They say that the root of all evil is money. That’s just not true when you’re a kid; when you’re a kid, it has to be sweets. For the love of sweets we learnt to bribe, smuggle and steal.
Edmond was seduced by the wicked witch of Narnia with her Turkish delight; and the golden ticket winners at Willy Wonker’s factory all, barring Charlie, met their gloopy end in seas of gum and chocolate. Its remarkable what memories surface when you’re strolling around a sweet shop as an adult. At some point very early on in our lives we discovered sweets, cracked out teeth on them, got bubblegum stuck in our hair or toffee in our braces. My descent into the shady world of deceit started with me biting the tail off a marzipan pig which didn’t belong to me, then its ears and nose. I told myself I would stop before it all got out of control and anyone noticed, then realised that it was too late. The pig was already dismembered.
There’s a sweet shop at the bottom of my road in Harbour Street, a traditional sweet shop with tubs of candy. The Sugar Boy. It’s full of sugar and spice and many things nice. There’s rock candy, chocolate mice, jelly babies, sherbet that fizzles on the tongue, toffee, peanuts roasted in caramel, dark chocolate, light chocolate, nougat, fried eggs, sugar gums, coils of liquorice with multi coloured sprinkles, wine gums, alphabet sweets, gob stoppers, marzipan, pastilles. There’s sugar free sweets, yoghurt sweets, sweets to clear your throat.Britain is in the throws of an obesity crisis because apparently we eat too much crap. It keeps on cropping up in the papers every now and again. But to be honest, I don't care. On my way to do some regular shopping I decide to stop off first at the Sugar Boy and walk around with a plastic bucket and pincers, to wade through a sea of sweets and fill it up with anything which grabs my imagination. Despite its proximity I haven’t visited my local sweet box in months. It lightens the mood on a grey winter's day. It’s a place of happy memories crammed with sweets from the floor to the ceiling. There are scales to weigh up the sweets, priced per 100 g. Then they’re packed in pink and white paper bags.
I’ve just got the sweets home and put them out on the lounge table for decoration (as if) and now it’s clear what was missing. The thing is, a bowl of sweets looks damn good on a table along with the magazines, books and coasters.