Now like it or not London is going to be filling your screens in the coming months (plus a few glimpses of some provincial British towns) with all manner of advertising, plus some athletics and lots of David Beckham valiantly showing Harry Rednapp that he can still do the business during the next World Cup.
Meanwhile all us friendly locals will be giving it the ‘cor blimey’s’ and ‘Ow’s ya faaver?’ Etc. And so on.
So in the interest of international relations here a few more handy interpretations of English phraseology (you won’t be hearing this on the BBC):
Now in the Eastend of London, where the bulk of the Olympics is being held, there is a long tradition of using two words where one is the norm (eg plates of meat – feet, apples and pears – stairs, and so on).
But should you find yourself wandering the streets of Stratford after watching athletes running around and throwing things then you might come across some other choice gems in the area (especially the pubs):
- Any sentence starting with ‘A face like a…’ is going to be derogatory. How it is finished is the good bit though. For example ‘She/He had a face like… ‘a bag of spanners’ or… ‘a sack of performing squid’.
- ‘Bog standard‘ – now you’re going to be hearing this one all the time and it alludes to the ability and performance of the British team. Simply put it means ‘nothing amazing, perfectly ordinary’
- If some drunken ‘oik‘ (thats a member of the working class) should shout across the Olympic Plaza such words as ‘Minger’, ‘Gobshite‘ or ‘Spanner‘ then, as a visitor to this fair land, you have every right to go ‘slap them up’ for you have just been refered to as ‘ugly‘, ‘mean‘ and lastly a ‘tool‘
In my efforts to close the cultural gap between Britain and everywhere else I also purchased a new book of translation – ‘American – English, English – American’
Here are some essential examples of how to convert everyday American words into London-Speak:
- Broil – Grill (big thing this – asked for a broiled steak in the UK and you’ll probably and up with boiled beef – not a good thing, ever)
- Carnival – fun fair
- Check (in a restaurant) – the Bill
- Police – again ‘the Bill‘, or the Rozzers. Or the Filth. Actually just the ‘Police‘
- Chips – Crisps. Another biggy. Ask for chips with your Pint in a London pub and you’ll be getting big fat greasy fries with salt and vinegar
- Downtown – City centre – If you want to a night out in London don’t ask the Cabbie to take you Downtown or you’ll end up in the arse-end of nowhere!
- Druggist -Chemist. Again be careful. If you need some painkillers don’t ask for a druggist. You’ll be dropped off under Westminster Bridge at 3am and you don’t want to be there. You really don’t.
I will provide further updates once I’ve had enough wine. Sorted!