Following the tragic trashing of the Market Deeping MRC exhibition, and the amazing show of solidarity that raised over £100,000 for the club and other exhibition losses, there have been a number of positive articles in the newspapers. Here are two, one old, one new, one female, one male, from The Guardian….
From 2007, “Rod, I salute your train set“. Money quote is….
Or that I attempted to build Walschaerts valve gear while breastfeeding my daughter (breasts and trains in the same sentence never fails to make you friends).
I have enough problems with valve gear, full stop….
And from 2019, “Not just for anoraks: model railways are a joyful escape from the pressures of masculinity“. Best quote is…..
If there is something positive to be taken from the Market Deeping disaster, it might be a chance to look at the world of modellers not merely as a bunch of sad anoraks, but a space in which masculinity and mental health can be positively explored, a novel and creative form of #selfcare.
Actually, I think that it’s well established that constructive hobbies are particularly good for one’s mental wellbeing, especially in the strange world that we live in (European elections, anybody?)
And one of the comments:
Hobbies are one of life’s great joys, and incredibly therapeutic. As a modeller I get home from a high-level job, dealing with an immensely stressful world, and I can solve every problem with glue, paint, care and a few simple tools. I can build something that is fun, beautiful, intriguing and makes me happy.
Don’t knock the anoraks – it’s better than being an old fart who spends his whole life talking football.
Of course, some of us can also talk football, and are looking forward to the all-English European cup finals (ironic?) and the women’s World Cup.
“but a space in which masculinity and mental health can be positively explored” that’s a pretty powerful comment. Re-reading it now caused me to think of another conversation in which a fellow model railway friend and I were discussing the personalities this hobby attracts, not in a critical way, but in terms of exploring who they are, what they bring, and what this hobby offers to them. We live in a time where we’re encouraged to be “ourselves” on so many levels and it’s so much easier to connect with those like us but learning to explore what that means to us, about us, is difficult.
It’s possible that model railroading provides a platform for creative expression to a group of people who might not have that opportunity elsewhere in their lives. They might not have grown up being encouraged to be expressive or to publicly identify with creative pursuits and this hobby provides them with a safe place to explore how that affects their identity.