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Some other colleagues
A bunch of hell-raisers, terrors of the canteen, the Rat Pack are the Chester-Perry equivalent of the Dreaded Hulines. Led by Benny "the Duke" Gibson, a man who wears a natty bow-tie and sports a cigarette-holder, they drink at lunchtime, whistle at passers-by and do the daredevil things that many clerks can only dream about. Bristow incurs their displeasure by sitting in a seat in the canteen that the Rat Pack regard as their own territory strip 3423 They seek him out in his office and threaten that they will not leave. When Bristow retorts that he will have to fetch Fudge the Rat Pack capitulate.
Sadly we hear no more of Mr Gibson but the Rat Pack seems to have survived him. Bristow himself is cited as having been a member in 1985 (during a period when they were taking anybody) (from strip 1070 on Frank Dickens website in June 2005). Clearly standards have slipped.
Ratcliffe: (poking head round door of Buying Department)
Is Mr. Falconer in?
Possibly not working in the most suitable department for his particular talents, Mr. Ratcliffe seems to have fundamental difficulties in working out where he is, what he is doing and why. He gets lost in the Chester-Perry building - though he certainly tries to rectify this - strip 2553 - and it is foolish of him to challenge Bristow on the subject strip 2555And outside the firm, Ratcliffe seems to be on no firmer ground strip 2035 .
The firmís pathological liar. When he arrives, sporting a glowing tan and boasting of foreign holidays, everyone automatically assumes he has a sun ray machine in his front room. Just after he announces a huge pools win, someone asks if anyone has picked up a pound they dropped in the corridor.
One of the firm's top salesmen, he demonstrates his superb sales technique to Bristow. Other salesmen may bore their customer by telling tired old jokes but Mr. Gabby can do so to such an effect that, as his victims nod off, he can gently manipulate their hands to sign a sales order strip 2706 . Like his colleague Sampson, Mr. Gabby is partial to a little drink - or perhaps more than a little, as Sampson's wise precautions in strip 3063 suggest. Although it is a little odd that Mr. Gabby appears not to know the location of the pub, the Brolly and Bowler. It is after all pretty well a second home to the alcohol-crazed sales staff.
A cross between Flashman* and Daley Thompson**, Maddox is the curse of the corridors. His temper and appetite for violence, coupled with size and fitness, make him unique amongst the timid clerks that populate the C-P building. His methods, when crossed, are brutal and direct strip 2321 . And when he is moved to work on the floor below the Buying Department and insists on absolute silence, Bristow is caught in an interesting dilemma seen in strip 2682 But he can be a most useful travelling companion, as Bristow finds out in strip 2745 , though as on this occasion Maddox had thought he was travelling with the firm's karate expert, the conviviality did not last long and a spell in the broom cupboard was required - strip 2747
Maddox fades out soon after the broom cupboard incident. Maybe the humiliation of losing to Bruiser Downs of Myles & Rudge in the interfirm boxing championship was too much to take. However he makes a final cameo appearance at the Christmas Dinner and Dance of 1992 where, seated next to Bristow, he is able to eat and drink his fill at his companion's expense.
*Flashman was the school bully in Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown's Schooldays and then the hero of a series of comic novels by George Macdonald Fraser
**Thompson (no relation to Toady Thompson), was Olympic Decathlon champion in 1980 and 1984
Poor Mr Meeke. Whatever his real job may be, his lot is to be the permanent victim, forever taking the blame for the misdeeds of others, waiting patiently at his desk for the next accuser to spring from the woodwork. The first time we encounter him he is fingered by Mr Tracer as being the culprit in the sinister Bread-roll throwing incident at the dinner and dance (though we know who it really was), When Bristow loses the manuscript of Living Death in the Buying Department - no matter, Mr. Meeke is on hand to write out 750 odd pages - strip 2788 and if anyone has a bad day and needs to get it out their system, then they just go and give Mr. Meeke a slap or two.
Bristow encounters Mr. Tupper one day at a car boot sale. Mr. Tupper is selling large quantities of office stationery. 'Nuff said. (By the way wasn't there a character in boy's comics in the 1950s called Alf Tupper, the Tough of the Track? Can they possibly be related?)
Each spring a fat and lazy pigeon migrates to the Northern Hemisphere and homes in on the window ledge outside Bristowís office. Bristow feeds it and pampers it, even putting out little bells and ladders for it to play with. He guards it from the much more cynical Jones "Hmm, donít like the look of these teacakes this morning ...here birdie". The pigeon is so regular an attendee and takes such an interest in the affairs of the department that Bristow places it in the pecking order for Chief Buyer ahead of Jones strip 4663 . (Which is why the pigeon is listed amongst Bristowís colleagues)
We first meet the pigeon in early 1963. Bristow seems hostile to it at first - strip 610 . But within a few weeks he is putting out crumbs, and feels strangely drawn to it. For, as he confesses whilst feeding it in the park, "we have something in common. We neither of us know where the next meal is coming from". He doesn't know much about birds and muses whether, if it is a carrier pigeon, he could strap a message to its leg - "Help I am a prisoner in a buying department".
The pigeon must be one of the least air-worthy creature to fly. When Bristow tours the top floor of the C-P building he has to encourage the bird to make it up from the street below. When migrating back from abroad, only the sound of Fudge screaming abuse at Bristow keeps it and its friends on course. Whilst in the park the pigeon (and friends) are so unfazed by the oncoming park-keeper that - well see for yourself. But it can certainly make itself useful strip 4146 The last strip published in the Evening Standard, strip 10939 , features the pigeon.