Thursday, 28 April 2016

British Gas Austerity Advert (1978-1979)

In 1978 the government faced budgetary problems on all fronts. The NHS, for example, risked collapse following an all-out doctors' strike, which had been triggered by the health secretary's insistence that doctors continue to work after they die and attend to patients via séance.

Desperate to reduce the numbers of patients straining NHS resources, the health secretary eventually struck upon an idea that would allow him to kill at least two birds with one stone.

British Gas was in the process of being privatised and the health secretary had a controlling financial interest in the company that was being groomed to acquire ownership. The health secretary lobbied for a short-term reduction in the cost of gas, particularly in areas of high unemployment, and promoted it as an aid to health akin to mountain or sea air.

He also had a hand in secretly funding a BBC "Play for Today" drama called "Noble Gas for Noble Gary" which extolled the virtues of a sick, working-class man who, along with several out-of-work comrades, commits suicide by putting his head in an unlit gas oven so as not to burden society. The men were portrayed as heroes to be emulated.

The health secretary's ideas became conflated in the public mind and by 1979 suicide by gas became an unlikely health fad spawning an array of books, cassettes and evening classes, all of which were produced by a company in which the healthy secretary also had shares.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

National Security Ear Grafts (1975)

Click to enlarge

When compulsory surveillance ear grafts were introduced in 1975, many Scarfolk citizens resorted to non-verbal forms of interpersonal communication to avoid the attention of government eavesdroppers. This in turn prompted a ban and users of sign language, mime artists and even fans of the party game charades suddenly found themselves on the wrong side the law. Writing was also subject to restrictions and was only permitted when verbal delivery was not possible. Incensed by the ban, a fervent group of mimes known as the MLA (Mime Liberation Army) committed several acts of silent terror and built invisible walls around government buildings preventing staff from entering.

The authorities recognised that national security ears were perhaps not as feasible as they had originally thought. Although several other surveillance schemes were launched in Scarfolk in the 1970s (see, for example, thought-detector vans, telekinetic child-owls, I-Spy books and Living-Eye surveillance computers), GCHQ realised that the most productive way to surveil a nation is for the citizens to unwittingly collate all their own personal data, verbal or otherwise, and transmit it directly to the government. In essence, citizens spying on and betraying themselves. Unfortunately, this idea would be not become workable on an industrial scale until the age of the internet.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Panama Laundry Detergent Magazine Advertisement (1976)

In the 1970s, husbands gave their wives weekly housekeeping allowances to maintain the household. Many housewives claimed they were buying pricey washing detergents such as Panama Automatic (see above), when in fact they were buying packets of a cheap alternative and refilling used Panama boxes at home. The money they saved was spent on vast amounts of gin, which was distributed via a secret, international network of trusted housewives.

Teetotal housewives hid the money in fake, child trafficking companies and used their own children to perpetuate the façade. The schemes were uncovered in 1979 when a Scarfolk pensioner, who had siphoned tax-free money from her housekeeping allowance for decades, tried to buy Wales. The woman claimed to know nothing about the money or the fake companies and insisted that they were all the dealings of her pet tortoise, Cammy, who had recently died.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Christian Values

Governments have always invoked religion to deflect criticism away from or justify questionable political agendas. Not unlike terrorists.

In the 1970s, the British government frequently cited so-called 'Christian Values' around Christmas and Easter time. Taking its cue from the Bible, the government knew that belief in an all-powerful authority, whose actions cannot be questioned, is a formidable tool of control.

The prime minister would, before the proposal of dubious bills or changes in policy, aggressively promote trust in the state as a virtue not dissimilar to religious faith. By the end of the decade, ideas of political and religious authority became so entwined that anyone who questioned or opposed the ruling party faced Biblical-style punishments.

Academics and experts in particular were branded as 'extremists' (and later as 'fact witches') for producing any evidence that contradicted government policies. In 1978 a 4 year old 'dissident heretic' was crucified in Scarfolk town square for highlighting glaring errors in the government's annual budget, which she did with the help of a Fisher-Price junior calculator she had received for her birthday.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Charlie Barn

Charlie Barn was a paranormal, spider-like entity discovered in the vast, labyrinthine bunker beneath the Scarfolk council office building. He employed mind-control techniques to trick people into making him famous and was a regular guest on British TV throughout the 1970s. He appeared in children's programmes such as Blue Peter and as a cartoon character in Paddington (see below). He also hosted his own show, Barn's Owls, which saw him hunt, disembowel and eat large owls (later revealed to be orphans dressed as owls) in front of a live studio audience.

In 1973 he set up various fake charities which gave him access to schools and hospitals where he would illicitly lay eggs in the heads of children in a bid to populate the world with his unnatural progeny. How he got away with his sickening actions for so many years beggars belief.

