February 29, 2008

PhoeniX PhiL & The Unwanted Evolution Of Smarties

Filed under: Uncategorized, PhoeniX Phil — pxpl @ 10:31 am

Monday, July 24, 2006

  PXPL & The Unwanted Evolution Of Smarties
Current mood: annoyed
Category: a little lost & found Writing and Poetry

I’m not a man who is afraid of change… I have David Bowie AND Madonna albums to back this claim. But every so often I am left with my hands on hips looking towards the sky thinking “if it aint broke… don’t fix it”.This is a case in point, this is….


PhoeniX PhiL & The Unwanted Evolution Of Smarties

A running joke between my mother and my brother revolves around my love of Smarties. Famously, this came about when my brother asked me what my favourite chocolate bar was. I answered Smarties and every mocked me… “Ha Ha Divy-Phigis … SMARTIES !?! … it’s not even a chocolate bar! ha ha ha” Yes, I know it’s not even a chocolate bar but let me explain…My mum / household had a very strict regime on food. I could always tell what the day was by what I had for dinner. Thus…

MONDAY - Chicken fingers / Alpha-bites/ beans

TUESDAY - Bacon (or omelette) / beans

WEDNESDAY - Beef Burger & Pasta (or “Beef & Pas’ ” as it become known… famously, my favourite meal)

THURSDAY - The dreaded “Gravy Meal”… sausages / or cheap pie, mashed or boiled potatoes, with horrible frozen peas.

FRIDAY - Budget Rib steaks or “White block” (a strange block of fish) with rice and sweet corn.

SATURDAY - Lunch time: Daddy’s Mince (this is a bit of a strange one and may need a spin off blog entry of it’s own. and NO! it isn’t anything sexual… it’s stranger than that).

Tea Time: Oven chips, slice of bread and a Sausage Roll.

SUNDAY - was more varied food wise although we’d listen to the vintage charts at lunch and the Radio one top 40 at tea time.

So yeah… part of my mum’s food regime was that we were only allowed a chocolate bar on Tuesday and Saturday. Mother used to buy the multi - packs in Sainsburys and more often than not it would be the Nestle-Rowntree range that would be discounted.

Aeros were quite nice in winter. You could leave them to go cold and crisp in the fridge and then drunk them in your tea. One of my favourite Aero techniques was to bite off a cool, crisp chunk of Aero and leave it in my mouth slowly dissolving. Then take a glug of strong, sweet tea and feel the hot Tetley pierce the chocolate bubbles. It was quite a sensual experience for a lonely boy in a small town.

As enjoyable as “the Great Aero / Tea Sessions: 1990 -1996″ were, I had a strange fondness for Smarties. They’d arrive in tightly wrapped packs of three tube normally with a free fourth tube. If Smarties were being sold in packs of four tubes it was a certainty that Mother would buy them… being on a budget the extra tube help saved pennies but also 4 tubes worked out even shares between me and my brother.

Smarties on a teenaged Tuesday was a gloriously exciting affair. Following a strange series of circumstances I had been labelled and left with the role of “Supper King”. This essential meant that at 10 PM I’d be nagged into making a cup of tea for everyone (Mum would make increasingly louder “dry mouth” noises until the tea was served) and sometimes some cereal for Dad.

Once the family were satisfied I would sneak upstairs with not only a tube of smarties but also with the bottom third of Saturday’s 2 litre Pepsi that I was allowed to finish off. As much as I enjoyed the chocolate and pop while listening to Mark Radcliff’s late night radio 1 show (or as between song “fuel” for my late night leap around the bedroom to “Cheap Trick Live At The Budokan” sessions) a big part of the reason that I loved Smarties was the packaging.

Firstly there was the plastic cap with a random letter on the back. This was exciting in several ways, most obviously the strange excitement if the Smarties letter was the first letter of your own name. The other way was a personal way, I used to collect a  couple of months worth of Smarties lids and if I could spell out the name of whichever girl I was currently stalking well ….then it was meant to be.

Strangely, I never got the right letters for “I-N-D-I-E G-I-R-L    T-H-A-T   W-O-R-K-S  I-N    O-U-R-P-R-I-C-E” I always had plenty of T’s and R’s but alas never enough vowels.

A less soppy form of fun was to hide on the stairs in the dark and then shoot a family member by popping the little white cardboard disk out of the bottom at them.

Maybe if I had popped my disk at the “Indie Girl That Works In Our Price” she would have loved me. Actually I realised early on that the situation was made up of futile heart beats… after all she was at least two years older than me and her boyfriend looked like Evan Dando. Apparently he was in some “local band” and his cousin was the Dolly Grip for the TV show “The Word”.

Naturally, I didn’t stand a chance… HECK! I wasn’t even cool enough to know their names.

But I used to see them around…

Oh! how I used to see them around. *sigh*





Now Smarties have these rubbish, possibly more cost effective cardboard hexaganal tubes. Is nothing sacred! I now have no way of collecting letters to make girl’s names.

The worse thing about these new tubes is that they pop open at the slightest touch… leading to all kinds of further problems with the security staff at the Tesco Metro.


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