I usually enjoy folk music about as much as I do listening to my son
describe (in great detail) the strengths of all the Pokemon characters,
but there are some exceptions and one of them is Fred Wedlock.
(also affectionately known as Fried Wetleg), was an entertainer who was
around when I was a teenager. I went with
a couple of friends to see him at the local university in Exeter, in the
West Country of England. This would have been about 1972-3, and it was at
a time before he was "discovered overnight" in 1981 when one of his songs
(The Oldest Swinger in Town)
made it to number 6 in the British charts.
Noel Edmunds then started featuring him on his show on national
radio on Sunday mornings. In fact back in the early 70's, Fred was entertaining
such a select crowd, that we'd all fit into a medium sized room, and we got to sit
on the floor right at the feet of the master. It's nice to see he's now a
celebrity after-dinner speaker as well.
Why is Fred Wedlock different? Well, his act is very funny. Lots of hidden
meanings and double entendres. In fact, if there are any maiden aunts reading
this, or people who don't get out much, or are easily shocked, then you should
probably stop reading about now.
I used to use his introduction to Handy Household Help as my one remembered joke.
I had a rabid fear of forgetting the punchlines of jokes, so I meticulously
remembered just this one, and pulled it out whenever it was needed. It went something
like this. (I won't translate it into American. Hopefully most people should be
able to understand it in the original English).
Once upon a time there was this Bristol firm that invented this product that
could clean anything from shot silk through to six inch armour plate, but they
couldn't think of a name for it. They decided to have a competition. Bright and
early one Monday morning, one of the workers walks into the advertising
"I've thought of a name for the product Sir!".
"Oh yes then lad. What is it?"
"Well Sir, I thought we'd call it Bugger!"
The advertising manager groans. "Why's that then", he asks.
"Well Sir, it stands for Best Universal Grit Grim and Effluent Remover!".
The advertising manager groans again. "Umm, nice try son, but I don't think
Mrs Bloggs of Bolton is quite ready for a trendy name like that".
"That's a shame Sir, because I've even thought of a slogan we can use."
"What's that then son?"
"Well Sir, if Daz won't whiten it, and Omo won't brighten it, Bugger it!"
Fred goes on to say that later that morning another young wag comes in to
the same office and wants to call it the Finest Universal Cleanser Known.
That didn't fly too well either.
He then tells you they finally decided on the name Handy Household Help
and sings the song. I've included the lyrics here.
For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of seeing Fred perform and
therefore have heard where he put the vocal inflections, let me tell you
that Fred is a master of the unexpected rhyme. Read the last two lines of
each verse carefully, and you'll see what I mean.
THE HANDIER HOUSEHOLD HELP
For the Handier Household Help, let's hear a roll upon the drum.
It's the answer to your problems. It will solve them every one.
It's universally popular in colleges and homes
For removing excess pubic hair and mending concrete gnomes.
And you can bung it down the toilet. You can spread it down your halls.
You can buy it in pint canisters for putting on your banisters.
CHORUS: It's only six and fourpence from your local hardware store.
It's a handier household help than you have ever had before.
Now Mr Brown went fishing for to try and catch a trout,
But though he stood for hours and hours, it seemed his luck was out.
He tried some Handier Household Help. He quickly changed the scene.
He caught mermaids, the Titanic and a nuclear submarine.
And it removes the stains from carpet, the blemishes from glass,
Keeps your radio free from static. It will fumigate your attic. CHORUS
Now Miss Brown was most impressed 'cos she didn't have much figure.
She rubbed her bust with Household Help to try to make it bigger.
[The bust drove Miss Brown's boss berserk as she sat on his knee.]
Now her figure's getting bigger where it didn't ought to be.
And it will insulate your kitchen if you spread it nice and thick.
It will grant your fondest wishes and get egg-stains off your dishes. CHORUS
Now Mrs Jones complained to us her sheets was always grey.
We recommended Household Help to drive the stains away.
She dropped some in her husband's beer about a week ago.
Now poor Mrs Jones is a widow, but her sheets are white as snow.
And it will reproduce a picture upside down or back to front.
It will clean the streets of Dunstable or renovate a constable. CHORUS
One of the other songs that Fred used to sing was
The Vicar and
I assumed it was his, but apparently it's copyright Stan Crowther. Fred
does a mean version though.
It you ever get a chance to see Fred in person or come across one of his
CD's, snap it up. You won't be disappointed.
[Technorati Tag: Entertainers]