St Trinian's: the Entire Appalling Business by Ronald Searle

15th February 2008 at 00:00
Book

Before St Trinians replaced Nuts as the socially-acceptable face of pornography, the famous teen tearaways were a bunch of straggly-haired ragamuffins happier loosening the cap from a bottle of whisky than the fastening on a suspender belt.

In his book St Trinian's: the Entire Appalling Business (out this week), their creator, the cartoonist Ronald Searle, brings together some of the original sketches from their pre-cinema days, a glorious celebration of anarchy and female bad behaviour that would have the producers of Ladette to Lady salivating into their pastrami sandwiches.

First showcased in Lilliput, the popular humour magazine of the 1940s, the pictures bear only a passing resemblance to subsequent film remakes, particularly the sputtering Russell Brand vehicle that crashed and burnt in UK cinemas last year ("It makes Spice World look like Citizen Kane," in the words of one discerning blogger).

They are a testimony to a time when girls could indulge in petty crime without being subjected to the leering gaze of libidinous comedians. A must for lovers of cartoons and mischief alike.

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