Thursday, 14 December 2017

Corporal (& Capital) Punishment


The Scarfolk Education Board was very keen on administering corporal punishment from the moment an infant entered the school system. Punishment was meted out for a wide range of misdemeanours including: 'being less than 5ft tall', 'not being able to clearly elucidate the works of Ludwig Wittgenstein via the medium of mime' and 'poor attendance due to injuries sustained as a result of corporal punishment'.

The reason for the early introduction of corporal discipline was to familiarise children with the idea of capital, or 'grown up', punishment and the fact that it was very expensive. Convicts were expected to meet the exorbitant costs personally, so children likely to commit capital offences were advised to start saving their pocket money from a young age. 'Execution gift tokens' were given at birthdays and Christmas by well-meaning grandparents, as well as given as prizes by schools for spying and reporting on classmates.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Albion Estate Sign (1970)


Albion Estate was built in 1970. It was described as "strong and stable public housing that proudly secures our future and makes Britain the envy of the world."

It was demolished in 1972.

The sign above, and the section of outdoor lavatory wall it sits on, is all that remains of Albion Estate.

Friday, 1 December 2017

The 'Fingers On Lips' Campaign (1978)


Crime in Scarfolk did not rise substantially between 1976 and 1977, largely due to the latest in thought detection techniques* and random public executions. The government, however, did announce that there had been a significant increase in naughtiness.

Many citizens criticised the state for treating them like children. The council denied this but in January 1979, thousands received orders to put 'fingers on lips' while in public. Scarfolk fell silent.

Specially trained police officers patrolled streets, public and private buildings, and handed out on-the-spot fines for various misdemeanours such as not standing up straight, running in corridors and not paying attention. At the officer's discretion, the fines could be substituted for corporal punishment with a slipper, belt, cane or rabid Alsatian.

By the summer of 1979, the scheme was in chaos: So many people had been sent to 'stand in the corner' that a new, much larger corner had to be built - at a cost of £2 million - to accommodate the cramped detainees. In August alone, 94 people died after they raised their hands to go to the toilet but were not given permission. They had simply been forgotten.

At the end of the decade, the council decided that because of a small handful of troublemakers, the whole town would have to be punished: Everyone would have to resit the 1970s.

* See thought-detector vans and thought policy leaflets.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Help Britain Charity Film (1971)

 

In 1971 the council released a short film which predicted the state of the nation by 2025. While the film is no longer extant, these three frames have been found in our archive.

According to the transcript, the film anticipated Britain joining and leaving the European Union and becoming a nation of racist immigrants who intern themselves in camps and try to get themselves deported. It also predicted that Southern Britain would become a dumping ground for international toxic waste. This leads to the genetic modification of Brits who eventually become a delicacy in Japan and the only known food item that complains.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Ritual & Decorative Arson Newsletter (1972)


The Ritual & Decorative Arson Newsletter was published between 1970 and 1976. Its editor was Trevor Vestige who also managed the petrol station where Joe and Oliver Bush disappeared in 1970 (see Discovering Scarfolk for more details).

This copy was banned by the council after marauding children wearing ceremonial masks torched and laid waste to half of Scarfolk on Halloween, 1972. Despite the ban, the council torched the other half of the town the following spring because it "looked uneven".

Because the public information office had burned down citizens weren't warned and many perished in the flames. Grieving family members, however, were compensated with splendid, top-of-the-range trowel and funerary urn sets.

Happy Halloween from everyone at Scarfolk Council.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Memory Chemicals (1979)


Just as Scarfolk Council demanded control over cultural memories and the historical narrative taught in schools, it also wanted to control individuals' memories.

To ensure a docile, compliant populace, Scarfolk promoted the idea of clumsy townsfolk forever stumbling into situations and seeing and hearing things they shouldn't, and proposed that measures be taken so that citizens only retained information that reflected the official party line at any given time.

Building on the success of the Black Spot Card campaign, potent, neurotoxic chemicals (and, in some cases, a steel truncheon) were employed, according to one leaflet, to: "cleanse unnecessary or redundant memories, so as to unclutter the mind".

The campaign and treatments were so effective that some people became inexplicably afraid not only to go outside but also to go into rooms in their own homes in case they saw or overheard something forbidden.

Those who could still manage to venture into rooms immediately forgot why they were there and, following a deluge of confused calls to the authorities, they had to be reminded that they had forgotten, and should now forget that they had remembered that they had forgotten.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Little Head (from Clay Stool)


Clay Stool was a daytime children's TV programme which we introduced a while back (you can listen to the theme tune here).

Many readers will remember the programme's cast of toys (see above), some of which became stars in their own right: Big Ted, Hamble, Humpty and Jemima.

Many, however, have forgotten 'Little Head', who only became a regular due to a typo on the programme's props list, which was supposed to have requested 'Little Ted'. Production staff were still frantically looking for an appropriately-sized head literally minutes before the programme went out live. A quick-thinking studio manager (who some believe was telekinetically controlled by Hamble) ended the panic by decapitating one of the cameramen, who had been scheduled for ritual recycling anyway.

