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“Monday: For sale – RD Jones has a sewing machine for sale. Phone after 7pm and ask for Mrs Kelly, who lives with him cheap.”

I was brought up on double-entendres – jokes, either intentional or otherwise, that employ double meanings that are usually orientated towards the filthy to get a laugh. The radio and TV comedies that brightened my gloomy 1970s and early 80s childhood were full of them, especially shows like ‘Round the Horne’

“Tuesday: Notice – we regret having erred in RD Jones’ ad yesterday. It should have read: ‘One sewing machine for sale, cheap. Phone and ask for Mrs Jones, who lives with him after 7pm’.”

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that this love of wordplay followed me into my working life when I embarked on a career as a journalist, reaching its zenith when I became a newspaper editor. An early headline hit was with a story about a soldier who was arrested after police found him using a statue of the Duke of Wellington as a urinal. The headline: ‘Soldier’s aim was no relief for Wellington’.

“Wednesday: RD Jones has informed us he has received several annoying calls because of an error we made in his classified ad yesterday. His ad stands corrected as follows: ‘For sale: RD Jones has one sewing machine for sale, cheap. Phone after 7pm and ask for Mrs Kelly, who loves with him’.”

Later I was to win the then-coveted Headline of the Week award in the UK Press Gazette, and praise as a “genius” from their reporter, when I headlined an article on Welsh Assembly plans to promote the Welsh language with the words ‘Cunning Linguists’.

“Thursday: Notice: I, RD jones, have NO sewing machine for sale. I smashed it. Don’t call my number as the telephone has been disconnected. I have not been carrying on with Mrs Kelly. Until yesterday she was my housekeeper, but she quit.”

With the weekend upon us, after a series of blogs on very heavy subjects, I thought it was time to lighten the mood with a few favourite double-entendre news cuttings, along with some quotes from the BBC’s News Quiz in similar vein (I was listening to old tapes of the show in order to dig out material on Peter Lilley for today’s other blog).

If anyone reading this would like to add clippings that they have found, please feel free to use the ‘Comments’ column for this purpose.

“See the bowmen of Rutland in action next weekend at the Rutland Agricultural Show, and why not have a go yourself? The Rutland Archers are always looking for new members, and are currently targeting disabled people.”

“A friend of Serena’s said David has talked of marriage. She feels she is still rather young, and he does have a long turn to page 3, column 1.”

“St Boswell’s Councillor Edward Bryden has called for action to be taken against dog fouling on a sports pitch at St Boswell’s. Cllr Bryden said, ‘I’ve had a number of complaints from residents about the amount of dog dirt found there. I’ve told them to put their concerns on paper and send them to the district council.'”

From The News Quiz: “There was a story about the Church of Scotland updating its hymnery because a lot of the old hymns are full of ghastly double-entendres which lots of young people find rather risible. Things like ‘O Mighty One, show me the size of your enormousness’. Apparently that is, verbatim, a hymn. There’s another that says, ‘Sweet Lord, I wouldn’t put that in the fridge if I were you’.
“Meanwhile, the Catholic Church is set to instigate a similar scheme after the line ‘Onward with the horn of plenty, father to us all’ provoked mass sniggers in a Galway Church.”

From the News Quiz, 1993: “Jeffrey Archer’s gardener, Richard Ovary, had a sex change. It’s a case of saying goodbye to Dick… and hello to Rachel. The transformation has been welcomed by Lord Archer, who has always claimed that his staff were a cut above the rest. Meanwhile Rachel has given the novelist her support – and the rest of her rugby kit. The Archers are keeping Rachel on to care for their grounds, although tactfully Lady Archer has volunteered to prune the plum tree.”

“At a store in Bristol, an assistant didn’t know which product should be run on which button. Each time she was unsure, she would hold the product in the air and call across the shop floor to the supervisor. There were no problems until a gentleman purchased a packet of Mates (condoms). The packet was held up in the air and the call went out, “What do these go on?” The reply was unprintable.”

“On churchyard tidyness: Would everyone tending graves kindly take away with them all relative rubbish.”

“Budleigh Salterton beach has been branded a health risk in a tough new guide to beaches in the UK. The survey claims that tests carried out on the sea water off Budleigh Salterton beach failed to meet the rigorous standards of cleanliness and water quality required by the European Bathing Water Guidelines’ standards. District Councillor Ray Franklin said: ‘It’s hardly surprising. On the one side we have the Exmouth outfall pipe, and on the other the Exe estuary pipe. Budleigh is simply caught between two stools at the moment.'”

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