And so we come full circle.  Ladies and Gentleman, allow me to introduce you to the real life eggplant emoji. Or aubergine if you prefer. Launched in March 2016, London-based Eggplant Mail sends personalized eggplants globally. For a fee of £6.99, customers can order an eggplant, create a personal message to be written on the vegetable, and have it delivered worldwide. The humorous business concept was inspired by the apparent popularity of the eggplant emoji. The site promises to be “100% phallic, 100% disturbing” and claims to be bringing the eggplant emoji back to life, after overuse in texting. The interesting thing about it is that the site is anonymous, so transfers some of the anonymity of online to the real world.

Maybe there’s more going on here than mere humour? The backlash to many a digital innovation seems to be an increase in the tangible, more archaic versions of that given thing. For example, the rise of Amazon started a trend in hardback, beautifully produced books. Similarly, vinyl is certainly having more than a moment in the age of iTunes and Spotify. According to figures released in March of this year by RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) vinyl is making more money for the industry than free streaming platforms. Even the humble cassette tape is enjoying a come-back, with indie artists and record labels opting to release new tracks on them. Could this be a harking back to a time when life was simpler, less fast-paced and fragmented? Or maybe people really just get a kick out of eggplants…