on 10 October 2012
This agreeable new tome from Messrs Berry and Norman is a tour de force of sweet nostalgia hits. If I were to belabour the sweety metaphor I might make mention of each page being like a burst of space dust on the tongue - but I won't. Instead I will say that this is an incredibly beautifully illustrated and meticulously compiled piece of work. The gents have searched seemingly every dusty cranny to uncover all manner of obscure and exotic comestible ephemera. And it really is the ephemeral aspect of this book that makes it such a joy. Unlike TV shows or adverts that are easily accessed at anytime via You Tube, many of these confectionary designs have not fallen under my gaze since I was two foot shorter and waiting in line at the ice cream van outside the school gates.
If you find yourself longing for the sweets of your childhood, and particularly if you grew up in the 1970s and early 1980s, this book is a must for you.
Steve Berry's previous book of nostalgia, "TV Cream Toys: Presents You Pestered Your Parents for", was wonderful, although more of a picture book than something you could read, but this book has clearly been a labour of love. Yes there are lots of pictures of sweets, wrappers, bags, lollies, cans, old advertisements from magazines, stills from TV ads and so on, but the books is surprisingly thick - almost 400 pages in total - and there is a lot to read! Divided into themed sections (chocolate, crisps & snacks, drinks, sweets and so on) each is then subdivided into shorter pieces, so for example in the part devoted to chocolate there are segments on bagged chocolates (Buttons, Maltesers, Minstrels...), sharing bars (Dairy Milk, Galaxy...), individual bars (Mars, Milky Way...), fingers (Twix, Drifter, Time Out...) and so on. As a book it is always interesting to read, often very funny, sometimes rather emotional, and I loved it all.
Not everything is covered, and you are bound to find some items aren't mentioned (I was hoping to find a mention of a bar called "One Two" I remember - kind of like a Twix but with each finger wrapped individually, and separated by perforations so you could share them or eat one now and have the other later, but it wasn't there) or they are mentioned but not pictured, but you'll find yourself grinning as you remember the brands you enjoyed so much, and craving one more taste. It's a shame that there also isn't an index - the "periodic table" idea inside the covers is fun but not that helpful really.
A wonderful piece of nostalgia for any child of the 70s or 80s.
on 28 September 2012
Our school tuck shop was one of my earliest memories. My mum used to give me 5p to take in each day and i used to be able to get a new refresher for 1p. I'm in my forties now and this book brings back so many memories. I had forgotten about Quatro! Lovely book well researched with lots of little interesting side stories about the 'tuck' industry. A great present for that fourty-something you don't know what to buy for.
on 8 October 2012
Leafing through the pages of The Great British Tuck Shop feels a bit like waking up, John Simm-style, in an immaculately preserved 1970s sweet shop. Chronicling the imperial phase of the British confectionery industry, this lovingly designed, researched and written book catalogues practically every chocolate bar, ice lolly, penny chew, crunchy snack and fizzy beverage of your formative years.
The brilliant thing is not so much reading about the stuff you remember, but the products you'd forgotten ever existed in the first place - Cadbury's Gambit, Trebor Double Agents and KP Sky Divers are all granted one final moment in the sun, not to mention the Wall's, er, Kinky. Even Fry's Five-Centres is here in all its decadent glory. Full of evocative images, wrappers, adverts and promotional material (and if the promise of a massive picture of Derek Griffiths shilling for Vimto doesn't reel you in, nothing will), The Great British Tuck Shop is an essential purchase for anyone who's spent an evening in the pub attempting to remember all the words to the "can't resist 'em..." advert for Cadbury's Creme Eggs.
on 16 October 2012
It would be so easy to write a book about the UK's favourite crisps, sweets and drinks by saying "Lots of people bought this stuff and it was really popular" on every page.
Actually, I think I will...
But that's beside the point. What makes this such an outstanding book is the fact that it's been very thoroughly researched, uses beautifully crafted dialogue that rolls off the tongue and reawakens more forgotten memories than you can shake a Curly Wurly at.
If you were a kid in the 70's and 80's, you'll really love this book. All those trips to the local corner shop on the way to or from school will come readily to mind once again as you remember all those brand names that made life great back then. And there are dozens and dozens of them in this book, so do yourself a favour and buy it. You'll be totally glad you did.
This book is one of my secret pleasures. I flick through these pages the way other men might go through something from the top shelf of the newsagents... the only difference being that my subsequent dribbling and drooling is the result of more than just an overactive imagination. Oh, and I wouldn't think twice about reading this book in front of the vicar.
This is, quite simply, beautiful. It manages to capture the very essence of what being a child in Britain in the 70s and 80s was all about - stuffing your face full of sweets at every possible opportunity. But what sweets they were! The front cover alone has sent me on a hundred different trips down a variety of Memory Lanes. Most of them seem to take a detour via the dentist but that's the price you have to pay for having a nostalgic sweet tooth I suppose.
