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