By Andy Burrell
The Augustus Gloop Syndrome
As a child who was militantly denied chocolate it was only natural that as soon as I was old enough to cross the road without supervision I would go to the shop with change stolen from my parents’ money box and buy copious amounts of the stuff.
Somehow I’m neither fat nor in prison.
The money/chocolate exchange rate in the nineties meant you could typically get five bars for £1 and, as such, I’d usually cane it on ten bars a night. I’m not even joking.
You can ask me anything about 90s chocolate; there isn’t a bar I haven’t tried.
Being told you aren’t allowed something only makes you want it more. It’s why I’ve never smoked or tried drugs; I don’t believe I’d be able to stop. Chocolate prohibition led to me creating sugary speakeasies in my bedroom, chomping away at bar after bar, the illegality of my prize only making it sweeter. Under the blanket I would savour the intricacies and complexities of the Cadbury’s Marble or the Flake Snow. Most thirteen year old boys would have been furiously masturbating in that setting but I was indulging in a far more intimate experience. It saddens me to know that there are people in my class who will never know what the Cadbury’s Marble was.
The covert tactics I had to employ to get chocolate in my formative years have had a knock-on effect. I have an addiction to sugar. I can’t do moderation. I can’t get on with healthier alternatives. I need that hit of pure, dirty sugar that can only come from cake, biscuits or chocolate. And once I’ve had a bite that’s it, I monster it away until I’ve consumed every crumb. I’ve tried to quit. I managed eighteen months without eating chocolate once but I just subsidised. I would eat tins of condensed milk with a spoon instead. I’m wincing as I write that.
When you have a drug or alcohol addiction and seek help there is a network of support available. Plans are put in place, action is taken and your friends and family will rally round and try to get you through it. But sugar is a different story. People don’t get why you can’t just have ‘a bit’. They don’t notice when you snaffle yet another cookie while you’re scamping. If I was necking pints every day while I was working on a brief I’d be ostracised but when I send myself almost comatose from a sugar crash it goes under the radar. You don’t notice that I’m digging my fingernails into my leg to try and stay awake.
I have written this in a SCAB before but I’m going to write it again. If you see me with a bag of cookies I want you to take them away. I don’t care what you do with them. You can eat them or throw them in the bin. You can give them to a homeless person. Just please help me get the most out of my year.
I’m off to eat a banana.