England: a country steeped in a long, complex and often bloody history; the largest of of the set of great countries that make up Britain and a cantankerous arse of a neighbour to mainland Europe. At the heart of this country lies the city of London. Americans sometimes get accused of never leaving their country, for everything they could need can be found in that vast place. The same can often be said of the folk of London. It is after all a large city with all the pubs, curry houses, chip shops and shopping complexes that a Londoner could ever need. Why would they feel the need to venture elsewhere?
One day though something magical happened that changed all this. A man with the the oxymoronic pseudonym of “Fatboy Slim” thought it would be a bit of fun to have a concert on a pebbled beach in a town called Brighton. Many Londoners consulted their maps to work out where this “Brighton” was, piled on the trains that they discovered ran half hourly to said town and set off on a great adventure.
One such Londoner was a man by the name of John Davey. He wondered the streets of Brighton that day amazed that such a place could exist outside of London. So he resolved to bring greatness to the town of Brighton by way of thanks for that concert on a pebbled beach.
Years passed and John weaved his magic upon Brighton. Yet whilst Brighton now enjoyed many great festivals, from the Brighton Fringe, to the Burning of the Clocks to Brighton Pride, John felt something was missing. Then it hit him: with its liberal attitude and nudist beach, Brighton was an obvious place to hold a flashing on the beach festival. When he told his London friends of this, they laughed at him, for whoever heard of a big event in England taking place outside of the capital? So John looked further afield for help and persuaded folk from across the globe to come to this town of Brighton for the festival. And so it came to pass that the first Flash on the Beach was held in the summer of 2006. The very year a sulky, loathsome cheat by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo caused England to crash out of the World Cup. Flash on the Beach proved so popular that it eclipsed all other events in Brighton and became henceforth the de-facto reason for visitors to go there.
Five years on and some things do not change, for once again England have crashed out of the World Cup (this time simply because the team were crap). Other things do change though and sometimes they change for the better. Flash on the Beach is one of those things. It has improved and grown year on year and this year promises to be the best yet. This year, you can look forward to pitched battles between iPhone and Android owners and rotten tomatoes being thrown at Remy Sharp as he tells everyone that Flash is dead and HTML5 is the future.
If you are a CS4 user, you can attend numerous sessions run by Adobe employees where they’ll accuse you of being “so last year” and will show off lots of new features that CS5 has. You’ll come away knowing you could use these features to make your life easier and better, if only you could get your boss to buy the upgrade. Feeling good about yourself? If so, you can attend one of the many inspirational sessions in which highly talented “creative types” will put your meaningless existence into perspective, by showing you how awesomely great they and their lives are in comparison.
Finally there is the elevator pitch. For a whole hour, you can enjoy the sight of 20 conference speaker wannabes each try and put together a coherent and meaningful presentation in just three minutes before being thrown off stage to make room for the next
[Disclaimer: almost none of the above is true, though the bit about Ronaldo being a sulky, loathsome cheat obviously is]
If you have never been to Flash on the Beach, you could be forgiven for thinking it was just another Flash conference. Whilst technically true, this misses the point. What it really is is an annual enthusiasm recharge. Over the course of three days, a bunch of high quality speakers will fill your head with knowledge and your heart with fire, leaving you itching to do something brilliant yourself over the course of the next year.
With so much on offer, if you are a designer or developer who has anything to do with flash, flex, AIR or the web in general, you’d be a fool to miss Flash on the Beach. This is not least because this year I’ll be one of those terrified “rabbit in the headlights” folk doing an elevator pitch! So get yourself over to the Flash on the Beach website and buy your ticket now…