Listening in on other people's stories at SXSW

March 13, 2017

Our Lion received this anonymous missive from a SXSWer who describes one of the unique pleasures of the Austin experience – eavesdropping on other people's stories. Let the Lion know what you've been over-hearing today! Post your stories in his mouth online or at the Great Britain House.

 

Eavesdropping is such a valuable part of the SXSW experience. It's not frowned upon here - I feel like it's actively encouraged even. People talk loudly and give you smiling eye contact as they talk to the person they're actually with.
 
You get insights from these snatches of conversations that you wouldn't gain otherwise – the socially acceptable stages of introduction aren't necessary, who you are; where you come from; your company; role; ambitions etc – you jump straight to the observations, feelings and experiences of other SXSW'ers. There’s a nice unguarded ease in the way people talk to their companions but the storyteller in them comes out when they know they’ve likely got an extended (implicitly invited?) audience.
 
My favourite "overheards" today have been:
 
1. The best bit of SXSW is the film – no doubt. I used to come for the music festival but it’s become full of overproduced commercial pop crap, I’ve no time for it. The interactive is good too but the best are the independent shorts you get in the film festival. So interesting…

 

2. How many guys were on my bar tab last night? The girl came over and said I was at $160 and did I want to put a ceiling on it - seemed reasonable so I said no. At the end of the night it was at $1200. There were only 6 of us in our group. That's impossible. Who else was ordering on it? I need to spend some time looking through that itemised bill...

 

3. Two guys discussing the music festival: "What happened to rap man? It's gone all heartbroken – if I want heartbroken music I’d go ‘country’. I feel like rap is broken… I blame Dre... Well no first Lil Wayne happened, then Eminem round that time, then Fifty Cent happened and then around that time Nelly happened and then Outcast happened, then that Jay Z album, yes and then Dre... but men cry too... we cry too... yes we do.
 
Anon.

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