Monday 19 September 2011

IKEA, I Saw, I Conquered

Big game hunters were the carpet fitters of yore. Before the kind of retailers we have now that suggest to the astronomically-interested that there exists a parallel universe dedicated to carpets like ‘World of Carpets’; and before Allied Carpets, even.

Big game hunters could rustle you up a tiger rug. A bit like a fishmonger, he could gut it for the customer and ask, ‘Do you want me to take the head off?’ But in most cases people would want the head on, and in the vast majority of other cases the big gamer would go out looking for his own carpet rather than selling it on. And not surprisingly – because people weren’t very satisfied with the service. The tiger would hardly ever fit the dimensions of the room and it was difficult to fit the head flush with the skirting board. And to say nothing of the hoovering. These were the days before Dyson, before he thought ‘I’ve got a tiger head to negotiate, sticking up from my carpet, but what if…?’

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So, the big game became essentially a self-sufficient interior decorator. The jungle was his IKEA. Take that new hallway, for instance. Needs fitting out. Chop an elephant down at the knee and he’s got himself a brolly stand. (Many an elephant chiropodist could trace back the time they were inspired to take up their trade to any one April, when the wet weather would afford them plenty of opportunity to study the pachyderm Plates of Meat.) ‘Those coats always need a home too, darling’, his missus would urge, while he’s pottering around in the hall. ‘Can’t you do something about it next time you’re hacked off with a gnu?’ And sure enough, off he would go and shoot a gnu or some other horned beast and fashions for himself a perfectly good coat hanger. That hallway is coming along.
It wasn’t all that easy for the upper class big game hunter. His form of home improvements did require a lot of effort. Whereas the working classes were far more fortunate. They never needed hangers because they were always allowed to sleep the multitudinous kids under their coats.

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