No More Hostess?

One of my regular features on The Coiled Spring has been reviews of Hostess snack cake products. What I didn’t know was that Hostess has been in lots of financial trouble for a while. Why would I? That would be like “researching a subject”.

It seems that Hostess is going into liquidation, after a standoff with the bakers’ union. They say that 18000 jobs will be lost, but deliveries will continue until inventory is exhausted. [Insert crappy obvious low-effort “not to worry, Twinkies last forever” joke here].

Apart from the strike, the announcement stated that

Hostess Brands is unprofitable under its current cost structure, much of which is determined by union wages and pension costs

Yeah, paying workers is expensive. I cannot get my head around antipathy towards unionized workers. It’s bad enough when fellow commuters in London would moan about Tube workers taking one day for better conditions. When you’re stuck on a packed steamed-up replacement bus, you can kind of see their point. But in the US, people seem to be ready to treat them as the bad guy from the beginning. I find that most peoples default position is that unions are an obstacle that has to be worked around, or pushed out of the way. It may be that they can have very strong positions, but what’s the alternative? Remove the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively? No thanks.

It is for these reasons that The Coiled Spring is fully unionized. I pay myself well, and my benefits and conditions are frankly luxurious.

How will the Hostess announcement affect your new favorite podcast? After 4 episodes, I’ve only sampled 3 Hostess products. I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d eaten a Hostess snack cake while my oral surgery site was still on the fresh side – some kind of human-cake symbiosis, possibly. Or a Spider-man-like assimilation of cake abilities.

Luckily, my review subject storage facility (a shoe box) contains a few specimens yet to be sampled. I will also buy whatever else I can find – although there may well be a rush on this crap now.

Also, there’s no need to stick to Hostess products – there’s a whole range of delicious goodies waiting to be eaten while recording my chewing sounds for you to listen to while trying to keep your lunch down. And why stop at food? Friend Taylor (of Taylor’s Tonics) recently opened his soda and sweet store on Mission Street in San Francisco, The Fizzary. It’s doing really well, and getting very popular, and Taylor has agreed to let me come into the store and do some on-location sampling of the myriad weird and wonderful sodas and traditional sweets on sale. Listen out for that in an upcoming episode!

So you see, there’s always a silver lining. Or at least one made of enriched white flour and yellow #40.

Episode 4: Tom Murphy Part 2, Radiohead Soundalikes Probe, Music Licensing, Oral Surgery

Coiled Spring - the podcast with potential
Episode 4 has the second half of my interview with musician and music advocate Tom Murphy, where we discuss the complexities (and unfairness to musicians) of the music licensing regime. Due to mouth surgery, I wasn’t able to review any delicious mass-produced snacks, so instead I gave a band I know a shot at the big time: local experimental duo Probe present the haunting lead track Bitches from their new EP, Fresh Art. Perhaps you can hear their influences.

Show notes

Coiled Spring Episode 004 – Tom Murphy, part 2 by The Coiled Spring on Mixcloud

Episode 3: Tom Murphy, Twinkies, Newsreels and Music Advocacy

Coiled Spring - the podcast with potential
In this episode I interview Tom Murphy – musician, music technology innovator, “Bay Arean”, and advocate for musicians and artists rights. Plus I get around to reviewing a most distinctive snack cake, and I receive a strange transmission from the broadcasting past…

Show notes

Coiled Spring Episode 003 – Tom Murphy by The Coiled Spring on Mixcloud