Mr X stared in amazement…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s interesting vinyl album title is Lick My Decals off Baby by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (1970). (Album) (Song)

Come on, let’s pull this battered, fluffy-edged, but colourfully printed old children’s book out of its nest in the bottom corner of the bookshelf – yes, dear reader, it’s another of my junk shop books, the Lion Annual from 1956. Let’s open it at random and… Oh, now, that’s a surprising image! Oh dear, I’m not sure I really want to be looking at that… There are just so many things about this image that…

Yes, but this was 1956 you know. Back then we Britishers (as the Americans sometimes call us) were still fairly keen on instilling the idea of adventure in far-flung places into our children – or perhaps to put it another way, going marching round the world conquering and exploiting people to increase our wealth and power…
Looking at it now, it seems to me that the mysterious Little People of the Mountains have got the right attitude…
‘Alright Mr X, I’ll bet you are wondering where we are going today… No, no, it’s no good you shouting about the British Empire, His Majesty the King back in London, and Christianity – oh, and how we can work for you, cutting down all our nice old trees, and building steam engines for your sawmills and factories… In a minute or two you’ll see that there’s a really nice volcano just along this track, I’m sure that you will find it most interesting… Come on lads, let’s get him up to the top… Sorry if it’s a bit bouncy for you Mr X – this path is unusually rock strew this morning… It’ll be well worth the climb though… Just you wait!…’

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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27 Responses to Mr X stared in amazement…

  1. The old Lion Annual, eh? I used to read that way back when. Gulliver’s Travels reinvented. I re-read an Enid Blyton recently … The Horror, The Horror … and the less said about Allan Quartermain the better … Macumazan … if I remember correctly …

    • Dave Whatt says:

      “The horror”?
      Alan Quartermain: I think once tried stuff that featured him, but the writing was a bit too dense and old-style for my young brain…

      • Shooting an elephant, cutting out its heart, roasting it, and leaving the rest of the dead body for the vultures …amongst other things …

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Well, there’s Victorian arrogance for you – I don’t think I’ll be catching up on any H.R.H. in the near future.

      • It’s amazing to look back on what we were given to read when we were young. I remember sitting quietly in class while King Solomon’s Mines were read to us by the school-master.

      • Dave Whatt says:

        We were once read ‘Horatius at the Bridge’ (by Lord Macaulay) by our creepy English teacher – horrible bloody violence throughout! – He loved it!…

      • Now Lars Porsenna of Clusium, by the Nine Gods he swore that the great house of Tarquin should suffer wrong no more … I too have the tee-shirt for that one! And yes, there were some ‘creepy’ masters out there. I think some of mine were WWI damaged …

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Yes, they certainly were a funny lot back then – I’ll bet none of them had any training in teaching.
        The one who was keen on Macaulay used to be in the R M Commandos, and I recall one day had the woodwork teacher in a headlock… Ah, happy days!…

      • Oh boy! Those were the days …

  2. Dana Doran says:

    Haha! Blah blah blah….just a little lesson for a 9 year old to be careful about just where he explores…perhaps not to go it alone? A more effective deterrent came later:

  3. Oooh Gullivers Travels! Gosh now that brings back memories….jolly good read. However I do like this Mr X – he looks a bit annoyed with all the lashings up and carried around the place. Lovely drawing. 🙂

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Yes, they just pinched the plot from Gull’s Travels didn’t they?
      Ah, the drawings! Those were the days, when people were taught to draw from an early age!

      • That reminds me of something I read that the traditional Chinese painters were taught from a very young age, and spent an entire year – a YEAR! painting a simple line with a brushstroke. Talk about perfection. Such a shame the art of drawing isn’t encouraged in schools these days. “Don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong” a quote from…erm…someone whose name escapes me now. 🙂

      • Dave Whatt says:

        “Practise until you can’t get it wrong” – Oh, I do like that Scribbler – it applies nicely to blues guitar playing too.
        The standard of drawing in some cartoons has fallen off badly over the years – the figure and facial drawing reminds me of ‘toilet wall style’…

  4. Shammy says:

    The Little People of the Mountains obviously have not invented the wheel yet. Perhaps they could ask Mr X to show them. It would make their lives a lot easier.

  5. This makes me think of the old Tarzan movies (and others of that type) that used to play on TV on Sunday mornings before we had to go through the exercise of getting all dressed up for church (it was the 1960’s, I’m aged about 7, and I hated my Sunday clothes). The two things, this kind of movie and Sunday mornings, are inextricably linked in my mind. The kind of thing I like to look back on. I hope Mr. X enjoys the ride and I can’t wait to see him tossed in the volcano.

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