Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Gustmatic Midgewig

Fighting nature with ginger hair.
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In much the same way that the US has the National Guard, Scotland has the midge. Except the midge, while performing a useful anti-terrorist function, can sometimes turn on the natives. The midge, for those who don’t know is a tiny two winged fly. Some of them bite humans. Most of them don’t. Unfortunately, the ones that bite humans wear hobnail boots and have swastikas tattooed on their microscopic, white skulls. These biting, swarming, miniscule monsters can ruin any outdoor pursuit by causing intense, inescapable itching. Being caught in the middle of a midge swarm is like being bitten by thousands of insects. Only more so.

Midges love damp, still air. Because of their tendency to swarm in large numbers, it is not possible to swat them away from your exposed face. The only thing that can get rid of midges is wind. A strong wind will blow these Lilliputian pests into hiding. So to combat the midge, it is necessary to have a localised wind source.

So I propose the Gustmatic Midgewig. This is a stylish wig, fashioned from the purest ginger hair (for true Scottish authenticity) that houses a lattice of thin, clear plastic tubing. The tubing is connected to a small, discreet air pump stored on the wearer’s person. The pump sucks in air and blows the wind through the piping until it comes to crucial points on the lattice (the crown, the nape, the sideboards, the fringe). Here, the sucked air is expelled, creating a sphere of wind turbulence around the bonce of the wearer. The midges cannot enter. Victory!

The Gustmatic Midgewig is available in a variety of styles: the Dave Hill, the Rolf Harris (with Gustmatic beard, for just £10 extra) and the Felicity Kendal.

calum, Sep 19 2002

What is a midge? http://www.scotweb....s/whatisamidge.html
Not the singer in Ultravox, it seems. [calum, Sep 19 2002]

Bay City Rollers http://www.bbc.co.u...aycityrollers.shtml
<sigh> Another black day in Scottish popular music. [calum, Sep 22 2002]

Oil fly ash http://ehpnet1.nieh...4ghio/abstract.html
worse than midgies! [jumblebox, Sep 25 2002]

[link]






       <not-so-intersting-factoid> Ginger hair is a mutation of blonde hair, and is ‘designed’ to let a lot of light onto the scalp, and thus gingers people have a third less hairs than blonde people, and two thirds less than dark haired folks.<n-s-i-f>
[ sctld ], Sep 19 2002
  

       This gets a croissant for a number of reasons, but primarily for the fact that it would increase the number of people stoating around the streets in "see-you-Jimmy" hats.   

       My only concern is the air: where is the pump to be stored? It would have to be low down on the body, or else midgies would get sucked into it and either block the pump or, <shudder> get sooked up into the wearer's hair </shudder>.   

       I do like this, though. I was attacked by a midgiestorm this summer, while packing the car on my way back from holiday. It got so bad I gave up trying to swat them away, and let them bite. The worst part was having them stuck in my hair for hours afterwards. If only I'd had a Gustamatic Midgewig!
salachair, Sep 19 2002
  

       // where is the pump to be stored //   

       Disguse it as a set of bagpipes. <racial stereotyping> After all, don't all Scotch people carry bagpipes, and have a haggis in their sporran ? Or is that whining, droning noise due to something else entirely ? (The "Bay City Rollers", perhaps. Don't get the idea that you're EVER going to be forgiven for that). </racial stereotyping>
8th of 7, Sep 19 2002
  

       Duh, 8th, it's not a haggis we keep in our sporrans, it's a hip flask of Irn Bru.
salachair, Sep 19 2002
  

       The logic is good. I like the principle. But...   

       This idea has an potential achilles heel... The Scottish climate. Thats rain by the way. In the same way that midges aren't the worst on the scale of bad insects (they are just top of the nuisance/irritant scale) the rain isn't the worst of weather, but it is often and ubiquitous.   

       The proposed wig will need extensive performance testing in the rain. Water could get into the wind tubes, motor (?) and worst of all could turn the ginger hair into some kind of frizz nightmare.   

