this month's interview
Eight Favourites - Part 1
The inaugural interview is with the novelist Janice Galloway. Janice’s new collection of short stories, Jellyfish, will be published 22nd June 2015 by Freight, and she will also have a story in the third issue of thi wurd magazine. Janice’s chosen topic for her interview was her favourite childhood sweeties.

In the sixties, sweeties were different. Wonderful coloured shapes in bottles - “vintage sweets” - were then the only sweets unless you made tablet or toffee at home. They are around still in some places - Rhubarb Rock, Tobermorray Tatties, Sherbet Sookers, Candy Striped Balls and Liquorice Comfits, the list goes on - in cafes and village shops, and, rather oddly to me, online (high tech with nostalgia).

Give up shots: these are a real fix...

Sherbet Satins
Exquisite to the eye, these square-shaped pulled sweets had the mark of the scissors or cutting machine that sliced them from their sibling strip into pastel-shades of pink, soft green, lemon, orange and white. In essence, pulled candy with a tiny surprise of white bitter sherbet inside. Often with a semi-transparent of white sherbet leaked from broken ones to dust the hale. Sweeties you’d be proud to wear as earrings.

Soor Plooms

Greenish gooseberry lookalikes with a sharp, almost acidic background pop that demanded to be sucked to death even by life-long crunchers of boilings and Imperial Mints. For the core taste, imagine slightly unripe gooseberries with a whacking great spoon of refined caster sugar: that sharp, that sweet. The word for this is wersh.

Lemon BonBons

For the seriously stressed out, the only thing that makes your teeth stick together tighter than these is a vice. More an exercise in self-punishment than a sweetie, but it takes all sorts. Available in strawberry too. Good solution for dental removal when dentist is unavailable.

Jazz Drops

Greasy, salty chocolate rounds with sprinkles. Like chocolate buttons but revolting. This one is a warning, not an enticement.

Cough Candy

Great lumps of jagged-edged dark brown suckable with a texture of Kendal Mint Cake and rock at one and the same time. The look? Uneven chunks of dark moon-rock with a vaguely see-through edge. Taste? A mix of bitter herbs, granulated sugar, liquorice, menthol and, vaguely, lighter fuel. They also made the inside of your moth go hot. Winter fodder.

Cinnamon Balls

What more is there to add? Candy spheres flavoured strongly with cinnamon. A true classic.

Russian Caramels

Exotic by name, exotic on the tongue, though slightly softer than the average chewy toffee. This was a high-end sweetie, bought only on dates so far as I can remember (the only other see which impressed so much would be Violet Creams). Dark chocolate (the mark of the sweetie sophisticate) with a slightly strawberryish flavoured semi-hard toffee inside that took on a grainy texture when chewed. Contains nothing indigenously Russian at all.

Dew Drops

Cone-shaped tiny jellies with a rounded top, thinly coated in sugar, in a variety of pale shades: green, red, yellow, orange and purple, as I recall. Known to be threaded on string and looped over the ears as earrings by wee girls who knew a fake gemstone when they saw one. Nothing sour here at all: they taste of sugar and perfume. Slightly too sweet if you eat too many. Self-regulating sweeties and adorable. You can make necklaces with them too.

(c) thi wurd magazine / thi wurd books