Swan Vestas and Una muerte lenta y dolorosa

Bought some matches the other day – Swan Vestas.

A special design, apparently celebrating 125 years : 1883-2008.  I’d have thought it was a little hazardous for a match manufacturer to be celebrating anything that went on in the matchmaking industry in the 1880s (though Vestas were apparently made in Bootle, not Bow, and weren’t taken over by Bryant & May until 1906).

Perhaps they could think about having a photo of a match girl with Phossy jaw on the label – would make a nice accompaniment for the pictures of grotesque facial tumours you get these days on cigarette packets.

The box also has one of a selection of revived labels from the past on one side – in this case the swan is incongruously swimming past a crepescular Houses of Parliament.  What’s missing from the box, of course, is the familiar tag The smoker’s match: in the current climate they’d be more likely to use the slogan The arsonist’s friend.

On a similar morbid note, Ms. and Miss B. have just returned from a brief jaunt in Ibiza, bringing me back a few packets of gaspers.  None of them, unfortunately, have my favourite health warning Fumer puede provocar una muerte lenta y dolorosa.  The message is no more encouraging than the English version, of course, but doesn’t it sound more poetic in Spanish?

(For anyone interested in a picture of the Swan/Parliament design, by the way, it’s featured in this interesting and improving work Match box design – assuming I can get the confounded link to work).


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