Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A Minx in Dundee

Once upon a time, in the Parish of Strathmartin near Dundee, a farmer was thirsty, so he sent one of his daughters to fetch him a drink of water from the well. When after a while the daughter did not return, he sent a second and, some time after that, he sent a third. This carried on until he sent the last of his nine daughters to find out what has happened to her sisters. Her screams had been heard though by her lover, Martin, the son of a local blacksmith, who went along to find that all nine sisters had been killed by a dragon. After a long struggle Martin killed the dragon with his hammer.

Also found at Strathmartin is this Pictish stone which features the Dragon. With this story in mind Dundee commissioned Prentice Oliphant to make this sculpture, which I saw when I was passing through a couple of weeks ago.

I was amused by the ..er... inmafairtoon board.

 Thursday, when we were children was comic day. Each of the three of us got one of our choice and one of those was the Beano. When one of my sisters stopped taking the Beano, this was deemed to be quite unacceptable by my father and from then on four comics came into the house. He picked them up while he was at work and they were always well read by him and his collegues before we ever saw any sign of them.

The two main comics of the day must have been the Beano and the Dandy, which both hailed from the printing presses of DC Thomson in Dundee. I think they are about the only survivors from the comics of my childhood - The Beezer died in 1993, taking the Topper with it, a few years after the Whizzer and Chips.

To celebrate Dundee's contribution to World culture, a statue, made by Tony and Susie Morrow in 2001, of Desparate Dan from the Dandy and Mini the Minx from the Beano, now graces a Square in the city.

It's quite sad, that when looking things up for this blog, that I discover that the Dandy is not long for this world. In the 1950's it had a circulation of about 2,000,000 but now only manages about 8000. It looks like Dan may be off to the Beano and I read that after it stops printing in December, the Dandy will continue to exist online.


The Glebe Blog said...

Hi Sandy, being raised in Fife, the ferry over to Dundee (pre bridge days) was a great day in the city. As a teenager I got my first ever made to measure suit at Montague Burton on the High Street. Like you the Dandy and Beano were our weekly comics. I'm thinking now that I should have hung on to the Annuals. I did keep them into adulthood, but put them into a charity shop in the 70's. Alway's fancied a piece of Dan's Cow Pie.
I love the sculptures, it's many a year since I visited Dundee. One of my new years resolutions will be to try and spread my wings around Scotland.

Sandy's witterings said...

I notice too that old Broons books are worth a mint too Jim - We got one every year (well every second - Oor Wullie the other). How different a british childhood might have been without Dundee.

Rosie said...

We used to have the Beano comic so I remember those characters the sculptures are wonderful. Love the monkey info board and the dragon too:)

Zia Wolf-Sun said...

Great blog Sandy! What lovely characters and cool sculpting :) I heard about Dandy's potential demise, very sad...bring 'em all back!!! I did enjoy the story of the dragon and that is an awesome sculpture of it :) You visit some amazing places!

Sandy's witterings said...

Rosie - Even as an adult, I've occasionally been known to buy myself a Beano so for me to say "used to have" is perhaps denying that a little. It is certainly part of the background for people of my age.

Zia, The Dandy's demise is indeed sad - perhaps the entertainment is just to innocent for the current generation,. I used to get the Hotspur and haven't seen anything of it's like on the shelves for years.

Poppy (aka Val) said...

Desperate Dan yay!! Love that dragon too :)

John Gray said...

The Dragon was not sculpted or created by Prentice Oliphant.

The original concept was by sculptor was Alistair Smart. Sadly he died before the commission was issued. The commission was given to Tony Morrow who was a former student of Alistair's at the request of Alistair's family. Tony developed the design and completed it in 1993.

Sandy's witterings said...

Thank you John, always glad to be corrected when I'm wrong. I'll sort this when I return home.