Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Laughing Policeman

The nutty tune The Laughing Policeman has been around since the late 19th century, George Washington Johnson wrote the original version that Charles Penrose later adapted to the song we know today and to which the herbert below made into a video and I purloined as a reason to be cheerful...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cockney Rhyming Slang - Radio

Radio Rentals was formed in 1932 to do just that, rent out radios, later they rented televisions and then a host of electrical items. The business model dipped considerably in the 1980s and has now ceased trading in the UK.
So what has this former British company become known for in Cockney rhyming slang? Not being beholden to too much political correctness "radio rental" is rhyming slang for mental.

Let's use it in a sentence:
"On Deal or No Deal today the guy was left with £1,000 and £75,000, the banker offered £24,000 and he turned it down, even if he'd have won the seventy five grand he'd still be radio"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cockney Rhyming Slang - Whistle

A whistle = whistle and flute = suit.

"When I got hitched I bought a new whistle and had my barnet tickled up"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ross' New Cockney Rhyming Slang - Terry Wogan

Under international football team qualification rules I am technically a cockney, my dad having been born within the sound of the Bow bells, so despite my Mancunian upbringing I hereby claim my right to occasionally invent my own rather pointless Cockney rhyming slang.

So in the first and possibly only one of this series, I will introduce a Terry Wogan, a term which will become adapted by any Cockneys working in the advertising or political arenas to mean 'slogan'.

I will use it in a sentence to illustrate:

"I could never understand why "A Mars a day, helps you work, rest and play" was discontinued as a Terry Wogan for Mars bars".

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Old Dutch

The Albert Chevalier song My Old Dutch is a British classic. Chevalier was born in 1861 and was a stalwart of Music Hall. Chevalier was married to the daughter of music hall's original Champagne Charlie George Leybourne.

I mentioned who Chevalier was married to as the dutch in the title refers to his wife, 'dutch' being Cockney rhyming slang for wife, 'duchess of fife' = wife.

I doubt I could write a better entry than this one about Chevalier and the song, so I won't.

The song was written in 1892 by Chevalier and his brother (billed as Charles Ingle), possibly the first song to be made into a film in 1915 and then again in 1926 and 1934, it has been recorded by countless artists, a Peter Sellers' version is excellent.

However we turn to my old friends the Muppets for this version which appeared in the UK edition of The Muppet Show.

So 3 reasons to be cheerful, rhyming slang, a song and the Muppets.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cockney Rhyming Slang - Tod Slaughter

Tod Slaughter was a British stage and film actor, his career started with the heroic lead and his notoriety sprang from his later portrayal of murderers and ne'er do wells. Interesting then that his name should become cockney rhyming slang for daughter.
Let's use it in a sentence:

"In the film The King's Speech, the King's tod slaughter is the Queen, you know?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jim Henson's Muppet Show pitch

The Apprentice candidates could learn a thing or two from Jim Henson's original Muppet Show pitch. It has everything, information, entertainment, confidence, a selling point, a definite product, but enough of that, just watch it!

Cockney Rhyming Slang - Cobbler's

Rhyming slang is often used to cover up even more offensive words, the oft used "berk" as an insult derives from the rhyming slang of "The Berkeley Hunt". (you can work that out for yourself, I'm too polite!).
Today's word is from "cobbler's awls", instruments used by cobblers (shoe menders) for punching holes in leather.
If you haven't already guessed cobbler's awls is rhyming slang for balls, which can be used to mean men's testicles ("he got a kick in the cobbler's") or more commonly for nonsense or rubbish.

Let's use it in a sentence:

"All that talk of weapons of mass destruction turned out to be a load of old cobbler's" which translates to "Politicians talk a lot of crap".

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Manchester Day Parade 2011 - It's just too loud!

