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is thoroughly lazy. He delights in wasting every one of the eight hours
a day that he spends in the employment of the Chester-Perry company. And
yet he is also ambitious, quite amazingly so. In the early strips he is
driven by a lust to get on, to achieve status and wealth and to lord it
over his fellow buying clerks. Sometimes he gives way to a much more realistic
understanding of his situation but the old optimism always resurfaces.
He just needs that one big break and he is on his way.
Let us review these ambitions, in increasing order of improbability.
Sales repBristow has always worked indoors and in a clerical capacity. But quite suddenly he realises that his true destiny lies outside, bowling along country lanes in his two-seater car, selling to his faithful customers or winning over new ones through sheer force of personality. He can tell the jokes. He can get in the drinks. He just needs a chance.
It is of course just coincidence that this desire to be outside is born on a hot and stuffy day when the stultifying boredom of the office is getting to him.
And he expands on the theme in the next strip with a demonstration of every salesman's most important technique.
Apart from starting out of the window Bristow does not actually do anything about becoming a sales rep - except once, in the pages of Bristow (1966) where he actually answers a job advertisement for a sales rep. Taking his place with the hundreds of other buying clerks, he does get an interview but his lack of experience is the fatal flaw in the plan. However he certainly seems to have mastered the lingo Strip 3320
Bristow is friends with Sampson of Sales, whose lavish and alcohol-fuelled lifestyle he envies, Strip 1139 , and respects the firm’s top salesman Mr. Gabby strip 2706 .But he won’t get a job with C-Ps as a salesman, even when a golden opportunity appears.
strip 3888 There are too many clerks in line.
There is always the faint chance that Bristow might actually get a job with another employer as a sales rep – if he stays with Chester-Perry’s then his ambitions must be confined to the buying department. This means that he has to focus on becoming Chief Buyer. It is possible that, should Fudge retire and Pilkington be headhunted, and the Ebola virus is rampant in Costing and a terrorist group assassinate Hewitt and Jones runs away with Miss Pretty etc. etc. that Bristow might get the job. For a slightly more realistic appraisal see Buying Department
Business executiveOne of Bristow's longest-lived ambitions is to become a successful executive, a powerful tycoon who mixes casually with the heads of industry and self-made millionaires. He first explores the possibilities when playing with Pilkington’s spectacles strip 86 but soon discards mere dressing up for something much more important – the self-help manual for the thrusting businessman called Space at the Summit. Introduced in July 1962 this invaluable treatise becomes his essential, everyday reading and dominates his thinking. Lesson one is the importance of making contacts. Bristow begins vetting everyone he meets on the daily commuter train to work and as strip 149 shows it soon pays off
Further inspirations from Space at the Summit include the importance of health (Bristow finds that all the reading gives him a headache), the importance of good handwriting (Bristow's unreadable and blotch-ridden script does not bode well) and the need to be ruthless, hard and calculating. On top of this is the vital necessity of being money-conscious. Ah yes.. strip 568
Then a whole new approach:
I've been reading this book
strip 706 (warning: very low quality)
Bristow’s continuing quest for a suitable female partner is covered in more detail in Bristow's Romances.
In later years he seems less obsessed with making it as a businessman and is more concerned with hanging on as a buying clerk. But if only he could get clean away from the world of business. He could – if he could make it as a best-selling author.
Bristow's unique contribution to world literature is dealt with in Writings. There is no obvious reason as to why he thinks he can achieve success this way. From day one in his job at C-Ps he picked up his pen (using the firm’s ink) and paper (courtesy of Stores) and got stuck in. The rest is history. He has a most impressive list of potential publications to his name. Alas, none have actually been published yet, due to the callous arrogance of that well-known firm of hack publishers Heap and Trotwood but it is surely just a matter of time. Blondini brothers commence work we get an early hint of what must be his least likely ambition strip 3294 The drive behind it is explained a little later in strip 4021 .
This actually has a very rare reference to Bristow's parents. They appear to have instilled in their son a respect for work but in the sense that you respect people who do it, not in the sense that you do it yourself. Bristow does not consider it necessary to do anything in order to be a brain surgeon, just so long as he can master the essentials contained in that key work of reference Brain Surgery for Beginners. But what bad luck that, just when he is able to impress the gorgeous Miss Pretty of Kleenaphone, brain surgery becomes his achilles heel strip 4521Actually he develops a more realistic attitude demonstrating his superior knowledge of cutting-edge medical research to the old-fashioned Jones see strip . But some time after he takes a step back, admitting that maybe there is a little more effort required than he is prepared to give strip 10502
Everyone knows about this ambition and rather quaintly, when long-lost colleagues meet up with Bristow they always assume he has made it. True he may be rather scruffily dressed but then as a brain surgeon who does a bit of clerking on the side, he is only keeping in character.