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This is the TruffleShuffle blog, quiet, peaceful, serene… that is until our new The Raccoons TShirts and COMPETITION wakes up! Yaaaahoooooo!

Luckily, we have a good friend to help us out in the form of The Raccoons creator Kevin Gillis!

Like busy little Raccoons ourselves, we’ve been hard at work with Kevin to create some all new and exclusive Raccoons T-Shirts which are now on the site! We have one new design which has been lovingly screen printed onto four styles and colours including grey & white tees, blue vest and a grey baseball raglan TShirt!

To celebrate our latest arrivals in style and give you guys a little glimpse into the world behind The Raccoons, we stole Kevin away and threw some questions at him (don’t worry we were gentle). Take a look below to see what we found out from the man himself….

Hi Kevin, thanks for taking to time to chat with us! So… we hear you’re currently working on a reboot of The Raccoons which we’re very excited about! What made you decide to do this and how will it differ to the classic 1980s series?

A lot of the Raccoons fans are now having kids of their own. Many of them were reaching out and suggesting that we should think about doing a re-launch and aim it towards them and their new families – sort of a co-viewing opportunity. It was a very difficult process trying to decide which direction to go. Do you keep the ‘classic’ animation style – updating it from the original, or do you create a brand new modern approach to the characters’ style? Further, do you stay 2D as the original was – or do you go CGI – which many of the pre-school shows are produced in? We have opted to update the original designs but kept much of the traditional classic tone and look that The Raccoons were known for.
Stay tuned – as the jury is still out!

Not that we’re biased, but the 80s and 90s produced some of the best cartoons ever, of course including The Raccoons. What do you think made this such a special and iconic time for the entertainment biz?

Up to this time, most of the animation we had known came from large US animation studios who had created their own iconic styles: Hanna-Barbera; Disney; Warner Bros; etc. Suddenly there was an appetite – mostly driven by broadcasters and young upstart studios and producers, to reach beyond the US fare and create new characters and styles of their own. It was a time when promoting independent creativity was cultivated. It was before the accountants ran the broadcasting systems – and original untested ideas from young writers, producers and directors had an opportunity to reach an audience.

Although we’re sure there are many, if there was just one lesson you would like us 80s kids to have taken away from the years growing up with The Raccoons, what would it be?

Hah! Well, seeding an interest in our fragile environment would have to be near the top of my list. That — and enjoying the characters and their stories.

Which other classic cartoon show would you most have liked to have been a part of and why?

I’ve always been a fan of The Simpsons. I guess I like dysfunctional family comedies. They seem so real!  And The Simpsons was ground-breaking, giving rise to a burgeoning field of adult animation. And let’s not forget some of the great pioneer shows of animated comedy: The Flintstones, The Bugs Bunny Hour!

Who were your favourite characters from the series and why?

Writing for a villain is always fun. Cyril Sneer was no cookie-cutter villain. He was much more grey than black-hearted. He had a very soft spot for his son Cedric and was vulnerable to early childhood emotional scars – his obsessive need to constantly prove himself to Mr. Knox and Mr. Mammoth come to mind, as does his all-encompassing distaste for anything that the Raccoons were up to – especially Bert!
I think Cyril’s complexity made him a favourite of mine. Can’t decide between the Pigs or Bert after that. They were both fun. Interestingly, the actor who played both Bert and Pig #2 (the “sycophantic, slow” one) brought both characters to life and made my job worth getting up for every single day. He was Bert Raccoon incarnate! Sadly, Len Carlson has moved on to the Evergreen Forest in the sky, where I am sure he is dreaming up new-fangled adventures just as Bert Raccoon would!

If you could go back and do it all over again, what one thing would you most like to change about The Raccoons? Perhaps a character trait? Storyline? Or maybe something about how it was made?

