I'd like to think the weetabix wonder world atlas contributed in some small part to the winning of that medal.
not just a healthy malty cereal: weetabix clearly trail-blazed political correctness
I had entirely forgotten about it up to that point. Yet one look and one touch of its thumbed cover and pages (thumbed, but only to the dimensions of two pairs of identical nine year old thumbs), were enough to kick a closed door wide open across a day-bright room of memory.
The weetabix wonder world atlas. We saved up tokens for it and almost lost our shit the day it arrived in the post (An atlas. We almost lost our shit over an atlas. Seriously, what the fuck, etc). This sentence is bizarre but, thinking back now, I remember the extraordinarily salient role the weetabix cereal played in my young life. For a start I ate the stuff, that malt flavoured wattle (or is it daub?), every morning. (I digress: I ate weetabix out of a bowl like normal human being. However, Ciarán insisted on eating it out of a specific brown mug that had a rustic ploughing scene depicted on it and would not, could not, eat weetabix unless it was contained in said vessel - a habit that lasted right up until the point in his teens he made the big leap to coffee, toast, and seven seas multivitamins, possibly under threat of my revealing to his second year contemporaries that he ate pulpy tepid cereal out of a special brown mug as if he were autistic.) Then each night, I'd fall asleep looking at the outlines of the weetabix luminous Hallowe'en stickers I had plastered all over my bedroom wall and ceiling. I'd watch them fade from feeble luminescence to complete black during the hour or so that followed my mother turning off the light in the bedroom, getting an early and insidiously horrifying understanding of entropy and decay - something I am sure the suits in the cereal novelty department never factored into the stickers' function.
Anyway, this atlas. It was thumbed. But the pages that had the most love, the pair that kept opening of their own accord due to a crease in the book, were the pages illustrating the flags of the world. I felt so sad looking at them. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because I don't give a fig about flags now yet I clearly obsessed over those two pages way back when. I liked those flags to the point of pouring over them almost daily for a couple of years at least (there were carbon 14 style doodles on the page from my ten-year-old period - namely, a cartoon kettle called cuppa). And, you know what? I'd probably ace a flag round in a table quiz tomorrow, as long as it didn't contain post Yugoslavia break-up material. The flags are absorbed.
The young lad is still inside me somehow. But I am literally a different human. Look at this creature, this grown man, sitting on his hunkers amid bird feces and maggots in an attic, squinting down a telescope the wrong way.
MP3: The Kinks-Picture Book