Manchester Day Parade 2011 - Morrissey is still big in Manchester

Manchester Day Parade - You won't get the better of Beetham Tower

Manchester Day Parade 2011 - The strains of flag bearing

Manchester Day Parade 2011 - Peace On Earth

Manchester Day Parade 2011 - Teapot head man

Cockney Rhyming Slang - Barnet

Barnet has become a fairly commonly used bit of rhyming slang.

Barnet Fair = hair.

The first Barnet horse fair was in 1588, Queen Elizabeth decreed the North London town could have two fairs a year. It is now only held once a year, in September and is less of a commercial event and more of a pleasure event.

So let's use the word in a sentence:

"I can't remember when my missus' barnet was blonde", which translates to "My wife has never had blonde hair"

Never Went To Church

By Mike Skinner's The Streets, it apparently contains a sample of a chord progression from The Beatles' Let It Be

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cockney Rhyming Slang - A syrup

For today's word we have "syrup of fig" which is one of several for wig, another common one being "Irish" for Irish jig.

Syrup of fig is largely used as a laxative, so describing a wig in such a manner is no compliment.

Anyway here are a selection of famous wearers (or possibly not)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cockney Rhyming Slang - Mickey Mouser

I think everyone knows the world's favourite rodent. Mickey Mouse is generally used as a rhyming slang for "Scouse" as a person from Liverpool.
It tends to get used a fair amount around football, the above flag seems to be a dig at Liverpool FC's previous American owners, but that's one for another day.

So why 'scouse'? Lapskaus is a Norwegian stew that became a staple diet of sailors, as a port town Liverpool had lots of Norwegian sailors and Liverpudlians being friendly types can't resist trying a bit of scran (from Romany for scraps (of food) and used since the 18th century, again especially amongst sailors/Navy). Lapskaus eventually became scouse and a staple of the Liverpool diet and remains so to this day. The unusual yet charming name also attached itself to the region's distinctive accent (there's also a largely unique slang vocabulary that's a language of its own) and later to the people.

Hence a Mickey Mouser is a scouser or person from Liverpool.

So a sentence would be: "I went to uni in Liverpool and was friends with some Mickey Mousers even though I'm a Manc" which translates to "In my two weeks at university in Liverpool I was friendly with some Liverpudlians, despite being a Mancunian"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Lonnie Donegan song Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bedpost Overnight)?

The British entertainer Lonnie Donegan released this fun tune in 1959. It was originally written and recorded as "Does the spearmint lose its flavour" in 1924, Billy Rose who co wrote the lyrics (with Marty Bloom and music by Ernest Breur) was married to Fanny Brice and also wrote other songs including Me and My Shadow.

Anyway back to the song, Lonnie Donegan rewrote quite a lot of the lyric, but also had to change spearmint to chewing gum as 'spearmint' is a trademark name in the UK and the BBC wouldn't play the song with spearmint in the title (a similar thing happened with the Kinks' song Lola, where 'coca-cola' had to be changed to cherry cola!).

So the question posed by Lonnie in the song is one that has baffled scientists for many years and chewing gum does sometimes retain flavour on the bedpost overnight. I would suggest that even in these austere times it is probably wiser to actually throw the chewing gum away (don't even swallow it in spite) than keep it on the bedpost, even if you are fortunate to have a bedpost.

Cockney Rhyming Slang - Norman Hunter

The Cockney lingo uses quite a few names of people, most of them are genuine names, some a little harder to fathom. A lot of it stems from market traders, certainly in the East End of London there are and always have been plenty of street traders. If they have their own language then it's easier for them to talk between themselves without the customers knowing too much. This is why a lot of Cockney incorporates lots of cultures and languages, from Yiddish to West Indian and all ports in between.
That was a little digression to get to today's word which is rhyming slang for 'punter', itself a slang word.
Whilst I can't find any definitive answer to where the word punter comes from, as 'punters' tend to always be paying customers I assume it derives from the word 'punt' which was an old Irish pound. 'Punters' seem to have origins in horseracing and to have got into common usage from there.
Norman Hunter the rhyming slang for punter (and also Billy Bunter) was an English footballer, known by the rather illustrative nickname of Norman "Bite your legs" Hunter. He was a member of the England World Cup winning squad of 1966.
So to use this in a sentence:

"I only sell online these days, haven't spoken to a norman hunter in yonks" which translates to "mostly I sell on that internet thing, it has been a terribly long time since I have talked to a customer".

