Rear view

Phil Kay

A victim of a high-profile snack attack, Phil wonders if we have become a nation of

reliable buyers.

ravelling around Glasgow one day there was suddenly Stephen Redgrave everywhere with the crisps instead of medals and the unusual grin instead of a real-achievement face. I was in traffic travelling at about six knots. in the river of cars. and every time I looked.

there he was like the cox on the bank. next to me. pushing me to the limits of endurance and understanding.

He was everywhere and Walkers were now his Olympics. his masters. his gods of Olympus. with their crunchy rewards; they had replaced the arena of international ability. endeavour and achievement with snacks. No medals just a higher award: a higher reward.

Now that you have won the Olympics and the red hearts of the nations‘ swelled chests you can have the ultimate prize; the cash. lt‘s hidden in the bags around your neck. He's an oxen with his many yoke that tie him to everlasting labours. as if Walkers have fixed it for him to live well. as if they are the topsy-turvy cruel inversion of a Hawaiian garland. These are a product around his neck. flavoured albatrosses closely circling his jugular. tightening. strangling.

Soon the ()lvm tics - themselves may have It!) be sponsored more directly and

th m ‘dals will be out round sponsored

golden enormous crisps. the very large ones that come along everv now and then.

maybe two in a pack. and slice

into the soft edges of your lip-

sides with a salty threat.

And there will be Walkers written everywhere on banners. visible always behind the divers' falling bodies. behind the ping-pong players and at every bell for the last lap. The javelin would pierce it. written cleverly to be read at a particular camera height. big on the grass.

Most unusual of all might be the 20km walk with all the walkers behind the Walkers. Instead of a podium. the


athletes are laureled on three giant catering boxes of

Walkers crisps. The crisps are nooses around all our necks.

This is a diet-ribe. a voice against snacks and snacking and eating badly and wanting less effort and thinking it is easier this way when we know it is not. and the fact that we are so predictably purchase—bound. The Redgrave guy is

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the rower with all the medals around his neck. but in the advert they are not medals they are crisp packets. red ones. Stephen‘s red grave. his ketchup grave. the red bed he has chosen to lie in like a hot dog.

I watch and have felt nothing but a fading of national pride since I remember feeling personal pride. England appears to love him and he is so well-known in the detail of his achievement that there need be no words anywhere on the advert except for on the packets of the crisps.

That‘s what makes it so bad: that they know we will understand the whole tie-in and. as with Lineker previously. that we are so awfully aware.

that we might chuckle at the silly boys messing around. chuckle as we snack though. Who is finding this funny. this advertisement?

It is awful that the biggest of the heroes is put with the biggest product. the product that rests between our grinding teeth. our instantly quenchable hunger and our need to grind. It is awful that it is the biggest product because as a species we must nibble. We as humans have an animal need and we can quell it with a nip into a garage and get snack and barely stop. It is. in a way. coming close to how you would pick food off a bush.

To be able to deal with a deep human necessity. energy gathering and energy exertion. with such case is so too easy. It can't be good. there is a purpose in purpose. a need for need. to make it so easy will rubberise our will. The need to be able to quell this animal in us leads to the high proliferation of snack sales so leads Walkers to be the one that can afford to buy up his ability and link with it and ensnare it with a collar.

So. our weakening as a species is the basis of their profit. Is that what we are now. just reliable buyers'.’ Individual units of consumption‘.’ Acquirers? Snackers'.’ The crisps hang like albatrosses around his neck and will circle there forever: be. the greatest of the greatests: the sporting achiever doing the stupidest things. Us the followers of this unusual trend.

[find the trend. undo the noose and run free. don't walk. be a runner to independence from the snack and the tie-ins and make your own. bake your own. deep fry your own. be your own. The only solution is to stop being at the places where you are typically Walkered. walked on stepped on and over: bus stops and facing TV: so get a bike and read and write more.

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