by our Bafflesby Echo special correspondent, Trend Hunter
How often have we heard it said that Bafflesby is out of the loop when it comes to crazes? Remember that burning mountain of hula hoops, unsold because their target audience had grown too old and arthritic to use them? And who can forget how thousands of Davy Crockett hats would have suffered the same fate if their late arrival had not coincided with the onset of male-pattern baldness?
But now our town is at the forefront of the latest mania to sweep the nation. ‘Ungh,‘ I hear you gasp as you snuggle a little closer to the sad and soggy remains of your beloved Care Bear, ‘whassat you say, sleepy old Bafflesby ahead of the curve?‘ But don’t get too excited. The new craze is all about plucking tiny mythical creatures from thin air and collecting them in little boxes.
Sound familiar? Yes, Bafflesby has finally cottoned on to the late-Victorian fad for finding fairies at the bottom of every back garden. Suddenly, fairy-hunters are everywhere – just open your net curtains and you’ll see two or three of them lurching around like zombies. I wanted to know who started the craze but engaging these deeply entranced ones in conversation proved impossible – I was lucky to get a grunt or two.
Determined to find Mister Big, I entered pop-up shop Majik Momentz to confront owner Luke Shifty and his sinister moustache. Far from accepting responsibility or admitting exploitation, he just shrugged and said: ‘We are here to serve our customers and if they want extremely expensive ectoplasm-proof containment units, well, we’re happy to provide them.’
He pointed to a huge pile of what looked like old wooden school pencil-cases dipped in silver glitter. ‘Each and every one has been handled by a magus,’ he added, perhaps confused by my beard and beanie hat into thinking I was a prospective buyer. Highly insulted, I turned on my heel but not before he’d pressed a card into my hand. ‘They’re selling like hot fairy-cakes,’ he shouted after me.
Outside the streets were full of glazed-eyed people holding Majik Momentz fairy boxes. I glanced at Mr Shifty’s card. You had to admit it was the spitting image of him.
At this point, I was barged to the ground by a gangly young man whose eyes never left his box. He seemed not to notice the collision but someone close by shouted: ‘Never mind gawking at business cards, you wanna watch where you’re going!’
It turned out to be the youngster’s parents, following him around to prevent him from walking into the path of a truck. ‘We got him a road-safety app for his last birthday but he’s not even looked at it,’ his mum explained. ‘Oh well, we’re just glad he’s getting some fresh air at long last. He’s not left the house since we got him Grand Theft Auto for his eleventh birthday in 1997.’
I told them it was a lucky 30 year old whose folks still looked out for him in this day and age. They beamed with pleasure so I asked them why their son was such a keen collector of fairies. ‘Oh,’ said his dad with a careless shrug, ‘he says we gotta marshal the forces of goodness and light against the powers of evil darkness or summat.’
His mum nodded. ‘He’s always on about this Armadillo business.’
‘Armageddon?’ I ventured.
‘Yeah, whatever … anyway, it’s always Us and Them with him.’
‘Not us, though,’ added his father with a face like a sucked lemon. ‘He says we’d be about as much use in The Final Battle To End All Battles as a couple of blocked peashooters.’
‘Never mind,’ his mum added, ‘we’re just happy he has a hobby.’
Postscript: I later found out that the photograph on Luke Shifty’s card was in fact the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, posing with real fairies. I mention this fraudulent act of impersonation in case you are thinking of patronising Majik Momentz any time soon.
Images: companymanvintage.com http://www.pinterest.com