Whist sitting at my desk thinking about all things modelling and also the complexity of creating things to put out on the world wide web my attention was distracted by a book peeking out of my bookshelf. Yet another one of those great ideas at the time that didn’t follow through to an actual product. Then my thoughts drifted to what else was in the bookshelf and what have I not looked at in some time, well in reality a long time.
I know it might just be me but I rarely “just get” books out of my shelf, but that’s changed now with the lock down. In this age of digital media I realised that I have long moved away from the printed word. I remember the days that I would look forward to getting the latest edition of Railway Modeller from our local newsagents on the Saturday after it came out, as this was the time I could make it to the town that stocked the magazine. But the joy in getting home and disappearing off to my bedroom to lose myself in little imaginary worlds for a brief moment in time has been forgotten, at least for me. I am sure there are many out there who have the contrary view and spend significant amounts of time and money building their collections. But for me part of the process is getting something for the immediate joy of reading. Then follows the putting in a place on a shelf and the distancing from the mind, probably, possibly for years.
The fact that I haven’t had this opportunity since I was that yoof sitting in his bedroom, sitting in front of these books now brings back the joy of that moment. Each book and magazine has a memory attached, sometimes it was the getting of it or sometimes the memory of reading it.
I could have way more books, way way more books in these shelves, but I have managed to keep my choices to things that are in my core interests. For me it would be way too easy to load up on a whole range of subjects that would keep me busy probably for the rest of my life. Don’t get me wrong its not that I don’t go down other paths elsewhere but on the whole this is all digital and takes up no physical space. In this age of pretty much everything being in some form on line, with a large amount of it not being or never having been in publication. With also the possibility of asking questions on related forums, there really is no stone that can’t be unturned.
As someone who has spent the majority of there life in motion, and with few places where I had time or space to spread these physical roots it has been both a blessing and a curse. But now I am actually happy I hadn’t accumulated a huge library as most of it would probably have been jettisoned anyway. What’s more of interest to me is distilling my knowledge of the particular subject I’m interested in. Building up archives that I have access to anywhere is more important to me now than having an impressive bookshelf(s). I now circulate books brought on a whim that either don’t fit with my core interests or that replicates information. On the whole I have managed to train out random compulsive purchasing, but occasionally one gets through! I have to say that the Wild Swan Modelling Series is my Achilles keel and have pretty much brought every book in this series, even if it doesn’t necessarily fit my modelling influences and skills.
Speaking of Wild Swan I received the last issue, which after some (fomo?) I couldnt remember when my subscription ran out and like a fool when the mag turned up did my civic duty and bunged the envelope into the recycle. Unbeknownst to me the final edition is printed on the label, who knew?! I kind of admire their complete lack of desire to enter the 21st century and the operations dept is an endless source of amusement for many. But in this time of seclusion I opted for the patience approach and crossed fingers that it would turn up at some point. Thankfully that is what happened and I am now signed up for another four issues, which is all they are offering at this current time. But four is better than non of this wonderful publication.
These mags are the only I buy now. Apart from an occasional purchase of other mainstream mags this is the only one I actively collect. Also the only one that I don’t slash n scan pretty much after purchasing. I have been known to occasionally leaf through one in a idle moment. I have recently started building an index of the mags I have, yes I know there is already one out there, but I like to have something that I have access to at all times and can quickly look for something of interest.
So for the time being I am revisiting some old paper friends and pondering if there are more I need or want to add to them.
Until next time..