When I play a gig with the band (we are all amateur musicians, not professionals) we often receive reviews of it, sometimes in the press, sometimes on fora or blogs. Sometimes you don’t like the reviews, sometimes you do, it goes with the turf, the band may play perfect but someone in the audience doesn’t like the programme you play, or maybe we put a few bum ones in and get picked up on that, or are too loud – whatever. Any road up it’s an inevitability that people write about it, and whether they think it was the dogs bollocks or a pile of crap. You put up with it because it happens, that’s what reviewing something is all about, as a result you go back to the rehearsal room and you sort out your programme, or the section which were too loud / out of tune etc etc and go back and do it better next time. It’s the same for all public performances to be honest. We get on with it.

So what makes the model railway world so different? We go out and show our layouts to the public who pay to come and see them. We put them in magazines where the public pay to read about them. Having paid money out its only natural that if you feel let down by what you paid for, don’t like it, or even see inaccuracies in it, you make your feelings felt, just as you would if you thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. So why this week, when someone writes to a magazine about a layout in the previous issue pointing out what they see as a few inaccuracies, is there a witch hunt on for the writer on that layout builders favourite forum?  Now what makes it worse is that the writer has actually made some valid points, and couched it in a non offensive and reasonably diplomatic way (If it had been me I’d have gone for the jugular to be honest). And obviously the magazine would not have printed it if wasn’t couched in that constructive manner.

Of course what really puts the tin hat on the turd, as far as the layout builder and the lynch mob who have leapt to his support is concerned, is that writer is a woman. I mean what does a woman know about railways and Scotland? Well looking at it objectively, obviously a lot more than the layout builder. Sid the Sexist is out in force – I do hope someone complains about how such sexist posts can be made and allow to stand unmoderated, I mean if a BBC DJ gets sacked because no one, including himself, has ever realised the record he played contains the name of Guy Gibson’s black labrador then surely – good grief they will be making cheap racist shots about the Chinese next.

The conceit of people who show their work, be it live at a show, or in the press and then expect everyone to bill and coo over it, say its wonderful, and a brilliant piece of modelling amazes me.  Especially so when quite often what is produced is in actual fact a byword for mediocrity. It’s become “my precious” to them. Yet if people don’t think something is correct, or they don’t like something when they have paid for it they have an absolute right to say so – and so they should. The old saying goes that if you stick your head above the parapet wall, be prepared to get it shot off.

NB: Yes, if you read this blog regularly you will know I stick my head above the parapet wall quite frequently, and no I don’t give a shit.