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The Newsagent's Window
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Here’s one of my favourite jokes, told to me by Paddy O’Connell and originating, I believe, from the great Barry Cryer. A man walks into a cake shop and asks to buy a wasp. The assistant says, “We don’t sell wasps,” and the man replies, “But you’ve got one in the window.” Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
Which brings me nicely to
The Newsagent’s Window
, written and narrated by John Osborne.
It’s the engaging story of how John and a friend move into an unfurnished house, only to realise they need some furniture. Despite being the sort of people who prefer self-service tills at the supermarket in order to minimise human contact, they become enthusiastic users of the local newsagent’s window to seek out bits and bobs for their new address — a place with a garden and “a pond that rippled with a chorus of frogs”.
The script is peppered with beautiful flourishes and delivered by John with warmth. It stands out because it’s done in front of a studio audience.
It would have worked, I’m sure, as a dry read in the style of
Book at Bedtime
, but the programme is lifted by the audience’s appreciation of the humour and pathos that run throughout.
John asks the man who sells them beds why he advertised in a newsagent’s window rather than online. The man replies: “I hate online.” And by the end of this charming half-hour, you too might be tempted to cut your internet connection and start squinting at the little cards in your local newsagent’s window.
Written and narrated by John Osborne. A man encounters interesting people with curious tales to tell in the local community after replying to adverts in a newsagent's window. In the process, he buys second-hand furniture for his unfurnished flat, acquires a man's entire video collection and has a massage, discovering a social network he never imagined existed and which helps him to understand more about himself.
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