I love crisps. Can’t remember the first packet I ate, probably the Golden Wonder or KP brand. There were also other brands I used to consume with my half pint of fizzy cola at the Wamsley Arms, in Wigan as a boy including Riley’s, Murphy’s and Wigan’s own brand, Richmond Crisps. Obviously I used to eat Walkers crisps as well, they were still as ubiquitous in the 1980s. But somehow they left me slightly unsatisfied.
In the early 90s Walkers as well as other brands tinkered around with the flavours, made them less fatty and salty (marginally) and many of them lost their taste. Other brands become more prominent as well, such as Real McCoys and the delicious Brannigan’s (Roast Beef and Mustard). Of course eating so-called hand-made, kettle fried crisps is all the rage in some parts, but I find them too expensive and hard on the gums. (Don’t fear, I still have teeth) But none of them quite do it for me the way Seabrooks Crisps often do. The Prawn Cocktail have the right level of tang, the Cheese and Onion Flavour feels almost sensual on the tongue, releasing buttery, oniony and salty tings, and as for Beef, Tomato and Canadian Ham, well, what can I say? Scrumptious! Seabrooks are also aware of their own fantastic product as their quirky website reveals Here You can hand-pick your own box of 48 packets for parties and the winter season if you like. (I haven’t done this yet. There’s a fear that the box will go to the wrong address and they’ll think it’s christmas and I’m aware as always that I have to watch my weight. So I try to be careful with my rations.)
During my work experience in 1988, I worked for a screen printing firm in Leigh who essentially made the boxes and packaging that contained packets of KP crisps. A driver called Frank took me with him to the KP factory in Ashby where we were amused that the place was manned with cosy looking women. Frank was an odd character anyway. If he wasn’t singing to whatever was on the van radio like The Christians, he was offering me the benefit of his worldly views. ‘Never swear in front of a woman,’ he once said. ‘What if she swears in front of you, Frank?’, ‘Smack her in the gob!’ Charming.
I suppose there’s a social aspect to crisp eating which I don’t enjoy. People consume them with their beer, they crunch them in the cinemas and indulge in the rather unruly habit of munching them on the bus. At school whenever you had anything in the playground kids would form a queue, their hands held out, expecting your crisps and toffee. Maybe this was what made me eat them in secret, or contributed to my slight fear of eating in public. I don’t know. Maybe it was the fact that many people can’t eat them properly, without spitting bits out, or not suitably closing their mouths when devouring. Who knows? Maybe it’s the sight of ugly mouths munching? Perhaps.
But I love this brand no less.
The above artwork is courtesy of  http://www.flickr.com/photos/hwayoungjung/

You should go and visit this site for some quirky and retro designs of much loved UK brands.

This retro site has a thread about crisps  http://forums.doyouremember.co.uk/threads/2995-Crisps?p=110506

And the h2g2 site on BBC provides and enthralling History of Crisps Here

Crisps. I’m feeling peckish now.