Ronco was, first and foremost, an all-American empire of tat purveying bottle cutters and Veg-O-Matics to the honest folk of Poughkeepsie – and easy material for Atlantic City supper club stand-ups. But the British wing of Ron Popeil’s mighty Christmas gift manufacturing concern made us chop-eating islanders feel right at home with bits of fireproof tinsel, the forthright tones of Tommy Vance on announcing duties, and an especially dreary range of gadgetry. Seemingly based around a job lot of electric motors the Ronco boys had somehow ‘acquired’, the early ’80s range of variations on a spinny theme were an object lesson in inventing markets to suit your materials. How did we ever put up with the onerous task of whisking eggs in a bowl before the Ronco Egg Scrambler – an electric motor attached to an off-centre pin – did them for us inside the shell? Similarly, those long, arduous years of occasionally giving dusty stuff a bit of a wipe with a rag were gone forever when you purchased the comically specific and suspiciously similar Ronco Record Cleaner and Ronco Spark Plug Cleaner – as far as records and spark plugs were concerned, at least. Those with chronically weak wrists and piles of spare cash in indivisible units of £2.99 were sold. The rest of us hoped that square present from a distant relative was a box of Matchmakers and nothing more, er, ‘practical’.