The Donut Mug (£16.99, Firebox.com). Clay-fired vessel, shaped as punctured ring torus and decoratively glazed, with handle. Imitates doughnut.
Someone finally pitched Cruller Intentions, starring Reese, with a spoon.
I never met a doughnut I didn’t like. Ring or filled, posh or high street, they speak to me. A Krispy Kreme with a peanut butter centre is basically my religion. So, I’m drawn to this strange mug. The idea of stirring a brew, dreaming of doughnuts, isn’t horrible. And it’s arguably clever: think about the visual pun of the glaze, crucial to both pottery and doughnuts. The porcelain paint here is applied in the happy slapdash of fauvism, woozy pink icing and Technicolor sprinkles capturing the narcotic quality of childhood memory.
I pour in hot water, add teabag and observe. Uh-oh – problems. To create the striking hole that runs through it, the mug houses the absence’s counter-form: a diabolo-shaped, Anish Kapoor-like ceramic structure, occupying most of the space inside. The teabag has to slide round one side of this, glowering in the corner. Also, the mug’s front lip (which arrives chipped) is styled as though “a bite’s been taken out of it”. In practice, this means an uneven surface, hard to drink from.
An alternative take on the mug suddenly suggests itself: is it just crap? I resort to holding the handle directly in front of me, and tipping up the cup by its shortest edge, the behaviour of a madman. Why not drink from the backside, you ask? First, I like holding mugs in my left hand, freeing my right to do what it does best (typing veiled complaints to colleagues over email).
Second, there’s something about the back of this particular mug I don’t like drinking from. Hard to put my finger on. I can put my finger in it, though; the ring hole, with sloping walls, is also present on the flesh-coloured rear. A leaky trail of pink paint has dribbled through from the front, giving the unfortunate impression of … well, it’s an unfortunate impression. Hmm. The website calls this key feature “a curiously enticing hole”. It is a hole, and it is curious; enticing is a bit of a reach.
Sucrose, yet so far, this unsettling doughnut ultimately disappoints. Sad!
While not hundreds and thousands, £16.99 is a lot of dough.
Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?
There’s no sugar-coating it.