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.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

"Wardrobe Men"


In 1973 there was an increase in complaints about odd, mumbling men appearing spontaneously in people's wardrobes. The council allocated funds to have them removed, but their efforts were in vain. No sooner had they expelled a 'wardrobe man' than another would appear in his place. Inexplicably, the men somehow found their way into residents' wardrobes regardless of how well doors and windows had been secured.

When the council realised that the wardrobe men's whispered mumbles were detailed (albeit slowed down, backward) accounts of what they saw and heard from their closeted vantage points, it quickly registered the mysterious men as state employees. Once a week, local council workers recorded the wardrobe men's accounts onto wax reels, processed the audio in vast laboratories and prosecuted residents who contravened any of the local laws, which changed almost daily.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Police Interrogation Safewords


Almost everybody endured police interrogations at some point during the 1970s. They were so frequent that most families had a packed bag by the front door (people were expected to bring a spare change of underwear and their own first-aid supplies).

If by chance all members of a family were summoned together, they might make a day of it, have a picnic in the prison facility's Garden of Incorruptibility and watch the interrogation of their loved ones on big monitors. Laugh tracks were included to minimise distress.

While the security services were openly proud of their slogans such as "we promise to raise a glass to those who don't confess", if a detainee did suffer irreversible psychological or physical damage as a result of their interrogation, the family was awarded a £5 book token and a potted cactus as compensation.

More about Scarfolk Security Services.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

"Children: The Cause of All Crime"


In 1970 the Scarfolk Crime Commission embarked on the largest study into crime to date. After two years of intense investigation it found a startling correlation between the types of people who commit crime and their early life experiences.

The findings were unequivocal: 100% of criminals had also once been children.

The council immediately put into effect acts intended to reduce, if not entirely eradicate this insidious cause of crime. Thousands of children were rounded up in camps. Toys were burnt in massive pyres. Adults were sterilised. Anyone who had been in regular contact with children, or had ever been a child, was quarantined in vast bunkers specially built several storeys below the council building.

Though Scarfolk was reduced to a ghost town, the scheme proved a success. During the first month that these stringent measures had been implemented not one crime had been committed. Consequently, at the 1972 Conference of Sham Utopias, a local conservative MP predicted that the most successful towns, and even countries, of the future will be those that eradicate all citizens who have any connection to, or dealings with, children or the adults they grow into.

For more about bad children, see: Brood parasites, Serious Infant Dental Assault, the Never Go with Strange Children campaign and the Infant Liberation Front terror group.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Benefits Assessment Bouncers (1972)


In 1972 the council outsourced its sick and disability benefits assessment service to a team of nightclub bouncers. The bouncers broke into the homes of claimants in the dead of night, shone lights in their faces and screamed threats at them.

Claimants who were identified as frauds were thrown down their own stairs, often repeatedly, to ensure that their physical and mental conditions matched their claims.

Genuine claimants were offered a menu of euthanasia options of varying price and bullied into choosing the most expensive, the so-called 'Kill Pill', which also contained a mild explosive (see poster above). However, claimants did have the choice to nominate another family member who could commit suicide in their place.

People who refused to take their own lives were officially recategorised as "potentially hazardous biological litter"; they were consequently charged with self-fly-tipping and taken away in vast fleets of skips on the first Monday of every month.

Monday, 1 May 2017

The Annual Maypylon Dance


Only children whose parents had lost either their jobs or their lives were selected to take part in the annual Scarfolk Maypylon Dance. On the face of it, the tradition welcomed in Spring, but it was really just an exercise in cutting unnecessary welfare expenditure. Funds were rerouted to more important undertakings such as supporting the arms industry, which sold weapons to volatile nations that regularly threatened Britain with war.

Super-conductive copper ribbons were used during the dance because it was believed that their combination with 400,000 volts and expendable children opened a vortex to an alternate dimension where household items were always on sale and could be purchased for a fraction of the price. Items that were brought back through the vortex, however, risked corruption by dark forces, as witnessed on May 1st 1971 when Scarfolk was overrun by a vast horde of malevolent, sentient food blenders.

For more May Day celebrations, see the Scarfolk Wicker Man.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Election Campaign Poster (1974)


Gerry Mander (see above) was the Scarfolk Party candidate in the 1974 election. Though much of his nationalistic campaign consisted of subliminal brainwashing techniques, complicated satanic invocations, and simply lying and punching liberals in the face, he did also proffer tangible promises.

For example, he wanted Britain to be the first western nation to construct an underground sewage system designed specifically to transport its disabled and sick to landfill sites. He also insisted that women finally be recognised as the most valuable resource in their husband's or father's livestock.

Most of all, he strongly promoted British exports such as conker wine and badger cheese and demanded that the UK be acknowledged as the clear trade leader out of all the world’s authoritarian third world nations.