The first event I wanted to attend was Iain M. Banks' GoH interview, which was at 11, so had a leisurely start to the day. The interview was excellent - very funny - speaking about the 'snobberati' looking down on him for writing SF, abut his early attempts at writing - as a 16 year old "..lot of sex and violence, of neither of which I had any experience of..." and about having wanted to write SciFi, but being unable to get published. he described writing 'The Wasp Factory', and those voices in his head criticising him for "giving up on writing SciFi for the miserable self satisfaction of getting published".....
He also mentioned having watched 'Mastermind' in which one of the contestants had his 'Culture' novels as a specialist subject. The contestant scored 26/27. Iain scored 19!
He claimed that he wrote primarily in winter when the weather is too unpleasant to go out, and therefore that were he to live in Southern California, he would therefore never write anything at all (except perhaps Haiku!)...
I have to confess that I haven't actually read any of his work except 'The Wasp Factory' but even without much prior knowledge I really enjoyed the interview (Now, if I can only manage Stretchy Time in order to have time to read more, I shall have to seek out & read some of his SF!
I then stayed on in the main hall for he next item, which was Ben Goldacre's Bad Science talk. I had been particularly looking forward to this as I had missed seeing him when he was at the Bath Lit. Fest. - it was lots of fun - serious points about bad science and poor reporting of scientific stores (NB: much of this seems to be due to editors, not scientists...) also, the 2000 years of medicine in 90 seconds!
having made reference to the Eloi & Morlocks and commenting on how this audience did not require the reference to be explained, he also christened this the "Picky fuckers convention" having been corrected for referring to Morpocks instead of Morlocks...)
Ben made the point that having had some genuine, ground-breaking medical discoveries and advances in the last century, with antibiotics / polio vaccines etc we/the media expect these to keep coming, and make them up when they don't.
I think Ben could easily have talked for much loner, and I would have been happy to listen for much longer - whilst I was broadly familiar with many of the problems he highlighted I really enjoyed the entertainment as well as the information part of the talk! (And managed to say hi & get my copy of Bad Science signed, at the end, which was nice!)
Following this I'd signed up for another greenroom shift, and then a quick dash back to the hotel to chill briefly before coming back for 6 p.m. - I had a dilemma, with 3 clashing events I wanted to go to, but in the end I decided (in common with 75% of the con) to watch the Dr Who premiere, on the basis that if I didn't, I might then find it hard to avoid spoilers...
I have to say, other than the practical issue of finding a large enough sofa to hide behind, I can definitely recommend watching Who in company with 900 or so fans...! I am not sure I am entirely ready to transfer my allegiance from the 1oth to the 11th Doctor, but I did enjoy it:) And the new TARDIS. Several very funny moments.
The evening continued for me with conversations with random people found sitting on sofas, then Sing-a-Long Buffy "Once More With Feeling" a small, but word-perfect audience and some excellent singing voices. I seem to recall calling in to the Friendly Scandinavians party, too (I can't help feeling there ought perhaps to have been an unfriendly Scandinavians party somewhere else, for balance...)