INTO THE BLACK
Might be English, the words all familiar, but can you translate this sentence so it makes sense?
"It nearly knocked me off my plates—he was wearing a syrup! So I ran up the apples, got straight on the dog to my trouble and said I couldn't believe me mincers."
No clue as to what in the hell that means? You would not be alone. It’s London Cockney Rhyming Slang. Colourful but damn near impenetrable, because rhyme and foreshortening get in on the act. Here’s how it translates:
“It nearly knocked me off my feet—he was wearing a wig! So I ran up the stairs, got straight on the phone to my wife and said I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
Plates = plates of meat = feet
Syrup = syrup of figs = wig
Apples = apple and pears = stairs
Dog = dog and bone = phone
Trouble = trouble and strife = wife
Mincers = mince pies = eyes
So, to help out those travelling to London and wishing to avoid a ‘barney’ (Barney Rubble = trouble, as in fight), I’ve provided a short list of some common rhyming slang phrases to help you out. Enjoy…
Brahms and Liszt = pissed (drunk)
Brown bread = dead
Adam and Eve = believe
Boat = Boat Race = face
Bottle and glass = arse
Bubble Bath = laugh (as in, ‘having a bubble’)
Butcher’s hook = look ( as in, ‘having a butcher’s)
Half inch = to pinch (to steal)
Gypsy’s kiss = to piss
Vera Lynn = gin
Tommy tit = shit (as in, I don’t give a Tommy tit)
Actually, these guys say it better: (Note the credits at the end please). There, now you can travel with some confidence.
Have a favourite phrase you want to share? Add to comments....
Hard Men the Hard Way