bars of chocolate and gramophone records

3089045133_729059bed6it’s a staggering oversight how cadburys have ignored the ritual of undressing a chocolate bar with their new awful plastic sealed wrappers.

in a perfect world i would buy a cold crisp bar in the winter from one of those wall mounted metal vending machines outside a chemist or a hardware store,where i’d enjoy every step of the purchase.i’d love slipping the coin into the slot, followed by turning the big knob at the side to retrieve my chocolate bar from the flap at the front…y’know i always found chewing gum a disgusting commodity,but i’d even buy that sometimes just to engage with a wall mounted vending machine.i can forgive cadburys for no longer having those contraptions,since the world is full of pigs who’d love nothing more than to destroy them,but i cannot forgive the company for what they’ve done to the wrapper. dear reader…surely you’d agree that the darling silver paper lovingly embraced by a second layer of purple was as heartening as the chocolate itself. as a child, having scoffed the lot, i would take the silver paper and flatten it out,then bounce it in the air like a leaf or attempt to do something creative with it. for a while in the 1960’s that silver paper was truly luxuriant with the embossed cadbury trademark all over it…easter eggs had the same,but don’t worry… i won’t get started on the pigs ear they’ve made of the 21st century easter egg.

as a child i found life unbearable…(feel free to laugh)…i dreaded break-time in primary school where we’d all be herded into a playground to either fight or run around in circles. that ten minutes of hell seemed to last forever.heaven was in the lounge…the adult room back home that was often out of bounds. in the lounge was a drinks trolley dressed with lovely coloured bottles of rum and brandy…harveys bristol cream sherry…babycham…advocat…and a jar of cocktail as tents really..but more importantly a record player with a pile of 45’s that my dad brought back from air force juke the earliest age i was listening to the bachelors ‘i believe’.. rolling stones ’19th nervous breakdown’ with  ‘as tears go by’ on the b-side….connie francis ‘lipstick on your collar’…’goodness gracious me’ by peter sellers and sophia loren…’the book of love’..’my boy lollipop’….all these pop songs of love…human promiscuity…depression and belief….. i scoffed a lot of cadburys dairy milk,opal fruits and rowntrees spangles while lording over that record selection.

bars of chocolate and gramophone records go very well together,and one of the loveliest things to happen recently is re-instating a gramophone player into our container (container is mary-speak for’house’).in san francisco last year i bought an original 45 pressing of the beach boys ‘don’t worry baby’,and only last night when i gave it a spin,my boyfriend came gently sailing into the living room from the kitchen, and danced by himself on the carpet, while i shyly watched and felt my heart near to explode with joy.

i have decided to curtail calling records ‘vinyl’..we never called them vinyl when they were our lifeline. vinyl was the plastic flooring in toilets and kitchens. one of my favourite things is to say “i think i’m going to put a gramophone record on”…or a *long player*…or an LP.

it occurs to me that rituals are,without us realising , a doorway into some sort of meditation…the two layer unwrapping of the chocolate bar….the coming away from  a record shop with a purchase lovingly bagged, to be unbagged and played at the spinning alter of feelings…….i miss that almost sacred deflowering of a chocolate bar. i’m left cold at these new soulless plastic sealed wrappers on display…i wonder if cadburys google their shit and have little think-tanks where they invite twits like me to ponder over their product for an afternoon. if they do,they could do worse that avail themselves the privilege of my company for a few hours. they’d learn how crucial it is for their chocolate bars to look pretty and unwrappable.

dear reader..i think i’m going mad.

all my loving … mary of the wilderness.


