John So is the Lord Mayor of Melbourne,
and is Chinese [for those who don’t know!]
Stevie Wonder is playing his first gig
in Melbourne and the place is
absolutely packed to the rafters.
In a bid to break the ice with his new
audience he asks if anyone would
like him to play a request.
Lord Mayor John So jumps out of his seat
in the first row and shouts at
the top of his voice
“Play a Jazz chord ! Play a jazz chord!”.
Amazed that this guy knows about
the jazz influences in Stevie’s varied career,
the blind impresario starts to play
an E minor scale and then goes into
a difficult jazz melody for about 10 minutes.
When he finishes the whole place goes wild.
The Lord Mayor jumps up again and shouts
“No, no, play a Jazz chord, play a Jazz chord”.
A bit cheesed off by this,
Stevie, being the professional that he is,
dives straight into a jazz improvisation with
his band around the B flat minor chord
and really tears the place apart.
The crowd goes wild with this
impromptu show of his technical expertise.
The Lord Mayor jumps up again.
“No, no. Play a Jazz chord, play a jazz chord”.
Well and truly cheesed off that this little guy
doesn’t seem to appreciate his playing ability,
Stevie says to him from the stage
“OK smart a**e. You get up here and do it.”
The Lord Mayor climbs up onto the stage,
takes hold of the mike and starts to sing ……….
A jazz chord, to say, I ruv you…”
Where's the pen?
Cricketer Shane Warne [now retired]
signs an autograph for an adoring fan
I' m down to one can a day
August 26, 2006
SLANG was something the headmaster
at Eltham High School detested.
He disapproved, too, of swearing
- which is closely related - and chewing gum.
Also of having your socks around your ankles,
water bombs, bringing your dog to school
and conducting mutual genital inspections
behind the bike shed.
And Mr Moody didn't much like Batman comics,
fart jokes or peeing contests in the boys' loo.
But slang was a special problem.
It offended his sensibilities.
Which is why he'd probably be happy
with the fact that,
these days, most of the slang words
of his/our era have disappeared,
only surviving in Dad and Dave jokes,
copies of The Sentimental Bloke
and the Macquarie Dictionary.
Marvellously descriptive terms such as
dill and drongo have been
displaced by the trans-Pacific dickhead.
Some years ago I used this column to
launch a campaign to save
Australian slang from extinction.
The idea was that each of us would adopt
a favourite and forgotten colloquial expression
and promise to use it at least once a day.
You might choose drongo and apply it to a politician.
If you combine sexual responsibility
with athleticism you could choose franger
- a far more evocative term than rubber,
French letter or condom -
and educate the staff at the local chemist as to its meaning.
Take the letter D as a random example.
Apart from drongo and dill,
we have dinki-di, dinkum, dole, dukes,
dag, daisy-cutter (that's a low foot pass in Aussie Rules),
daks, decko, darl, dazzler, dead loss,
dead spit (denoting a strong resemblance),
dero, dibs (pertaining to marbles),
dicky-whacker (someone guilty of the sin of Onan),
digger, ding (a minor car accident),
dung-puncher and dim-sims
(applicable to both Chinese food and testicles).
Explore Aussie slang from A to Z
and marvel at its richness.
Yes, even Z.
There's zac for the now-defunct sixpence.
Or simply think of a topic, like alcohol.
Slang for the pub includes bloodhouse,
boozer, pisser, rub-a-dub
and rubbidy while inebriates are,
among other things, alkies, booze artists,
dipsos, guzzle-guts, piss-pots,
two-pot screamers or winos.
And they can be write-offs, blind,
flaked out, full as a bull's bum,
a pommy complaint box, a catholic school .
Last time I looked there were
120 terms for drunkenness and 30 for vomiting.
And over 300 for various forms of sexual intercourse,
so there's plenty for everyone.
If you're more poetic than promiscuous,
the joys of rhyming slang await you.
There are dozens of examples
to defuse dangers and make light of threat.
Like after dark for shark,
Jimmy Dancer for cancer and Joe Blake for snake.
Or take something that can be even deadlier
- the meat pie rendered ceramic
by some days in a roadside caf's kiln.
Add some tom sauce
and it becomes a do-or-die-with-a-dash-of-dead-horse
... and instantly the inedible Four 'n Twenty
is transformed into something
as lyrical and lilting as anything quilled by Les Murray.
Diminutives might attract.
Aggro, ammo, arvo, blowie, bookie, brekkie,
cabbie, cardie, compo, cossie,
demo, freebie, frostie, garbo
... right down to Vinnies for St Vincent's.
There are thousands of'em!
Including lots of names like Singo, Richo, Davo.
But you get the picture.
In a world where we all speak American television,
or SMS shorthand, or computer jargon,
we're losing or have lost a vast and vulgar vocabulary.
Our verbal biodiversity is being replaced
by the mealy-mouthed and mass-marketed.
How long is it since you heard someone
describe a face as a moosh?
Or legs as Ginger Meggs?
Or mammaries as norks?
Or an arm as a Warwick Farm?
Or an ear as a Germaine Greer or simply a lug?
Teeth used to be chompers or clackers.
Heads were beans, conks or noggins.
A nose? A Lionel Rose or a schnoz.
Ten years ago I wrote an introduction
to Midge Johansen's Dinkum Dictionary
expressing concern about a colloquial crisis.
Now what I feared has come to pass.
We've lost our lingo.
Just as our jokes are overwhelmingly
overseas jokes in local cossies,
just as our iconic brand names now belong to global companies,
just as our film industry now
expends its energies making Matrix
and Superman movies,
just as our foreign policy is dictated from Washington,
just as our elections embrace the terminology
and policies of US "law and order" campaigns,
just as the hamburger has lost its egg and beetroot,
just as Telstra has Sol Trujillo
and 90 per cent of our TV programming comes from Los Angeles,
just as we sing our songs in American accents,
we now talk their talk.
So adopt a word or phrase today.
Carn! Dunno. Emma chissit? (Yes, let's bring back Strine!)
Gonna or, if you prefer, gunna.
Myxo, placky, mushie, rollies, rellos,
dry as a pommy's towel
or me stomach thinks me throat's cut.
We're losing Australia day by day,
word by word. (As evidence, spell-check went bonkers with this column.)
Don't give up without a fight.
Tell'em to go to billy-o.
The Mavericks Just want to dance the night away
Wednesday, April 11, 2007