Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Pig Sty Avenue 'to go'; something for the weekend

The blogroll has been added to, subtracted from, and then reshuffled. Britblog (new button on the blogroll with the Union Jack), looks promising, and led to some potentially interesting places. We shall see. Blogs sometimes look ok at first blush, but after a bit one thinks “oh come off it,” and then possibly add, “you twat”. This is especially so with some of the Premier League blogs, the ones that get double figure comments every day: they become vehicles for the blogger’s self-regard, fuelled by a wee community of acolyte commentators. I’ve blogrolled and later deleted a few of these since I started. You know who you are.

The Chronicle and South Tyneside Today links will get home news quickly. The South Tyneside one is related to the Shields Gazette, the local paper for Jarrow, Hebburn and South Shields.

Years ago, I worked in Smith’s Dock, on the other side of the water (the Tyne, that is), and I’d get the ferry across to work, and back of course. Each evening, a man would sell papers on the south side, crying out in that distinctive way newspaper sellers used to have: “Shields Ger Zeytte!”.

He did a side line, a bit unofficial perhaps, in razor blades (this is starting to sound like Catherine Cookson or something now): those double sided razor blades that came in packets of five. So he’d shout “Shields Ger Zeytte!!” And then say, “Razorblades!”, as dozens of boiler suited blokes literally jumped off the ferry and made for home, haversacks on their backs.

Thursday was pay-day, and the weekend was approaching, and here he really showed his pre-thatcherite entrepreneurship because he sold condoms. Only we didn’t call them condoms. If we were being polite we’d call them “durex”, but mostly, like most working-class people, we had our own dialect word for them.

So, anyway, on Thursdays and Fridays, the paper seller would really get going and ply his wares shouting “Shields Ger Zeytte!! Razor Blades!” Then he’d mutter “blobs.” I imagine he’d do a roaring trade in all three. Births, deaths and marriages; a shave; and your leg over. All with the help of the same old man. Not bad, eh?