Today I am mainly thinking Spangles.
Where did they go, those lovely gem-like squares of coloured sugar that we all loved so much? I could just go a packet now; the square cellophane covered blocks were such a sweet, fruity, joy. I loved to nestle the tip of my tongue in the round depression in the middle and just hold it there – don’t crunch, don’t crunch, just suck.
Of course I hardly ever could and the burst of fruit, as I bit down on the glasslike lump, would hit me like a tropical storm. Those sweets were so hard and shiny that they splintered when you chewed them; I never quite cut my tongue as I expected to though.
I grew up with Spangles. They were introduced in 1950, when sweets were still on ration. I don’t remember that, but I do remember the flavours. They were such an adaptable sweet. The regular Spangles tube contained a mixture of strawberry, blackcurrant, orange, pineapple, and (my favourite) lemon and lime. Over the years they introduced all sorts of other flavours Acid Drop, Barley Sugar, Blackcurrant, Liqourice, Peppermint, Tangerine, a white mint Spangle (complete with a square hole) to compete with Polo Mints, and those awful Old English Spangles - liqourice, mint humbug, pear drop, aniseed. treacle – yuk, yuk, yuk.
And who can forget Mystery Spangles? Just what was that mystery flavour anyway - grapefruit?
Spangles were dropped in 1984, briefly reintroduced in 1995, though only in orange or blackcurrant flavours, and today the only Spangle related sweets in existence are Tunes – the sweet that helps you breathe more easily.
Spangles, simple sweets for simpler times as the advertising shows – such a sweet way to go gay; naïve, unaffected, a post-war treat. Nobody worried that they were pure sugar or if they were full of E’s. E’s hadn’t even been invented back then and naughty children were just naughty children who, as a punishment, didn’t get bought any Spangles.