Sunday, 6 July 2008

Cheap Tricks

It’s a brave man that accuses Bill Blunt of stooping to cheap tricks to boost his ailing blog readership. Not for me the shoddy inducements to people to drop by to my blog, enticed by a gimmick or the strategic placement of a label or two.

I had enough of that during the infamous Stockport Circulation War of the 1960’s, which saw two fine newspapers go to the wall, and the reputation of the Stockport Leader left in tatters after it introduced its widely-copied Page 9 girl. I was working for the rival Herald at the time, and our editor (Wally Green) was firm in his belief that, while readers might flock to see such lurid spectacles at first, a reputation for truth, honesty and good writing was what would make them come back for more.

It was a long, hot summer in 1965, and many were those who tried to persuade Wally to relax his Presbyterian stance as the Herald’s circulation plummeted. But he dug his heels in, even as the Stockport Leader began to overtake us for the first time since the 1890’s. His one concession to the masses was the ill-fated introduction of Where’s Wally? - a competition which involved readers trying to spot him as he wandered, incognito, around town. Once spotted, the idea was they would challenge him and then claim the munificent sum of £5.

The game didn’t last longer than a couple of weeks, however, since the local constabulary sternly advised us to draw a halt to it. A spate of fights in pubs and clubs across the town had drawn their attention to the Herald’s competition, and the received wisdom after the dust had settled was that it was a mistake to expect punters to point at total strangers while uttering the words ‘You’re Wally – Give Me A Fiver!’

So, you’ll gather I am no fan of cheap attempts to garner readers. That’s why I don’t want my dwindling band of subscribers to read too much into my featuring Olga The Travelling Bra in this posting. I believe Olga represents a genuine cultural phenomenon – an item of lingerie that has already traversed thousands of miles in its quest to … err … traverse the globe and appear in blogs.

Here’s Olga when she visited Liverpool yesterday, in the company of 70’sTeen and Claire, two fine bloggers who had brought Olga for her day out, much to the bemusement of visitors to the Albert Dock.

I like to think it isn’t the first time Billy Fury twirled a bra strap around his index finger, but you never can tell with these pop icons, in my experience. I'd hesitate to make the same comment about Cliff Richard, for instance.

As for the Super Lamb Banana, this was already a potent symbol of Liverpool before the powers that be behind the European Capital of Culture decided to clone it and site small-scale copies across the city and the wider environs of Merseyside. I think you'll agree, Olga looks like she was made to fit the Ringo Starr version of the new icon.


Gail said...

Thanks for introducing me to Olga the travelling bra...and a reminder of those silly contests that used to be all over the local papers (and the Bun) a few years ago. Wally must have been a well travelled guy....

70steen said...

hee hee it was fun.... sharn't mention the blind dog!!!

Love the Cliff comment lol

the day is posted over at my place now :-)

Olga, the Traveling Bra said...

'Twas a pleasure meeting you Billy! And I agree, I think fit that lamb like a glove...or bra as it were...
Nnything I can do to lend you/your blog support, just let me know! I support bloggers (& boobs) of all sizes, shapes, colors and genders! (Just ask DaddyP!) :)

Claire said...

It was a pleasure to meet you. Although that blind man might not agree.

Olga says hello and hopes you continue to wear bras.

Daddy Papersurfer said...

Mr Blunt, I must apologise, I thought you were dead ..... I have plugged you in to my feed reader so I won't make the same mistake again ...... my head is well hung in shame.

Drowsey Monkey said...

It's nice to meet you ... I'm an Olga follower ... so here I am! :)

JafaBrit's Art said...

lol, so enjoyed your story about one of my bosom pals, olga :)

ps. agree about the cliff richard comment ;)

Bill Blunt said...

Gail - Wally certainly did get about a bit. But mainly in Stockport.

70steen - I've bumped into a few dogs in Liverpool in my time, I don't mind admitting.

Olga - the pleasure was all mine - you were the perfect consort!

Claire - likewise! And good luck on your jaunt to the States.

DaddyP - us old dogs refuse to lie down and die. That's because we know short-sighted hacks will fall over us if we do. You have no need for shame, my good man. I was merely 'resting'.

drowsey monkey - good to meet you, too.

jafabrit - I am glad you are a pal of Olga. She's a fine bra.