Did I Really Want One of Those? 14. Trick Stick

Baton twirling antics aplenty

06 January 2014: The kids are back in school. My daughter’s got cheerleading practice: not the best of things to do in winter, but her school thinks otherwise. I was reminded of my sister’s efforts at baton twirling to the soundtrack of Liquid Gold’s Substitute. It didn’t really work out, so much so that an Interlink bus from Altrincham Interchange to the Ice Rink was more seductive. What a lazy arse I was in my teens; I would think nothing of walking to Devonshire Road these days. Thankfully the present rink is a train stop away.

In 1980, Star Wars and Space Invaders was pretty much in the memory of most children. The Atari VCS console helped to bring video gaming beyond the Pong era for most homes. Even so, there was still simple pleasures like board games and outdoor playthings.  Baton twirlers behold the…

Trick Stick

Harbutts of Plasticine fame introduced an outdoor toy in late 1980 which was probably aimed at Boys Brigade band members. Entitled the ‘Trick Stick’, its name may conjure up images of Paul Daniels, Ali Bongo or the Great Suprendo. Not so.

The Trick Stick is a 1m long mainly yellow stick with rounded red ends at the top and bottom. Halfway across the stick is a string with a finger hole. Users of the said object would try and twirl it like a baton twirler could do. Or they could threaten the local bird population by trying to twist it overhead.

Trick Stick – also known as The Amazing Trick Stick – was not the most popular of toys, nor remotely amazing (I know, I bought one in a car boot sale in 1990 and it was pretty naff). Peter Pan Playthings continued to sell the toy till the mid 1980s after acquiring Harbutts. Long deleted, they occasionally appear on eBay.

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2013 price: £7 – £10 (eBay.com, checked on the 14 December 2013).

S.V., 14 December 2013.

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