I was also helping to judge the masquerade. I am not involved in any way in the side of SF Fandom which makes and wears costumes, but I was happy to visit that world. The presentations of the gear were short and punchy, which I think makes the whole thing lively and easy on the audience.
I don't know if I will wish I could un-say this, but I thought the cabaret which followed was too variable in quality to be a complete success. I think there needed to be a more ruthless pruning of the items, and perhaps a shortening even of the strongest pieces. I think what is appropriate to share with a small group of cheerful friends is different from what it is appropriate to share with a big audience. I think I know what brings this about - we all know we are to some extent minority and outsider people in our different ways, and therefore we value welcoming and inclusion - but sometimes a filtering is required. Filtering for purpose is not judging people for their worth as people.
Having said that there were several items which were of high quality.
I saw Doctor Who in someone's hotel room with a bunch of fans including one who had seen the rushes in advance - it was thrilling in context and very strong in its own right: a good omen for the season ahead.
And the other highlight in a very good day was seeing Ben Goldacre speak. He is a very impressive performer. Very smart, thinks on his feet, knows how to play the room. A brilliant presenter. It helps that he seems to be a tough cookie with a kind heart, just about my favourite kind of person. Well, you can tell I really warmed to him.
So thanks again to the lovely people I have met this weekend.