'Bugger off, Darcy, I've got all the cock-a-doodle do I need...'
As long as I can remember, I’ve never been a morning person. I’d go as far as to say I hate them. For me, the morning light streaming through my Ikea curtains is as welcome as a small child waking you with a face full of milky vomit.
In an attempt to inspire more ‘get-up-and-go’, someone once cleverly bought me a ‘Clocky’ for Christmas. If you’re not familiar with the concept, this is an alarm clock on wheels which shoots off and hides in the most inappropriate place when it’s time to wake from your blissful slumber. While it might actually succeed in getting you up, staggering around in the half-light trying to locate the deeply irritating beeping, what it doesn’t do is protect itself well from being flung out of windows/against hard surfaces repeatedly until its stupid innards are spread out in front of you like a car crash. And then you can go back to sleep.
So all hail Tony Maggs, the man who’s decided to invent an alarm clock which wakes women up in an altogether more gentle way. As the promotional material says; 'The Little Rooster curves comfortably around your pubic mound, inside your knickers but outside your body. The wide flat head stabilises the Little Rooster against your pubic bone and the vibrating leg rests between your legs.'
Obviously, being a method researcher, it was necessary for me to give it a go. Anything has to be preferable to being woken by either my daughter biting my toes or my partner, still stinking of wife beater, attempting a clammy grope between my legs. First though, I was curious about the man behind the invention and why he’d decided this might be a marketable – and profitable – idea.
Where did the idea for the alarm clock come from?
As far as I can remember, I've always just assumed they existed. There are so many alarm clocks, and so many sex toys, why not this one? Most alarms are so unpleasant, and this one feels so great, it seems quite bizarre that nobody has put two and two together before.
What was the testing process for development and how long did it take?
It took just under two years. It was mainly just cobbling something together, playing with it, seeing how to make it better, finding people to help me with things I could not do myself. I must have made something like 300 prototypes. Making a cheap novelty item would have been easy - I got to that stage six months ago. The hardest parts were making it comfortable for women of every shape and size, and making it so it didn't move around at night. When my testers started telling me that it was 'more comfortable than knickers' I knew we were nearly there.
I wanted it to be beautiful and to be beautifully packaged - nobody wants tacky sex toys any more than they want tacky lingerie, do they? Sex toys are intimate things! Sexual pleasure is really important, sleep is really important, waking uphappily is really important, and feeling great about all those things really matter to people. They matter to me. They matter to the people I am closest to. I figured we can't be the only ones. Make something that satisfies all those things, and people are going to want it.
What has general public consensus been like so far?
Incredible. I had thought that maybe five or ten per cent of women might be interested in waking up to the Little Rooster - after all, not everyone is a morning person are they? But if you look at the blogs and tweets, something like 80% of people are very positive about it. Lots of people find the whole idea hilarious - and then go, ‘um, actually...I wouldn't mind that!’ And everyone wants to talk about it, which is great.
A lot of people say 'great idea in theory, but I don't have time for an orgasm every morning'. And one of the things I found most surprising when I asked my testers their views was that many of them only let it run its full course over the weekends - but they would use it every day anyway. On week days, they just preferred to wake up pleasantly than with an annoying beep. They actually used it as an alarm clock, rather than a sex toy - it would only vibrate for maybe ten seconds, they they'd be up and in the shower and off to work. And that's the thing that makes me the happiest about this - even better than the pleasure it is causing is the unpleasantness it is banishing. Conventional alarm clocks are so....industrial and joyless aren't they? Everyone has to wake up, every morning. Why not make waking up a pleasure?
I wanted to buy an alarm clock vibrator for a friend, and couldn't find one. It just seemed like too good an idea not to exist.
What's your background? When and how did you decide you wanted to be an inventor?
Economics degree, conventional job, made redundant, travelled the world, did some DJ-ing. Tried living the dream writing songs, but never really got anywhere. I guess like many people who end up inventing things, I'm a little attention deficit, easily bored, bit of a dreamer. I need something I really believe in to get me to focus.
Who or what inspires your inventions?
I wanted to buy an alarm clock vibrator for a friend, and couldn't find one. It just seemed like too good an idea not to exist. It was something I thought I'd be proud to have created. It seemed perverse to me to be living in a world in which this didn't exist. It just really bugged me. I guess I invented it so that I could live in a world where it existed!
This weekend we have Erotica, then Christmas looks like it is going to be insane. For someone who invented a new way of waking, I'm not getting a whole lot of sleep these days.
Any words of advice for someone who might be sitting on the world's next exciting invention?
Keep working at a job you hate. Don't follow your dream. You probably won't succeed, and you'll be someone who follows their dream and failed, and had to get another job they hated. You'll probably have to get a less cool car if that happens. It really isn't worth it.
So the big question; is it really worth the money? At £69 it’s reasonably expensive – though there is a £20 special launch discount currently available – but then this is meant to be a luxury erotic product, so it isn’t going to come cheap. When the postman delivers mine, I’m at the door quicker than Oscar Pistorius and, on first inspection, it looks good. Beautifully packaged and certainly aimed at the more luxury end of the gift market. ‘I’m not sure I’m too happy about this’, moans my other half, scowling at the vibrating sound coming from my crotch. ‘It’s my role to do that’. At first it feels slightly odd. The ‘leg’ of the alarm rests along the length of the vagina (nothing, I repeat NOTHING goes inside – unless you want to be woken by the smell of singing cervix) and it initially feels a bit like wanking with a feather; you know something’s going on but it just doesn’t get the right bit. But then I am walking around the house at 11am with Judge Judy blaring out and toddler shit under my fingernails. It’s barely the most erotic setting. I decide to test it properly; the ‘delicious time between sleep and consciousness’. I wait until bed, set it for 7am, and tuck it in my knickers.
If you’re a night time wriggler you might struggle a bit with this, and you certainly have to wear knickers to keep it in place. That said, it rests flat against the pubic bone and feels extremely comfortable once it’s in the right position. And to be fair, can you really argue with being woken up by gentle vibrations on your clit? Once you get past the ethos that it’s not necessarily meant to make you orgasm, but to wake you up slowly and erotically, it’s really quite lovely. And the vibration setting goes up to 30, which would probably be enough to bring an elephant off if you have the time to linger and concentrate on a bit of leisurely morning play. Beats chasing that twat Clocky around the room.
The Little Rooster is available to buy at www.littleroosterstore.com, and you can follow the product on Twitter at @RoosterLovesYou. It’s also available on stand E34 at the Erotica Show at Olympia Grand Hall, Hammersmith Road, London until November 20th.
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