Producers hoped that children wouldn't notice that Little Ted had replaced Little Head in the following week's episode, but they did. Thousands wrote in demanding that Little Head be reinstated.

Little Head eventually received his own line of merchandising (including a very popular biscuit barrel). He went on to host a Saturday evening primetime show, which involved an electric current being passed through his cranium and him yelping out the names and addresses of people who, in his opinion, did not deserve welfare payments.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Illegal Public Displays of Emotion (1970s Public Information)


In Scarfolk, public displays of emotion were governed by draconian laws. Negative or even ambiguous feelings (such as curiosity and hesitation) were deemed seditious and on-the-spot fines and punishments were often meted out by police (and by the Council Christmas Boy during the season of good will).

Distress (see poster above), a broad term which included "psychological breakdown", "suffering personal injury or attack" and "tutting in a queue at the post office", was considered to be a criticism of the state and therefore treasonous.

The only emotional expression truly free of censure was, according to government guidelines, "an abiding, unmistakable demonstration of pride in Our Joyous State (even if that demonstration requires the forfeiture of one's pride - and/or physical body - for the sake of Our Joyous State)". By 1979, feelings such as scepticism and doubt had been declared acts of terrorism.

These laws permitted police to cast a wide net in their investigations and arrests. Even if citizens did manage to pass the stringent, invasive contentment examinations they were still eligible for arrest if their pets exhibited negative emotions. Records show that many people were detained because of their sulky dogs and there was even one case of an arrest due to a livid tortoise.

See also The Anti-Weeping Campaign, which was aimed at children.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Lavaland Holiday Camp (1970-1970)


Lavaland was a holiday camp on the outskirts of Scarfolk built around an active volcano, which had been designated an area of outstanding natural peril.


It opened on the first of May 1970 and closed on the first of May 1970, a mere eight hours after opening, following a catastrophic volcanic event that killed nearly three thousand guests and could be heard as far away as the bowling green in Torquay.



The Council's Tourism & Leisure Department claimed that the tragedy was a freak accident that could not have been predicted. It soon became apparent, however, that the victims were people the council had previously tried, unsuccessfully, to evict from the town: children born out of wedlock, foreigners, the poor, people with lisps, and women with ideas of their own, among others.



Friday, 8 September 2017

Laissez–faire Childcare (1978)


In 1978, Scarfolk Health Council launched a campaign which exploited people's fear of children (especially those with uncontrolled supernatural powers), to normalise the idea of letting kids do whatever they want without censure.

It was no accident that the infants in the campaign's various posters were depicted smoking, drinking and licking chocolate-covered asbestos.

A 1979 magazine interview revealed that the campaign had been privately funded by Mrs Bottomlip, a pensioner who worked in the local cancer charity shop on Scarfolk High Street. Her reasons were largely personal. Apart from the fact that she enjoyed her part-time job and "wouldn't ever want it to end because one meets such lovely people and it gets me out of the house", her son worked for a cancer research institute. Mrs Bottomlip was concerned that he, along with a whole generation of scientists and support staff, could find themselves out of work unless the number of people developing cancer was maintained, or preferably raised.

For her support of cancer research, the institute presented her with an award, which, unbeknownst to science at the time, was made from highly carcinogenic materials. 

Friday, 1 September 2017

Play Safe Public Information Campaign (1979)

 

While the state frequently warned children about the dangers of playing on icy ponds, near electrical substations and in open-air, biological weapons laboratories, it failed to take into consideration the decade's plethora of science fiction films and TV programmes, which inspired space-themed games up and down the country.

Scarfolk children, who were known to take greater risks during play, initiated an unfortunate trend that started claiming lives. In 1977, two schoolboys from Scarfolk’s Junior Indoctrination Facility dared each other to endure the harsh extremities of space. Their corpses were eventually located drifting a few hundred miles from earth by tracking the surveillance devices that had been implanted in their frontal lobes at birth.

Concerned parents demanded that the state act immediately. Two years later, (and only after the government realised its child labour factories were losing a steady flow of under-10s), a public information campaign was launched which warned minors about leaving the earth's atmosphere (see poster above). Scarfolk Council also laid many miles of high-altitude, electrified fencing to repel innocent children who might unwittingly stray into outer space.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Scargos Mail-Order Catalogue (1977)

[click to enlarge]

Mail-order catalogues were very popular in the 1970s, so much so that Scarfolk Council carefully monitored them to ensure all the products promoted and maintained the state's social agendas.

Anybody who contravened the attitude regulations of the day was shipped to a makeshift island three miles off the coast and enrolled in reeducation classes that employed electrodes and toxin-dipped knitting needles as teaching aids.

Friday, 4 August 2017

The Gullibility Campaign (1976)


In 1976, the government informed citizens that gullibility was a contagious disease. The Dept. of Health warned that it was spread through the handling of so-called 'clever books' or by talking to people who were not approved by the state. Libraries, bookshops and schools closed overnight.

