London Is About to Host the World's Most Boring Conference

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Face it: Your life, probably, is boring. Sure, some of us are heavily tattooed underwater archeologists who speak fluent Sanskrit and collect psychic hamsters, but most of us are not. And that’s OK! Instead of always searching for the novel and exciting, you might try another approach: embrace the boring.

The organizers of London’s Boring Conference, now in its sixth year, have taken this advice to heart. The event describes itself as a “one-day celebration of the mundane, the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked.”  The conference, held this year on May 7, features 20 speakers talking for 10 minutes each. Confirmed talks this year include toilet roll quality control codes, East German traffic lights, and bricks. Tickets, alas, have sold out.

The conference was created by James Ward, who works in public relations and is the author of a book called Adventures in Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case. He recently bragged to the Financial Times, “I have a stapler for every decade of the 20th century at my home in Brixton.” He says he was moved to create the conference after the 2010 Interesting Conference was canceled.

Previous events, as noted by a recent article in the Fortean Times, have discussed concrete overpasses, domestic inkjet printers, similarities among the world’s national anthems, a man who counts his own sneezes, and a lesson on how to cook gourmet meals using the equipment normally found in a hotel bedroom. The latter sounds like it might veer into interesting territory, leaving us to wonder how strict snooze-worthiness is maintained.  Much like the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain, will the conference be deemed a failure if it works too well?