Monday 29 April 2013

W. Smith newspapers, magazines, stationery, 1979

Here's a 1979 shopping carrier bag from W. Smith, a leading newsagent, stationers and music shop.

When Winston Smith retired from the Records Department at the Ministry of Truth, he decided to open his own high-street Records Department in Scarfolk.

Daily newspapers were updated every 3 minutes and anyone possessing an out-of-date edition was arrested, prosecuted for dissent, and declared a "Scarfnot" (An "unperson" in Scarfolk).

Books were also constantly rewritten and "unbook" tokens were available. These tokens could be exchanged for any given book's amended pages. Indeed, some books were corrected so frequently that maintaining a single book could run into hundreds if not thousands of pounds.

A book's contents could change drastically. For example, by 1979, the erotic sci-fi thriller, "Affordable Brothel of the 9th Moon of Jupiter," bore little resemblance to its first edition, which was originally titled the "New Testament," a story about a Galilean carpenter who opens a budget furniture store in Sweden.

Most people found it easier not to buy or read books.

Items for sale week of 06/11/1979:

All magazines/comics - 65p:
Women Weakly (Highlighting the disruptive and damaging role of women in society).
Telescreen Fun (A weekly cartoon strip singling out individual children and deriding them for  personal indiscretions).
Rats 'n' Laughs (Hilarious images of people's expressions when hungry rats in cages are attached to their faces. Plus prisoners' letters).

Music dept:
"It's Inner Party Time!" and other public confession LPs & tapes - £3.99.


  1. I presume that all previous comments have been redacted to oblivion. I breathlessly await a similar fate for this one.

  2. Edit: "I presume that tall, impervious commoners have been reduced to odd believers. I cannot breathe at the summer fĂȘte for swans."

    That's better. Doubleplusgood.

  3. The 1977 de-luxe de-mastered edition of 'Marcel Marceau live' is even better than the first one : this brand new 'un-grooved' vinyl process is amazing !

  4. This just screams 1984. I thought scarfolk just repeated the 70s? (kidding but i love that book)

  5. They were ahead of the times.

  6. Pretty sure Wiston Smith more about rebelling against the party. Admittedly this mostly consisted A) keeping a diary and B) dating a younger women, but still.