Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Filthy, sorry looking pony underneath an underpass in White City

...per comment made on previous post
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.
The use and subsequent misuse of the word nightmare.
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.
Interestingly, Cockney Rhyming Slang for crap is 'Pony and Trap', or 'Pony'. So, I pretty much finished-up round about where I started.


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