43 Comments

  1. Rather than use a fake name and risk being recognized anyway, he books the hotel room with his own name and uses a disguise to make it seem that he’s not *that* Phil Collins.

  2. This recurring character is known as “the ghost of Phil Collins”. Then usually Phil Collins pops in to protest “I’m still alive!”

  3. Mitch4: Actually, it’s James Caan who was being inconvenienced by his ghost.

    The Super Fun Pak Comix were (are?) an occasional feature of Tom the Dancing Bug, where a bunch of them would be collected into one mock comic page. I think this spinoff at least began by subdividing the earlier Paks, and now tosses new ones into the mix.

    Tom the Dancing Bug is one of my favorites, sharp and witty on politics (Lucky Ducky), pop culture (Billy Dare), adolescence (Education of Louis) and even philosophy (God Man).

    A favorite one-off had Public Domain Sherlock Holmes telling Watson he couldn’t solve the murder of Buster Brown.
    “But Holmes, you’re a genius detective!”
    “Yes, but I’m being written by an idiot.”

  4. @Mitch: You’ve confused Phil Collins with the Ghost of James Caan. Phil Collins is usually just famous rock star Phil Collins doing really mundane things.

  5. I had a chance to see Genesis* live when I was at school in York in 1972/73 or so, cost about 60p I think. But I declined to go, as I wasn’t that interested in them. I got more interested a bit later and for a while (some of their Peter Gabriel-era albums anyway). Now I am again not all that interested in them, but nonetheless I have booked to see The Musical Box, an apparently super-accurate tribute band (French-Canadian, oddly) endorsed by former Genesis members, in early 2020, for £29 or so, 50x as much as the real thing in the 70s.

    Maybe they will prove to be the real band all hiding behind masks?

    *For the benefit of denizens of this place who do not follow the ups and downs of beat combos of the 70s, Phil Collins was originally the drummer and post-Gabriel the lead singer and front man of the band.

  6. The comic reminded me of an episode of “The Vicar of Dibley”, in which they invited “Reggie Dwight” to open an event, expecting that it would be Elton John, but all they got was a random (unrelated) Reggie Dwight. 
    P.S. The vocal echo effect renders that music video unwatchable: it’s incredibly obvious that he’s just mouthing the words, and not really singing.

  7. The ploy has a certain credibility. When I was a young boy, one of my paper route customers was a construction worker named James Taylor, who was later my boss on my first adult job at the construction company.
    Then there’s the football player Michael Jackson. I often wonder if his teammates have ever teased him about that name.

  8. narmitaj: I have previously posted here that I found that the real rate of inflation from when I was a kid in the mid 70s to my mid to late 40s to conveniently be 10 fold, and fully expecting that by the end of my life it will be a full 100 fold. Of course, that 10 fold was not a nice smooth linear curve: most of it happened right there in the 70s, with lots of periods of remarkable flatness between. I wonder if in 72/73 Genesis were already mega famous, or if they were just starting out? (ie: would 60p be what you would have expected to pay for a top of the line group, or just what you’d pay for some unknown “live” music? Also, what was the venue? a pub or other small venue, or a proper theater or bigger?) I found a page listing Simon and Garfunkel tickets from 1968, and they seem to be anywhere from $1 to $5 (15 shillings in Birmingham).

    A tribute band today in a large venue for £30 (~$45) sounds about right, I think I paid somewhere around $30 for an Abba tribute band. I would expect to pay around $150 for the real thing (am I being naive? the whole point of my exercise is to try and train myself to have a realistic feel for current prices, so it would be very ironic if I fail right here — I know you can pay a lot more, but I think $150 sounds about right for a concert by an A-list band…) So by my contention, in the mid to late 70s a non-name band or a tribute band in a large-ish venue would have cost around $4.50, and an A-list band in the same period would have run you $15. All of which to try and bracket your 60p in 72/73 — 15 shillings at 12 shillings per pound would be £1.66 in ’68, in line with the American prices for big name S&G, and then maybe £10 for a similar big name in the late 70s? So I would say your 60p was remarkably cheap, or Genesis was not very well known yet…

