16 June 2003 - London

When I was a teeny weeny tot running around London, I remembered that Hamlyns was the coolest place there (the new Science Museum notwithstanding). Come on, five floors of toys, toys, toys - there was no way that could go wrong.

These days, it's not the automatic stop for me that it used to be, but I still drop by to see what's going on when I get the chance. I think I've been to Harrod's twice, but I've lost count the number of times I've wandered up and down the escalators (almost always the escalators and not the lifts).

As you walk through the front doors, you are greeted by people making giant soap bubbles or playing with multi-coloured crayons or firing rubber pellets or throwing around giant spaceship frisbees. As far as I am concerned, a sense of wonderment fills me and I start wandering around googly-eyed looking at what's on offer. I hardly ever buy anything these days, but browsing around is undeniable, purified fun.

I know that some of you out there will snort with derision at me succumbing to the allure of mass commercialism. Most toys out there are tied-in to some over-hyped flavour-of-the-moment (e.g. Hulk) and are over-priced for what they give. But there are still some enjoyable things to oogle at - the micro remote control cars are pretty cool.

However, the magic doesn't last for long. I think I spent the longest playing FIFA 2003 on the Game Cube with my brother. These days, gadgets have to be smarter to keep the attention, big kids included, and there are not many gadget freaks out there bigger than me. To be honest, the only reason why my house is not filled with bleeding-edge technology is because it gets bleeding expensive to make it that way.

So it is with perversity that I content myself with simpler toys. The ones that fill me with nostalgia for my childhood days (for example, the Fisher Price ambulance that still sits on my shelf).


posted on Monday, June 16, 2003 - permalink
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