"London Cries": the merchants' patter of 19th Century London


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/21/costermongers-and-knife-grinde.html


They’d make a great Tarot deck.

The Mackerel Girl has come up before, but the context escapes me.

Mmmm saba shio yaki.


…and then there was Tubby Isaac’s jellied eel stand in Aldgate pie and mash at Spitalfields…thems were the days!!

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So according to the Band Box Man, cats have been sheltering in cardboard boxes since the birth of cardboard boxes. That feels both enlightening and incredibly obvious.


Sorry to be pedantic, but he’s talking about a cat in a hat, not a box- the box protects your precious precious hat from being crushed or shed upon by said kitty. Though I think if you just left the box open and empty in your home, your hat would indeed be equally safe.


Wow, what a job. Balance this statuary on your head. If you drop any, you bought it. Could the devil himself write a more horrible employment contract?

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Needs to work on his patter, but:


Mike Rowe says, “Don’t whine or complain!”

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Despite knowing it is pet food for cats (and dogs) it always reads wrong.


There’s a variation on this in some neighborhoods of Tijuana, with vendors reaching out past the walking distance of their shops using drivers with old stadium megaphones on automobiles to advertise the way politicians used to do in bigger cities decades ago.
Some recorded messages are creative, using jingles, others less so. Some I have come to loathe, like the tortilla vendor, whose recorded patter is extremely over-excited in relation to the commonplace product. How hyped can one be about tortillas?

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Ruth Rubin, the Yiddish song collector, recorded some street cries from East European towns as remembered by the folks who grew up there pre-WW II. They’re very beautiful, funny & haunting:

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