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Bristow's Colleagues

Jones

 
 

"Jones - I hate to kick a man when he is down but I feel in your case an exception can be made"
R. Bristow

Highslide JS
Strip 1621 was published in the Evening Standard in April 1966, in Bristow (1970), Bristow's Guide to Living and in The Big Big Big Bristow Book
Jones, Bristow’s long serving colleague, is also a humble buying clerk. He may or may not be senior to Bristow. (According to Jones he is, according to Bristow he is not) He has violent mood swings, sometimes childishly elated by a change in the weather, or deeply depressed by failure to impress Miss Pretty of Kleenaphone.

Bristow always maintains he is senior to Jones because he has been with the firm for longer. Some supporting evidence for this may be found in strip 1492
Strip 1492 was published in the Evening Standard in November 1965.
. At this time Bristow claimed at least 7 years service so perhaps he was right. Apart from temporary absences of anyone senior to the two of them (see below), there is nothing else to distinguish their positions within the Buying Department.

Though they have worked side by side for years, the slyer Bristow still easily takes in Jones. Here he is in top form, during a brief period in which having previously agreed not to compete against each other for promotion, they go all out to do each other down strip 5563
Strip 5563 was published in the Evening Standard in January 1980
. Yet Jones can be just as lazy - if not more so - than Bristow if he really puts his mind to it, especially when Fudge is on holiday strip 3835
Strip 3835 was published in the Evening Standard in July 1973
On the other hand, the "evil" that is Jones, as Bristow describes him in the radio script, "Of moles and men" is quick to claim to be attending evening classes in front of the office cleaners, knowing they would pass this to Sir Reginald Chester-Perry, for whom they also cleaned privately, and this would lead to a promotion as deputy head of Production Control. A cunning plan worthy of Bristow at his sneakiest. Jones of course claims to have met the firm's founder (see strip 1621 above) and this is explored further on Sir Reginald's own page
Highslide JS
Strip 4386 was published in the Evening Standard in May 1975

How Jones is put in charge, following the time-honoured C-P method of selection

When Fudge is temporarily absent from the office, Jones and Bristow bitterly contest who is to be in charge. Before going on holiday they will leave huge piles of work for the other to find the next week. But they can also be considerate. When Jones has had a bad morning and for some reason gets it out his system by a vigorous session with the date-stamp, Bristow decides to wait till the afternoon before telling him that the stamp is set to the wrong date.

Bristow is keen on fresh air and the occasional attempt at exercise. He and Jones fight a constant battle about the window which Bristow likes open and Jones prefers closed. At first sight of spring Bristow hustles Jones off to the park for lunch where they sit shivering on the benches.

According to Frank Dickens' web site, and hinted at in the radio scripts The girl next door and The girl in the yellow overcoat, Jones is married. This, frankly, does not wash. In all of the time Bristow has worked with Jones, no mention has ever been made of Jones' wife. Indeed, in one of the earliest strips strip 74
Strip 74 was published in the Evening Standard in May 1962
, Jones has a girlfriend in the typing pool, arousing Bristow's keen curiosity and envy. Not long after he becomes interested in a girl working across the street, a theme picked up on The girl next door (where every male in C-Ps becomes besotted with a comely young Myles & Rudge recruit). Later on, Jones seems to be less successful with the C-P females. We see Jones and Bristow on one occasion lunching in the park and Jones confesses that he wishes he had Bristow's knowhow with women. (Fat lot of good that would do him). When Jones goes off on his first ever foreign holiday, it is Bristow who sees him off at the airport, and Jones is going alone. When a new girl starts in the office across the street Jones is quick to show off his best feature (his back, apparently) And the office cleaners have a soft spot for him, doing his laundry and sewing buttons back on his waistcoat.

Jones is perhaps a little more repressed than Bristow. When Gun and Fames send round a girlie calendar it is Jones who breaks into a sweat and wishes that they worked in a back street sleazy garage so he could put it on the wall. The calendar ends up in Bristow’s desk for a while. But so many clerks come in to see it that Fudge orders it to be thrown out. Bristow casts it to the four winds and the last we see of it is high above the Myles & Rudge Building, squabbled over by the Blondini Brothers.

The rivalry between Jones and Bristow is as long-standing as the strip itself. They lose no chance to do each other down. Consider Bristow's choice of page to be ripped out of Who's Who at Chester-Perry's when he is designing his latest paper aeroplane in strip 4883
Strip 4883 was published in the Evening Standard in May 1977 and in Bristow vs.Chester-Perry. This scan is from the Glasgow Evening Times May 1977
. And when Bristow spends all morning working on his last will and testament, and his colleagues hold his blotter up to the mirror to decode it, his bequest to his "good and faithful friend Jones" is revealed as "the entire contents of my in-tray".

 

Highslide JS
Strip 4444 was published in the Evening Standard in August 1975. This scan is from the Melbourne Age August 1975.
Bristow about to go on holiday, tells Jones he is working hard to ensure that he leaves him nothing to do. Jones' reaction is automatic.
Why he chose N Walters & Son belongs to the realm of the inexplicable.
   
Jones hates the job as much as Bristow but he is more likely to do something about it. Whereas Bristow endlessly dreams about walking out and never coming back (providing it is not raining), Jones gets the occasional interview. One of these turns out to be with Myles and Rudge, the office across the street. Bristow thinks he should go for it: "For a start it won’t be so far to come in the morning". But unlike Bristow Jones seems to have a deep, albeit frustrated, vein of loyalty toward his employer and is capable of sentiments that could not possibly come from Bristow strip 2606
Strip 2606 was published in the Evening Standard in July 1969 and in Bristow (1970) and in The Big Big Big Bristow Book. This scan is from the Sydney Morning Herald November 1969
.He has also a personal connection to Sir Reginald - so he claims , in strip 1621 (see above). And he vindicates his claim to be expert on reading expressions by correctly decoding Bristow's view of this encounter. and of him,as a mixture of contempt, loathing, pity and scorn.

Lately Jones seems to be flowering. In recent strips, on frankdickens.com, he has a torrid affair with a temp, finds his affections challenged by the post-boy (the quivering knife stuck in the desk is a bit far, though) and is then betrayed by his love who goes off with Atkins of Accounts. Here is where Bristow can invoke his philosophy of temps. And when Jones returns skint from two weeks at Stoneybeach, he is quick to begin a searing new novel entitled Hurrah for the Holidays. I think it is safe to assume that Messrs Heap and Trotwood were not able to make room for it in their publishing schedule.

On the days that Bristow may be found staring blankly at the ceiling, Jones is likely to be hammering through a batch of invoices. But it makes no difference to his position in the firm. He is no more likely than Bristow to become Chief Buyer.

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