“I broke my brother’s electric razor!” said Douglas.
“Gosh, you don’t need to use it yet!” said William. “If you thought you were gettin’ a moustache it mus’ have been choc’late. Choc’late can look jus’ like a moustache.”
“’Course I didn’t think I was gettin’ a moustache,” said Douglas. “I used it for a plane.”
“What d’you mean, a plane?” said William.
“Well, I was makin’ a little boat. Jus’ a little one an’ I wanted a little plane to plane the sides to make ’em nice an’ smooth an’ I thought an electric razor would be jus’ the thing for it.”
- Number: 35.1
- Published: 1965
- Book: William and the Pop Singers
- Synopsis: The Outlaws meet a much-idolised pop group.
This story is possibly a step too far into the modern world. Although the allure of a William who remains 11 years old throughout the 1920s (when he was interested in dressing up as a lion to scare people: William Spoils the Party, 5.11) and 1940s (when he is determined not to “waste an air raid sleepin’ in it”: William the Salvage Collector, 23.7) all the way through to the 1960s is undoubted, I just can’t quite see William – unaesthetic, uncultured, boyish William – as the sort of child who would fall under the spell of a boy band.
But apparently he has.
The main theme of the story is the Outlaws’ need to raise two pounds to replace Hector’s electric razor, destroyed by Douglas in a boat-making accident.
“Let’s think over all the people we know that have got money an’ see how they got it.”
“There’s the Botts,” suggested Ginger.
“He makes sauce,” said Henry.
“We could make sauce all right,” said William.
“You can make money on horses,” said Henry, “but I’m not sure how you do it.”
“There’s doctors an’ lawyers,” said William, “but you’ve got to pass exams before you can start bein’ one of them an’ it’d take too long.”
A car had drawn up at the side of the green and three young men were getting out of it. They wore tight black trousers, black jackets and white shirts. Their black hair was sleeked away from their foreheads. They approached the Outlaws.
“Have you seen a young man anywhere about here?” said the tallest. “A young man who looks…”
“Like us,” said one of the others.
The Outlaws were gazing at them open-mouthed.
“Gosh!” said William. “You’re the…”
“Argonauts!” said Henry.
Eventually they settle on becoming strolling players, and assemble what costumes they can so as to decide which play to perform (I’m sure that’s exactly how the Royal Shakespeare Company does it too).
While they’re performing to an empty village green, they come across a depressed pop singer being pursued by the other members of his group.
And by a complete and particularly ridiculous coincidence, the pop singers just happen to have a spare electric razor.