About Me

My photo

Photographer, scribbler, model maker, beer fancier, self confessed train nutter & general nerd.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

What Ever Happened to the Commentator?

I always find it amusing that model railway exhibitions are at sports centres – the type of people that ‘do sport’ are generally the complete opposite to railway enthusiasts. I suppose the advantage is that the exhibition organisers do not need to invest in too many signs or arrows announcing its presence (ideally painted onto an old stripped baseboard top with splodgy white lettering on lumpy SR green) pointing to the show. They simply rely on the plastic bag toting unfashionable non-sporty looking middle aged men to show the way (and they'll always be in 'that queue' 45 before the doors open). We've all met them, and they will have been to every show since the hall was built and most likely with the same Rumbelow's plastic bag that their mother gave to them in 1977 for their very first engine which would have been a Lima Deltic.

As I go in through the sports centre entrance, I normally hold my stomach in and head towards the pretty sporty receptionist in a way that hopefully will make her think that I’m going to ‘do sporty things’ rather than heading for the nerdy ‘fug’, then at the very last moment fork a speedy left behind a suitably large ‘rucksack’ heading for ‘Model Railway Exhibition’.

When exhibiting, we all know that ‘Rule Number 2’ (No.1 is ‘it’s my trainset...’) is to avoid eye contact with anyone suspect looking, this reduces the chance of being knobbled for anything up to an hour (and then regularly for the rest of the day because you're now their 'bezzy mate'). As revenge (often after such a knobbling) I like to pull faces at the weirdoes - it helps the day go faster, especially when bored of operating which is normally by about 10.03 on the Saturday morning. If when exhibiting you cannot see me, I'm probably behind the layout pulling a face at you because you smell, are socially challenged, have bad breath, or maybe simply just far too intense as you insist on showing me your sticky snot covered Triang Mk1 coach you paid £1.86 for. Frequently though all these traits go together.

And finally the real reason for this post, a question aimed at the more southerly exhibition goer; what ever happened to ‘The Commentator’? I have not seen him for ages and miss his wonderful voiceovers “Here comes an LMS 8F, 48660 was based at Bath Shed from 1962-64, it’s going over the points to pick up some wagons… oh dear it has derailed, I imagine a breakdown crane will be along in a minute”……


  1. Nice to know train shows in England are the same as here in the US..

    And I enjoy making faces as well!

  2. Don't knock the "middle aged men" - I've turned up at places not sure where the show is and been able to identify them and follow thier progress straight to the door. Who needs signposts ?

    Good point about the comentator. I can't remember the last time he was in front of any of my layouts. I didn't usually hold his attnetion long as shunting doesn't provide a suitable "narative". Maybe the Beeb hired him for one of the red button matches at Wimbledon ?

  3. We had the commentator at Amersham a couple of months ago. He's still out there. The worst experience was at St Albans when after me trying to avoid him at the layout, he promptly followed me into the gents... 'This man is standing at the urinal...'

  4. The commentator was at Chatham this year... spotted Dunbracken as soon as he walked through the door and made a beeline for it! "Ah, Dunbracken, there is a railcar arriving now, it's going slowly, VERY slowly. Oh, it's stopped"... Alive and well.

  5. I'd forgotten all about the commentator, yes good to hear he is alive and well! Reminds me of another Southern based show I attended last year where the Touretts enthusiast turned out and gave all the youngsters and their parents a colourful day out! Any other witnessed his attendance? It might not be politically correct, but it certainly brightened up my day!


All posts will be approved before they go live, posts from spammers will be deleted and marked as spam.