The Royal County Arbiter

20 April 2005

Oranges are not the only etc.

We met at my local shopping supermarket; he was on the side of a box of citrus fruits and I was pushing a small trolley.

It must get lonely on your abandoned island with your avian delusions, making a cape to simulate wings and strapping a huge beak structure to your face. You have these nutty hallucinations sometimes. The craziest things. Like giant oranges. So big you can stand on them. They’re the fruit of this island, your island, and you must protect them from the evil men who come in boats once a week. They want your oranges.

You run on the beach, in your Converse high-tops, cape-wings flapping, squawking at the men. Monsters! Fiends! It's no wonder they speed away in their boat and just fling your provisions onto the rocks. They have tried to help you before but now they are just afraid. You shake your fist/wing at the receding lines of surf and lug the parcels back to your lighthouse home in the fading light. You don’t feel lonely on your island though, as long as you have your oranges.

The serious business of collecting fruit box and crate packaging has been around since the 1970s and it is heartening to see such wonderful examples of bold graphic design being preserved. And, indeed, to see it still in our shops and markets. Long live glorious ephemera!

The following pages show some beautiful collections. However, I cannot guarantee that there will be fanciful ridiculous made-up back-stories attached. - browse their excellent catalogue
A small collection of gambling-themed labels
The Ephemera Society [UK] [USA]
Note: The above links do not necessarily represent an RCA endorsement of the services or items offered therein. Who knows what kind of racket they may be running? They just want your giant oranges!


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