When I got home this morning, it turned out the steps to my flat had all clubbed together and bought me a gift. At least, that’s my understanding, as I can’t imagine someone delivering this door to door:
Normally, I ignore these circulars. They’re annoying, they’re intrusive, and I live in a block so we always get 4 of each one that arrives. This one, however, piqued my interest. First, a quick look at the back tells me this is a company called Shaftesbury’s.
Nope. I’ve never heard of them either.
Also, it’s very very pretty. A quick check of the Dulux paint range tells me the colour on the graphic is called Lindi’s Pass, and very nice it is too. These guys didn’t just grab some two-bit takeaway menu designer to do this, no sir.
But it’s also wonderfully enigmatic. I “know I want them…”, do I? What are “them”? There are plenty of things on this earth which I know desperately that I want, and am a mere 30% offer away from purchasing. I’m ultimately as suggestible to advertising as the next person, despite my wishes otherwise, and there are plenty of things that I believe I could buy to make me smarter, more attractive, or to get rid of the shooting pains in spine every time I try to turn my head.
And maybe Shaftesbury’s has the answer to at least one of these problems. So I open the leaflet (printed on very nice 400gsm card, btw), to be greeted with the following:
Ah, wrapped inside my enigma is a mystery! Like Russian politics in the 80’s. What are they selling? Bedroom sets? Red throws? Sunlight? And in a further nod to quality, this leaflet is a concertina. Real pages! In a leaflet.
Shutters! The thing which has been missing from my life? Presumably (given that they sell shutter), Shaftesbury’s is full of people who really really love shutters. Maybe their view of how the world works has been distorted by being around blinds for so long. They’re looking at the world through rose-tinted shutters, if you like.
But I really don’t give a fuck about blinds or shutters. I already have some on my windows and I still look like Quasimodo’s evil twin so they haven’t made me any more attractive. I suppose there are people out there who are waiting for their opportunity to by some beautiful, practical, interior shutters, but I’m not one of them.
My favourite section is near the end, where they feel it’s important to remind that the offer is indeed “genuine”, as if anyone outside of politics or supermarket marketing departments would spend this much money on lying to their base.
Also a favourite, not easy to read on this picture is the sentence: “Shutters have spread virally.” Have they now? Because I thought the word virally had two meanings: passing through the internet as an essentially memetic version of a real virus, or a REAL VIRUS. And I don’t recall any videos called “Cute baby shutter! Falling asleep!!!!” on Youtube with 8,325,673 hits and hundreds of racist comments. Nor am I sitting in fear of the latest shutter outbreak and the zombie apocalypse which will inevitably follow.