The Future of Exhibitions

My good friend Mr Cooper of ‘The North’ has written eloquently http://newheymodelrailway.  regarding how the standard of the reporting of recent shows exhibitions has slipped of late. Some of course may agree with him, but one thing is clear, nothing stays still and perhaps this is the natural evolution of the hobby in the digital age. So if Andy’s right the thing exhibitions need is toy trains, cake, tea, and pictures. I’m sure as a widely experienced exhibition goer and organiser he’s already taken those key things on board, so that’s all good. There are a good number of shows throughout the year, some say, too many. The point is it’s a crowded market place out there, so what will bring the punters through the door and what does the new exhibition manager need to attract customers over the threshold? These aren’t so much problems, as solutions waiting to happen.

This is how I envisage the future exhibition managers tool box will look. Firstly quality toy trains to get the hard core enthusiast through the door. Once through the door however the interest needs to be kept at a state of cappuccino like froth near euphoria, and adequate sustenance readily to hand. Tea, or coffee, (372 varieties for the southern softies) should be readily to hand. It should be either hot, for UK patronage, or cold with ice in it to entice the colonial cousins through the door. Luke warm simply won’t do. Cakes, (north of Watford Gap clientele ) or pastries (refined northern home counties and south, excepting Luton) as illustrated. Ingredients such as free range eggs shall be ‘de riguer’, unfortunately that’s French and will probably be given a ruddy good ignoring. Local variations of course will apply, so northerner exhibition fare will include gravy for their cake, as they seem to put it on just about everything else. Lets face it someone will bloody moan that there was no gravy for their cake if its not available, so restaurateur  styley,  just head them off at the pass.



So wrap your model in 2mm sheets of filo pastry, (wrong choice of model, should have used a BR1C, then I could have done the tender morsel joke), ensuring that the entire model is covered before basting it with a covering of choice using a ‘OO’ brush. We won’t bother advising if you use acrylic, enamel or laser to glaze it before popping it into a warm oven for 16.5 to 18.2 minutes.


When removed from the oven let it rest and relax. This will be difficult for most exhibitionistas to do, the temptation to tear open the pastry, and take pictures of exactly the same filling that everyone else has bought will be hard to resist.

One thing we have yet to see in these various reports are exhibition selfies. Its surely only a matter of time before someone posts a picture of what looks like a bloke hiding behind a burst sofa, with a model railway in the background. Interestingly Nokia’s survey of 4,000 Brits earlier this year found that a whopping 36% of posted selfies on social networks. A risky 7% of Brits even take pictures of themselves in bed. Figures for selfies taken at train shows haven’t yet been remotely considered released. One thought is to take a picture a day and see your life in a whole new way. If however, that daily picture regularly consists of yourself sitting in front of your computer skip to this page now, http://fifteen-minute-heroes , its in your best interest…

So, hints and tips then. When taking a selfie it’s smart to be aware of what’s going on behind you – and make the most of it. Though it’s best to keep the focus on you (me, me, me,) at least half of the beauty of a selfie is that it shows you’re somewhere:

A/ Interesting
B/ Amazing
C/ In a train show.

The social media side of the hobby is open for exploitation, the logical repository for these selfies is MySpace, as that has the least amount of users and therefore the potential to grow the fastest. So get out there, selfies is where its at, no more frustrated layout owners being blinded by the camera flash going off in their eyes, they’re not going to mind if you take a pic of yourself with them as a background. Neither will your fellow exhibition visitors mind, they’ll happily make way for you amongst the three deep crowd around Gresley Beat as you stand, back against the barrier, with your arm full length, gurning into your smartphone reaching for instant martyrdom fame and fortune.

So don’t forget, next show you’re at, take selfies, cos ‘we want pictures’ …


This entry was posted in Bachmann, brassmasters, British Rail, canon, DCC, dcc sound, Eastern Region, Exhibition, film, GNR, hobbies, Hornby, humour, iphone, Layout, life, media, Midland Region, Model Railroad, Model Railway, Model Railway Journal, Modelling, Narrow Gauge, Nevard, OO Gauge, Photography, selfie, social media, Uncategorized, Western Region and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to The Future of Exhibitions

  1. Khris says:

    Ummmm, If I may make a suggestion. The New Hey link takes you to the domain name for sale!!


  2. Phil says:

    Bloody fine laugh old chap…….oh yes, there must be gluten free 08s as well otherwise I’m not going to that show……

  3. p4newstreet says:

    Superb stuff. A rumour has it that a certain members event in September will announce Greggs as the main (donut) box shifter as well as a host if cottage bakeries. If members are really lucky they might even get Mr Kipling as their show peace manufacturer!

  4. neilsidea says:

    Hope all these shows are organic as I’m diesel intolerant.

  5. Phil says:

    It seems I am to blame for all this having mentioned cake on RMweb as a joke. Saturday’s York show post on my blog will now be edited to be cake free to avoid offending anyone.

  6. andy says:

    Well written Sir, I had a good laugh at you post and the attached comments. This is our hobby and should not be taken too seriously.🍮🍮🍮

  7. Tanllan says:

    In the earlier years of the Watford Finescale Exhibition the main reason for going was to sample the wonderful selection of home made cake on offer 😉

    As for selfies …. well I must confess to taking a few when there was no one else readily available and I needed a human being in the picture to illustrate what was actually going on.

    • bawdsey says:

      Watford, what an excellent show that used to be, (not been to any recently). Can you image how that would be reported now? ‘Random’ and cramped distribution of layouts and traders across the school , too few seats and a very small tea/coffee cake area. They’d be ‘shot’. Nottingham has taken that same ‘business model’ for the last two years, and I’m surprised they haven’t been ritually disembowelled for failing to provide GPS co-ordinates on their floor plan. :0)

      • Phil says:

        Last time I went to Nottingham, I dared to voice a couple of mild critcisms – suggesting a couple of additions to the website that might make life easier for public transport users who weren’t residents of the city. The verbal disembowelling I recived from the organiser has ensured that I will no longer have a problem visiting that show at any point in the future.

      • bawdsey says:

        I think the details to their open house event a few weeks later were similarly ‘sparse’

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