Saturday, 20 August 2011

Those Lucky Nightsoil Men

05:59:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , , , , 6 comments

By Ashley Lister

Nightsoil men worked through the night

Transporting tons of human sh*te.

Before the age of flushing loos

They’d manually remove old poos.

Toiling in cesspits / Working with due haste

Breathing in the stench of human waste

Wading through a mire of noxious sludge

That no sane soul would want to touch.

It’s hard to imagine a job that’s worse

Or a greater soul-destroyer.

But at least those lucky nightsoil men

Didn’t work for a Blackpool employer.

This week we’ve enjoyed a variety of opinions on Blackpool from residents who’ve written about the town in terms that are fond and affectionate and sweet and dysfunctional and angry. Tomorrow the poet and author Nikki Magennis is going to give us a perspective on Blackpool from someone who’s never visited the resort.

My poem above is dedicated to every Blackpool employer who has ever exploited the services of an employee. I’ve been anecdotally informed that there are some Blackpool employers who exploit their employees. It’s not something I’ve personally experienced. Ever. But I’m assured it does happen. It certainly doesn’t apply to any of those people I currently work for. Or any of my previous employers. Honest.

I picked the theme of Blackpool for this week because the deadline date for our poetry anthology is fast approaching. If you’re reading this and you’ve not submitted any material yet, please go produce something now and submit it. The terms and conditions (lifted directly from FaceBook) are listed below.

The Dead Good Poets are seeking poetry submissions for their forthcoming anthology of poetry: A Poet's Guide to Blackpool. This is your chance to be a part of Blackpool's most exciting poetry group, and their much-admired work. Please read these guidelines carefully before submitting your work.

ALL poems should allude to Blackpool or an aspect of Blackpool and should be your original and best work.
ALL poems should be no longer than a maximum line count of 28 lines (including line breaks between stanzas).
ALL poems should be submitted in electronic format as attachments to an email, either as .doc or .docx or .rtf.
Emails should be sent to and the subject header should read POETRY SUBMISSION.
ALL poems must have a title. (The title is not included in the line count)
ALL submissions should include name, contact details and the titles of the poems in the body of the email, but the poems must show no name, address or identifying marks other than the title.
No more than 3 submissions per person. If you submit more than 3 poems we will only look at the first 3. This is not being done out of meanness. This is being done to give every poet a fair chance for proper consideration.
Closing date for submissions: Friday 26th August.
The judges' decisions are final and judges are unable to comment on individual entries.
Space is extremely limited so we are in the privileged position of being able to pick the very best. We look forward to reading your submission and we hope to produce an anthology of the highest standard to which every contributor is proud to be involved with this endeavour.

Lara & Ashley (editors)



vicky ellis said...

Aww crappo. Just realised my poem is 40 lines long. Time for some creative re-arrangement.

Remind me not to read your posts while eating breakfast next time. Nightsoil indeed. I could return with a tale about night soiling but I won't because you might be eating your lunch.

Nikki Magennis said...

I knew a man who worked in what is euphemistically called the 'water department'. Surname was Shoveler. Seemed appropriate.

I love that photo, Ash. Is that Blackpool?

Lindsay said...

Snigger, you said poo.

What a job. Yes Blackpool is full of employers out to take advantage and to make a fast buck. Well those left in this financial climate anyway. Shovelling poo, poor sod.

Ashley R Lister said...


I'm so glad that this post helped you notice the line restrictions :-) And I'm having a naughty smile that I soured your breakfast. Sorry. I should have posted a warning at the top of the page.


Ashley R Lister said...


I love it when people have surnames that suit their jobs. Shoveler is good. I used to work for an undertaker called Box Bros.

And yes, that's the newly refurbished Blackpool promenade, as viewed from the South Pier. I took this one last year. I didn't know whether the couple looked romantic, isolated or lonely.


Ashley R Lister said...


You do know this is me being family friendly, don't you? And three cheers for Blackpool employers. They're a wholesome bunch of characters.