Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Blackpool Lion

 By Ashley Lister

 As many of you know, I’m a fairly peaceful type of person. I don’t advocate cruelty to any living creature (unless it’s Tory). And I find mindless violence to be distressing and usually unwarranted. Yet these lines, taken from the centre of Marriott Edgar’s The Lion and Albert, always makes me smile.

There were one great big lion called Wallace
His nose were all covered with scars
He lay in a som-no-lent posture
With the side of his face to the bars.

Now Albert had heard about lions
How they were ferocious and wild
And to see Wallace lying so peaceful
Well... it didn't seem right to the child.

So straight 'way the brave little feller
Not showing a morsel of fear
Took 'is stick with the 'orse's 'ead 'andle
And pushed it in Wallace's ear! 

In this poem (invariably and inaccurately described as a monologue) we have animal abuse at the end of that stanza and, in the rest of the poem, there is a strong suggestion of child neglect that borders on blatant cruelty.

I won’t discuss the dark nature of comedy here, or Freud’s distinction between humour types of innocent and tendentious. I’ll just say that I still find this hilarious even though I’ve heard it many, many times. It’s stylish and funny.

And, whilst many people are familiar with The Lion and Albert, I think it’s fair to say that there aren’t many who know there was a follow-up story to this classic tale.

You can find it at this link and, personally, I think it's just as funny as the first monologue.