The Salty Taste of Irish Horror – Live!
Though this thing we call the internet generally caters effectively to the colourful needs of the planet's fetishists, paranoids, perverts and obsessives, there are areas of enthusiasm that remain curiously (and sadly) neglected. Take fans of live blogging, horror, and critical/performative crisp-eating for example. Who, out there, is really working to synthesise their diverse interests and put smiles on their jaded faces?
Answer: No-one…and so the job falls on my shoulders.
Saturday, 11th October – 6.18 pm.
Have just returned from an afternoon spent lunching & wandering with our Americo-Kerry friends Niall and Liz. They it was who recently alerted me to a small, dimly-lit, but significant corner of Irish salty snack culture – i.e., the horror-themed crisp. As they are soon (alas) leaving these shores I dedicate this live snack-munching extravaganza to them.
Today's crisps of choice were purchased during a "waiting for a bus" interlude in Tralee, Co. Kerry. While Limerick's newsagents seem content to limit themselves to boring mainstream snacks, the Kingdom is (it seems) home to more imaginative outlets. Who could resist the siren call of Perri's Banshee Bones? Not I.
Though most people with even a passing knowledge of Irish folklore (or Darby O'Gill) would readily recognise the Banshee as a traditional death messenger, few (I'd imagine) would be familiar with Perri's rather self-centred take on the legend.
A radical re-orientating and re-focusing of established lore. According to Perri's re-imagining, the function of Banshee wailing is not, as has always been thought, to herald imminent death, but rather just to give someone a "big fright". Not only that, but this anti-social behaviour seems motivated by a simple salt imbalance in her diet. One corrective packet of Banshee Bones later and she's laughin' it up and turning cartwheels through the fields and meadows.
Preparing to open the packet.
Packet open. A faintly Chipstick-y odour fills the air. I'd anticipated a more intense and pickled stench, a la Monster Munch. This is an unexpected development, and one that demonstrates Perri's dedication to the art of surprise.
I dip my hand inside and withdraw a solitary "bone". Amusingly, the word "bone" seems to operate on (at least) two levels. While the crisp does vaguely resemble a maize & potato piece of the human skeleton, it also doubles up as a risqué snack phallus. Hang on till I take a picture.
Sorry for the delay. I'm something of an amateur when it comes to photographing salt & vinegar flavoured cocks. Excuse the poor-quality.
Right. Time to put one of these babies in my mouth and see if they make me (as, sort of, promised) "forget [my] moans".
First taste is salt, though this lasts but a nano-second before it is overwhelmed by lashings of synthetic vinegar. The initial crunchiness is pleasing (and suggests lastability) but this almost instantly gives way to upsetting sogginess. It's like eating a penis-shaped Chipstick that falls apart before you've a chance to swallow. Hmm…
Popped downstairs to offer Jess a bone. She chewed meditatively before confirming the taste as "very Chipstick-y". She also claims the experience was a bit like eating "puffed vinegary air". It should be noted that she's pregnant, and thus not entirely reliable as a scientific test subject.
About half-way through the pack now and Banshee Bones are proving, despite low expectations, to be very "moreish". I notice the rear of the packet instructs interested consumers to "visit our website on www.perri.ie". I'm a particularly interested consumer this evening so visit it I shall (as I suck down another bone).
Error occurred: 404 – not found.
Gah! It appears that the current global financial meltdown has lowered its trousers and taken a big bankrupting dump all over Perri. Damn you, global financial meltdown. Damn you to hell.
The final bone has disappeared and I'm left feeling both unsatisfied and slightly giddy. Also, I notice that for the last 2 minutes I've been (like the pre-Banshee Bones Banshee) "wringing [my] hands". The combined effect is not a pleasant one.
Time to bring proceedings to a close. We've a "posh" dinner lined up with some old friends and I need to a) spruce myself up, and, b) rid myself of this queasiness and anxiety.
Conclusion: Amusing shape. Poor-man's Chipstick. Dissolves too readily. Tenuous links to the Otherworld. Company appears to have collapsed. I feel strange.
October 11, 2008