Chunky, My Ass

I had a Yorkie bar this week. It’s been a while since I had one. This week’s blog post will therefore be a loosely-strung-together series of memories and musings on the subject of Yorkie bars, all wrapped up in some kind of as-yet-undecided conclusion about how it all impacts on me and my current existence.

So, yeah, the usual fare.

Yorkies came on the scene when I was but a young teenager. They were heralded by a TV advert wherein a manly-man of a truck driver made it through his rigorous truck-drivin’ day by munching on his Yorkie bar and leering at women drivers.

All right, full disclosure. Although people were quite annoyed at the hungry look our fearless driver gave to the lady in the convertible, as he waved her through the road works, I never really found too much to worry about in it. In an age where the likes of Benny Hill and ‘Are You Being Served’ ran rampant through my young sensibilities, often at 1.5 times the normal speed, our driver’s 'see ya later luv' grin seemed lightweight enough. Shoot me, if you must. They were different times.

But something else did annoy about him and it did annoy me most sincerely. It was his Yorkie bar.

Enough messing around. Let’s get right down to it.

I liked the Yorkie ad. In highly technical Don Draper style advertising-speak, it worked on me. I saved my pocket money and went out and bought myself a Yorkie bar. My eyes lit up like little Charlie Bucket as I unwrapped it on the way home, even though there was zero chance of uncovering a golden ticket. So what did I like so much about it? Why did it work so well on me?  I know the answer to this. It’s patently evident really, and it’s also the reason that I became so annoyed at the truck driver.

But we’re nowhere near a thousand words yet, so let’s stretch it out a bit. Tell you what. I’ll say something like, ‘Could it have been that…?’ or even a simple, ‘Was it because…?’ as a prelude to suggesting some possible alternative reasons why I grew to hate the Yorkie truck driver. Then I’ll confirm that, no, it wasn’t that. Okay? It’ll fill some white page. You’ll like it. Well… maybe not.

Either way, here's the advert, as a primer, before we go any further.

So… why did I like the advert?

Could it have been that there was something different about the music? At face value it was a fairly standard Country and Western riff with a hint of Convoy or Smokey and the Bandit influence. (‘East bound and down, we’ve all got our Yorkie’). It also had some unusual lyrics in it like, “so when I still that good ol’ mill…”. I mean, who calls their truck a ‘good ol’ mill’ or am I mishearing the darned thing after all these years? Finally for this ‘could it be’, it seemed to me that most adverts in those days ended up by saying the name of the product, just to punch the message home. It also seemed to me that Yorkie should be doing that and that the song should finish up, ‘…and when I still that good ol’ mill, there’s plenty more in store from me from that chunky bar of… Yorkie.’ That’s how I felt it had to go, it was a complete no-brainer. So, when he actually went and sang, ‘from that chunky bar of mine,’ it was a bit of a surprise and, let’s be honest here, a shock. Maybe that sold me on it.

Or, on a more human level, was it because the product was so blatantly aimed at a male demographic and, as a weedy teen, I aspired to join the ranks of men? Was that why I took to Yorkie bars as I did?

Enough of this. No and no. These are not the reasons. The reason, as I said, is bloody obvious. It’s in the last line of the song ‘there’s plenty more in store for me’ and it’s even in the title of this piece ‘chunky’.

The reason that I leaned towards the Yorkie bar back then was the same reason that I now lean towards the giant Fruit and Nut in Tesco or the huge Toblerone in the Duty Free. Yorkie bars were meant to be big. Chunky, brick-like. Mere females couldn’t physically cope with them, they were so vast. That’s why I wanted them. That’s why I bought them. I was, and still very much am, a person with a very high regard for chocolate. And that’s putting it mildly. I will buy a big bar and I will eat it. There won’t be any of that ‘saving some up for tomorrow’ rubbish, it will be consumed. And so it always has been.

So when this Yorkie bar came along, here was this grinning fool of a driver and he would open his Yorkie at some road works, when it was safe to do so, and he would break two squares off and do a bit of light leering out the window and then, then, it would be evening and he'd be all about stillin' his good ol’ mill and doubtless heading to the boozer to meet the lady in the convertible for some good old ninteen-seventies sex. But, never mind all that, check the top pocket of his shirt. He’s just tucked at least half of his Yorkie in there, saved for later, in case all the ridin’ he’s going to be doin' lowers his blood sugar a bit.

That’s a whole lot of chocolate, right there.

And that’s why I needed a Yorkie… because I needed a whole lot of chocolate.

