Poptarts Redux

Here is the piece I wrote for BlackberryJuniper And Sherbet a couple of weeks ago, reposted here for the sake of The Complete And Utter Mr Key Prose Experience.

It is an exciting time in the world of breakfast. I learned as much last week, when I had the good fortune to be invited to a new product launch. The do took place in a swish and sophisticated hotel, and as I am neither swish nor sophisticated I was a bit worried that I would be thrown out on my ear, if indeed I was allowed in at all. I decided that I would cut something of a dash by wearing spats. Unfortunately, my footwear adviser misconstrued what I said, and I arrived at the swish and sophisticated hotel wearing galoshes. But I need not have fretted. Such was the atmosphere of new-breakfast-product excitement and hubbub that I made my way into the throng without incident.

And what a throng! The hotel ballroom was packed to the rafters with the great and the good, the movers and shakers, the glitterati, and Krishnan Guru-Murthy from Channel 4 News. I grabbed a glass of aerated lettucewater from a tray held by a minion, and leaned against a mantelpiece in what I hoped was an insouciant manner.

After a series of speeches from big names in the breakfast world, the new product was eventually revealed – smokers’ poptarts! After we had oohed and aahed at the gorgeous packaging, we were treated to a demonstration of how best to prepare this toothsome breakfast-related snack item. Apparently, you remove the smokers’ poptart from its greaseproof-paper wrapping, pop it into a toaster, and wait. It was rather unfortunate that the toaster used at the launch was a 1972 model from the former Soviet Union, for it malfunctioned, with a lot of buzzing and hissing noises, before a billow of black smoke rose from it and choked several celebrities standing nearby, one of whom I think may have been Yoko Ono. The smokers’ poptart itself was burned to ashes, of course.

By this time we were all growing very peckish, and had been looking forward to munching this delicious new breakfast product. Instead, the hotel chef rustled up a vast quantity of bubble and squeak. It was rather like the miracle of the loaves and the fishes (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17 and John 6:5-15), except with bubble and squeak rather than bread and fish.

By the time an oompah band started up, we were all stuffed to the gills, albeit not with smokers’ poptarts. But we accepted our brochures, information sheets, and balloons with good grace, and it was a reasonably happy crowd that spilled out into the hotel carpark. Interestingly, the carpark was pitted with puddles, oh! puddles innumerable, and all the great and the good and the movers and shakers and glitterati got their shoes and socks soaked through. I thanked the Lord for my galoshes, and Krishnan Guru-Murthy thanked the Lord for his galoshes, thoughtfully provided by an unpaid intern from Channel 4 News.

As I wended my way home through certain half-deserted streets, the muttering retreats of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels and sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells, I resolved to buy a carton of smokers’ poptarts for my breakfast at the earliest opportunity. Alas, I have yet to see them on the shelves of the local poptart shop. As Jagger once observed, you can’t always get what you want.

NOTE : As this was written for an audience largely unfamiliar with the Mr Key Prose Experience, I deliberately inserted a number of my common obsessions, phrases, tropes, and touches. A small prize to any Hooting Yard reader who can spot all of them.

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