Monday, 10 May 2010


" brings down the Chalfonts" mr richard.

Referring to a chilly, winter ride on a motor scooter.
Chalfont St Giles, Cockney rhyming slang, 

in which backward Londoners, or Diamond Geezers, speak to one anuvver words or phrases which rhyme with the actual words meant to be communicated, one Diamond Geezer to anuvver the arcane purpose of this convolution escapes me, always has, examples are: 

Whistle and Flute - Suit; 
Trouble and Strife - Wife;
Apples and Pears - Stairs. 
Adam and Eve  - Believe.
 and so on, mercilessly and without end, apparently.

This example, below, is from a cockney rhyming slang website, of which there are Jack Benny.

"Got to my mickey, found me way up the apples, put on me whistle and the bloody dog went. It was me trouble telling me to fetch the teapots."

which really means,

"Got to my house (mickey mouse), found my way up the stairs (apples and pears), put on my suit (whistle and flute) when the phone (dog and bone) rang. It was my wife (trouble and strife) telling me to get the kids (teapot lids)."

Maybe it's because I'm not a Lahndunner but I do find this all very infantile;  anyway, Chalfont St Giles - piles, haemmorhoids

Another example.

Ross Kemp 
skymadeupnewsandfilth's angry, bald bloke, 
 a right Berkeley Hunt and a bit of an Iron Hoof.


Oldrightie said...

Thick as shit, our Kemp.

PT Barnum said...

I think you do Cockney a disservice, Mr I. It evolved as an insider's language among the working classes and general outcast populations (Jews, Irish, gypsies), marking them out for one another and preventing the higher-ups from understanding their mockery and private conversations.

At its most complex, it becomes an art form. Arse can be expressed as April in Paris, through a remarkable series of substitutions. Bottle and glass (arse) becomes Aristotle (bottle) shortened to Arris which then is rhymed as April in Paris. So threatening to kick someone's April would confuse the red-braced tribe no end.

call me ishmael said...

We'd all be the better, though, mr ptb, if, instead of rhyming, they'd actually kicked the bastard up and down the frog and toad. I am sympathetic to the idea of an inventive, protective secret language, a nightingale's code; there was something called butchers backslang which seemed to be an irritating form of Unwinism, there was pig latin and of course homosexuals had one, a protective one, in the bad old days of entrapment by a malicious, queer-bashing Old Bill and denunciation by the likes of Straight Simon Hughes; Polari, I think it was, supposed to be much deployed by poor, mad Kenneth Williams and others on Round the Horne.

No, I mean no harm, just get pissed-off with commercialised Cockneyness, Brumminess - there's a bloke there, Dr Carl Chinn... well never mind; Scouserness, all the phoney regionalnesses, beloved of the shit-tube.

Anonymous said...

Never really bought that 'patois of the common people' line. Human beings just seem to love being secretive, in-the-know, on the inside, etc., etc.

Barrow-boys' freemasonry is what it is.

call me ishmael said...

Barrow-boys' freemasonry, that's nice.

Anonymous said...

Oi dairy, are you callin me hackney?

You've already got a dicky strawberry, do you want to end up brown?

Stay lucky....

yardarm said...

I think, I stand to be corrected, that the gay slang was called parlare.

Interesting post, as always, Mr Ish, or should I say, Mr Lillian Gish. Old man Yardarm is Romany and still uses the lingo: chav just meant, originally, child. Mrs Yardarm is as cockney as they come and has never uttered a word of slang in our years together.

PT Barnum said...

Gay slang was called polari, derived from parlare (some Esperanto version of 'talk') but you'll only hear it used ever now by a tiny number of glorious old queens in their 90s who claim they knew Quentin Crisp when he had his clothes on. It was both necessary for safety (uttering secret code words in cottages meant you were less likely to get kicked to death) but also fun to use. A dead language now, past its use by date. As is Cockney (not to be confused with Mockney, its now dominant form), but both languages were really about performance, not communication, so yes, barrow boys and their ilk would use it, but it was hardly the stuff of ordinary pub talk.

Down in the Smoke said...

Do me a faver, Sun. Oo do ya fink we are. Fuckin feme park attractions for Boris's torist trade? I was dragged up in the East end and i neva herd no cunt talking abowt climbing the appals and pares or cleaning me ampsted eefs, but discuss slippin a lengf to a sort from over the river or avin a right touch on the nags and now weer talkin. Those perly Kings an Queens are our version of villig idiots. Humered and sent for by ski noos wen the opinion of the sort of the erf is asked for.
The average cockney nowdays is just as likely to owe his ethnicity to a far away land and be delivering curry's, as runnin a barrer down the market, much as it's always been,living on yer wits, heer in cockneymalia.

Babelfish said...

call me ishmael said...

The link is good, its to a dialectizer, amazing, translates into a variety of dialects -Redneck, moron, cockney and so on, very clever but just lacks the idiosyncracy of, say, the pretend chink, Mr jimmy, was it, who used to be on Fawkes.

richard said...

No heated-seat option on the incredible Honda C90 (60 million sold, fast as a race-horse for 80 miles on £3 of petrol) plus a daft euphemism for rectal discomfort. As a result I've learned what "Berk" means. Quite a complex chain of events, if you think about it, including the interesting thread. Paroli is Esperanto for "to talk" by the way, I can speak it a bit. Esperanto, not the gay one.

woman on a raft said...

So threatening to kick someone's April would confuse the red-braced tribe no end.

Word to the wise: if I wanted to confuse someone, I'd substitute the verb 'kick' for something slightly more misleading.

Anonymous said...

Those perly Kings an Queens are our version of villig idiots" When McBroon went to a village in Kent he asked if they had a village idiot?
They yes thanks but you can put your name down on the waiting list if you want.