Another show over. Foot sore and leg weary from tramping the solid floors of the NEC. More important, it was busy, and at times packed. If that is a sign of returning confidence for UK business, then there should be no complaints.
Mind you, dealing with the crowds at a commercial vehicle show is rather different from other shows and events. Forget the last minute Christmas rush and the bruises from being shoulder charged out of the way by parcel laden shoppers hellbent on finding a new pair of baffies for grandpa, or getting your ankles scraped red raw by zimmer frames in B&Q on OAP Wednesdays.
Nope, the Commercial Vehicle Show is another quite unique crowd surfing experience. That’s down to the nature of the visitors who throng the aisles and the displays.
Now, I’m not being unkind, but the average lay-by –caravan, 12 item cooked breakfast on a paper plate, nurtured trucker frame cuts a wide swathe once out of the cab and on foot. Get two of these guys together walking side by side down the aisle and anyone behind has to slow down to their speed. A sort of rolling traffic block at pedestrian pace. But if you then put pretty polished trucks on either side of the aisles this rolling gait slows down to a crawl as the heads swivel from one side to another like an artic coupling fifth wheel denied a good greasing. And they often stop without warning. No brake lights or hazards on foot. And if you do bump into them, there’s more muscle then flab inside. They don’t give, and they don’t move. They don’t even sway.
Get a gang of them together and they really need another bloke following behind with an orange flashing beacon on his hard hat. The fun part is aisle junctions if two or more groups arrive simultaneously and are heading in different directions. The rules of the road don’t apply here. No traffic lights and no boxed junctions. Mayhem, but at a snail’s pace. It’s like a container ship has shed its load and the containers are all bobbing about in the swell in a bottleneck, bumping into each other and bouncing off. Not so funny if you’re behind and trying to get to a meeting on time. But it’s seriously funny.
That’s the reason I spent two days at the show. Any other show can be done in a day. They are however a good natured bunch, and there were times when I felt positively sylph like in their company.