Hghly regarded but actually crap things e.g. Dysion vacuum cleaners

What are the most overrated things in your life?

In the Alien household, we are cursed with a Dyson upright vacuum cleaner. It is a crock of shite. They are advertised heavily as being innovative, with lots of patents on Mr Dyson’s wonderful ideas, and as the “in” vacuum cleaner to have.

In actual fact, they are nothing of the sort. They are badly designed, with Mr Dyson, having invented the cyclone bagless cleaner, deciding that he can reinvent the wheel. Here is a short list of design flaws.

Lack of bag – a key selling point. But, when emptying the cleaner, you have to remove a large diameter cylinder with an open top. It is awkwardly fitted, so that loose dust always tips out over the cleaner itself and the floor. So, never empty the machine after cleaning.

Cable – the cable does not rewind automatically when you press a button. No, the whole cable has to be unwound and draped over the floor. And moved out of the way when cleaning, constantly.

Exhaust blows forwards – which means that as you move to suck up spilt talc or feathers, the exhaust blows the mess away from you.

The extension pipe – this is a classic. The extension pipe (the flexible pipe for sucking in dust from corners and off the top of things) ends in a two feet long solid aluminium pipe to which the plastic handle and different shaped sucking devices are attached, increasing the overall rigid length to about three feet. Why? It is fucking difficult to manoeuvre, you can’t use it to clean the top of a surface that’s more than about four feet tall.

Come the home cleaning revolution, the Dyson will be first up against the wall.

What are your candidates?

So you’re saying it sucks?

I think that he’s saying that it sucks, but not very effectively, and at the same time, quite a bit.

Oh, and by the way, I just got a encyclopedia domestica from thirty years in the future. It defines the Dyson as “The first thing against the wall when the revolution came”

OK, my candidate is a fake Leatherman tool; I’m not actually sure that a real one would be much better - don’t get me wrong, they are a miracle of engineering - pliers, screwdrivers, knife, saw, bottle opener and ice-axe all in one handy unit. The trouble is that it isn’t terribly usable; the pliers can’t be gripped hard because the handles are hollow, the screwdrivers can’t be used with any force or they flip shut, skinning your knuckles, the saw is too short to be of use (and who would use it anyway?) and the knife is great, but hard to use because it’s got this huge irregular chunk of metal as a handle.

Fake Leatherman tools deeply suck, real ones only suck less because they are well made.