Tat Trek Update #7: Dancing King

Let me begin this blog post by stating that I am a big fan of Elvis Presley.  Despite the fact that this particular piece of paraphernalia appears in the Tat section at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub, please be under no misapprehension that this is a slight on the King of Rock’n’Roll.

So what have we this time in the collection de tat? 

ITEM: “Dancing King” Solar Powered figurine

Description: a small solar powered figure, labelled as the “Dancing King”, but we all know it’s Elvis.

Cost: £1.50 (currently retailing approx. £2.99 in Rhyl)

Bought: Connah’s Quay car boot sale

Reason for buying: It’s Elvis!

The Dancing King is a small Elvis like figurine, who shakes/dances when powered by sunlight.  It’s not exactly Elvis the Pelvis, but it is a pretty cool little wiggle.

I already had a solar powered dancing Hula Girl, who sits on my car dashboard, when I discovered this little trophy.  I bought one for a friend for a Christmas present last year, whilst in tat haven of Rhyl.  I then decided I needed one too.

Luckily, I found this fella in a car boot sale earlier this year.  He was snapped up immediately.

I decided to post this piece today, on the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, as a tribute to the great man.  Yes, it’s fun, but no offence meant.  Elvis rules.

RIP Elvis Presley 

08.01.1935 – 16.08.1977

Tat Trek Update #5: Meerkat Meal Tray

Let me start this post with an apology.  The “Tat” section of the blog, where I feature items of questionable taste that I have collected, has been severely neglected of late.  The last Tat article was in May 2015, and that was the only one that year.  It’s about time I made amends for this terrible oversight.

It’s not like I’m lacking in kitsch crap to showcase, there’s plenty.  So let’s start 2017 with a fresh effort to celebrate garbage – after all, it seems that the useless and ridiculous are all the rage right now.

Item: Meerkat Meal Tray

Description: a tray which supports a plate of food, with cushioned area underneath to rest on the users lap whilst eating a TV dinner.  Featuring a delightful picture of a group of meerkats. img_20170129_181552466

Cost: approx £7

Reason for buying: this item was actually bought by Mrs Platinum Al.  But as it’s in the house, I’m claiming it as an entry for Tat Trek.

Yes, not actually an item that I bought, but never the less, part of the scenery chez Platinum Al.  Seven quid is a bit steep for tat, even for me.  And it was from Charlie’s in Shotton, rather than Rhyl.

Even so, this fantastic item features one of the great tat icons of our age: the always popular meerkat.  For that reason, if not the fact that TV dinner trays are a bit naff, this item is proudly part of our Collection de Tat.

Rancid Rock

In which our intrepid adventurers explore a world of oddly flavoured confectionery…

For our recent trip to Sci Fi Weekender in north Wales, my compadres and I were well stocked with food and drink.  Along with the usual savoury food stuffs, there was plenty of sweet: chocolate, cakes, Twinkies.  All the good stuff.

And yet, with the reckless abandon of enthusiasm and the bravado of beer, we were destined for far murkier waters.

Some time previously, I had purchased some novelty rock on a trip to Rhyl.  You know what rock is – long cylindrical sticks; usually peppermint flavoured; either chewy or (as the name suggests) hard and brittle.  Brightly coloured sticks of sugar, the quintessential seaside souvenir.  IMG_3995

It was three sticks for a quid, and I bought these flavours:

  • Chicken Tikka
  • Fish’n’Chips
  • Cookie Dough

After a few beers one night, I decided it was time to experiment with these substances and see what the effects were.  Here are my observations.

Chicken Tikka

Now I love Indian food.  However Chicken Tikka rock is not to die for.  Imagine, if you will, the miserable surprise of sweet tasting rock being replaced by a vaguely spicy Asian flavour.  My brain thought a cruel trick was being played on it.  The rock was chewy rather than hard.  The taste was bland; with a strange, mild spiciness.  Like licking a stick of celery that had been waved near a curry flavoured Pot Noodle.  The only good thing is that this rock wasn’t hot spicy at all, just leaving an insipid warmth on the tongue.  Totally vile.

