Monday 21 May 2012

The Peak of Mathematics

Everybody loves maths don't they? The sheer naked panic of just not getting it as a child? The embarassed, snorting bluster when someone asks you "Go on then, what are seven eights?" Well lets hope this post brings back those long-buried feelings of childhood inadequacy, as we enter the world of Nelson's Peak Mathematics 1 (Alan Bridgehouse, David Godber and Peter Patilla 1981). The art design is by Sharon Lovett and Michael Kaufmann, and the snaps are by Chris Ridgers (the South African Chris Rodgers), Dawson Strange (yes!) and Janine Wiedel.
Perhaps the panda represents the advances the ancient Chinese made in the field of mathematics: perhaps the entwining of the branches is a visual pun on the pyramid logo in the top left. Whatever - it's a panda up a tree and it's time to open your exercise book.
Typical - you wait ages and then nine turn... sorry.
Some great snack action here. Old school white Smarties and a Toblerone, washed down with a tin of Humbrol enamel paint.
No Rola Cola or Top Deck to feed the fantasies of cheap nostalgists here - we're showing the kids Coke and that's that. If I was Mary I'd just pick up the shades and the cool, swimming frog.
The spirit of dark and lonely ice cream vans.
Don't bother asking John - it's marbles all the way. Those long, early spring afternoons on the tarmac have marked me indelibly (especially around the knee area). That's it - I'm off to revise graphs and recite 'Got, got, need, need ..' over a Panini Football 85. Bye!


  1. Looks quite progressive to me. Fun with math + real life. That doesn't reduce the traumatizing potential, of course.

  2. I think this volume came out just after I was done with school for good but it certainly does bring back some disturbing memories. I'm sure, however, some folk found maths to be pure bliss. How much WAS The Beano in those days? Last time I bought it it must have been about 3p!

  3. This is great! We used to use SPMG books in infant school and SMP cards in junior school for maths but I seem to remember books like this knocking around.....I'm sure I first learned about the @ symbol in a book like this!

  4. Where do I send my answers, and will Dawson Strange tessellate me when I get them all wrong?

    Trivia: I missed my final maths exam at secondary school.
    The sun was shining and so I took a dinghy down a river instead. I fell in the water near a waste pipe from a factory and contracted really bad diarrhoea for a fortnight.

  5. I love your beautiful blog and so enjoy your posts.

  6. We used these throughout junior school. I'm sure they started at book 0, which was orange, can't remember what the front cover picture was though. Anyway, I managed to get to book 6 out of 7, not bad I don't think, thanks for the trip down memory lane though lol

    1. 0 had a picture of a kid making an "O" shape with a sparkler!