(Please note this post may not be suitable for young children or those of a nervous disposition)
A post prompted by ‘Sitting Comfortably?’s recent series on recurring dreams which involved forced DIY of a particularly ‘Flat-Pack’ nature and their interpretation. It is intended to provide succour and support for those in ‘Flat-Pack Hell’, wherever that happens to be: deep in their subconscious, or all over the living room floor.
So, guess what? Me and an old friend had a whale of a time last weekend … At our local branch of IEKA. Yep! You heard correct: I did say IEKA. Sweden’s greatest export (After Björn, Benny, Agnetha and Anne-Frid* of course) That unlovely and irritating Nordic hemorrhoid (which in case you’ve ever been curious are a damn sight easier to get than they are to spell) which sits aside the marginally unlovlier A 406. The capital’s inner orbital route.
Not one of my favourite parts of town
That’s the ‘top bit’ – if your Geography’s failing you – The North Circular: or simply ‘That Fucking Road’ as it is more commonly known. It wends it miserable way through North West London, blighting the lives of those unfortunate enough to live near it, who, at our present location, just happen to be the inhabitants of Neasden. And of course the poor sods who have to attempt to journey along its carbon-encrusted, crumbling and winding fucking lanes, its lights and never, never, never-ending road works with their inevitable lane closures.
You could say that it is not one of my favourite parts of town. In fact, I will do almost anything to avoid filtering round from Hanger Lane, or down through Wembley/Stanmore or anywhere which leads in the general direction of ‘You Know What’.
‘You Know What’. Otherwise known as IEKA.
A successful visit to IEKA.
There are a pitifully small number of occasions on which we can have said to have had a successful visit to IEKA. In other words avoided an interminable traffic jam, there, back – or both, been able to walk through the store without fear for our safety, found what we wanted, been able to pay for it, then fit it onto/into the car and make it home without further incident. These pathetic ‘successes’ have been achieved either as the result of an early morning snap-decision to ‘up and out’ while everyone is still in bed and beat the crowds – or even better, to go when the England football team play a major game such as a World Cup quarter-final, for instance.
Just look at it. Like a malevolent Lego set. It stands (casually, lazily. Not straight-backed and disciplined like Marine Commando John Lewis) A sharp – eyed sentinel, jealously guarding its ‘reputation’ and more importantly its market share; topped off with all the charm of a devious, wicked paedophile: enticing the unwary and vulnerable into its veritable ‘Garden of Delights’.
Seductive furnishing, fabrics and practical knickknacks
The sad fact of course though is that there is no answer to its seductive furnishing, fabrics and practical knickknacks. Not at such prices. There really isn’t anywhere else you can get that sexy, contemporary tin opener for less than the price of a pint and a game of pool. Or that sofa-bed which you’ve been searching for (but without breaking the bank) for when your Dad comes to stay. I dread the words: ‘Shall we go to IEKA? We could do with something with which we can create a bit of space’ It’s a bit like hearing ‘I’ve been thinking, Pet. I really do think its time we got rid of that surplus old testicle of yours. We’ve never needed it … and besides, it takes up so much room.’ In addition, it will fit so snugly into that alcove’ (the sofa-bed) – and incidentally push Dad’s Sciatica into a new and chronic phase.
And look at this: both products, tin opener and sofa-bed are packaged in reassuring, environmentally – friendly corrugated card. And both carry the individual designer’s name: Bengt Bangersson and Soren Ulafsson respectively. (However, the chances of you getting hold of Bengt or Soren should their product fail to come up to your expectations are … well … remote to say the least.)
And they do give them some funny names don’t they? the products? The sofa-bed is called a ‘Lycksel’ which I can’t help thinking is rather rude – if not a physical impossibility.
Try it yourself
Rant over and done with and out of my system – this is where Jimmy and I got our laughs.’Rude, Suggestive and Silly IEKA names’. It’s not big, it’s not clever and it’s not original, but it made us giggle for a while. I am sure that many of you will have not only played but come up with far better examples of your own.
Here are some of ours. Try it yourself: in the store or just flicking through the catalogue at home. Lycka till !
New for 2011/12
Recktum – Is space a problem? Try these attractive stacking storage boxes. You’ll wonder how you ever did without.
Nob. A carefully positioned Nob can do wonders for even the most featureless room. Try the Nob range of table lamps.
Wince. IEKA’s range of giftware. Second to none.
Don’t buy till you’ve tried Bile, IEKA’s exclusive space age cooking utensils.
Tossä. You won’t be able to resist Anders Liefshite’s dynamic new tablewear.
Robust, hardwearing – you need a strong, sturdy Skrötum – especially with the likes of these rascals climbing all over it all the time! Skrötum is a fully interchangeable system of shelving for walls, doors and … wherever you want!
Chuff: An elegant soap dispenser.
Pubik: Scatter cushions.
Gag: a complete range of bedding – sheets, pillows, duvets. You name it!
Ulsså: make your mark with these ready-made curtains.
The ‘Must-Have’ wardrobe for 2011/12 is Stroke. You’ll probably have one too as you attempt to self-assemble this box of shite. Designer Stig Holmqvist makes a feature of using a completely different number of screws and nails on each construction – Individual! Or as we say in Sweden, ‘Förlorare!’**
* ABBA: For those of you who have been hibernating for the last 50 years.
Postscript to ‘How to hang your Skrötum
A few IEKA facts:
Founded in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad in Sweden.
It is the World’ largest retailer of furniture.
The company name is an acronym comprising Ingvar’s initials, the farm where he grew up (Elmtaryd), and his home parish, Agunnaryd.
IKEA products are identified by single word names. Most of the names are Swedish in origin, based on a special naming system developed by IKEA.
- Upholstered furniture, coffee tables, rattan furniture, bookshelves, media storage, doorknobs: Swedish placenames
- Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture: Norwegian place names
- Dining tables and chairs: Finnish place names
- Bookcase ranges: Occupations
- Bathroom articles: Scandinavian lakes, rivers and bays
- Kitchens: grammatical terms, sometimes also other names
- Chairs, desks: men’s names
- Fabrics, curtains: women’s names
- Garden furniture: Swedish islands
- Carpets: Danish place names
- Lighting: terms from music, chemistry, meteorology, measures, weights, seasons, months, days, boats, nautical terms
- Bedlinen, bed covers, pillows/cushions: flowers, plants, precious stones
- Children’s items: mammals, birds, adjectives
- Curtain accessories: mathematical and geometrical terms
- Kitchen utensils: foreign words, spices, herbs, fish, mushrooms, fruits or berries, functional descriptions
- Boxes, wall decoration, pictures and frames, clocks: colloquial expressions, also Swedish place names
So now you know!
© Andy Daly 2011 The views expressed are not necessarily those of the author
Geez – I hate Ikea! When I was at Leicester Poly studying 3D Design we had a lecture from one of their “designers” – I think her name was Penny or Jenny, but I do remember that she was from Rochdale! (pretty fit too!) That’s right Rochdale (just outside Gothenburg I believe). She explained how they wanted to bring good design and good taste into the home of everyone in the UK, beginning with a brand new store at Brent Cross followed by complete saturation of every nook and cranny of the UK over the next ten years. Then she took the time to “cast her eye over our portfolios” to see if there were any promising ideas that Ikea could use. It was just like the invasion of the Vikings all over again, only this time with patronising sales techniques and plagiaristic designs nicked from talented British design students. Yeah twat indeed!