Do you remember Barbies and Lego and shit? Me too, because every fucker talks about them, including me. Today I want to not talk about them, and instead talk about stuff no one ever seems to mention.
I’ve just remembered that there technically is a Barbie on this list. I’m such a twat.
Penny was a rival to Polly Pocket for a while in the late 80s/early 90s. While in my opinion a lot better than Polly, who was shit and up herself, Penny eventually lost the battle of the microscopic choking hazard dolls on account of not having playsets you could open and close and take with you in the car.
What Penny did have, however, was a gymkhana, a mansion, and a limo with a swimming pool in it.
She also had numerous affairs and scandalous relationships, thanks to my habit of acting out bits of Brookside I’d seen but not really understood.
Those mad staring eyes. In retrospect, Oh Penny looks a bit like a death cult playset.
These dudes seem to go by different names depending on who you ask – Uglies, Ugly Mugs, and I bet there’s at least one called Alan. These were brilliant because they only cost about 20p, and were stuffed into every joke shop and gift shop everywhere.
How to use: Put your fingers in the holes in the back of its head. Move your fingers around and the guy will make all manner of amusing faces. For bonus points, do it at your big sister and claim it’s a mirror.
You never got these for Christmas or your birthday, or because you wanted one; you only ever got them after a trip to Eureka, a toy museum or similar. You point the teacher to a question on the ‘question wheel’, then you plop him onto the ‘answer wheel’, and he will magically point to the answer for you. Although you really do have to know the answer already, because otherwise you wouldn’t know if he was right or not.
Not to be sniffed at, because the Magic Teacher is properly magic. I’m basing this on the fact that I’m 36 and still can’t adequately explain how it works. I know there’s some spinning involved.
Minutes of fun anyway.
Silly Putty’s rad cousin. Much the same functions as Silly Putty – making fart noises, blowing bubbles in it, and generally being disgusting. Both were found in the awesome ‘pocket money’ section of the toy shop, but Gak was generally agreed to be the hard and cool choice.
More of interest to me was a description of Silly Putty that I found online:
“Squish your fingers into the goop and as the air escapes around the side it makes a gastronomical noise.”
“A gastronomical noise.”
I saw this name online and it immediately rang a bell, but I was convinced it was some kind of disappearing ink pen. Oh well. In fact, it is a terrifying Magna Doodle. According to the advert, you can do things like write “HEY DUDE” on it, which is hilarious, and then you can draw faces and shit on the other side.
The job of the ghost is to make your shit drawings disappear when you shake the board. The ghosts are supplied by the Indian burial ground the factory is built on.
The purpose of this toy – and I’m not kidding – is to teach boys that you can make girls cry by showing them your balls:
I’d be pretty fucking mad too.
Anyway, those balls wouldn’t have scared me, because I was big and hard and already owned Boglins.
The pirate one looks a bit like Tim Curry.
Another one I’ve misremembered with my stupid, flea-bitten brain. I’ve spent 30 years being convinced these opened up and had greasy lipgloss and ‘cream eyeshadow’ in them. This is not the case. In reality, the inside was empty, and was used to store the head and limbs. I didn’t expect to write that sentence today.
Anyway, they turned from weird misshapen dolls into weird misshapen jewellery and back again.
Fun fact: I’m roughly the same shape as a Sweet Secrets doll these days.
McDonald’s Barbie figures
I know I started this post by complaining about Barbies always being talked about, but I am a twat, so what are you gonna do.
I wanted to mention these because they were a bloody disappointment. I got them with my Happy Meals, expecting dolls with legs and everything. You couldn’t move these or do anything with them, except throw them at your enemies’ heads.
Listen Ronald – kids don’t want ornaments, they don’t understand the concept of ornaments. They want shit they can play with and ideally break.
Instead of one miniature doll for you to lose, you had five!
My only real memory of these is using them to re-enact the ‘Fire at the Rovers’ storyline from Coronation Street. I was a strange child.
Stop Me And Buy One
I don’t think I had one of these, possibly because my parents didn’t trust me not to eat the play-doh “food” you sold. Or possibly because I already had a Bluebird ‘Market Stall/Hamburger Heaven’ combo, and I’d managed to lose the roof off it.
A better name might possibly have been ‘Stop I’m Not Buying You One’.