Disgusto rating: 3/5


Next up was the Fish’n’Chips flavour.  Now what could go wrong – the amalgamation of two British seaside classics, rock that tastes of fish and chips?  More like what couldn’t go wrong.  The chewy rock was strangely missing the traditional sweetness, instead it was a truly bland flavour with a remote hint of ancient battered cod.  But the smell of it was utterly putrid – a million maritime nightmares sheltering in the salty cove of your mouth.  Plain sailing this was not – Fish’n’Chips rock is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.  Like that time when, as a kid, you fell over while paddling in the sea; and got a mouth  full of salty seawater, seaweed, and dead crab.

Disgusto rating: 5/5

Cookie Dough

After the previous monstrosity, I was actually looking forward to Cookie Dough flavour.  Surely this one would be OK?  After all, the previous two varieties suffered from the juxtaposition of sweet becoming savoury.  No such luck.  Cookie Dough, despite being generally fantastic when added to ice cream, does no favours for rock.  It just tasted of aniseed.  Big disappointment.  Like being given an Easter Egg that looks great, but tastes of punch in the face.

Disgusto rating: 2/5

All in all not an experience I would like to repeat.  Though it was pretty funny…

Here’s what my friends had to say about the whole sorry affair:

Adam: “They smelt like the arse hole of a dead badger and pretty sure that’s what they tasted like too….  I can still taste it now late at night when it’s quiet in the house and I’m alone in my thoughts.”

Greeny: “I only tried the fish one, I didn’t dare try any others after that cos I wanted to die.  It tasted like cat shit and feet, wrapped in a thong that Jordan had worn for a month.  And it smelt pretty much like that too.”

Tat Trek

I love Rhyl.  Great place.  The amount of stuff I’ve collected there over the years is amazing.  CDs, DVDs, skateboards, Star Wars figures, comics, books, t-shirts – the list goes on and on.  There is, however, one thing about Rhyl that is truly beyond compare.  And that is the phenomenal amount of tat that you can find.

From traditional seaside nik naks to whatever junk is “on trend” at the time, Rhyl is the place to find it.  So back in 2010, me and my buddies Adam, Greeny and (Greeny’s son) Kurt set out on a challenge:

With a budget of just £3, buy the worst tat you can find.  Anything, the choice is yours – but make sure it’s tasteless, useless and practically worthless.  This is what we found.  Most items were a pound each.

Ricki Boy doll

IMG_0258What is this?  Some kind of fashion doll, apparently.  Whatever that is.  Nice shirt and pants combo.  This was found in one of the many glorious pound shop type places.

Little Wizard

IMG_0262Quite often you will find pirate versions of popular toys, cashing in on whatever is popular.  Here we have an example of a Harry Potter cash-in, with a ginger Potter-a-like “lovingly” executed in plastic.

Meerkat mug

IMG_0265See what I mean about cashing in on popularity?  Ages before that financial comparison site figured out it could shift tons of units by flogging meerkats thanks to the popularity of its adverts, Rhyl was already churning out meerkat themed memorabilia of a thousand different varieties.  Here we have a meerkat mug, though we could’ve chosen meerkat figurines, dolls, badges, garden ornaments, pencil tops and any number of other items.  I also love that this says “I love meerkat” and not “meerkats”.  Is that a reference to the advert characters accent or just bad grammar?  You decide.

Poodle Tax Disc holder


Rhyl fridge magnet

IMG_0275I actually like this.  I honestly do love Rhyl.  An ideal souvenir of a trip to the seaside.


IMG_0260A mini ornamental doll.  Again, just a pound.  Apologies to any of my relatives who get this stuff from me for Christmas.

Light-up Crucifix

IMG_0268Pseudo religious stuff is a constant seller in the seaside tat shop.  This is a plastic cross that lights up.  Quite pretty actually.  I also have a Jesus fridge magnet somewhere.

…And the winner is:

“Funny Clowns” doll

IMG_0276This monstrosity was found in the back of an old shop, covered in dust.  Probably been there since 1985.  It’s frightening whether you have a fear of clowns or not.  The price?  Just £1.  We decided that this was the worst piece of tat found on the day.  Let me know if you agree.

It’s been too long since we did our Tat Trek.  Hopefully a return mission will be on the cards very soon.  Either way, I’m sure I’ll be back bargain hunting in Rhyl before long.

Hope you like these items.  There are loads more and I’ll post them in later blogs.  Please leave a comment if you like.  And I apologise if you have nightmares.