The JM Posner Candy Floss Maker (prezzybox.com, £34.95) is a heated centrifuge with retentive basin. Liquefied sugar is spun through tiny perforations, solidifying in fine strands, wound on to a dowel.
We all want to be kids again. The toys! The attention! The thrill of your horns coming in! Not that kind of kid.
Being a grownup stinks, so today is all about the fluffy stuff of childhood. This hot-tub time machine, the makers say, “recreates all the fun of the funfair” (a big boast, unless it can recreate template-setting sexual misadventures on a Haunted House ride).
It looks like a camping stove on a potty, with instructions written in Comic Sans. The flecked sugar resembles laundry detergent and comes with a measuring scoop, just like detergent. Actually, any granulated sugar works, but these are special flavours, such as “sassy apple”. (What makes an apple sassy? None of the other flavours have personality traits. Unless blue raspberry is … depressed? I don’t want to eat depressed candy floss.) So far, so bad.
But I’ve never been more fascinated by a mechanical process. I pour sugar in the head, which glows red, spinning like a Hello Kitty potter’s wheel. Filaments begin tomaterialise from thin air, a web laid by giant, invisible spiders. (Don’t think about giant invisible spiders.) I can’t help swirling my fingers around the burning interior, like a Victorian medium conjuring ectoplasm. It’s dark magic, if you ignore the fact I’m standing in my kitchen fingering a hot pink potty. Rolled on skewers, the cloud of spun sugar tastes exactly like the stuff sold at amusement parks. (I don’t mean the job lot of meow-meow you can buy behind the dodgems. Funfairs are awful.) I’m transported, innocent again.
But my God, the aftermath. The machine is crusted in sugar crystals, alien blue, like a copper mine. Descabbing takes, roughly, eternity. Compared with this, the cleanup for the Exxon Valdez was a nap in a big chair. My whole evening is ruined. Adulthood – that transition from funfair to unfair – is epitomised in the scouring of a candy-floss machine; the realisation that fun is the herald of regret, and that it’s time to put away childish things.
Dentists recommend flossing daily, but I’m not sure this is what they have in mind.