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Another birthday, another wacky gift! This time we have Hawkin's Bazaar to thank. I am referring to the 'Stadium Horn'; a thoroughly loud and seemingly pointless addition to anyone's life. With my initial scepticism aside, I was intrigued and admittedly gave it more attention that the bottle of aftershave and pair of socks I had also unwrapped on said birthday.
What is it? It's a small toy measuring about 8cm in length and 6cm in depth. It is made from red plastic and is shaped like a megaphone, although slightly stubbier and more barrel-shaped. From the main barrel of the horn, there is a small 2cm pipe which you blow through to emit the noise. The horn also comes attached to a black shoelace-like cord looped round and measuring 42cm in length. This is designed to be wrapped around your wrist or neck so that you can have the horn handy at any time or prevent yourself from dropping it whilst in use. At only 60g it is easy to carry around with you or put in a bag if you wish.
So how does it work? Well as previously mentioned, you need to blow through the small pipe attached to the horn to emit the noise. This took me far longer to figure out than it should have done but I blame the absence of instructions for my apparent idiocy. I initially thought it was broken and was expecting to find some kind of button to activate it. Imagine my surprise when I eventually got the thing working and released a noise more commonly heard as a warning to fog-stricken ships.
When you blow into the horn the air causes a thin sheet of rubber to vibrate violently which releases an almighty din. You don't need to blow hard - slightly more effort is needed than blowing a whistle but slightly less effort than blowing up a balloon. I still have not got my head around how loud it is for such a small and simple toy. The principle is the same as blowing on a blade of grass between your thumbs to make a whistling sound. Only the blade of grass is now a taut rubber sheet and the whistling noise is now a deafening honk. I can liken the sound to that of a kazoo only much, much louder. A foghorn is probably a more appropriate description.
I know what you're thinking now. What in the world would you use this for? Firstly let's address the name 'Stadium' horn. I am not a stranger to sporting venues and have seen my fair share of crazy over the years. But never, not once, have I seen any of my fellow supporters using this. The reason behind the fact that the stadium horn never seems to enter a stadium is that I would imagine you might attract more than a disgruntled tut. By all means, shout obscenities and wave your hands around like a madman but I would strongly advise against blowing this horn within the vicinity of the large skin-headed man eating a steak and kidney pie in the row in front. Not unless you want to start explaining why he has just spilt gravy down his replica shirt.
Over time I have been able to come up with some more appropriate uses for the stadium horn and admittedly still have it lying around to be occasionally called into action.
1 - To Terrify:
Firmly holding the top spot as my personal favourite is the ability to spread terror and alarm to anyone in range. If you want a vivid illustration of the human face exercising the fight or flight mechanism then sneak up behind someone and give them a blast of the stadium horn. However, if you fall into this sadistic category it is important that you do not use this directly near anyone's ears! It is extremely loud and could cause damage. It is also loud enough on its own without needing to be shoved down someone's ear canal.
2 - To Annoy:
This is also a more than competent device in which to irritate and aggravate your fellow man. The insufferably loud honk of the stadium horn has the ability to get under the skin of a Buddhist monk. We all have reasons to annoy someone on purpose from time to time; be it vindictive retaliation or just simply for amusement. The stadium horn is definitely a contender to the more subtle 'nails down the blackboard' approach when it comes to annoyance.
3 - To Terminate:
Nothing says 'shut up' like a blast from stadium horn. This is the ultimate (although slightly immature) way to end any argument. If you find yourself losing a dispute as your thinly constructed defence crumbles around you, just reach for this miniature air horn and punctuate the failing argument with a deafening honk. A look of incredulity usually follows but it gets the message across - "I'm done here!"
4 - To Infuriate:
You've lost the battle for the remote. Eastenders is on the box instead of The Simpsons. Well, no need to admit defeat yet. With the help of the stadium horn, drive your competition into submission...or at least divert their attention long enough to leave the remote control unguarded for an Indiana Jones style grab and run.
5 - To Get Noticed:
No one listening to you? Can't get a word in edgeways? Well they will have no choice but to listen to you when you choose to interject with the Stadium Horn. Again, incredulity will follow but the bemused silence will give you enough of an opportunity to get your words out.
You will be able to come up with your own uses I'm sure but these are just a few applications to prove that the stadium horn is not as useless as it first appears. Although it is still something I could probably do without.
The stadium horn is sold by Hawkin's Bazaar but availability depends on which store you go to. It will cost £2.49 and colours may vary between red, blue and green.
*Keep away from young children*
*Do not use near ears or pets*
Thanks for reading :)