    (a reality check shows me that there are too many variables: while the American prices I see for Genesis around 1978 are a little below my estimate at $8-$12.50 (but I’m not controlling for seat quality…), the British prices are remarkably consistent throughout at around £2 (specifically Manchester Free Trade Hall 1977 £2.80), so it seems that the UK had less obvious inflation through the 70s than the US… Anyway, that search turned up tickets from 72/73 (specifically Rainbow Theatre Finsbury Park October 19, 1973, £1.50 for “stalls” — is that standing?) which seems to indicate that your 60p price was indeed remarkably cheap.)

  9. “The Super Fun Pak Comix were (are?). . .”

    Are!

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/11/7/1897554/-Cartoon-Super-Fun-Pak-Comix-feat-Surprising-ironic-plot-twists-and-more

    As commented in an earlier thread, the Fun-Pak works much better in Pak form than in these little isolated segments.

    In additional to what Arthur said, this comic is also riffing on the idea that you can get a hotel room in an otherwise booked hotel by pretending to be a celebrity. So at first you think it’s an ordinary guy pretending to be a celebrity. But in fact it’s a celebrity pretending to be an ordinary guy pretending to be a celebrity.

  10. “The comic reminded me of an episode of “The Vicar of Dibley”, in which they invited “Reggie Dwight” to open an event, expecting that it would be Elton John, but all they got was a random (unrelated) Reggie Dwight. ”

    Just happened to be watching on YouTube some V of D episodes from Comic Relief, with the REAL Johnny Depp & Sarah Ferguson [don’t know what her title, if any, is these days], the REAL Sting, and several other REAL celebrities; I wonder if the REAL Elton John ever appeared on the show. Also a Graham Norton show with Dawn French and Conchita Wurst. So funny . . .

  11. I mostly agree with Winter, that SFPC are best when presented in a pack. But particularly when the mini-strips are on a unified theme. OTOH some of them seem best as singles — I have in mind the painfully analytic parodies of real comics — for instance “Marital Bliss” which plays off “The Lockhorns” mostly, and instead of a creative / novel punchline always circles right back to “I despise my wife”, which when you get down to it is the essence of the models. The take-off of “Dennis the Menace” (I forget what SFPC calls it) similarly refuses to accept that the kid’s blunders are accidental or cute.

  12. I used to work at a company of around 100 people with a Mike Douglas, an Andy Williams and a Phil Donahue. There were lots of laughs when they showed up at a client site together. (See “talk shows hosts of the 70s”)

  13. @larK – in the £.s.d. system pre 1971 decimalisation it was 12 pence (d) to the shilling (/-), 20 shillings to the pound (£). So 60p was 12/-. (In 1972 the pound was hovering around £2 10/- to the US dollar; now it is £1.29, so about half.)

    Yes, 60p seems cheap, but late 1972 was when their 4th album, Foxtrot, came out – the first to trouble the chart son release. I think their first two were pretty low-selling, and their third, Nursery Cryme, though critically well-received, did not get into the charts until 1974, three years after it came out! According to Wikipedia. Odd that I remembered pretty accurately (see next paragraph for citations!) the price for that Genesis gig that I didn’t go to, as there are any number of things I did go to/ pay for 45 years ago for which I haven’t a clue about the price. (I think a pint of beer was 14p in about 1974/75; it’s more like £3.75 now, up to £5-ish in London.)

    https://thegenesisarchive.co.uk/category/live/genesis-live-tours-1968-1978/ has a scrolling timeline of Genesis tickets, gig ads and press clippings which might tickle your fancy. Mostly smallish theatres and college student unions in those days. In May 1972 you can see an ad for a Genesis gig in Oxford for 60p. If you go to November 1972 you can see one venue when Genesis has several seating area prices ranging from 80p to 50p, and then four days later in the same venue Ike & Tina Turner are going for £1.50 down to £1, so twice as popular/important.

