Saturday 22 April 2023

Vintage Smiths Crisps Musical Mug

Let's face it, as the owner of Curious British Telly, it was inevitable that British Crisps was going to end up dipping its toe into vintage memorabilia and nostalgia. And, so, it has started.

First up, I purchased the Smiths Twists Party Book, but, as you can can see here, that had as much to with crisps as wrought iron railings do. My second purchase, however, was much more enshrined in crisp territory. It was also terrifically exciting. It was, of course, the Smiths Crisps singing potatoes mug which, yes, played a musical tune.

The singing potatoes adverts by Smiths were first launched in the mid-1980s. It's fair to say that their reworked rendition of Bobby's Girl - with amended lyrics of "We want to be Smiths Crisps!" - made a lasting impression on those who were around at the time. Except myself. I don't remember seeing these adverts until a decade ago on YouTube. My mind was precariously young at the time, though, so that's my excuse.

The mug itself is, well, what else would you expect, it's a mug. To its credit, the design of the mug is nicely rendered and it captures the potatoes in all their retro glory, under the soil and singing away. But this is more than just a mug, for it's a musical mug.

And it still works despite being... um... nobody quite knows. I've heard estimates of 1986 up until the mid-90s, but the only concrete thing I've found is a classified advert selling a secondhand one in 1993. Hopefully, as time goes on, I'll uncover more surrounding the release and update this article.

The music, yes, it still plays. Although, at first, I was convinced I'd been sold a dud. Having eagerly awaited its arrival from Ebay, I ripped open the packet and... nothing, no music. I contacted the seller and they gave me some vague reassurances that it was still working before they packed it. Oddly, they couldn't tell me how to activate the music, they just claimed it worked as and when. That's the risk you take when dealing with the general public.

Eventually, it did start working "as and when" so I assumed the batteries had simply seen better days. A day later, though, I suddenly realised it was activated when the base of the mug was exposed to direct light. As you can see from the video above, it's a somewhat odd take on Bobby's Girl but tuneful all the same. And, with it's primitive, simplistic beeps, it's packed full of guiltily nostalgic charm.

Whilst it's a nice reminder of a classic advertising campaign, I don't think I'll risk damaging it by regularly drinking from it. Instead, it will sit on my shelf in the hallway and enjoy a peaceful retirement, away from the rigours of performing.

If you're desperate to get one then there are several on Ebay, I paid about £8 with postage for mine, so use that as a gauge. And, yes, there will be more vintage crisp memorabilia to come. Only this morning, I spent £25 on some interesting bits to look at in the future, so keep your eyes peeled.

No comments:

Post a Comment