That’s easy: in hindsight, I would not have had Cyril with a cigar. We of course wanted to make Cyril the anti-hero and gave him character traits that you would not aspire to emulate as a child: how he treated his underlings (employees), his rants, his paranoia, his unending quest for wealth over anything else, his destruction of the environment, even his control over his son’s friends. We thought a cigar would just add to the persona. Regrettably, it has become a bit of an albatross as today’s broadcasters are concerned that it is politically incorrect and are reluctant to broadcast the series.

We’ve always imagined working on one of our childhood favourite shows to be an absolute dream job (apart from creating amazing tees with them on that is!). Were there any funny stories or goings on in the making of The Raccoons you can share?

I’m afraid if I did my life would be in danger.

Did you ever slip any ‘Easter eggs’ or hidden gems into any of the episodes? We’d love to look out for them if so!

We did our best to seek them out and destroy them. The animators, being the “paragons of virtue” that they are, would occasionally try to create, shall we say, visual “double-entendres”. I will leave it to your imagination what we were able to find. I’m sure we didn’t get them all – so if you find one, keep it to yourself. Check the Pigs scenes – they were notoriously risqué. Also the backgrounds in Cyril’s mansion – you never know what you are going to find in those dark recesses.

With huge changes in how shows are made these days, how do you feel kid’s cartoons have changed since The Raccoons first came out? Are there any new series that you’ve seen and are a fan of?

I am fortunate to have worked on a number of animated shows since The Raccoons with many talented young writers, animators, directors, actors, designers, etc. I have always been a fan of original designs and unique story-telling that pushes the accepted boundaries. I think what we did on Atomic Betty set game rules.  Computer assisted animation has made a huge difference. In many cases you don’t even have to know how to draw to work as an animator on a series. Creating and colouring fabulous backgrounds has become quicker and easier. The time to deliver a series is much faster – so the relevancy of subject matter can be a very powerful tool in the hands of writers.

I think the biggest change for young demos is the ubiquitous focus on 2 eleven minute episodes instead of a 22 minute “half-hour”. The format change has created quicker pacing, gag-oriented stories as opposed to more character based animated drama. Granted, we still have 22 minute stories for prime-time (The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, etc.), but I think we have created an audience that demands instant-plotlines with a preference for gags over depth of character.

Animating back in the 80s and 90s was such an intensive and manual process, do you think modern methods can still offer the same magic?

Absolutely! If anything, the ability to instantaneously see your work as opposed to waiting for the film “dailies” to come back from the lab gives the creative team a multitude of options to pivot, polish, re-work, fine-tune — and still deliver on time. Control over your work has improved immeasurably. The digitization of the creative realm has offered all of the creative team the ability to react, reflect and make choices in real time.

What do you think the animation industry will look like in ten years’ time? Do you think we’re likely to see more retro classics make a comeback?

I think that low cost animation tools will be ubiquitous – anyone that wants to create a professional product will have the technical ability to do so. We will still be interested in great stories and characters that we care for but the distribution channels will be full of UGC – User Generated Content. Having a network determine whether your creativity is seen or not will no longer be relevant – if it is today. Retro versions of today’s hits will undoubtedly be part of the creative landscape – it’s the stories and characters that make your memories happy and worth revisiting.   Regardless of method of delivery and/or technological advances, great content will always prevail.

We would like to say a huuuuge thank you to Kevin Gillis for taking the time to talk with us and providing us with some amazing signed goodies which you can now win below. Such an honour.

WIN! WIN! WIN!

That’s right folks! Celebrating the release of our exclusive new The Raccoons Clothing which is now available to buy (go take a look!), we’ve managed to get our hands on some simply amazing The Raccoons goodies which have been signed by creator Kevin Gillis himself! A true treat for any fan of this hit retro show for sure. Let’s take a look…

The Prize

Up for grabs we have have a signed exclusive The Raccoons TShirt, a signed copy of season one and two of the Raccoons on DVD and a handful of The Raccoons badges to sweeten the collection!

