Thick as a Brick is the fifth studio album by Jethro Tull. Released in 1972, the album includes only one song: the 44-minute-long title track
The original LP cover was designed as a spoof of a 12-by-16 inch multiple-paged village newspaper called The St. Cleve Chronicle and Linwell Advertiser, with articles, competitions, adverts, and so on, lampooning the parochial and amateurish local journalism that still exists in many places today, as well as certain classical album covers
Jethro Tull’s official website states about the mock-newspaper: “There are a lot of inside puns, cleverly hidden continuing jokes (such as the experimental non-rabbit), a surprisingly frank review of the album itself (written by Anderson under a pseudonym), references to penguins, stuffed or other, and a non-rabbit occur often, and the crossword puzzle is wonderful. So is the connect the dot drawing called ‘Children’s Corner’. Here it is before filling it out
The “newspaper”, dated 7 January 1972, also includes the entire lyrics to Thick as a Brick, which is presented as a poem written by an 8-year-old literary prodigy, Gerald ‘Little Milton’ Bostock, whose disqualification from a poetry contest is the focus of the front page story. This article claims that although Bostock initially won the contest with ‘Thick as a Brick’, the judges’ decision was overturned after a multitude of protests and threats concerning the offensive nature of the poem, furthered by allegations of the boy’s psychological instability
NMTBP can do no better than to quote the opening paragraphs, written as a parody of shocked British provincialism circa 1972:
The Society for Literary Advancement and Gestation (SLAG), announced their decision late last night to disqualify eight year old prizewinner Gerald (Little Milton) Bostock following the hundreds of protests and threats received after the reading of his epic poem “Thick as a Brick” on B.B.C. Television last Monday night
A hastily reconvened panel of Judges accepted the decision by four leading child psychiatrists that the boy’s mind was seriously unbalanced and that his work was a product of an “extremely unwholesome attitude towards life, his God and Country”. Bostock was recommended for psychiatric treatment following examination “without delay”. The first prize will now be presented to runner up Mary Whiteyard (aged 12) for her essay on Christian ethics entitled, “He died to save the little Children”
And here’s the cartoon afterwards
Throughout the newspaper’s many articles are subtly scattered various references to the lyrics, to Gerald Bostock, to Jethro Tull, and to other peculiar parts of the newspaper itself. The satirical newspaper was heavily abridged for conventional CD booklets, but the 25th Anniversary Special Edition CD cover is much closer to the original, and the boxed version contains a nearly-complete replica of the original newspaper, missing only an article spoofing former U.S. Tull distributor Reprise Records
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