Remembering the sauna-like conditions of last August's Thirst Thursday, for this year's event Computer Weekly booked a bar with a sun terrace and scenic river views of London. The only problem was the weather - it rained cats and dogs for the whole evening.
Thirst Thursday is Computer Weekly's monthly networking event for IT professionals. It allows people in the industry to meet in an informal environment, have a free drink or two, tell us what they would like to see in the paper, and perhaps even find a new job.
On 2 August, 75 IT professionals met at The Doggetts Coat and Badge pub on Blackfriars bridge - it takes more than a downpour to keep ITers away from a free bar.
As people turned up and let their hair down, the serious business of networking began. Some were happy just to get a drink after a day of network crashes and end-user stress. While many regulars brought colleagues new to the event, some even attempted to bring their entire department.
As well as chat on the burning issues of the day, such as why Minidiscs are not used for data storage and the problems caused by a casual dress code in the office, conversation ranged from dotcom failures resulting from foot and mouth to the theory that the world has been populated by just five families.
Attention turned to the technical side of IT with the ever popular Thirst Thursday quiz. The questions were a bit easier than usual, and elicited some reasonable scores. Teams were very competitive, reflecting the sometimes hidden desire by ITers to flex their IT knowledge - and walk off with a magnum of Moet.
Many thanks go to the ITer who helped the quizmaster hush the rather rowdy crowd until the bar staff provided a microphone. Anyone who says the voice of IT cannot be heard within the business should come along to Thirst Thursday - these are voices that can be heard at volume.
The quiz has come to represent a watershed at Thirst Thursday. Up to this point the proceedings tend to be fairly chatty and not too noisy. However, after the quiz the atmosphere becomes a touch more lively. Whether this has anything to do with the booze consumed is anybody's guess. Needless to say, ITers carried on until the final bell, networking and having a good time.
The strategic decision to stop serving spirits early on had a knock-on effect for the evening's alcohol consumption, as can be seen in the booze graph. It was no surprise that Smirnoff Ice topped the chart, with Becks a close second. Many thanks go IT recruitment specialist Next Generation, which sponsored the event and ensured that all in attendance got free drinks until the final bell.
Computer Weekly reader Mike Ridley summed up the evening in an e-mail which read, "Enjoyed the evening. By the end everyone was my best mate and I ate a kebab on the way home - so it must have been good."
The next Thirst Thursday will be in Birmingham in September. To register for an invite go to www.thirstthursday.com/