Fifty years ago, for a period at least, Slinkys were THE THING. You remember – those metal springs that flipped like water from child-sized hand to hand and walked, as if by magic, down stairs without assistance. When they got tangled, as happened periodically, it was best to rush to Mum or Dad as any ham-fistedness could lead to a kink and, after that, they were never the same – they would rest in their cylinder shape with a tilt that was aesthetically and emotionally upsetting. Perhaps they were deliberately fragile – an early kind of built-in redundancy – but I choose to believe not. They were a highly desired item and I loved them.

I was in the post office yesterday , waiting for my turn and gazing at the incredible range of retail items now held in the shop, resisting the Darrell Lea chocolate bullets and marvelling at the products of the television-advertised revolution. And there, amongst toys and books, was a spring, a Slinky copy, in rainbow plastic, no doubt weighing mere grams and selling for the princely sum of $2.99.

I’d hate to suggest that kids these days should miss out on the joys of a ridiculously long coiled toy but I did wonder about the tactile and functional features of the new variant. Would it feel substantial? Would it slip and slide like the original? Would it progress down inclines under its own steam? And, most importantly, was it worth coveting and waiting for?

So much about the modern day is wonderful, so much has improved since the seventies, but I have to say, with all the stubbornness and crustiness of middle age, that the Slinky has definitely suffered.

Until next time,


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