How To Enter

To keep things as easy, fair and as accessible as possible, we’re running the comp through our usual little system called Gleam. This will allow you to enter a number of times and in a number of different ways via Twitter, our blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and more. The more ways you enter, the more chances you have of winning. Nice n’ easy!

Just follow the directions below after securely logging in via one of the options to begin completing your entries.

WIN Signed The Racoons Goodies

How Long Do I Have?

The competition will close at 11:59pm on Monday 29th May (29/05/17). Entries made any time before then will be counted. After this time the system will not accept any further entries.

How Will The Winner Be Chosen?

In the interest of fun and fairness… totally at random! The nifty Gleam system will hop, skip and jump into all your entries and pick out our lucky winner at random. Don’t forget! The more ways you enter, the more chance the plucky Gleam bots will pick you.

Good luck!

Ts&Cs
Only one winner will be chosen at random
There will be no cash alternative of prizes offered
If we do not hear back from the winner within one week, another will be chosen at random and contacted
We reserve the right to cancel the competition at any time without warning
Questions? Email competitions@truffleshuffle.co.uk and we’ll get back to you pronto!

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Emblazoned with the faces of British icons including Louis Theroux, Sir David Attenborough and Joanna Lumley, London label Homage Tees pay tribute to the subculture greats that deserve some serious props. We’re huge fans of the late-90s styling and right-side-of-ironic vibes – it’s no wonder these tees have been picked up by bloggers and celebs everywhere wanting to show love for their irreverent idols. Designed by an anonymous founder, Homage Tees are by the people, for the people.
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If, like us – you skipped all the boring stuff like real news and weather updates and went straight on a hunt to locate your Star Signs for the week ahead, then this is the t-shirt for you. Are you going to fall in love? Are you going to become stinking rich? We don’t know – but we do know how cool you’re going to look when you bag yourself a Mystic Meg t-shirt. ‘Today, you will find the most perfect retro t-shirt you’ve ever set eyes on, and you will be compelled to buy it.’
We are ther-oux trying to find a cooler t-shirt than this. Whether you love Louis shadowing our fave celebs, taking part in weird weekends, or producing amazing documentaries – this is the tee for you! Totally 90s tastic with a nod to the geeky and awesome Louis Theroux.
We could listen to Attenborough’s voice all day, but when that kind of appreciation is simply impractical when boring duties get in the way – you definitely need a plan B. A cool 90s-tastic t-shirt combined with mysterious hawk? Sign us up please!
No amount of style can match the elegance of Princess Diana, but we can try our hardest with this awesome 90s-style tee.
Other greats include Art Attacks Neil Buchanan and the oh so Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley!
Neneh Cherry and Janet Jackson…in style.

For all these amazing new styles, check out our range of Homage Tees and pick up your fave today!

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Exciting news! Our suuuuper fab Barbie Backpack, Barbie Handbag AND Pink Barbie Logo Purse have been spotted on the immensely popular Zoella!

As pretty much full-time addicts of YouTube (that’s still kind of a job, right?), naturally we’re avid viewers of the amazing MoreZoella sister channel which sees some amazing behind the scenes insight into the amazing world of Zoella and Mark. As part of her amazing Vlogmas series, she revealed some of her very latest deliveries which included some pink treats which seemed all too familiar because… we have them on the site! Check it out!

This premium PU bag comes with an all-over Barbie logo design and classy, rose gold details. Absolutely doll-ightful!

Barbie Backpack

She also revealed her fab new Barbie Logo Shaped Handbag…

Sure to make a statement, this bag is such a great find for those who loved the plastic fantastic doll and were inspired by her vibrant and super cool wardrobe.

Barbie Logo Shaped Handbag

Not only that! She got her hands on this amazing Pink Barbie Logo Purse!

Get your hands on these goodies and so much more with our huge range of official Barbie Clothing and Accessories. See you there!

