1. St Trinian's
Still paying back my walk of over two weeks ago, so I
am still not
feeling very well.
But I've been considerably worse, and decided to continue the humor
theme I introduced yesterday, as a way to keep being read.
I did not know that Ronald Searle died in 2011, but then he got to be 91.
Searle is the designer of St Trinian's School (for girls), and was also
a survivor of the Japanese comcentation camps.
St Trinian's I know of since the 1950ies, though I do not know a
precise date. But it was quite popular then, even though - and indeed
in part because - of its awfulness.
To illustrate the latter, here is the latest front of the latest
play, St Trinian's - use a clean needle!'
In fact, I took the caption from the edition I owe, The St
Trinian's Story, which is from 1961 in Penguin, and
originally by Perpetua, 1959. That is in black and white, and
it is my guess I like it better than the Modern Classics one.
Then again I haven't seen that Modern
Classics one - which is e.g. unlikely to have the De Luxe paper of my
edition, for one thing, that is quite nice.
The above picture is a fairly mild one, comparatively, but it
does give the atmosphere, that must have had a lot to do with Searle's
experiences in the camps.
As Wikipedia relates
about St Trinian:
(..) pupils are
wicked and often well armed, and mayhem is rife. The schoolmistresses
are also disreputable. Cartoons often showed dead bodies of girls who
had been murdered with pitchforks or succumbed to violent team sports,
sometimes with vultures circling; girls drank, gambled and smoked.
Clearly, for a boy of circa
eight, without sisters, like I was, this was quite interesting, and
apart from that the degree of violence was rather extreme, as is somewhat
clear from St Trinian's School Song:
- Maidens of St
Gird your armour on.
- Grab the nearest
Never mind which one.
- The battle's to the
Might is always right.
- Trample on the
Glory in their plight.
- St Trinian's! St
Our battle cry.
- St Trinian's! St
Will never die.
But you'll have to see more of
the drawings to get the point.
- Stride towards your
Boldly on your way,
- Never once forgetting
There's one born every day.
- Let our motto be
'Get your blow in first!'
- She who draws the
Always comes off worst.
(Shout) St Trinian's!
Trinian's! etc. 
Actually, I am mostly interested in the awfulness, about one aspect of
which Siriol Hugh-Jones wrote in 1959 in The St Trinian's Story:
St Trinian's is
English womanhood - plain, imprisoned, disguised according to
Regulation Uniform Lists as trolls, demons, scarecrows, and
underprivileged gargoyles - against the world.
Note also this was all quite
popular: in the 1950ies there were two movies, mostly with the same
crew, followed by two more in 1960 and 1966.
The reason for the relatiive extremity of his drawings must be
especially the combination of Searle's fine draughtmanship and the
harshness they nearly all showed, that was also depicted without any
regret or remorse.
At least part of the harshmess is due, I think, to his camp experiences:
Searle's fellow prisoners later recounted, "If you can imagine
something that weighs six stone or so [37 kg - MM], is on
the point of death and has no qualities of the human condition that
aren’t revolting, calmly lying there with a pencil and a scrap of
paper, drawing, you have some idea of the difference of temperament
that this man had from the ordinary human being." 
Searle himself is quoted to
this effect, about a book of his war pictures:
"You can’t have
that sort of experience without it directing the rest of your life. I
think that’s why I never really left my prison cell, because it gave me
my measuring stick for the rest of my life... Basically all the people
we loved and knew and grew up with simply became fertiliser for the
So... while the St Trinian's
drawings are also quite funny, and while the actual horrors they
depict, although mostly cruel, were widely laughed about, there is
underneath a bitterness that is true to life - except that most persons
cannot get it.
I certainly did not, when I was 8, and certainly cannot get it as
Searle did, but I now can get some of it, in my 35th year of illness
Here, to end this brief disquisition, is Searle himself on his subject:
[A St Trinian's girl] would
be sadistic, cunning, dissolute, crooked, sordid,
lacking morals of any sort and capable of any excess. She would also be
well-spoken, even well-mannered and polite. Sardonic, witty and very
She would be good company. In short: typically human and, despite
Words by Sidney Gillat, copied from Wikipedia, but reset here to be in
accordance with the version that appears in The St Trinian's Story, p. 49
 From Wikipedia, Ronald Searle.
(The "six stone" is also what my father
weighed, at one point, during the war, except that he was in a German
concentration-camp, not in a Japanese.)
 Quoted from "Ronald Searle & the St
ME/CFS (that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: