Exclusive Not Now Bernard Clothing Now In! + Q&A With Author David McKee

Here at TruffleShuffle, we love any excuse to celebrate a childhood classic and you don’t get more classic than Not Now, Bernard.
We’re so excited to launch the first ever range of merchandise based on David McKee’s terrific tale as we celebrate its 40th birthday!

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Released back in 1980, this childhood favourite tells the tale of Bernard and his attempts to let his distracted parents know about the monster in his garden that wants to eat him. Each time he attempts to tell them he hears just one thing… ‘not now, Bernard!’.

A thrillingly odd, darkly humorous and utterly poignant tale which seems just as, if not more, relevant today, than when it was first released, we know you’re going to love celebrating this iconic story with us 📚

Let’s take a look at the collection in full!

Not Now Bernard Book Cover Red T-Shirt

Featuring the original cover art from this childhood classic, our new Not Now Bernard Book Cover Red T-Shirt will be instantly recognisable to anyone who read and loved this iconic tale growing up.

Not Now Bernard Roar! Grey Marl T-Shirt

ROAR! Without the pesky monster, Bernard’s day would have been a lot better huh. We’ve made the monster the star of the show with this exclusive Not Now Bernard Roar! Grey Marl T-Shirt.

The Monster Ate Bernard Up Natural T-Shirt

Spoiler alert!
We love this classic tee featuring one of our favourite (and most poignant!) pages from the book.

It’s not just clothing though! We’ve added some exciting new accessories like our mugs and tote bags that will help you showcase your love for this true retro gem.

Not Now Bernard Mug
Not Now Bernard Book Cover Tote Bag

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But wait, things get better! Don’t get distracted (like poor Bernard’s parents!) because the first 50 people who spend over £15 on our Not Now Bernard range will also get themselves a FREE copy of the 40th Anniversary Edition of the book courtesy of our friends at Andersen Press.

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Last but not least, we caught up with the legendary author of Not Now Bernard (and many of our other childhood favourites FYI) for a Q&A session! Read on and prepare to be inspired….

David McKee Q&A

How did you come up with the idea for Not Now Bernard?

At that time I did a lot of thinking and writing in the bath, I can remember being in the bath and the title came – I must have heard ‘not now…’ to one of my own children that day or something. Lying there in the bath it just came! It was one of those stories where you’re just the receiver, I think music and stories are similar, they circle in the air and you can be lucky enough to receive them.

Congratulations on 40 years since the publication of Not Now Bernard, why do you think it has really stood the test of time?

I’ve got no idea – I wish I did or I’d do more of them! I know a lot of children have learnt to read from Not Now Bernard, it’s become their book they love.
It’s readable in different ways if you’re an adult or a child, and I know children understand what’s going on under the surface.
In America they wanted to change the ending – for his mum to say ‘we love you Bernard’ at the end, which I always thought was true, but it seemed forced – we know she loves him, but like many parents they didn’t manage to say it that night.
I was in a school one time years and years ago, I was drawing something for a class and somebody was shouting “David, David David” trying to get my attention and the teacher said “Not Now Peter’ – The whole class shouted out “Not. Now. Peter!” – I just turned around and asked Peter what he wanted – the teacher hung her head, she knew what she’d done! The kids loved that!

We’ve read some interesting theories that the monster in the story is actually a metaphor for Bernard behaving badly after being ignored by both parents! Perhaps Bernard will be back to himself in the morning? Can you confirm or deny!?

