Waiting at the checkout in Budgens (yes, I don’t only frequent Waitrose – I am a man of the people) to pay for my caster sugar and copy of the Mortician’s Gazette (the weekly that makes your day) my eye was drawn to the proximal display of sweets.
One of these was a packet of bubble gum which boldly advertised its flavour as “atomic apple”. Now, I love alliteration as much as the next man (I would refer you to the title of this post for but a single example) but this struck me as an alliteration too far. According to my dictionary, atomic has a number of meanings – but only one of these could even remotely apply to an apple, viz: of or relating to the atomic bomb or atomic power.
Not an obvious choice for an adjective to apply to a flavour, especially given recent events. Is it one of a series of such flavours? Radioactive raspberry, nuclear nectarine or Chernobyl cherry perhaps?
Or perhaps the adjective applies to the apple? Now I have munched my way through scores of different varieties of Malus domestica, but never a nuclear one. Would they perhaps glow in the dark? A song of yesteryear (1924 apparently) posed the musical question, “Does your chewing gum lose its flavour on the bedpost over night?”, perhaps this gum (if applied to the bedpost) could be used as a night light.
I assume the atomic apple itself would be a cooker (rather than an eater), perhaps they would even cook themselves. The atomic apple does have the sound of the sort of labour saving nuclear invention dreamt up in the 1950s.
Or is this a brave attempt by Messers Hubba and Bubba (disappointingly – as a fan of the Scottish play – no Messers Toil or Trubba) to soften the public up prior to a resurgence of nuclear power?