Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Filthy, sorry looking pony underneath an underpass in White City


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...per comment made on previous post
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Which reminds me of another example of dated slang trivia; back from the days when I was young, hip, cool and out on the street.
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The use and subsequent misuse of the word nightmare.
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Back in medieval times, round about 1985. Cool people would describe a bad experience as a 'nightmare'. Realising that this was too mainstream, the expression was eventually shortened to 'mare'. A slang arms race ensued and new expressions, reliant on increasingly tenuous connections to 'nightmare', were rolled out. I can't remember many of them now (but I bet you can Ian - comment please) but I do remember encountering a small tribe of students who had taken to using the word 'Whittington'; as in 'Dick Whittington, Three Times Lord Mare of London'. Things were clearly getting out of hand. I gave up on the whole deal at that point and reverted to using the word crap from them on.
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Interestingly, Cockney Rhyming Slang for crap is 'Pony and Trap', or 'Pony'. So, I pretty much finished-up round about where I started.
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5 comments:

Northun Munki in Oxford Circus said...

Mare is still in use.

Isn't Pony used to mean £25 as well?

Stef said...

Yes, yes it does mean £25.

(It's not strictly rhyming slang though and I've not encountered anyone who's 100% sure where it comes from. The most plausible explanation I've read it that the old 25 whatsit note used in India had a picture of a pony on it.)

Obviously using the same slang word for poo and £25 could sometimes result in hillarious, side-splitting japes. Lines like

'It all went a bit pony towards the end'

'I'm off for a pony'

are clear enough, but what about

'drop a pony in my hand and we'll forget about the whole thing'

'I managed to squeeze a pony out of him in the end'

and so on

The great unanswered question is, of course, what's rhyming slang for a pony?

Northun Munki in Oxford Circus said...

Not sure if it's traditional Cockney but amongst myself and my peers we use the term "Brad Pitt" to denote a number two. I've heard of "Ertha Kitt" as well, maybe this ones just the topical media update.

Redhead said...

In American-ese, "pony up" means the same as "ante up" or "chip in", e.g., "time to pony up for the wedding gift". I have no idea where this comes from.....

Stef said...

Now when I was a lad 'Earthas' meant breasts ...

Ah well, language is a living thing. There's probably a sketch in here somewhere with a five year old East End girl demanding a pony for her birthday and receiving either ...

- £25
- a jobbie, or
- someone calling her hand (yes, we use pony-up as an expression as well)

What she certainly wouldn't get is a pony. Presumably Cockneys never used the word pony in it's literal sense as the only time they ever saw one was in a tin.

... and we mustn't forget 'hung like a pony' whilst we at it