Just to catch up with blogging of memory competitions I've been to this year (not many of them; no money and various jobs getting in the way. Why can't I have no jobs and various money?), it was the ninth UK Memory Championship the Thursday and Friday before last, in London. Specifically, in L'Escargot restaurant in Soho, an interesting kind of location - right next door to the main shopping places in London, which is nice for touristy things but not so nice for peace and quiet in the memorisation room. The room itself was hugely, vastly too small (if you'll forgive the confusing adjectives) to fit everyone in, so we were all sort of squeezed together at desks with really quite cool and sturdy partitions between us to minimize cheating.
I wasn't really expecting to be able to compete with the top memory superstars (Simon and Yanjaa), not having done any training, but there was always a chance I could retain my 'best British competitor' title against the stiff competition of Marlo Knight and James Paterson. I might just have done it if I'd managed my 25.66-second pack of cards in the final discipline, but that was the only one where I came close to a non-mediocre kind of score, so I can't really complain about being reduced to 'Third-Best British Competitor', a title I'm very proud of, and dropping my trophy on the floor and breaking it was genuinely an accident, which I'm very sorry about! Seriously, great stuff, Marlo!
Apart from that embarrassing moment, it was a great couple of days! It's always fun to hang out with memory folks big and small (six-foot-ten giant Lars from Denmark and miniature Melanie from Germany were among the strong international field, as well as not-quite-as-big-as-Lars-but-still-really-tall-and-deserves-a-mention-since-he-travelled-all-the-way-from-America-and-is-generally-awesome Nelson) and the obligatory journalist - there'll be an article showing up in Saga magazine all about it! L'Escargot has a really super cool bar/lounge up in the attic, with no end of cool decorations and a big skylight, it's a great place to hang out.
I'd namecheck everyone who was there and talk about the results, but they're not up online yet and I'd only forget to mention someone, so I'll just play it safe. But there was a nice spread of people who got the medals for top three in each discipline, and a lot of people were very happy with the scores they did get, so it all worked out well for everyone! Huge thanks are due as always to Phil, Gaby, Chris and everyone else who helped out with the organisation and arbiting!
It really would be nice to get back up to the top level of memory competition, but I don't think it's going to happen...