The Ice Cream Van

A random and rather dark memory of office life.

An ice cream van would sometimes pull up outside the building, playing its cheerful ice-cream-van melody from the car park.

Sometimes, a few office workers would actually go outside to buy ice cream cones, returning to eat them at their desks. The first time I saw this, I found it rather charming: suited-and-booted middle-managers sitting on swivel chairs, licking their Mr Whippies.

Anyway, the only tune the ice cream van ever seemed to play was “The Liberty Bell” by John Philip Sousa, better known as the theme tune to Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

When that music started up, we’d all laugh nervously. We weren’t laughing because it made us think of Monty Python or even because it reminded us of those better, sunnier, Ray Bradbury days spent playing outdoors as children.

We laughed because the trundling, tumbling first few notes of that tune provide a strangely delirious, imbecilic, we’re-all-going-to-Hell-but-that’s-okay, carnivalesque “descent”. Listen to it and maybe you’ll see what I mean.

It reminded us all that, sitting there in front of our computer screens day-in day-out, we were slowly–and with some complicity–losing our marbles.

★ Help fund the forthcoming Escapology book. Order a copy today

About

Robert Wringham is a humorist and the editor-in-chief of New Escapologist.

Leave a Reply

Latest issues and offers

1-7

Issues One to Seven

A bundle of our first seven issues. Featuring minimalism, Houdini, Leo Babauta, Bohemianism, Alain de Botton, Sartre, and Tom Hodgkinson. 567 pages. £35.

8-11

Issues Eight to Thirteen

A bundle of our last six issues. Featuring Luke Rhinehart, Flaubert, Mr Money Mustache, part-time work, Will Self, home life, Richard Herring, and E. F. Schumacher. 593 pages. £30.

Issue Thirteen

Our final issue. Featuring an interview with celebrity mortician Caitlin Doughty; Matt Caulfield on zen fool Ryokan; and Reggie C. King on David Bowie and Sun Ra. 122 pages. £7.

Escape Everything!

A hardback guide to scarpering. Essential reading for wage slaves and slugabeds alike. Published by Unbound. 230 pages. £12.