Friday, 21 November 2014

Blog Of the Week (and other musings)

Recently I've found myself caught up in something of a flurry of hobby activity and I wasn't altogether sure why. It's not out of the ordinary, I have been involved in table top wargaming to various extents for the last 17 or so years. This thanks to a Father in need of someone to play D&D with. It's also not the first but the third time that lord of the rings has lured me back in to 'The Hobby'. But this time I really had thought I was packing up my brushes for good these last 2 years. I had, after all, moved away from my childhood home and my childhood (some might have called us childish...) friends many of whom had had an interest in wargaming and RPGing to some extent or another. I had married and whilst my dear wife and hobby widow is not anti-hobby she is much more in favour of me doing DIY and the washing up, I'm certainly unlikely to find her removing any mold lines any time soon in any case. I was also progressing rapidly through, what was, my chosen career, as the good book says;

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

I truly had thought I'd put away my childish things, I had in fact sold most of them (for the second time!). So when you consider that I had no one to play against and nothing to play with and no time or impetus to work on either of those two things it's amazing that I'm even writing this blog at all.

When I look back across my long time as a hobbyist, there have been many (many!) peaks and troughs in my hobby activity, I know I'm not alone in this. There has however been one consistent thing in my activity though and that is what I think I shall call the 'peer effect', that is to say this is the effect of others attitudes and excitement for the hobby.

I worked for Games Workshop, though briefly, in 2009 and saw this to it's best effect when new but not necessarily inspiring releases came out, all it took was for one person to have an interest and express that interest for the whole group to pick it up and run with it, Games workshop tried to capitalise on this while I was there by encouraging us blue shirts to foster 'the vision' in our customers.

This 'peer effect' or lack thereof in my life is why I considered my hobby time to be up, I had no peers interested in the hobby and no oxygen to light the embers. I hadn't considered that the peer effect need not only be physical (ie face to face, playing games etc) but it could also be electronic.

GBHL, in particular James and Jamie, though I have never met them and do not know them, have a lot to answer for. 4 months ago their infectious love of the hobby was the peer effect, much to the woe of the woman in my life, that
I had been starved of and I immediately found the best way to spend every penny I had as well as a few of my wive's (shhhh don't tell!) on buying up what ever lord of the rings models I could reasonably justify.

It's this power, for lack of a better word, that people can have that surprised me because I'd never considered it before and I certainly hadn't considered that it could be communicated purely through the internet rather than face to face. I want to be a part of that, I want to ensure people feel encouraged to do what I love because in turn it keeps me involved.

What this rather long epic (almost as long as the Iliad and twice as epic) is getting to is that each week on Friday I'm going to be trawling through all the posts from the blogs I follow (which grows every week) and pick out one blog that I want to mention and encourage with a bit of peer effect, I'd love if you could join me in this, you never know when the person you encourage could be your next great gaming buddy, six degrees of separation style.

This week it is ;

Jimmy's Middle Earth Minis
He's just had post number 51 and it was his rendition of Galadriel, which is very good by the way, something I've enjoyed painting recently myself, but having gone back through time to his first post he's had a similar return to the hobby as my with a bulk purchase of DeAgostini magazines (they also have a lot to answer for!), His painting has come on fantastically from his earlier bits and bobs and is certainly worth a look, so go on, spread some peer effect and help support our 'Hobbit Hobby' (to quote some very wonderful people)