I must confess, I have never sat down and actually read more than a few pages of this book in one go, any more than I would do with one of those aforementioned top-shelf publications (of the sort that I know nothing whatsoever about, you understand). And the reason is the same - well, sort of; It's all about the pictures. 'The Complete Works of Shakespeare' could have been printed alongside them, I don't think I would really notice. I have tried to read this as a proper book but I really do find it almost impossible. That is no insult to the writing style of the authors either, because that is both factual and humorous. My lack of reading discipline is more of a compliment to their wisdom in devoting so much of this work to so many truly evocative illustrations. If you want more information, it's there. But if you just want to wallow in some decidedly rose-tinted shades of nostalgia, all you really need are these pictures.
It isn't all Love Hearts and Parma Violets though... the curmudgeon in me always ends up wondering aloud why sweets were so cheap in those days and I can hear myself sounding old even as I'm doing it. What young person talks to himself about half-penny pieces for one thing? But with a picture of a packet of 'Pacers' at my side, none of that really seems to matter.
I am grateful to the authors of this book for adding a great big picture of the four different flavours of 'Double Agents' to their masterpiece. I was starting to think I had completely imagined them. One day I might feel brave enough to read the accompanying text to that entry and find out why somebody somewhere decided to pull the plug on their production, something I feel sure I have never really recovered from. But until then, I'll stick to my pictures.
on 13 March 2013
Speaking as someone who would probably be best described as a boy trapped in a man's body and happily admits to wasting far too much valuable time wallowing in nostalgia, this book is essential.
Anything associated with the mighty TV Cream website comes with a guarantee of quality. The authors write knowledgeably, articulately and with more wit than you could reasonably expect from a book about the tasty snacks of yesteryear. And if reading is too much bother, the pages are lavished with adverts and pictures of the wrappers, cans and bottles from back in the day to keep you occupied. All the things you remember are there, as well as plenty you'd forgotten about or never heard of in the first place. I must admit, when I was reacquainted with the old Lyons Maid symbol, it brought a slight lump to the throat. Those were the days...
So if you can't face the future and want to pretend its 1984 all over again, you must have this.
PS: Bring back Quatro and Pacers!
on 3 May 2013
I bought this as it was cheap and appealed to my interest in sweets and the past,i was expecting loads of pictures and a bit of text,but was pleasantly surprised at how in depth and interesting it was.Oh,how i wish they`d bring back Super Mousse,Aztec and Amazin chocolate bars! It also features soft drinks,i remember Cresta,Corona and the Alpine Pop man delivering from his flat bed lorry! Kids today don`t realise how much they`re missing!
on 27 December 2012
Must say, I'm quite big on nostalgia, especially when it comes to 80s games and music, but came across this book whilst browsing, and must say, it's brilliant!.I know many of us look back on our past through rose tinted glasses when in reality certain things were actually not as good as we'd care to admit, but this book, more than most, proves that at least sweets really were better in our younger days.
A visit to the school tuck shop, or newsagent on the walk home is something we can all remember fondly, but this book actually takes us back there, and presents us with a tuck shop we could only dream about, not just sweets, but crisps and drinks as well.As you work your way through, you'll find yourself saying "Wow, I used to buy them" every few minutes as the book stirs the depths of your memory, but what's really good, is the completeness.Many nostalgia books actually leave you frustrated, as they give just enough to take you on a trip down memory lane, and just when you're really starting to enjoy and remember everything they end.This book however, is so much better, a lot of time and research was obviously put into it, and with so many product / advert pictures, they've created not just a book but a back in time experience in which you can almost remember the smells and taste as well.
I'm sure given the books subject, that most people will enjoy this book, but especially those like me who attended school in the 70's & 80s.It will probably also go to prove that sweets really were better then, and called by their proper names, I mean ..Snickers? to me, they will always remain Marathon bars!.Also, especially as it's currently Christmas, have you found yourself moaning year after year, about how your £5 tin of Quality Streets or Roses, or sweets and chocolate bars in general are getting smaller every year, and how big they used to be? well it's all here as proof that it's mostly true, and wasn't just because our hands were smaller!
A great book, on an enjoyable subject, what's not to like? ..Anyone for an Opal Fruit?
on 23 October 2012
This is a MUST Xmas pressie for any sentimental, middle aged, sweet tooth tubby old sods out there!
Like me. There's a lot of us. We must be sated.
Let's face it, this booty was the foodstuff of vending machines of long lost, open air public swimming pools, the sustenance from broken dispensers in Classic cinema foyers, the contraband from comprehensive school tuck shops in the days before our children now routinely eat crack cocaine rather than Beef Wotsits after assembly*.
These are the snacks that made us the people we are today. Carrots don't make you see in the dark, Lyons Maid Haunted House lollies do!
*Clearly, a joke