“Those bad haircuts should have set the alarm bells ringing months ago. All we needed was a quick glance at history,” writes Gadfly columnist ROBERT MACKLIN
I LOVE horror films, especially old classics made when special effects weren’t quite as graphic and grisly as they are now and the boundary between horror and comedy was often thin.
One of my favourites is the science fiction horror movie, “The Blob”, a 1988 remake of a 1958 film of the same name. The Blob is an alien, acidic amoeba-like organism that eats and dissolves anything in its path as it grows exponentially, feeding insatiably on the residents of an American country town. Perhaps what makes the 1988 remake such as classic is the fact that The Blob is pink. The victims are overwhelmed and eaten alive by a mass of pink goo.
Nearly three decades later The Blob is lurking in my kitchen. It’s not that scary, but it’s still pretty gross. At one end of the kitchen bench is a mad scientist’s lab with numerous plastic containers filled with pink, green, purple and grey goo or, more correctly, slime.
My 10-year-old daughter has fallen heavily into the slime craze. If you are lucky, you haven’t heard of this, but amongst friends and family the creation of slime is big, really big.
I don’t know where it came from or when it started, but homemade slime is the in thing amongst pre-teen kids who like science and chemistry. Download limits are being tested by crazed, slime-making children watching DIY slime-making videos.
Food colouring, shaving cream and glue have all suddenly gone into short supply in our house. Supermarket checkout operators are bemused by children asking where’s the Borax? Great efforts have been made to track down a reliable supply of “Elmo’s glue” – apparently, a vital ingredient for top-grade slime.
Every available plastic container at home seems to be brimming with every possible variety of slime – all carefully labelled with descriptions such as “fluffy grey slime”, “pink, stretchy slime” and “glow-in-the-dark slime”. Slime production is both a fine art and an obsession, as our kitchen now demonstrates. The pink stuff really does look like star of “The Blob”.
I do understand the attraction. A good batch of slime is a wonder to behold. Kids love experimenting and stuff that has a distinct “yuk” factor is a bonus.
I’ve also discovered it’s a global phenomenon. When I recently did some of my own slime research on the internet, I found there was a whole cottage industry of DIY slime production with kitchen chemists seeking to outdo each other in the creation of the best, most slimy, stretchy, slippery or just plain creepy slime possible.
There are more than 600,000 #slime posts on Instagram and a vast array of videos on YouTube and elsewhere. Interestingly, it’s overwhelmingly young girls who are pushing new boundaries in polyvinyl alcohol/sodium tetraborate decahydrate chemistry.
Notwithstanding the horrors now lurking at the end of the kitchen bench, I’m pretty happy. Anything that has got my girl positively engaged with science is great and worth encouraging. I’ve even got into a bit of DIY slime manufacture myself.
And you always have to consider the alternatives. After all, thank God, she’s not into taxidermy.