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Scoobies, Scoubidou, Skoobies, Scooby Doos

by Sophie Foxen
Whatever you call them, they are sooooooo popular.

Whatever you call them they are an amazing craze which has recently swept through schools. Once there were pogs, tazos, tamagotchies - today it is scoobies. But this is not the first time. Some parents remember scoobies, not only in this country but many others.

What are they?

The popular scooby strings are thin hollow plastic tubes, usually brightly coloured which can be bought in loads of high street shops. They can then be knotted to form thicker creations which can be made in jewellery, put on key rings or made into ornaments. The basic knots are ‘square’ and ‘circle’, which form cuboid and cylindrical structures respectively. There is also ‘triangle’ which as you can imagine forms a triangular pyramid. Then there is ‘box knot’, 'butterfly' and beads, feathers, eyes and much more can be added, creating endless possibilities.

A bit of background

Scoubidou as we know began in France, where it was also the original name of the cartoon, Scooby Doo. It may have originated 500 years ago as Chinese knotting. A lady in Bristol introduced the recent trend here after importing thousands, it was a risk but paid off.  She had come back from holiday and saw that there could be a market.Scoubis are now widely available in the UK. The technique is used for making ropework, as could be seen at the recent Sculptree event at Westonbirt Artboretum.

The good, the bad and the annoying

They can improve dexterity as it is a craft to create a good scooby, plus a certain amount of concentration and patience is required to complete one. Furthermore they interest boys and girls.However as with many fads there is a competitive edge to the playground pastime.  Who is the best? Who has the most? Which colours are the coolest? ‘I’ve got the clear, rainbow, glitter one, how about you?’.Moreover, there is the burden for parents is to tear kids away from their scoobies, clear them up around the house and having to buy them in the first place. Still its probably better for people to spend time fashioning bracelets than playing on games consoles.  Indeed, scoobies can be done on car journeys, at dinner, in the bath, on the beach, lots of places and the first few do not cost much.Could the new PSP (Playstation Portable) rival the scoobie for playground attention? 

The PSP is more expensive and probably a lot more violent, so hopefully not.

A trend for all

It's not just primary school kids who have been swept up with the trend. They can be spotted adorning the bags and wrists or teenagers, and maybe even older people. The new friendship bracelets? They used to be pieces of cotton or daises, now signs of friendship are plastic fibres intertwined to form technical looking arrangements.

Scoubidou now in Malta 

Scoubidou is the new craze hitting our shores. Scoubidou are plastic hollow strands that come in different lengths and an assortment of lively colours. Children intertwine these hollow strands into a variety of patterns to make keychains, bracelets, model animals and necklaces.

While in the past Scouts and Guides were being taught how to tie knots, today's children are fascinated by their ability to produce far more complicated shapes out of their knotting abilities.

Commenting on this product, Karl Camilleri of The Model Shop, described Scoubidou as an inexpensive, creative tool for kids and adults alike. Scoubidou is rapidly gaining a huge fun base and is expecting to surpass the success of other past fads, including Tamagotchi, Pokemon and Pogs, he added. Being highly affordable, kids can buy Scoubidou with their pocket money. Scoubidou are selling like hot cakes in other countries, including Holland and the UK. More than half a million packets a week are being sold in the UK alone. Books have even been produced on some of the more intricate techniques.

Adults have found Scoubidou addictive due to its challenging nature. This phenomenon was supposedly invented by fans of French singer Sacha Distel, who, after a concert, quickly fashioned a bracelet for their hero out of wire insulators and named it Scoubidou after the title of Distel's 1958 hit. The original Scoubidou is available from The Model Shop in l-Iklin and other leading toy shops.

Scooby dooby doo 

There’s a Zen calm in cell block 101 these days – especially with the ninth SATs class. The Tourettes’ Club has become a Quaker meeting. We are bereft of the usual frolics. I’m cruising at top management levels.
You can hear pins drop and mobiles chirrup and fans hum and me drone – about Banquo’s ghost or QPR’s late push for the play offs. Are they finally paying homage to the sage dotard before them?
No. What has caused this calm? The dread of SATS? No. Ruth Kelly and her zero tolerance? Not at all. What then? Knitting. That’s what. Many seem to be knitting. They twiddle away with bits of string or plastic. They’re making wristbands, headbands, key rings or just nothing. It’s called Scoubidou.
It’s come back. Knitting is the new rock‘n’roll. It’s the latest craze. These children of the inner-city, these the tough posses of Ladbroke Grove are knitting. All those other brute distractions and they’re knitting!
Has it come to your school yet?

