In the late 1970s, Truth newspaper enjoyed the nation’s biggest circulation with from memory, at its peak, over 300,000 copies sold weekly. Per chance I discovered writing its horoscopes were a duty befalling its then sizeable journalist staff, their top people each having to write a month’s supply annually.
Like all journoes, being bloody indolent, they joyfully accepted my offer to relieve them of this duty and for six wonderful months I gave New Zealand women ever increasingly mad riding instructions for the week ahead. That said, it was one of those experiences one hugely relishes because of its zany novelty but which eventually pales through repetition.
I mention that as there’s another, similar-in-principle, equally mad-cap activity I would dearly love to take on and which has even greater imaginative potential. That is to come up with suitably abominably bad taste ideas for the American company Bradford Exchange to flog to, I suspect, mainly mad, middle-aged fat spinsters and short bearded bachelor government clerks, each category being likely enthusiastic line-dancers.
The fact Bradford Exchange runs regular full-page newspaper adverts for their purported “collectors” items, suggests a sizeable market exists.
I search my memory and can think of only one person in my past, a middle-age mother of a friend many decades back; who I could readily imagine buying this stuff. To give you an idea, among her “ornaments” collection was a stuffed and mounted baby rabbit holding a miniature rifle.
These various Bradford Exchange abominations all come with “certificates of authenticity”, are invariably (like everything that ever existed), “limited editions” albeit “limited” to the likes of 20,000, and are couched in marketing language such as “International Commemorative Announcement”, Strictly Limited Release”, “Applications will be processed first come, first served”, “Limited Time Release” and “Only the earliest respondents will successfully secure this…” and such-like.
My God I’m envious of the lucky Bradford Exchange buggers writing this stuff and thinking up new “collector items”. They have a job made in heaven for anyone, such as me for example, who find this sort of thing richly entertaining.
But let’s get one thing straight. I’m not mocking Bradford Exchange, rather like P.T. Barnham with his mermaids and diverse freaks of an earlier age which delivered awe and wonderment to the otherwise dreary lives of 19th century small town America, I suspect, The Bradford Exchange is equally doing wonderful God’s work when it comes to customer satisfaction.