I remember the first one I bought. I stood on the bridge in Sligo and watched the guys fishing in the river below and I unwrapped it, because it had a manly paper wrapping back then. I figured I would eat my first square there and maybe try for another late in the afternoon, if I could possible find room for it. Then I could stow the rest in my top pocket and eat it through the week whenever the desire arose in me. If a manly man like that truck driver could make his Yorkie last deep beyond chucking-out time then surely it would be the same for me?

Yeah. Right.

I ate the whole thing on that bridge, watching those fishermen. What? Wait. Was that it? I searched in the wrapper, there was no more. I had been swindled or else the Yorkie man was on some kind of intense diet that he neglected to mention in his good ol’ song. Thinking back, he did have a tomato visible in his lunchbox on the dashboard, that should have been some kind of warning to me.

In good moments, I felt like a bit of a manly-man myself. How I could toss back an entire Yorkie bar in one session while ‘Bucko-My-Lad’ in the truck had to conduct an entire illicit affair before he could finally work his way through his. But, mostly, I just felt a bit cheated. That driver obviously has a multi-pack of Yorkies or something and clever editing had made it look like he was munching the same one all day.

So I had a Yorkie the other day, as I mentioned back there at the start. It seemed a lot smaller then it did back in the day, when it had first seemed too small.

‘Chunky, my ass’, I muttered to myself, as I dispatched the last square. Then, catching sight of myself in a shop window, I realised that this statement had become true on a number of different levels.

Maybe I should try a tomato.


Pam Nash said...

All the chocolate bars that were massive, back in the day, are now tiny.
Or I was tiny and now I’m massive
I prefer the first option. .

Ken Armstrong said...

We mustn't think too hard about that aspect of things, Pam. There's nothing good waiting down that laneway. :)

marty47 said...

'Good Rich, & Thick,a Milk Chocolate Brick' has like so many other 'sweeties' shrunk considerably. It can be put down to sugar taxes or caring for our health, yet funnily we get less but pay more, we might lose a pound or two but the manufacturers won't. Do you remember the Yorkie Joke, the trucjk driver & hitch hiker? punchline being, 'Are you sitting on me Yorkie?' hope all is good Ken

Fles said...

It seems that the shrinking isn't mere imagination:
Yorkie bars were originally composed of six chunks of chocolate each marked Rowntree; they were wrapped in both foil and an outer paper wrapper. The wrapping was later switched to a single plastic foil wrapper. More recently, in an effort to reduce costs, the number of chunks has been reduced to five with "Yorkie" moulded into each chunk. The weight of the bar has decreased over the years. In 2002, Yorkie bars were 70g. This had been reduced to 64.5g by 2010, and was reduced further to 61g in 2011 and then 55g later that year. It was shrunk again in November 2014 to 46g.

Ken Armstrong said...

Lose a pound or two, G? You're talking to the wrong fella, alas. :)

Hi Fles, I read that too, as part of my research ('research', ha!). I even thought it was too small, back in the day.

Jim Murdoch said...

I remember Yorkies well enough but I don’t recall my first. I do remember my first United biscuit. I picked up a packet from Tesco, came home and scoffed the whole pack one after another. First, but not only time, I did that. (The second was the day my first wife left me. I went to the corner shop and instead of doing the clich├ęd thing of buying a bottle of booze, I picked up a pack of Munchmallows and ate all six when I got home.) Long gone are the days I could do that and not put on half a stone. I’ve just finished one of my periodic diets. Got down to 12st 6lbs (yay me!) and decided to treat myself with a couple of biscuits. I ended up having three over the whole day, a Salted Caramel Club (delish new flavour if you haven’t come across them), a Yorkie Biscuit (by pure coincidence) and Asda’s take on the chocolate hobnob and the next day I’d put on three soddin’ pounds! Can you imagine the damage a Yorkie Bar would cause? I really don’t get the whole weight loss/gain thing. I know salt and water make your weight go up and down but three pounds overnight. That’s almost two and a half pints of water!

I watched the Yorkie ad. Took me back. I wasn’t exactly an ardent feminist back in 1976 but the tone of the ad did annoy me. I got marketing beer at men but chocolate? I kept expecting a girlie version to appear, Miss Yorkie or something, in a tasteful pink wrapper and half as thick. (BTW I googled “Miss Yorkie” just for the hell of it came up with this abomination

Ken Armstrong said...

Don't talk to me about weight-loss, Jim, I'm on a losing battle over here. Plus I clicked the link and now I want a Miss Yorkie. :)