Some time ago, I wrote about the 1986 Argos catalogue. Given this, it wouldn’t really be fair to ignore its rival, the Index catalogue.
Very much the Andrew Ridgeley to Argos’ George Michael, Index was the cheap, cheerful also-ran in the 80s and 90s. However, I always preferred it when I was a kid; they seemed to have better toys.
The following are things I’ve found in the 1992 Spring/Summer edition, that make me happy for various reasons. However, it’s not really that hard to make me happy. The other day I bought a plastic cow for £2, and that made my afternoon, so…
1. Novelty watches
From left to right – Hulk Hogan ripping his bra off, Bart Simpson (made before everyone realised Homer was the popular one), Edd The Duck (lover and nemesis of Andi Peters), a My Little Pony with a Kleenex stuck in her hair.
You were nothing without one of these, nothing. Ideally, you would wear multiple watches at once, making you look like a dodgy, 9 year old backstreet watch dealer.
Also, I’m glad they pointed out that you have to lift up the plastic characters to see the watch part, other wise I might have been stuck looking up my own arse.
2. Russell Grant horoscope jewellery
For just £19.99 and your immortal soul, you too can have a shit piece of jewellery endorsed by the wizard off TV-AM.
“All presentation boxes are printed with your Star Sign and the loving qualities it brings.”
What does that even mean?
Anyway, I wrote a song about Russell Grant –
(Sung to the tune of Robin Hood) –
Russell Grant, Russell Grant, riding through the glen,
Russell Grant, Russell Grant, he can count to ten,
Whether you’re an Aquarius, or a Sagittarius,
Russell Grant, Russell Grant,
He wears pants.
The Kens in this picture are modelling the groovy Ken outfits that Index sells. They all seem to have martial arts or military themes. Oh wait, apart from the wedding one and the beach one, I’ve just spotted those. The one in the red is doing a Nazi salute. This has offended the guy on the left, who is going to punch Nazi Ken. However, his friend is attempting to calm him down. He’s probably saying something like “Leave it Steve, he’s not worth it.”
My favourite one is the guy in the top that inexplicably says ‘EXIT’.
4. Horrible settee
Despite this being the 1992 Index catalogue, this is clearly the most 80s settee in the entire world. Remember the guy with the mullet from Home To Roost? I bet he had this settee in his bachelor pad before he had to move back in with John Thaw. Failing that, probably someone off Saved By The Bell has this settee. In Fact, this settee is made from the Saved By The Bell opening credits.
I don’t know why this is ‘occasional furniture’ – does that mean it’s not furniture all the time? It’s a Transformer, isn’t it. A crap, soft furnishings Transformer.
5. Scary baby
Firstly, I’m not sure its leg should be bending that way. Secondly, why isn’t it wearing any clothes? Seriously, not even a nappy. Just a weird strip of gauze around its terrifying torso. Thirdly, it has a face like Tim Burgess from The Charlatans.
These are a ‘lower price’, but they don’t say what they’re lower than. Maybe they’re a lower price than the same beanbags from Harrods? Or the same beanbags in 2015, which is in the future, except it’s not.
I think I might have had no.7 – the questionably named ‘Snatch’ beanbag. However, these days I’d most definitely plump for the ‘Cheeseburger’ beanbag. And then I’d get pissed one night and try to eat it.
7. Weird exercises
Since there are a few of these, I’ve compiled a lovely gallery for your perusal.
Numbers 1 and 4 feature that Catalogue classic – ‘multiple ladies on an exercise machine’. Either that, or they’re being chased by some ghosts. If that’s the case, they’re not going to get very far on those.
Meanwhile, the lazy cow at the bottom is using the very inappropriately named ‘Speed Shaper’. I’m fairly sure there are speedier ways of getting in shape than lying on the floor, even if you are wearing a leotard.
Over on no.11, that trampoline is just there as a cover. The woman is really levitating. She’s been stuck in that position since 1984. After almost a decade of being unable to find a job due to her levitating, she finally landed a lucrative trampoline modelling contract with Index, who saw her potential. I think her name is Pistachio Jones.
Finally, the man one just wants to make his knob pop out of his pants.
8. Tinkerbell make up
Almost impossible to buy these days, Tinkerbell was the fake rubbish make up of choice for the discerning little girl in the 80s and 90s.
Highlights of this set include the peel-off nail varnish and the greasy, strawberry lipstick, but the real star is the bottle of perfume. Every woman of a certain age will be able to conjure up the memory of this smell in an instant. These days, I’d pay good money to get my hands on a bottle, although it probably doesn’t smell like I remember; it probably just smells like washing up liquid or something.
9. Tomy robots
‘Mr Money’ and ‘Dingbot’. Tomy, along with Bluebird, made the most awesome toys when I was growing up. Mr Money, as the name might suggest, is a robotic money box. You put a coin in his hand, and he eats it. He does a few other little things, like sticking out his tongue and rolling his eyes. This site shows a selection of available Mr Moneys, including a pink version and a. E.U. Version. God, if I still had a Mr Money, I could probably have saved about £9.73 by now.
While I had a Mr Money, I never had a Dingbot. This little chap’s only real function was to derp around without the slightest idea where he was going, bumping into walls and generally getting in everyone’s way. More on Dingbot can be found here.
Index are very fond of the phrase ‘Exceptional value’. They use it approximately 9767 times throughout the catalogue. I’m not sure they even have that many products.
Anyway, look how rad that boy is. He’s so rad it hurts. He’s the radical rad boss of Raddington.
If you’re not as rad as that boy, you could always opt for the Super Mario Bros skateboard, although it does tend to shrink whenever you bump into anything, and you can’t ever make it go where you want it to go.