Judges Blog… 6
Happy New Year to all my readers. So here is it my first of 2015. It has been a very interesting few weeks on the club & judging circuit and one recent incident made me question club rules and how judges make selections. I was recently asked to judge a club PDI competition – nothing unusual. A standard open subject club competition; about 50 images; marks out of 20; 1st, 2nd, 3rd; absolutely no dramas until I turned up. I was met at the door by the comp secretary, a thin nervous man who took me briskly to a quiet corner, “You haven’t judged here before and I believe that you can be a bit different from the other judges we normally employ.” (Strange I thought – must’ve read my blog!)
He proceeded to read the rules, chapter and verse on how I need to score (no marks below 15), what I needed to emphasise, the requirement of no unnecessary comments, no remarks about the standard of images, equipment or the dexterity of the computer operator/projectionist, the titles accompanying the images will only be read once, oh and one more thing we must, must have a run-through of all images before you begin. He was straight to the point with an almost apologetic undertone at the script he relayed. A small devil on my shoulder whispered ‘We could have a bit of fun here….’
I was wheeled into the room into what looked like the inner sanctum of the North Korean political elite. A row of overstuffed red chairs flanked by smaller blue ones then row upon row of black plastic chairs, there was clearly a feudal system in place. Each chair/row ordered and occupied by decreasing size, age and importance. The ‘newbies’ at the back. The ladies were duly despatched to their kitchen duties to ensure tea was served at 20:59 precisely, temperature at 980 ensuring one chocolate finger per person. The Chairman got two along with a bone china cup & saucer, on a walnut tray, with a white napkin, a bowl of sugar lumps (brown & white) and a small jug of warm milk.
The Chairman, Kim Jon- Un then spoke, introduced me by name (pronounced it wrong again!) and prompted, by way of a small nod, to the projectionist to begin. He paused inadvertently before pressing enter on the keyboard, I saw my chance. “Before we begin, I would like to”….. An collective intake of breath was instant and clearly audible from over 200yards away. The oxygen disappeared so fast from the room that I quickly felt decidedly light headed and nauseated for a moment.
“Thank you for inviting me tonight, my style of judging and methodology of approach is different, I personally prefer not to preview images ahead of their initial showing for comment and marking.” I went on “I understand that this approach may to some, seem different however, the results over my 4 years of judging with the CACC has proved that this approach and methodology works exceedingly well and yields consistent results.”
Sensing a major diplomatic incident was about to unfold, secret launch codes were being passed through the chain of command onward to missile silos whose warheads had already been pre-programmed to nuke North Hertfordshire, I quickly changed tack.” I recognise however, that this preview is part of the historical tradition and expectation of your members so therefore please continue” (I averted my eyes in the darkened room). The projectionist sought confirmation from the leader, the nod came. You could have heard a pin drop!
The rest of the evening proceeded with unquestioned precision. Certain protocols were strictly observed, particularly during the break certain ‘officers’ could approach the ‘elders’ who in turn invited others for ‘an audience’. There was clear unrest and distain amongst the members at my feeble attempt to change the evenings running order, mutterings of standards dropping, the fear of change, the perceived erosion of discipline, the irritation of the younger generation, who ‘know nothing’ and want to ‘change everything’. No-one dared be seen talking to the judge for fear of dissension or challenge to the establishment.
Doreen, Barbara and Betty, the apprentice (names changed to protect their true identity) ensured that there was no delay in the serving of the ‘refreshments’ they knew they had to be ‘on the button’ tonight or else as they would be stripped of their club tea towels. These badges of honour were won in the white heat of the scullery by the Chairman himself.
The evening finally came to a close. Polite applause, Thank you. I had very much tried to keep on track and finished to my relief, according to my watch five mins early, the facilities manager was clearly agitated. The wall clock which was 5 mins fast, his behaviour was that of a Tokyo railway station master about to perform Seppuku, nervous due to the possible late arrival of the 4:15 from Yokohama The ‘officials’ and ‘masters at arms’ gathered to analyse the proceedings and performance. I made my departure.
As I left the hall I felt the chill of the night air on my lungs I pondered the Jurassic environment and attitudes I had encountered inside, I reflected on the overall experience. I smiled, ‘with revolution comes evolution’. What if one of those warheads did accidentally launch, locked on target and I’ve just got enough time to make it away from here before it finds this location. Maybe the comp secretary was on my side after all. “Hey! What’s the hurry”, a car quickly overtakes me at speed! I follow.
Our work as judges goes on….
I love being a judge…. till next time
Thoughts of a judge
Alan Taberer IMAGEZ