The image below shows the instruction booklet that came with an Action Man accessory kit. Like many boys’ toys, such as tractors, diggers and trains, the Action Man waterboarding kit was designed to help young boys develop a sense of what they might like to be when they grow up.
A survey conducted in 1978 found that the jobs boys most wanted when they were older included astronaut, engine driver and chief torturer for a totalitarian regime which uses its cover as a civilised democracy to commit national and international atrocities with impunity.
In the early 1970s, the BBC produced numerous sound effects records. Though many were created for educational purposes, such as ‘Squeaky Eyeballs’ (1973), the public were encouraged to utilise the more practical releases in their daily lives.
Expressing emotion or personal thoughts in both private and public had long been outlawed. Records such as ‘British Tutting’ (1970) allowed the disgruntled listener to listen to a variety of legally sanctioned tuts as a sort of surrogate expression of displeasure. Equally, ‘Inconsolable Weeping in Libraries’ was a soothing, lawful substitute for the act itself.
As familial contentment was also prohibited in the 1970s (apart from at Christmas when it was compulsory. See HERE), some families, frightened that their satisfaction might be discovered and reported, opted for albums such as those from the BBC’s Divorce Series, which they would play at elevated volumes for the ears of prying neighbours or passing government agents.
Not all deceptions were successful. If a family was arrested they would be taken to their local police station where, while waiting to be interrogated by specialised officers, they might be played an album such as ‘Uncomfortable Silences’.
“We live in worrying times. Many residents require help but feel that they are unable to discuss with the council the social issues that affect them.
While it is true that a) we adhere to a strict policy of not answering our public helpline telephones and b) our offices cannot be approached without the aid of a mine detector, we would like to alleviate any concerns you may have.
In the coming weeks you will see posters [see above] placed in public areas around the town. Read them thoroughly. They contain all the details you need to go about your daily life. You do not require any additional information from the council. Further solicitations for help or support, even in alleged emergencies, could incur a fine of up to £500.”
In the hot summer of 1976, people were enjoying the rare sunshine and the opportunity to socialise, sometimes even with foreigners. Scarfolk Council became concerned that its citizens were developing something akin to happiness, which it considered a destabilising threat to its authority.
Government operatives illicitly carried out false-flag acts of terror in an attempt to discourage positivity and regain control, but Scarfolk citizens were undeterred.
Fearing that this pandemic of cheerfulness was a prelude to social breakdown, perhaps even leading to revolution, the government quickly passed a health bill to formally recategorise “psychological states such as contentment, gratification and satisfaction” as mental illnesses “as dangerous in their effects as diseases such as rabies”.
The above poster, which played on deep-seated personal doubts, appeared on the walls of cafes and restaurants, leisure centres and in other locations where people might be at risk of enjoying themselves or becoming contaminated by peace-of-mind
The Horned Deceiver appeared in several Scarfolk publications in the early 1970s, one of which we featured a few weeks ago (see here).
As followers of the traditional state religion dwindled, a gap opened in the faith market. The Horned Deceiver exploited this by targeting the lower middle-class, under-12 demographic, relying initially on playground word-of-mouth. By 1973 he had become so popular that he produced a successful range of merchandising including lunchboxes, bed sheets and wallpaper, plush dolls and black candles made from human tallow. He was a regular guest on local radio and on television where he appeared on celebrity panel quiz shows such as Celebrity Squares and Blankety Blank (see below).
Though well-liked, he eventually lost the pagan market to Mr Johnson of the Officist cult (see Discovering Scarfolk for more details) who had the enthusiastic backing of local politicians and business magnates whose families had been kidnapped and threatended by the cult.
The Horned Deceiver on Blankety Blank, BBC 1, 1979.
After last week’s post about the Bladder Clown surgical toy we thought it seasonally appropriate to show you another artefact filed in our Automaclown Archive B.
Parents in the 1970s were required to submit their children to civic trials, the details of which are not fully clear to us now. We do know, however, that the few children who survived them developed debilitating paranormal powers such as retrospective-clairvoyance – the ability to see the future of people who lived in the past.
Perhaps understandably, many children went unregistered for “The Trials” and the council was forced to track them down by ever devious means. By 1975 the council had developed Catcherbots which, in various guises, lured and apprehended unregistered children. In addition to the Clown Catcherbot (see the council’s Halloween poster campaign above) there were also the Jesus, ‘lovely Nana’, pony-demon and Noel Edmonds Catcherbot models.
Once an offending child had been identified, Catcherbots sucked them up through their ‘catcherholes’. Early quantum technology made it possible for dozens of children to be imprisoned inside the Catcherbots in a space no larger than a shoe box. At least, that was the theory: many of the children were never seen again. The same technology was later used in recycling machines that crush and process plastic bottles.
Happy Halloween/Samhain! Do you know where YOUR child is tonight?
In 1973 Scarfolk Council released the above poster all over town. On the same day it also stopped responding to applications for welfare benefits, in fact it stopped responding to all enquiries from the public.
Those who called the council telephone number were answered by a distant, echoing voice which relentlessly repeated the word ‘No’. It wasn’t a recorded message and callers could sometimes hear faint whimpering in the background.
Some families received letters from the council which contained a single instance of the word, while others received multi-page letters with ‘No’ printed many hundreds of times. The longest ‘No’ letter received by a citizen contained 178,121 pages and was delivered by an articulated lorry, whose number plate also simply read ‘No’.
Hoping for a ‘No’ answer, numerous residents tried to take advantage of the council by asking if they were required to pay their taxes or respect the law. Such people were visited by an impeccably dressed man called Mr. Custard who had rows of paper clips and occult symbols tattooed on his face. He would whisper briefly in the residents’ ears before leaving. All were found dead within days of Mr Custard’s visit, having slit their own wrists and daubed the word ‘No’ in their own blood on the walls of their homes.
In 1975 the ‘No’ era suddenly stopped. The council apologised and claimed that it had simply been the result of a clerical error.
For the ‘Stop!’ campaign see “Discovering Scarfolk” (page 154). For the ‘Don’t’ campaign go HERE.
In 1972 extensive government studies suggested that the people of Britain were in an odd mood. GPs were reporting higher incidences of depression, anxiety and state-sponsored disorders such as omphalophobia and scopophobia.
In an attempt to reassure the nervous nation, the government requested that each local council create its own version of the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ slogan, which had been so successful during the Second World War and the tedious stretches that followed it.
Scarfolk Council came up with the following poster campaign which depicted a kindly nurse gently helping an apprehensive, inadequate child to the 11th floor of Scarfolk’s historic Pillywinks Building. No one really knew what happened in the Pillywinks Building; the only indication was a sign beside the front door which stated: ‘Butchers and other educators, please use tradesman’s entrance’.
The campaign also introduced its mascot, Neville Inevitable. Council workers routinely donned two-metre tall Neville costumes and turned up to sing a song to ailing and injured people just before they died. The song featured a loud countdown clock and lyrics that encouraged the dying to relinquish their grip on life as expeditiously as possible to reduce unnecessary strain on the NHS.
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.