Click Bait

Twenty-first century media is driven by little other than the remorseless drive to get you to click on some meaningless advert for funeral plans, miracle diets, or mobility scooters. We live in the age of click-bait, and stories that are designed to draw you in, like some digital Venus flytrap, and consume your very soul. Any residue of journalistic integrity has long ago been consumed by endless appeals for you to visit some page to see “twenty-five astonishing pictures of what happened the day of the wedding that nobody has ever seen before and everyone is talking about”.

It wasn’t always like this. You used to be able to read sensible stuff in newspapers, indeed, you used to be able to read news in newspapers. Adverts would have been discreetly hidden at the bottom of column seven on page nine, so as not to upset the sensibilities of refined and delicate readers.

It is, of course, all a load of nonsense. Newspapers have always been driven by advertising revenue, and whatever stories that appeared in them were merely a payback for looking at the adverts. You don’t have to go back too far in history to get to the time when the front pages of newspapers – even local newspapers – carried nothing but adverts. So I will avoid falling into the usual nostalgic trap of people of my generation – “now when I were young, you could buy a newspaper full of the works of Shakespeare, and get it wrapped around a serving of fish and chips and still have change out of a tanner!”

But I would still like to make a case that the adverts of 100 years ago were more interesting than the dross we are served up today, and therefore I have chosen a selection of adverts from the Halifax Courier of one hundred years ago to try and illustrate my point.

Having read these adverts, all from the front page of the newspaper, who could possibly resist visiting M Girard at 51, Alma Street to have their mind read whilst being taught how to play the trombone, all for just one shilling? And what about the Studebaker car with its splendid tyres which only wants seeing before you will happily hand over £85 – or near offer. And what about the poor little lad (or lass) from Stafford Place, who must be instantly recognisable by virtue of only having one shoe.

We might want to quickly pass over why the Queen Hotel in Ripponden is looking for a strong girl, not to mention the respectable young man who prefers a widow.

Which leaves us with the muffin and crumpet business – which I might well make a bid for – and the Easter Egg Club which has splendid vacancies. If you are interested, just click here, and you will have earned me .001 of an old penny.

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