Did I Really Want One of Those? 24. Dancing Flowers

Acceptable in the 1990s – even Andi Peters had one in the Broom Cupboard

16 January 2014: “Woke one morning half asleep/With all my blankets in a heap...” – the opening lines of The Move’s song reminded me of something I remembered seeing in my office. They were truly overhyped to high heaven and seldom danced to anything other than Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers’ greatest hits.

For our last window in the advent calendar, I bring you an artefact which requires 2 x AA batteries instead of Baby Bio and water.

Dancing Flowers

In the last 1980s to early 1990s, we had little to cheer about as Lawson’s boom turned into bust before you could say ‘Endowment Mortgage’. With the cubicle enclosed office desk instead of the welding booth our more familiar work surroundings, we needed something to dispel the ennui. Of Simon Bates and his like as well as the droning dot matrix printer. Cue the dancing flower.

The common and garden (if you pardon the pun) 1990s dancing flower was based on either sunflowers or daisies, often wearing Timmy Mallett style shades (yes, we are in 1990, therefore ‘shades’ it is (not the former Stalybridge nightspot)) . They would often dance from side to side, forward to backward, or twirl.

Mine, from a shop at the bottom end of the landward end of Blackpool’s North Pier, twirled. Meh. It also had the Timmy Mallett style shades and the sunflower look. Needless to say, I was won over the joys of dancing flowers thanks to the power of TV. Yes, Andi Peters’ in the Broom Cupboard and a few others. For a time, they were joined by dancing beer and cola cans.

Today, you can still buy the dancing flowers. I wonder if 23 years on they can do Gangnam Style, Lambada, Tango, Twist and the Charleston (well the technology’s there)? More contemporary examples look like other flowers besides daisies and sunflowers, and are solar powered.

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1991 price: £5.99 (my own example, purchased from North Pier, Blackpool).

2013 price: from £2.29 to £15.00 (new or secondhand as a hired prop, checked 19 December 2013).

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This concludes East of the M60’s 2013 Advent Calendar. We hope that many of the artefacts mentioned throughout the 24 dates brought back a few memories or raised the odd hackle. As always, feel free to comment on each of them and have a Merry Christmas!

S.V., 24 December 2013 (Christmas Eve).

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