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Waiting in line...

You can’t always guarantee a seat for the most popular events at SXSW. Festival goer Ian told our Lion about the jeopardy of waiting to get in to popular sessions...

Don't forget to tell the Lion your stories at

Ian Hughes: You can cut the tension with a knife. We’re all lined up for a session, and we’re not sure if we’re going to make the cut. We’ve arrived early, we’ve lined up for ages, we’ve even brought snacks. But we’re nervous. We’re at the back of the line.. We gaze at the people at the front (If we can even see it and collectively wonder: what time did those guys arrive? Did they sleep here…? Suddenly a crowd surrounds us. The last session is out. The tension ramps up as we all start to worry that people are cutting in. Not deliberately, but they just haven’t realised that the line is split to make it easy for people to get around. “Hey, buddy! The line starts back there!” we all silently scream. But the panic passes. The line moves. We all shuffle forward, still apprehensive. Then, finally, we can see the door. The volunteers are scanning badges and pointing to empty seats. But the line slows. Someone with a radio mic wanders out and starts telling people that it’s at capacity” but you’re still thirty places from the front. Scan, beep, shuffle. Scan, been, shuffle. We edge our way to our rightful reward, one by one. And then it’s your turn. You’re at the very front of the line. You can actually see into the room. The omnipresent glow of a hundred phones and MacBooks cast an eerie glow on the faces that, in your head, are all turned to you with an expression, somewhere between sympathy and smugness, that says “not for you, my friend”. The tap, tap, tap of the keyboards build to a cacophony that, in your head, form a rhythm that says ”you’re not coming in, you’re not coming in, you’re not coming in”. The volunteer with the scanner is avoiding your gaze. She feels uncomfortable. She doesn’t know how you’re going to react when she has to turn you away. You’re torn between feeling sorry for her and barging past her to claim your hard-earned prize. But you stand firm. You’re above that. You’re cool. Then you’re not cool, because you see the sign from across the room: the other volunteer has raised a single finger (no, not that one) and you’re suddenly giddy. Does that mean I’m getting in? Am I to be rewarded…? Yes! You’re in! You stride through the sea of faces that now, in your head, are fixed in knowing expressions that, in your head say “welcome”. The tap, tap, tapping is now, in your head screaming “you’re one of us, you’re one of us, you’re one of us!” You get to your seat. You squeeze your way in. You are sorted. You are validated. You are in with the “in” crowd. You are suddenly gripped by a stark realisation: You are in the wrong room…

The Lion that was at the centre of 18th Century coffee house culture is roaring again at SXSW 2017.
Read all about him and post your own stories in the Lion's mouth.
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