       That aside. Pastry (mainly cos if its raining there are no midges and therefore no need to wear wig in rain).
Jinbish, Sep 19 2002
  

       Hair-raising.
phoenix, Sep 19 2002
  

       And [blissmiss]: midges would scoff at the bulletproof wig. They would somehow (by evil magic I think) find a way underneath the wig causing much annoyance. The B-P-Wig become like a plaster-cast on a limb - incredibly itchy, yet inaccessible to scratcing.
Jinbish, Sep 19 2002
  

       calum, this is a genuinely good idea. You'd need an extra-strength and directional model for runners, as I discovered long ago, running in Roxburghshire. After I came in, hostess was like <thin Morningside voice> 'You'll be wanting your tea and cakes?' but alas I'd just dined heavily off the midges [+].
General Washington, Sep 19 2002
  

       Jinbish, I imagine the pump to be covered by a water-repellent tartan fabric, but which is "breathable", thus allowing air to be sucked in, kind of like that Gore Tex stuff (haven't a clue how that works, but you know what I mean).   

       The important thing here is that it would have to be tartan, as per 8th's most sensible suggestion. Consideration would, of course, have to be taken with regards to Clan history - you couldn't have a MacDonald wearing a Gustmatic Midgewig bag with Campbell tartan - and vice versa. There's potential here for a thriving cottage industry in tartan pump bags. Well done for reviving the ailing Scottish economy, calum!
salachair, Sep 20 2002
  

       It's been said before and it obviously needs to be said again. If Scotland manages to prevent midgie-attacks, we'll have to reintroduce bears.
PeterSilly, Sep 20 2002
  

       [Salachair]: I see. You are proposing a "Tartan Goretex Pump-Bag Jimmy Hat".
- Fighting nature with un-nature (ginger).
  

       Sounds good to me.   

       [Petersilly]: Very true. Scots need *something* negative to deter visitors so that we can have Scotland to ourselves.
Jinbish, Sep 20 2002
  

       While I'm thinking about this, Muriel Gray (Scottish TV presenter who likes walking on remote land in Scotland) once suggested the idea of designer beards that could be made out of Goretex fabric and manufactured in a number of lurid colours (for those fashion-conscious non-mountaineers). Apart from the obvious benefit of being able to look an integral part of a mountaineering crowd, side effects are those of keeping your face warm and (key point) giving midgies less to snack on.
PeterSilly, Sep 20 2002
  

       // we'll have to reintroduce bears //   

       Let's do that ayway. And wolves ....
8th of 7, Sep 20 2002
  

       I finally gave up and read this idea after, for a time, imagining it was something about German/Austrian classical music composers. I'm going to Scotland in a couple of weeks to partake in outdoor activities.... I'd like one of these, I'll trade ya a croissant for one.
Zircon, Sep 20 2002
  

       //Tartan Goretex Pump-Bag Jimmy Hat//   

       Oh. My. God. I am giggling with excitement at such a prospect.
salachair, Sep 20 2002
  

       You can put me down as an an early adopter for a Tartan Goretex Pump-Bag Jimmy Hat- splendid.
Extension pipes down the trouser legs would be useful to repel the blighters from feasting on the ankles which is where I always seem to cop it.
IvanIdea, Sep 21 2002
  

       Talk about being hoisted by your own petard. I _knew_ I shouldn't have mentioned ginger hair but I went ahead and did it anyway, didn't I? Damn.
calum, Sep 22 2002
  

       Summer 98, on Arran (the Isle)
geologically mapping it, mile by mile,
the midges were vile (ish)
but I wore a stylish
bag shaped net over my head, and my smile.

This contraption, fine black netting and elastic
was most effective against midges, but not ticks
of which I found seventeen,
on various parts of my body, when screened
In the evenings. They live in bracken, and jump on you - a neat trick.
lewisgirl, Sep 23 2002
  

       //stoating around the streets

Anything that promotes the need to "stoat around" is good in my book. Cannae get too much stoating.

I can see a hole in the learned gentleman's idea - if the head is covered, the midges will just go for any other exposed fleshy area. So, perhaps I can extend your range of Gustamatick Midge Wigs, to include hand wig and ankle attachements as required? Or chest wig - if you are in the habbit of clambering over Ben Arthur wearing a wide-collared 70's disco shirt.
namaste, Sep 23 2002
  

       Or perhaps, increasing the 'wind power' and arranging the pipes from the wig in such a manner as to create a swirling vortex of midge-doom around your whole body.
Jinbish, Sep 23 2002
  

       For namaste, we have new additions to the Gustmatic range:   

       - the "Fame" Gustmatic leg warmers.
- the "Tom Jones" Gustmatic chest wig.
- the "Billy Ray Cyrus" Gustmatic clip-on mullet.
- the "Richard Keys" Gustmatic full body wig.
calum, Sep 23 2002
  

       calum, as its a scottish prob, would it not be better if the products had scottish nicknames, like Tam, Rab and Wullie? Tom Jones doesn't appeal to us scots, not even the ladettes. more traditional scottish names are needed for the products.
Irn_Bru, Sep 23 2002
  

       May I suggest a modification of the Gustamatic Midge Wig (but croissant to you calum) which would be effective for more than just midges.....and further afield than Scotland..   

