I'm not going.
It's a month before the competition, and all we're hearing is debates about whether it's going to happen, whether there'll be any prizes and whether anyone will go. In the complete absence of any communication from the people running the event, I've been waiting for the German gang to decide whether or not they're going before I book my tickets - I know they've been talking with the WMSC about the last-minute changes and shambolic organisation - and when I had an email last night from Boris, Mister Memory Enthusiasm himself, saying he still didn't know whether he'd be going, that was the final straw.
If I'm not excited about the World Memory Championship with a month to go, there's something seriously wrong. I've decided it's time to flex whatever remaining muscle I've still got in memory-competition circles and make a stand - because if I don't, I can see what's going to happen: we'll all go to the competition anyway, it'll be generally rubbish, and then next year will be even worse. So I'm staging a one-man boycott, and if the handful of people who haven't already done the same want to join me, more power to you.
This isn't the kind of decision I take lightly, you know. The World Memory Championship has basically been my entire life for the last decade. But this year's event just doesn't feel like the World Memory Championship any more. It's very sad...
I do feel guilty about depriving people of the opportunity to beat me, of course. When I won the WMC in 2004, I got no end of "Well, Dominic O'Brien wasn't there" responses, even though I would have totally beaten him if he had been. I'm not sure if my absence would have that effect on this year's winner, but I still feel bad about it.