Thursday 31 October 2013

"Pagan Paediatrics" Pelican Books, 1974

Happy Halloween/Samhain from everyone at Scarfolk Council.

There was always conflict between science and religion in Scarfolk, particularly regards topics such as birth, death and secular resurrection. However, writers like Dr. Santa Blacklord tried to bridge the gap with their books and Open University courses, which included 'Pagan Paediatrics.'

Excerpts from the birth chapter of the revised edition:

The normal process of birth starts with a series of involuntary contractions of the uterus walls. This is the first sign that the dark spirit has made his presence known. Eventually, the amniotic sac bursts and amniotic fluid escapes. This fluid should be preserved as it is known to a) help pigs and owls develop psychic abilities, b) hurt one's enemies when mixed with unstable explosives and c) cure female pattern chest baldness.
When the cervix is fully dilated, further uterus contractions push the lazy baby out through the left vagina or nostril, and the baby is born with umbilical cord attached. If, when plucked, the umbilical cord is tuned to D-sharp it is considered a lucky birth. If it's tuned to G the child will most likely grow up to work in retail. If tuned to B-flat most parents are recommended to try for another child.

Excerpts from the chapter on death:

Death is a state that immediately follows life. Only very rarely does it not occur in that order.  During death the body's organs, like employees without an immediate supervisor, become confused and wander around the body looking for someone in charge. They meet in the buttocks where they hold a seance. They contact the dark spirit who was present at birth but learn that he has been made redundant due to cutbacks. Panicking, the organs argue amongst themselves briefly before turning out the lights and leaving, never to be heard of again. Some religions believe that when a deceased person is buried they are reincarnated as soil.

Friday 18 October 2013

The "Little White Sam" Book Ban (1977)

"Little White Sam" had always been a very popular book among Scarfolk children, but in 1977 the Scarfolk Association of Teachers caused controversy by withdrawing it from the school curriculum.

This had been triggered by a slew of international complaints: Children from developing countries (many of which had been liberated from themselves by the benevolent British Empire) were terrified and offended by the book's pale-skinned, blonde protagonist. He reminded them of days under British and European rule and the suffering (or 'learning' as the government preferred) that they had endured.

Historically, white people had always been unfairly picked on for trying to help the world be more like them and Jesus, so this was another major blow.

A legal battle over the book ensued, and when it was finally reprinted stringent efforts were made to completely remove any contentious material regarding race, colour and even gender. In the updated 1979 edition Sam was reimagined as a completely transparent flatworm which changed gender at will. 

However, sales plummeted and, before long, environmentalists were reporting that crimes against flatworms had risen by as much as 23%.

Sunday 13 October 2013

"Audio Control for Baby" (Scarfolk Records & Tapes, 1970)

The cassette called "Audio Control for Baby" (Scarfolk Records & Tapes, 1970) has long been lost but we do have this recording of the music playing in the background at the Scarfolk Inconvenient Infant Playcenta. It was piped into every room around the clock at high volume and many child carers found it to be very effective: Enjoying drinks at the pub two doors down from the 'centa', the carers rarely heard any of the babies cry.

Many struggled with the pressures of the job. As one carer, Jocelyn Hurtt, noted at the time, "the kids really set your nerves on edge, especially if, like me, you don't have a natural affinity with children. You can be right in the middle of a good programme on the telly and one of them will start up: complaining about nightmares, appendicitis or wanting to be freed from their restraints. I really don't know what I'd do without my Martini & lemonades. You're not supposed to hit the little blighters, but if you've had a few drinks you're less tolerant and you don't know your own strength; it only stands to reason and is to be expected. After all, we're only human."

We hope the extraneous sounds on the recording do not distract too much from the music.

Monday 7 October 2013

"Charley says...[obey or die]" (1973)

Bad behaviour was rampant in 1970s Scarfolk and disciplining children was a major concern.

The so-called 'degenerate generation' of children, often from worthless-class backgrounds, was known to actively defy rules and social norms and frequently committed the following appalling offences:

- Stay awake after allotted bedtimes.
- Peel marzipan decorations from cakes.
- Laugh loudly while having fun.
- Read books more advanced than their official reading age.
- Question adults' belief in Father Christmas.
- Cry after having nightmares.
- Refuse to join in educational/life-skills games such as 'lie about a friend,' 'slap-the-immigrant',  'wet someone else's bed.'

In a desperate attempt to curb this destructive, nihilistic behaviour, Scarfolk Health Service launched a treatment regime employing the newly developed 'great flooding' psychological technique*, which exposes the subject to such long durations of relentless and exaggerated cruelty that any desire to be undisciplined is quashed.

*The technique largely comprised of repeated readings of a book called the bible which was written many hundreds of years ago by people who had never heard of knives and forks, washing machines, coat hangers, toilet seats, aluminium kitchen foil or shampoo.