Diet Songs: Ayds

It's a box of sweets with added magic lovely and slim ingredient X. This turns out to be an anaesthetic, later replaced with a mild kind of speed of a type that was later withdrawn from over-the-counter products because it raises the risk of stroke in the young women who eat this stuff.

I'm stuck on the name, I can't get past the name. A weight loss product called Ayds which, when you say it aloud, sounds like AIDS. I associate dieting so strongly with drawn-looking emptied out bodies that when I hear Ayds I think of the wasting suffered by people with AIDS, and that famous photograph of David Kirby dying amidst his devastated folks. This is probably not the association that the makers of Ayds wanted to promote in the product's heyday, but it's certainly the association that led to Ayds' demise.

Just saying the name invokes a handful of feelings: schadenfreude, a longing for other similar diet crap to bite the dust, sadness and rage about HIV/AIDS, bemusement. Ayds is so exposed by its name and obvious quackery, if it can happen to that product, why not Slim Fast, LighterLife and the rest of them? Why must it fall to an unfortunate coincidence?

Would Ayds be a viable brand nowadays? I'm inclined to think that it would. I think the obesity epidemicTM has made many people more desperate than ever to try and lose weight. Associations with illness don't seem to matter, I know someone who was congratulated on her weight loss after a couple of months suffering amoebic dysentery. How does the stigma of AIDS or terminal illness compare to fat stigma? Would people be willing to be associated with one in place of the other? I really don't know.

We recorded this pretty straight because, really, what else are you going to do with gold like this? Simon's spidery track sounds like a virus in your blood.

Diet Songs: Ayds by Charlotte Cooper + Simon Murphy (.mp3, 840kb)

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