At the risk of howls of outrage cascading on the rabbit's head from the Lincolnshire coast, Skegness is a joke sort of place. For the unitiated, it is an English seaside resort of a certain type. 'Classy' is not a word to be associated with it but I must say it seemed to be looking in pretty good nick in a brash sort of way. If it's beer and beach and fish and chips you want then Skegness is the place for you. It is no coincidence that the first ever Butlins (overseas readers - don't ask!) was opened just outside Skegness. It is also noticeable that a lot of elderly people seem to have have retired there, presumably for the sea air. I have never in my life seen so many mobility scooters - erm - scooting up and down the pavements. The rabbit had fish and chips on the front for lunch and bloody good they were too. The fact the weather was absolutely on the money: hot dry and sunny no doubt helped the relatively favourable impression. I even in an ironic moment bought a fridge magnet with a picture of an owl and the caption 'Skegness is a hoot'. I told the young Polish women selling this tat that I am English and therefore do irony. She looked somewhat bemused. I don't knock tat, I should say. Tat can be ironic. Ironic is good.
I mention the sea air. Skegness rose to fame from being an obscure nineteenth century fishing village - but one blessed with a fine sandy beach - to a holiday resort on the strength of an advertising poster - The Jolly Fisherman - by an artist called John Halsall with its caption 'Skegness is SO bracing' became one of the best-known advertising posters ever. Skegness Town Council reports, a touch smugly 'The Jolly Fisherman is probably the most famous holiday advertisement ever drawn. It has been circulated hundreds of times in almost every newspaper in the land, and the dancing salt has been imitated by thousands of visitors. John Hassall drew the picture in 1908. It had been commissioned by the Great Northern Railway Company and for this masterpiece he received twelve guineas'. He died penniless in 1948, aged 80. Here is Beau Bo D'Or's take on the Jolly Fisherman (complete with starfish) intruding on Jack Vettriano's The Singing Butler .
BOUGHT LAUDANUM AT SKEGNESS
Nottingham Man Tries To Poison Himself in the Train.
At Highgate, London, last Wednesday, Harry Hart, 38, grocer and beer dealer, of Montfort street, Nottingham, was charged with attempting to commit suicide by taking laudanum whilst travelling on the Great Northern Railway between Skegness and Finsbury Park.Defendant, it was said, had been staying at Skegness for the benefit of his health. On his arrest he said he did not get better. He bought twopennyworth of laudanumm boarded a train at Skegness, and on the way to London drank the poison. He added: 'I thought I should have been dead by the time I reached London'.
At the first hearing of the case he said he did not see the folly and wickedness of his act. He then complained that his head was so bad, and was remanded to Brixton Prison.Now he promised the magistrate that he would not do such a thing again, and was handed over to his friends.
While on the subject of irony (well sort of), this amused. Hat Tip to Phil.