Wednesday, 1 October 2014

"How to Burn Books" (Pelican Books)

Scarfolk council was a staunch advocate of biblioclasm. It did not want citizens acquiring unsanctioned knowledge and expected families to regularly scour their cellars, attics and priest holes for prohibited books. Book burnings took place after Sunday Coven on every 3rd Sunday, unless it fell on a Saturday, in which case the following Sunday.

However, in the 1970s, after the inexplicable disappearance of many of Scarfolk's old age pensioners (which, incidentally, coincided with a much-needed boost to the town's flagging sausage industry), the time-honoured method of how to correctly burn a book fell out of common knowledge. No one could remember how to do it because the traditional know-how had not been passed on to them.

The council had no choice but to publish 'How to Burn Books' (1970), which furnished people with the required skills for correct book burning.

Unfortunately, the book- and education-starved populace could not read and attempted, albeit clumsily, to burn all the copies before they had looked at them properly.

Frustrated, the council had no choice but reteach people how to read, enough at least for them to be able to read and comprehend the 2nd edition of 'How to Burn Books' (1978). Both editions, including the rare 1st edition, can be seen below.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

"Scarbrand Pie Filling" Food Scare (1975)

At harvest time in Scarfolk, families donated food, household items and other objects they were going to dispose of anyway, to people who were too indolent to go shopping themselves. Canned products were most often donated (because they are easier to throw), but that ceased in the mid-70s following a food scare.

Tests on Scarbrand's meat-flavoured pie fillings had shown that each can might contain up to 7% ergot-impregnated stoat faeces, which had most likely leaked from a farm that specially bred animals and children for pagan rituals.

Scarbrand admitted culpability but did not recall their products. They maintained that most customers weren't qualified or even clever enough to notice the contamination because the genuine, non-faecal ingredients were so similar in colour, texture and odour to the faeces that they were virtually indistinguishable.
Secondly, the hallucinogenic ergot content was so high that the vast majority of affected customers would not be able to remember their name, or even that they were human, much less complain about the pie filling.

Scarbrand's public relations director publicly ate stoat faeces to demonstrate that it would not have any adverse effects. However, when he and several consumers fell ill and tried to hijack a garden centre which they tried to drive to the Lake District, Scarbrand relented and advised consumers to discard the questionable 7% of their pie fillings. They even incorporated the message into their TV ad campaigns.
"Only greedy people eat ALL their food. Scientists have proven that eating more than 93% of your food could affect your health".

By the end of the 1970s, with no improvement in consumer health, Scarbrand was forced to provide the ergot-laced stoat faeces in a separate sachet.


Click to enlarge

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

North Scarfolk Independence & the "Unity Wall" (1974)

Back in 1973, residents of sparsely-populated North Scarfolk wrote to Father Christmas and asked if they could have independence. The North Scarfolkians had long felt that South Scarfolk had taken advantage of their natural resources - seashells - which they painted with pretty colours and glued together to make funny little characters and animals. These novelty items were valued as far afield as Wales.

Scarfolk Council eventually acquiesced. It granted North Scarfolk its independence and made it a gift of an unassailable, wall-shaped monument to celebrate its new-found sovereignty. The 'Unity Wall', as the south preferred to call it, also provided protection and comfort: The council was worried that North Scarfolkians might inadvertently fall off cliffs into the sea, so it made sure that the wall completely surrounded North Scarfolk. Positioned along its length were armed 'monument curators and attendants' who protected the wall for the North Scarfolkians and made sure they didn't accidentally wander out.

Occasionally, a few bad-mannered people from the North, who did not appreciate this artistic symbol of harmony, tried to spoil it for everyone else by attacking the wall, and the curators were forced to benevolently shoot these people for the sake of peace and brotherly understanding.