The department also disseminated the notion that gullibility could be inadvertently caught by coming into contact with airborne ideas. People were told to stay at home. One leaflet read: "All the information you will ever need will be presented to you via the state-controlled newspaper The Scarfolk Mail and the one and only state-run TV channel, which is decontaminated daily."

When the Dept. of Health realised just how successful the campaign was, it added that gullibility also led sufferers to forget serious crimes they had previously committed. This permitted the council to impose hefty fines and other arbitrary punishments (see poster above).

Friday, 28 July 2017

Lip Sewing Kit (1970- )


In 1970s Scarfolk, women over the age of 18 were legally required to be a certain weight and shape. If those who didn't conform to official regulations dared to go outside during daylight hours (assuming they had the appropriate free-movement paperwork), they were stopped on the street by police armed with tape measures, weight scales and portable plastic surgery instruments.

Because kerbside operations were frequently botched, many women went to drastic lengths to meet the government's slender ideal. An example of this was the Lip Sewing Kit (see above) which thousands of women received as Christmas and birthday gifts. It was also sometimes prescribed by doctors.

The kits had originally served a different purpose. They were the brainchild of a government welfare minister (and cotton thread magnate) whose department had previously used them to silence political prisoners and other enemies of the state. When the supply of all such people was exhausted, a commercial application for the product had been sought.

For more about women's rights, see unwed mothers and 'Bastard Lanes', the 'Spread -Em Campaign', romance novels, 'Seducing Students & Secretaries' (BBC 1, 1977) and the 'Women Outside' I-Spy book.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The 2ndth Pan Book of Horror Stories (1973)

[click to enlarge]

While many of Pan's horror collections dealt with typical horror fare – the supernatural, the black arts, and murder – The 2ndth Pan Book of Horror Stories, published in Scarfolk in 1973, collected stories about the most fearful abomination in all of creation: mankind.

Mankind was the only organism to top both the government's list of greatest threats and its list of most endangered species and it's very likely there was a correlation.

Scarfolk Council was particularly keen to emphasise the potential rarity, thus value, of humans. It had bred thousands of useless people in a secret eugenics experiment, which had run out of funds, and needed to sell off the surplus to recoup some of its losses.

Unfortunately, the council flooded the market. By 1975, a small group of nondescript humans could be picked up for as little as £25 and as the decade drew to a close charity shops were full of them. Eventually, a landfill site was opened and the council gave all the unwanted people the bus fare that would take them to their final resting place.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Vegetable Politicians


Many publications in the 1970s attempted to predict how we might live in the future. The above excerpt from the Children's Journal of Political Science & Catering showed that the state’s official soothsayers often came uncannily close to reality.

Scarfolk, which was among the most progressive towns in the UK, actually trialled a vegetable-based political system in the mid-1970s. Citizens could elect the vegetable that they believed would best lead the town. However, despite the wide range of vegetables and legumes available, the system was quickly reduced to a binary one when extremist pro-legume groups clashed with pro-tuber factions in political allotments and nurseries across the region.

Additionally, any vegetables considered to be of foreign origin were interned in farm camps, later to be deported.

Further reading. For information about the conversion of children into kitchen appliances, see 'Discovering Scarfolk' p. 121-123.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Confirmation Bias Goggles (1970)


Confirmation Bias Goggles were the first wearable technology to be wired directly into the brain. In addition to the pinhead-sized speaker which perpetually broadcast the statement 'Of course you're right!' into the auditory cortex, the goggles' sensors could also switch off those parts of the brain that deal with troublesome emotions and feelings such as empathy, decency and healthy scepticism.

By tapping into the wearer's biases, the goggles literally deleted undesirable objects from the wearer's field of vision. Sights that were too dominant to be erased completely were visually falsified to validate the wearer's preconceptions.

By 1971, the state had adapted the goggles for use in schools. Children were told precisely what to think and what their personal opinions as adults would be.  Unsurprisingly, everybody who tried the goggles, without exception, thought that they were a great idea.


See also: De-education classes, Rub-on transfer newspapers, Mindborstal drug, The Fact Ban, and Children & Hallucinogens: The Future of Discipline.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Sing-a-Long-a-Savagery (1970s Toy)

In order to prepare children for adulthood, parents in Scarfolk wanted to familiarise their toddlers with life's cruelties as soon as possible. Toy and game manufacturers were only happy to oblige.

ScarToys' Sing-a-long-a-Savagery Music Box TV (see above) contained gruesome images of decapitation, dismemberment and disembowelment by artists such as Goya, Caravaggio and Hieronymus Bosch. The images were accompanied by nursery rhymes such as Girls & Boys Come Out To Maim, Mary Had a Little Laceration, and Wrinkle, Wrinkle, Little Scar (See Discovering Scarfolk p. 159 for more details).

Additionally, children were forced to endure a variety of traumas they might typically face as adults. These included peer-group rejection, physical and mental degeneration (achieved with regular bleach injections and a cricket bat), and being hunted by the official Women's Institute sniper.

For more toys and games see: The Drowning Game, Mr Liver Head, Pollute, Mr Smug, Landmine, Action Man Waterboarding Playset and Lung Puppy.