RICHARD ORD: Sad to see Midget Gems go the way of Jelly Elephant Men and Idiot Sticks

My favourite sweets from comprehensive school days were Sherbet Lanky Dip Dabs and Cadbury’s Minty Chocolate Idiot Sticks. Messy, but so tasty.

By Richard Ord
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 6:35 pm
Take That! Offending kleptomaniacs since 1990.
Take That! Offending kleptomaniacs since 1990.

Of course, life was different in the Seventies, and come the more progressive Eighties those corner shop delights were renamed so as not to cause offence.

Which was why I was surprised that Midget Gems managed to fly under the radar for so long (maybe it was something to do with their size).

Anyway, time caught up with the Midget Gems last week when Marks and Spencer renamed them Mini Gems after an offended academic pointed out the name had more in common with Victorian freak shows than popular confectionery. Which explains why Jelly Elephant Men were discontinued in 1982.

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Personally, I don’t think we go far enough. Why stop at sweets?

Pop groups need to get their act together. I mean, Limp Biscuit ought to show a little more compassion for less mobile among its fanbase.

With growing concern for mental health issues and children’s education standards, it’s perhaps just as well that Daft Punk called it a day last year (though Madness better watch their backs).

Other artists still performing could perhaps tweak their names to protect the more sensitive out there. Rage Against the Machine, for example, should tone things down by calling themselves Difficult To Contain Anger Issues Against the Machine.

Take That have earned a fine reputation as a likeable pop band for what seems like centuries now, but to kleptomaniacs their moniker is highly insensitive with the added potential to incite criminal activity. A simple word change and all is well with the world. Leave That, I’m sure, would be just as successful.

Alice in Chains are another who could show more empathy towards women. Alan in Chains would do it for me.

That said, it’s likely to offend men who are equally uncomfortable being associated with manacle restraints. Alice in a Chair is near enough to the original name to satisfy their marketing team, I’m sure. Although, Alice in a Fetching Scarf is possibly the safest bet and would perhaps help steer the band in a lighter musical direction.

And don’t get me started on Tinie Tempah. Wrong on all fronts.

I only hope the easily offended don’t open a dictionary… thing’s full of offensive words. Safer to burn it.