Novell runs an event called Brainshare, an intensive get-together for developers, clients and the press. The European version kicked off today in Barcelona, a city well equipped for the task. It's a work hard, play hard business: the best bits happen in the bar afterwards, when executives and hacks mingle and strike sparks off each other. It's even rumoured that some high-level Novell suits regard it a matter of personal pride to get the hacks absolutely steaming — but as that rumour was put about by one rather raddled chap who confessed to 'losing five hours' trying to get back from a bar to the hotel, it should be taken (like the margaritas responsible) with a pinch of salt.
One journalist — who agreed to talk under conditions of anonymity, although he's starred in the Diary before and I am, as always, open to bribery — was at the receiving end of the Novell largesse until quite late, but sensibly made his excuses and returned to his room before things got out of hand. Or so he thought as he slipped gratefully into reviving sleep: his psyche, however, was having none of it. He came to some time later with four facts struggling for supremacy in his fogged consciousness: one, that he had been sleepwalking; two, that he was now facing his shut hotel room door; three, from the outside; four, that he was stark naked.
He ducked behind the nearest potted palm, and considered his position — which was, whichever way he looked at it, crouching naked behind a potted palm in a hotel corridor. This is not tenable, even in Barcelona at 0300. He briefly considered trying to rouse the PR to obtain a towel, but quickly decided that appearing naked at her bedroom door might be misinterpreted (or worse, correctly interpreted. "She's quite a hotty" he told me, "and I wouldn't have minded…"). Nothing for it but to take himself in hand and bluster it out at the front desk.
I asked him whether he stepped boldy or whether he covered his shame. "I used both hands," he said. "Make a note of that. Both hands." The front desk rose admirably to the situation, issued a new key without demanding ID, and our hero made his way swiftly back to safety. "Still maintaining your decency by hand?" I asked. "Certainly", he replied. "But it could have been much worse. The bar only closed an hour beforehand, it was full of people from Brainshare, and it overlooks reception".
It was only after I'd finished extracting the story from the hapless streaker that the great unanswered question struck me — how did he carry his room key? There are two obvious ways, and only one involves the mouth. There are some mysteries best left unexplored, I feel.