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Bristow's Colleagues

Some other colleagues


Benny "the Duke" Gibson and the Chester-Perry Rat Pack

A bunch of hell-raisers, terrors of the canteen, the Rat Pack are the Chester-Perry equivalent of the Dreaded Hulines. Led by Benny "the Duke" Gibson, a man who wears a natty bow-tie and sports a cigarette-holder, they drink at lunchtime, whistle at passers-by and do the daredevil things that many clerks can only dream about. Bristow incurs their displeasure by sitting in a seat in the canteen that the Rat Pack regard as their own territory strip 3423
Strip 3423 was published in the Evening Standard in March 1972 and in Bristow (1972). This scan is from the Sydney Morning Herald April 1972.
They seek him out in his office and threaten that they will not leave. When Bristow retorts that he will have to fetch Fudge the Rat Pack capitulate.

Sadly we hear no more of Mr Gibson but the Rat Pack seems to have survived him. Bristow himself is cited as having been a member in 1985 (during a period when they were taking anybody) (from strip 1070 on Frank Dickens website in June 2005). Clearly standards have slipped.

Ratcliffe of Records

Ratcliffe: (poking head round door of Buying Department) Is Mr. Falconer in?
Bristow:I'm afraid you have the wrong department. There's no one of that name here
R: The Costing Department isn't it?
B: No this is the Buying Department
R: In that case I'll speak to Mr. Steadman*
[*Is this the "Fatty" Steadman who is seated next to Bristow in the 1973 Christmas Dinner and Dance? ]
B: Mr Steadman is the head of Invoicing.
R: Since when?
B: Since nine years ago
R: Well I never! sorry to have troubled you
Jones: Who was that?
B: Ratcliffe of Records!
strip 1527 published in the Evening Standard December 1965

Possibly not working in the most suitable department for his particular talents, Mr. Ratcliffe seems to have fundamental difficulties in working out where he is, what he is doing and why. He gets lost in the Chester-Perry building - though he certainly tries to rectify this - strip 2553
Strip 2553 was published in the Evening Standard September 1969
- and it is foolish of him to challenge Bristow on the subject strip 2555
Strip 2555 was published in the Evening Standard in May 1969 and in Bristow (1970) and Bristow (1972)
And outside the firm, Ratcliffe seems to be on no firmer ground strip 2035
Strip 2035 was published in the Evening Standard in August 1967. This scan is from the Sydney Morning Herald February 1968.

Mr. Shuffler

The firm’s pathological liar. When he arrives, sporting a glowing tan and boasting of foreign holidays, everyone automatically assumes he has a sun ray machine in his front room. Just after he announces a huge pools win, someone asks if anyone has picked up a pound they dropped in the corridor.

Mr. Gabby

One of the firm's top salesmen, he demonstrates his superb sales technique to Bristow. Other salesmen may bore their customer by telling tired old jokes but Mr. Gabby can do so to such an effect that, as his victims nod off, he can gently manipulate their hands to sign a sales order strip 2706
Strip 2706 was published in the Evening Standard in November 1969 and in Bristow (1970)
. Like his colleague Sampson, Mr. Gabby is partial to a little drink - or perhaps more than a little, as Sampson's wise precautions in strip 3063
Strip 3063 was published in the Evening Standard in January 1971. This scan is from the Melbourne Age February 1971
suggest. Although it is a little odd that Mr. Gabby appears not to know the location of the pub, the Brolly and Bowler. It is after all pretty well a second home to the alcohol-crazed sales staff.

Muscles Maddox the firm's bully

A cross between Flashman* and Daley Thompson**, Maddox is the curse of the corridors. His temper and appetite for violence, coupled with size and fitness, make him unique amongst the timid clerks that populate the C-P building. His methods, when crossed, are brutal and direct strip 2321
Strip 2321 was published in the Evening Standard in July 1968. This scan is from the Melbourne Age December 1968
. And when he is moved to work on the floor below the Buying Department and insists on absolute silence, Bristow is caught in an interesting dilemma seen in strip 2682
Strip 2682 was published in the Evening Standard in October 1969
But he can be a most useful travelling companion, as Bristow finds out in strip 2745
Strip 2745 was published in the Evening Standard in January 1970. This scan is from the Sydney Morning Herald March 1970
, though as on this occasion Maddox had thought he was travelling with the firm's karate expert, the conviviality did not last long and a spell in the broom cupboard was required - strip 2747
Strip 2747 was published in the Evening Standard in January 1970. This scan is from the Melbourne Age March 1970

Maddox fades out soon after the broom cupboard incident. Maybe the humiliation of losing to Bruiser Downs of Myles & Rudge in the interfirm boxing championship was too much to take. However he makes a final cameo appearance at the Christmas Dinner and Dance of 1992 where, seated next to Bristow, he is able to eat and drink his fill at his companion's expense.

