Hey, look at me swim!…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s octopus is the one arguing with his tailor about the hang of the sleeves on the new jacket he’s having made.

Hey, let’s have a look at yet another page from that great book written for young lads living in Britain in the 1950s, the Lion Annual  – a scruffy old and defaced junk shop book from my small collection of such tat. If you’d like to see what the book looks like there’s a picture of the front and back covers at the foot of this page – oh, that classy illustration and those lovely colours!
Yes, but here’s an item from the inside – page 16. The title at the top (not included here) is World Wide Quiz:

Oh, come on lads! You should know the difference between a cruiser, a battleship, and a titchy little motor torpedo-boat! You, you at the back! You are nodding off – do try to pay attention! If you all work hard here at school, you might, one day, have the privilege of serving your country aboard one of these fine vessels, you could go to interesting places all over the world and help shoot those bad ungrateful people who are getting a bit uppity in the colonies, and maybe you might even be lucky enough to get your ship sunk, and even get blown up yourselves! Oh, what excitement! Rule Britannia!…

I really like this fellow doing a bit of swimming in the bottom right. What a great drawing – I’d have that on a t-shirt! Mind you, he does look like he’s frantically trying to race the ships. Look at those nicely drawn beads of water being flicked up by his hand, and his mouth gasping for air! I’ll bet the chap (I’m pretty sure it must be a chap, and not a lady) who drew this must be an excellent swimmer! The thing is though, because our swimmer is wearing goggles, and the artist has shaded half the lenses in, he looks like he’s got mad staring eyes – perhaps he’s thinking – Oh shit!… Is that a shark down there?…
I’ve just noticed something about this drawing that puzzles me. Look behind our plucky lad – on the side of the pool, it looks like it says six inches (6″). Usually on the side of a swimming pool it would give the depth of water – surely he’s not flopping along scraping his knees on the bottom in six inches of water? Or, does that figure refer to how high the side of the pool is above the water, what would be the point of that? Maybe the artist meant to write six feet (6′)? Any ideas?…
Aha! Problem solved! My apologies dear reader!
I just got my magnifying glass out and had a very close look at the drawing – I don’t think after the six that is the sign for inches at all, but a rather sloppily written lower case abbreviation ‘ft’ for feet, which here looks surprisingly like the ” sign for inches.
Phew, I’m glad we got that cleared up, I’d have been awake all night puzzling over it!

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...
This entry was posted in archeology, art, books, drawing, history, humour, information, learning, puzzle, surrealism, war and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Hey, look at me swim!…

  1. ktz2 says:

    I thought the same as you about the swimmer’s eyes even before I read it…his expression is good for a laugh. And a closer look at the book’s cover has me wondering—just what is going on with those 2 boys/men?.. zooming around with their jetpacks in the void of space, with spaceguns drawn… funny

  2. Sharon Mann says:

    I can imagine the boys of the day scouring the pages of the Lion.

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