The age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tescos vs Iconic Silver Age Hollywood Horror

So I'm having an 80s party. We're not going to dress up or anything, we're just going to eat 80s food and watch 80s films, observe the Blockbuster in its foetal stage before it learned how to be charmless and slick and effortlessly forgettable. I've always loved that particular genus of 80s cinema, there's this whole group of films that are linked by nothing more than a puppy dog enthusiasm to please, at least one bit where a woman with big hair gets topless and that rubbish 80s special effect that looks like blue lightning. You know the one, the one that the Emperor splurges from the end of his finger tips in Jedi (although doubtless George has buffed that particular FX up to a pointless digital gleam for the latest 'I want a 100ft statue of JarJar Binks built at Skywalker Ranch' Edition of the trilogy).

Anyway, I digress, several times, lets concertina in the tangential meanderings and get back to the point. Short Circuit, Inner Space, Back to the Future, Flight of the Navigator - these are serious films, classics of an loosely recognised genre powered by cheesy music and dodgy blue electricity, they require serious snacks - 80s style.

Consequently, there I am in my local branch of Tescos loading my basket with Wagon Wheels, Discos, Space Raiders, Pez Dispensers, Hula Hoops, Sherbet Dip Daps, Iced Party Rings and enough ingredients to make some seriously good toasties (ham and egg being a personal favourite). But as I walk up to the till I sense that something has gone seriously wrong.

It appears Tescos have hired The Creature From The Black Lagoon to do the night shift.

And its name is 'Sharon'.

The creature regards me for a long moment. Something very close to intelligence flickering behind its dead eyes. Slowly and with great effort it begins to speak, opening its thick lips in a hideously strangled attempt at communication.

'D'you need help with packing?'

'No thank you' I say, giving it what I hope is a placating smile 'I'm sure I can marshal my faculties sufficiently to take on the enormous task of putting groceries into plastic bags. After all, I didn't educate myself to degree standard in order to go about balancing produce on my head or pathetically resorting to sellotaping it to my upper body and torso after failing to unlock the mysteries of your carrier bag system.'

This does not go down well with the creature. My botched attempt at levity seems to anger it still further and it flares its nostrils in a way that makes me afeared for the safety of nearby womenfolk. I decide to change the subject.

'Buy one, get one free on the Iced Party Rings, I notice'

The creature ignores me, the full weight of its bestial cognitive capacity employed in the task of dragging various items over the barcode scanner. But somewhere deep down inside its powerful body a growl has begun that is so low frequency I can feel it vibrating my internal organs. I decide now would be a good time to concentrate intently on a display of 25% off electric toothbrushes.

The rest of the transaction passes without incident except for the fact that I can't get everything into the bags and end up holding some of it in my teeth. The creature takes my money, presses some buttons at random as if to see what they might do and then gives me an approximation of the correct change.

'Fhank choo' I manage through teeth clenched around a variety pack of Monster Munch, before turning smartly on my heel and running for my life.

One can only wonder at the wisdom of hiring iconic silver screen monsters to tend to late night shoppers but I guess we have to presume that it makes some sort of sound financial sense. Thinking about it I'm sure I saw a Triffid behind the deli counter and Mecha-Godzilla having a fag by the delivery entrance.

Strange times, but I can't worry about it now, I have a party to plan ...


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