No, I can’t! I don’t like defining stories too much – when I was young I liked the fables of Aesop and the parables in the bible, they said something by talking about something else – I’ve always liked that form to use for stories. I think when you write something that works, and I’m assuming you think Not Now Bernard works, it’s a mistake to define it too much.
I’ve used a similar theme a few times in my work, certainly, in Not Now Bernard but also in I Hate My Teddy Bear; I think we’ve all got a monster inside of us, there are moments when we have to keep it under control but moments when we can’t – if we’re treated badly or ignored the monster can come alive and eat up who we are normally.
I remember I did a signing session in Covent Garden when Not Now Bernard first came out – one lady was saying to another one, “You know this book is all about the atom bomb”, she didn’t know I was listening, she said “the clue is the back cover”, I looked at the back and I suppose the tree looks a bit like a mushroom cloud – well, I thought, if it means that for her it means that. I never asked her to explain it as I didn’t want my reading to be changed!

We know your stories are so loved by all ages. Why do you think the stories people grow up reading stay with them for so long and are still so cherished into adulthood?

I’ve always said when I’m writing I like the idea of writing for the adult that the child will be, and for the child that the adult still is – I think there’s a part of us which stays young and appreciates those sort of things.
Like the fables, after a time they changed for me – I saw other meanings in the same story as I grew older. Certain stories are just like that.

With so much entertainment for young children coming from video and online formats, do you have any words of encouragement for parents to continue reading books with their children?

I think picture books are the one book or piece of entertainment which are shared by an adult and a child, and it’s interesting I’ve heard over the years with some of my books, like Charlotte’s Piggy Bank, there are moments where the parent asks the child ‘what’s that about’ and the child can explain it to the parent. Sharing books is an important moment that can’t be replicated by anything online.
When a child gets a favourite book they want it over and over again every night – it’s a security, they know what’s coming and I think that’s why repeat stories with books, and in old TV, children appreciate the security of hearing something they know over and over again. Once in a signing a little boy picked up Not Now Bernard, and said to his dad “I can read that book, I can read it without the book” – he knew it off by heart! That felt really special.

Is there a story or concept you have always wanted to portray in a story but are still yet to?

No, I think I’ve done everything I wanted to. I’ve certainly got stories written in a drawer that aren’t yet published, they might never get published, and stories in my head I haven’t done – I’ve done quite a few anyway, so if some of them don’t get read perhaps that’s life.
There are one or two I wanted to do that I’ve done in other ways, or have gone away – beginnings of stories where if I want to know the end I shut them off or there’s too many to go around.

Which stories from your own childhood do you think have stuck with you the most and why?

The Winnie the Pooh books by A. A. Milne and illustrated by E. H. Shepard, they’re gentle and warm and philosophical. Now when I read them I hear Alan Bennet – from his fabulous audiobooks he did years ago. They still stay with me, I’ve enjoyed them as a child, with my own children and again and again, they’re the best really!

Have you always been creative with writing and illustrating or was it something that you came into?

I think it was probably always there, I remember my mother giving me paper and pencils and her saying draw something on there, not the walls! I was always good at art at school, but the idea of being an artist or a writer never occurred to me – it was at the age of about 15 when we were coming up to exams the careers master asked me what I was going to do, and I said I’ll go work with my father, which was my intention back then. As I said it I realised at school I had 3 months of holidays a year and my dad only had 2 weeks – so I went to art college instead! I wasn’t especially noticeable back then, I’ve been amazingly lucky to have the career I’ve had and for my books to make the mark they have with people.

We’re also really huge fans of Elmer the Elephant and Two Monsters. Do you have any personal favourite books or stories that you have created?

Books are like your children, you love them all just as much as each other, but differently – they relate to different parts of you!
I Hate My Teddy Bear and Charlotte’s Piggy Bank I like for their complexity, but then Not Now Bernard and Elmer just the fact that I’ve been able to say something special with them and they’re still so popular now amazes me.
I couldn’t pick one out as the others would be jealous!

Finally, are there any recent Children’s Books that you’re a fan of?

When I was younger I used to look a lot at the other children’s books in the shops, back then there were a lot, but now I don’t and I can’t – there’s so many of them!
When I started making children’s books the children’s sections were empty, and now there’s so many! I feel lucky I started at the right time, getting noticed now would be really hard, I don’t think I’d make it, I’d have to go and help my father mend tractors!

