Ciaran McNulty

Speaking at PHPUK 2015

I was lucky enough to be accepted to speak at PHPUK in February of this year (I am of course writing about it pretty late on account of my recent return to blogging).

It was my first full-length conference talk, which was pretty cool because PHPUK was the first conference I ever went to, I think back in 2009. I remember coming back from my first one reeling from the amount of quality talks and community spirit I'd been exposed to. I've been going most years since, it's generally a high quality conference so I was thrilled to have been picked, especially to talk in the main room.

The Talk

I was particularly impressed with the videos this year. Whoever's doing the AV is doing a cracking job, and they were all uploaded to YouTube.

Health Problems

I was speaking on the second day, so I spent day 1 watching talks and generally hanging around the Inviqa stand chatting to people. As the day went on, I started to worry because my voice was getting croakier and croakier. By the end of the day I was finding it hard to get words out so decided to skip the social at a nearby bowling alley (a shame because it looked amazing).

On day 2 I woke up and found I genuinely couldn't speak! I drank a few cups of soothing tea and frantically googled for solutions. Luckily Tony (who is a chorist so knows such things) was very reassuring on Slack and recommended a particular throat mixture to me that, as he said, "Tastes like camel piss".

I dutifully gargled and drank the stuff all day and by the afternoon my voice had mostly come back. In the end the talk came out ok, I think if you know me you can tell I'm struggling but a stranger might just think I had a gruff voice. I didn't stay long at the social because I could feel it going again.

Over the weekend I consulted a doctor and was told to try not to speak at all. Eventually my voice came back after 3-4 days but it was a scary experience, especially for someone who's building a speaking career. In the end it was just a random infection so I'm not too worried.

The future

Feedback on the talk has been pretty good and overall I have to say it was a great experience. I'll definitely be submitting next year!