R.I.P. MBSI, MBSGB, AMICA, PPG, ETC. ETC. 1960's-20xx
This follows on from the thread 'market for mechanical music' which
has now developed into that old, well worn discussion of 'how do we
interest younger folk in our hobby'. I have been at various society
meetings over many years to listen to endless hours about the
importance of getting new blood in the room, and guess what, folks?
It ain't going to happen!
Prior to the 1950s, people with similar interests would meet together
to talk and listen, but from the 1960s onward they felt the need to
formalise the arrangement with club secretaries, treasurers, rules,
incorporation and the minutiae of small things needed to run a group.
Those days are almost over. Think how difficult it is to replace an
editor or treasurer or officer with someone who will work selflessly
for the good of the group.
I joined the two player piano societies in the late 1970s, and the
musical box societies a few years later, and soon noticed that at about
25 years of age, I was one of the young members. I have been to three
of the above meetings this year, and guess what? I am still one of the
youngest present -- and I am almost 60.
I know it's stating the blindingly obvious but roll forward another 15
years and myself and the three or four left will get together in a pub
for a pint and drink to 'absent friends'.
So what is to be done? When a cherished relative is on their deathbed,
would we tell them they have been granted immortality and organise a
holiday for them in six months time? No! We must be honest and help
them face the inevitable with dignity.
What about the many musical societies that flourished in the 1960s and
'70s? Do we prepare for the forthcoming influx of new willing and
young members or face the fact that we prepare the society for the end?
Make sure all the information we have gleaned over the last 40 years is
left available to the odd few who may take a passing interest and when
there are only three or four of us left, the society balance is divided
up and we all have a good send off or 'wake'.
Unfortunately we are the last and it was good while it lasted. I
looked through a recent MBSGB magazine with a list of about ten 'new'
members and realised that I knew of eight of them and none were younger
Let's get real and be realistic and change the thread from 'how do we
attract the young' to 'how do we prepare for the inevitable.'
in the UK
[ Brian, I am also one of the younger ones at most of the meetings. I
[ have sometimes wondered if I could find a successor to keep the
[ Digest going or if there will be anyone left to read it by
[ that time. Who will be the last collector? The words from an old
[ satirical song popped into my head today. Perhaps it's time to update
[ the lyrics to our hobby ?