By Faculty Librarian Ben Taylorson
This past year has been tough for everyone, and in particular I’ve found this most recent lockdown period to be very draining. I was, however, fortunate enough to have something happen to me that lifted some of the gloom. Something…bizarre. But fun!
It all started as a joke at the beginning of February – a friend and I argued about what did or did not constitute a ‘crisp sandwich’ after I posted a picture on Twitter of a Wotsits sandwich I’d made to cheer myself up. My friend was adamant that in order for it to be regarded as a ‘crisp sandwich’, it had to be made with ‘proper’ potato crisps rather than ‘corn snacks’. I disagreed. So, the next day I posted another ‘crisp’ sandwich, with the sole intention of winding him up. This soon morphed into me pledging to create one per day all throughout February. I even gave it a hashtag – we’d just had #DryJanuary, so this was to be #CrispFebruary.
On day three, I created – unbeknownst to myself at the time! – my masterpiece. Crunchy onion rings on a bed of soft cheese, with a pickled onion placed between each onion ring. I was only sharing my sandwiches to my handful of followers (including my friend) on Twitter. However, this one went kind of…viral. And as the days passed, more and more people saw, shared, liked and commented on my various sandwich creations – #CrispFebruary had begun to take on a life of its own!
BBC Tees were the first to get in touch with me and asked if I’d come on the radio to talk about crisp sandwiches. Then it was Metro radio and TFM. Then Capital North East. And then the written press got involved. First it was our local paper The Gazette. Then The Mirror, The Daily Star and Metro. The whole thing was surreal – but I was really enjoying it! In a matter of a few days I’d become Mr Crisp Sandwich. Or, as The Mirror put it, a “sensation”!
As I continued to create a new sandwich every day, things then took an even more bizarre turn – I was asked to appear on daytime UK TV on This Morning. This Morning! So I did. And I found myself talking live with Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford and Gok Wan as they tried some of my ‘recipes’! More radio interviews followed, on Go Radio in Glasgow, BBC Berkshire, BBC Leicestershire, Zetland FM and Durham OnAir. But there was one last big surprise, when a TV station from the USA got in touch and asked me to appear live on their breakfast news programme!
So, on Friday 26th February I found myself explaining to the anchors on WGN-TV Chicago what Monster Munch and Space Raiders were, and how I’d used them to create a crisp (or indeed, chip) sandwiches, and how this had suddenly made me an (international!) online “sensation”.
Now February has ended, I’ve had chance to look back at the whole experience. What it has taught me is how quickly things can spiral out of control online. My experience was a good one – in fact, a brilliant one! – but it is still a reminder of how when you share something online, you can never predict the outcome.
And February might be over, but I’m still going to be making sandwiches and sharing them on my Twitter account. Because that, apparently, is my calling!