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18 Responses to bars of chocolate and gramophone records

  1. marianne says:

    i must be mad too as cadbury turned me off to their chocolate… now i turn to much more expensive stuff, as i got to have my chocolate, because they wrap them in silver+ as it should be.
    God i’ve turned into a mean old bitch who if she doesn’t get the silver lining is totally nasty… but really it doesn’t take all that much to make me happy! ; )


  2. Julie Rex says:

    Oh how right you are mary!! I also miss the scrumptious noise the wrapper made when all added to the enjoyment..I can never eat much as I love it…unless it has been well and truly chilled to the point of risking a tooth breaking lol..warm chocolate is a real turn off for me…You made me think of my childhood, sitting with one of those little portable record players, singing into a hairbrush, whilst watching your own reflection in the turned off t.v..hoping no one would walk in and catch you as you would just die of embarrassment..I inherited a record collection from some old aunt or uncle…I still have them…real old crooner stuff of the day…then I found my own ear 🙂 much love as always xx


    • oh yes julie…nice crisp chocolate straight from the fridge…i couldn’t agree more…warm chocolate is awful and messy.

      i was caught several times singing into the hairbrush WELL into my teens…i still do it hahaha. xxx


      • Julie Rex says:

        Hahahaha I did think of this song when I wrote that lol If I remember rightly…isn’t that darling Billy Fields brush?


      •’s billy fields brush….you have a good memory julie.


      • Julie Rex says:

        I’ve always had a good memory, sometimes it’s a curse lol


      • oh heavens julie… better to have good memory than otherwise…..i know what you mean though..things happen in this life that aren’t all good,but rather than attempt to forget them,we can simply learn from it all…and forgiveness when it’s a thing,isn’t the same as glad you have all your marbles.


  3. Richard malpas says:

    You have a marvelous way of making the reader return to by-gone times when life was innocent. I agree with the wrappers on many products of these times…..Mars bars also had a crisp covering of dark-brown paper, apart from the fact they were larger then and the ingredients were different, it took some time to get through one. I loved the vending machines on railway stations. Charing Cross had them encircling some of the huge pillars. Made of cast-iron and the ability to snap shut before you retrieved the goods, sometimes the drawer never opened at all leading to the frustration of whether to risk another sixpence…


    • oh yes..the mars bar wrapper was tightly enveloped,and now the texture is more like a milky way. i love learning here from you how in charing cross they were lining the pillars with the machines..i can easily imagine that,and i’m reminded by this that you are a true london boy….in those days i dreamed of the place from portrush…that and liverpool for obvious reason.

      that frustration when loosing your sixpence was something,and i have to admit i would bang and kick the machine the times it happened to me…and that quandary of weather to risk another coin….hahahahaha…nightmare….lovely to hear from you ritchie.


  4. dubdoug says:

    Great post. So true. The ritual is it. I miss unwrapping the Fry’s Chocolate Cream bar.


    • i always loved the telly advert for the frys chocolate cream..the elegant lady laying on a white couch in a white room with a black cat for company….hahahahahaha.
      frys chocolate cream is great…dark chocolate with toothpaste for the soft centre.


  5. Richard malpas says:

    Frys made a peppermint one and also a five-fruit one…..:-) I’m sure of the price back then, but probably around 4d – 6d range….I miss those times….


    • we have frys peppermint cream in the fridge….i like the shape of the bar..the curve of the top side of the dark chocolate,but i’m finding now i’m old the peppermint in the middle is too sugary….again they’ve messed up their wrapper… i know i write very nostalgically about the past,but we mustn’t forget the advantages of modern life too ritchie…i love being able to write to you like this…we never could have done that before,but yes…like you,i miss a lot of things….beauty is the thing…right down to silly things like chocolate wrappers. xxx


    • oh and thanks for that picture of charing cross by the way…amazing robustly built machines.


  6. Richard malpas says:

    You’re welcome, catch you next time…


  7. Tim Ballard says:

    Gotta be After 8s straight out of the fridge….Mmmm!


    • i LOVE after eights…and yes…definitely cold from the fridge.

      rowntrees understood only too well the joy and ritual of the wrapper..after eights are a perfect example…they had great detail with the spangles as well…i’m sure the longevity of the after eights are largely down to the presentation.


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