Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Look who's back!

Gerald is absolutely delighted. In fact he can barely contain his excitement. Last night while we were watching the England match he was jumping up and down on the sofa in joy. Not at Harry Kane's goal, but at another former England goalscorer, Gary Lineker, whose half time appearance brought a look of sheer joy to his face.

What is all this about? Well, good old Gary, Gerald's all time favourite football player, came on during the advert break to inform us that Walkers are bringing back lots of old flavours of crisps for a limited period. Now you may or may not be aware of this, but this is something that Gerald and myself have been campaigning for for years. Many years ago, he and I formed the CTBBOFOC, short for the "Campaign To Bring Back Old Flavours Of Crisps". I was never particularly happy with that acronym, I felt it was too long and took up too much space on our headed paper and business cards but Gerald insisted it was catchy.
A glorious day for the CTBBOFOC!

To cut a long story short, we devoted our time to finding a band of like minded people who bemoaned the disappearance of their old flavours. When Facebook came along this was ideal for us, and we set up a page which swelled our ranks further. I believe at one point we had seven followers. As a more direct approach, we wrote numerous letters to crisp manufacturers highlighting our campaign and suggesting areas where we thought they could improve.

Two of the flavours we particularly highlighted to Walkers that we wanted to see return were "Toasted Cheese" and "Beef & Onion". We received a negative response to the first letter and no response at all to the second. Gerald was very upset by this, even going to the extent of forming a one-man picket outside their factory in Leicester, walking up and down outside wearing a sandwich board reading "Bring back Toasted Cheese Flavour".

I could elaborate further, but there's no need as it's all covered in great detail in my parenting book, Fortysomething Father, which I am sure you have all read. If you haven't, what is all this stuff about crisps doing in a book about parenting, I hear you ask? Well, that's a very good question, and one a number of my less enthusiastic reviewers have posed. Jamie Oliver probably wouldn't approve either, but then again, you never know. At least there's no sugar in crisps.

As for the answer, I don't have time to go into that right now, but I'm sure Gerald can explain the next time you see him.

Anyway, it seems that perhaps our letters did eventually reach the powers that be, because now Toasted Cheese, Beef & Onion and many others are indeed back, and up for sale right now in Poundland. In fact I've just had a packet of Toasted Cheese for my lunch. As soon as the delicious cheesy flavour hit my lips, my mind was transported back to 1988, A-levels at Oxpens, lunchtime drinking in the Duke Of York and illicit games of poker in the refectory after the pub shut for lunch. Happy Days!

 Jason Ayres is the author of seven books, including his best-selling time travel tale, My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday, available here:

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