       I propose the "Stikomatic mucous oil fly ash protector" worn as a headpiece (plastic mac stylee with mucoid layer exposed) or all-one body suit. All midges would stick and could be later discarded but so would harmful particulate species even harder to eradicate than midgies.....like oil fly ash (see link)
jumblebox, Sep 25 2002
  

       Sounds like a brand new half-baked idea to me...the 'Flypaper Coat', or the 'Tar-Baby Suit'.   

       For all your stick-tastic needs.
Jinbish, Sep 25 2002
  

       - the "McDonald's" Gustmatic bun blower kilt.
FarmerJohn, Sep 25 2002
  

       Refreshing.
Jinbish, Sep 25 2002
  

       Great. That's all we need. A fly-paper suit. Just add portable bouncy castle and Gulherme will be all over this idea.   

       Another related problem is that of swallowing midgies (and other assorted small flying insects) as experienced yesterday running for the train. A suit wouldn't help you here, whereas the gusty wig and other blower-type instruments would.
PeterSilly, Sep 25 2002
  

       [PeterSilly] I was thinking bout what Jinbish said ealier re: water getting stuck in the tubes...   

       Re: flies getting stuck in your tubes...well...thank your lucky stars that your tubes are already mucus lined =+)
jumblebox, Sep 25 2002
  

       Water could also wash away the 'stickiness' of a material.
Jinbish, Sep 25 2002
  

       ah, well, wouldn't work in Scotland then. The West Coast of Scotland has as much rain as an extremely rainy place, if not more.
PeterSilly, Sep 25 2002
  

       But then again, the midges shun the rain. The gusto-wig and stick-coat are only needed in the aftermath of drizzle.
Jinbish, Sep 25 2002
  

       True, but you'd be forever packing it away, then pulling it out and putting it on. Lazy walkers like me just simply stride along on with kagoule unzipped, zipping it up in the rain. Another suit would render the walk simply too sweaty to do. Either the sticky stuff would come off in the repeated packing/unpacking or it would get washed off in the rain.
PeterSilly, Sep 25 2002
  

       Thanks Calum for this significant contribution to the war against midges. But why go for a cheap low-tech solution when there is a prohibitively expensive and borderline impossible high-tech one?   

       Anyone see the documentary about the USAF flying laser interceptor programme?   

       Inpsired by this I propose a head-mounted laser turret. 3 Piezo sensors in a triagular pattern pickup the ultrasonic buzz of midge wings, locate by triangulation and pass onto guidance computer. Timed laser pulse fires upwards, bouncing off tiny mirror rotating at 6000rpm around a slewable axis. Small "zap" sound, smoking midge spirals to the ground.
shameless_self_reference, Sep 25 2002
  

       //prohibitively expensive and borderline impossible high-tech // it may be, ssr, but think of the fashion implications with all that geeky stuff hanging off you. The Gustmatic Midgewig may be low-tech, but you can be sure you'll look like one hell of a cool cat as you stride along your local promenade.
salachair, Sep 25 2002
  

       I'd give it a bun for the title alone... or for the writing... or even for the idea! Genius. Presumably as the gust increases, the air pressure will force the plastic tubes to straighten. I can't wait to see walkers striding out across the heather, dressed in sensible shoes, blue cagoule and four-foot-high orange afro.   

       This definitely goes on my list of 'most quintessentially halfbaked'.
moomintroll, Nov 02 2006
  

       I had imagined this, based on the title alone, to be a hairpiece, formed from the headward congregation of a couple of hundred thousand well trained Scottish midges. Upon arrival of a gust of wind (such as might dislodge a lesser hairpiece) the midges would buzz about momentarily, before settling back upon the pate once any local turbulence has safely passed by.   

       But this tube impregnated orange buzby is by far a better idea. I might be tempted to reverse the airflow, and have any midges that stray too close vaccuumed into the device, wherein to meet un untimely end.
zen_tom, Nov 02 2006
  
      
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