He probably avoided detection by hiding in plain sight: he appeared in a series of public information films and published books which warned the public about the dangers of arachnoid demons such as him.

Since 1979, all forms of evil spirits have been banned from consuming minors on public property and/or for the entertainment of a paying audience.

Spider legs by sankax

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Welfare Recipient Targets (1971-1979)

In 1971 it became compulsory for welfare recipients to sew targets onto their clothing so that they could be identified in public at all times. The minister for social services rejected claims that the target invited personal attacks, sidestepping the fact that the government had concurrently increased its funding of archery classes for newly released criminal sociopaths as part of their reintegration into society.

Despite these developments, the number of people claiming welfare tripled by 1973, in part because many families had lost one or more breadwinners to arrow-related injuries. The government, desperate to reduce spending, began promoting the idea that less dependent members of society involved in "crimes against target wearers" should be exempted from legal proceedings. In fact, they were rewarded. For example, points on drunk drivers’ licenses were removed following accidents which produced fatalities within the boundaries of large council estates.

There were also several instances of fully-armed Alvis FV101 Scorpion tanks, with the keys in their ignitions, inexplicably left by the army on the driveways of decent, middle-class citizens who neighboured built-up social housing areas.

Friday, 4 March 2016

1970s Science Book (Birth Chapter)

With Mother's Day upon us, we thought we would share a page from an out-of-print school biology textbook. As you will see from the image below, the physical process of human birth has slightly changed since the 1970s. This is largely due to the unintended consequences of medical experiments on children carried out by genetic-modification and eugenics hobby groups, the only social outlet available to drunks before the invention of pub quiz teams. Medical procedures have also evolved and instruments such as ropes, crowbars, sink plungers and egg whisks are now rarely used.

Giving birth was something that only women were expected to undertake. There's not a single recorded case in Scarfolk of a man giving, or even trying to give birth during the 1970s, a clear indication of just how prevalent sexism was at the time.

Related: A maternity problem that society faced in the 1970s was that of lazy or uncaring mothers who were absent from the birth of their own children. For more information click HERE.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

'Win A Cottage' Sunday Supplement Advertisement (1976)

Between 1970 and 1976 the government vastly overspent on state and private prisons and was disheartened when crime didn't rise to match the amounts being invested to control it.

Local councils were directed to encourage criminal activity but when they also failed to produce the required crime figures, the government's Office of Spurious Welfare developed a scheme to attract new offenders.

It targeted the aspirational lower-middle class by shrewdly portraying lawbreaking as an upwardly mobile activity and prison sentences as socially desirable. Pro-jail messages were subliminally printed on fake antiques, mass-produced Royal memorabilia and incorporated into newspaper Sunday supplement competitions for dream cottages in the country (see above).

Emergency laws were also made to ensure that crime would become more prevalent. One law, the so-called Passerby Criminal Indolence Law, which is still in effect today, penalises people who refrain from committing a crime when the opportunity arises, even if they could have got away with it.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Romance Novels (1970s)

St. Valentine's Day is a fitting day to show you some of the novels that pandered to women's romantic fantasies during the 1970s.

Same Job Less Pay (1970) tells the story of a woman who falls in love with a co-worker. When she finds out that he earns twice as much as she does, she's so relieved she doesn't have to carry around all that heavy money that she bakes some pretty little cakes and falls pregnant.

Biological Necessity (1976) is about a woman who, having failed to meet a partner with an emotional IQ higher than a sandwich, takes an evening eugenics class in which she learns that romance is an overvalued social construct and that she is in fact most compatible with men who have a strong EPAS1 gene and an income of more than 100k per annum.

Carcinoma Equals Inheritance (1971). A woman encourages her husband to smoke in a bid to kill him for the substantial inheritance. When he dies, she suddenly remembers that she was the wealthy one all along. Shortly afterwards, a young, penniless con man falls in love with her and proposes marriage. On the honeymoon he encourages her to get drunk on vodka and take part in a series of dangerous sports.

Set in the year 1620, Tortured In The Name Of God's Unconditional Love (1974) is about a woman who falls in love with a pious town elder. She tries to tell him and other backward villagers about rudimentary first-world concepts such as interpersonal communication skills and oral hygiene. She is subsequently tortured and killed by a devout lynch mob, headed by her would-be lover, whose grasp of such things extends to believing that the demonic spirits of pigs can destroy crops by hiding in your nose.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The BBC Test Card Witch

(click to enlarge)

Many people recognise BBC television's test card "F". However, when it was broadcast in Scarfolk an old woman would inexplicably appear in place of the young girl as soon as parents left the room.