*Flashman was the school bully in Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown's Schooldays and then the hero of a series of comic novels by George Macdonald Fraser

**Thompson (no relation to Toady Thompson), was Olympic Decathlon champion in 1980 and 1984

Mr Meeke the firm's Scapegoat

Highslide JS
Strip 2786 was published in the Evening Standard in February 1970 and in Bristow (1970) from where this scan is taken.
Poor Mr Meeke. Whatever his real job may be, his lot is to be the permanent victim, forever taking the blame for the misdeeds of others, waiting patiently at his desk for the next accuser to spring from the woodwork. The first time we encounter him he is fingered by Mr Tracer as being the culprit in the sinister Bread-roll throwing incident at the dinner and dance (though we know who it really was), When Bristow loses the manuscript of Living Death in the Buying Department - no matter, Mr. Meeke is on hand to write out 750 odd pages - strip 2788
Strip 2788 was published in the Evening Standard in February 1970 and in Bristow (1970), from where this scan is taken
and if anyone has a bad day and needs to get it out their system, then they just go and give Mr. Meeke a slap or two.

Alf Tupper of Stores

Bristow encounters Mr. Tupper one day at a car boot sale. Mr. Tupper is selling large quantities of office stationery. 'Nuff said. (By the way wasn't there a character in boy's comics in the 1950s called Alf Tupper, the Tough of the Track? Can they possibly be related?)

The pigeon

Highslide JS
Strip 4595 was published in the Evening Standard in March 1976
Each spring a fat and lazy pigeon migrates to the Northern Hemisphere and homes in on the window ledge outside Bristow’s office. Bristow feeds it and pampers it, even putting out little bells and ladders for it to play with. He guards it from the much more cynical Jones "Hmm, don’t like the look of these teacakes this morning birdie". The pigeon is so regular an attendee and takes such an interest in the affairs of the department that Bristow places it in the pecking order for Chief Buyer ahead of Jones strip 4663
Strip 4663 was published in the Evening Standard in June 1976 and in Living Death in the Buying Department. This scan is from the Melbourne Age July 1976
. (Which is why the pigeon is listed amongst Bristow’s colleagues)

We first meet the pigeon in early 1963. Bristow seems hostile to it at first - strip 610
Strip 610 was published in the Evening Standard in February 1963
. But within a few weeks he is putting out crumbs, and feels strangely drawn to it. For, as he confesses whilst feeding it in the park, "we have something in common. We neither of us know where the next meal is coming from". He doesn't know much about birds and muses whether, if it is a carrier pigeon, he could strap a message to its leg - "Help I am a prisoner in a buying department".

The pigeon must be one of the least air-worthy creature to fly. When Bristow tours the top floor of the C-P building he has to encourage the bird to make it up from the street below. When migrating back from abroad, only the sound of Fudge screaming abuse at Bristow keeps it and its friends on course. Whilst in the park the pigeon (and friends) are so unfazed by the oncoming park-keeper that - well see for yourself. But it can certainly make itself useful strip 4146

Strip 4146 was published in the Evening Standard in July 1974
The last strip published in the Evening Standard, strip 10939
Strip 10939 was published in the Evening Standard in March 2001
, features the pigeon.



Highslide JS
Strip 5018 was published in the Evening Standard in November 1977 and in Bristow vs. Chester-Perry from where this scan is taken
Fascinatingly, each autumn the pigeon heads south and lands on the ledge of, not so much a black Bristow but an inverse Bristow, a black man with a brushy white moustache and a white suit who greets it affectionately "Well if it ain’t ma lil feathered friend". Since the voice off is instructing Wotsirb to "Get on wid de work" we seem to be in Alan Coren’s Uganda. I wonder what would happen if a message were to be strapped to the pigeon's leg. It might lead to an interesting, if very protracted, correspondence.