In the days of radio, the monologue was a form of poetry that was very popular. Perhaps the most famous monologue is THE LION AND ALBERT (familiarly known as Albert and the Lion) which tells the tale of a couple who go on holiday to Blackpool and visit the zoo. What happens next is quite remarkable…their son is eaten by the lion (hardly wholesome family fun you might think – but it is!)
You can listen to the original here…
The opening lines are sure to bring a glassy eye to any adult of a certain age.
“There’s a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That’s noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr. and Mrs. Ramsbottom,
Went there with young Albert, their son.”
The monologue was written by MARRIOTT EDGAR and most famously performed by STANLEY HOLLOWAY (a famous character actor of the post-war period).
THE ALLEGRO and HARRY is nothing to do with the above poem but after having written it some twenty-odd years ago, I recognise a similarity in style. The Harry in question was Harry Robinson, a wagon driver from Blackburn, who told me this tale of four strangers coming to buy his car. It’s a true story and still makes me smile.
a photo taken around the mid-80s of Harry Robinson (teller of the tale) and myself
THE ALLEGRO AND HARRY
One Saturday at two o’clock (when Blackburn were away),
Whilst varnishing my own front door; four strangers came my way.
“We’ve come to see your car”, one said. I sealed my varnish up
And put the brush in turpentine that I had in a cup.
Now my old car was parked outside; it had seen better days
It runs, it’s taxed and MOT’d and the tape cassette still plays
“How much?” the spokesman asked out loud. I answered with a smile
“It’s yours for only twenty quid.” They ‘ummed and ahd’ a while.
“Can we see the engine, please?” “Of course, here take the key.”
We all walked over to the car; that’s four of them and me.
One turned the key; it fired first time. It could’ve sounded worse
What do you expect for twenty quid? A limousine? A hearse?
The four conversed in foreign tongue; they kicked, in turn, each tyre,
They tried the doors, the boot, the seats. “A most discerning buyer.”
“Well, what do you think?” I asked of them. “It’s only twenty quid.
The reason that the price is low is that I just want rid.”
“You see without a part-exchange, I’ll get a better deal
And save myself a bob or two – so this one is a steal.”
They ‘ummed and ahd’ a good bit more; I offered them some tea;
Then after some discussion; one finally said to me.
“Twenty pounds is a bit too much, than what we’re hoping for.”
I screamed out loud, “Go on – Piss off!” – and slammed my varnished door.
© gray lightfoot
Hear the poem read by Gray…