Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Dandy

Fantasy Bob sees that The Dandy will shortly cease to exist as a printed comic.  There are obituaries in every newspaper for Desperate Dan and Korky the Cat.   Neither was a cricketer of any merit.

FB was never a great consumer of the DC Thomson comics as he was growing up.  He most frequently saw the Dandy or the Beano at the barbers as he waited his turn for the short back and sides.  They were among a carefully selected set of reading material which also included the long lost newsprint weeklies Titbits and Reveille.  As FB approached adolescence these seemed a bit on the racy side containing as they did the occasional photograph of a young lady in a swimsuit.  He still recalls them with that faintly erotic nostalgia.  Times have moved on - on his visits to the barbers nowadays all that is on offer is the Scotsman which, try as he might, FB can never classify as racy.

In his younger days FB was prescribed improving literature rather than comics of little educational merit like the Dandy.  At first this was in the form of a magazine for very young children called Robin.  But then he graduated to Look and Learn, which was very earnest and contained all manner of information about stuff and not a hint of Desperate Dan or Bash Street Kids.  Not much of a hint of cricket either.

Occasional concessions allowed FB to peruse The Eagle, which was an adventure comic and lead with the stirring tales of Dan Dare - Pilot of the Future.  Dan Dare has been described as Biggles in Space, so stiff were the upper lips of he and his colleagues as they vanquished interplanetary foes in particular the Mekon (who bore a slight resemblance to Mornie Morkel).  The Eagle had high standards in art work - among those who were first published in it include Gerald Scarfe and David Hockney.  But it went into decline and ceased publication in 1969.  Perhaps some cricket stories would have helped it.

After tiring of Look and Learn, FB subscribed for many years to a magazine called Finding Out - which was superbly illustrated and was indexed and came with binders to form an encyclopaedia.  It was  dominated by scientific articles, but had its leavening of history and geography.  FB probably still depends on what he read in Finding Out for all he knows about most branches of science.  But he cannot recall any articles of cricketing interest.  Finding Out and Look and Learn merged in 1967.  FB would be surprised if it still was published.

For a short period, FB also took the Hotspur, a more traditional boys comic.  There were football and school stories but also a character called the Wolf of Kabul.  This was set in the North Western Frontier of times passed - the wolf was an undercover British officer but his manservant Chung used a cricket bat (Klicki-Ba) as an offensive weapon when cornered, as he was every week, by bandits and the like.

The Little Pudlington XI

The Hotspur eventually merged with The Victor which carried dedicated cricket stories about the team from the village of Little Pudlington who got so far as touring Australia.  The side was hardly an expression of Britain's drive to modernity in the 1970s - it was run by Colonel Clutterbuck (the Squire) whose gardener, Sid Crocker, was skipper. Among the many challenges it had to face were biased umpires. An original story of The Pudlington side can be found on the excellent website on this link.

Peter Green
Eventually FB tired of all this kids' stuff and moved on to music magazines reading for many years Beat Instrumental which was a monthly glossy publication with extended reviews and interviews with musicians from more progressive bands.  While it had a lot about Fleetwood Mac (in their original incarnation) and guitars and amplifiers, it had precious little about cricket.

In that respect, it and the Dandy had much in common.

Beat Instrumental disappeared in 1980 or thereabouts.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my God, I used to read the Dandy when I was a little boy and now that I see it on your post, it brings me so many happy memories from my childhood!