But on the whole, Scarfolk Council found North Scarfolk to be both amicable and manageable, so much so that it sent all its criminals to live there, presumably so that they could learn from their virtuous neighbours.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

'Hand Amnesty' (1972)

You may recall that we recently touched on crime in Scarfolk. One ubiquitous problem was 'subconscious crime', which was so prevalent in the 1970s that the council was forced to take drastic measures. Although it had complete faith in the integrity and innocence of it citizens, the council did not trust their hands. What were the town's approx. 80,000 hands doing and who were they talking to? There was no way of effectively monitoring or policing the situation.

That's why in 1972 the council offered its first Hand Amnesty and announced that no legal action would be taken against citizens if they turned in their hands to the police. A week before the amnesty date, each home received through the post a parcel containing a local anaesthetic, a miniature hacksaw (or sharp spoon, for working class families) and a raspberry lolly (as an incentive to carry out the necessary procedure).

However, many citizens were confused. If their hands had committed crimes without them being aware of it, how would they know if they were guilty or not? The average person had neither the time nor the resources to systematically surveil their own hands.

Council guidelines suggested the following:

1. If you are already conscious of your subconscious crime please take advantage of the amnesty and surrender your hands to the police. 

2. If you do not recall committing a crime, it is likely that your conscious mind is suppressing the memory of committing a crime. Please take advantage of the amnesty and surrender your hands to the police.

If you fail to comply with either 1. or 2. you will be visited by council surgeons. 

They are on hand 24 hours a day to give you a hand handing in your hands.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

"Childcare Skills" (New Scarfolk Library, 1972)

One health- or community-care professional per 10,000 citizens had long been considered extravagant so when the region was hit by a recession in 1972, Scarfolk Council was forced to make cuts. To reduce costs but maintain the workforce, the council shrewdly decided to employ only people who suffered from multiple personality disorders.  

For example, Scarfolk's under-12s coven had always operated with a fulltime staff of 7 with an extra position for a sacrificial martyr, who was employed on a short, fixed-term contract. After the cutbacks were introduced, the coven was reduced to one staff member, Donald Kissme, who fulfilled all 7 fulltime roles with 7 separate personalities, not to mention a couple of superfluous ones, including a 18th century pirate and a Swiss truck driver with cathisophobia.

The short-term, sacrificial martyr positions were not subject to cutbacks as they helped reduce expenditure in the region's orphanages and state-run elderly care homes.


Monday, 18 August 2014

Investigation & Prosecution Pigeons (1973-1979)


In the 1970s the government realised that more crimes were being committed than was technically possible. This was partly due to the fact that 31% of crimes were fabricated by the government to keep citizens in a constant state of anxiety. To maintain its own credibility, the government banned the use of contraceptives for 3 months per year in the hope that the population would rise and thus generate the citizens required to meet the implausible high crime figures.

The scheme backfired when the new population proved to comprise largely blameless, model citizens. However, the government was not convinced of their apparent virtue and created a special, combined investigation & prosecution squad. It invested birds, insects and other animals with the full power of a law court and trained them to spy on citizens, assuming that guilt would inevitably be detected.

In addition to pigeons (see below), there were crack teams of sparrows, cats, butterflies, stoats and tuna, but there were also 'lone wolf' operatives, the most infamous of which was a ladybird who everyone knew as Two-Spots Bailey, though his real identity remains a mystery to this day.
For more about animals being converted into surveillance devices please see the book "Discovering Scarfolk"

Friday, 8 August 2014

'Junior Will & Testament' (1977)

'Junior Will & Testament' (see newspaper advertisement below) was produced by Scarfolk Legal Games & Documents Ltd. While it familiarised children with the inevitability of their demises in a fun way, it also introduced them to their civic obligations. For example, many children were not aware that, like adults, they were subject to death duty.

Any child who owned more than 20 toys at the time of its passing was expected to part with 26.5% of them; 50% for more than 40 toys. After several years of the 'grave game tax', as it become known colloquially, the council noticed that many of the toys it was receiving in payment were clearly not the children's favourite toys.

