The joy of stuffing one’s face with chocolate and champagne, which Valentine’s Day offers, acts as an unusual curtain-raiser to the austerity of Lent. Only the thorns on the stems of the garage bought roses seem appropriate, unless smart lingerie shops are offering a range of sack cloth knickers. In fact, were it not for the legion of contenders for the title, Valentine’s might well be thought a worthy bearer of the much sought after Miss Label satin sash. As it is, the judges are having a difficult time of it. With such a superabundance of eligible contestants, all seemingly worthy to bear the title, it is becoming harder, by the minute, to know who will finally be adjudged to truly merit the title of Miss Label 2013. The front runners, since the start, have been the Romanians and the Belgians, with a seemingly clear run to the post. However, adding spice to an otherwise predictable ending, the French are coming up on the inside rail and, to the bookies dismay, a dark horse bearing the familiar colours of that Kingdom so United, has appeared as a very strong challenger.
The contest has aroused huge public interest, the excitement being centred in shopping aisles where the chiller cabinets have taken on the role of fruit machines. Shoppers, on arriving home, eagerly unwrap their packages to see if the contents bear any resemblance to the seductive and mouthwatering labelling that attracted them in the first place. Gone are dull, old days when one knew exactly what to expect from the over designed art work and flowery description. Shopping now demands a more cerebral approach, more akin to solving a cryptic puzzle than the time honoured style of just wandering up and down aisles choosing products by pictures and names.
The Glass Bead version of this new approach is to remove all labelling, creating an even playing field for producers and a much more stimulating experience for the shopper. Gathering ingredients in this fashion must surely lead to the advent of a “nouvelle” cuisine, the like of which will never have be seen before outside of students’ lodgings, and a taste for which will have to be acquired.
I very much hope that the call for the Russian Roulette version of this nouvelle vague (vague being apposite in the English idiom rather than the French) shopping, which would include the addition of randomly placed, unmarked items already infected with BSE or e- coli, to the shelves, will be strongly resisted by the authorities who up to now have made the Miss Label competition such an exciting, if not enjoyable, event.