    If you go to 1977 you can still see Genesis for £1.75-£2.80 in the UK, but $6.50-$8.50 in the USA (though maybe some of those tickets are Canada).

    Looking on Wikipedia (Google “Led Zeppelin United Kingdom Tour 1972–1973”), I see that Led Zeppelin did a 25-date tour of the UK that sold out in four hours and played to 110,000 people and even a big band like them at the time only charged £1 in almost every venue (Manchester was £1.25). This was still pre-stadiums.

    I have had a recent short run of seeing bands from 50 years ago… King Crimson were £57, Strawbs £20, Wishbone Ash £22, Al Stewart £32. Fairport Convention was £27 but had a surprise (to me) guest spot by Robert Plant ex of Led Zep. I might see Steeleye Span (£24) in December and possibly Jethro Tull (£32) next year. I baulked at Yes – £91 or £224 each, and you can only buy two tickets at a time, not a singleton!

    They are at one and the same time the original continuous band and also in a way their own tribute bands, with maybe only one person left from the distant past: Robert Fripp always in King Crimson’s various lineups, Maddy Prior always in Steeleye Span, Andy Powell always in Wishbone Ash, Ian Anderson in Jethro Tull. Dave Cousins always in Strawbs, though two other current band members have been in the band since about 1974. Simon Nicol not always in Fairport Convention but was there in 1967 when they formed and was only out of the band for about four years (in the 70s) in their active years, and has been there the last 34 years.

  14. @larK again – to answer one or two of your other questions: the “Stalls” are the best seats in a theatre, the ones on ground level nearest the stage and so more expensive. The “Circle” is the balcony level, higher up and further away.

    The Rainbow Theatre was a prestige venue in the 70s. Various people recorded live albums, videos or films there, including Genesis, Yes, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Queen, The Ramones and Iron Maiden. The Osmonds made their London debut there. When Stevie Wonder played there in 1974 the audience included Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Pete Townshend, Charlie Watts, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, and David Bowie.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Theatre

  15. @narmitaj: thanks for the correction! I feel really stupid I got that wrong (again! it’s so hard to memorize if you didn’t live it…) You found some real nuggets in pricing! That one with the same venue for Genesis then Tina Turner but different prices was the clincher. And I am amazed that the UK seemed to not go through inflation at the same time the US did — when if any was the time in the UK when inflation suddenly happened in a big way?

  16. Oddly, I couldn’t see the Tina Turner ad in the strip line I linked to. But go to another way in which they format the Genesis archive at https://thegenesisarchive.co.uk/1972/11/ and scroll down and you see it, the Hardrock in Manchester. Also, 3 days after Ike and Tina T you see Roxy Music are on supported by New York Dolls for 70p top whack, 60p and 50p.

    A few days after is Roy Wood’s Wizzard, whose “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” is all over the airwaves and shops every year in the UK even now. And days later there’s Emerson Lake and Palmer, another (later) massive group… can’t see the price, but on eBay you can buy a ticket from an ELP performance in the Gaumont theatre in Southampton three days earlier, 11th November 1972, showing 50p for Upper Circle (so high in the gods – bet it was 80p or even £1 in the stalls). See ” Original 1972 Emerson Lake & Palmer concert ticket stub Southampton UK Trilogy ” in eBay.

    Due to the internet, we can see the setlist for the ELP Hardrock gig in November 1972, as someone there noted it and uploaded it! https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/emerson-lake-and-palmer/1972/hard-rock-manchester-england-5bf3f78c.html

  17. For the past week or so, I’ve been fantasizing about flying to Amsterdam for a concert at the MelkWeg . . . the concert price – even for a meet & greet – seemed VERY reasonable (seeing as how I paid $800/each for JB concert VIP ticks – NO meet & greet – a few years ago. However, the cost of flying and staying there would certainly raise the ‘cost’ of those MelkWeg tickets ‘-)

    OTOH, I’d have a change to visit my ‘homeland’ one more time. In cold February. Fantasy hit reality and deflated rapidly.