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Lizzie 'Likes' - Our lovely buyer Lizzie shares her latest TruffleShuffle picks to freshen up your wardrobe and love forever!
Lizzie, TruffleTowers
Women's Navy She-Ra Powered By Unicorns Sweater
My love of unicorns is definitely going to continue into autumn, so this She-Ra jumper totally fits the bill. Magic! £29.99 - Buy
Lizzie, TruffleTowers
Labyrinth Worm Ello Is It Tea You're Looking For Boxed Mug
A Labyrinth and Lionel mash-up - what could be better! This 80s mug makes me smile at every tea break. £6.99 - Buy
Lizzie, TruffleTowers
Nintendo Super Mario Brothers Question Block Light
I have serious nostalgia for anything 8-bit and Nintendo, so I'll be powering up my living room with this light - made even more awesome with its PING sound! £24.99 - Buy
Lizzie, TruffleTowers
Black And White Cats Eye Sunglasses from Jeepers Peepers
I can't let go of summer just yet - and rain or shine these sunnies add retro glamour to any outfit (and hide the odd late night in style…ahem). £17.99 - Buy
Lizzie, TruffleTowers
Moomins Compact Mirror
If you're Moomins-mad like me, this cute and cool mirror is made for you. So much <3 for Snorkmaiden! £6.99 - Buy
Lizzie, TruffleTowers
Women's Roald Dahl Good Thoughts Speckled Rolled Sleeve Cropped T-Shirt
As a lifelong Roald Dahl fan, I just love the sentiment of this tee - and tons of celebrities seem to, too. Hey, if it's good enough for J.Law it's good enough for me… £24.99 - Buy
Check out more great picks
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It’s Labyrinth’s 30th birthday and time to rejoice like the legendary David Bowie here!

Can you believe it? The fantasy cult classic that entranced us with its magical maze, wonderfully wacky puppets, ultra-80s soundtrack and the legendary David Bowie in *ahem* those tights (but more on him later) first graced the big screen all the way back in 1986 and it is still one of those precious films that stir up warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia. Here at TruffleTowers we may be a little older, a lot greyer and a whole heap wiser (ish), but we still love it – hey, maybe even more than back in the day! – so we felt it was only right to reflect on what makes this movie so magnificent.

So, without further ado, here are our 5 reasons why Labyrinth is still AH-mazing, 30 years on

David Bowie’s majestic presence…

Need we say more? Probably not, but we’re going to anyway. The hair. Those tights. That juggling ability (okay, it wasn’t actually him but we reckon he can pull it off with panache). Some SERIOUS swagger. Watching Labyrinth, we fear Bowie, but love him too (obvs) as he brings that unmistakable charisma to the role of Jareth the Goblin King. Who else could steal a baby, make a teenage girl tackle death defying traps (not to mention risk smelling hideous for all time!), attempt to possess her forever and STILL win us over? There were whispers that Prince, Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson were considered for the role in the early stages of production but we think it’s impossible to imagine anyone else doing it quite like Bowie.

It teaches us about the magic of friendship…

There’s no way our heroine Sarah would have made it through the Labyrinth without a little help from her friends… the bravest fox there ever was, Sir Didymus; gentle giant Ludo and even warm and welcoming Worm (okay, he sent Sarah the wrong way but he meant well, didn’t he?). Sarah helps her companions, too – our hearts twinge when she rescues lovely Ludo and we love her sweet bond with Hoggle, who Sarah encourages to overcome his cowardly nature and put their blossoming friendship ahead of his loyalty to evil Jareth. And that’s the beauty of friendship, right? Giving others a chance and helping people – particularly in a world chock full of ghastly Goblins, traps at every turn and where a glam-rock Goblin King wants to transform your baby brother into a troll. *Gulp*

Should you need some of these lovable characters that Sarah encounters in your own life/wardrobe, head right on over to our cute Labyrinth clothing, for tees, tops and gifts featuring Worm, Ludo and the whole gang!

