In fact I was going to do a book review but seem somewhat lethargic and uninspired so today on the eve of December I shall choose to ignore the lack of Christmas shopping that I have so far successfully completed and instead embark on some sort of random rant that loosely involves mentions of Christmas.
Ignore that last bit, I just thought of a book that tends to get me in the mood for the festive season and brings back a whole raft of nostalgia and also makes me exclaim out loud over pictures, which is not something I tend to do in polite society.
TV Cream Toys: Presents You Pestered Your Parents For – Steve Berry
Do you remember tearing down stairs at five in the morning, in wide-eyed anticipation of the mountain of wrapped boxes under a Woolies’ fireproof silver tinsel tree? Do you remember the sense of disappointment when what you asked for wasn’t among them? Or – worse – when you found a cheap, knock-off version of a toy you really wanted?
Personally, no I don’t, to any of them but you get the gist of where the book is going. It’s a nice light-hearted ramble through the toys of yesteryear (from the 60’s to the 90’s), which lets face it were better than the ones today which are all cheap plastic and noises.
Before finally succumbing to buying this, i.e hanging around at a mates house to read it for free, It had always been one of the books on the ‘bargain’ table at W.H Smiths which makes me dubious and on guard straight away, so I was happy to part with whatever little cash it cost to take this home. I do feel I should point out that this is the one and only thing I have ever found to be a bargain on that table and this only worked because it wasn’t attempting to be a substantial read or a dictionary.
I found myself lost in the easy-going nature with which this book is written as so often happens with books of this type, what starts off as a casual flick through to kill a bit of time becomes time well spent as I devoured the book in one sitting and lost a couple of hours in the process, before coming online to enjoy more hours searching around the subject matter.
Beside the full colour photo or photos of each item there are a series of ratings such as envy, breakages and ebayability each of which is interesting in its own way, although it is just a little touch it adds a bit of depth. For proper expansiveness though just drop any old toy into conversation and spark endless debate about what items in the book were the best and what should have got in instead of the Zoids which in my personal experience just fell apart a lot.
Depending on your sense of humour you could find the book hit and miss although I thought referring to perennial family game Sorry! as Ludo for bastards was pretty much spot on, you do have to have a cold-hearted approach to your fellow humans when that comes out of the box.
If you’ll indulge me on one personal and emotional reminiscence that will scar your very soul, I asked for Hungry Hippos for five Christmases in a row and never got it because my mum and dad didn’t think it was something they’d want to play. I did play it years later but that experience was sullied by having to be the pink hippo, no one wants to be the pink hippo.