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Those who have read my profile will have seen that I have other interests than Railway Modeling and this last weekend saw me making an interesting journey again to Skegness with the band I play B flat Tuba for, the Boarshurst Silver Band, to compete in the Butlins Mineworkers National Brass Band Championships. At least the snowy journey through Lincolnshire has road signs which read like a roll call for Bomber Command! Now for the life of me I cannot think of any other reason why I’d want to go to Skeggy on a cold snowy weekend in mid January with the wind whipping in off the North Sea. Then again I cant think of any other reason I’d want to go there in summer come to think about it.

Now you may be thinking what Brass Bands have in common with model railways, but in a big contest like this its not entirely dissimilar to doing a model railway exhibitions, with performances, trade stands, demonstrations etc. The logistics of getting a band there is a bit like getting a layout to a show, and when you get on stage and have your 15 minutes or so of contesting glory there are the inevitable comments of how good/ bad etc etc etc. Then afterwards its off to the bar for a few (and a few more) sherbets. And the audience, well to be frank walk round any model railway show and you’d see much the same type of punter occupying the seats in the auditorium of a band contest but with a slightly greater female audience.The main difference I suspect is the lack of rucksacks and the more malodorous individuals to whom soap and water is anathema.

Banding as well has its fair share of web forums as well which to be honest are no different from the model railway forums, which have a similar volume of nutters, malcontents, things ain’t wot they used to be/ You’ve never had it so good merchants and of course the great web forum expert who’s opinion is beyond question and gets all angry when someone questions their expertise, but in between all that lot some genuinely useful, informative and helpful posters. Sorting out the wheat from the chaff becomes tiresome and a waste of valuable time so why bother? Forum owners / moderators seem only interested in numbers so they can attract advertisements, and in turn become in thrall to manufacturers / retailers and suppliers, and therefore play the game. Genuine and meaningful criticism/feedback of a new product / supplier / manufacturer is rendered meaningless by the need to toady up to them and get business. I suppose its the life cycle of forums to be honest, start up, be vibrant new and challenging, get established and popular, then sell out. Its happened big style in the banding world and its happening in the model railway world as well.

But at the end of it all, both hobbies provide an outlet for the creativity thats within me, and I really enjoy producing something that others can enjoy, be it a model locomotive or a well nailed bass line.

And Skegness? it was cold windy and an excellent weekend culimating, as can be seen from the picture, Boarshurst becoming third section champions for the second year in a row taking the banner, a trophy and a cheque for £2000 back to the band room. Quite a few beers were consumed shall we say! And next weekend it’s the same again as New Hey travels down to Southampton to be exhibited at the show there. There won’t be a cheque for 2 grand at the end of it but I’m sure we will have just as good a time.

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