Last night I went along to Parade's End: A Celebration, part of a three-day Ford Madox Ford conference.
I'm way too casual a fan to spend money and Annual Leave on such a conference, but a free, after-work event, at Senate House, seemed like a good gig. We enjoyed brief clips from the BBC Parade's End and the Ford Madox Ford Culture Show Special, followed by Qs and As with the director of the former and the producer of the latter. Questions ranged from "Why did you choose a grey horse for the scene in the mist?" (because the whole scene was to be in shades of white and grey; the brown cart was hastily repainted at the last minute) to "Did you know the explosion footage you showed in the documentary was of a mine, not a shell?"
It is even clearer to me now, pussyfoot around the issue how they will, that the BBC didn't cast a more portly actor as Christopher Tietjens because they didn't think a fat bloke would be a believable love interest for two women. Bunch of body fascists. (What they said was "Benedict Cumberbatch portrays the spiritual rather than the physical characteristics of Christopher". Apparently he did offer to bulk up for the role, but there were only ten days between the end of filming Sherlock and the start of filming Parade's End and he simply couldn't eat enough doughnuts in time.)
There were attendees from all over the world, many with name badges outing them as representatives of universities. Most of them obviously had a high level of Ford Madox Ford knowledge and knew each other from the internet if not in person. At the drinks-and-mingling that followed the talks, I was unable to think of any potential conversational icebreakers that didn't sound fatuous, so I had a glass of cranberry juice and a handful of popcorn and slipped away. (Yet this morning I spent ten minutes talking to a random biker I'd parked next to.)