I remember the days when I would feverishly count the weeks and days until the start of the wargame show season.
The year began with a brilliant show here in the North where the club organised events for those attending for the weekend, where traders smiled and made money, and there was a positive atmosphere everywhere.
The club organising the show made a LOT of money, so much in fact that the society became one of the wealthiest in the country, actually paying a dividend to the members in the form of two Essex army packs and latterly a £50 voucher to be used at a local game store.
But along with this wealth came hubris. As time passed the club did less to entertain those attending and did less to help traders set up and take down. They failed to listen to those attending, those in the industry and in one memorable instance stated 'Traders are idiots.'
Basically, they lost the plot. Venues improved, standards slipped. Manufacturers stopped attending because despite repeatedly contacting the organising committee, they were being ignored. Quite literally ignored, because certain individuals could not be bothered anymore.
A rash of frankly piss poor second hand tat purveyors crept in, along with a veritable plague of re-sellers all stocking the same thing.
The rot had set in and like all Empires the end was on the cards.
It was a sad day when that show folded.
Now there are more shows filling the gaps left by this and other 'Fallen Eagles' but none of them are attracting the traditional manufacturers. The 2HTPs and re-sellers are firmly ensconced, to the point that you see no real variation in shows, no individual feel or atmosphere.
I understand that Dave Thomas, that stalwart of the trade scene is also calling it a day, so our hobby is looking even greyer...
Will we ever see the vibrant shows of the 80s and early 90s return?