online to connect people offline to deliver real, social and world change. Mankind 2.0 by 2050 maybe
Anyway, back to the picnic! The Picnic was a first for me. Heading to the park, for a picnic with friends and friends of friends after work is something I have never done before, I’m in 41 years old, I felt like a child. But… this is no ordinary picnic, it’s a picnic for “twits” or is it “twats” ? well I prefer “tweeters” myself, so I can relax and just be a me and enjoy the moments.
The picnic lasted about three hours. And for three hours I was just in this bubble of relaxed pleasure with some great people, (some uber smart and earthy), some I knew, most I didn’t. One person, Britt traveled all the way from Devon for the picnic, and saw her kids in London on the same day. “Well played Britt” [When I use "Well Played" it's in the style of a very pleased Football (Soccer) manager.]
Inevitably I got a little merry on the cider, It doesn’t take much for me to get a little cheeky and say edgey things to shock or make people laugh, sometimes I get it wrong and offend people ( it mortifies me), I’ve seen Jayne cringe several times over the last 21 years (that’s another post I guess).
About 2 hours in, I was stumbling through the darkness trying to avoid treading on rugs and food etc, as I was stumbling around Vikky reached out with her voice, “Daren, this is one of the most lovely nights, this year”. Hearing those words, from a person I had only met a few weeks previously, whom I admire and respect, just melted me.
Well… I’ve never had a large picnic in the park with friends, especially not in the beautiful St James Park and since being a kid, I have always dreamt of it. Vikki re-enforced my own feelings of just how lovely the picnic was, it felt surreal, it was Perfect! actually. I don’t think you can get any richer than that. And “that” is being with friends, feeling at one with them and sharing your thoughts and feelings with them. We often share our frustrations with our family and friends, how often do you share your feelings of enjoyment ?
So… that’s it really, a beautiful night in a park with friends, for very little expense but with a big bag of Happiness in return. I was brought up to believe happiness was achieved by having more than somebody else, a better car, a bigger house, more fashionable clothes, in my house, even being a better fighter (harder) was supposed make me happier. Luckily that’s all behind me now (my up bringing), and my son’s have certainly never had a whiff of such nonsense. If you can find some happiness, you’re rich, and you’re richer than most, because to me, it just “feels” like there ain’t (I know that’s not a word) a busting lot of true happiness in society. Except on Twitter of course
The picture slide show below was put together by Benjamin Ellis (great man). The pictures in the show were taken by Paul Clarke, Ilicco and Benjamin. I hope you enjoy the slide show. I like listening to the track from Elbow, performed with the BBC Concert Orchestra (I trained at Ashridge Management College with a wonderful man from the BBC Concert Orchestra team) – One Day Like This.