There is no date on this Topper annual,
but I suspect it was published in the early '60s.
Sluggo is walking through town,
past a few houses, leafy gardens, and shops.
In the first frame, he is glancing at a woman
carrying parcels. She is wearing trousers.
He is annoyed. An exclamation
mark appears in a speech bubble above his head.
In the second frame, Sluggo sees another two
women in trousers, his face scrunched up
in irritation. In the third, yet another. He
says, "I hate women in slacks."
In the fourth frame, he sees two more
women in front of a shop
window, and he continues, "That's all
you see these days."
Most of the women seem to be shopping.
In the fifth frame, Sluggo passes
two more carrying parcels and says, "Phooey!"
In the sixth, there's a group of three
gathered on the pavement, one showing
a package to the other two. Sluggo
remarks, "Why do they want to dress
The seventh frame shows
Nancy in a yellow coat and red
trousers, standing proudly with hands on
hips. Sluggo shouts "YOU TOO?" and stomps
And in the final frame, Nancy is on the
right of an open space near a tree. Sluggo
walks to the left leading his dog. The
dog is wearing Sluggo's trousers on its hind
legs, and Sluggo a short print skirt.
I've been maintaining the website this week, which means I've not had time to blog anything. So this post is in the nature of a placeholder. Imagine me in the attitude below, hunched over a heap of image-conversion utilities, file upload scripts, directory listers, and flexbox reference guides:
That isn't me, of course. I don't drink Coke or drip food on my clothes: too many are irreplaceable. Nor do I use floppy discs:
I mention floppies because they were once the last word in portable storage. There's an 8GB memory stick plugged into my computer. Had I been writing this twenty years ago, it would have been a 3½-inch disk with a capacity of 1.44MB. As my logo is 16.98kB, it would hold only 84.8 copies thereof. The discs in the cartoon are an earlier kind, which as far as I can see from
Wikipedia, would have held at most 720kB and more likely 360kB.
It's that era that the cartoon is from. It was drawn by illustrator
Borin Van Loon for the 1984 book
Micromania: the Whole Truth about Home Computers, by David Langford and Charles Platt. One of Micromania's objectives was to warn against the dangers of computer addiction. In the case of the hacker, these include obesity from bad diet and never moving away from the screen. Those who are addicted to hardware — building gadgets from electronic components — don't suffer from this, it seems,
perhaps because they spend so much time traipsing round component shops:
Here's a Borin Van Loon videogame addict. He would easily transpose to today's notorious addiction: the smartphone.
When I started writing this, I was going to remark on the
difference between the way Van Loon's hacker is dressed, and the interest in mathematical elegance that programmers exhibit. These search results show how often the topic gets discussed
So why aren't people who are elegant in one field (programming) also elegant in another (dress)?
But then I remembered from the book that the hacker is not meant to be a professional programmer anyway. He's a hobbyist obsessed with throwing together computer games, but who won't
take the time to learn how to do so properly. If you want drawings of such people and their dress sense, Van Loon is your man, and there are contact details on his
home page. I'll end with his picture for the cover of Micromania.
Here's another austerity cartoon, from the same Pick of Punch annual that I wrote about in
"Austerity Patchwork". I put some references at the end there explaining the history of WWII clothing restrictions. I don't know the significance of August, but maybe it was the first month after publication that readers would have been allowed to obtain new coupons.
Two clothes moths are on a jacket hanging in a wardrobe. It has holes in. One moth is saying to the other 'Careful, dear! This one's got to last us until August!"
I found this in a 1942 Pick of Punch annual. It's not about colour, but is fun nevertheless.
For anyone who doesn't know the history of WWII clothing restrictions,
this article † from the National Archives explains it, including the rôle of Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies, their styles, and how ration coupons worked. There's another explanation
here ‡ from the Imperial War Museum.
† "Fashion or ration: Hartnell, Amies and dressing for the Blitz" by Robert Daoust, The National Archives
18 February 2010
‡ "How Clothes Rationing Affected Fashion in the Second World War" by Laura Clouting and Amanda Mason, Imperial War Museum
5 January 2018
A men's outfitters.
A customer is walking away from the counter and out of the shop, wearing a suit. The jacket and trousers are made from rectangles of differently-textured and patterned materials stitched together. The tailor is saying to his assistant, "And there goes the last of the pattern-books."
A cricket pitch.
Andy and another member of the team are walking side by side onto the pitch. Their wives sit watching them at the edge of the field. The other man's shirt is hanging out, but Andy's isn't. His wife is saying to the other woman, "I soon cured Andy of it — I sewed an edgin' o' lace round the bottom".