Saturday 31 October 2015

"Infant Catcherbots" Public Information Poster (1975)

After last week's post about the Bladder Clown surgical toy we thought it seasonally appropriate to show you another artefact filed in our Automaclown Archive B.  

Parents in the 1970s were required to submit their children to civic trials, the details of which are not fully clear to us now. We do know, however, that the few children who survived them developed debilitating paranormal powers such as retrospective-clairvoyance - the ability to see the future of people who lived in the past.

Perhaps understandably, many children went unregistered for "The Trials" and the council was forced to track them down by ever devious means. By 1975 the council had developed Catcherbots which, in various guises, lured and apprehended unregistered children. In addition to the Clown Catcherbot (see the council's Halloween poster campaign above) there were also the Jesus, 'lovely Nana', pony-demon and Noel Edmonds Catcherbot models.

Once an offending child had been identified, Catcherbots sucked them up through their 'catcherholes'. Early quantum technology made it possible for dozens of children to be imprisoned inside the Catcherbots in a space no larger than a shoe box. At least, that was the theory: many of the children were never seen again. The same technology was later used in recycling machines that crush and process plastic bottles.

Happy Halloween/Samhain! Do you know where YOUR child is tonight?

Thursday 22 October 2015

"Surgical Toy Insertions Catalogue 1973-1974"

In August 1972 the BBC broadcast a documentary about how overcrowded prisons were forcing the authorities to address alternatives such as house arrest and electronic monitoring. At least a decade before homing devices in the form of ankle monitors or bracelets were first used, a Scarfolk inventor called Matthew Shipton set out to find a solution, drawing upon his years of experience working for toy manufacturer, Scar Toys.

Working with Dr. Hushson of Cavalier Pharmaceuticals, who had made his name hybridising children with kitchen appliances for the catering industries (see Discovering Scarfolk p. 121 for more details), Shipton surgically implanted his daughter's musical box into a lesser-favoured nephew. Whenever the boy released adrenalin (a sure sign of wrongdoing) the musical box opened and played Debussy's Claire de Lune, warning those nearby of potential ill intent on the boy's part.

The documentary had unexpected repercussions. Children up and down Scarfolk wanted to be fitted with their favourite toys. The demand was so great that Scar Toys and Cavalier Pharm went into production. Their Surgical Toy Insertions were the #1 Christmas gift five years in succession.
Meanwhile, the prison system adapted Shipton's musical boxes so that, instead of containing twirling ballerinas, they housed bulldog clips which nipped at the vital organs of criminals if they transgressed. Clare de Lune, however, was retained for its calming effects.

See more from Scar Toys here: Lung Puppy
See more from Cavalier Pharm here: Mindborstal

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Public Information Booklet: "What To Do When..." (1976)

Below is one page from "What To Do When...", published in 1976. This government booklet was sent to Scarfolk schools, youth clubs and covens and taught children aged 5-12 the survival skills they would need in the bleak near future. The council took for granted, indeed had budgeted for, a complete social breakdown by the year 1979.

In the event of such a collapse, those in power, including Scarfolk's own mayor, would be housed in secure, luxury bunkers. Despite this, they deemed it "unsportsmanlike to let unprepared citizens perish so quickly. Besides, it wouldn't be at all entertaining for us"*. This referred to the many cameras which, as early as 1974, had been placed around the town to capture the unfolding dystopian drama, not for security reasons but merely for the amusement of the surviving elite - a prescient precursor to reality TV.

Chapters included:

"What To Do When..."
...Your Personality is Erased
...The Truth Doesn't Mean Anything Any More
...A Psychic Dog is Following You
...You Realise You Have Less Trading Value Than A Good Sock

* Excerpt from an internal council memo sent by Mayor Ritter to his most senior staff and his favourite office cactus, 32nd May 1976.

The subject of missing parents is also addressed in this post: "Is your mummy who she says she is?"

Monday 5 October 2015

Personal Space Allowance (1975)

Until 1975, the standard PSA (Personal Space Allowance) had always been fixed at a comfortable, civilised 20 inch zone around each citizen. The government suddenly amended this, however, citing terrorism and a rising population as reasons to cut personal space along with other social benefits and civil liberties.

The PSA was more than merely reduced: The new bodily zone into which representatives of the state (and even some commercial organisations) were now free to pass was amended to minus 5.2 inches. Naturally, this made human bodies 'semi-permeable', legally speaking, and for many people only the depths of their intestines remained private.

Police, security and social services enthusiastically exploited the new laws, as did the health service which randomly pilfered internal organs from unsuspecting citizens, claiming quite lawfully that they were found in 'communal public places'. The nervous public caught on and by 1977 there were self-help groups springing up all over Scarfolk which helped citizens become as obese as possible in an effort to protect their innermost parts from state interference and even commercial exploitation.