Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

40K on the BBC

So, as many of us know, 40K got a spot on the BBC News website for its 25th Anniversary.

This kind of thing has happened before, and we (the hobby “we”, not the royal We) rarely do well out of it. The dual negative natures of the hobby’s obsessive and geeky overtones are amped up to 11, while (to trot out the old trope) football fans are allowed to spend hundreds of pounds every year on match tickets, kits, and to spend hours and hours watching games with various degrees of obsession, and to play fantasy football, which is (to trot out a second trope) “just D&D for jocks”.

I’ve never reeeeeeaaaaaally agreed with the traditional hobby defences mentioned above, mostly because they feel so very, very defensive and the hobby isn’t something I really get ashamed about – not since I turned 24 or so. But I can understand the usual reactions. It’s annoying and false that we’re always painted up like clownish, unpalatable cunts – except, of course, the many among our diverse and multinational breed who are indeed already clownish, unpalatable cunts. But they exist in every community, culture, subculture and fandom. So… whatever.

Anyway, this time, the BBC treated us pretty nicely, and a lot of that comes down to who they interviewed, and how he handled it.

Here’s the video link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17344366. Definitely worth watching.

And here’s the main article (also with the video) on the main site (complete with slightly inflammatory, but adorable title): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17274186.

Andrew Ruddick – the guy being interviewed and speaking for the hobby – brought us across in a really nice and realistic light, essentially an avatar for most of the people I know in the hobby: Just guys and girls who happen to like Warhammer. I wanted to track him down just to say thanks for his presentation of 40K’s real face, which required some incredible detective skills that would’ve made Sherlock Holmes shit his jeans in awe.

As soon as I did that, I found his Twitter page.

And as soon as I found that, I found this:

…he already follows me.

(I tend to forget Twitter. Out of the cosmic clash of forums and Facebook, Twitter is the one I tend to interact least on, and have the least followers (or likers/whatever-on-Site-X-ers), though I’m making a concerted effort to lock it down and get on board.


Thanks, Andrew. I owe you a drink. If you see me (no doubt in my natural state of standing around somewhere in a beanie hat and looking faintly confused) feel free to hit me up for a round at the closest bar.

March 13, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized |


  1. I wrote on Dan’s status the other day about the announced reaching the New York Times best selling list, that the 40k and fantasy hobby is reaching out to a much wider fanbase than ever before and its getting more and more popular plus gets the attention it deserves. Soon it wont be seen as a geeky thing perhaps, but an arevage typical hobby. 🙂

    Not to step on anyones toe, but I can say as a straight not interested in any type of sports, that sports geeks are enourmously dorky if anything. And they do the same thing as us. Where we look for how much damage a bolter does, they look at how many goals an fotball player has done in a year. Its the same thing pretty much.

    Comment by Forkmaster | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  2. The feature article is, sadly, quite workman like. It’s got some inaccuracies and really doesn’t exploit the source material; GW is now firmly part of the nations childhood, is a huge business and is unique.

    But it’s a good start, if nothing else.

    Comment by edfortune | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  3. […] Now if you have absolutely no idea about the Warhammer games mentioned above a good place to start is by reading a little something about it. I found out through writer Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s excellent blog (https://aarondembskibowden.wordpress.com/) that the BBC did an article on Warhammer 40k when they celebrated their 25th birthday. The gist of it all is that anyone who is older then a certain age and still playing is a geek (it has always been so) but it is done with a little more forgiveness this time. Above all the interview is very well done and give a better insight in how most of the older players feel about the hobby nowadays. Article and interview can be found here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17344366  and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17274186 . Aaron’s blogpost on the topic can be found here https://aarondembskibowden.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/40k-on-the-bbc/. […]

    Pingback by Cucumber sandwiches – Completed artwork and wip « Studio Colrouphobia | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  4. Wow. Well, it was rather nice to get the twitter messages but this is something else.

    For the sake of full disclosure, I should say that one of the things which was cut from the article was me explaining my own reasons for staying engaged. A huge part of it is the stories. In truth, I’d not played 40k for a few months, being focussed on WHFB of late, but have recently got back into 40k through the anticipation for the new edition. However, the one thing that always keeps me hooked is the stories, both the novels and the lore of the universe itself. I am a sucker for a good story, and the game is a platform through which I can play in that universe.

