Sweet Surrender

If pop stars were sweets, which ones would they be?

Noddy Holder — Cadbury’s Crème Eggs

Zooming out of Birmingham, wrapped in shiny paper, our Nod is a cultural icon. He is only seen once every year, re-appearing with monotonous regularity before a major religious holiday. (It’s Cerrristmasssssss! ) Can be found all year round in obscure places, dusty old Confectioner / Tobacconist / Newsagents in out-of-the-way suburbs, and for Noddy, musty old independent local radio and obscure satellite TV gameshows. It’s great to be reminded of Slade, but too much swiftly makes you sick.

Lightning Seeds — Mars Bars

No one can remember a time when they weren’t around, solid, sell a vast amount of sweet stuff to the middle aged, and Mars Bars are quite popular too. For some unknown reason they became associated with sport, leading beery thirtysomethings to try to recapture lost youth. Both are a uniquely British experience, difficult to swallow a lot in one go, and are well liked without being anyone’s actual favourite. Also come in king size, or The Beatles are they’re known.

New Order — Kit Kats

Built to be separated into four parts, providing an enjoyable but not satisfying experience. The separate fingers, Hooky, Bernard, cannot produce something as good when apart, leaving you wanting more. Comes in a variety of special editions, ‘True Faith ’98’, mint, and orange, all interesting but without the class of the original. Monaco are of course the Time Out bar, a poor imitation that fills a gap without ever coming close to being essential.

Paul Weller — Wurther’s Originals

The beige, butter sweet could be Weller’s doppelganger, and not just because of its popularity with grandparents. Paul is obsessed with keeping it real and old fashioned and light brown corduroy, tending to evoke the same memories of trees and slow train journeys. He seems to think that he’s passing something important down the generations, but all right-minded people prefer their sweets / music a bit more interesting. The modfather will also have the same problem staying popular as his fans contract Alzheimer’s and forget how to shop.

Happy Mondays — Flake

Stuffed with innuendo, the Mondays are the Flake of the pop world. Inherently sexy but difficult to keep in one piece, they are best taken mixed, with Paul Oakenfold as the vanilla ice cream to stick them in. They are both packaged in an unusual way, dancer Bez being analogous to those twisty bits at the end of the wrapper. Does current reformation indicate that Cadbury’s are launching a Flake with Nuts?

5ive — Penny Chews

Cheaply manufactured and struggling to keep their own identity amongst a glut of similar products, 5ive are sold in Woolworth’s nation wide. They are put together in ‘mix-ups’ (“I’ll have a singer, a rapper, a good looking one and the one with spiky hair, please mister.”) and are far too sugary and bad for you. On closer inspection they are surprisingly old, and have been left on the shelf in unsanitary conditions, but were strangely popular with kids. Far too cheep for solo success.

Oasis —  Space Dust

Explosive in a chemically enhanced and slightly toxic manner, Oasis have got to be the musical equivalent of ‘popping candy’. It all seemed great when you were younger, but had no real content and very little taste. Didn’t have the staying power of a sherbet fountain and now are increasingly difficult to find. Stories abound of their volatile nature and are especially dangerous when mixed with fizzy drink.

John Lydon — Spangles

Johnny Rotten will be forever associated with the seventies, fluorescent colours and acting like you’re on a sugar rush. His commercial potential cannot be ignored amongst the nostalgia generation so he periodically relaunches for financial gain. Despite changes in content, remixed versions or strange packaging neither the Pistols, PiL, nor the sweet can ever hope to capture anything like previous status.

I wrote this back in 1997 or thereabouts for now defunct music weekly Flipside. I discovered it on my laptop the other day along with a few other pieces from the era. 

Author: Jon Bounds

14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands 2008, subsequently not placed. His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses”, it's out now. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter and founded the famous blog Birmingham: It's Not Shit.

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