I love language, which is handy as I am a writer. I love new words and new expressions; I delight in an ever growing vocabulary. Moving to the East Anglian Fens introduced me to a whole swathe of new words, some examples of which are mizzling; a cross between a mist and a drizzle, and docky; a morning break or lunch where your money was docked for taking that break. Something could be better-er or worse-er. I would never argue it was good English, but it is a charming, rather quirky local expression.
I was in a bar the other night chatting about some of the modern street slang, a chunk of which I have to confess I had never heard of before. Some of it comes from TV shows I have never watched, but the slang is permeating its way into common usage.
Slick – buff – reem, is good or brilliant as in, a new video game is slick
Jel meaning Jealous, from the TV show, The Only Way is Essex.
Bang tidy equates to looking good from the TV show, Celebrity Juice.
Yard is a house.
There are others that are less savoury like “bang your back door in” which I will let you figure out for yourself and “bangers” which in my day referred to sausages, but now means something entirely different!
Words and expressions constantly change and there is a joy in introducing someone to a new collection of terms. A little while back I mentioned Cockney Rhyming Slang to my friend and publisher, Laurie Sanders, of Black Velvet Seductions. It was amusing to get her reactions and indeed try to explain some of the terms. Rhyming slang has the effect of obscuring the meaning of what is said from outsiders. It isn’t clear whether this is intentional, to hide one’s meaning from the law, or to exclude outsiders, or whether it is just a form of group bonding. The way rhyming slang works does tend to exclude those not ‘in the know’, as the substitution of one word for another often relies on reference to a key phrase, which, for the slang to be understood, must be known jointly by those communicating; for example, to get from ‘Hampsteads’ to ‘teeth’, one must be aware of Hampstead Heath. Other example you can find here.
I know in some ways folk can find it a tad irritating when new expressions come along, but there is something totally “Fab and Groovy” about when old expressions come back into regular use by a new generation.
Remembrance of Things Past
It is ok I am not going to witter on about Marcel Proust’s monumental work! I did start to read it, out of a sense of “I really ought to read the classics” but after the first couple of months I figured I would rather not bother. Sorry if that does sound a bit plebeian!
The reason for stealing his title came to me last Saturday night when standing bored out of my mind, trying to entertain people with a disco. I have been thinking of a good verb for doing a disco, do you run a disco? Play a disco? Inflict a disco? To be frank it felt a bit like the latter. I have inflicted my disco on folk on occasions on and off for the past 25 years, prior to that I did it for a living for the preceding 7 years. I need to say I love music, always have. I don’t follow it as keenly as I once did, if I am honest I am a little stuck in the 80’s and I am very fond of classical music. I probably shouldn’t confess this…. but…. the problem of being a party DJ in an English pub, is that you stand about doing very little until enough alcohol has been consumed to make dancing a possibility. They wanted the music to start at 8, and nobody really considered dancing till about 11, so for me there was three hours of pure tedium! On the upside you do get to listen to a lot of old tunes you would probably not listen to, which is nice.
I did once thoroughly enjoy the whole DJ thing; I used to live for it, but things move on and something that was once the centre of your life can drift to something inconsequential. Even when I was a DJ there was my art running side by side with it and now it is the art work that takes the centre stage for me.
Most of what I do has some sort of arty element and a recent trip to Brussels has been no exception. I usually discount the day you take to get there and the day it takes you to get home; they feel like blank days to me, as I am usually too tired to do much other than think about food and drink. But with Brussels, like Paris, a little time to do nothing but think about food and drink is really not a chore.
We started a day’s sightseeing with an Art Nouveau walk. It was lovely to see so many buildings with original features dating back to the late 1800’s. Our walk culminated in a visit to the former home of the architect Victor Horta, a truly wonderful building especially considering how long it has been there. The queue to get in took about an hour but it was well worth the wait.
Another highlight of the trip was The Atomium which is a monument in Brussels originally built for Expo ’58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn and Les Architectes Polak, it stands 102 metres (335 ft) tall. It has nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It was a truly impressive sight though I had confused the meaning of the structure with a comment about the European Parliament!
We visited the Rene Magritte exhibition at the Musee Magritte. I have a fondness for surreal art and I thought the exhibition was very inspiring, odd, but inspiring.
I couldn’t begin to explain any of his work but there is a huge level of technical skill in the painting. If you are interested you can click here to see more of his work.
We were wandering down a back street where we cane across the Krethlow Gallery seeing the work of the Swiss artist Wolfgang Zät, truly amazing work, massive hand cut lino prints. I could have lost myself for hours in the intricacy of his art work.
It was a great break away, can’t wait to go back to Brussels!
Welcome to my new blog! I hope you will enjoy my ramblings and I invite comments on any of the topics that come up. The look of the blog has changed and I would like to thank Laurie Sanders of BVS for creating the theme. What do you think of the new colour scheme and design? All feedback welcome! Archives to my previous blogs are here. I feel a blog coming on…