ogre downstairs -- behold the crap edition! (lengthy, and spoily)

christian nutt ferricide at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 15 19:20:39 EDT 2002

yes, i have now officially christened the altered 1996 UK edition of the 
ogre downstairs the "crap edition". =)

i finished up last night. it seemed to me that the front of the book was 
much heavier on changes than the back. i'll outline here what i found. i may 
have missed some things.

to begin with, of course, there's the "classical music" being substituted 
for "commercial pop" that's one of the biggest disasters in the crap 
edition. ("I think he's frightful," Caspar had said frankly. "And I bet he 
listens to classical music. He's bound to, with low eyebrows like that." - 
page 4, crap edition)

and of course, the magical transformation of records into tapes, which was 
vaguely anachronistic in 1996 -- for the US, anyway. though not being a kid, 
i don't know for sure. i'm sure someone like douglas would have a CD player 
in the very least, however.

page 6, crap:

"...he was able to reach the electric point which controlled his cassette 
player and turn it on. The tape left ready inside began to play. Caspar lay 
back to listen to his favourite group."

page 5, new US:

"...he was able to reach the switch that controlled his record player and 
turn it on. The LP left ready on the turntable began to revolve. Caspar 
dropped the needle into the groove and lay back to listen to his favorite 

throughout the book, "LP" is changed over to "album", "record" to "tape", 
etc. i shan't bother with every instance. they didn't make any amusing 
mistakes in the crap edition. pity. =)

pg 10 (crap):

"Because you're such little monsters," said Malcolm. "And Douglas hasn't got 
anything either."
"That's because he's a big monster," said Caspar. "Beside Douglas, you're 
not even a monster. You're just a slimeball."

pg 8 (new US):

"Because you're such little frights," said Malcolm. "And Douglas hasn't got 
anything either."
"That's because he's a big fright," said Caspar. "Beside Douglas, even your 
frightfulness pales."

don't ask me why they changed this one. the original is definitely better, 

before i do the next one... brace yourself. this is right after the ogre 
goes to check on how malcolm's doing with the chemistry set for the first 

pg 15 (crap):

The Ogre's sons always called him Father. The Ogre would not let them say 
Dad like normal people.

this passage is not even in the new US edition. it always struck me as a 
rather odd and obtrusive passage. now i know why. yech.

for the next, i'm not sure if this is a UK/US thing (meaning that it's 
actually original in the crap edition) or if it was actually changed. the 
crap edition says "face-flannel" where the US says "towel." the reason i 
suspect it might be face-flannel in the UK originally is because this book 
is the first place i'd ever heard this phrase. it's not said in the US at 
all. i inferred it to be the equivalent of US "washcloth" (meant for washing 
one's face) as opposed to "towel" (meant for drying oneself) originally, 
though. towels make more sense contextually, since they're always being used 
to mop up things in the book.

page 31, crap:

"...until Sally said that their landing seemed like a plague-spot to her."

in the US edition, "a plague-spot" is "an affliction." (pg 24)

more tape/record madness. page 47, crap (douglas speaking to caspar):

"I wonder you can bear to listen to these," he said. "They're coated with 
fluff and gunk. Hasn't anyone told you to use a cleaning tape? You're 
stretching your tapes and ruining your machinery." ... then in the next 
paragraph, referring to the 'head cleaner' caspar supposedly lost, "You can 
borrow one of mine, if you're careful not to lose it. I've got several."

page 36, US edition:

"I wonder you can hear these," he said. "They're coated with dust. Hasn't 
anyone ever told you to keep LP's clean? You're ruining them and your 
stylus." here caspar says he's lost his 'cleaner'. "You can borrow mine, if 
you're careful with it. I've got one of those attachments now. Thanks, 
anyway. I'd better go and give these a clean."

for what it's worth, since i started on tapes as a kid, save for when i was 
really tiny -- i was born in 1977 -- i have no clue about anything decent 
when it comes to turntables. so "one of those attachments" is meaningless to 
me, except to assume it automatically cleans records as they play, or 
something. =) so i can understand why they did it -- but that doesn't mean 
they should have. it was very easy to infer and i am sure i could've 
inferred it just as easily when i was 12. i had no problems with DWJ back 

now, i don't see anything until pg 99 but more tape/record switching. i 
won't bore you. in fact, i don't see anything else substantial at all. i 
remember another "face-flannel" style substitution but i can't recall it at 
the moment. also, amusingly, a £5 note becomes a £20 note in the crap 
edition. that's inflation for you!

one more thing that i recall is that in the crap edition, douglas says (this 
is from my head) "Are you going to lend it me?" and in the new US says, "Are 
you going to lend it to me?" Now, they didn't really get rid of any other 
anglicisms like that in the new US edition, so i wonder, again, which one 
matches the original text. then again, if you're a kid in the US, "are you 
going to lend it me?" parses like you're asking if the listener is going to 
lend you to his belonging. =) someone in the US would say "are you going to 
lend me it?" (or "lend it to me?" as it appears in the new edition.)

and before i forget, "disco club" in the crap is "discotheque" in the US. 
neither sounds very contemporary, to my mind. i don't know about british 
teenagers in 1996, but US kids would simply go to a "club" or "go clubbing" 
in 1996, and even now. i guess "club" would be too vague without the 

anyway, that's all i have found. maybe i should write a faq. whew. i'm done. 


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