Knit! Knit! Knit! Is there a SATs in it? Are they doing role play for the French Revolution? Crones by the Bastille. Is it therapy? A new religion? Gossips with their rosaries.
Knit! Knit! Knit! It cuts across gender and culture. Ayanna and Yasmin twiddle away.
Decibelle too. She fidgets only with her digits. And look at Furnace! A cartoon of your worst nightmares – an ASBO waiting to happen – he’s swapped the attention span of a gnat for the focus of a monk. He too is doing the Scoubidou. Is this all a wind up?
Knit! Knit! Knit! Should I stop it? Are they merely fiddling while the curriculum burns? No – these crazes soothe them. We had marbles or transfers or ciggy cards. We drew Gloucester Javelins or Brigitte Bardot or a moustache on Miss Hodgson’s grim visage. Keith Goss bought in pet frogs in his pockets. He passed the 11-plus.
My pupils have had Care Bears, goth dolls, punk trolls, mutant skulls and clackers. Yo yos, J Los and Grand Theft Autos. Pokermon, Walkmen, Stick Men and all that green and gungy slime. Some goth girls had rodents on their persons. Live ones. Rats and mice. They offered solace – and were rather effective teaching aids for Mice and Men.

This knitting promotes a busy quiescence. Oral work has perked up. Writing too – though it’s not always easy to twiddle and scribble. Some teachers use Mozart to achieve this calm. Or feng shui, wind chimes or Ritalin. Horse whispering is, apparently, the next big thing.
But Scoubidou beats the lot. I’d make it compulsory.

A black-and-white guide to dating

Victoria Coren
Sunday May 1, 2005

The Observe

The style pages have been full of a 'latest craze' for kids called Scoubidous. Scoubidous are three-foot lengths of coloured plastic string, which can be plaited and knotted into jewellery or little sculptures and are, apparently, 'a whole new addiction in school playgrounds'. Nobody, not even the man who wrote a long account of how these items came to be imported from the Continent last autumn and are now stocked everywhere from John Lewis to Harrods, has mentioned that we have seen Scoubidous before. I remember them well.

I must have been about seven years old, which means that it was 1987 (ahem, or possibly some time around the end of the Seventies). I had a tomboy haircut and my standard uniform was a pair of shorts teamed nattily with a yellow T-shirt covered in pirates, except on schooldays, when it was a nice navy tunic and Start-rites. I had friends called Claudia Rose and Rebecca Sunshine. No, really. If those girls are married now, I hope they kept their maiden names.

The Scoubidou craze came before scratch'n'sniff stickers and after multi-door pencil cases. I think we called them Louby Lous. They were simple yet addictive. For once, my father had to stop talking about how he didn't need fancy toys as a child because he was quite happy turning an old lump of wood into a field radio. This boast of resourceful frugality carried no weight while I was fascinated with bits of plastic string. You'd think there was a war on. And so it all comes round again. The return of plastic string! What does seem to be new, however, is a special playground code created by kids to accompany the 21st-century Scoubidous.

We didn't have a special code; we just played with them. If these style pieces are correct, interwoven orange and white strands now mean 'I am heartbroken'. Green and white mean 'Be mine'. How curious that modern children should be at once heartbroken or seductive and excited about new toys.

That is their early pubescent confusion in a nutshell, like my friend Luke's little sister, who wrote to him at college: 'I hate Mum and Dad and I'm going to run away. For my birthday, I might be getting two mice.' When I was eight, I knew nothing of heartbreak and I didn't want anybody to be mine. Now I'm 31, it's a different story. Why can't we have a code? It would be terribly useful. They say that gay men have some kind of business with coloured hankies in the back pocket, signifying their favourite sexual practice, but I think that's an urban myth. I've asked a few gay men about it and they had no idea, either. 'If I saw a man with a bit of cloth sticking out of his pocket,' says my friend Paul, 'I'd just assume he was a window cleaner.'

Scoubidous for the grown-ups, I say! Let us all embrace this short cut to romantic communication by plaiting coded bracelets and wearing them to parties. I have prepared a preliminary code to be getting on with. Blue: 'I am in a relationship, but I don't think it has much future and I'm open to suggestions.' Yellow: 'I'm still in love with my ex, but that's getting boring and I'd like to snap out of it. Can you help?' Purple: 'I'm gay, but only half-heartedly so. We'll have a great time until you want to meet my parents.' Pink: 'Look at me, all smiley and nice. If we actually start going out, I'll become a bloody nightmare. I'm flirting tonight, but be prepared.' Black: 'I'm playing by The Rules. I won't return your calls, and there'll be no sex before Christmas. But that means I'm keen to get married.' White: 'I may not be a teenager, but I'm a romantic. I want flowers, pet names and trips to the zoo and I'll still want that when I'm 60.' Red: 'I haven't had sex in months. Join me in the bathroom five minutes from now and don't expect a phone call afterwards.'

That'll do for the time being. Mixed colours, for greater complications, to follow later. See you all in John Lewis tomorrow morning.