The answer of course is ‘NotMe’spoken by a squeaky voiced Bunter, the fat ‘owl’ of the Remove. The Remove being the quarters of the third year pupils at Greyfriars School, the fictitious boarding school created by writer Charles Hamilton aka Frank Richards and home to Billy Bunter, the greatest anti-hero, coward, snob, liar, glutton and all round racal on the Planet . I’ve given Billy Bunter his own section because I couldn’t leave him out. Bunter has been with me throughout most of my life and in particular when I’m stressed I can escape to the often absurd but equally wonderful world of Billy Bunter Bunter and Greyfriars.
Frank Richard’s was a prolific writer of children’s literature and in particular children’s comics and I should explain that children’s comics at this time, between 1900 and 1940, were often text stories with the occasional illustration and often a single ‘comic’ would be like a small novel. The Magnet was just such a comic and began life in 1908 though Bunter took sometime to develop and emerge as a main character and it wasn’t really until the mid 1920s that Bunter really got into his stride and from about 1924 onwards Billy Bunter became a phenomenon, with his fat figure, checked trousers, blinking owl-like stare and seemingly insatiable greed becoming a byword for fatties and gluttony with Bunter even entering the dictionary.
For me though, and for most Bunter fans it is the stories of Bunter’s never ending pursuit of tuck and riches and the adventures and escapades that he encounters along the way that really matter. These stories and those related to the other key pupils and teachers at Greyfriars; Mr Quelch, Mr Prout, Wharton, Coker, Loder and so on mix warmth, humour and incredibly funny, and at times, even moving storylines that have never been surpassed.
And now over 100 years since Bunter was created and when even the world that he inhabited is fading into history the Magnet and Greyfrairs still evoke a magic that for me is still a joy and I hope that by including the fat owl here that he may still attract some new admirers.
It is also worth mentioning that Billy Bunter was one of the first victims of Political Correctness as it began to emerge in the late seventies with Bunter books being removed from Public libraries on the grounds that they were ‘fattest’ and generally offensive.