Ding dong bell Here
Door to door selling has become a long forgotten occupation. Not many of the breed around these days. In our neighbourhood, we only get Jehovah Witnesses and con artists trying it on. The former is getting as rare as an ingenious politician, which could be down to the frequent blood sacrifices on our urbanisation scaring the starch out of them. The latter, asking to borrow €50 to pay a locksmith to get inside his house because he's lost his keys, is best greeted with a sharply raised knee.
Years back there was a constant stream of hawkers and hustlers trekking up the path. The Man from the Pru – The Betterware Man – Rag & Bone Man – bike riding onionselling Frenchmen. Astute faithful reader, you will have sussed the theme. With the exception of the Avon Lady, it was then a chap’s prerogative.
Excuse me while I digress for a moment. In previous rambles, I've mentioned being glued to Fab 208 – The Station Of The Stars. The English service on Radio Luxembourg came on at night. I'd pull the blanket over my head and settle down with my tranny. Oh, stop it. This was long before Grayson Perry.
I entered a competition with high expectations. The prize was a Singer sewing machine, something Mum really wanted to repair my ratty school blazer. Mind you, it could have been a bespoke Savile Row job; it would still look ratty on me. Even today, if I wear anything that is expensive, it looks stolen.
Weeks later came a ratatat on the door – this was normally the cue to hide behind the settee until the bailiffs bogged off. Not this time, it was a spivy looking chap with a pencil thin moustache wearing a cheap suit, a trilby and string back gloves. He was a Singer rep, “I'm very pleased to say Master Ashley has come second in our 208 competition.” Mum in a rather tetchy manner snapped, “So what's he won for being first of the losers?” “A £1 off voucher when you purchase a new machine from Singer which I just happen to have in my Sunbeam Talbot parked outside.” You never really expect your mum to know a rather more industrial alternative to ‘Shove Off ’ wonder how many other runnersup there were?
In fairness to Flash Harry the Singer Spiv, many years later I did some door to door selling and it can be soul destroying. The first job was in Sydney for a wellknown publisher of encyclopaedias. Now, if your territory is the posh end of the city, you might do all right because the ladida householders want to impress.
If, however, like me you got the rough end of town, which hasn't been gentrified but still You've read Chris' writing rambles now listen to his radio rambles MondayFriday, 912 on www.br2fm.com great tunes from the 50s 80s.