Thursday 26 November 2015

"This is...Scarfolk" (date unknown)

Many people will remember Miroslav Šašek's "This Is..." series of illustrated guide books for children. Following his famous works on London, Edinburgh, Ireland, Paris and New York, Šašek turned his attention to 1970s Scarfolk.

He worked on “This is…Scarfolk” for several months and included many recognisable places and people: the pagan Officist cult deity, Mr Johnson (see Discovering Scarfolk for more details); Kak the bird, mascot of the 'Don't' public information campaign, and the Council Christmas Boy.

However, when Šašek submitted the manuscript to the BCWA, the council's Board of Censorship and Whimsical Annihilation, he found himself facing legal obstacles.

The council felt that the book contained "untruths which could cast the town in a bad light". Firstly, the council complained that the front of the Scarfolk Death Bus on the book's cover was blood splattered, "which suggests that [the bus] wilfully drives at people with the intention of knocking them down, whereas, in actual fact, community Death Bus drivers prefer to back up over pedestrians who are dilly-dallying on pavements or in the doorways of shops".

The council also complained about the depiction of a nuclear mushroom cloud. A devastating accident at the local nuclear plant had not been scheduled for at least three more years.

Finally, the Council Christmas Boy did not like to be looked at under any circumstances and cursed the project. When a test print run of 20 copies was made, mysterious falling figures appeared on the covers. One week later 20 people connected with the book inexplicably threw themselves from the roof of the council building. They survived, but only briefly, as they were all quickly backed over by the Scarfolk Death Bus. It is perhaps these events which in part led to the Falling Disorder campaign.

The publication was cancelled and all that remains of it is the cover above.

Thursday 19 November 2015

Brood Parasites (1970)

In 1970 there was a spate of cases involving brood parasites. Unknown children began appearing in households all over Scarfolk. So inconspicuous were these children that months would go by before a host family noticed a strange child in their midst, sitting at their dinner tables, taking over the bedrooms and toys of the youngest legitimate family members. Social workers reported that it was as if each host family had been "hypnotised" into believing the child was theirs.

It was also discovered that these children had been regularly stealing small, family possessions which they then sealed in wax and hair and buried in scrubland beneath a motorway flyover. When unmarked Scarfolk council vans were found collecting the wax-sealed objects, an enquiry was launched. The council rejected the accusation that the brood parasite offspring were part of a secret government deal with "an insistent non-human organisation", and they were pressured to tackle the problem, hence the poster campaign above.

Local corporations generously funded a community aid scheme, whose slogan was "The future of our real children is at stake". Scarfolk Tobacco Company recommended literally smoking out the preternatural children and sent thousands of complimentary packs of cigarettes to infant schools, while Scarf Distilleries Ltd. promoted the regular application of neat alcohol to any suspect minors.

It is now believed that there were very few officially accepted brood parasites and the vast majority of arrests turned out to be normal children rejected by their disappointed parents because of low exchange evaluations.

Friday 13 November 2015

I-Spy Surveillance Books

In the years before digital surveillance and the government's Snooper's Charter, it was much harder for the state to spy on its citizens.

Without the technology we have today, the government had to rely on manpower, specifically from society's most innocent members - minors. Children in the UK especially were much easier to manipulate and were largely oblivious to the creeping diminishment of their civil liberties.

I-Spy books were published by the state and given as gifts, as well as distributed to schools, youth clubs and infant terror organisations (see "The Infant Liberation Front"). The books transformed the tedium of surveillance into play, encouraging children to routinely observe and record the actions, speech and private correspondence of people who the government deemed to be enemies of society. These included "free-thinkers, beneficiaries of welfare and other degenerates. [...] Extremists, potential extremists, and those whose profound lack of extremist attributes is extreme in itself, are also worthy of suspicion and censure."

The completed books even prompted children to spy on themselves, which many found difficult, even with the mirrors provided.

Each completed book was sent to a local government councillor whose job it was to forward the data to the relevant renditions team, and also to decide if any compensation was due to the child; for example, if the surveillance data they had submitted led to the arrest and execution of a parent.

More about surveillance in Scarfolk here:
"Unlearn Privacy Cards"
"We Watch You While You Sleep. TV Signal Intrusion"
"Roy, The Telekinetic Child-Owl"

Friday 6 November 2015

Remembrance Poppies Leaflet (1977)

In 1977 a war briefly broke out in Scarfolk over how peacetime should be administrated. The government favoured aggressively pursuing corporate and economic interests in overseas territories. This was executed by the newly-founded Department of Foreign Business Acquisitions (FBA), another name for what was also known as the armed forces. By chance, international conflicts often broke out shortly before the FBA's scheduled arrival in troubled regions, and it was both fortunate and convenient that the FBA were on hand to liberate lucrative businesses, particularly those pertaining to natural resources, from enemy control.

Others in Scarfolk favoured the strict regimentation of peace on home turf. The council published a lengthy list of civic misdeeds which were regarded as "incompatible with war and/or peace". While the list included obvious restrictions such as "engaging in illegal conflict without paying appropriate war-spoils tax to the government", it also included lesser misdemeanours such as not wearing remembrance poppies. The red flower, a symbol of fought-for freedoms which are "to be exercised in precisely the manner stipulated by the state", was worn as a sign of respect to the honourable men and women who lost their lives in wars, honourable or otherwise.