Sugar Streets


Another paradox of contemporary life.

As the the Powers That Be reluctantly begin to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, sugar is more of a health challenge to society than lovely unadulterated raw butter produced from pastured cows, I notice a sudden mushrooming of confectionary outlets that are a million miles away from the old cramped and darkly mysterious corner sweetshops of my childhood.

These new consumer temples are all about candy-pink atmosphere with dazzling white-lino flooring and spacious display shelves. They offer all sorts of sucrose-based delights which would have John Yudkin turning in his grave, and sport enough E numbers to challenge a Bletchley Park code breaker. Young teens are drawn to them as proverbial moths to a flame, but the enticing Americana packaging encourages a bit of retro-escapism to adults of all ages.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Reese’s peanut butter concoctions and Jelly Belly beans were quite simply completely unknown in the UK. Now we are seeing a fresh invasion of yet another aspect of American culture: “candy”. On the plus side (which there will certainly be if you get stuck in to this lot), it’s slightly costly stuff for a cheap evening’s binge in front of back-to-back episodes of Friends, so maybe the financial burden on the NHS won’t be too apparent for a while yet.

And somehow the glamorous allure of such shops is lost when they find themselves away from the glossy malls in the centre of town, and find themselves instead awkwardly placed at busy traffic junctions on the city traffic loop.


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