Miles Kington: A mail-order catalogue brings a warm glow of satisfaction

10 October 1998
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The Independent Online

Don't you love it when you open a magazine or newspaper, and lots of little shopping catalogues fall out? And they're all called things like Ideas Mart or Technoplace and they all advertise little gadgets which sound so wonderfully ingenious that you want them all? And yet somehow you never manage to get round to ordering any of them?

Well, today is your chance to make up for all those lost opportunities, as I bring you your very own gadget car boot sale! From around the globe we have garnered the best ideas and best inventions! Have your chequebook at the ready as you peruse our Monday Mini Mart.

The Self-Heating Gum Boot: There's nothing quite so depressing as going for a walk in the country wearing cold, damp Wellington boots – but those days are over now with the battery-operated self-warming gumboot! A small electrical circuit heats the base of the boot on the same principle as an electric blanket, and brings a glow of warmth to your tootsies in seconds. There is absolutely no danger of electrocution, though in exceptionally damp boots there may be some trouble with condensation. Warning: Must be switched off after walk is finished.

The Combination Torch 'n' Corkscrew: We believe that this is the world's first fully illuminated corkscrew. A small but powerful beam is contained in the tip of the corkscrew so that the amateur vintner can read the small print on wine labels in his cellar, see to open a bottle during a power cut etc etc. And you can always twist the corkscrew right through the cork and shine the beam on the wine in the bottle! We can't think why you should want to, but you can do it.

The Unremovable Bookmark: There is nothing more annoying than picking up the book you are longing to get back to and losing your place because the bookmark falls out! Quite why nobody has invented the unremovable bookmark beats us, but now at last we have a bookmark which gently clips on to the last page you read – and stays there! What a simple and satisfying invention.

Drinker's Toothpaste: You've been drinking. Not a lot but enough. There's a smell of alcohol on your breath. Not a lot but enough. You start eating extra-strong mints to disguise the smell of alcohol. You realise, too late, that the smell of mint is a sure sign that you have been drinking. But how to remove the smell of mint? That's easy! With new Drinker's Toothpaste, which disguises the smell of mint with five different fruit flavours. Or, if you want to try a cunning double bluff, gin or whisky flavour!

Self-heating Combination Torch 'n' Gum Boot: The new self-heating gum boot (see above) is all very well, but it doesn't help you retain your footing as you ramble home across the fields on a dark evening. Now, thanks to the torch in the toes of our new switched-on wellie you will never stumble again, because a steady light is thrown from your own feet. It will give the words "shoe shine" an entirely new meaning!

Battery Operated Bookmark: Bookmark design has hardly changed since books were first invented. Just a long, thin object thrust in a book to mark the place. But now, at last, the bookmark comes of age with this battery- operated version which not only shines a light (to help with reading), and heats up (to warm pages on wintry days when paper is cold to the touch), but also unlocks most known makes of car from up to 15 feet away.

The Self-Flushing Gum Boot: How do you clean out a Wellington boot? For years we have known that boots get smellier inside than almost any other human possession, and that things gather at the bottom of a boot that cannot find a home anywhere else. But nobody has worked out a way to satisfactorily cleanse a boot – until this self-cleaning boot, which uses a high-pressure water jet and fountains of warm air! Plus usual features (self-warming, toe light beam etc etc).

Brochure-Briquette Maker: Yes, every magazine you open these days has a flood of things falling out: holiday brochures, book offers, mail-order catalogues, Wagner's Ring offer etc, etc, etc. But how to get rid of them without feeling guilty? Now, it's easy with this little device, which compacts all those brochures into briquettes ready for the sitting-room fire!

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