Whisper in the archive (5) The Heckler

Copyright Philip Wolmuth - http://bit.ly/TNZ92h
Copyright Philip Wolmuth - http://bit.ly/TNZ92h

“Fearless and fearsome” Mary the heckler, early 1970s © Chris Kennett

Fearless and fearsome Mary would first select her target, then armed with her crutches would barge her way through to the front of the crowd. There she would set about ridiculing the hapless speaker whatever colour or creed with terse one-liners and derogatory remarks, typically “Get away with you.  Look at you – you’ve never done a day’s work in your life!”

Like many well-known hecklers Mary attracted a following and became the centre of attention, thus posing a threat to established speakers in the park who stood to lose part of their audience once she moved on. When challenged Mary was known to take a swing at the speaker with her crutch and on more than one occasion this led to an officer of the law being summoned to defuse the situation, much to the amusement of spectators like myself.

- by Chris Kennett.

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