It’s the ultimate Jim Henson nostalgia fest…

With childhoods whiled away watching The Muppets, Fraggle Rock and Sesame Street, Jim Henson holds a very special place in the hearts of any 80s kid (or 60s, 70s, and 90s for that matter!). Whether cute, quirky or just a little bit creepy, Jim Henson was THE master of making the most endearing, unforgettable characters, and Labyrinth’s fabulously fun fantasy land of goblins, creatures and marvellous monsters was no exception. Fun fact: In Labyrinth, Baby Toby was played by Toby Froud, son of conceptual designer Brian Froud who worked on Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, another amazing cult Henson film – and he was clearly taken with Henson’s magical puppetry at a young age as he eventually became a puppet designer and even worked at the Muppet Workshop in New York! No-one creates an inspiring, magical world quite like Jim for kids (and big kids!) alike.

The seriously 80s-tastic soundtrack…

As purveyors of all things 80s, it’s no surprise we’re ginormous fans of Labyrinth’s gloriously retro soundtrack! From moody moments like Within You to ballad As The World Falls Down, the biggest tune of all is of course Magic Dance! The super-impressive Magic Dance scene consisted of over 48 puppets, 52 puppeteers and eight people in goblin costumes (perhaps most impressively of all, Bowie was the voice behind the gurgling baby effect in the song (was there any end to this man’s talents?!). You’ll truly be the babe with the power in our wicked You Remind Me of The Babe T-Shirt, which proudly flaunts a black and white pic of Bowie in all his goblin-dancing glory – perfect for a magic dance of your own! All together now: “You remind me of the babe…”

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It reminds us that money doesn’t equal success…

Hard though it may be to believe, Labyrinth was a box office failure on its release. But it quickly gained a cult following and was well on the way to becoming the oddball classic it is now. Jim Henson was reportedly devastated when Labyrinth wasn’t commercially successful, but his son has since said his father was so happy to see it achieve cult status before he died. There are tons of box office smash hits that aren’t loved anywhere near as much as Labyrinth is today – the Labyrinth Masquerade Ball in LA, heaps of outdoor film screenings and amazing fancy dress are testament to the ongoing love for this absolutely 80s classic.

So, that’s all folks! All that’s left for you to do now is don your best Sarah-style peasant blouse or over-sized blonde wig and tight trousers a la Bowie, blast out ‘Magic Dance’ and leap around like a loon. Just us? Okay then…

So what do you guys love the most about this retro classic? The action? The songs or just the nostalgia of it all? Let us know below.

(Psst! Make sure you keep your peepers peeled for some AWESOME new Labyrinth goodies coming your way soon – did someone say Labyrinth board game?!)

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Pretty much defining the 90s, Fun House was sooooo much more than just another kids TV Show. It was a place of dreams!

Rocking the airwaves from 1989 way up to 1999, Pat Sharp and his fab duo Melanie and Martina had us on the edge of our seats each week as they led two teams (team Red Vs team Yellow) through the games which included answering questions, finding items, dressing up and of course a lot of gunge! What more could you possibly want?! Oh yeah….and it had Go-Karts!!

Just like everyone we knew at school, we would have given our entire POG collection for a chance to be on this game show, mainly so we could grab some great prizes, race around the (pretty much walking pace) Grand Prix race track and above all else….get our very own Fun House TShirt! Maybe this was a sign for our future endeavours. Hmmmm….

Sadly, as this show is no longer running, the chances of us getting our hands on one of these iconic tees is pretty slim right? WRONG!

Working with one of our personal heroes Pat Sharp himself, we’ve created some amazing new Fun House Team TShirts which we have just launched into the site. Take a peep….

Available form just £14.99 too, what better way to share your love for this 90s icon than with your very own team tee. The only thing left to figure out is….to be team red or team yellow?

xoxo

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