crab micromuseum

Pinces d’or

Last year when I created a category which is called crab I pretty much knew right away what the 2nd post in the category would be. And here it is. Another book and another excuse for some more Tintin scans. The Crab With The Golden Claws was the first Adventures of Tintin book to be translated into English and published in the UK. (There I’ve said it.) That was in 1958 and indeed the copy I have has that first publication date though I think probably it was bought in 1960. By 1958 there were 19 possible books to choose from so it makes you wonder why Methuen chose to start with this one. Probably because it was the book that introduced Captain Haddock and they could see that this introduction took the series onto another level.

Here’s the contents of the pockets of a merchant seaman Herbert Dawes by name who was found drowned. There aren’t many deaths in the books and if it happens it’s usually off-scene as in this case. By the way the half crowns are all duds. On the back of the torn label from the tin of crabmeat Dawes has written the name of the boat he works on – Karaboudjan.


On the left is Lieutenant Delcourt who is in charge of the outpost of Afghar, an excellent commander even though a heavy drinker. To his right stands Ahmed stalwart of the camel patrol corps.


Because of various reasons related to the fact that the book was written during the middle of World War II the story is shorter than other previous ones. This resulted in the creation of some extra frames including 4 unusual full page frames. One of these is below. It illustrates Omar Ben Salaad returning home guided by a servant who from time to time calls out “Make way for the mighty Omar Ben Salaad”. A rich, rich man who owns a magnificent palace, great estates in the south (Spanish Sahara we’re talking about) and even a flying machine. He also wears a couple of golden crab’s claws round his neck. But he is in the sight of indomitable agents of law and justice. We don’t learn of his ultimate fate but I would have thought that great wealth may in the long term have managed to get the better of law and justice in Spanish Sahara in the 1940s. This is going beyond the remit of children’s literature.


micromuseum music trees

as regards tintin street

At last I have managed to finish the demo I started a while ago. It gives me a chance to put up a couple more bits of Hergé artwork in an unassuming manner. I can’t see the harm in it myself. I’ve called it RV Marche RG which is pronounced as if you were speaking French to give it an English quasi-phonetic spelling it would be ‘ervay marsh erjay’ or something like that but really you need to get that guttural French R to give it it’s most satisfying rendition. Really I know that properly my initials should be reversed and be ‘vayeur’ rather than ‘ervay’ but the thing is I’ve never reversed my initials – yeh sure I’ve reversed the letters of the name because that makes Trebor Yesav which could easily be a Georgian sculptor or a Macedonian boat-builder – but Georges Remi did reverse his initials which gave him his distinctive pen-name.

The song stems from a street near where I live which for some reason I call Tintin Street. Quite often when I’m coming home late at night I pause for a while on this street (which is quite a steep hill) and reflect. I’ve thought a lot about why I call it Tintin Street but I can’t quite pin it down. It was sort of an instinctive thing. I’ve looked through the various books trying to find some point of reference but with no success so far. Here follow some street and house images from the cartoons.

My Tintin Street is very different from the actual street that Tintin lived on. We just get glimpses of that. Here seen from a vantage point slightly higher than the 2nd floor window suspended in the air outside the building.

And here from the middle of the road outside. It’s quite a busy street in the middle of town. As you can see the glimpses of the street usually coincide with a dramatic incident – abduction in both these cases. Firstly Bunji Kuraki of the Yokohama police force and secondly Tintin himself.

So what is the reference point? The madeleine in the tisane? Is it the balconied window?

Or maybe just the shutters?

It could be the long, high concrete wall that I refer to in the 3rd verse of the song. Plain walls are popular with cartoonists for obvious reasons.

Or possibly it’s all a mistake and I was thinking of another famous Belgian.

[René Magritte L’Empire des Lumières (detail)]

Anyway here’s the track.

RV Marche RG


The Sirius v The Glen Sannox

In the summer of 1959 when I was 5 years old, my family went on holiday to the isle of Arran. There were a few firsts involved. It was the first time I’d been on a boat of the size of the ferry and it was the first time I’d been to Arran. My mother had bought me a book to take on holiday with me, and she gave it to me when we were on the boat. At the top it said


then underneath


then underneath that


and right at the bottom


most of the cover was a picture of a boy and a dog in a small submarine that looked like a shark, moving close to the sea-bed. So this was my first Tintin book. Never mind that it was actually the 2nd one of a series of 2 books, that didn’t make it any the less wonderful to a 5 year old child.

In Arran we stayed at Carrick Lodge, a guest house on the way out of Brodick on the road to Lamlash. We liked it so much there that we went back the next 2 summers and did it again. I think it was Mrs White who ran it then and mostly we seemed to meet the same guests there each year. Because I was quiet, clever, good with words but not overly precocious I was popular with the adults and one year I got a ridiculous amount of money (like 5 shillings maybe) for a milk tooth that came out while we were there. I’ve got a couple of shots of people in the garden at Carrick Lodge, and this is one of them. I’m on the far left, in the shade.

The Crab with the Golden Claws was the first Tintin book published by Methuen in the UK, in 1958. Over the next 4 years another 11 were hastily brought out to cope with demand. By the end of 1963 I had collected all of those. I remember getting The Castafiore Emerald for Christmas that year and being a bit disappointed with it. Later I learnt to appreciate its finer points. I haven’t got a complete set of those early UK publication 1st editions, sadly I learnt the hard way about the dangers of lending books to other people, especially people you don’t know that well, but I have most of them and they’re a pretty battered set having been read countless times over the years by myself and many other children.