Damien on… Victorian Mischief
Today, the Victorians are thought of as being a rather staid, boring lot – but they weren’t without a sense of humour.
Like the prankster who posed as a Council official and picked up a bunch of casual labourers from London’s Piccadilly Circus. In those days, men hung around there, waiting for people to pick them up. The tradition continues today – but the duties they perform have changed somewhat.
Anyhay, having loaded his cart with the fittest looking chaps, he drove them down Piccadilly, stopping around half-way. At this point, he took out a large sheet of paper – studied it for a few seconds – then gave them picks and shovels and got them to dig a three-foot trench across the road (in those days, the surface was merely cobble-stones).
Within half an hour, the whole of the West End’s traffic was at a STAND-STILL. Eventually, the Peelers (Victorian cops) turned up and demanded to know what was going on. The men explained they were contracted to a Council official… But of course, the “official” had disappeared!
Not only were they not paid, but the Peelers made them fill the trench back in as well.
Another joker posed as a representative from a West End theatre. He button-holed certain passers-by with an offer of free tickets to that night’s show. He explained they had some spare, single seats and claimed their temperamental star would throw a fit if he saw vacant seats in the auditorium.
The people took his tickets and duly showed up. However, a while after they had sat down, they began hearing raucous laughter coming from above. It turned out the seats had been PURCHASED by the joker – and carefully chosen, from the box-office seating plan.
The thing was, all of the seats were in the front stalls – and all of the victims had been BALD MEN. And when viewed from the upper circle, their heads spelled out a VERY rude word.
Those classic gags had STYLE. You don’t GET that any more. Here’s one YOU might like to try (I live in the Orient now – it wouldn’t work here). Wait until ‘flu season, then take out a full-page ad in as expensive a newspaper as you can afford. Obtain a library picture of people coughing, a suitable logo – and use the following copy…
“Are YOU fed up with YOUR cough? Would you like to send that cough FAR, FAR AWAY? Then get ‘Far-Cough’ Linctus TODAY! Go to your pharmacist NOW and tell him – ‘Far-Cough’!”
Should cause a LITTLE mayhem…