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THE BOSOM BUDDIES OF WASTE
January 1, 2013 5:05 AM   Subscribe

“During the 1920s, the British firm Parker-Holladay created a fictional character named Bill Jones. Mr. Jones’ dispensed his friendly advice to British clerical workers through colorful lithographic posters emblazoned with his get-right-to-the-point maxims." Why not enjoy this collection of can-do, yes-sir business motivational posters before you head back to work?
posted by The Whelk (40 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
I disagree with Jones on one point, as there's always time for a little groping.
posted by item at 5:13 AM on January 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


Endeavor to Persevere
posted by Thorzdad at 5:30 AM on January 1, 2013


Maybe the folks at despair will do a series based on these.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:32 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


By now there should be a XKCD-esque cartoon chart showing where the size differentials where fight-in-dog and dog-in-fight overlap and where they don't.
posted by wobh at 5:33 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Many (perhaps even all) of these seem more directed to a sales force than to clerical workers.

Interesting little portal to the past though, thanks for posting.
posted by kcds at 5:42 AM on January 1, 2013


Were these actually used in Britain at all? They seem very tailored to a US audience, in terms of tone, slang and imagery, and are clearly more aimed at 'self made men' and sales-types rather than your average 1930s British clerk. (There do seem to have been London-printed versions, according to the link in this mefi post, but they still come across as quite atypical, somehow, of other British motivational stuff).
posted by AFII at 5:51 AM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I know every generation takes its ephemera for granted, but it's design and illustration like this that makes me feel like I was born 80-90 years too late (advances in medicine, technology and civil rights notwithstanding.)
posted by usonian at 6:09 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


And then we had a massive depression that effected everyone except those who were proactive and goal oriented enough to throw themselves from tall buildings.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:19 AM on January 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Seems very un-British to me. 'Just do your best and it' ll probably be ok' is more our style.
posted by Summer at 6:30 AM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seems very un-British to me. 'Just do your best and it' ll probably be ok' is more our style

This was before the invention of the radiohead.
posted by hal9k at 7:00 AM on January 1, 2013


I am not sure I like all the typography. I read "Be bigger than the situation" as "Bugger the situation," the first time around, and, while that's not necessarily bad advice, it seemed out of line with the rest of the posters....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:32 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember, you're here forever.
posted by dry white toast at 7:33 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like my versions better.
posted by cthuljew at 7:43 AM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, is it just me, or does the guy in the "Thought is essential for business development" poster look like a master criminal planning his next heist? Or was that just a general characteristic of thinish thoughtful-looking men of the time. I think the suits lend themselves to that interpretation.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:44 AM on January 1, 2013


GenjiandProust: That's not typography, it's hand lettering. Dying if not dead art.
posted by cthuljew at 7:47 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


my wife was a little worried that she'll be visited by an old, male version of herself, but she'd better get used to the idea. I'm just relieved to find out it's not Jimmy Savile.
posted by davemee at 8:04 AM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


The "be bigger than the situation" poster could easily be retitled "check out my sick dance moves."
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:04 AM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Disorder, Neglect, Waste...at least I have bosom friends.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:10 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, bosom is the buddy of waist.
posted by cthuljew at 8:20 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love these posters and I love Retronaut.
posted by immlass at 8:53 AM on January 1, 2013


They seem very tailored to a US audience

Yes. From the introductory text: The firm exported Bill Jones to the United States and Canada...

Plus "Worry never made anyone a dime" is definitely not UK English. Plus at the foot of the "Can't be done" poster it's specifically "Printed in the U.S.A." (sic, with full stops after each letter).

The greengrocer's apostrophes in the "Know your business" poster ("It's need", "It's market") could be from either shore of the Atlantic.
posted by aqsakal at 8:54 AM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love these! Thank you.
posted by young sister beacon at 9:02 AM on January 1, 2013


The Tough Luck dude's swagger is just delightful. Reminds me vaguely of Steve Martin somehow. Maybe something from All of Me when he's learning to walk with Lily Tomlin controlling half his body?
posted by you must supply a verb at 9:07 AM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


With all due respect, since I enjoy vintage posters and imagery, these posters are really not the best example of the art.
posted by infini at 9:40 AM on January 1, 2013


"from the introductory text....
Understood, but this also says that this character was initially used for British posters, and I haven't seen any evidence that this is the case. All the ones here and obviously googlable appear to be for the American market.
posted by AFII at 9:57 AM on January 1, 2013


Nope, nope, don't do that one... nope, nope... okay, that one's for salesmen so thankfully it doesn't apply... nope... nope...

I sense a slight need to improve.
posted by Madamina at 10:12 AM on January 1, 2013


aqsakal: I was about to comment on said extraneous apostrophes. (Or "apostrophe's").
posted by dhens at 10:46 AM on January 1, 2013


Also, I'm pretty sure that should be "Objective Thinking Ensures Results", not "Insures"... although I suppose a pedant could argue that objective thinking could serve to insure existing results as well as ensure new ones.
posted by usonian at 11:09 AM on January 1, 2013


The Tough Luck poster stood out for me too, though it reminded me of a drag queen's swagger.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:36 AM on January 1, 2013


I'd wager a bet that "It can't be done" does, in fact, mean a great deal to a fellow who wants to avoid a harrowing death when flying over the Atlantic.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:40 AM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


These would be better with Smiling Bob.
posted by MikeMc at 12:04 PM on January 1, 2013


They're just like modern motivational posters. They all say "Grab, suck, acquire, win, toil, run around and around that fucking wheel and kid yourself it matters." We never learn, do we?
posted by Decani at 12:27 PM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'd say that we've learned to make better motivational posters - the writing on some of these is barely legible.

In a few generations time we might even work out how to make motivational posters that work! Now THAT would be a nightmare.
posted by YAMWAK at 12:34 PM on January 1, 2013


...motivational posters that work!

"MOTIVATION: Work hard or you're fired!"
posted by cthuljew at 12:38 PM on January 1, 2013


Catmotivational.
posted by arcticseal at 1:00 PM on January 1, 2013


Tea is for Closers.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:03 PM on January 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


Lie back and think of England productivity.
posted by tommasz at 4:05 PM on January 1, 2013


Well, the Whelk, that's three hours sacrificed to Retronaut. I thought I was never getting out of there - not sure whether to thank you or curse you.
posted by glasseyes at 4:07 PM on January 1, 2013


CONTROL YOUR TEMPER!

And throw a bucket of water on those dogs, while your at it
posted by BlueHorse at 9:25 PM on January 1, 2013


I guess this is why Mrs. Jones had so much time to have a thing going on.
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:54 AM on January 2, 2013


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