 

Going Bananas for Bananarama!

Bananarama, the ultimate 80s girl group, got many a nostalgic pop fan whipped up into a frenzy when they announced a reunion earlier this year.  Almost 30 years after she left, Siobhan Fahey has reunited with Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward putting all the water under the bridge and they’re off on a nationwide tour selling out arenas left, right and centre! Considering all our love and expertise in all things fun and retro we couldn’t very well miss out on this spectacle could we!?  Imagine our delight when we managed to secure tickets for our local venue, the Colston Hall in Bristol, and last night was the night when all our Bananarama dreams came true!

The stage was set with moody synths and a dramatic entrance from the girls in shimmering tight black outfits complete with angular shoulder pads (in what must have been a bit of a nod to the power dressing of the 80s!) to one of their classic tracks Nathan Jones.  It was clear straight away that their music had been suitable beefed up and highlights such as Cruel Summer, Robert De Niro’s Waiting, I Want You Back, Venus and I Heard A Rumour sounded really fresh and modern but still instantly recognisable.

The chemistry between the three of them was electric and Siobhan Fahey joking about how it took her faaar too many years to realise how much she missed the other girls was a really sweet moment.  The three of them also performed the hit Stay which was originally by Shakespeare Sister (the band that Fahey formed with Marcella Detroit after leaving Bananarama) which must felt like a ‘coming full circle’ moment for Siobhan.

The encore of Love In The First Degree seemed to come far too soon and the almost 2 hour set felt like it was all killer, no filler. It really was a masterclass in bringing a vintage act back with a bang, let’s hope they don’t call it quits again after this tour as I would love the chance to see them perform again!

U Got The Look… In Our Awesome New Prince Tees!

What more is there to say about Prince!? Hugely admired and respected by music fans and critics alike, Prince was a musical powerhouse during the 80s scoring hit after hit with his catchy singles combined with a flamboyant stage presence and extravagant dress sense.

He was arguably the biggest pop star on the planet during that time (with tough competition from Michael Jackson and Madonna!). Purple Rain, When Doves Cry, Let’s Go Crazy, Raspberry Beret, U Got The Look, how can you choose a favourite single of his when there’s so many classics to choose from!?

We’ve got a huge selection of Music T-Shirts at TruffleShuffle and it made me very excited when we got the opportunity to add some Prince T-Shirts into the mix.

Women's Black Prince Purple Rain T-Shirt
Men's Black Prince Purple Rain T-Shirt

Purple Rain was his sixth studio album and the first to feature his band, The Revolution.  It was also the soundtrack to the film, Purple Rain, which is an absolute 80s classic.  It features the singles When Doves Cry, Let’s Go Crazy and of course the legendary title track, it certainly has it’s fans as it’s the third best-selling soundtrack of all time!  Pay tribute to this classic album with our T-Shirts which feature the moody and atmospheric cover art.

Women's Purple Prince Logo T-Shirt
Men's Purple Prince Logo T-Shirt

Featuring the classic Prince logo against his favourite colour, purple, this classic tee will really make you stand out from the crowd!

Women's White Prince Take Me With U T-Shirt
Men's White Prince Take Me With U T-Shirt

Take Me With U was the fifth track to be taken from the Purple Rain album and this tee features the cover artwork in all its fabulous eighties-ness! “I don’t care where we go, I don’t care what we do, I don’t care pretty baby, just take me with you!”

Pay homage with Homage Tees!

