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Fungus the Bogeyman

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Instead we are left with this dense and contemplative literary work that doesn't talk down to children but rather treats them as intelligent readers and throws in references to the likes of John Milton, Alfred Tennyson, William Oldys, Thomas Carlyle and John Donne. She reassures him and we are shown that bogeyman, disgusting as they are potrayed in this book, still possess the strongest human emotion, love. On this night, he startles a vicar, a woman in her bath, and stinks out a couple’s bedroom using his Bogey umbilical cord.

He is a bogeyman who goes to the surface each night to cause havoc (literally: things that go bump on the night). Fungus goes to work up where the ‘drycleaners’ live, traelling very slowly on his flat wheeled bike. When it came out the general public were shocked at the scatological humour, which is now standard in children's literature, but it no longer has that impact. This book was turned into a two-handed radio play with Peter Sallis in the male lead role, and subsequently an animated film, featuring John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft.Only partly a story about Fungus; most of the book is devoted to describing the culture, food, houses, gardens, furniture, clothing, literature, pasttimes, etc. Amongst the information given about their lifestyle there is also a more typical storyline where Fungus wakes up, washes (in slime) and cycles to work where he ponders his role in society and the purpose of his existence! Raymond Briggs at his very best – Fungus the Bogeyman is a delightfully, lovely story in all its disgustingly noxious glory. He would start his journey and that page was full of paragraphs about the history of every place he passed and the function of every item mentioned. We learn about Bogey houses, their family structure, what they do for fun, how they live, the essentials of their health and well-being, and more.

It also reads in the style of a non-fiction guide with and lots of information about 'Bogeys' and their different lifestyle. His graphic novel Ethel and Ernest, which portrayed his parents' 41-year marriage, won Best Illustrated Book in the 1999 British Book Awards. Bogeymen like: silence, tasting books, losing or drawing games, wetness, rotten smells and slowness.A stage production, based on the book, was performed at artsdepot in North London between November 2007 and August 2008. But that all being said, the constant and continuously recurring anally, body fluid and excretions based humour does tend to feel and become rather overly exaggerated and overused (even to the point of wearing more than a bit thin and thus no longer even being all that humorous to and for me, and mostly like a buzzing mosquito, somewhat annoying and recurringly tedious). Over a period of decades, a number of attempts were made to make a film from the book, which was difficult given its lack of an actual plot. This adaption also starred Marc Warren, Keeley Hawes, Joanna Scanlan, Jimmy Akingbola, Paul Kaye, and also Victoria Wood in her final television role before her death in April 2016. It was produced by Andy Serkis's motion-capture studio, The Imaginarium, with Serkis also as the narrator.

A co-production with Pilot Theatre, the show was directed and adapted by Marcus Romer and designed by Ali Allen. Initially published in 1977, Fungus the Bogeyman follows one day in the life of the title character, a working class Bogeyman with the mundane job of scaring human beings. We have more or less straight comics, but also sections of pages treated as if they were notice boards, with text boxes pinned to them, "censored" text, charts, etc. For example, Bogeymen are shown to enjoy eating and sharing flies in a similar way to human cigarettes; one brand of fly is the "strong French Gallwasp", a pun on the cigarette Gauloises. Andrew Male, appearing on the Backlisted Podcast, described Fungus the Bogeyman as "the children's [version of Burton's] Anatomy of Melancholy" and this the most apt and accurate description I have ever come across.And I am quite frankly (and personally) getting more than sick and tired of rather too often encountering especially picture or comic books geared towards children that have a presentation style that seems to not at all take the importance of visual comfort while reading into consideration and seriously enough (as well as the potential eye strain an overly small font size can often and even likely cause).

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