Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Another Great Search That Found my Blog

"French fries crisps ooh la la".

Ha! I remember them. They showed a stereotypical French fellow on the front with a string of onions (or is it garlic?) around his neck and one of those black and white hooped jerseys (or gansies, as we sometimes say in Ireland), along with the beret. He was saying 'Ooh la la!' and the Eiffel Tower was in the background. (Did you know that when the Eiffel Tower was first built, it was denounced as an abomination? I can see why. It's not very pretty, is it? Our own Spire has served the same purpose; not attractive, but immediately identifiable, and easily reproduced.)

(For the sake of my American readers, 'crisps' in Ireland are what you call potato chips.)

I remember all those eighties snacks, sold in Dublin; Alien Spacers (science-fiction themed crisps with a short comic strip story on the back), Barry McGuigan crisps (really), Winks crisps (they showed a winking woman on the front of the bag and they were the spiciest crips I've ever tasted), Desperate Dan bars (insanely chewy), Payday bars, Burger Bites, A-Team crisps, and many more that I'm sure I could remember if I thought about it for any length of time.

I remember how kids would pester their mammies for 'ten pence', since everything seemed to be ten pence. Sometimes kids would actually pester passers-by for money to buy all this junk, though I don't think I was ever this bold.

Remembering your childhood is such a strange feeling. It only comes in flashes; to me, at least. I even have the feeling that I wouldn't like to remember it at all. I suspect I spent as much time thinking about junk as I did eating junk. I suspect that everything of value in my childhood (and perhaps in everybody's childhood) was at a subconscious level-- all the flashes of sublimity and wonder and insight happened in the blink of an eye, and we were barely aware of them.

But it's like excavating a vanished civilization; all I have are educated guesses.


  1. How are all these strange things finding your blog?

    I'll talk to you about my childhood in a few years time. It wasn't that long ago to be interesting yet.

  2. Well, I have a few nostalgic posts about growing up in Ballymun. When I still tried to put labels on my post, 'nostalgia' was one of them. There aren't very many topics I haven't touched on!

    Very funny about your childhood, by the way-- it made me laugh. It reminds me of Chairman Mao's response to a question about the importance of the French Revolution: "It's too soon to tell."

  3. I forgot to mention that those nostalgic posts include references to snacks like French fries crisps (ooh la la).