Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Time Passes. So Do People. And Things


Hello again dears.

Well, call this serendipity I suppose.

Or call it the depths of despond.

In my great plan of things, my next epistle was going to introduce you to the grannies in my life...

…the role models who inhabited my childhood and created the template in my mind which I now find is in the wrong size, and not in the sale.

However, life has just dealt one of those blows which remind one of the passage of time …

… of being the wrong side of the Zeitgeist, whilst still the right side of the tomb.

And that means I'm going to write this first and the grannies will have to wait.

Woe, woe and thrice woe

Boots have discontinued my favourite own-brand body spray.

The one I've used religiously for at least a quarter of a century by my reckoning.

My LUCKY spray.

The spray which, when used before I meet people, makes me feel like everything's OK and all my boxes are ticked.

The spray which, cheap as it was, contributed to the million dollar feeling on those stressful occasions.


It's gone. Just like that.

I slipped out to buy three for two in the quiet post-rushhour retail park.

And I wandered empty-handed  up and down the aisles for five whole minutes before seeking assistance.

And then they told me. "It's been discontinued dear".

Because, apparently according to the assistant, "Nobody buys it any more".

"But I buy it", I screamed … maybe slightly too loud for mourning a cheap spray.

Yet I knew, even as I studied the face of the young assistant that I was yesterday's marketing demographic.

Deceased people

The discontinuance of things is there to remind us all, I guess, of our own limited marketing span.

"Oh her? She's been discontinued … there's no call for her anymore".

You notice it first with the obituaries of the famous people you grew up to know.

I reckon this began for me at least 20 years ago. And it's been gaining pace so fast that I'm now not sure who has kicked the bucket and who is merely out of view.

I mean, I know that Alan Whicker's gone. Tommy Cooper as well. I think the first shock was Harry Worth.

Most of the Beatles too. The Beatles FFS.

I was convinced that Stanley Baxter must have gone … just like Ronnie Barker. And then he pop's up in a documentary on the telly and you feel guilty for having written him off prematurely.

And I'm assured that Cliff Richard hasn't gone … and neither has Bruce Forsyth.

And, no, you don't need to say it. I know what you're thinking.

Deceased products

And, just as it is with celebrities, so too with products.

You just get used to a lipstick and then they change the range and you've got to try and find something similar all over again. How many times can you vary RED?

Clarins even decided last year, in their wisdom, to discontinue their clear lipgloss. Now I have to match a coloured one instead.

Now why on earth do that? Is there anything more basic and universal and timeless than clear lipgloss?

Some products are pure nostalgia, of course.

I can do a half hour talk on four a penny chews if you let me.

The "fruit salad" ones, mind. I was never into the Blackjacks.

And Spangles. And Jubblys. And Fruity Blue ice lollies.

You know you're getting on when they've discontinued your childhood.

And then...

You see, mark my words.

First they came for the celebrities.

Then they came for the fruit salad chews.

Then they came for the Boots "Natural Collection".

And when nothing you knew is left...

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