Last year I had a root and branch review of all of the Societies which I was a member of, and looked quite critically at what I actually got out of them. Consequently I dropped out of quite a few as I just didn’t get any value for money out of them, but most importantly they completely failed to engage with me. Paradoxically as well this included the EM Gauge Society which seems a bit strange as a modeller with an EM layout.

The image above (staged as a piss take at Expo EM North 2007) maybe summed up what I thought of quite a lot of these societies, a tweedy bunch of old codgers only too happy to point out the faults with what you have built, and quite happily stay well within their comfort zones without actually moving forward. Change? No no no no, we don’t do things like that.

The one society that stood the litmus test, and came out of it with flying colours was the Scalefour Society. A vibrant magazine with well written articles of great interest, Officers who aren’t steeped in dogma (debunking a popular myth about the S4 Society) and who actually pass the time of day with you, and more importantly a good forum where instant answers to questions can be obtained. In short a society for today and not moribund like some.

What really knocked it on the head for me was in 2011 at Warley NEC show, where the S4 Society stand was virtually next door to the EMGS stand. In one instance you had two old duffers in tweed jackets, sat behind a trestle table, heads down in some unfathomable project and a total lack of eye contact with the passing crowd. Woe betide anyone who interrupted their concentration. On the other hand you had 3 members stood up, a few models on display which you were allowed to touch, a professional looking stand which is at a comfortable height, and staffed by people who were not just approachable, they actively came out from behind the stand and engaged passers-by in conversation.  I’ve just renewed my membership of the Scalefour Society.