PERVERTED PLACARDS
by
Ernest Hastings (1929)
 You wouldn't think to look at me, that not so long ago,
I used to sell newspapers in the street.
But startling news was very scarce and trade was very bad,
'Til a brainwave, put me on my feet.
The placards that they gave me didn't make the papers sell,
They seemed to be uninteresting lies.
So a few inpromtu grammars of my own went very well,
And the way the papers sold was a surprise.
I sold out every copy of the papers that I'd got,
And this is what the public heard me yell...
'The income-tax for twenty years, refunded by the state!'
That's the way I made the papers sell.

Well, after that I did my best to find a decent scare,
And some of my inventions, they was gems.
Well, it caused a big sensation when the people heard me shout,
'The 'Ouse of Lords has fallen in the Thames!'
I used to charge them sixpence when I 'ad a special wheeze,
And one of 'em was worth a 'alf-a-crown,
I shouted, 'Blackpool washed away by most tremendous seas...
And the Isle Of Man's afloating upside down!'
And I sold out in a minute, down The Strand, one summer day,
When I shouted, outside a big Hotel,
'Sir Thomas Lipton's yacht today sailed up Niagra Falls!'
That's the way I made the papers sell.

One night a policeman locked me up because 'e 'eard me shout,
'Strange disappearance of the Albert Hall!'
He turned his paper sideways, upside-down and inside-out...
But he couldn't find the bit of news at all.
And at the court they fined me forty bob or seven days,
I hadn't got a quid... or even 'alf.
But a morning paper editor at once the money paid,
He could see an aquisition to the staff.
And now I get a salary for thinking out the spiel.
And the first one I composed looked very well,
'It was rumoumoured down in Fleet Street, Amadeaus came to life!'
That's the way I made the papers sell.

I caused a big commotion once, as people left the place,
Though for days I'd been quiet as a mouse.
I shouted, 'Great excitement down at Westminster, today,
A lady fights The Speaker in the House!'
And as the public dearly love a big financial crash,
This fairy-tale I next began to spin.
'A panic on the 'Stock Exchange', the Rosthchilds gone to smash,
And the Bank of England's got the brokers in!'
And I made a pot of money once outside a music hall,
It's a wonder that a rat they didn't smell,
'Arrest of Ernest Hastings for the murder of a song...!'
That's the way I made the papers sell.  
The end