BORN WITHIN THE SIGHT OF BOWLEGS, he had it coming to him.
“You dutty old man,” uttered Jerry Cann, before he could even walk.
‘Wood jew Adam an’ Eve it? Git up them apples an’ pears,’ he was saying, as soon as he began toddling round like some drunken, dimpled dumpling in soiled nappies.
‘Use yer ruddy mince pies’ and ‘is that a syrup fig?’ he added a little later.
That sealed his fate!
Jerry even began making up his own cockney phrases: ‘Coconut bananas! Apples a pound pears,’ he would holler as he strolled through the market. ‘Fondle me market stalls and get a grip on me planet Venus. Cor, I’d like give you a taste a me pork sausage,’ he ventured more boldly, till it earned him a smack in the gob. He was getting into hot water now.
But still he couldn’t curb his impulsive ‘Tourette-like’ vocal outbursts.
‘Fifteen year old plums, ripe and ready for plucking,’ he called out, passing a girl’s school playground. ‘From the bottom of my mincing tart,’ he crooned at a Gay Day gala.
He escaped prosecution for offensive verbal behaviour on several occasions by the skin of his teeth, and narrowly evaded physical retribution on several others, only because he could outrun his pursuers.
When Jerry wasn’t busy getting himself into scrapes, he used to love watching television programmes featuring typical cockneys. He watched East Enders, Steptoe and Son, and Only Fools and Horses. He relished the verbal antics of Cockney Wanker in the Viz comic.
Jerry grew up to be the gobshite of Stepney, Shoreditch, Shadwell and Spitalfields, quite a rum achievement!
He was the wordy wimp of Whitechapel, Wapping and West Ham.
The titles, gibbering loony of Limehouse, babbling berk of Bethnal Green and Bromley by Bow, and suspected windy mooner of Mile End were also foisted upon him.
Known as the prattling plonker of Plaistow and Poplar, he was also dubbed the talking toe-rag of Tower Hamlets, the gabbling gape of Forest Gate and the chattering clot, or sometimes, clattering can of Canning Town. Canning Tan, as the locals put it.
His vocal notoriety spread far and wide within the local communities; his lack of prowess and inadequacies otherwise, were a well-known fact amongst them.
The only thing in Jerry’s favour was his ‘bowlegged born’ gift of the gabbling gob; crazy phrases just poured out of his north and south like verbal diarrhoea.
It earned him a university degree in Vernacular Studies and a place on TV panels such as Gobshite is our Gizness and Cocky Rhymin’ Slags!
Nar ooz fackin’ larfin?