From Barnaby: Time for bed stories, a 1974 children’s book that belonged to me when I was an actual, genuine child. As opposed to the many stupid books I’ve bought since, as an adult. It’s still in my library, currently shelved between a book containing numerous photographs of Viking artefacts and a scientific textbook on human colour perception and cognition. QED.
Talking of colours, what a perfectly 70s palette the book’s cover has. And how hilariously gauche is the slogan “A Dean’s happy times book”. “Dean’s happy times” sounds like some kind of Withnail & I euphemism, but Dean is the publishing company, not some fellow who just happened to be having a suspiciously happy time making books for children in the 1970s.
Star Wars fans should also have a good look at Barnaby. You think Carrie Fisher pioneered the infamous Princess Leia do? Wrong. Barnaby was rocking the Danish pastry earmuffs in 1974. George Lucas is such a hack.
Inside, Barnaby attempts to put all the other drug dealers out of business by selling his Moon trips for only 5p. In fact, if you imagine Barnaby as being a Danny the Dealer type character played by Ralph Brown, or perhaps as Stringer Bell from The Wire, then Barnaby’s reactions and dialogue become quite funny. On the next page, Barnaby (Idris Elba) says to Daddy, “Nigger, is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?”
I mainly scanned it for the fantastically camp “ALL ABOARD” title illustration, though.
Somebody– almost certainly me, since none of my siblings had handwriting this neat or legible even after they learned to write– made a pre-literate attempt at doing some minor rewrites of one story. Looks like I was just copying the letter forms in the knowledge that the symbols on the page encoded words, but without being entirely certain of how to reproduce them. I would transcribe my addition to the story as “tht nranunnym wvvercrcL mumy”. The last word could be “Mummy”, which appears often in the book. Interesting to see such a clear snapshot of my own brain trying to knit itself together. Also rare evidence of me writing in or defacing a book, something which even a few years later (and still, decades later) would normally horrify me.