How to hang your Skrötum

(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.

Swedish Exports

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.)

Funny Names

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.

** ‘Loser!

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

Timeless Classics presents ‘Gas Man’s Crack’ and ‘Gas Man’s Crack Revisited’

Gas Man’s Crack

I give this to you as an example of the surreal world I currently inhabit.

 The gas suppliers are updating and replacing pipework to houses in the area. (The builders are all in the kitchen incidentally). A few seconds ago I am sitting here at the pc (from  which you can see the understairs cupboard – this houses the meter, supplied by the  pipe which enters the property, running beneath the front door )

 Without a word of introduction, tap on the door or ring of  the bell, a young, slightly porky superviser (he obviously hasn’t seen me) has entered the house and bent down to inspect the pipe – giving me a front row view of his hairy backside!… God give me strength!

 Oh  Fuck! Now the electrician and ‘Clumsy Tony’ have arrived… Must dash and get anything breakable out of  his path.

(Originally posted 07/01/09)

© Andy Daly  2009

‘Gas Man’s Crack (Revisited)’

It’s certainly very comforting to know that the water companies take the issue of water leaks as seriously as they say they do. They (‘Three Valleys Water’) have come today to fix the leak outside our house. It’s not much of a leak: it leaves a long ‘pond’ in the gutter from its source, somewhere under the pavement as far as the next drain in front of our neighbour’s house – about 20 feet. But it is a leak, nevertheless. I reported it when I first spotted it shortly after building work on the extension began (Not that I hold the builder in any way responsible. Far from it: he was quite meticulous about making sure that no loads were parked on the pavement or on our block paving in such a way as they might risk causing damage)

 Well, that was late September/early October.

 It is now …  let me see … Ah yes! …  

 It is now May. Eight months and two calls to the Three Valleys Water ‘Leakspotter line’ later, they turn up to fix my leak, proceeding to interrupt me every 10 minutes to tell me what they are going to do next.

 I couldn’t care less!

It’s not my leak! It’s theirs! I was only being public-spirited in an attempt to avoid wastage of a valuable  resource. (Although, as it finds its own way to a drain, I am assuming it gets incorporated into the system/cycle again: or is this being stupidly naive and uniformed?) Other than that, I don’t want to know. They are not doing me any favours. In fact, my suspicions are that quite the opposite: it is going to cause considerable inconvenience …

And so: what’s the first thing these dopey fuckers do? That’s right! They cut the gas pipe by mistake. Now I’m no expert on the sphagetti that lives beneath our feet, but I would imagine a gas pipe, especially one laid as recently as ours, would be fairly clearly marked. But then what do I know?

Yes! … yes! the pipe so lovingly laid on that miserable freezing friday back in December by the gang of villains, rogues, ex-cons, headcases, gypsies, tramps and thieves that were The Transco Pipelayers (See ‘Gas Man’s Crack’) In fact, I’d have paid good money to have  had a couple of them here this afternoon – the cocky ‘Chirpy Cock-er-nee Sparrer’ foreman, his cap always at an outrageously jaunty angle, and the fitter with one eye and cauliflower ears, for instance; secretly watching the hapless Three Valleys gang making such a dog’s dinner of their handiwork. Then the ‘Transco Tag-team’ chewing them up and spitting them out all down Woodlands Avenue as they head back for the M25 and Kent (which is where they came from every day, believe it or not) in the Friday afternoon traffic.

 Speaking of which … Ha!  I notice that the Three Valleys Water gang omitted to come to the door and inform me of this particular piece of information … As I write, at 2:40pm, Friday their van kicks into life and before you can say ‘Three Valleys Leakspotter Line’ they’ve fucked off for the weekend, leaving a ten foot deep, flooded  hole in front of our drive. It is debateable whether we’ll be able to get the car out.

Still, for no extra charge, I got to watch the four-strong Three Valley’s team stand around and look blankly as the British Gas pair made good their pipe, while thankfully (and perhaps most importantly) you will be pleased to know that I was not treated to any kind of improptu dispay of the gas inspector’s nether regions as he checked the supply.

 Thank Christ for that!

