Saturday, 13 August 2011

There was an old man from Blackpool…

By Ashley Lister

My father was a music hall comedian. I’m not saying his material was bad but, on the night variety died, his act was held for questioning.

Actually, that’s unfair.

He was very good at making people laugh. I remember his last words to me. “Don’t turn the machine off. Please. Please, for the love of God. I’m sure I’ll recover. I don’t want to die.” How we all chuckled.

But I’m not sure if it’s because of father’s influence that I’ve developed my lifelong passion for humour.

“Do I make you laugh?” I asked my wife.

“Not when you’ve got your clothes on,” she replied.

I think that’s what she said. It’s difficult to tell what someone’s saying when they’ve always got a pie in their mouth. Not that I’m saying my wife’s fat, but her patronus is a cake. (A mysognistic northern joke there for all the Harry Potter fans reading this. Talk about aiming at a niche market).

Humour is such a personal thing that it’s probably encoded in our DNA. Freud talked about humour in terms of the tendentious and the innocent, although why we listen to a German talking about humour is a mystery to me. It’s like listening to a Frenchman talk about bravery, or a Canadian sing about irony, or a Spaniard talk about compassion for animals… (Have I offended enough stereotypes yet with this postmodern humour?)

In poetry the form most commonly associated with humour is the limerick. And, whilst Shaun was singing the praises of Edward Lear at the start of this week, I have to admit I find him annoying. (Lear not Shaun. I think Shaun is perfectly lovely). Too often Lear’s final rhymes merely reiterate the sentiment expressed in the opening line. Here’s an example:

There was an Old Man of the Wrekin
Whose shoes made a horrible creaking
But they said, 'Tell us whether,
Your shoes are of leather,
Or of what, you Old Man of the Wrekin?'

To me, the final line in this Lear limerick seems like a weak conclusion to a potentially stylish verse. Lear could have had the final rhyme of squeakin’, leakin’, Peking or a myriad other alternative rhymes that would be superior to the reiteration of the Old Man of Wrekin.

However, rather than write a limerick to conclude this post, I’d like to see regular readers contributing limericks in the comments box below. For those who are unsure how to start, I’d suggest you begin with the words:

There was an old man from Blackpool…

Reactions:

11 comments:

Lindsay said...

Is that the laughing clown from the Pleasure Beach? It disturbs me, with it's sinister laughing for no reason.

Oh ok I'll give one a go.

There was an old man from Blackpool,
who thought he'd be terribly cool,
he bought a new hoody
for him and his buddy
now the police are terribly cruel


Its awful but it's not easy this writing limericks lark is it?

Lindsay said...

Clive wrote one too and asked me to post it

There was an old man from blackpool
Who attended the local word pool
His book were all rude
As Ashley's no prude
And features a stud called Raoul

Lisa Gilbride said...

There was an old man from Blackpool
who saw five lads skiving off school
they were kicking up shit
so he told them to quit
shouting "where are you going you tools?"

It's a shame I can't get Jamie to join in, you'd think this would be his forte.

vicky ellis said...

Ash, Dave and I were giggling our socks off at your post - Les Dawson/Bob Monkhouse would be so proud ;)

We have both had a pop at this. Here is Dave's limerick:

There was an old man from Blackpool
Whose mule could stand on a stool
It soon came to pass
That his mule was an ass
Who sent hate mail to Jimmy Saville's estate.

And mine:

There was an old man from Blackpool
Spent his formative years at a church school
Thought himself quite unharmed
Though he's frequent alarmed
By the thought of a priest spitting gruel.

It's a shame the next event is family friendly isn't it? :)

Tommi T Kekola said...

There was an old man from Blackpool
That nobody thought to be a fool
He proved them all wrong
It's already a song
How all he could do was to drool

Ashley R Lister said...

I am genuinely loving these. Thank you for completing this blog post.

Below is my attempt...

There was an old man from Blackpool
Who was blessed with an enormous-

NO. I'll try again.

There was an old man from Blackpool
Who blogged on weekends as a rule.
He made sexist jokes
Which were laughed at by blokes
And he thought all the comments were cool!

Jo said...

Patronus a cake??? Oh, that's GENIUS! *Jealous!!*

I'm so stealing this...

MoonJumpingCow said...

one from Jamie...

There was an old man from Blackpool
who enjoyed a swim at the pool
He wore very tight trunks
Showing every inch of his junk
Thus exposing his family jewels

MoonJumpingCow said...

Another from Jamie:

There was an old man from Blackpool
When he danced in the nude his sack drooped
His balls were so hairy
and he admits, quite unfairly
He tea-bagged your faced as you snoozed

Ashley R Lister said...

Lindsay - Yes it's the creepy Pleasure Beach clown. I think it looks really sinister in that pic. I enjoyed your topical limerick. And please thank Clive for his contribution. Tell him to enrol on one of my classes in September :-)

Lisa - Love the vulgarity of your limerick. And I'm thrilled that you got Jamie to do one. You were right. It is his forte.

Vicky & Dave - The Jimmy Saville line is still creasing me. The imagery of a priest spitting gruel is likely to haunt my nightmares :-)

Tommi - love it.

Jo - feel free to steal the patronus line. That's how I got that line ;-)

Jamie - I'm lost for words. Your limerick really is that good.

MoonJumpingCow said...
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