  18. @larK – one really weird inflation thing is postage stamps and computers. We have a postcard I sent to my brother in 1970, which cost 6d in stamps to send, so 2.5p in decimal, either way one fortieth (1/40th) of a £pound.

    The same postcard I would have to send now with a stamp of slightly more than 60p, ie 3/5ths of a £pound. These days you can get some pretty capable laptop computers with access to the internet and ability to email, write novels, play movies, edit photos, edit movies,stream music, read books, take photos, instant access to a worldwide wikicyclopedia, do spreadsheets and a bunch of other stuff, for the price of, say, less than 500 modern postage stamps (less than £300… and some offerings are a lot lower). If you told someone – even Arthur C Clarke – in 1970 that in 2019 just 500 postage stamps (which they would know was basically £12 10/- worth of stampage) would be able to buy that kind of power, they would think you were off your rocker.

    Arthur C Clarke would probably protest that in 2019 there would be no more postage stamps.

  19. @narmitaj: for a while I would send videos to my mother on an SD card in the mail rather than try and figure out a way for her to download it — for 64¢ or whatever it was (I actually wrote about it here in the pre apocalypse days — the post office would play dumb and try to charge you more expensive options, but there was no reason you couldn’t send it for basic first class postage plus a 20¢ or something non-machinable surcharge (so I’m harking back to the days when first class postage was 44¢)). This was the best option back then for convenience — you still couldn’t send 2 gigs over most email, and to set up an ftp server or some kind of drop box account was still too involved, so just spend 64¢ and mail a 2 gig SD card back and forth. It took two or three days instead of two or three hours, but eh…
    And I think it would possibly still be a good option today — I could send a terabyte of data for 75¢ and have it be there in two or three days, whereas my mother’s rural internet would take nearly a month to download the terabyte, and cost $30 for that month…

  20. larK, in the old days, they said, “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of mag tape.”

  21. . . . and how lucky you are to have a parent with a computer and enough savvy to know what to do with that SD card. According to my dad, “computers are a fad”, and I shouldn’t get too involved with them. He said this back in the early 2010s, so he’d had enough time to learn to use a computer and could’ve enjoyed so many things, like Tom Waits on YouTube, tours of Holland . . . so much out there for someone who is housebound 99% of the time.

    HE claimed he’d “had enough of computers” at work (AMC/Chrysler), and when I tried to ‘splain the difference between INTRAnet and INTERnet, you could see his ears and his mind close up.

    His mantra was: If my daughter likes it, it can’t possibly be good or worthwhile. You miss a lot when you close your mind like that, so kudos to your Mom!

  22. @Arthur – it wasn’t just nameless “they”, the line about bandwidth and station wagons was written by one of our authors when I worked at the college textbook publisher Prentice Hall in the 80s:

    ” ‘Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway./- [Andrew S. Tanenbaum] Computer Networks, 3rd ed., p. 83. (paraphrasing Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, University of Toronto Computing Services (UTCS) circa 1985)”
    https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Andrew_S._Tanenbaum

    I even met him once, in about 1983-4 when I was London bookshop sales rep for PH and he came to demonstrate MINIX on our stand at a computer exhibition at Earls Court convention centre (recently demolished, btw). In our corporate news mag there was even a pic of me (holding a copy of his book) and a colleague, Odette (who I saw earlier this year for the first time in ages at one of our annual company reunions during the London Book Fair) standing looking over his shoulder.

  23. Yeah, but then, he would have given Linus Torvalds a not very high grade for Linux, had he been in his class…

  24. The pic I mentioned, v rough and badly photocopied from the corporate mag. I am sure i was given a large print of it but no idea where it is.

  25. Just THINK of the computers that we all are using to look at this, and the differences between the two. My first thought was, “My dog, how were we able to look at such a TINY little monitor screen?!”

    OTOH, I can still remember the thrill of the first computer wheeled into our library office . . . Apple IIc . . . and learning to use it and then to program it, and all the improvements that followed (and I had the wonderful task of ‘de-inventorying’ dozens of computers and getting the custodians to stash them in the school’s attic . . . no one in the district had given a THOUGHT to what we should do with old computers when new ones were delivered, 30-40 at a time. IMO, the entire computerization of schools was a giant cluster****, and continued to be so thru my retirement in 2005).

