Diet Songs: Special K

Special K is more monotonous to eat than Grape Nuts, but not quite as bad as All Bran, which gives it the distinction of not even being the worst cereal, more like the second or third worst. I associate the brand with everything that I scorn about diet culture, it is assimilationist, apologetic, boring, self-hating, sanctimonious, unfeminist, mediocre, passionless. Anti-life.

The current crop of adverts feature women dancing around their kitchens with different bingey flavours of Special K, ersatz food, where what is being sold cannot match the marketing hyperbole. Those women are desperately hungry, I imagine, because The Special K crash diet plan involves eating only one meal a day and replacing the rest with stingy bowls of cereal. Poor cows.

Anyway, this is the last Diet Song in the series and it's one of my favourites because it was really fun to record. It's the classic 'Can you pinch more than an inch?' campaign, which is iconic in advertising history, and the source of much anxiety and disbelief in my playground when I was a kid.

If you can pinch more than an inch of chub on your side, you need to lose weight by eating Special K. I've generally been able to grab about a good handful of flesh in that spot, and at least a foot or two of fat on my belly, not quite a yard. But that hardly matters, everyone can pinch an inch, including thin people, which is why the slogan is marketing gold in terms of creating a rush of fearful consumers.

Pinching an inch inhabits the same body anxiety genealogy as other home tests of freakhood, such as the pencil test. This involves putting a pencil under your tits, if it stays there, your tits are all wrong. By my mid-teens I could keep a whole pack of felt-tips under my breasts and these days I treat them as an extra pair of hands from time to time, they can keep a towel or a bottle of shampoo handy whilst I'm doing something else.

Pinching as well, can we talk about that? It's so mean! Pinching your body, policing other people's bodies by pinching them. Ow ow ow! The person who thought this up was obviously not very nice.

Here's our version. I do all the voices and Simon had fun making the pinchy sounds on his homemade effects boxes.

Diet Songs: Special K by Charlotte Cooper + Simon Murphy (.mp3, 540kb)

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