Naturally I tripped over on the way to the pub.
Not disastrously though, a minor stumble and I recovered, and we made it in. Whereupon I discovered the fantastic advantage of my two-layer costume. Presenting ourselves in front of the judges, I think they were impressed (it was hard to tell - I couldn't hear much in that thing), and as Mr. Tony Lee realised that it was the Empress stood next to me, and asked the question "Llama, is that you?" I burst out of the back in all my angelic glory! Much to the delight of Mr. Dan Boultwood (who later explained because it was actually something he recognised). I'd created a costume with which I could make two entrances! Egotistical much? Me?
|"We are all in need of a drink..."|
We made it to the final ten, thankfully, without even having to bribe the judges. Thus it was that after the official SFX awards ceremony the three of us found ourselves being called on stage, that the audience might judge us and decided upon the winner.
|The monorail safety inspectors appear|
Once again I managed the same trick. Get up on stage, look mysterious and Kosh-y, and then go for a subtle second appearance...
|Oi! Turn that light off in there!|
Oddly enough no-one mentioned that evening the symbolism of being a Vorlon. Given that what everyone sees inside the encounter suit is their own idea of godly perfection, I think this speaks volumes about my ego. Except to SFX editor Dave Bradley, who apparently saw nothing.
Naturally, given the amount of effort, we were going to win the audience vote, weren't we?
These guys did.
|Right - next year it's puppies all round...|
The family dressed as the Omnicronians from Futurama won. And - being perfectly honest here - I'm more than happy to have lost out to them. Although I don't have better pictures, those costumes were great, and they'd put a lot of work in. Their in-costume baby was just the irresistible icing on the cake. See more of their creations here.
|I'm going to milk this for all it's worth anyway|
We ended up coming second, with She-Ra coming a close third. Which was a good result, I thought. But y'know, it wasn't about the winning, it was- It was so about the winning. And my time on stage. Anything else is just a blatant lie.
But hey, we got an awesome bag of swag for our troubles - many DVDs (including three classic Doctor Who stories and Fringe Season 2), a signed Anthony Head collector's plate (the only way we got head that weekend) and a zombie shooting game (an actual physical, electronic thing). Gods only know what the winners got (I guess I should check my mail and find out), but that was plenty for us. Overall, it was a good night.
|Celebrating with dignity|
And that was it, bar the drinking! Actually it wasn't, but before I go on I should point out that the whole costume awards, for those that are interested, can be seen here. Watch from about 07:30 to see my glorious entrance (ahem). Or do the decent thing and watch it all.
Once the ceremony was out of the way I spent most of the evening out of the encounter suit and in my angel costume - it was much easier to be sociable that way. (Good thinking there, Llama.) I did of course go for the occasional wander. And when Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came on... I went and did the Kosh Mosh. Which, disappointingly, I have yet to find pictures of. All the more so since it spelled the beginning of the end - over the course of the evening the rear vertical supports finally started collapsing - the moshing was not good for them. But no matter! The night was done, and it was good entertainment.
The only drawback was that I managed to put my shoulder out doing all this. I think it was the moshing that did it - basically jumping up and down whilst also supporting the encounter suit. It took two weeks to be able to move it again. But, once again, lesson learned, and it was worth it.
I also managed to cut my forehead at one point putting the helmet on and off - I think I'd somehow managed to catch myself on the foil surrounding the eye lights. But as all Babylon 5 fans know, no-one comes away from an encounter with a Vorlon unscathed.
And so... That was it. All that was left was to return home with the glow of success and the satisfaction of a job well done.
All that remains then, dear reader, is to thank you for sitting through this entire rambling account of my adventures as a Vorlon. I hope, for those of you that are planning on building a similar costume (or free-standing 1:1 sculpture) that this has been suitably illuminating - even if only to point out what you shouldn't do. Any and all comments and criticisms are welcome.
The final question that remains, is: What then for next year?
Oh, and also: Where the bloody hell am I going to store a Vorlon encounter suit..?