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - Buddy Hackett

Buddy Hackett the American comedian slips into the cockney lingo as another way of saying jacket, which can mean a variety of over garments not just restricted to jackets.

So let's use this in a sentence;

"I'm taking my Buddy Hackett out with me today, it looks a bit cold" which translates to "I'll be the one with a coat".

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - holy ghost

The Cockney lingo often seems to not be too bothered by offending anyone, historically a number of rhyming slang phrases were racist or sexist if not more offensive.

I'm not sure that anyone would be too offended by holy ghost being used to refer to toast (the toasted bread oft used as part of a breakfast meal).

Anyway let's use it in a sentence:
"I fancy a nice bit of holy and a bit of stand at" which translates to "I have a craving for a piece of toast and cheese"

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - stand at ease

The very military expression "Stand at ease" is used in Cockney rhyming slang to refer to one of the things the British manage to make better than the rest of the world, cheese.

Apart from the odd French and the occasional Dutch, all the best stand at ease is from jolly old England (and Caerphilly from Wales!).

Let's use it in another sentence

"Your plates smell like mouldy stand at", which translates to "My my your feet stink".

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Rolf Harris Song - Jake The Peg

So the funniest thing I discovered when I started writing this was that Jake The Peg was based on a Dutch song called Ben Van Der Steen, performed by Frank Roosen. On further investigation "Ben Van Der Steen" is a Dutch windsurfer, I would assume the extra leg is an advantage, but it could be a hindrance.

So anyway, for those unfamiliar Jake The Peg is a ditty that is known for being performed by the legendary Australian Rolf Harris.

Poor Jake seems to have had a rough time of it, yet has seen the good side of the extra leg, personally being used as a cricket wicket wouldn't have been such fun, but Jake seemed to enjoy it.

He also had the advantage of being able to count to 25 on his fingers and toes.

He would always have had an extra odd sock, hmm.

Anyway here's old Rolf and a bit of Jake

Cockney rhyming slang - plates

Plates = plates o'meat = feet.

Let's use it in a sentence:
"my plates are killing me, I've been standing all day" this translates to "My feet hurt"

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ross' sock of the day - Tetris

Cockney rhyming slang - John o groat.

John O'Groats is considered as the northern tip of mainland Britain, Lands End being considered the most southern.

For the purposes of rhyming slang there is but one John O'Groat, unless you have several coats, yes John O'Groat is Cockney rhyming slang for coat.

Let's put it in a sentence: "My old man used to tell me to wear my john o'groat when it got nippy out", to translate; "My father used to tell me to wear my coat when it was a bit parky out".

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - titfer

Titfer = tit for tat = hat.

So let's use it in a sentence:

"My missus likes to be pictured wearing different titfers." this translates to "My good lady wife likes being photographed in a variety of headgear".

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ross' sock of the day - Kermit The Frog

Cockney rhyming slang - daisies

Daisy roots (daisies) = boots.

The sentence for the day comes in the form of a verse from the Lonnie Donegan song My Old Man's A Dustman:

Oh, my old man's a dustman
He wears a dustman's hat
He wears cor blimey trousers
And he lives in a council flat
He looks a proper narner
In his great big hob nailed boots
He's got such a job to pull em up
That he calls them daisy roots.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - arriss

Arriss translates to bottom (arse) via a quite circuitous route, so here we go....

Arris is an abbreviation of aristotle.
Aristotle = bottle.

Bottle (and glass) = arse.