    So without sounding like a kiss arse, there was a lot more said about the literature that never made it into the finished piece. Such is the way of things, alas. As page space and video length only allowed for so much content.

    Aaron, thanks for the offer of a drink. Happy to take you up on it and reciprocate should our paths cross

    Comment by Andrew | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  5. god aaron i get like this too so often as well! I mean there use to be a warhammer club at our school but it had such a bloody bad name that I just stopped going to it because on balance it wasn’t worth going just to stand around with a couple of other guys for about half an hour which isnt enough to do a game anyway.

    And yeah i get what you say about the footie people too, im not into the game myself and all my frends just natter on to each other about it in like their own language, it genuinely sickens me how hypocrytical some people are.

    Comment by VDOG | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  6. Obviously, Aaron, I’d not checked your blog before telling you about this on Facebook…

    Good work, Andrew. Nice to see Crewe get a mention for something other than it’s failing football team and train station.

    Comment by G | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  7. People are nicer to geeks these days because they know that if they give us any hassle we’ll just turn the internet off.

    Comment by Tim | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  8. On one hand I’m (sort of) pleased to see the article, it still has that note of condescension that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. On the surface it may seem objective, but phrases like “Why do grown men launch tabletop war?” give the whole thing a sour note. It seems much like an old-fashioned article examining the quaint barbarities of the savage tribes – pretending to be objective, but betraying an irritating sense of superiority. On the whole, I’m not really satisfied with “this isn’t as bad as it could have been.”

    Comment by TheRaging Walrus | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  9. Fefin

    Comment by northernhomesteader | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  10. Like on Stephen King – you and I will have to disagree on this one, Aaron. : ) Seems like several of the BL crowd responded to this news story. I take a different perspective. Check it out at http://rob-sanders.blogspot.com/2012/03/10-popular-pastimes-that-share-more.html

    Comment by Rob Sanders | March 13, 2012 | Reply

  11. I like what he said about the relapsers, I was one of the ones who fell out of the game in my late teens. Altough I still had a sneaky check on the gamesworkshop site and the forgeworld site. Now 25 Ive been collecting again for 2 years and have well over 5000 points of pointy tyranids and its still growing…(much to the detriment of my wallet) All my friends know I collect now and after the initial “ooo tiny fighting men remarks” from the ‘jokers’ of the group. They all accept and 2 of my friends have in the last year started to collect again. The tabou is erroding as the warhammer world gets more inclusive and indepth it becaomes more socially acceptable to be involved in the hobby.

    Comment by Adam | March 14, 2012 | Reply

  12. […] Tutaj znajdziecie wideo-wywiad z fanem i graczem WH40K, a tutaj artykuł. Warto też zajrzeć w to miejsce, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, popularny autor Black Library dzieli się swoimi spostrzeżeniami na ten […]

    Pingback by BBC i Czterdzieste Tysiąclecie « Per mortis ad gloria | March 14, 2012 | Reply

  13. What 40k army do you do aaron?

    Comment by VDOG | March 15, 2012 | Reply

  14. I was in the closet (the geek closet that is) for many years until my wife got nosey and asked what all my books and forums I cheked out were about. She has been totally cool about it. she doesn’t “get it” but would rather I had that interest then be at the pub all the time with my mates watching football.

    Having stopped playing W40k in the mid 90s I rediscovered my gothic sci fantasy fix in about 2006 when I picked up the Eisenhorn omnibus (I had been sorely disappointed with the Brian Herbert Dune books – understandably as he is not Frank – and was looking for something else to read and saw a big Warhammer section in Waterstones that piqued my interest). Since then I have bought (and mostly read) over 120 books, bought all the rulebooks/codexes/RPG books from FFG and the Forgeworld books. However, I have not started playing again as there isn’t a club for 42 year old men (and I don;t want to hang out in a GW store and get whipped by a 14 year old tabletop whizz).

    So I am now wearing my geek colours with pride (except at work where being in management I fear what my team might say ha ha).

    Comment by Duke_Leto | March 20, 2012 | Reply

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