According to legend, if she turns to look you in the eye, you are fated to die beneath an overloaded lorry which will topple over, crushing you with its consignment of industrial safety equipment (Find out if you are cursed HERE).

Children called the woman Old Chattox and she was believed to be a 17th century witch whose spirit had been unintentionally revived and broadcast by a hilltop TV transmitting station built on the site of her execution. She frequently flouted broadcast guidelines and undermined the BBC's attempts to avoid product placement by advertising the services of a bull castrator who had been dead for nearly 400 hundred years.

Below: Photographs of Old Chattox taken by viewers between 1970 and 1978. Old Chattox wrote out demands on her blackboard, which children felt compelled to obey (top). She also drew occult or satanic symbols designed to mesmerise and indoctrinate young viewers. Some of her messages were seemingly nonsensical, though many people believed they were cryptic descriptions of future events (bottom).

Further reading:
i. Learn about Bubbles the clown and his range of possessed greetings cards.
ii. For more information about TV broadcast signal intrusions, see the 1975 We Watch You While You Sleep video.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Emergency Supplies (1979)

The 1970s was a decade of social tension. Environmental disaster, terrorism, war and foreigners were a constant threat. Many citizens and some of their friends expressed concern about what would happen if the worst came to the worst.

In 1979 the government declared that it was fully prepared for any eventuality. A series of posters and leaflets introduced Pre-Emergency Services which had been set up to supply citizens with "essential survival items" including ping pong balls, rubber bands (see poster above), furniture polish, drinks coasters and crocheted toilet-roll covers that looked like Georgian ladies.

The minister for internal affairs wrote in one leaflet: "Our new emergency initiatives clearly demonstrate how seriously we take the welfare of British citizens. Should an unexpected catastrophe occur, such as the one which may or may not take place later this year on October 14th, we guarantee that working families and those most in need, such as table tennis players, will be the first to receive the emergency supplies listed in this leaflet." 

To further demonstrate his commitment to the people, the prime minister himself offered to forgo his own rubber band and drinks coaster rations saying that "the knowledge that the people of the United Kingdom are safe is all the comfort I need and I will gladly make do with less vital resources", which were later revealed to be water purification tablets, dried food goods and medical supplies.

For more archival documents about emergency procedures read this Public Information Booklet, this civil defence poster and take note of this new emergency services telephone number.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

1970s Games (Various)

These old games were found in a cupboard in the council office basement (click to enlarge).

The goal of 'Pollute' (1975) was to earn as much money as possible for your multinational corporation while contaminating the world's oceans. Extra points could be scored by inadvertently bringing about a genetically corrupted, mutant starfish which threatens to destroy mankind, then offering the monopolised solution at a vastly inflated price. Subsequent versions of the game included 'Super Pollute: Poison the Skies' and 'Pollute Deluxe: The Countryside is a Twat'.

Winner of the Queen's Award for Arrogance, 'Mister Smug' (1978) was an edutainment game which taught politicians and big business leaders how to emotionally and legally distance themselves from the catastrophic outcomes of uninformed decisions which affect millions of innocent people and ruin lives. Bankers and other sociopaths were banned from playing the game in competition because they always won, even when they had officially lost.

'Land Mine' (1970). Very little is known about this game because few players survived, though it appears that the military funded the game's production so that it could test the latest in concealed weapons technology and observe its explosive effects on a civilian population.

For more games see 'Discovering Scarfolk' by Ebury Press: Top Tramps (p.85); Junior Taxidermy Kit (p.86); and Singlemulty (p.105), and others.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Forensic Litter Collection (1978)

The police budget for 1978 was only half of what it had been the previous year. This was because the treasury had been robbed and the subsequent investigation was thwarted by limited resources. The thieves were never apprehended.

Violent crime soared, particularly recreational parricide, and Scarfolk's woodlands, wastelands and canals were strewn with bodies and body parts. The police, overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases and keen to deflect any criticism, claimed that the problem was not one of unsolved homicide but of littering and blamed any failings on the Keep Britain Tidy campaign.

The two eventually agreed to pool resources and turned the task of forensic crime scene examination over to the community, children in particular. Much like the children's TV programme Blue Peter, schools launched charity appeals that encouraged pupils to collect victim debris, organic or otherwise, to raise money (see leaflet above). In 1978 children across the country collected nearly £9000 worth of gold fillings and 525 glass eyes, among other items. Some were cleaned and reconditioned for further use.

Homicide litter recycling became so popular in the late-70s that some overly-enthusiastic people tried to donate whole family members before they had passed away, but the rules were quite strict: donations could only be accepted if the person was murdered first. To this end, the police helpfully released a pamphlet describing those methods which were most likely to avoid detection.