Now to use in a sentence:
"I used to work with an ice cream who wouldn't do 'owt until he got a kick up the arriss" which translates to "A former gentleman colleague was so lazy he never did any work until he got a boot up the jacksie"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Andy Stewart song Donald Where's Your Troosers

AndyStewart wrote and originally performed this song about a Scottish gentleman from the Highlands whose main preference for lower body wear is the kilt, he most definitely does not prefer trousers, even when in London he sticks with the kilt.

Apparently the song recently featured in the television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, this may be a good or a bad thing, I'm quite indifferent to it.

So here is Andy Stewart performing the song and for some reason whoever posted this video did it over some Thomas The Tank Engine footage, I'd have personally gone for Ivor The Engine and had a Welsh/Scottish combo.

A roadside television

A random television set causes controversy on the streets of  Manchester, it was doing shortly before this picture was taken

Ross' sock of the day Taz at the Beach

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - godfer

A godfer is short for 'god forbid' which is rhyming slang for kid.
To use in a sentence:
"that godfer don't look nothing like his old man" which translates to "that child bears no resemblance to the gentleman who is alleged to be his father"

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - a raspberry

A raspberry is in quite common usage as a blowy noise when you purse your lips together, but how many know that its origins are in rhyming slang and even why? Well read on dear reader onner.

Raspberry tart is cockney rhyming slang for fart. So now you know, I shall let you see a video of a chimpanzee blowing a raspberry, but first we shall use it in a sentence:
"that raspberry don't half pen and ink" which translates to "I say that fart is rather whiffy".

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - a kettle

Today's word is kettle. In Cockney parlance a kettle is a watch.
Kettle & hob = fob (watch).

When used in a sentence:
"'Ere this Rolex kettle I bought last week for twenty sovs is a ringer", this translates to "Here, I believe that this Rolex watch what I purchased for twenty quid is a copy".

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cockney rhyming slang - radio

Today's word is radio.
Radio rental = mental.

Radio rental was a company that rented radio and later television sets and also other household appliances.

To use in a sentence:

"Prince Charles is probably radio if he rabbits with trees" which translates to

"Prince Charles could be considered a little bit crazy if he talks to trees".

Ross' sock of the day, it's The Incredibles

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Alma Cogan Song Never Do A Tango With An Eskimo

This crazy tune was written by the same person who wrote "I saw mommie kissing Santa Claus", the British songwriter Tommie Connor, he also wrote the the Gracie Fields' song "The Biggest Aspidistra in the World".
Alma Cogan had a number of fun hit records, my other favourite being (There's a railroad) In the middle of the house.
In Never do a tango with an Eskimo, the advice is mainly to a lady from Nebraska who may happen to be at a party in Alaska, so a slightly narrow field, but the advice may be sound, albeit anti Eskimo. The risks involved for the lady from Nebraska is that she will get a "breeze up" and may end up with a "freeze up". These don't necessarily sound like dangerous afflictions, but one never knows.
The song was also recorded in French by Petula Clark and marvellously retitled as Tango de L'Esquimau: Petula Clark at Myspace Music
Anyway here's a video someone made with penguins, followed by June Brown and Vincent Simone 'dancing' a tango on a Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing

Cockney rhyming slang - Joe Baxi

Apparently this is also considered to be Scottish rhyming slang too (as used in the film Trainspotting), but my old man used to say it so I'm having it as Cockney.

Joe Baksi was an American heavyweight boxer in the 1940s and 1950s.

Joe Baxi is rhyming slang for taxi.

Let's use it in a sentence:

"Oy, Joe Baxi", which translates to "Oy, taxi"

Ross' sock of the day, it's Superman

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ross' sock of the day - Bugs Bunny the Second

Cockney rhyming slang - ice cream (freezer)

Your slang word of the day is 'ice cream', this would refer to a gentleman.

"Ice cream freezer" = Geezer.

So to use in a sentence: "Why does that dodgy ice cream always pull the best birds" which translates to "Why does that unscrupulous gentleman always have such terribly good fortune with the ladies".