The 'Freddie Mercury Syndrome'

I know this article is going to make me sound like a terrible old buffer; so be it.

We just are not making things any more. Precisely how the successive streams of morons in Westminster ever thought that a country could pay its bills by systematically destroying the manufacturing sector has always been a complete mystery to me. Just try to buy a box of paper clips 'Made in England'. Real things were replaced by digital fraud in the city and the world became awash with vast sums of digital money. Any ten year old could figure out that digital money was not real but it seemed to escape the 'experts'.

These days, it is all about instant gratification, the 'Mercury Syndrome'; "I want it all and I want it now", to quote the late great Freddie Mercury. Very sadly, this is happening to the hobby of railway modelling at an alarming rate. When I was a kid, we would wait and save for the entire year in order to buy the latest Hornby locomotive. The usual price was about 30s which these days does not even buy an ice cream at a cinema. Most things, we had to make ourselves. This was wonderful training for manual dexterity, the use of tools and innovation; a great preparation for the adult world. Men were judged by how practical they were.

Nowadays, kids get inundated with ready made toys. The only thing they learn to do is to push Lego bits together. Hardly surprisingly, they grow up into people who can do absolutely nothing at all in the real world. They cannot fix a tile on the roof, they cannot repair their car and many cannot even put a flat pack together. Frankly, many young men nowadays behave like girls with hands like limp kippers. They only seem interested in having the correct label on their stupid clothes and the most exciting programme for them is about baking cakes. Perhaps there are just too many female hormones in the water supp;y.

For quite some time, I have laughed at German railway modelling. Overweight men in three piece suits buy hugely expensive model railway equipment, open the boxes and tip it all onto a ready made baseboard. The result of course looks like just what it is. Sadly, I find that this is increasingly happening in the UK.

Just about everything is now available 'off the shelf'. Even models of Pendon houses are being sold these days. Bit by bit, British model railways are looking more 'German' by the minute and frankly, and I am getting sick of it. What is worse is that everything is getting digital. One well known magazine has taken to promoting its digital counterpart on its pages to the point of nausea.

Even the less usual scales are being afflicted with the 'Mercury Syndrome'. Boxy toy like trains are pushed out of a 3d Printing machine to be avidly purchased by those who can't do anything for themselves. What makes it worse is that these crude models are 'freelance' which could actually be made in an evening with a few scraps of plastic sheet. Freelance should be the opportunity for people to design and build their OWN creations and not purchase some one else's idea.

Kids can no longer go to their model shop and purchase glues or even sharp knives without adults present. Computers are taking more and more of a role in making the new generation models while the real modellers are going to their graves.

It won't be long before a model railway exhibition will be a series of large screens where 'modellers' show off their virtual layouts.

The new railway modeller

It is about time parents said to their kids, if you want one of those, MAKE IT!