Day 29 – Most Memorable Encounter
It was in the early days of September 1985 and autumn was already in the air. I had just returned from a visit to Paris to see my grandfather who given me £10 as a present.
I’d been told about a new shop that had opened about five miles away. I’m not even sure I knew its name but it was apparently brimming with games, including lots of RPGs. I was told it shut at 5pm so by the time I got home from school and my Mum had rang a taxi for me (as it’d be quicker than getting to the underground station and then getting a train) it was getting quite tight on time. Traffic didn’t help and by the time we got to the street the shop had opened on I only had a few minutes to1 go. I was almost heartbroken.
I had no idea *where* the shop was – just the road name – and it was a very long road. I had been told it was ‘near’ the station but that was about it. I leapt out of the cab and ran into a newsagents to ask them about this mecca of games. They’d not heard of it and time was running out. I literally ran down the street, dodging pedestrians, trying to spot this store… and my watch was slowly passing the 5 o’clock mark.
Then I saw it. I almost barrelled through the front door, panting and out of breath and gasped “Are you still open? Please don’t close!” to a bemused older gentleman behind the counter. “That’s ok, we close at 6 so you have plenty of time.” he replied.
That was my first ever visit to Leisure Games and introduction to the man who started it all only a week or two before my out-of-breath entry. From that moment on I spent almost every afternoon after school in the shop, ended up helping out a bit after school and then on Saturdays when he needed cover and then when his Saturday boy left for university. He then asked me to go fulltime, something I couldn’t do initially as I was still at school but he (and me) eventually got our wish and I ended up spending a fantastic 19 years fulltime at Leisure Games with a previous 4 part-time.
Tony never ever forgot the moment a young out of breath boy ran into his shop and I’ll never forget Tony. He was by far the best and most memorable encounter I’ve had involving RPGs. I owe him so much.
PS – My £10 was spent on a copy of AD&D “Legends & Lore”. The first of many purchases from Leisure Games ;)
(To find out more about #RPGaDAY please check out http://autocratik.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/rpgaday-in-august.html