Yes - row 1!!!One of the most exciting experiences in my life was being in the front row at Wembley on Saturday to see England beat Estonia 3-0. 

Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer visceral excitement of being so close to the pitch in an 86,655 crowd.  The stadium is absolutely stunning and to be this close to the action was heart stopping!

It was also great to hang out with Neville Hobson, Sam Sethi (the man behind www.blognation.com)  and Tim Anderson - all very nice guys and virtually blogging royalty in the UK.  Also with me was Louie St Claire from Microsoft and Tom Lodge from Inferno (also top blokes).  Look how excited Neville and Sam are in this picture below :-)

I was so excited for the entire match - like a little kid, honestly it was embarrassing.  I tried hard to be professional and cool like I do this all the time but it was too much.

Neville Hobson and Sam SethiNeville has also blogged about the event. I took loads of pictures with my camera phone but had to stop after a while for fear of disintermediation - as Tim Danton from pcpro put it so well recently in his column:

Suddenly you're yanked out of that moment, you become an outsider to the joint experience, never able to recapture that innocence. And just imagine how much worse it will be if everyone in your group is thinking the same as you: before you know it, the race will be on to see who can text an entry to update their blog the quickest.

Listening to Sam's phone radio of the commentary was cool - and his uploading of the game video to the web from his phone, very impressive but sometimes the device gets in the way of actually being in the moment. 

I must say, Neville has written a much better post about the game than I could (see his flickr collection of it) so instead I'll mention some of the interesting topics we discussed.  Sam was talking about the "blog acne" that so often clutters up the bottom of a post with "digg, reddit, feedster, facebook, twitter..." this.  I was wondering if I was missing a trick by not having this on my blog.  The consensus amongst the wise bloggers was that it was not really that effective.  Digg your own posts to make it easy for people but that's it, they advised. 

Rooonneee!We all chatted quite a lot about twitter and jaiku which was very interesting.  I've not really dabbled with micro-blogging but I think I'm starting to get the whole "stream of consciousness" concept now.  There was some agreement that this is the way blogging generally is headed.

We were also talking about which blogging tools were the best.  Live Writer seems to be the hands down favourite for writing posts (I'm using it now).  To consume feeds, it seems there are different tools.  I don't think anyone used Outlook (I do a bit), Sam recommends Google reader and Neville more a fan of Feed Demon.  I've got the trial now for feed demon and I do like it a lot.  It is easy to scan a lot of blogs and mark the page read.  I'm having a few problems with it viewing posts in the preview though - rather an important feature so I hope it some weirdness with the vista firewall that I can sort out.

Thanks to Tim too for some good advice about where to take OfficeRocker! from here and what makes a good Microsoft blog.

Blogging is very rewarding (see why do I blog?) but it's great to actually meet up sometimes as well - and what a place to meet up! Fantastic day!  and I haven't even mentioned the Rugby..