A boring conference, and proud of it

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The Independent Online

Under most circumstances the promise of a talk about yellow lines, followed by another on pylons and capped by a speech exposing the intricacies of self-service checkouts, would have little allure. But present them at a conference that revels in the boring or, more accurately, celebrates the prosaic and mundane, and there's a good chance the speakers will be faced by a sell-out crowd.

The Boring 2012 conference will be held in London next month and chances are it will again be a sell-out, with up to 500 tickets available. Other topics on the agenda include IBM tills, toast, and shop fronts.

The Boring Conference was set up two years ago as a joke by James Ward, but after attracting huge interest the event's 200 seats sold out. Last year, twice as many were offered and all were snapped up.

Mr Ward believes the success of the conferences – last year, people travelled from Scotland and even Finland to attend – lies in picking subjects which are dull and tedious only on the surface.

The awkward bit, he admits, is drafting invitations to speakers. "It's always tricky to pitch the email so it doesn't come across as insulting when you ask them to appear at the Boring Conference.

"I hope people realise it's meant in a nice way."