Annual Magic

Earth mysteries, crafts, folklore, ghosts, puppets, eccentrics, landscape archaeology and rude rhymes; The Puffin annual series commenced in 1974 with distinctive cover art by Puffin’s in house illustrator Jill McDonald and illustrious guest illustrators such as Raymond Briggs, Edward Ardizzone, Quentin Blake, Fritz Wegner and Tove Jansson. With fiction and articles by the likes of Michael Bond, Susan Cooper, Tove Jansson, Norman Hunter, Roald Dahl and Nicholas Fisk. Contributors to number one also incuded Joyce Grenfell and Prince Charles !

I post these excerpts not simply as an exercise in nostalgia – I never owned them as a kid and I can’t imagine there would have been many children who were completely absorbed by them –  it would have been a disappointing Christmas gift from a distant “auntie” perhaps, that would  slowly grab your interest later in the year. But its instructive to remember how childrens’ entertainment of this period, for some at least, lent a sense of enchantment to the world, maybe educated, but also mystified, terrified and occupied. You could say that these annuals are a kind of snapshot of British childrens’ fiction and television of the period too. Its a glimpse of a world before CGI, licensing, Cowell and Cbeebies drained any real magic from our childrens’ culture.
Watch out those wires are live !
This weekend why not discover
your own ley lines, or…
make some Smilers.
Dad ? What’s a palimpsest ?
Did this Peter Edwards character come from Clinkskell ?
A little sinister maybe but not as much as this…
at home with the author of “Cruise of the Happy-go-Gay”.


Will this be in the test sir ?



Ghost Box is a record label for a group of artists exploring the misremembered musical history of a parallel world.

“Buying one of its releases feels like stepping into another world” The Guardian

“...what's most impressive about Ghost Box is the aesthetic consistency and sheer quality of the material, recalling the heydays of labels such as Factory, 4AD and Warp.” Quietus

“...some of the most delightful electronica to arise in Britain since Aphex Twin, the Black Dog and Global Communication.” The Sunday Times


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