Saturday, 23 March 2013

World Book Night 2013 prize announcement #2

Here at Julie's Gem's, we're pretty much all about humour. Especially humour that derives from misunderstanding things that have been said. Or just plain not understanding what has been said...
That said, we do like to appreciate some classics.

Humorous postcards are pretty much a British phenomenon. In fact, you could probably be more specific and say 'English'. The humour plays very much on the prurience that originated during the Victorian period, making allusions to sex, 'naughty' body parts (mostly boobs), and other 'taboo' matters. If you have ever watched a Carry On film, then you'll know just what I'm talking about.
Essentially, it's double entendres all the way;
"I can see your point."
"Yes, these trousers do need repairing."
Yes, I know it's not exactly side-splitting stuff now, but at the time this kind of banter was considered to be absolutely hilarious.

The undisputed king of the naughty postcards was Donald McGill. At the time, his cartoons and illustrations were fun, bright and entertaining, but there is now a massive following. Original drawings sell for thousands and even some of the rarer postcards can fetch a few hundred at auctions. Obviously, such a national treasure doesn't remain out of the spotlight for long and there is now a museum dedicated to the man and his work. Located on the Isle of Wight, it should be well worth a visit (sadly, I haven't been yet). Visit the website for more details.

Back to the postcards. McGill's style was very idiosyncratic. Men were usually hugely obese, as were their wives. However, if the husband was straying and the wife was on the warpath, then he would be drawn as dishevelled and she as either brawny or stringy. Yep. Stereotypes were the way to go; anaemic vicars with small spectacles (yes, I do mean eyewear). Leggy young ladies providing temptation and cause for puns. Red-nosed alcoholics. Confused newly-weds in their honeymoon bed.

Tell you what. Why don't I shut up and give you a couple of examples?


Possibly the defining Mcgill naughty cartoon, and the title of
a book about these postcards.

I bet he did...

This one is one of my all-time favourites. In case you don't get it, it's playing
on the fact the unfortunate lady doesn't really know the meaning of the word
'predicament'. All she knows is that her skirt is raised and it sounded rude.

So what? I hear you cry. What has this got to do with World Book Night 2103? Well, as you know, we are running a free draw with a copy of Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair for five lucky people. One person will also win some more goodies. The first was announced last week; a copy of the out-of-print 'Skallagrigg' by William Horwood (my all-time favourite book). This week, I am please to say that the quirkiness is maintained; we will be throwing in a fridge magnet depicting another classic naughty seaside cartoon. Not a book, but it's a fun little thing.

NEXT WEEK: Another prize announcement!