Back to the book, here’s Gordon’s take on the newspaper seller.It’s one of my favourite subjects!
Where on earth do they come from.I recall there being one in Manchester who, if things were slow, would write out on the headline board: The Pope! No news.
It would improve sales for the day with worried catholics buying, only to find there was indeed, no news about the Pope.
See more of Mt Thorburn’s stuff at http://www.gordonthorburn.co.uk
and there’s more of my stuff on http://www.pauldaviescartoons.co.uk
Any sightings should be reported to the Natural History Museum.
There are plenty of people who stand about selling papers but specimens of Newspaper Seller must, by definition, be recognisable in the dusk and rain by their cries alone. Saying ‘Big Issue? Have a nice day’ in a polite, self-effacing tone does not make one a Newspaper Seller, quite honestly.
The real thing was ever unmistakable. Anyone from north east Yorkshire would be able to infer from the distant cry of ‘Baybay! Scabbay! Baybay!’ that they were on the other side of the clearing from a man offering the paper, the Scarborough paper. That it was called the Evening News was a matter widely understood and so unnecessary to mention.
Strangers to the famous port 40 miles south would instantly realise that the man selling the late editions of the Hull Daily Mail was the one crying ‘Hawdiwinnahs! Skinnywinnahs!’ Like everybody else in Hull, with the possible exception of the specimen himself, they would never know the wherefore but would buy the paper anyway and without asking about the undernourishment of victorious horses.
In the Great Wen all those thousands of office mice, hurrying down their holes at the end of the day, used to lift their heads briefly at the familiar call of ‘Tennerh! Ee-inn! Tennerh!’ and, without looking at Newspaper Seller, drop a few coins into an outstretched hand in exchange for a copy of the Standard, the Evening Standard.
On Sundays, no members of the type were ever seen. Nobody knew where they went. Possibly they hibernated for the day, venturing forth only to the corner shop to purchase a copy of the Tie, Sunnay Tie, or possibly the Zerv Erah, or maybe the Noodawer-eh.
Scientists are still trying to prove that Working Men’s Club and Institute Singing Man has evolved from Newspaper Seller, for some reason.