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Thread: Julian, sandy & polari

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    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Julian, sandy & polari

    For those of a certain age who grew up in the UK 1965 -1968, there will no doubt be memories of a BBC radio programme called "Round the Horne" with Hugh Paddick & Kenneth Williams playing two camp homosexual characters at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in Britain.

    It was almost anarchic in its attitude to language and at the same time was all but incomprehensible to the general public. But the secret of its humour was in the construction in the listener's overactive imagination that could be put on seemingly innocuous phrases e.g.

    Julian had been swept overboard on a cruise.
    HORNE: But did you manage to drag yourself up on deck?
    JULIAN: Oooh, no we dressed quite casual.....

    SANDY: Don't mention Malaga to Julian, he got very badly stung.
    HORNE: Portugese man o'war?
    JULIAN: Well I never saw him in uniform.....

    What I never realised at that time was the use in their sketches of a form of cant slang used in Britain by actors, circus, criminals, prostitutes and then adopted by the gay subculture. Its origins were quite exotic: Italian, London, sailor and rhyming slang, words from Yiddish, US forces stationed in the country & 1960's drug users.

    Examples were: bona, bibi, charpering omi, eek, fantabulosa, lallies, mince, naff, sharpy polone,

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    Yes, I'm certainly old enough to remember it.....'bijou' entered my vocabulary on a permanent basis, thanks to Jules(Joooo-lian) and Sandy (my friend, Saaaaa-ndy), as well as 'fantabulosa'.

    And, Manichaen, did you leave the radio on to follow RTH with I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again?

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    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Sure did.
    Apart from the Julian/Sandy knockabout I also enjoyed the Rambling Syd Rumpo folk song sketches. Pure nonsense of naughty-sounding, but actually vapid "rural-type" words such as; moulies, clenchers, nadgers and bogles!

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