The irresistible allure of Moomintat

MoomintatIt’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and an eventful few months. In that time I’ve resolved to blog more regularly when something catches my eye in order to tone the tired muscles of my imagination.

The other weekend, Badger and I were back in Totnes, site of last year’s castle lock-in adventure and home to a lavish collection of gift shops. When wandering round, dragging a reluctant Badger through an abundance of Orla Kiely mugs and whitewashed tealight holders, I came across a perfectly curated selection of Moomin objects, now collectively known as Moomintat. It’s widely available – see a selection here http://www.finnstyle.com/moco.html – but what made me wonder was, why the Moomins? What is it about these snouty little creatures and their naively drawn landscapes that has captured our attention and makes us think ‘yes! I must have a Moominmamma cutting board!’

Perhaps it’s their darkness – in the 1980s, The Moomins was easily one of the weirdest and spookiest things on childrens’ television – no mean feat in the days of Noseybonk and The Adventure Game. When we remember the Moomins, we remember the sense of being chilled as a child – the sound of the Groke approaching (thanks to thechestnut.com for the wav file) still causes shivers, and it all comes with a European subversiveness. Their picture of childhood – dark, cold Finnish winters; unknown noises in the forest – is completely at odds with Enid Blyton’s cheerful eternal summers of ginger beer and generous farmers’ wives.

(For anyone who seeks a further subtext to the Moomins, including how it promotes anarchism and drug use, read the always entertaining Landover Baptist Church expose of Tove Jansson http://www.landoverbaptist.net/showthread.php?t=61771)

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