6 October 2011
Second Hand Record Dip Part 75 - Cirrus - Rollin' On
What: Rollin' On
Where: Wood Street Market, Walthamstow, London
Ah, chocolate for men! Where were we in the days before we had chocolate for men, eh lads? In the seventies, if you were a bloke and you wanted a chocolate bar, you had to buy Dairy Milk and end up looking like a lady in public or (as one astute YouTube commenter puts it) "a bit like Larry Grayson". Dairy Milk and Galaxy, delicious though they are, were for men of suspicious inclinations. And as no self-respecting gentleman would ever want such an image, we had to resort to stealing bars from petrol stations, eating them in the middle of the night for fear that our lady-wives and lovers would catch us, and even hiding it in the Garden Shed underneath the biggest saw we could find. Put it this way, it wasn't much of a life.
Thank God for Rowntrees, then, who put an end to the whole dilemma by producing a low quality, manly chocolate bar all chaps could enjoy without fear of criticism. "Yorkie" (also slang for "Yorkshire Terrier", which as we know isn't an especially masculine dog - I'm stunned they got away with that one) was launched with adverts including a butch, confident truck driver slowly eating the large sized bricks of the stuff with an expression somewhere between smug self-satisfaction and sexual ambition. However hackneyed and silly this idea seems now, it worked a charm in the seventies, and propelled the bar up the best-selling chocolate charts - this despite the fact that it's among the shoddiest commercial chocolate I've ever wrapped my tongue around.
The tune from the advert was clearly popular enough that Jet Records thought it could be a hit single. They were wrong, obviously, and even the aid of this novelty chocolate bar shaped and coloured record didn't help matters. It's pure cod-Country and Western, all twangs and mock American accents, and frankly sounds like a right load of old cobblers. For just a few minutes, though, you could imagine you were the gentleman in the track, that confident, swaggering brute with only miles of road ahead and loads of chocolate on your mind, and as a fetching bonus you got a peculiarly shaped disc for your record collection into the bargain.
This entry is also almost topical in that one of the lorry driving men Stuart Mungall was recently sent to prison after committing euthanasia on his wife. "Left and to the Back" isn't really the place to comment about such complex social issues, but it's such an enormous elephant in the room that I didn't think I could let the entry finish without mentioning it.
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