From then on council workers would audit children every year to make sure that they weren't hiding away their most treasured toys. Particularly untrustworthy were very poorly children. Upon admission into a hospital, the council would confiscate children's possessions until their passing - the council couldn't take the risk that a frightened child may be tempted to withhold a favoured toy during its time of need.

In 1979, the millions of collected toys were melted down and made into an enormous, inflatable bouncy castle for politicians to play in on their many days off work.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

1970s "Inspirational posters"

In 1970s comic books and newspapers one could usually find advertisements offering posters, iron-on transfers, sew-on patches and T-shirts arranged by theme or subject matter: movie and TV stars, cartoon characters, pop stars, infant felons, etc.

Inspirational or motivational posters were also very popular, particularly among people who had few thoughts of their own and believed that pithy phrases containing as few syllables as possible somehow furnished them with something akin to a personality.

Scarfolk Council monitored the content of all posters to ensure that only quotes with moral integrity found their way onto the walls of citizens. To this end, the council turned to the tried-and-tested morality of spiritual and religious texts such as the Bible.

Here is a small selection of these posters from the council archive.







Sunday, 20 July 2014

"Severed Up" Psychic Advertising (1978)

In the late 1970s the police were struggling to solve several brutal crimes.

They turned to two Scarfolk psychics, Terry and Jasmine Oiltoad, a married couple who also ran a thriving advertising agency with a unique, supernatural selling point: Terry and Jasmine could psychically channel the victims of crimes, but only, strangely, if product placement was incorporated into their trances.

Deep in a clairvoyant daze, they would strategise national marketing campaigns, design advertising mock-ups for print, write product slogans, and even design storyboards for TV commercials. Psychic clues would somehow filter through Terry and Jasmine's subconscious into the promotional material.

Only when the campaigns were officially launched could Terry and Jasmine snap out of their trances and furnish the police with tangible details, such as the precise location of a murder or kidnap victim.

The advertisements themselves were littered with cryptic clues, as can be seen from the magazine ad below for Severed Up soft drinks. The razor logo and copy in this psychic-advertisement eventually led to the apprehension of a criminal known as the "Fizzy Razorblade Killer," though her real name was Helen Cradle, a 7 year old pupil from Scarfolk Infant School, who was also a known embezzler and quite good at geography and maths.

Psychic advertising was outlawed in 1979 when three major corporations were found to have ordered several murders in an effort to be included in popular psychic advertising campaigns.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

"Gaol!" Weekly (1970-79)

Sports were banned in Scarfolk (see upcoming book for further details). However, a legal loophole permitted the playing of ancient games, as long as they were an integral part of a religious ritual.

Mayan football and other sacrifice-based Mesoamerican ballgames, which often employed human heads or skulls instead of balls, became all the rage. Not only were these early games fun and exciting, but they also gave citizens the opportunity to use up any surplus of tourists that had become ensnared in traps during the summer season.

"Gaol!" weekly was the number-one selling football publication at the time and each issue included a pull-out poster of a hat or toupee once worn by the longest serving 'headballs', the most popular of which was Mr. Kenneth Trampel of Ramsgate, Kent, who was a veteran of 22 games until his left ear fell off.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Family Planning & Recycling (1972-1979)

An adult's social status in 1970s Scarfolk was in part determined by the worth of its offspring. However, until 1972 there was no central mechanism in place to define and classify a child's usefulness (or lack thereof).

Scarfolk Council was the first in the UK to implement the MVS (Minor Value System), which not only assessed the qualities and flaws of each child, but also ranked them in order of financial worth.

Though a very small percentage of parents could retire on the proceeds from the private sale of their offspring, many were disappointed to learn that their children were not as profitable as they had hoped. In 1975, 42% of Scarfolk's young were found to be less valuable than an inflatable garden paddling pool and 8.5% were only as valuable as a can of tuna.

