The popular event for the boring conference is very popular

2016-06-08 「 4660 words / 9 minute 」
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大多数会议往往都很无聊,尽管这并不是组织者的本意。但是有人故意组织一场会议,说的都是全然无趣又乏味的事物,那就是每年在伦敦举办的“无聊大会”。信不信由你,这个活动非常卖座,与会者能听到的就是关于各种各样无聊事情的讲话,比如纸袋、卷筒卫生纸的质量控制、灯柱,和砖块。
Most conferences tend to be boring, although not intentionally so. But there is one event that is deliberately dedicated to all things dull and tedious – the 'Boring Conference' hosted every year at London. Believe it or not, it's a sell-out event where attendees are treated to talks on all sorts of boring things like paper bags, toilet roll quality control, lamp posts, and bricks.
你要问了,像“无聊会议”这样的活动是怎么发展起来的呢?是这样的,它起步于2010年,当时负责组织一个叫做“趣味大会”的人说他太忙了,就取消了那次活动。詹姆斯•沃德是一位英文图书作者兼营销人员,他在社交媒体上发帖回应这一声明说,他喜欢无聊的事,无聊的事也应该庆祝。他的帖子引发了许多人对这个可能会存在的关于无聊事情的活动的兴趣,于是人们开始问他在哪里能买到这种活动的票。那一年,沃德组织了世界上第一场“无聊大会”。
How did such a thing as a Boring Conference come to exist, you ask? Well, it all started in 2010, when the man in charge of organizing an event called the Interesting Conference canceled the whole thing, saying that he was too busy. James Ward, an English book author and marketer, replied to the announcement, saying that he liked boring things and that they should be celebrated too. His social media post got a lot of people interested in a possible event about boring things and he started getting questions about where to buy tickets for it. That year, Ward organized the world's first Boring Conference.
今年的无聊大会于5月7日在伦敦康威会堂举办,这是过去六年来连续举办的第六次活动,一共425张票,短短几天就卖光了。沃德总是第一个讲话,因为他想把“目标设低”。他说如果人们一开始就不抱什么期望的话,演出就只会越来越好。去年他讲的是明信片上老邮政大楼的照片。
This year's Boring Conference, held at London's Conway Hall on 7 May, was the sixth consecutive event in the last six years and all 425 tickets were sold out in just a few days. Ward always opens up the event himself, because he likes to "set the bar low". If people start with poor expectations, then the show can only improve, he says. Last year, he spoke about postcard photos of the old Post Office Tower.
根据此活动的网站,“无聊大会为期一天,是一场庆祝平凡普通、显而易见却又容易被忽略的事物的活动;那些经常被视作微不足道、毫无意义的事物,一旦更仔细地审视它们,就会发现其中深藏的魅力。”
According to the event's website, "The Boring Conference is a one-day celebration of the mundane, the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked; subjects often considered trivial and pointless, but when examined more closely reveal themselves to be deeply fascinating."
无聊大会过去讨论的话题包括打喷嚏、IBM收款机、烤面包、自动售货机的声音、条形码、海上天气预报,还有其它类似的没人感兴趣的话题。今年的大会有20位演讲者,话题也同样让人听了打瞌睡——比如说1999年的家用喷墨式打印机、德国电影的名字、怎么用旅馆房间里的设备做出精致菜肴、还有世界各国国歌的相似性,每个人的发言时间为10分钟。
Past topics of discussion at the Boring Conference have included – sneezing, IBM tills, toast, vending machine sounds, barcodes, the Shipping Forecast and other such topics of no interest to anyone. This year's event had 20 speakers cover similar snoozeworthy subjects – such as the domestic inkjet printers of 1999, German film titles, cooking elaborate meals with hotel room equipment, and the similarities between the world’s national anthems – in 10-minute slots.
如果你想知道举办这种没有意义的大会目的何在,沃德说“这一天是为了庆祝平凡普通、显而易见却又容易被忽视的事物。”他补充说,人们可能认为涉及的话题“琐碎无味,但当你更细致地审视它们,就会发现它们深藏的魅力。”因此,事实上只有话题是无聊的——人们期待着演讲者能够找到方法,让他们的讲话变得有趣。
If you're wondering about the purpose of such a pointless conference, Ward says that it's meant to be "a one-day celebration of the mundane, the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked." He adds that the topics covered may be considered "trivial and pointless, but when you look at them more closely, they reveal themselves to be actually deeply fascinating." So it's actually only the topics that are boring – the speakers are expected to find a way to make their talks interesting.
“基本理念就是,主题是应该是无聊的,但内容不无聊,”沃德解释道,他在营销领域工作,还写了一本书,叫做《在文具中冒险:铅笔盒之旅》。“话题中必须有演讲者真正热爱的东西,这样才可以把它挖掘出来,使它变得有趣。事实上大多数东西,只要你足够细致地观察它们,都会变得迷人。几乎总会有迷人的地方。”
"The basic idea is that the theme needs to be boring, but the content shouldn't be," explained Ward, who works in marketing and has also written a book called Adventures in Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case. "There has to be something in the topic that a speaker with a real enthusiasm for it can bring out and make interesting. In fact most things, if you look at them in enough detail, can become fascinating. There's almost always something there."
所以之前关于干手机的演讲就因为一个故事而变得非常有趣——“一个男人对干手机非常着迷,于是就在家里装了一台戴森Airblade干手机。”还有一个演讲者,本来计划讲不同金属的相对重量和密度,可他全程都在大厅里溜旱冰,观众们都被他迷住了。怪不得无聊大会每年都这么卖座!
So in the past, a talk about electric hand dryers has been made interesting with a story about "a man so fascinated by them that he had installed a Dyson Airblade in his house." And a speaker scheduled to talk about the relative weights and densities of different kinds of metals enthralled the audience by rollerblading around the hall the entire time. It's no wonder that the Boring Conference is sold out every year, then!