As Easter approaches, Robert Dawson-Scott listens to a few
Chocolate, they hinted, Easter eggs, they prompted, Easter bunnies, they leered. All right, Isaid, I’ll ask a few questions. See which way the fondant whirls. After all, we still eat more sugar in Scotland than anywhere else in Europe. Food for thought, so to speak. I mean, for example. just how much of the raw materials of chocolate, the cocoa, the sugar and so forth does a major manufacturer get through in a year?
Sorry, couldn’t possibly tell you that, said Mary Munro, market analyst at Cadbury’s. Why not, I enquired, curiosity aroused. Confidential information, she parried. Might affect the commodities market. You‘re putting me on, I said. You’ll be telling me next that it could upset the balance of payments in Sierra Leone. Very likely, she said. No kidding.
Alright, I said, trying another tack, how many tons of the finished product do you ﬂog in a year. Chocolate or sugars, she fenced. (Sugars are all the sweeties which aren’t chocolates, by the way.) Chocolate, I thrust, sensing an Opening. Sorry, couldn’t possibly tell you that. Confidential? Absolutely, she triumphed. Touche.
Is there anything you can tell me, I pleaded. We spend just over £1 per week for every man, woman and child in the UK on confectionery. Is that enough to get your teeth into, she ﬂirted. Very funny, I sneered. What’s your share of this £3 billion annual bonanza, then? Sorry, couldn’t possibly tell you that. Why not, I implored? You’ll have to ask the boss. So I did. I was being passed around like a packet of Rolos, but it seemed everyone already had gobstoppers. It’s the Trade, muttered Stephen Ward, marketing director, darkly.
The Bourneville press office was making Whitehall look like open government. I tried the tiny cottage industry in Berwickshire who supposedly make the best chocs in
Scotland. Do you actually make the chocolate. Mr White? No, we buy it in blocks and hand finish individual sweeties. Where do you buy the chocolate, then? Sorry. couldn‘t possibly tell you that. Well. how much do you get through in a year? Sorry. couldn‘t possibly. . . yeah. yeah, I was beginning to get the hang of this.
Maybe that is why chocolates are called things like Black Magic and Dark Secret. The lady in the advert can‘t stand Milk Tray. That lunatic in the black outfit with shades so dark he keeps falling off cliffs and over waterfalls, is really delivering the results of the competition’s most recent sales figures. Funny how they spend millions telling us what they want us to know but the minute we start asking the odd question they go all coy. Dr Lone Schou, dental adviser to the Scottish Health Education Council, says if she had as much money to spend on explaining why we shouldn‘t eat sweets as the manufacturers spend on telling us why we should, she could eradicate tooth decay altogether.
But then young John Bradley, 29. would be out of a job. He’s the brand manager on the famous creme eggs - worldwide sales 300 million, last year, nearly 18 million in Scotland along. Here was a man with drive,‘a global vision, a proud record. Surely he would talk to me. Go on. I said, how do you get that yellowy bit in the middle? Hope, like a spent candle, ﬂickered out. Sorry, couldn’t possibly tell you that. l was through with this. Tell you what though, he said, taking pity on my empty notebook. I can tell you about the strawberry syndrome. The what? The strawberry syndrome. We tried to sell creme eggs all the year round a couple of years back , instead of just between New Year and Easter. We ended up selling less in a whole year than we used to sell in around four months. This guy was really spilling the filling. Was my investigation finally bearing fruit? OK, I said. wearily, I’ll buy it. What’s that got to do with strawberries? The left hand corner of his upper lip twitched. I guessed it was a smile. Well, if strawberries were available all the year round you wouldn’t eat them five nights a week like you do when they’re in season, would you?
You see? All this, and philosophy too.
SCOTTISH OPERA LOSES ITS WITTS
After four seasons with the company, Director of Publicity Roger Witts is leaving Scottish Opera to take up the post of Press and Information Officer at the University of Aberdeen. Although
not seen in the sense of being on stage. Roger Witts is probably known to Scottish Opera goers more than most behind the scenes personnel. Regularly spotted welcoming audiences at the theatre and then taken to the seats of most of them by way of his lucid and thorough programme notes, he’ll be sadly missed.
Demandingjob though Director of Publicity undisputably is, not even Scottish Opera managed to use all Witt’s talents. After working mainly in the arts (including four years as Publicity Officer for the SNO). following a classics degree from Newcastle, he changed tack to take an HND in agriculture and earned a living as a general farm worker and shepherd on English farms for five years, gaining the distinctions of ‘winning£l a day for the tidy pen prize‘ and ‘being sacked for not noticing a cow was dead.‘ This was, in fact, later found to be unfair dismissal and the decision revoked the next day. A spell as Head of Publicity for the Edinburgh International Festival led to ‘being enticed back to Glasgow by John Cox’ and now he’s ‘jumping from Scottish Opera’s 25th anniversary to Aberdeen University‘s 500th, which is quite a leap, but I’m looking forward to it.’ (Carol Main)
The Scottish edition of Trivial Pursuit is being sent to each of the winners of the competition in The List issue of 6 March- 8. Wilson of Edinburgh and David Ledgenwood of Glasgow. The answers to the trivial questions for those that didn't know are 1) The Lord Advocate is the Scottish equivalent of the English Attorney-General; 2) Robert Burns was known as the Bard oi Ayrshire (difficult that one -wasn’t it?) and 3) Most people can apparently hear better with the right ear.
Watch out for more competitions, prizes and special offers in the next issue oi The List which will be in the shops on Thursday 16 April.
Issue No 39 17—30 April 1987
Cover Naked Video
4 Naked Video
Graham Caldwell talks to Naked Video boss Colin Gilbert
5 Tough Guys
Allan Hunter looks at an enduring partnership.
6 Madame Butterfly
Award-winning director Nuria Espert discusses her opera debut with Sally Kinnes.
7 Star Trek
Going boldly over old ground. Nigel Billen talks to Scotty.
Listings Full guide to events this fortnight. Art 39 Music 29 Film 9 Open 21 Kids 23 Sport 20 Media 22 Theatre 17
Author Ronald Frame talks to Alan Taylor plus Nightlife and Clubs Guide and Books.
Publisher Robin Hodge.
Editors Nigel Billen. Sarah Hemming. Associate Editor Allan Hunter.
Design Simon Esterson. Advertising Robin Hodge. Sheila MacLean. Accounts Georgette Renwick. Richard Gray. Typesetting Jo Kennedy and HewerText. Production Editor Paul Keir. Art Sally Kinnes. Books Alan Taylor. Classical Music Carol Main. Film Allan Hunter. Trevor Johnston. Folk/Jazz Norman Chalmers. Kids Sally Kinnes. Media Nigel Billen. Sally Kinnes. Open Nigel Billen. ﬂock (Edinburgh) Alastair Mabbott . Rock (Glasgow) John Williamson. listen! Alastair Mabbott. Andrea Miller. Sport Kenny Mathieson. Theatre Sarah Hemming. Camera Edinburgh Make-up Services. Cover: Naked Video Cover Design Nigel Billen and Paul Keir. Published by The List Ltd. 14 l Iigh Street. Edinburgh. 5581191.
£15 per year, £8 for 6 months, payable to The List Ltd.
The List 17— 30 April 3