Monday, May 14, 2007

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Sidekick: 6-In-1 Multi Opener

Time for a breath of fresh air from one of our sidekicks. Today Martin Alexander, resident BCB Radio DJ dons the Blagman cape and remember to keep em peeled for your chance to be the next sidekick...

Product Number: 148
Price: £6.99
Where can I buy: Kitchenmonger

Be honest guys. Don’t you just feel a little frisson of pride and manliness when your girlfriend, mother or daughter turns to you in the kitchen with a look of frustration and says “I can’t get this open, will you do it?” You open the offending item and hand it back feeling like The Man Of Steel. Unfortunately, it now seems entirely likely your chances to be butch in the scullery whilst wearing your underpants over your trousers are going to be rather thin from now on, thanks to a bunch of US inventors. To explain why we need to look at Gnomes.

Back in 1967, BBC 2 was the first TV station in Europe to broadcast in colour. Two years later the local golf club were the first to invest in a colour set round our way (Yorkshire folk are second only to the Scots in parting with their brass) and I rushed up as soon as I could to witness this miracle for nothing.

Indelibly etched on my mind was the first programme I ever saw in colour, “The Gnomes of Dulwich” featuring Terry Scott (Big) and Hugh Lloyd (Small) as a couple of garden gnomes by a pond outside 25, Telegraph Road.

Being made of stone, they didn’t go very far and consequently neither did the series (despite being written by Jimmy Perry of “Dads Army” fame).

It managed only six episodes, probably because it was a political satire on the Common Market, race, religion, war, politics, drink, the old school tie mentality and an ongoing war with the plastic gnomes from Japan next door. Racey stuff for the time. Someone in the BBC said “hang on..”

The one which has stayed with me though (and don’t ask me why) is when Small turns to Big and says rather smugly “I know my real name”

Scott (who always did hurt pride rather well), looks upset.

“Oh really, and how do you know?”

Lloyd is bursting to tell him.

“It’s tattooed on my bottom. It’s Pat”

“Pat, eh”? Scott is becoming increasingly annoyed as he patently doesn’t have a name. “Alright, let’s have a look”

Big puts his fishing rod down and tips Small up to look underneath.

“It says Pat Pending”.

The joke is made better because Big obviously has no idea this is not a proper name either. Laughs were much simpler before Russell Brand.

But Pat Pending lives on and is also engraved on the 6-In-1 Multi Opener from the Seattle based Progressive International Corporation, presumably because they couldn’t wait to get their labour-saving kitchen device to the kitchens of the world before gnomes stole the idea.

In essence, if you’ve ever struggled with opening something in the kitchen, the makers say this is your salvation and claims to open safety seals, jar lids, pull open cans, slice open plastic bags and loosen metal and plastic bottle caps.

It’s lightweight, just four inches long, has no sharp edges
and even makes a satisfying clacking noise so when you’re making Paella and Tommy Steele comes on the wireless singing “The Little Red Bull”, you can do your Toreador impression without the need for those cheap castanets your mother-in-law brought you back from Benidorm.

Seriously, I’ve had the Multi-Opener on trial with various useless members of the human race over the last few days and for those who’ve had sand kicked in their face, this is the answer.

It does slice open a bag without the need for a sharp instrument (as long as you remember which end to use).
So does a knife, but it’s not as much fun.

Jar lids. I don’t personally struggle with them. If you do, here’s a tip. Run them under very hot water with rubber gloves on. The lid expands. Were you asleep in Physics?
If so, this little device will beat any suction you’ve ever encountered – except maybe that time when (that’s enough Percy Filth, Ed).

If you only have one hand you might struggle to open a ring-pull can. You’d probably struggle even more to get the hook at the top of the multi opener underneath, so it’s a bit of an utterly pointless function really.

Metal bottle caps. Yes it does those effortlessly but does anyone not have a bottle opener in their draw? Even for guests? Do you have guests?

However, plastic bottle caps are where this thing scores big time.

It’s humbling to admit it but I’ve had to resort to mole-grips from a tool-box buried under the stairs to get a 2L bottle of lemonade open before now. Ok, I was at someone else’s party, I’d had the odd sherbet and there was most of a Heavy Metal band passed out on the kitchen floor, but I’d have you given you a bottle of Asti Spumanti, several cans of cheap lager and a bucket of Babycham and told you I really, really loved you if you’d walked in with the Multi Opener at that point.

So, if you don’t want to find your mole grips in the kitchen draw, this is the non-slip grip answer. Fun at parties.

After all, millions of Americans can’t be wrong. Can they?

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