While attending Bruce's funeral the other day, I got to thinking about the hobby today and the hobby it once was.
Seeing so many familiar faces from my earliest days of being a foamer brought back so many memories of fun times chasing trains around the state. Everyone seemed to have fun - certainly most people got along.
In recent years many of the 'old' crowd have been very quiet, most totally dropping from the scene and perhaps only ever heard of as a reference in an article. Some of the guys that I would once catch up with quite regularly, now have not been seen for over a decade.
The 70s (so I am told), 80s and early 90s were a great period and one from which I retain many memories. Any railway trip resulted in meeting new friends, many of whom remained so for many years to come, even to this day. Most would help, while the need to be 'Lord Railfan' , while existing, wasn't half as prevalent as it is today.
Sure there was the odd arrogant tool who thought themselves god and would not share info, but they were in the minority and were not subjected to hundreds of new fans every day like the internet is able to do.
Indeed the famous 'Colonel Chunder' may be right in saying that "there was far more stuff of interest and that everyone could get something special to share with their mates". Whereas in todays boring railway scene, there is so very little, to be covered by so many newcomers to the hobby.
This obviously leading to an extreme competition to get the most before anyone else, regardless of what it takes.
Certainly there is far less of interest, especially if your not open to looking at railway overseas, but should this not be a reason to endeavor to make more from the hobby?
Ahhhh yes, she be a fine tool to be sure.
But the whinging and bickering that goes on as each person tries to out do another.
One need not look beyond Railpage (the owner of which puts a lot of effort into) to see examples of the hate and bitterness that surrounds the hobby nowdays. Working our way down, we come to the anus of the internet, aus.rail where every railfan in creation is accused of gay activity or being a retard.
If we are not attacking each other, its because we are attacking a museums efforts, a magazines content or some politicians gerbil fetish.
All this takes a lot of time and effort, effort that, if spent promoting the hobby, would have us all in a far better position today. Indeed the hobby as a whole could have only benefited greatly.
The internet has been a huge boon to the hobby, with research and information sharing never being so easy. However it has certainly come at a cost.
THE HOBBYS FUTURE
Who knows, but like most of the 'old crowd' we will thankfully not be around to see what is left if the current direction continues.
Sure it may be fun to get on the net, big note ones self, cause upset for the fellow dribblers, but eventually they, and you, will loose interest. The train hobby will become a chore and there will be BUGGAR ALL left for anyone in the future.
What a sad and selfish thing to do.
Oh, and while I am sitting her sipping on my fifth Bundy and thus have an excuse to say whatever the bollocks comes into my mind, IF YOU NEVER CONTRIBUTE ANYTHING TO THE HOBBY - PLEASE DON'T BE UNDER THE MISTAKEN IDEA THAT YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO COMMENT ABOUT THOSE WHO DO!
Go work at a museum, go write for a magazine, help out at an archive - then feel free to share an opinion and be less at risk of looking like an ungrateful puff!
To the railfans of old who made it an honour to be a part of this once great hobby and to those who have bothered to read this far into my rant without heading back to aus.rail to discuss doodle waving!