Toy shops are an intrinsic part of the magic of childhood.
Who could argue with th…
Hang on, I’ll put that more clearly: toy shops are where the magic of childhood goes to be smothered in a hairy fug of soft toys and stabbed with a million construction toy components. Toy shops are where you first experience the agonising paralysis of overwhelming consumer choice. They’re the place that teaches you the existential horror of the mismatch between you and the advertisers’ version of what you’re supposed to be. They’re where you learn the anguish of wanting what you can’t have, and the misery of having what doesn’t make you happy.
Wow! That’s some projection, there. Did she have an unfortunate childhood experience in a toy shop, I wonder..?
So there are no tiny tears of woe from me at the news that Hamleys has been sold to French megacorp Groupe Ludendo.
How strange! I’d have expected the sad lapse into foreign hands of a great British icon to be a cue for much weeping around the ‘Guardian’ watercooler, too…
But what’s her beef with Hamleys?
Maybe there is an evil genius working behind the scenes at 188-196 Regent Street. That would explain why, until December 2011, the toy kingdom operated on strict gender segregation lines, with a girls’ floor and a boys’ floor. Boys were the gender of action and discovery – science sets, cars, trains and construction. Girls got dolls, beauty (with a Minipops salon to serve their junior vanity) and shrink-and-pink versions of household appliances – don’t you even think of having any ambition beyond the four walls of your house or the skin of your own face, little lady! And as for boys, whoever heard of one of them growing up to take a caring role? Absurd.
Ah. The usual leftist feminazi boilerplate.
Check out Hamleys’ predictions for this year’s top Christmas toys, and you’ll see a list dominated by pricey novelties: a breakdancing Mickey Mouse, a Barbie with an alarming fragile-looking articulated pony, a baby tablet that shoves “educational games” under your baby’s nose.
All stuff, in other words, that a child can only play with inside the narrow bounds determined by the design of the toy. That’s not really play at all – it’s just doing what you’re told.
I guess Sarah’s never experienced the child that spends more time playing with the box a toy came in than the toy itself, then?