Thursday, 27 November 2014

"Democracy Rationing" Public information poster (1970)

Chirper was an early computer network that allowed people all over Scarfolk to communicate with each other via short messages called 'Chirps' in 140 characters. It was allegedly created by a psychic and telepath called Warwick Webb who lived in a caravan to avoid detection. Chirper let people discuss social issues, vote on them almost instantaneously and deliver the results via telex to the council without needing to go through swathes of red tape.

Democracy no longer needed to be something that only occurred only once every four years on election day; users on the Chirper network could freely interact with political issues twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and they no longer needed politicians to represent them.

The council was unnerved. It had already spent millions on town planning that prioritised impersonal, widely-dispersed concrete conurbations, which discouraged people from leaving their homes and mingling on the streets where they could share potentially dangerous ideas. Chirper bypassed this plan and permitted mass democratic interaction on an unforeseen scale.

When a Chirping campaign snowballed, pressuring the council to reduce the dose of truth drugs in the water supply, the council had enough and closed down Chirper. They couldn't control it.

The council warned that democracy could collapse if average and below-average people were permitted to "exploit it willy-nilly for the benefit of themselves and others". "Democracy", a council spokesman said, "can only work if it is protected from the whims of the people. Democracy can only be preserved if it is governed by self-appointed leaders who decide when and how it should be applied. It should therefore be subject to cuts. For this reason, and for the good of society, we propose that the next general election be postponed for at least 16 years."

Below is a Democracy Rationing public information poster from 1970.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

TV Times magazine (1975)

Throughout the 1970s, ITV programmes were tailored to mollify the proletariat. Talent shows, low-IQ quiz shows and sitcoms about average working people were carefully constructed to mislead viewers into believing they were important.

But were they?

A 1973 survey showed that 87.5% of politicians deemed their working-class constituents to be less important than a second family car or having regular bowel movements. The concept of a functioning 'society', of which the working class believed they were a valuable part, when in fact they were little more than consenting serfs, had been invented by an eight-year-old hobby virologist who worked part-time for the government in the Department of Domestic Propaganda.

A fabricated sense of worthiness among the working class also benefited advertisers and therefore the economy. As one Scarfolk sociologist noted:
"When people think they are important they buy expensive continental wines and Custard Cream biscuits, and they won't even notice if they've misplaced one or two of their many children". Indeed, the aforementioned 1970s survey indicates that 78% of adults would have rather lost a child than a biscuit.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

SIDA (Serious Infant Dental Assault)

Although there were genuine cases of children fatally biting people in 1970s Scarfolk*, historians now believe that there were far fewer incidents than was originally thought.

It is now believed that the government exploited the widespread fear of SIDA (Serious Infant Dental Assault) simply to silence children. The state had spent millions of pounds indoctrinating adults into accepting its prescribed view of reality, but children, who were yet to be intellectually and emotionally conditioned, were prone to asking questions. Even a simple enquiry could undermine an adult's strictly-controlled psychological servitude and set him back years.

Children up to the age of seven had to wear a muzzle, which was provided by the Notional Health Service, and when they were old enough they were fitted with special safety dentures which were made from lead. So heavy were these dental implants that children found it virtually impossible to open their mouths, restricting them to only uttering a word or two.

The scheme backfired when a group of muted children naturally developed telepathic abilities and tricked the county's dentists and orthodontists into boarding a mysterious black bus, which was never seen again.


*In 1971 six year old Kimberley Twix accidentally ate two members of her family, a social worker and the arm of a special forces soldier who was dispatched to contain the hungry child.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

"Terrorist Tingle" Firework (Bonfire Night Part 2)

Provoking acts of terror has always been a national pastime. In November 1605 Guy Fawkes, after much conspiring and careful planning, very almost blew up Parliament. Throughout the 1970s this historical moment was celebrated annually to demonstrate to children just how much one can achieve if one puts one's mind to it.

In 1970s Scarfolk, young terrorism enthusiasts could apply for state funding for their amateur acts of terror. If their applications were successful they were permitted to attend a council course, which furnished them with the rudiments: car bombing, hijacking and guerilla-style complaining.

They were also taught how to make their own balaclavas using the knitting pattern and free knitting needles which were included in a 1976 edition of Pretty Girl Weekly, an issue which sold out 3 times over in Belfast.