Emblazoned with the faces of British icons including Louis Theroux, Sir David Attenborough and Joanna Lumley, London label Homage Tees pay tribute to the subculture greats that deserve some serious props. We’re huge fans of the late-90s styling and right-side-of-ironic vibes – it’s no wonder these tees have been picked up by bloggers and celebs everywhere wanting to show love for their irreverent idols. Designed by an anonymous founder, Homage Tees are by the people, for the people.
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If, like us – you skipped all the boring stuff like real news and weather updates and went straight on a hunt to locate your Star Signs for the week ahead, then this is the t-shirt for you. Are you going to fall in love? Are you going to become stinking rich? We don’t know – but we do know how cool you’re going to look when you bag yourself a Mystic Meg t-shirt. ‘Today, you will find the most perfect retro t-shirt you’ve ever set eyes on, and you will be compelled to buy it.’
We are ther-oux trying to find a cooler t-shirt than this. Whether you love Louis shadowing our fave celebs, taking part in weird weekends, or producing amazing documentaries – this is the tee for you! Totally 90s tastic with a nod to the geeky and awesome Louis Theroux.
We could listen to Attenborough’s voice all day, but when that kind of appreciation is simply impractical when boring duties get in the way – you definitely need a plan B. A cool 90s-tastic t-shirt combined with mysterious hawk? Sign us up please!
No amount of style can match the elegance of Princess Diana, but we can try our hardest with this awesome 90s-style tee.
Other greats include Art Attacks Neil Buchanan and the oh so Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley!
Neneh Cherry and Janet Jackson…in style.

For all these amazing new styles, check out our range of Homage Tees and pick up your fave today!

10 Things You [Probably] Didn’t Know About… David Bowie

Perhaps one of the most influential, interesting, iconic and talented people ever to hit the stage and screen, David Bowie was not only our childhood hero through the cult film Labyrinth, but also someone we have known and loved our entire lives for his simply genius music.

Always on the hunt for a good bit of tasty knowledge to sink our teeth into, we thought we would do some digging and pop together some cool facts we’ve recently learned about the legend himself. Sit back and enjoy our 10 Things You [Probably] Didn’t Know About David Bowie…

> His eyes are actually the same colour – Perhaps hard to believe we know, his eyes are the same colour, however after a fight as a kid his left eye was left permanently dilated which gives it the appearance of being darker.

> As impressive at it is, Bowie was in a total of 10 bands; The Hype, Tao Jones Index, Tin Machine, The Buzz, The Riot Squad, The King Bees, The Lower Third, The Manish Boys, The Konrads and The Hooker Brothers.

> He released the first downloadable single from a major artist – Back in 1996, Bowie released his single ‘Telling Lies’ on his website. Given the dial-up speeds back then this might have taken around 11 minutes to complete. How did we have the patience back then?? Well worth the wait though huh.

> He did the voice (gurgling) for the baby in the song “Magic Dance,” in the movie Labyrinth.

> He was buddies with a young Elton John – When he was 17, Bowie (who was then still David Jones) loved to meet up with his friend Reginald Kenneth Dwight (who later of course became Elton John) at the Soho’s Giaconda Cafe, to hang out and talk about music.

> He really didn’t like the song ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ – A classic clip of the man himself with music veteran Bing Crosby singing together shows Bowie singing a song called ‘Peace on Earth’ while Bing sang ‘The Little Drummer Boy’. Bowie’s part, ‘Peace on Earth’, was written for him so Bowie didn’t have to sing a simple duet of ‘The Little Drummer Boy’, so they turned it into a mix of the two. Awesome stuff!

> Letting the numbers speak for themselves, David Bowie sold more than 140 million records in his lifetime.

> His first television appearance was in 1964, at the age of 17, he was interviewed on a BBC program as the founder of The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-haired Men.

> David Bowie’s best known duets are of course with Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger, and Bing Crosby. However, have you seen this live duet of ‘Tonight’ he did with Tina Turner?

>In 1980, he starred in the Broadway production of The Elephant Man.

So there you have them folks. Hopefully we’ve given you a little extra glimpse into the life of this extraordinary man who shook the world and stamped his mark on it forever.

Help spread your love for this cult icon with a little help of our huge range of David Bowie TShirts or Labyrinth Merchandise. So many items from here we’ll sure be rocking for a long time to come.
xoxo