  26. @narmitaj: You seem a Genesis scholar; answer me this: whereas Peter Gabriel sings, after walking right out of the Genesis machinery because he was feeling part of the scenery, “‘Hey he said ‘Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home.’ Back home”, Phil, his replacement, in the above video, after pointing out there’s no point escaping, still sings: “so take, take me home, ’cause I don’t remember, and I’ve been a prisoner all my life”. Is Phil singing in response to Peter? I’ve known both these songs forever, and it never struck me before that they are very thematically similar. Does being lead singer of Genesis make you long for home?

    Did Peter ever tell Phil what the smile on his face meant? Phil says they don’t tell him nothing, so he finds out what he can, but Phil seems to not mind going to day to day, though his life might be in a rut.

    Hmm…

  27. I’m late to the party, but…

    “Phil Collins” is a somewhat common name, so much so that if you saw that name on a roster, you might think of the rock superstar Phil Collins, but you’d probably dismiss it and figure it’s someone else.

    In this cartoon, the hotel manager was hoping for THE Phil Collins, but of course, that didn’t happen (in fact, the hotel guest laughs as if it’s happened before).

    But… PLOT TWIST! It turns out it was the rock superstar Phil Collins all along, complete with a non-cartoony face! Instead of trying to hide his name (which is a fairly common name), he hid his face (which is more unique than his name, especially in this cartoon world), which worked like a charm.

  28. Andréa – My mom, now 90, used a desktop computer at work as an accountant so they were not something strange to her.

    She was kept in desktop computers for awhile by the passing along of older computers that her children and their spouses were no longer using. That was great – I would send her an email before she would call and would avoid hours on the phone to say something like – “I went to the supermarket today”. (I get the gift of gab from both parents.)

    Then my sister upgraded mom to a tablet computer. This has been a problem. She tells me that if someone sends her an email it does not arrive for weeks. I explained to her how to go to gmail and check her email as I got emails from her account at same- but that confused her as her tablet was set up to download email when she turned it on plus she and my BIL insisted that she did not have a gmail account only the one from her cable co. (Plus I had never used a tablet computer and only have done so at one of her doctors’ offices since – and that IS a nightmare.) My BIL would go and clear out her email account – apparently it would fill and then the entire problem would start over.

    My dad passed away just as computer games – Atari and Commodore and such – were coming out, but I know he would have loved using a computer.

  29. I cannot think of the name – but back around our college days we had a friend with the same name as some celebrity – let us call him John Smith since I don’t remember – and we would always the call the celebrity “the other John Smith” as a joke.

  30. Well, my dad also believed his money (the actual money he brought in) was kept IN HIS NAME at the bank. I never knew if he really believed this stuff –
    computers are a passing fad, as are credit cards, his money is kept at the bank – or if he was having me on – or if it was all a part of his ‘if my daughter does it, it must be bad’ mindset. Or just getting senile; he was an engineer, for pity’s sake, with a major (well, semi-major) car company; he couldn’t POSSibly be this dumb, I thought.

  31. A cousin of mine is named Richard Nixon.

    As kids, within the family he was called Ricky. College age, he tried out Rich. I think he settled on Rick for most contexts.

    And never ever Dick.

  32. I like that . . . I know more ’bout SW’s music than I do ’bout PC’s, BUT wouldn’t recognize SW. Let’s face it; PC has a distinctive look.

  33. Andréa –

    At the first bank I kept money in that was true. It was the “bank of mom”. I would give my mom change I wanted to deposit – my allowance was 1 cent US when this started in the late 50s. She made me a little bank book and deposit and withdrawal forms. Unless she borrowed money from the box and put it back – the money I put in was in the money I got back. Gift money (unless a big amount such as dollars) went into it also. When both one’s parents are accountants…

  34. Having just finished ‘Marley’, the backstory of Scrooge & Marley, I just had a strange visual . . . however, I DO recommend the book.

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