It is now Wednesday — the beginning of SXSW Day 7 — and I have been here in Austin for almost a week. Things are starting to change around these parts, and I found myself yesterday feeling a slight sense of loss. Maybe it was a long string of sessions and socializing and too little sleep. To be sure, last night I took a much needed night off to rest up and recuperate before Music kicks in. But most to blame for my blues, I think, was seeing all my Interactive friends, new and old, leave the building, as it were, only to be replaced by a different batch of old friends, and plenty of new ones, to boot. It wasn’t just the people, it was everything they took with them — the geek passion, the futurist slant on present day tech, the strong sense of community, the slovenly chic, the MacBooks, the iPhones, the….I’ll stop there.
Maybe I am jumping to some conclusions, but I can’t see the Music crowd being as cohesive or convivial. I have a sense that there might be a lot of grandstanding and standoffishness to put up with in the next few days — I know I’ve seen enough of that throughout my days in rock ‘n’ roll — but maybe that’s just my projection. So far, though, it is clear that the Music crowd have their own trappings – scruffily slick, cocked hats, deep, dark glasses, headphones, guitars, black leather, the list goes on.
Somehow or another, I walk the line between these two worlds, between geek and glam. I embrace both, but oddly don’t feel a full member of either. I suppose I’ve never been a “joiner,” persay, which might explain my sense of partial-belonging. As SXSW morphs from the stage of ideas to musical ideas on stage, I will be very curious to see how the tenor of community here changes. However it goes down, when you’ve got two of the most awesome, creative communities in the world to celebrate with, why not take a bit of both?