Letters To The Editor About Lord Haw Haw And Other People

Funny story written by Erskin Quint

Sunday, 26 June 2011

image for Letters To The Editor About Lord Haw Haw And Other People
Mesopotamian Folk Songs didn't go down too well at the Pig & Whistle of a Friday night.

Dear Sir,

many people have been writing into your letters page to say how they have known celebrity people. Well, if it's good for the goose, it's open to abuse.

So, throwing back the cutlet, sorry, gauntlet, I can say that I knew Lord Haw-Haw, the infamous English man who worked for German radio propagation during the war. Progaganda not propagation. Propagation was gardening and it would have been Percy Thrower in that case and it's not fair to saddle Percy Thrower with tales of wartime treachery. P G Wodehouse got off, so I think Percy's memory can remain untarred. Tarnished. Not tarnished, I mean.

Back to Lord Haw-Haw, I can say that I knew the man in his earlier life, when he was Lord Ha-Ha, the children's entertainer. He dressed as a clown with a top hat and monocle. I was his straight man, dressed as a butler, and would get custard pies in the face and buckets of slop over the head and rubber fish down the trousers and all that.

He got all the laughs. And the money. A pittance, I got.

So I was hardly heartbroken when I heard they'd nabbed the bastard traitor.


Walter Palaver,
Ovorkhangai Province,

Dear Sir,

How many of your readers know that famous modernist poet T S Eliot used to write limericks in his spare time? Famous for great masterpieces like "The Waste Land" and "Burnt Norton", Eliot could never master the limerick, and used to get so frustrated that he would throw scones and tobacco at his housekeeper, Mrs Spasm, when she came in to bank up his fire and feed the canary.

Eliot also wanted to be a comedian, but never actually managed to write a single joke. His blank, untouched "joke ideas book" is preserved in a vault in Xianggang, China, after being purchased by the Chinese collector who also owns Ibsen's "book of humorous anecdotes" and Liberace's "Concerto For Violin".

Perhaps an example of Eliot's limerick style might illustrate the issues he faced trying to create humorous verse:

Dawn, London

The morning falls like death
Upon the skeletal city
The rattle of despair
Awakens the sleepwalker
Carrying his tomb in a briefcase.

How do I know all of these things? I just do, that's all. A girl has her methods these days. Get over it.


Nellie Gemeinschaft,
Yokohama (in the summer; winter finds me back in Todmorden)

Dear Sir,

OK, we've had all these letters from these types saying they knew this and that famous bleeder.

Well, it's time to read about a proper case of someone knowing all about people of history and that.

I have got family antecedents what knew the famous madman William Blake when he resided at Felpham in Sussex. They always said that when he wrote "Tyger, Tyger", it was based on their cat, "Mr Whiffles". They would say as how he really struggled with the lines

What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

as he knew the rhyme was poor but that when they suggested "Could frame thy fondness for cold fish pie" as a punchline he scorned their suggestion and went back to London. This would be 1804. Some have said that since this poem was writ in 1794, any contributions to the creative process taking place between 1800 and 1804 must be deemed null and void. But people are always gobbing off.

I also had an old Uncle, or me Grandfather did, as used to live in Littlehampton, where Bertrand Russell, the philosopher and bloke that refused to do his bit for the war effort, used to sneak off to, to catch his little bit of stuff that he kept there. She was a nursemaid to one of the local toffs and old Bertie used to give her a good seeing to every month or so. Anyway, the thing what this old Uncle - who kept a pawnshop down there - always said was that when Bertie was down there he always used to buy a wheelbarrow. He was obsessed with wheelbarrows. He would buy one everywhere else he went as well. He had a big shed full of wheelbarrows at home. He tried to bring a load of wheelbarrows back from Russia when he went there, but they wouldn't let him.

For such a poncey-looking old geezer, you'd never credit him with rogering a bit of crumpet in Littlehampton or humping wheelbarrows about, but it just goes to show there's nothink so queer as queer old bastards.

Besides all this, I also have family in Herefordshire what had a connection to Lawrence of Arabia. When he was back home in Chingford, having a rest from living with the Arabs in Arabia, he used to go down the "Pig & Whistle" on Friday nights for a few brown ales and a singsong. My Great Auntie Vina's friend's Dad - Nobby Dawkins - used to run the gaff and he said as how old Lawrence always had his same stool at the bar and would have a few glasses of brown ale and a packet of prawn cocktail crisps and it was always him what started off the singsongs round the piano.

He'd start them off with "It's A Long Way To Tipperary" and that, and get them all going a treat, but Nobby Dawkins said you had to watch him after he'd had a bit too much ale, seeing as how he would start singing Mesopotamian Folk Songs. This was like to empty the place, so they kept an eye out, and moved onto the music hall numbers to drown him out.

I don't reckon to you, but I think this has what they call a "ring of truth", seeing what I know about Lawrence of Arabia after watching that film with Peter O'Toole.

Yours sincerely,

Alice Goblin-Williams
Newton Abbot,

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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