Sunday, April 11, 2010


I found the 1973 Broons book on the Sunday book stall on the High Road today, for only a pound. Not that anybody would call that a real bargain - it's in a condition that any dealer would class as 'poor', before ordering you to get it out of their sight and stop wasting their time, it's falling apart at the seams and several of the pages have been carefully but only partially coloured in with felt tip pens, probably by someone whose name starts with J (I can't make out the name, but he/she was apparently presented the book, with all her love and four kisses, by Phyllis). J saw fit to give all the female characters, including the Bairn, bright blue eyeshadow and bright red lipstick.

Still, I don't care about the condition of the book or the garish makeup on the characters, I just like the stories. And, well, they're okay. Unexceptional, maybe, but the Broons are always fun to read, even the late-sixties-early-seventies ones reprinted in this volume. The funny thing is spotting which ones have been decimalised and which ones haven't - after original artist Dudley Watkins died in 1969, they reprinted old 1950s strips for a few years until they found a new permanent artist and started up all-new adventures again (well, as all-new as the Broons ever gets, anyway; they did keep up the much-loved tradition of using the same three plotlines over and over and over again forever). But during this reprint period, Britain switched to decimal currency, and so the reprinted strips after 1971 had all references to shillings replaced with new pence - taking inflation into account, too, so 'a bob' in the originals generally became '10p', and a half-crown was changed to 50p (sometimes they even re-drew the coin to make it heptagonal, which was a nice touch). But this book I've bought today doesn't follow through this logic, and just grabs the usual random selection of strips from the last few years to compile. So about half of them use decimal currency and half of them don't. It's a bit jarring.

Some of these reprints also redrew the more glaring anachronisms - I suspect the bus in this one was a tram when it first saw print. But I'm mostly posting it here so I can remind myself not to exclaim "Help! It's a Chinaman!" at the next memory championship. It's not really very polite.

1 comment:

Chris D. said...

Help ma boab, I'm pretty sure I owned that one somewhere along the line, having family friends who took the Sunday Post even down in Tyneside.

I sometimes actually say "michty me" in real life so it's nice to be reminded where I got the phrase from.