Irritations of Modern Life: 17: Dysons

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The Independent Culture
SINCE THE day the DC02 was launched, members of the style press seem to have been stuck so far up Dyson's fundament that no amount of dual cyclone suction could get them out again; as far as I can tell they languish there still.

I am usually immune to the vagaries of fashion, but about a year ago I began to succumb to Dysonmania. I could identify with the user group: I lived away from my parents, occasionally drank bottled beer, and would never have dreamt of laminating my monthly travel card; dammit, I was young and hep.

I bought myself a Dyson because, quite frankly, I was worth it, and God forbid, I wouldn't want anyone to think I was unhygienic or anything.

So I began to use Dyson on quite a regular basis. To start with, it was quite fun. It arrived in December and I derived hours of entertainment from vacuuming along the branches of the Christmas tree and watching all the needles and bits of glitter mound up inside the clear plastic dust bowl.

After a while I started using it for more everyday tasks - cleaning the floor and such like.

It was around that time that I started noticing little problems with my DC02, such as, for instance, it didn't suck very well. This is not such a great problem in the grand scheme of things, but a fairly fundamental flaw in a vacuum cleaner.

At one of those amusing little cheese and whine parties so beloved of appliance junkies, I mentioned my new Dyson to a fellow cabernet-swilling guest. He had one too.

"I say, does yours work?" he whispered.

"Not very well; it's kind of noisy and it doesn't suck much," I replied.

"Gosh, that's a relief; we just assumed it was because we were a bit, well, dirty, you know, and it couldn't cope."

It turned out that we were not alone; the Dyson DC02 may maintain 100 per cent of its original suction, but the suction itself is just not as good as a normal vacuum cleaner. In addition, it is very noisy, doesn't quite get into corners, and has problems with animal hairs.

It may have no bag, but to empty the bowl you have to tip it into a bin, which sends a cloud of grime back out into the atmosphere. And that cute little see-through dust bowl? Gets covered in disfiguring dust, as do most of the internal components.

Dyson recommend washing it out with soap and water, which is just a little more hands-on than I want to get with my discarded skin particles, thank you very much. And for the pounds 14-odd you save a year on hoover bags, you get to spend pounds 37 on changing the filters.

For a work of art, it is a price worth paying, yet the more I look at the over-designed DC02, the uglier it gets - the stewed liver grey, faux grape and mental-health-ward yellow colour scheme that can only have been inspired by a Pony Club tie; the hideous Fisher Price-style chunky styling; the static plastic that the dust so loves to stick to.

The DC02 arrived at a time when the world was out to slam Hoover. Not only were we desperate for a new appliance king; we were desperate for British heroes. With the DC02, Dyson was selling new technology that he flattered us we could understand.

He had just the right mix of nutty inventorishness and derring-do for us to take him and his invention to our hearts, no questions asked. Perhaps that is where we messed up.