The Witch Report
As broomsticks are dusted down for the 31 October annual outing. The List hunts out shops for the sweet-toothed and rib- tickled to come into their own.
Glaswegian jesters are to be found.
sniggering away. in the joke shop of Theatrical llires. Linda Brownlee. manageress of the family business established forty years ago. admits that the corny old chestnuts remain the most popular tricks. ‘We cater mainly to chidren but we certainly get quite a few ‘big kids’ sneaking in for a laugh‘. she says.
The joke shop also supplies accessories for the costume side of the business: silly moustaches. funny hats. frightening 'I'hatch' masks and an extensive supply of theatrical make-up for those authentic touches.
People seem to shake off their inhibitions when they enter the domain of theatrical fancy. 'l'he shop‘s catalogues ofcostumes offer scope for extravagant alter egos: accountants choose gangster outfits. secretaries scour the pages. giggle. and order French Maid or Saloon Girl togs (Matty An l lonest Dress ls Worn In Jest?) and so on.
‘At Halloween the horror genre is always in demand'. explains Linda. ‘with the traditional Dracula. Frankenstein and witches‘ gear'.
Pranksters never grow up: they just become exhibitionists ~ and those struck bv the love bug must be the silliest of all. Linda gets a lot of strange requests from cocksure young men desperate to take the plunge. One imaginative Romeo hired a full set of armour. mounted a white horse and charged off to pop the question. Another wag doned a fetching. apparently irresistible gorilla suit and lumbered into his girlfriend‘s bank.
And they say that romance is dead. (Sara \"illiers)
See Glasgow listings.
Try this‘. says Mr Kapur at The Fondue Chocolate. thrusting a small white pellet into my hand. I chew tentatively. ‘Well. what does it remind you of." he grins. A familiar flavour floods my mouth but I can‘t quite put a name to it . . . ‘What do you eat when you go to the cinema'."
Theatrical Hires. Glasgow
he prompts. ‘Er. I hate people who eat in cinemas’. ‘Popcorn!’ he exelaims triumphantly. "l'ry this
one‘. Another white pellet comes my
way. Mild curiosity wrestles with vague recognition as my face contorts with the efforts of frantic chewing. ’(‘ream soda!’ he cries delightedly.
He continues to fire a volley ofthe gaily coloured sweeties at me: such culinary delights as Pina (‘olada. Toasted Marshmallow and Watermelon. I begin to feel like a guinea pig for Willy Wonka’s latest creations and politely decline any more. "I‘hey're only four calories each". Mr Kapur protests. ‘I wasn‘t worried about that.‘
The sweets are the slightly repulsively named Jelly Bellies; the latest craze to hit Byres Road. but already something of a global fad since cool. ex-Pres. the epitome of style. Ronald Reagan. gave them his seal of approval.
'l‘ve sold ZSJelly Belly machines in the last year‘. says Mr Kapur. "l’he BB(‘ ordered one and phoned up constantly to see if it was ready‘. A
fat little man sneaked in. bought his mixed bag of Jelly Bellies and bustled out.
Kapur is the first Asian confectioner in Scotland - and only the second in Britain. an achievement he is very proud of. He reckons his success in Byres Road is due to the cosmopolitan nature of the area. "l'here is a good mix of people who have more exotic tastes: Jewish. 'l‘urkish. lranians and students from America who especially like the . . .'
Yes. yes the Jelly Bellies. But apart from Gonzo's faves the shop also stocks traditional Scottish swedgcrs — and. as the name implies. more chocolate than you could shake a stick at. This is a chocaholic‘s delight — or downfall. i
Loyal Glaswegians stick to local confectioner .l. l’ergusson's goods: the ltiscious Rum and Raisin. Mocha. lced Whisky and Drambuic. 'l'rue connoisseurs can choose from a wide selection ofluxury choccies from London. (iermany and Belgium.
“The Scottish have a sweet tooth.
but it’s nothing compared to people in Belgium'. laughed Mr Kapur. "I‘hey spend a fortune on their chocolate. When I was there recently I thought I‘d treat myself. and queued up to buy a half lb. I thought I was quite extravagant until the guy in front of me bought a kilo and a half!‘ (Sara Villiers)
See Glasgow Listings.
One small corner of [Edinburgh’s manufacturing industry remains unchanged from the late Forties both inside and out. Take a trip down St Marys Street towards the (‘owgate. an area which was teeming with street life (before its inhabitants were farmed out to housing estates in the suburbs). back at the time Mr ('asey first opened his delightful confectionary shop. If the shelves piled high with jars ofirresistably glittering rows ofsweeties enlarge eyes to saucer proportions now. the effect back then must have been breathtaking. From the outside the shop proclaims its era by a sign emblazoned in silver. an original in
74 The List 27 October — 9 November 198‘)