icon_uk: (Katie Cook Doug)
[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
...better known as New Zealand (The Maori name for the islands is Aotearoa, which translates as Ao = cloud, tea = white and roa = long)

In my efforts to find new material to showcase, I came across a copy of an old book I picked up a few years ago, Murray Ball's Footrot Flats.

Footrot Flats is a home grown comic strip from New Zealand by cartoonist Murray Ball, that ran between 1975 and 1994 in the papers (though new material was published in books until 2000 or so)

It tells the ongoing life of a working farmdog, a Border Collie known to all as "Dog" (He does have a proper name, but he's hideously embarassed by it and refuses to let those few who know it use it). He is owned by Wallace Cadwallader "Wal" Footrot, a working farmer.

There were many other regular and semi regular characters. Wal's Aunt Dolly who kept house with a rod of iron, Horse the cat, Rangi (a local lad), Cooch (who owns the next farm over) and Darlene (the object of Wal's affection, sometime girlfriend and who Dog views as his nemesis, since he doesn't like to share what little affection Wal is able to generate)

Thought it has moments of cuteness and affection, there's a streak of unsentimentality to the strip which I like. It differentiates it from the likes of Garfield or Peanuts. Life on a farm is rarely sentimental, and the strip reflected that. Dog may be an anthropomorphic animal like Snoopy (is self aware, can write, has thumbs when the plot requires it), but is also an animal who knows his place in the pecking order. He probably IS smarter than Wal, but so are any number of animals, and possibly some minerals, but that doesn't do much good when you're HIS dog.

I've deliberately picked a couple of strips which focus on the animals for this post, as they are frequently the best ones.

Horse is rather awesome, reminds me a little of Nanny Ogg's Greebo.

I love the facial expressions in that last panel.

Date: 2011-03-12 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
Do pigs accidentally crush their young a lot? I know pandas do...

Incidentally, piglets are much, much cuter than baby pandas, which look like fuzz covered grubs.

Date: 2011-03-12 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
It does happen I believe, though when you've had 16 piglets it's going to be more likely I think.

Right, I'll try to avoid doing that then!

I have a lot of time for pigs, much maligned creatures and infinitely smarter than the cuter (and yet malevolently stupid) sheep.

...Malevolently stupid? *anticipates blood-chilling sheep anecdote*

Date: 2011-03-13 01:04 am (UTC)
kosaginolegion: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kosaginolegion
I dunno. I hear some interesting things about Jacobs Sheep. In their case I'd be prepared to believe that it's not stupidity so much as malevolent passive aggression. And not necessarily so passive.

Which is probably why they're my favorite sheep.

(Of course, I'm an Alpaca fancier, meself. *ahem*)

Date: 2011-03-13 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
'Stupid' just about covers them, yes. There's a sheep farm just down the road from where I live, and my path back from school used to take me right by them every day. The sheep liked to hang out right near the road, and I couldn't resist messing with their little minds, because it was so EASY. I'd walk by - and they'd look at me - and I'd stop - and they'd keep looking at me - and then I'd go 'BLEAH!' and they'd PANIC, and run in unison across the field. I might have gotten in trouble had the farmer ever caught me doing it, but I couldn't help myself - it was hilarious.

Date: 2011-03-12 09:37 pm (UTC)
nezchan: Navis at breakfast (Default)
From: [personal profile] nezchan
Oddly, the pigs look very Ronald Searle. Odder, they're the only things that do.

Date: 2011-03-12 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] 20thcenturyvole
Man, I loved reading Footrot Flats when I was a kid, although obviously a lot of it went over my head. I credit it with giving me a lot of early inklings about the birds and the bees, or at least the sows and the bitches. Ahh, good times.

Weird personal anecdote time: as a kid growing up in Australia, we were always told that New Zealand was just like us, really, except obviously inferior because it wasn't populated by Australians. Footrot Flats, then, was a puzzlement with its talk of South-Easterlies that you had to hide from, the constant rain and mud, the references to fantails and whitebait. Then I moved to NZ a few years ago to go to university, and the mystery was finally resolved: they lied to us. Do you know what our countries have in common? Lamingtons, cricket, a corner of the Pacific, and a slight similarity in accents. Ah well. At least when I read Footrot Flats these days, I understand it a lot better.

Date: 2011-03-12 09:48 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
Someone once told me that the landscape of New Zealand is strikingly similar to that of Norway: Is that at all true?

Date: 2011-03-12 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] 20thcenturyvole
If Norway is made entirely of lush, forested volcanic hills, then yes.

Date: 2011-03-13 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] 20thcenturyvole
I live in Napier! Moved here from Wellington after I graduated.

Date: 2011-03-12 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
A lot of Norway matches that description, yes.

Date: 2011-03-13 06:51 am (UTC)
celamity: (sunset)
From: [personal profile] celamity
Barring volcanoes, of course.

Date: 2011-03-14 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] marsdejahthoris
Starting from Power Rangers Ninja Storm, yep.

Date: 2011-03-13 01:05 am (UTC)
kosaginolegion: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kosaginolegion
I hear it bears a strong resemblance to Middle Earth, myself.

Date: 2011-03-13 02:28 am (UTC)
darkblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkblade
Gee I wonder why...

Date: 2011-03-13 12:07 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
My best friend in high school lived on a sheep farm (in Australia, not NZ). Footrot Flats was the only media that ever showed how fucking awful sheep really are. To this day, I enjoy eating lamb not just because it's tasty, but because it means it won't grow into a sheep.

Date: 2011-03-13 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
Oh, cool, I haven't read any of these! There are some family friends who've got kinfolk in NZ, and they used to send me 'Footrot Flats' collections from time to time. Good stuff.

Date: 2011-03-13 09:11 am (UTC)
abates: Tetrap from Doctor Who story "Time and the Rani" (Default)
From: [personal profile] abates
Everything I know about being a Kiwi, I learned from Footrot Flats.

Date: 2011-03-13 01:49 pm (UTC)
myniamh: (Default)
From: [personal profile] myniamh

Just thought I'd share the earworm around. :)

Date: 2011-03-13 02:22 pm (UTC)
myniamh: (Default)
From: [personal profile] myniamh
Awesome. That song will always remind me of driving from Melbourne to Brisbane as a kid. We sang it all the way there and back. I think we came close to being murdered by our parents.

Another clip from the film, I forgot how many songs it had.


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