Ialways used to think that turbo-capitalism’s end game would be homogenisation of everything. Every little company would be swallowed up by one massive one. Every nation swallowed up into a superstate. Everyone from all over the country eventually doing all their shopping in one gigantic Tesco in Birmingham. All of us in onesies at all times.
But I was wrong. In fact, the opposite has happened and now all of us can now indulge even our most obscure tastes via bespoke consumerism. For instance, as a non-drinker, I have the choice of several high-quality non-alcoholic online shops from which to buy my joyless, pretend beers – which I sip at home in my slippers, watching TV and reminiscing about how great the Nineties were when I had hair and was always pissed.
Podcasts are the ultimate expressions of all this. There are now about a billion podcasts per capita in the western world. People all over the globe are spewing their little recordings out like nobody’s business. Some of them are so niche that they actually have minus listeners. But that doesn’t stop the plucky individuals who make them recording and uploading them on a bi-weekly basis. I recently appeared on The Confectionery Cast – a weekly podcast devoted entirely to the forensic discussion of mainstream chocolate bars, hosted by the journalists Mark Machado and Andre Walker. It is absolutely brilliant.
You can get a green tea version in Thailand. In Japan there is a cheese KitKat
Each week asugary newsagent snack – from Snickers to Bounty, Milky Way to Topic – is discussed in unlikely detail and with overwhelming warmth. They asked me to suggest a favourite confectionery to discuss. I chose KitKat. It has always been my favourite. The two-fingered variety triggers exciting memories of primary school packed lunches. The four fingers, more of a special weekend treat, is a thing of multi-dimensional appeal. The varieties in the UK are increasingly colourful: white chocolate, dark chocolate, orange and mint flavoured. Around the globe there are even stranger iterations: you can get a green tea version in Thailand. In Japan there is a cheese KitKat. What a marvellous world we have created for ourselves here on Planet Earth, where a rich kaleidoscope of consumer options is available at the click of mouse.
And, however perverse your interest, you can be sure that there’s a podcast, possibly several, devoted to it.
Do I have such a podcast? Of course I do. I am a middle-aged, middle-class man living in London in 2018. If I didn’t have a podcast how could I even exist? It’s calledTop Flight Time Machine, in case you care. If you like football nostalgia and swearing you’ll like it. Personally, I prefer The Confectionery Cast.