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.