May 20, 2015

Horse 1902 - Bookcases, Buffets and Bureaus in the Big Blue House

From the Book of Ingvar, Chapter 3:
There are three things the masses will spend hours walking past; four that they simply have to purchase:
Strangely coloured sofas,
Stark office furniture,
Rectilinear bedding,
And clinical kitchen wares.

Out in the wilds of the west, where the lords and ladies of the north never venture, where the kings and queens of the east have never heard of and where the citizens of the shire only pass through on their journey to the mountains (to sit about in cafés and buy new-age tat), a giant blue box has descended from the sky; with its golden banners shining forth into the night.
Like the sirens of the Iliad who enticed sailors to batter and shipwreck their vessels upon their rocky outcrops, like the drift nets which haul in unsuspecting fish and like the traitorous Judas Sheep who leads other sheep up the gangways and to their slaughter, this blue box attracts all and once it has ensnared them, leads them through a labyrinth where there is no sunlight and where there is only the promise of frustration and argument at the end.

The third church of IKEA in Sydney has arrived out in the west, to steal the gold from the pockets of unwary denizens and to return in kind with dreams of flat packed furniture. The fact that there are no windows, so that people trapped within its walls will slowly walk the walk of the damned is legendary and the halls where you have to pass by every single item can only be the stuff of a giant Swedish practical joke.
Nobody knows exactly what IKEA stands for but one theory which was written in stubby lead pencil says that it might be "I Kannot Escaper Absolut" which when translated into English means "I Can Never Escape". As you stand in front of the entrance, smelling the sweet airs of meatballs wafting in on the lightest of zephyrs, you notice that people might go in but no one comes out.

In the 1990s when it was fashionable for companies to push tales of environmentalism upon children, there was a cartoon series which was a series of blunt morality tales called "Widget The World Watcher". In episode 26, called "Maller Crawlers" the titular character Widget (who was a shape shifting alien), took two rather dim children called Kevin and Brian, to a planet which was entirely covered with one shopping mall which grew in size as more and more people entered it.
Admittedly this is a tale of hyperbole and written with all the finesse of a sledgehammer striking an egg but it is curious that even IKEA had stores far smaller when I was a kid, than they do today. IKEA was always a big blue thing which arrived as though a giant had left a cardboard box behind (right down to the corrugated ridges down the sides of the box) but instead of being a box that fruit might have come in, it's now a refridgerator sized box in comparison.

IKEA flat packed furniture is not at all forgiving either. Even with handy pictograms to help you construct a Pelo, Billy, Kvang or Blim, you only get one shot at most of those things and if you screw up even just a little bit, you're condemned to imperfection forever. I suspect that our nefarious Scandinavian furniture overlords (whom I don't know if they are descended from Vikings or not; it wouldn't surprise me if they are, especially if they have someone like Vicki The Viking thinking up flat packed ideas for them) know this and find their own joy in the frustration of all of us; whilst we also feel the effects of Stockholm Syndrome.

When this blue temple to this maleficent god of consumerism opens it a fortnight, I bet that like the opening of anything out here, there will be queues that are longer than a mile; just to get inside. Like Poco, Krispy Kreme and CostCo, the opening of this IKEA will attract the illiterati whose usual weekend pilgrimage is to the shopping malls (and the food court therein) or that other church of the masses, Bunnings (which just happens to also be only a few hundred yards away).

IKEA's flat packed furniture does make sense if you like to live in a minimalist paradise or if you live in a house so narrow that getting furniture in and out is difficult but if you're like me and prefer to see dark tones of wood and have the smell of varnish and linseed oil hang in the air, then IKEA is not for you.

Tranquility Base here... the Eegl has landed. Where's my Allen key?

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