I wish I’d thought of this game when I was a kid!

Today’s strip lacks any pretensions towards profundity or wisdom – it’s just for laughs.


The problem of ‘timelessness’

I mentioned over on the Facebook Page for Between * Wars this week that I was noticing a problem with the strip’s setting. It’s mostly in the countryside – and the countryside doesn’t really change that much with fashion. Hence, the strip hasn’t been looking particularly ’70s.

Sure, vehicles and hairstyles change but not much else. Even farmers, to this day, tend to work in their old Sunday-best suits – and they haven’t changed much either. We even wore army-style clothing a lot of the time too. What started that army jumper craze? Anybody know? I actually looped back over a couple of previous strips; making the wallpaper and carpets more seventies, and putting in a bit of retro furniture. ¬ę¬†Recognise this carpet movie fans? I will. Forever… and ever…

Anyway, I’ll be rectifying these issues with the next strip. Hopefully I won’t just resort to gratuitously sticking in ‘props’. Speaking of ‘just sticking things in’, I’m reminded of an episode of Family Guy – which I love – in which Lois Griffin says to Peter something along the lines of:


“All that Seth McFarlane guy does is stick in references to old ’80s TV shows. How is that good writing?”
paraphrasing Lois Griffin!



Raleigh Chopper catalogue, 1971

I didn’t realise the Chopper appeared as early as 1970!


The Raleigh Chopper

raleigh chopper bag

Is this vintage? Not sure.


Scary (Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

OK, I did just stick-in the Chopper. So shoot me. Actually, my pals and I never actually had Raleigh Choppers or Grifters to my recollection. I think most of us were too middle-class or something. We tended to get hand-me-downs – or just something more sensible. I can’t remember ever getting a brand-new bike.

Rough Kids

Lumberjack Jacket

Lumberjack Jacket

What I do recall, and this might be the snob in me – or the frightened, bullied snob in me – was that Choppers were usually ridden by the rough kids. The ones you were afraid you’d bump into on the way home from school. They also tended to wear those cheque, ‘Lumberjack’ jackets with fake sheepskin and metal rings hanging off them. I always imagine a kid who looked like Keith Chegwin or someone, in a Children’s Film Foundation thing, on a Chopper, wearing one, with WIDE bell-bottoms, outside my granny and grandad’s house in Liverpool. It made me a very nervous 7 or 8 year old.

My friend Alan B and I in Scotland, wanted a Chopper so much that during one of our walks through the woods, we hit on the (unrealisable) idea of finding bits of old motorbikes and somehow attaching them to our bicycles. Fuel tanks and lights and all that cool stuff!

Raleigh Chopper race at Guardian Online!


chopper dash race

Back in the day, we thought Evel Knievel was something… special?


** Stay Groovy, all you 1970s kids! **

– John White

↓ Transcript
(Purely Functional)

Chopper Squad, Dawn Patrol -

Jim and Jack, wearing their army jumpers and headgear, have stopped their Raleigh Chopper bikes by a sunny field. They're looking scornfully and incredulously at a farmer's sign which reads:


It's basically like a red rag to a bull.

"Pfft!" Goes Jack, who then says to Jim, with a crafty grin, "Might I interest sir in my new invention? Blind Minefield?"
"Intriguing..." whispers Jim. "You're on!" He shouts.
"Brill!" Yells Jack, with a thumbs-up.

Jack sits on the wooden, farm gate and watches as Jim walks out into the field, with a red and white striped Liverpool scarf wrapped around his eyes - rendering him sightless. "I love inventing." thinks Jack to himself. And for dramatic effect, exclaims, "You're a commando - on a moonless night raid!" Jim gingerly raises a rubber wellington booted foot, and barely manages to ask, "How am I doing..?" When, there's a click, and a BOOM! - and squelch!

We see Jim blown to pieces as if by a mega landmine - but in reality, we then see that he's merely stepped in a cow-pat. Shite splattered over his boot.

"You're dead." Says Jack. And then yells, "My turn!" - running into the field, scarf now wrapped around his eyes. "Walking's for wimps!"

But then! Jack slips on a big runny pool of cow-dung... "Unggh! Schlippen-Minen!!!" - as if that's a real German term. He flips up in the air and then... lands flat on his back... on the now, smeared-out patch of cow-shite.

From above, we see him lying there, in shock, a grimace on his face, arms and legs spread out, with cow-shite splattered out from under him.

"I - don't - like - this game..." he wimpers.

"Ha!" explodes Jim, pointing, and roaring with laughter. "Look at the pretty brown butterfly!"

Jack joins in then, slightly seeing the funny side, and reminded of what they do when they lie in the snow, moving their arms and legs. "Hey wait! I think I've just invented the POOP ANGEL!"

Two dumb looking cows, chewing the cud, gaze stupidly on at the scene.