Friday, 27 February 2015

Discovering Scarfolk

Richard Littler
Ebury Press

Like half the internet I've been regularly tuning into the twisted wonderfulness of Littler's Scarfolk blog.  It's a series of snippets of life in the titular 'town in the North West of England that did not progress beyond 1979'.  It is a fabulously funny satire on an era in British life that quite frankly was twisted, terrifying and definitely out to get you.

The tantalising prospect of a real world dead tree version of the blog has been gestating for a while now and it's eventual arrival was greeted with much excitement.

Dutifully I trotted down to the only bookshop in my little city to grab a copy and couldn't find it.  Where was the nice big art book showing off all Littler's mangled, funny and intricate artworks?  Turns out it was by the counter and was the size of a paperback, albeit one with the price tag of an art book.  Oh well, the art still looks good and there's lots to read so what the hell, it's nearly Xmas.

The art is indeed lovely, if a little blurry (possibly deliberately) and it's been placed into a narrative about a man adrift in Scarfolk and searching for his lost sons and therein lies the second problem.  The story feels underdeveloped and often like a teenagers version of a Monty Python script full of slightly embarrassing attempts at offbeat and dadaesque humour.  The narrative isn't a terrible idea and it does provide a fun framing device for the images bu it's just a little, well, forced.

The images though are as fabulous as you could ever hope them to be, full of invention and the darkest of humour and each one is a joy.  What they needed though was for the whole thing to be given the the size and scope of a nice large coffee table art book to allow full appreciation but truthfully, in that books absence, this one will definitely do.

For more information you know what to do.

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