Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Do You Remember...

No, not 'chalk hearts melting on a playground wall.'

Rather, those of a certain age will be able to remember just how bloody good the hobby was back in at the start of the 80s. True things were less polished, sometimes a bit risqué; but it did nobody any harm and there was a genuine love of the hobby amongst players and purveyors alike.

I was listening to the Grognard Files interview with the legendary Tim Olsen the other day and he hit the nail right on the head and without hyperbole, when he stated the case for Games Workshop stores being like a family.

they really were. OK, you had to run a gauntlet of abuse until you you got accepted in the Sheffield branch, but once you were accepted as a 13 or 14 year old the opportunities for social experiences and some damn good times were laid out for you in a banquet of geek indulgence, a bacchanalian feast of fantasy if you will.

My wife, did not meet me until 1988, by which time I was a Grognard myself at that heady age of 19, having served my time. Over the years she's met a lot of my friends from 'The Time Before', but is still meeting a good few more. She remembers GW just after it tried to get too big for it's boots, but had no experience of what the average store in the original 'Big Five' branches was like, until last night when I sat down with her to watch a You Tube upload of the 1983/4 TV magazine show 'South Of Watford' which as well as having some really good guest presenters including Michael Moorcock, investigating the 80s Punk revival, saw a young Ben Elton looking at the roleplaying phenomenon.

I'll not spoil it for you, but for those of you who want half an hour of time travel, take a look at the following three segments which make up the show:

I cringed and squealed with pleasure in equal measure.

It also contains the first media reference to 'Frothers', but in Sheffield there were rumours that there was an even more hardcore variant, known as 'Limpets' - I could not comment of course.


PS: Look out for a very young Jervis Johnson.


  1. Thanks for putting the links up - that's my Friday night viewing sorted. I was unlucky enough to live too far away from a GW for easy access so missed out on the sense of a wider community. I was 13 in 1988 and lived in a rural area with poor public transport. My gaming was within a small group at mine and a friend's house.

    I do have clear memories of the Plymouth store grand opening - it was packed.

  2. Thanks for that Steven. I'll have to arrange to speak to you some more as I am really interested in the way a handful of years separation alter the perception and experience of what is essentially the same hobby.


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