To stop the abandonment of unwanted children at motorway service stations, the government created a scheme that enabled parents to sell their unsatisfactory progeny to the council at a fixed price. Parents welcomed the scheme and hundreds of children disappeared from Scarfolk homes overnight.

Coincidentally, the price of pet food plummeted and the safety of pharmaceutical products increased.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Scarfolk Music & Indoctrination Festival (1970s)

Scarfolk Council did not approve of popular music unless it could be utilised as an indoctrination tool. In fact, most music was banned unless it contained subliminal messages which had been approved by the council's department of social education.

Scarfolk's first music festival in 1973 was only given the go ahead with the stipulation that all bands play songs which contain backmasked content. Additionally, they had to perform the songs backwards so that the subliminal messages could clearly be heard and understood by the audience.

Infamously, local prog-group Beige's* performance of their 3-hour epic song-cycle about a school gym teacher with single-personality disorder contained subliminal elements that triggered mass hysteria. Many audience members hallucinated seeing in the sky the shape of satan with a trident, though others argued that it looked more like an intercontinental travel plug.


*For more information about Beige go here.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

"Get Angled. Not Mangled" Public Information (1973-1979)

By the mid-1970s, the list of officially recognised hazards far outnumbered the list of non-hazardous. In fact, the only situation that the council approved as being completely risk free was the state of being deceased*.

Because each of the myriad hazards had its own detailed safety guidelines, citizens became easily confused, and the council was under pressure to create one safety procedure that could be adopted in any given scenario.

Experts eventually developed 'kneeling at an angle' which they determined could protect a person from the following dangers: an attack by a rabid animal, falling out of a seventh storey window, a chip pan fire or nuclear attack, being electrocuted by a feral robot, being thrown by a professional wrestler.

The slogan 'Get angled. Not mangled' was drummed into school children, who were submitted to regular angle drills.


* However, the council did acknowledge that a dead person might be in danger of post-mortem perdition. For this eventuality the council published a separate, non-denominational pamphlet which prepared the reader for an eternity of discomfort in the hell or hell-like place of his or her choice. Advice included taking a change of clothing, doing regular exercise and eating Kiwi fruit.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

"Ethnic Cleansing Playset" (Scartoys, 1972)

Scarfolk parents thought it was crucial that their children play with educational toys. This was to help familiarise youngsters with the everyday items that would be indispensable to their adult lives: Vacuum cleaners and kitchenware for girls, for example, and for boys the M1941 Johnson Light Machine Gun, or the M4 Sherman Tank with the 75mm M3/40 cannon.

Toys like the 'Ethnic Cleansing Playset' from Scartoys also taught children invaluable life-lesson skills, such as how to defend oneself against marauding foreigners whose homeland you have decimated for either selfish economic gain, or for parochial, sanctimonious, religious reasons.

Most importantly, over time, such toys inculcated in the child the belief that though the righteousness of their actions was self-evident, they needn't be mundane; they could also be fun.
Click to enlarge

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Organ Tax & live organ postal services (1971-1978)

If a Scarfolk citizen failed to pay his annual Organ Tax, the organ in question could be turned off by the council, and if further warning letters were ignored the organ might be completely uninstalled by council workers, known as Offalbailiffs.

Many old people, as well as unemployed single parents, couldn't afford to pay the usurious Organ Tax, and frequently made ends meet by selling their innards to pay off outstanding debts.

This mounting problem was eventually brought to the public's attention when 82 year old pensioner Marjorie Pierce was discovered to have sold 17 human kidneys and 5 lungs, all of which she alleged were her own. However, the two spleens she traded were revealed to be two frozen, oven-ready lasagnes.

Charity organisations, such as The Insides Foundation, collected internal organs from wealthier citizens, which school children personally delivered in buckets to those less fortunate. However, when children began turning up in hospital emergency rooms suffering from the effects of purloined kidneys and pilfered spleens the practice stopped.

Organ donors instead turned to Scarfolk Royal Mail who quickly started offering special postal services, as can be seen from the advertisement below.