Below is a 'Terrorist Tingle' firework casing from 1978.

"Arms Length" Safety Poster (Bonfire Night Part 1)

When Scarfolk Council issued the poster below in 1972, it was met with complaints from parents, teachers and arsonists. While the poster does offer the safety guideline of an 'arms length', it does not specify how long that arm should be: The arm of a policeman (the long arm of the law) is of course much longer than the arm of a 6 month old baby (the short arm of a largely useless, albeit nutritious imbecile).

Because of this governmental vagueness, come Bonfire Night, many adults needlessly suffered nasty burns when trying to set fire to their children. Something clearly needed to be done.

The council scoured the town until they found a resident whose arm they deemed to be an appropriate length. This they amputated then sent to schools, scout groups and civic centres so that they could each take a measurement. The arm was put on display in the council foyer, but was eventually returned to its owner when Scarfolk went metric.


If you're wondering why people might want to set fire to their children, you'll have to wait until next week to find out. In the meantime, Bonfire Night Part 2 will be posted later today.

Friday, 31 October 2014

The "Nonnein" Wraith Advisory Board (1970)

Similar to the Ouija Board, the "Nonnein" Wraith Advisory Board was released by Scarfolk Games in 1970. The main difference between the two boards was that the latter gave the deceased more control over their messages.

Ghosts had became weary of dictating one letter at a time to the living, especially if they had poor spelling skills, so they welcomed the upgraded Nonnein Board which permitted them to shuffle the letters and spell out their own messages in 140 characters or less.

Predictably, the initial otherworldly communiqu├ęs were ominous, such as those below:



However, eerie threats and foreboding creepiness eventually gave way to genuine, inter-plane bonhomie:


The Nonnein Board also became a political interface between the spirit and earthly realms and by 1979 there were, in local government, several deceased politicians defending the social rights of both living and dead constituents. This wasn't without some controversy, as right-leaning politicians expressed concern at the idea of dead people immigrating to the UK and taking the jobs of the living.

Happy Halloween from Scarfolk Council.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

"Ritual & Invasive Mind Control" (Mayflower Books, 1978)

From children to teachers to pensioners; from secretaries to factory workers to black propaganda operatives secretly working for the government disguised as school dinner ladies, mind control was all the rage in 1970s Scarfolk.

Everyone was at it. Dozens of 'DIY' books flooded the market and there was a schism over which was the better method: occult ritual magick, the use of precision medical implements such as straightened wire coat hangers, or television advertising.

Because the government had already employed potent thought-control techniques to cap the cognitive abilities of citizens, most people didn't master much more than the basics, such as the Disco Leech Maneouver (see the book cover below), which reduced the mental age of a subject by up to 4 hours.

An except from chapter one:

"...Carefully insert a finger or medical (non-musical) instrument into the nasal cavity. The opening is quite narrow but about 2 metres in it opens out into a larger chamber. Here you will encounter a marsupial called Zimbardo, who guards the entrance to the brain. You will not be able to pass him unless you agree to a wrestling match (Blavatsky rules). Let him win. Once you have access to the brain you will see that its interior resembles bubble wrap. Use your finger/instrument to pop as many of these 'think pockets' as you feel is appropriate. If the subject begins to gurgle or talk backwards, immediately exit the brain via the nostril, ensuring that you take any litter with you..."


Friday, 10 October 2014

"Inhale for Britain" (1974)

In the 1970s a government think-tank headed by Scarfolk councillor E. Bernays predicted that 21st century Britain might see a much-increased elderly population. Already faced with a recession, the government decided on a two-pronged solution that would not only reduce the numbers of future senior citizens but also boost the economy.

It strongly encouraged people, especially children, to smoke and then, once addiction had become more widespread, the tax on cigarettes was raised. The short-term plan was to bolster the economy with the tobacco levy and, in the long term, drastically reduce the number of people reaching pensionable age by ensuring they develop fatal, smoking-related illnesses.

To further secure economic stability the government also began slowly dismantling the NHS (Notional Health Service) so that it could not be made financially accountable for any pensioners who accidentally slipped through the net and stubbornly endured.

The poster below from 1974, which was aimed at impoverished children, took advantage of the national pride and sense of 'Britishness' which had been fabricated by an earlier government propaganda campaign intended to control the uneducated.


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, or at least well enough 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"