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The Swedish Army Knife.

(Thanks to Mark Powell for writing/contributing this article)

Imagine going back in time. Back to a time when men lived in caves (and women did as they were told!), and being invited to tea by Mr Cro-Magna and his lovely wife Tara Palmer Cro-Magnasson.

Picture the look on their faces when you decline to use the hollowed out monkey skull to shovel berries into your face, and produce a plastic spoon. It’s likely they’d sh*t a brick, but throughout the course of the evening, they would gradually become more comfortable with seeing you use it.

The end of the evening would come and you’d decide to leave them the cutlery as a gift. They’d love it, and think it was really clever stuff. It’d certainly be one up on the neighbours (Mr and Mrs Blackburn – a nice couple, if a little dim-witted)

. ……But they’d probably always be more comfortable using the skulls. After all, they’d been using them for years, they were reliable, and lasted years and years. Repairs to the skulls were easy and could be done themselves without the need for a skull specialist. Best of all they could be modified and with a little know-how, would beat the pants off chopsticks any day. No, all-in-all, they’d stick with the skulls…. The classic eating tool.

Now imagine a thousand years later. Things have moved on. No-one eats berries any more. They all eat meat, cooked over an open fire and they’ve managed to learn how to fashion knives and forks out of animal bones. They don’t look quite as nice, and they don’t handle as well in many peoples eyes, but there’s no denying that they’ve moved on. Early models had ‘suspect’ build quality which only fuelled the fire for the monkey skull die-hards, and although the new stuff had its fans, it simply wasn’t as solid and dependable as a skull. They’d reluctantly agree that it could be called an eating tool, but they still thought that the new generation tools had no style.

Shortly afterwards someone started to produce the knives and forks out of bronze. The new knives and forks sold very well. Sure enough they handled a little sharper, and the build quality was improved but it didn’t cut any ice with the monkey skull fans. After all it was just a rehash of an old (and not very good) idea.

Five hundred years on and there’s a revolution in the wind. Something new and exciting is coming. The descendents of the original monkey skull specialists had put their heads together and produced an all-new eating implement called the Swedish Army Knife. Everyone was talking about it, but no-one had seen one. Rumours were rife.

When it finally did appear, it was a top of the range affair, with knife, fork and spoon blades as well as the usual hacksaw, toothpick and thing for taking stones out of horses hooves. It even had a monkey skull attachment. Handling was ultra-sharp and light years better than the new generation eating tools. Best of all it had a good mix of both Monkey Skull and new generation styling cues. They were subtle, and it didn’t look particularly like either, but it had a style of its own and there was no argument that it was a big leap forward in terms of comfort and refinement. There were many doubters, eager to call it before they’d even seen it. There were people who’d seen it close up, but weren’t that fussed, but anyone who’d had the pleasure of using one (even if only for half an hour) was convinced that it had the spirit of the monkey skull wrapped up in a newer, and vastly improved new generation wrapper. It even out-performed the new fangled German stuff…..

The moral of this (albeit long winded) tale is simple:

There’s nothing wrong with being a fan of monkey skulls (however heavily modified), and cutting your food with a dull blade doesn’t necessarily mean you’re slow, but if you want to slice your food with precision, buy a Swedish Army Knife.

It’s the sharpest knife in the drawer!

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