Friday, 13 May 2011

The rise and fall of Spangles

1974 Spangles wrapper

I realised after writing my last post that if you didn’t grow up in 1970s Britain the mention of ‘Spangles’ may have been a bit obtuse.

So many things are well-known for being synonymous with a 1970s UK childhood, like Klackers, Funny Face ice creams and spacehoppers… I don’t want to bore with any more but Spangles were at the height of their popularity in the seventies and are definitely high up in the list of my personal and most immediate nostalgia-fest references.  They were great little square boiled sweets that came in a vast variety of irresistible flavours, many of which were sharp and fruity. Much as I adored them I can probably lay the blame almost entirely on Spangles for having a mouth full of amalgam dental fillings now.  Let alone all those afternoons after school suffering a sore, raw tongue from sucking one after the other after the other until they turned into sharp splinters that basically had a similar effect on the soft parts of your mouth as sandblasting a piece of raw steak.

Spangles, which were first manufactured in 1950, were eventually discontinued in the 1980s.  Sometimes, when I pass one of those ‘Ye Olde Fashioned Sweete Shoppe’ type establishments which seem to keep cropping up in small town England high streets (complete with staff in jolly hats and stripey aprons), I think excitedly: “Ooh, I wonder if they have any Spangles?!”   But the truth is that if I were to eat one now I would probably never need/want another again.  Sometimes sweet memories are best left just as that.

They even get a brief mention in this Fall song 'It's A Curse' (I really like this track which has that insistent Sonic Youth kinda feel to it, although I’d be happier if it were half as long!) Here Mark E Smith is rather more disparaging: “… Balti and Vimto and Spangles were always crap, regardless of the look back bores…”    


  1. Didn't they stop them after a whole bunch of toddlers choked on them "because of the corners!", that was what my mum always claimed when she'd confiscate them

  2. This sounds like these candies we had here in the States called Charms, square hard candies in varying colors/flavors.

  3. Bel Mondo said..... ah, especially the coca cola flavour ones........

  4. Oh yes, Bel Mondo - my tongue is tingling at the mere thought!

  5. Yve - sounds like your mum was very wise and possibly had a weakness for Spangles too...? AOM - they sound just like the same thing, yes, do they still make them over there?


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