Dulltown, Europe: Today’s dictionary word is ‘cremocarp’ – the characteristic fruit of the Umbelliferae, composed of two one-seeded halves which split apart and dangle from the top of the axis. The ones I have wake me up in the night with the sound of their constant splitting and popping…
Here is another page of early 1960s matchbox labels from my childhood collection. For more information on this you may like to look at an earlier post on the subject:
Well, it looks like I’m a philuminist then… | Dave Whatt
Good morning class… I’m going to start today’s talk with a few remarks about your appalling behaviour last week when we visited the International Tandstikkers and Lucifers Conference. Yes, I know only a minority of you spent too long in the bar and upset the proceedings in the main hall with your singing, chanting, and lewd behaviour, but I’m afraid that the fine reputation that this college has earned over the last hundred years been thoroughly dragged into the mud by your antics. Well done everyone! I’m glad you have gained something from my lectures! Now, let’s press on…
Anyone fancy a buttered crumpet? ‘Hurrah!’ it’s a ‘Jackson’s Golden Harvest Crumpet’ and it is suitable ‘for any occasion’! Mm… delicious! Oh, mind you don’t drip butter onto your iPads… you can’t just run them through the dishwasher you know!
What’s next? A rather insipid blue ‘A. W. Hakansson’ label with not much to recommend it, apart from perhaps, some spectacular spiky Scandinavian spelling – I particularly like ‘Yxnanas’ – I think one would need a rather special sort of mouth to pronounce that word. The third one on the first row is a rather nice label in black and gold, it looks like an advert for some dockside bar or other. The drawing has the look of a Picasso about it – do you think it might be Japanese?… Yes?… No?… Oh, please yourselves…
Row two: A rather half-hearted attempt at a sailing ship on the ‘Hjelt Lindgren’ label, a super ‘Fish Brand’ label in red, black, and gold – lovely design! And a ‘Co-op’ one – I don’t know what country it’s from, perhaps one of you could do a bit of research on it for us?
Now… Oh, Mr Pilbeam… Yes… Ms Smetana, sitting next to you seems to have nodded off to sleep, would you mind waking her up please? Thank you! Welcome back to the world of the living Ms Smetana! Now, let us proceed.
No, no, no! That’s ridiculous! First and second ones on row three, the ‘Double Lion’ matchboxes. We all know that lions are supposed to be impressive and fierce, but that one just looks silly! You could easily fight it off with a hair bush! A good design idea, but I’m afraid people would laugh at it. Imagine that thing trotting round the house all night, snarling, snapping, and arguing about which way it should go. Mm… I wonder what happens to all the food it eats?… For your homework, I’d like a thousand words on these two labels – please compare the two, and discuss the effectiveness of the double lion motif. Look out, here come a very odd-looking character! ‘Oxan Floyel’ – is that his name? He looks like a European version of Guy Fawkes to me – a bit too creepy, that moustache and little pointy beard – I wouldn’t like to bump into him on a dark night…
Okay… Everybody strapped in to your anti-gravity bunks? Ms Smetana, are you strapped in? Get Mr Pilbeam to help you… That’s it, are you snug? Well done! All right, the countdown has started – let’s go! Yes, it’s a lovely little matchbox – ‘Allers’ – a book fastened to a rocket zooming off into space. Crazy, but magnificent!
I think we might skip one or two very ordinary labels coming up now, but what about those two cheap-looking pink ones from the USSR? Nicely observed drawings of our sporting comrades doing their stuff and winning a few medals for us. Hey up! What’s this? There’s a person (M or F?) in charge of a big beast with antlers and with a very puzzled expression on its hairy face. Let us see what it says underneath… Oh yes, ‘Rautatiekirjakauppa Oy’ – ah right, well that’s got that sorted out then… all is now clear…
Did I just hear the ‘Cock’ crow? It’s all the way from Daccar in Pakistan – the middle one on row six – Nice crisp printing, red and black on a beige ground – a fine little label! What’s next? Now this does look weird! Am I missing something, or do I see the decapitated heads of the three wise men left on a very large piece of cake in the shape of a six pointed star out in the open? There is nobody around, and there is a large public building across the way too. As you can see, it says ‘St Niklaas-W’ on it. Ms Smetana, perhaps, if you can stay awake for a moment or two, you could do a bit of Googling on this enigmatic image and share the results with us?
What remains on this sheet? A white sliced loaf from Jackson’s, I’ll bet their bread isn’t as nice as their crumpets, anyone fancy another? – there are a few left. A really poorly printed Iberian castle on a cloudy day, and a Soviet label showing where the comrades go on their holidays if they want to look at an avenue of trees with some well mown grass down the middle. Again, we see typical USSR cheapskate printing and colour selection – it looks like murky brown on pale green paper – perhaps this is Comrade Chekhov’s Cherry orchard?
‘Come on Dmitri, let’s go and have a look, let’s soak up some culture…’
‘Okay Olga, I’ll bring some smuggled English crumpets if I can get them… we can eat them on the grass.’
The ‘Dave Whatt Label of the Week’ shall be the ‘Allers’ spaceship – for its great style and cheerfulness.