I RECENTLY read that Enid Blyton classics are to be updated.
Having modernised the Famous Five ahead of the quintet’s 70th birthday this year, publisher Hachette UK has snapped up the rights to Enid Blyton’s estate and plans to bring more of her most famous characters into the 21st Century.
I wonder how these updates will pan out.
Let’s guess. They’ll be a multicultural mix and all from a council estate in Peckham.
The bad men will all be middle-class Englishmen working for banks or the pharmaceutical industry and their adult friend will be an equal opportunities officer from Hackney council.
One improvement that’s been suggested is to relocate all Blyton’s works to California and give all the characters multicultural backgrounds and American accents.
This would, so the theory goes, make them so much better than before.
And sell better too. NoddyWorld, anyone? Another suggestion is that they should include all the latest technology. But wouldn’t this just shorten the stories?
The children would be far too busy to have adventures. Instead they’d be texting, twittering and the rest of the time on Facebook.
But cripes! Do we really need a PC version of Blyton?
What we need is for children to read books instead of online porn. To play detective in their garden sheds instead of video games in their bedrooms.
To play pranks on the local grocer instead of putting bricks through his windows. And as for the language, that probably seemed fine to a child in the mid 20th century.
But I can see why they’d want to make it more “accessible” to the less literate generation we’ve fostered now, along with the PC stuff that infantilizes us in this day and age. But, really, doesn’t this scheme feel a bit like The X-Factor?
It’s doing to Enid Blyton what Simon Cowell does to music: homogenising everything, removing any sense of culture or history, and replacing originality and creativity with the superficial quest for a quick buck.
The latest books in the new series have just been announced: The Secret Seven Go Stabbin’ ‘n’ Shopliftin’; The Famous Five in a Fix over Toy Town’s NoddyLeaks; Noddy Leaves Big Ears Following Gay Sex Romp.
Ah! Nostalgia truly ain’t what it used to be.
Nora Johnson’s novels, Soul Stealer & The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/ eBook (€0.89; £0.77) and iBookstore. Profits to Cudeca