 I await developments next week with utter indifference,

Incidentally, I’m sure you’ll be tickled pink to know that although the builders are no more, their presence is nonetheless felt almost daily in what has become the most tortuous and truly surreal stage of the works. In case you’ve forgotten (I know you couldn’t give a shit, but I’m going to tell you anyway) we’ve had:

  1. Design and planning: (That was the bit on the back of the fag packet)
  2. Enabling Works: Site preparation (Caterpillar and Dumper truck speed trials: All comers)
  3. Footings (during which our builder seemed to have cornered the world market in pre-mixed concrete. It looked at one stage as if he had confused our plans (fag packet) with those for a personal nuclear fallout shelter (9oz. Old Shag Rolling Tobacco packet) This is the last time next door’s cat was seen alive.
  4. Block and Brickwork: (Respect. Be in awe. We are not worthy etc.)
  5. Roofing: (Which nobody notices unless something or somebody falls off it)
  6. Knocking Through: (Severe trauma. Best forgotten about)
  7. Internal walls and plastering: (Forget the brickies! RESPECT, BE IN AWE, WE ARE NOT WORTHY etc.
  8. First Fix: (You didn’t want it here? What makes you think you have a choice?)
  9. Snagging: ( “There’s just a few minor bits and bobs … Shall we start with the roof? “Sure …. Where?” “Well … All of it … “)

(Originally posted 05/05/09)

Andy Daly  2009

Of Frogs and Men

The previous owners here had made a pond and a pathetic waterfall/water-feature-type thing. It was so bad it is simply impossible to describe in grown-up language. As I sit here and write I can feel myself getting irritated at how crap it was and how proud the owner was of it; as if it was a major selling point of the house:

“Now let’s see, the central heating’s fucked, the tiles in the bathroom have been put up by someone with vertigo and no thumbs, the electrics look as if they’re pre-war (that’s the Crimean War) and the garden’s full of bamboo, but hey! It’s got a water feature. We must have it!”


                           See what I mean?

Well, the frogs that were thrown in when the deal was sealed (£395,000 for freehold property as described plus 3 frogs) finally got the move they’d obviously been dying for last week, when with my youngest son we caught them, put them in a bucket and took them to the pond in the nature reserve (tip) at the end of our street. There, he and I  bid them a fond Adeiu, whereupon they leapt with gay abandon into the murky tadpole-infested waters. We scuttled off for a walk round said reserve  during which time, our frogs were probably being greedily gobbled up by the local Heron or suchlike. I didn’t mention this to my youngest who is of a nervous disposition where animal welfare is concerned.

I am already looking forward to smashing the water feature to smithereens with the pickaxe I nicked from the builders.

‘Builders 2

‘Gasman’s Crack’



© Andy Daly  2010

Kung Fu Bear Necessities

Further to my post, ‘Buck Rogers’  and the exent of national, nay global interest in said bear; I’m afraid I  just don’t get it. Perhaps, I’m having a bad day… bad year … bad life. But no: hold on, let’s give it another chance and view again. Everybody ready. Let’s go!

Yeah, you see, again I barely get past a smirk, and that’s only at the thought of the fact that his stances are so poor that it seems to suggest our bear wouldn’t know what a Martial Art was, even if it jumped up, executing as it did so a spinning hook kick to his temple and in a swiftness of an eye blink, Bang! a turning kick to the other side. Then just for good measure, bit him on the arse (or ‘ass’)

No, as he twiddles his poles in an almost ‘wooden’ pattern (if you’ll pardon the pun) which has ever such a slight suggestion of ‘post production’ trickery about it, our bear has only one thing on his mind. You can almost hear him:

‘Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes …’

Now I’m begining to chuckle. Poor Alan. What would he have thought? Are bears any good at maths?

Buck Rogers

Jesus. Here we are, speeding towards the middle of the Twenty first century. Remember how it was pictured when we were kids ? We’ll all live perfectly happy lives in towers of apartments, wearing sexy, but practical …. Hmmm, actually not  practical at all, spandex suits and fly to work in rockets and space ships which look suspiciously like re-modelled 1950s cars. Instead, we live pretty much like we always have done – Flared trousers continue to make regular comebacks, you can still get VIMTO, yet we have ready access to a technology our grandparents couldn’t have dreamt of, let alone understood ….

and what do we do with it? This immense information super highway, this democratising, border and frontier defying (as long as you’re near an AC power source or suitable rechargeable lithium battery) government-crushing, people-empowering phenomenon…this…this…this… awe-inspiring tool of the common man?

We send each other You Tube crap like

Alan Turing will be turning in his grave (to demonstrate his powerful Back-Kick no doubt)

Note: Anything which encourages a reprise of  one of many ’70s low points Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting” is doomed in my book.

© Andy Daly  2010