Some toys are totally useless, yet still remain amazing fun to fiddle with. The Gurning Flexiface is just one of those toys that I remember having as a kid, and has probably been around for a fair few years before I had one.
Consisting of nothing more than a reasonably ugly looking rubber face, the toy had a number of holes on the back into which you could insert your fingers. By moving your fingers in different directions the face could be amusingly distorted into all kinds of strange and disturbing poses, the kind of thing that if you were to pull them yourself, your Mum would probably tell you to “watch out, because if the wind changed direction you’d stay like that“. Funny the untruths that come out of parents mouths to stop their children showing them up, isn’t it?
Whoever came up with the idea for the Flexiface must surely have got it from watching TV footage of championship Gurners. You don’t seem to see it much any more, but Gurning competitions presumably are still running. Gurning is basically a competition where ugly looking men (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a female Gurner) try to contort their face into the weirdest configuration they possibly can. Some of these guys must have extra facial muscles looking at the kind of weird things they can do. I’ve never understood quite why they have to stick their head through a toilet seat or a horse harness to do this though…
Anyway, back to the Flexiface. It was the sort of cheap toy you didn’t buy in a proper toy shop, but instead might find on the shelf of your local newsagent, or perhaps in one of those seaside gift shops that sell all kinds of strange tat. Being so simple it was available at pocket money prices, and there were normally a number of different designs to choose from, so you could collect them too. These days, thanks to the Internet, you don’t have to search high and low for them, as they are available to order from the Stocking Fillers website.