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The Brentford Mercury

The Great Badge Fiasco

What happened to the Sproutlore Badges?

by James Shields


Our First Badges

Once upon a time there was a fan club. And the founders of that club had a grand vision. It would have a glossy magazine, a laminated membership card, neat button badges and an impressive range of merchandise. Then they found out how much all this would cost!

Of course, the fan club is still going strong (assuming you’re reading this), but the glossy magazine had to go, to be replaced by the Brentford Mercury we all know and love. The membership cards were also abandoned, and the merchandise only evolved very gradually. But the badges seemed realisable. So at least we would be able to some part of our vision.

At first things seemed to go well. We had some friends in a Star Trek society, and it had a badge-making machine. Could we borrow it? No, but they would make badges for us, for a fee. A long negotiating process began, with coded messages being delivered by an intermediary, but finally a price was agreed and the first batch of badges was produced.

They looked every bit as good as we hoped they would, so this would seem an appropriate point to say what a great logo Robert designed. Hurrah for Robert Rankin!

Everything went fine until we needed the second (or maybe it was the third) batch of badges. The Star Trek society was no longer in existence, but the badge machine was still accessible. The only problem was that they’d run out of badge bits. But we could use it if we provided the parts. So we got on to the supplier and ordered some. They duly arrived and wouldn’t work with the machine. A long and nasty dispute with the supplier ensued, but at the end of the day we were left with no badges. I don’t think we ever managed to get a refund for the incompatible bits either.

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