Dis­cov­er­ing Scar­folk

A lo­cal book for lo­cal peo­ple

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Books -

Re­lease Date: 16 Oc­to­ber

191 pages | £ 12.99 ( hard­back) Au­thor: Richard Lit­tler Pub­lisher: Ebury Press

The past is a dif­fer­ent

coun­try. And in the case of the ’ 70s, that coun­try in­creas­ingly seems like a place you wouldn’t like to visit – cer­tainly not with­out tak­ing some mace spray and get­ting your jabs.

Spun off from the ex­cel­lent Scar­folk web­site ( http:// scar­folk. blogspot. co. uk), Richard Lit­tler’s book presents it­self as a col­lec­tion of ma­te­ri­als re­lat­ing to a mys­te­ri­ous north- west town that’s off the map, and only seems to have ex­isted from 1970- 1979. It di­als up all that’s out­dated about his­tory’s brownest decade, mak­ing the xeno­pho­bic at­ti­tudes more shame­less, the food more ined­i­ble, the health and safety stan­dards even more shoddy. Then it stirs in the para­noia of The Pris­oner and the ab­sur­dism of Python or Vic Reeves. The re­sult: a strange al­ter­nate- uni­verse realm of fon­due sets, can­ni­bal­ism and con­stant surveil­lance.

The text, which re­ports the night­mar­ish ex­pe­ri­ences of a man who be­came trapped in the town, does an en­ter­tain­ing enough job of pre­sent­ing lu­natic go­ings- on with a straight face. But the main draw are the witty vi­su­als: a pub­lic in­for­ma­tion poster that treats ba­bies as a threat like ra­bies; an ad for ice lol­lies with names like Gam­mon Bed­sore; the cover for a guide to brain­wash­ing chil­dren. Beau­ti­fully re­alised, they’re cry­ing out to be made into a range of vis­i­tor- baf­fling framed prints. Ian Berriman

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